Hinahanap-hanap kita Manila

I really needed this two-week vacation in Manila. Work has been piling since I moved up for higher responsibilities. Before, I was going home 5.30pm sharp ---enough to catch the mid-episode of The Simpsons. Now, I barely make it in time for ESPN Sportscenter which starts at 8pm. Add to that the early-morning calls due to failed upgrades or requests to test 3G video-call, much to the chagrin of the missus who seems to be updated with my office-work that I can let her proxy for me if I get sick.

There’s not much to do but suck it all in. It comes with the work, and the paycheck. I guess they thought, “Aba tatlong taon na itong walang ginagawa ah! Kelangang sulitin naman natin yung binabayad naten sa kanya! Ilagay naten sya dun sa system na up for migration. Siguradong maraming problema yan pagka-upgrade.”

It’s been a daily battle ever since. There’s always some new issue/problem popping up, and fortunately my team of expert engineers were able to cope. The sword has to go thru fire in order to be sharpened (or something like that), and they have delivered. For that, I’ve thanked them via free-lunch at TGI-Fridays. A small gesture of saying, “Hey! You guys did a good job. Keep it up.”


I’ve been under the weather since I arrived. I must’ve been not used to the cold December weather here in Manila. It’s so cold that even our aircon back in Malaysia would have to cope (Yup sira na ata yun. Kulang sa freon siguro). Christmas morning I was feeling so chilly that I grabbed the poncho, my sister’s gift to the missus, and wore it with matching Mexican nonsense-dialogue:

“Ahere bonito!”

“Bonito tequila!”

“Eser aqui aqui!”

“Nosotros!” <-- I just love saying this word. Btw, what does it mean?

Hope I get well soon. Except the missus’ request that we watch several MMFF films, there’s so many things I want to do and visit (and eat, of course).

Manila...Manila...I keep comin' back to Manila...


The Games We Play

The missus and I have created several games, usually out of boredom. Ahhh yes, such is the beauty of married life.

SILIP. This game is played lying in bed, facing each other. Both parties close their eyes, making each other assume that they're sleeping. After a while, one party peeks at the other's face, without the other knowing that he's peeking. When the other party thinks that she's being looked at, she opens her eyes to try to catch him, that being the object of the game. The game ends when she times his peeking and catches him red-handed.

SALONG-PAA. Both parties are in the living room watching TV. His hand acts as a venus flytrap, which will try to catch her speedy foot that teases his hand, as if coaxing him to catch it. He is only allowed to look at the TV. Timing is extremely important in this game. The game ends when he gets tired of the coaxing and grabs the foot to tickle it.

TWO-WAY. This can be played alone, by the bedroom window facing the highway. You cannot leave the window until you see two cars moving in opposite directions of the highway. Warning: this game is VERY addictive.

SOFTEST "HMM." Another bed game, both parties facing each other. With both parties taking turns, they blurt out a short "hmm" which the other party should imitate/beat in terms of volume. The person with the softest "hmm" wins. I've yet to beat the missus in this one.

KNEE-SPIDER. Both parties in the living room. One party sits, knees bent. With only one hand, he willl tickle the knee slowly, starting with all ends of the fingers joined together touching the knee. The degree of tickling is increased by slowly separating the joined fingers. If the person with the knee shows her teeth, she loses.

HIDDEN CHEESE-RING. Wait for your partner to be out of the kitchen or the living room. The object of the game is to open a bag of Cheese-Ring snacks without the other party hearing the tearing of the bag nor the "crunch" of that cheesy bite. There's a bonus of 50 points if you are able to fillup a glass of Coke. Additional 5 points if your Coke has ice.


Doing Good

Last Sunday after Mass, the missus and I were in a bookstore at The Curve (that Rockwell-ish mall) doing some Christmas shopping for her inaanak: looking for a book-guide on making scrapbooks.

As the missus was searching for her gift, I passed the time by grabbing a book entitled
“Dropping The Pink Elephant" from the business-section, amazingly finishing Chapter 1 (a good read I might add). My "browsing" was nothing compared to this auntie (Malaysian term for "old lady") who was sitted comfortably along the cookbooks section scribbling out the recipe for blueberry pie on the back of an old receipt (ingenius ey?). After 20 minutes, we headed out of the bookstore since the missus' search was fruitless.

Before we went out of the bookstore, we were able to do something good. It doesn’t matter what it was we did but let me assure you that it was something good, a small gesture of kindness. What’s more important to tell was that I felt a sudden rush upon realizing that I did good, even in a small way. It was like I felt a rush of adrenalin.

After a while we were at our favorite Kopitiam (coffee house) sipping our daily dose of legalized caffeine and bread with butter and kaya. Our discussion dwelled on the issue of doing good, leading to (where else?) but PBB. Last week’s PBB task involved the housemates to take care of several Golden Acres residents. The missus shared that she and her org did something similar during college, visiting an orphanage to give sewing machines as gifts. At the end of the day she felt guilty parting with the orphans, as she and her orgmates went back to their cozy lives in the outside world.

I think the purpose of doing good, like visiting an orphanage (or anything similar) is two-fold.

First, there is the obvious: that we share ourselves to the least of our neighbors, be it financial or otherwise. The effect is towards the recipient. This is the most common.

But there is that other reason that I have just realized: it makes the giver feel better, i.e. the effect is towards the giver. No, it’s not that feeling of “ang swerte ko talaga wala ako sa ampunan” or something like that. That, I think, is a selfish reason. The “good feeling” that I’m talking about is that of realizing that you’ve given something, not of the “ang swerte ko talaga” feeling.

It’s like roti bakar (that toasted bread with butter and kaya), the missus always has that “good feeling” after she gives up her remaining share of that delicious bread to her
hungry loving husband.


"The thing is..."

The missus was able to find out my favorite phrase. She noticed it after overhearing some of my business-calls. I didn't give it much thought until I was replying to an email earlier. I started typing:

The thing is that...

I guess the missus was right. I tried to rephrase my email but I suddenly had writer's block. Just can't think of a phrase to replace it with.

Why? Well, the thing is...