stranger no more

“Most poets I know are fugitives, in a sense. Very few of them are where they used to be, and what they write about is where they are no longer.” --Bill Moyers

Location: Manila, Philippines

Too intense for comfort.


An hour after I purchased coffee from Mc Donald's and discussed some things with a friend regarding an AVP I'm doing for his wedding, I went home.

It was past midnight.

Lately, I usually get to sleep at 6 AM despite lying in bed for hours and forcing myself to sleep. But I realize I cannot afford to do that tonight since I have a morning meeting scheduled with a production designer tomorrow. He's only available in the morning. So I tell him I'll make it.

This is the third consecutive day I've taken a sleeping pill.

Now I realize I just drank coffee a while ago.

So I'm writing here right now instead of sleeping.

But I'm happy. I really am. I also think I'm pretty bangag right now.


I tend to do things at the last minute.

When I decided to schedule the recording of my songs, I just informed the two singers and the arranger that I only had a day left to do this and I’d be off to Indonesia for a shoot. So on a Sunday, I told them I needed to do it the next day (Monday) because by 5am of Tuesday I had to be at the airport.

Come Sunday evening, I still couldn’t find a recording studio that would book us on a Monday night. I was freaking out because I was told that I should be submitting the demo CD on Friday, the day after I would have returned from Indonesia. So if I wanted to beat the deadline I had no choice but to record the songs before I leave Manila.

That Sunday night till the wee hours of Monday I was scurrying for contacts on my cellphone. At 2am, Monday, after surfing the net for recording studios as well, and pestering people for contacts, I finally got someone to text me back! This lifesaver gave me the last ounce of hope that this would push through. And it’s the best deal I could imagine! But she still has to confirm later that morning since we were exchanging messages at the ungodly hour of 4am already. As much as I didn’t want to, I had to sleep on it. When I woke up at 10am that same Monday, she finally confirmed and made the arrangements. Everything’s set! The studio’s available at the time I needed it, when everyone involved would be available.

I swear I could always count on the internet when I’m desperate for anything. Ha!

Tuesday came and I cascaded the necessary info to all the people concerned regarding meeting place, time, the studio’s location, etc. I had to go to the office first so I can prepare all I need for my flight: tapes, money from the field cashier, tickets, etc. I received last minute instructions from my boss, before I headed to meet the arranger I’d be working with. I actually planned to head home first before meeting the guy but I would be running if I did that.

So I hoped I could still head home after the recording to pack my clothes for my trip.

Boy, was I wrong. Instead of recording the three songs for what I estimated would be 4 hours at the most, we held the recording for 6 hours! At 5:30am my cameraman was sending me text messages in panic!

Any possibility for at least 30 minutes of sleep before heading to the airport was gone.

We made the flight all right. But here’s the catch: no bath, no extra underwear, no extra pants nor shorts packed before I headed out of the country.

At Hotel Ciputra, Jakarta, my cameraman lent me his shorts. I was knocked out in bed since I had no sleep. As soon as I woke up, we headed to purchase underwear and a t-shirt for me at the shopping mall connected to our hotel. Then off to the shoot we went.

Sometimes I wonder if I intentionally do this to myself to make my life more exciting. Then again, maybe I just don’t know any better.


I don’t think any of my friends realize the extent of my reality TV freak-ish-ness. And yeah, I'm being se-ri-ous. Haha.

Of course they have their own bets regarding who should be the next American Idol, and so do I. Every week, I make sure I get to watch my favorite reality TV shows. From American Idol, Survivor, the Amazing Race, and the Apprentice, I never miss the latest on what’s happening with these shows which all air this season. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Let all of you be warned of how crazy I am about these shows. Since I am a Filipino living in the Philippines, I get delayed telecasts. As much as the networks here try to air the episodes of most of these shows in less than 24 hours since it first airs in the States, I just cannot learn to wait nor do I have the capacity to wait for the actual episode to run.

I surf the net and log on to Mess Hall to access the play-by-play account of the latest episode of Survivor and American Idol as it airs in the east coast. So sometimes I get info even before people from the West Coast get to catch their episode. As for the Amazing Race, I get to read the latest article from which recaps the show’s most recent episode as soon as possible.

So yes, I can’t delay gratification. So what? I’ve known that about myself since reading Choose Your Own Adventure books as a kid and making sure I get the best ending I can possibly get. I read all the endings and find the way to the best ending by going through story segments backwards. Does it ruin the flow of the story for my own enjoyment as a reader? Sure, it does. (But getting a bad ending is still the worst thing for me.) Does it accurately reflect how impatient I can get most of the time? Well, maybe. (But I realize it also requires patience to sift through all the possible scenarios in the book, which I always do.) And does this sort of behavior make me a cheater? When it comes to those sort of books, okay, yes. But when it comes to my viewing habit, not really.

