11
Oct

Phil. Blog Awards 09: I won…


(Photo taken by Billycoy, as I was busy taking trophies left and right.)

…..practically everything!

Well, not really. Let me explain.

For this year, I have two tasks. The first one was the same as last year: hold the envelops containing the names of winners. So I was again at the sides. The second was was new, and I think it was because I was in long sleeves and was wearing a tie. For this year, I was to accept for the winners who weren’t not there. And as most of them were not in the venue, so it was kinda became the joke of the night, me winning so many trophies and cellphones. Even the host, funny guy RJ Ledesma congratulated me for being so multi-faceted.

Speaking of which, no, I have not taken home those trophies and cellphones. So stop bugging me about the phones already.

Anyway, I think it was a fun night, despite some stressful situations (like the “missing” Bloggers’ Choice envelop). I hope everyone has enjoyed the show as well. Commendations to the production team, led by Coy, for making the program flow as smooth as possible. If not for them, there would be no awards night. Congratulations, as well, to all the organizers. And thanks to the generous sponsors.


(Applause.)

Congratulations to all the winners. And for those who did not win, better luck next time! Sorry, I was so awesome (lol).


(Applause.)

See you at next year’s Philippine Blog Awards! (Sorry, I can’t come to the Visayas and Mindanao legs of this year’s awards.)


(Can I have one of these? KTHX)

(Photos here and here. If you are using any of these, please do not forget to link to this site. Thanks.)

UPDATE:

Here is the list of winners of the 2009 Philippine Blog Awards. Congratulations!

BEST BLOGS

Best Technology Blog – Jaypee Online
Best Travel Blog – Langyaw – Sojourns and Off-the-Beaten Path Travels
Best Entertainment Blog – Lessons From the School of Inattention
Best Personal Blog – Writing on Air
Best Food & Beverage Blog – Table for Three, Please
Best Family & Living Blog – Make or Break
Best News & Media Blog – Virtual Journals
Best Business Blog – Negosyo Ideas
Best Sports Blog – Fire Quinito
Best Hobby & Recreation Blog – Bearbrick Love
Best Fashion Blog – Who is Elyoo?
Best Photoblog – I Am a Documentary Photographer
Best Culture and Arts Blog – magnetic-rose.net: Japanese Pop Culture for Filipino Fans
Best Commentary Blog – The Marocharim Experiment
Best Videocast Blog – Entrepbuff.com
Best Podcast Blog – Brink Notes Entertainment Daily
Best Humor Blog – The Professional Heckler
Best Gaming Blog – Blog Mike Got Game!
Best Advocacy Blog – Autism Society of the Philippines
Best Beauty Blog – The Doctor Is vaIN

TEN BEST POSTS OF THE YEAR

Karnabal by Tuyong Tinta ng Bolpen
Finding Your Soul Mate: A Statistical Analysis
by Guttervomit
Lost Gems Of Philippine History: The 1896 Board Meeting by It’s true! It’s true!
The Diving Boys of Quezon Bridge by Dennis Villegas
Twenty Pesos by Lostphotograph
The way of the leaf by SMOKE
Portrait of a dramatic highlight in Nick Joaquin’s A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino by Gibbs Cadiz
Kaya Dumarami ang Bading Kasi… by Manila Gay Guy
The Parable of the Furry White Rabbit by Good Times Manila
The Amazing Bulul: A Story of Epiphany by The Cat Whisperer

SPECIAL AWARDS
Best Blog Design – The Site Guy
Best Filipino Blog Abroad – The Warped Zone
Best Foreign Blog – My Sari Sari Store
Blogger’s Choice – Micamyx
Best Filipiniana Blog – Pilipino Komiks

7
Jun

Memories of things past – the teaching days

Once in my life, I was a teacher. It was not an easy job. Sure, it had its highs and lows, but it could be boring at certain points. Teaching’s a serious business, I tell you.

How so? For several hours, you stand in front, yakking and yakking till your throat hurts. It could be frustrating, especially when you kept on yakking and yakking only to see your students either sleeping or not listening. The first class in the morning was the worst time. Everyone was sleepy – including the teacher. So I always tried to crack jokes to somehow lighten up the mood. But my sense of humor was next to zero; I collected jokes and read them at class. I still have a folder at my file server containing the jokes collected through my teaching years. My joking was a hit-or-miss affair, most of the time misses, since for most of the students the jokes I shared were rather stale.

