The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Twentieth of a Dozen Verses

Photo taken on Saturday, June 4, 2005, at Lions Place, Winnipeg, Manitoba, where we attended a children's singing recital Posted by Hello

Another dozen pitu-pito...

(My own invention, pitu-pito refers to a form of Filipino poetry which consists of seven seven-syllable lines [7-7-7-7-7-7-7] with a regular rhyme pattern [like a, b, a, b, a, b, b, as in the poems below], and expresses intense emotions and incites sympathy and consideration.)

June 19, Sunday

Melodya ang ’yong boses
T’wing ika’y maririnig.
Kahit na ilang beses,
Ako’y di matutulig.
Higit kaysa sorbetes,
Tamis ng pagniniíg.
Di ka ba kinikilig?

June 20, Monday

Maloko ang tadhana;
’ko’y laging sinusubok!
Minsan, dala’y ligaya;
Minsan, hatid ay mukmok.
Bukás, aking bintana;
Antay ko ’yong pagkatok.
Kaylan ka ba papasok?

June 21, Tuesday

Pasensya ko’y naúbos;
Ako’y kan’lang sinagád.
Mistula akong upós;
Sa bangketa napadpád.
Kaylangan ko ’yong yapós!
Mula sa aking pugad,
Kaylan ba ’ko lilipad?

June 22, Wednesday

Ako’y ’sang mandaragát,
Damá ang bawat álon.
Sa ilalim ng dágat,
Naghahanap ng dáhon.
Kahit ga’no kabigát,
Tanggap ang bawat hámon.
Kaylan ba ’ko áahon?

June 23, Thursday

Ako’y ’sang mánunulat,
Sipì bawat pighatî.
Kaybigan ko ang aklat,
Kat’wang sa dalámhatì.
Malalim—mga sugat;
Dapat ba ’kong magsisì?

June 24, Friday

Di ko hangád ang langit,
Kayâ ako’y pagbigyan—
Biyayáan ng kahit
Konting kasaganáhan.
Di ako magagalit,
Anumán ang mákamtan.
Kaylan ba ’ko tatáhan?

June 25, Saturday

Ako ay nanaginip:
Tayo ay nagtatalik.
Di mawaglit sa isip,
Laging nanunumbalik.
Di malimot, sa halip
Dito’y nagsusumiksik.
’kaw rin ba’y nasasabik?

June 26, Sunday

Pagsapit ng tag-siból,
Daho’y muling hihitik.
Mga aso’y kakahol,
Sa lansanga’y babalik.
Titingkad mga buról;
Tatamis bawat halik.
Dapat bang humagikgik?

June 27, Monday

Bakit ba putul-putól
Ang bawat pangungusap?
Ako ay nabúbulól
T’wing tayo’y magkausap.
Di ba’t nakaúulól
Pag bitín ang paglasáp—
Di kumpleto ang sarap?

June 28, Tuesday

Masdan mo’ng paruparo,
Pakpak ay nabibitak!
Masdan mo ang mata ko;
Luha ay pumapatak.
Sadyang ganyan ang tao,
Minsan ay pumapalpak.
Dapat bang pumalakpak?

June 29, Wednesday

Di ako mapakali,
Madalas ay tuliró.
Laging nasa ’santabi,
Kapiling ay anino;
Kapalara’y magbago.
Di ba ’ko naloloko?

June 30, Thursday

Katapusan na naman;
Umuusad pa pala—
Bawat araw, bawat b’wan.
’kala ko’y napako na
Ang pangkasalukuyan.
’buti at tanaw ko pa…
Meron nga bang pag-asa?

The First
The Second
The Third
The Fourth
The Fifth
The Sixth
The Seventh
The Eighth
The Ninth
The Tenth
The Eleventh
The Dozenth
The Thirteenth
The Fourteenth
The Fifteenth
The Sixteenth
The Seventeenth
The Eighteenth
The Nineteenth

But Not Tonight

Depeche Mode, in 1989: Martin Lee Gore, Dave Gahan, Alan Wilder, Andrew Fletcher Posted by Hello

Replacing "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers as my blog site's soundtrack is a song from another all-time favorite band of mine, Depeche Mode.

"But Not Tonight" comes from the album Black Celebration, released in 1986. One of my all-time favorite DM singles, it was a song my other band, Dream Kitchen (1997–1999), used to cover in our gigs.

In 1995, Depeche Mode was reduced to the trio of Gore, Gahan, and Fletcher when Wilder left because of personal differences; he consequently pursued his solo project Recoil.

