Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Every year, since my Lolo died in 2006, I try to remember him by making a “phenomenology” or a eulogy and submit it to Inquirer’s Youngblood. And every year, I fail to do that because the thought of him will send me to tears. Or so I think.  It is difficult for me to organize and recollect the life of my Lolo because back in my mind I know I could’ve asked him to share his story with me but opted not due to my selfishness, stubbornness and teen angst.

For the past six years, I have been visiting his mini library to know more about him. I browse through family photo albums and his work-related photo albums (Yes, he had a couple of them) to get the feeling of who he was. He did a lot of travelling and documented everything. He’d been to Japan, US and some parts of Europe. He submitted an article to Manila Times on how he travelled Europe by Eurail. He was a writer too.  He had a pen name and contributed articles to several local magazines and newspapers. He wrote love letters to my Lola and discovered them when we had a project regarding Hallmark cards. Every card that he ever received from family was pasted into a makeshift scrapbook and reading them one by one was very comforting and sad. And then there were birthday and Christmas cards from colleagues from different parts of the world.  He had known many people. I wish I knew him long enough to realize that he was essential to my being.

I remember calling him “Papa” during early childhood. I remember me him taking me and my sister to a gathering with his colleagues in a place where there was a waterfall.
 I remember frantically running away from the dance floor so that I will not be able dance the waltz with him in front of his department.

I remember him rescuing me and my sister from my mom’s night punishment. I remember when there was black out, he would dress up as hooded hunched back monster and would scare us with the aid of flashlight.

I remember him yelling at me after I spit water from my mouth in the dining because my brother was me telling a joke. He broke into a smile afterwards.

I remember him giving me 20 pesos for my baon back when I just started big school when we were only allowed to have 5 pesos.

I remember him buying me and my sister the Titanic soundtrack in Harrison Plaza after I recorded the soundtrack in a cassette tape, days before.

I remember writing him notes and leaving it on his desk or slipping it through the door of his room to ask if I could have some extra cash.

I remember him totally surprised and excited when I wanted to read the Harry Potter Series. He bought the first three series in hardbound for me. A few weeks later, he surprised with the fourth book.

I remember we used to pick him up after teaching either at UM or EAC. I clearly remember his attire when he goes to school to teach: long sleeves barong, slacks, Bass leather shoes and to accessorize, gold Cross pen.

I remember him giving me my first silver Parker pen back in 3rd grade.

I remember him helping me with my investigative report back in first year HS.  Using his typewriter, he pounded the keys of it to come up with scientific sentences.

I remember he introduced me to The Sound of Music, Matt Monroe, Madonna, The Bee Gees, and The Carpenters.

I remember accompanying him to watch Dr. Zhivago on VHS. He returned the favour: he watched The Ring with me.

I remember him feeling so restless and useless having his hip replaced and bed ridden for years to come until his death.  

I remember during the burial of his sister, he cried a lot when he saw his relatives. I cried beside him. I remember him not remembering us.

I remember myself crying while commuting to QC, having learned that my Lolo was in the ICU and a chance of recovery was ambiguous. I remember entering the ICU and tears started pouring endlessly, words left unsaid.

On the last day of his wake, I remember we, his grandkids, decided to sleep next to him, one last time.
I would love to go on remembering him here in this post but it will take me painstakingly forever and a bucket of tears to do that. These recollections of him are my way of keeping him alive in me no matter how melancholic things have ended. My little way of coping. 

No highfalutin words can describe how much I miss you. So today, on your birthday, I want to tell you that you are my inspiration. You have compelled me to do good, great things in life. Happy Happy Birthday Lolo Neilo! Cheers!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Yes dear, a zine

Hi there! My friend, Camille and I are making a zine! Here is a sneak peak! 

I am so honored to be collaborating with this upcoming illustrator! Such an inspiration!
You can check her here!

Monday, September 10, 2012

I f*cking love you.

