“My Seinfeld Addiction” as told by Bong V.

My Seinfeld Addiction.

A friend from university and I have indepndently discovered one of the true joys of life : Seinfeld reruns.  I once thought of expounding on the beauty of this irresistible sitcom in a blog, but then I saw Mr Valarao’s version and said to myself, well there’s everything you wanted to say about it ! Please take a look at his thoughts thanks !

Easily one of the top 10 situation comedies of all time.

Pinoy si Ka Dennis sa New York & Anywhere Else : Video

AN OLD FRIEND from way back, Dennis started his migrant adventure decades before we did, which goes to show you how much smarter than us he was / is.

Like many adventures though, it has not been without its ups and downs.  Because he has twin talents of a voice /songwriting that makes you do a double take, and a videocam eye that makes the commonplace sublime, it would only be a matter of time before he combined the two gifts to form wonderful videos like this, which encapsulize his migrant experience.  Not only are you stirred by his powerful timbre, but you also get to take in the sights and sounds of his adopted home, NYC.

Kudos on the awesome vid Brother Dennis, Godspeed and may your songs continue to inspire !

Please share Dennis’s creation with your friends over every kind of media.


PS.  If you want more of Dennis’s repertoire and genre of music, please visit http://dsymusic.com/, maraming salamat po!

A Matter of Choice-1 (via Filipinos in Christchurch)

It boggles the mind when you think about the numbers here. We live, in this planet, solar system and galaxy, alone or otherwise, a truly privileged existence ! Please read when you’ve time ! From our kabayan in Christchurch, NZ ! 🙂

A Matter of Choice-1   A UNIVERSE MADE FOR US?   The universe contains far more galaxies than we can imagine — at least 100-billion and quite possibly far more. How big are those numbers? Let’s put this into some perspective. If you counted galaxies at the rate of one per second for 24-hours, it would take almost 32-years for you to reach the number 1-billion. And, if you lived long enough (and certainly you won’t), you would spend almost 3,200-years to reach 100-bil … Read More

via Filipinos in Christchurch

Intimations of Mortality

[ Note from Noel : The twin blessings of safety and early recovery are wished to our classmate Amado Cobankiat, we pray for God’s protection against both aftershocks and hurricanes for all our friends on the US East Coast, and belated happy birthday to a sorely missed kabatch, Dr Gina Yu-Tecson ! ]

THE ANALOGY that comes to me is your favourite pair of cross-trainers that you treat as running

We all of us eventually get there. Just need to do it as gracefully as possible.

shoes.  Unless they’re of the ultrasleek, ultrahi-tech variety and cost you more than a pretty penny, it took more than a little time for the waffle to completely embrace your unique heel signature, and now every groove, bunion and carved-out callus of your human tire tread is the mirror pattern of the shoe cushion, and you love the way the impact of every stride is absorbed by the uncomplaining, subservient shoe.

But the hard yards and early mornings logged by your swooshy or triple-stripey beast of burden as your faithful companion come at a price.  You didn’t think they would last forever, did you?  The erosions and smoothing out are hardly visible at first, appearing only at the dulled edges but before long, especially if you’re a regular jogger, the shoe no longer hugs the cinderpath the way it used to, the pavement is no longer as safe as it used to be as a running surface, until you finally admit to yourself that it’s time to part ways and put your Nikes, Adidases or Tigers out to pasture, or put it to sleep as a reward for long years (or months) of dedication to your personal fitness.

Sorry for the long-winded and circuitous analogy, but like athletic shoes and all unworthy partakers of the fountain called naive Youth I used to think I was bulletproof.  Not all the orgiastic excesses of the wasted young, the overweight 20s and 30s, the disruptive vices, and of course dysfunctional eating could dissuade me from believing that sweeping away all the remnants of these destructive behaviors would restore me to the pink of health.

In other words, a return to clean living (if  I ever observed it), elimination of any and all vices, and strict monitoring of food intake would make up for all those years of misguided living.

