Saturday, September 8, 2007

All Systems Reverse

My world has turned upside down. At half an hour before midnight, Pao is still in his office while I'm already at home browsing very mundane pages on the internet.

In my busier moments, I'd sometimes wish that Pao's job were a little more stressful. That way, my conscience will not bother me when I stay late at the office because I'd know that Pao is still also not at home. After all, fairness demands that a busy husband be barred from raising workaholism as against his equally busy wife.

Coming home to an empty house, however, has made me change my mind. A busy day is apparently not as fun when no one's around to idly wind it up with you.

Off off to bed I go.

Quite clever, I am.

Surprise of all surprises. Pipo seems to have forgotten how to bark. My theory is that he is yet to realize that this house is now his home. His territorial instincts have thus not yet kicked in, so as to cause him to ward off every person who even attempts to look at our front door.

Occasionally, Pipo will react to footsteps from the floor immediately above our bedroom with muffled barks. It's a good thing I've been using the ringtone of a barking chihuahua for the last month. Now, Pipo's muffled barks should be conveniently mistaken by our neighbors for my ringing mobile phone.

Ah. In the words of Master Yoda, "Quite clever, I am."

Friday, September 7, 2007

Our Wedding Website

http://paoloandgladys.weddingannouncer.com/
Pao and I (mostly myself) started a blog shortly before we got married to document our wedding preparations. Since we got the web space for free, we thought the site would disappear immediately after our wedding date. To our pleasant surprise, however, the site is still up and running. Reading it now feels like reading a scrapbook that I made several months back. Boy, was I be-atch. For those planning to get married, or are hoping to get married soon, I especially recommend the "Diary" page, where you'll discover how seemingly hopeless yet memorable organizing a wedding is.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Resident Evil

There is a new resident in our home by the name of Pipo Zamora. As many of you know, "four-legged pets" are not allowed under the by-laws of our condominium, so Pipo technically qualifies as contraband here.

We had to take Pipo in at the risk of eviction, mainly because my dad is no longer in good terms with our household help Manang Rosie. If Manang goes, Pipo goes with him. Far be it from my father to clean up after a dog.

Of course, Pipo will bark at and/or bite anything that moves. We had to assure one too many visitors in San Juan that he's been vaccinated and that the "wound will heal soon enough". He's a feisty little nut, considering that one could easily just pick him up or tell him "kamot" in a distinct sing-song tone and he'll surely lie on his back to collect his belly rub.

We were thus surprised to learn that Pipo did not blow his cover on his first day at the Zamoras. He did not bark and, according to Manang's report, would only occassionally sniff at the main door for corridor pedestrians.

So far, so good, so far.

For more on Pipo, visit his website.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Abandon Ship

Went to a dinner party last night hosted by an adorable German-Pinoy couple, in celebration of their 1st year anniversary in the Philippines. The sight of so many foreigners made me ask, once more, why so many of us Filipinos would give an arm, a leg (and several liters of blood) to leave the country while so many foreigners scramble to get Philippine appointments, which I was told are prized in the diplomatic community.

The answer I came up with is fairly simple. Foreigners generally love it here because, with their minimum six digit incomes, they are considered "haves". Dito kasi sa Pilipinas, masarap maging mayaman. Where else can you hire household help for US$50 a month, watch a movie for less than US$3, buy a decent handbag for less than US$10, or drink world-class San Miguel beer for less than US$1? Life is a ball in the Philippines IF you have money to spend.

Meanwhile, in pursuit of dreams of becoming mayaman, the rest of us struggle through 18-hour work days. Like our parents and their parents before them, we join the rat race. Exhaustion forces us to see, however, that the "race" is actually just a wheel in a hamster cage. It leads to nowhere. In fact, it's sole purpose is to amuse those outside the cage with the sight of running hamsters who don't know any better.

I observe that there are only two ways by which one can cross over to being a "have" in the Philippines: (1) by business; and/or (2) corruption. When a Filipino like myself is not good at either, can she be blamed for wondering whether there is something more promising for her outside the cage, er, the Philippines?

Ten years ago, the younger me would have called the present me a disgrace, among other unpleasant invectives. I sincerely believed that there was hope for the Philippines and that, in my generation, corruption will finally be rejected for the malady that it is.

But the younger me had not yet felt the frustration that comes with dealing with the Philippine government. She did not work weekends and late nights for just enough to pay off the rent and several other monthly bills. She actually had no cause to forsake the Philippines. I, on the other hand, am beginning to think that I have good cause to abandon ship.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Kalderetang Sapatos

This is me in my early attempts to cook food for my brandnew household. The blob on the plate is my version of kaldereta - kalderetang sapatos. Sobrang tigas nung karne nito, we needed to use a butcher's knife to cut the meat into smaller digestible pieces. Production number!

I have since learned to cook (a little). Once in a while, I will "pull a Rachael Ray" and put together a meal from whatever is in the refrigerator combined with whatever condiments are on top of it. The meals I come up with are usually a success, owing to the rule that I self-learned, thus:

Do not tell anyone what you're cooking until after the plate is on the table. For all you know, your intended porkchop may turn out tasting like adobo, which happened to me "early in my career" as a wife. If no one knows what your meal's supposed be, your failure of a porkchop may be a successful adobo, ergo, everyday cooking will always be a success for you!

Eureka. I should be able to look fashionable in yellow rubber cleaning gloves and I'm all set.

Too Many

- are the number of hours Pao spends playing his PSP (Playstation Portable). I don't mind. It's actually an interesting piece of self-destructive device, which allows you to spend your days pretending you're a cab driver in downtown Los Angeles* while successfully avoiding actual human contact.

I've also gotten into the habit. I find it convenient to have something to tinker with while waiting for my case to be called in court, waiting for my flight to board at the airport, waiting at the gas station for the gasoline guy to finish re-fueling our car, and generally, while waiting. Unlike Pao, however, I will not stay up until 4 A.M. on a weekday because "I need to beat Federer in this game.** It's the finals."

Men are attached to PSPs because they share a lot of things in common: Both are easy to turn on (no assembly required). Both can be engaging in large doses. And both can be pretty frustrating if you have no idea where you're going, so you're just pressing on all the buttons in the hopes of getting it right.

(Games mentioned in this Blog are:
* Crazy Taxi - Goal: Drive for as many passengers as possible. Pedestrians need not be avoided. No one dies in the game. You can just run over people and no one will bleed.
** Virtual Tennis - Goal: Beat Federer in the finals.)
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