Wednesday, September 05, 2007
The Global Filipino
Did you know that American Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Michele J. Sison, who was nominated to the post by US President George Bush, is a Filipino-American and is the “first American of Philippine ancestry to become a US Ambassador?” (Her father Pablo S. Sison is originally from Pangasinan). And did you know that it is also a Filipino who is preparing and cooking the food for the most powerful man in the world, US President George W. Bush, his family, other US officials and heads of state in the White House? Since August 2005, Cristeta Comerford nee Pasia has been the White House Executive Chef and is the first woman to be selected for the post. (By the way, it is a Filipino again who heads the kitchen of another world-famous and influential individual. Chef Ron Bilaro, who was born in Pasig and immigrated to the US with his family when he was 19 years old, is currently the personal chef of Oprah Winfrey, the world’s only black billionaire, and the world’s richest and most influential woman).
Did you know that Major General Antonio Taguba, who became famous worldwide for his report on the military abuses in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2004, and who we featured in one of our TFC’s The Global Filipino interstitial ads, is the second Filipino-American to become a General in the U.S. Army?
And did you know that a Filipino was one of the four people who ushered in a musical revolution all over the world in the 1990s? Manila-born Joey Santiago was the lead guitarist of the band called the Pixies, an American alternative rock group, which according to Wikipedia, is “frequently posited as the immediate forebearer (sic) of the alternative rock boom of the early 1990s” and which largely influenced and left its legacy on many bands and artists including Thom Yorke of the British rock band Radiohead and the late rock legend Kurt Cobain—founder, lead guitarist, singer and chief songwriter of the heavily influential 90s grunge band Nirvana. Kurt Cobain admitted that their biggest hit song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was a conscious attempt to copy the Pixies.
You see, wherever you find us Filipinos in the world, we dream the impossible and reach for it. We do our best in everything we do, leave a mark in the society we are in by making a difference and touching the lives of countless people.
Here are more Global Filipinos:
In music: Death Angel, Moonpools and Caterpillars, Kai, One Vo1ce, Kirk Hammet (Metallica’s lead guitarist), Kathleen de Leon (Hi5 kid show), Myleene Angela Klass (former pop group Hear’Say member), Vanessa Anne Hudgens, Nia Peeples, Jocelyn Enriquez, Billy Crawford (remember him in That’s Entertainment) Enrique Iglesias and of course, Grammy-award winning hip hop artist Allan Pineda Lindo, aka apl.de.ap of The Black Eyed Peas.
In television: Brad Virata and Jenny Mae Guzon (contestants on Survivor: Cook Islands), Guji Lorenzana, Camille Velasco and Jasmine Trias (American Idol); and Mig Ayesa who placed third on RockStar: INXS.
In entertainment: Dean Devlin (producer of Independence Day), Rob Schneider, Tia Carrere, Mark Dacascos, Dante Basco (Hook, The Debut), Joy Bisco, Ernie Reyes (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Paolo Montalban, Phoebe Cates, Cheryl Burke, and Lou Diamond Philips.
In fashion and business, Josie Natori and Monique Lhullier (who designed the wedding dresses of Kevin Costner’s bride and Britney Spears) and Loida Nicolas-Lewis, the CEO of TLC Beatrice Holdings Inc.
In TV broadcasting: Veronica dela Cruz (CNN News Anchor), and Emmy-award winners Cher Calvin (KTLA Channel 5 News Anchor) and Victoria Recaño (The Insider and Inside Edition correspondent).
In sports: Filipino-Greek professional wrestler David “The Animal” Batista, Filipino-Australian rugby player Craig Wing, pool legend Efren “Bata” Reyes, six-time world champion and Guiness Book of World Records-holder Ten-pin bowler Paeng Nepomuceno, the late Gabriel “Flash” Elorde (the only Filipino elected to the Boxing Hall of Fame) and The People’s Champ Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao.
In arts, there’s comic book artist Whilce Portacio (co-founder of Image Comics), Ernie Chan (inker for Marvel and DC Comics), Nelson Bohol (Pixar artist for “Finding Nemo” and “Cars”), Gini Cruz (Pixar character artist for Dory in “Finding Nemo”), Ricky Nierva (Character Art Director for “Finding Nemo” and “Monsters Inc.”) and Giovanni Fiel Nakpil (digital artist who worked on “Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones” and “Van Helsing”).
