Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Dinagyang: The Sound of a Thousand Drums

It started with just a tip-tap tip-tap of drumsticks, outside the city sometime September. Then, in October, it went tip-tip boom boom boboom like a shamanistic ritual. By the time it reached November, ten thousand arms raised their hands in the air with sticks gripped tightly and crashed down in rhythym, sounding for all the world the rage of a thousand storms. The time of the festival has come. The Dinagyang.

History tells us of the roots of the festival that it started as a thanksgiving ritual, where the first Aeta's to be colonizes were the people of Iloilo, exchanging gifts and treasures with the Spaniards. In return for the blessings of the Sto. Nino, the black-skinned people danced for the foreigners. Thus, the ritual for the dark saint was born.

Fast forward to this century. To this day, every last Sunday of January, various groups would paint their bodies black and join the differrent tribes that would compete for the glory of Sto. Nino. This year, a new record of 20 new tribes to challenge each other and try to win the coveted title and thus paying off hard work spanning more than 4 months.

It's been seven years since I last attended the Dinagyang Festival . So this one is kinda special for me. What makes it even special cuz I got to spend the day with my girl, hehehe.

So, on to my fave pics!

Let's get ready to rumble!

On Killing Ground

Nice Plumes

Hang Time

Flame On! Wind to the left!

Worshippers of the Sun God

Skirmishing Warriors

Ambushing Bushmen!

Stalking their prey...

Raising their hands for glory...and the Champions

State of Mind: w00t!
Song of the Day: Falling Leaves by Wickermoss

Now Reading: Soul Music by Terry Prachett

Tribe of Choice: Tribu ni San Pedro ( the Bushmen )

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Pre-Birthday Thoughts: Looking at 25 Hamster Years

Tommorow's my birthday.

Tomorrow I'm taking the first step towards my second quarter of my life, leaving behind 25 years of memories. Thinking about those things that happened in my life, I find myself inevitably taking trip down memory lane and taking a second glance at things that happened to me. Some are good, some are bad and some are just plain ugly...

Early Childhood, Pre School: Hmm, I got my fear of cockroaches at this stage of my life. I used to remember hiding inside my blanket and shivering with fear as roaches crawled over my body and the thin cloth that seperates it. Gross I know, but that usual in our old house in Villa. Roaches, roaches everywhere.

I also read my first ever Playboy, stealing it from Dad collection. And no, I don't know how the process works at that time, only looking at the pictures and staring at her ha-ha's. Due to foggy memory, I forgot why...

Also at this time I fell into addiction to the written word, from newspapers to comics to pop-ups to cartoons...

Childhood, Elementary: The first three years I was one of the gifted ones, then the last three years reverted into the normal type, finding out there was more to life than grades and being a good boy. Not to say I was the bad boy, just someone in between. Though I did remember my dad beating my ass for uttering the F word in the house, even to the point of calling the school to complain of the lack of moral standards. Before that though...

In Grade One, like I said, I was one of the intelligent ones, concentrating in my studies. Nothing much here. In Grade Two I watched from the sidelines as three rival groups, aptly named as Voltron, Voltes V and the Superfriends, duke it out in a sumpit war, with ambushes during breaktime. Grade Three saw the groups in uneasy truce, almost going into normality, before the great typhoon that struck the nation and flooding the school in. Grade Four was a time of war again, a section war, two groups vying for position of the old fallen tree that fell down last grading, with small stones for choice of weapons. Grade Five I became one of the Blueboys, a group of very proud young boys, and met my two bestfriends, Earl and Gigi ( who was with the Pinkgirls ), who became a couple for years to come. Grade Six saw the group's abandonment, the reason of different idealogies, and the emergence of small groups. At this time, I don't really care anymore, and developed a cynical attitude in life...

Also at this time I stepped into Grade Three, I was reading a lot of Hardy Boys and Sherlock Holmes. The mystery genre will always be my first love...

Teens, Highschool: Ah, Highschool. Lots of things happened but I'll touch a few things here. The 1st year saw me groping past puberty, girls, new classmates etc. This was the year that CABS JT was formed, a solid group of young boys to, "ehem", uphold the standards of the school through the eyes of our senior, the TABS. 18 gangly, bursting with pimples, and proud boys took a solemn oath to defend that ideal. 2nd year saw us in competition with other groups in the school, namely in our batch. Our chief rival was the ALS-Lexcsor, a group of uppity girls. Others include the SKS, Ferge, Hackers ... and other such groups. 3rd year was a time of joy for me, having my first girlfriend. The first three weeks that is, the succeeding weeks were Hell ( to be disccused in the Ex-Files ). Joined the CAT officership, and became Captain, 6th in ranking. Earned the name Mooshi, and from henceforth became Capt. Mooshi ( long story, this one ). 4th year was graduation year, and through hard work, earned me a spot in University of the Philippines Visayas. Whew...basically the gist of my HS in very small summarization...

