Thursday, December 24, 2009

SHORT 2 - Brilyo and the Sparrow

I get updated on everything that’s happening in the Philippines through the daily news I get from friends via e-mail. I read an editorial from Jarius Bondoc of “Pilipino Star Ngayun” dated 4 December 2009. The article he wrote was entitled “Wastong Pagtrato sa Matatanda (The Proper Way of Dealing with the Elderly). Suffice to say, it almost brought me to tears. Below is my take on his story ….


Once upon a December one small family went back to their province. Brilyo, the family’s head, did not want to visit his parents as he thought it will just bore him, his wife and his son.

You see, Brilyo was sent by his parents to the big city to study college and since then has not come back to their home. He graduated top of his class and is now a partner in one of the country’s biggest Accounting Firms and lives in the most expensive condominium in the metro.

Every month, he gets mail from his father. He usually does not read the letters sent to him as he found them quite repetitive and difficult to understand. His father only finished 5th grade and his attempts at writing made Brilyo feel uncomfortable when he reads them. But unknown to Brilyo, every time he throws away his father’s mails, his wife reads them and replies to his parents in his behalf.

One day, Brilyo was surprised by his wife’s demands that they ought to spend Christmas with Brilyo’s parents. He tried to explain to his wife that there was nothing special in their province but his wife was adamant that they should go.

On their way, Brilyo’s son was so excited at the sight of the province’s scenery. Every time his son saw something he usually did not see in the city, he pointed at it and asked Brilyo what it was. Brilyo answered every question his son asked and thought “My son will grow up to be an intelligent and well-educated man like me.”

Brilyo, his wife and their son were greeted enthusiastically by his mother. His father stayed seated on the porch of their humble home as he found it difficult to stand. He smiled meekly as his daughter-in-law and grandson kissed him on his cheek.

Brilyo’s wife and son were led into the small nipa house by his mother while he sat beside his father on what used to be his favorite chair.

His father mumbled something and Brilyo asked his father what he had just said.

“What is that?” said his father, pointing at a small brown bird.

Brilyo sighed while rolling his eyes and said in an even tone “Father, that’s a sparrow.”

His father nodded slowly and looked down, thinking. Another bird perched near them and his father pointed at it and asked Brilyo what it was.

Brilyo gave another sigh and answered quite irritated “That’s a sparrow!”

His father nodded and focused his clouded eyes at something in the horizon. He was about to raise his hands when Brilyo shouted …

“That’s a sparrow! A SPARROW! I’ve told you twice already why can’t you understand? You have to be kidding me! You don’t even know what a sparrow is?”

He did not notice that his mother and his son were by the door. His son looked at him with a face void of expression and ran back inside the house.

Brilyo’s mother hesitantly went to him and said “Son, please be patient with me and your father. I’m afraid we are getting too old. Come now, I’ve prepared your favorite food.”

His mother heaved his father up and led him inside their house while Brilyo remained seated thinking he and his family shouldn’t have come back to his province.

Brilyo never spoke to his parents over the snacks, during dinner, and even while they were having their Noche Buena (note: a feast Filipinos have during the night of December 24 to usher in Christmas Day).

That night, as the crickets sang their lullabies in the cool breeze of Christmas Eve, Brilyo’s father died.

Brilyo helped pass time by looking at a peculiar sparrow perching on a window sill near him. He can’t help but think that the small brown bird was staring at him with its sad, little eyes. His mother and wife were inside the morgue while he and his son were waiting in the lobby.

One of the helpers went to them holding a small tattered book and handed it to Brilyo.

He asked the helper what it was and why the man was giving it to him.

Before the man could answer, Brilyo’s son said “I know what that is! That’s grandpa’s journal. He asked me to read it to him last night before he went to bed.”

He grabbed the book from Brilyo’s hand and started reading very slowly … as most third-graders do.

“Today I start writing my journal. My son will start going to school tomorrow. He asked what a sparrow was 24 times. I answered him 24 times, hugged him 24 times, and kissed him 24 times. My son is wonderful. He wants to know everything around him. Sometimes, I don’t know the answer his questions but I told him someday he will learn the answers himself and that he should tell it to me. I will do everything to give him the best education, even if I have to work day and night. I know he will be successful someday. I hope writing here daily will improve my skills so that my son can be proud of me as I am very very proud of him.”

