Out of Nothing

If you have been a follower of the anime series “Full Metal Alchemist,” you have probably memorized Edward’s monologue which he delivers during the start of every episode. It goes something like the paragraph below which I got from the third link of my Google search.

“Mankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is alchemy’s first law of Equivalent Exchange. In those days, we really believed that to be the world’s one, and only truth.”

I was a sucker for the series not only for its unique plot, but also for its killer lines about the metaphysical aspect of life.  I have never wished to have a brother so bad until I felt the connection between Edward and Alphonse, willing to sacrifice their life and to cross parallel dimensions for each other.

One fateful Sunday morning trashed everything good I knew about FMA. I was doing my usual habit of hopping radio stations while waiting for the green light, when I heard the line “Out of nothing at all, makin’ na na na and so on…”  I had gone past 3 stations when I realized that I need to get back to the channel and listen more to the song. My mind was battered with what I heard, feeling close to having an intra-cerebral hemorrhage. I came to class still agitated, I was thinking about the song I heard, and if I heard it right in the first place.

As I hurried inside the room, my mind was set on googling the song that I even skipped greeting the students a good morning. After a quick search in Google, I found out the song was entitled MAKING LOVE OUT OF NOTHING AT ALL, by Air Supply. I hastily clicked on the link to YouTube and listened to the song.

“Out of nothing at all, na na na”

This song is the antithesis Full Metal Alchemist.



Pale Pilsen

I have been a staunch supporter of PNoy since the start of his campaign. Slicing precious time out of my busy schedule to register and eventually vote for him and his party come Election Day. I had high hopes for our country if he were to become the next president. Noong mga panahong iyon, simple lang naman ang rekisito ko sa isang presidente, basta hindi lang magnakaw sa kaban ng bayan solb na ako. Ang logic ko, masisipag naman tayong mga Pilipino, kayang kaya nating i-angat ang bayan basta lang hindi ala-gloria magnakaw yung president natin. Hindi pala ganon kadali iyon. Sa ingles, “it’s not that simple.”

I thought he was that leader that would liberate this wretched country mired in poverty, the glimmer of light that would guide us through this endless darkness.

I always wished the best for our president and our country, hoping for a reversal of fortune or some sort of cool change, but the past three years had proved me wrong. I am tired of waiting for something to happen, something real, concrete and palpable. Kaso wala eh, aanhin mo ang mga statistics at ang mga financial indicators na nagsasabi na ang laki ng ini-angat ng ekonomiya natin kung hindo mo naman ramdam ang pag-asenso ng bayan. Mapa lower class or middle class wala eh. Hindi ka nga nagnanakaw sa kaban ng bayan at tuwid ang daan mo, kaso lahat ng programa mo pang mayaman at hindi maka masa. Wala rin brad eh, hindi lang pala enough na hindi magnanakaw yung presidente. Wala ang salitang “masa” sa bokabularyo ni PNoy at mas lalong wala ang salitang “pagkakapantay-pantay.” Sorry lasing lang, kailangan ko na kasing isoli yung mga natirang bote at case ng beer sa tindahan. Hindi kasi inubos ng mga bisita ko nung birthday ko.


Letter to Among

Dear Among:

Atcheng Bising recently delivered a hagiography – yours – and we can all forgive her decision to go for the big words. And her failure to grasp the power of understated words. Her grounding is neither in the letters nor in the humanities, but in the natural sciences.

Collectively, though, we agree, fully and wholeheartedly, with her general drift.  You rock, man. Welcome to the parish.

What are the things refreshing and amazing about our new priest? As one of the Brownings said, let me count the ways.

Number one.  The breadth of your literacy.

My God, who still reads Guy de Maupassant? Functional illiterates like myself cannot even pronounce his name, even when we want to invoke one of literature’s greatest short story writers. Victor Hugo? Les Miserables is, to many, a nice print on a tee, over-commercialized like Che with his beret. We don’t realize that it took Hugo 17 painful years to get Les Miserables finally published.

Truth to tell, we are more interested in knowing about the blood-drenched rise of the Jacobins than Hugo’s and Maupassant’s elegant writing.

