Month: July 2008

Neighborhood Update

The Nevergirl’s got a [dot]com.

You can now catch her over at

I can never get enough of her witty funny and powerful writing.


Tuesday With the Blues

My life, so far, this past week consists of the following routine:

my window to the outside world

my window to the outside world

  • wake up to the growls of puppies tearing each other apart over some piece of garbage they’ve rootled from my neighbors’ trash;
  • boil water in my heating pot, then drink hot ginger tea while still in bed;
  • boil another potful of water, this time for my bestest buddy, the packet of instant pancit canton/noodles (we get along nicely these past few days);
  • scald the noodles, discard the water, dig up some crackers and cheese, and then eat breakfast (again, still in bed);
  • curly breakfast in bed

  • go to the bathroom, check the bathwater supply and then refill the empty pails. a trip to the water pump is unavoidable. on the way there, i face overfriendly dogs who try to clamber up to be hugged, thereby muddying my clothes, and a murderous overprotective mother hen, with a single scraggly chick, who always snaps at me when I am within her 3-meter-radius perimeter;
  • after surviving the ordeal of fetching water for the bath, take a trip to the market (this, as mentioned before, happens every two days or so) to get drinking water from the coin-op machine;
  • back to the boarding house to numb brain and fan the seditious flame growing in the heart with the final chapters of my other buddy Rizal’s El Filibusterismo;
  • take a bath;
  • sleep until the alarm clock says it’s time to get up again;
  • dress;
  • drive to work;
  • be amazed at the number of employees pouring in from the highway and rushing to the log-in building;
  • slave away for eight hours in the production line of The Shoe Factory;
  • return to the boarding house;
  • dress down;
  • sleep;
  • see above.

Oh… I took a pic of a sign pasted on the wall of the common kitchen in the It might not be much, but I find the first request a bit “disturbing”:


I am still floating. It may still be weeks before I could accept that this is how things shall be for the rest of my working life in The Shoe Factory.


This Side Up

Today, I shall tell you of transitions.

It’s been three days since I left my tropical jungle home and become a roomer in a boarding house near The Shoe Factory.

It’s been three days still, but I just found out Monday morning that Faith, already four, was enrolled by her mother for day care.* She sent me SMS that our girl was to start school Tuesday. How time flies. And Tuesday afternoon when I called Ta, Faith also spoke with me and enthusiastically reported that she’s now a big girl because she is already in school and she has a new set of uniform and crayons and books and new friends. ~Sigh.~ How time flies. And I wasn’t there for her first day. 😦 But at least Ta was there to bring her to the day-care center. Then, last night, another SMS came from Faith’s mother, informing me that the little one was chosen to dance for a program held at the end of the month in the day care. I won’t miss it for the world.


Ta has discovered supermoto. Each Sunday for the past three weeks, with some of my college years barkada and other speed freaks, they flock to Valencia’s oval** to ride several laps around the track, pitting each other’s skills in steering around the grassy, sometimes muddy circuit. He still overshoots his mark because the motorcycle doesn’t have front brakes installed and the wheels are near-bald.

There’s is a race scheduled as one of the highlights of the town fiesta this October, and Ta has set his mind on participating — that on top of being a rider for the annual downhill mountain bike race. My only complaint is that after practicing for downhill and supermoto, he seldom has energy for other things (*wink*).


As for myself, I am now living away from my beloved hut in the midst of the tropical jungle. I miss the frogs that sing their guttural songs, the buzzsaw call of the cicadas emerging from their more than a decade hibernation, the fist-sized bugs and creepy crawlies, the flowers, all the greenery.

I got a small room (2 m x 3 m) near The Shoe Factory. Hopefully, this will save me a few pesos considering that I won’t be consuming that much fuel anymore. Grn! When would this crisis stop?!

Consider a bed and breakfast place. That’s the feeling that I got the first time I checked out the place. The boarding house has eight rooms, or doors, lined in two rows. My door is farthest from the wash/kitchen/bath area; I have to walk down the hall in order to brush my teeth or pee. But I am not complaining much because each door has its respective bathroom. This is the most important factor that I looked for while house-hunting. Even if a boarding house has a jumbotron in the common living room or each room is equipped with airconditioning, footlockers, and personal masseuse but I have to share a toilet and compete for bathroom time with two dozen other people when my bladder is about to burst, it just doesn’t seem a very attractive prospect for me.