In literature, there’s poet Jose Garcia Villa, writer Carlos Bulosan, Carlos Romulo (President of the Fourth Session of United Nations General Assembly from 1949-1950 and the first Asian to win the Pulitzer Prize), journalists Byron Acohido and Alex Tizon (1997 Pulitzer Prize Winners).
In beauty: Gloria Diaz and Margie Moran-Florendo (Miss Universe 1969 and 1973 respectively), Gemma Cruz, Aurora Pijuan, Melanie Marquez and Precious Lara Quigaman (Miss International 1964, 1970, 1979 respectively), Angela Perez Baraquio (Miss America 2000), Kirby Ann Basken (Miss Norway 2007), Vanessa Minnillo (Miss Teen USA 1998), Andrew Jumapao (Miss USA contestant 1976), Robyn Michelle Samso Watkins (Miss USA 2006 contestant) and swimsuit model Raquel Gibson.
And others: Kiwi Camara, the youngest Harvard law graduate at 19 years old; Benjamin Cayetano; the first US Filipino American governor, and Fr. Oscar Solis, the first Filipino American Roman Catholic Bishop in the US… and the list goes on and on.
But one Filipino who has continuously put the Philippines literally on the world stage is no other than Tony, Olivier, Drama Desk and Theatre-world award-winning singer and actress Lea Salonga, who became famous for her role as Kim in the hit musical “Miss Saigon”, and as the singing voices of Princess Jasmine in “Aladdin” and Fa Mulan in “Mulan”, both Disney cartoon films.
Anywhere and everywhere you go in the world, you’ll find a Global Filipino.
We are ambassadors of goodwill, music, arts, and laughter, friends of everyone and bearers of remarkable things.
You are a Global Filipino. The world is your home. Leave your mark. Change the world. Make it a better place.
Middle East Note, Page 10
StarStudio Magazine Middle East Edition
September 2007 Issue
Friday, November 26, 2004
A Day of Viruses
Yesterday was not my day.
It was one of those days when the world seemed to be out-of-sync or plainly wanted to have fun with you as if a virus infected the day’s system, corrupting and filling it with glitches and errors.
It started with a verbal fight with a middle-aged stinking Indian who squeezed in our line to board the bus (most Indians and Pakistanis do this all the time here). I told him to fall in line, but he refused and couldn’t care less. And he kept saying, “Are you police?” and “Shut up”, which instantly made my ear turn red, while I tried to control my temper. In my anger, I cursed him in Tagalog and continued to fight verbally with him. If only we were in the Philippines, I’m telling you, that guy would have seen dazzling stars the moment he told me to shut up and would have gone to work with a serious black eye or a hurting body. No second thoughts about it. Good thing, I am in a foreign land and kept my peace or else it would have turned ugly like spending my Thursday in a police station or much worse, in jail.
Then, in the bus I fell asleep because I forgot to bring a book to read and when I awoke, I found out I was in “The Gardens”, a high-class subdivision in the outskirts of Dubai, and around 7 kilometers away from Dubai Media City where I work. Just imagine my surprise when all I saw upon waking up were constructions, rows and rows of apartment buildings, and a huge shopping mall with an Islamic-inspired architecture. Right there and then I knew I was lost and would be late for work. (This constantly happens to me even back home when I would uncontrollably fall asleep in the bus or jeep I am in and would wake up kilometers away from where I should have alighted).
Now, at the office after lunch, while all of us were enjoying the Baskin and Robbins Ice Cream treat by Jinkee, our secretary (she announced that she was pregnant), I somehow became the butt of jokes. Mario, our Sales Head and a natural comic and whacko, kept making all the ABS-CBN TFC Middle East employees laugh at my expense including our Managing Director - cracking up jokes about my Q necklace, my all black-outfit, and my being a photographer. Tried hard as I may to shift the attention to someone else, I failed miserably like an internet connection that won’t connect.