Number two.  You are the perfect mutatis mutandis. Not the old meaning, mind you, but the modern usage. This means one who can immerse deep into popular culture and technology trends and come out as an awesome aggregator.  Your homilies, like the Aeta with the eclectic taste in movies   and the deft reference to “people hearing without listening “of Simon and Garfunkel were both apt and to the point. The gadgets, definitely, are dumbing us down.

Number three. You steer clear of politics.

I am a great admirer of Gustavo Gutierrez.  I read and reread the Sermon on the Mount. Homilies, however, should be about the bedrock teaching of caring for the neighbor in a straightforward kind of way, with no political and angry undertones. Which, you do. Which you do on Sundays through stories about humanity and caring that truly resonate.

Again, you rock man. We love the homilies.

Pasalamat ke pu keng panyatang yu.

A parishioner

Dear Tang

You’ve been out of the country for just two days and our fridge looks like new again. Empty like a deadbeat’s promise, barren as our yard in Pampanga (our damn goats eat everything), well except for a few bottles of water and a bottle of catsup. Which probably wouldn’t fall in neither go, grow or glow foods. Not that it matters, but the thought would be comforting ingesting something categorical in this world where people feel the need to belong to something. Although we have the same conversation every single night, I still anticipate your arrival. The wringing sound your automobile’s CRDI engine echoes while you park in the garage. It sends a signal to my brain like how a pet recognizes when its master is beckoning a treat, Ivan Pavlov would be so proud of you. And if you can learn to close the door gently I would be prouder, contrary to your favorite line in Dylan Thomas’ poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night,” it makes sense to go gently in the dead of the night when people are asleep. I’m kidding, of course.

And it’s only been two days and I know you miss how I make “mano” with my right hand while my left hand simultaneously juts out to grab the “pasalubong” dangling in your hand. Barely entering our abode, without missing a beat, you’d describe in detail what you have in store for me like how a preacher would describe life inside the gates of heaven. I guess it comes instinctively with your job as a journalist to auto-generate press releases. Whether it came from an expensive place that I have never even laid eyes on or how the chef used nothing but olive oil and the list goes on. And even if it is the same old story, it always feels like the first time I hearing it. Then you ask how my day went and I ask the same, and if our conversation exceeds 2 minutes it would be about cars or about the wonders of the Internet/Google or something about my juvenile ways which I quickly dismiss. I hate to admit it but at age 28, you still make me feel like I am in still in high school when I was living with Ma in the province. But instead of her taking care of me, you took on the epic challenge and I have nothing gratitude. I still have a lot of things to write but I’m already tired and I still have work tomorrow.

And wait… I miss you Tang! Don’t leave your heart in L.A.


When you have to go, you really have to go.

It takes one rainy Sunday afternoon to see the depths of our mind. The water’s rhythmic cadence on the roof whispers like a good old friend that makes us feel how lucky we exist in this lifetime. And the flood it leaves after its splash reminds us of the sick cycle that after life comes death. I am assuming, of course, for normal people like me that happiness is balance and getting what you paid for. As simple as getting a tattoo, out of ink, pain and blood comes ‘skinful’ art. Or when starting to play the guitar, you can’t expect to fret out stunning riffs without callusing your fingers. You can have your cake and eat it but expect a rise in your sugar level.

Outside looking in, inside looking out.

I decided to take my neutral side, leaving my extremes behind. Hoping to see what I came to find, I slowly took a peek inside my mind.


Driving a car frees my mind, while riding a bike frees my soul.

I got my first motorized bike today, a pre-loved bike that I got from my co-worker for a very reasonable price. Ever since I can afford to buy one, my folks would always crush every attempt and opportunity for me to own one. I guess they have seen too many bike horror stories. Now that I own one, I’m not planning on a quick trip to the morgue anytime soon. I’ll be taking my sweet time learning the ropes of riding, and discipline on two wheels. Travelling from point A to point B with my bike never felt better compared to a cage in four wheels.

