The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Sunday, October 31, 2004

My Halloween Sunday in Surrey

Like yesterday, Sun was proud this morning; its bright light prompted me to get up earlier than usual. MP3 treat...first song for the day...

I Will Not Take These Things for Granted
by Toad the Wet Sprocket
Fear, 1991 Columbia

One part of me just wants to tell you everything
One part just needs the quiet
And if I'm lonely here, I'm lonely here
And on the telephone, you offer reassurance

I will not take these things for granted
I will not take these things...

How can I hold the part of me that only you can carry?
It needs a strength I haven't found
But if it's frightening, I'll bear the cold
And on the telephone, you offer warm asylum

I'm listening, flowers in the garden
Laughter in the hall, children in the park

I will not take these things for granted
I will not take these things for granted
I will not take these things for granted
I will not take these things anymore

To crawl inside the wire and feel something near me
To feel this accepting
That it is lonely here, but not alone
And on the telephone, you offer visions dancing

I'm listening, music in the bedroom
Laughter in the hall, dive into the ocean
Singing by the fire, running through the forest
Standing in the wind, the rolling canyons

I will not take these things for granted
I will not take these things for granted
I will not take these things for granted
I will not take these things anymore

If I were in Philippines, I would definitely be with my whole family--mom, sisters, niece and nephews--"trick or treating" at Glorietta Mall, like what I did during my last Halloween at home.

Nonetheless, I had a fairly fun day.

Before lunch, everyone except Jenny (who was yet to take a bath and we were already leaving) went out. First stop, Future Shop (a computer and appliance center): Papa bought me a headset. Yippee! I can now talk with my friends who also have a headset through the Yahoo messenger. Actually I was also supposed to buy a webcam, but the most economical brand/model was sold out. Tsk...tsk...tsk! Better luck next time.

Mike and family dropped off Papa and me at Guildford Centre. Papa and I with Jenny (whom we would be meeting at the movie house) were watching the 1:25 p.m. showing of The Grudge (starring Sara Michelle Gellar) at SilverCity Guildford (a.k.a. Famous Players), a theater near Guildford mall.

For the faint-hearted, and especially for those who believe in ghosts and similar stuff, the film is definitely a thriller. To me, though, and to my grandfather, both of whom do not believe in such stuff, The Grudge was just another "scary" movie.

Papa and I had our lunch at Guildford Centre's foodcourt: roastbeef sandwich and soda from Mr. Sub (a.k.a. Subway). I checked out Black Bond Books and bought some Dover books:

1. Thomas Hardy's Selected Poems
2. Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince
3. Friedrich Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil
4. 100 Best-Loved Poems, edited by Philip Smith
5. The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain: A Book of Quotations

After the movie, past 3 p.m., we went back to Guildford, and at Wal-Mart we bought shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and hairdye for Papa and me.

Mike picked us up at around 5 p.m., and we headed home, in time for the Halloween get-together; Dickson's and Reinil's families were coming over.

Pizza...vegetable salad...soda...

Then, at around 7, I accompanied the big kids--Racquel, Melanie, and Alyssa--for the 'trick or treat' in the neighborhood. Awesome! My first time to enjoy Halloween in Canada. They were right! Halloween celebration here is far more festive and eagerly awaited than Christmas time; there were fireworks and impressive Halloween decorations adorning most houses--reminded me of Christmas back home.

The kids were in their respective costumes. I went with them as myseLf. Ha-ha-ha! I would have felt out-of-placed, but some of the children roaming the neighborhood looked older than I. Perhaps because Caucasians usually look older than Asians, or simply because I am an eLf.

It was funny to note that only during the 'trick or treat' when I got to see the people in the neighborhood, for on ordinary days, especially when my grandfather and I are on our regular morning walk, the streets are virtually deserted.

There was also this particular house which its owners had turned into a "haunted house"--creepy to the kids, awesome to me. I should have brought Papa's camera. I was glad, however, that I was able to have Dickson take a picture of me with the children in costume.

Back to the house, 'round 9. I feasted on the pizza again. Finally, the visitors said bye.

I washed dishes. Cleaned up some of the mess. And then, fixed my sleeping place...I'm tired...and sleepy.

May I have a creepy Halloween nightmare. Freddy Krueger, heed my wish! Ah-ah-ah-ah!

10:32 p.m. Logging out...



I, eLf

I indite what I think. Therefore, I am eLf. Posted by Hello

All She Ever Wanted Was (In This World Devoid of True Believers)

{to My Future Wife, Charlotte Belialba}

I wrote this poem in October 1996 as a gift to a long-lost friend, who found me recently, in June 2004, on the Friendster Web site. I never really expected this, though there were moments when I’d think of whatever happened to her after our last meeting. This friend and I were former officemates, as well as close friends, at Quorum Litigation Services [also, Quorum-Lanier (Phil.) Inc.], the company where I worked from 1996 to 1999.

