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(Sorry naman, Paint lang!)

I CANNOT EVEN BEGIN TO EXPLAIN MY FEELINGS RIGHT NOW. It's been a good six hours since I first got a call from my friend saying that the results were out, and still the urge to hyperventilate lingers. I was literally jumping and screaming before and after clicking the link - I swear, if I could I would've run out of my unit and shouted up and down the hall! I panic-called my mom, my dad, the boyfriend, my grandmother, and lots of friends in succession. Or rather, they panic-called me, and for a moment none of them could get through because of the influx of calls and texts. Then my wall and feeds suddenly got flooded with links and greets. It was a riot! Everyone was screaming, literally or virtually! It was like passing the UPCAT all over again - just a hundred times better ♥ Thank you, Lord! And the universe, the cosmos, the divine - all you who conspired for this to happen!

I am so grateful. I cannot be more thankful for the people who showed me their love before the exam, in the days leading up to it, and during the entire wait. Seriously, the pressure was intense. But the exhilaration after all that is so worth it!

I passed the UP Law Aptitude Exam!
I can't wait for the next four years \:D/

UP, hindi pa talaga tayo tapos. Matagal pa tayong magmamahalan.


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Because I am my father's favorite daughter.

Happy birthday, Papa!

I am one of the rare few who gets to talk to my dad about a lot of things, from how sushi is made to how long it took for the London Tube to be constructed in the 1890s. Papa is not the man of few words - he has a lot to say, and that's because he knows a lot. He is the kind that buys hardbound history books about the Byzantine empire and the type that downloads apps of newspapers from different parts of the world. He is the kind of person who will explain to you how turbines and power plants (and other engineering-related stuff) work, but also he is first to find out about all the latest movies. He never shied away from discovering things old and new, he never stepped away from an opportunity to find out about certain things and discuss what he thinks of them. I guess in many ways, he has set for me the standard of what it is to have a good conversation with an intelligent man. He would never make you feel like you don't know anything, yet at the same time, each talk will leave you with something more than what you began it with.

In a lot of ways, my dad has been a friend and a confidante. While others consider their father a stern, quiet presence in their lives, Papa has been this animated, lively figure that I look up to for his wit, his confidence, and his smarts. He is funny, he is generous, and he is kind. He has taught me a lot of things about life not through long lectures but over (almost) sleepless nights of just watching DVDs together (much to my mom's dismay) or mornings eating pandesal and peanut butter. And that is what I will always be grateful for - the fact that we don't need grand gestures to be able to see eye-to-eye on things. We can just talk and talk and talk, and we would never get tired.

Happy birthday to one of the people I have the best conversations with! (The other, of course, being Mom)
Love you, Papa! :)


Meet Prima.

I'm usually not one to go out of my way to get the newest gadget - in fact, the last time I remember explicitly wanting one was four years ago in 2008, right after my high school graduation. It was a laptop, a NEO Empriva 572SVB, which I set my eyes on, primarily because I was about to enter college and figured I really needed a laptop, but mostly because it came in pink - hot pink. And that's saying a lot about my usual taste in gadgets - the only requirement I really care about having is if it comes in pink. Rarely do I go out of my limb to score something because of its other fancier specs (which is how it really should be, but I'm weird like that.) Also, if anything, my "gadgets" are mostly just hand-me-downs from my dad. I usually just get whatever it is he has already replaced or got tired of. (And of course, I'm not complaining.)

Anyway, that laptop, my Pink Ranger, carried me all throughout the next four years of college - well, almost. Just a few months ago, its hinges went loose, probably because of the everyday wear-and-tear I've exposed it to. It had come to a point where the screen could no longer support itself and to use it, I had to have a stack of books or a wall behind it. It was in a terribly sad, sorry state and it hurt to even look at it. So I asked my dad to - no, not buy me a new one - but have it repaired instead. I figured there may be no need for a new one, especially since the software, which is more important, remains in good condition. I borrowed his laptop in the meantime, just to get me through the last month of the semester, since he's mainly using his iPad for work anyway.

