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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ang Pinakamahabang Birthday sa Pinakamahabang Blog


Explain ko lang. Tatlong beses pa lang ako nag-birthday na wala sa aking comfort zone, either hindi ko kasama ang parents ko, wala ako sa bahay sa Lopez o wala ako sa Pilipinas. Sure, merong mga September 13 na kailangan kong pumasok sa opisina pero hindi counted ‘yan sa “wala sa aking comfort zone”.

‘Yung unang beses, n’ung 1989, nasa Daraga, Albay kami n’un para sa kauna-unahang sabak ko sa boyscout jamboree. First year high school ako n’un at ‘yun ang unang pagkakataon ko na makatulog sa labas ng aming bayan. Ang natatandaan ko, ‘yung weekend bago kami bumalik ng Lopez, binisita kami ng mga nanay namin na sakay sa isang jeep. Hindi ko matandaan kung nakita kong nag-abot ng pera ang nanay ko sa scout master namin pero ‘yung araw na uuwi na kami, inilibre kami ng halo-halo sa isang sikat na mall sa Naga City noon, in celebration daw sa birthday ko. Meron kaming picture nito, sigurado ako, at ang alam ko ay hindi ko lahat kilala ‘yung nasa table.

Noong 2001 naman, more than ten years ang nakalipas, nasa Singapore ako noon. Ito ‘yung 9/11 year. Ang alam ko, umuwi ako galing opisina at nakita kong nanonood ng CNN ang landlord ko habang pinapakita ang umuusok na World Trade Center sa New York. Ang assessment n’ya noon, isa lang itong aksidente. Nagbiro pa ako sa mga kasamahan ko noon sa Equi na ang lupit naman ng birthday greeting nila para sa akin. Noong kaarawan mismo, nakatanggap ako ng bulaklak sa opisina mula sa kuya ko na nasa New Zealand that time. Kinagabihan, ni-punk ako ng mga officemate kong Pinoy at gumawa sila ng drama na kunyari ay nag-aaway o nagtatampuhan. May schedule kami ng jogging n’un sa Kallang Stadium at ‘yung allegedly “breakdown” scene ay sa field ginawa. Naisahan ako nina Gerry, Tintin at “Ate Shawie”. Kung tama pa ang pagkakatanda ko, hindi natuloy ang jogging at kumain na lang kami sa Marché. Happy days.

Mula 1989, tapos 2001, ngayon naman, 2010. Parang merong pattern. This year, ang kakaibang experience naman ay ‘yung nasa ibang time zone ako. Since ahead ang Pinas ng 11 oras, nag-celebrate ako ng birthday rito ng 35 oras. Eventful, actually. And with the advent of new media like Facebook, para akong nag-fiesta sa mga bumati.

Pero heto ang detalye kung paano ko inubos ang treinta y cinco oras:

Sinubukan kong um-attend ng nag-iisang English mass dito sa Holy Trinity Cathedral tatlong oras bago mag-midnight sa Pilipinas (10am dito). Late ako dumating at ang entrance, sa hindi ko inaasahan, ay nasa may harapan malapit sa altar. Hindi ko sinasadyang gumawa ng eksena sa aking pagpasok pero wala akong nagawa. Mabuti na lang at kokonti lang ang sumimba. Pero ang mas matinding eksena ay nang makita ko na babae ang pari na nago-officiate. Naka-robe din s’ya at ang pangalan n’ya ay Reverend Bridgitte Gutbrod. Wala naman akong napansing kakaiba sa celebration at hindi naman nakakailang magmisa, sa katunayan, nagustuhan ko ang sermon tungkol sa "pakikinig".

May ilang pics sa Holy Trinity Cathedral dito.

Mula sa simbahan, sinubukan ko na ring tumawag ng taxi gamit ang celfone at nasundo naman ako (another first na nagpasundo sa isang place sa Montevideo na noon ko pa lang napuntahan). Sa Plaza Independencia na ako nagpahatid, naglakad, kumuha ng picture at naglakad nang naglakad pa. Sa isang park ako nagpahinga. May ilang nag-text (na inaasahan ko naman na mas kokonti dahil na rin sa Facebook). Bumili ako ng isang balot na papel ng mani na nilalako ng mama na merong kariton na may tambutso na gawa yata sa kawayan. Kung hindi ako nagkakamali, dito na ako inabot ng birthday ko, Manila time, habang inuubos ang UYU 20 na mani sa piling ng mga kalapati.