It’s been years since I’ve lived by myself (I left home when I was sixteen to attend college in Dumaguete, which is more than an hour’s flight away from Manila), and the current arrangement somewhat brings back those college days. I now sleep on the bottom deck of a double-decker bed; I’ve stowed most of my stuff on the top deck. My morning coffee gets boiled in a stainless steel heating pot that I also use to cook my instant noodles. I’ve stocked on bananas and soda crackers in an attempt to economize on the foodstuff. When I go to the bathroom, I carry my toiletries in a plastic basket — I am still paranoid when it comes to leaving stuff in the toilet.

There’s still a bit of problem with water. The town where The Shoe Factory sits does not have a constant water supply. A pump sits in a neighbor’s yard and they are kind enough to let the boarders like myself get water there. So each morning, I go there with a tiny pail, with the lines of Belle’s song about provincial life traipsing in my head, and I exert my biceps and triceps, getting a fairly good workout from the rusty water pump. Goodness knows I also need the exercise. Then, a bit of weightlifting ensues as I haul my first pailful to my bathroom, deposit the water in the bigger pail, return to the pump and then repeat the process three or four times. I may get tired of doing this in the future but for now, I am enjoying the novelty of it.

Drinking water is much more complicated to procure. The first day, the landlady assured me that the water from the tap was safe to drink, and I, trusting but not used to the local water, tried a glassful of it that sent me to the banyo with a rebellious stomach. This morning, I worked out a system that is composed of taking my empty water bottles to the town market (2 kilometers away) and use the coin-op water-dispensing machine there.*** Ten pesos yields three liters of potable liquid that’s good for two days. I should get a bigger water container next time to save on trips to and from the market.

Three days into living alone and with no other diversion other than reading El Filibusterismo, I’ve caught myself talking to myself. Maybe I should get a radio or something.


And how have you been lately?

*Faith has been with her mother for a week when I moved near The Shoe Factory. She was feeling lonely with the grown ups in our house because they won’t always play with her. She has her little brother, now a year old, for her playmate in her mother’s house so we sent her there for the meantime.

**A former track-and-field race track that was abandoned for many years. Owing to its secluded location in the outskirts of town, the place had been a favorite venue for lovers who wanted time alone for themselves. Also, this place is where people took their goats and cows there to graze, taking advantage of the lush vegetation that grew unhampered over the years.

***I’ve noticed the coin-op machine when Ta still drove me to the office and we passed by the marketplace.

Armageddon Come

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Major crackdown on renegades in The Shoe Factory yields devastating results!

This is it… The end of The Shoe Factory’s single source of happiness. As I write this, the Search and Destroy Elite Corps (SADEC) unleashed by the Unimaginative Shoemakers have closed in on the the clandestine operations of renegade elves who were attempting to discover the true answer to the meaning of life.

Minutes away from the online discovery of the purest answer to the age-old question as to what it means to exist as one does in this world at this day and age, the SADEC swooped down the production line where some elves have sandwiched a few minutes of their work hours each day to dip into the portals of the WWW to work out the answer to the question mentioned above and to use it as a means of short reprieve from the toil of assembling purple sequined shoes embellished with bright orange tassels (the bestseller, the Unimaginative Shoemakers have proclaimed).

In the SADEC’s latest raid, headed by a newly sworn in commander and armed with the deadliest spyware that The Shoe Factory could afford, the carefully hoarded caches and favorite sites were filtered, saved as evidence, and classified RESTRICTED. Any more attempts to access these blocked sites would now earn an elf the luxury of spending a forthnight alone in a cold sunless cell where s/he will be forced to subsist on stale bread and tepid water; every other day the offender will be paraded around the Enchanted Bamboo Forest bearing the sign “Inciting Sedition: Don’t Do This At Home“; and every afternoon for the term of incarceration, said offender will be given fourteen lashes to serve as an example to others of what happens to anybody meddling with nonshoe-related activities. On top of this, the offender is still expected to produce his/her daily quota of purple sequined shoes embellished with bright orange tassels, which is fourteen pairs per day, minimum.

