Saturday, March 26, 2011

Online Feature

Visit Virgogray Press Carcinogenic Poetry Online.

I would like to thank sir Michael Casares.
To read the featured poem, click here.

Friday, March 25, 2011

News Hardcore!

Manix Abrera just made my day (click on the image for a full view). For more neurotic panels on media and the perils of being a journalist in the Philippines, please visit this link.

This reminds me why I never really applied for a newspaper. I turned down a magazine offer and quit my program researcher position at a local television network. I was in the news and public affairs department actualizing content for a women's magazine show, but I just had to go. They were giving me mini-segments to produce (I guess to convince me to stay?), but I left my job even before I had the chance to write.

It occurred to me that any body who plans to take on this path has got to be a lot crazier than most of us. I can't imagine doing this for the rest of my life, but they do. They have got to be insane and seriously passionate about it-- and I admire them immensely for having that kind of drive. I wish all the best for my journalist friends, especially to my pals Micheal Mira and Yna de Leon (who is currently applying for an opening in the news department at a local television network). Be responsible writers, stay safe, and get enough sleep you, psychos. Also, I'm very proud of my former producer, Shai Lagarde (you're bolder, more beautiful and immensely creative), keep on making your dreams come true.

I think work is like marriage. Talk about commitment (issues). I've had four jobs, which could just mean I've already divorced four serious careers. But I'm not really thinking about that right now. As long as I have work that pays the bills and gives me a flexible schedule, I don't mind.

This doesn't mean I've stopped writing after every career crisis and personal turmoil that has graced me. By the way, I'm giving school another shot. I am writing.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Prelude to Summer: Laser hair removal, anyone?

Summer is the perfect time to relax and enjoy beautiful vacation spots in the country. For most women, it can also mean hair removal season. That’s right! Don’t let unwanted hair stop you from having a great time at the beach.

We all know too much shaving and plucking is not advisable and can only cause dark patches on delicate skin. These days, women have the option to stop struggling with razors or tedious plucking and turn to laser hair removal.   

Laser hair removal is a promising procedure which can give men and women smooth and hairless skin without unsightly bumps. When done properly, this method can be virtually painless. Just like any beauty procedure, it is very important to research on the latest laser hair removal treatments offered here in the Philippines. It is also necessary to select reputable clinics and trust a recommended dermatologist to perform this treatment.

Remember to openly discuss any history of skin allergy with your dermatologist before the procedure. If you’re taking any prescribed medication, inform your dermatologist so they can asses if this can have any negative side effects on your skin after the treatment. It is also very important to note that you can’t undergo laser hair removal if you have recently tanned skin. You have to wait until your skin’s normal pigment comes back before the procedure.

Ready for the beach:
With my friends at Panglao Beach, Bohol
Summer 2009

Laser hair removal is done in sessions usually in two to three week intervals or as specified by the dermatologist. It is not advisable to have prolonged sun exposure or take a dip in steam baths 24-hours after laser hair removal. Even after the procedure, patients must follow their dermatologist’s recommendation to avoid any irritation after the treatment. Kaya magpa-laser hair removal a few months before hitting the beach. :p

Laser hair removal techniques have come a long way since its introduction in the Philippines. Now available in selected clinics, Permasilk laser hair removal is an effective treatment that shows satisfying results within six to eight sessions. It uses the COMET System which is a combination of radio frequency laser and electro-optical technology which targets the hair bulb to effectively eliminate hair growth. 

Hair removal issues ni Ca.. este, naming lahat! :p

NO. 1 TIP: Get your treatment a few months before going to the beach. 

There are reputable laser hair removal clinics with professional and highly recommended dermatologists here in the Philippines that can help interested women achieve smooth armpits and legs. It can even remove hair effectively around the bikini area. One of the latest effective hair removal procedures is Permasilk laser hair removal. Remember to discuss any history of skin allergy as well as unusual skin condition openly with your dermatologist before the treatment to avoid problems. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Apparently, nothing at all.

The album of the day is Mer de Noms by A Perfect Circle

1. Today began too slow. I tend to loop the same songs on my playlist. I've to exert more effort to appreciate unfamiliar things. Friends would always have to remind me more than twice to come out of my lair. New work has come and yet I just can't get my head to start functioning again.

2. I decided to go for a long walk in the afternoon to shake off the dust I've accumulated. I was planning on watching a few movies, but I guess the DVD marathon will have to wait another day.

3. I received the Tuesday mail and, well, what can I say? It's always a pleasure to find real letters rather than bills.

Glimpses (Part I)

Just a few shots from my recent vacation to the U.S. I wish I had bought a DSLR camera last year. I'm thinking whether I'll get a Nikon or a Canon. Now that I'm back, I'm seriously regretting not having done so. Anyway, I guess these photos from my 14 mega pixel digicam will have to do. Until my next batch of travel photos.

