2012 "lakwatsa" in Retrospect

Two thousand and twelve has been really kind to me. Looking back, and listing down every single moment, I would think that all of it aren't just ordinary days, or trips, or even work. There are no ordinary moments, as they say. Every single thing that the universe conspired has its own reasons. Whether good or bad, I learned to appreciate it. After all, mistakes shape us, and apart from these departure-arrival scenes that took over my year, I am very thankful for everything. To a tougher, wiser, and hmmm a lot less emo?! Haha

So without further ado (and before I say too much inspirational-shenanigan), and however late this post may be, I present to you the highlights of my 2012 lakwatsa in retrospect.

dududunn.**   ** * < )//''** o*
(not necessarily in chronological order but most probably will be in a chronological order.)



HKG
Location: Hong Kong
Hong Kong or 香港, in a nutshell is a place full of people with small chinky eyes. The family planned this trip the year before. Here, I almost lost my beloved film camera, met a really warm Filipino family and witnessed the play of lights amidst the skyrocketing skyscrapers of the so-called Commercial hub of Asia.  I went to the land of that big-eared mouse and Ocean adventure, which is, by the way, the best amusement park i've been to, after Enchanted Kingdom, obviously. I like the tram, by the way.... Hmm and the fact that they serve milk tea at McDonalds.



PINATUBO
Location: Tarlac
Who would think that this killer volcano has evolved into something beautiful? I still find it deadly though. I can't manage to swim past 10  feet from the lakeshore (I do not know how to swim?) But still, it's something one should experience here in our country.
The fragile landscape, the colors of a beautiful disaster, the risky trail, the dead silence of the crater inside this megalith, a bumpy 4x4 ride and not to mention the dreaded 3-hour horizontal hike above sharp rocks + under the searing heat of the sun.

This trip shouldn't be taken too lightly.

MT. PUNDAQUIT TRAVERSE //check out my post!
Location: Zambales
Probably my first "real" hike (gotta check this first from my mentor Ivan). Accompanied by the sun, good friends,  bottle of water and a little fatalistic attitude. This was day one of Ivan's birthday shenanigan, which, by the way, I really enjoyed. The varied landscape from rocky paths, bamboo arches, grassy slopes and the agoho-fied beach, this is one of the most visual-gasmic treks (well, aside from Pinatubo) that jumpstarted my career in what many call "pinaphirapan ang sarili sa pag-akyat ng bundok"
nb:  Kaso reminder lang dapat  magbaon ng madaming tubig.



NAGSASA COVE 
Location: Zambales din ata
We did not settle for that overcrowded Anawangin cove, so we took another boat to Nagsasa, a lesser dense camp-beach-hike-swim destination in this part of Zambales. This is where we celebrated Ivan's birthday... (Si ivan first time uminom dito. uh-uh yeah you've seen that alright wag na magkaila) Oh and did you know *feeling streetsmart mode* why those seemingly foreign trees ended up in the sandy beaches of Zambales?
No? Okay.

Well... they ended up there because mount pinatubo, supposedly blew the seeds away back then!!!



CAPONES ISLAND //check out my post!
Location: Zambales din 'to
Day two of Ivan's birthday shenanigan. I fell in love with this island. Even though it's quite hard to reach this especially during monsoon season, the reward of climbing it's lighthouse with a rickety staircase is worth it. A 360-view of the western seas and the rocky outcrops of Zambales is a sight to see. We saw couples having their pre-nup shoot here as well and I bet it's a really nice place for a wedding.

But... you've got to assist the senior citizens on swimming to the shore, climbing a 100-feet staircase and hiking for 10 minutes.

But still worth it!


OFFICE?!
Location: Secret
That's Rizal area on the background, by the way, in case you're wondering, and a little pan to the right will be Laguna lake.
Of course, the rest of the year I've been sitting on my workstation (-_-)"
But I'm enjoying it, don't get me wrong, because most of the time I witness strange but nice events through my glass window, e.g, a sudden dance of lightning, a shy rainbow, clouds passing through their private thoroughfare, blue sunrise, a window cleaner risking his life, and even the chopper that brought our former president to the nearby hospital.

I miss this view to be honest, I just hope my boss assigns me back to that workstation.



THE HAUNTED(?) DIPLOMAT HOTEL
Location: Baguio City
I was too curious about this structure before and good thing my companions from the Azalea residences team took time to checkitawt. I do find something creepy lurking behind those brittle concrete walls, especially on the empty corridors and rooms.

But i like it.
? - have yet to be proven







LA UNION
Location: San Juan, La Union
A moonset, my good ol' workmates, unlimited food (perhaps?), a hefty amount of beer over a campfire, gleeful crashing waves and even seeing the sun rise from the horizon while swimming in the shore, is just as perfect.

Surf's up!

TARAK RIDGE MAJOR CLIMB//check out my post!
Location: Bataan
Tarak Ridge rises bashfully along the lower side of Mt. Mariveles, in Bataan. If you've been on a plane en route NAIA coming from Manila bay, you can see it jutting just a few leagues from the Corregidor coast.
It isn't your walk-in-the-park type of adventure as tough trails, steep ascents and deadly cliffs are out and about.

But of course a rewarding scenery will be seen on top of the bald mountain ridge, and a strong sweeping wind curtain coming from Manila bay and the west can knock your tents down.


PICO DE LORO DAYHIKE (not to be mistaken with SMDC's hamilo cove)
Location: Mt. Palay Palay, Ternate, Cavite
It isn't a really good time for us and the mountain when we tried our first ascent in the twin peaks of Mt. Palay Palay. Aggressive clouding(?) were on our way and I didn't even get my photo taken when I was on peak 2 (selfish tendencies!!!)
Famous for its phallic rock.. er... monolith, i mean, the peak resemble a parrot's beak seen from a lower elevation, hence the name, Pico de Loro.

Pardon the photo above, by the way.

SINGAPORE
Location: Singapore
I haven't seen much of the Lion City but it's the people I met, the food that we ate and the environment that made an impression on me. I'm sure I'll come back here, not on an F1 race season, btw, for I don't want the hotel rooms charging an extra because it's freakin' F1 race season.

I still find this city, quite, maybe a little bit, or perhaps... lonely.
Saludo ako sa inyo, mga bagong bayaning OFW.

EL NIDO
Location: El Nido, Palawan
Hear ye' I present 't tyou! El Nido!
Like any other corporate (slave) person, a long weekend or a holiday will get your numb asses off the office chair. Yes, I'm one of those, and truth be told, a weeklong trip to one of the most beautiful places in our motherland jumpstarted my November.
El Nido is just a 6-hour bus ride from Puerto Princesa City. Cradled by the towering limestone rock formations and the cove, this little town (which is, according to a local, the birthplace of Katrina Halili) is a jumpoff point of everything that is eyegasmic. Hmm not really out of this world, but a place where you'll be in awe at the world's creations.
If you're into beach hopping, snorkeling while having lunch, a hidden beach, a secret beach, lagoon beaches, helicoooopter beaches,or anything beach, then El Nido is just for you. And --- a really nice foreign tourist stock going out and about. Feast your eyes, skin, and tastebuds, that is El Nido!