Tough times. Would this prevent other elves from circumventing the barriers in this sad factory?

A quote comes to mind from the Hacker Manifesto:

You may stop this individual, but you can’t stop us all.

That Doodle…

Just came back from jogging all over my blog neigborhood, and I can’t help but notice one thing: Where is everybody?

Could be that

  • the blog infection is wearing off;
  • there is a major power outtage in the area where those bloggers live, preventing them from posting; or
  • they are busy with opps for their bread and butter.

Still, the Doodle managed, again, to rattle the chains of my shackles with his take on waiting. Yes, Master Joh, I pity myself too, for waiting for goodness knows what.

Shall life happen still?


To all happy campers, pardon the gloom and doom of this and past posts. As soon as I up the dosage of my Vitamin B complex, I’d be happy as a lark again. But that’s NOT saying that I am a junkie.

this post will work for food

Well, I’ve moved out.

Poverty could make you take the plunge into the unknown, the unfamiliar, the abyss, the gaping maw, the… enough of this.


Here goes.

Economic forecasters have predicted continued price hike of basic commodities in the coming days, owing to the per barrel price of the liquid gold that is petrol, the legacy of the dinosaurs and the giant ferns of the Mezosoic era, which is hitting nearly $200 at the time of writing.

So, yeah, I’ve moved out of my comfort zone and am presently resigned to the fact that I am stuck in this j-o-b.

Would it be a happy pill for anyone if I share the news I’ve read last week that has a grim outlook for my generation? That, because of the worldwide economic bad hair day, people my age are the first of the generation that would not be earning more than my parents when they were my age? That we’d be lucky enough to land jobs, no matter how unsatisfying or no matter how crappy the terms of employment are?

I feel the prediction looming ominously in the horizon.

I can definitely feel the crush. All around me I see ads for jobs but no one’s getting hired. Five years’ experience required. Referrals from previous employers, employee background check. Even fast food joints won’t hire anybody who has no college education. And others spend years getting their M.A.s and Ph.D.s, hoping that the higher the degree they’ve attained, the better the job offers are.


Ok, that’s over.

I guess I’m delirious.

The truth is, I’m broke. And payday is days and days away. I shall, in the new room that I am renting out, subsist on instant noodles, soda crackers, and tepid water.


That’s it. I’m not expending more energy on this rant. It makes me hungrier.

State of the Nation

Our country’s economy is floundering.

Sink or swim. We could only wait and see. No lifeguards to the rescue. All nations around the world are victims of the same shipwreck. And all are saving their own asses, desperate to get to shore.

Due to the almost-weekly increase in fuel prices and the consequent increase in the prices of all commodities, economizing has crept up in almost everyone’s vocabulary.

(an aside: the latest increase has given me heart palpitations! but then again, it must be the coffee).

Along this vein, it seems that extreme frugality, although long espoused by a handful of people I know,  along with skimpy clothing, has become the theme of the current lifestyle of more and more people across the country and the globe.

The following examples are some people’s attempts at beating the skyrocketing prices.

One lady saves shampoo costs by watering down an entire bottle of her favorite toiletry and making a 150-ml bottle last for three months. She estimates that she saves around 120 pesos by doing this.

A mother of three budgets her weekly ration of spices by dividing a regular-sized onion into seven sections, marked with a felt-tip pen. One section is for Monday, another is for Tuesday… well, you get the idea.

There’s a family, five people in all, who buys an entire kilo of dried salted fish. They go for around a month and a half on that ration, foregoing any fresh viand, except for the occasional pot of green leafy vegetables they may pluck from their tiny backyard garden.

A guy, in order to save on shampoo, soap, water, and electricity, bathes just every after three days. But he still consumes a larger volume of cologne compared with the time in the past when he still used to bathe regularly.

A letter sender, whose letter was published in a newsletter about frugality, says that he saves around a few dollars (the newletter is US-based) a month by using just one perforated section of toilet paper each time he does his business in the loo. (Ewwwwwww!)

