Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Why I Love Being Married Reason #11

My wife prepares my school lunches. Today's menu: fresh garden salad. Of course, it helps if your spouse is a regular Martha Stewart. Your mileage may vary.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Poem: Scar

Something I wrote for a writing exercise during the Ateneo de Davao Writers Workshop.

Her nest of wounds
caught in a web of lines
that span her once proud face

Sometimes late at night
when she remembers
the spiderlings hatch
and weave new homes
of most intricate lace.

Monday, May 23, 2011


The Chicago Bulls played against Miami Heat this morning. We were waiting for our flight at the Mactan airport, and it seemed that half the male population was glued to the big screen showing the game.

Giant stinkbug

One last bug picture from Forest Camp.

Vacated termite hive

Taken at Forest Camp in Valencia.


Taken at Forest Camp in Valencia.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bug on bulb

Being neither botanist nor entomologist, I can't identify the plant or the insect. Still made for an interesting shot. Taken at Forest Camp in Valencia, Negros Oriental.

Spider web

Taken at Forest Camp, Valencia.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I'm curious as to how Camping and followers will rationalize The End of the World that didn't come. They really should take a page from the scientists and predict an end 20 Years From Now.

It's the end of the world as we know it....

I knew this day would come: that sooner or later, CD-R King, the champion of cheap, would start selling netbooks. This dubious device sells for P15,500. Not that great a price, actually, considering we can get other more reputable brands for that price range. Still, it's the beginning of the end. Soon we should be seeing tablets and such at our local outlets. And that's just...rapturous.

At the 50th Anniversary

This week found me--now with my wife--back in Dumaguete, just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Silliman Writers Workshop. We hadn't planned on coinciding our trip with the celebrations and we booked our tickets well before the committee announced the dates and activities. But as it happened, we came right on time for the fellowship dinner on the 19th and the gala night on the 20th.

Coming in just as the workshop was winding down, I feared we wouldn't feel as connected as we would have if we had come earlier. I needn't have worried: even without the reservations or even the advance notice, familiar faces bade us hearty welcome when we crashed the party.

Friday, May 20, 2011


My nephew Jerry has come to the age when his favorite word is "No!" As in:

"Jerry, take a bath na!"

"No Jerry take a bath!"

"Jerry, shoes off!"

"No shoes off!"

The answer to any question is ostensibly "No!" To test his resolve, I asked him a set of questions:

Monday, May 16, 2011


The folks at the 5th floor have an exhibit of e-waste transformed into art. Motherboards, mice, speakers, toys, and other discarded knick knacks have become tech sculptures. Looks kind of neat, actually.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Book launch

We will launch the Davao Writers Guild's two latest books, "The Best of Dagmay" and "Fractional Lives" on May 28, 2011, Saturday, at 3:00PM at Ateneo de Davao University.

To indicate your participation in the book launch, please sign up at our confirmation page.

"Fractional Lives" is a collection of Margarita Marfori's short fiction. The collection spans her writing career, dating back to her first published story in 1995 to new previously unpublished fiction. Marfori's quiet, emotional stories reveal vulnerable characters struggling with alienation and personal anguish.

"The Best of Dagmay" is an anthology of the best works of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama appearing between 2007 and 2009 in Dagmay, the weekly literary journal of the Davao Writers Guild. Appearing as a weekly insert and online, Dagmay has published works from hundreds of Mindanao writers. This book compiles 97 pieces from 77 young authors. Below is the table of contents of "The Best of Dagmay":

The Reunion

Emily's uncle Stanley, who used to work for NASA, flew in from Houston for the wedding. When he found out I taught at Ateneo, he asked if I could arrange a meeting with physicist Fr Dan McNamara, his classmate at Ateneo de Manila way back when. We went to visit on Monday, and narrowly caught the busy Fr Dan. It turns out there was one more surprise: Uncle Stan was also friends with Fr Francisco Glover (author of a widely used physics textbook). "Slim!" Fr Glover called out when he saw Uncle Stan. The three had not seen each other since 1968.

Say No to RH bill

Thursday, May 12, 2011

At Abreeza

It wasn't my intention to hit the opening of the Abreeza Mall, but because my in-laws had planned to go, I said why not? I even offered to drive the family over, despite the expected traffic jam. It would be worth the experience to see what the latest Ayala mall would be like on opening day.

Some ways before we actually hit the intersection, I already saw that my prediction was correct: traffic was bad, even as far back as the Dacudao flyover. Luckily, traffic was moving, albeit very slowly.

Finding parking? Well, that was another problem altogether. Again, fortune smiled. A pickup was leaving just as we pulled in.

"No Mentos for you!"

Emily's cousins from Manila. There's a happy side story to the wedding, but it shan't be told, at least not by me. Tee hee.

Husband and wife, at last

'Nuff said.

"I do"

A scene from the wedding ceremony itself. Our thanks to my colleague Fr. Denny Toledo, SJ, who celebrated the Mass and gave a moving homily tailor-made just for Emily and me.

Jerry and Me

Or you might also say, me and mini-me. Emily and I got Jerry as our little groom, so the tailor made us matching suits.

All throughout the wedding, my nephew acted out for attention. He clung to my leg during the photo session at church, and he invaded the stage just when I was giving my thank-you speech. I think that he must have felt that I wouldn't play with him anymore after I got married. I went through the same stage with my favorite uncle in Dumaguete.

I'll still be your playmate, Jerry, for as long as you need me.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Friday, May 06, 2011

Davao Readers Circle in the news

Chi's Easter book hunt activity made it to the lifestyle section of the local paper. I didn't stick around so I'm not in the pictures. I'm happy that they got my name right, though.