I never kept a copy of the poem; in fact, I’ve already forgotten all about it, except for some bits of phrases that eventually (and inevitably) appeared in a few newer poems I’ve written, so one can imagine my surprise when my friend asked me if I still recall the poem I once gave her. The surprise turned into delight when she told me she still has it in her keeping after all those years, as a part of her treasured memorabilia. Sending me a copy, she melted my heart and inspired my once-in-a-while blotting pen.

Reading it now, I realized that eight years ago, or even farther back, I was already breathing and living the kind of poetry that has become a style of my own. And reading it gradually transported me back to our happy days.

The poem also made me remember the last moment we saw each other—it was a chance meeting several years ago--I was alighting the jeepney along Ayala Ave. in Makati City, Philippines), when I took notice of a petite girl seating there silently, who was equally surprised on seeing me as well but had rather become speechless, too, for I was already stepping out of the public utility vehicle. The sudden turn of moments failed both of us to utter anything to each other except "hi" and "bye" and half smiles.

We never saw each other again. I since then regretted that day, for my failure to exert any effort in, say, running after the jeepney or asking her to alight as well. For, it would have been my second chance finally to reveal that I have kept her for so long in my heart—that I was secretly loving her.

I’m sure it happens to many of us, placed in the same situation. No one, I think, is excused from idiocy once in a while (or even most of the times).

Thanks for finding me, Charlotte. Almost nothing can make me feel better than having a long-lost love regained and a prospect of a happy married life together rekindled.

Yes, Charlotte and I have finally decided to get engaged. We will get married as soon as I return home, in two to three years' time. A folly, some might think. Unbelievable, a few did already say. Romantic and good luck, we believe in your indomitability, my best friends encouraged.

Thank you, for believing in us. Encouragement and gifts of hope are what Charlotte and I need in this most difficult of times.

But as what my Charlotte wrote to me:

"Distance and Time are nothing compared to Love."

I believe in that, too.
Yes, I believe in love. I believe in my nobility. I am a poet; I have the heart to write my life's own happy ending.

But of course, with so much help from the wishes of people who truly believe in me.

I may have failed to catch you the second time you came to my life; but this third chance would be the last, for I would no longer let go of your love.

Again, Charlotte, this poem is yours.

All She Ever Wanted Was
(In This World Devoid of True Believers)

All she ever wanted was a man
who believes that fairies exist
and butterpillars think and caterflies dream

who knows that parallel lines are parallel
only in short distances
in respect to
the concept of infinity

who believes that turtles leave their carapaces
only when it is not raining and
that manatees are after all merfolk
pretending to be manatees that look like merfolk

who believes that once is better than never, and
part of forever is better than none

who believes that every day can be Valentine
and Christmas at the same time, while tomorrow can
be everybody’s birthday
(imagine those balloons and candles)

who knows that yesterday can hardly be
someday but will always be more memorable
than any other holiday

who believes that there is someone who believes
that there is someone who, like himself, believes in
such seemingly unbelievable make-believes
in this world of make-believing
devoid of true believers

—written in October 1996;
Mandaluyong City, Philippines
(Reprised while listening to “The Crying Scene” by
Aztec Camera (Stray; 1990, Sire)

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Saturday Fun Machine

Amber and Julie's noise in the playroom, as always, serve as my wake-up alarm on weekends. It's funny to note why my nieces find difficulty in getting out of bed on school days but are "alive" very early on weekends.

But then, I stop and begin to think again...

Was I not like that when I was still a schoolboy myself? Or, should I say, weren't we all like Amber and Julie back when we were children? I remember how I loved weekends and holidays and rainy season and even stormy days simply because these mean: "Yippee! No classes. More time to play! More TV!"

And, yes, now I remember--getting up early on a Saturday in the 80s was always a treat. Saturday Fun Machine! Six hours of cartoon galore, nonstop from 9 til 3. Blackstar. Care Bears. Dungeons & Dragons. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Herculoids. Pac-Man. Paul in Fantasyland. Smurfs. Super Friends. And a whole lot more. Bop til you drop, from breakfast through lunch! (

And it amazes me! Really. I mean, I'm already 33 but still in touch with the child in me. I remember most, if not all.

Oh, I'm already excited to have my own children. But...

Would I be a good father? Would I be able to understand them--the fantasy worlds to where children usually frolic; their equally humongous problems, which to a typical adult are nothing but trivial whines?

I hope so. I think so. For I am eLf--long-memoried and broad-minded; and most of all, I'm always in touch with my childhood self. And don't get me wrong: immaturity and having a youthful perspective are never the same; just like how childish and childlike are different from each other. I believe I can make love with maturity and youthfulness in the same bed at the same time.

Eight a.m., the sun is up; its rays are slicing through the blinds of the large front window into the light-gray carpet. Time to get up.

I can hear Mike's cooking in the kitchen; he usually treats every one with a healthful breakfast of sinangag with bacon and egg on weekends.