For a while, I actually thought that I was getting away with it.  Remember the phrase you tell those who live fast and die young you’re writing checks your body can’t cash?  Well, I had begun convincing myself that I could trace all those wayward checks, buy them back myself, and tear them up with lean satisfaction.  From the terribly excessive three plates of rice a meal in the 1990s, I was actually satisfied now with one plate, unless there were leftovers that were a pity to waste.

As long as the weather permitted and I wasn’t too tired, the block was always there for me to run around as my personal oval.  And I know you’re sick and tired of hearing it, but I had given up tobacco long before POTUS did (and continue to thumb my nose at P-noy), and limited alcohol intake to a glass or two of red wine, which by the way boasted of cardiovascular cleanser and additive resveratrol, so I was actually aiding and abetting fitness with drinking ! 🙂

But as they say, you can’t live on good intentions after half a lifetime of neglect, in fact the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  I knew that despite my chastened conversion to spartan living, my past would catch up with me someday,  hoping only that the day of reckoning would neither be too abrupt nor cruel.

The premonition came a few days before I gave blood for an immigration-related medical, and after an x-ray turned out swimmingly, I all but assured esposa hermosa that the blood work would pass with flying colors.  Her eyebrow raised, she advised strongly that I drink lots of milk to “clean my system,” which she was told did wonders for candidates submitting to annual medical exams and related hurdles.

Sobrang fit ako Mahal, kahit ano pang itest sa akin perfect ang kalalabasan, bursting with hubris I said.

Que horror she said, bite your tongue and better hope God didn’t hear you and teach you a lesson you’ll regret she said, and shoved a glass of Anchor to my healthy hands.

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You should be proud of yourself Emmanuel, you tick all the boxes and are in good shape for a 46-year old, better than many I’ve seen, said the nurse that reviewed my bloodwork.

I allowed myself a small smile but beamed inside, ready to disabuse Mahal of her old wives’ tale (hindi pa ako matandang wife ha, she would surely say).  I almost overlooked being called Emmanuel, which reminded me of elementary schooldays.

There’s just one area that gives me concern, and I need to discuss this with you.

My rosy cheeks, flush with self-proclaimed health, paled noticeably in a span of a few seconds, and I managed to stammer Whatever could that be?

Your LDL or bad cholesterol is nearly double the accepted range, and you need to cut down on the treats, my dear.  Sometimes we can’t help it, stress and the rigor of work force us to eat more processed foods and salty diets than is advisable, and the result is our cholesterol numbers need to be monitored.

Oooops.  All those sinangag breakfasts, KFC Double Downs and Tuesday Pizza nights rushed by in a blur of irresponsible eating.

Are you absolutely sure, I tried to be as courteous as possible without sounding incredulous.  I’ve never had a high reading before.

She was obviously used to this, and replied smoothly : Your last medical was two years ago Emmanuel (with the accent on man, as in “manly” fitness), and a lot has  happened since then.  You continue to be active and you’ve maintained your weight, of course that’s good, but your lifestyle and health metrics, if you want an ideal level of fitness for work, need to be balanced.  

But my immigration application I began . . .

No need to worry about that, she assured me.  Just lodge it anytime you need to, the doctor will sign it straightaway.  We strive to be at our best working condition, but for every person to achieve that is impossible.  Let’s just see you again after three months and a new blood test, shall we?  I just need to tell you that if the numbers don’t improve, you may need cholesterol medication.  In the meantime, I suggest less fried foods, red meats and similar treats, and more breakfast porridge, which you can mix with a bit of fruit for variety, OK Emmanuel ?

I know it was a specialist nurse briefing me, but all I could see was a giant glistening pork chop yak-yakking, flanked by golden french fries drowning in liquid fat, and surrounded by dancing strawberry and chocolate milkshakes.

A small but clear voice told me, Don’t listen to her boss, now let’s study all our options and talk about this down the road at McDonald’s. 

I was not surprised to discover that the voice was coming from my tummy…

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CAUGHT myself staring at Panganay the following morning, who incidentally was also staring, but at empty space.  While I was pondering my dietary dilemma, he was boycotting breakfast on grounds of personal choice.

Why don’t you eat breakfast anak?

Alam mo namang di ako kumakain ng pork Papa.

(Actually when hungry, he ate anything that didn’t move or didn’t breathe, preferably both.)

