TR 4: The Visit
When I visited my grandmother on last month's homecoming, she was very happy. We haven't seen each other in around 5 years or so and it was really a great moment for me and I guess for her too. She now lives in my parents' small farm with my father's sister (who also takes care of the vicinity). At 93, and with her sight and bones now failing her, her memory was still as sharp as a whip, even recognising Jean instantly in her blurry glance. Not being to walk by herself anymore, I stayed in her bedroom for hours and we talked so much about things-- the past, the future, metaphors and ideas, the family, the country I'm living now, my work, and me being a father now and such.
Lola is a conversationalist. It's a gift, I guess. Many people like the way she talks and were blessed by her lectures. And maybe it's because of her age too, her stories and anecdotes are so rich with life's lessons and even of years passing were still as enjoyable as i remembered it as a child sitting below lola's bed intently listening to the old dame's tales.
After the talk and some Champorado merienda (the chocolate made from the Cacao harvested from the farm), I said goodbye to lola. She hugged me and blessed me with a prayer. I told her I'd be seeing her again so she better take care of herself. She just sighed a little laugh.
"When it's time, It's time, bong." she retorted. "The best thing is that I've made my mark in this world and I saw my children and grandchildren grew to be better people and individuals. Something I can always be proud of. Besides, i miss Noyong (my deceased grandfather) already, and it would be good to kiss him again like when we were teenagers.hehehe..."
"Yes, but not now." I answered back smiling. " wait till I became the father of three!" and with that, I left.
There was no world cup game last night so I spent the night with Jean and Fergus playing "Need for Speed" in our x-box console. Lately Jean has discovered that she liked playing racing games and is now playing on a daily basis. We had a blast playing the game as a family. A rare occurance I might say, and we're glad we did since it's another avenue where we can cultivate interaction and at the same time do a thing we all enjoy.
I was the last to sleep because I still watched CSI, and when I finally tucked myself to bed, I gazed at my sleeping wife. It's been six years since we tied the knot, and six years more before that as being sweethearts, dating back to our university days. And being together for 12 years now we've come to know each other so well that some things don't need to be spoken to be known by the other. Of course, there were trials and difficult storms we had to weather, and everytime we came through it we came out stronger and tougher, made harder by the experience. Jean now is not only a wife, but also my best friend.
Sometimes I can't sleep thinking of all the problems I have. Being in this kind of situation is so annoying that most resolve to counting sheeps to sleep. I just had to remind myself that I am with my family and be thankful that we are together. I had to tell myself over and over again how desolate I would be if I'm living without them. How empty I would be if I'm away from the people that matters most to me. I know all the money in the world cannot compensate that, nor the GRO's in the night pubs of Tanjong Pagar.
As I whispered my night prayers, I looked at my wife's way again and saw the calmness in her face. Almost an assurance for a better day, and a promise to be there with me no matter what.
...And my so-called great problems just sunk into significance.
TR 3: Comics Trip
It was June 3. I've just been around 3 hours in Manila. Jean and Fergus went with Emhay and Emhay's kids to Mall of Asia (known to be the biggest in Asia), while I went to Megamall instead. The reason for this was to get a copy of pal Gerry Alanguilan's new self- published comics in Comicquest Megamall. Lucky for me there's already available stock of ELMER (P50.00) when I get there, so I bought two (the saleslady doesn't seem too friendly though, but i let it pass), before going to the adjacent FILBAR'S to get Fantasya, a comics anthology by Psicom, and two different issues of Superheroes, a digest-sized compilation reprint of three DC comicbooks in one.
That night, while the rest of the guys were watching the finale of PBB Teen edition, I was lapping myslef for a good read. Elmer didn't disappoint me. It was more than I expected. And being a father, the last three or so pages blows me away. it was quickly one of the most touching lines (with the awesome horizon drawing) I've ever read in years. I know i've just got to read the rest of the volumes... when they come out.