Papa, my grandfather, I know, is already awake but is not yet in the mood to get up. He's always like that--waiting for me, his companion, his best friend. He is used to my calling him to breakfast (and to any other mealtime for that matter); he won't usually want to eat unless I am the one prodding him.

And, believe me, the simple act of calling someone to eat becomes a feat when the person being called is my grandfather. And I have to do this every mealtime. Sometimes, I ran out of creative ways of convincing him that eating is a basic physiological need. In fact, one time I even tried to remind him of Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs ( just to make him realize the importance of food especially to someone old like him--to which, after all my efforts in racking my brain, he simply smiled and said: "Eh, busog eh," then tapped me on the shoulder. "Haynaku, Papa," was all I could mutter. Oh, my funny and softspoken grandfather, I will miss you dearly when you're gone.

I greeted Saturday with a click on my portable MP3 player, which is always beside me in my sleeping place. The first song...somber...befitting...

by Ian McCulloch (of Echo & the Bunnymen)
Candleland; 1989, Sire

Get your handful of remembrance
For you to sprinkle through your life
In between the penance
That you carry by your side
With the make-believe and the miracles
That only come alive

In candleland

Wear your guilt like skin
And keep your sins disguised
Take some salt and sugar
And rub it in your eyes
You'll know that something's left you
Just as you arrive

In candleland

I walked back inside me
I'd gone back from my youth
As I came down the fire escape
It must have stayed up on the roof
They say you just know
And the knowing is the proof

Of candleland

A sunny Saturday, great time to take my grandfather for a walk to the nearby Maple Green Elementary playground park...and so I thought; but when we got outside, brrr! the nether gale was icy cold. But since we were already in our walking attire--coats and bonnets and all--we went on and nevertheless enjoyed our regular morning walk in the neighborhood.

As always, I brought a poetry book--this time, William Blake's Selected Poems. I made poetry-reading a habit every time we are on our morning walk. My grandfather enjoys listening to me recite a poem as well. He would even sometimes ask me to explain the meaning of this and that verse, especially when he is in the mood to talk; for there are times when Papa wants to be quiet, no conversation, just quiet. And I understand him very well, for I am also like that when I feel either lonely or contemplative--not in the mood to talk nor to utter even a vague smile.

And this morning, despite the coldness, Papa was in high spirits. He delighted in today's poetry reading.

Among the poems I read to my grandfather today, this is the one I feel Blake wrote with my current plight in mind.

Song 1st by a Shepherd

Welcome stranger to this place
Where joy doth sit on every bough,
Paleness flies from every face,
We reap not, what we do not sow.

Innocence doth like a Rose,
Bloom on every Maiden's cheek;
Honor twines around her brows,
The jewel Health adorns her neck.

---------------------------------William Blake, Selected Poems
---------------------------------1995, Dover Publications Inc.

Naku si Haring Araw, Naisahan na Naman Tayo
"Naisahan na naman tayo ng Araw, ah!" Papa suddenly uttered. "Oo nga ho, eh," I agreed. "O sige nga, ikaw naman ang gumawa ng sarili mong tula tungkol ngayong umaga," he prompted me, for he is used to my penchant for composing bits of verses on moments like that--when the only obvious living creatures outside the neighborhood, aside from gulls and crows and squirrels, are the two of us. (Very seldom will one see people walking around in the neighborhood where we live.)

"Hindi ko dala yung notebook ko eh."
"E di isulat mo na lang pagbalik natin ng bahay."

Sa aking paggising
Sikat ng araw ang tumambad sa akin
Mabuti naman, at nang mahaba-haba
Ang aming paglalakad ngayong umaga

Subalit paglabas na paglabas namin ng bahay
Pagkalamig-lamig na hangin ang sa ami'y dumantay

"Ano, tuloy ho ba tayo?" tanong ko kay Lolo.
Aniya, "Anupangaba, e nasa labas na tayo."

Naku si Haring Araw, naisahan na naman tayo!
Akala mo ang init, yun pala simoy ng hangin parang yelo

The Lawnmower eLf
Before lunch, I helped Cousin Mike mow the grass in the backyard lawn--a chore we usually do every fortnight, especially when the grasses are not too wet. How I love mowing the lawn, for every time, I would find myself lost in a different world--a world where the whir of the wawnmower wecomes wusic to the wears. Also, I am beginning to love the smell of freshly mowed grass.

A Surprise Call from Home
Around 5 p.m., the phone rang. UNKNOWN CALLER. But I had the feeling it was a long-distance call. Right was I!

"Hello, good morning, may I speak with aLfie?"


"Hello, hon. How are you? Are you okay?"

"Yes. Why?"

"I was unable to sleep last night. Fell asleep around 3 a.m. I was thinking of you."

"I was also thinking of you last night, before I slept. Perhaps that's the reason..."

