Monday, April 27, 2009

Life on the road, Part 1

Those stored-value train tickets really come in handy. If you've never traveled by MRT during rush hour, you can't possibly know the implication of owning a stored-value ticket. Even though queues at the station can reach kilometric proportions even when it's not within the day's rush hours, walking ahead of all those queuing up to buy a single-journey ticket does give one some sense of relief that he is in a way better off than those unfortunate fellas.

Today, my ticket proved invaluable again. But it was a taxi ride from the train station to the office that started my day of interesting commuting ruminations. Getting to one's destination by way of a cab instead of driving oneself does have its advantages -- foremost on my list is that since you aren't doing the driving yourself, your whole person is liberated from the constant alertness that can drive one crazy as far as road alertness for Manila driving is concerned. In other words, you can simply lay back and relax instead of watching out for potholes, pedestrians who seem to think that pedestrian lanes are mere street art, kids who come out of nowhere to cross the street, and motorists who seem to think lines separating lanes are street art, who probably don't know what signal lights are for, or who are living out fantasies of taking part in the Indie 500. Being a passenger on a cab somehow frees you from having to deal with all that.

Thing is, cabs don't have signs that say whether their airconditioning system is working great or not, so you can only tell if you're in for a nice and comfortable trip or one where you'd rather open the windows to be able to breathe more easily (and feel like getting your money back for such a stressful ride) when you're actually seated and well on your way.

My cab ride was pretty much the latter, except that the driver was nice and quietly apologetic about it, immediately adjusting the aircon vents once he sensed I was fanning myself in the backseat. In a few minutes, he switched the setting to "high." Only after I started fanning myself with some scratch papers I had in my bag did I remember the "taxi-driver-ego-hurting-via-passenger-fanning" experience from years ago, but that didn't stop me from trying to get more wind in my face. Anyhow, the ride wasn't that long and I ended up paying less than I had expected, so that sort of made up for the discomfort.

Later in the day, I hailed yet another taxi. It was an FX taxi, and I was the lone passenger on its Buendia-MRT station route. Nice. And the airconditioning was working okay.

At a stoplight more than halfway to the station, the driver started collecting some coins from across his dashboard. "Lumipat na lang ho kayo sa iba," he said, turning to me and looking like he was handing back the fare I had given him earlier.

"Bakit, saan ho ba ang punta nyo?" I asked, bewildered that I was being told to get off and look for another way to reach my destination.

"Iikot na lang ho ako, walang pasahero eh," was his reply. Walang pasahero? Ano kayang tawag sa akin?! was running in my mind.

"Eh bakit kayo magsasakay tapos pabababain niyo?" I quizzed him, I suppose with one eyebrow raised and in a tone far from what one hears in posh elevators in snazzy buildings where a soothing female voice announces what floor you're on.

"Sige na, sige na," was his quick response (in that okay-cool-it-you're-overreacting manner), putting the coins back on the dashboard. "Huwag ka na maingay." Well!! "Nakikiusap lang naman eh."

Nakikiusap my foot. *I roll my eyes*

"Nakikiusap daw," I muttered, loud enough for him to hear. "Pineperwisyo niyo ang mga pasahero..."

Now I realize I could have handled the situation in a better way -- probably still saying basically the same things, but with more cheer, more patience, and sans the rolling eyes and head-shaking. A friend I told about the incident a few minutes ago said the same thing has happened to her, but she got off the taxi and took a bus. A few years ago, I probably would've done the same... but... I don't know. For some reason, the lack of consideration demonstrated by the taxi driver's actions was simply glaring to me, and I wasn't about to put up with it. Good thing, though, that he didn't happen to have a gun, or else I probably would've ended up the subject of one of those police-beat stories you read in the papers about people getting shot or knifed for seemingly petty reasons. Needless to say, I made it home alive and in one piece :-)

A bright photo....

...for a rainy day --

It's supposed to be the height of summer but the changing climate has become obvious the past couple of weeks. Imagine, a thunderstorm in April! One night had rain coming down in sheets and lightning and nerve-wracking thunder sending my dog Sabrina whimpering and scampering for protection under the car, behind some old boxes and who knows where else until the following morning when -- after repeated rounds of the yard, garage, and every other spot outside the house -- I saw her emerge from amid ferns and bushes behind a small image of the Virgin Mary near the front door. Even the dog knows where to take refuge during "tempestuous times."

By the way, the photo above is from the charming craft and sewing blog Hello My Name is Heather.

And check it out -- a magazine bowl!