Then there were gaps in the schedule wherein I had no classes. There were times where the gap stretched into hours. So I did what a decent teacher would do: read books.

Ok, but at least I was reading. Right? Right.

Still, it was boring. What was that cliche about boredom leading a man to do stupid things? Well, I was not exempt.

Back then, when you have a Nokia 7650, you were ahead of the technological curve (actually it meant you had money). It was the first phone to have a camera. A VGA camera was high-tech. It also made people camwhores. Like me.

There are more pictures, but that image is enough torture, no?

But the novelty of camwhoring faded in, what, months. Boredom can lead to delusion.

Yes, even students got bored. And delusional.

Anyway, it could only get worse.

Long-haired, barong-clad, what could be worse than that image?

—-

Lest anyone gets the idea that teaching is boring, it is not entirely boring. It can only get boring when you have so many free time in between classes. And first subjects. Most of time it can be fun. And interesting. Interesting for you get to meet all types of people.

And depending on what kind of teacher are you, you can have an adoring set of fans, este, students pala. I’ve had my share.

Those number of fans could only mean I was a good teacher, no? No? K.

Anyway, I remain friends with some of my students after they graduated and/or after I left teaching. I saw some of them fall in love; I saw some of them fall out of love; saw some of them got married, have kids, and separate later on. I saw some of them succeed and revel in their victories; I saw some of them fail and commiserate in their sorrows. I remember basketball games after school; of hotdogs-and-ice cream get-togethers; of trips to beach resorts and far-off places.

Yes, it’s a mixed bag. But I miss all of it still.

Will I go back to teaching? I don’t know. I had written about it before; back then, I said that in the end it could be a lonely job. You see new students come in, and you see them leave. Repeat every year. That’s my reason why I remain out of the academe.

25
May

On death, 2

(Note: No wonder the day started badly. First, there was a notable lack of buses plying EDSA. Second, the line at the Ayala jeepney terminal was horrendous. Third, Ayala Avenue from Makati Avenue to Paseo de Roxas was closed to traffic the entire working day. Fourth, got a not-so-cheery email from client. Fifth, because of the heat, I sweated profusely, and I smelled. These were portent of the news that greeted me on my way home.)

The last time I saw my aunt was during my cousin’s wedding a month ago. I was the backup photographer, and she was one of the principal sponsors. She was added to the entourage at the insistence of her sister (my cousin’s mother), since she had never been a ninang at a wedding. Back then, we already knew her life in this world was near its end. The picture is at my hard drive; I am not sure if the family will use it as a blown up image for the wake, or use the official one, taken at the same wedding. I am looking at it now. She was gaunt and thin, the dress she was wearing was twice her size. She could not eat that much, and she slept less.

I was busy attending to some things during WordCamp 2008 when I got a text message from a cousin, a message that was devastating and at the same time uncalled for. I was so incensed by the message I called up my mother, first to relay the news, then to rant against my cousin’s tasteless remark. After the call, it was almost lunch, so I went to the designated lunch distribution area and helped out in giving out lunch. I had decided to skip the afterparty; afterall, it was a long and tiring day.

My aunt was diagnosed with stage 5 renal failure. Dialysis was required, and kidney transplant was recommended. She chose not to undergo any. She resisted the news of impending death; she said she wanted to underdo dialysis. The cost and the procedure itself made her change her mind. Right now, I am wondering if our family made the right decision; we could have overruled her and have her undergo dialysis. But it would be a stress in everyone’s finances, and we had to respect her decision. I still wonder; it is too late.

Maybe we should have paid heed to the signs. Before WordCamp, her weight loss was alarming, which she attributed to poor appetite. We should have made her undergo a checkup. As we had no idea of the signs, we just attributed it to poor appetite; she wasn’t really a big eater, preferring to help in the kitchen instead of enjoying the food.

When she was diagnosed, it was already too late. She was given six months to live. She lasted nine months.

In our family, we have our share of old bachelors and old maids. On my mother’s side, I have an old bachelor uncle and an old maid aunt. On my father’s side, I had an old maid aunt. I used to wonder how they live their life. It must be lonely, I thought. I still think it is.

