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Our house (in the middle of a sugarcane field)

Thursday, September 30, 2004 by sky

We've been preparing logistics in our impending move to the country down south recently. Since the floor area will be much smaller albeit the air is cleaner and no more noisy charismatic groups during sunday mornings and drunken videoke spiels in the middle of the night, we will be letting go of some possessions which we've accumulated throughout the years in the big city. The mahogany living room set made in Vigan has to go:

If you are interested in acquiring this three-seater (plus a two-seater, two chairs, two side tables and one center table), please leave your e-mail in the comments section. I assure you that you will get value for your money when I disclose the price, which is negotiable. I can deliver these anywhere in Quezon City and its adjacent cities. Otherwise you'll have to shoulder S&H.

Bili na!

PS. The pillows are not included in the package.
PPS. It's not an antique set.

...

I didn't mean that nobody's reading my blog and I'm hungry for attention--I see you all by sitemeter. What I meant when I wrote "and blog like nobody's reading" is that I want to remove the pressure of producing something good only for the readers. This is my therapy so please bear with me and my lapses. No therapy is perfect.

Oh, and I digress--I work because I need the money, unless I'm Mother Teresa.


One Dulcolax for this writer, please.

Thursday, September 23, 2004 by sky

"Work like you don't need the money.
Love like you've never been hurt.
Dance like nobody's watching.
Sing like nobody's listening.
Live like it's Heaven on Earth.
Do the right thing no matter what."

And blog like nobody's reading.

Happy Birthday!

Thursday, September 16, 2004 by sky


Had mama been alive she would have turned sixty-eight today. She has retained her beauty and style until her death last year, six days after her birthday.

*Pic courtesy of this site.

Dialysis for the people

Wednesday, September 15, 2004 by sky

The hemodialysis unit of the Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Project 4, Quezon City has recently been inaugurated, and its banners announced that kidney patients can already avail of its services for an "affordable" amount of two thousand pesos per session.

I've never had a good laugh in recent times and this is one that makes my list longer. Bad bad joke. You can call it misleading the consumer or betrayal or even heresy, but this is one (pun intended) sick joke.

I used to know of a patient who goes to a private dialysis foundation twice a week with the same rate as that of Quirino's and what black hole did it do to his finances. When did a 2,000-peso dialysis session become affordable in the first place? I expect it to be in the hundreds range at the most, and free at best in government hospitals. Looks like the government has deleted the word "subsidy" in their dictionaries.

Which brings me to my second, and related point. There was this friend-of-a-friend supervisor from the National Power Corporation who's got three cars, a three-storey house in Napocor Village, stainless steel railings, narra lanais and all. I cringed at what my friend told me, and when he was saying "utang natin yan" while I conjured images of our dingy apartment with no water service and high electricity bills, I felt like a fallen activist still truncheoned to bleeding by a fascist police.

Just do the math: about a third of an ordinary employee's salary is automatically deducted as income tax. This forms part of the nation's coffers to be distributed to government agencies, to government corporations such as Napocor. Napocor is in deep shit and constitutes 42% of the national debt. A Napocor driver earns 20,000 pesos per month. They leach the national budget of its allocations intended for basic services such as free hospitalization and "affordable" hemodialysis sessions.

A few subtractions and a financial adaptation of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle stating that money can neither exist as additional classrooms or nice police officers but can be found in some politician's pocket in one way or another, and there you have it, a two-thousand pesos hemodialysis service in a decrepit public hospital which boasts a landscaped waterfall in its facade.

I am not advocating for a welfare state but seeing where one-third of my daily grind goes not to decent living for teachers or the children's ward at the Philippine General Hospital, or even zeroing the national debt, why should I participate in some congresswoman's political agenda masked as medical missions and useless waste management schemes which used to be a big billboard in the corner of J.P. Rizal and P. Tuazon streets during the election season?