Came across this after some blog-hopping when I ended up at Patricia Zapata's blog entry on how to fashion this bowl. This is the kind of art and recycling I'd like to try my hand at -- especially as I've got tons of magazines that I really don't want to trash. But when they're taking up too much of your limited space, what do you do with them? I've made two little "log cabins" out of some pages -- photos of which I'd yet to take -- but those account for only about 40 or 50 mag pages. Looks like these bowls will be my next project :-) See more of Patricia Zapata's imaginative recycled art here.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Re-post: eye candy for a long day

If you contend with heavy issues on a daily basis, you probably know how it is to reach the point wherein the burden seems to weigh you down. You don't have to be a humanitarian aid worker in Sudan or a war correspondent in Baghdad to experience this kind of burnout.

Sometimes all it takes is "coming up for some air" before plunging into the deep again, or taking time to smell the flowers that have been there all along. Or looking at images like these:

This pooch illustrates just how I've been feeling the past week.

For more eye candy, go to this post from 2006.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Not just any execution

What happened at Calvary -- the crucifixion of Jesus Christ -- was indeed the most significant execution in history.

Christ is crucified: our Redemption is accomplished.

Crucifixion was the most cruel and insulting form of execution which was known in ancient times. A Roman citizen could not be crucified. Death followed after a prolonged agony. At times, the executioners hastened the end of the Crucifixion by breaking the legs of the crucified. From apostolic times till today, there have been many who cannot accept a God made man who died on a piece of timber to save us: the drama of the cross continues to be a
scandal for the Jews and folly to the gentiles. There has always been, and there still is today, a temptation to detract from the value of the Cross.

The intimate union of each Christian with his Lord requires a full knowledge of his life, this chapter of the Cross included. Here the Redemption is accomplished; here one finds the key to suffering in the world; here were learn a little about the malice of sin and the love of God for each man. We do not remain indifferent in front of a crucifix.

By now they have fastened Jesus to the wooden cross. The executioners have ruthlessly carried out the sentence. Our Lord, with infinite meekness, has let them have their way.
It was not necessary for him to undergo so much torment. He could have avoided those trials, those humiliations, that ill-usage, that iniquitous judgement, and the shame of the gallows, and the nails and the lance...But he wanted to suffer all this for you and for me. And we, are we not going to respond?

In Conversation with God
Vol. 2 (Lent and Eastertide)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Not your ordinary week

It's got nothing to do with the spirit of Lent, but one thing I appreciate about these days of the Holy Week is that Manila is less congested. Yesterday it took me half the time it normally takes to my destination; I even wanted to drive more just to take advantage of the smooth flow of traffic.

More people in Manila are expected to troop to the provinces today. Parishes, too, are busy preparing for the services to be held today till Easter. Here's a passage from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez (Vol. 2 -- Lent and Eastertide):

Sin, infidelity to a greater or lesser degree, always involves a denial of the highest ideals that Christ has sown inside us. Sin is the great downfall of man. This is why we need to struggle with determination, counting on grace, so that we avoid all grave sins, whether of malice, weakness or culpable ignorance, and then all deliberate venial sin.

But even from our sins, when we are unfortunate enough to commit them, we have to draw advantage, because contrition strengthens the bonds of our friendship with Our Lord.

Heaven is full of great sinners who decided to repent. Jesus always welcomes us and rejoices to see us set out again upon the road we had abandoned, perhaps in small matters.

Sunday, April 05, 2009


Source: Boundless webzine

Simply tan-talizing

I like this issue!

For one thing, we have a cover shot that actually shows a lot of water (last year's summer issue had adorable Kiian gracing the cover, but he didn't like the water one bit; hence, all that got wet -- and by "wet" here I mean the wisik-wisik kind as this was all that the baby would permit -- were some of his curly locks). SM Star Baby contest winner Samantha Sayson, as photographed by Kristin Rodriguez at Edsa Shangri-La Hotel, loved the water and almost didn't want to get out of the pool when the photo shoot was over.

Also, there's much to be said about the current obsession that many Pinoys seem to have with skin color -- specifically, with whitening. Is brown complexion something to be ashamed of? Judging from billboards and other print ads, some marketers are working to brainwash Filipinos into making white skin the standard of beauty. (Our cover baby for this month was blindingly white when I first met her at the SM awarding ceremony; she's still fair-skinned on the cover, and pictorial and cover lineups notwithstanding, it would have been much better to put a brown cutie on this month's cover to make that "Ang itim-itim mo!" line really powerful , but anyway....)

I love the positive and concise manner in which writer Meg Murrf Trinidad tackled the issue in "Going beyond skin deep with your kids." Go and grab a copy of the April issue, if only for this wonderful and enlightening read.

I put down my 2 cents worth on this matter, and I'm posting it here (click on image to enlarge).

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