My aunt was always there during time of need. When someone was confined at the hospital, she would always be one of those who’d stay for the night. When someone needed to see a doctor, she would be the one to accompany that person. She took care of her nephews and nieces when their parents were away or busy.

She had no permanent home; for most of her life, she lived with her mother. When my grandmother was alive, she was the one who took care of her (before my grandmother was confined to the hospital). When her mother passed away, she lived the life of a transient. For several months, she stayed at a relative’s house. She graced our home for several weeks. She took care of her brother’s son, she took care of her niece’s sons (her grandsons).

Right now, I feel so ungrateful. Here was a woman who devoted her life to help her relatives (including me), but what did we do? I still wonder; but it is too late.

As I left after my cousin’s wedding, I had no idea it would be the last time I’d see her alive. If I knew, I would have hugged her. If I knew, I would have talked to her more. If I knew, I would have at least made her smile. But it is too late.

Sometimes, a lingering illness can be therapeutic. The grieving was so long, it was no longer painful when the inevitable end comes. Still, you cannot help but grieve, not only about the loss, but what could have been. If there is one lesson I should have learned from my grandmother’s death (who also suffered from a lingering illness), it is to treasure every minute you have. For when a loved one passes away, you can never turn back time. You can remember, but memories bring sadness aside from happiness.

I guess I should remember that lesson.

Basilisa Salvador Bernardo
January 9, 1959- May 25, 2009
In memoriam

11
May

At iBlog5

Last year, I said I was lost at iBlog 4. For this year, I was not lost – I was just a bit preoccupied.

You see, I’ve found a rather-perfect companion. So perfect, in fact, that I live an autistic life when I am with my companion. We shared good times, bad times, sunny days, rainy nights, bright halls and dark auditorium. We enjoyed daylight, but struggled in dark places.

OK, here’s me with my companion.

Anyway, after a year, nothing much has changed. While there were new faces at iBlog 5 (and many familiar faces*), I did not get to know new bloggers. Again. I know I am a bit anti-social, but this is too much for my own good. Though this year, I found myself having two unofficial duties.

Not a few bloggers called me the “official” photographer, due to the number of pictures that I had uploaded (you can see the iBlog5 photoset on Ovi), and the fact that I was nonchalantly taking photos in front. Well, there was no official photographer. As I had said to a few, makapal lang mukha ko. (evil grin) Also, I was lazy to select photos upload, that is why I uploaded almost all of them. :-p

I was also made the pendot guy (Fritz’s term) by accident when the remote control thingie failed; this happened during the photoblogging session. So I was in front, taking pictures; then a vacant chair in front of a laptop invited me to sit down, not knowing that this laptop contained the presentation being used by the resource persons. So I made pendot-pendot the entire morning session.

After lunch, some friends invited me to Chocolate Kiss. Since some people swear on a stack of laptops that the said place is good, I took the opportunity to check it out. It was a good way off from Malcolm Hall, so we took the Ikot jeep, and got off at Ang Bahay ng Alumni. ChocKiss (as locals call it) is a small restaurant, and we had to wait for a table.

Freak weather – the rains decided to be partypoopers, forcing us to skip the “boring” part of iBlog5. Well, it meant extended laugh-a-minute time, with many jokes-at-the-expense-of-x-and-y thrown left and right. I was afraid for the Cebuano blogger who was with us. I hope he got home with his innocence untouched.

We walked back to Malcolm. I had decided to just take more pictures, observe the people, and went at the back. It was a different world out there, a perspective diverging from what’s happening in front. And on some points of someone’s presentation, I could not help but giggle a bit.

I was glad to have another iBlog shirt. I was actually I’d go empty-handed; I was never lucky at raffles and contests, and I still am. The shirt was black, this time.

The problem with having a camera is that most of the time, you are not in the picture. It happens most of the time. It happened this time around. This is the first time I was not in the group picture.

Speaking of pictures, take a look at Nina’s Flickr photoset. She takes better photos than I do. Sana sya na lang official photographer he he.

Skipped this year’s afterparty. I know my being anti-social will do me no good.

Congratulations to the organizers of iBlog – UP ISP (led by JJ Disini) and Janette Toral.

