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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

A sad story re-told 

At the stoplight while driving on my way to school today, a little girl about 8 or 9 went to my window selling rags. In her most pleading stance, which I believe she's learned through the years, she kept on urging me to buy from her. I don't carry money with me all the time (read as I really don't have money, period) so I had to send her away. I thought, what in heaven's name are her parents doing to her? She should be enjoying her childhood, playing with her friends. Slowly, I began to feel angry.

Yet, while I moved on, cruising along C5, I realized, I could have been hasty in pointing an accusing finger. Her parents, I'm sure, were forced by circumstance. What parent, in his/her right mind will deprive a child of happiness? of a stable life? of education? Although I am not rich, I have a stable job, I manage to pay the monthly mortgage on a small house, eat three square meals a day and merienda, etc. My children have the luxury to play internet games which they can easily turn off when they grow tired of the game.

Truly, I have a lot to thank for.

Girl in rags

My heart bleeds
for a little girl barely eight
who finds the heat
of the sun her enemy.

She goes from car to car
stopped by the light,
to peddle her goods of rags
instead of just begging for alms.

Sun’s rage finds its way
To her nape and shoulders.
Burdened by the trouble of what
Food can be had for the day.

It will be raining soon.
Torrential monsoon flow
She may not succumb
to flu for she’s immune to the elements.

She can't stop to gaze
at the clouds to dream,
see that it forms a mighty
bird soaring high up above.

Work is all she does
be it sun or rain
light or dark.
No dolls to play with
in a cute little house.

My heart bleeds for this child
for what shall she do
when she grows up?
No books read, no toys
played, no fond memories
when she was a child.





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Sunday, May 23, 2004

De-mystifying Tuck 


Taken last night at the Meralco Theater. with Rhea Patti and Tuck. See how happy Tuck is to see me in person at last. hehehe  Posted by Hello

I can't believe it! I actually made it to the concert last night! It was AWESOME!!!
Tuck and Patti didn't fail me. And to think I have been waiting all these years to see them play. It was a spectacular night worth remembering. I have never seen a duo that was really meant for each other.

The stage was simple. Nothing except Tuck's gadgets on the floor, his amp, a stool which neither of them used, and a bouquet of flowers. When Tuck and Patti finally went onstage, they played practically every song that I know. Patti's voice was so unique, it seemed like she sang only-Patti-can-sing songs. Tuck's guitar works were marvelous. I thought I could have a glimpse at his chord progressions and de-mystify him, but no way! The voicings he made with his guitar are those which a would-be guitarist like myself can sit for days figuring them out and still come out with nothing. Well, maybe rob the surface but that's as close as I can get. His alterations, extensions are perfect, the guitar sings on its own. He played a running bass and melody simultaneously like no other. He would slap the guitar and at the same time, produce artificial harmonics no end and one can only guess how he did it. At one time, Patti removed her shoes and started telling a story with a tune. Soon, we were listening to a blues song - a capella. If my hunches are correct, it's called "High heels blues".

When Patti left the stage, I said to myself, this is it! The one I've been wanting to hear him play. And just like I figured, he introduced it as: "The next number is a Michael Jackson song" and everybody went wild. His album Reckless Precision, where the song is, is just how one can describe the way he played it - looked like reckless but precise.

They ended up singing Time after Time where Patti urged the audience to sing with her in three parts. The song was mixed with another and I didn't recognize it immediately. Naturally, the people gave them a standing ovation. They gave in to the request for an encore. Patti, a master scat singer, started the encore with percussion sounds then Tuck eventually joined in.

When we went out of the theatre, the queue to the autograph signing was very long and packed already. But what the heck, I don't know when this will happen again. So, I took out the CD I bought and joined the queue. Some people even brought their guitars to be signed. (If only there was a guitar vendor...)

Anyway, as I was waiting for my turn, I was thinking of something intelligent to say to Tuck..."It's so nice to see you man!" or "How do you make your Les Paul sound like a Strat?" or "What were your settings?"..."I was hoping you'd play "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/If I only had a brain".... Guess what? When I finally reached him, this is what I blurted out! "Hi!"
Tuck and PAtti: "Hi, how are you?"
Me to Tuck: "Can I shake your hand?"
Tuck: "Oh, please!" Firm handshake then,
me: "My God, you're human!"