Okay, I understand that these are desperate times and that people will resort to desperate measures in order to survive. But perhaps practicality still needs to be considered. Or is it just me thinking this way? Should it be that for the sake of survival and existence, nutrition, well-being, hygiene, personal comfort and security be sacrificed?

In any case, Tata and I will be house hunting today. We decided that for the time being, while the country’s economy is still undergoing a slump and the resolution level for this crisis is still as low as the Marianas Trench is deep (which means near forever), I’d rent a room near the office. Happy though I am to drive down the tropical jungle in any weather condition, doing it daily does not cut it anymore. We’ve calculated the costs and decided that a boarding house would be more feasible than spending for gas daily. We’d be able to save a couple of thousand a month (I hope) just by eliminating the fuel cost.




Meme Brigade: Q&A

Gracey, of jeffreyandgracey, tagged me for this.

Here are the rules:
1. Add your blog/s to the list. Feel free to add all your other blogs. It’s okay if you only post this question in one blog as long as you answer them.
2. Get back to YEN and will add your blogs to the master’s list here! Yup, another linking thingy but this one has 15 questions and you get to enjoy answering them too!
3. Tag as many friends online you know. But you don’t need to be tagged in order to join.

Now on to the heart of the tag:

The Questions

1. When you buy a greetings card, are the words or the picture more important to you? The picture tells the story.

2. What’s your favorite kind of cake? I have yet to taste the best mocca cake.

3. Do you ever make gifts for people, if so what, or do you buy them? Both. But expect something personalized when I have the time to make them.

4. What’s your favorite holiday? Yuletide. 12 days of Christmas. Yey!

5. Are you going on holiday this year? Erm, with the Shoe Factory tightening the noose on absences, and with the “privilege” of non-consecutive 5-day paid absence bestowed to regular elves, which includes the sick leaves and birthday leaves, I strongly doubt it. Still, if my Fairy Godmother is listening, a week in Camiguin Island would be very much welcome. 

6. What was the best party you’ve ever been to? A Christmas dinner in a S.C. justice’s (name witheld to protect identity) house, where the host got very drunk on his own red wine that he ended up donating 100K to charity on the spot. Free food and liquor the whole night. No orgies.

7. If you are married, describe your wedding. If not, what would your ideal wedding be like? I don’t know how to answer this one. But if push comes to shove, it would be in a garden just as the Sun breaks off from the clouds’ embraces. No long white train, please.

8. What’s the most romantic thing that’s ever happened to you? Valentine’s dinner by candlelight on top of a water tower. The main course was canned sardines and cold rice, sans silverware.

9. What’s your favorite girl’s name? Alexa.

10. What’s your favorite boy’s name? Matthias.

11. Which celebrity would you like a dream date with? Right now? Jake Gyllenhaal. Can this be accommodated in a week’s time?

12. Which female celebrity do you find beautiful? Nicole Kidman.

13. Which male celebrity do you think is attractive? See answer to question # 11.

14. What is your best character trait? I have harnessed the powers of the universe to help me learn to be happy in the moment. *Tee-hee*

15. What is your worst habit? Picking my nose in front of complete strangers (Joke!). Chronically disorganized in thoughts, words, and deeds.

 I’m passing this on to Lurchie, Ehn-ehn, and Nilroz.

1. Me and Mine 2.Creative In Me 3.Little Peanut 4. Pea in a Pod 5. Sugar Magnolias 6. 6. A Life in Bloom 7. Because Life is a Blessing 8. Nita’s Random Thoughts 9. Nita’s Corner 10. Nita’s Ramblings 11. Thomas Web Links 12. Thomas Travel Tales 13. Great Finds and Deals 14. Make Money Online 15. Recipe Collections 16. My Wandering Thoughts 17. Filipino Online Community 18. Famous Lyrics Collections 19. Thomas Digital Services 20. Bohol Paradise 21. PRC Board Exam Results 22. My Paperless Writings 23. As The World Turns 24. My BIG Picture 25. When Silence Speaks 26. Felicity’s Vision 27. Bienvenue `a la Noryfel 28. Inday’s Kitchen 30. My Life 31. My Life in this Wonderful World! 32.Me,Myself+2 33.FunFierceFabulous 34. Supermodel Wannabe 35. kathycot dot com 36. 37. In Depth 38. My so called Life 39. Life’s Impression 40. Vhiel’s Corner 41. Anything and Everything in Between 42. Designs By Vhiel 43. Can of Thoughts 44. Artsy Creatures 45. Click Here To Forward 46. Filipino in Canada 47. Faery Dancing 48. My Safe Haven 49. Broken Coffee Cafe

Meme Brigade: What is Love?