Although Gore has long been regarded as the chief composer of the group, the departure of Wilder had obviously resulted in the deterioration of Depeche Mode's music. I agree with the many fans who declared that "Depeche Mode had in essence broken up with the departure of Alan Wilder in 1995."

Depeche Mode's last two Wilder-less albums—Ultra (1997) and Exciter (2001)—indeed pale in comparison with their predecessors. Gone were the rich soundscapes and infectious melodies for which Depeche Mode's music has been well known.

"While Gore was capable of generating excellent source material, Wilder was the one who turned it into something particularly Depeche Mode–ish."

Regardless, I'm still looking forward to what the trio is currently brewing...

According to the band's official Web site, Depeche Mode is currently in London, mixing the 'as-yet-untitled' new album, the target release date of which is in October of this year.

But Not Tonight
by Depeche Mode
(Black Celebration, 1986)

Oh God, it's raining
But I'm not complaining
It's filling me up with new life

The stars in the sky
Bring tears to my eyes
They're lighting my way tonight

And I haven't felt so alive in years

Just for a day on a day like today
I'll get away from this constant debauchery

The wind in my hair
Makes me so aware
How good it is to live tonight

And I haven't felt so alive in years
The moon is shining in the sky
Reminding me of so many other nights
But they're not like tonight

Oh God, it's raining and I'm not containing
My pleasure at being so wet

Here on my own
All on my own
How good it feels to be alone tonight

And I haven't felt so alive in years
The moon is shining in the sky
Reminding me of so many other nights
With my eyes they've been so red
I've been mistaken for dead
But not tonight

My Other, Dozen Depeche Mode Favorites
(Believe me, I found narrowing this list difficult; this is how I love Depeche Mode's music)

"What's Your Name?" (Speak & Spell, 1981)
"See You" (A Broken Frame, 1982)
"Everything Counts" (Construction Time Again, 1983)
"Two Minute Warning" (Construction Time Again, 1983)
"People Are People" (Some Great Reward, 1984)
"It Doesn't Matter" (Some Great Reward, 1984)
"Somebody" (Some Great Reward, 1984)
"Master and Servant" (Some Great Reward, 1984)
"Blasphemous Rumours" (Some Great Reward, 1984)
"Flexible" (Catching Up with Depeche Mode, 1985)
"Question of Lust" (Black Celebration, 1986)
"Stripped" (Black Celebration, 1986)

Runners-up [he-he-he]
"New Life" (Speak & Spell, 1981)
"Just Can't Get Enough" (Speak & Spell, 1981)
"Leave in Silence" (A Broken Frame, 1982)
"The Meaning of Love" (A Broken Frame, 1982)
"Love in Itself" (Construction Time Again, 1983)
"Strangelove" (Music for the Masses, 1987)
"Personal Jesus" (Violator, 1990)
"I Feel You" (Songs of Faith and Devotion, 1993)
"It's No Good" (Ultra, 1997)
"Dream On" (Exciter, 2001)

Favorite DM Covers*
"Never Let Me Down Again" by The Smashing Pumpkins
"World in My Eyes" by The Cure
"Somebody" by Veruca Salt
"Everything Counts" by Meat Beat Manifesto

*All are found in the Depeche Mode tribute album DM: For the Masses (1998)

Two of My Favorite Fruits

Posted by Hello

Apples, grapes, and oranges abound here in Canada; and I don't fancy them mainly because, in the Philippines, they have long become as ordinary as bananas, mangoes, and pineapples.

I'm more fascinated with fruits not commonly found in my country—like cherry, dragonfruit, nectarine, peach, and plum. Among these fruits, my favorites are the stone-fruits cherry and nectarine.

A stone fruit, or drupe, is a fleshy and juicy fruit that has a single large seed encased in hard wood, called the pit or stone.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A platter of ripe sweet cherries of the Bing variety Posted by Hello

The name cherry came from the Old Norman French word cherise, which in turn originated from the Latin cerasum.

Cherries originate in Europe and western Asia. In North America, supplies of cherries come mostly from the United States, particularly from California and Washington. In Japan, cherries are grown purely for their blossoms. Known as sakura, the Japanese cherry blossom is a national symbol celebrated during Hanami 花見, 'flower-viewing,' festivals.

The cherry belongs to the family Rosaceae, genus Prunus, (along with other stone fruits such as almonds, apricots, peaches, and plums.)

