I used to love writing.

It somehow saddens me that when i look at my own blog, i realize that i have not written a lot, and every year the updates have been getting fewer and fewer.

I have been writing something but have kept it on the drafts section to be published at a certain date, but i realize that i have been putting off a lot and coming up with a lot of excuses. there are a lot of things to write about, i can write about Arantia and all the success this team has been having all season, shocking this tiny nation enroute to a possible berth in the playoffs and making believers out of naysayers. i could write about the places i’ve been to since i came here, places I only read about in books and visited in the realms of my imagination.

I could write about an upcoming sojourn to Spain to follow the Philippine basketball team in their quest for a return to the elites of world basketball in the FIBA world cup. basically a road trip with the guys. I could rant about the state of my beloved Philippines and how i always play the lottery in hopes of winning so i can finance a hit squad to go after erring and corrupt government officials ( relax, only half kidding). but i haven’t. and that’s on me.

and i know i keep making these promises on my birthday when im finishing off a bottle of wine that this year will be different.

but hey, lately, i seem to have been keeping my promises to myself (smoke free for over 7 months now) among others.

now, maybe i am equipped to be able to do just that with regard to this blog.

who knows, i might surprise you yet.

Who knows, i might surprise you yet.

letters to Rohan

12/7

Rohan,

It’s the 7th of December. and although the winter winds have descended on this little country we’ve come to call home, hearts are warmed as we look forward to; and await your arrival.

I will never be able to fully articulate the happiness i feel. i will never tire of telling and retelling the tale of how you came to be. how we, your mom and I, went through all this pain blindly pushing on firm in the belief that you are there; that you are ours. I will always tell you the story of how your dad was the only one who never wavered and said you were going to be a boy at the beginning of your mom’s pregnancy. of course i shall embellish the stories with mythological fights with giants and under the table deals with trolls under old bridges, and a whole lot more, but you will get to know fact from fiction, and either enjoy as your imagination soars to include you riding on dragons with your mom and dad, or roll your eyes in exasperation as the tales get taller and taller with each retelling.

Rohan Riccard. you will no doubt have questions someday about how you got your name, where it comes from.  I now have this devilish thought to tell you that it was the name on the box when we got you from this alien at half price because he needed money for Ice cream, which is the fuel of intergalactic spaceships. but a person’s name i believe, will help you forge your own identity and personality as you learn it, understand it and take that name for your own. so here goes.

Rohan is a fictional land of men in middle earth, home of the riders of Rohan. !(middle earth being the setting of lord of the rings…. ummm more on that as you grow older. but one thing, i really wanted to call you boromir. vetoed, rightly so because as bad ass as he is, well… ) Anyway, the riders of Rohan were warriors of renown, who take fierce pride in their love for country and the steadfastness of their resolve to protect it from the oncoming darkness. men, as men should be. passionate, caring and with a deep love for protecting their own.

Your second name, Riccard, is a modernized version of your great grandfather’s name, Ricardo. who in my own biased opinion, is one of the most simple and honorable men that ever walked this earth. you will get to know about him, thru stories, thru faded out photographs, and you will have to forgive your own father if I start crying when i tell you about him, because even now, i still miss him so much. He was my coach, my teacher, my earliest shield from the harsh words and actions that rained on me growing up. my first father figure. you will know him, you will love him and i am sure, you will proudly carry his name with you and add to it.

but you know what? here’s a little story for you son. right before you were about to come into our lives. i was outside on the balcony, it was a balmy night and the stars were out in full force. i looked up at the heavens and called to your great granddaddy. I told him i was ready to be your father. that i was ready to pass on the things i have learned to you, to help you, to love you to guide you and to always be there for you without judgement or reservation. and right that moment, i knew you were coming. i knew it was gonna be you Rohan, i just knew.

