Sunday, September 16, 2007

My Zygote Day

Yesterday (Sunday), I spent half a day reading Suzanne Finnamore's The Zygote Chronicles. I love love love Suzanne Finnamore for this!
Reading Finnamore's book made me wish my mom was a writer then. Or for that matter, that everyone's mom should have been a writer so that during the period when our moms became pregnant, something great like Finnamore's book would have been written for us to look back on...something for us to really reflect on the moment our humanoid brains finally kick in or even before we make a mess of everything. No matter how disillusioned or embittered you've become, I think you could've easily grown a heart just knowing that your mom made efforts to record her thoughts (we hope not so anti-you) while you were a cutesie yolk up to the day she delivered you out into this world (and the cake would be the day she publishes it into a book, dedicated, no less, to you). Finnamore made me burst into laughter reading passages from her book. Absolutely brilliant! I would kiss her hand when I see her! If she allows me. :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I just read this book by Ian Falconer today! And I sooooo love it!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

"What is Rei?"

The following is a letter I received from a long-time friend:

"hi friends.

i need your help.

i am trying to recover my old yahoo it turns out my secret question is "what is rei?"

i've run out of ideas to the possible answers.i really hope you guys can help because i've been using that email account since i started using e-mail for my stories. so that's roughly five years of background .

i stopped using it two years ago when i changed the password after the tribune was raided. but unfortunately in my panic i forgot the new password i used."

Benjamin B. Pulta


Here is my response:

September 6, 2007

Dear Benjie,

Pareng papalabs Benjie, if this letter is true, this would be, to date, the most and only endearing letter you've written to me since we've known each other, and I would say, a most unusual one. Haha. But before I run the risk of being labeled as an egotistical maniac, o kaya primera klase ilusyonada, I will proceed in leading you to the possible answers to your question. I am not promising to lead you to any correct answers here but I will try.

First, there is the task of answering "What is Rei?" I will help you answer this only in the context that I think (and I will assume) I am the same Rei being referred to here. Admittedly, I am not prepared to answer why a standard question like "Who is Rei?" has become "What is Rei?" At best, I can only assume that the "what" in this question is merely a convenient word used and makes the question easier to answer. I could answer: "It is a name." Or if I have the time, I would further volunteer "It is a short name for Reinerio." As to the question "Who is Rei," I can, of course, devote a line, a paragraph or even a book in an effort to answer it and yet never fully come to a definitive answer still.

But, before I get carried away, this is clearly, not a question for me to answer. This is a question, which you created for yourself Benjie and hence must be answered by you alone. To answer this would involve all your thoughts on Rei at the time that you created your yahoo account. And it would greatly help to remember why the hell, in the first place, you chose to put in "What is Rei?" as your secret question? Bakit nga ba? Secondly, would you be able to remember your emotional state at that particular time? Were you happy? Were you angry? Were you hungry? Were you crazy at that time? Whether as a whim or as a well-thought out secret question, I trust that you still are able to remember. I know that you can trust your instincts on this one. I will suppose that, five years ago, in 2002, I, or your idea of a Rei is already a well-formed enough idea or concept for you to put it in as a secret question for your yahoo account. I think it would help to remember what was Rei for you in the year 2002. Where was Rei and what was Rei at that time in your life that such a Rei would merit such a position as to be a key to a password that would unlock your most important documents? What were your word or thought associations with the Rei idea, or more importantly, your substitute words or ideas for Rei? Was Rei substituted for any of the following template question words from yahoo then: "favorite pet," "favorite subject," "favorite game"?

In any case, I will not and do not think that you created the said "key" question out of any spite for me. Otherwise, why bother associating Rei with something that you have to significantly remember, sometime, at one point. Hence, this explains the flattery in my heart in receiving this question letter from you. I am so happy in receiving this letter that I do not even mind if the possible and eventual answers to the question "What is Rei?" would include "baluga," "bakla," "kulot," "negro," "negrong bakla," "faggot," or other such words for low life creatures you can think of. I do not mind at all. If Rei earned those associations, then Rei would take them. And if the answers to the question would turn out to be "gorgeous," "darna," "dyesebel," I'd be in cloud 9 and I'd probably treat you to an ice cream sometime soon. The important thing for me Benj is that you put forth the question and I am answering it here as best as I could. Or that you are trying to remember as best as you can. Rei was there. Rei is here. And I think that is all that should matter. Cheers!


P.S. Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Quentin Tarantino in the Philippines: So, Quentin Tarantino it is!

Hi. Sorry if I haven't visited for such a long time. So many things have happened the past two months that I haven't really taken the time to write things down.

There was the ASEAN Performance and Arts Workshop (July 26 to August 8, 2007) where I met a wonderful batch of Asian artists from ASEAN member nations. The range of arts experiences they all brought with them were all so varied and enriching that I knew I could not win any "Best in Talent" award if there ever was one during the cultural night. I am humbled and elated again by the thought that the universe had, again, found a way to bring me into such an experience with Asian artists. I had many constraints holding me back from leaving the country at that point (and well, for this period) but I guess I needed that experience, too, to bring me back to my other self...the creative self, which is my more powerful self. So, the universe found a way, and I cannot imagine the elaborate means and ways the universe bothered itself with bringing in these artists to my side of the planet-from the manifestation of the invitations to each country, to the processing of the tickets of the various artists, to their actual presence there in the workshop with me. I am in awe again of the power of the universe in actualizing things, when I least expect it, but just at the exact moment when I am ready for it.

