The Sunbaked King


Zac Efron, Leslie Mann


At seventeen, Mike O’ Donnell (Matthew Perry/Zac Efron) was a god. Back then, his future was a very, very bright one. But one fateful day, his girlfriend came to him with news of her pregnancy and a choice. It was a difficult decision: he had to sacrifice his college scholarship for a life with his girl, one who he really truly loved. He chose the latter… and blamed her every day for 20 years for not being able to live the life he had sought for himself. When faced with a divorce, a shunned promotion, and two alienated children, he wished that he could redo his life over. One that perhaps ended with a happy ending, one that would salvage his life from the pit of depression it was now submerged in.

A spirit-guide granted him that wish.

This got me thinking: what happened when I was 17, and was there anything then I wish I could redo? Thanks to a nifty blogging “device,” I got my answer. Seventeen was one of the best years of my life.

When I was seventeen, I wrote my ideas on a Blue Feather notebook. Sometimes I used a black gel pen; sometimes I used a blue ballpen. Whatever color or type I used, I remember being happy putting down my thoughts on paper. Blogging then was almost non-existent, except for those who knew HTML and subscribed to sites such as Geocities. Longhand was the way to go if you were keen on immortalizing your angsty, testosterone-loaded, 17-year-old self. And that was what I did.

And this was what I wrote [I tried to replicate how the first page really looked like]:

guaranteed to jack you up — the faculty, zeke *

kerwin ray escape sentillas * kerwin, kerker, ker, min, wing, wingwing, ray, win
17 (as of the moment) yrs old * plans to die at 30, changed mind, now 50 to 60
 august 13, 1984 * 081384 * 13-08-84 * 13th of august, year of our Lord, 1984
5’4 and a half, less than 120 lbs * black eyes, big nose, huge head, thin stature
. . .
blue, brown, gray (fave colors) * hates violet, likes orange * idolize Joshua Daniel
Hartnett and Mark Wahlberg * infatuated with Britney Spears *
likes to be a model, seems like there is no hope * What
Dreams May Come, The Matrix, The Others, Lion King, Blair Witch Project 1 & 2, 
Liar, Liar, Entrapment, Hearts and Souls, etc., etc., etc., * never that honest *
Stephen King, Anne Rice, Clive Barker, Christopher Pike, Edgar Allan Poe, Peter 
Straub (authors) * Pizza Hut, Greenwich, McDonald’s, Jollibee * wants to be a
psychopath * wants to be a millionaire * openly closed book * Nokia 3330 *
contact me at * 09177019896 * … * Globe
Telecom, Personal plan * Boy Meets World, Friends, Sliders, WW2BAM, TWL, Battle
of the Brains * mathematics freak, so they say * writes badly or nicely * the analyzes and I am a Dreamer * submissive, introvert, abstract, feeler *
pop fan (boy bands, etc., etc.,) * Linkin Park fan * fan de sal and fan de leche *
corny, childish, cheesy, corrupt, careful, careless, contradictory, callous *

* sad, happy, scared, nervous, exalted, tearful, hateful, smiling, friendly, Kerwin

That gave a little peek into the person that I was seven years ago. Aside from the glaring fact that I was less than 120 lbs, a lot of things have changed about me. Some of which were for the better, and some of which were for the worse. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter, though. The wake-up calls, the enlightenment, the changes in mindset all contributed to the person who I am now, and the person I am now is one I am happy to be associated with. Mike O’ Donnell eventually realized that he didn’t regret the decision he made that day; he just forgot. It’s good that some things never really change. It’s good that some people never really leave you.

[Beneath all the gratuitous shots of Zac Efron, there’s a coherent story about second chances, and how we never really need them. It’s a feel-good movie best shared with friends who share the same “interests.” Hehe.]


Filed under: Cinema, Ra, Sunshine, The Couch Potato, Utter Joy

Yearend Series 2008: These Are A Few of My Favorite Things (II)

On to the second part of the Awards! It’s time to take a look at the favorite things that defined my lifestyle:

Favorite Restaurant, Prices Within Reach

The nominees are:

Bacolod Chicken Inasal

Mang Inasal

And the Favorite Thing Award goes to:


Mang Inasal

I’m a sucker for inasal. Mang Inasal’s chicken is especially special because the ones they serve are moist, huge, and coated with the most delicious sauce. The price is also quite affordable given the taste and the proportion of the meat.

