Monday, March 23, 2009


napaisip lang ako,
habang ka-chat ko si daki sa facebook kanina,
nasabi kong,
bumili ako ng bagong damit,
para sa concert-tribute,
para ka tatay ed sa diliman,
na puno ng mga awiting,
at nakapagpapaalala,
sa buhay at kung paano,
nabuhay ang tatay ed,
at kung paano,
sa mga sandaling yaon,
ay hindi dapat iyakan,
ang pangugulila sa kanya,
ay sumabay sa indayog,
sa tugtog at saka kumanta,
at magpasalamat,
na minsan,
naging bahagi ng buhay,
ng mga buhay naming isa't isa,
dahil kung hindi duon,wala sanang concert-tribute,
hindi sana ako bibili,
ng bagong damit,
na mababanggit kay daki,
sa chat namin sa facebook,
dahil wala naman akong
ganung maiisip...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Race to Starbucks; Race for Something I Really Want. *or I maybe I thought I wanted.

For the past 4 days, I have been racing to and fro every Starbucks branch in Makati to find this stupid green tumbler that I have seen last Friday from Standard Chartered. It was the last piece of its kind in SC Starbucks but since they would not accept my 500 Sodexho GCs as payment, which I got for being the Top Supervisor for my pod last February, I had to leave it and went home sulking.

That night, my colleague Febes agreed to have her Starbucks GCs be exchanged for my Sodexho's for which she gives to her bankers whenever they get 2 straight hundred surveys. So I had my life straightened now. Tomorrow, I said, the tumbler is mine.

I was excited to take home the tumbler the next day so I arranged my pick up point for the shirts that CJ ordered in Standard Chartered Starbucks and to my dismay, Starbucks was closed on a Saturday. Perfect.
So I raced back to PeopleSupport where my team was patiently waiting for me to tell them that we could finally ride a bus going to Fairview as we were to spend the weekend in Bhadz home and off to LaMesa Ecopark on Sunday. So I checked the Starbucks in our building, no green tumbler; crossed Gil Puyat and checked Starbucks The Columns, no green tumbler; final destination: Starbucks RCBC, still no trace of the freaking tumbler. I had no choice but to go back even as I thought that there are still a couple more of Starbucks branches in Ayala-- Makati being the city with the most number of Starbucks branches in the country. I had to go back. My team was waiting.

A few more hours, 60 pesos worth of travel from Ayala to SM Fairview, we opened their Starbucks branch with coffee jellies, frap, green tea and some pastries but I got the same frustration as they also no longer have the green tumbler that I slowly turn to some search of the Holy Grail.

I managed to keep the tumbler quest off my mind for the meantime. I was, after all, picnicking barbecueing and having the time of my life with my superstars, my team. Over barbecue and Zipline in LaMesa Ecopark, I was able to forget the darn tumbler until Monday, when I had to replenish my tshirt stocks for orders and had to go to Greenhills. I was going to check the Starbucks branch and restart with my new found profession now until I noticed while flipping through my Belle de Jour planner that I left the GCs at home. Great, I muttered. I didn't bother to check Starbucks, as the addage, What you don't know won't hurt you, reminded me.
On my way back, which originally I planned to go straight to the office, I had to go back home to get the GCs and drop by Standard Chartered to finally get the tumbler. So I did. Only, the last mug that I was holding 3 days ago was no longer in their racks.

At this time, I knew that fate was doing intervening and I had no plans of retreating. A few minutes after I said Hello to my team, infuriated and frustrated, I crept out of the building to again check the Starbucks stores close to where I work. PeopleSupport, The Columns, RCBC, Valero, Insular, Security Bank, dela Rosa, Makati Stock Exchange-- walking! Finally, upon reaching MSE, and gazing up Makati Shang, I realized that I have gone so far not to continue walking until I reach Greenbelt and Glorietta. I remembered Starbucks 6750, the first ever Starbucks in the country, how could they not possibly have it? But yeah, it's possible for they also didn't have what I was looking for. Determined not to get back to the office tired and empty handed, I started counting the Starbucks left for me to go to. Greenbelt 3, Glorietta 4 and the one in Rustan's. I decided to go to the one in Rustan's, right beside the Lacoste boutique. And there, a few meters away, I could see green stuff waving at me-- I knew I have found it.