I could start by saying that it hits you when you are doing an entirely different thing. That it catches you unawares in the most mundane moment in a workaday grind or in the most purposeless walk you take down the lane of unguarded contemplation. But it could be that you are busy chasing rainbows or trying to reach that proverbial unreachable star. All the same, whether you are doing the former or the latter, you are unaware of Cupid’s arrow hurtling down at 350 mph from his cloud-covered boarding house in Olympus. And this shot is aimed at your thumping bumping ice-cold lonely heart.
And then it hits! The impact may be felt or unfelt, depending on your emotional state; it may be as a deluge of emotions straining to be unleashed from the dam of your self control, blowing your mind completely into the galaxy of irrationality, or it could be like a tiny hopeful seed — slowly growing, taking roots, coming up to the surface, spreading its branches to the heavens, reaching upwards until love itself blossoms and bears fruit.
It is a force that makes mere fragile mortals, cowards in other circumstances, become courageous — they learn to speak out and defend their cause. It can fuel the fires of creativity and imagination. It makes men and women alike try to achieve the best that they can be as individuals that have the divine spark within. It graces life with light, mirth, and laughter.
On the other hand, this force also ignites wars between kingdoms. It causes hearts to break from being unrequited. It causes men and women alike to drink poison and hope for better environs of their union in the afterlife. It causes a man to forget his aging parents. It drives a woman to betray her sister. It is the bringer of tears, bloodshed, and strife.
But still, as all the greatest stories told by humans since they began to speak have love as their core message, Lurchie (who tagged me for this meme) has maybe felt the truth that stood the test of time:
Love, in all its forms, does make the world go round.
And so, I hereby tag Master Joh (just this once because I am interested in what you have to say from a rooster’s perspective, hehehe) and Gracey of jeffreyandgracey.
The instructions are as follows:

1. Make a post with your answer to the question “What is Love?”
2. After the post, copy the complete instruction from *START COPY HERE* to *END COPY HERE* together with the pexlinks banner and place it under your post.
3. Please make sure you copy all the links and all must be originally intact.
4. After making the post, please comment HERE with the permalink of your post.
5. Please visit HERE every now and then to update your post with all the links of the participants.
6. Tag as many friends as you want. Share the love and receive love. We are hoping that spreading this will help us in our Technorati authority and maybe PR.

1 – Pexlinks Triple Love 2 – Pinay Mommy Online 3 – Momhood Moments 4 – Aerin’s Collection 5 – Deranged Insanity 6 – Anthology of Snippets 7 – Shenzee’s World 8 – Reflections by Mariz 9 – Miss Write 10 – Faery Dancing 11 – Chorva! 12 – Broken Coffee Cafe 13 – You’re next!


Broken Coffee Cafe: Best Propaganda Writing

Thank you, Master Joh, for the recognition you have afforded the Broken Coffee Cafe. I am humbled by everything you wrote. I guess it pays to be pissed off with the Unimaginative Shoemakers.

I have taken liberties in grabbing a picture from for the nice trophy to go along with this acceptance speech/post. And I am holding back tears of happiness (and, ok, humility as well) as I write this.


I wrote as I saw and as I felt, with a bit of embellishment from the devious imaginative muse every now and then, and never thought that there was something to it.

Dear Reader, the cafe is the recipient of a (soon-to-be) prestigious award for literature in cyberspace:

The gold medal of The Doodle’s Best in Propaganda Writing.

The Broken Coffee Cafe shares the honor of this recognition with Tamark’s More Than a Mouthful and Lurchie’s Anthology of Snippets.

