Sunday, January 31, 2010

My recent visit to OLPS

With my kids, getting ready for a ride to OLPS which is a few meters away from our home. Our eldest, Mai-mai, is down with chicken pox and is quarantined at her grandparents' home in OLV Bibincahan.
Lia, JM and Steffi showing the "precious" stones they found under the "bahay-kubo"

This was taken under the coconut tree. At the background is the OLPS Chapel.

Lia showing her favorite pose; at the background is the "bahay-kubo," built by HS Seminarians as part of their intramurals contest.

Lia and Steffi doing their "pa-cute" souvenir shot while JM was busy collecting his "precious" stones under the "bahay-kubo".

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

An Satuyang Harong

The library
Hallway outside the library

The study hall
Home for the clergy near the Study Hall

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"If you can't be a highway, be a trail"

"When you discover what you will be in your life, set out to do it as if God Almighty called you at this particular moment in history to do it. Don't just set out to do a good job. Set out to do such a good job that the living, the dead or the unborn couldn't do it any better.
If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well. If you can't be a pine at the top of the hill, be a shrub in the valley. Be the best little shrub on the side of the hill.
Be a bush if you can't be a tree. If you can't be a highway, just be a trail. If you can't be a sun, be a star. For it isn't by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are."
Martin Luther King, Jr. to students in Philadelphia, 1967

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Remember When

Piot, Sorsogon rocked that January 2003 night, not because of the band across the pond, but because a motley crowd of rascals yelled, whistled and heckled with displeasure and dismay at a rather pretentious hard rock music in the air? "An chit na? Chit na?," nervously asked Fr. Henry whose name was at stake as a newly ordained priest. Have we really changed?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Hot half-naked Aussie firemen--see my traffic zoom!

[Reposted from my]

My cousin and high-school batchmate, Tato, received a most unusual gift last Christmas. Not knowing what to do with it, he passed it on to the one guy he knew would look at it with more than passing interest: me.

The gift was a 2010 calendar with pictures of hunky Aussie firemen--half-naked. Why me? I demanded to know, not very convincingly.

Tato happens to be the fire marshal in our province. The chief bumbero, in other words--the alpha male in that most macho of cultures, the tough, crusty, testosterone-y world of firemen. In high school, Tato was already into karate/aikido while we, the rest of his classmates, still made do with unformed, fleshy (or, in my case, bony) adolescent frames. He was smoking and drinking before many of us learned to, had his youthful share of wild, raucous adventures involving girls and brawls and booze, and, in the seminary where we spent six years together, broke as many rules as he could--including, at one point, pilfering ice cream from the priests' pantry with his bare hands.

All that, until he married the smart and lovely Agnes, one of our kababata, and became father to four kids. More, he morphed into something we didn't imagine him becoming, at least during our devil-may-care years together: a pillar of the community.

Before Tato was designated fire marshal of our hometown, he rose from the ranks to become the national spokesperson of the Bureau of Fire Protection. He would appear on TV for interviews and updates on fire incidents, spiffy in his navy-blue uniform, the camera belying his slight frame. Somewhere along the way, he acquired a gravitas and sense of authority that suited him well and made us his friends very proud. (Not bad for someone who, as a seatmate on the first pew during evening prayers, once pronounced “oblivion” as “oblivation.” Tandang-tanda ko pa!)

Imagine this accomplished, no-nonsense he-man, then, receiving the glossy calendar with page after page of topless hunks--firemen like him, but still. The gift came from Agnes' sister Ging who, on a trip Down Under, remembered having been asked by Tato to bring home samples of decals, buttons, brochures, flyers or any informational stuff the Australian fire department gives away to the public, which he could then replicate. The fire chief, serious about his duties, is always on the lookout for new ways to spread the gospel of fire prevention. Perhaps his Aussie counterparts had new ideas he could use?

Well, how about posing half-naked in a calendar--for charity? The Perth Firefighters Calendar, already on its second year, aims to raise funds for the burns unit of a local hospital and “to support the West Australian team competing in the 2011 World Police and Fire Games in New York.” It has the endorsement of the city's Fire and Emergency Services Authority via the message of its woman CEO on the calendar's first page, so you know these are real firemen and not porn stars or some blokes hired off the street.

Ging remembers walking around a mall and seeing a long line of people clutching copies of the calendar. Several of the featured guys were there to sign copies, and since they were also terribly good-looking firemen, Ging queued up and innocently bought a copy to be autographed for Tato. The firemen, perhaps aware of the natural constituency of their beefcake photos, then proceeded to write notes to the recipient that, when I read them, had me shrieking at the subtext--unintended or not:

“To Tato, stay hot!,” said Doug.

“Hey Tato, have a great Chrissy!,” wrote Scott.

Chrissy!? Who says “Chrissy” for “Christmas”? That's it, I told the clueless fire marshal, there's the proof your fellow firemen had mistaken you for, ahem, people like me.

More bemused than nonplussed--the guy's never one to be caught off-guard--Tato asked, a merry gleam in his eye: Ano kaya if I ask my men to do this, too--for charity din? At that, we his batchmates howled with laughter. His city firemen, if you must know, are regular Joes--plain, tubby, big-bellied (many of them), no doubt good and brave workers but nowhere near the ripped, spectacularly fit variety embodied by their Aussie counterparts.

Speaking for my choosy confederates--'Wag naman po, busy kami! Unless--wait--there's a diamond in the rough there?

Also, I wonder how this prudish country would react at real firemen baring for the camera, even for a good cause, and the civic establishment itself underwriting the project. The moral busybodies would be cluck-clucking endlessly, while probably snapping up their own copies of the hot calendar. Still, if you do have men in uniform this good-looking, it's not such a bad idea--and look at the photos, they're not prurient in any way. The Aussies, bless their matter-of-fact spirit, are saying there's a good-natured, non-malicious way of doing it, and for something worthy yet.

I for one have had my fill of buffed, tweezed, plucked, scrubbed and microdermabrasioned pretty male starlets clogging our sights for far too long now. How about real men, for a change? I promise to buy the calendar--for myself this time, not for the honorable Fire Marshal.

Miss Sosogon

Got very busy sked last December, i have plenty of beautiful reasons and i'm posting it here. Enjoy and indulge like I did! I love Sorsogon!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

white x'mas break

Friday, January 01, 2010

happy new year!!!