Last week, my dad brought up this new tablet-slash-laptop that Asus has just released a few months ago, the Asus Eee Transformer Prime. Being the gadget/techie addict that he is (I swear, he just knows everything), I wasn't surprised that he was suddenly teasing us about buying one. Normally I would let it slide, but this time I got curious and decided to look it up. It had been getting great reviews from various blogs and gadget enthusiasts. It runs on Android, with its latest version running on Ice Cream Sandwich - which explains its user-friendliness and effortless maneuverability. But of course, its biggest asset is in its "transformer" powers - with the accompanying keyboard, the tablet automatically transforms into a working laptop. One thing that greatly discourages me from even considering getting a tablet is its lack of an actual, tactile keyboard, which is a must with all the papers I have to do. The fact that this one has a detachable keyboard is in itself a great plus. An added bonus is that the keyboard also acts like a dock, so with the tablet attached to it, the former can charge. Together, they can stay on for almost eighteen hours - that is amazing battery power right there! But even with the two components together it probably just weighs a little over the typical iPad, which still makes it light and ideal for mobility. It also boasts of an 8-megapixel outer camera - YES EIGHT MEGAPIXELS - and a 1.2-megapixel secondary camera for video calls. Both the keyboard and the tablet each have memory card slots, with the keyboard having an extra USB slot. And one of the best things about it is that it goes for about $499 - much, much cheaper than a lot of other tablets and laptops/netbooks out there. The only catch was that it doesn't come in pink, but I was sold.

I was half-expecting to get it sometime this April after my graduation, but I found it on my table when Papa came home last night. And oh, was it beautiful! We were both screaming in excitement while we were unboxing it - which my mom found weird, haha! But there really is nothing like opening a new gadget straight out of its box. Suffice to say, in the last 24 hours that I've used it, it hasn't disappointed me yet. Although, it has to be said that this is still essentially a tablet - so it is kind of difficult to multitask (as it typically runs one app at a time, or hides most of them in the background) and certain common features in laptops are absent (such as copy/paste features). But the Ice Cream Sandwich OS tries to go beyond its mere-tablet capabilities and maximizes its potential as a true laptop-replacement. There is a nifty button that shows all the applications running, allowing you to quickly skip from one app to the other. It also comes with pre-loaded programs such as Polaris Office, which is a good enough stand-in for Microsoft, and the Asus Browser, which is similar to the Chrome. Except from the obvious limitations that comes from being a tablet, the Transformer Prime is, so far, exceptional. In the battle of tablet supremacy, with this gadget, hands down, Asus takes the crown.

So here she is, my darling new baby. In line with my fondness to name my gadgets starting with a "P" (my other laptop is Pink Ranger, my iPod classic is Portia, my nook is Porphyria) - I named her Prima. Not so much because of the "Prime," but also because prima in Italian means first, and I really think this one is going to set the trend for what would be soon be a tablet/laptop market. I still can't believe I'm actually typing on it right now - I actually missed being this stoked over a gadget! I'm actually feeling kilig about it :)) I'm still having my first laptop repaired and I'm still going to use it; that'll probably be my "desktop" whereas Prima will be my on-the-go partner. Sounds like a good plan, doesn't it?

Isn't she pretty? :)

(Here's a link to a review of the Transformer Prime, by the way. Check it out!)


O wag kang tumingin ng ganyan sa'kin.

In between writing nineteen papers (yes, 19) and trying to revise my thesis, I somehow stumbled upon the link to something I've been waiting for for quite a while now - the short documentary on Sugarfree's "Paalam Pilipinas" farewell concert.

I wasn't there that night. I should have been and I could have been, but I wasn't. Instead, I was holed up in my dorm, somewhere along Katipunan, trying desperately to finish a play that was to be submitted later that day to one of the most terrorizing (yet one of the best) professors I've ever had. I was torn between a night of reckless abandon, singing along to my favorite band with probably a beer or someone else's fingers in hand, or a night of piecing together characters and a plot I've long grown tired of.

My boyfriend texted me earlier that evening, asking me if I wanted to go. He and his orgmates suddenly decided to go on such a short notice - he had the car, he had the company. He knew I loved this band. And he knew I shouldn't be stuck in front of my laptop slaving away to a play when I should be listening to one of my favorite local bands live. I knew right away that that in itself was already a recipe for a great, memorable night: a final paper to submit, impromptu temptation by boyfriend, a farewell gig that could not be missed - it was even raining, for crying out loud - wasn't this how all those coming-of-age scripts in movies went, or something?

But alas that night I could only think of my own unfinished script for CW130. I could have easily said yes to my boyfriend, hell I would have gone even if he didn't invite me - who wouldn't? - but I was reminded of the look on my professor's face the day he threw all our first drafts to our faces, and that was that.