I want to thank everyone who continue to order Broken Coffee, with the dregs and all.

Thank you for the comments, reactions, encouragements, and rants, that make me realize that even my nonsense makes some sense.

Here’s to all the propagandist bloggers (and all other sorts) in the www.


Tales from the Sideboard

First off, I apologize to people who stopped by the Broken Coffee Cafe these past few days and found that there’s no freshly brewed anything on the menu.

Passe and limpid as it may sound, I’ve been truly busy.

First, the operation.

Which, for the curious, went out fine. The doctor did a good job of it, slitting my knee open just a teensy bit and extracting the lump from it within the hour. Then the good doctor stiched up the wound, and, until now, I barely feel the excision point, which is now healing nicely. I had grossly imagined that I’d end up with a gaping hole smack in the middle of my knee. So I’m really glad that it’s a pretty neat work. The only drawback during my operation was the assisting nurse who made me feel nervous. She was an intern, poor girl. I was conscious the whole time, and when the doc asked the nurse to hand him the scissors, she did so with trembling hands. Only, she handed him a pair of excising forceps or something. The doc had to stand up and rootle amongst the surgical instruments himself to get what he wanted. I wanted to joke about the situation, but the nurse was so tense from failing in her first practical test that I felt she could inject me with pentobarbital and I’d wake up with my kidneys missing if I did.

Thank you, one and all, for the prayers and well wishes. I made it through. The stitches will be taken out next week, and even now, the wound is healing nicely. There’d be a teensy scar there, but that’s all.

Second, the time.

Oh well, as I am back in the Shoe Factory and was, last week, in the second shift, I can’t just ride off to some Internet cafe (will someone sell me a laptop at a bargain) with a just-operated-on knee and pour out my heart and soul onto the keypad of a PC. I was under the “recuperating” mode, mind. I saturated my brain with primetime goulash from the sole channel that our television antenna could catch in the tropical jungle. I had tone-deaf singers; a stuffed toy posing as a viscious wolf-human and over-emotic real human characters with computer-generated blood-red eyes that were so unconvincing; a crazy spin-off of a Korean teleseries that actually made me laugh; a reality show where everyone cries for one reason or another, or even for no reason at all; and the culmination of a Korean telenovela that featured characters with lousy martial arts skill and appearances as common as my next-door neighbors’ (where’s the thrill in that?) eating my hours away every night that I did not choose to be asleep by seven.

Well, this time, shifts have changed in the shoe factory, and it’s waking up in the middle of the night again for me for the next few weeks so I could get down from my tropical jungle home and fall in with the other elves hammering soles and insteps for the day. (An aside: The Unimaginative Shoemakers have taken to posting parchments of their announcements, thoughts, and rants rather than communicate with us directly. Shoe production has taken a nose dive to one shoe per day, at least in our team, mostly because of this.)


Third, and finally, all the other miscellany.

First day of the dawn shift, my alarm sounded. As I was reaching for the mobile-slash-alarm phone, I felt a sharp burning pain on my wrist, then an angry buzzing sounded near where my head was on the pillow.

It was a hornet! And an angry one. And it stung me!

It may have gotten in from the latticed bamboo slats, probably to take shelter from the rains of the previous night.

But my goodness! Talk about being an ungrateful guest!

Bless genetics because I’m lucky enough to be immune to hornet and bee’s stings and had been known to only suffer minor itching and slight swelling. The sting was sharp, though, and I woke up Ta when I yelped in pain. We had a bit of a battle of wills and wonts when he wanted me to down copius amounts of honey, as in the mountains, the home remedy for stings was honey. It was four in the morning and honey wasn’t exactly my idea of a breakfast for champions. But in the end, a compromise was reached. A teaspoon of honey was the only casualty.

So, Monday morning dawned bright and cheery, and a woman, all wrapped up in scarves and a jacket, with a hornet’s sting throbbing in her right wrist, shattered the morning calm as she drove down on her motorcycle from her tropical jungle home to morph into an elf and enter the gates of the Shoe Factory. After all, what would the world be without shoes?



P.S. For those who tagged me for memes, particularly Lurchie and Gracey, I’ll answer them soon, promise!