Monday, April 23, 2007

Letz Du Dah Archez

You most probably can't even count how many times you've been there.

It's a fair assumption you know what you can get there. By heart.

Quarter Pounder
Breakfast meals (Sausage/Egg McMuffin, Pancakes, Big Breakfast)
Fried Chicken
Them Rice Burgers
French Fries
Soda, Floats, and Shakes
Hot Chocolate

So why do you still look up at the blasted menu each and every time you visit?

That lamb shank value meal you've been waiting for, perhaps?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Maxima thinks she is dying.

She gave me a hug and promptly broke down when I sat beside her. "I'm dying.", she told me in between sobs.

"Not yet.", I replied. "Besides, you still have to tell me where you hid your treasure chest in Malacampa!".

We both laughed heartily for a few seconds and things suddenly turned quiet. She was crying again. She paused for a bit and then stared blankly into nothing.

Her eyes are in terrible shape. Glaucoma, I think. She's an old 78, her face still bearing the mark of a rather nasty bout with typhoid when she was a child. She's always been hypertensive--no thanks to the fat-intensive Reyes diet. Her heart, God bless it, is presumably not in the fittest of states, again, due to the fact that her surname is Reyes. But her life decries these illnesses as lies.

She is the sister of my paternal grandfather, Romulo. When she left their family home in Tarlac for Manila shortly after World War II*, Lolo Mulong and Lola Anding took her in. I've never her seen her do anything else except look after people. All my aunts and uncles tell me the same- "all Tiyang Emang does is take care of us".And most likely because taking care of her family ate up too much of her time, she was not able to start one of her own. Ask her, though, and she'll promptly say she has more sons and daughters than anyone can hope to have in a lifetime. Or two.

I looked at her gnarled, leathery hands.

Those hands took care of 4 generations. She attended to her dying father. When my Lolo Mulong, her brother, suffered a debilitating heart ailment, she helped take care of him. This, while also helping my Lola Anding look after her 5 children. She took care of my father the most, even up to when it was his turn to succumb to heart disease. When it was my father's turn to start a family, she was still there to help. She took care of my younger brother and I.

She lived with us and made sure the household was run to the strictest of standards (my Lola Anding's). She terrorized the househelp: white pieces of clothing had to be white and never even the dullest shade of yellow; trouser pleats had to run perfectly down the center of the trouser leg; collars had to stand up to gale-force winds; floors were polished daily; and the food, oh dear heavens, the food. Two viands or more per meal, and the viands had to go with each other. Soup went with a fried dish, something fried went with something sharp ang tangy. It was like living in a freaking restaurant.

She stirs and asks that we have some coffee.

She says she would have liked to have prepared my coffee, as she always did, but was too weak to do so.

"Ako na po ang bahala... 'wag na lang nating gawing masyadong matapang ang sa inyo."

She needed help trekking the 4 feet from her room to the dining table.

What breaks my heart is that I am able to do so little for someone who has done so much for me. I am, however, sure Lola Emang understands. Now, in what could be merely borrowed time for her, all I can offer are a few words of encouragement, a few minutes of my time, the occasional laugh, a bowl of ice cream, and a promise to look after my family as she did with hers. I glance at her and I am certain that what I offer is more than enough for her.

I also see some strength and resilience left in the proud Ilokana. Not much, but still.

Marami pong salamat, Lola.

*sidestory here: Lola Emang was violently interrogated by Japanese soldiers during the war. Her brother, Eugenio, was fighting with the guerilla forces and the Japanese came looking for him when they took control of their small village in Camiling, Tarlac . She was all they found. They grabbed her by the hair and threw her around, but she didn't say a word. Eugenio was eventually captured but escaped a few weeks later. (He said he had to shoot 2 guards point-blank during the escape; and that having to look at the faces of dying men was something he never wanted to do again. Lolo Genio passed away in 2005.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


While visiting at an aunt for the weekend, I saw my 8-year old cousin working on his website. Yup, his website. His older brother got him one of those free domains and he's been an immovable object from his PC since. His website was essentially a photo album. As is required by age 7 these days, he has a camera phone and has been taking snapshots of everything from the dirt on his sandals to moss growing on a rock. I must say, though, that his photographs are quite good (and he's not too shy to admit this).

But back to his website.

He had it layed out as sort of a diary, with daily entries in the form of framed photos. I asked him if he designed the frames himself and he said no. He'd apparently gotten hold of software that let him frame his photos.

He told me it was called Photo Frame Show, and that anyone with enough fingers to work a mouse could "work magic with it" (kids and their TV shows). I was obviously going to be given a demo at that point so I got some coffee and pulled up a chair.

It was, as he had advertised, really easy to use. All you had to do was either pick a photo and then choose a frame, or select a frame and then place a photograph in it. During a lull in the demo, I got a look at my cousin's desktop display, so I asked if he used Photo Frame Show to create his wallpaper, and I was promptly given the tutorial. After being shown how he saved his framed images for use in his website, how he could send the images to his Dad via email, and how he printed his framed photos, the demo ended.

My verdict: While experienced designers and the artistic elite will most likely have broken necks from turning up their noses at this tool, beginners and casual DIY design people should find that it meets their needs. You can find out more at

Penny Lane

I ran into an old friend the other day. Knew him in high school; he's now a banker. Naturally, the conversation went the route of me asking him how to make my money work for me. I was surprised to find out how banks have now jacked up interest rates on most of their high-yield savings accounts. I had the common notion that savings accounts typically offered only 1% interest, but it turns out some banks now offer rates upwards of 4-5%! My buddy recommended that I check out The site is basically a listing of premium banks, the products they offer, and their posted interest rates. It's nothing fancy; you don't get a ton of numbers thrown at you--just those that count. There are also some basic financial planning tips. Again, nothing too complicated. Just sound advice for us average, money-saving folks.

No page blow-ups

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.
-Bob Dylan, The Times They Are a-Changin'
I need the money for beer.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Matagal na.

Mga kuha ko sa aking anak na si Sandy, noong kasal ng Ninong JP niya. Si Joy ang gumawa ng mga layout.

Labing-walong buwan na si Sandy. Madalas kapag tinitignan ko siya ay hindi pa rin ako makapaniwalang isa na akong ama. Totoong may mas malaki at mas nakakaalam sa atin. Sa napakaraming mali na ginawa ko, sa di-mabilang na kasalanan, at sa walang tigil kong pagduda, ito ang isinukli:

'Di umabot sa reception ang mga bulaklak na dala ng flower girl ko.

Matagal pa. Napakatagal pa.

Mga sari-saring larawan naman:

Salamat muli kay Joy para sa mga layout. Katunayan ay pinagkukuha ko lamang sa blog niya ang mga larawang ito.