Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Good, the Bad, and Me

I planned to stop this blog once I start working again but I feel like writing anyway. It's my first day for my new job today and it's probably the eighth time I'm saying that this year. I felt quite hyped up this morning so I rode my bike again. I was supposed to rest for two days. It's the cure for this chronic illness I have. Laziness.

I was happy to see that the river below San Roque, Liloan is flowing again. "Below" because San Roque is an elevated barangay, not too high actually, and when you go down a dirt road, you'll find a river. I'm not sure if it's a river, brook, or just a canal, but I'm sure happy to see it flowing again. It's good that there's water again. As MCWD says, water is life (except in cases of drowning).

Climbing up two small hills to the southeast of the river, I arrived at a road blocked by a file of rock and soil. I was gonna say it's a mixture of rock and soil but I live in the music generation so I'm gonna say it's a remix of rock and soil. I probably was on Facebook during the landslide. Social networking does save lives. But I was somehow reminded of what Mr. Krabs said: What does not kill you, usually succeeds the second time around.

The landslip was on top of a plateau. The elevation is quite low but you have to go down a steep descent to reach the road that links Mapulo, Consolacion to Sta. Cruz Liloan. Mapulo is a small community of just about ten houses (I could only count up to ten so there's probably more) and the landslip area is part of it. Sta. Cruz is where I'll exit to the highway.

So there's a steep, treeless descent. It's been raining regularly the past couple of weeks. And it's obvious it's bound to flood. Well, it actually starts with several small rain ruts that come together to form one huge rain rut and it is along these two and a half feet deep trenches that floods form hideous torrents. It isn't too bad, except that the grade school students who walk to school have to pass along that road.

Again, this can all be solved by education. If they included kayaking in elem. PE, these children would have no problem going home.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Reality Can be Too Contrived

Reality ought to happen spontaneously. Nothing should be fancy or crazy about it. But yesterday, I passed by this mountain road and noticed two motorcycles parked on the side. Between them is a baby cart. There was no house anywhere near so why would a baby decide to park his cart there? Clearly, he ought to have parked nearer his crib.

Wrong parking.

Well, this one is not your kind of crib. But it is where workers pass the night over during workdays. It made me wonder: why do workers work during workdays? Tsk, tsk. Anyway, what they do here, they quarry on the mountainside using pick axe and shovel. No backhoes or anything. Just pure muscle.

After a long day's hard work, a place like this can feel like a luxury.

People love the Rolling Stones. But when you happen to be here when the stones go rolling, you might not like it much.


I find frogs the most sociable of all animals because they just love to blend in. Unfortunately, they are plagued with chicken pox all their life so they spend most their time alone.

Sgt. Frog's Lonely Hearts Club.

Not too many people notice how contrived reality is. It's because they grew up with all this contrivance and they got so used to it. I grew up seeing morons all over the place that I have actually become convinced that this is a world of morons. I don't question it anymore. But there are people who notice the contrivance of nature and reality. These are poets, astronomers, and hobos. They all look the same to me so I do not bother with the distinction.


He could use a little tickling.

Counting his steps. Just in case.

She's not suicidal. Not yet.

Tinkerbells on the shore.

(Written a week ago, republished today due to code errors)

Monday, July 5, 2010

i was gonna be broke but then i got high


If I have to stretch my savings to make it reach until next month (the time I expect to get paid for the new job I do not yet have), I would need to spend at most 100 pesos each day. But I've been at least 250 pesos each day for the past few days that I'd get drained halfway through.
So I went out on today's trip haunted by the thought that I am not making any money and yet spending more than I am supposed to. When you don't make money, you're not supposed to spend. Not supposed to breathe since breathing requires metabolism and metabolism requires food and food costs money. But life goes on so spending must go on!
I feel so trouble by not having money but I just tell myself to "give peace a chance"--to give myself a chance to be peaceful financially. To do that, I have to be absolutely broke so I don't worry about money.


I went to the gym today to have leg workouts to have greater leg power for Saturday's time trial and to increase my pain tolerance. But I overdid my workout. My thighs were aching so bad I found it nearly impossible to climb the stairs. So much for the old guy who finished 1,000 kms in three weeks in Nov. 2009.

I still wanted to get the hell out of myself and into nature so I rode my motorcycle. Destination: Lanipga, Carmen. Several kilometers from Carmen, it is what I call a no-man's land--because practically every square inch in the area is owned by wealthy families and ain't no man can have them no more.