Scientific names of cherry:
sweet cherry – Prunus avium
sour cherry – Prunus cerasum

A poem I wrote on May 4, 2005, part of the sixteenth series of my dozen verses:

I Pine for Cherry Blossoms Falling By

I pine for cherry blossoms falling by Kaizougawa River
A river lined with snowy-white sakura glist'ning forever.
A house nestling three-minute-walk away from it makes me quiver
About something old but special I recently rediscover.

In the prefecture of Mie-ken lies beautiful Yokkaichi-shi,
Where lovely pale-fuchsia cherry blossom trees effloresce each year
Celebrating the fleeting and ephemeral nature of life.
How I love to be there to join a hanami festivity.

Saraba, mukashi; sayonara, mai katsute koishii.
Gently blown by the morning breeze, five-petaled sakuraso dear!
Scattered across the park, like the thin veils of Winter they're so rife.
This is my last peek at my past; this is my final fantasy.

I pine for cherry blossoms falling by Kaizougawa River——
Saraba, mukashi; sayonara, mai katsute koishii.

Nectarine – a variant of peach that has a fuzzless skin Posted by Hello

Commercially, fuzzy peaches and nectarines are different fruits; but, botanically, they belong to the same species.

The fuzzy peach and the nectarine share the same scientific name, Prunus persica.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

An Eclectic Music Enthusiast, Contemplating...

Posted by Hello

{dedicated to my former officemate Joseph Vitug, one of the most eclectic music enthusiasts I've ever known}

I thought of writing another list of favorite songs and artists, as a continuation of the music survey I recently posted; but then, I felt that writing something different yet still related would be much better and more interesting.

For this post I decided, instead, to discuss about *eclecticism* and the factors which, I think, influenced my having become an eclectic music enthusiast. I am not anymore my previous seLf who listened only to Alternative / New Wave Music, which of course remains my favorite genre; but I have evolved into a music lover who's open to almost any kind of musical genres and styles. Although, of course, my discriminating taste remains intact.

Who I've turned into is someone who can now listen blissfully to almost any genre of music, depending on my mood or on which part of my life I like to reminisce.

But before anything else, let me discuss the major factors that influenced the eclectic person who I now am.

So Baduy?
I think that derogatory words such as baduy, bakya, or korni (or in English, "uncool," "cheesy," or "corny"), which many people use to describe music, should no longer apply today. The most cool course in this world right now, I believe, is rather towards eclecticism than exclusivity—to become more embracing than more excluding, broadminded than narrow-visioned, universal than microcosmic, updated and upgraded than obsolete and irrelevant...

...or else, you might find yourself clueless until now when asked what CD stands for, when many others are already burning MP3 and wma files onto CD-Rs.

I may not generally like the music of Andrew E., Side A, Christina Aguilera, or Backstreet Boys, but I remain open to their kind of music; a song or three from these artists, I admit, still catch my fancy ears. For instance, I somehow enjoy listening once in a while to these songs:

"Humanap Ka ng Panget" by Andrew E. ('Humanap Ka ng Panget,' 1990)
"Hold On" by Side A ('White album,' 1991)
"Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera (Stripped, 2002)
"I Want It That Way" by Backstreet Boys (Millennium, 1999)

I may not like Hip hop, Country, or Jazz, in general; but the following songs are on my playlist:

"Who Let the Dogs Out?" by Baha Men (Who Let the Dogs Out?, 2000)
"You're My Better Half" by Keith Urban (Be Here, 2004)
"Feels So Good" by Chuck Mangione (Feels So Good, 1977)

Free Music
I would like to attribute the expansion of my musical taste to my age and experiences; but after a deeper analysis, I realize that the chief catalyst to this eclecticism is the advent of the Internet technology, which has and continues to "free" music (in all its guises) from the vaults of recording companies and music collectors. Because of the various peer-sharing/music-downloading sites like Kazaa and Limewire, one can now have a copy of almost any song s/he likes without buying CDs.

Is this good? Of course! It enables people to have free access to music which, without such technology, would have been lost in oblivion, would have remained unheard of.

Besides, many people usually like to listen only to the "hits" so, buying an artist's album for just a few songs is really impractical to them—a waste of precious money. Like myself, I wanted to have a copy of Ricky Martin's "Livin' la Vida Loca" or, perhaps, Clay Aiken's "Invisible" or Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" and "Since U [You've] Been Gone," but I will never spend C$36 to buy their albums just to be able to listen to these particular songs.