Um-hm…  Bumili pala kami ng Coke kagabi anak, baka gusto mong uminom mamaya.

Masama yan sa akin Papa, at sa yo rin.  Lalaki ang tyan ko.

(Even Coke Zero ???  Actually, before long, I would find the bottle empty in his room.  Hmm, was sensing a pattern here.)

OK.  Makiinom ka na lang ng gatas, masasayang yung fresh milk kapag nagexpire sya.

Papa, parang di mo alam na lactose intolerant ako.

(I wonder how he got past toddlerhood drinking the contents of all those Promil Cans till kingdom come?)

Eat all you can while you can young man, I thought to myself while smiling at his fussy food dramas.

You’re gonna miss it.

Thanks for reading!


You know a foreigner’s been exposed to Pinoy DNA when…

A Filipino stew, using tamarind and pork. Mmmm.

the famous sinigang na baboy, with all the trimmings including gabi I hope :p

There are many ways to be infected with Pinoy DNA (Di Na Awkward), but the most popular are to have a Pinoy girlfriend (or, less frequently, boyfriend), to have relatives by affinity and big groups of friends (known as barkada back home) who are Filipino, and lastly to bear the preponderance of Filipino colleagues or workmates at the workplace.  Below are strong signals that an erstwhile dayuhan (foreigner) is no longer considered an outsider, for not only do Pinoys eagerly love to welcome a former outsider into their fold (misery loves company); once a (or an honorary) Pinoy, always a Pinoy!

S/he no longer finds adobo/menudo too salty, sinigang too sour,  Bicol express /ginatang gulay too spicy, or leche flan too sweet.  I know just the thought of these home cooked dishes, especially to Pinoy expats, causes some of us to salivate and drool, but I can’t imagine how most aliens who are used to more bland, un-spicy and un-spiked dishes would react.  It seems that most of them develop a taste for tangy, sharp-tasting and strongly seasoned foods that we are used to, for I have not found a dayuhan who hasn’t liked our food or at least understood why we prepare our dishes the way we do.

Either that, or they are too courteous to make comments about their wives’ / girlfriends’ cooking.  Of course we can’t expect them to take in adidas, balot, IUD or dinugaan as we’ve been born with these treats, and especially since it’s an acquired taste, but I do know some Kiwis who’ve gotten used to and actually included sinangag, pancit and boneless bangus in their regular diet / menu.  I even had to tell a mate that the chop suey he had gotten used to was a less spicy version of the chow mien and nasi goreng across the South China Sea.

S/he no longer minds or raises hell when everybody talks Tagalog/Visayan/Ilokano in her/his presence.  This used to be a real issue with me, being a purveyor of  political correctness, not to mention sympathy for the husband of a new Pinoy friend who visited our flat frequently.  Everybody would speak Tagalog and all its permutations (Batangueno Tagalog, Bulakeno Tagalog, Caviteno Tagalog) while the Kiwi barely had a chance to follow any of the simultaneous conversations that Filipinos , whenever they get together, frequently conduct.  I would vainly attempt to translate the numerous phrases flying through the air, when his wife once told me : hayaan mo na Noel. Sanay na sya.  I slowly learned to give up after that.

S/he knows most of the obscene / curse words from our language / dialect, and moreover knows how to counter them, for example, when someone sez do you know p-ina mo, they come right back and say yes, and p-ina mo rin.  Sort of makes us blush to learn what they already know, but it’s one way to break the ice, especially in front of salty-speaking beer-drinkers and lambanog-shooters.  Even the objectionable language from different dialects all over the archipelago are fair game, particularly when the foreigner in question has made the rounds of the Islands.  Because foreigners love to hop around the islands, learning a few words here and there seems to be an indispensable part of the travelling experience, and they are all the richer for it.

I've heard that unauthorized DVDs of "Magkaribal" have English & Samoan subtitles. Cheesy!