Ma’am… Sir… EXTRA RICE?

Favorite Restaurant, Prices Beyond Reason

The nominees are:

Chateau, Greenbelt 5
Fish and Co., Greenbelt 3
FlapJacks, Greenbelt 2
Foccacia, A.Venue
Heaven and Eggs [not H&E], Glorietta 4
La Piadina, Glorietta Food Choices
Pepato, Greenbelt 2
The Old Spaghetti House, Katipunan
The Taipan, Philamlife Tower
Zong, The Fort

And the Favorite Thing Award goes to:


Greenbelt 2

When you get served an amuse bouche for the first time, it’s bound to be a treat. When you’re offered freshly squeezed oranges displayed by the window, it’s bound to be a perfect meal. And Pepato was all that and more. Great service, wonderful ambiance, and most important of all, delicious, well-cooked food. I’m eagerly anticipating a repeat.

Favorite Dish

The nominees are:

No need for nominees, this one’s easy. No matter what the restaurant, the Favorite Thing Award goes to:


Seafood Marinara

You know that question, “If you’re stuck in an island, and there’s only one dish you can eat for the rest of your life, what would you eat and why?” This dish is my answer. And I could just get the ingredients right there, just beneath the ocean.

Favorite Drink, Caffeinated

The nominees are:

Caffe Mocha, Starbucks
Caffe Mocha with Hazelnut, Starbucks
Passion Iced Tea, Starbucks
Signature Hot Chocolate, Starbucks
White Chocolate Mocha, Starbucks

The Favorite Thing Award goes to:

Caffe Mocha

It’s quite obvious from the list that I’m a certified Starbucks boy. I was able to complete the sticker thingie last year twice. Given that, I’m also pretty much loyal to one drink: Caffe Mocha. It has the right blend of bitterness and sweetness, it’s not too cloying on the throat, and gives me the necessary jolt that I need. I used to be a White Chocolate Mocha boy, but that was a tad too sweet for me.

As for my favorite non-caffeinated drink:


Calamansi Juice

I love sour, refreshing drinks, and this one fits the bill quite nicely.

Favorite Study Place

The nominees are:

Starbucks 6750
Starbucks Powerplant Mall
Starbucks Rockwell (Jungle)
Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Makati Avenue
Seattle’s Best Coffee, Katipunan Avenue

The Favorite Thing Award goes to:


Starbucks Rockwell (Jungle)

It doesn’t meet all the requirements I have in choosing a perfect coffee shop for studying, but it does hold a special place in my heart. Sometimes, good memories override any kind of objectivity. Sometimes, emotions trump the mind. (But that’s just waaaaayyy too serious for this post.)


That’s it, folks! You just happened to view the little things that made my 2008 a happier year to be in. Some of these may change, some may not, but we’ll never know until the end of this year. So stay tuned, kiddos, and watch out for the next Annual These-Are-A-Few-Of-My-Favorite-Things Awards!

Filed under: Being Blue, Bibliomania, Gastronomy, Geekery, Sunshine, Utter Joy, Yearend

100 Words

heaven + ground + storm + archuleta + happening + rejection + pasok + flapjacks + forgotten + incredible + california + hermit + games + good + journey + taipan + cows + single + knight + kaban + sunday + boob + four + wall + aisle + august + tomb + chris + iphone + entry + history + sassy + wall-e + birthday + way + breakfast + clone + sumosam + study + darkness + competition + poem + jacques + death + coffee + eavesdropping + contented + corollary + catch + atenista + eagle + embers + other + recovery + melancholia + retreat + one + sidebar + thunder + q + hush + coat + waltz + letters + exam + know + family + musical + incomprehensible + leche + minutes + comeback + comeback + universe + blast + joke + brothers + yearend + series + 2008 + 2009 + goodbye + forgotten + sing + united + nations + avenue + honeymoon + american + hopeless + rest + idol + night + honors + honesty + hot + half-empty + hee + hope + 100 =

100 posts in 100 words.

