Saturday, June 13, 2009

Growing Up

It's down to the last few hours of a wonderfully eventful summer vacation.

My last summer vacation, my last first day, my last year in college.

The beginning weeks of this year’s summer vacation felt like a journey back in time, back to cheery afternoons and family holidays, video games and storybooks, binge eating and oversleeping. There was a time when I would take these things for granted, a time when I was too excited to grow up and chase my dreams. This time however, I dearly held on to every last vestige of that fleeting childhood. It was not too long ago when I would spend my summers taking some superfluous class in the mornings, playing Scrabble and Monopoly in the afternoons, and laughing around with my brothers in the evenings. My heart still desires to relive those Neverland moments, but my mind is telling me to move on and get ahead.

And so as April crawled by, I reluctantly passed on my final opportunity to be a bum and decided to look for work. Luckily, I stumbled upon one and for the next five weeks, I immersed myself in the toxic delights of the corporate world. I got a glimpse into the proverbial ‘real world' through the prism of enlightening experiences, new friends, and a fresh environment. The journey that commenced with my foray into the hallowed triumvirate of business subjects (Mkt, POM, Fin) finally found direction this summer.

The few weeks of work made me realize both the benefits of classroom education and the value of experiential learning. But at the same time, it also made me reflect on the one vital question haunting corporate life - How meaningful is it really to dedicate one’s youth, intellect, and energies simply to enrich my company and its shareholders? Indeed, the practicum was a significantly eye-opening experience.

More than that, it also served as a springboard from teenage to adult life. There is a sudden sense of maturity that comes with working for one’s wages, even if only for a practicum. I felt that some of my youthful idealism morphed into adult practicality in the course of those few weeks at work. I also felt this sort of change in my friends and batch mates.

A few years ago, conversations with friends centered on video games, basketball, and outings. This time around, most conversations revolved around electives, further education, business, and corporate life. Everything seemed to have a more practical edge to them. We never do anything just for the sake of doing something anymore. Everything we do has to bolster our credentials, improve our skills or fatten our resumes.

This is an interesting time - a time when every little step today will prove to be a giant leap for tomorrow, a time of being on the brink, yet not quite. Growing up is indeed an interesting time, for it brings a sense of finality for what has been and a sense of freshness for what will be.

Finalities and endings always roll between the sweet flavor of accomplishment and the bitter taste of farewell. Yet the coming of these bittersweet sentiments also marks that precious time of reflection between leaving behind and moving on. This summer has been exactly that - an invaluable, inevitable transition between the carefree clutches of childhood and the arduous, exciting world of grown-up life.

Growing up certainly means going beyond, but I hope it does not mean leaving behind. Nevertheless, it has been a wonderfully eventful summer vacation for me. Thus I will end with a memorable quote from my philo teacher –

“To all that has been, Thank you. To all that will be, Yes.”

Friday, April 10, 2009

Nature of Love

The breeze kissing my cheeks,
the sand cuddling my toes,
In rhythmic embrace with
the diamond ocean.
The sun and the sky
caressing the seas
Over the endless horizon.
Everything in harmony
Infinite and eternal...
We are born in a world of love.

Lost Slippers

Nothing in this world
Is as lonely as a lost slipper,
Who like two lovers
were once inseparable.
But cruel fate conspired
with angry waves
washed one away
And tore it apart from the other.
Lost halves
like doomed lovers
One half of a pair
dangling morosely
struggling to live on
It only has purpose in the other.
Once forever entwined,
now forever broken.
The one slipper journeying alone
Riding the waves in the infinite seas
Will it ever find the other?
They will have to wait
for only eternity holds the answer.

Monday, March 9, 2009


I have never felt so exhausted in my entire life.

Usually, I have problems of being too idle and inactive, but never problems of being tired. The weekend started out fine. We just finished our Opman panelling with smiles on our faces (although we would lose the smile a few days later). I got to bond with old friends… with blockmates for the impossibly jologs movie You changed my life’, which have jokes so corny that you wouldn’t ever forget them (Sana V na lang ako so that I’ll always be close to U. Hindi, bagay ka maging A because you’re not meant to B! wtf) After that I got to meet my old pal Aaron, who I have known for fourteen years and who saved my life when I was at my most wasted state. He is now migrating to Canada. Best wishes to him.