S/he has at least working knowledge of the Pinoy fondness for telenovelas, not only the homegrown kind but from everywhere tearjerkers abound.  Used to be in the old country,  TV prime time was filled with canned shows from the US, and maybe a weekly special or two from Superstar Nora Aunor or Star for all Seasons Vilma Santos.  Nowadays right after the 6:00 news, you are expected to watch three hours of soap operas featuring homegrown talent like the Baretto Sisters (Gretchen and Claudine), love teams like John Lloyd and Bea or Piolo and Angel, or can’t miss blockbusters from Korea (Boys Over Flowers) and Taiwan (Meteor Garden) or even reboots of proven winners from Mexico (Marimar,  Maria Mercedes, Echabelita, etc).

The simple formula of poor-girl-meets-rich-boy (or poor-boy-meets-rich-girl), fantasy epics or rags-to-riches sagas spanning three generations is run through the mill again and again, across language barriers and cultures and Pinoy viewers will lap up whatever is served them.  Evidently we do our local recipes well, because Samoans, Fijians, Tongans and other Polynesians love our telenovelas, to the extent that whole seasons of pirated DVDs are available, if you know where to look, in Islander communities in NZ, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the same were available in Aussie.  Now, as someone with a significant other, girlfriend or GFF/BFFs from the Pinoy community, you should be prepared to put up with endless viewing of these drama staples, especially if the Pinoys in question are new migrants and/or are Gen X or Gen Y members, who were probably still in the Philippines when the soaps reached or near the peak in popularity.

Just a tongue-in-cheek warning to our guests and white-skinned mates : keep in mind those behavioral observations above and you can’t go wrong in getting along with us Pinoys.  Have you any other tips in mind?

Thanks for reading!


The Day It Snowed Forever

esposa hermosa y yo como nyebe en hardin dela casa poquito...and that's not dandruff on my shoulders 🙂

[ Note from Noel : Hoping I don’t sound boastful and alienate anyone with the once-in-a-lifetime weather blog (never having experienced this before), happy August birthdays to  Pinoy Basketball sa Auckland commissioner Engr Norman Latosa, basketball / drum&bugle buddy Mr Philip Uy, Collegian immortal Noel Pangilinan, Malcolm Hall schoolmates Attys Koko Purisima – Punsalang and Rhona Modesto – San Pedro, 90-C kabatch Atty Anj Agcaoili – Roman, SJCS 82 batch Dr Gina Yu – Tecson, forever Alphan Lord Chancellor Atty Dennis Acorda, and forever Sydney siobe Marlene Venes – Morrison ]

Dear kabatch, schoolmates, brods, kabayan, officemates, Huttmates and friends :

The pic above is deceptive.  We look bright and cheery but it’s because of the snow, the sense of rebirth amidst the dreary and dying wintry season.  Winter has a way of doing that.

In the Philippines, rains that assault us year-round, when combined with the intensity of the monsoon season, often produce the hardship of extreme floods.  In New Zealand, storms that visit during winter months produce hailstorms but once in a rare while the two bad guys converge to produce something beautiful : a nationwide blanket of snow.

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The news had been warning it for days.  A week before, snow had visited the hilly parts of Wellington region for the first time in recent memory, unfortunately I wasn’t one of the fortunate souls to have witnessed it owing to erratic sleep and shift schedules; I had to content myself with what passed for snow on the blades of windshield wipers; dregs of snowfall on the trunks and hoods of workmates’ cars from Johnsonville and Upper Hutt; and local newsclips on TV, which incidentally were picked up by international wires elsewhere in the world ( Wellington‘s first snow since 1960s, full story at 10:30! ).  In summary, while I was in the deepest recesses of the mill, or trying to catch up on sleep, or otherwise dead to the world, snow was falling.  Deep sigh.

I won’t overdramatize it and say I’ve never seen snow, after all I’ve been in NZ, less than 3000 km from the South Pole, for nearly four years now.  Twice I’ve joined other Pinoys to a short trip to a ski resort known as Mt Ruapehu, but stopped short of an impromptu ski / snowboarding lesson as it would involve rentals and tutorials that my mini-budget didn’t allow.

