Best Christmas Song Ever - Christmas In Our Hearts | By Jose Mari Chan

Probably not ever but still I think this Jose Mari Chan favorite is in the top ten of my list of best Christmas songs, local or foreign.

I used to fancy myself singing this at one of those neighborhood Christmas parties when I was younger - I even practiced! - that panned out, of course. I always chicken out at these things - public stages, blah-blah.
And one more Christmas song that gives me the tinglies is ""Kumukutikutitap". I think that song = happiness. Truly.

Anyway, the best things about Christmas are the cold weather!, the food!, to an extent, the movies! (eww! not the effin MMFF!) and of course, the presents! (bonus!) - but most of all, the songs! They're free, they're fun and they hug you all over!

Maayong Pasko ya'll!


Days are happy to be in

I've been particularly fascinated with these philosophy video lectures over at our favorite video streaming site YouTube. I've been listening to them while working on a lot of back jobs like finalizing grades, liquidation for my little projects, thinking (just thinking) about completing my OU projects, that darn arts fest project, etc. They're quite calming, really. Quite surprisingly, so.

You know I've been wishing I'd have time to again revisit some of the great thinkers I admire, Sartre, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Socrates, Derrida, Foucault, etc. Listening to them or about them, isn't half bad. I think I'm gonna be searching more and more philosophy lectures in YouTube hereon. That is, in between What the Buck, Happy Slip, flash mobs, music videos, DIY's, film trailers and what-have-you.

Anyhow, below is a poem I first learned from the YouTube video of Philosopher Robert Rowland Smith lecture "The Meaning of Life's Milestones" . It's by Philip Larkin, entitled "Days". Could be another memory-poem here:

What are days for?
Days are where we live.
They come, they wake us
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:
Where can we live but days?

Ah, solving that question
Brings the priest and the doctor
In their long coats
Running over the fields.


Just the films I need to get by. No really.

I've been trailerspotting in YouTube, found these feel-good jewels. These days, I'm so not in the mood for cerebral movies. Some of these are last year's or later, I think.

When did this kid Freddie get so hot?

With the muppets? This should be fun.

Anything with Paris, does it with me. Plus this is a Woody Allen.

Coming-of-age stories are always a darling.

Because Tom Stu is a hottie.

Wee, it's Romain Duris from the Spanish Apartment.

Because it's by Gus van Sant. And I like the kid's name, Enoch.

Ah this. There's just some things that are destined to occur.

Of course, la?


Remembering China

I was looking for a new picture for my Facebook profile, browsing through my pictures folders and always, always, I get pulled towards my China album.And unbelievable, how I could still vividly recall the details of that 2-month China exposure. Fun times, those times.

I definitely owe that experience a writing. Like what I've always planned to do. No, this short aside post wouldn't do.

Look at us, like a bunch of tweens gaga over Jonathan Taylor Thomas. But this dude is hot. And we chatted for quite a while with him, too, no?

Even the panda's, agree. Cheers! Gan bei!


This billboard absorbs air pollutants.

I was in Manila last weekend to attend a political management workshop. Flying in from Bohol and arriving at rush hour, I regretted having told the cab driver to pass thru EDSA going to Sikatuna Village in Quezon City. Half-dosing, I amused myself with the gigantic lit-billboards along the way, going: hot, not, hot, hot, HOT, not, not, NOT, not. 

But then came this nearly all-green billboard with: “This billboard absorbs air pollutants” – and by unlikely green advertiser, too, the ever red Coke and with an unlikely collaboration with WWF. The ad sure piqued my curiosity. It got me thinking. The cab moved quicker than I thought, I could barely inspect the foliage assembled around the Coke bottle shape, if they were real plants and if they, indeed, absorbed air pollutants. 

But I was truly impressed enough to Google the details of the ad and true enough, as per its press release, the plants are real plants that absorb real pollutants. Will this make me patronize Coke products more? No. But, for sure, Coca Cola Philippine get some respect. I like the ad, it’s full of oxymoron’s (a green billboard, Coca Cola and WWF, green Coke), but it’s a think piece. And if its claims deliver? – hot!



Malou Tiquia's (of Publicus Asia) bit -- at the 2nd cluster of the Academy for Political Management conducted by the  Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) for young political activists -- was super insightful. The lady could pack a punch. And literally, too. 

