Tuesday, March 29, 2005

moon over linden suites

The view from our window. Posted by Hello

Last Saturday’s full moon was left unnoticed as we were cooped inside a hotel room somewhere here in the city. It was a change from our usual holy week sojourns for the past six or seven years that were spent out of town, mostly in the beach. This year, it’s two days at a hotel in the midst of a business district. Not that we had much choice, we were simply enjoying a complimentary stay then extended it to one more day--to enjoy the crowded pool some more and maybe just to tell ourselves that we were actually away somewhere and not just less than half an hour away from home.

But being “away” for a break is quite good, actually. Especially since we were enjoying amenities that were sorely missing from our daily lives- immaculately clean, uncluttered surroundings, air conditioning, cable tv, a bathtub, full-length mirrors, SPACE- it was all there to be indulged in.

To me, hotels have always seemed like entering another world. It’s so easy to shut off the outside world. Just draw the curtains down, and you couldn’t even tell if it’s night or day. Or if you wished to, you could even forget that outside is a third world country smoldered in dust and dirt, and blistering from the hot summer sun.

I'm probably not the type to get used to hotel living. On our second day, I was getting bored and all that tv watching was starting to hurt my eyes. But there was nowhere else to go. To me there's still nothing like going to the beach. You may not be splashing in the waves, but a stroll or just sitting down on the sand can be just as fun. And surely, being at the beach, you couldn't possibly miss that marvelous full moon.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

humor post

Posted by Picasa
happy easter!

gary larson in his "prehistory of the far side" includes this cartoon in his sketchbook sampler section or his "little musings", which he claims border more on the weird than the funny.

well, this is one of the reasons why i love the far side.

the caption to this "jesus rises from the grave" sketch says:
my apologies if half the world takes offense at this. i'm not antireligious or anti-christian (i'm a little cynical about tv evangelists). i just can't help thinking about things like this and what would it feel like to anybody to get up after that long in the netherworld.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

hell week-ender

it's always tough. finishing the design and layout of not just one but two books in less than five days. yes, it can be achieved. but not without aging 5 years within that short period from all the stress and tension. of course it doesn't help if you feel you're not fairly compensated for all the work you put into it. but sadly, NGOs in this part of the world operate that way. they expect you to come out with a book-layout-while-you-wait and still have the nerve to haggle you with your professional fee. really, i thought i was through with working with people like them. but sometimes, you come to think about it, these people have good causes, and most of their advocacies, i believe in or at least, i sympathize with. like i said, it's tough. but it's a living.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

skin so (un)fair

Ever since the “breakthrough” of skin whitening was introduced more than a decade ago, a massive campaign akin to a witch hunt has been launched against all things dark and unbeautiful.

I was in college then, when a skin whitening lotion that promised fairer skin was introduced. A “breakthrough” for colored women who have always dreamed of fairer skin. Now they could come out of their shells, and “reveal” their whiter, fairer skin. Well, thanks a lot. Wasn’t it enough that women have to put up with all the pressure of how they should look like -what their measurements should be, the style of clothes they should be wearing or not wearing, their hair- now we have to be white too? And how is it again that by being dark, there was something wrong with me and every other brown skinned Filipina? Wasn’t this an outrage? Wasn’t it supposed to be?

Sadly, I didn’t hear anybody protesting. Instead, I noticed more people I knew -even a few friends- getting fairer, even those who weren’t even morena to start with. And I didn’t realize what it was until I finally asked- coz I was getting a bit concerned about their sickly pallor which I associated with anemia. That’s when it hit me- this wasn’t just a passing trend, skin whitening was here to stay.

True enough since then, numerous other products with whitening ingredients have surfaced. From body lotions to soap, facial wash, deodorants, face powder, astringents, even laundry soap! Skin whitening is now a thriving business. Of course this means an almost 24/7 barrage of ads extolling the virtues of being fair skinned that could reach natural-born mestiza mestizo heights – if only skin deep.

And so the pressure is on. No dark spot should be left unbleached, no blemish concealed or erased from existence. It is now almost a crime to be spotted with dark underarms, to expose those knees and elbows that are a few shades darker than the rest of you. And that’s only the beginning.

There’s a war out there- and I don’t even know if somebody’s siding with me. The truth is, hearing and seeing this onslaught of why you should have fairer everything on a daily basis – it can get to you. I still love my color and wouldn’t change it for Michael Jackson’s, but I’ve acquiesced to maybe, I should work on my underarms. And these little dark spots on my knees, hmm, maybe that too.

But for anything else skin whitening and the “beauty” business has to offer, my will is strengthened by my mantra- “I am not my dark underarms.” “I am not my blemished tooshie.”

Friday, March 04, 2005

mercury warning (not about fish)

It’s that time of year again, when the realm of Morpheus has never been more enticing and blissful. Oh, but it is not the yuletide season yet--when the chilly weather makes snuggling under the covers part of the season’s treats. It is a cool March morning and the summer sun is making its presence felt. Still, your warm and cozy bed, or that run-down beat-up sofa or weathered banig beckons and promises a perfect haven for your lethargy.

No doubt, Mercury is in retrograde and there is no fighting it.

Deemed as ruler over commerce, trade, transportation and communication, when in retrograde (appearing from the Earth as going in reverse in its course around the sun), Mercury’s influence may cause delays, setbacks and not a few misunderstandings. Computers can go haywire, with the simplest tasks taking hours to finish. One is best advised to R-E-L-A-X, take things slow, save that file you’re working on, check and double-check or better still, just take a break. Let the cosmic ripple take its course. It is amazing, really, that even the universe allows for breathers every once in a while (in this case, three or four times a year, three weeks to a stretch).

Sadly, in this fast-paced, multi-tasking, race-ahead world, few adhere to this cosmic “warning”. There will always be those, perpetual slaves-to-the-grind, go-getters who will easily dismiss this retrograde as another convenient excuse of the lazy, unambitious idlers. I think it is they who are hardest hit- those who resist and insist, and simply refuse to step back and slow down.

It’s ironic, I think, that Mercury, while in retrograde, “communicates” most to us. And we would do well to sit back and listen. For indeed, isn’t this message from “above” most liberating?


Mercury Retrograde 2005
March 19 to April 12
July 22 to August 15
November 13 to December 3

For a more detailed chart of Mercury cycles and calendar, go to

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

trash and burn (a tenant's woes)

we dream of owning our own house. like most middle-income families who settle into temporary homes that eat up most of their income for a piece of property that will never be theirs, yes, we too dream of owning our own home.

but more than that, we also dream of belonging in a community we can be proud of, and we’d care about, inasmuch as it would care about us. in this little subdivision where we’ve resided the past four years, we are, since we moved in, outsiders. a handful of tenants among predominantly homeowners. we are outsiders, tolerated, but never really accepted. we have no voice. being tenants, our concerns only have bearing when it is shared by homeowners or at the very least, our landlady. otherwise, it is dismissed as petty or perhaps too ambitious for people whose tenure is not really secure.

and so it goes. our attempts at convincing our landlady to impose garbage segregation among us tenants (they own ten apartment units) has fallen on deaf ears. ok, our landlady is a septuagenarian, but I think her auditory faculties are working just fine. we have channeled our attempts, instead, on trying to convince them to stop burning their trash in between garbage collection schedules. no matter that we started by handing them a copy of the law (tucked conspicuously in a free copy of a magazine) which clearly states it is prohibited. they still do it. whereas before they could take comfort in ignorance, i think now they have decided on acting on an informed choice. pity for the fledgling, environmentalist/tenant.

we dream more now of owning our own home. and hopefully be part of making a community we dream of.