After almost 2 weeks here in England, my mum and Dave brought me finally to a city close to Manila. Well sort of.

I've been calling Eastbourne my home for almost 2 weeks. It's a seaside town in East Sussex. It's really quiet down here. Well, it's where people retire. I can't complain much. But I've been missing the hustle and bustle of Manila. So when I knew that we were going to London, I kept my excitement inside of me. I had to pinch to remind myself how lucky I am to be in this country.

We left Eastbourne around 9 in the morning. And around 10:30 we were slowly creeping to London, the suburbs of London.

My anticipation was so high upon seeing the busy streets that when I caught my first glimpse of Central London, I just had this big smile on my face. Really, it was breathtaking and surreal.

The first famous landmark that greeted me was the House of the Parliament. It was behemoth! No words can describe the architecture of the House of the Parliament.

When we arrived, there was an on-going Paralympic marathon on the streets of London. The crowd rooted for every athlete. It was a joyous celebration!

Then we he headed for the Westminster Pier. We passed by the Westminster Train Station and I heard music coming from within. I wanted to catch a glimpse of them since street musicians have a place in my heart.

My mom and Dave booked 3 tickets to CityCruises, tours along the Thames River. There was a long queue but good thing we bought ours online so hopping in on one was a breeze. i know, I know, it's a tourist trap but it is the quickest tour of London.

And here are some of the landmarks you'll see when you board CityCruises.

We got off at Tower Pier where a few yards away is the Tower of London. I was finally alone when I toured Tower of London. Entrance for adult is £20. (Mahalia) But you get to see the armours of the kings. Henry VIII was a big king! Oh and the crown jewels! They were an eye popper with all those sparkles! Too bad, no cameras were allowed inside the vault of the crown jewels.

We hopped on the boat again and headed to Greenwich Pier then back to Tower Pier again and then Westminster Pier.

The cabin crew guides of CityCruises were a fun bunch! They could pass for stand up comedians!

Oh, I was able to see the Tower Bridge's bascules go up to make way for a boat.

Then Dave continued touring me in Central London via car. I wanted to check out Buckingham Palace but roads that lead to it were closed. Some other time. OH OH OH OH My heart melted when I saw West End! So many great musicals! I hope I will be able to watch one! Wicked sana!

Oh Oh Oh, My twelve year old self wanted to get out of the car when I saw King's Cross Station! Hi Harry Potter fans out there!

Another reminder, I must insist on a Harry Potter Studio Tour.

I finally was able to satisfy my longing for the hustle and bustle. It was sweet and short but I know I'll be coming back again. Can someone in London adopt me for a week??

Hay London, I fucking love you!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Becoming a National Trust member

National Trust iis a non-governmental UK organization that preserves and protects places, historical ones and green ones and everything in between. They depend on membership fees and donations for their income of their employees.

Most of the places that I want to visit are mostly part of National Trust like Basildon Park, and Stourhead Garden. All because of the 2005 Pride and Prejudice movie. Oh Mr. Darcy! And most members are above 60 years old! I think. Talk about aging quickly.

Anyway, I commenced my membership at Bateman's, the home of Rudyard Kipling, the author of Jungle Book. My mom and Dave paid 25 pounds for, I think, a one-year membership. My membership card will be delivered at their place and I received this swag!

It includes a car sticker, a handbook, a map of Sussex and the whole of UK and some other stuff.

I've been to three National Trust places since I arrived here Monday, August 27.


Bodiam Castle

Sheffield Park

Free entrance to almost 400 places! As if I'll be able to visit every single place. I'll make most of my time here.

I hope that one day, we will have something like this in the Philippines. An organization who will preserve and protect historical places so that we do not have to tear down such beautiful structures to make way for new ones (yuck!). I know it is wishful thinking. I may not to leave to see that day happen. But I am hopeful.

Looking forward to many more National Trust visits! For the meantime, it is really time to visit Banksy!

Later mates!