Monthly Archives: January 2013

in search of lost time


Every now and then, I come across a film that just blows me away and renders me inarticulate.  There’s so much going on in my head and yet the only thing I can say is wow.  Not the exclamatory sort we often encounter in textbooks and reality shows but the quiet sort that resembles a sigh more than an actual word.

Cristián Jiménez’s Bonsai is one such film.  After letting out that single wow, I lay still and just allowed my thoughts to steep.

The film’s main character, Julio, is hired (then fired) by a famous writer, Gazmuri, to transcribe his novel.  Julio lies to his lover about losing the job and instead begins to write his own story which he passes off as Gazmuri’s.  He draws inspiration from a relationship he had eight years back.

There were certain elements in the story which hit close to home and I couldn’t help but feel as if I were being transported back and forth through my own life every time the movie would switch from eight years ago to eight years later and back again.

Two scenes in particular really stood out for me: the street scene towards the end which brought to mind my favorite The Weepies song, World Spins Madly On and the library scene where Julio read a passage from Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time.  I could really feel my heart bleeding along with his.

… but my thoughts had run into a channel of their own, until I myself seemed actually to have become the subject of my book.


the second quarter of the year that was


Earning these double stripes and hood involved a frantic run, a complete stop, a sudden sprint, another complete stop, and a mad dash to the finish line.  It took a while but thanks to my family and my research adviser, I somehow managed to get there.
grad 3
A Year Older and (Hopefully) Wiser
Spending my birthday away from my family always gives me a strange hollow feeling.

Not this year though.  I woke up with a smile on my face and joy in my heart.  I marvelled at all the blessings that came my way and praised God for His unwavering mercy and lovingkindness.

bday 2012When I got to work, the office was a lot quieter than usual.  There were only eight of us that day but we went ahead with the joint birthday celebration (my officemate’s and mine).  The office got us a scrumptious black velvet cake from Conti’s and we ordered some barbecue and spaghetti (the company’s official happy food) from Amber Restaurant.  We ate and talked and laughed.  Then we went back to our work stations and finished writing our respective scripts.

I must’ve been feeling giddy at the time because it took me forever to get my work done!

When I finally completed the day’s writing assignment, I rushed to Banapple to meet up with my college roomie/soulsistah.  We had a mini–or should I say micro–celebration with  caps lock-worthy FUN FUN FUN!

Fates Intertwined
I was so moved by Auraeus Solito’s Busong, I went to Jollibee the following day just so I could write a blog entry about it (the film, not Jollibee).  And when Auraeus Solito himself left a comment, I freaked out, pestered my officemates for suggestions on what to reply, and ended up not replying at all.

Playlist for the Month:
1. John Petrucci – Wishful Thinking 
Joe Satriani – Always With Me, Always With You 
3. Earthmover – First Sighting Album 
4. Toe – C 
5. Toe – I Do Still Wrong 
6. Toe – Past and Language 
7. Walk Off the Earth – Magic 
*Click ♫ to listen to the track/watch the music vid.

Bittersweet Symphony
When I found out that my son had just uttered his first word, I jumped out of my seat and immediately called home.  I was thrilled that he said “Mommy” but at the same time, I felt really sad that I missed the moment.

A Year Older and (Definitely) Wiser
To celebrate my college roomie/soulsistah’s birthday, she and I met up in Katipunan and had dinner at Mom & Tina’s.  We then hung out at Fully Booked and looked up Celtic names and a bunch of other random stuff.  We talked about work, love, and life in general (ooh, grown-up talk!).
pie - bday dinnerTelly-ho!
My American Idol mania reached its peak at around this time (see Set B of this month’s playlist).  I indulged my inner couch potato and started watching The Wonder Years (triggered by Phillip Phillips’s heart-tugging We’ve Got Tonight), Smash, Gossip Girl, and Jane by Design during my downtime.

Level: Asian?
The cineaste in me also got some screen time this month.  I attended the Asia As Our Society Asian Film Festival and got to watch six films.  My favorite was Laskar Pelangi (Rainbow Troops).  The characters were portrayed so effectively, the audience (myself included) couldn’t help but sigh, laugh, shriek, and cry along with them.  I also loved Hwang Jin Yi and Forever Enthralled.  I really learned a lot about Korean and Chinese culture.  Speedy Scandal was also very entertaining.   I would definitely recommend it to people who just want to unwind.  Ekureru: Okashi Hourouki (Eclair) was a different story.  It started out okay but it became tedious to watch towards the end.  Halaw was also pretty disappointing.
asian filmfestPlaylist for the Month:
Set A
1. Damien Rice – Volcano 
       You give me miles and miles of mountains
       And I’ll ask for the sea
2. The Drums – Down By the Water 
       Baby, I’ll carry you all the way home
. Alexi Murdoch – At Your Door 
       Yes, I will only love you more
4. Rainbow Arabia – Without You 
       Odd times took your mind
       And I’m still here by your side
Set B
1. Phillip Phillips – U Got It Bad
2. Phillip Phillips – The Stone
3. Phillip Phillips – Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
4. Phillip Phillips – Volcano
5. Phillip Phillips – We’ve Got Tonight
6. Phillip Phillips – Home 
*Click ♫ to listen to the track/watch the music vid.
*Check out maja.dd’s YouTube channel for studio recordings of the songs Phillip Phillips performed on American Idol.

Welcome to the planet. Welcome to existence.
My sister-in-law gave birth to a beautiful baby girl the day my son turned half a year old.  I was so excited about being an aunt, I wanted to prance around the office and burst into song.

Thanks to my super active thyroid, I added two new places to my list of hangout spots: Clinica Manila and The Medical City.  I even became radioactive once.