I’ve gone a long way, and there’s no sign of stopping.

I will never tire of writing.

Filed under: ...And Others, Being Blue, Bibliomania, Cinema, Domesticated, Eros, Fiction, Yes?, Gadgetry, Gastronomy, Geekery, Helios, Mindlifting, Ra, Rat Race, Sunshine, Testimonial, The Couch Potato, Them, TV, Untamed, Utter Joy, Utter Sadness, Vanity, Yearend


There’s something wonderful about walking across Ayala Avenue from the RCBC Plaza with a Grande Caffe Mocha in one hand and a tie firmly, crisply, set in place.

I know it’s my honeymoon period, but damn if I ain’t gonna use it.

Filed under: Rat Race, Sunshine

0990 United Nations Avenue (III)

Supposedly emailed last February 27, 2009. Never got to it because of these guys’ thoughtfulness. One surprise after the other, and when it was over, it was time for me to go.

Today is my last working day in Philamlife.

I started working for the Actuarial Department on June 5, 2006. I had my picture taken with Joanne, got introduced to the world of BorgChat, and discovered the joys of Mr. Choi’s cuisine. On Friday that same week, I wore a long-sleeved barong, while everyone else was in jeans or short-sleeved polo shirts. Joanne urged me to take off the barong and just wear the white undershirt, instead. I did not succumb to the urging. The day after, I was on my way with my new colleagues to Batangas, where Paul drove us, Adam and I exchanged a few words about work (“Maganda magsimula sa Studies”), and MK complained that she can’t enjoy the scenery when her bladder was “ABOUT TO BURST.” Midway through, the guys from Charline’s car texted, informing us that there was something wrong with our vehicle (trunk open? door open? flat tire?). We fixed it and went on our merry way. That night, I got drunk on that wonderful chocolatey Bailey’s drink and gin tonic, and tumbled my way to sleep. Not before getting to answer the question: “What do I think about Joanne?” To which I replied: “Siya ang tipo ng friend na babatukan ka pag may ginawa kang kalokohan.

Not a bad way to start a lifetime career. Not a bad way to gain lifetime friends.

And I was right about my response, Joanne was indeed the sort of friend who’ll reprimand/mock/tease/scold you when you’ve done something amoral/nasty/disgusting/wrong. Quite the disciplinarian, isn’t she? But she’s also the type of friend who’ll buy you breakfast in the morning; the type who will write cute little notes on Post-its when she feels like you deserve it; the type who’ll take you home from work in her super-savvy car; and the type of friend who’ll accompany you in making coffee even when she herself has already had a go (edited to add: and the type of friend who’ll make a Gossip Girl intro for you because she knows you’ll love it). I’m never shy when I’m with her because she accepts me for who I am. Jebs or no jebs, cleavage or no cleavage, whatever the iota of difference from hairstyle to hairstyle may be, she will forever be a seatmate in my heart. She’ll occupy the space next to the aorta, inside the right ventricle….

….because space has to be given to my other seatmate, the one that came before her, the one and only Adam. I don’t know how else to put it, but this not-weird-but-gifted geek-in-the-pink saved me. During the times that I struggled in Studies, back in the days when all I could write was a single bullet point in a single day, he guided me. During those times that I was depressed because I doubted myself that I could never live up to his, or Paul’s, or Jose’s shining precedents, he reassured me. And even when he was no longer by my side and I was alone (and that was a sad, sad day), he still reached out two floors down to assist me. Never have I known a person with such desire to help others. And he does it… because he can.

Together, we were a formidable team. Something definitely clicked when the Younglings came together. We used to joke around about the department having Eons or Ages (the Age of Silence, the Age of Romance, the Exodus, etc.). I definitely think that that was a Golden Age, a wonderful time when there were rainbows and puppies and red bikes and cute little pony princesses. And that Age continues to resonate until the present, because the bond we formed is definitely strong. Nothing can tear us apart.

Friends, thanks for making my last day special.

In the words of Adam, it’s not goodbye, it’s just goodbye for now.

