Kape't gatas

That's coffee and milk for you non-Tagalog speakers

Monday 28th June - Bit bored

My cousins are at school and my aunt and Lola have gone to the hospital -nothing serious. So what did I do to pass the time? I played the 'don't blink' game ... with a cat.

It goes without saying the cat won.

Sunday 27th June - To the mall!

This morning we went to Jollibee for breakfast. Jollibee is the Filipino equivalent of McDonalds, but instead of serving American 'classics', filipino delicacies such as palabok are served.

On the way to Jollibee something scary happened, and I'm convinced I had something to do with it. If you think roads are bad in London you need to come to South East Asia. Road lanes and pedestrian crossings are things of myth; I mean even the kerbs are used by motor vehicles! Anyway, so my cousin and I were walking along the road against traffic, I was walking closest to the kerb and he in the line of traffic. Now my six-year old cousin seems like he's constantly OD'ing on Red Bull or something, and I don't really know what happened, whether he tripped, was caught off balance or bounced off me, but he leant in towards an oncoming taxi.
The driver slammed on the breaks coming to an immediate halt. We thought that was going to be it but a motorbike with a passenger -neither driver nor passenger were wearing helmets- smacked into the back of the taxi. I mean it's not much of a consolation but if they were travelling any faster the bumper wouldn't have been the only thing to have taken some damage.

And what did we do? Just kept on walking. The passenger were a bit shaken up but the bumper took the brunt of the 'crash'. My aunt didn't want to cause any trouble so we just continued on our way. Now I don't need lectures on morals, on whether we should have stayed etc. etc. What mattered was that the people involved were fine.

Later in the day we took my cousins and some children from our extended family to the cinema to watch Toy Story 3.
Cinemas in the Philippines are different than what I'm used to. For one, there's a dixed price for all - only senior citizens get a discount. Secondly, even if the film you are going to watch does not start for another two hours, you can enter whenever you like. Also you can watch the film as many times as you like. So in theory, you can end up watching the end of a film first before watching the beginning. All you need is a stamp and you can walk in and out of the cinema as often or as little as you like. Great I guess if you are one of those epople who like to watch the same film over and over and ove....

I remember when the first film was released and dubbed one of the best toy films of all time. I'm always wary of sequels as a lot of the time they never really compare to the original. But this film proved to be different.

The little boy we knew as Andy is no more. Instead he's all grown up and on his way to college. But what to do with the toys he grew up with? A mistake leads the toys to a daycare centre where they are promised to be played with all the time. But not everything is as it seems. Once gain, Woody, Buzz, Jesse and Bullseye accompanied by the others fo on another epic adventure. The ending is sad (a glimpse at a woman in her late 30's shedding a tear was proof enough for me) and highly reminiscent of the last two films, with this message: Nothing lasts forever, but where a door is closed, somewhere else another opens.


my cousin sat on my glasses. great.

Friday 25th June - Ice candy and exotic conversation

What do you do with 30kg of mangoes? You make ice candy! Not only are they a refreshing treat in this scorching weather, they also bring a tidy profit.

From a conversation I had this morning, I really need to try me some python, alligator, ostrich and cat. As they say: when in Rome, do as the Romans do.....

Oh and apparently, during the same conversation, eggplant is only named so when an egg is found next to a plant. If there is no egg in sight, then it is merely a plant.
What delightfully simple logic!


So what do I do apart from sell rice? I play tongit. A card game similar to rummy, it's what makes our patio a popular hang out for the 50+ in our area. Just like the record breaking Wimbledon match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut, these folk can play for hours.

Thursday 24th June - There's someone behind you...

After a restless night trying to adjust, I awoke to the morning sun shining through the bedroom window ... it was 5:30am.


My cousins had been badgering me about their pasalubongs since they picked me up from the airport. It's amazing how something shiny and new can easily distract six-year olds. In fairness, I too would be mesmerised by Woody's kicking-action skills.

For the last few days, my aunt and uncle have not been feeling very well. Now you see, if they lived in the Western world they'd probably put it down to a cold or man flu, but no, their theory? They were cursed by a witch.

So what do you do when you think you've been cursed? You get someone to tell you whether this is really the case. The process of melting crystal and reading your prediction is otherwise known as tawas. First, the crystal is used to 'bless' the affected person's forehead, stomach, arms and legs, and is then placed into a spoon and melted. The liquidised crystal is then left to dry and a prediction is read from the now re-formed crystal. In this particular case it was said that a white lady had come to visit.
The feverish symptoms, the rashes and the grogginess were put down to the presence of a spirit. Once her presence was determined she was asked to leave, and the affected person was once again 'blessed' with the crystal. Also, to help relieve the 'unwell' feeling a full body massage was thrown in for good measure.