Now I know fathers and mothers have all these plans for their kids. a basketball star, a rockstar, an awesome author, anything… even as your mom interjects, what if he wants to be an accountant?? They say there is no step by step guide to parenthood, and that fathers more often than not, destroy their sons psyches. well, i won’t be that father. your mom and I, we will love you no matter what you choose to become, whatever field you want to be in heck, whatever preference you choose. we will be there for you without any rancor or judgement.

just promise us son. that you will dive head first into this life and never lose hope. that you will give your best effort in everything you do. that you will never back down from life. that you will always be caring and kind to the world, even if it is not always caring and kind. Challenge everything and seek truth for yourself. blaze your own path, and always always love with all your heart. promise that you will try to be the best version of yourself and  we ask that you never be scared to talk to us about anything.   you know what my little rascal? be anything you want to be. anything.we love you.  THE WORLD IS YOURS, ROHAN RICCARD, REACH OUT AND EMBRACE IT.

CHRISTMAS EVE

Hello son.

It’s actually 1:20 am the 24th of December. Messi is snoring somewhere in the bed and so is your mom. Mom was tired baking the christmas eve cake, (i’m sure by the time you get to read this, it would be your favorite christmas tradition. )messi endured three hours of grooming while i waited for him.

I can’ t sleep. And it’s something that you’ll find is all too familiar with your old man.yesterday i was watching the clippers game with your mom and she said you kept moving around, til we realized it was because you were listening to the game we were watching! Good job Rohan! Let’s go clippers indeed.

Then tonight, you were moving around again inside your mom while she tried to rest. I put my hand on her stomach and you know what you did son? You stopped moving around and started behaving. As soon as i removed my hand, there you went again! Playing games with us! So i had to keep my arm on your mom’s belly to appease you while watching fruitvale station (damn awesome movie) and crying my eyes out.

Rohan, someday i hope you will realize just how much happiness you have brought. Not just to us but to everyone who ever cared bout mom and me. Someday i hope you would be able to meet them all so they can see just how special you are. I love you more than life itself,son.
You are the best thing that ever happened to me. You inspire me. To be better. So that you can proudly say one day, that your dad…. was the best dad you could ever have.

NEW YEAR’S DAY

My dearest son,

It is 2 am, January 1st 2014. and i’m sitting at the dining table alone with a bottle of wine wearing your mom’s christmas gift, a Sons of Anarchy leather jacket; and somehow i feel like jax teller writing a letter to his own sons.

I cannot wait. I count the days til i can hold you in my arms. but that does not mean that you should hurry up and come early. take your time son, we’ll be here. daddy’ll be here waiting.

2014 Rohan, is the year everything changed.It’s only the first two hours son, but i can tell you right now that i am looking into the future and i can see, that this is our year.

I try to think of something profound or illuminating to tell you tonight. but you know what? let me tell you a story instead. a story that happened almost as if it were a lifetime ago. it was a new year’s eve, much like this night, rainy and cold and i was a young man of 19, turning 20. back then i was just this skinny kid secretly in love with your mom, who was then being courted by one of my best friends. we were back in Kiangan for the holiday break and i found myself accompanying my friend as he walked your mom home from a new year’s eve party.

at that time i was having issues, going thru a rebellious streak and i thought (drunkenly and stupidly) that i looked so cool with a cigarette tucked in my ear, while holding a lighted one in one hand and a bottle of beer in the other.

I challenged my friend to a contest of who was able to finish his beer first, thinking this would impress your mom, seeing that i’m such a bad boy. we finished at the same time and we just… threw our bottles up in the air behind us and screamed happy new year at the top of our lungs in the middle of the empty street.

As the bottles shattered behind us i was grinning from ear to ear til i saw the disgusted look on your mom’s face. We walked on in silence and as we reached their gate, i just said goodbye and left them there and headed on home, her disgusted look still etched in my mind.

I guess you can say that that’s when realization hit me. how i was such a stupid fuck to think that being a drunken buffoon who blames his parents for what he has become was like a me against the world thing. everyone goes through shit at some point son, it’s how you deal with the shit, and the people who dish it that matters.

