Month: December 2010

Benchinko from the Universe

Are you the type who would pick up a coin resting on the sidewalk – diez, cinco, benchinko or mamera?

For the past 4 decades of my life, I never bothered laying claim to those abandoned piece of hard metal lying on the streets used as a token for trade and commerce.  I always thought that a dropped coin of little monetary value left lying on sidewalks for considerable amount of time are just too small a denomination for me to bother picking up.

With a fusion of magnanimous laziness, lack of interest and altruism, I have always left sidewalk “barya” (coins) for someone else to pick-up.  Moreover, it takes up extra space in my pocket!

But while I was taking my usual cigarette break at the patio area of my unit this morning, I strangely found and saw a “benchinko” (25 centavo coin) lying on the floor.  I stay at the 24th floor of a building and there must be no way for a stranger to drop this coin.

I picked it up!  This is when I realized that a hit-upon coin lying on a floor or a sidewalk is a small gift from the universe.  Passing up a dime, a quarter or a penny shows lack of appreciation about unexpected positive energy.  It is like failing to acknowledge little surprises of life’s state of affairs.

It’s important to appreciate small things and be grateful about it.  By picking up an abandoned coin on sidewalks, we gratefully receive what the universe is bestowing us even if it is of miniscule size, range and magnitude.

And so from now on, I’ll always pick up those diez, cinco, benchinko or even mamera.

Iipunin ko ang mga yan tapos ibo-blo awt ko kayo!


Malou’s Opening Prayer

malou domingo

Organizing a company Christmas Party is a big task to accomplish year after year for an HR practitioner like me.  Committees of various responsibilities need to be reminded, assisted and monitored about the status of their respective tasks.

This year, I requested Ms. Malou Domingo, our company’s Marketing Manager to deliver the Opening Prayer for LJC Restaurant Group’s Support Service Christmas Party.  When the party was on-going, I personally asked Malou for a copy of what she has prepared because I was impressed by what she has composed and rendered for the group.

I personally believe that the Opening Prayer is one of the most vital parts of any social gathering since it is a spiritual yearning for the awareness of God’s presence during the course of the revelry.  The prayer was unadorned yet grateful, pleasing, appreciative and sincere. It moved me!

Here is the simple yet pure and remarkable invocation written by Malou…

“We thank You Lord for gathering us today.

We thank You most of all for giving us a reason to celebrate each year…

… a chance to reunite with friends and co-workers,

… a chance to enjoy each other’s company

… and a chance to reconcile and to leave the past behind

so that we may look forward

to better working relationships in the coming year

2010 has generally been a good year for all of us

and we thank you for the blessings you have given.

There were setbacks yes

but we trust that these are only ways for You

to open up new doors and new opportunities for us.

Bless our gathering today and bless this place

and bless each and everyone and our families as well.

We will soon welcome a new year and we will step into it

with full trust in You who makes all good things possible.

Bless us with joy, peace, good health, prosperity

and most of all wisdom to know how to attain all these.

To You be Glory forever, Amen.”

And when I absorbed what Malou has said and I said my Amen, I knew that the party will be fun and will be a success.  And it definitely was!

Isang malaking palakpak sa ‘yo Ms. Malou!

Strenuous Holiday Rush

With all the chores that I need to accomplish

With all the party revelries that my delicious presence compels to grace

With all the dreaded road traffics that I destined to endure

With all the unanticipated gifts that I still need to purchase

With all the stressful deadlines that I must carry out

With all the catch-up dinners and luncheons I opt to attend

With all the surprising presents that I have to wrap

With all the Love and Peace that I ought to give

It seems that the time today until the big Christmas Day is not enough

I am suddenly wishing that there are 48 hours in a day

And it looks like the only thing I will do when merry Christmas day comes is SLEEP and will  only wake-up on December 26.

Nakaka-ubos ang Pasko. Ang aybags ko may tatak ng LV!

Kuala Lumpur: It Grows In You

I didn’t like Nasi Lemak Daging Rendang the first time I tasted it.  The taste was something unusual –   mixture of cardamom, karisik, tamarind pulp, turmeric, chili, galangal, lemongrass, ginger, cinnamon, star anise, whole peanuts, shallots, garlic and kaffir lime.  It was a spice filled experience!  But while digging into the food, adjustments and fine-tuning of my taste buds took 180 degrees turn so as to appreciate this Malaysian dish.  Until, I am left astounded that I have actually finished the whole dish and was craving for more.  It was a mind-boggling flavor that you would not like at first but learns to appreciate it later.  The palatal encounter would surprisingly grow in you.

This experience is basically similar to what I felt when I, Nengkoy and my sisters went to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  Because of a busy schedule, I never got the chance to check out the internet on where to go and what to do prior to staying for a long weekend in Kuala Lumpur.  I basically did not expect anything spectacular about Kuala Lumpur.  I just wanted to go there, spend a relaxing weekend and know what this bustling city has to offer.