Fantasya's materials on the other hand (being an anthology) varies in content. They go from really good (Lan Medina's work) to Nice (Gilbert Monsanto's evidently hurried work) to just simply unbearable (soory guys, got to be honest here). But overall, the book still excels and I still recommend it to anyone who haven't read it yet.
I have a 5 page work who will be coming out in an anthology under Psicom too next month, a horror- thriller comicbook. I'm crossing fingers that it will come out good.
We're off for Cagayan de Oro by morning of next day (June 4th).
Below are pics we took while on PAL centennial domestic airport on our way home to Cagayan de Oro.
TR 2: Something in the Philippine Air
I decided to take a nap during the plane ride since i didn't really had enough the night before because of all the packing finalization. I finally dozed off just to be waken by the stewardess to be asked what do i like : "Chicken or fish". Damn, I thought. I wanted to sleep lady. But being the typical me, I just retorted "chicken". I cannot sleep after that so i just ordered a glass of red wine from the stewardess after another (after eating). I think i've had five until they told me it's enough. Man, I thought again. This is what you get when you fly 3rd class.
After 3 and a half hours of hearing Martin Nievera songs and enduring to watch "Must Love Dogs" on inflight movie, we finally reached Manila. The red wine had a hilarous effect on me because I waited in the baggage belt area from Hongkong without knowing it. I only learned that Singapore baggage was 5 conveyors ahead after I asked the facility coordinator why my bags were still not in the conveyor belt when I've waited there for so bloody damn long.
Then when we were checking out of the airport, the guard checking my baggage, whispered "boss pasalubong naman diyan". What the-- Pasalubong??? I want to answer "Ha? penpal ba kita?" or "close ba tayo?" but again, die hard habits kicked in and instead, I answered " wala, kaibigan. Pasensiya". In my mind I was finger-pointing myself. Pasensiya? PASENSIYA???? Damn you. No, no, no, I tried to answer myself back-- damn... err... damn... Damn wine. Yeah. Damn wine.
Good thing that Emhay(jean's sister) fetched us from NAIA with her car so I didn't have to worry about the overpricing taxi drivers. And just as I pictured it i my mind, there they are-- the crowding jeepneys, sidewalk slums, and giant billboards. But just like as before, I seem to like smelling the manila air best. There's something in it's whiff that my nostrils like. Hinahanap-hanap, ika nga. I don't know what it is. It's definitely not Fresh air. But then again, maybe it's just Jeepney exhaust.
Jean with sister Emhay
Bat out of Hell
Forgive my use of the famous Meatloaf album title. Got nothing on my mind right now and just wanted to know everybody I'm back. I haven't used the internet purposely for 16 days and even if i'd wanted to, I don't think I had the time to spare anyway. Two weeks of vacation ain't really that enough with personal things and to spend time for family (folks and in-laws) and close friends. But sure hell I'm glad I took it since God knows when can I have the chance to take a break again.
so yeah, I'm back. broke but feeling renewed. hehe... i'll put some thoughts in the coming days about my vacation here. But for now I'd have to attend to the piling work.
I'm a bit light-headed these days though. Maybe result of burning the midnight candles watching the world cup games.
I won't be updating this blog for the next two weeks because I've finally got my leave approved and I'm going home with my family for a holiday in the Philippines.
I've been here in Singapore for the last six years. It has been a good six years and I know I'd still be here in more years to come. I've gone home to the Philippines four times in that span of time that I'm here. Yet everytime I'm about to go home, the level of excitement is always the same as if it's the first one. Like you haven't been home for so many years.
Unlike in Singapore, I know when I get out of the NAI Airport I'll be greeted by taxi drivers who charge excessively just because you're from another country, unwarranted dusts, traffic jam, sidewalk vendors, slums, giant billboards along every imaginable roads, Jeepneys and Fxs. Most balikbayans complain on most of these things but I don't. Weird as it may to say it, but i always look forward to these stuff(aside from the taxi driver). The sight of these things give me the assurance that I'm home.
So see yah guys...