END OF THE WORLD CLIMB
Location: Mt. Palay Palay

And because the Mayans failed, we just hopped on a bus, took a long road to my hometown in Cavite and made a revenge climb to my unrequited love that is, Pico de Loro.
It was a very sunny day. Turns out that there was a weeklong dry spell and the muddy trail before has already dried up to its cracks. Everything was favorable for a revenge climb. I'm with almost the same persons who share the same love for mountains aka "pinapahirapan ang sarili sa pag-akyat ng bundok".
The day took a while, and as usual we were all tired but it won't end unless, I have a gazillion of photos at peak 2.


--
Traveling is a choice. Neither it is always an act of escapism. Going out there is an act of will, whatever reason you may have.

If you really want to try and see what this world has to offer with your own eyes, do it.
One thing though: Let's start on our own country. :)

For more and more escapades, and peculiar hours on the road! Cheers for 2013!

Happy Christmas!

6:00 pm, I took out my bike, plugged my earphones and started to pedal along the dimly-lit street of our neighborhood. It's Christmas by the way, and I can really tell that it is a whole lot different than before. Those houses that used to be serenaded by Christmas carols and flickering lights are now gone. Every house I pass by looked haunted, devoid of families that used to celebrate their Christmas at home. Probably everyone is enjoying their hard earned money in the consumer capital of the Philippines, or just chilling out in the sterile moneymaking malls.

I don't have anything against this, but it's just depressing that a lot of things has changed. The warmth I've been looking from a more personal and warm approach of Christmas, is now, somehow, replaced by the warmth of laptops, social networking, and mobile devices, e.g. (Facebook). What was once a day of hugs, handshakes, chatter, laughter, kisses, now became a day of virtual interaction. Sure, there are a lot of things that helps us connect by the dawn of the internet, I myself is an avid user and a victim, maybe. But this technology, when abused, can change a certain habit, a culture, or even a society.

Maybe I just miss those days when our family would just sit down the couch, listen to christmas songs or watch a movie on the eve and waiting for little kids sing their carols. A nice cup of hot chocolate before bedtime, and to wake up with presents waiting to be opened under the christmas tree.

And so, after those two hours of riding my bike around the neighborhood aimlessly looking for a thing that I don't know if still exists, I went back to our home and closed the gates.

Happy Christmas everyone!

Paper soldier


Eight days before christmas!

Technically it's monday now, and I still haven't got enough sleep. (There will be work this morning, and a couple of days before Christmas!). I am quite excited for christmas, by the way, apart from the gifts and all that consumerism stuff, haha! It's the only time I get to rest (mentally).

So tonight I just finished watching this underrated (but specifically awesome) one-shot shojo anime by Yuki Midorikawa. It enforced my overall appreciation of the yokai and everything that comes with it. Take note that I've been an avid watcher of his Book of Friends Series, so i am hoping I got the right background to support that. I am eager to do a review but I have no time!

Anyway, the illustration part is on full swing! I've been practicing a lot and trying different techniques in my idle time, trying my best to draw at least three per day. I'm sure I've got a long way to go... but there are a lot of inspirations lately, so I think this streak will take longer as it should. A friend said books now aren't that practical sources of design inspiration because we have the internet! He's right, to be honest, since I got most of it from different sites. Whatever I like, I just save it, study it and will try to incorporate in my design.

I was about to promise myself that I won't buy another sketchbook if I haven't finished the first one I bought, but I broke it shortly after I saw these really cool sketchbooks yesterday!

Sketching!

Hello, blog! I just want you to know that I am alive and I'm taking my time  doing some shitload of extra-curricular activities while working. And that is--- sketching!

So before you judge me, I would like to point out that I just started making serious moves in this hobby of mine. I used to doodle a lot in my readings and on borrowed books from the library before.

Now I am trying to be more observant and to keep this skill fully-sharpened so when I decided to have some kind of post-quarterlifecrisis decision on my career direction, I'd have something to do. Hehe!

Manila

Some photographs developed from our walk last June. We went to Binondo, Intramuros and Escolta. It was a summer-y morning, just like today, despite the Monsoon season. However, it rained in the afternoon while we were in Escolta.

I just turned o-n-e


Hmmm. Lemesee. I think it has been a while since I left this blog void of updates last July. Honestly the only reason I have is that i am too lazy to write........ (or too busy with work..? NOT!) However I still think one needs to have some dedication on something he ought to do -- and I feel bad about the wasted time (and money!, i am paying for the domain name you know) that I should have shared a lot via this blog.

But! I've been to places i never thought I'd be for the last three months, and I can't wait to share it here.

Cutterpillow

I am no mountaineer. I don't even know if i am classified as "amateur". But one thing's for sure: I've grown a strong attachment to the outdoors, especially the mountains and to enjoy the company of people who share the same passion; hence my first (and hopefully not last), investment on this new addiction.

I figured it would be time to reward myself with something that I know I will always use.
Meet Cutterpillow, my first hiking companion.

Tarak Ridge: Weekend dayhike

A week after our postponed twin-climb in Batangas, the mountainist Ivan took the initiative in making up for the lost time and planning effort by letting us hike with him in the craggy and sharp rocks of Tarak ridge, a well-known spot for hiker-wannabes like me. Hence, making this my first major climb. Take note, though, that this is not your typical walk-in-the-park type of adventure as tough trails and deadly cliffs are out and about. 


I tried my best to capture what my lens and film could see, while treading the forty-five degree slopes of the trail. Here are some of the selected unprocessed photos from my camera.

Let go.

One should learn to just be aware of things without feeling the need to change them. So often we look at something -- or someone (even ourselves) -- with the feeling that we need to change the situation or the person. Life will be less stressful if we simply look at things and people as they are - without trying to change them.

Most of us want to control things rather that simply be aware of them. We make judgments as to whether something is good or bad. Isn't it more relaxing when we learn to just observe without passing judgement.

It's like falling asleep. You create the "right" conditions, and then you "let go." Trying to force yourself to fall asleep usually makes you more awake.

Seven years from now

I'd be somewhere living in a quaint rustic village along the countryside, on a tree house, filled with old and new things, photograph prints plastered on walls, frames and mementos from my travels, enveloped by the smell of coffee or rosemary and alluded with innocuous humming of birds and kids outside.



Then my girlfriend would visit, bringing with her stories and souvenirs from a trip with her family and friends. We'd prepare our afternoon snack: seafood pasta in alfredo cream sauce. i'd chop the onions, she'd put the water to a boil. after which we'd enjoy the late afternoon sun below the good ol' camphor tree in the garden while we chomp down the last of the pasta strands.

