Thursday, August 31, 2006

the chopsuey chronicles

chips and chocolates
I am a chaotic eater. I eat food stuff by mere convenience. Last week, I made a record by thriving on Mr. Chips junk food and Demolino chocolates as my dinner for three nights in a row. I have just resumed duty for my internship at ABS-CBN Cebu weeks after coming home from South Korea and catching up with my classes. As of now, I could only spare the evenings so right after school, I would travel to Jagobiao, Mandaue. Man, I tell you, travel time alone eats up a big chunk of my time and my allowance. I’d be home really late that when I arrive in Lahug, all nearby carenderias would already be closed. And by then, I’d be too tired to travel elsewhere to eat. So I quickly settle for whatever’s available – junk food and chocolates – to my delight, of course, as you know how helplessly addicted I am to chocolates. My parents won’t forgive me if they find out but I have no intentions of pursuing this kind of habit, either. I can hear my bodily systems whining at me in frustration for the abusive treatment. No way, Sir. I don’t want to get sick again! Waaaaah!

close encounters with stardom and star-doom
Ever since I started television internship, I have had, uhm, close encounters with stardom. Not just once but many times. A wee bit more and I’ll be a star! Hahaha! But kidding aside, my face has been flashed a lot of times on TV Patrol Central Visayas because I’m an intern and a student. It’s either you catch me tagging along with a senior reporter, attending an ABS-CBN-hosted event, or being a participant of whatever ventures I’m currently into. For me, it’s nothing really. As long as I’m not caught doing something silly, I would be perfectly fine. But if there’s one thing I should have remembered, it’s that every little thing has a corresponding counterpart. In the language of physics, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. If there’s such thing as stardom, then there’s what I call star-doom. (Vianney’s Vocabulary 101, Category: Coinages) What could be more shocking than this? When I resumed duty last week for the news department, I once visited the production office to wait for my classmates who were also on duty so we could go home together. I helped them cut out confetti or cut out papers for prompters. We chatted, watched My Girl in between, (which, by the way, I was not a fan of… my classmates and my mom could relate better when it comes to koreanovelas) and just enjoyed what we did. Suddenly, one of the staff came to us and told us, “Excuse me, himuon mo namong extra sa Milyonaryong Mini ha? Mangaplay kuno mo para Japan.” (Excuse me, we’ll get you as extras for Milyonaryong Mini okay? You’ll be applying to go to Japan.) I just laughed it off, thinking she was joking around. Only when she said, “Pangita mog sinina sa dressing room.” (Look for clothes in the dressing room.) when I realized she was dead serious. My eyes grew wide and my jaws dropped as I blurted out to myself, “Hah!?! Ang akoang dignidad!” (Hah!?! My dignity!) It wasn’t even part of my internship! I was a mere victim of circumstances. Waaaah! Poor Krishna, Noreen, and I – we were made to dress up like, you know, dancers applying for Japan. I assume you know what I’m talking about. I’m talking about sexy, skimpy blouses. What a dare! I felt the cold sweat forming at strategic points. I can’t even wear sleeveless on normal days and there I go wearing that stuff and playing that role! All throughout the taping, I tried my best to take cover between Krishna and Noreen. (I hope I was successful enough.) We just sat down while the cameras rolled and taped the scene. Oh dear, I hope that when the final cut comes out, there will be no traces of our encounter with star-doom.

like father, like mother, like daughter
Some people tell me I look like my father. And an almost equal number tell me I look like my mother. But really, when I look at the mirror, I see none of their facial features. Rather, I see a healthy blend of both except for my forehead, which I non-disputably inherited from my father. (My high school classmates couldn’t agree more on this.) Actually, who I am, what I am and what I love today are pretty much inspired by both of them. So if you’re complaining that I write too much, blame my father. I think I would never be in this course had he not introduced the habit of reading to me. I remember the all the excitement and enthusiasm that sprung from my little heart when he handed me my very first book, Karen’s Toothache way back in third grade. Blame my mother, too. Had she not been patient teaching me the proper spelling and grammar (which she usually does as she is an English major), I wouldn’t be as meticulous as I am today. So when my father told me he also set up his own blog, I wasn’t surprised at all. Writing has also been part of his routine as an educator. And I’m very proud to say that he writes really well. You can check out his blog or you can click on the links at the left side. (As of now, my mother still needs to be convinced to display her writings online, as well as to be acquainted with the computer and all these internet stuff. It’s already 2006 yet my mom still writes her memos using a typewriter.)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Of Eye Bags and Foot Spas