I wanted the tumbler so much that I had to pursue to find it up to this far. The more that I get frustrated about not getting it, the more driven I was to aim and get it. And when I know I can do anything to get it, I am sure, I am going to have it sooner than everyone else expects it.


I was for the longest time looking for love. Some said it can be found somewhere, just around the corner. I said, then, I must be walking in circles.

I wanted to have one like everyone else.

I am 23 years old, and my society is expecting for me to have one. It is dictating that it is but not normal not to have someone by your side at this time of my life. And that this, could be my sweetest escape against people accusing me of being a person belonging to the third sex. *no I don't have issues with them, only, I am really not one of them.

Or maybe not.

Because if I did, I could have run after it the same way that I did to the darn tumbler which now I fill with distilled water from the pantry.

Yes. Maybe not. Not at all.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Yesterday's Dream

I'm singing/typing this song based on memory.

I have known this song even before figuring out which one is the dividend or the divisor, what is the subject in the sentence 'Run." and long before crushes came and gone. chos.

We have sung this in every school program I can think of-- I mean everything, ultimo Buwan ng Wika.
The then super sikat *i think* na singing group 14k sang this. One of them, Ate Donnagift, came from the public school where I came from. Her mom was probably the best music teacher I had in my whole schooling days. Although, I only had a few, because Mrs. Leony Malbas was practically my music teacher in my enire gradeschool years. That explains it.

So here it is:

Yesterday's Dream

We are the children
Of yesterday's dream
We are the promise of the future we bring.

Waving the banner
Of love to all
THrough every nation
The rich and the poor.

We are the world
OF the restless and young
And we need a hand
to guide us.

Helping each other
Bulid each other
As long as we're together
You and me.

For together we stand
Divided we fall
Together we climb to
the top of the World.

We can be what we want
For the world to see
That we are the children
of yesterday's dream.

We have the yearning
to do what is best
Be someone special
from all the rest.

Nation and brothers and unity
Building tomorrow
for you
and for me

repeat refrain...

We are the dream came true
We are the children
Of yesterday's dream...

*or maybe something to that effect. i never really saw a copy of the REAL lyrics. I just sang it by how I heard it. :P

Friday, March 6, 2009

March 6

What's with today.

FrancisM succumbs to Leukemia at around noontime today.
I bet the whole nation will mourn for him in the next few days.
I, for instance.


What's with today.

I browsed through my old emails and found the following article, and I realized that nothing has changed two years after I wrote this.

I have always been a sentimental person. I usually dwell on things which are no longer with me. I have been fond of keeping memories from people that have long been gone out of my life and (stash) just about anything that would remind me of them every now and then. At home, I keep a box full of one or more of the following: scraps of gift wrappers from my friend's birthday gift for me, candy wrappers from market! Market!, dunkin' donuts' paper napkins with little notes in it (and another I snag because my crush held it when we dine in dunkin' one time), dried plants I got from hiking, notes being passed around the class either asking for answers or criticizing the prof's outfit for the day, old workshop id's and nametags, letters from grade school friends whom I've never heard of for ages, plastic rings (the ones you get along with the bubble gum that you buy), boracay sand kept in a small bottle and many other trinkets which my mom usually refer to as "junk". Some of these things have been with me for more than a decade, some I just tossed in recently. Nevertheless, whenever I open the box, the memories that come with these things flood me. Most of the time, it makes me feel good to remember where they came from and just what significant event I could associate with a candy wrapper I am holding. I keep them in a safeplace, for if my obsessive-compulsive mom finds them, I could only follow these stuff I have in the garbage truck which happens to pass by every morning.

My tendency to hold on to little things are perhaps explained by my fondness of keeping people "closer" to me. When I start to develop relationship with people, whether for friendship, romantic or professional, I keep them close and most of the time I hold on to them so tight, for so long, sometimes even long after they have left and gone out of my life.

This was me long before the time i wrote this down. And this, I have to tell, how my being in a contact center changed the way I keep things and more, in holding on to people.