Of course i am working on my own studio, which i will call atelier, designing homes and open spaces while i do some animation/sculpture work and a sideline from National Geographic. During my free time, i would enjoy myself inside the darkroom, developing photographs and printing them on chlorobromide papers.

On sunny weekends, i'd go out for a walk or a random trip out of town, or seeing friends everytime they are available, we'd go for a cup of coffee while planning future adventures together. Most of the time i'd come visit my parents and brothers in their own abodes. Mom and Dad would be leisurely running their garden restaurant or could be out of town too, touring the world aboard a five-star cruise ship. My brothers will have their own successful lives as well, living the life they chose and doing the thing they love.

Otherwise, i'll probably just be an action-star-slash-supervillain.

What's up!

It's been nearly a month since I last updated. To tell you the truth, I'm not that hardcore-busy to neglect the updating of this blog. I just felt lazy every time I go home. You see, I also keep a day job and things have been pretty rough lately regarding schedules. On the contrary, I tried my best to get my weekends off and to have some fun outside so it would be unfair to this blog of mine if i won't even publish it.

My semi epic adventure in the Bataan Peninsula commenced last week from a nearly short notice invite from my Mountainist friend Ivan. At first I thought he was joking because just a week ago, he was hit by a motorcycle in front of Rizal's monument -- incurring facial injuries, and postponing our supposed-to-be-twin-hike. But look, here he is now, with us in the ridge of Tarak, Mt. Mariveles, overlooking Manila bay-Corregidor smiling as a sunny-day as ever.
I honestly felt proud for myself  in scaling this mountain since it is my first major climb 4/9 difficulty, and towering to 1,006 MASL. There are things that didn't go according to plan though (forgetting to bring a hiking shoe, being left by the last bus trip home among other things) However, It doesn't matter anymore because we made it on top and bottom alive! I will make sure to have a separate post for this.
---

I just noticed, most of my trips outside Manila always fall to the North. I seldom go south-er than Batangas. I've been to Ilocos, La Union, Pangasinan, Benguet, Tarlac, Zambales, Pampanga, and Bataan, but not Bicol, nor even Palawan. Probably if I'd be given a chance, I'll book a flight to Puerto Princesa or Bacolod, or I might just catch a PNR Train from Manila and experience the sleeper couches of the Bicol Express. How positively inviting! :D

My first company outing happened here, in one of the famous surfing spots in PH; La Union. Facing the west Philippine sea, the sunset is nearly breathtaking. I personally like the colors that dissipate in the horizon. Too bad i didn't even experience surfing here =( because I woke up late and didn't catch my friends in their lessons. Although I was able to swim until dawn and caught the sunrise while battling the big waves. 

Also, we had a very spontaneous trip to Baguio the day after! From La Union we took the alternative route from the western side of the Mountain range and arrived in the city proper at noon. We had lunch on a cozy and remote restaurant which served one of the best vegetable stews I tasted.

Getting around this mountain city is getting harder and harder by each trip I had here. Vehicles flocked every street. There are still locals (i don't even know if these are true locals) rented for the photo op. But still I find it amusing that they were able to pull off a funny pose.

I've been really really stoked to update this blog since the start of the day but I'm still in the process of collating all photos and articles I made. So, that's all folks! :D

Curriculum Vitae

I can't stand it, this little system we find ourselves stuck in;
these rankings of numbers and alphabet letters to indicate superiority, undermining the majority of E-grade students who work in the storehouses, sweatshops and McDonald's for an honest day's meager pay who, I don't know, f
eed and clothe the rest of the world and the canonized minority, statistical absurdities who sit at the top in their safeguarded fortresses, all back massages and shiny fingernails; who don't carry bricks across bridges each day.

I can't stand it, this little system we find ourselves stuck in;
this
everyone's
equal
and everyone's
special
but some are more equal and special than others

these big golden badges and achievers' ties, with the shiniest smiles who didn't get caught;
the ones who spat back in authority's face, and now strut about like they own the place
I can't stand it, this system we find ourselves stuck in

Twelve years of five days a week in subjects they choose, expanded horizons and little black shoes
reduced to a few sheets of paper

white, with black ink

typed(size twelve)

seldom with photographs.

Name

Date of Birth, Current Age

Colour (of your epidermis) [roughly grouped]

Telephone and Email and Physical Address
Driver's license? (copy, if yes)

Education, past vocations, extra-curricular occupations

Community Service (What have you given that we want you to take back?)

References, you must have those, but no shoes
Nobody's going to be walking a meter inside of them.

I lost my phone!

My mom used to tell me that I'm very good at losing things. I couldn't disagree with her on this. Besides, she's my mother and she probably could remember all the instances of me losing things from ballpens, thousand-peso mobile phones, wallet, to a pair of pants, to even my entire school bag.

Just last week, barely a month after I called a friend 'burara' for losing his phone, I lost mine - for the nth time around. Talk about backfire.

The worse thing about losing a prepaid phone is that you can't recover the contacts and your former number, ergo an empty phonebook. Too bad my overdependence on phone memory has arrested my brain's ability to memorize phone numbers. On a lighter note, a kind officemate lent me his spare phone for me to use temporarily before I could buy a new one (one that is snatch-proof/wouldn't really hurt if I lost it), and apply for a low-cost postpaid plan.

So friends, if you text or call me, you know what it means. I'll contact you the first thing I get my hands on that new handset :P

Ambiguity of growing up

Call it a dilemma, the feeling as if the world is full of choices and yet you can’t decide. Call it a deadlock, the final moment when you have to decide but failed to do so. Call it a tragedy, a decision wrongly made. It is horrible.



Today’s world is an avenue of choices. Every stop is a matter decision. Every corner is another road that takes you to another route, another destination which you should take but failed to do so or should never but did so because you are not sure. You are lost. The world is full of possibilities, yet not all are good. For a yuppie like me, these are realities which we have to face and live with everyday. Every moment of our lives is a matter of choice, and a wrong decision may mean a lot.

Burning

This is a country where leaders easily get away with truth and are held unaccountable for their actions, where extrajudicial killings are commonplace, and where justice favors the rich and the powerful.  More than half of the country’s population lives in stark poverty and unfavorable conditions whose root cause is attributed to the perils of bad governance and the attitudes of people towards it. Often, this plight is blamed to the country’s long colonial history and archipelagic composition.  But how long should we hold these things accountable without making any effort to change the situation?

Will Pacquiao do it? Or Jessica Sanchez.

Favorite Travel Photos – My 7 Super Shots

Le Flâneur is a French term coined to define a person who strolls or loiters, usually without a destination in mind. A lovelier word, peripatetic, refers to someone who travels from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods. Its origin is Aristotelian, with reference to the Great Philosopher’s manner of walking to and fro while teaching.

These are most suitable if I were to describe the person I have been for the past year. I was consumed by wanderlust—triggered by my post-grad trip in Ilocos, which was spent contemplating on my life and whatnots. (For reference, please see Wanderlust).