"My nieces are coming over. I'm taking them for the trick or treat at Megamall."


"Yeah. Today's Halloween here. Sunday."

"Ha-ha. I forgot about the time difference, as usual------

A call to make my day. Oh, how I love my honey. I can now sleep well tonight.

We had spaghetti, toasted bread, and caesar's salad for dinner. Everyone was present: Mike, Marivic, Amber, Julie, Jenny, Papa, and I. Dinner was good; Papa ate lots. He couldn't complain--ha-ha-ha--Marivic was the one who put the food on his plate.

I wash the dishes at night. Spic and span! Afterwards, around 8, DVD time--The Day After Tomorrow. Nice film. Reminded me of some articles I wrote for Bato Balani Science & Technology Magazine for High School, back in the Philippines--topics like "Global Warming," "Ice Age," "Prehistoric Times," and "The Global Greenhouse Effect."

However, what struck me most was the movie's title: The Day After Tomorrow. Okay, since tomorrow's Halloween, that makes the day after tomorrow November 1, All Saints' Day.

It automatically reminded me of home. For, here, November 1 and 2 pass by unnoticed; but back home, these holidays meant fun and rest and a time for reflection and seeing seldom-seen relatives and friends there in cemeteries. And yeah, November 1 is the birthday of my best friend Rain.

Anyway, I will just end this blog entry with the message I got from my fortune cookie when we had dinner at Oriental Buffet Chinese Restaurant, in Surrey, a few days ago.

"You will make a change in something in the near future."

Good night. May I dream again what I always dream about--home.


Friday, October 29, 2004

A Triumvirate of Contemplation

A good day, indeed! This blog site is definitely therapeutic. Every morning upon waking up, I feel ideas come pouring out of my mind, and there's no better thing for me to do about it but document such feelings and ideas. I believed what my friend, fellow writer Judy Tanael said in our chat on October 25, 2004:

"Write it down now, while you're there in the experience. Mahirap i-capture lahat pag wala ka na dun." (pertaining to my current plight and predicament)

I dislike to admit this, but most of the times I find myself afflicted with the so-called writer's block; and even though I know that all writers experience this once in a while, I still feel wary about losing my "pen" on days I feel that every moment counts and thus needs to be documented.

So, having Judy's words in mind I really try hard to capture on "paper" as many significant events and thoughts of mine as I possibly could, at this stage of my life.

Since that nothing relatively new or interesting happened last night until this morning, except that Amber and Julie went to school wearing their respective Halloween costumes (sprites), I now decide to just post a triumvirate of poems each of which I wrote in a flash but with an overwhelming feeling of love and hope.

A Poet to His Future Wife

If you met me in my youth
In the days I was wilder and freer
Could you have loved me still?

If you met me in my youth
When my heart was restless and untrue
Could you have persevered and stayed?

The mental picture of you which I've always painted
Soft-haired, flowers on your head
Starry smiles beneath idyllic eyes
Lovely lips, supple skin
Would you have loved me then
Like you love me now?

The scent of my Summer siestas
There on the magical swing
Beside the generous apple tree
In the backyard lawn
Of Cousin Mike and his family’s home
Moments spent yearning for my own lao jia
Could you have been dreaming and hoping
In the same moments for someone like me?
Could I have been the portrait of your love
Even if I had not arrived?

- 10:58 a.m., Monday, June 14, 2004
Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
While listening to "When I See You Smile" by
Bic Runga (Beautiful Collision; 2002, Columbia)

A Poet to His Firstborn

Finally I found the lady
Who would be your mother and fairy

Lucky you for
She is all whom I could ever wish for

Your mother and I
Have been friends way before
We began to love each other

Or should I say,
In our hearts we have been loving each other
Long before we decided to be together

You may have come late in your parents' lives
But that's the very reason you are special
Not only to us but also to all the people
Who care about us

I promise you that
Whatever happens
We will give you everything
You will ever need

I'm sure too
That your mother will love you
As much as she loves me and as I love you

Just promise me two things:
As you grow up
Love to learn, read, and write--
For this is the key to
Understanding the world and
Accepting thy neighbors for what and who they are

And most importantly
Love and respect your mother
The way I respect and love her

- 12:55 p.m., October 27, 2004, Wednesday
Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
While listening to "Do They Know It's Christmas?" by
Band Aid (Christmas single, December 1984)

A Grandfather to His Favorite Grandson

"Almost everything that was
Is vanishing from my aging mind
Leaving but only my love

"For my family and remaining friends:
I pray that they all remember me
When I'm dead and gone

"And one more thing, don't forget my final heed:
On my wake, I want to wear coat and tie...

"And when everything's been said and done
Cremate my body and put it in an urn
Then rest it where your grandmother's is

"And last, and not the least,
When I'm finally gone
You can now reveal my secret to everyone"

- 2:00 p.m., October 27, 2004, Wednesday
Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
While listening to "Leave in Silence" by
Depeche Mode (People Are People; 1984, Sire)

That would be it for today.