The fun, however, was short-lived. The next day we had to compile our marketing final paper. It was pure hell. I thought that we were meeting at Ateneo but ended up meeting at Patrice’s house. Good thing that laoshi was there to bring me to the isolated outskirts of Marikina. The moment I arrived, it was work all the way. (Well, almost.) Work, work, work until the cold hours of the night and the wee hours of morning. It was impossible to distinguish night from day. Time did not matter. Nothing mattered anymore. Just you and your computer… face to face as you painstakingly carve a masterpiece out of jumbled research, qualitative and quantitative data, advertisements, packaging, and other things so varied and far-flung that only marketing can bring them together. The long, tiring hours were only punctured by laughter and crazy moments from my groupmates. It was all we could do to keep sane, yet all the stalling and dilly-dally also brought us to the inevitable:

We never actually finished the paper.

By the time breakfast arrived, we were dumbfounded. We thought, “Didn’t we just eat dinner? and now it’s breakfast?!” We were rushing the paper, our bodies were palpitating after all the coffee and stress, yet we could not rest. We had to go on. The paper remained unfinished. The work facing us remained insurmountable. All of us pushed ourselves beyond out physical limits. We were awake for more than twenty-four hours, yet I still had to solve financial statements, prepare an advertising campaign, and put everything together in one coherent paper. It was a wonder that we could all still think straight.

We rushed to UP at 2 pm but continued to edit the paper until 4 pm. I can say that those hours in the UP xerox were the most stressful moments of my life. The pressure of losing one letter grade weighed heavily on us, so we thought of every way to minimize the printing time while we crammed with our paper. We were so tense because this requirement comprised a bulk of a major 5-unit course, the paper was yet unfinished, the copying was slow, we still had to ring-bind, and we knew that it was impossible. In the end, we compromised by giving up the page numbers and table of contents. As we were incessantly pushed and squeezed by the impossible deadline and the complexity of out paper, craziness and hot tempers couldn’t help but leak out from our exhausted selves.

By the time I had to run to SOM then write page numbers on every page and every copy of our 120 page paper, I felt something I rarely felt - self-pity. And it came as I recounted the events that led me to that place - meandering aimlessly under the hot Katipunan sun, getting all the difficult parts of the paper and working all night without a single wink of sleep. I had not eaten breakfast nor lunch. I had to dip my hands into every section of our paper ranging from promotions to distribution to financials. I was soaking in sweat and rain.. and I had to use every last ounce of energy and willpower to sprint from the SOM parking lot to SOM Dept. It was the fastest that my hungry, sleepy, and spent self could run.. to make sure that we would pass the paper at least without one letter grade deduction. The kind secretary (God bless her) got our paper saying she wouldn’t give us a deduction. That moment infused some life into an otherwise draining day, and I ran back down towards my groupmates excitedly proclaiming the good news. At that moment, all the physical abuse had taken its toll on me. The world was playing on 1/2 speed. Everything appeared like a poorly filmed movie… slow and blurry. I remember the movie Fight Club describing the perception of an insomniac as looking at something as if it were a copy of a copy of the original thing. I felt exactly the same. The trees appeared like a copy of a copy of a real tree. The roads didn’t feel real anymore. My feet dragged me, I was sure of that, but I wasn’t so sure on what dragged my feet to keep going.

On my way home, it felt wonderful to finally be able to let go, at least for the meantime, and float away in a temporary respite from hell. Now I am typing this after getting some rest. Hell is not yet over, but I am glad that although I got severely wounded from battle, I am still a survivor. I have never felt so exhausted in my life, yes, but I’m just glad to come out of the battle alive.

Friday, February 27, 2009


AMDG.. the essence of an Atenean.

Oo AMDG. Parati natin itong naririnig. Ang Matutulog Di Gagraduate.

O kaya naman ay AMDG, Ang Matutulog Durog sa Gagawin.

Pepwede rin ang AMDG, Ang Matutulog Dugo ang Grades.

Nako wala na yata katuturan ang aking mga pinagsasabi. AMDG nga naman talaga… sino bang Atenista ang hindi nakakaranas ng hagupit nito, lalo na kapag patapos na ang semestre? Kaliwa’t kanan ay naiipit at nalulunod ka sa dami ng gagawin. Marketing dito, Opman diyan, Finance doon. Para bang naglalaro ka ng 3 versus 1 sa dota. Pupuntahan mo pa lang ang nasisirang lane sa baba, may sumisira na naman sa gitna. Minsan ay may babackstab pang mga kung anu-ano. Ang sarap ibackdoor o iremake. Problema nga lang, maaalala mo na hindi ka pala nagdodota. Hindi ka pala nasa loob ng laro. Buhay ito. At isang buong kinabukasan ang nakasalalay dito.