In the afternoon, Jasmine, Porus, and Mujjib, my friends and former officemates in Splash Fashion Company called me up one right after the other informing me about the deteriorating condition of Cecil, one of my Filipina ex-officemates in the said company, who was in a comatose state after giving birth to her child a few days ago. She is almost my age, and although we started as friends, when I left Splash we hardly talked to each other. The main reason for this is that I found out she was severely badmouthing everyone behind their backs including me all the time I was there. They informed me that she has been in the hospital for the past one a half months after suffering a stroke that paralyzed half of her body. Her baby was then taken out of her through operation and put in an incubator while she developed a blood-clot in her brain. As of today, she is still fighting for her life and whatever difference we may have had before, that is all forgotten now, as I pray and wish that she regains her health and life back. I sympathize and empathize with her family for as some of you may know, young my sister also had some problems after giving birth to her firstborn.
At around 6:30 p.m., as we were idly waiting and preparing to go to the Thanksgiving Day dinner party at 7:30 p.m. at our big bosses’ villa (he and his family, although every bit a Filipino, are naturalized Americans), I decided to watch “Pipol”, the TV program of veteran broadcast journalist Ces Drilon. Oddly enough, the people they featured on that show were somehow linked to me in one way or another. First there was a tribute to George Canseco, one of the Philippines beloved composers, lyricists, and hit-makers who died a few weeks ago, I think. Aside from being one of my idols in music, his grandson George Canseco III had been one of my students back when I was a teacher in Ateneo de Manila High School. Then they featured Ericson Baculinao, one of the famous left-leaning student activists in UP before the Philippine’s Martial Law years, former UP student council Chairman, and one of the most wanted anti-Marcos people during that time. He escaped possible imprisonment and torture, even death from Marcos’ military men by going to China and staying there all his life. He now is the NBC China News Bureau Chief. My link to this guy is that I was named after him by my father who idolized him during the 70’s for he was a symbol for the Filipinos’ fight for freedom and democracy in that tumultuous era. And in this feature for Ericson, they also interviewed his friend Congressman Satur Ocampo, a former top leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army, who incidentally is the father of my first girlfriend Sila. There was also the commercial for ABS-CBN’s Balitang Middle East program with Rikki Kwek, one of its hosts, who is a good friend and who I, uhm, courted back in college. It felt sooo eerie watching a show with so many people you are connected to.
At the Thanksgiving dinner party, we ate a nice meal, had a fun time singing songs with the videoke, chatted with each other… and again laughed endlessly, usually at my expense. (Mario was still on an unstoppable momentum to make fun of me). It was a good night except for the fact that around midnight after the party, I was in a mad and crazy need to go home for an “error” was quickly happening in my hardware, specifically my stomach, which could create havoc in any unwanted moment. Because of my thirst and hunger and desire to drown the “glitches” of the whole day, I stupidly mixed drink and food that didn’t go together well. Aside from the sumptuous meal of grilled chicken, porkchop, pansit, afritada, and enchilada with bagoong and manga (yummy!), I uploaded three cans of beer, a bottle of Breezer plus ice cream and fruit salad. Not a good combination I tell you. Don’t worry; I was able to make it home and download all I needed to download just in time, thank goodness.
And after that, being physically and emotionally tired the whole day, I crashed in bed and turned off myself to the world with a throbbing headache.
I woke up today thinking what an odd day Thursday had been! If yesterday could only be restarted like a computer, I would have done it. But well, we live one day at a time and apparently, we do not have the power to halt whatever the day has in stored for us. Apparently folks, those were the things planned for me yesterday.
But today is a new day, and it looks like its going to be a simple, relaxing, but better day than yesterday with the fervent hope that there will be no viruses to plague it.
Or else I would have to look for a “Norton Anti-Virus” program to protect me from days like Thursdays so that it won't happen again.
And obviously, there is no such a thing.
Last Saturday, my youngest sister Dianne gave birth to
a healthy 7-pound baby boy; the first in our family,
my first real nephew, and my family's new bundle of
joy. We have never been so happy in our lives. My
sister had a succesful delivery although she labored
for many hours before the doctors decided to do a
caesarian operation to let her give birth because the
baby was big.
After giving birth, my sister's temperature went up a
bit which the doctor said was normal since her body
had to recuperate with all she went through and
especially with the cut that has been done on her.
But up to now, her fever is still there and not
leaving her, lingering between 38.5 to 39 degrees
Celcius which is quite high and alarming. Sheila, my
sister who followed me and who is here with me in the
UAE, called me up a few hours ago with a quivering
voice, almost in tears, and informed me she has just
talked to our sister and found out that our sister is
having a hard time breathing and is still not feeling
well. The doctor has made some examinations on her
and found out that she has some water in her lungs -
the reason for her laborous breathing - and that she
needs to have an oxygen mask to help her breath
properly until her temperature returns to normal.