Before getting there, I passed by Manang UK standing on a road that shoots up to the right of the main road. She just got from town to buy clothes. She's not the typical shopping bag girl that you see in Ayala carrying twenty shopping bags an arm--she literally sacked the clothes she bought. With her are two sacks for 50kg rice stuffed tight with used clothes from the town ukay-ukay.

Manang UK only had 30 pesos left with her so she had to get off the habal-habal 4km from her home. She just hoped that she could hitchhike and that she asked of the next habal-habal guy who passed by after several minutes. He hesitated but gave Manang UK a ride anyway.

Ain't got no ticket to ride.

Just a few bends from where Manang UK was I spotted this Mama and Child waiting for a habal-habal. They were waiting outside of an M.L. property. Most of the people in her barangay are employed by the L's. Not to make jewels or anything. It's construction work, mostly. They pave roads, build walls (note that, build walls!), or just build new houses for those who are so afraid to be homeless that they make twelve houses for themselves.

Waiting for Godot? He's always late.

On I went with my journey. When it's late in the afternoon, there is a stark contrast between shadows and light. No poetical shades of grey. Just bright and dark. A similar visual contrast is shown by the living condition there. While some people recreate the Great Wall of China on their yards, others have make-do with their shacks. These shacks got four legs that looked like they are all too eager to leap out of the poverty they are in.

Four-legged house. 100% domesticated.


You know why the rich don't go to jail? 'Cause they've got nicer place to go. (GOT IMPATIENT WITH THIS PICTURE FORMATING STUFF SO JUST MAKE SENSE OUT OF THE PICS BELOW)

Compostela is a mess right now so they turn to prayer--it's great to feel that someone's doing something while you do nothing.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Enemies and Utopias

Contre la montre: French for "against the watch." )often used to describe individual time trials in the Tour de France.) I don't like people who use French or other foreign words when they can really have it in English. But I like this phrase here because "contre" says more than "against." We're not just against the watch most of the time--more often, it is our enemy. During time trials, the greatest enemy aside from time is pain. You just hope you've already crossed the finish line before you give in to pain.

Puto and sikwate: more insperable than Malakas at Maganda.

It was a a rainy morning and I went to Consolacion to check out the guys who were going to Danao. Since nobody was still around at 6.30am in Jollibee 'Lacion (another example of time being an enemy), I decided to do the Bisaya way of warming up: painit. I had puto and sikwate, the inseparable couple that exchange their vows inside your stomach. Sikwates don't really taste and putos don't either. But they taste good when they're together. This kindah reminded me of that negative-times-negative-is-positive stuff back in high school. I would have been a number theorist if my teacher thought of that analogy. Numbers for numbers' sake never did interest me.

Markets are a place of equality. We see men and women carry the same heavy ice bucket; we see naked guys with their boobs hanging down and people not minding them; and we see trapo political posters resemble what they really are. Just see the photo below to get my point.

If there's such a thing as Utopia, I bet it's full of dead pigs.

When I got back to Jollibee, the guys were already there. I was thinking what to do if I could no longer bike when an omen appeared on the parking floor:
At least it's still got wheels.

I did not bike until the afternoon. It was 14.46 when I had my time trial from JY to Willy's (5km, mostly climbs) to determine if I could beat the "impossible" time of 15mins. I know I could not make it but I've set up my cellphone alarm clock just to let me know how far I was when I hit 15. It felt really good that Willy's was near and there was still not loud buzzing from my phone. But celebration right away turned to frustration when I realized that I set it at 03.01. That meant I could bike for 12 hours more before the alarm goes. It got me thinking: after all the mathematical considerations, where did I go wrong?

If Rodin was a cyclist, he'd come up with something like this.

When I got to Willy's, they had this "blasting" stuff. They blow land rocks up when no other thing works. I wish life was as simple as that. We just blow things up when nothing else seems to work. You don't know why you're uncharged phone does not turn on, you blow the whole thing up. You don't realize that you're just holding the car key with your left hand, you blow the whole thing up. Your boyfriend does not straighten out, you blow the whole moron up.

Mr. A explained how the blasting works. I didn't quite get it but my confusion was not bad enough to make me wish to blow myself up. Anyway, he said there were these set of batteries that are used to make the explosives explode. Those guys used "dinamita." There was a slight tremor on the ground when they did it.

You know why he's called Mr. A.

