March 29, 2008

Mc Broiley Who?

This being a lazy, hazy Saturday, I had lunch while idly surfing channels.

My attention was drawn to this segment on Eat Bulaga. In an informal getting-to-know-you Q & A, the hosts asked the contestant what the name of her son was. The reply? Mc. Broiley. As in M-C period B-R-O-I-L-E-Y. The kid, insisted the mother, was named for a character on Dragan Ball Z.

And then, there's this family of wide readers whose children were named for writers and/or literary characters: Ingersoll, Plutarco, Hulmboldt, Voltaire, Parker, Baron de Holboch.

Ah, the names we name our kids...

March 27, 2008


This is nitpicking, I know. But I came across this birth certificate proclaiming that the kid's father was/is "unknown". And the occupation of the kid's 19-year-old (obviously single) mother? "Housewife."

The thing is, how can you be a housewife when you are technically not a wife?

The girl at the office told me that they are instructed to put "housewife" in the slot for "occupation" when the mother has no job.

Right. As if being a housewife is not a full-time job.

March 25, 2008

In Black and White

I love leafing through resumes. It's amazing how life--and works in progress--can be summarized in tiny details: in commas and periods, in hyphens and dashes.

Just as there are different views, there, too, are varied resumes. There are cut-and-paste versions and there are those that command attention. There are resumes that spell determination and drive, there are that imply that their subjects are simply coasting along.

In my 8' x 5' corner of the (bureaucratic) world, a resume can be a source of boundless amusement. Consider these:

Place of birth: Neighbor's house

Color of eyes: Black and white

Distinguishing mark: Pimple on left face

Name of father: Dead
Name of mother: Dead again

March 22, 2008

A Traditional Good Friday

I had two options: to sit it out or stick to tradition. Despite the really strange weather, tradition won. So off it was to the Good Friday procession.

Negotiating the still-wet-from-the-downpour road in bare feet took some getting used to. But as I slowly picked my way, past familiar landmarks and forgotten side streets, I knew that this was another chance to round up, and to reconnect with, the old hometown.

Funny how each year, Sorsogon seems exactly the same and yet different. There’s a new building where a turn-of-the-century house stood last year. The school where two of my sisters went to has taken on a colder fa├žade. And there’s this bar tucked away in a quiet neighborhood whose banner is both a name and a statement: Gay-Friendly Bar. And unabashedly open on Good Friday, too.

This year’s crowd is as varied as usual. There are the pious and the devout, the lost and the restless. There are those reciting rosaries and those exchanging phone numbers. There are punks tripping on a group of fully made-up gays. There are fresh-from-the-big-city school girls feigning difficulty with the dialect. There are those waiting in the wings to strip the carrozas of their precious flowers. And there are those who, like us, are in this for the tradition, for the re-connection.

The procession presented a lot of photo ops. But when you’re in the thick of things, you don’t get that many opportunities to do the shooting. Besides, there’s always next year. Or the next.

March 20, 2008

Gianna Gets Tagged

Gaby and Adi tagged Gianna. And so it's time to (willingly) take on the role of stage-mother wannabe and present--ta dah--eight random facts about Gabriella Onna Lanuza Dichoso.

1. Gianna has a colorful imagination. She has pretend conversations with Captain Von Trapp, with Gabriella and, lately, with an imaginary friend named "Congee" who "lives" in her cabinet.

2. She was born on February 20, 2005 to the tune of "La Chupeta." At least, it was the last song I heard before the C-Section. And it was the first "ringtone" that calmed the then bawling five-hour-old baby while the mama was heavily (and happily) sedated.

3. She can't get enough of water. It takes a lot of effort to take her off the tub, or out of the beach or the pool.

4. She has not outgrown her binky. Two binkies in fact: one for sucking on and one for "smelling."

5. She loves pink. It's the first color she learned to recognize. And she's so into other "girly" stuff, too.

6. Nuns fascinate her. Probably because up until she discovered Annie and High School Musical, The Sound of Music was a pre-bedtime routine.

7. She loves to walk, walk and walk.

8. Getting her to take medicines is the easiest thing in the world. No "take-your-medicine-now tricks" for this girl. Just the slightest sign of a cold and she'd yell "Disudrin!" And she's been pretty consistent about what she wants to be when she grows up: a doctor.

As for keeping this meme going, I don't know that many blogging babies. Except Cherie's boys. Anyone else up for a tag?

March 12, 2008

Yet Another Family Drama

There are few things I never imagined myself doing in this lifetime, and one of them is this: watching a really sick comedy in the barangay hall, waiting for the tanods to appear. And on a rainy Monday night, too.

V, a young cousin, chose this wettest of nights to do the bad-boy routine. And since extended families are still family, we just had to be there. Going to the police seemed too harsh. Brutal even. But something had to be done, and off to the barangay it was, if only to have the drama on record.

It turned out to be a long wait. For the rains to stop, for the official on duty to appear, for things to simmer down. And so, while Andrew E. hammed it up on TV, I made a mental memo to myself: whatever happens, don't ever, ever spoil your kid.

Unless you want to risk another drama like this 20 years from now...

March 5, 2008

As the World Turns...

A friend has been feeling out of sorts for close to three months now. She is young, intelligent, driven and--until recently--very, very vivacious. The kind who can keep the party going long after everyone else has run out of things to say.

But it seems some people pooped her party, and today she is lost. At 22, she feels she is on the losing end.

I'm not really a Dear-Abby sort but if it's any consolation, let me say that things have a way of evening out. I was 22 when I had my first career letdown. The paper I was working for had some money problems, and since our Sunday section was not the most indispensable, we were given the pink slip.

But then, the world didn't stop turning. And up until I decided I've had too much of the city life, I've had jobs--and bosses and friends--from whom I've learned a lot. Jobs, bosses and friends who actually prepared me for life.

In time, the friend will look at this defining moment from a different, distant angle. She will realize that 22 doesn't last forever. That there is a reason, and a season, for everything.

After all, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

March 2, 2008

Go Team!

At first I wondered what I was doing up on the bleachers, lost in a sea of pink shirts and pink balloons. I was certainly here "for compliance," I thought, as I stewed in the gym.

Then the pep squad competition started. And before I knew it, I was on my feet, egging on the Pink Team and booing the rest. Call it mob culture, but it really, really felt good to shout, to cheer, to jeer even.

The last time I shouted myself hoarse was close to 20 years ago, during the Varsitarian's Vakvakan sa Vaguio. Between then and now, I was happy to coast along, to laugh hard, to live it up, to love. But never to let loose.

For six days, during the intercolor sportsfest that had the corniest of themes, I was part of a team. A fiercely competitive team, if I may say so. I almost signed up for the obstacle course, but soon realized that I'm (probably) not as limber anymore. And that I'd be running against girls and boys who are reflections of my 20-year-old self.

I may shout "Go Team!" until my vocal chords give in. But I don't think I can outrun anyone. Not until I get my steroid boost anyway...