Brilyo’s son closed the journal, looked up, and asked his father.

“Dad, how come everything grandpa wrote in this diary is about you?”

Brilyo started to cry as the sparrow from the window flew away unnoticed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

HUMOR; Life In 5 Bottles

I think the picture says it all ...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

On Swindlers and Texting

I received a forwarded e-mail from a friend which was about this guys blabbing to kingdom come about his friends almost being swindled by a person pretending to be him.

This struck a high-pitched chord in my cholesterol-coated heart string. This happened to me and my sister.


My sister first e-mailed me at my work account asking if I texted her lately. When I said no, she replied in a heart-beat that she was almost swindled a formidable amount of money by a person pretending to be me. I told her to tell me the WHOLE conversation so that I'd know by the syntax and composition if I knew the person who was using my identity to trick the people I hold dearly.

This was her uber-long e-mail (obviously edited and translated to English so that my non-Filipino fans can understand).


Oh my. It looks like I really am stupid! This was what happened. Last week, I went to Manila because our brother invited me to go out with his family to visit Ocean Park. While there, he asked me why we don't go into business like selling pre-paid cards on-board because 500PHP pre-paid cards sell there for 15USD. Come Monday or Tuesday somebody texted me:

SWNDLER: This is my new roaming number! I got Sim-Blocked! Text me here when you get what I sent! Miss you.

SISTER B (thinking why you were using a Globe number when I know you use Smart roaming): Driedfish?

SWINDLER: Yeah it's me!

SISTER B: You're fabulous! You've already got a great career now you have a great lovelife! It looks like R is OK with mom and dad, they told me he was brought up really well. He came here last week bringing some stuff because he said he just got back from a vacation in Baguio.

And to my surprise. His response wasn't the one I was expecting.

SWINDLER: Oh really? I want to start a business here, I'm looking for a partner .. the ìgoodsî will come from there and I will sell them here.

(Knowing that you'll press on the subject about ìRî, I found it strange that you didn't ask more details.)

SISTER B: And what business is that?

SWINDLER: Loading business! The 500 PHP cards can be sold for 1,500 PHP here.

SISTER B (I suddenly remembered what our brother told me): I only have 10K available, will this do?

SWINDLER: Yeah, that'll do!

SISTER B: Which carrier and denomination?

SWINDLER: Globe and Smart! 500!

SISTER B: OK, I'll e-mail it to your gmail account (thinking that there'll be too many pins to text, and that somebody else might see them in your office e-mail and use the loads up before you sell them to others).

SWINDLER: NO! Text them to me through this number!

SISTER B (Thinking ìAre you nuts?î, but ok, maybe you can't open your gmail or that you really need to sell some cards right away) OK.

SWINDLER (whose reply intervals where getting faster): Buy it now!

SISTER B (replied while one of my eyebrows raised by 12 feet): Are you crazy? I'm still at work. Later when I'm done here.

And when our office closed, I went to the bank to do an OTC and withdrew 10K. My phone went dead, you know my battery has a problem right? Anyways, I bought the pre-paid cards and headed home. When I was on the jeep, I suddenly realized you texted with a lot of exclamations (!), when I know that you are more fond of ellipses (Ö)

(MY NOTE: Yeah I know, it's weird when your sister knows how you form your text messages).

But then again, I was thinking of the 1.5K. Imagine, my 10K will become 30K. And I was planning ahead. I though, ìThis is great, Driedfish will send some money next week to pay for his Philippine-credit-card debts so he'd be able to include the money from the pre-paid card sales with his wire transfer. I'll return the 10K to my bank account, I'll buy some more loads with the 20K, and it'll become 60K. The 30K from that will serve as working capital, while I can put the remaining 30K in the bank for us, split evenly.î

(MY NOTE: You guessed it right, my sister is an accountant and she works for B.I.R.).

While thinking of this, I swear I heard a voice telling me ìThat's not Driedfish!î. I was so nervous I almost ran home.

(MY NOTE: This is saying something as the street that leads to our home is literally in a 45 degree angle, and my sister isn't on the ìSlimî side)

As soon as I got home I asked dad, ìDid Driedfish text you?î

DAD: You know your brother, he doesn't text when he is there, he either e-mails or calls. Come to think of it, he doesn't text when he's here either. He always calls! Just look at how high his Globe bills are!