* Familiar faces include:
Aaron
AJ
Allan
Benj
Brian
DJB
Dhon Jason
Eric
Fritz
Jayvee
Jeric
JP
Juned
– Marc
Mica
Nina
Poyt
Winston

13
Apr

Ang matabang mama at si lolo Hulk

Kanina sa MRT, habang nag-aantay sa paparating na tren, nasa harapan ko ang isang may katabaang lalaki. No, hindi kasing laki ni Arpee at ni Juned. Definitely mas malaki sa akin. Anyway, so yun, nagulat lang ako kasi kahit napakalaki nya, ang galing nyang sumingit ha. Pero I realized na hindi dahil sa bilis yun. Alam nya kung paano gamitin ang laki ng kanyang katawan.

Natatandaan nyo pa ba yung mga players ng Ginebra nung kapanahunan ni Jaworksi? Di ba di ganun katangkaran pero parang mga tangke ang katawan? Sina Locsin yun, saka Loyzaga. Subukan mong banggain yung mga yun. Goodluck.

So ganun siguro yung mama kanina. Magaling syang sumingit kasi peanuts sa kanya ang manbalya.

Nakaupo naman ako kanina, salamat sa kung sino. Katabi ko sa kanan ko ay isang mamang matanda na di ko alam kung maarte lang o may sakit. Naka gas mask kasi sya. Sa kaliwa yung mamang mataba (MM). Tapos may babae na nakatayo sa harap ni MM, kaya UMUSOG si MM pakaliwa. Sa kakarampot na piraso ng upuan naupo yung babae. Ayun, pilit na nagsumiksik yung babae. Kung tumayo si MM, isang tao pa ang pwedeng makaupo nang komportable, katabi yung babae na hindi na sana nagsumiksik.

So umandar na yung tren, at ako’y nagulat. Parang lumalaki yung balikat nung matandang nasa kanan ko. Naiipit ang kanang braso ko, muntik na ngang matigil ang daloy ng dugo eh. Pinakiramdaman ko nga baka kako si Incredible Hulk yung katabi ko. Lumalaki yung balikat nya pag bumibilis ang tren, bumabalik naman sa dati pag pabagal o huminto yung tren.

Sa pagitan ng babaeng nagsumiksik at nakasandal kay MM, at ng matandang Incredible Hulk, para akong de-latang napisa ng pison.

Nakarating naman ako sa Ayala Station na buo pa rin. Akala ko kasi madudurog ako sa tigas ni lolo. Buti naman hindi.

Pagdating sa Buendia Station, tumayo na ako at lumapit sa pinto, para agad akong makalabas. Siksikan kasi sa escalator, kasi makitid lang sya. Naiwang nakaupo sina lolo Hulk, babaeng nagsumiksik, at si MM. So pagdating sa istasyon, nagkumahog ang mga tao sa paglabas, at nagka bottleneck (naks) sa escalator. Pumila naman ako, at ako ay nabigla sapagkat nasa unahan ko si MM. Grabe ang galing talaga nung matabang yun.

Pagdating sa ikalawang escalator, umakyat na ako, kasi ayaw kong makasingit sya ulit sa pila ng turnstile. Ay grabe ang haba ng pila sa palabas na turnstile, kasi yung iba naka red X na naman (ibig sabihin out of order). At nakita ko na naman si MM, handang sumingit. Buti na lang dun sya sa mahabang pila napunta. Kung hindi, baka nilabas ko na ballpen ko at tinusok ko na sya.

Pero sa totoo lang, walang tatalo sa mga babae pagdating sa singitan. Pagdating sa MRT, ang mga babae nagiging Amasona. Pramis.

Tulad nung nangyari kahapon. Madalas akong naka iPod pag nasa MRT kasi naiirita ako sa nakakairitang paalala na palagi mo na lang maririnig sa mga istasyon ng MRT. Wala namang sumusunod. Tulad ng “huwag umapak sa dilaw na lines.” Goodluck. Ako lang yata ang di umaapak sa dilaw na lines eh.

Anyway, so kahapon maswerte ako at nakapwesto agad ako sa platform, pero syempre di ako nakatapak sa dilaw na lines. Makakapasok agad ako ng tren, sabi ko sa sarili. Pero ilang segundo lang, may nakatayo nang babae sa harap ko. (doh)

Isang example pa lang yan. Dapat yata magsuot ako ng sumbrero na may video camera, para marecord ko lahat ng mga pagsingit na ginagawa ng mga babae sa MRT. Hay naku, dapat wala nang segregation scheme kung ganyan din lang naman mangyayari.