Wouldn't you do the same? Wouldn't you rather have copies of only the songs you like from artists you don't really like than buy their entire discographies?

Back in the pre-Internet era, we really had no choice but to buy the entire album [this is impractical], to tape-record the song as we chanced upon it being played on a radio station [this is exhausting; besides, rarely does a DJ plays a song from beginning to end without voicing-over a comment], or to forget the song afterwards.

So, with the availability of music-downloading sites, I can now listen to any song I like. All I need to do is know the name of the artist or the song, search for it on Limewire, and, with a little patience...


But don't get me wrong, as I said, I still buy original CDs but only of artists which I truly adore, like The Cure....

Monday, June 27, 2005

Speak and Spell

He speaks in short sentences,
but he spells words correctly.
His diction may not be good,
but his grammar's laudable.
He loves highfalutin words
but uses these cautiously.
He reads and writes every day.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

'Un Certain Jour de Juin'

As I keep on reiterating, my deep love for music has gifted me with so many brilliant friends—friends worthy of being treasured till the twilights of my earthly existence. One of these friends whom I met only relatively recently is Rommie Ramos; though we could have known each other way back in the '80s for in those days we were immersed in the same alternative-music scene. We were, safe to say, both "children" of DWXB 102.7, a now-defunct Philippine radio station that in the '80s played Punk Rock and New Wave music. Yeah, the station that dared to be different.

I met Rom through the newwave101 yahoogroup list of which both of us are active members. I think, our flare for poetry, which radiated in our postings, was the spark that ignited our regard and respect for each other. We may still be both clueless as regards the historical character of each other, but I feel that passion for music and literature is enough to draw two distant souls together as friends.

Rom surprised me with a testimonial she wrote of me on Friendster, dated June 16, 2005. She wrote me a poem in French. Luckily, I'm a big fan of languages and writing systems, so in spite of my inability to speak or read French fluently, I somehow figured out and understood most of the words. But, of course, I wanted to enjoy the poem in its full glory; so, what I did was, ask my French-speaking best-friend Pet de Jesus to translate the poem for me.

Pet and I have known each other since 1982, Grade 5 (St. Mary's Academy, Pasay City), and we became friends in highschool (Sta. Clara Parish School, Pasay City), 1984–'88. In fact, he was the rhythm guitarist of my band Half Life Half Death. He graduated at the University of the Philippines with a degree in European Languages, Major in French. He currently lives in Paris, France, and works at the French headquarters of the United Nations.

Rom, on the other hand, studied at St. Scholastica's College, De La Salle University, and Alliance Francaise de Manille. She teaches; loves to travel; loves music, poetry, and literature.

This is the poem Rom wrote for me:

Un Certain Jour de Juin

le ciel au-dessus de la montagne
a l'aube, un moulin a vent
au crepuscule, un verse de vin
les feuilles d'automne
un certain jour de juin

les arbres, le poeme
une image, les deux demis
il fait chaud, il fait froid
il fait du vent mais il fait beau

un sentiment, quelque chose de beau
plusieurs sont venus sans savoir pourqoui
c'est la route de Manitoba

j'espere que tu te portes bien
ouvre la porte! le livre!
les fleurs, la memoire
c'est l'été qui revient

This is Pet's English translation of the poem:

A Certain Day in June

the sky over the mountain
at dawn, a windmill
at twilight, a draught of wine
the autumn leaves
a certain day in June

the trees, the poem
an image, the two halves
it's hot; it's cold
it's windy, but the weather's beautiful

a feeling, something beautiful
some have come without knowing why
it's the road to Manitoba

I hope you're doing fine
open the door, the book

the flowers, the memory
Summer is back!

My friend Rommie "Rom" Ramos, on February 27, 2005, in Orchard Road, Singapore Posted by Hello

My best-friend/bandmate Ruperto Segundo "Pet" de Jesus, in Foret de Marly, France Posted by Hello

Taken on Sunday, May 29, 2005, on Island Park, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba Posted by Hello

This is the picture which inspired Rom into writing Un Certain Jour de Juin.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

"Feeling Rockstar Ako" Part One: "Enveloped Ideas"

Love for music is indeed a great way to make friends. Because of my love for music, particularly New Wave music, I have forged lasting friendships through out my life's course with so many great minds and interesting personalities in the music business. Who would believe that, because of music, I am friends or acquaintances with a great number of them, whom many people only know from a distance?