Three three-day training at the PHINMA Training Center in Tagaytay is only the second weekend of about 5 clusters (I missed the first one!), schedule monthly (with one or two skipped months here and there)

The food was alright, not great, but what's really disturbing is that we were all assign one room apiece, but rooms with freakin' twin beds! (The rates are the same, the say, so why not?) But what about saving energy and being green? Oh, well.


I'd walk a thousand miles for the passage of the RH Bill

I really would, if I could.

The Purple Ribbon Campaign will be launched in Bohol today. I'm unable to attend, as I'm still travelling, but I'm there, alright. I am. Aja!



Coming to Camotes, I had little expectations. It was after all a business trip, errr, rather, field work. What struck me really here's that it'g got zero public utility transport -- no tricycles, no jeepneys, no multicabs -- only the semi-legal single motorcycle taxi aka habal-habal whose tarrifs are absurdly expensive. How? Why? I kept asking myself. They got fairly good roads. It's a quaint small island group of four: Pacijan (San Francisco town), Poro (Poro and Tudela towns), Ponson (Pilar town) and Tulang (an island barangay of San Francisco). Everywhere should just be minutes away if there were at least PUJs plying about like, say, Camiguin. Oh well, it works for them. So why not? But then for visitors, this could especially be a hurdle. I mean, meyn, P150/person for a 30-minute habal-habal ride towards the beautiful white sand beach stretch of Barangay Santiago in San Francisco!

Santiago's beautiful, of course, white sand beach, beautiful azure waters, friendly people, but there's one more catch -- by the beach, there' zero to no mobile telecom signal.

Ah well, you can't have it all.

The San Francisco Town Hall Square is a free Wi-Fi zone.
Meanwhile, its most popular tourist barangays barely have telecom signal. 


Udlot's not sprouting its last leaves, no not yet.

Paul's text to all was rather disturbing. It was an invitation to the student exhibition cum culmination program of the Nene Lungay's 2011 Udlot Summer Art Workshop. It was bidding, urgent, calling on us to attend Udlot's last exhibit, this summer workshop, we are told, will be Udlot's last. Oh no. 

It's a delight to see the amazing amazing works of the young artists, and to watch Ma'am Nene still at it -- but then thinking that this is the last Udlot -- bitter sweet.

I'm writing more about this at Bohol Republic.


Pista @ Marla's Family Farm Home in Tubigon

Feasted on the scrumptious Cebu-style lechon. Made in Panglao - gobbled up in Tubigon.

And ah yeah, saw a balimbing aka carambola tree for the first time. (Iba ra man ako pirme makit-an gud.) What a delight, eating a fruit fresh from the tree. We had one of the boys climb up the tree to pick some for us. A good match for the lechon, too!



First Time: Nausea after running.

Earlier, at the CPG Sports Complex.

And I thought I was going running. I ended up hurling. Almost.

Nausea after running. That's what. I still got it, nearly 5 hours after the run. So, of course, I googled it. It happens.Nausea after running. And may have been caused by over-running or dehydration. Sipping water, or better, Gatorade, whilst running should help. That I'd do. Next time.

Well, that is, if I could again draw up the strength to run again. Ah basta.

Next time.


Gel Ink Illustrations

We Are Forests Series (Gel Ink on Paper/PostProcessed, 2011, Liza Macalandag)

I was furiously pushing gel pens through paper starting the previous weekend, trying to create some sort of illustrated advocacy material carrying youth-targeted sustainable forest management principles. This, after about a month past due, my tutor-marked assignment (TMA) for my ENRM 222 course (Socio-Cultural Perspective on the Environment) for my Master of Development Communication program at the UP Open University. (Too much explanation, that.) Anyhow, after barely making it to the Final Exams in UP Cebu last month and with all that's gone down since then (the Baji Exhibit, that bungled up Interior Renovation Project Management work), ELA stuff, and life, in general), and seeing that I had breathing space (actually, none, since I got other abandoned works waiting to be reincarnated) for about a week, I jumped into working on this long overdue project, even at the risk of it not being admissible any longer.

What I thought to be an overnighter job, took about 4 days to finish. And that's not even finished finish. If I had my way, I wouldn't submit this work at this stage because it's not coherent as yet and needs more panels/pages (even a redo) but that would entail 2 more days and there's just no time. And so I polished a truly (shallow) series of illustrated banners that could have been a compact graphic novella of sorts and submitted them in the TMA dropbox (online). The online classrooms are practically empty and just a few seconds after I submitted my work for marking, it struck me that this was probably for naught, this work that I did. It's just too late already, I think. But I push away that thought. And then shamelessly relish the idea that I did that - for zero points, zero points at all.

