The Sunbaked King

The Wedding Before the Stars (II)

A boy, about age 9, wandered from table to table, picking flowers and clutching them like a prince in search for a bouquet for his princess. He looked dashing in his long-sleeved shirt, which he wore under a cotton vest. The sight was surreal. But like everything else that night, it was magical.

Outside the pavilion, a group of polo players galloped in their chestnut-colored horses, intent in their mission to score a goal. The neighs and the grunts seemed to amplify in the silence that came before the music. It was in this short-lived silence, amidst the background of sporting noise, that my eyes locked with yours. They only said one thing: You came through for me.

An array of five expansive white draperies hung from the ceiling of the pavilion, their ends meeting at the very center. A constellation of crystal stars and sparkling snowflakes descended from this point. When light struck them, they first glittered and shone, and then reflected the light at several directions. When the music began, the stars danced with the beat.

Melody made way for Motion, Motion made way for Marriage, and Marriage made way for Majesty.

Melody: a ballroom tune that had been played in weddings for decades, but whose lyrics now run a special rhythm in our hearts; Marriage: a union between two souls, the merging of which may be painful and tough, but all the more meaningful; Majesty: you and me, me and you, together this night, bound by a common cord: our love for each other.

My sister wasn’t the only person who got married that night. Underneath the crystal stars, I danced with you, and we were together.

Filed under: Fiction, Yes?, Utter Joy

Seventeen

A COMMENTARY ON 17 AGAIN
Zac Efron, Leslie Mann

17again

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 raker_17@hotmail.com * 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
spark.com 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:

Andok’s
Bacolod Chicken Inasal
Chiggy’s
Jollibee

KFC
Mang Inasal

And the Favorite Thing Award goes to:

mang_inasal

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:

pepato

Pepato
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

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:

starbucks_tall_caffe_mocha
Caffe Mocha
Starbucks

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

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

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

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,
Kerwin

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.

Kerwin

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

Homebound: Single Guy Says Goodbye

You look at your watch. It’s 4 PM. The plane leaves at 6. You have two solid hours to roam around the airport, eat, and skim through the book you brought with you. It’s the same old routine, the road easiest to travel, the path of least resistance.

But somehow, this time, you just want to take a seat and look around.

The guy in front of you is fiddling with his laptop, muttering under his breath about how there’s no socket anywhere. He absentmindedly messes up his well-gelled hair in frustration. As he closes his laptop, his phone rings. There’s nothing but frustration in his voice. His body screams for release; his demeanor reveals nothing but resignation.

The woman two seats down is reading a greeting card from someone you surmise is her beau. Her smile is radiant and fills her face like a thousand beautiful Japanese lanterns. At one point, she tucks her hair behind her ear and giggles silently. You begin to suspect that the greeting card isn’t as long as she makes it appear; she has been reading it again and again.

Kuya!!!”

To your left, a ten-year-old boy is busily punching his brother by the shoulder. You are first saddened by the sight; your brothers mean so much to you. As the scene unfolds more clearly in your sight, however, you realize that the youngster is laughing as he “mock” jabs the elder. On the older brother’s lap is a puzzle book. Clearly they are having a competition, and the younger one just lost on a question. You wait for their parents to arrive (perhaps holding two Smokey’s frankfurters), but no one comes. The brothers are all on their own.

Philippine Airlines Flight MC5 flying to Manila is now accepting passengers for boarding.

The corporate guy, just finished with his phone call, looks at the plane with a hopeful look in his eyes. It’s just work, those eyes say. There’s something beyond the islands, beyond the seas, and I will find my rest.

The woman leaps out of her seat, grabs her bag, and rushes to the front of the line. It’s been too long, that jump says. The words from the endless exchange of letters shall now become reality, the words shall now bear fruit.

The older brother takes the youngster’s bag and carries it with his own luggage. With one arm holding the bags, and the other draped around the youngster’s shoulders, the two walk the short path to the queue. They have just left their parents and their childhood behind; it’s now time to be men and move on with their lives.

You smile. A tingling sensation runs from your toe all the way to your head. As you stand, a single thought crosses your head:

“Three.”

The future has never looked so bright.

Filed under: Domesticated, Eros, Fiction, Yes?, Utter Joy

01.03.2009

We are. 🙂

Filed under: Utter Joy