1
Apr

Moving on

I have been thinking about the future, and with the global economy looking very bleak, I think it is time for me to make this decision.

You see, I work for a company who depends on foreign clients. And with the recession in full swing, clients are hard to come by, and current clients are cutting back on costs. And as man growing older, I really need to take stock of the situation and prepare for the future. In short, I need certainty. And I can’t find it here.

However, there is a pending invitation for some time now. I had evaded and turned down this invitation on a matter of principle. But I had to rethink things, because, let’s face it, principle can’t feed a family. People who stuck with their principles are harangued, harassed, intimidated, and snuffed out if necessary. With the future in mind, I think the sticking to one’s principle is foolish and stupid.

This has been a secret for a time. Not even my family knows this pending invitation. And with a heavy heart, I have to announce the following decisions:

* I quit blogging for myself and for Filipino Voices.
* I quit from this day job.
* I take an oath of allegiance.
* I join as an executive assistant at the Office of the Deputy Presidential Spokesman. I will be working with Lorelei Fajardo.

My thanks for everyone who have joined me in this journey – to friends who now become my enemies. I hope that even if I work on and for the other side now, we shall remain civil with each other. I hope to join future Plurkfiestas again.

My thanks to the 1 or 2 regular readers of this blog – thanks for the comments. I hope that even if I eat all my words and work for a previously-designated-as-enemy, you will not see this decision as a betrayal of your trust.

With that, I leave the blogging world. This will serve as the last blog post. I know I had just launched this new site, and I know now that it is a foolish decision. But that’s life, and I move on. I suggest you move on, too.

PS: Here is my first press release.

EDIT: And so, the fallout has begun.

20
Feb

Ang matabang mama at si lolo Hulk

Kanina sa MRT, habang nag-aantay sa paparating na tren, nasa harapan ko ang isang may katabaang lalaki. No, hindi kasing laki ni Arpee at ni Juned. Definitely mas malaki sa akin. Anyway, so yun, nagulat lang ako kasi kahit napakalaki nya, ang galing nyang sumingit ha. Pero I realized na hindi dahil sa bilis yun. Alam nya kung paano gamitin ang laki ng kanyang katawan.

Natatandaan nyo pa ba yung mga players ng Ginebra nung kapanahunan ni Jaworksi? Di ba di ganun katangkaran pero parang mga tangke ang katawan? Sina Locsin yun, saka Loyzaga. Subukan mong banggain yung mga yun. Goodluck.

So ganun siguro yung mama kanina. Magaling syang sumingit kasi peanuts sa kanya ang manbalya.

Nakaupo naman ako kanina, salamat sa kung sino. Katabi ko sa kanan ko ay isang mamang matanda na di ko alam kung maarte lang o may sakit. Naka gas mask kasi sya. Sa kaliwa yung mamang mataba (MM). Tapos may babae na nakatayo sa harap ni MM, kaya UMUSOG si MM pakaliwa. Sa kakarampot na piraso ng upuan naupo yung babae. Ayun, pilit na nagsumiksik yung babae. Kung tumayo si MM, isang tao pa ang pwedeng makaupo nang komportable, katabi yung babae na hindi na sana nagsumiksik.

So umandar na yung tren, at ako’y nagulat. Parang lumalaki yung balikat nung matandang nasa kanan ko. Naiipit ang kanang braso ko, muntik na ngang matigil ang daloy ng dugo eh. Pinakiramdaman ko nga baka kako si Incredible Hulk yung katabi ko. Lumalaki yung balikat nya pag bumibilis ang tren, bumabalik naman sa dati pag pabagal o huminto yung tren.

Sa pagitan ng babaeng nagsumiksik at nakasandal kay MM, at ng matandang Incredible Hulk, para akong de-latang napisa ng pison.

Nakarating naman ako sa Ayala Station na buo pa rin. Akala ko kasi madudurog ako sa tigas ni lolo. Buti naman hindi.