Being my first job after college, I was introduced to a whole new fast-paced world of schedule flexibilities, work pressures and a tapestry of people to deal with. But I was able to cope up anyway. I was, after all, I told myself, geared to be resilient so I know I can stand the pressures. But not for long, along the way ,I've been encountering changes that I have to go through for me to "adapt" to my new world. And this is just one of those.

Right from the training that we had to undergo for more than a month, I've seen some my classmates leave the roster of trainees one by one. Some, survived only for the first week of training, while others left when there was only a week to go before we hit production. At first I when they started to leave without giving us prior notice, I felt bad; not even having to get their phone numbers or email addresses so I can still keep in touch with them. And it all ended there. The stories we've shared while on lunch at the pantry will remain just stories, I thought. Later on, when I got used to the trend, I started to realize that this is how it really works here. What you might be sharing with your friends at the contact center at that very moment should be, well, enjoyed because while you can still actually laugh and share stories tomorrow, you might not share them with the same people anymore. You'll never know who gets to stay the next day to share coffee with you and who gets to be the topic of next day's chit chat.

When we hit the production floor, team assignments was my new concern. I was transferred from one team to another twice. The last team that I belonged was I the longest that I have been with, so practically, I have invested much on the emotional aspect with the team and its members. There came the day when my supervisor told me that I was chosen out of the team. Bad thing was, we were chosen to be out of the team randomly; no basis. They just had to pull out three people out and that's it. I felt bad that I cried in front of my supervisor. I was thinking of how I will be needing to adapt again to my new teammates which I found out later were already tenured agents; I began to worry about how am I going to work hard to sustain and be part of the new team.

After the outburst, my supervisor talked to me which then I told him that I was already thinking of quitting the job. Before it happened, I was already asking for signs if I really should be staying in this job, far from what I ideally wanted which was to teach literature. My supervisor pointed out the things that I might be losing if I quit that very moment. Aside from the legal bonds that I am tied while serving my contract, I was committed to be flexible which of course includes, situations like this that you get to be transferred form one team to another from time to time. And so when my "alter ego" calmed down, and after my supervisor Pedro assured me that this is but a challenge to my resilience as a person and as a player in this field, I gradually understood things clearly now.

In a contact center industry like this, sentiments and emotions do not have a place in the production floor. We leave them at the locker and when we decide to access them later, we can just go back and get them once you log off from your pc's at the end of your shift. And as for the people who come and go from the production floor, we cannot hold them back and make them stay, so while they are still with us, we just have to draw the best on what there is to share with them.

I am turning tables now. the lifelong behavior of being a sentimental kid should and must grow now, I guess. After all, this is how people in our lives should be treated. I believe that our lives are just like the roads where people passes by when they travel. Some of these people may just travel your road once and never come back. Others, may pass by very often but have to leave at a certain point in time; while others choose to stay for good. Which ever among these people that you come across everyday, I think that we should learn to respect time to determine how long they will have to stay. When they leave, we should understand that while we can always look back to the memories, we should always live our lives forward.

What's with today.

I was told that I am among the supervisors that will be transferred to another account in the next few days. I am still not too sure what there is to feel about it but one thing for sure is that I am not shocked-- for where I worked, anything and everything can happen, whether you like it or not, whether the reason is plausible or absurd, subjective or objective, clear cut or no basis at all.


And just when I am starting to jumpstart my long hiatus from sky rocketing stats for my "dreamteam", all of these are being taken away from me.

Life sucks. I know that. And you don't have to rub it all over again.

What's with today.

Or maybe I should use a "?" instead of "."

Saying Goodbye, and Remembering Tatay ED

For a change, I opted to start writing these series of blogs 30,000 ft. (or so) above sea level, yes while on board, Cebu Pacific flight bound to Manila. I came to Leyte for some reasons which I am about to tell you, in the next few blogs,—I came with these reasons in my mind and now, on my flight back to Manila, I will try to recall what I got accomplished and what are those that surprised me in the five-day planned and unplanned leaves.

I came home.