At tuwing naaalala mo yan, parang gusto mo na lang magmukmok sa isang tabi at tanungin ang langit kung paano ka napasok sa ganitong gulo. Minsan gusto mo na lang murahin ang sarili mo at ang buong mundo. Gusto mo nang sunugin ang libro ni Davis at Heineke, o kaya i-flush sa inidoro ang obra maestra ni Kotler na ” Principles of Marketing: 12th edition.” 

Sa lala ng sitwasyon mo, naiinggit ka na kay Aling Barker sa may ilalim ng tulay. Buti pa siya pasigaw-sigaw lang , samantalang dumudugo na ang utak mo sa pagbibilang ng mga financial statements dito. Naiinggit ka na rin pati sa bula. Buti pa siya palipad-lipad lang tapos puwede na lang biglang mawala.

Bakit ko naman naisip magsulat ng ganito? Dalawang bagay ang tumulak sa akin. Unang rason: Minsan nasusuka na rin kasi ako sa mga pinagsusulat ko. Mukhang malalim nga, puro pag-eemo lang pala ang laman. Pangalawang rason: Dahil dinalaw ako kagabi sa aking pagtulog ng bagay na mas nakakatakot pa sa bampira at kapre.

Nanaginip ako ng financial statements.

Akala ko ay makikita mo lang ang mga balance shit, incum statements at mga kapareho nilang nakakadiring bagay sa mga librong binubuklat lang kapag open books ang exam, sa mga exam na tinutuluan ng laway, at siyempre, sa mga kubeta. Kaya laking gulat ko na lang nang binisita nila ako pati sa pagtulog. Walang hiya naman o, hindi talaga ako tinigilan.

Bago ako nanaginip, buong araw na rin akong nagsosolve ng financial statements sa Microsoft Excel para sa aming Marketing pass 3. Hindi lang pala buong araw, buong magdamag na rin. Kaya nga AMDG ang pamagat nito e. Mga 30+ hours na rin akong gising.

12 ng hatinggabi ng Feb 27, ganadong-ganado pa sa pagsusulat. Tuwang-tuwa pa ako sa Microsoft Excel. Autofill… isa sa mga hiwaga ng modernisasyon. Ganadong-ganado pa ako sa pagtatype ng mga projected revenues, projected units sold…

2 am, tuloy tuloy pa rin. Naghahanap ako sa Google at sa NSO at sa SEC ng data na gagamitin ko para sa demand derivation analysis. Tuwang-tuwa pa ako sa mga nakikita ko. Ganyan pala karami ang nakatira sa NCR. May 2000000 palang lolo sa Pilipinas…

3 am. Nahihilo na ako sa mga numero. Itigil muna ang pagtatrabaho. muna. Pinanood ang lahat ng highlights nina Lebron James at Kobe. Facebook naman. … changed profile picture. Patingin nga. … is now single. … wrote on his wall. Click. New photos uploaded. … tagged you in a note. Random things.

Tumitilaok na ang mga manok. Sumisilip na ang araw. Tingin sa orasan - 

5 am na pala. Wala na akong gana magtrabaho. Ngunit may nagbuzz sa akin, tinanong kung tapos na ako. Sige, gawa na ulit. Wala pa pala akong kalahati sa kalahati ng aking kailangang gawin.

6 am. Nakikain ng almusal na spam at kanin kasama ng mga kapatid. “Hello.” “Good Morning.” “Nagmeet na tayo.” Konting tawanan at pumasok na sila sa paaralan. Ako naman ay patuloy nakatitig sa screen ng laptop. Kinakabahan na.. wala pa rin ako halos nagagawa.

9 am. Wala pa rin sa kalahati. Kung ano ano na ang iniisip. Minsan nagtataka ka rin kung bakit asul ang kulay ng Ateneo, para bang ang lamig at mapayapa. Kung tutuusin mas bagay yata sa Ateneo ang puti. Kasi yung mga estudyante nagsisiputian na ang mga mukha at buhok sa pag-aaral, pero pagdating ng exam, puting-puti rin ang papel dahil walang masagot. Pwede rin siguro ang pula, kulay ng impyerno. Bagay rin. Tutal parati namang hell week.

10 am. Nakatanga na lang sa pader.

11 am. Inaantok na.