Some claim that people in constant journeys are on it for an escape—they say people like me are commitment-phobic, relentlessly needing a change of environment to fulfill one’s thirst for freedom and new space. However, these critics fail to realize that such journeys make a person more aware of one’s positioning in the world. Travels open one’s mind in the wider spectrum of things. It challenges everything that is familiar, but also leads to a more in-depth understanding of oneself. It is a journey of moving out and coming back, a commitment of being better after each endeavor.



I have made several journeys last year that had different implications on my life. They have varying levels of influence, which altogether changed the person I am and reaffirmed my most precious principles. So here I am, humbly presenting 7 SUPER SHOTS -- My favourite travel photos.

Staycation 1.0: Azalea Residences, Baguio

Seated on the lesser-dense pockets of Baguio city is a new addition to the number of prestigious hotels and accommodation for people who wanted a luxurious stay in the city of pines. A group of bloggers, including me of course, was invited by the hotel for a weekend stay. (we call it staycation; a portmanteau of stay and vacation............ umm.. well... i know... i talk too much.)

Arriving at 3:12 am in the hotel's porte cochere, a person opened the door of our van, in which they called a bellboy (I'm not that cultured of a person to get a privilege of staying in a high end hotel like this, much more be guided into their 8-step arrival staircase, and know what a bellboy means.)



The chilly wind blew hard in the Saturday morning. Observing the place is the last thing I was able to think of but still the well-designed entry statement caught my attention. Designed by an architect, i thought. Properly landscaped rotunda, an iconic water feature and a non-imposing, well-lit building architecture blends in with the surrounding landscape. Meanwhile, we barely had sleep from that 6-hour ride from Manila and good heavens a hotel came to our rescue.

The band has no name

Hello, hello. Sorry for that spur of the moment rant. I guess I just had to do it to let out the feeling of sadness at that time. Actually, I was supposed to just write about the photoblog i promised, but I ended up writing about myself. It was so spontaneous- I didn’t even mind the errors in the grammar ,..Like this kid I saw in La Union.





MORE SPONTANEITY. That’s what I shall achieve. That's what people like and hate about me. I wouldn’t care about making mistakes, taking missteps, or committing errors- every thing, EVERYTHING is just about the experience, and learning from it.

All my years, I have planned my life detail by detail. But it’s becoming frustrating. I never get to enjoy the NOW, because all I think about is the future. I don’t notice what’s here because my vision is always towards somewhere very far. I deprive myself of love, being loved, and giving love, just because I feel no one can keep up with the pace I am setting for my never ending chase.

I have calculated all my life in such a way that it caged me, and limited me in discovering my boundless potential.

JUMP. SHOUT. TRAVEL. WORK. LEARN. BE HAPPY. LOVE. DANCE. SING. BE CRAZY. MAKE MISTAKES. LET LOOSE. GET CONFUSED. EAT. LAUGH. CRY. PRAY. DOUBT. RISK. BE HATED.

--- Because it’s only by going through all these things and being ALL these things would someone LIVE. Yes, even being hated is part of it. We need to break free from all the norms and expectations, and what other people say is right for us.

This time, logic will play the littlest part. And I wouldn’t care if I make mistakes.

Le Penseur

Life takes us into a series of images.  Life strikes us by surprise.

My life for the past few months has been a series of uphill, but mostly downhill.  Sometimes, I contemplate on writing my daily dose of adventures and mishaps in this online diary for recently this blog has been a collection personal tragedies and unfulfilled desires instead of what i want it to be -- a travel/inspiration blog. However, I held back, thinking, what is the sense of doing so?  For what?  What’s the point of opening one’s life into people who might not know you and just so happen to come across your blog?  Who cares? Who would be interested in reading your sadness, your deepest sorrows, your unfulfilled desires, and your disappointments?  I guess it’s easier to open up your victory and accomplishments–brag about them and indulge in self-glorification.  But all those which trouble your soul–that’s another story.

11:11


Nowadays, people look for some interesting read.  Something that would inspire them; not drag them in the same old shit and that would remind them of their own troubles.  People say, life is good, and if you’re up to it, you’ll be able to master and stir it in your preferred direction.  But does it really happen in reality?  I believe so then.  But things turned to be not-s-good, that I began to doubt myself.

This is not the usual me.  I have always been known to be the ever so idealistic my-little-ray-of-sunshine type of guy.  But now, I just feel so down and confused.  My boss once said, FOCUS! the problem with most people is that they know what they don’t want but fail to define what they really do want.  But I know what I want. And I want it so bad– I even turned hardcore-unbelievably-religious-person-that-I-am-not these past few months.  (I mean, I do believe in God, and revere Him all my life, but to initiate a pilgrimage and hop from one church to another and pray to all the known Saints–that’s far beyond the usual me).

Yet and still, I end up in a wasteland. (Well, I still have a one-in-a-millionth-chance, but hoping in it is just as good as throwing myself into oblivion).

Probably I am just disappointed with myself.  More so,  because I realized I am not as tough as I projected to be.  Everything just shook my faith–and I am saddened to know that I could easily stumble with an encounter of some unfortunate event.  Fake reverence, if you wish to call it.

Or maybe this is just a spur-of-the-moment rant. I don't know.  I am used to disappointments. I have high tolerance of pain. I have a long string of patience. But this was different. And now, I struggle. I suffer.

I need you not empathize with me. Depression is a friend to someone who struggles to have a well-lived life – the continuous baffling and battling of oneself to become someone outside the self.

But does it pay off?  I don’t know, really.

---
Tonight I'm going to finish a post regarding a you're-tagged-you-have-to-post-something game by a good friend Drew. :) I feel kinda excited, so I'm looking forward to evaluating some photos that I took for the past few years.

I want to be a wilderness explorer, someday.

Sometimes, it scares me that I’m acting way beyond my age.  I’m just 21, yet I feel so old. Almost everyone in the office thinks I'm a waste-of-time-to-talk-to dude, typecasting me as an out-of-this-world weirdo, so I'm forced to act what I am not.  My work — everything about it demands maturity and stepping beyond myself.

Sometime I wonder how small I am compared to this world. Is it a matter of numerical value? *photo was taken in our Pinatubo trek last January, where we traversed a colossal sand corridor which would collapse anytime. 

“Byron, do you have plans of being a CEO someday?”

I was taken aback by the question thrown by  a friend, who, like me, asks out-of-the-blue queries.

“No” I said.
 “I have no plans of getting into the managerial side of everything. I'm too inconsistent for that.” I added.

“Most young people would say otherwise.” she said.

“Honestly, I’d rather be a professor-cum-architect someday,” pointing it out matter-of-factly.

Or a wilderness explorer — I thought to myself.

You see, I am leading a very complicated life at the moment.  Time passes swiftly and the recent past just seems so distant.  I feel that my youth is slowly slipping away from me. The great responsibility lying on my shoulders sometimes becomes overwhelming.

No, my problems are not of myself.  I do not worry about finances.  Being single-at-my-age bothers me least. In fact, this is a point where love, even just the thought of it, seems elusive.