I spent that night instead listening to the live streaming over at Jam 88.3 while chatting up with a friend who was also missing out because of an upcoming exam. We felt like the saddest, most unfortunate kids in those few hours; I'm sure if anyone would be able to get their hands on our thread, they would find the world's saddest pity party. We were both crying and whimpering (through emoticons of course.. or not) at the bands' quips and at their every riff, so in a sense, we too were there. We heard the songs, and we sang them. But half of my attention was on the blinking cursor on the screen waiting to be pushed towards the end of complete sentences, instead of on Ebe and Jal and Kaka shaking their heads and strumming their fingers and hitting their notes for the last time.

Watching the documentary, I could not help fighting back the tears. One, for the evoked sadness of realizing once again that Sugarfree is no longer. But more for the fact that of course, I missed it, all of it. I should have been there - my arms one with the crowd waving as they opened with Prom, my beer up in the air as they sang of memories and of an old jacket in the corner in Kwarto, and my hands shivering in half-confusion and half-delight as they said goodbye with Burnout.

Burnout. I can't believe I missed out on Burnout. I carry a certain degree of fondness over that song because it's... UP. (Actually, Sugarfree has been the soundtrack of my UP stay, but Burnout just really stands out from all the songs.) It's the encapsulation of my experience in three and a half glorious minutes. It's in my afternoon walks along Roces St., it's in the anxiety I feel as I fill out my blue books, it's in the jeepney rides that usher me into the comforting calm of lush green trees along the Oval. It's in all the times I wanted to give up, and all the moments I chose to carry on. For all those times it pushed me away and all those days I relished in my stay - it was there. It was mine. It's my song. And I couldn't even bid it goodbye.

I guess what makes it somewhat delicate again despite the fact that it's been a year later is that, this time, I'm about to graduate. I really am supposed to bid farewell now, to take an exit - but because I never got closure with the song, I feel like I could never have the finality for college as well. Is it so weird to get this attached to songs?

I still regret not going to that gig. Even if I did get an uno for that playwriting subject. I missed out on one of the most important bands to me. I did not give them a proper send-off like a true fan should have. This almost feels like sacrilege to me.

But not saying goodbye that night to Burnout makes me feel like I shouldn't say adieu to UP either. In some twisted, warped way, it comforts me, the thought that because I was never there to witness it end, then maybe it didn't end - both Sugarfree and the memories they bring along with them. There's this nagging, lingering impression that I didn't miss out on a farewell because there wasn't a farewell.

I sure hope so. In the meantime, I shall let the band, the memories, and the songs keep me company as I drudge through the final weeks of my stay as an undergrad.




Only Oreo.

Forever and always, love. I am nothing without you.

Light of my life, fire of my-- err, tastebuds. My sin, my soul.

Thank you for being delicious and wonderful and life-saving and exquisite and always there for me when I need to pull out all-nighters and perfect and lovely and beautiful. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Happy 100th birthday, Oreos!


For "him" magazines?

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I just bought a copy of Top Gear PH - again. I don't drive, and I hardly ever consider myself a car enthusiast (unfortunately for me, the love of cars is non-transferable, even when The Boyfriend is competing for automotive contests abroad). But lately I've appreciated the magazine simply for what it brings - good writing on good cars. I may not know enough to understand completely how different a 338hp fares against a 306hp or how exactly traction control works, which essentially should strip me off the "right" to read about such things, but a lot of their pieces are rendered in such a way that these terms hardly get in the way of me understanding a car or the experience of driving it.

A few months ago I also grabbed for myself a copy of the local Esquire magazine, with MVP on the cover. It was mostly because one of my professors, Dr. Dalisay, had an article featured in it. But I was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying the rest of the magazine, even if it was targeted at the male audience. Sure, I probably couldn't care less about brown suits or the leather boat shoes to go with them. Or that there are better drinks (that you can concoct yourself using your stash of leftover alcohol) cozy party with a few buds other than beer. But I did appreciate the way they were written - clean, straightforward, and just the right amount of witty. Good enough for me to keep the magazine and look back on it again from time to time. The same actually goes for the few Top Gear magazines I also bought in the recent past

Meanwhile, I too had my fair share of the usual female magazines out there, that is Preview, Mega, Cosmopolitan and other similarly related reads (mostly bought by my mom at home, several I bought for myself here in the dorm). I will not apologize for the many various reasons I may have given in to these issues, because really, on most days, I just need a break from all the heavy academic reading and just want to look at lipsticks and lingerie without guilt. They do have some of the best fashion editorials and spreads in the country today - I think, given with my limited knowledge on fashion, they can very well compete with publications abroad. The fashion mags, mostly, are also highly promoting of the Filipino talent especially when it comes to fashion design and photography. So I think in the visual aspect, these female-target magazines do their job.

