Skip to main content


Showing posts from August, 2012

Nonconstant (for now) gardener

This weekend, I decided to take up gardening again -- after totally neglecting my plants since, I don't know, 2010? When I moved to the Eastwood, I just couldn't check my plants in the morning anymore. It was a miracle many of them survived. I was thrilled to see my calamansi, grown from seeds from big fat fruits I had carefully chosen at the supermarket, bearing fruit. This morning, I was able to harvest three! This weekend, I repotted pandan, lemongrass, and mint. I planted tarragon and rosemary cuttings. I also planted coriander, thyme, and pepper seeds. Then I prepped more calamansi seeds for planting tomorrow. I also tried to prune our kaffir lime, but I felt the urge to save *every* leaf, so I stopped. Still, I can pat myself on the back now. It was a bright, partly rainy day. I like working outside when it's little rainy because it gives me the excuse to be out in the rain. That, plus I don't have to water the baby plants. The only dark spot

Commuter Chronicles: No more taxis for me

As much as possible, that is. If we had an efficient transport system, I'd be a really happy commuter. Still, despite not having that just yet, I'm finding, once again, pleasure in the long commutes I take to work and back. This month, I vowed to take fewer taxi rides and find alternative ways to get to (1) Eastwood from Project 4 (easy!) and back and (2) Eastwood from Las PiƱas and back (tough, boo). So far, so good. I've rediscovered the Citylink bus, figured out where to find the shuttles to Ayala Avenue from Eastwood, and signed up as a Resorts World member to get access to the free rides to Resorts World. I haven't tried the last option yet, but I'm just waiting until I have more time for a little getting-home adventure. How did I come up with the decision to ditch taxi rides as much as possible? I love comfort like any girl in her 30s, but it has made me feel more of an observer than a participant. To borrow a line from a book I recently read and loved, I wan

Today, I'm giving up refined flour

Again. During the recent Manila floods, I stocked up on bread. White bread specifically. I also got Lily's peanut butter and Lady's Choice sandwich spread. I could have stopped at a sandwich or two, but I had six. Or was it eight? It was for two meals, like brunch, but it still reminded me of how bad I can get when eating refined carbohydrates. I don't know if I can give up bread forever because I love cheese. But maybe I should break up with it for a while, until I get enough exercise.

What happened to our newspaper man

After more than two weeks, the paper came again. It came the day after I wrote about our newspaper man not coming, and then it didn't come again the day after. I joked that maybe someone who had read my post and decided to give us the paper just for a day. (The thought of that mystery man who would leave a single red rose three red roses and an unfinished bottle of cognac at Edgar Allan Poe's grave on his birthday crossed my mind. Wouldn't that be something?) But on the third day, the paper came again. And it didn't stop coming. On Sunday, collection day, we made sure to be up early for Mang Manny. Sadly, his trademark slightly musical "Diyaryo!" call didn't com. It was closer to noon when somebody tapped at our gate: a young man who said he worked at the place Mang Manny got his newspapers from. My mother asked him where Mang Manny was, and he said that Mang Manny was in Batangas, and he would be staying there for forty days. His wife had died -- I did

Going home in the rain

I am never so much myself as when I am riding in a taxi, bus or train in the rain. I am swimming in contained space moving through water, I am tucked in a dry pocket and peering out. I could be any one of those people outside: That girl rushing beneath a broken umbrella, that boy carefully navigating puddles with his muddied feet. I could be any of those people in the street, making their way, chasing taxis, buses, and trains. Instead, I am very much who I am indeed: someone watching a wet world in a state of dryness, someone not out in the rain. For Eric John, who said my previous entry reads like a poem.

Tonight, I walked through flooded streets again

I've narrated this story many, many times, both to myself and others who cared to listen, but it still begs to be shared. Perhaps I haven't done its telling the kind of justice that finds the story told. One day, someday. But here goes: Once, I had a hand to hold while wading through the dark flood waters of Manila, hip-high from Welcome Rotonda to UST, in raging rain. And when I got home, I didn't just wash away the city's dirt with detergent, germicidal soap, and alcohol, and call it a night. I dried out his typewritten poems with a flat iron, and learned, even if I didn't know it right away then, what one writer meant about the color of the wheat fields.

Our newspaper man has stopped coming

Mang Manny collected our payment two Sundays ago, like he always did on Sundays. Then the following Monday the tell-tale thump of a rolled newspaper landing on our doorstep didn't come. I waited for it as I drank a cup of coffee, wanting to scan the headlines before leaving for work. But it didn't come. And it hasn't come. It has been two weeks now. When I was young, there were three constants in our village: the man selling taho; the man who took photographs, printed them, and waited for people to pick them up; and the man who delivered the newspaper. The man selling taho used to linger at our corner, calling out "Taho!" and waiting for all four of us to run out with our colored Tupperware plastic glasses and spoons. As we grew older, our tastes shifted, and I think the last one to want taho was my little sister. The taho vendor eventually learned to focus on other street corners. I don't hear him anymore, but I'm hardly home in the afternoons anymore. I