But to have the white stuff pour down right in front of your doorstep was a treat we hadn’t expected, although the portentous snowcapped hills were already encircling our line of sight.  From a lifetime of shielding our eyes from the tropical sun, it would now be a challenge to see how many snowflakes touch our eyeballs, squish our shoe / boot heels with snow, and hum sleigh bells ring… in an authentic, honest-to-goodness Winter Wonderland.

It wouldn’t be a breeze though.  Although I’ve been on shift work since 2008, burning the midnight oil to earn our bread has never gotten along with our sleep pattern, and the on-again, off-again nature of the much-anticipated snow did nothing to help us get our shut-eye.

And because the sub-zero weather kept me from both biking to work and jogging around the block, the bottom line was I was confusing my body with both a lack of regular sleep and excess energy.

one of the false alarms before actual snowfall, afternoon of Tuesday. the 16th. But if you notice, frost begins to build on trees.

And as expected, a pair of false alarms aggravated the limbo between alertness, fatigue and blahness that I was experiencing.  When the precipitation against the window panes graduated from splat-splat-splat to pick-pack-pick, our neck hairs started rising and naively esposa hermosa, Panganay and yours truly rushed outside.  Sure enough, little pinpricks of white were falling, but hardly enough to call it snow.  Panganay had started his cartwheels and handstands on the lawn but E.H. stood her ground on the door step.

Kapag puti na ang driveway lalabas ako, di pa pwedeng tawaging snow yan she observed.

Too much for me to wait much more, I complained to Mr Frost and donned my nightcap, thermal underwear and facial cream.  Off to dreamland for this sleepy little Asian worker bee (zzzz…)

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Papa, Tita H, tutoo na ‘to ngayon, magpakuha na kayo ng pics!  Bilis!

Groggy from just the second of three 90-minute slices of precious sleep, and not fully comprehending what it meant, I ignored it and let EH respond to Panganay’s urgent rousing of our afternoon slumber.
A screech and a squeal later, I brought myself back to the real world and realized something more important that freezing rain was going on.
I rushed down and a blanket of snow had enveloped 360 degrees everywhere I looked.  Trees were groaning and looked Christmasy in the middle of August, children of neighbours who hardly ventured beyond the doors were gallivanting like street kids of Quezon Ave.  And snowmen were growing before our very eyes, if they weren’t prematurely being bowled over by improvised sleds and snowboards of ecstatic young ones and young once.  It was Christmas in the middle of the year.
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Like many events where human interest and natural phenomenon converge, people focus on such event via the obsession of statistics (inches of snowfall, lowest temperature reached, number of winter days, etc.)  Such statistics, in the midst of all that snow, hardly mattered to me, although there were three stats that struck this wide-eyed Pinoy :
1970’s – The decade when snow was last reported in either Wellington City or Auckland City;
35,000 – The number of Pinoys more or less who experienced the rarer-than-rare snowfall, in NZ; and
46 – The number of years this accidental migrant reached before witnessing snow on his backyard.
Thanks for reading !
PS. Lastly, it hasn’t happened where we live, but this should really make for a memorable winter if ever it happens…  Happy viewing !

A Tragedy in Auckland (via Filipinos in Auckland)

A bit belated to repost this, but better late than never. I can’t add anything more than to say thank you to Mr Karl Quirino and the Filipinos in Auckland staff for doing this. Mabuhay and God bless us all, especially the Rosillo family. May Warren rest in peace…

A Tragedy in Auckland HE CAME IN PEACE   Warren Rosillo was one of our own. He died two days ago (Friday) at around 11PM – the victim of a brutal knife assault by a 17-year old who is believed to be a former Mt. Albert Grammar student. It happened in the middle of the road outside a private residence where a birthday party was being celebrated at Green Cres in Pa kuranga Auckland.   Like all the rest of the Filipino-Kiwi community, Warren moved to New Zealand from the … Read More

via Filipinos in Auckland

A Blast From the Past

UP Manila Oblation, in front of Rizal Hall, pa...

Image via Wikipedia

[ Note : I can only do an intro right the first time, cuz no matter how many times I correct it afterwards, it won’t be the same, cuz it won’t be an intro no more (note the double negative).  That’s why I hope I do this right the first time, or at least, in a way that will elicit the necessary responses and hopefully, emotions… ]

It’s an infallible truth that all stories are told in the first person.  Even if you’ve nothing to do with your narration, you still tell it via your perception, and so intentionally or otherwise, this story is a first-person kwento, and of course I’m the first person.