12 nn. Natataranta na. 12:30 ang pasok ko. Sa wakas umabot na sa kalahati ang ginagawa. Sige lang type na lang ng type. May kulang pala. Imbento na lang.

1 pm. Hindi pa rin tapos. Umuwi na kapatid ko galing sa paaralan. Ako naman ay nakaupo pa rin sa parehong upuan ng labing-anim na oras at patuloy na nakatitig sa laptop. Patuloy akong nakatitig sa mga numero. Nakatitig rin sila sa akin.

1:30 pm. Nakikipagtitigan pa rin sa mga numero.

2:00 pm. Natatawa na naiiyak.

2:30 pm. Hindi na gumagana ang utak.

3:00 pm. Papasok na sa paaralan. Hawak hawak ang laptop. Sa loob ko nagkahalo-halo na ang pagkataranta, galit, pagsisisi, mga numero, kiliti, at pagod. Sa madaling salita, nababaliw na. Nakatingin sa akin ang mga pasahero sa LRT dahil tuloy pa rin ang paggamit ko ng laptop kahit nakatayo na sa LRT. May naririnig na tawa sa tabi pero wala nang pakialam. Kailangan ito tapusin.

3:15 pm. Nakasakay sa tricycle. Humarap ang manong nang marinig ang tinig ng pagpindot sa loob ng kanyang trike. Laking gulat niya na may nagkokompyuter sa loob ng tricycle. Desperado na talaga.

3:30 pm. Dahil lumiban ako sa klase ko sa Finance, pumunta ako sa SOM upang tanungin ang resulta ng Finance Long Test. Hindi ko na sasabihin ang marka, basta na lang akong lumabas sa opisina na nakatingin sa sahig.

4:30 pm. Hindi pa rin tapos. Halatang nababaliw na rin ang iba kong mga kagrupo. Tumatawa ng mag-isa ang isa. Yung isa naman ay sumisigaw na. Nakatitig ako sa pisara. 5 pm kailangang ibigay ang papel.

4:50 pm. Nagpapaprint sa JSEC. Habang nag-aantay at nag-iisip kung aabot ba kami, lumipad din ang isip ko sa ibang bagay… MInsan nakakatawa rin isipin, nagpapakahirap ang mga magulang para bayaran ang institusyon na pahirapan ang mga anak. Ganyan kasi ginagawa ng lahat kaya nakikisabay na lang rin yung iba. Pero wala tayong magagawa, ganyan talaga ang buhay. Buti na lang para lang rin itong gulong, paikot-ikot. Nagkataon lang ngayon, ikaw ang nasa baba at naiipit. Pagdating naman ng summer, balik ka na sa taas ng gulong. Pagdating ng Hunyo, iikot ulit pababa. Kailangan lang talaga ng konting tiis. Diba’t tinanong nga ang isang pilosopo kung ano ang sikreto sa buhay, at sinagot niya ito sa apat na salita, “This too shall pass.” Kasabay nito, inaasahan mo rin na hindi ka lang paikot-ikot sa gulong habang buhay. Inaasahan mo rin kahit papano na balang-araw malalagpasan mo na ang gulong at ikaw na ang magmamaneho.

5:00 pm. Tumakbo mula sa JSEC hanggang sa 3rd floor ng SOM. Hingal na hingal habang inaabot ang papel sa secretary. 5:00 pm. Walang kulang, walang labis. Sa wakas! Hindi naman lahat ng tao ay kailangang dumanas ng ganito. Kung hindi ka naman tamad tulad ko, maaari ka namang gumraduate kahit matulog ka pa. Maaari kang makakuha ng mataas na marka kahit hindi ka tumakbo mula JSEC hanggang SOM dept sa loob ng isang minuto. Ngunit masaya rin ang ganito. Exciting kahit papano.

1 am to 11 am, Feb 28. - Nakatulog at nanaginip. Hindi talaga ako tinantanan. 
Ang sarap maging Atenista.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

collision of world and song (you and I)

The song starts playing.

the song is
anchor to another world
where her smile shines
amidst the cold foreign land
And her smile is my sun

the song is
another world
where I gaze at
the fiery brightness of her eyes
Her eyes, my world

the song goes on playing
a playground spanning two hearts
with only two fools

words collide
Worlds collide

The song is a collection of collisions
of love and longing
memory and misery
you and I

The song is a collection of collusions
of reality and hope
memory and soul
you and I

The song stops.
but the song goes on