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Showing posts from March, 2007


I've been living with my dissertation looming large over me and every one in my vicinity (sorry, people) for four years and five months now. Me: Yipppeeee! I'm nearly done with another paper! Artist-in-residence: Great. What about your phd? No. 1 biker boy: Bwahahahahaaaa! Me: Don't you get it?!? Every time I finish a paper I'm closer to getting the damn phd!!! Silent mirth on every one's faces. Me: GRRRRR!!! After this just three more papers to go! Artist-in-residence: Heeheehee! Gasp! Ok. That's good! No. 1 biker boy: Very good. We're sooo proud of you. Heeheehee. Me: Sit a little closer please, so I can smash your heads together.


The Baguio Midland Courier is the "Exponent of the Wonderland of the Cordillera and the Riches of Ilocandia". Thus, people who want to get their message spread across the literate mountains place their ads in the Midland. Here are a few ads from the issue of 18 March 2007. Disclaimer: I did not make these up, although I sort of wish I had. Apologies to those of you who are actually interested in these ads; I am not including the phone numbers because nobody's paying me to advertise... Not that they'd get much mileage here anyway! SEX PILL 100% Safe & Effective boosts staying power in bed Money-back guarantee Free Delivery PANDAK NA ASO (German Dachshund) Mini, smooth, brown, nearly 8 months, very healthy, very intelligent, very good temperament, vaccinated HALIKA MAG-USAP TAYO Ikaw ba ay may mga katanungan sa Natural Family Planning (NFP)? Sa NFP hotline, kami ay laging handang makinig. Isang Tawag Lang... SERENE CENTER OF HOLISTIC THERAPY (Formerly Static Center)

Rain in March

It's raining! How unusual! How perfectly baguio-esque! I'm spending today at home, ALONE, in pyjamas with six albums of Van Morrison on shuffle and loop. I'm eating chocolate and cold leftovers, and writing all day. I refuse to brush my teeth. I refuse to change clothes. I refuse to drive for the Artist-in-residence. (Number 1 biker boy has agreed to do that, thank goodness.) When Van Morrison gets irritating I'll shift to Tom Waits. I'll drink as much coffee and tea as I like and then after dinner I'll switch to the bottle of Bailey's that we got for xmas. I'll have the Bailey's on the rocks. Now this is premenstrual bliss if there were ever such a thing. (Oh I hope the roof doesn't leak. Now that would really ruin my day.)

Comparative Studies on Basurahan

PUERTO PRINCESA Oh look! A garbage bin! (Yes, in Puerto Princesa they say bin. Is that British or Australian influence, I wonder.) And another! And another! Garbage bins everywhere! My gods, you can't go anywhere without seeing a garbage bin! Shucks, I have nothing to throw in them. Got a candy wrapper? BAGUIO CITY Hmmm, where do I dispose of my snotty tissue? In that old sack propped up against the signpost? No. In that black garbage bag disgorging its contents all over the sidewalk? No. Maybe on the next corner there's a trash can. (Yes, in Baguio we say trash can. Definitely American English. Sigh.) No. Try the next street corner. No? Ok, one more street corner. Nothing! Ok quick, drop it in the ditch while no one's looking! Wait, why bother trying to be discreet? Everybody's doing it! And we call ourselves Clean and Green. I have a new title for Baguio: The Ginnest and Grinnest City in Luzon. We drink gin and we grin. A brilliant comparative observation shared by m

Polluter Pays

A friend who is grooming himself for a political career as Future Benevolent Dictator has this brilliant solution for smoke-belching. When he assumes power, no more fines for smoke belchers. Expensive engine overhauls or conversions to biogas or liquid petroleum gas will never, ever be mandatory. Instead, his Anti-Smoke Belching Patrols will be equipped with duct tape and long, cheap plastic tubes. Every apprehended smoke-belcher will be required, on-the-spot, by the ASBP to attach one end of the tube to the offending car's exhaust pipe, and the other end will be fed into the driver's window. Permanently. This will apply to everybody, regardless of whether you drive a jeepney or a giant, expensive, gas-guzzling, space-consuming SUV with the aircon perpetually on. Well then, all the better! I like this idea. Here are other ways the Polluter Pays Principle can be applied. People who burn plastic and rubber in their backyards will be visited by the Anti-Trash Burning Patrol with

The Seasons

MARCH Me: I think we've got fleas in the house again. Artist-in-residence: I got three bites this morning. No. 1 biker boy: It's summer, that's why. AUGUST Me: I think we've got fleas in the house again. Artist-in-residence: I got bitten last night. No. 1 biker boy: The rains are here, that's why. DECEMBER Me: I think we've got fleas in the house again. Artist-in-residence: I caught one biting me just now. No. 1 biker boy: Tis the season to be jolly! Tralalalalalalalalaaaaaaa.