High school was a memorable period for me in the sense that this is where I discovered the fantasy genre. The first one I ever read was about Gord the Gutless, of the Greyhawk series. From that point on, I was hooked and started to read everything in the genre, from the works of Tolkien to Dragonlance to Forgotten Realms and others...

Teens, Iloilo, College: UPV campus is refreshing, first encounter with a terror teacher. Earned quite a small reputation as the loudest student in campus, a rep that's still holds true whenever there are reunions. Became Block Rep, sort of like a prez for the class, which means I'm going to enter politics. Entered my first political party, a newly formed SAG, and became one of its pioneers. Got back with my girlfriend, whom I broke up with last year. I think I was bamboozled into accepting her back, since we studied in the same school, in the same course, and even in the same block! Portents? Maybe...

College Years were a turning point for me, a sort of coming out of my shell. It also was the Hell Years, till I broke up with the Eater of Lies and got shipped to Manila...

Teens, Manila, College: The best years of my life! If coming out of my shell was my college years in the province, I was transformed in Manila. I learned my wisdom there, and earned a lot of very good friends from Hobby Store to the Community to my extended family. Became what I am today, and got addicted to tabletop gaming and other such interests. And at this point I tried reading anything interesting, no longer bound by the fantasy genre. Hence, the bibliophile is born...

Twenties, China: After Manila, went back home for some rest and then, after six months, got shipped into China. Met a lot of very good friends there, and surprisingly learned a lot of lessons about life, and not about the Chinese Language. Still, those lessons were invaluable...

Now, Province: After China, got back into the grind of work, work, work...

There you have it, in a nutshell. 25 years summarized in one blog entry. Sure, there are things I forgot, and things I don't care to elaborate or mention. Perhaps I'll touch this subjects in the later parts of the year. So far, these are just the highlights.

Oh well...those were the days. If asked what time I would choose to go back into, I'd choose the time I was in Manila. God I miss Manila...


Anyways, it's just a couple of hours till my birthday. Excited? Hmmm, maybe. I dunno. At this point in my life, I just let things slide and observe them from afar...

State of Mind: Mindless Yearning
Song of the Day: Akin Ka Na Lang by Itchyworms
Now Reading: Lone Wolf and Cub, Volume 8 by Kozue Koike
Pre-Birthday Wish: One week vacation in Manila! And a Warmachine Menoth Set!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Monday Blues With A Silver Lining Attached

Today is Monday, the bane of all working people in the world. There's no other day in the world that is despised and dreaded. There's even at least one song about Monday and the negative things associated with it. So there's no need for a reason for ranting about Mondays. I LOATHE Mondays.

Today, I'm already swamped with my work, but then again what else is new? Feels like everyday of the week is a fricken' Monday...

What's really special ( or worser...everyday is just "normal worse" ) about this day is that I got to train new people, sort of take them under my wing and teach them the tricks of the trade. So far, they got potential, but what I'm really waiting is for their "real" personalities to rear up in ugliness. Sure, everyone has their bad habits, but I'm looking for those bad traits that I can at least grit my teeth into acceptance, balanced of course by their good ones. Kinda like difference between the one that has a good PR but he's lazy ( out with him!!! ) or the one who's windy yet knows all the products ( stay, boy, stay! )

A day like this needed some form of recuperation, so it was off to the gym to burn some fats and putting the mind from slow burn to cooling off. Perhaps, if everyday is like this I'll be thin in few months...

After the gym, went off to cool off some more while waiting for my girlfriend to finish her law class. Coffee seemed to work a little, maybe of all the background noise, so then decided to head to her university's parking lot to wait for her, killing time and to read in relative silence. There were a few people in campus, late nighters and med students by the looks of them, studying quietly in well lighted places.

Then it hit me.

I could actually paint my stuff here! Since I don't have the time at home and after gym gives me a window of a spare hour while waiting for her, I'll just troop down a one of them benches, unlock my bag, and take out a few models to paint. Hmmm...can this be feasible? Barring some unforeseen scenarios, this might work. I'll let you know in a couple of days.