Now, I am humbly requesting for everyone's prayers in
this trying and troubling time in my family. We are
deeply scared for our "bunsong kapatid". We are
praying that she will be fine, that she will be
alright, and that she will be able to come home soon.
We need all the help we can get, most especially your
I, for one am not a devout and religious man for
honestly speaking I have my personal struggles with
God. (Don't worry, I am not an agnostic or an atheist
though I was one once). But I pray most of the time
in good or bad times.
This is what I beseech and implore from you: prayers
for my sister to regain good health so that soon she
would be able to hold her son in her arms, take care
of him, and love him. (She has only seen her baby
once, a few hours after delivery but she was still
groggy at that time).
Please, please, pray for my sister.
Thank you very much from the bottom of my scared
In Love, Art, and Prayers,
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
How busy have I been in October? Let me count the days.
(This is a rundown of what I have done, accomplished, what kept me busy as hell, and filled my days and nights in the month of October. After finishing this, you’d understand why I wasn’t able to find time to write except for the last day and you might wonder where I got the strength and stamina to do all of this. I tell you, I don’t know either.)
I attended my Filipino Dance Club (FDC) Graduation Party and acted as the event photographer at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. I used up five rolls of films that night and by the time the party ended, I was more than dead tired.
After a long day at work, I hurriedly went to Efren “Bata” Reyes and Django Bustamante’s Press Conference at the Taj Palace Hotel to take photographs of the whole event and of course, my billiard idols. I almost arrived late because of the horrendous traffic everywhere that seemed to grow worse everyday. Good thing, the press con started late. It also ended late, making me go to bed quite late.
In the evening, after eating one piece of beef shawarma, I commuted to Sharjah (the neighboring emirate of Dubai) to meet up with my sister Sheila to get the money from her which we needed to remit to our family back in the Philippines. As usual, by the time I got home, because of the Manila-like traffic here, it was almost midnight. I had no time to do anything else but sleep.
After surviving almost 2 hours of grueling slow traffic, I arrived at Deira City Centre to remit some money back home. Then again, I had to experience the same traffic going home. Suffice to say, time to write or blog was not on my side again.
I went to the office of Pinoy News Magazine to give Amor Dagdag -- my Photographer friend and Lightform Filipino Photographers Guild (LFPG) club-mate who works there as the photo editor -- a CD of an artwork I’ve made for the The Filipino Channel’s (TFC) Showdown of the Champions Event that will happen here in December. I stayed awhile, checked my graphic artwork, and chatted with my friend among other things.
After work, I did a photo shoot for 14-year old Carol Anne Leus, the first TFC Dubai Pop Star Search Champion at the house of Anton Tajanlangit, her vocal coach and a fellow UP Alumnus and friend of mine because I needed her in the poster I am designing for the Showdown of the Champions in Dubai concert. Along with Erik Santos, Christian Bautista, Rachelle Ann Go, and other new Filipino young singers, she will perform a song or two in this event.
I went to Las Palmas Beach Resort in Um Al Quwain (two emirates away north of Dubai) for the overnight outing activity of LFPG, my photography club. My friends and I played tong-its, pusoy dos, 41, pekwa, and other card games the whole night. In every game, the loser was the one to deal the cards in the next round. Most of the time, I won and dealt the cards only once. I also played my guitar and overworked the videoke until the wee hours of the morning, approximately around 4 am.
Still at Las Palmas Beach Resort, I woke up at 7 am along with my other club-mates and ate a sumptuous breakfast of different Filipino dishes (Adobo! Sinangag! Fried Egg!). The rest of the morning, we played games like Trip to Jerusalem, Beating the Egg with an Eggplant, The Longest Line, etc. At lunchtime, some members braved the scorching sun in the swimming pool; others went back to singing their hearts out with the videoke; while I headed back to the comforts of the bed and dreamland. We vacated the rented chalet at 2 pm and arrived in Dubai at 3:30 p.m. I slept at 4, woke up at 6, dressed up, and went to cover Porkchop & Carmi Martin event. I took pictures of the comedy show and enjoyed it immensely. It was another night of becoming a midnight owl.