I’ve carved out a less than mediocre academic career at the University of the Philippines, done lots of things I’ll never be proud of, but one thing I don’t regret is cross-enrolling (or enrolling in a campus other than where I started, UP-Diliman) at the UP Manila campus the summer of 1984. I gained lots of friends, and none more memorable collectively than the band of brothers and sisters known as Blitzkrieg, or Blitz for short.

There was no common denominator among the members, except of course membership in UP Manila.  Other than that, there were social science majors, pre-med hopefuls, pre-law candidates, and no one knew what anyone would be after a couple of years.

The growing common ground after I got to know the guys was the desire to unwind and let loose after a day of lectures and hitting the books in the library.  Besides that, it seemed that most of the guys (for there were girls too) were basketball junkies, no surprise there.  By coincidence, I lived close by, and another stroke of good fortune was that our house had a small basketball court, welcome to anyone or any group that had excess energy to shoot hoops and waste the warm days of youth in the company of fast friends.

That’s all for now.  There are many many more tales of friendship, laughter and yes, love that made our Blitz days memorable, I won’t try to say too much here and now.  I’ll let all of you do that.

By the way, our brand new mommy, Blitz-mate Rorie / Dodie very graciously lent us a picture of at least 10 Blitzkrieg members for posting, but unfortunately I can’t use it on my blog because of picture file issues .  If someone knows who to convert it into jpeg or any other regular file, please tell me so I can use it here.  In the meantime, I will post it asap on the Blitz FB group page.

To friendship ! To golden days of youth !  To Blitzkrieg !


Xcuz faulty memory, but we 4get b4 remembering

Image of a Western Digital 250Gb SATA Hard Dri...

Image via Wikipedia

[Note from Noel : from all the way below Down Under to near the Roof  of the World, advance b-day greetings to a most charismatic leader in SJCS batch 82, excellent basketball varsitarian, and  friend to all, Mr Andy Lim !  PS: If Mr Criss Angel’s skills as above shown are real, then he has no need for regular memory the way we folks do!]

UNLESS we’re trying to speed up an order at a takeaway or people above a certain age we encounter will be cheered up by even a few familiar sounding words from the motherland, we don’t even try to speak Chinese anymore, it’s simply too laborious now and we elicit too many snickers (not the sweet-and-nutty kind) nowadays.

Although we understand what is heard and spoken a good part of the time by Mainlanders (sometimes called Communist Chinese), Taiwanese and various Overseas Chinese from Southeast Asia, and we even get the general idea when we see headlines on either of the two Chinese community newspapers here, our much-vaunted first-rate Chinese language tuition is now a fainter-than-faint shadow of its high school self.

At various times I’ve been either encouraged and discouraged to butt in whenever I hear the language I learned from childhood to puberty, but mostly I get awkward looks and the impression that I sound like a person who just materialized out of a bad Sammo Hung movie.

Any lingering doubts I may have had about any illusions as a credible Chinese speaker came when I tried to engage esposa hermosa‘s (EH) colleague (from Shanghai) at the sushi bar where she works : Is there a great question mark in your stomach, comrade?  I confidently asked her after a long shift.

She answered my embarrassingly silly question (I meant to ask if she was hungry) with two more questions :  D’you know yo Mandarrrin is worse than my English, heeheehee and anyone told you that nobody uses “comrade” anymore, friend ? which made me blush  harder than a crimson Chinese lantern. :”)

After work, EH asked me what the joke was all about, and when I answered there was none, she said there must have been, as her Chinese workmate and countrymen had a great laugh for quite a while.  That was the end of Chinese-speaking Noel.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

The sad, ironic part is like many extensive chunks of knowledge we acquire and then forget, the bytes and voluminous details are no longer there, but we are vaguely aware of the length, breadth, value and even beauty of the data we have lost.  Stroke for stroke, word for word, and as idioms, syntax and proverbs go, Chinese is probably one of the most efficient (not to mention beautiful) languages in the world, but of course you can only take my word for it, as I am aware of only two other tongues.  And I don’t know, after spending more than four years half an ocean away from home, how much Tagalog I’ll retain after a few more years.

