Divided We Stand


This is my favorite Marawi meme.  If I could, this  would be next week’s column. Just this meme, mic drop. But I can’t. I shouldn’t let my editors – make that award-winning editors – down. Not after the MetroPost got named the best weekly community paper in Visayas by the Philippine Press Institute for 2016, no sir. Not when an award-winning weekly actually lets me have a byline, no some questions asked. Congratulations, Ma’am Irma and Sir Alex! Y’all better recognize.

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Proud and Prejudiced

The Germans have a word for that unique sort of unseemly glee we’ve all experienced at seeing someone fall flat on their face. It’s called schadenfreude, and it’s been in the air since the results of the Bar Exams were released. While the provincial side dances around joyously to the Cece Peniston remix of Finally, the “Imperial Manila” side is going “meh, fluke, provinces are dumb,” and the rest of us who haven’t completely lost our minds are sitting courtside with bags of popcorn, cheering as flamethrowers are lit. Welcome to the Thunderdome.Read More »

Addicted to Life

Death as a concept was introduced by a slightly batty friend of my parents who had been asked to babysit. I don’t remember all the details, I just remember her earnest explanation of war and how everyone was eventually going to kick the bucket. I wasn’t ready. (I’m still not ready.) My parents came home to a five-year-old wailing her head off. I don’t want you to die! They never asked her to babysit again.

Realizing no one lives forever was my version of being told Santa Claus wasn’t real. Now that I knew life was finite, I dedicated the rest of my life to finding ways to prolong my time on earth without adding unnecessary risks.  Ha! I wish. I don’t smoke and I drink very little, but my true vices are sugar and salt. Both of these are just as likely to steer me on my way to kingdom come while a dozen nutritionists look on in horror, but what a way to go, eh?

Two weeks ago, Siquijor went from a quiet, untouched paradise to a scary, dangerous place. Two promising young women were cut down in the prime of their lives, all because a crazy bloke was running around tripping balls, leaving devastation in his wake. It hit very close to home, because this is the sort of thing that is only supposed to occur in a gritty metropolis, not a magical, carefree island like Siquijor. Most of the time we shrug off these scenarios, believing they will never happen to us or anyone we know.  Then tragedy strikes and it suddenly feels like we’re all just waiting for a piano to fall on our heads.

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Terminal Illness

I don’t quite get why we have to pay for the terminal at the pier.

I’m being disingenuous of course. It’s obvious what the fees are for – the x-ray scanner and the people who man it, the seats, the two large flat screens of almost nonstop travel tips (“To avoid getting seasick…”), washrooms, seats, air-conditioning. What I don’t quite understand is why passengers with tickets have to pay to get into the terminal before they’re granted entrance to said terminal.

The moment you enter the Dumaguete seaport, Read More »

Lizards on the Ceiling

I forgot how dangerous it can be to get rained on in the motherland. Remember how your parents always made sure you wouldn’t get wet, and the cardinal rule that states one must shower soon as possible if, despite all effort to the contrary, one ends up getting rained on anyway? I decided my constitution, having been exposed to snow, could weather a little warm rain.  WRONG. Do not get rained on in the Philippines, no matter what you do. You will regret it. You will end up with red eyes leaking gross stuff, coughing yourself raw for days. You will wind up in the office of  your old paediatrician and find yourself standing on a weighing scale, subjected to the double indignities of admitting how old you are and confronting how much you really weigh. You will get diagnosed with bronchitis. You will give kudos to SUMC for coming up with a priority number system that works smoothly. You will cough and hack your way through your entire vacation, going all Typhoid Mary on your family.

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The Hours

And so, after much chivvying by all and sundry (all and sundry being my mother and brother), I finally moseyed on over to the offices of Pag-Ibig to resuscitate my long dormant membership because “you’ll need it if you ever want a house someday” and “you need to take advantage of your benefits!” ad nauseam, world without end. Each time I’m home, the inevitable well-meant refrain. A girl can only take so much.

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Worth It

WOW! 😱 Check out the line for the #1stJollibeeInCanada! These guys are all geared up and ready to go! Stick around for exciting updates on the warmest, jolliest reunion in town! 😊

Posted by Jollibee Canada on Thursday, December 15, 2016

The first Jollibee in Canada has opened, and I’ll finally have an answer whenever Le Hubs says “Manitoba? What’s in Manitoba?”  I really, really thought Toronto had dibs, but I was wrong. You go, Winnipeg.

I can see why they’d brave the cold just to have Chicken Joy. Anything that reminds you of home is always worth lining up for. Do I know anyone from Manitoba? Can I please have a care package of nothing but Peach Mango Pie?

Lost in Translation

I saw the speech. POTUS was not the target. Still, it’s easy to see how a directly literal translation could be misconstrued, and Duterte Harry seriously needs to stop dropping the colloquial equivalent of the F-bomb because it’s way too easy to take that line out of context.  Can’t help giving the man a slow clap, though. Dude has cojones of steel.

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A Moment on the Lips

The heart is highly overrated. It’s easy enough to assuage loneliness and homesickness in the age of Skype and Facetime, but the stomach isn’t as easy to please. Forget the heart, home is where the stomach is. My parents know this, which is why they welcome me with open arms and loads of fresh mangoes, cuchinta, bud-bud and puto each time I come home. Food figures heavily in our hearts.

Most days, I end up making my own home-cooked meals. Not fun when you’re used to buying it at a carinderia but a necessity when a piece of fried bangus is easily $6. A bag of malunggay leaves costs $2.50 + tax. It sucks because it’s mostly ice (they freeze the leaves in water) and I cry in the shower when I realize I’m ponying up $2.50 for a bag of leaves I used to pick off a tree in our backyard at home. But there’s only so long I can go without having Filipino food and if I have to cook it myself, I will. Needs must. Our neighbors are Filipino, and sometimes the hallway smells like chicken tinola. It’s all I can do to stop myself from knocking, bowl in hand.

They have plans to open a Jollibee in Toronto next year. Read More »