State of Mind: Missing Warhammer...
Song of the Day: Far Away by Nickelback
Looking for: My paintsets and tools
Calories eradicated after today's cardio workout: 300

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Hamster Musings

With my birthday just around the corner, I was thinking about a lot of things, mostly about having new stuff around my room, which I fondly named the Libravm ( yes, that's the exact spelling ). I recently added a new table, which doubles as my workbench for Warhammer and other miniature projects and as my computer workstation. Now, the only thing I need is time to arrange my stuff, plug in and format my run down desktop PC, redo the snarling lines and cables and finally stack my humongous collection of books in available places.

Easier said than done.

I already redid my blogsite, adding some spiffy chatbox and linkages and, in the near future, maybe add some pics. I'm now in the process of tranferring my old blog postings from my previous blogsite, and soon everything will be up and ready.

That being said, short stories will be on the way perhaps next week, once I get my time back and write stuff. This will posted on my links page, with regular updates every week ... I hope.

For my birthday, I might get a hamster. I used to own a hamster, aptly named Henry or King Henry. My reasoning is that since hamsters are basically solitary animals, if Henry died ( lifespan of a hamster: 5 years ) he would be succeeded by Henry the Second ( Shakespeare anyone?) and so on and so forth. But at the time that after Henry the First died, I went back to the province, hence denying me the chance of getting his successor. Looking back, I partly named this blog in honor of him, taking in the name of Hamster to sort of remember him by.

But that probably won't happen since I haven't yet prepared an area for him, let alone a cage. So I'm looking at February or March to getting one and crowning him King of Libravm, Lord of Papery Things. Musings, musings...

Since the worktable is up and ready, it's probably high time to get ready for the Warhammer Grand Tournament and finish my new army, the Ogre Kingdoms. I really miss gaming in Makati, and this year's GT I just want to play with a fully painted army, and win some games. I won't disillusion myself that I'll win, rusty as I am. Why aren't there any tabletop gamers here?! Arrrrrgh!!

Maybe next time I'll post some pics of the progress I've been doing...

State of Mind: Reflective Mood
Song of the Day: Hello by Radioactive Sago Project
Now Reading: The Hogfather by Terry Prachett
Looking for: My GF, for some reason, I suddenly miss her...

Friday, January 13, 2006

Narnia: The Hamster, the Idiot and the Office

Narnia fullfilled my expectations as one great movie, staying true to the book. I love the series, having read the books when I was just a small boy of eight. Indeed, I grew up substantiated on books, weaned on the writings of Franklin Dixon ( Hardy Boys ) and suckled on the mysteries of Arthur Conan Doyle ( Sherlock Holmes ). But it was the Narnia series that sparked my first love for the fantasy genre, even hiding everyday in my mum's stuffy closet to imagine a world where Aslan and the White Witch live and breathe and did battle, although I seem to remember having the cameo appearances of pirates, dinosaurs and, weirdly enough, Captain Barbell...

I forgot about C.S. Lewis' classic story when I reached high school and discovered Tolkien, Asimov, Lovecraft and duo of Weis and Hickman. High fantasy was in fashion those days, with Frodo and Conan paving the way for deeper understanding of the genre. Now, having watched the movie, twice I might add ( once with girlfriend and once with my cousins ) its like discovering your first love all over again. I really miss the books. Hmmm, where are those by the way....

C.S. Lewis' classic tale deals deeper understanding of the human faith, having been touted as a Christian scientist ( now where did I hear that? hmmm... ) Anyways, his series is usually about character development, like what happened to the Pevensies. They each have their doubts and weaknesses, and when the story progresses those doubts fall out and those weaknesses turned into strenghts. That is precisely what I like about Chronicles of Narnia, everybody in the end gets to be a little stronger and wiser. Now, if the rumours are true, I can't wait for the extended version. Now where the hell are those books?!


I had to fire someone today, and that always makes my day go bad. While yes, it's his fault and committed a grievious error, and yes, he's also a little windy, but sometimes I just hate to see someone go. I know that's its hard to find a good job these days but you just have to let someone cut loose if he can't keep up with the standards. He's an idiot if he thinks we don't know about it. And what's worse is that I might fire another one tommorow, if she can't come up with a good explanation why she's been AWOL these past three days. What really gets my thungas is that she's the wife of a friend and I made things happen just to get her a job. Now things are iffy, and I have to harden my heart if things get ... messy.