Singing out my enveloped ideas...

Because of my band, Jett Pangan and Francis Reyes of The Dawn have known me. I could lovely recall how surprised a few officemates were, when, while we were at a mall, Jett Pangan approached us, acknowledged me by name, and started chitchatting with me...amidst my officemates' glowering eyes. Why wouldn't Jett, when he was the one who invited us into signing a recording contract, in 1994, with Viva Records? He was at the time a label manager at Viva, and then he saw us promote an independently released single, "Alimango," on Channel 9's Chibugan Na. I will never forget the day my bandmates and I visited Viva office on Quezon Ave. in Quezon City finally to meet Jett and discuss about the offer.

After the handshakes and formal niceties, and after engaging ourselves in a nostalgic conversation about New Wave music, Jett, my bandmates and I had finally become equals in the matters of confidence.

"Guys, I saw you on TV a few days ago," Jett said, "I really liked your song 'Alimango'; it has a Smiths flavor in it. And your vocalist—Robert Smith, man!"

Signing the contract a few days after, we were all set to record our first (and only) solo album. Jett asked whom we might want to have as our album's co-producer. He suggested two personalities: Robert Javier of The Youth and his bandmate Francis Reyes. Unanimously, we chose the latter.

Entered Francis Reyes into the Viva office the next meeting day—such a serious front! Ha-ha-ha! Because after spending about two months with him in the recording studio, oh well, only then we did realize how wacky and crazy Francis really was, just like the rest of us. He even participated on a few songs in our album, by playing my legendary little orange plastic toy guitar in "Aligue" and by joining the backup vocals for "We Are the Saints."

Jett, for his part, sang the introductory vocals of "Engkanto."

Tabi, tabi po...
Nuno sa punso...

Years passed, we remain casual friends with them, especially that my band used to practice at Pipeline Studios, in Makati City, of which Jett was a part owner. He would sometimes jam with us, singing with me "The Pan Within" by The Waterboys or "Just like Heaven" by The Cure.

July 31, 1995, the album-launching concert of my band Half Life Half Death's one and only solo album, at Mayric's, in Manila, Philippines (Pet de Jesus, rhythm guitar; Bimbo Ballesteros, drums; I, vocals; Ramil Aznar, bass; and Rain Paggao, lead guitar) Posted by Hello

Our setlist included our cover of the songs "Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)" by Icicle Works, "The First Picture of You" by The Lotus Eaters, "This Charming Man" by The Smiths, and "Whirlpool Heart" by The Wild Swans. Of course, we also performed several original songs from our album: "Alimango," "Kapit-Tuko," "Brother's Pen," and the crowd-pleaser "Butterflies."

Our special guest was The Dawn, which consisted of Francis Reyes, guitarist; JB Leonor, drummer; Jett Pangan, vocalist; with Perf de Castro, then of Triaxis, on bass, pitching in for the absent Caloy Balcels.

The Dawn, on July 31, 1995, at Mayric's—the special guest in the album-launching concert of my band Half Life Half Death's one and only solo album, Pymyth Prahn Posted by Hello

In 1994, on Channel 9's Chibugan Na, a '90s TV show in the Philippines that heavily supported the local alternative-music scene of my country: Pet de Jesus (rhythm guitar), Rain Paggao (lead guitar), [program's host Arnel Ignacio], Bimbo Ballesteros (drums), I (vocals), Ramil Aznar (bass), and [another host, Karla Estrada] Posted by Hello

This was my band Half Life Half Death, during our first ever TV guesting, courtesy of our best-friend OhMy Gorecho who made the arrangement. We promoted our independently released single "Alimango."

This was my band's TV appearance which caught the fancy of The Dawn's Jett Pangan, who was during the time a label manager at Viva Records. He very much liked our song "Alimango," comparing its style with The Smiths' "This Charming Man"; and he also admired my image, which he said was very reminiscent of The Cure.

I will never forget this TV appearance of ours, for it paved the way to our chance of a lifetime--to commercially record an album of songs.

In 2000, at Pipeline Studios, in Makati City, Philippines, of which The Dawn's Jett Pangan is a part owner: Ambet Taylo, violinist and keyboardist; Ramil Aznar, bassist; Rain Paggao, guitarist; Bimbo Ballesteros, drummer; and I, vocalist and mascot Posted by Hello

Jett Pangan would sometimes jam with us, singing with me "The Pan Within" by The Waterboys or "Just like Heaven" by The Cure. He would sometimes also request us to perform our original song "Butterflies."