I just had one of the most hectic weekends I will most probably have in my senior year in college. I presented a class report, prepared for a major school activity, and attended a business summit. Sounds chicken. But put them together in consecutive days and what does Vianney get? Additional pounds, lack of sleep, and a heightened determination to implement world-extermination strategies. All the madness and the mayhem started with the preparations for my report in class.

My report was about the extent of the independence of the television documentaries, considering their ownership and the timeslot they occupy, which is always past the primetime. (as in the case of the two major competing stations) The topic was a bit hard to explain because one, I knew those two factors weren’t the only factors surrounding the situation. Two, there was a dearth of materials dealing on the issue. So it took me long to figure out how to make do with the little material I had. (which were taken from email interviews with Kuya Tops Brugada, Executive Producer for I-Witness, and a few media people including Kuya Don Gonzalez, a creative writer who just slammed his way to victory in a story writing competition. Thanks so much to these two heaven-sent angels who saved me from total doom.) I started preparing last Wednesday night. So there I was, typing my way to the completion of my report. But in the middle of it all, our PC shut down. I panicked. I had no back-up file saved in my flash disk yet! After a few minutes of praying over the computer, it functioned again. I ended up sleeping only for 30 minutes and had to rush to the 7AM class for the report. The whole day on Thursday went like a blur. I stole hours in between classes to go home and catch up on sleep. On that day, last-minute preparations were also being undertaken for Cookout 2006, the annual “acquaintance party” of UP Cebu. Meetings here. Stuffs to do there. Good thing I wasn’t in charge of any major committee. I had the luxury of napping in between meetings. At the end of the seemingly long day, I decided to drop by the salon to do the one thing I haven’t done in my “teen” years – get my nails done. I’m not too vain with nails and stuff but I was attending a business summit the next day. Under normal circumstances, I would have cleaned my nails myself using just a nail cutter and alcohol for cleansing, but I was so dead tired that I knew if I went home, I would only collapse on my bed and snore to sleep.

At the salon, my eyes caught the sign “Foot Spa with Pedicure.” It sounded like a good deal so I decided to try the service. Before the procedure, I casually talked the manicurista into being extra gentle as images of bloody nails and girlish shrieks flashed on my mind – recollections of my high school Home Economics class when my classmates experimented on each other’s nails. But the manicurista adeptly cleaned and polished my nails to a perfect finish. I enjoyed the small chitchat as I found out she was from Leyte and knew the people I knew. (Whoa. The world really is small.) I loved the ticklish feel of the foot scrub. I felt relaxed as I imagined that my soles were inches thinner. Wow, I so savored the moment.

I went home and as expected, I went straight to bed.