When our dad said this, I felt all the effort I've put in climbing our road. I sat down and told him what happened. Dad started his litany.

When our Mom heard what was going on, she joined in and they did a duet.

Right then, the phone rang and it was our brother. When our mom told him what happened, he started a sermon on his own while on the speaker phone. So basically, there were three people talking over me and telling me how stupid I was.

Thank goodness Ate Bernie didn't call that time or it'll be too much for me.

While they were talking themselves hoarse, I plugged-in my phone on the socket. As soon as it turned on, guess whose text message I got first? The swindler!

SWINDLER: Were you able to buy it?

This guy is persistent, he texted me the same message like 5 times over the span of one and a half hours of my phone being dead.

SISTER B (after asking Mom, Dad and our brother what to reply): Mom is asking when you're going to send money to pay for your house. She said she wants to join our business.

SWINDLER: That's great! Tell her I'll send the money next week!

So that's it. I didn't reply anymore. But before I went to bed, he sent another message.

SWINDLER: Hey! Why didn't you text back?

The next day:

SWINDLER: Were you able to buy the pre-paid cards already?

SISTER B (trying to make this swindler salivate): Yes. Dad e-mailed you the numbers already because they're too many to text. That's 100 pieces of 500 Globe and 100 pieces of 500 Smart. Mom added some money to our business. (Imagine, that's worth 100K already).

SWINDLER: My e-mail isn't working! Send them through this number! Now!

And we all laughed in our office (I told them everything). My boss even told me it looks like it's fun to play with this guy because she can imagine the swindler shivering with excitement while texting me. The next day, he was obviously getting angry.

SWINDLER: Hey! Reply! Where's the pre-paid card numbers?

I never replied after the 100K thing but he kept texting. At first I found it funny, but later it was irritating the hell out of me. I mean, doesn't this guy realize that I already know his MO?

After some research, I found out that there were other victims here in SBMA. There's even one Manager from Chowking who lost 45K .. in a matter of seconds he transferred 45K via e-wallet thinking it was his best friend.

That's the story of my stupidity Ö

Love you bro!


Well, aside from the entertainment factor of my sister's e-mail, I think that it's important to share this info to people you know who have friends or family who are OFW's.

These predators prey on people who have loved-ones working outside the country (see how he phrased his introductory text? ìThis is my new roaming number! I got Sim-Blocked! Text me here when you get what I sent! Miss you.î).

Please help spread the word by forwarding this post to your friends and family.

And please, don't forget to quote my blog! I mean, hey!, I need the traffic here!

Lots-a-love to y'all!!!! And keep those comments cumin!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Back to the Twilight Zone

I’ve always told my friends that whenever I’m on my 6-month contract working on a ship, I can’t help but feel that I’m trapped in the “Twilight Zone”. It’s like I don’t exist for the whole time I’m away. This is probably because I’m so far from the people I care about the most.

E-mails and phone calls can’t really take the place of the good-old “conversation over dinner” with your family and consoling your friends that everything will be fine as you tap them on their backs while they vomit from drinking a keg.

When I got my flight itinerary, I was appalled by the fact that I was going to fly via Continental Airlines to cross the Pacific. I usually had Cathay Pacific which offered great food, ample space for your feet to move in, and your own monitor where you can watch movies and TV shows during your 14 to 16-hour flight. CA on the other hand was on the opposite side of the spectrum - the food tastes like it came from a public hospital, the space was cramped, and you have to have a giraffe’s neck to comfortably watch the movies they play on the projector screen.

Well, that’s coming from a person flying in economy class. I know the difference between the two airlines would be less if one was flying business, having his own cocoon and a steward at his beck and call.

As an OFW, it was great that they removed having us go to a POEA flat outside the main NAIA building just to have our certificates validated, now, you can do that on the special booth for OFW’s set-up in the Customs Section right after you check your luggage in. So it’s a big check to the NAIA Managment for that!

After I checked-in, had my POEA certificate validated to waive my terminal fee, and gone through Immigration, I went to my first stop - Tinderbox.

As this is the only place where you can smoke in the NAIA, it has always been the first place I go to as soon as I’m done with Immigration for the past 6 years. The drinks are fairly priced and the staff are accommodating. The cappuccino I had tasted like it was from Starbucks, without the unnecessary nausea of having to choose whether to have your milk, in soy, skim, full, or from a nursing mother with Hepatitis A from a third-world country. Sometimes, too many choice complicates things and Tinderbox is kind enough to save me from that.