I need coffee and gel ink, lots of gel ink.


The young couldn't bring down the house just yet.

One Flew Over the Bird's Nest (Graphic Art, 2008, Liza Macalandag)

It could get really embarrassing, and frustrating - to be young, hopeful, foolish.

At the United Architects of the Philippines - Bohol Chapter GMM today, elections was the priority agenda. We've been wanting too much to be involved in the organization as we've found management real crappy or at least direction-less and purposeless, quite frankly. But then election time, we learn that there's some screwed up rule that prevents newer architects from getting elected into certain positions. So there goes our chance of affecting change.

So we proceed to Plan B, then.


Sketch: International Women's Day Centenary

What We've Been Doing the Past 2 Weeks: Baji Exhibit

It is done. But it ain't over.

There's so many reflections/learnings/lessons to be had on this endeavor. Like serious, serious stuff. But 2 things I'd like to explore on is the role of social media and the power of the "process" in advocacy building, with Baji Arts Exhibit specifically.

[I'll definitely find time to write further on this. Something like: The Baji Experience. Why not?]


The green leaves are coming back. They always do.

This tree is as gnarled and broken as I felt last night & earlier.

It's barely 2 months into the year, and the amount of regrettable events in my life and around me are already mounting up, like it's November already.

For the first time, I woke myself up, screaming from a bad dream. It was real. I heard it. I felt it. I can't remember the dream now but the pain was just so vivid. Still is. 

I am amazed. And disturbed. 

Now those coconuts, they're a pretty sight and all,
 but they could fall at will and crush your skull, you know.
But there's gotta be some thing better that's coming. For sure. And I'm holding on to that.


Meet Ali Abdulhadi Mushaima. Bahrain's Feb14 Martyr.

Ali is a very passionate young Bahraini Shia, who loves Arabic music, fizzy drinks and over-speeding. The only western music he claimed to like are Bob Marley's and Michael Jackson's. Ali is a former co-worker. He was about 19 when I first met him 2 years back.


5 Days Without Rice: An Experiment

I did it, all the way, as in, absolutely no feckin' rice for five days straight, make that, absolutely no feckin' rice, 15 meals straight.

But that didn't mean no carbo, I had bread and noodles and sweet potatoes and pasta. Day 1, it was like normal. Like I was busy (and I was) and couldn't be bothered with full meals. I had noodles for carbo. I would've had more but I wasn't prepared. I only decided that day. I woke up, and told myself, hey, what if I went riceless for the week? And that I did.

Days 2-3, I was more prepared. I bought bread. I had cheese. And fish mostly. Days 4-5, was the toughest. I felt week, lithe and rickety at the same time. And these days were when I had to write the hardest. I had deadlines to catch.

But that's all history now. I'd probably not do it again. I just can't eat well without rice. I can't eat viands that must be paired with rice, that was a conscious decision I made from the start - or else I'd just go into a rice frenzy. In essence, I was barely, eating for 5 days. No, I don't think I need to do this again.


Gong xi fa cai!

I've got to have a Chinese New Year/ Spring Festival post, why not? I just remembered, because the greeting card from our friends at the China Guangxi International Youth Exchange Institute lying on my desk keeps poking me. So, gong xi fa cai! There.

That China experience, I've never really gotten to writing lengthily about it. I've set up a blog and all (I was even feeling ambitious enough to imagine it as a book, a novella or something in the making - ha!), but it just keeps on getting pushed back, by stuff, life, ennui, Bahrain, heartbreak.


I stand with the women and men of Egypt in their fight for genuine freedom and democracy!

I don't know much about modern Egypt, which is sad, in a way. I only even heard about this Anger Revolution in the 29th of January from Devi. Three days I'm not on Twitter, and so much has happened already. And I didn't even know the background of this revolution. I didn't even know there was a background to this revolution! (Same with Tunisia's, but that was worse, because I didn't even know where Tunisia was, or that there was a modern Tunisia, as I could only associate it with the shroud of Tunis?)

From Wikipeda: "The 2011 Egyptian protests are an ongoing series of street demonstrations, marches,rallies, acts of civil disobedience, riots, and violent clashes that began in Egypt on 25 January 2011, a day selected by 6 April Youth Movement organisers[10][11] to coincide with the National Police Day holiday.[12]"


"I don't want to walk this earth if I gotta do it solo."