And why is that? The reason is this: Even though I make sure I know of the results by reading about it in the internet even before I get to watch the episode, I do not do it at the expense of others. Sometimes, I let people know I already know what happened in the show, but I don’t tell them what actually happened if they do not want to be told.

I admit I have the tendency to get too excited. I rationalize it by saying I have nothing better to do but ruin the moment for myself since a lot of people have already watched it before me anyway.

Sometimes I can control myself. Sometimes I can’t. But oftentimes I get to absorb a single episode as much as I can since I already know what’s going to happen as I am watching it. As a person from the TV industry, I guess I read/watch/analyze an episode quite differently. I am more aware of the technical aspects of why a show is edited or plotted in a way that’s best for what’s going to happen. So it helps. It helps to know what happens even before I get to see things unfold. At least for a Filipino reality TV freak like me.

And by the way, I just have to get this out of the way: Why in the world is Apprentice 5 not shown here in the Philippines? How many months after the finale will it be finally shown here? If ABC 5 aired previous seasons (seasons 3 and 4 to be eact) simultaneously as the seasons aired in the States, why does the season which features a half-Filipino who is proud of her Filipino mother not being shown here in the Philippines right now?

Okay, things aren’t looking for Charmaine the past few episodes, but it doesn’t help me in any way that I base all my assumptions on written recaps instead of actual footage.

Yes, I still need to watch the show, freakazoid. Haha.


Two months have passed since I recorded three of my songs for a demo tape I passed to a recording company. Though I haven’t heard from the producer, I’m not that worried. I got a couple of friends who might include the songs in their bands’ own demo tapes so that would be nice. There’s one problem though: I still haven’t copyrighted my compositions. So if hear a semblance of my compositions elsewhere without my permission, THAT would be a problem.

Thieves and plagiarists are everywhere. The thing is, I asked friends of friends to help me with the arrangement. Some didn’t push through, though they still have copies of my work. Though I trust my friends, what about my friends’ friends? They’re basically STRANGERS to me. Yah?

So what should I be doing, you ask? When my friend, Shayne invited me to attend one of her gigs, she introduced me to her friend (yeah, another friend’s friend) who told me that I can just send myself the CD of my songs via snail mail; the received mail being postmarked would already protect my work. Shayne insisted that I still go to the National Library/Musem (I forget which) for the more traditional procedure since it’s still a simple process that would only require a minimal fee. I’m new at this so all these things are Greek in my ears. Still, I’m grateful to learn all these information from them.

Now, guess what? I still haven’t done either to ensure the protection of my intellectual property. Ugh! I am writing this entry so I can force myself to attend to this task this coming week. Yes, I hate it when I have to set my own deadlines. So fellow procrastinators, sympathize with me please. ;)


You Are a Visionary Soul

You are a curious person, always in a state of awareness. Connected to all things spiritual, you are very connected to your soul. You are wise and bright: able to reason and be reasonable. Occasionally, you get quite depressed and have dark feelings.

You have great vision and can be very insightful. In fact, you are often profound in a way that surprises yourself. Visionary souls like you can be the best type of friend. You are intuitive, understanding, sympathetic, and a good healer.

Souls you are most compatible with: Old Soul and Peacemaker Soul


I found myself trying to organize my emails the other day.

My hesitation to open old emails bothered me. It is as if I were afraid to look back and find a person I no longer was. Or find people whom I shouldn’t have taken for granted.

Looking through undeleted old links, I find an old self being addressed by people who represent my past, people whom I have let go or pushed away in one way or another.

Friends become old friends when there is an effort to keep in touch with them. Friends whom you haven’t heard from in a while, and you have no interest to keep in touch with anymore aren’t old friends. They just used to be friends, a part of who you were.

You decide whom to love unconditionally. You decide which friends become family; you also treasure friends who refuse to let you go. You decide whom to grow with, and hopefully s/he shares the same affinity with you.

There are only a handful of people you decide not to let go, and people who allow you to hold on.

Sometimes you open a letter and ask yourself why you let go. The person you were calls out to the person you are now. And the prodigal self asks why you left in the first place, when you realize the person was making an effort to hold on.

Sometimes you wish it wasn’t an old letter, and you can still write back.