Leaving the office at 6 pm, braving the Dubai traffic for one and a half hours, and eating dinner in a fastfood restaurant for 20 minutes, I arrived at Janice Ong’s apartment at 7:30 – on time and the first one to arrive for our 1st UPAA-UAE By-Laws Committee Meeting. (I hate being late). UPians being bookish individuals, intelligent people, and highly opinionated bastards, we finished editing, revising, and defining only half of the set of by-laws (5 pages out of 10). It was like a court of law proceeding or a session in congress, with everyone adamantly and passionately fighting for their ideas, comments, and suggestions. There was a lot of debate and discussions on certain points, words, articles, and issues. But it was a lot of fun. Over fellow schoolmates and some bottles of beer and saucers of peanuts, how could it not be?
I went to the 2nd anniversary party of S Magazine (one of the best selling Filipino magazines here in the Middle East) along with the rest of my ABS-CBN officemates and other friends. Our friend Giby who is the Sales Head of the company invited us, and since ABS-CBN works closely with them, all the staff had to be there. Even our boss with his beautiful wife in tow came over and partied also. I took some pictures of the event (mostly of the beautiful women dancing and getting drunk). Of course, I drank and danced the night away too just like everyone. That’s the reason why everyone came to work late the next day; but not me.
Still lacking sleep and tremendously tired, I went to the “Part two” of our UPAA-UAE By-Laws Committee meeting. This time, although we ended way past one a.m. just like the first meeting, we were able to finish the association’s by-laws even if there were only six of us present out of the ten members of the committee. We also managed to finish the beer and Iranian and Arabic nuts that were there at Janice’s table.
It was one fully-packed working day as I finished some poster and staff ID designs at home, then commuted to the office which is like 40 kms away from where I live, and then in the afternoon returned home to do some work again. In addition, I had to have all of my unprocessed film rolls developed (FDC, Carol Anne, Porkchop Event, etc). Good thing, the Kodak center is just across the building where I live - like fifty steps from my door - so I didn’t need to go far for developing. But I spent the whole night scanning hundreds of pictures and in some cases editing, resizing, and cropping them. By the time I finished scanning, my butt got stuck on my chair, my hands atrophied on the mouse, and I felt like eternity had passed me by twenty times over.
It was a crazy and busy kind of day for me. I worked at home because the Apple Mac G5 which we ordered a week ago still hadn’t been delivered to the office. So, I had no choice but to use my PC for my heavy graphic artwork files, slowing down my work progress in the process. Then, we had a tremendous problem with our ticket printer-supplier in terms of delivery. I believe a hundred calls happened between me, Andy my boss, and the suppliers on that day, with the cellular airwaves and telephone lines being burned with flaring tempers and harsh words. My boss and I went to the concert venue, had a meeting with the man in charge there, drove back to the office, and went home quite late… again. What’s new?
We went to Dubai’s Department of Trade and Commerce, and carried boxes of our concert tickets for its approval, quantity control, and DTC stamping. Unfortunately, our ticket was rejected for so many raison d'être (wrong size of perforated portion, no specific price on the main ticket body, no Arabic translation, and a thousand other reasons) so that added to our tension, exhaustion, and bewilderment for we were already time pressured to release the tickets on our announced date, which was October 16.
I would have written something that night if it only weren’t for the fact that my PC was missing at home. Nope, it didn’t get stolen. I brought it to our office the previous day because it was frustrating to have no equipment to use at ne's desk. Everyday, I waited anxiously for the arrival of the Power Mac G5, to have my fingers on its sleek mouse and keyboard and have fun with all those fancy OS X features again. With boredom creeping in, I watched Love Actually for the nth time.
I was SOOOO tired and lacked sleep the whole two weeks that I woke up late in the day, almost noon, (a rarity because I don’t usually sleep longer than six or seven hours). I cooked lunch, fixed my apartment a bit and by the time I sat in front of my PC to write, fatigue and weariness slowly dragged me back to my bed. It was the start of Ramadan so it was a perfect time to rest since the whole Muslim world is generally inactive during the day. I woke up in the evening, cooked dinner and my “baon” for work, played my guitar and went to bed again. I’ve never been this bushed and lethargic. Well, I’ve never been this busy before. Or have I?