Then, the following Wednesday (August 15), just when I thought I had missed out on seeing Quentin Tarantino (yes, the director) in person, I encountered him in Malacanang where an event involving my office was held. So, that explains the photo here. :) I could not possibly have maneuvered or even afford, at the least, any encounter with him (I don't even have a visa to go the United States). But hey, the photo is here and I could just raise my kisses to the universe.

And last August 17-18, I was sent to a two-day seminar that I was not even intent on attending (a seminar on good citizenship, imagine that). But then again, there I encountered, for the first time, the idea on "social artistry" espoused by Jean Houston, author of "A Passion for the Possible." And I know in my heart I made the right decision in coming to that seminar despite the typhoon that passed through the city that day.

So, again, my soul is delighted to write these things here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

the world we live in

From Eric Butterworth's You Make the Difference

" What is the world like to you at this moment --your world? Actually, no two of us live in the same world at any time. Your neighbor may be having a headache, so his or her present world is pain-clouded. Your child may be out playing in a world of all laughter and fun. Your business associate may be poring over charts and statistics, planning a new campaign -- a world both thoughtful and serious.

And you--what of you? Is your world happy, harmonius, healthy? One thing is sure. If anything is making you less than happy right now, it is not likely to be doing so a week, a month, or a year from now. Can you remember what was bothering you a year ago today? Of course not. Your world is constantly changing, and thus a tremendous technique that can give you mastery over life's ups and downs is this: in the face of whatever seems to be irritating or worrisome, say emphatically, "This too shall pass."

You see, your world is made in the image and likeness of whatever you most consistently believe in or give attention to. It follows then that you cannot think one thing and get another. If you are thinking trouble, you will get trouble. Fortunately, the reverse is also true by reason of the same law. If you think health, joy, peace, and love, you will get more of them."

Monday, June 18, 2007

french viewing and tessa prieto

Last June 8 (2007, Friday), I was able to get my hands on a few tickets (thanks to Ms. Weckerle) for the show "Company 9.81," an aerial acrobat show by artist Eric Lecomte. This was a part of the French Spring 2007 events this year.

I originally intended for my niece to watch a repeat (as rumours had it) of the fascinating show "Pokemon Crew" because she was so much into percussive dance these days. But there were no repeat shows that night for these incredible dancers who seemed to have gums for bones. Let me backtrack a bit here. I watched the Pokemon Crew (the current group to bag the hip hop dance world title) performance last June 6 and I was mesmerized by the six guys (read: eyes fixed on their abs). Ten minutes into the show and I realized how generous the universe can really get. I did not have to fly out of the country to watch these guys. All I had to do was to be there (and bug my friend Sid for tickets).

Anyway, so there we were at the Little Theater. I have center orchestra tickets but I gave my mom, niece and three other girl officemates the ones nearest to the stage while I huddled with my sister Nymph (real sister, as in blood sister) further back. A few minutes into the performance and I heard a swish of a gown to my left. Lo and behold, there was Tessa Prieto in her signature fabulosa gown. That was my first sighting of Tessa (deep down I knew that I'd meet her one way or another) and I wasn't dissapointed-- she came like a princess. And so, on with the show. Lecomte was the king of weightlessness on stage: sliding like a fish onto the floor then swinging on a limb next like there was no danger beneath him, or that the whole stage itself was water into which he floated effortlessly.

The crowd loved him and we all gave him a generous amount of applause at the end of the show. A few minutes later he re-emerged and wrote something on the slides projected on the wall. The audience could not read clearly what he wrote and so he blurted out "salamat po" and that, of course, earned him another round of applause. There was a forum that followed where the members of the audience did get the chance to ask Lecomte questions. Among Lecomte's answers was his fascination with gravity and that other show he did in the mirror facade of an actual building a few stories off the ground. No, he did not have any special diet: he ate what he could. And no, he did not go to the gym. But yes, certainly, he did have some accidents in the past. He said he's also open to teaching the kind of acrobat skill he performs if there'd be classes that would result from a cultural agreement between France and the Philippines. And just when we thought we had heard all that we had wanted to hear, Tessa raised her hands. She had managed to move forward to the center seats, and there, in her orange gown, asked about the red balloon that Lecomte used in his performance and how it flew about on the stage and up into the beehive-like coverings of the Little Theater ceiling. Lecomte responded that it was a trick and as all tricks are trade secrets, he could not reveal how he'd done it. But he told Tessa that if she would be that insistent, he would later tell her about it backstage. That, of course, went well with the crowd.

Later, I learned from my officemate and friend Sonja that seated in the same row with them was a snooty French guy (who was gorgeous, nonetheless, the time I sneeked a peak at him later). Sonja told me that, at one point during the show, when my other officemates were commenting briefly on the performance, the guy suddenly told them to stop talking. And their mouths, of course, went promptly into their pharynxes. I told them later that they should have told the guy "arret por vous!" or some other bit of french words they could muster. After all, the performance was a totally visual one, not an aural experience. Anyway, they decided to enjoy the rest of the night and went straight towards Lecomte at the stage and had their photos taken promptly with him.

I went ahead through the side exit, and before long, Tessa was also exiting the same side. Of, course, the kikay that I am, I went and asked to be photographed with her. And of course, my nanay, my sister, and my officemates and friends: Caleta and India (true amigas that they were) followed suit. For that moment, at least, we were weightless. :)