From Manila, I went to Hong Kong - the only airport in the world I’ve been to where the escalators and conveyer belts talk to you.

From Hong Kong, I had a flight to O’Hare - Chicago. I haven’t been to that airport for around 4 years already. I don’t know if the “fiesta-like” lighting has always been there, but I noticed it this time:

I went out of the airport to smoke since I still had enough time before my connecting flight. An Indian guy went up to me and said “Shimasen, Konichiwa”.

That was utterly weird. I was in Chicago, smoking a FIlipino cigarette, and an Indian guy wearing a Chinese Budhist Monk outfit was talking to me in Japanese while pulling a hot pink luggage behind him.

I said “Watashi wa-karinai Niponggo desu.” Thank goodness I used to work for a small company sending entertainers to Japan so I knew a couple of Japaneses phrases that could save my life just in case I find myself stuck in Japan.

He laughed and said “Sorry, you grew up in America?”

“No, I grew up in the Philippines and I’m not a Japanese.” was my reply. I’ve always been amused by the fact that most Americans and Italians think I’m either a Japanese or a Chinese, while a lot of Asians think I’m either from Latin America or Italy. In this case, I think my fake brown hair did the optical trick.

It turned out he wanted to give me a book for “free”.

After skimming over the book’s cover, I told him I’ve always been interested in learning Budhism ever since I saw the movie about Tina Turner where she was chanting “Nam Yoh Rengge Kyoh” while her eyes were swollen from being smacked around by her husband in a limo.

After he handed me the book, he asked for a donation. When I said I didn’t have any money, he snatched the book out of my hand, said “God Bless” and hobbled away with his pink luggage.

I guess nothing really is for free these days.

After O-Hare, I had to fly to Miami Dade.

When I got there and was about to leave the carousel section to look for my hotel’s free shuttle, a cute guy who was wearing a “police-officer-like” uniform went up to me an asked if I were a crewmember from my company.

I hesitantly said yes, while an image of getting shackled to a 1-ton iron ball went through my head. When he said he had my transportation to the hotel, I thought that my luck was changing for the better.

It turned out that it wasn’t for the better ... it was turning worse.

Before giving us our luggage when we were in our hotel’s parking lot, he was telling me and the other Fipilipino guy I found already inside the van before getting in, that we had to pay 20 USD each. I told him that I know for a fact that hotel shuttles are for free. He said that he doesn’t work for the hotel and he was called by my company to pick me up. I asked him to tell me my name.

Ok, let me clear that up, I’m not suffering from amnesia, and if I did I wouldn’t ask a buff guy wearing short shorts for it. The only way I’d know this guy is for real is if he had a list of some sort with my name on it.

He pretended to look at the clipboard he had and shrugged. Then he said “But I know his name though!” and pointed at the other FIlipino guy I was with like he was a carrier of some viral plague about to set it loose in American soil. I said “Prove it!” and felt stupid when he removed a paper with huge marker-writtings of the Filipino guy’s name.

The other Pinoy guy can barely speak English and I felt he was about to drown in panic and misery. I told him that since I shared the van, we’d just split the 20 USD bill.

Entering the hotel was a bliss. Our company usually books us at Holiday Inn near the airport which was OK . This time though, we were booked at LA QUINTA HOTEL and all my travel hassles were kicked out from my consciousness.

I woke up 7am, waddled in the bathtub for 30 minutes, got dressed and went for breakfast. I stuffed my usually foul mouth with some great food (good thing La Quinta serves a lot of fresh fruit varieties in the morning, not just the usual American breakfast buffet).

8am sharp, the bus that will take me to my 6-month home/prison came.

After 45 minutes of listening to Beyonce’s HALO over and over on my iPod 3G Shuffle, I was on a que in the ship terminal thinking to myself ...

“I hope this contract won’t be as dull as my travel ...”

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

HUMOR: The Answer to Why Some Gays Pay for Love

It has always been a question I’m trying to find the answer to. Ok, I just said that to make me look intelligent. Honestly, I just got an e-mail that I think I can edit a bit to show through basic mathematical equations why some gays pay for love.



Gays need to eat, sleep, work, and enjoy.