4 jobs I had in my life
• Graphic designer
• College teacher
• Home Improvement Store plumbing associate
• TV writer (talk/variety & drama)

4 movies I could watch over and over again
• Talk to Me (Hable Con Ella)
• The Piano
• Magnolia
• Happy Together
Pretty depressing films, actually…

4 places I've lived
• Marikina
• Los Angeles
• South San Francisco
• Daly City

4 TV Shows/Channels I love to watch
• Survivor
• The Jeff Corwin Experience
• Jeopardy

4 places I've been on vacation
• Indonesia
• Singapore
• D.C.
• New York

4 of my favorite foods
• Seafood (kinilaw, alimango, clams, sushi, etc.)
• Italian food
• pita and humus
• Binagoongang Baboy

4 places I'd rather be by now
• Broadway
• Batanes, by the shore
• In Indonesia, getting a massage from a charming non-English speaking lady
• San Francisco Opera House, watching art films


Yesterday was one of the greatest days I'd had in a long time. Thank you, God. I deserved that. ;)


I started my day yesterday in the gym without eating breakfast: cardio, weightlifting, and boxing with my trainer, Sholt. Prior to beginning my day at work, I was already exhausted; but after taking a shower at the gym, and grabbing a few bites for brunch, I headed back home first to change into my work clothes and took my photographer’s vest to work.

My fellow producer wanted me to play the part of a photographer at his shoot in the afternoon. We were both supposed to attend an update meeting but he said he already informed our boss of the shoot; my absence in the meeting is excused as well. I also wrote the script for the shoot anyway so it was understandable that I would be there to supervise.

After wrapping-up the pictorial set-up, we headed to Bagaberde for the shoot’s concert set-up. I gave my two cents' worth of suggestions regarding blocking and composition. By early evening the reenactment part of the shoot was done. On my way back to the office, I asked my friend, Jasper via SMS if I can drop by his place to watch a TV show at 8 pm. My TV’s busted and I pretty much cannot live without my Friday dose of my favorite reality TV show.

So after being updated of what was discussed in the meeting, I headed to the Graphics department and left this week’s assignments to my favorite gfx artist, Erik. He hadn’t even began his shift for our show yet and looked really tired already. He barely nodded his head to assure me he understood my instructions.

By the time I got to Jasper’s place, I was really hungry. We agreed to have dinner outside by 10 pm. We just had to catch our my favortite TV show, then his favorite TV show next, before filling our stomachs. What can I say? It was a time to adhere to the dictates of the idiot box.

Before dinner, we discussed immigration application procedures, studying filmmaking abroad, updates on fellow batch mates in college, my adventure trip to Sagada, spelunking, and well, his most dreaded topic, ghosts. He didn’t want to hear about my description of the hanging coffins, but he still managed to tell me how he noticed that a relatively short candle he lit lasted for about 8 hours last All Saint’s Day. Since he was alone in his apartment at the time, to say he got a little freaked out is an understatement.

At twelve midnight, Den asked me via SMS if I plan to go out that night. I told him I’d rather have dinner with him and Jeyps Saturday night. I had to take a rain check since I wanted to head straight home from Jasper’s. My mom wants to see me conscious and talking before the day ended. I barely get to really interact with her lately given our schedules.

When I headed off to Sagada, I merely texted her that I couldn’t be home for the long weekend. When a friend of mine almost fell off a cliff in Sagada, my own mortality just knocked my happy-go-lucky self, conscious. Quite apt since we were headed towards the hanging coffins.

I bid Jas goodbye as he handed me a DVD copy of Behind the Sun. He said I should watch it. I thanked him and headed towards the gate. I walked to the main road, rode a taxi and got home safely.

It was good day. I realized I really do have a good set of friends. I could count on them; they could count on me. And to top it all off, my best friend surprised me with a message that made me realize that I am indeed growing with friends and living my life with them as we pass through life’s different stages.

We all have different paths to take, yet we manage to take our friends, their joys, hopes, and fears with us. And knowing that just leaves me wistful yet at peace.


My former boss, Ms. Ina recently informed me that the episode I wrote and produced for MYX LIVE won a Golden Dove Award. The episode featured the San Miguel Philharmonic Orchestra and the San Miguel Master Chorale headed by no less than Maestro Ryan Cayabyab. Rico Blanco was the host.

Salamat, Ms. Ina! I really appreciate the call. Text n’yo lang ako sa susunod na manlilibre kayo ng dinner sa Windows, o may raket kayo para sa akin. Hehehe.