I sat in a mentos-shaped bench, somewhere in the chain of urban parks in Makati CBD, while my companions are talking about things that really matter. But who is to say what things really matter are?

I was a mere spectator, listening to these people’s arguments.  They discussed peace, war, Mindanao, local tourism, Chief Justice Corona and several humanitarian efforts on the ground. I looked through the mirror of water created after the heavy rain and thought for a moment what could have been with life had I chose a different way?

I wouldn’t know, really.

I hope that this writing would not be misconstrued as a sign of discontent, or another symptom of my commitment-phobic nature.

No, I am not complaining about my work. I love it and I learn so much from it.  Maybe I haven’t just reconciled to the idea that this is happening too soon.

Sometimes it makes me wonder if there are still things in store for me in the future — would I choose to remain in the same state. Once, I tried to delay, but it seems that no matter what I do, I’m still being led to this. I guess this is just a bittersweet realization that with the life I chose, I need not think of myself this often.

So for now, I need to be selfless to a great extent.

What Dreams are Worth

I write this post with a little (or a lot) of disappointment, and sadness. I am planning to apply for an Erasmus Mundus scholarship for Masters in International Cooperation in Urban Development, and I am still unsure if I have the correct set of qualifications or even the guts to push through.

The road is hazy, but I know where I want to go.








A couple of weeks ago, when I decided to apply, I told myself that I will put 200% of myself into this application, because I am not going because I just want to go to Europe, or go back to school, or just exploring opportunities. This is the dream: go to TU Darmstadt, explore Europe, get experience in International relations on Sustainability and landscape design, work for the UN, or national Geographic or something like that (after which, getting a lifelong job of travelling and experiencing new landscapes). BIG DREAMS, I know, but I got to a point that I know I can push myself, I can dream big and that God has given me the academic background (thanks to my parents), work experience, the heart and the capacity to do this. And that I feel that this is what I am meant to do with my life.

My jaw dropped at the very grand program, especially that: “Erasmus for All is based on the premise that investing in education and training is the key to unlocking people’s potential, regardless of their age or background. It helps them to increase their personal development, gain new skills and boost their job prospects.”

I have always approached life with the perspective that every experience is a learning experience, and I found out how that improves me as a person and as an employee. Whether it be soft or technical skills, I have continued to push myself to grow more and more. I would like to dedicate my life to exploring new cultures, indulging in new landscapes, design for both nature and man, to help other people improve themselves and their employability of the environment that surrounds them.

One’s own happiness of course is affected by family, friends and work. I believe that when one finds a career that meets all 3: What You Love, What You are Good at and What Pays Well, we find contentment and meaning in our lives. Getting there is the journey, and having that mindset of learning and grabbing every opportunity to learn is the secret, I believe. And sometimes, not achieving your dreams easily makes you realize how badly you want them, and test your persistence in achieving it.

I cannot count the times I feel like I have taken a wrong turn or made a wrong decision. Or dreamed of something I was not able to achieve. I don’t really know if grad school is meant for me, and what’s next for me at this point, but this I know:

I know where I want to go. And that I have never backed down from doing everything necessary to get there. Case in point: despite my absolute reluctance, I am manually researching for possible topics that I could present and relate in my motivation letter.

I know that my passion and my persistence in believing in myself and my dreams will one day help me achieve what I feel I am meant to do with my life.

So this is not a surrender, and if ever I fail, not getting the scholarship is simply a sign for me to find another path to get to my dream. I’m letting go, and letting God show me the way.

The story does not end here.

Scenes from the same window

I feel fortunate to be seated on a workstation in front of the window. So everytime I see something that catches my attention, I immediately reach out for my humble camera and take some snaps. Sometimes a lost vapor nomad  wanders on the unfamiliar set of vertical colossi that pierces through their own private thoroughfare. Most of the time a huge cloud looms over the Laguna lake; and at constant rarity, a rainbow dragon or a leg of lightning makes a cameo appearance.



I am often challenged by this eight-to-five routine. Being a person who needs a breathe of a new landscape every so often, I always try to put some meaning to mundane, every day things I see at present. One day, I'm sure I'll be able to get out of this clockwork and create my own reality.

Olongapo and Subic Bay observations


Short notes and observations on my short trip to Olongapo and Subic:
I tried to be objective as much as possible. We went there by commute.

- There are no sidewalks, people had to walk on dirt paths along the highway.
- Poor drainage, a little rain and the road will be submerged in floodwater.
- Deteriorating structures that lacks maintenance.
- Hotel was a blah. I enjoyed sleeping on the floor by the way.
- The landscape was trying hard.
- Food was okay.
- Hotel egg tastes like wet tissue.
- old and new houses alike are slowly receding into oblivion like artifacts forgotten by time.
- Tree top adventure was all right. I pity the tall trees.

- Bougainvillea 'trees' that line most of the town center add charm to the city.
- Excellent masonry work on dry riprap. Reminiscent of the walls in baguio.
- I kinda like the idea of crossing the border of Olongapo and Subic by foot. It's like crossing a highly guarded miltary base camp into a civilian area with other refugees.

An occult feature


We popped into the first movie theater that caught our eye.

What we ended up seeing was a crime-occult double feature. There was hardly a soul in the place. It’d been ages since I’d been in a theater that empty. I counted the people in the audience to pass the time. Eight, including ourselves. There were more characters in the films.



The films were exemplars of the dreadful. The sort of films where you feel like turning around and walking out the instant the title comes on after the roaring MGM lion. Amazing that films like that exist.

The first was the occult feature. The devil, who lives in the dripping, dank cellar of the town church and manipulates things through the weak preacher, takes over the town. The real question, though, was why the devil wanted to take over the town to begin with. All it was was a miserable nothing of a few blocks surrounded by cornfields. Nonetheless, the devil had this terrible obsession with the town and grew furious that one last little girl refused to fall under his spell. When the devil got mad, his body shook like quivering green jelly. Admittedly, there was something endearing about that rage.

In front of us a middle-aged man was snoring away like a foghorn. To the extreme right there was some heavy petting in progress. Behind, someone let out a huge fart. Huge enough to stop the middle-aged man’s snoring for a moment. A pair of high school girls giggled. By reflex, I thought of Twerp. And it was only when I did that it came to me that we’d really left Manila and were now in Davao. Funny about that.

Amid these thoughts I fell asleep. In my dreams, I encountered that green devil, but he wasn’t endearing in the least. He remained silent and I just observed his machinations.

Meanwhile, the film ended, the lights came on, and I woke up. Each member of the audience yawned as if in predetermined order. I went to the snack bar and bought ice cream for us. It was hard as a rock, probably left over from last year.

“You slept through the whole thing?”
“Uh-huh,” I said. “How was it?”
“Pretty interesting. In the end, the whole town explodes.”
“Wow.”

The movie theater was deathly quiet. Or rather everything around us was deathly quiet. Not a common occurrence.

