Friday, December 12, 2008

Have Earphones, Will Travel

From now up to the 19th, I'm one of the cool dudes in Makati.

You see, I'm walking around the concrete jungle toting uber-fashionable earphones in my ears.


Yup, I got an mp3 player. Well...technically it's not mine. I bought it for my daughter as my gift for this Christmas. She's been harping about wanting to own an mp3 for the longest time. I wasn't planning on actually giving her an mp3 yet but when I passed by a CDR-King outlet and saw a relatively inexpensive mp3, I just bought it.

It's quite a cute toy, actually. It's a little smaller than the palm of my hand, it can carry 2GBs'-worth of songs, it's got its own speaker, a blue mini-screen, a recorder, an FM radio, and it comes in a gold casing that lights up with pretty LEDs running the entire face of the mp3 whenever the mp3 function is played.

Now I'm using it -- until I have to surrender it to her on the 19th when I go home to Leyte for the holidays.


Ingrid (my daughter) was so excited when I told her about buying the mp3 player. Now all her texts are dedicated to either telling me what songs she wants downloaded or developments about her school crush.

Being the dutiful mother that I am, I'm currently downloading her songs, with a sprinkling of my own tunes, from my office computer. (Take that, Xlibris!)

Now I'm walking around Makati grooving to songs spanning from the Googoo Dolls' Iris to the High School Musical gang's We're All in This Together.

I even bought a nifty mini-speaker to plug onto the mp3 player so I won't get an ear infection from wearing earphones all day at home.

Yup, I'm the epitome of cool...


I never really understood what the big fuss was over mobile music. I was thinking: there's enough noise in the streets already, why add to the din?

Now I understand.

First, listening to music while commuting gives one a steady gait. You can actually keep in step with the tunes playing over my earphones.

Okay, so that was a lame reason. Oh, here's another. Since I got this mp3 player, I've been quite alert when commuting. You see, those who have commuted with me on a regular basis have noticed how I managed to take snoozes while travelling from Point A to Point B. One even nicknamed me "Jack Piraw." Now that I have my earphones on, I have been quite awake lately. It's better than getting a caffeine kick.

Also, I'm now more in tune with the latest hits. In fact, I've already updated my knowledge of music from the early 90s, and now I can say with pride that I so truly like listening to Jordin Sparks' and Chris Brown's No Air, as well as Flo Rida's Ayer.

One more thing: now that I go around town with earphones in my ears, I now share an affinity with other Makati dudes and dudettes who strut around to mp3/mp4/ipod-induced music.

Now, I'm "cool."

Until the 19th, that is.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Kids These Days...

Remember this name: Tricia Isabel Borres.

After this blog, you’ll want to wring her pretty little Aeta-untouched neck.


In the PR agency where I am currently connected with, I am the only alumna from the University of the Philippines. My officemates are from the more affluent schools like Ateneo, DLSU, and Assumption. Notwithstanding, I get along pretty well with these people, especially the Atenistas.

One day while I was quite busy at work, our senior consultant (one of the Atenistas) forwarded me a compressed file, together with a snide comment about how kids these days think. Since I was – like I said – busy, I just disregarded her message, as well as the file.

As we were about to wrap up our work for the day, she and the other Atenista came to me and insisted that I open the file she sent. They were both fuming mad, and I thought they were mad that I just set aside this file. Thinking that it was work-related, I immediately opened it. Then I knew what made them fuming mad.

Inside the zip file was a series of jpeg images of a blog on a Facebook account. The account is owned by a certain Tricia Isabel Borres. The blog’s title is “I’m NEVER doing that EVER AGAIN!” (Capital letters intended.)

What I read amazed me.


My Atenean officemates gave me a backgrounder on the entire frame of reference for this blog. According to them, there is this Theology subject that all Ateneans have to take (kinda like a GE course for UP kids), and it involves having to be immersed in a place where the residents’ culture and economic status are vastly different from theirs. They can actually choose from different areas for their immersion. It can be a farming village, a coastal barangay, a mountain tribe, etc. They can also live with prostitutes, senior citizens, and the like. The point is, they will have to personally understand what it feels like to be in the shoes of the residents. I guess this is what can be called “participatory research” in Anthropology studies. After the entire immersion experience, the students are then made to come up with a reflection paper on what they experienced and learned from this trip.

This Tricia Isabel Borres is an Atenean who apparently just completed her immersion trip, and she chose to live with the Aetas. However, instead of becoming a better person after then experience, she decided to come up with this blog that literally bled with her rantings on how unfortunate she was to be living with dirty, undressed, snot-faced Aetas, and how her immersion trip was simply one miserable experience that she would rather drown out with tons of shampoo and perfume while swimming between the sheets in her airconditioned room. De putang batang ‘to, ah…


Here are snippets of the now-notorious blog:

“Did not sleep AT ALL because I was too freaked and for the longest time I was just seriously curled up in a ball in my bed trying to condition my mind to survive the ugliness.” (Seriously Iha, nothing can be uglier than your way of thinking.)