I had a Board of Directors’ meeting with my fellow LFPG officers. We were supposed to have dinner at Chowking at 7 pm and the meeting at 8 pm but Filipinos being Filipinos, everyone arrived late including me for I almost forgot about it! We ate at quarter to eight then proceeded with the actual meeting at 9 pm. We talked about the financial accounts status of the club, current and annoying problems plaguing the members and officers of the guild, upcoming and proposed projects, and schedule of activities for the remainder of the year. We started late, thus we ended late.
I did a lingerie photo-shoot at home for a freelance job I got from Agnes, a friend and former company-mate in Splash. As much as this project sounds interesting, this photo-shoot of mine was without any real life models for the pictures were to be used in a brochure for Saudi. I had to come up with new shots for my friend’s Singaporean boss for he didn’t like the first set of pictures I submitted. I shot the bras and panties on a transparent mannequin on several colored textiles as background (I used two of my bed sheets for this, as a photographer you use whatever you have around you). This took up the whole of my evening. Oh, how I wished I was shooting those panties and bras were instead tightly fixed on the sexy, mouth-salivating body of an alluring model? Maybe next time.
Another LFPG meeting again but this time it was a meeting of the Environmental Awareness Committee. We discussed our upcoming 3rd Environmental Awareness Photo competition and Exhibition this December and everything about it to make it a sure success just like its predecessors. Our venue was Salt and Pepper in Karama, known to other nationalities as Little Manila because of the overflowing population of Filipinos there. Dinner was great and so was the discussion. Wish I could say the same about my sleep.
Because Mario, our Sales Head backed out in “Managing for Business Success” organized by the UP College of Business Administration and Philippine Business Council-Dubai, I had to take his place to complete the four slots given to ABS-CBN out of 40 participants. Good thing I joined because I got to discover and talk to fellow UP Alumni who were working in Smith and Nephew, which sent 17 of its employees in the seminar. On my right was Jen Mendoza, who I have already met in the UPAA-UAE meeting before; while on my left was Cristina Casiple, who at that time has only been in Dubai for less than a week. Another bonus is that there were a hefty number of beautiful women there, Filipinas and foreigners alike… hehehe. By the way, the topic for that day was all about marketing and subjects related to it… I think. Sorry, my attention, eyes,and thoughts were drawn to the angel-like, beautiful Iraqi woman sitting across the room almost in front of me. The seminar ended at 11:30 pm, I got home at 12:30 am, went to bed at 1:30 am, and tossed and turned on my bed until I fell asleep at 2:30 am.
I worked from 8:30 to 2:00 pm then with Andrew, our Business Development Manager, and Edgar, our Chief Accountant, went to the seminar at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Sheikh Zayed Road. We listened to the lecture about accounting from 3 to 7 pm, had dinner from 7 to 8, and then finished the remaining topics until 11:00 pm. Correction: They listened to the lecture. I tried listening. And yes my eyes were still on that chubby, mestiza, Muslim Iraqi woman. After the lecture, all of us went to our respective groups to plan and talk about our Marketing Presentation the next day. Suffice to say, I got home way past midnight again.
Same work and seminar schedule but at least this was the last day of a fun and interesting seminar. We did our marketing presentations and solved problems in the accounting portion of the seminar after dinner. In the informal graduation, our Philippine Labour Attache Atty. Vicente Cabe, UP Professors Ben Paul Gutierrez and Jo Florendo, and some of the officers of the PBC handed out the certificate of participation to us. As usual in any Filipino event, there were so many “Kodakan” or picture-taking moments. All was well for it ended well.
I had to take the video coverage of the event for Andy, my boss, couldn’t go.
It was a weekend for resting, cleaning the house, washing the laundry, cooking, and watching some pirated DVDs. (Friday is the weekend in the Middle East for this is the holy day for Muslims just like Sunday is to Christians). I did some brisk walking that night and somehow my feet led me to a Gent’s Saloon to give my toenails a much needed clipping and cleaning up.
We, the officers of my photography club, had another meeting. Same people present, same time of arrival, same problems, same discussions but different venue. This time Continental Restaurant near where I used to live became our “boardroom”. Enough said.