I wish i can say that i sobered up the very next day and straightened myself out. nope. i made a lot more mistakes and a lot more stupid stuff before that ever happened. but eventually son, i found my way back. i guess what i want to say kiddo, is that whatever you go thru, you are not the only one going thru something like that, or have gone through something like that. the difference is, i never had anyone to talk to about these things.

I can assure you though… you’ll always have me.

happy new year son.

January 28th 2014

Hello Rohan,

your old man just turned 35, and you are a couple of days away from your 33rd week. I’ve been doing the math, and i think i can still hold my own in a game of 1 on 1 with you when you turn 15, by then i’ll be 50 and enjoying watching you grow into the man you will become. but then again, we are getting waaaaaay ahead of ourselves here. a lot of years are between now and then, a lot of memories to make.

There’s this country song i came upon by chance called, Anything Like Me by Brad Paisley, in it he talks about how he was okay either way, if they were gonna have a boy or a girl, until the doctor pointed out that he was gonna have a son and he started picturing how the son was going to be, and how he’d have his payback, if he was anything like him.

the exact same thing happened to me at your ultra sound.

The lady doctor painstakingly went through every inch of your body and reassured us that everything was fine, at the very end, she looked at me and must’ve seen i was about to throw a fit

“oh i’m sorry, did you want to know the gender?”

i could’ve strangled her.

so she pointed to this part of you that was jutting out and i was pumping my fist like crazy even before she said, he’s a boy.

but i still could’ve strangled her.

just kidding.

Rohan at this point, no words can ever express how i feel. i’m beyond ecstatic.

i love how when i put my hand on your mom’s belly you always move, like yer telling me, it’s ok dad, i’m right here, nothing to worry about,you’re not dreaming dad… let’s fistbump.  every goddamn time!

I love how i play with you where i put my hand on different areas of your mom’s bely and you always always move right where i put my hand.

I love how you made me quit smoking.

i love how you made me a better man.

i love how i look forward to every day now Rohan. and it all started with you.

whatever i will be, whatever the future brings. the fact that i’m looking at life so differently now. is all thanks to you.

thank you for making me the best version of myself.

i love you Rohan, see you soon.

love,

Dad.

FEB 15

it’s been an eventful weekend Rohan, a scary eventful weekend that had me in tears for most of the past couple of nights. i swear i have never been so worried and scared, but atleast it brought home the fact that we are not alone.

During your last check up, the doctor noticed elevated acid levels in your mom’s blood test. he told us to go to the hospital asap. it kinda cast a huge shadow on us since we were at 35 weeks, we were just supposed to sit around for 5 more weeks and wait to welcome you full term.

Unfortunately Rohan, life has other plans. your mom started feeling  pain at around 11 PM two nights ago and after a little debate, we opted to go to the clinic.

and it was a good thing. i won’t need to go into specifics kiddo, just that the doctor said it would be better to bring you out into the world 5 weeks early rather than run the risk of something happening to the two of you; something that could happen at any moment.

your lungs however, were not ready yet so they pumped you full of meds to help you, give you a fighting chance. They wouldn’t let me stay with mom at the hospital, so i got home yesterday, and sent a message to your uncle Andrei, he was very supportive and informed everyone of your aunts and uncles. and tita Data kept my mind off things, tito dash called, tito Jigs and tita monique sent their love, everyone worried, but everyone saying, it was gonna be fine.

I just got back from the hospital again and messi is sitting on a chair next to me watching me as i type this. Doc said it was highly possible that we would have to deliver you in the morning to lessen the risks for you and mom.

Rohan,  i wish i could promise you a rosy future. i wish i could say that you will never be in danger or hurt or make mistakes. but thats the beauty of life, we take what we can, we wing it, we learn, we are taught, and eventually we emerge, better people. that is what these past months have taught me. nay… that is what you’ve taught me these past months. i thank you.

I know you are a warrior Rohan, an Ifugao prince.  nothing that you me and mom cannot handle.