“THERE WERE SO MANY CHILDREN!!! Seriously! These people have no concept of family planning whatsoever! Even worse SO MANY DIRTY KADIRI CHILDREN!!! Like in my (adoptive) family, I had this killer little Aeta boy with constant UHOG in either only red shorts or an over-sized shirt with NOTHING UNDER who was CONSTANTLY WARBLING TO HIMSELFOR SINGING WITH A SIBAT!!! OH MY FUCKING GOD.” (God wouldn’t listen to your elitist cries. He even probably assigned the Hogan boy to be your adoptive brother as karma for your being too overacting.)

“I seriously did NOT WANT ANY OF THEM (the Aetas) TOUCHING ME!!!” (After this, I don’t think even your Theology teacher would want to touch you, too.)

“By the end of the day my foot was over scrubbed with lahar and rocks. I swear they should market like a Lahar Body Scrub only with moisturizer. It was like grey sand.” (So nice naman of you to make isip that idea, you whiny @^%!!!1#!@@1!!!)

“So that night I was surrounded by a flock of children this girl goes ‘Ate tawa ka na lang! Parang boses ni Dyesebel!’ WTF, WTF…” (Even Dyesebel would be insulted by the attribution of your laughing to hers.)

“I just couldn’t eat their food even if they didn’t give me anything gross, mostly veggies. But everything made me barfy and even the rice tasted funny! So whatever food I stuffed in my mouth I would just hold my breath and swallow. I hated meal time because I always felt bad. Tatay would always tell me ‘Pasensya na blahblahblah’ so I would keep insisting that I don’t really eat even in Manila but nanay’s cooking’s really good…I felt really bad!” (They did a bad job poisoning you. It didn’t work.)

“So we finally reached McDonald’s and I soaped myself so many times and everyone I think knew that I was the one who had the hardest time and they all laughed when they saw my McDonald’s tray. I won’t mention everything that I ate because Meling might un-friend me.” (No matter how many times you wash your hands, nothing would still compare to the utter filth you have for a personality, Iha. I hope Meling realizes that and does “un-friend” you.)

“Mum and Daddy picked me up and mum met me halfway while I was walking towards the car. First thing she said when she saw me? ‘Oh my God!’ Wow. Either I looked that ugly, miserable, or both. Then inside the car Dad tried to joke me and told me that I smelled like an Aeta and I laughed. I said I know it’s disgusting and he shut up. I was so in grumpy child mode.” (By the way, maybe your Mum and Daddy could also join you in the personality compost heap.)

“I don’t think I’ve ever loved the shower that much…I shampooed and scrubbed my hair and body until they hurt…apricot scrubbed myself…totally over perfumed. Hygiene I love you. And I just had a two hour full body massage while listening to a mix of Jack Jackson, Jason Mraz, Kings of Convenience, and Postal Service. Music FINALLY.” (Tsk, tsk, tsk…squeaky clean on the outside, totally despicable on the inside. What kind of monster taught you to think like this?!)

“Seriously though the only thing that kept me sane was the really pretty view being on top of a cliff and all and how everything was so airy and spacious. Life there is so monotonous and droll and time was soooo sloooow but so weird I got kind of jealous at how simply happy they were.” (You obviously didn’t learn a thing from your immersion trip.)

“But honestly sorry St. Ignatius, I was NOT immersed. (Yes, you weren’t.) If anything, the trip was like a test of true patience for me and how well I could mentally block everything. Like aside from being the girl in our group who is now known for her amazing bladder and colon control skills, I’m like also the girl who can keep sleeping anywhere and everywhere. It was like my spacing-out skills at its finest.” (What were you expecting at your immersion anyway? A field trip? You should’ve gone to Nayong Pilipino instead and approximated the experience.)

“Ugh. I swear though. I’ve developed like penis fear (my parents should be thankful) from all the naked dirty children. And if for the next couple of days I see children, even cute white ones, I swear I will kick them. Same goes for animals. Not even my potential fluffy bunny. (I hope they kick you back, too.) Or if I hear some dialect, I will throw a hissy fit. (An im iroy ka nga yawa ka…) P.S. Niche and Sib! I AM NOT PREGNANT KNOCKED UP CARRYING AN INDIGENOUS OFFSPRING!” (I pity the father…)

“GUYS. I BURST INTO TEARS WHEN I WAS ALREADY IN BED UNDER MY SHEETS. Parang the nice smell of my bed and the aircon and all the familiarity was too much. POST TRAUMATIC STRESS. Seriously.” (You still didn’t learn anything from that experience, did you?)

