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Showing posts from July, 2007

In the middle of hardcourt

At eight in the morning, the sun is already stifling. And there I am, being boiled--literally. Beads of sweat are trickling on my face and arms that I have to wipe them with my muddied shirt every so often. I am a player in the hardcourt. The Trainer motions me to come near. "Hit from the baseline. I want to see the form. Look at the ball. Don't hit too hard. Just stroke it." I hear the words like a faint whisper. In my mind, I silently repeat them as I grip the racket tightly as if my life depended on it. I squint at the approaching yellow ball. I twist my body, bend my knees a bit, with my right foot slightly forward, to hit the ball with a proper forehand. Tok. The ball hits my racket and moves on to the other side--a little off target, but it's considered in. I think I did well. For now, at least. I see a smile on the Trainer's face. Is it of approval? I'm really not so sure, until he says, "Good." For a while there, I forget the throbbing

Jeepney rides

Before the last passenger boarded the jeep, the driver had already turned on the engine, something that made our cramped, humid bodies vibrate. It had just rained: the road outside was wet with dew, the afternoon sky was bleak, save for the remaining orange sprays of the setting sun. "Bayad." A twenty-something, dressed in tucked in polo and black slacks, motioned me to get his seven-peso worth of fare, to hand it to the driver who was seated on the right end. I, too, grabbed my purse, a handmade black-and-white piece of fabric a friend brought from Sagada, to get my coins which amounted only to 6.50. I was short of 50 cents. That moment remembered my father who used to tell me a million will never amount to a million if a peso is missing. There was nothing else--I looked in my pockets, my bags, even the pages of my book--but all I had was a 500 peso bill my brother had lent me earlier. I took the chance of being reprimanded by the driver. Shame on me. I passed the bill

Forty years

Forty years. How could two people not get sick of each other's presence after living in one roof together for that long? Doesn't familiarity breed contempt? Marriage has always baffled me. Forty years, when I think of it, is about twice the length of time I've lived on earth. But Kuya Dave and Ate June have been married for that time span, and they still look like they've just been to a honeymoon in the Bahamas. For starters, Kuya Dave is Welsh; his accent is a hybrid between those of Sean Connery and Aragorn, Son of Arathorn. He's a tall, white-haired guy who can start a meaningful conversation with anybody. If you've talked to him, he should have told you that he used to be neighbors with Catherine Zeta-Jones, that lovely actress, in Wales, and even went to th e same school as she did. Ate June is English and is the closest person I could find who fits the Proverbs 31 description of a wife. Her accent never fails to melt my heart; she reminds me of chara

A wedding banquet

It's the sight of Kuya Dave, the Welshman, and Ate June, the English lady, that often makes me wonder when I'm going to get married. Yakal Christian Fellowship invites you to an evangelistic meeting called the Wedding Banquet tomorrow night, July 17, 7:30 pm at the Yakal Front Lawn.

John Dasmariñas

I've never known of anyone who talks of childhood experiences in a way that is remotely comparable to Kuya John 's: complete with the minutest of details, lavished with tongue-in-cheek humor, and, more often than not, a load of morals. While eating clams, he told me he doesn't eat the unopened ones because it's like barging in on their privacy. It was a light-bulb moment, for then I knew that the creatures of the sea we normally cook with stew have notions of public-private life dichotomy. He cooks really well, speaks at least three local languages like a native, and writes like a Palanca laureate. My brother Ralph wrote secret details about him--and I agree with the fifth one . I thank the Lord for the privilege of knowing Kuya John. Twenty-two years old? Now that's old.

Now I'm playin'

Other than the prospect of hanging out with my university friends after a break that seemed like eternity, the one thing that makes me expectant around this time of the year is called the Wimbledon tournament. Unless you've been stranded in Bonga-Bonga island off the Pacific Coast, you'd know that it's all about tennis. It grips me. I could hardly control my bladder as I watch the players in court. It can get so exciting sometimes that I'd feel like a pregnant woman whose water just broke. Sadly there's no cable tv in the dorm where I live, proof that in Yakal, people would rather immerse themselves in books rather than watch whatever junk the local channels are showing. I'm being ironic, of course. But a consequence of this is that I haven't been able to watch the games closely. I rely on websites like for my dose of updates. Recently I learned that Kino , a blockmate, is just like me--or perhaps, even worse. A certified tennis fanatic, she


You stand in front of your weekly dorm fellowship, read 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ("in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in you"), and say your piece. The exhortation which you had prepared after your quiet time this morning lasts for five minutes. "As Christians we shouldn't hesitate to share. It glorifies God..." Then comes your final statement: "So who'd like to share first?" Five seconds. Ten seconds. No hand is raised, so you say, "Come on, don't be shy. Who'd like to share?" Still no response, except for bowed heads--as if gravity had sudddenly become stronger--or rolling eyes that look elsewhere, careful to avoid your friendly gaze. It's almost always like this in fellowships. During sharing time, people become extraordinarily hushed. Or worse, disinterested. It's disheartening. Surely the Lord has done wonders for the past week. The earth would run short of paper if each person writes his prais

The week in photos: last week of June 2007

I ate Gerber because the bottles were needed for an experiment. Weirdly, I actually liked the taste. Maybe I'm still just a baby in the body of a twenty year-old. While waiting for lunch after the MBBS Tambayan clean-up, Arielle showed us her moves. I could do just the same. In dreams. Pastor Oscar talked on Christians being the salt and light of the earth during the special youth fellowship. In the middle of his peaching, he grabbed a bottle of salt from his pocket to illustrate his point. We were given gold coins with chocolate inside them as prize for reciting memory verses (during the same youth fellowship). Sadly, I mistook Romans 3:23 for Romans 8:28. I should get that right next time. Sean celebrated his seventeenth birthday. He's getting old, and I'm getting older. All in all, I praise the Lord for a most wonderful week.