.

FEB 18 3AM

mom called, today’s the day. we’ll see you in a few hours Rohan.

WE GOT THIS.

Today

What can you write about really?

how can you look at images on your muted down television set at a quarter til midnight and see images of your countrymen crying, telling relatives not in the disaster site that his parents are dead, or that they still haven’t found the bodies of their 2 young daughters. the heartbreak never ends.

how is it possible to not cry when you see the devastation? the bodies strewn and covered with sacks,or cardboard or pieces of roofing? there is no dignity for the dead, more so for the living. Bereft of water, food shelter, they stare ahead, not knowing if they’ll survive the night, the stench of decaying flesh around them. how can you not go crazy?

how for fuck’s sake can you not go crazy with all the death and destruction??

i don’t know what to say next. i just spent ten minutes staring into nothingness and refilling my wine glass. i have messages on my phone from people i hardly know, some from people i actually do not know asking “how can we help?” what can they do?where can they donate? i’ve tried to answer some as best i can, but i’m still numb.

no i answer, “no we don’t have family in the area.” when i’m asked if my family was affected. but it doesn’t matter does it? because aren’t they all your family?

“thank you very much for your kindness” i tell the folks who i met when i went out this afternoon to pick up donated clothes and shoes from total strangers. someone says,” i hope it will get better.” i say “i hope so too. “i walked to where my car is parked lugging the big bag they gave me. another neighbor of theirs comes out and asks if i’m filipino. I say yes. he says please wait a while.

a while takes 15 minutes  but i wait there in the chilly air of dusk he finally comes out with a small grocery bag of clothes. in halting english he says he was watching the news. he hands me 20 euros as well. i want to hug him but that might’ve been weird to do. so i shake his hand instead.

i drive away and i can only go a few hundred meters before i have to stop. because i’m crying again, like a little sissy. One of the bags on the back seat takes a tumble and a kid’s shoe lands on the floor. i pick it up and smile knowing a little guy somewhere back home will be able to use it. then it dawns on me, a lot of little boys wont ever get to wear shoes ever again. and i curse and out of habit i slam a fist on the steering wheel. fuck it! i forgot  my hand was hardly healed yet. i drive away.

the bottle of wine is empty now.

as i continue trying to type out this disjointed post. chaos seems to be the word of the day though. and i just watched Mar roxas huff and puff his way past an interview on CNN looking and sounding like an ass.

i want to get angry. but i can’t just yet. there’s a lot that needs to be done first. reckoning and anger can come later. for now, i know what i need to do.

so i text the other leaders of the movement over here.

” where am i picking up donations tomorrow?”

Heroes

gilas-celebration-5-1photo courtesy of INTERAKTV

years from now, the memory of this night will still be as clear as day to every basketball loving Filipino. August 10,2013. we finally laid our demons to rest.

Years from now you will still be able to recall  every single quarter of this game with clarity, as your friends supply other details. others watched it live, others on television, some on streaming and some busy souls on their social media timelines. For a select few, with the word PILIPINAS proudly displayed on their chests, they battled, for forty hard fought minutes, through injury, through fatigue through every pain imaginable so that the rest of us can, at the end of regulation ; stand up and applaud, raise our fists, jump for joy scream at the top of our lungs and weep in joy as we celebrate the previously thought of as impossible.

We have reentered basketball’s elite circle.

Thank you Gilas.

Every Filipino hoops junkie knows of our history in top flight basketball competitions against South Korea, well basically they keep breaking our hearts over and goddamn over again.

1986 103-102. korea wins in Seoul  over an inexplicable offensive foul call on allan Caidic.

2002 69-68 Korea wins in Busan as Lee Sang Min puts up a buzzer beater Three

2011 70-68 Korea wins on a frenetic 35 point barrage in the final quarter.

27 years of bitter tears to wipe away.

years from now you’ll remember how you sat in front of your TV in nervous anticipation, exchanging facebook status updates and comments with your friends as the teams exchange basket in the first quarter pleading with the men in white to keep it close.