“Say,” she said, “doesn’t it seem like your body’s in a state of transit or something?”
Now that she mentioned it, it actually did.
She held my hand. “Let’s just stay like this. I’m worried.”
“Okay.”
“Unless we stay like this, we might get transported somewhere else. Someplace crazy.”

As the theater interior grew dark again and the coming attractions began, I brushed her hair aside and kissed her ear.
“It’s all right. Don’t worry.”
“You’re probably right,” she said softly. “I guess we should have ridden in transportation with names after
all.”

For the next hour and a half, from the beginning to the end of the film, we stayed in a state of quiet transport in the darkness. Her head resting on my shoulder the whole time. My shoulder became warm and damp from her breath. We came out of the movie theater and strolled the twilit streets, my arm around her shoulder. We felt closer than ever before. The commotion of passersby was comforting; faint stars were shining through in the sky.

Delusions

One thing I've tempered a lot as I've aged is "criticism." No, I don't mean avoiding criticizing political arguments or figures, but easing up on criticizing people I meet or things I encounter. For instance, I used to be much more opinionated about movies or art, eviscerating things I thought were wrongheaded or poorly done. Now I realize that to create anything is difficult and a real accomplishment, and I tend to limit my thoughts to "not my cup of tea" or simply avoid things that are not my style. I don't criticize how other people lead their lives, or raise their children, or spend their money, or how they shave or why don't they comb their hair; even if it's in the form of a joke: to each his own has pretty much been my mantra (unless it hurts someone else), and I find myself much happier for not being so judgmental. Who am I to judge others all the time when I am hardly perfect?

Airport dialogues

We received our boarding passes at the airport check-in counter and said goodbye to Ray Ban. He would have waited to see us off, but as there was an hour and a half before departure time, he capitulated and left. We went into the airport restaurant and had an early lunch. Cream dory on garlic butter for me, Jollibee spaghetti for her. I watched the Airbuses take flight and swoop down to earth with a gravity that seemed fated. Meanwhile, she dubiously inspected each strand of the sweet spaghetti she ate.






“I thought that they always served meals on planes,” Z said, disgruntled.
“Nope,” I said, waiting for the hot lump of fillet in my mouth to cool down, then gulping down some water. No taste but hot.
“Meals only on international flights. They give you something to eat on longer domestic routes. Not exactly what you’d call a special treat, though.”
“And movies?”
“No way. C’mon, it’s only an hour and a half to Davao.”
“Then they give you nothing.”
“Nothing at all. You sit in your seat, read your book, and arrive at your destination. Same as by bus.”
“But no traffic lights.”
“No traffic lights.”
“Just great,” she said with a sigh. She put down her fork, leaving half the spaghetti untouched.
“The thing is you get there faster. It takes... I dunno, 12 hours probably, by boat and bus.”
“And where does the extra time go?”

I also gave up halfway through my meal and ordered two coffees.
“Extra time?”
“You said planes save you over ten hours. So where does all that time go?”
“Time doesn’t go anywhere. It only adds up. We can use those ten hours as we like, in Manila or in Davao. With ten hours we could see four movies, eat two meals, whatever. Right?”
“But what if I don’t want to go to the movies or eat?”
“That’s your problem. It’s no fault of time.”

She bit her lip as we looked out at the squat bodies of the Airbus A330s in the runway. Airbus always reminds me of a fat, ugly old lady in the neighborhood where I used to live. Huge sagging breasts, swollen legs, dried-up neckline. The airport, a likely gathering place for the old ladies. Dozens of them, coming and going, one after the other. The pilots and stewardesses, strutting back and forth in the lobby with heads held high, seemed quaintly planar.

“Well,” she went on, “does time expand?”
“No, time does not expand,” I answered. I had spoken, but why didn’t it sound like my voice? I coughed and drank my coffee. “Time does not expand.”
“But time is actually increasing, isn’t it? You yourself said that time adds up.”
“That’s only because the time needed for transit has decreased. The sum total of time doesn’t change. It’s only that you can see more movies.”
“If you wanted to see movies,” she added.
As soon as we arrived in Davao, we actually did see a double feature.

The entire flight, she sat by the window and looked down at the scenery. I sat next to her reading my Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. Not a single cloud in the sky the whole time, the airplane riding on its shadow over the earth. Or more accurately, since we were in the plane, our shadows figured as well inside the shadow of the airplane skimming over mountain and field. Which would mean we too were imprinted into the earth.

“Why didn’t you give our rock a name all this time?”
“Why indeed,” I puzzled. Then I closed the book and placed it in my side. “I think I just don’t like
names. Basically, I can’t see what’s wrong with calling me ‘me’ or you ‘you’ or us ‘us’ or them ‘them.’”
“Hmm,” she said. “I do like the word ‘we,’ though. It has an Ice Age ring to it.”

“Ice Age?”
“Like ‘We go south’ or ‘We hunt mammoth’ or …”

When we stepped outside at Francisco Bangoy International Airport, the air was chillier than we’d expected, and to think it was summer. I pulled a denim shirt over my T-shirt, she a knit vest over her shirt.

“We weren’t supposed to run into an Ice Age, were we?” she asked on the bus to the metro. “You hunting
mammoths, me raising children.”

“Sounds positively inviting,” I said.

---
Thaks renz of thetravellingnomad.com for the accurate information on things about Davao.
My trip did not push through with this one.

Golden blues: Mountain traverse To Anawangin

01-20-2012. The morning was hazy and cool. I sympathized with street children. Sleeping with their backs open to the cold polluted air of Metro Manila. A day like this could be brutal. Maybe they don’t feel cold? Maybe they don’t feel anything.

Philippines' short christmas season was drawing to a close. The thick gray clouds that block the moon on this icy January night marked the end of the short cool months this year. I awoke at 12midnight and washed my face, with barely enough sleep. I sat alone in an ordinary bus, looking out the window and pondered upon things on how spontaneous this trip was. We are going to Zambales for a weekend getaway, and leave the station in Caloocan at 4am. I was an hour early. To say the least, this trip was an open birthday invitation by one of my few good friends Ivan who is also a travel blogger. Crazy guy, wanted to spend his 20th in the wilderness. Ha ha. Our itinerary includes a mountain hike, beach camping and island hopping. All of it squeezed in more or less 48 hours. Who'd believe we can do that? Well, I do.

Corridors

She pushed the cold metal button pointing up. Back into that overgrown vacu-pac elevator.

"Stock market?"
"Sure, Mom taught me the tricks. She taught me how to choose among all the information, how to read the market, how to dodge taxes, how to transfer funds to banks overseas, stuff like that. Stocks are a lot of fun. Ever tried?"

"Afraid not," I said. I'd never opened a fixed-term com-pounded-interest account.

The elevator moved at its requisite impossible ascending-or-descending speed.
"Grandfather says that schools are too inefficient to produce top material. What do you think?" she asked.