That would have been a perfect ending to an exhausting day but why else would I be yakking about eye bags if I didn’t have them? Somewhere in dreamland after the manicure and pedicure, my alarm clock popped me awake at 2AM on Friday to prepare for the summit. I had to iron my business casual clothes – yellow polo, black slacks, and black blazer. In between, I had to answer text messages regarding the Cookout preparations, as well as rantings from my friends who were already complaining how tired they were with the event. My Friday was overloaded with educational and interactive talks with Aboitiz leaders and food. Yup, one thing I notice when you’re holding your conventions or seminars at Waterfront Hotel (Lahug) is that the participants never go hungry. From the Sun Star Economic Forum 2005, to the 19th Philippine Advertising Congress up to the Aboitiz Future Leaders Business Summit, the food was absolutely overwhelming! (And the best thing about all those I have attended is that I never spent a single centavo on them. Hahaha.) At the end of the day, I had to rush back to school for the Cookout. I had a quick change of clothes and went on duty – FROM THE WHOLE EVENING UNTIL DAWN. I ended up being a mobile production assistant. I barely noticed how tired I was until around 3AM, when all the running and walking took a toll on my already aching feet. I did enjoy the Cookout though, especially when my friends from the Math block danced Britney Spears’ Toxic, wearing trash bags and neon green gloves. I kept on jumping up and down while my tears rolled over my cheeks in too much amusement. I did not really expect to see my Kapatid na Jasper, Mark, Joseph, Tepoy, and Val dance like that. Hey, if you see them around campus, you’d think these were a bunch of serious guys talking just about numbers and here they come dancing like crazy onstage with the weirdest and wackiest steppings that you wouldn’t even dare doing in a dance. And in front of a lot people, at that! Yoohoo! For me, that was just a masterpiece. I confronted my foster brother after their number and told him, “Kapatid! Napakamakabag-damdamin ng iyong ginawa at ako’y pinaiyak mo.” Anyway, after all the fun, the exhaustion set in and at 4AM, I could no longer keep my eyelids open and I was murmuring a lot (um, that’s what you call pre-sleep mumbles). When the program ended at nearly 5AM, I dashed for the exit, went home, and slept. At 7:30, I woke up startled as the second day of the summit was supposed to start around 8. That day, I forced down a lot of caffeine in my system to keep me awake in our brainstorming, deliberation, and defense of our case study. Phew!

The loooong weekend is finally over. The pounds are in and the baggies are taking shape. But the loooong, intermittent sleeps are still coming…

Post-Entry Comments:
Welcome to the world Jakob Emmanuel “Yanis” Labra-Yap! I haven’t met you yet but rumor has it that you’re the next singer in the clan, judging by your “singing” [actually, wailing] moments. Hehehe.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

happy birthday to me, myself, and me!

I am officially turning 20 today, August 9, 2006. That means I am stepping out of my “teen” years. And as reluctant as I am to let go of the carefree years, I stubbornly insist that I still am a teen. Tween-ty, that is – another one of my coinages, triggered by a sheer defiance to the pressing symptoms of growing a year older: (1) Being more emotional, (2) Being a bit silly at times, and (3) Being too busy with just about anything and everything.

I truly wonder whether I am just being paranoid when I pay too much attention to normal circumstances. But contemplation is just inevitable with the coming of another year, aside of course from the usual scrutiny of graying hairs or visible lines.

(1) Last weekend, I got sick, most probably from the swift weather change. Now that’s not really unusual. I’m not that sickly but I’m not in tiptop shape either. If I counted it right, I’ve gone to the doctor five times last year. Anyway, while I was sniffing and barely breathing (because my nose was clogged) around the rented room my older brother and I share, I lulled myself to sleep with good music literally plugged to my ears through my brother’s MP3 player. As my dreams closed in on me such that they were a mere tap away, a song played. For some strange reason, I chose to suspend myself in that half-conscious state with heightened senses, listening quite intently to the song. It was not the first time I heard the song. I heard it many times while I was preparing for an interview with its songwriter, producer, and arranger Homer Cang. Blame it on the situation, perhaps, but the song struck the most sensitive and emotional chord. Something in the melody of the song whispered deep sadness that shot right into my heart. Guess what happened next. I bolted straight up and for the next ten minutes, soaked my blanket with tears. I cried. A lot. It’s not even the lyrics. The song You’ve Fallen Out of Love speaks about the feeling when somebody falls out of love with you. Heck, I don’t even know the feeling! In my 20 years of existence, that’s the very first song that gripped the tears out of my eyes, not because the song was packaged in a situation where it’s supposed to be a tearjerker, like in a movie but because plainly speaking, the song strongly speaks of the raw emotion itself. It doesn’t need a context to make it more realistic or more convincing. I wish I could just block the song out when it plays but being a personal landmark case of discovering the extent of my sentimentality, I can’t. I won’t.