Years from now you’ll remember the despair you felt as you saw Marcus Douthit, the naturalized Filipino who played for our Flag and country injured, land on his right leg and crumple to the floor in agony, and as the Koreans race to start a 4 on 5 fast break, in those few precious seconds you keep hoping to see Marcus come flying in from the back court to even out the odds.

As you watch the Physiotherapist try to work on Douthit’s injury in the bench you keep hoping to see him back on the court for surely we can’t win without his defense right?  and as he limps off the court to the dugout you will remember the sense of foreboding as you silently curse the basketball deities that seems to have snatched the possibility of victory right from your eyes.

I guarantee you decades from now we will still be talking about the resiliency, the heart and tenacity of Gilas. About how Jayson Castro erased a 7 point Korea lead in the Third quarter with his out of this world speed as Coach Chot unleashed him on the Koreans. How Marc Pingris, with Japeth Aguilar saddled with three fouls on the bench next to the injured Douthit anchored the defense with just pure will and athleticism, skying for rebounds and putbacks playing hard nosed defense on the bigger Koreans, Living up to his Sakuragi billing. Gabe Norwood and his defense, Jeff Chan and his shooting as we turned a half time deficit into a ten point lead going into the 4th Quarter.

But this is South Korea, and they quickly overcame our lead and even led with three plus minutes left to go, and only the heads up playmaking of our guards, Tenorio Alapag and castro kept us close.  the image of Marc Pingris clutching at his hamstring playing through injury, the heady plays of Ranidel De Ocampo as he dished to Aguilar on multiple occasions for easy baskets, Ranidel’s 5 point string, Jimmy’s three point daggers until finally you remember the roar of the crowd mingled with your own screams of triumph, unabashedly crying as you watch the players pound the floor, lift their hands up in triumph, race to their families for hugs and kisses. we slew the ghosts of past heartaches.

We have always held our basketball heroes in high regard. From Caloy Loyzaga, to florencio and ocampo, to the era of Jaworski and Fernandez, to the northern consolidated of Caidic and Samboy, to the pretty boy era of Paras, Patrimonio, Codinera, Lastimosa. The time of Asi,Danny I and Danny S.

I among others will still believe that James Yap and Arwind Santos are two of our best and brightest. but this Gilas team, This is a throwback team to the golden age of Philippine Basketball. where egos are checked outside of the gym. where everyone roots for each other and star billing is unheard of. which is the reason why this team has succeeded where previous Philippine teams composed of the PBA’s top stars have not. It’s not about starter’s minutes or touches, it’s about playing your role and playing it, in the words of coach chot: “they’ll have to drag our bodies out of the court.”

Tomorrow Gilas goes up against Haddadi and his Iran crew without Douthit and 24 hours after this emotional victory. win or lose, we shall go on to Spain for the FIBA world cup next year. whatever happens tomorrow will happen. but you will always remember, as you tell your grand kids for the umpteenth time, decades from now how even as your country faced corruption to the highest order, your heart swelled with pride as you kept punching the air, tears freely falling from your eyes as you kept shouting yes, yes yes! as you witnessed a special group of young men, give everything they had, for pride, for country and for love of the game.These young men are heroes.

see you in Spain Gilas!

For Pride, for Country, and for Love of the Game. Dear Gilas Pilipinas.

       On the eve of the start of your campaign to win back the crown that has been lost to us for decades, I know I am but one among our people  of basketball loving folks; at home or like us, scattered all over the world who wish you well.

I have on more than one occasion, decried the fact that we have never truly fielded our strongest contingent due to the fact that corporate greed rules Philippine Basketball. Oh i know i am not the only one who feels that  James Yap, Arwind Santos, and the other stalwarts from SMC companies would be great for Gilas, if only they were allowed to suit up and don the national colors. but you know what? fuck that.