In 1994, during the recording session of my band Half Life Half Death's single "Kapit-Tuko," which was included in the compilation album A Dozen Alternatives, released in the same year by Viva Records Posted by Hello

With my band in A Dozen Alternatives were fellow Philippine alternative bands such as Tribal Fish, Shampoo ni Lola, An(n)ointed Cherubs, The Drone, and Ang Grupong Pendong among others.

Bimbo, Ramil, Rain, and Pet, recording the backing vocals for "Kapit-Tuko" Posted by Hello

Originally entitled "Bakit?," the basic lyric and melody of this song was composed by Ramil. With my suggestion, we eventually decided to change the title to "Kapit-Tuko," to the delight of Asin's Ed Formoso, who was the album producer of the A Dozen Alternatives compilation where the song was to be included.

The child's voice in the song was of my then eleven-year-old youngest sister, Niña; while the female voice was of my dear friend Quelle Gutierrez.

This is my dear friend Quelle Gutierrez, the girl behind the female voice on my band's single "Kapit-Tuko." Posted by Hello

Quelle's part was only the word "Bakit," in the middle part of the song. That was intentionally the catch of the song. We wanted to create an "ear-stealer." Actually, it was my and Rain's idea—as inspired by The Lemonheads' penchant to include short female-vocal parts on many of their songs, like "It's about Time," "Dawn Can't Decide," "It's a Shame about Ray," and "Rudderless," the female artist behind which was usually Juliana Hatfield.

After a very exhausting recording session...Bimbo, Ramil, Pet, and Rain. Where was I? Oh, yeah, having snacks with Niña and Quelle. Posted by Hello

Half Life Half Death, 1994 (Rain, Pet, Ramil, aLfie, Bimbo): Taken by my band's official photographer, our best-friend OhMy Gorecho, this was among my favorite pictures in the promotional portfolio of my band Posted by Hello

This particular photograph appeared on the back cover of an issue of Rock 'n Rhythm music magazine (courtesy of my friend BJ Cabaluna, who was then the magazine's chief editor) and on the cover of the music magazine The Rolling Paper (courtesy of another friend, Siegfried Sanchez, who is now a successful independent-film director in the Philippines).

Half Life Half Death, 1994 (Bimbo, Ramil, I, Pet, and Rain): This was the picture that we used for our album's promotional poster. Posted by Hello

This is the CD coversleeve of my band Half Life Half Death's one-and-only solo album, conceptualized by yours truly and renderred by Seb de Jesus, a brother of our guitarist Pet de Jesus Posted by Hello

The name Pymyth Prahn is my coinage, with help from my bandmate Pet de Jesus. I was trying to subcreate an imaginary world in the guise of Middle-earth, Narnia, and Never Never Land, where musical eLfish beings exist. It is, in fact, the setting for a fantasy novel, entitled Visionata Grandiosa, I've long been writing. In 1994, I was still conceptualizing the novel in my mind, so when my band began to plan for the album, I took the liberty to use it as a springboard for my novel.

To this day, the novel is still on my editing board. But I've already written a bulk of it.

This is the CD coversleeve of the compilation album A Dozen Alternatives, in which my band Half Life Half Death's single "Kapit-Tuko" is included. Posted by Hello

A Dozen Alternatives was released in 1994 by Viva Records. With my band in the album were fellow Philippine alternative bands such as Edge of Illusion, Balahibumpooza, An(n)ointed Cherubs, Tribal Fish, Shampoo ni Lola, Leowai, Aftermath, Ba'giw, Drone, Backdraft, and Ang Grupong Pendong.

"Kapit-Tuko" was our first commercially released song. It was played in heavy rotation, in the mid-90s, on radio stations such as LA 105.1 and DM 95.5. We got to promote it several times, in the same era, on TV's Chibugan Na (Channel 9), That's Entertainment (Channel 7), SST (Channel ?), and Eye to Eye (Channel 2).

Being in the band Half Life Half Death had given me, more than anything else, the privilege to be friends and acquaintances with many interesting and creative personalities in the Philippine music scene. Those '90s experiences of mine will remain as enduring memories worth treasuring and cherishing for the rest of my life.

An eLf Expressing Gratitude...

I express again my gratitude to all the people who allot a fraction of their time on delving into my microcosm through this blog site.