Thursday, October 28, 2004

A Snowman Would Not Want to Keep Itself Warm

Before dinner last night, I helped my nieces Amber and Julie with their respective homework. I read to Julie the book she borrowed from her school's library. (Julie is in kindergarten, while Amber first grade at Maple Green Elementary in Surrey, here in British Columbia, Canada.)

The book was Friendly Snowman, written by Sharon Gordon (1980, Troll Associates). It tells of how to make a snowman and what sort of things a snowman needs, including the things to keep itself warm, to which the ever reactive and curious Julie wondered: "Uncle, doesn't the snowman need to be cold instead? because keeping itself warm will otherwise melt it."

Wow! Julie seemed to have read my mind, for that was what I was exactly thinking when I got to that part of the story. "You're right, Julie. Brilliant!" I said with a philosophic smile on my face.

That's the kind of details many children's books are missing. Not because a story is only fictional that the writer will already disregard the scientific laws of reason and logic.

So, let's go back to the friendly snowman...

If I were the one who wrote the book, I would have definitely made the following detail:

...that the snowman needs a coat, a scarf, and a bonnet NOT because it needs to keep itself warm BUT simply for aesthetic reasons--to adorn itself, to make itself appear attractive especially to children. Because, logically, since it is chiefly made of snow and ice, a snowman would prefer a cold environment. In fact, the colder the weather, the better chance for the snowman to survive. The moment the temperature rises--becomes warmer--that would be the end of a snowman's life, for it would surely begin to melt. Therefore, "to keep the snowman warm" defies the very essence of being a snowman.

Some people may argue, "Why put significance and so much emphasis on such trivial detail, when, after all, the book was particularly written for children?"

My answer is: For in such way, no matter how trivial such details are, we are able to instill in the minds of children a subliminal sense of logic which will doubtlessly be a big help for them in understanding the world and in solving their own problems as they grow up. For no lesson is more potent and enduring than those learned in childhood.

Besides, correcting the details is different from complicating or putting so much details in the story. It's simply a matter of injecting a simple sense of logic. Like, instead of writing "the snowman needs a coat, a scarf, and a bonnet to keep itself warm," write "the snowman needs a coat, a scarf, and a bonnet to make itself attractive to children," which is as simple as the first yet logical and more sensical.

After helping the children with their homework, cousin Mike and his wife Marivic arrived from work, in time for dinner.

I rested early; after dinner and washing the dishes, I headed to my sleeping place and continued reading A History of Writing by Steven Roger Fischer while listening to Echo & the Bunnymen songs on my portable MP3 player. The last song I remember reverberating in my ears, before I finally fell asleep, around 10, was "Nothing Lasts Forever," from the Evergreen album.

"Nothing Lasts Forever" (Ian McCulloch / Will Sergeant)
by Echo & the Bunnymen
(Evergreen, 1997, London)

I want it now I want it now
Not the promises of what tomorrow brings
I need to live in dreams today
I'm tired of the song that sorrow sings

I want more than I can get
Just trying to trying to trying to forget

I walk to you through winds of fire
And never let you know the way I feel
Under skin is where I hide love
That always gets me on my knees

I want more than I can get
Just trying to trying to trying to forget

Nothing ever lasts forever
Nothing ever lasts forever
Nothing ever lasts forever
Nothing ever lasts forever

I want it now I want it now
Don’t tell me that my ship is coming in
Nothing comes to those who wait
Time's running out before you're running in

I want more than I can get
Just trying to trying to trying to forget
Nothing ever lasts forever
Nothing ever lasts forever
Nothing ever lasts forever
Nothing ever lasts forever

All the shadows in the fields are coming to you
All the shadows in the fields are coming to you
All the shadows in the fields are coming to you


Receiving Messages Warms My Heart and Inspires My Mind

Today, I opened my e-mail account with much excitement, for I had the feeling I'd be receiving many e-mails today. And right was I! Several friends e-mailed me to express their acknowledgment that they checked my newly created blog site; some invited me to visit their own blog sites, which I did; and an uncle, Tito Jun from California, USA, wrote me an inspiring note.