Pagdating sa Buendia Station, tumayo na ako at lumapit sa pinto, para agad akong makalabas. Siksikan kasi sa escalator, kasi makitid lang sya. Naiwang nakaupo sina lolo Hulk, babaeng nagsumiksik, at si MM. So pagdating sa istasyon, nagkumahog ang mga tao sa paglabas, at nagka bottleneck (naks) sa escalator. Pumila naman ako, at ako ay nabigla sapagkat nasa unahan ko si MM. Grabe ang galing talaga nung matabang yun.

Pagdating sa ikalawang escalator, umakyat na ako, kasi ayaw kong makasingit sya ulit sa pila ng turnstile. Ay grabe ang haba ng pila sa palabas na turnstile, kasi yung iba naka red X na naman (ibig sabihin out of order). At nakita ko na naman si MM, handang sumingit. Buti na lang dun sya sa mahabang pila napunta. Kung hindi, baka nilabas ko na ballpen ko at tinusok ko na sya.

Pero sa totoo lang, walang tatalo sa mga babae pagdating sa singitan. Pagdating sa MRT, ang mga babae nagiging Amasona. Pramis.

Tulad nung nangyari kahapon. Madalas akong naka iPod pag nasa MRT kasi naiirita ako sa nakakairitang paalala na palagi mo na lang maririnig sa mga istasyon ng MRT. Wala namang sumusunod. Tulad ng “huwag umapak sa dilaw na lines.” Goodluck. Ako lang yata ang di umaapak sa dilaw na lines eh.

Anyway, so kahapon maswerte ako at nakapwesto agad ako sa platform, pero syempre di ako nakatapak sa dilaw na lines. Makakapasok agad ako ng tren, sabi ko sa sarili. Pero ilang segundo lang, may nakatayo nang babae sa harap ko. (doh)

Isang example pa lang yan. Dapat yata magsuot ako ng sumbrero na may video camera, para marecord ko lahat ng mga pagsingit na ginagawa ng mga babae sa MRT. Hay naku, dapat wala nang segregation scheme kung ganyan din lang naman mangyayari.

27
Sep

On death, 1

My earliest memory of death and dying was when my paternal grandfather died. It was hazy at most, but I do remember some details about it. Like during the wake at Sampaloc, I know I was sick, covered by bedsheets, at the bed where my grandfather used to sleep.  Then I can also remember the burial itself, where I was hoisted above the coffin (some sort of tradition, where children were hoisted above the coffin, from one side to the other – it meant angels guiding the soul of the dead to heaven, or so I was told). The rest I can now remember because of the pictures.

I had twins for cousins, though they lasted only 2 days in this world. They were born premature – their mother slipped from the stairs, and they were born a month early. The coffins were tiny; I was shocked at how small they were. They were buried at the same cemetery where my grandfather was buried, at the family plot where my grandfather’s remains were to be transferred when my grandmother passes away.

A neighbor died from emphysema years ago. It was not a sad death, for us at least. He was mean and uncouth, thinking that his affiliation with his religion would save him. One time, the brother was to open the gate for my aunt when the neighbor’s dog treacherously bit him in the leg. I had to rush the brother to San Lazaro Hospital for anti-rabies shots.

The next day, mom went to the owner of the dog to have the expenses reimbursed. The old man exploded, shouting expletives at my mom. When I was to get out for school, he also shouted at me. Did not bother looking at him. Everything went downhill from there. When we had to open the gate, we had to bring an arnis stick.

When he died, I didn’t know what to feel. Should I be relieved? Should I be saddened? We sat down in the wake, and went to the burial. I was with my father when the body was brought to the cemetery. We were walking ahead of the hearse, as if we were angels of death delivering a lost soul somewhere. If only this was true, I know where to deliver his soul.

When my paternal grandmother celebrated her last birthday, I was not able to come. I knew then that she was suffering from a debilitating disease, limiting her movement, up to a point where she was bedridden for days. So when I saw a picture of her with all of her children, I was so shocked with what I saw. She was so thin!

Then she had to be confined for diagnosis and possible treatment.  I wasn’t able to talk to her doctors in deference to my uncles and aunts (and my father, of course), so I don’t know what’s ailing her. Asking relatives was futile – they don’t know, either. I remember the doctors wanted to do a biopsy, but her children refused.