More pics sa Plaza Independencia rito at sa city center, dito naman.

Other half ng araw na ‘yun, pumunta kami ng Manila Mafia – Uruguay Chapter sa isang expo (na more than 100 years nang ginagawa). Ito ‘yung sa Rural del Prado. Para s’yang agricultural expo na merong mga booth na mainly for the farm. May dalawa ritong malaking warehouse, na medyo mapapansin mo ang pagka-vintage, kung saan naka-display ang iba’t ibang breed ng baka at sheep. Around 9pm na yata kami nakabalik ng city center. Sa Tintos y Rubias kami nag-dinner (na isa sa mga OK na parillada rito).

More pics sa Rural del Prado Expo rito.

September 13, Montevideo time, around 2am na yata ako nakatulog. O kami ng housemate kong si Mike. Tinapos kasi namin ‘yung expense claim para sa tatlong linggo. At hindi s’ya madali dahil nakiki-leech lang kami ng wi-fi ng may wi-fi. Nothing special at work. I spent it quietly as planned, just some greetings from the Manilans and that’s it. Sa El Salmon kami nag-lunch na ironically ay walang pescado sa kanilang menu. At dahil may birthday luck siguro ako n’un, meron silang fish para sa araw na ‘yun. Finished task by EOB then apartment then Francis Restaurant. Umuulan ng napakalakas n’ung gabing ‘yan at alam ko, struggle para sa amin nina Fabricio, Pao at Mike ang pagpunta dahil sa lakas ng hangin (pang-test ng payong kung matibay). Maliban sa napakasarap (at napakamahal pero sulit) na pagkain, medyo tahimik namang lumipas ang hating-gabi kasama ang limang Manilan, dalawang Argentinean at isang Brazilian. All-male entourage ‘yun. Naging mas special ang gabi nang kumain sa nasabing restaurant ang isang pamosong Argentinean artist/comic. May plano sanang magpa-picture kasama s’ya pero wala nang nakuhang maglakas-loob habulin nang ito ay lumabas ng pinto. Eksaktong hating-gabi, isang shot ng limon cielo.

Natapos ang araw na sumasagot pa rin ako sa mga pagbati sa Facebook. Kumpleto naman ang araw dahil nabati ako ng parents ko at kuya ko and family over the phone n'ung umaga. Kahit malayo at magkaiba ang oras, hindi ko naramdaman ang pagiging remote.

At d’yan nagtatapos ang birthday ko na umabot ng 35 oras. Dito na rin magtatapos ang automatic cross-posting ko ng blog entry from Blogspot to Multiply (pero iiwanan ko r’un/rito ang mga photo album). At isa pang at, 34 years old lang este na ako.

May ilang pics sa birthday dinner dito.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

I Love You, #sentisabado!

Woke up on a late Saturday morning, Montevideo time, feeling so Zenned up. Got no itinerary whatsoever aside from the usual post-snoozing-the-alarm-clock “social network” to do’s. It’s usually Facebook then Plurk then Twitter (arranged accordingly on my iPhone). Then I came across this hashtag #sentisabado and got me hooked on Twitter for the rest of the morning and early afternoon.

Most contributions, as the name suggests, are all reminiscent of the Pinoy pop culture. Be it about a now defunct TV show on RPN9 or IBC13, or some old and iconic Kapamilya and Kapuso shows, or about junk food that’s no longer available in your favorite sari-sari store or just about anything that reminds of how naive life was back then.

Part of my share:


Other entries:




I think I had my first glance of the same trending last week (or last, last week) through Ramon and I remember sharing some bits of my jologs past. But this Saturday was different. First senti entries that greeted me, surprisingly, were from celebs like Anne Curtis and Tim Yap. That fueled me up a lot and did my share of some goodies straight from the mahiwagang baul. “Wisdom” kept on going for hours, making me almost skip meals. I don’t remember being away from home on a Saturday morning this fun and engaging.