"Postcard from Louisiana":
I visited the blog site of a former Quorum officemate, Butch Macaalay, whose latest blog entry prompted me to write him a thank-you e-mail.

an excerpt from Butch's latest blog entry he entitled "Postcard from Louisiana" (
Mahilig talaga akong maghanap ng kaibigan. Yun bang kaibigan mo dati.
Tapos mahabang panahon mong di nakita o nabalitaan. Tapos bigla mong nakita o
nakausap muli nang di sinasadya. Mabuti na lang at may Friendster. Muli kong nahanap
ang mga dati kong kasamahan sa trabaho. Mga dating kakilala. Mga dating hinangaan.
Kahapon, nakausap ko uli si Marj, dating kasamahan sa Quorum, isa ng nurse ngayon sa UK.
Si Sir Joel, kumukuha naman daw ng nursing sa Pinas. At si Alfie.. ah si ALfie, nasa Canada naman.
Idol ko talaga itong si Alfie. Ibang klase kasi ang kanyang passion sa buhay. Makikita
naman ang ebidensiya sa kanyang mga panulat. Hindi talaga kami personal na magkakilala o
naging magkaibigan. Pero kilala ko na siya dahil sa kanyang weird outfit noong nagtatrabaho
pa ako sa Quorum, isang encoding company. Alam kong mahusay siyang magsulat.
Humanga na ako sa kanya noon pa. Pero, ngayon, mas lalo ko siyang hinahangaan. Malalim at
makabuluhan ang kanyang tinatalakay. Laging nagtatanong. Laging nagpapaliwanag.
Laging naglalarawan. Binasa ko nga kanina ang mga tula ko e. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, ang layo
naman ng gawa ko sa gawa niya. Kakahiya. Nangako pa naman akong padadalhan ko siya ng
kopya. Pero anong magagawa ko? Alangan namang gayahin ko siya, e english yun!

Now, here's my thank-you e-mail to Butch:

Dearest Butch,

I enjoyed reading your "Postcard from Louisiana." And to tell you the truth, I was nearly tearful when I got to the sentences where you expressed your appreciation about my character. Thank you.

Some would dismiss my reaction as very emotional, but this is what I 'd like to's better to be emotional, for this allows us to be more "in-touch" with the giant world where we're mere animated characters; more so, being emotional allows us to know deeply not only our true selves but also the true character of others...because when we're emotional we lower down our defenses, we put down our pride, we remove our masks of strength--and these actions become our ultimate key to enter the door of others' Souls. For, to be weak is better when we're talking about compassion.

I can well relate with the anecdotes on your postcard, for we're somehow in the same circumstance--so far away from home--from the life we enjoyed--whether happily or sometimes painfully.

I agree with your analysis concerning the life of people like us (who work far away from our home country) back in the pre-Internet days. Yeah, I've also thought about it, every time I would feel down, lonely, and sad--I would think about the plight of our fellow compatriots in another country back in the days when Internet, e-mail, and chat messengers were still unthinkable. How did they survive? How did they cope? Perhaps pens and paper were indeed very useful to them in those times. Thinking about that, I now say to myself: "Hey, cheer up; in many ways, you're far abler to cope with what's happening with you now!" And though an iota of pain still remains, at least comparing my fate with that of others in a positive way proves therapeutical. I can now smile, albeit vaguely, a smile is a smile as long as it's a downward curve of the lips on the face.

Thanks, Butch, for sharing some of your poems with me. Believe me, I delighted reading them...not only because I was impressed by your style but because I somehow see a style reminescent of some Filipino poets I admire, like Virgilio Almario. And most importantly, as long as the feelings we express in our poetry come from within us, the works will always be sacred and worth commending--in the sense that such poetry is a piece of the poet.

And as what my best friend Rain used to tell me every time I would find myself in a state of self-doubt with regard to my writing: “Don’t mind what others will say about what you write, mind what you have to say.” After that, I come back to my senses. A smile, again, curves on my face.

your friend eLf,

Welcome to My Friends' Blog Sites:
To be welcomed into one's blog site I regard as a privilege--a privilege to enter the deepest feelings and thoughts of another--for where else can we learn the greatest lessons in life but from the expriences of people we know and, of course, of our own.
Andrea Duerme's:
Micaela Salinas-del Rosario's: and
Noreen Capili's:
Ronalisa Co's:
Butch Macaalay's:

More so, I will always regard as a rare gift having lots of friends who are fellow writers and musicians and who, like me, share a similar passion and enthusiasm for whatever their avocations in life. Andrea, Mica, Noreen, Rona, and Butch are just a few of my intelligent and creative friends who are seldom hesitant in expressing their true selves.

Most Inspiring Message of the Day:
Among the messages I received today, the most inspiring is the one sent by Tito Jun (Conrado A. Vera Jr.), my mother's eldest brother, who now lives with his daughter's family in California, USA. Since childhood, my sisters and I have always looked up to that uncle of ours, because every time our mother would teach us about the value of education and hard work, she never forgot to cite Tito Jun as a prime example; for Tito Jun (born on June 4, 1936), despite experiencing the difficulties and harshness of life as a child during World War II, still managed afterwards to finish higher studies and rise on his own to provide a very comfortable life for his own family. And according to Mom, Tito Jun's chief weapons in doing that were education and hard work. So, to receive a message coming from someone I highly respect and admire is definitely inspiring and flattering.

Tito Jun's e-mail message I received today, October 28, 2004:
Alfie, thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings thru the Blog Site.
I am impressed on your literary skills. You should continue writing a book.