Films à Gogo
If someone were to ask me about my 2012 Citi-Rustans French Film Festival experience, I’d probably say, “It was good, bad, and everything in between.”  The Artist and L’art d’aimer (The Art of Love) had me oohing and aahing while Les Destinées sentimentales (Sentimental Destinies) left me yawning.  Roses à crédit (Roses on Credit) was so crappy, I walked out of the cinema halfway through the movie.  Clean was good and L’heure d’été (Summer Hours) was pretty much okay.  Le Mariage à trois (Three-Way Wedding) had some moments but I left feeling like I had just wasted my time.
french film fest

So long, farewell!  Auf Wiedehersen, good night!
Even though I was already fairly well-adjusted to life in the metro, I never stopped feeling homesick.  It was as if the whole world was moving but I was standing still (The Weepies, 2006).  I wanted to come home and be with my family.  I didn’t want to miss out on any more of my son’s developmental milestones.

And so I closed a chapter and bade the metro goodbye.  I did feel sad about leaving because I loved my job.  I was still going to work as a freelance writer for the company but I knew it just wouldn’t be the same.  I would definitely miss the friendly office banter.

But as my economics professors used to say, there will always be trade-offs.

Playlist for the Month:
1. City and Colour – Hello, I’m in Delaware 
       So there goes my life
       Passing by with every exit sign
2. Zee Avi – Concrete Wall 
3. St. Vincent – Cheerleader 
4. Florence + The Machine – Shake It Out  
       It’s always darkest before the dawn
5. Can – She Brings the Rain 
       Magic mushrooms out of dreams
6. Primitive Radio Gods – Skin Job 
       Burning love and the avalanche comes
7. Mark Davis – The Wide Atlantic 
       It was cold and our embrace was colder still
       Was the distance too impossible to fill?
8. Marble Sounds – The Days We Care About 
       Underneath the surface there’s a lost priority
9. Kari Jobe – Steady My Heart 
       I know that You got me
       Right inside the palm of Your hand
10. Kari Jobe – We Are 
       So wake up, sleeper, lift you head
       We were meant for more than this
*Click ♫ to listen to the track/watch the music vid.

the first quarter of the year that was


2012 was a year of extremes and opposites. Of really high highs and really low lows. Of mad dashes and complete stops. Of euphoria and depression. Of rekindled friendships and severed ties. Of hellos and goodbyes.

It may not have been as earth-shattering as 2011–the year of whirlwinds–but it was still one heck of a roller coaster ride.

So here’s a look back at the year that was.

Defense of the Ancient Thesis
Two years after I started working on my masteral thesis, I finally got to defend it.  The final defense was such a nerve-wracking ordeal, I wanted to scream, “Huzzah!” when I finally got the green light from my panel.

The Giving Spree

My hometown was still reeling from the aftermath of Typhoon Sendong when the year started.  Although most of my high school batchmates had already gone back to their places of work (for lack of a better term), our batch continued with its relief operations. We teamed up with Tzu Chi Zamboanga, Project PEARLS, Philippine Funds for Little Kids, Happy Soles and the Rotary Club of Zamboanga City for the Sending Sendong Kids Back to School Project.  We distributed school supplies to kids whose schools were affected by the typhoon.jan 2012 highlight 1

It was a very fulfilling experience and I would’ve wanted to join more relief efforts.  But alas, my maternity leave was coming to an end so I had to pack my bags and head back to the metro.

Playlist for the Month:
1. Christina Perri – Arms
       You put your arms around me and I’m home
2. Christina Perri – A Thousand Years
       Heart beats fast
       Colors and promises
3. Christina Perri – Jar of Hearts
       You’re gonna catch a cold
       From the ice inside your soul

The Return of the Cineaste
The Experience New Zealand 2012 Film Festival marked the beginning of my love affair with Shang Cineplex and the return of my film fest-hopping days .  Of the four movies  I got to watch, my favorite was Eagle vs Shark followed closely by Boy.  Both films were directed by Taika Waititi.
474351_10150817206268312_305674766_oPlaylist for the Month:
1. The Civil Wars – Poison and Wine
       I don’t have a choice but I’d still choose you

       Oh I don’t love you, I always will
2. Franco – This Gathering
       In time we’ll be together
       I’ll be home forever

Hello, Catharsis.
When my bouts of homesickness showed no signs of diminishing a  month after my return to the metro, I decided to go back to blogging.  But instead of reviving one of my four existing blogs, I created a new one.   I wanted a fresh start, a clean slate.  And so this blog came into existence.

The Well That Gives
My little brother’s graduation was a big deal not only because I was one proud ate but also because it was my first time to attend an actual college graduation (I skipped mine).  The class valedictorian, Kenneth I. Abante, gave such a beautiful and heartfelt speech that I came close to tears a couple of times.

No Place Like Home
After two long, agonizing months, I got to be with my family again!  I was initially worried my son wouldn’t remember me.  But boy, did he recognize me!
Playlist for the Month:
1. The Shins – New Slang
       Well I’d ‘a danced like the queen of the eyesores
       And the rest of our lives would ‘a fared well
2. The Weepies – World Spins Madly On
       The whole world is moving and I’m standing still
3. The Civil Wars – 20 Years
       Just some black ink on some blue lines
4. Foster the People – Pumped Up Kicks (Acoustic Version)
       Just because it’s catchy.
5. Death Cab for Cutie – Title and Registration
       Just because.

“promises to keep and miles to go before i sleep”


Sometime before 2012  ended, I promised myself I would chronicle the highs, the lows, and maybe even the in-betweens of that year.

I never really got around to it. There was always something else that needed doing. I guess you could say that life kept getting in the way.

But now that I am under quarantine, I don’t really have an excuse so I’m going to give it a shot.

And besides, keeping a promise seems like a good way to start the year. 🙂