Bansy/Boks/Chava Nation card-carrying member,

Filed under: Rat Race, Sunshine, Testimonial, Utter Joy, Utter Sadness

0990 United Nations Avenue (II)

Emailed last February 27, 2009.

Today is my last day in this Company.

The first time I stepped into this building, I was met with both suspicious and sympathetic looks from people from the 3rd floor. I called some random Company office number that morning, having no idea whatsoever about the more minute details of the Management Associateship Program. Imagine my surprise (and horror) to be told that the Mappers [that’s how we were called] were already in the Training Pavilion, getting briefed about the program. Needless to say, I took a quick bath, hailed a cab, and rushed into the office. And when I arrived at the 3rd floor, I got the S&S looks I mentioned earlier.

It was April 2005, 2 months before the program even started. There were a bunch of new faces in the Training Pavilion, all right, but they were Student Trainees, not Mappers. I had stumbled into the Student Training Program. I called the head of recruitment, told her about my predicament, and was told to do the medical since I was already there. I did as I was told. Hours later (I had a hard time peeing– I drank Coke and orange juice to get it flowing), I went back up to the 3rd floor, met my mentor, and signed the contract. My deal with the devil was formalized that sunny morning of April 2005. I was now officially a Mapper.

A few weeks later, I met the most amazing, most empowered, most brilliant women I’ve met in my entire life.

They are unique friends for two important reasons: 1) I would never have thought of being so close with them, given how much scared I was of “powerful” women back in the days when I studied in school; and 2) They’re wonderful people. Pure and simple. I never felt unease whenever I was with them, making me wonder what it was that I was so scared of back in the day. Sure, they talked about brassieres and cup sizes and camel toes and waxing and getting wasted on a weekday and Pap smears at the back of vans and networking and wrote alternately on laptops and yellow pad papers, but they also gave out Willy Wonka Nerds when they liked you. And I think they liked me. For which I am glad.

Times have moved on, the world has moved on, and we are now on different courses in our lives. As we travel each separate path, we look back and see, that in a distance not so far away, our paths converged once upon a time. I look back at that point with happiness mixed with a tinge of sadness. Those were simpler times. Those were simpler joys. Those were simpler circumstances.

This isn’t a goodbye, just a goodbye for now.


Filed under: Rat Race, Sunshine, Testimonial, Utter Joy, Utter Sadness

Homebound: The Gift of Brothers


Friends and acquaintances have often commented on the strange closeness that my brothers and I share. I don’t blame them. From an outsider’s point-of-view, it is weird. Certainly, it isn’t common to see three brothers taking pictures in Van Gogh’s Studio in TimeZone together; or eagerly anticipating the late-night edition of Jeopardy to compete with one another; or giving group hugs every few minutes or so. And while these activities may sound extreme, we certainly bestow above-average attention and affection to one another.

The closeness would sound even odder given our considerable age gaps. Four years separate me from Kuya; seven in Kenneth’s case. So between my older brother and my younger brother, eleven gaping years lie. A decade is more than enough to establish different mindsets, different environments, different likes and dislikes. Conflicts are inevitable. Chaos is sure to ensue.

Distance is another factor that should have been an issue but isn’t. I was the first to fly the nest, so to speak, when I went to Manila for college way back in 2001. Kenneth followed six years later in 2007 when he went to Los Banos. Besides the semestral breaks and the Christmas breaks, we pretty much never had the opportunity to be complete as a triumvirate. If the age gap didn’t do its job of alienating us from one another, the geographic differences surely would have done it.

Add to these the fact that our parents implemented varied styles of parenting for each of their kids (some with belts, some with monggo beans, some with broomsticks), and the result should have been World War: Family Edition.

But we turned out okay. We turned out to be each other’s best friends. We turned out to be the best brothers any one can ever be. The reasons for our bond are much vaguer than the reasons why we shouldn’t be close, but they’re strong enough to withstand the tests of time and distance. Never mind the comments, they’re mostly positive, anyway. I’m just glad.

With the triumvirate complete, the Sentillas household is at its most alive once again.


Filed under: Domesticated, Ra, Sunshine, Testimonial

Homebound: The Joke of Rain

Twelve Days of Christmas [Vacation]
December 24, 2008 – January 4, 2009

It all began with the rain.