For as I mentioned before, you can pursue both professions (writing and nursing) at the same time.
Please continue sending me e-mails, messages, photos, etc., because as you grow older like me,

far away from where you were born, and with plenty of time at your disposal,
you would certainly appreciate these kind of things.

Tito Jun

Thank You Very Much, Friendster:
Here's another proof that an online community like Friendster is a big help in getting connected especially with people with whom, through the passing of time, we lost contact. I thank Friendster for this, because through it I'm gradually regaining many of my old and long-lost friends. (May Alcantara is another former officemate of mine at Quorum-Lanier Phils., the encoding company where I worked from 1996 to 1999. She was a member of a staff I handled during my stint as a Coding Supervisor, a position that helped me improve my interpersonal skills and become a compassionate person. More so, May was someone who always paid attention especially when there was a chance to learn something new.)

May Alcantara's Friendster message I received today:
Hi there! This is May here from Quorum. Musta napo? Hope you're doing fine there and in goodhealth condition just like the rest of us here. That's all for now. Take care and God bless!!!

Here's my reply to May:
Dear May,
I'm very glad to hear, or should I say, read from you. It's been quite a long time
since we saw each other. I still remember that chance meeting of ours at McDonald's
in Glorietta, in 2003. So how are you? How's Ferdie and your child?
I'm quite well here despite the homesickness and solitariness, which I feel will no

longer leave me as long as I'm from my loved ones so far away.
As always, I spend otherwise boring days and nights in the house reading and writing.
Since I'm my 89-year-old maternal grandfather's caregiver, I am stuck in the house

virtually twenty-four hours a day to take care of him. I just look at my current plight as
a chance to dwell in a state of contemplation, which I know will have fruits I can enjoy
after a few more years of sacrifice.
You'll be reading more from me from time to time.

Write me also in times you are not busy with work or with other activities.
I love to know what's happening in the lives of people dear to me.
Meantime, you may visit my blog site--my online journal--in your most relaxed and

unbusy moment. By the way, I mentioned you in one of my blog entries for today.

your friend eLf from far away, aLfie.

As I always say, nothing can make me feel closer to home than exchanging electronic messages from family and friends and other people whom I highly respect and admire.

With words I write my mind...
With your patient eyes...
Read my heart.


Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Another Usual Day

Another routinary Wednesday, at 8:30 a.m., I finally woke up to prepare my and my grandfather's breakfast--bread with peanut butter cum strawberry jam and homogenized milk.

Every time I find myself on a boring day like this, I act like an astromech droid--silent and blank--I just do what I need to do without much thinking and talking.

Since the children (my cousin Mike's daughters, Amber and Julie) are in school, the TV's quiet; so, I booted my PC and played some non-New Wave songs to accompany my grandfather and me in our first activity of a day--breakfast. My musical mood changes from time to time. Here are some of the songs I listened to--a playlist which I think reveals how I was feeling this morning:

John Lennon - "Woman"
Jim Croce - "Photographs and Memories"
Air Supply - "Making Love Out of Nothing at All"
Cascades - "My First Day Alone"
Bryan Adams - "Heaven"
Chicago - "If You Leave Me Now"
Christopher Cross - "Think of Laura"
Cliff Richards - "Ocean Deep"
Colin Blunstone - "Miles Away"
David Pomeranz - "Got to Believe in Magic"
Kenny Rogers - "Through the Years"
Peter Cetera - "Glory of Love"
Journey - "Open Arms"
Teri Desario - "Fallin'"

Hours passed...while I was, as always, online, checking my e-mails. As a habit, I opened my Friendster account to check what's new on the Bulletin Board--interesting surveys from friends and other shared thoughts. Then, I decided to re-post some poems and articles I wrote recently--having in mind my new Friendsters, who are yet to read my previous works I shared in the past--in mind, in particular, was Nelson "Butch" Macaalay, a former officemate of mine back in my days at Quorum Litigation Services (Quorum-Lanier Phils.), in the late 90s. Butch surprised me with a message, in which he expressed his admiration for my individuality and for my works. This simple act of admiring another, for me, is a courageous feat--for in doing so, one lays down his pride to flatter, if not console, another. And above all, such valiant action benefits both--the praiser humbles him/herself, and the praisee tries to continue the goodness the other sees in him. (I will post Butch's message on a separate blog, as well as my reply and his reply to my reply.)

Rereading some of my previous works, I finally decided what I would be re-posting:

"All She Ever Wanted Was (In This World Devoid of True Believers)"
--a poem I originally wrote in 1996 as a gift to an office friend named Charlotte Belialba which I reprised in honor of Charlotte's and my crossing of paths for the third time--and this time, for the better--for we decided to get engaged after all the years of estrangement from each other. I now regard the poem as my prophetic way of saying in 1996 that she and I would after all end up together.