I should be somewhere in Malaysia right now, in a train pushing towards Thailand, the moving images of eerily familiar homes and greeneries, fluttering past, and fast, while my eyes flicker as quickly, in both awe and wonderment. That, or I'd be in a half-sleep half-awake state, still relishing the adventures of the days past, the sights and sounds of Singapore, the food and groove of Kuala Lumpur, while excitedly anticipating Souther Thailand, Bangkok, possibly norther Thailand and Laos, definitely Cambodia, and of course, Saigon.

But this is all fiction, now. Just like that, because I can't travel alone. Because my travelling companion cancelled. Abruptly. Without prior notice. (3 days is not prior notice). Because he couldn't run away from responsibilities at work. Because I, too, can't make him do that.

Because. It's. Just. Not. Happening.

(For now.)


[Nair: Let's see you make it up to me. It better be good, 'Dong. It better be.]


Customized GCash Card, Baby!

And it was delivered quite on time, too. My customized GCash Card look quite slick, yeah. The photo is ripped from one of Ryan's bokeh photographs, I even used this in my NY greeting card, couldn't find anything that wouldn't look off when stretched or otherwise manip-ed, and voila!

This MegaLink-powered GCash Card can be used to withdraw cash from any ATM nationwide. The transaction fee is a whopping P20 per withdrawal, though. Good for bigger transactions, not too much for small transfers like mine. But, oh well, at least I don't have to line up at the Globe Business Center.

It's straight to the ATM for me, baby!


Party in the U.S.A.: An All-American American Idol Season 10

It was a party, sure, with all-new judges Steven "Dude Looks Like a Lady" Tyler and Jennifer "Jenny from the Block" Lopez.

The auditions part are easily the best bit in American Idol. It's where the hopes are high, the talent raw and, of course, where the crazies still are. And the atmosphere is very much party-ish, too. Very fitting, that Miley Cyrus ditty, Party in the U.S.A. Hah!

But it's nice to have some kick, too, that acerbic punch that only a British can, or maybe only a Simon Cowell can? IDK. I miss the free lessons on smart, abrasive vocabulary.

Jennifer Lopez is definitely better at this than Paul Abdul, though. I mean, really. Steven Tyler is a whole other genre, a refreshing addition, but no Simon Cowell replacement.

But no matter. I watch American Idol for the singing. And I'm seeing a lot of promising artists this season. But here's hoping they wouldn't disappoint in the finals as in my favorites in the last 3 seasons.


What it takes on this planet to have one’s driver’s license renewed

Lining up at the Land Registration Office (LTO) renewal center before 9AM. Buying a black pen at the bookstore (for the dummies like me who bring a pen everyday and forget it on the day it was needed the most). Filling out 2 forms – one 2-pager for the drug/medical test, one 1-pager for the actual renewal. Handing those in to a lady on a desk on a really narrow hallway. Getting told to sit and wait for your name to be called. Sitting down, waiting for your name to be called, for about 30 minutes. Drinking 500ml of water to actually be able to pee when your turn comes. Holding that peeing sensation when it comes before you’re called. Staring at other waiting patrons. Getting stared right back at.
Getting your name called for the urine sample. Being given the small container for your fresh pee. Peeing on the small container in the ladies’ loo. (There’s a technique to that, too.) Handing the half-full pee container over at the pee counter. Paying P450.00 at the cashier’s. (Receiving no receipt). Getting back to the sitting area to wait out another 30 minutes for the medical test. Hearing the PA explain the system slowdown: As we have to be online with the DOH server now, our system is much, much slower. Please do not compare the processing time from before because it’s changed greatly. Thinking: Like that doesn’t make sense, at all. Reading signs all over: System slowdown due to DOH server. Thinking: like that makes complete sense – not.


Twenty-Eleven? Eleven? That explains... so much.

I'm dusting myself off, and trying again. (With white pants, at that.)

There's prolly some things that I'm giving up, I think. (Yes, even those I've kept for yearz - begone!) Definitely. Yah, for sure. Okay, well, one can't be too sure. But I shall carry on. There's so much that needs to be done. So much energy wasted. So much...

Argh, new beginnings are tough. And pretty deceptive. So I'm gonna stop. Right now. Because I don't really know where this post is headed.