“Meling: You found an Aeta boy gwapo?? ! As soon as I arrived home I told yaya to absolutely NOT put ANYTHING in my room. Then I left my slippers and clothes all outside and practically walked naked to the bathroom hahahaha!” (This time, yaya’s so not the loser here…)


Dang, I wish I could attach my copy of the original blog here but there's no function that enables me to make attachments. However, those interested can visit my Multiply site for the attachment. And like I said there, read it and enjoy the ride.


Before you fellow UP people start bashing the Atenistas to Kingdom come, let me remind you that even the Ateneo alumni themselves are furious over the thoughts this whiny kid shared in her blog. My Atenean colleagues emphasized that this kid is a mere aberration of all the teachings of Ateneo, and I tend to believe them. They may be more elitist than us UP pips, but they are very much in touch with their social responsibilities. Only, they don’t show it with the same kind of fervor we Iskos and Iskas have. According to our senior consultant, Ateneans let their minds rule over their hearts. We, on the other hand, let our passions get the better of us, and we bring these passions to the streets. (Haha, so true.)

Reading this horrendous blog brought a lot of questions in my mind. First, How many more kids out there have the same way of thinking as that of Tricia? Second, how did this kind of kind of thinking come about?

I could only blame Tricia’s parents for giving her this warped disposition. People could be filthy rich, and yet capable of understanding the differences in culture and status of everyone else. Apparently, Tricia’s parents instilled in their child the idea that one should not get involved with the “natives” or else suffer the same plight these natives have.

It’s already demeaning as it is that we’re being discriminated for our skin color and poverty by those in more developed countries. Thus, it becomes more infuriating that a fellow native is ruing her own kind for being naked, poor, and dirty.

Dear Tricia, those dark undressed simpletons you have encountered may well be your distant relatives, considering that they are fellow Filipinos. Fortunately for you, you have access to clean water, a nice bed to sleep on, a car to ride in, and all the other comforts of a technologically-advanced way of life. Plus, your blood has already been muddled with strains of foreign descent. On the other hand, Aetas are the purebloods of the Filipino race. They don’t need an MP3 player, an airconditioning unit, and all those other pleasures you so blatantly enjoy. With food on their plates (no matter how simple and “gross”) and family (no matter how dirty or naked) around them, these are all the riches they would ever want to have. And so they are happy and content with their lives. This is what you should’ve learned from your immersion if you weren’t too busy thinking too much about yourself.

News flash, Iha: the world doesn’t revolve around you. Deal with it.

And since I’m very sure that you’re already receiving hate emails from your fellow Ateneans, wait until the UP people start writing you and hating you to Timbuktu. I swear you’ll find hiding among the Aetas to be a great idea after all.

That is, if the poor Aeta tribe you lived with would still accept you at all. Seriously.

Manny, the Golden Boy, and Politics -- a Strange Combination indeed

Whoa…he won?!

No, honest: he won again?

This was my instant reaction after opening the TV exactly after Manny Pacquiao’s fight with “Golden Boy,” Oscar dela Hoya.

I intentionally didn’t watch the so-called “Fight of the Century,” being quite sure that Manny’s gonna be kissing the floor in an embarrassing knockout. However, out of curiosity, I did decide to tune in at about 3:30 pm, hoping that the boxing match would be all over by then and all that I would be catching would be recaps of Pacquiao’s defeat.

My jaw dropped when the first images on my TV came out. It was a downtrodden puffy-faced Oscar dela Hoya being interviewed by this American sports commentator. Questions he was answering pertained to his plans after his defeat in the hands of the Pacman.

Soon, recaps of the fight were shown, and the former Mexican boxing legend was seen being reduced to a punching bag by Pacquiao’s fists of fury.

True enough, the proof of Manny’s victory was splashed all over my TV screen.

What was touted to be the “Fight of the Century” turned out to be one big letdown for those who really wanted to see a flurry of punches flying around. Dela Hoya was almost like a sitting duck, barely sending any of the killer punches that made him a three-time world champion of the sport.

Even critics who initially predicted Manny’s loss were very surprised by the turn of events. More surprised (and a few hundred bucks lesser) are those who placed their bets on Dela Hoya. Despite this, everyone was very happy that Pacquiao managed to defy his detractors’ ominous predictions.

Yeah, I admit: I’m happy that Pacquiao won, too.

But for crying out loud: I do hope that our local politicos who keep on knocking at Pacquiao’s gullibility (Attention, Chavit Singson, DENR Secretary Lito Atienza, and GMA herself: I’m talking about you and your fellow trapos!) would stop convincing him to transfer his wars from the boxing ring to the political arena. You guys can hardly handle your own political affairs – how much more can you expect from Manny who can barely keep himself in school?

Let’s just keep Manny in the boxing ring and perhaps, also do an Oscar dela Hoya and have a statue made in his honor.

Trust me: everyone else will be happier that way.