Another milestone on my odometer.

Last Night in My Room

I just realized that tonight is the last night I'm going to spend in my room. Tomorrow night, I'm moving to the hotel; the night after, well....

I'm going to miss this room. It's been my hideaway for the past four years since I moved back to Davao. Here is where I have my books, my toys, my knickknacks and my gear. Here is where I retire to add the end of the day, where I wake up every morning. Here is my bachelor life encapsulated.

Part of me says I shouldn't be sad at all. After all, I've bounced around from house to house more times than I can count since I was sixteen years old. I've never really stayed in one place longer than three years. Just when I thought I'd settle, I have to move. I should be used to this by now.

But...I'm not. Moving has always been pain: disruption and the uncertainty ensue. More than that, I've really grown to love this room, small as it may be.

I suppose I'll have to take comfort in the idea that I don't have to take too many things with me, and that, for a time at least, I can still come back to this room when the urge takes me.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

2nd Mindanao Toy Convention

Even with the upcoming wedding, I'm finding some slack time between errands. I took a detour to the 2nd Mindanao Toy Convention at Gaisano Mall. Now that they have the entire ground floor activity area, it's much more impressive than last year's. Kudos to the organizers!

The Other Wedding

Not long after I proposed to Emily, we set on May 7 as the day of the wedding.  A number of factors led to the decision.  My classes would end in March, so I expected to be occupied with work up until then.  Holy Week fell on the third week of April, so that left very little runway from March.  Two weeks after Holy Week then?  Ah, that hit the spot.

For the sake of tradition and just for the heck of it, we also checked with the Chinese astrological calendar.  The local temple wasn’t much help: when we asked, their charts for the year hadn’t arrived yet.  On a long shot, we checked if some Chinese calendar was on the web.  It was.  May 7, it said, was “a good day for weddings.  And for taking a bath.”  O-kay.

Having settled on the date, we quickly reserved with the church and with the reception venue.  Though the wedding was more than eight months away, it seemed the prudent course of action.  Churches and hotels and convention centers tend to get snapped up quickly.  In fact, we struck out on our first choice for the church.  It worked out for the best, in the end, because our second option turned out to be better.  We had better luck with the reception, though; when we asked, it was still available.

A good thing that we booked the venue when we did.  Not long after we gave the down payment, another couple came asking if the place was available.  We had beaten them by a couple of days!  They had to go somewhere else.  Emily and I felt so smug when we heard the story from staff.  Victory goes to the swift!

We thought that was the end of that, but we had one more surprise coming our way.  It turned out that the other couple and we moved within the same social circles.  You’d think that this shouldn’t pose a problem, but it does.  When we sent out our invitations, we learned that many of our relatives and friends had also been invited to the other wedding.  Many took the Solomonic route and split their family members: some would go to our wedding, and some would go to the other.

Still, it’s a blessing in disguise of sorts.  It meant that there’d be fewer people in our reception (as, I suppose, in the other wedding as well.)  Think of the savings, think of the saving, I consoled myself.

* * *

Emily and I briefly considered another silly superstition.  Should we send an offering to the Carmelites to pray for good weather on the day of the wedding?  I didn’t like the idea.  If it rains, it rains.

“Oh, let’s not bother,” Emily said, finally.  “I’m sure the other couple already made their petition for good weather.  We’ll just ride on that.”

Flitting through my mind came the image of a little rain cloud following our entourage from the church to the reception while the rest of the city stayed sunny and warm.  That couldn’t happen, could it?

Oh, well, the Chinese calendar did say it was a good day to take a bath.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


Only three more days to go before the wedding. Everything that can be prepared in advance we've already prepared. All that remain are the details here and there leading up to the day itself.

Strangely enough, I'm not nervous about the wedding at all. I'm taking things in stride, as are Emily and our families. We're ticking off the tasks in our checklist. So far so good.

I think I'm more nervous about the fact that I'm not nervous at all.

What a week!

Years from now, historians will look back to the days marking the threshold between April and May 2011 and shake their heads in awe and wonder at the week that was. 

As a spectator to events, I’m not sure I quite believe it myself.

Last Friday: Prince William wed Kate Middleton in a ceremony of much pomp and circumstance.  Not caring much for British royalty, I let the event pass with a shrug and a sneer.  (Prince William’s bald spot was quite hypnotic, though.)  Apparently for the rest of the world, it was a Big Thing, though I still don’t know why.  If it made everyone else forget about their troubles if only for a day, then who am I to object to their happiness?

Last Sunday: Pope Benedict XVI beatified his predecessor Pope John Paul II.  This I had more reason to cheer.  I had no doubt that the beatification (and I hope soon the canonization) would come to pass.  Blessed John Paul led the Church for more than twenty years, and his was an exemplary and inspiring life. 

Today: Barack Obama announced to the United States and to the world that Osama bin Laden had been killed in a military operation.  bin Laden wasn’t, after all, hiding in the mountains of Afghanistan but in a posh enclave in Pakistan.  Unlike the cheering crowds in Washington, DC, I don’t feel any emotion about bin Laden’s death; what strikes me more is the sense of closure as I view the events. 

Today, May 2, 2011, forms the counterpart bookend to the September 11, 2001.  Between them is a span of almost ten years; in that time, the world has had much pain and suffering, jihad on the one side and the War on Terror on the other.  I don’t think this solves the world’s problems and I doubt if we can claim, as Obama does, that justice has been served; but I can’t help but feel some satisfaction to know that a chapter in the world’s history has seen its end.

What a week, what a week.