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Friday, May 21, 2004

Joan's wedding 


Joan's wedding a few weeks back.  Posted by Hello

My friend Joan left Manila to marry her beau of two years, Fred Barmes. Great things are happening for her. She's a jolly person whose raucous laughter is sorely missed at the faculty room. We sang together with Ms. Panaligan's faculty chorale, smoked, drank, ate... practically a sister to me. I'm happy for her as she's now living with her loved one and enjoying every minute of it. Here's to Fred and Joan: "Champagne wishes and caviar dreams"

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Wednesday, May 19, 2004

My Father's birthday 

Today's my father's birthday. He would have been 90. He died on February 14, 1983 of a heart attack. Although he's been dead for 21 years now, my memory of him is still very vivid. Why not? We spent a lot of time together. I remember that when he was teaching me to swim, we would go practically every Saturday to different places like Laguna, Bulacan, and most memorable of all, was "shooting the rapids" at Pagsanjan Falls. Just the two of us. My siblings by that time were already married except for Ate Beckie who was in college.

I still recall the time when I wanted to join a religious group called "Legion of Mary". The leaders of the group went to ask for my parents' permission to join them. They were all astonished when my dad said, "I think my son is old enough to decide for himself." And I was only 10 at the time.

I also remember that everytime I would hold my guitar and start playing classical music, which I was trying to learn, he would sit in front of me and listen, not saying anything, but just listened.

He worked hard, even going to the office on Sundays just so I could have the best education available.

My only regret is that my father never knew what became of me. Yes, he died when I was already working for several months at De La Salle University as a Graphic Artist, but he never knew that things progressed and that I have been teaching for twenty years now. A lot different from that crazy young teen-ager he knew who kept giving him headaches, at one time contemplating to stop because of wanting to work and be independent, etc...

I also regret that he never got to meet any of my kids, or even my wife, who I believe he would have been fond of. He treated all my friends well.


After his death, while we were sorting out his papers, I noticed a letter to someone we visited in Pangasinan when I was three years old. The letter started with an introduction from my father and it stated something like this: "Dear _____. I am the father of the family that stayed in your place to celebrate your town fiesta. My son, Rolly, is in Grade three and is learning how to write a letter. If you could spare a few time and encourage him by responding, I shall be indebted to you. Below is his letter which I copied verbatim. Please don't fail him. Thank you very much" Well, something like that. And the woman did reply. I know I kept that letter although it will take sometime before I find it. Needless to say that while I was reading this letter, I was crying, longing to feel my father's arms around me once again, the same way he did upon my return from my first camping trip in Baguio.

Happy birthday dad.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2004

tuck and patti 

Finally, my favorite guitarist Tuck Andres is here. How I wish I can see him perform at the Meralco Theater. However, I am still weighing the consequences (read "How much money can i spare?)

I wonder who will be willing to go with me. I have talked to Redjie but he doesn't seem to be interested. Other than him, nobody from my circle of friends know the music of Tuck and Patti. Not even Kraiganne, who I asked first, is interested. I couldn't blame her. She's just 18 and wouldn't know how to appreciate jazz or even magnificent guitar work. TO think I shall be hearing Tuck perform "Man in the Mirror" live... man, I want to go... Hmm, do you think Nitz would want to come with me? I'm sure she'd show some appreciation but only for my sake. I know deep inside, she'll say "Mas maganda pang nanood na lang ako ng tv" LOL!

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Sunday, May 16, 2004

fishing in bulacan 

Just arrived from our annual fishing event at Bulacan. We have been doing this for several years now. We go to the fish pond of Aida, one of Kuya Ben's supplier of leather for shoes. Initially, there was my family, Kuya Ben's and Tony's, his business partner then. Tony's family stopped going with us for three or more years already. Last year, Ollie's family started joining us. They were with us again today. i don't know if the other families in our group will be able to join in the near future. There is the problem of parking space for our cars, and we have to ask permission from Aida if we can have them join us.

Fishing had always been fun, or so I thought. Yet, one of the unfortunate changes is that this year, Kraiganne refused to join us as she is going to have her exams in Accounting 2 on Tuesday.
My eldest daughter is now shying away from our family activities. I know this would happen sooner or later but was not expecting this soon. The children are growing and are having their own activities with their friends. To think that there'll come a time when it would be just Nitz and me again. Makes me somewhat sad. I have to enjoy the children while I still can.