So she remained there, bedridden, her left leg swollen for unknown reasons, nagpaltos. She got bedsores, she had a tube where osterized food can be delivered. Her blood sugar level fluctuated like crazy. One day the doctors had to inject her with insulin, on another they had to raise her blood sugar. They had to transfer the IV line when the arm became swollen.

She was so frustrated with everything. She couldn’t talk. She wanted to take off all those tubes and lines that we had to tie her arms up. Whenever we ask her if she wanted to go home, she always tried to get up, but she couldn’t.

Her children alternated in attending to her. Two people had to attend to her – she couldn’t be left alone, for she would take every opportunity to remove the lines and tubes. I got to get hospital duty one night, with her niece. It was not a nice experience. Whenever we doze off, she would move and attempt to remove the IV. Of course, we would wake up and stop her. You could really feel her frustration.

The months/days approaching Christmas was harrowing and scary. Stretches of time she was in intensive care. After she recovered, she was transferred to the regular ward. Then her situation would deteriorate, and back she was in ICU. Hours before Christmas eve was spent on the hospital. When we got home, we did not feel like celebrating, so we all went to sleep.

Several days later, she almost died. The doctors had revived her, but they told us that the next attack might be the final one. They asked if they wanted us to revive her when it comes. It was an excruciating decision.

The way they revived her made them decide. When it happened, they gave her lots of medicines, then they employed those electricity something. I think they had asked her about this, and understood. Even if she couldn’t talk, she nodded.

New Year’s Eve. My father went home, coming from the hospital. Her situation was grave. Even though the New Year was coming, we celebrated half-heartedly. We were looking for hope when we knew it was hopeless. The irony was not lost to us back then: when everyone was looking forward for the coming year, we were dreading its coming.

At 2AM, as we were about to call it a night, I got a text message from a cousin. Our grandmother was dead.

At the burial, I was puzzled. While everyone was crying, I wasn’t. Sure, there was sadness, but how come no tears were falling?

Then later on I realized why. The months that she was hospitalized served for me as times of gradual grieving. The inevitability of death had forced me to accept the fact. Seeing her suffer in the hospital bed with all of those IV lines and oxygen tanks and electronic monitors; seeing her trying to get up whenever we asked her if she wanted to go home; seeing her trying to remove all those contraptions; these things broke our hearts. Every day of her stay in the hospital was a day of questions, of sadness, of inevitable loss.

And now the specter of death faces our family once again, five years after my grandmother died. As I felt helpless back then, I feel helpless now. There are times you just cannot do anything; yet in the back of my mind I always ask the question: have I done everything I could?

My paternal aunt is suffering from end-stage renal failure. She needs to undergo a lifetime of dialysis; kidney transplant is out of the question for her. The family, with her consent, had decided to forego dialysis. She doesn’t want to ruin us financially.

Yes. We have condemned her to death. And it is a shame.

12
Jul

Political bloggers are human beings, too

Most people think political bloggers are stiff, serious all the time, aloof, ivory-tower-dwelling persons who don’t know how to crack jokes, and who won’t laugh at any jokes. They don’t have the time for frivolous things; they only talk about politics and social issues (and the occasional gossip). The political bloggers have this reputation that somehow turns off (well, not really turn off) some people, and some even shout “nose bleed!” when talking with political bloggers.

But. They are human beings too. They laugh, they cry, they agonize, they take a bath, they eat, they visit the crapper when needed, they breathe the same polluted air.

And to prove that political bloggers are human beings, too, just invite them to videoke. Nothing beats a microphone and a loud sound system blaring YMCA.

So that’s what Ria Jose found out last night when we went to Red Box Greenbelt 3, together with Juned, Fritz, Poyt, Billycoy, Marcelle, Arpee (who went home agad, ander kasi), Markku (with girlfriend), and Jayvee (with girlfriend). Unfortunately for you (and fortunately for me), there are no incriminating evidence. Yet. Anyway, it was a fun night, which was definitely a concert by Marcelle, with occasional assist from anyone. And for the first time, I came home super duper uber late. Lagot ako sa nanay ko.

And thankfully, by mutual consent, there are no videos. Ay, meron yata. Yari ako. Huhuhu.

So there. No wonder a noted political blogger avoids videoke like SARS. I now understand.