The downpour of rain was unexpected. Given the way the sun baked my skin that morning, rain was the last thing I could possibly worry about. Even as I made my way to Powerplant, bought Trivial Pursuit for my trivia-loving brothers, and went back to the boarding house, the sky was as clear as any. I took the clear skies as a sign: one of blessings, one of good tidings. Under such auspicious circumstances, my journey to Davao was off to a good start.

Then it rained. Immediately, my mood swung 180 degrees. My legs were caked in droplets of mud, cars sped by a puddle in the road, splashing me in the process, and getting a taxi took ages. I began to worry about getting in the airport in time for my flight. The prospect of Davao seemed bleak at the moment. My mood was bleak at the moment. I was already at the verge of screaming at the passing cabs when one passed beside me on the road. I hailed it. He asked me how much I paid going to the airport. I told him that he should just use the meter; I’ll add some amount to whatever it says. He sped off. I kicked the cab before it left, got the baseball bat out of my bag, and broke the rear glass windows. (I’m kidding. But I could have, were I in possession of a bat.)

A few minutes and two wires short of a nervous breakdown later, I got a friendly cab. And with my luck turning just like that, the weather followed suit. The rain stopped. Message to the universe: Haha, very funny. The rain began just as I made the decision to leave for the airport, strengthened when I was waiting for a cab, and cleared when I was already inside. I don’t know what the time span was, but I’m thinking it was a little less than an hour.

All was forgiven, though, when I went inside the pre-departure area, ate my traditional airport fare (Delifrance Ham and Cheese croissant), and sat down to wait with the other passengers. Outside the protective glass windows, the rain gave way to a wonderful sunny afternoon. The light struck the ground, the walls, the seats, the luggage, the people’s faces, in all the right places. An almost ethereal quality filled the vast space. Within minutes after leaving the cab, I had been transported.

Even before the plane took flight, I was already home.

Filed under: Domesticated, Sunshine

Blast from the Past

Perhaps not in the unlikeliest of places, but maybe during the unlikeliest of times. It’s been 3 years and 2 months since Starbucks, the girls, and my second exam. That particular branch of Starbucks has transformed, the girls are all grown up, and I’m awaiting the results of my seventh exam. People change, circumstances change. And yet…

…I’m still strangely smiling. The universe does it again.

Filed under: Sunshine

Oh, Universe

Oh, universe.

I was all set to be sad and depressed the entire day yesterday, and yet you always managed to throw something at me to make me act otherwise. Why would you want me to hope? Why would you make me think that I’m living a wonderful life? Why would you delude me into accepting that I’m a lucky boy, after all?

Despite the fact that I was on leave the entire week last week to study for my exams, why would you send me only a few work emails instead of the tons I expected to meet? Well, I did receive a lot of messages in the inbox, but half of them were related to the upcoming department Christmas party, or inspirational messages for Christmas, or employee offers from our affiliated bank.

Despite the crisis that has severely crippled our company, why were there still a box of ham and a box of queso de bola lying on my desk?

Despite my past blunders as staff, why would you give me a boss who would complete almost everything I left behind?

Despite the several missteps I have done in my work for the past year, why would you grant me high grades in my annual performance appraisal? And what did I do to deserve the praises my boss heaped upon me? I am not the perfect staff I expected myself to be, so why did you paint a good picture of my work ethics?

Despite the lack of attention I gave my parents when they were here for a month, why would you allow my father to buy me the very expensive tickets to and from Davao? And despite my nonchalance and reckless abandon in using my credit card for my expenses, why would you allow him to acquiesce to my request of paying the said tickets in four monthly installments? This twist in events has greatly lifted a big weight on my finances for the month– why do this now?

Despite my shortcomings as a friend, why was I able to receive messages of consolation from those who’ve learned about my current disposition? Despite my inability to reward thoughtfulness with gestures of kindness, why would people remain to convey their comforting thoughts?

Universe, I am wary. Universe, I am scared. Please don’t give me all these, only to take them all away.

But for now: thank you, universe. Thank you.

I needed this more than you’ll ever know.

Filed under: Sunshine