"Believe Me, Winter Is Gloomy When (You’re All Alone and Far Away from Home)"
--a Summer poem I recently wrote on July 7, 2004

"tulad ng matangpusa na (pumipikit din pagsapit ng takipsilim)"
--a poem I wrote sometime in 1992, as inspired by Virgilio Almario's Peregrinasyon at Iba Pang Tula (1970)

"Ang Pag-ibig Ay Lobo"
--a new attempt of mine in writing poetry using my native language, Filipino

Is Sadness the Default Emotional State for Every Being and Happiness a Temporary Sensory Plane on which All Try Hard to Be and Maintain Being There? Or,

Is Sadness the Permanent Emotional State in which Every Being Exists and Happiness Only a Temporary State of Mind or Emotion--the Ultimate or Ideal Feeling which We Try Hard to Possess but Never Will?
--the result of my "intellectualization" with friend, fellow writer Andrea Duerme through Yahoo Messenger (Yes! YM is not limited to chitchats)

"Could This Someday Be the Saddest Poem I Ever Wrote?"
--a poem I wrote on May 26, 2004, which to this day remains to be my most favorite poetical work of mine

And this triumvirate of poems each of which I wrote in a flash, in a sudden spark of inspiration:
"A Poet to His Future Wife"
"A Poet to His Firstborn"
"A Grandfather to His Favorite Grandson"

Past midday: Lunch!
Jenny (my cousin Mike's wife Marivic's cousin, who looks after their children, Amber and Julie), Julie, Papa ( my maternal grandfather), and I shared a lunch of rice, bacon and egg.

Lunch music:
"Do They Know It's Christmas" by Band Aid
"We Are the World" by USA for Africa
"Tears Are Not Enough" by Northern Lights

--All of these songs were composed in the mid-80s, the monetary returns of which were used to help the starving people of Ethiopa.

Trivia: Midge Ure (of Ultravox) and Bob Geldof (of The Boomtown Rats), the original composer and producer of the song) are at the moment organizing Band Aid III, to rerecord the Christmas single in honor of its 20th anniversary. The British artists who already confirmed their involvement with the project include Noel Gallagher (of Oasis), Damon Albarn (of Blur), Coldplay, Travis, and The Darkness. Several Band Aid alumni like Bono (of U2) and David Bowie are expected to take part in this interesting project. (

After lunch, nothing much...write, write, write...then, while rereading the article I wrote about "Sadness...", I surfed into Andrea's blog site I was surprised to see that she has there some entries in which I was mentioned. And as I said in my first blog entry on this blog site, reading Andrea's recent posts inspired me finally to create this eLf ideas blog. (I will post Andrea's blog entries on a separate blog.)

And now, 4:27 p.m., Amber and Julie are in their room, taking their noon nap; Papa is watching TV (as always, Showcase and A&E channels--his two most favorite programs); while I, just finishing this entry, so I can get back to the book I'm currently reading, The History of Writing by Steven Roger Fischer.

Oops! I hear footsteps coming from upstairs...I said it! Amber and Julie are awake. Okay, time to go...snack time. We'd be having Pogo sticks (hotdog inside bread).

Till then...

The weather is cold, as usual, though it's sunny outside.


This Will Be My Official Online Journal

Finally, I found the spark to create my official online journal. Several friends have been long prodding me to make one, especially that they knew how fond I am of sharing my thoughts and ideas to as many people as possible.

Before anything else, I would like to express my gratitude and tribute to such people who keep on reminding me about creating a blog of my own:

From Noreen Capili, a former fellow magazine editor at Diwa Scholastic Press Inc., in Philippines:
"ei, do you have a blog? dapat naka-blog ka na rin para alam ng mga friends mo dito ano nangyayari sa iyo dyan. if you have time, visit my blog at"

From Derrick Periodico, my first ever best friend in school; our friendship stretches back to 1978, when we were classmates in the second grade at St. Mary's Academy in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines:
"hi halfie!------i still have our photos from way back, i'll look forthem and scan it for you. maganda na ding ma-digitizemga yun medyo naluluma na din.sige na… update me if yoy have a blog or mas magandaif you joined para phto journal na din.bye for now." /dek (

And finally, Andrea Duerme, a fellow writer whom I'm glad I met before I finally left Philippines for Canada, in August of 2003--who continues to inspire me and help me keep the flames of my literary hearth burning:
Hello! :)I just thought I'd share something with you that I thought may be of help, since you once told me that being away from home sometimes causes loneliness to knock on your door. Your friend, Andrea (

SO now what? This blog of mine I will, of course, be calling 'eLf ideas.' It will serve, among other things, as
1) my online diary
2) an archive of my poetry I want to share
3) a folder of articles I regularly write--on various subjects of my interest
4) a record of my emotions
5) a personal log of views, commentaries, and other slips-of-the-tongue, spits-of-the-mouth, and whispers-of-the-lips

Moreover, I intend this blog to be my family and friends' way of knowing how I am and feel, especially that from all of them I am currently so many miles away...