Honda Bravo Specs:

Engine Type: 4 Stroke, OHC, air-cooled
Bore X Stroke: 50 x 49.5 (mm)
Displacement: 97.1 (cc)
Compression Ratio: 9.0:1
Max Output: 5.36 kw/8000 rpm (or 7.3 PS/8000 rpm)
Max Torque: 7.34 N-m/5500 rpm (or 0.75 kg-m/5500 rpm)
Engine Oil Capacity: 0.9 liters
Starter: Electric
Transmission: 4 speed rotary type
Dimensions: 1.908 x 6999 x 999 mm
Dry Weight: 89 (kgs)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.7 liters
Seat Height: 764 mm
Wheel Base: 1.234 mm
Min Ground Clearance: 127 mm
Front Suspension: Telescopic fork
Rear Suspension: Twin
Front Break System: Drum
Rear Break System: Drum

Save Me

Where have all the righteous men gone, long time no see? When the right thing happens to be the hardest, can you blame us for being wicked. On the first sight of blood, if turn around and flee? Can you blame me for being the coward, choosing self preservation? There will be another day, as certain as the games we play. The next time, I’ll wield my sword in triumphant glory.

Saving game… Please wait. Do not remove memory card.


I sprained my right foot muscle over a basketball game this evening. I shouldn’t have played with the construction workers. I only have one week before our company sports fest starts. Based from my previous battles with sprains, it looks like I’ll be warming the bench with my skinny ass again. Just when I secured a spot at the starting line up, the goddess Nike screws me. I have never been part of any starting line up, even on the small time barrio leagues. God, I’m hopeless.

Looking on the bright side, my injury inspired me to brew an ultra corny joke that goes like:

“Ano ang tawag sa pinakamasakit na chocolate?”



Final Friday

And if there was something out of the usual to share, it would be absence of Manic Mondays for the last six months of my existence. They were replaced by Troubling Tuesdays due to our company’s adherence to MST Zone, which on my opinion is the best time zone to follow when working in our beloved country. 6PM MST is 9AM local time; do I need to say more?  So much for planning to make this an I’m-bitter-with-the-world post, I just used the word beloved. Starting this May, I am forced to bid farewell to my existing work schedule meaning goodbye Friday to Sunday day off. Hello Monday to Wednesday day off, I hope you’ll be kind to me. I have a weak heart. A heart so weak that I replaced my truck’s leaf spring bushings and front shock absorbers in honor of my final Friday day off.

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Epic Beard

People’s reaction after I grew a beard and a moustache:

“Natakot ako pag kakita ko nung pic mo!”
“Bad boy look”
“Manong Joma”
“Action star look”
“Kamuha mo si Victor Neri na may sakit”
“‘Wag kang magsasalita ng kengkoy, ha?”
“Hoy hoy hoy Mr Suave!”

Nothing to Say

Today I woke up consumed by an old feeling. I felt I could lie in my bed a bit longer without a sense of urgency for the day ahead. My bed plays a silent tune lulling me back to sleep against my will. I’m 15 again and I’m back in my old room here in the province. But am I the same person that once looked outside my bedroom window thinking about sniping ice cream vendors in the mid day sun? Am I the same selfish kid who did things for the sake of me? Am I the same lazy ass that passed the ball around until work was done? Perhaps I am, and perhaps I’m not. I’d like to linger to find out if I grew wiser through all these years. I’d like to know the price for sticking for what I believe in 12 years ago. Yes, I am a fool, I’ll always be. And that is just me.

Deep Blue Sea

You can only take so much bad news making you wonder what the hell is happening to the world today. In the light of recent earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, wars, radiation scares and abnormal weather patterns you can’t help but ask why disasters seem to strike more often than usual. Is the end near? I certainly hope not.  Doomsayers have long predicted the end of times, and they have failed countless times. The pending apocalypse on 12-2012, I hope, is just another one of those failed predictions that would sink their trust ratings down to the bottom of the ocean floor.

Super Moon

How I crave to be brave and let everything fall to place. My feet are frozen to the ground, bounded by my fears and hesitations. I feel like I’ve traveled far and wide in search of something pure to believe in only to find myself back to the place where I started when I look at you. Oh, Super Moon!