I came home to say goodbye to a loved one who left; I came home to see relatives whom I have not seen since I left for Manila after graduation; I came home to say hello to my friends and check what’s going on with their lives; I came home to have an excuse to get away from the city and call center life; I came home hoping I could write something essential, apart from coaching logs and call monitoring evaluations; I came home to either burn or rebuild wrecked bridges—connections that have been lost for years; I came home so I could perhaps remember the more important things I had, or still have.

Five-Six Days.
I asked a two-day vacation leave from my manager who did not allow me to go on a four-day VL last Christmas. He was finally compelled to give me a break when I reminded him that I have not been absent for some 3 months now and if and only if I was able to finish all my workloads before my very early morning flight which is around 4 am on February Friday the 13th. I did. And 48 hours prior to my flight homeward bound, I have not been able to sleep, maybe due to overexcitement and being frantic about how the trip will turn out to be. Going back, I only asked to be on VL on Friday the 13th, Saturdays and Sundays being my restdays are excluded, and Monday, Manic Monday. Originally, that was the plan. But then again, a place as far as Leyte, 45 minutes flight and 24 straight hours of travel through a bus, you can never have much time, can you? Today, by the way is Wednesday, February 18, 2009.

How it All Started.

The last time I went home to Leyte was during the All Visayas Writing Workshop in 2007. More than a year now. And since December of last year, I have been planning and thinking of going home but at the same time, there is this apparent force from I don’t know where, that keeps me from booking that Cebu Pacific flight online.
February 5. Towards the end of my shift, I was just waiting for time so I could logout and go home so I decided to type “Lakan Uhay Alegre” in Yahoo Search. I usually do this because this keyword would lead me to Tatay Ed’s articles written for the Business World. And from there I would read through his articles, which most of the time talks about how proud he is of Lakan, his son, 8 years old.

As the screen populates with the search results, I check on the unfamiliar entries so I could start reading through. I started with his “Near Death Ruminations” written on December 2 I guess, and I discovered how he was living through his heart ailments and how apparently, has he gave up some of the things he was enjoying just to ensure he’s on top of his health.

After a few more articles, I stumbled upon “Ode to A Dear Teacher” by Alex Castillo. Clicking the hyperlink, I was lead to an article with that title and with a subtitle that brought shiver down my miserable spine. “…Goodbye Sir Ed. You will be sorely missed” it says.

I quickly browsed through the article twice, as I don’t know what happened to my reading retention and comprehension that I was not able to understand a single thing that I was reading. And on the third attempt, I then had no choice but to accept what I was reading. And just when I thought that the cliché “I-didn’t-notice-that-the-tears-are-rushing-through-my-face” was absurd (how can you not know that), the very thing just happened to me. In a flash, my other colleagues were approaching me, asking what just happened and all I could say was, “My college professor just died.” They would not understand. And Tatay Ed was never my college professor. He was my life mentor. And did I say that I he died January 11? I cried yet another sea of tears. No one, apparently, told me.

The very same day, while walking through then empty Ayala Avenue with my friend Maphene, who was also never good in condoling those have lost someone, whether in love, life or a competition, we kept silent. That’s how we deal with most of our problems back then in Tacloban. We simply kept things in mum. For we know, in silence we have communicated better.

Over heart donuts and chocolate chocolate from Krispy Kreme, we knew we were fine. Or at least I should be. We then went on our separate ways as we go to our respective homes. And from there, I knew, I needed to do something.
No thinking this time. I told my mom that I will go home by the next weekend. I just said, I needed a break. Of course, I was lying. I could have gone like this forever and not notice that a year has gone by without anything to look back to. And in a few clicks, I was ready to board Cebu Pacific flight 5J 651 bound to Tacloban. As I do these sudden decisions, I stopped to think and realize that I could actually do this without even thinking. And I should have done this a long time. Now, when I come home, I would only get to see what has been and what was left of it. But my life is short. No time for these what if’s and could have been’s.

While on board, in the midst of snoozing passengers at 4 am, I looked out of the window and all I could see, 30,000 ft. above, were bleak city lights and slowly, darkness creeping in. I assured myself that this is the least that I could do. I may not be able to see him anymore but I felt the need to say goodbye to him “in person”. But I still don’t exactly know what I am supposed to do once this plane lands. I’ll play it by the ear.

