Gung Hay Fat Choy (?)

pagkagising ko kanina, bumulagta sa akin sa aming dining table ang isang tasang bigas, isang tasang suka, at isang tasang asukal. meron ding hindi ko malamang rootcrop at iba't ibang prutas. bakit may ganon sa lamesa? agad kong tinanong ang aming kasambahay at sabi nila, "Nilagay ng mommy mo." ha? at doon ko naisip na baka chinese new year ngayon o eve ng chinese new year. pero teka, kelan pa kami naging chinese family at nag-celebrate ng chinese new year?

unang-una, walang co sa aming apelyido, gaya ng tantoco o kaya cojuangco. sa katunayan, ang apelyido namin ay isang propesyon at hindi chinese sounding. pangalawa, hindi manilaw-nilaw ang aming balat...tan, pwede pa. at pangatlo, wala kaming factory, o restaurant, o tindahan. in short, di kami business-minded kundi mga karaniwang namamasukan lamang.

hay nako, ano man ang dahilan ng nanay ko, nawa'y maging maswerte at maunlad ang lahat ng Pilipino ngayong taon. pero sabi nga nila, ang swerte eh hindi napupunta sa mga tamad kaya tingnan na lang natin. kaya sa inyong lahat, isang maagang Chung chang cheng chung...este, Gung Hay Fat Choy! =)


bookstores and books

one of the things i love doing in a mall is visit the bookstore. or if i have to meet someone, the bookstore is my preferred meeting place. at least i wouldn't get bored or look stupid when the other person is late. i could just browse there forever, look for new titles, read the synopsis at the back of a book or just check if the title i have my eye on is on paperback (coz hardbounds are way too expensive).

during one of those bookstore trips, i chanced upon a David Sedaris book, Me Talk Pretty One Day. when i saw it, i had no idea who david sedaris was. i think i was in a somber mood that day and i needed something to perk me up. so i bought it, with no background of the author and no idea what was in store for me except for some comments at the back. it promised to be a funny, witty book, and i thought, just right for my mood then. on the internet, the author was said to be "a master of satire". the comments proved to be right about the book so i wasn't disappointed. in fact, i got myself another one of his books, Dress Your Family in Corduroy & Denim, and finished it in record time.

his books were more of the autobiographical type (which isn't my kind of book at all), recounting his childhood, family life, jobs, life experiences, his partner (he's homosexual) but all were written with humor in mind. it's more like a blog, but without the grammar errors, so maybe that's why i was hooked. i would have bought some more of his books but the paperback editions were still out of stock...so until the next one.



yesterday, i accompanied my balikbayan aunt and cousin to the greenhills tiangge for a little shopping. my cousin was very excited to go there after hearing so much about it from her filipino friends and relatives. everybody urged her to see the stuff they sell there, especially the "branded" shoes and bags and she wasn't disappointed. even if the prices were almost double from the ones sold in divi mall or 168, they were more than satisfied with what they bought. they were careful, though, not to buy too much fake bags coz airport officials are strict now and they might get fined, or even charged.

anyway, as we were going through one of the stalls, my cousin saw a pair of gym pants that she liked. i haggled for her but the saleslady wouldn't budge. she said the prices were fixed and wouldn't give even a P5 discount. so i told her we would get them anyway but she had to give me an official receipt. yes, a receipt from the BIR. i read in the papers that even tiangges or bazaars should issue receipts and it's my right to demand one. with arrogance, she told me that they indeed have a receipt. so i told her again to issue me one. that's when she told me, still with arrogance, that they did have a receipt but it's in their other store somewhere in the tiangge. i told her to get one and we will wait for it.

my golly, all these started when she wouldn't give us a discount! i just thought that since she wouldn't budge, i might as well ensure that they were paying their taxes. she was proud that they had an official receipt, but what was the good in it if it remained unused. she was just plain lazy to give me one. in fact, it wouldn't even be her who would pay the taxes, it would be her boss, the owner of the store. but then, it was possible too that her boss instructed her not to give out receipts so as not to pay higher taxes to the government. hay nako!

by habit, i don't really ask for receipts, especially in flea markets or tiangges. it's just a waste of my time when i need to cover a lot in just a little amount of time. but when there are salespeople who are rude, i make sure that my right, as a consumer, are not ignored or forgotten.

so what happened with my cousin's gym pants? we didn't buy them...but i memorized the store's name, which was, by the way, mimax or mimox, and looked for their other store somewhere in that tiangge. babaw!