There are always two people in every picture: 
the photographer and the viewer. -Ansel Adams

Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle

The Palace of Fine Arts
San Francisco, California

Lakeside park at the Palace of Fine Arts
San Francisco, California


Scientology building (left), Transamerica Pyramid (middle), 
and a building which I failed to identify (right).

San Francisco, California

To literally lose my breath just to get a glimpse of a beautiful city on the highest peak: check.

San Francisco hill view

The Golden Gate Bridge

Pier 39
San Francisco, California

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Unbelievable Truth: Why you should listen to Andy Yorke (Certified sad bastard music!)

I'm glad to have re-discovered this band, Unbelievable Truth (UT), as lead by vocalist Andy York. I know, I know. It's sad they didn't enjoy much mainstream success behind the shadow of his brother's genius. The first single I heard from UT was "Solved", I remember I was watching UNTV one evening, which was sort of NU 107's music channel in the early 2000s. Back then, I didn't know this British group had been releasing songs into the airwaves as early as 1993. Because I liked the single, I obsessed about the song for a while. I researched about the band, and poof! I found out that the lead singer is in fact Thom Yorke's younger brother. Unbelievable Truth is composed of Andy Yorke, Nigel Powel, Jason Mousler and Jim Crosskey.

Today, I decided to go sound tripping in memory lane and found the song on Youtube after probably 10 years of not hearing it. Frankly, it was the only song I knew from the band. I never had a chance to follow through with the rest of the songs in the album, much less the other albums they produced. If you could remember, once upon a time, not every piece of information or music was available and downloadable. If it didn't have much exposure and success in the U.S., then you can just imagine how unknown they were here. 

Unbelievable Truth has long since disbanded in 2000 and its members have pursued solo careers over the years. Although, occasionally, they would reunite every now and then for special events. Now, after 10 years, i'm glad to know a lot of their material is viewable on Youtube and other music propagating sites. 

The Yorke Brothers
Above photo: Thom 
Below: Andy
image from

I listened to three other beautiful tracks from the band such as "Settle Down" and "The Stone". The song, "Higher Than Reason", is released as one of the band's EPs and is included in their 1998 album titled "Almost There". While listening, I couldn't believe just how good Andy Yorke is. I guess people decided not to listen to his band because they thought he was just picking-up a career after his brother. But (the unbelievable!) truth be told: Andy Yorke is seriously a genius apart from his brother's brilliant madness. I just wish listeners would get over it and realize that. Currently, Andy Yorke is a solo artist and has released his first album, "Simple" in 2008.

Listen to "Higher Than Reason" below:

Of course, Andy and Thom have vocal similarities. Both have cool, almost haunting yet calming countertenor voice range. After all, they came from the same set of genes. However, when it comes to song-writing and of course, style, you'd notice that Andy concentrated purely on his lyrical craft. Although Unbelievable Truth and Radiohead may have recurring melancholic themes, Unbelievable Truth's music possess a distinctive mellow streak, with soft jangly acoustic guitars played harmoniously, complemented by soothing vocals. 

I love Radiohead, especially songs in albums The Bends and OK Computer. But, on lighter, more uncomplicated and contemplative days (rendered in black and white exclusively inside my head), I'd much prefer listening to Unbelievable Truth. Yes, the Yorke brothers apparently make moody music. 

Below is a video of their song "The Stone". If you got through reading everything I just posted, I hope you check out the band's other songs. And do enjoy!

*Information from and

Monday, March 7, 2011

Homesickness, 1940
René Magritte

The Layers 

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
"Live in the layers,
not on the litter."
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes. 

--Stanley Kunitz

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A few hours after landing / Random encounter

It's only been a day since I got back from my 12 day break from the U.S. and the first thing I did after settling baggage and dealing with jet lag was go to Cubao. And yes, I've a lot to share on my next few posts about wandering the other side of the Pacific. But for now, i'll write this one first.

I wanted to send a few postcards and letters to a friend that morning. The only post office I knew of was in Cubao, so off I went. Someone did tell me the post office was open on a Saturday, but that they close a little earlier. When I got there at 10:00am and asked an old kuya beside the building, he said it's only open on weekdays. However, he did tell me it was open for awhile before I came. I suppose the post office personnel were just settling a few things that morning, but that they weren't really accepting mail. I guess my letters will have to wait until Monday.

I decided to go to Gateway and check out National Bookstore and Fully Booked. I was also thinking about checking the condition of my finances by going to the nearest BDO ATM, but I decided not to. As expected, the bills have piled up and I definitely need to tighten my belt. I'll probably deal with it next week when I finally get my pay check.

I got hungry at around 11:30am and decided to look for a cheap place to eat. After passing by numerous fast food chains, I ended up having lunch at a karinderia beside Bellini's in Cubao X. I had a generous serving of spicy chicken Afritada. It wasn't exactly the best Filipino food I had, but I have to admit I missed having saucy, oily dishes with a nice hot cup of rice.