"Well, probably so," I answered. "I went to school for many years and I don't believe it made that much difference in my life. I can't speak any languages, can't play any instruments, can't swim, can't play the stock market, can't even drive a car."

"So why didn't you quit school? You could have quit any time you wanted, couldn't you?"

"I guess so," I said. "I could have quit, but I didn't want to. I guess it didn't occur to me to do anything like that. Unlike you, I had a perfectly average, ordinary upbringing. I never had what it takes to make a first-rate anything."

"That's wrong," she declared. "Everyone must have one thing that they can excel at. It's just a matter of drawing it out, isn't it? But school doesn't know how to draw it out. It crushes the gift. It's no wonder most people never get to be what they want to be. They just get ground down."

"Like me," I said.
"No, you're different. I can tell there's something special about you. The emotional shell around you is so hard, everything inside has got to be still intact."

"Emotional shell?"

"That's right," she said. "That's why it's not too late. After all this is over, why don't we live together? It's not like we'd have to get married or anything. We could move to Norway or Netherlands or somewhere easy-going like that and pass the time riding horses, singing songs and backpacking. We'd have plenty of money, and meanwhile you could be reborn as a first rate human being."

"Hmm." Not a bad offer.

The elevator came to a stop. She stepped out and I followed. She walked at a fast pace, as she had the first time we met, the click of her high heels echoing down the long corridor. Before my eyes, her pleasing wiggle, her flashing silver earrings.

"But suppose I took you up on the offer," I spoke to her back, "You'd be doing all the giving and I'd be doing all the taking. That doesn't strike me as fair." She slowed her pace to walk beside me.
"There's bound to be something you can give me," she said.
"For instance?"
"For instance, your emotional shell. That's something I really want to find out about. I want to know what it's made up of and how it functions and stuff like that."

"It's nothing to get excited about," I said. "Everybody has more or less of an emotional shell—if that's what you want to call it. You've never been out in the world. You don't know how the mind of the ordinary person works."

"You act as if you're worthless!" exclaimed the girl. "You can read minds, can't you?"
"Of course I can. But that's just a matter of practice. Not so different from using an abacus or playing the piano."

"That is not all there is to it," she said. "Everyone thought that way at first. That with the necessary training, anyone—anyone who can say they can that is—could read minds. But it isn't. You are the only person I knew who could.

Capones island

According to grade school textbooks, there are seven thousand one hundred and seven islands that comprise the Philippine archipelago. It even varies, depending on the condition of the sea level, as a beauty queen tossed back when she was asked the exact number of islands: "High tide, or low tide?" Our country, being one of the countries blessed with a hefty amount of land, will give the ordinary student a hard time drawing the islands and islets in a map. Considering some of them are being fought upon by our government and the Chinese, some of them being held up by the New People's Army, some of them dug out and shipped to China for reclamation, some of them fake, and some, are, i don't know, just incomprehensible, yet equally beautiful, but only one of them captured my wandering eye.

I fell in love for the first time, to an island.



Breathtaking views on top will surely urge someone to stay and build a house and start a family there. But of course, like any other woman, they tend to play hard to get. As they said, good things should be worked hard for. Take for an example, like courting a lady, or keeping a relationship going, one has to make great effort to claim an equally great reward. Makes sense, don't you think? I know some people who think otherwise. Anyway, going back, the place where I took the above photos didn't just involve an easy walk in the park. The mere expectation of setting foot on its shores with our dry bodies intact simply vanished away when our guide and "bangkero," the one who takes control of our motorboat, told us that we have to swim to the shore.

II. Pet rock

“Nice rocky rock!,” said the RayBan, hand not outstretched. “What’s his name?”
“He doesn’t have a name.”
“So what do you call the fella?”
“I don’t call it,” I said. “It’s just there.”

“But he’s not a lump just sitting there. Even if it has a rock, it has feelings, no? Seems mighty strange that
something that God created doesn’t have a name.”
“Rocks were created by God, but nobody gives them names.”
“Well, first of all, there’s no emotional bond between rocks and people, and besides, they wouldn’t know
their name if they heard it.”
“Which is to say that animals that not only move by their own will and share feelings with people but also
possess sight and hearing qualify as deserving of names then?”
“There, you got it.” RayBan nodded repeatedly, satisfied. “How about it? What say I go ahead and
give the little guy a name?”
“Don’t mind in the least. But what name?”

“How about ‘Twerp’? Z interjected.
“Not bad,” I said.
“You see?” said RayBan.
“Are you sure?” I asked her.
“Not bad,” she said. “It’s like being witness to the creation of heaven and earth.”

“Let there be Twerp,” I said.
“C’mere, Twerp,” said RayBan, picking up the the rock.

I. Pet rock

At 7 in the morning, that ridiculous submarine of an automobile was waiting outside my apartment building. From my second-story window, the sedan looked more like an upside-down metal cookie cutter than a submarine. You could make a gigantic cookie that would take three hundred kids two weeks to eat. She and I sat on the windowsill looking down at the car.

Yes, Z and I will be off to the Davao -- a city down south of the third land mass in the Philippine archipelago, Mindanao.

The sky was appallingly clear. A sky from a prewar expressionist movie. Utterly cloudless, like a monumental eye with its eyelid cut off. A helicopter flying high off in the distance looked minuscule.

I locked all the windows, switched off the refrigerator, and checked the gas cock. The laundry brought in, bed covered with spread, and an absurd number of medicinal items put in proper order by the washbasin. The rent paid two months in advance, I looked back from the
doorway into the lifeless 40 sqm. fifties-living room converted to an apartment. For a moment, I thought about the two months of reviewing spent there, thought about the things I learned and the things I never had.

The green gate made a creaking sound , and she called to me. I shut the screen door.
Ray Ban, a good friend, offered to drive us to the airport. The guy's really hooked with cars. He was intently polishing the windshield with a dry cloth as he waited for us. The car, not one single mark anywhere, gleamed in the sun to a burning, unearthly brilliance. The slightest touch of the hand and you’d get burned.

“Good morning,” said Ray Ban.
“Good morning,” said I.
“Good morning,” said Z.
She held our pet rock. I carried the rock food and bag of sand.

“Fabulous weather, isn’t it?” said Ray Ban, looking up at the sky. “It’s—how can I put it?—crystal clear.”
I nodded.
“When it gets this clear, God’s messages must have no trouble getting through at all,” I offered.
“Nothing of the kind,” said ray Ban with a grin. “There are messages already in all things. In the flowers, in the rocks, in the clouds …”
“And cars?”
“In cars too.”
“But cars are made by factories.” Typical me.
“Whosoever makes it, God’s will is worked into it.”
“As in ear lice?” Her contribution.
“As in the very air,” corrected Ray ban.
“Well then, I suppose that cars made in Saudi Arabia have Allah in them.”
“They don’t produce cars in Saudi Arabia.”
“Really?” Again me.
“Really.”
“Then what about cars produced in America for export to Saudi Arabia? What god’s in them?” queried Z.
A difficult question.