Julian Baggini explains in Atheism: A Very Short Introduction the meaning of an atheist's commitment to naturalism: 'What most atheists do believe is that although there is only one kind of stuff in the universe and it is physical, out of this stuff come minds, beauty, emotions, moral values - in short the full gamut of phenomena that gives richness to human life.' I picked this up in The God Delusion , by Richard Dawkins . (You can read Chapter One for free. I'm still waiting for some one to give me a copy for my birthday.) I guess I'm more of a heretic than an atheist, because I can't accept that all things are physical. Also, I believe in certain things, like the power of rituals and animal sacrifice.

I wish (1)

I wish I knew... how to grow vegetables how to do maintainance and repair work on cars how to do bicycle repairs (I know how to maintain them)

Manang Precious

Twice or thrice a week Manang Precious gets on a commuters' van in San Fernando, La Union and pays the reasonable fare for the ride up the mountains, to Baguio. She carries with her two basket-loads of fish, meat, and vegetables. On a typical day, one basket will contain at least three different kinds of fish from the San Fernando market. Once in a while Manang Precious, or Precy as we call her, brings octopus. She also sells longganisa, tinapa, pork chops, beef, eggplant, puto, kutchinta, mangoes, chicos, mushrooms, okra, and other lowland vegetables. My guess is that she begins her day with 6 to 8 kilos in each basket. She says a good day is when her baskets are empty before noon, and her purse is filled with bills and coins adding up to 1,500 to 2,000 pesos gross. Out of this amount, she gets a profit of about 150 pesos. The rest goes back to her suppliers. She lugs her baskets of goods from house to house in our neighborhood. Some of us have known her for years and are gratefu


His father's name was Romeo. His mother's name was Annabelle. So they called him Romannce but he dropped the 'c' and the 'e' when the taunts got unbearable. Anyway, he didn't think it would get him anywhere with the girls. His ideals would, and so would his paintings, of course. Romann and I have been glassmates for at least 12 years now. We met at bonfires in camping sites, exhibit openings, concerts, anywhere we wanted a party to get started. Always it was gin, and if somebody had a fit of generosity or if Romann had just sold a painting, maybe we had a few rounds of beer. We would pass each other on the street some mornings, clear-eyed, sober, laughing about the last night's fuzzy memories. That was when there was enough space on Baguio's sidewalks for friends to spot one another from afar. He had a spring in his step, back then. Nowadays, he shuffles, mostly. I bumped into him downtown a week ago but instead of laughter there was a wall. No, no

Bicycle Love

Number One Biker Boy admonishes me to love my bike like I love myself, which I try to do. (With some difficulty. Sometimes I just loathe myself). I keep coming back for more. I don't know why we so easily lapse into cliches when talking about love, but one really must ride one's bike like an extension of one's self. The riding mantra* is: My bike completes me. So. Love me, love my bike. *There is another riding mantra, for those who have reached a higher level of union with their bikes, which is achievable only in Sagada.

The Art of Falling with Love (for amateurs like me)

The first time (and hopefully the last time!) I fell really bad, I wound up in the x-ray department screaming in pain while my big little sister cradled my head and the sadist x-ray person moved my leg this way and that to get good pictures for the doctors and my Number One Biker Boy had to step outside to get some air and the people in the hallway wondered what the hell was going on inside and feasted on the auditory drama. Mistake: When I felt my rear tire skidding out from underneath me at high speed, I put my foot down to try and break the fall. Momentum, weight, and the force of the impact resulted in multiple fractures in my leg. I spent five months with crutches and canes, and two years off the saddle. That down time, and not the accident, almost killed me. The art, according to the toughies who love to give me advice and whose advice I love to receive (even if they don't know what it's like to have broken bones in their bodies, the lucky bastards): Dance with the bike,


Last night, went to bed with the stench of burning rubber and plastics hanging in the air. Some neighbor couldn't wait for Friday morning's garbage collection and decided to burn his/her trash in their backyard. So the rest of us within the smoke range of his/her lovely little bonfire got to inhale the toxic results of his/her ingenuity. Life's not fair, is it? This morning woke up to the usual cocktail of freshly brewed coffee coming from the kitchen, and diesel fumes coming in through our window, which overlooks our not-so-busy street. Why is this normal? Later, when I walk downtown, I can expect to be assailed by more diesel fumes, carbon monoxide, secondary cigarette smoke, overpowering perfumes, and other invisible, insidious, odorous poisons. Perfume strong enough to kill a tree is one of my pet peeves, second only to smoke-belching vehicles expelling black plumes of poison at a leisurely pace of 20kms. per hour. Who do they think they are, fumigators of pedestrian