The new "visitor count statistics" feature that I hereby installed, in which the countries where the visitors originate are being shown, is really inspiring me. Before, every time I thought of the people visiting my blog site, I only considered my friends, relatives, and acquaintances living in Canada, Philippines, and the United States; as well as those in Japan, Korea, France, New Zealand, and Australia. However, after a few days of having the said visitor statistics, I am amazed to realize that other people from other countries have been checking in.

Life Is Geometry
My perspective has suddenly widened some more. Born a line that slowly opened up into an acute angle, I've slowly grown past being a right [conventional] one; after all the adventures and misadventures of this little angle that I am, I've eventually matured into an obtuse angle. Now richer in degrees and wider in scope and perspective, I will stretch my arms some more but will, in the end, close up to become a straight line once again, back to what I was. My life will have then been complete. Life, therefore, is....

Around the World in Less than Eighty Days
I've always been careful with my writing style as well as with the expression of my views; but realizing I'm being more and more exposed to diverse cultures, I'm starting to become more and more universal and multiculturally aware of such diversity. I feel like Charles Darwin upon his arrival on Galápagos Islands.

As my gratitude to all the people from all these countries, I will write a short article depicting interesting bits of trivia about their countries, to show them my high regard for their cultures. I feel like a restless explorer in the real etymological sense of the word.

Keep on fluttering by my site. Please keep on inspiring the bard in me. "No writer [indeed] is an island." Travel with me the world in less than....

Scattering the Pollens of My Mind
I write not only for my own satisfaction and to share the ideas continuously brewing in my mind. But, I write to connect my mind with the minds of fellow explorers in this world.

Like a venomless spider, I will continue weaving web to attract and connect with all those brilliant minds. And, like a butterfly, I will soar on—fluttering here and there—so I can share the pollens of....

a Filipino eLf

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Thinking in Proverbs

Immensely influenced by the philosophies of the Chinese, who usually think in symbols and proverbs, I too have long arranged and guided my thoughts with music and with words of wisdom. In fact, I listen to music as well as read a book every day. I also never fail to write daily—an entry in my journal, a short verse, or even a list of things. Through these ways, I remain in touch with the bard in me.

The wonderful thoughts I've listed below are just a few of those words of wisdom that continue and never fail to inspire me into weaving my own and into surging forward through any adversity Fate leaves out on my path. May these inspire you, too.

1. "To realize one's destiny is a person's only obligation."—Paolo Coelho, The Alchemist

2. "It's never too late to become what you might have been."—George Eliot

3. "Unless you assume a God, the question of life’s purpose is meaningless."—Bertrand Russell

4. "To have a good memory is both a blessing and a curse."—A.C. Crispin, Star Wars: The Han Solo Trilogy

5. “In the depths of Winter I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible Summer.”—Albert Camus

6. "Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought."—Percy Bysshe Shelley, "To a Skylark"

7. "As we grow older, we grow both wiser and more foolish at the same time."—Françoise, duc de La Rochefoucald, Maxims

8. "Dreams are expressions of repressed emotions."—Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams

9. "We are the children of our landscape; it dictates behavior and even thought in the measure to which we are responsive to it."—Lawrence Durrell, Justine

10. "Refusing to grow up is like refusing to accept your limitations. That's why I don't think we'll ever grow up."—Robert Smith of The Cure

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Mr. Brightside

The Killers: Mark Stoermer, bassist; Brandon Flowers, vocalist and keyboardist; David Keuning, guitarist; Ronnie Vannucci, drummer Posted by Hello

Seldom does a contemporary artist catch my distinct musical ears. Doubtless, the "New Wave" sound is what I'm looking for.

One of those new artists that fall under my preference is The Killers, an American band whose debut album, Hot Fuss, was released last year, 2004. I describe The Killers' music as reminiscent of Joy Division, New Order, and a tinge of Soul Asylum. Among the eleven songs Hot Fuss contains, "Mr. Brightside" and "Smile like You Mean It" are my instant favorites.

Featured as the current soundtrack of my blog site is "Mr. Brightside."

Coming out of my cage
And I've been doing just fine
Gotta gotta be down
Because I want it all

It started out with a kiss
How did it end up like this?
It was only a kiss
It was only a kiss

Now I'm falling asleep
And she's calling a cab
While he's having a smoke
And she's taking the drag
Now they're going to bed
And my stomach is sick
And it's all in my head

But she's touching his chest now
He takes off her dress now
Let me go

And I just can't look
It's killing me
And taking control

Turning saints into the sea
Turning through sick lullaby
Joking on your alibi
But it's just the price I pay
Destiny is calling me
Open up my eager eyes
I'm Mr. Brightside

I never...I never...I never...I never...