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I find that whether because of preconditioned mental fatigue (brought about by its physical counterpart), preconditioned loss of focus, or just plain loss of interest, I can no longer finish watching a complete game of NBA basketball.  I still enjoy favorite players and teams, the drama of the playoffs, and seeing favorite crybabies topple over their unrealistic egoes and promises.  But to watch one-and-a-half hours of ten millionaires passing a ball around every 24 seconds before dumping it to their superstar for the requisite jump shot / lay-up / ho-hum slam dunk over an 82-game season no longer pumps adrenaline into my system as it did in my teens and 20s.

Worse of all, somewhere before halftime or even between one-fourth to one-third of the game, I have actually forgotten the combatant teams, who’s winning or even who’s playing superior basketball.  Because the product itself hardly provides entertainment or even interest that it used to, it takes lots of energy to even update myself on constant changes like scores, lead changes and game time remaining.

Because interest and focus and memory reserves are all intertwined and interdependent, we realize that our minds need the equivalent of an external hard drive, otherwise we prioritize our pursuits and passions, into merely what we need to remember, for survival.  At least, that’s what the empirical sum of my experience tells me.

It’s absolutely heretical to our culture of multi-tasking, multi-media markets and multi-media caressing our five senses, but if we can only focus on one song, or one article, or one website (for the most part) or one channel / program per second of our lives, where is the satiety point or satiety level before we scream that thousand-channel cable TV, ultra high speed internet, internet TV or 4G technology is more than we can handle?

If every bit of information is accessible and available at our fingertips, is anything worth remembering anymore?

Thanks for reading!


Remembering Tito (Uncle) Val

IN THE PHILIPPINES, you seldom hear English spoken with both a Filipino and American accent (and even rarer with a Cantonese accent), I don’t know exactly how to describe it, but the result is easy on the ears.  To hear it spoken by a man who looked dashing in his 60s and 70s was a bonus, and that’s why it was usually a pleasure to hear my Uncle Val (who passed away 30th July late last week) speak in any of the three languages, because for one thing he was blessed with a rich baritone, and as I said his accent combination wasn’t common in the Islands.

It was also unusual to hear him talk more than 2 or 3 sentences, and that made the pleasure of hearing him even more unique.  He would say things like “What goes around comes around,” “Less talk, less mistake” or “Think before you act.”  Obviously, he took his own advice, because he was a man of deliberateness and considered speech and actions well before execution, the reverse of which I was often guilty.

Even in my earliest years I felt an instinctive (though unspoken) affinity for him, as he closely resembled my father, except for the fact that he was several inches taller.  Because he had a beautiful wife, Tita (Aunt) Marilou, their union produced exceptionally handsome and pretty sons and daughters, Dennis, Ann Marie, Dr Marcia and Glenn.

As you might expect, he was not particularly showy in actions and emotions, giving away only the smallest of smiles whenever we met him in family reunions for the kiss and hug.  But the warmth was there.

He would never forget to give small gifts during Christmas and Lunar New Year, when it was good luck to give money away.  He was undoubtedly a dapper dresser, giving you the impression that there was more than a twinkle in his eye in his arsenal of charms, even on the north end of his late middle age.

But even if he was a stickler for appearance and maintained his good looks, he could not abandon tobacco, which in the end got the better of him.  Like many of us, he probably equated good looks with health, to the detriment of the latter.  In short, we may look our best, but ultimately we can only stick to our beloved habits for so long before they become our worst enemy.

He never made a show of it, but he was a concerned father, superdevoted husband, and had rapport with his grandchildren.  Some things are better left unsaid, images are worth a thousand words, and all that, Tito Val in all the sum of his actions spoke volumes about what he was inside.  And we loved him all the more for that.

Mr Valentin Bautista, for all of the things you’ve accomplished, you will forever be cherished for what you are : beloved family man, son, brother, husband, father and grandfather.  A grateful Bautista clan fares you well.

Nephew always