On this day, I went to church. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’ve read it right: “I went to church.” So, put down your eyebrows and control your disbelief. I do go to church sometimes, once in a blue moon, or when my heart tells me to. I may not be a devout Catholic like my fiancée, but I do hold on to my faith and everyday try to be the best human being I can be, in the service of man and Whoever Is Up There. Yes, I listened to the priest. Yes, I prayed.
I met up with Anton – one of our volunteer ABS-CBN correspondents here and a fellow UP Alumni – in McDonalds, Al Ghurair Centre to hand over to him our company’s video camera, which he needed to cover an event with our Embassy Officials here. After, seeing the unbelievable traffic, I decided to walk home. It took me about 20 minutes. Of course upon reaching home, I had to cook my dinner and prepare my things for work the next day and did some laundry and fixed my bathroom and defrosted the refrigerator and…
I went to the office of my friend Amor Dagdag and gave him the CD of the Showdown of the Champions Dubai Concert print ad with the sponsors’ logos which they will include in the next issue of Pinoy News.
I was a bit pissed-off with my flat-mate and his girlfriend for leaving their used dirty spoons, forks, and plates on the sink unwashed, so I decided to walk around the area where I live to cool down. It was a wonderful evening walk given that the weather was friendlier and colder now. Since I was already in a sporty get-up, I ended up jogging around Deira, Dubai and approximately covered perhaps 3 to 4 kilometers. It was a nice work-out for a night that didn’t start out too well.
We had our actual “Night Photography” for LFPG Batch 13 members, who are in their Advance Photography Sessions right now. Our meeting place was at Creek Side where the Dubai Cruise and some beautiful yachts can be found at 8 pm. Kuya Ferdie, our club’s Vice-President handled the lecture, while I, as the Director for Basic and Advanced Photography assisted him and our students. All night, our students took shots of Dubai at night, specifically the sparkling and well-lit buildings adorning the creek-side of Deira. We finished at around 11 after everyone had enjoyed the nice cold nightwind and company of friends.
Christian Gueco, an old college friend of mine and my teammate in our Special Forces group in the UP-ROTC and who I accidentally met a week ago in the bus on our way to work, came over and had lunch at my flat. We haven’t seen each other for about five years now so imagine our surprise to see each other in another country! All the people who were sleeping in the bus that morning was rudely awakened by us as we shouted each other’s name and chatted jubilantly the whole trip. I invited him to my flat to catch up on each other’s lives and renew our friendship. We are also connected in our own six degrees of separation for his wife is the bestfriend of Hazel who is the wife of my friend and former co-teacher in the Ateneo High School. Nice huh? We watched Aliens DVD and then at 5 pm he invited me to come with him to his friends and roommate’s picnic at Creek Park. His friend turned out to be my friend too and Dubai being small and all, I was surprised to see so many of my friends there. Christian was amazed at the many people who know me there. I reminded him that I have been here three years and that’s a pretty looong time. It was a great picnic, with great food, great music, and great people. I became a citizen of the midnight hour again.
About midday, I got a call from Rajesh, my former Indian officemate from Splash who resigned a month after I left that company and who has started his own business here in Dubai. He told me he had a freelance job for me: to design a mall kiosk. We met up after work in his cousin and his office near Al Sabkha Bus Station in Naif and discussed the artwork that I needed to make.
Then, for the umpteenth time this month, we had our LFPG Officers’ Meeting at the same place, same time, almost same everything. I don’t need to elaborate on this one.
Finally, I had time to write… the only day and time in the whole month of October I was able to gather my thoughts, pound on the keyboards, and start writing and blogging again. Whew! What a month it has been!!! Everyday made me grasp for my breath.
I don’t know what November will bring but I sure hope it will be far from the madness and frenzied schedule of October.
Now to conclude this entry (these are reworked lines from Elizabeth Browning’s Sonnet #43 poem):
“I have been busy in a month I seemed to lose
With my lost saints!---I have been busy with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!---but, if I may choose,
I shall be busy no more after October’s death.”
MIA (Missing in Internet Action)
“Sir, Quay here, reporting back for blogging duty, Sir!”
I have been an MIA for more than a month now.
Nope, I didn’t get lost in the deserts or modern day jungle of Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, or of the other Emirates trapped in my own Gulf war, nor did I get sucked into any thing resembling a blackhole in cyberspace. Fact of the matter is, you could say I was nowhere near the battlefield of Tim Berners-Lee’s creation.