chicharon bulaklak

last december 31, my mom went out to meet her friends for lunch while i was left home alone coz i was sick. by mid afternoon, my eldest brother, K1, and his family came for a visit. he brought with him a bag of chicharon bituka (deep fried pig intestines) and chicharon bulaklak (mesentery). no, it wasn't pulutan for new year's eve, rather it was going to be our snack and dinner, if it would last that long.

it did last until dinner, even up to new year's day, not that we didn't like them, but because about an hour after my brother arrived, my mom came home, also bearing wit her, a bag each of chicharon bituka and bulaklak! you could just imagine all the cholesterol those chicharons had and must be avoided at all cost, especially my mom. obviously, everybody in my family loves eating those sinful, fat-laden, sure-to-give-you-gout-attacks chicharon. in fact, when my other brother, K2, came with his family to wait for the new year, guess what he brought? chicharon bulaklak and bituka!

i guess my mom and 2 brothers were in the same wavelength that day. nobody asked anybody to buy chicharon bulaklak but everybody knew it would be much appreciated. saraaaap!



why do ants move from one place to another? last night, i saw a colony of black ants, around 5 in a row, as if in a procession, each one carrying a crumb or what-have-yous. they all came from behind the sink in our bathroom and were going somewhere behind a cupboard in our kitchen. the procession seemed endless. but i wasn't able to see the queen ant, though. probably she was in front, leading her workers (or slaves?) to their new home.

so why did they leave their original home? my mom said, maybe there would be a big storm coming so they were moving to higher grounds. i was thinking along the same line too, like an earthquake or something. as i was watching their progress while thinking of morbid scenarios, a member of our household started spraying lysol along their path. another one lit a newspaper and tried to burn them all to death!

poor ants. such hardworking fellows but often misunderstood. all they want is to have enough food for their colony especially during the rainy days, just like what one of the children's book i read said. if only man could be as hardworking as ants, the world would be a much better place to live in. and i'm sure they have much more to teach us than vice versa.

but i admit they could be really pests sometimes, especially if they feast on my chocolates!


only in the...

posted on the gate of a house:


only in the philippines!



bagong taon, bagong trabaho. sa wakas, may direksyon na buhay ko...yon ang akala ko at ang akala ng lahat. duty sana ako ng unang araw ng taon pero di ako nakapasok dahil bago pa dumating ang a-uno, nagkasakit na ako. lahat na ng sakit na maisip mo, meron ako. lagnat, sakit ng ulo, sakit ng katawan, sakit ng tiyan at ang pinakamatindi, LBM! di magandang senyales, sa isip ko. pero mas malamang, yung mga sintomas na yon, may halong sintomas dala ng pagiisip, ika nga, psychosomatic. sa sobrang pagdadalawang-isip sa direksyon na tatahakin, lumabas sa ibang anyo...LBM!

pumasok din naman ako kinabukasan. nag duty pa nga ako ng higit sa 24 oras. matutulungin mga kasama ko. alam nilang bago lang ako at lahat ng tulong, ginawa nila. ayan yung samahan nila ko tingnan mga pasyente, turuan nila ko ng mga style o strategy, bigyan ng tips at kung anu-ano pa. pero sa kabila ng lahat, lalo ko lang naramdaman na hindi talaga para sa akin ang field na yon. mantakin mong sa higit na 24 oras na nilagi ko don, di man lang ako ngumiti.

siguro para sa iba, first day blues lang yon. kung tutuusin, hindi toxic ang field na yon, kumpara sa ibang specialization sa ospital na yon. hindi lang talaga ako masaya. akala ko, kakayanin kong pagtiyagaan, makapag-umpisa lang ng training. pero hindi pala. ayokong matapos ang 3 taon na pagsisisihan ko lang kung bakit ko sya tinuloy. ayoko ring matapos ang 3 taon na di ako ngumingiti...tiyak, ang pangit ko na non. kaya minabuti ko ng umalis na, habang maaga, bago pa maapektuhan ang trabaho ko at itsura ko.

saan na ko pupulutin ngayon? malamang sa kangkungan. pero di pa rin ako nawawalan ng pagasa na maiisip ko rin kung saan ako patungo. pero syempre, di ko kakayaning magisa ito. kelangang tawagin ang Powers-that-be sa Itaas.


a prayer


GOD, grant me the
to accept the things
I cannot change

to change the
things I can

and the Wisdom
to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with Him forever in the next.


by Reinhold Neibuhr



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