Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I find it difficult, even when on holiday, not to think about work. My files are my Linus blanket/s. I take them with me wherever I go, so I can feel secure at the thought that I can always work when I want to.

Of course I often end up just bringing unnecessary baggage that I don’t even touch. Worse, since I know I have work but don’t really want to work, I end up debating in my head whether I should even begin working. Work then takes up much of my now free time, which is  counterproductive and yes, very strange.

This vacation however, was pleasantly different. I boarded the plane under threat from Pao that he will not speak to me if I even bring something to work on. Being the weird-o that I am, I snuck in a couple of files in that hidden portion of my luggage that is meant for suits. Happily, my files remained hidden there for the next five days, because this time my brain went out of the office with me. Until today, I did absolutely nothing related to work.

It is refreshing to leave our professions behind once in a while. The sight of other people on a subway train going about their usual business puts my "usual business" in proper perspective. I realize in hindsight, that we're all just persons making a living the way we know best. Bills have to be paid and most of us have to work to pay for them; but as my friend Rona says, "Ang hanap-buhay ay hanap-buhay lang. Hindi yan buhay."

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Beach Boy

I like to take my time on the beach. My idea of a vacation is waking up at 11:00 a.m., getting a massage under a coconut tree, and drinking ice-cold San Mig Light with my inihaw na pusit on demand. If I had my way, I would lie in a hammock all day, read a book and sleep. Ahh, how I love to sleep.

But since I got married, I now have to take The Husband’s activities into consideration. My luck is that unlike me, Pao prefers to do as many things as he could in a day even when on vacation. If Pao had his way, he would eat, swim, watch a reggae concert, eat, jog, eat, bike, eat, skimboard and eat as much as possible. Sayang sa oras, he would say. Get up, stand up, let’s do something exciting, anything, go, go, go.

Eh ‘di go. We went to Tambisaan beach by tricycle on the eastern side of Boracay at 12NN. We rented two snorkels for P50 each and swam in what was, at the time, pleasantly cool waters. Three hours later, I get sunburns on my cheeks and forehead the size of roadkill caterpillars.

I burn easily. This is why I don’t like playing water sports or swimming in the water for periods longer than an hour at a time, much less at the height of the midday sun. While some people look “exotic” or “godly” when bronzed, I end up looking like a 12-year old boy. Wearing my hair short already treads that thin line between being fashionable and looking like a lady-boy. I don’t like to push myself over that line by turning into a brown male adolescent. Oh well.

ExaJ. Over. O.A.

The primary reason why I went to Hong Kong, my very motive for taking every painful step to the MTR, is to visit Hong Kong Disneyland. Mickey Mouse is the huggable rodent to see when you want to act your age less twenty years, and forget even for a while that you practice law in the Philippines. That motive, that cause, that reason is gone. Nada. Vanished. Could no longer be accomplished.

It is Tropical Cyclone No. 9 here.* All the shops are closed. Work and school are cancelled. The streets are deserted. There are no open government offices. We’re not even sure where we’re eating dinner. My guess is it’ll either be 7Eleven or Watsons, because, lo and behold, these are the only establishments open today.

In desperation, we tried every stop along the MTR to find a shop that’s open.  We got off the stations at Sheung Wan, Central, Admiralty, Wang Chai and finally, Causeway Bay. We found absolutely nothing except for five computer shops at the Wang Chai Computer Centre and several hundred other confused tourists. Even the second best thing why I went here, which is to visit the Louis Vuitton flagship store, could not be done. Mr. Vuitton is sleeping in today and is closed for business due to the "heavy rains."

It's a huge wonder to us typhoon experts from the Philippines why the locals are panicking like it’s the end of the world in this weather. There is hardly any rain and the winds are not strong enough to even rattle the billboards along EDSA. If this “cyclone” were in the Philippines, it wouldn’t even count as Signal No. 1. And, even if it did, we would still have gone to work and drank coffee in SM after office.

But, as the saying goes, when in Rome do as the Romans do. So we’re staying in the hotel and updating our Facebooks while the locals figure out that this isn’t really a “cyclone” but a mere ambon.

Hopefully, when our Lucky Me La Paz Batchoys and Nissin Seafood Cup Noodles have been exhausted, Hong Kong would have already realized that there’s nothing to worry about. We should then be allowed to spend our hard-earned cash in their amusement parks.

* Photo taken in the morning, when only "Tropical Cyclone No. 8" was hoisted. (And you thought I forgot my numbers).

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Must Reach Bed

It’s my first time in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, it appears that I came at a time when the weather is unbearably humid. It’s a sunny 31C and it feels like we’re children playing inside a stuffy carton box all over again, except this time we’re in the box with a million other Asians.

While the locals don’t seem to mind walking in this weather mostly in three-piece suits, my clothes have been alternating from wet with sweat and then dry by airconditioning throughout the day. But since we’re just glad we’re away from the Philippines (and consequently from work), my travel companions and I were willing to overlook this “minor” glitch, walked around Hong Kong and Kowloon Island until our feet begged for mercy, and rode the MTR like the wild stallion that it is.

We’re staying in a hotel where our bed occupies two-thirds of the room space. It takes three medium-sized strides to get from one end to another (I counted). But there’s wi-fi all over (which allows me to write this blog); the lights, the temperature, video and surround-audio are all controlled by one remote; and we’re right smack in the middle of the city, so who cares?

We met up with Pao and Mike’s highschool classmate Silet upon arriving at the airport. Silet, God bless Silet, is a flight attendant for Cathay based in London, who’s staying in Hong Kong in between trips. He saved us a couple of hours of “duh” time in the MTR because he knew which track colors to go to in order to get to wherever. Silet, God bless Silet, also picked us up from the airport, paid for our one-day MTR passes and our lunch, and gave us the free bags that came with the Nikkon DSLR that he bought in Mong Kok. Hoorah!

With Silet and his handy-dandy British accent in tow, we were able to visit the Ladies’ Market in Tung Choi Street, the row of upper-end shops along Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, and [the entrance to] Hong Kong Disneyland (We just bought tickets. We’ll come back Friday) in less than three (3) hours. Silet had to go back to the aiport for Luhn-duhn at 4:30p.m. But between that time and 11:00 p.m, we managed to watch the light show at Harbour City, buy Olympic souvenirs from the Hong Kong Olympic Piazza, drink the equivalent of P210 Starbucks mocha frappucinos at the Hong Kong Cultural Center and then ride the Star Ferry back to Hong Kong Island.

Finally, our internal “extra-Joss-es” ran out.The weather and our constant running around, has further caused my old friend “the migraine” to come all the way to Hong Kong to pay me a visit. Must now reach bed and close eyelids to sleep.

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