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Friday, May 14, 2004

blogging 

I am getting addicted to this thing called blogging. No, actually it is "reading blogs" that I am now addicted to. It's better than reading the newspapers actually. From among the links you find at the left side of this page, there are three sites that are my favorites. These are Batjay's kwentong tambay which is sure to make my day a happy one, the sassy lawyer, to exercise my brain by reading and sometimes commenting when I think I have something intelligent to say (which is not always the case) and Rhett's karinderia to feed my soul via literature. Of course, I go to selected sites listed on their blogs.

And then, I proceed to the other links in my own search engine (if that's what it's called) to see if there are new postings. With all these things going for me in the morning, I think my retirement (although it's still a long time coming)is assured. I don't have to bug my apo's in the future or anybody else just so I can have "kausap" during my spare time. Nice no?

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Tuesday, May 11, 2004

i don't get it. 

I have a very simple mind. I am not used to very complicated things. This is the reason why I couldn't get the importance of surveys conducted by SWS, exit polls and most of all, the NAMFREL.

These private organizations are supposedly the watchdogs of the elections, right? Let's take NAMFREL as an example. Okay, they had shown that there had been cheatings in practically all the elections conducted in the country. But all they have are counts based on partial returns. It does not guarantee that there had been no ballot switching, no vote-buying,intidmidation, etc. To my simple mind, if they wanted to safeguard the actual counting, why not just keep watch as the COMELEC does its count? Why conduct its own? If at all, this only shows that the COMELEC doesn't know how to count. I have yet to see a count conducted by both institutions match. In fairness, I don't know what the actual mechanics are, so I may be missing something very important.

About exit polls and surveys, how accurate can they be? I have been voting since I was eighteen and I have not been approached by any of these surveyors. Exit polls... how are we assured that what the respondents answered are their actual votes? Maybe I'm being too skeptical but I have long given up with Philippine elections.

If you happen to read this and would like to enlighten me, you can email me at rolly_santos43@yahoo.com or put your comments below. (Hah! I finally made it!) Either way, I would be happy to hear from you.

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Monday, May 03, 2004

Steven Seagal 

I had a whiff of a very trivial news this morning. I don’t know if it’s accurate or not. I hope I’m just imagining things but Steven Seagal is here in the country to boost up the campaign of President Arroyo. What the f**k is this all about? What are his campaign managers thinking? Some people still think that we love everything Stateside that they would go as far as insult our intelligence like its just one percent higher than a donkey’s. If at all, it only degrades our values even lower. Steven Seagull? He’s not even a voter. Sheesh... What’s more is that I’m sure she’s spending our money. Hard-earned money we paid for taxes thinking it will be used wisely to serve us. When will be the day come when our candidates will rest their candidacy on honest reputation, dedicated service and loyalty for their constituents because they have served their mandates well? Too bad it looks like it will still be a long time and all I can do is sulk and weep.

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Sunday, May 02, 2004

Rejection  

I took the initiative in trying to submit a poem to Our Own Voice, a mag run by Fil-ams, I suppose. The editor, Reme-Antonia Grefalda, professional that she is, sent me a note of rejection saying that the work was not up to par. I agree. That was haphazardly done as I wanted so bad to see my name in print and in a Filipino ezine. (I don't know how pinoys would react to my works) Prior to this, I have submitted to them several works which she said are up for deliberations. So, I am not giving up hope yet. Anyway, I am glad that the ed in this magazine tell you how your work is doing. Some don't, I was told. i can jsut imagine how dreadful it is to wait in anxiety waiting whether or not your child shall bear fruit. At least, now, I can rest and work harder.

I have written another concrete poem, my third. This shows the sorrow of a would-be poet, unheard of, and probably scared witless as to when that break shall come. i don't have a title for it yet.



I
ink
poem
on paper
for nothing.
Garbled phrases,
speak to nameless,
faceless people like
talking to an empty wall.
I hope today is the day
when my words and
my name shall forever
be etched in memory
of those I try
to reach?


I
cry
me a
tear. Fall
sweat on my
brows way down
to my lips. And yet,
these are all for naught,
Yes, all for naught it seems.
Alas, when shall my pen
and my paper bleed? Let
it be now, my Lord, for
I am running out of
Air to breathe.


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