Why donate some of my wages to fill in the budget deficit when I was already taxed the moment I was born*, and probably until my last breath and the literary legacy that I will leave with this blog, and all I can do is sigh because there seems to be not enough MRT trains during rush hour and the smell of Payatas garbage still finds its way to my laundry even if I lived in another city?

*Used to be that my father bought documentary stamps for my birth certificate. Now you can pay through the bank and have the certificate delivered. Still the same, we pay. No wonder the solons are mum on the population issue. More people, more taxes to collect.

An Epiphany

Wednesday, September 08, 2004 by sky

Comparing salaries is like comparing penis sizes. Numbers are exaggerated but nobody's willing to show them.

Food Chained

Friday, September 03, 2004 by sky

I remember one of the reasons why I left my first job was the fly I almost ate while dissecting a longganisa the size of a baby's arm. Being inside a manufacturing plant that is inside an industrial zone where the nearest neighbor is still another manufacturing plant, there is no choice but to eat inside its cafeteria. A fastfood joint was unheard of in those Erap days as the industrial zones were just starting to pick up. Read: it's terra incognita. You could die of heatstroke just by walking the EDSA-wide roads if you want a McChicken. These zone planners surely know how to kill a Filipino engineer.

My stomach fared better on my second job, except that like the first, I have to eat early, around 4AM if I want a homecooked meal. Earlier if I want to cook myself a homecooked meal. And because this company knew how to deal, it made sure that everything must be safe, gastronomically. And because everybody wanted to be associated with the name that launched a billion chips (and counting), bulalo houses, shopping arcades and laundry shops sprang out of idyllic General Trias naturally as it does in SIM City, and I mean this other way around. Soon Robinsons and SM changed the landscape and dampa-style joints suddenly competed for vendors-of-choice. Tagaytay beef is 30-minutes away and visitors from Shanghai saw a volcano and a lake for the first time in their skyscrapered lives.

Oh, and because I was assigned to the Makati plant in my first year before it closed down, Glorietta was just a drive away. (And if you are following this blog closely enough, you would still wonder why I left.)

I am now on my third job and while I am not really missing the menu of the second, I know that I am in for a larger health risk other than flies. Squash pulp unbelievably neon in color and Goodyear-grade beef fibers devoid of flavor are my daily fare. Tocino has the word "cancer" written in glossy, oily letters. And how about this: packed lunches are forbidden even in office areas and guards sneak in to hunt tupperware-toting engineers and slap tickets to explain to the boss later. Goodbye, Tuna Penne a la Bodyelectric.

I believe there is a conspiracy between the security agency and the canteen contractors.

Cafeteria food, while obviously a gourmet's nightmare, is far worse than I imagined. It's like a planet where nutritionists got frustrated and walked out in the name of cost cutting and waste reduction. While the price of food ingredients remains relatively low in province-based industrial zones, quality is also proportionate. Depending on the mood of the cooks, the themes change from Dude, Where's my Salt? to Got Fat? Here's More! to Save the World: We Recycle!

So-called modified meals are available, but these are more devoid of taste than the salt and fat that they claim. Most would drown themselves in two cups of rice to forget the taste, not realizing that a full stomach does not equate to healthy eating.

Given that I can drive by the nearest fastfood serving salads such as Wendy's when I get home, this is not enough for a guy whose lunch plate looked more like Della Reese's Pieces that would make an anorexic pale in comparison (pun not intended). I must order a Bacon Mushroom Melt combo as a centerpiece.

Right now my food pyramid has been inverted. I eat more at night to compensate the morsels I sneak in my clutch bag to eat at my desk, which I call breakfast. Lunch is a game of Russian roulette as I fall in line at the cafeteria without knowing what meal awaits us, but we know where we will end if we take them.

No amount of papaya garnish, fruit basket or carrot flowers can mask the poor taste nor fill in the vitamins that an engineer needs to survive the high-tech Sahara desert.

What price healthy eating?

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