But I hardly get the satisfaction I'm looking for when I read through them. Sure, the pictures are gorgeous, and the variety of clothes/make-up they show (and blatantly require everyone to "have right now!") are completely up-to-date with the trends from overseas - something to give them credit for. But I don't find intriguing, moving writing in any of these pages. Or at least any kind of writing that goes beyond what is required of them. I get it that they are catered specifically for just one market, i.e. Preview for fashionistas, Cosmopolitan for single women, etc. I also recognize the fact that some of them have parent publications abroad, articles from which they have to have in their current issues in order to streamline the offerings all over the world. But do they really have to come out with just recycled,hackneyed fluff? Is there nothing else to talk about other than THIS NEW SKIRT YOU HAVE TO BUY or THIS BOY YOU HAVE TO PLEASE? More accurately, aren't there better ways to write about them?

Top Gear, for example, limits itself to mostly just cars but the way they present their articles always have that level of experience, that touch of humanity in them. You read about the entire driver's experience: how the shiny exterior had him at first glance, how the seat welcomed him upon ignition, how the steering wheel felt in his hands. It gives you so much more than just the specs and how much the car is worth. Of course, their articles are hardly literary, but they're not trash. They're something you can genuinely look back onto, especially those that involve a little bit of travel and culture (when cars are road-tested in various locations, local or international), and sometimes a bit of memoir too (when it reminds them of things past, or evokes something of the future). The apparent subject is there of course (i.e. the vehicle), but there's also some sort of insight - which makes it a more rewarding read on so many levels.

You can argue that shoes don't have much going on for them to elicit such a wordy, descriptive article. But says who? Who says you cannot write about the perfect outfit without the dedication of a car enthusiast? And isn't that the challenge of nonfiction - nay, any kind of writing - anyway? To write something different? To come up with a new approach on things?

One of my classes this semester (and probably my favorite; also the most demanding) is CW141 which is Nonfiction II. It covers speech writing, food writing, profile, travel writing, and the memoir - most of which are the types of nonfiction we find in various magazines. It's no surprise, considering that most of the essays on our reading list actually do come from mag publications: GQ, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Esquire, and the like. A lot of them were written more than a year ago - one even pertaining to events following the 9/11 attack - but they hardly sound out of fashion or dated. The form and style carried the pieces to a certain degree of timelessness, or at least an extension of relevance for until a next couple of years.

Of course I haven't read all men's magazines to consider them much more superior than their female counterparts. Especially with the recent FHM racism controversy, I hardly think they're the ideal publication to look up to. (I also haven't read FHM, Playboy, or any of that kind of "men's magazine" so that's not part of this equation.) I'm also not judging magazines that feature mostly fashion or photo spreads as second-rate compared to those which feature more pieces of writings. What I'm pointing out however is the seeming disparity between those that do have prose as their foundation, and how starkly different they seem to be, given their market.

What does this say about the quality of writing from both markets that cater to rather gender-exclusive audiences? I hardly think it's a reflection of the superiority of either male or female writers in general, because both kinds of magazines have both sexes in their teams. Some of the best pieces I've read in men's magazines are written by women. But what I don't understand is that the need for some writers to adjust their level of language or their tone just to suit the magazine they're writing for, so much so that it dumbs down the quality of the entire article. Why is everything so shallow in women's magazines, especially here in the Philippines? Is it simply because they are sticking to the "label" which they carry - that is, fashion magazines can only talk of lipstick, showbiz magazines can only talk of a celebrity's new flame, etc. Or is that the market's way of assuming that women in general hardly appreciate deep, insightful, investigative articles?

Women deserve so much more than just shoes and make-up. We deserve to read about our bodies that doesn't reduce us to being just objects of a man's affections. We deserve to have a magazine that genuinely talks about our experiences and our common desires, rather than just teaching us how to put on the perfect shade of metallic brown on our eyes for that perfect party look. I want to know about the stories of the people who wear such fashionable clothes, I want to see the places they go to when they wear these shoes.

But where do I find that?


tableau, n.

tableau, n.

We go to visit two friends who've been together for ten years now, five times longer than we have. I look at the ease with which they sit together on the couch. They joke with each other, curl into each other like apostrophes within a quotation mark as they talk. I realize that two years is not a long time. I realize that ten years is not even a long time. But when it seems insurmountable, I need reminders like this that you can get used to it. That it can take on the comfort of the right choice. That lasting things do, in fact, last.

(An excerpt from "A Lover's Dictionary" by David Levithan)