“Say now, we have to tell him about the rock,” I launched a lifeboat.
“Cute rock, eh?” said Ray Ban, our chauffeur, also relieved.
"Isn't it?" darted Z.

To give you an idea of what it looks like.


.
By "he" or "it", i mean, the rock.

The rock was anything but cute. Rather, he weighed in at the opposite end of the scale, its surface was rough like an old, overused sandpaper, it smelled of the sea, its color a bit yellowed, a chunk of seaweeds run through its upper extrimities like the hair of Bob Marley or a Jamaican reggae star. We drew eyes on it using a marker before so that by now it could see, eventhough not so much. I was doubtful that it could distinguish between a tennis shoe and a potato. Technically it's been with us for a year, and farted approximately a hundred and eight times.

He’d been a fine young stone the day I found him being washed away in the beaches of Zambales, brought him home, but in the last few months he’d rapidly gone downhill. Like a rock rolling toward the gutter, literally. Also, he didn’t have a name. I had no idea whether not having a name reduced or contributed to the rock's tragedy.

Z always insist that it's so cute she's gonna die.

To be continued.
The sand taught me one thing: You can't hold too many things, no matter what you do to make them stay, and no matter how much they want to stay, the wind will always blow them away. So learn to let go and choose carefully which you want to stay, because like the sand, only those which are in the center of your palm will last.




♒♒ Tully's


"He was so... more than unreal. Do you know what I mean?" said Z.
"I think so."
"I guess it took someone as unreal as him to break through my own unreality. It struck me the very first time I met him. That's why I liked him. Or maybe I only thought so after I got to like him. It amounts to the same thing either way. "

The other piano player returned from his break and began to play themes from old film scores. Perfect: the wrong background music for the wrong scene.

"I sometimes think, maybe, in the end, I was only using him. And maybe he sensed it all along, what do you think?" Z asked.
"I wouldn't know," M said. "That's between you and him."
Z said nothing.

♒♒

After a full twenty seconds of silence, I realized the two had nothing to say. I put the magazine down and checked my watch. Half past eight. There were no people outside the glass walls. The bus that brings people to Ayala Station will soon be on a 30-minute interval round. M placed her hand on the table.

"Z, just be patient. Without this you're pretty much screwed." said M as she fiddled through the ring on her right hand. "I used to think that I was the most impatient person in the world, hell I still am, but somehow with him, It's like he transformed me into a much more patient person. Maybe it's just with him, or maybe I've changed in general."

"I get you."

"I don't know if he purposely tries to play mind games or what, but if you're not familar with him you will automatically assume he's playing hard to get, which pretty much is, he just does it without realizing it or so he wants us to think."

"Mmm.. hmm." Z nodded as she eagerly listened as to what M has to say.

"If he seems like he's ignoring you, he's not, he's busy, doing his own thing, wrapped up in work, or his little box. Ignore him, thats the only way unfortunately, and when you do finally get him off your mind he shows up out of nowhere like nothing happened, ready to talk your ear off."

I couldn't believe that my piano buddy understood me that well.

"Don't call him a lot, don't talk to him a lot, just keep contact to a minimal."
"That's kind of depressing, isn't it.?"
"You bet." M tossed with unparalleled force. Her coif bounced a few inches.  "Anyway, he needs this thing called space, and if you don't give that to him, well, you'll get disappointed and it seems to me the only way for that is to treat him like butter. In all honesty, it's sad, but true, and maybe this is just him that I know but you have to treat him like butter or he will treat you like butter."

Z chuckled. I caught her smile as she put her hands on her lips to clear a speck of orange pulp.

"Understaf he's not like other people. He's different, so different from other people you can't help but want to follow him into the forest of his out of this world perspective... He interests only at the present time and look at the world positively. Many times he feels hurt because of reality, but he will not run away and he will overcome that difficulty." M tried to catch for her breath.

"Go on..."

"Stand by him. He might seem like he's pushing you away one minute then holding you close the next. He's probably testing you, examining you, probing in with a flashlight, trying to figure your motives, your thoughts, et cetera... Don't take too much of his aloof nature though, stand your ground once in a while. Being a bit childish as he may seem, he needs a girl who can handle him,  a-k-a, a very strong individual."

"Are you two that close before?"

"Of course! I could say he is a good best friend, until the complexity of a romantic relationship came in. But you know, deep inside, he's shy and has a few close friends, who mean a lot to him... It may seem like he's a social butterfly but that's just his nature. He hates confrontations, and conflict, so if you must confront him, expect to deal with a very stubborn uncomfortable situation."

A brief pause hovered between them.

How about you? How do you see him? M broke the silence.
"Well... He moves very fast and very energetic, and he's very self confident... sometimes. He is not the type to sit down and feel sorry or regret anything for long, especially with "love"?

"Uh-uh. Fill me in."

"Even he is a high and self-confident type and he centers his own thought as a main focus, he certainly is not a mean person. He is the type who feels sorry if you remember bad things he said to you that he had already forgotten, but you did not -- like justice, I think he likes that. At times he  dares to show his opinion or even argue about a certain subject even he knows it might bring him problems." Z said. "You know... A straight forward type of guy." she added.

"Ha ha ha. He's not a good liar, is he? He hardly lies except if he think it is necessary and he will not lie to you about serious matters, but if he lies he will lie only to a small little thing." M interjected.
"But he still lies."
"Aren't we all liars?"
"You have a point."
"You see, he might take forever to say what really needs to be said. Who cares?"
"You're losing me."

"Wait wait wait, what I mean is... Let him say it first. It might take forever but who cares, at least you know when he says it, he means it deeply in his core of his being. You know with his personality he won't say something he doesn't mean, he wont lead you on, he wont push you down, he will be there with kind words, and a gentle voice, then there are times his voice is colder than ice, and his distance is unbearable, but just remember at the end of the tunnel, there is a light, and hope, and if it's meant to be, it will happen."

"Sounds like a hard thing to do."

♒♒

"It's 9, don't you think it's better if we go somewhere else?"
"Sure, I don't mind. It's nice talking to you."
M smiled and got up, whisking away the bill. "Let me take care of this, it's pay day, after all."
"If you're sure then by all means" Z said. "But one more thing, I was wondering If I could ask you another question."
"Certainly."
"Over the phone you said that there are times that I should let go. I don't quite understand that."
"Yes. Sometimes he acts like he doesn't want you there, but in reality I believe he does, the more he acts like he doesn't like you, is probably when he does, and that means you have to let go."
Z nodded.
"He's a complicated creature, but isn't that what you like about him?"
"I suppose so."

♒♒






I didn't follow them. They sure had a great time, and probably they will have another good talk. Clutching my brown umbrella, I went outside and waited for the bus. The rain kept falling on the same rate. From where I stand, through the building arcades, the neon signs of the building next door, a hundred thousand strands of rain sped earthward through an orange glow. If I looked down, the rain seemed to pour straight into one unified point on the ground.

The rain kept falling until midnight.