I just got caught in the worldwide web of work lately whereas before it was in the real World Wide Web I was entangled in, specifically the blogging world. It was back to the intricacies of the real world for me, the 9-6 job and the commuting in the morning and hitching a ride in the evening with co-workers. You could say I was unplugged for the past few weeks. I have become a full-time working soldier again constantly doing battle with the everyday world. If only blogging could be considered a job and would pay well...sigh.
While my other cyber-army buddies like Dean, Nikki, Jo, Pauline, and Joey plodded on to do the blogging battle, I got left temporarily behind in the blog mania or the whole Internet thing for that matter. Not that I wanted to but circumstances forced me to. I was loaded and swamped with work and other stuff (and that’s an understatement I’m telling you) that I even hardly had time to check my emails even at the office or at home. And whenever I had time to check them, it’d be for just a minute or two and I would only make short replies to the emails of family and friends. I was on the stalker mode, like a Special Forces ranger left in the forest for days, lurking among the shadows, stalking behind the grasses, and waiting for the right moment to make his kill or reappear among his teammates.
I was AWOL for quite some time. But now I am back in my own “The Fool” blog-barracks, preparing for battle… the literary kind, fully loading my mind with words as bullets and ready to fire away on the keyboards again.
I hope to hit the right targets once more.
Sunday, October 31, 2004
Just like a much-awaited sequel to a great movie;
like Aahnold in Terminator 2 with his shades, shotgun, thick accent, and emotionless face all set to say and make “Asta La Vista Baby” to the evil T-1000 cyborg,
like Freddy Krueger who remains as everyone’s nightmare in every Nightmare on Elm Street movie just when you thought he was defeated in the previous one,
like the bad-ass Aliens who are just one bad species that can’t be obliterated no matter how hard Ripley tries,
like Don Michael Corleone who just keeps on killing and making a Mafia hit in every movie installment of The Godfather,
like the all the heroes in Two Towers and Return of the King in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy becoming better fighters and characters as they wend towards the end of their quest,
like Neo being reloaded and revolutionizing the machine-ruled world in the two Matrix sequels,
like Darth Vader and his empire striking back or Luke Skywalker returning as a Jedi in the Star Wars saga,
I’M BACK (!!!)… in the Blogging World!!!
And boy, it sure makes me feel good!
Just like what great sequels do.
May the force be with you.
Saturday, October 02, 2004
New Article for www.inq7.net
Hello again, blogging people of the world. I'm sorry, real sorry for being out of the blogging scene for quite awhile now. (I'm not sure if people did miss me for compared to other bloggers like my friends Dean Francis Reyes Alfar
, Nikki Go-Alfar
, Jo Disini
, and Joey Alarilla
, I don't get too many visitors in my site. That is a bit of a personal plea, hehehe. But that will change soon once my friend Nikki helps me in giving my site a new look -- a look that is totally me, totally Quay. So you all should watch out for it). So many things have happened to me in the past few weeks, and months even, that I haven't had the time and chance to really sit down, put my act together, and turn all my thoughts in writing. But once I get the chance, I promise to pour all of them in one sitting. I hope it is this weekend... I hope, I hope.
So, while I am still trying to finish a couple of entries about why I have been busy and all the eventful things that transpired in my life from July up to now, kindly check out my latest
article in www.inq7.net
about my Filipino photographers' club here in Dubai, UAE. Sad to say, this is going to be one of my last few entries for my best friend and kumpare Joey Alarilla because I am finalizing my papers with ABS-CBN TFC Middle East to work for the Lopez clan. Yes, you read it right! I am going to work in Channel 2's Middle East branch of operations here (after some terrible months of being out of a full-time job) as a graphic artist, photographer, correspondent, and writer among other things. Actually, I have started working for them the other week but my work visa is still with my former employer so legally and technically I am still not their employee. That gives me some more time and leeway to contribute articles to Joey. But don't worry, once I can no longer contribute to www.inq7.net
, I will still put the articles I plan to give to Joey in my blogsite.
And of course that doesn't mean my friendship with my best pal will end. As Joey
said, "Our companies may be rivals, we will always be best friends."
True, true, true.
Till next time, enjoy reading. As McArthur once said, "I shall return."
Or better yet, let's quote Aahnold -- "I'll be back!"