I visited my girl at Nivel Hills before going home. As we walked towards her place after we had snacks, she pointed to a place where a girl was found dead on a Tuesday a month ago. She was gang raped while the f%^&*@#$ who did it restrained her grandma so she could watch. Granny was dumped several meters from where her body was. That place where the girls body was left is near the foot of the cross that bears the print "The Second Thief." It reminded me of that father in The Kite Runner who said there's no greater sin than stealing.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Salt of the Errr...

Salt used to be so precious that they were traded with gold. Today, salt is traded with silver engraved with the silhouette of Jose Rizal. So much for price cut, aight? Anyway, that got to my mind because I traveled along a 38-km shoreline today: from Liloan to Catmon. I started out at the break of dawn and that really confuse me: who breaks the dawn every now and then? Why do people have to say break of dawn? Where does it pieces shatter when it gets broken?

We'll never find out who did it.

When I reached Danao, it was already bright and people were getting in and out of tricycles--from Mitsumi all the way to the town center. Tricycles are really curious vehicles. They are in a class of their own. They have these side cars that really reminds me of those trainers I had on my mini-bike when I was 5 years old. Except that these tricycle "trainers" can carry 30 people at a time.

Danao is an equally curious place. First, it always has this armada of fishing boats off its shore that always seem to be on the verge of attacking the town. They're in a perpetual quest for Helen except that they're not at all interested in pursuing a myth that never was. (but we love to believe in Helen. If the earth has never come up with a face that can launch a thousand ships, it sure is an ugly place. And we don't like that.)

A crowded parking lot.

Second, just across Danao church is a new park that has been inaugurated on the 28th. July 28: it has been five days since its inauguration but the city won't still allow people it. It's a queer thing about the Philippines. They inaugurate a place but they don't let people it. So I just decided to take a pic of my bike just to prove to people that I'm the one who's really doing all these stuff.

The public park nobody can enter.

When I got to Catmon, the sun was already making its presence felt--on my skin!!

Here comes the sun...doodoodoodooo..

I stopped by a shore to take a pic of distant people casting their nets to fish for fish. Apparently, being fishers of men can't support families anymore. And those who fish men in the biblical sense sometimes do so in the literal sense. Yes, we hear about it on the news e-v-e-r-y-t-i-m-e.

The place you gotta be if you want to be a real rock star.

It was about 7am and children were on their way to school. But these kids here were hopping their way to school. They know the classroom is such a boring place and they wanted to have fun before they get incarcerated.

Children should be kept out of school for their future's sake.

Just before entering Catmon's town center, I passed by a boy trudging his way to school all by himself. Well, he don't wanna be but that's how it goes for him each day. When I asked him where he goes to school, he says "kang pastor." This is the thing with kids. You ask them something, they answer like you were living in the same community. Distance does not make much sense to them. Ask them where they bought their banana cue and they'd tell you they got it from Nang Siding. Like Nang Siding made it to the Billboard Top 20 and everybody's expected to know her. These kids sure "walk in a world without maps," to use Ondaatje's words.

He's not contemplating suicide.

I didn't want to hold him long because I don't want him to get late. Not that I don't want him to get late for school. If I'd have my way, I wouldn't send children to school. I just didn't want him to get late for the whole damn sake of it. Not being like just for the sake of not-being-late, to me, more important than art for art's sake.

The boy scratches his head as he contemplates whether it is possible for protons to decay in a spray of particles and be virtually extinct within the millenia.

It was funny when I got to Catmon since there was a "this way" sign that points to a motorcycle. I bet the guy who placed that sign hated the owner of the bike so he wanted some 20-T bus to wreck it.

In between is the road where all vehicles heading north pass.

On my way home, I stopped by the park in front of Carmen Municipal Hall. It's on of those big parks where you can let kids play baseball and soccer and cricket and golf simultaneously without them running into each other. At that park, I met Mr. S: "S" for sweeper. You see, I don't ask for the people I meet because it would make me sound like a CIA agent secretly investigating how they grow their corn or sweep the leaves. So I figure out that I need to figure out a way to name them. And good ol' Sue Grafton provided the inspiration.

Mr. S earns 150 pesos a day for sweeping a portion of the part in the morning and in the after. In between his sweeping periods are his rest hours. Mr. S says what he earns is not enough to feed a family. I thought, yeah, but it sure is enough to starve your kids. But Mr. S is a responsible man, or shall we say, the park sweeper who has the brains of an experimental physicist. He does not rely on his sweeping for a living. He has a farm in Catmon and it gives him bulk of cash that he could stretch between harvest and planting time. His son who has already graduated high school looks after the crops.

He'd have more money if he were a mine sweeper. (And less limbs, too!)