My problems in the office are piling up. To start off...

1. Hire new staff. Yep, even before firing the idiot, I'm already undermanned, which makes my decision this afternoon a little harder. And it takes weeks to train new people...

2. Arrange the Quarterly Managers Meeting. And it's just a month away and I still don't have the plans for it. Arrrgh...

3. Make rotation schedule for the staff. Yes, I can relate that being assigned to the outer branches can be a bitch, what more if you're there for three months? Not good...

Those are my top three concerns, with of course adds up to my daily dose of sales managing and customer complaints. Sometimes it's fun, but too much can really kill you...

State of Mind: Somewhat ok...
Song of the Day: Superproxy by Francism
Now reading: Enchanter's End Game by David Eddings
Fave Scene in Narnia: The Coronation of the Pevensies

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Boy Meets Girl

Yes, I promised I would write everyday.

Yes, it was one of my resolutions for the new year.

Yes, I did say that, no matter what, I'd concentrate on my dreams and do all the things I said I'd do.

Yes, I remember all of this and more.

Total bollocks. Total bollocks I say.

Damnation, Fate threw me a curve ball yet again.

This time, Hamster got himself distracted and, at that crucial moment, stared at the yawning maw of Fate and got sucked in like a fat kid swallowing a jawbreaker.

This is what happened...

It was one of those typical days, a day where I work my butt off and keep mouthing profanities at the inanities of the world when I chance upon a message in my friendster. It was a girl I met during one of friend's night outs. Hmmm, interesting I thought. Why not? And then proceeded to type in a bantering reply.

A week later, we got into texting the every afternoon, discussing various aspects and differences of the human myth that is life. Two weeks after, we debated and shared stuff through phone calls, ranging between the wee hours of midnight up to the better half of the morning. Three weeks, I scrounged enough cohones to ask if I can court her, ever the polite but nervous geek that I am. To my surprise ( and somewhat horror ) she accepted.

After a little over a month, in this day, we became, inevitably and irrevocably, a couple.


I never thought that I'd fall in love again. Sure I rant and rave about this certain girl or that, but that has usually been speculation and what-ifs. Coming back from China, I thought I'd concentrate on my family's business, just going through the motions, trying to eek out a social life out of my busy schedule. Apparently, Lady Destiny has something else in store for me, something wonderful and exciting.

They say that you'll never forget your first love, that you'll see her shadow in the dusty corners of your memory, sometimes scratching the certain part of your brain in remembrance. That is true. They also say that love is better the second time around. And that is also undoubtably true.

And you know what, I can't wait. I mean I can't wait for tommorow, next week, next year, next decade. I can't wait because I'm going to spend those days with her, and things that we'll experience together, and the anticipation of the things to come. And yes, I know we'll fight, but that's ok, because that's what being in a relationship is about. You continue to learn more about the person that you love and, through stumbles and falls, eventually get to that comfortable area of give and take.


I'm in cloud nine....no make that ten, twenty, a hundred even!

I guess I can't express how unbelievably happy I am. It usually the case of a person whose thoughts are centered on one person, the one person who can make your heart beat faster just by a single touch. That person that you think about, dream about and even unconciously mouth phrases to her even when she isn't around.

Yup, I'm pretty much in love.

So, to this girl, I'm just gonna say...

"I love you, Ronstadt Fernandez. No other poetic phrases or elaborate stanzas can ever beat that trio of simple words that expresses what's inside my heart, cuz there's no embellishment needed in trying to say what I want to say. I love you plainly and simply, in the sense that my love for you is pure and raw and innocent. You make my days brighter, you're the reason why I smile unconciously like a drunken idiot. And for that, nothing on earth can compel me to leave you, it's like having a piece of your soul shredded off excrutiatingly slow. I won't make any wishes or hopes; I know that whatever happens, wherever our path takes us, we'll still be there for each other, cheering each other on forward. I never met anyone who can complement my weirdness and idiocrasynies, a representative of the other species who can tune in and jive to my radio, even talk intelligently about it. It's like we were meant for each other, like two halves of beautiful tapestry. I guess all I'm trying to say is that I love you, nothing more, nothing less, and for us to be together, a dream come true. Thank you for the chance to share your life with me. I love you."

State of Mind: Deliriously Happy!
Song of the day: Red White Blue by Mayonnaise
Now reading: Wizard's Gambit by David Eddings
Looking forward to: Tommorow and the days beyond