In English, a gay man who doesn’t enjoy is a Donkey who works.



Ta sustain himself, a gay man needs to earn money.







In English, a Gay man who doesn’t earn money is a Donkey.



What does a callboy do?







In English, a Callboy who does not spend is a Donkey.



From Equations 2 & 3


In English, A gay man who doesn’t earn money is compatible to a callboy who doesn’t spend.

Ergo, A callboy spends so that a gay man doesn’t turn into a donkey (as per Equation 1).

So we have:


Therefore, with Postulates 1 & 2 we can conclude:

GAY + CALLBOY = 2 Donkeys who live happily together!!!

(Header Pic from - "Teens of Thailand by morrison55)

My my I'm 29!!!!

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday happy birthday .. happy birthday to me ...

God, I've just turned a year older but don't feel any wiser. I'm not old enough to worry about wrinkles, but I'm not young enough to not worry about where my life is headed.

Wish me luck ...

(Header Pic from - Birthday Surprise by tattereddreams)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

SHORT - Precious' Wish

I have officially started writing my 1st novel. Hopefully, when I get back to the Philippines by March, I’d be ready to give my manuscript to my publisher.

I’ve read in a book, written for idiots who want to create a novel that doing short stories will hone your storytelling skills. So here it goes, my first “short”, ala Jacob Ludwig Karl Grimm.


Once upon a time, in a Thrid-World Country far far away, there lived a young gay named Precious. He was born to a poor family in a poor city in the middle of a poor country. His mother, father, 3 brothers and 8 sisters had names that will neither be known nor remembered in history for they contently lived a normal and simple life.

Precious only finished third grade and had to stop to work with his mother, selling sampaguita on the street. When times were good, they ate twice a day. They slept every night on a crowded floor. Through all of these, Precious never complained for every night, right before going to sleep, his mother told him "Don't worry son, life will get better."

Though he didn't have money, he had something more important. He had a dream. He wanted to become the best beautician anyone has every seen. He hoped of helping people to look good, for Precious believed that if one looks good, one will feel good, and when one feels good, one will do good in life.

One day, four of his sisters got a stomach ache. After that day, his four sisters died. They spent all the money they had on finding a place for his sisters to be buried at. They can only afford one plot, and no coffins. While his brothers were digging the hole where his sister will lay to rest, his mother told Precious "Don't worry my son, life will get better."

After a week, four of her remaining sisters also had a stomach ache. Since they did not have money to bring them to the hospital, his father and brothers resorted to stealing as nobody wanted to help them. His father and brothers were caught robbing a thrift store and were shot dead by the police. The same day, his other 4 sisters died.

Precious and his mother went back to where his sisters were burried. There they planed to put the bodies of his other siblings and his father. While digging, Precious' mother told him "Don't worry my son, life will get better."

After a week, his mother got the same stomach ache that took his family away. Precious' mother told him to start digging their family's grave as it looked like she will join them soon. Precious started to cry but his mother stopped him and told him "Don't worry my son, life will get better."

The next day, Precious' mother passed away. As he did not have money to buy a proper grave marker, he looked for the biggest stone he can lift and put it on top of his family's grave. He then used a rusty nail and a smaller stone to inscribe an epitaph.

As he wiped his tears, he threw away the rusty nail and small stone that he had.

When the stone hit the ground, it broke into half and a wondrous thing happened.

From the stone rose a fairy as small as a thumb flying on wings that looked like a dragonfly's. The fairy was clothed in shimmering blue light and smelled of vanilla and sampaguita.

Precious was so surprised at how beautiful the fairy was that he could neither move nor speak. The blue fairy hovered closer to Precious and talked to him without moving its lips, "Your broken heart has called to me from where dreams and hopes lie. Tell me your desire, and it shall all be thine."

Precious did not need to think as his heart already knew what he wanted.

"I wish to be where I will never be hungry again. Where I shall not need to worry about sickness. Where I will be able to help people become so beautiful that they will forget about their unpleasant lives."

The blue fairy nodded as soon as Precious said his wish, and the wonderful fairy flew near and kissed him on his cheek.

Precious fell asleep, never to wake up again.

There he stayed forever with his family and his wish beside the gravestone that he marked “Life will be better.”

(Header Pic from - Blue Fairy Crystal by *Buninou)