Sunday, July 29, 2012

When it rains, it pours

On way to work today, I saw 2 billboard structures down, and one site with its tarpaulin hanging by a thread. Debris on the road. A house made roofless. On radio, there was news of a barge anchored in Rosario, Cavite, gone astray due to strong winds. The report was that as of 4am, there was still a mobile phone contact with the two men on the barge, saying they could see the lights of the Mall of Asia. Mayor Recafrente appealed to the national government to conduct the search and rescue operation as their small city's capabilities would not be able to do the rescue operation.

Mang Tanny was interviewed By Joel Reyes Zobel about the weather, and why all this strong winds came about even while there was no storm signal in Metro Manila. As it turns out, it is the "habagat" being siphoned by Typhoon Gener, all the way up north, but affecting a 700 kilometer radius.

Now we do not need to wait for a storm signal to prepare ourselves for such disasters.

And I thought all along that typhoon signals are also called when the winds are too strong. Oh well, maybe I should work for PAGASA to learn these technical details. I hope the rain doesn't pour much today.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Ever heard of friends happily retired going back to work?

On one hand, one gets used to not minding the days, the dates, and the time of day. Holidays become irrelevant, and the retiree is even amused at office workers planning long weekends, Christmas and summer breaks. He doesn't have to plan  - - - he can do anything anytime, whenever he pleases.

On the other hand, boredom could set in. The DVDs have all been viewed, the books re-read, and the travel destinations seem to be so repetitive. Oh yes, there are gems discovered here and there. But there is also some longing for banter with clients, friends, and even with competitors.

And sometimes the balance tils in favor of doing something routine again. Yes, back to work. Un-retired.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Christening

Marcos era. Student unrest. Anti-establishment rallies and demonstrations everywhere. One student leader stands out.
A group of boys and girls in Pasay gather every so often. From one’s house to the next. Pan de sal. Singing with guitar accompaniment. Totoy, Ramon, Bong, Isko, Edwin, Nito, Ariel, Turo, Romy Katawan. And one they would call Voltaire.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Faith and Fishballs

Can anyone understand the concept of a couple not going to church together?

In fairness, Voltaire tried to join his wife when she found her god in a Christian church. He even enjoyed the initial experience, feeling closer to his Maker. Especially in the first half of the service devoted to singing Him praise.Amazing Grace was, and still is,  a favorite.

Until one Sunday, the pastor started badmouthing Voltaire's and his parents faith. He and his parents, his brothers and his only sister - -  the entire family grew up as Roman Catholics.  Offended, he sought permission from his wife for him to skip the rest of the sermon. And found himself eating fishballs on barbecue sticks outside the church premises. There were at least two ambulant vendors, their carts just on the edges of the huge parking lot facing the building. That became pretty much the routine - - - singing praise, and fishballs. Eventually Voltaire skipped the routine altogether.

Meanwhile, his wife became more deeply involved. And soon enough enrolled in Bible school. She always does well in anything she sinks her teeth into and her mentors thought she could help spread the word better if she became a leader. Now, she delivers talks about how great God is, and never gets tired trying to convert non-believers.

Voltaire does not find this strange, and even discusses the matter with her. He is supportive of her chosen path. Because he sees her happy doing so. And he doesn't have to have fishballs every Sunday.


Isabella is the biggest blessing to the couple, completing the family.

Talut doted on Isabella. She was a princess. She would have everything money could buy. She will have everything she wanted to have, do anything she wanted to do. Her crib was special. her walker was special. She was nursed with her bottle of milk on her mouth while watching cartoons she enjoyed. She was in front of the television most of her waking hours. 

Voltaire had to throw the feeding bottle away, even while daughter and wife were protesting.  He thought it was insane for a girl to be bottle-fed at 7 years old. And Talut always gave in to what Isabella wanted. Voltaire would have none of this nonsense. Soon enough, she had to learn to eat, albeit slowly, and with great difficulty. Better than trying to wean her away from the bottle when she gets to college.

The couple wanted her to grow up one fine young lady. So she was going to be equipped. She took piano lessons, violins, and dance. Oh, how nervous she was on her violin recital. But parents were nervous-er.

Isabella took after her mom. She said she wanted to be a businesswoman when she grows up, like her. Unlike dad who went to the office all his life until he retired. 

On her high school graduation, her parents were more excited than she was. And they both went up the stage when she was given an award. Like most students, she and her best friends decided to stick it out together in college, and decided to take up Law. Her school is famous for producing top notch barristers. But seems to enjoy being in a band more. She plays the guitar and drums. In the new house her parents are building, a home theater has been fitted with a stage so her drum set would have its official station in the house. And her friends can watch them perform for them, too. Can anyone imagine a guitar player with a bottle of milk on her mouth?


That is how her nieces and nephews call Voltaire's wife. Short for Tita Luchie.

Luchie is the youngest daughter of Policeman Nemesio and wife Minda. She grew up in the neighborhood where actor Edgar Mortiz lived. Near where probably 80% of all lechons in Metro Manila come from. Their house was also a convenient stop when Voltaire's uncle who lived in Guam decided to go to the Cementerio del Norte one Todos los Santos

The couple met in an industry function. Both of them worked in the same industry, doing essentially the same type of work.

Talut left work way before normal retirement, unable to hack office intrigues. Her decision, on hindsight, was inspired. Doing work from home, with herself as her own boss, she earned in one month what she would earn as a media buyer in one year. And there was no stopping her. She ventured into her own line of beauty products using a toll packer and engaging an exclusive distributor. No factory, no warehouse. Neat. And she can do all these while wearing dusters at home, sans make up. Trading is her latest experiment in business, using still another novel business model - - nephews and nieces are her suppliers who bring the products direct to the clients. She finances the purchase of items at a pre-determined cost per unit, and her nieces and nephews earn the difference between their own suppliers' price and the cost specified by their Tita Luchie. As they say, "everybody happy".

She now lives the life she wants to live. Attending to her business from the comforts of their home. Meeting friends for coffee, ensaymada, lunch or dinner when they feel like meeting up. Going to Bible school. Attending the Sunday service. Stress free, and feeling good about herself serving the Lord. 

Home Alone

Voltaire's sister migrated to Australia when she was barely out of her teens. She did so well that, soon after, brother Romeo followed suit. One by one they left - - Garry next, and Willy finally. Mom also migrated. All of them are now citizens of the land down under.

At some point, everyone was convincing him to join the re-settled family. That it would be simple, and approval was guaranteed as the "last remaining family member".  He decided to stay and was quite happy visiting them every so often. Christmases become heat-wave Christmases, with images of Santa on the beach. Some trips happened when snow still capped the ski resort of Thredbo. Voltaire tried to learn to ski, the operative word being "strived". He just fell all over the snow covered plains and made do with toboggans. 

Left on his own, he converted the family house into a bachelor's pad. The floors were done in black and white. Furniture followed the new theme. Sleek, and appropriate for a guy living alone.