On a serious note, the whole she-bang (that made it to some online news) proves that we, Filipinos, aside from being united for a time, can have a sense of history. We just know. We take note of the details. So long as it doesn’t get us into something serious like going to the streets for another EDSA revolt or being vocal about our frustration for Erap making it to the second spot during the last elections, we remember. Now I don’t know if it’s a good thing or what. For the meantime, I’ll just wait for the next Saturday.

P.S. By the way, here are some pictures from this week and last week.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Emo Rollercoaster Ride Called Temporal de Santa Rosa.




Wednesday morning. While having breakfast with Mike at Salon Panoramico (still at Marti Apartment Hotel), I noticed that the overlooking streets and rooftops were all wet. A rain must have come during the night. I was actually ecstatic about having to experience it for the first time in Uruguay (which always prompts me to hum that song “Rain in Spain” from a musical). Not until another colleague named Nestor from Argentina (or Brazil, I don’t remember), occupying another table beside us, mentioned about this thing called Temporal de Santa Rosa.

From what I have gathered, the phenomenon happens only once a year. It’s a typhoon similar to typhoons in the Philippines, complete with gusty wind and a little rain shower. It normally lasts up to five days, coinciding with the feast day of Santa Rosa de Lima on August 30 (who died, apparently on August 24).

Santa Rosa, by the way, has her own story to tell. She is Isabel Flores de Oliva (1586 – 1617) in real life and, as mentioned, she’s from Lima, Peru. Legend has it that in 1615, she leads a prayer from a church right before the arrival of pirate ships of Dutchmen ready to invade Lima. Without any warning, a storm prevented the ships from approaching the land and the city was saved.

It hits not only Uruguay but the whole South American region. The nearby countries call it “Tormenta de Santa Rosa” which, by the tone of it, sounds deadlier. “Temporal” is somewhat close to “temporary” but according to Nestor, the context there is not merely about time but more on the “just visiting” part. It washes away something and gets ready the land (and the people) from winter to spring.

Catching the season shift and having it stamped during a weeklong phenomenon is new to me. I thought at first that it was going to be a nice experience. Besides, it’s the first day of my favorite month and we had a scheduled apartment viewing in the afternoon. Morning came almost unnoticed but getting lunch around the corner and braving the wind was a struggle. Umbrellas must be strong and a warm scarf would be very handy. Afternoon went unscathed. Almost. Until we went to the long process of calling a cab (through 141) and heading to the other side of Montevideo.

Natalia, the one in charge of our accommodation and other needs of onsite employees, was waiting for us when Mike and I reached the apartment along 26 de Marzo. Alighting from the cab reminded us not to underestimate Santa Rosa. No exaggeration but the wind could probably carry an anorexic. It was cold (roughly five degrees) and the challenge of reaching the apartment lobby from the taxi was slightly overwhelming. Natalia asked to driver to wait for us while we view the unit. An agent, a granny who’s probably on her 70’s, welcomed us in Spanish. I don’t remember much of the details aside from the area being so big but I won’t forget the whistle caused by the wind when we checked the verandah. Then we hopped into another apartment, a posh one, still with Natalia, Mike and the agent all in the same cab, wet, slippery and windy. Verdict: never find an apartment during the typhoon.

Thursday made me realize a lot of things. My umbrella, which has been inside my laptop bag for a couple of years now, just passed out like a tiny sparrow. The casualty happened during lunch break and it was heartbreaking for me. Come dinner time, I suggested a visit to the mall just to get a new umbrella (we got a fancy one from a girly/granny store) and have Chinese food for comfort. Almost end of the story.

The silver lining there is that Temporal de Santa Rosa is a beautiful typhoon. It’s voracious but unlike in the Philippines, you don’t have to pray your ass off to have your life be spared. It’s beautiful, voracious and safe. It cleanses. It signifies both an ending and a beginning. By now, rain is still there but I have a new umbrella. I’m freer to sing that Justin Bieber - Usher song this time.
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