I feel that the team chemistry you have developed, how each and every member of the team wholeheartedly bought into the system implemented by the coaches at the expense of benching their egos are more effective tools than having more star power added to the line up. And if other players can’t stand up to their employers and say, i want to play for my country, contracts and corporate rivalries be damned, then they have no right to wear a jersey with PILIPINAS  proudly emblazoned on the front as you guys do.

Gilas, we all know that you understand the pressure you are under, the expectations of a nation antsy for a crown to call theirs again, something that, corny as it sounds would uplift heavy hearts and restore vigor to tired limbs. a world weary view brought about by poverty, corruption, and all the social ills our country faces on a daily basis. Other nations would scoff at the idea that winning a basketball crown can truly change a people’s attitude and perspective, but we are Filipinos, we take what little hope we can and celebrate every victory, big or small because they come so few and far between.

Even if i have never been a fan of LA tenorio though i have always been a ginebra die hard, i shall cheer him on as lustily as i can as i watch the games thru what i’m pretty sure would be commercial loaded bad video streaming. yes i will applaud every, if any hustle play of Japeth Aguilar even if i think he is an overrated diva. I will shout out SAKURAGI! every time  Marc Pingris stops the opponent’s best scorer. I will drink a shot for every shot that Larry Fonacier makes even if he was on the Ateneo team that eliminated ronald tubid and UE  in the semifinals of UAAP season 65 on that last second Jec Chia shot en route to the championship. my neighbors will be left utterly flabbergasted as to why i will be shouting myself hoarse and cheering as loud as i can for Jeff Chan, jayson castro, norwood, fajardo, Alapag and every other gilas player.  As i’m sure every basketball crazy Filipino will.

Gilas, i can go on and on, but know this. a nation thanks you for all the sacrifice and effort you put in, yes, Beau Belga, you too! i am now a fan of Mr. Extra Rice.  Gilas, we may not be able to Play the game for you or with you, but we shall  carry you through, win or lose, on the strength of our prayers and support, as you carry us proudly on the front of your jerseys.Image

Mabuhay Gilas Pilipinas!

Photo originally from interaksyon.com

 

 

 

Welcome Back to the Sunday Club

 

5 and a half hours from now, they’ll be getting off jeepneys, cabs, their own cars, motorbikes or just plain hoofing it.

5 and a half hours from now there will be bear hugs and high fives and big smiles and “how the fuck are you bros?!” greetings

5 and a half hours from now on the wooden floor of the zone, a place that felt like home, a place where battles were waged, friendships were born and bonds were formed; they will gather. not yet complete, yet the dawning of another event that will probably continue on every weekend. Welcome back, Sunday club!

So i’m sitting here pounding out words, envious yet excited to see pictures and hear stories. which team won, does Bryan play defense now, does alex still dive, can Paul still hit those booming threes, is tim still the slotman i remember, is Web still maangas? and did rob improve on his putback shots, or does Jay still trash talk after every made three? the list goes on and on. I know it may sound crappily sentimental, but you can’t help it when you’ve been away too long.

The Sunday club started in Sutherland. every week, an email circulated asking who was willing to play and contribute to the court fees and by sunday, there’d be a crowd of ball loving folks just playing, some for bragging rights, some for friendly competition and some just to sweat out the hangover from last night’s drinking spree.  the weekly turnout was huge that management was convinced that an inter department inter account sportsfest was feasible and boy, every weekend you’d see Sutherland employees, from bosses to agents to trainees, playing, cheering and heckling each other. there was the oh so loud crowd from net zero, the trash talking wise cracking bunch from ebay NA, the athletically challenged bunch that comprised the support 2 team and the clinicaly deadly and agile support 1 team. oh yeah, and the ahem offensive minded paypal team. the thing was, it was all fun and games. we weren’t the closest of friends, nor do we always hang out with everyone, but every sunday morning there we were. just… playing.