True enough when we arrived and rode a cab at midnight going to our hotel, the feeling was not as thrilling.  It was unlike the electrifying feeling when I would usually arrive in other parts of the world.  I actually said to myself, “Okay, so this city is a little better than Metro Manila.  How I wish we went to another part of Asia.”

But as the days passed, I am astonished to learn the cosmopolitan ascendancy, cultural grace and inhabitant’s charm of KL.  Civilized eco-friendly urban planning is definitely evident.  My fondness about the city seems to grow! It’s like the longer you stay, the more mesmerized you will be.

On our last day, I admitted to have the wrong notion and impression about Kuala Lumpur.  There really are a lot of surprising things to see and do in KL.  Also, I acknowledge that it is very much ahead and better than Metro Manila (which is actually a poignant thought for my land of birth).

My stay in Kuala Lumpur is like eating Nasi Lemak Daging Rendang.  It’s full of spice, there are multitude of stuffs to offer and “it grows in you”.  I don’t just like it, I loved it!














Walang kuliglig sa KL!


Who is your Facebook cartoon character profile picture until December 6? (The peaceful protest against violence towards children)  Mine was Ursula, the sea witch.  She is the overweight yet cool and seductive evil villain in Disney’s The Little Mermaid.  In my opinion she’s the perfect villain, balancing out being intolerably evil and funny as hell!

She is one of the full-pledged wicked antagonists that creeps me out by just merely looking at her mole.  Add up her terrifying character, her husky smoky voice plus the spine-chilling humongous laughter, you’ve got a perfectly dark vicious piece of work.

Aside from the magnificent soundtrack, for me, the reason why Disney’s The Little Mermaid movie was so successful was because of this terrifying fat octopus lady.  Her song “Poor Unfortunate Souls” was even revived by Jonas Brothers.  She swelled into monstrous proportions, she literally slashed boats apart with her tentacles, she crashed the ocean waves and she turned the heavens into stormy skies!

I know that Ursula’s nasty tentacles were defeated in the end.  It is even considered that Ursula had one of the most petrifying deaths of all Disney movies. But two of the most powerful lines uttered by this ruthless thug can actually be based on awful truths:

Don’t underestimate the importance of body language!

Life’s full of tough choices… isn’t it?

Walang bida kung walang kontra bida! Yu pur unportyuneyt sowls!!!

Tom Babauta: The Stranger in Paradise

I just finished watching a Filipino movie entitled Strangers in Paradise which was directed by the late film genius Lino Brocka.  The story was initially set in an unidentified secluded island where a girl grew up alone (but was later befriended by a hunky local island boy) and was ostracized by her Tagalog-speaking tribe-mates for she was a child conceived and born out of wed lock.  The island girl met a young Hawaii-based Filipino-speaking tourist who decided to bring her to Hawaii (which wonders me how did this young Filipino tourist was able to secure a US-Hawaii Visa for the island girl).  In Hawaii, the island girl was still detested yet encountered an unexpected truth about her past.

For me, the movie Strangers in Paradise is divided into three equal parts.  The first part had very minimal dialogues and seems to look like a mini-soft-porn.  It featured nothing but the incredibly sexy body of the female lead character Mauana (played by Snooky Serna), the boy-next-door charm and flawless skin of Antonio (played by Lloyd Samartino) and the to-die-for hunky flesh of the island boy (played by Tom Babauta).

The second part seems to have looked like a mini-travel show ala The Lonely Planet featuring the cultural dances and sights of Hawaii. Then the flick for its final part suddenly became a mini-soap opera that features the predictable twists and turns of a typical Pinoy afternoon TV drama.

Nevertheless, what is good about the movie is it’s not being a love story where the characters at the end would live happily ever after or had a sad ending where they ended up in tragic turns of event.  Amazingly, the ending was neither happy nor sad.  The ending was just true to what a typical life is.

tom babauta

But the main reason why I have always wanted to watch the film is because I was longing to recall and review how Tom Babauta looks like.  Thanks to Kuki Catindig, the effervescent aficionada of Snooky Serna, for giving me a DVD copy of the movie.

Young adults today may not know this, but it was the name of this B-list actor that gave birth to the coinage of a local slang that proliferated in the late ‘80s until mid ‘90s.  Out of Pinoy’s crazy yet cunning uniqueness, the name Tom Babauta during those times was conceived to mean gutom (hungry).  Often times, Pinoys a decade ago would say “Tom Babauta na ko” when they meant “Gutom na ako” (I’m already hungry).

Tom Babauta may have not contributed in the enrichment of Philippine cinema or may have not even acted very well in his role in Strangers in Paradise but his name has definitely been immortalized in the Pinoy pop-culture neologism.

Mabuhay ka Tom Babauta!