After having a 50 peso lunch (in terms of cheapness, it surely beats any $7 lunch! ha!), I wanted to have some ice cream so I went to the nearby 7 Eleven. Before I even got to the entrance, a girl approached me with a warm smile and introduced herself. From there, I figured she's one of those students frequenting commercial areas for fund raising purposes. And I was right.

The girl, Cristina, told me she's a junior taking up BS Education at a private college in Taytay, Rizal. She showed her I.D. and explained that they're raising funds to support their schooling. In short, they were selling over-priced ball pens.

Because I wanted to interrogate her a little more, I invited her inside 7 Eleven and asked if she could sit and have some ice cream with me. She took the offer graciously and thought I was kind.

On a usual day, I wouldn't bother to take time to listen. I can honestly be very cold. A poor and hungry child can be asking for alms and I wouldn't even bother to look at him. I'd even think to myself: This isn't my problem anymore. We shouldn't even tolerate this. Nobody would be asking for alms if people weren't giving any.

Since I wasn't in a hurry, and probably because I have lightened up a bit after my break, I didn't mind talking to her. I told her honestly that her school shouldn't make them "work" like that to support their studies. In my point of view, what they're doing doesn't make them any different from homeless children begging passers-by for loose change. They should do it in a legitimate manner through fund raising events and other similar activities.

It's a sad reality, but she said they do it anyway even though nakaka-hiya because it's the only way she can support her studies. Public areas have even reprimanded them because they didn't have a permit to do any "fund raising". With her parents not earning enough as farmers, she's left to do this kind of work for her school. She did mention her school does organize fund raising events once a year, but I guess that isn't enough. They just had to exploit their students to work. So much for being called scholars.

I asked about her priorities in life, aside from struggling to finish school. She said, sincerely, that she wanted to become a teacher particularly at her former high school to improve education in the public school system. Cristina shared that she's honestly having a hard time in college because her teachers in high school didn't dedicate much effort to teach them basic things, like proper English, grammar, and so on.

I believe what we learn in school shouldn't be limited to academic application. It must extend to all aspects of our life. What we learn in school should still be applicable even after we graduate. It's an idealistic thought, but we must make an effort to make use of whatever education we have.

I am glad to know that young people like Cristina are really trying to maximize their education. I actually admire her for wanting to help improve the quality of public school education in our country. Though I still disapprove of the fact that she has to beg for funds to finish her studies, I honestly felt that she's doing everything she can to reach her goal.

She had to go after our short talk. We exchanged mobile numbers to keep in touch. I bought her over-priced pen and told her, sincerely, that I'm helping her because I understand her disposition. I asked her to keep me posted. I also wished her good luck, and I hope she graduates soon without any delay. I bid her good bye and we went our separate ways.


After that, I thought: Hindi madali mag-aral, lalo na kapag wala kang pera sa Pilipinas. While some Americans prefer not to attend college, most Filipinos desperately do everything just to have a shot at it. This is definitely something I don't get to think about everyday. I admit that I shun realities such as this because I do have a tendency to feel to much.

After a long time, I'm slowly beginning to see things outside again. It gave me the chance to think of things other than myself. I believe everything happens for a reason. After the post office fail, maybe this random encounter is actually a good experience.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Friday, March 4, 2011

"For you I'll bleed myself dry". -- Coldplay

I wonder if I can ever say those words and mean it. For anyone, at all. It's either i'm tired or just too damn selfish. Maybe even both.

Well, okay. I suppose I have before. Then maybe the real question is:
When can I bleed myself dry again? If there is blood left to bleed. If there will be anything or anyone to bleed for.

In A Row

The mailman handing me a letter,
he paid a little. My daughter’s

third grade teacher, the electrician
putting a light over my back door:

they paid as well. The woman at the bank
who cashes my check. She paid a part of it.

The typist in my office, the janitor
sweeping the floor—they paid some too.

The movie star paid for it. The nurse,
the nun, the saint, they all paid for it—

a photograph from Central America,
six children lying neatly in a row.

One day I was teaching or I sold
a book review or I gave a lecture

and some of the money came to me
and some rolled off into the world,

but it was still my money, the result
of my labor, each coin still had my name

printed across it, and I went on living,
passing my days in a box with a tight lid.

But elsewhere, skulking through tall grass,
a dozen men approached a village. It was hot;

the men made no noise. See that one’s cap,
see the button on that other man’s shirt,

* * *

hear the click of the cartridge as it slides
into its chamber, see the handkerchief

which that man uses to wipe his brow—
I paid for that one, that one belongs to me.

Stephen Dobyns, “In A Row” from Velocities: New and Selected Poems.Copyright © (1966-1992) 1994 by Stephen Dobyns.

March 2011

The Grove, Los Angeles