After the company sponsored sportsfest, we established our own sunday club sportsfest complete with player drafting and all, which was definitely more fun than playing for your program coz now you can build your own all star teams.

after i left suth, we would still converge on sundays at the zone, but not as regularly. after leaving the country and i guess after most of the group left suth we all were still friends on FB but the sunday club seemed to fade. but now it is back. the wise cracks,  the inside jokes, the random “do you remember when” stories the rivalries, the camaraderie, and now.. those sunday mornings.. it feels pretty good, even from here, half a world away.

pretty sure my timeline, my news feed and my notifications will be filled with pictures and posts 5 hours from now. sure, we may have lost some athleticism and gained some weight compared to five years ago, but the spirit of the Sunday Club is still there, like embers just waiting for a strong gust of wind to turn it into a raging fire once again.

so here’s to all ya’ll, my bros, keep it burning till we can come back and add our fire to yours. cheers, now pick the teams, yell out the good natured insults and play ball!

 

and for the love of god, tell tangonan to pass the ball!

 

lol

More Time

 

And this is where i break down as i write this, on a darkened dinner table drinking wine and holding back tears. because all that i wish, today and everyday, is more time.

 

 

In  6 hours, people will gather. probably still dressed up from the early morning mass, they will converge on the home I grew up in. My cousins will be there, Aunts, Uncles, family, friends, all to celebrate my grandmother’s 88th birthday. If i could have one wish… it would be that we would all be celebrating her birthday together.

There’ll probably be a butchered pig, laughter, my mom shouting for someone to help her carry food to the table. My younger cousins probably tweeting me and Lara, tagging us in photos, my grandma probably cant remember half the visitors’ names, yet she’d pretend she did remember, calling them my dear, or darling, to mask her forgetfulness. and they’d all play along.. because no one could ever hold a grudge against her.

Mom might open the wine, while the menfolk gather round the beer and pulutan. sure there would be talk about politics, and who they think would win the elections, (at this point i’m  hoping they’d all agree that Teddy is the runaway congressional winner) and yet, i’d like to believe that they’d also look around wistfully and comment on how it’s sad others couldn’t be there, or that others are just not around anymore, and how life is fleeting, and raise a glass in remembrance.

At this point, my grandma would have changed to a new outfit. and would have probably already asked someone, “why are we all here?” and when she would be told that everyone is here to celebrate her birthday, she’d flash her beautiful smile and say “ohhhh, that’s so nice!”

Aunt Eve Aunt Brenn and Mom, would be calling everyone to the table. either Aunt Brenn will say grace, or someone from the CWL, probably. And as everyone gathers before a table laden with food, they will ask maknongan to bless my grandma, with more years, more great grandchildren, and to keep her safe and strong, so she can still be with all her children, grandchildren and great grand kids.

And as the men shuffle out chivalrously to resume drinking, and talking to give way to the women and kids so that they may fall in line at the buffet table first, talk continues about lives, and studies and jobs and families. more laughter, more good vibes.

More photos, more smiles.

Then at about this time, Ann would probably give mama her gift, a scrapbook with photos of all her grandkids and spouses and her first great grandchild michael, so that she can always look at it and never forget our names. as the hours pass, and the day ends, everyone would say their goodbyes, and give my grandma their well wishes, and life goes on.

And this is where i break down as i write this, on a darkened dinner table drinking wine and holding back tears. because all that i wish, today and everyday, is more time. and as i step out and gaze at the snowflakes still falling on this march evening, i look up at the heavens and plead for more time. I look up and ask my grandfather to please be patient and hold off their reunion for several more years. more time.. please. because i believe not one of us is ready to contemplate a life without mama just yet. just.. please.

6 hours from now, i’ll wake up, and give my mom a call. i’ll talk to my grandmother and once again choke on my tears. i’ll ask her what she wished for on her birthday, and i hope the answer she gives me will be the same thing echoing in my heart.

“my darling boy,  i asked for more time.”

Happy birthday. I love you mama.Image

Aside

the reason why i play the lotto

you can’t get rid of them. welcome to the Philippine election campaign season.