In the middle of hello’s and welcome back’s with my good old friends, I was consistently being bugged of what my purpose was in coming back. So, after the Valentine’s Day I spent with my equally hopelessly love loser friends Clang, Yell and Lemuel, I came up with what I am going to do.

The next morning, after we slept in our “comfort zone” aka the UP Open University Office, sending Clang and Yell off, I walked in the streets of Tacloban aimlessly. I saw familiar places and I “saw” Tatay Ed. Brod Pits, Shakey’s, Hap Chan, Mlakin Tian, T Claudio—our dorm, Rizal Avenue, Duptour’s Terminal, Plaza Grill, Sto Nino, Jose Karlo’s and finally, Magsaysay. I walked in these streets, past these establishments where Tatay Ed and I once shared coffee, pizza, camaron rebosado, grilled chicken and a whole memory box worth of knowledge and snippets of life—of how we were not exactly a by-product of hundreds of years of colonization and continued colonizations, of how his other kids apart from Uyay were like, of how he and Nanay Joycie met –and how I promised that I will take up Film in UP, and that in Cannes or the Oscars, I will mention his name last to thank him, we ended jokingly.

I did not go to Holy Cross, where he was laid to rest. For a simple single reason that the place is unfamiliar to me. We have never walk that path, never went there when he was still here.

I went to every single street of Tacloban which I remembered Tatay Ed and I walked past by. I know, in essence, a part of him has stayed in those—and will probably stay on forever. Towards the last stop, which was Magsaysay Blvd., I sat down in the pavement and wrote him a letter. No, I did not burn or let the letter drift in Kankabatok Bay. I kept it. I finally said my last words.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Trip to Quiapo *not by Ricky Lee

Sunday. Restday ko.
Sa layunin kong maiba naman ang araw ko, bukod sa kumain, matulog, manuod ng tv at matulog at kumain ulit, ngdecide akong pumunta ng Quiapo para bumili ng materials for beadworks. Bakit beadworks? Wala lang. HIndi ko naman balak kumpetensyahin yung kebigan kong naging kagalit sa opis sa pagtitinda ng mga bracelets at iba pang shenanigans. Gusto ko lang may magawa at mapuntahan iba bukod sa kusina namin.

Mula sa amin sa Guadalupe, maraming daan patungo sa Quiapo. Yung pinaka sanay ako yung tinahak ko-- Taft sakay ng dyip byaheng Guadalupe-L Guinto-Bukid. Padating sa me San Andres, me nakita akong internetan na nag-oofer ng Scanning Service na 5pesos lang. Waw. Isip ko. Sa amin kasi, 10 or kinse. Pumara ako kahit na yung binayad ko eh diretso.

Bago ako makarating dun sa mismong internetan, me madadaanan kang karinderya/videokehan na duda ko eh nagiging kabaret din sa gabi dahil me paskin na "Wanted GRO with pleasing personality and fair skin" *kailangan talaga fair skin?* Sa harap nun, me mga nakasabit na damit sa mahabang makeshift na banggerahan gawa sa tubong me dalawang dipa ang haba at ilang dangkal na kahoy.

Aminin niyo, sa mga ukayan, ang unang nakakatawag ng pansin eh yung matitingkad na kulay na damit at kung paano sila maayos na nakasalansan ayon sa grupo nila-- tshirt sa tshirt, pantalon, shorts at bestida. So ayun, hawi-hawi ng konti sa mga nakasabit. Maya maya, may babaeng lumapit sa kin at ngtanong:

Ate: Ay, ay ate anu po yun.

Ako: *hmm hmmm hmm* Ay teh, magkano po to?

Ate: ang alin?

Ako: eto pong tshirt tsaka tong jacket?

Ate: ay hindi po, sinampay po namin yan.

Ako: *mapula yung tenga at namamaso* Ay sorry. Infairness, maganda po yung mga damit niyo huh. good Job. *as in yun yung sinabi ko*

Sabay sakay sa rumaragasang dyip na paparating, ni hindi man lang tiningnan ang sign board kung saan papunta.