(2) Gray streaks of hair are genetically determined. In our family, they show up early in the adolescent stage. As early as high school, the streaks were already showing a lot of promise in my hair. People say they symbolize wisdom. (*Coughs*) But I think it could also be the other way around. At times, we forget the simplest things and tend to assume too much that we already know. Take this: I ran out of body lotion and a couple of other stuff so I took a brief trip to the supermarket. I love shopping for groceries! I bounced happily on the grocery aisles while humming along in an adult-like manner and grabbing items from the shelves, sometimes without even looking at the labels. One morning while preparing for a 7:00 class, I squeezed a generous amount from the alleged lotion bottle. I could practice the routine blindfolded and pass it with flying colors. (Duh, what’s so hard about it anyway?) So I don’t really pay much attention to it. I hastily put it on my arms and gasp! I nearly freaked out when I saw my arms covered in gooey white stuff. I finally read the bottle label: Body Wash. Sheesh. Not bad for a twenty-year-old, huh?

(3) I have been confiding to my kuya that I felt like I have lived in this world for more than 20 years though I’m still 20. “That’s because you’re always up to something,” he pointed out. Whether that’s something positive or negative, I am not so certain. All I know is that I find thrill and adventure in traveling, meeting lots of different people, trying out new things, and challenging my limitations, but at times, all at the expense of overlooking my inner growth as a person in terms of spiritual maturity. I must say I am still trying to master the art of balancing my life’s different aspects. And today must be the right time to restart and revamp the process.

Happy birthday to me!

I am planning no special what-to-do’s today. Earlier plans were thwarted by lack of finances and are indefinitely postponed. But to those who have been hinting at a blowout or something, I choose to keep my birthday simple – as of press time, the plan is a pizza dinner with my older brother Amiel. Haha… Sorry guys, family first…

Credits to the people closest to my heart:
My family – Papa, for being my life mentor, for bringing music closer to me, and for being a good father, above all. Mama, for being my best friend, my confidante, and my strength. My eldest brother Manoy Jake, for the free dinners (hahaha…just kidding!), for the guiding eye during my critical first year in college, for the overflowing ideas, and for always being there with love and care especially when I was sick (which, I most often was). My other brother Kuya Amiel, for all the concern despite our endless arguments, for the pieces of advice when it comes to heart matters, and for laughing at even my silliest jokes. My sister-in-law Ate Mae, and the better half of my Manoy Jake, for being the sister I never had, for all the inputs and inspiration, and for telling me I’m still young. (hehe…yehey!) My soon-to-be-born nephew Yanis, I can’t wait to see you! When we shopped for your clothes and stuff, I was already brimming with excitement. The world is waiting for you…

My relatives – To my Lola Oping, all my uncles, aunties, ( It would take one blog entry to name all…ehehehe…) and cousins – Holy Week in Barili will never be complete without preparations for the karo, FOOD, nonstop karaoke concert, and beach outings.

My Mass Communication blockmates, a.k.a. UP ComMEDIAns, I love the crazy moments, beer-bonding sessions (Ehem, I wish to be excused from this already. My tummy’s already bulging.), and night-outs. We can pull off Cookout 2006 guys! All for one and one for all…

My friends – April, for the coffee night-outs and the socio-political “intellectual” discourse. Jane, for being ever-supportive in all my endeavors. (Hope to see you in magazine covers soon! Hehehe… Miss you already Bes…) Athea, for all the inspiration and the never-ending sharings about love and God… For the rest, for just being there to talk to me when I’m happy, even when I’m fuming with rage, and through ups and downs – Marinel, Allen, Mark, Kapatid na Jasper, Joseph, Paolo, Elayne, Phrixel, Ate Narsheen, Yangyang, Maam Betchai and my inaanak Franco Luis, Ate Quimbee, Princess, Jackie, Mirzi, Chinky, Carmel, Christian, Chetoy, Mojo, Genry…

My Destiny and Special Someone, when are you finally coming? Hahaha…