It’s that time of year when scum come out under the putrid decay of their family names all dressed up and bathed in expensive perfumes to hide their stench, to mingle with the masses and dance the harlem shake to a wildly receptive crowd of gawkers seemingly thinking, “oh how lovely! they are so down to earth!” not knowing about the gallons of hand sanitizers and rubbing alcohol backstage.

They carry the pedigree of their families and unfortunately for most of us Filipinos who have such short memories when it comes to atrocities, or who for some reason or another cannot find time to look up their qualifications online as long as “galing sa kilalang pamilya” they just might end up as our next public officials.

In what universe is it okay for a Nancy Binay who has never held public office, is 39 years old and has always been her dad’s personal assistant qualified to run for senator? or a Bam aquino, riding on the coattails of his family’s legacy?

There’s Jinky Pacquiao running for vice governor of Sarangani province, yep, the wife of boxing legend and soon to be reelected congressman Manny, who used to be a round girl, then a product of the Vicky Belo physical reformatting factory. The mouth from the south, anabelle Rama running for a congressional seat in Cebu who admits not knowing anything about law making but is sure to surround herself with a plethora of “consultants” should she win anyway.

Let’s not forget Cynthia Villar who ran afoul of registered nurses for her callous remarks about the nurses and their aptitudes.  Jack Enrile, and a whole lot of em, they are all here, al looking to extend their so called “family legacy” of service to the filipino people. please, don’t get me started on the “party list representatives”, and the goddamn catholic church trying to cram their politics down the throats of their flock.

Living halfway across the globe, you might think i’d develop an apathy for all this, but it still cuts to the core of my being. I marvel at how easy the lies drip from their mouths like honey. how they mouth the same fuckin statements and people actully sit up and nod their heads in agreement.

“layunin ko na tapusin ang kahirapan!” “wala nang pilipinong magugutom pag hinalal nyo ako!” putangina!

There’s a reason why i keep playing the luxembourg lottery. and i believe one day i will win the jackpot. you wanna know the first thing i’m gonna do? hire some hitmen and get rid of all these motherfuckers once and for all, for the crimes and lies and false hopes they peddle to my people

 

nothing much happened here, huh?

I admit to not having had the clearest of minds lately. As each grey morning morphs into early afternoon darkness, the days just seem to seamlessly mesh together that before you know it a week has passed, a month, a year.

I have not been writing.that much is established. 

but, there are lots of things i have to share. travel, issues, questions, what have yous.

so i’m back.

What a Dream

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They don’t make teams like this anymore.

luckily i was able to find an HD link to NBAtv’s documentary that aired last night on the 1992 dream team.  Although the fashion sense at that time (loud tshirts, david robinson’s flat top, MJ’s golf attire, Pip on a monnaco beach in a black tshirt and denim shorts among others) left a lot to be desired, the basketball, the story, the players were just amazing.

The documentary tackled a lot of different issues, how the team was formed, why isaiah was left out, the dynamic between MJ and Chuck Daly, (take note that Daly was then the pistons coach, yep those same bad boys who created the Jordan Rules)  and most importantly the fight at the top between basketball’s most illustrious trio of Bird, Magic and Jordan.

I loved watching the first practice session when they were facing young turks in CWebb, Bobby Hurley, Penny, and Grant Hill, the very same players who would try to stake their claim on NBA superstardom a few years after 1992.

What was also revealing was the clash of egos. everyone of them felt that they were better at their position than the other, like Barkley vs Malone, or Ewing vs Robinson. how they were able to overcome all that without getting ugly and selfish was quite remarkable.

Remember that this was a time when social media was a still unheard of concept, and NBA players would hardly play together, Bird and Magic, although good friends, have never played with each other not even in all star games because they were on opposing conferences in the NBA. and yeah, this was a time where switching teams and demanding for trades or holding cities hostage with ridiculous player demands were nonexistent. well, i won’t keep you. enjoy!