I don't know what to make of it all to be honest, but the initial thought going through my mind was 'to see is to believe'. A true sceptic me.

'Cause I'm leaving on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again'

So, I'm off to the Philippines again. I'm sure those who usually read this are probably asking whether I do anything else but rant and jet off on holidays. Well the answer to that is no, that is all I do. In fact, I'm only a part-time student; procrastination, travelling and ranting are my main activities. Oh and maintaining the upkeep of this blog.

I like long haul flights because it usually means there are good flims to watch. With eleven hours to spare till my stop over I chose to watch The Book of Eli. A slow start at first, it later picked up culminating in a conclusion that proved to be a surprise. Succintly put, it's about a mnan who tries to protect the world's last Bible in what appears as a post-apocalyptic world. Without ruining the flim, the plot has a powerful message to tell. One line that struck me was that the Bible was a weapon, that it could change the world as it speaks to the hearts of all men. Religion can do the same. It can be used as a force of evil, where humanity is exploited and pain and suffering are inflicted. It can change the world, for better and for worse, and can speak to the hearts of all men, whether it be a profound truth or the equivalent to smallpox. Regardless of whether one takes notice or not, it cannot be avoided.

Another film I watched was The Lovely Bones. I don't know whether it was due to tiredness and restlessness, but watching this film was like being high on hallucinogenics - not that I would know. Anyway, anyone who has seen the film will know what I'm talking about. For those who haven't, have a sugar high, spin around ten times, let yourself fall to the ground, close your eyes and you'll get the picture.

I don't really know what to make of the film but I'm sure if I read the book I'd have better things to say about it. I did not intend for this, but it seems the films I have watched have serious religious under/overtones. I couldn't help but liken the place in between heaven and earth as Purgatory. The depiction in the film was nothing like I imagined it:

I expected more suffering, but I guess it's safe to assume that the producer is not a Catholic. Purgatory - if it exists - for me, is more like Dante's Puragtorio. The real experience of pain and suffering, but also the hope and assurance of something better, something akin to eternal joy and happiness is how I envision it.

If you haven't read Dante I would highly recommend that you do.

Tuesday 22nd June - Au revoir London

Do you know what I love most about going away? Flying. I love the moment the plane makes that deep rumbling noise just before take off, and the butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling you experience when the wheels lift up off the ground. I can't help but experience this great sense of excitement when flying. It must be the thrill of escaping, something new and different to greet us when we arrive, or the feeling of not knowing what is ahead.

It's unnatural for human's to fly. If this were not the case then we would have wings. Some describe flying as a horrible experience where one is confined to a tin can supported only by two wings and the laws of physics. For me, the feeling of being surrounded by nothing but clouds - or in some cases an endless canvas of blue - gives me a sense of tranquility. Being in the air provides a sense of solitude, detachment and peace that few places on earth provide.
Looking out the window at the night sky and down at the specks of light, I wonder what people are doing. What kind of lives they lead, what they are thinking, whether some are reading bedime stories to their children or lying in bed alone for another day at work.
But maybe that's just me.
[stupid editing features are not working on blogger, ho-hum]

Sunday 13th June - Cup of Tea

A cup of tea nearly always makes me feel better.

I have one of those mugs that has my name on it. It has a description on it based on the superstitious assumption that one's personality is related to the etymology of one's name. So mine reads:

Your natural zest for life enables you to charm and impress.
You expect the best from yourself and never settle for less [I.e. an OCD-ridden perfectionist].
You radiate an inner peace [bollocks], with a spirit that is bright [I think 'dimmed' is more accurate].
Every relative and friend you meet, you positively delight [Whatever].

My conclusion: absolute tripe.

The tea was good though.

Friday 11th June - One Year Anniversary

Oh no! I can't believe I forgot to say something profound or upload a tacky photo of a birthday cake with an edible-looking wax 'one' on it. Ah well. No one reads this thing anyway.

I promise - well ok no I don't, I'll try - and get this blog up and running again sometime soon. I'm busy at the moment working nine to five -yes I'm surprised I haven't collapsed in a fatigued heap yet either - for a great organisation that promotes public theology.

I have a hell of a lot of backlogging to do which I will get around to sometime. But for now I'll leave you all to what looks like an amazingly glorious day *heavy sarcasm*

So no wise quotes or reminiscing from me as I have to get back to working on a piece that will hopefully get published online!


For those who want to have an image of one anyway - I know many of you do - here you go. For your pleasure only:


P.S. I'm going to the Philippines again soon! So I'm hoping my time there will prove more fruitful for the blog.

Right, back to work! Ciao x