Saturday, June 18, 2005

The Nineteenth of a Dozen Verses

Photo taken in January 1972, at a former residence of my mother's family, on Buendia Street near Batangas Street, Makati City: Mommy's little eLf Posted by Hello

In ode to and honor of my native tongue, I’ve invented a form of Filipino poetry which I have called pitu-pito.

In English, the Filipino word pitu-pito literally means “unnecessarily or excessively seven”; as in the sentence: Pitu-pito ang kotse mo ah!, which may translate to “Wow, you have (excessively) seven cars!”, remarked with jest or a bit of sarcasm.

In Philippine herbology, pitu-pito refers to two different concoctions each of which is claimed to be comprised by *seven* kinds of herbs, thus the name: the first one – quack doctors and herbologists ( ‘albularyo’ or ‘herbularyo’) prescribe it usually for unwanted pregnancy for its alleged miscarriage-inducing properties; and the second – the one popularized as a cleansing-diet aid by Ernie Baron, a known Filipino herbologist.

In the Philippine-showbiz lingo, on the other hand, pitu-pito refers to a slapdash film or movies which are said to have been shot in *seven* days. Because of the popularity of this denotation, pitu-pito eventually evolved into a Filipino colloquial word which means “mediocre” or “anything haphazardly produced.”

For my poetry, however—with an attempt to adopt a new and positive meaning for the term—I have coined a literary definition which, I hope, will someday enter Philippine Literature:

Pitu-pito refers to a form of Filipino poetry which consists of seven seven-syllable lines (7-7-7-7-7-7-7) with a regular rhyme pattern (like a, b, a, b, a, b, b, as in the poems below), and expresses intense emotions and incites sympathy and consideration.

June 7, Tuesday

Sa aking pagdurusa,
’kaw lagi’ng kaagapay.
T’wing ako’y nag-iisa,
’kaw sa aki’y nagbabantay.
Balang araw, o sinta,
Di ka na maghihintay;
Di ka na malulumbay.

June 8, Wednesday

Búhay man ay ’sang sugal,
Handa na’ng aking pusò.
Panahon ma’y mabagal,
Hindi ako susukò.
Para sa aking mahal,
Aking ’pinapangakò—
Di na muling lalayô.

June 9, Thursday

Sa wakas ay humimbing
Na ang aking pagtúlog.
Dama lagi, ’yong lambing;
Sa dibdib—’la nang kabóg—
Ika’y laging kapiling.
Pag-ibig man o líbog,
Abot hanggang tugátog.

June 10, Friday

Sadyang pasíkut-síkot
Ang lahat ng direksyón,
Kaya h’wag kang matakot;
Lahat ay may solusyón.
H’wag kang paíkut-íkot;
Sundin ang destinasyón
Na animo’y orasyón.

June 11, Saturday

Ang dugo ko ay bughaw,
Kaya ako’y matapang.
Sa darating na araw,
Ating ipagdiriwang
Ang muli kong paglitáw.
Sila, na mayayabang,
Ay biglang mawiwindang.

June 12, Sunday

Mga dila’y matalas,
Ako’y inyong lubayán.
Mga dulot ay malas,
H’wag n’yo na akong sundan.
Sa bunganga bulalás
Ay panay kabuktutan.
Dasal ko’y katarungan.

June 13, Monday

Lintik la’ng walang ganti!
Puso’y galit na galit.
Ginhawa’ng tanging mithî,
Inabot ay pasakit.
Pakita ko’y mabuti,
Pero ako’y nilait!
Ba’t pangit ang kapalit?

June 14, Tuesday

Kaibigan, salamat.
Ika’y aking salamin;
tinuturo ang dapat.
Tibay ng damdamin,
Sa iyo nagbubúhat;
Katuwáng sa pásanin,
Gabáy sa suliranín.

June 15, Wednesday

Mistula akong sanggol,
Na sa iná ay sabik;
Iyak ay walang gátol,
Antay ang pagbabalik;
Madalas nagmamaktol,
Naghihintay ng tapík
At ng dampi ng halík.

June 16, Thursday

Nagbago ang paligid.
Nahawi ang talahib.
Nawala ang balakid.
Aliping saguiguilíd
Na ‘tinapon sa liblib,
Ngayo’y muling sasanib.

June 17, Friday

Umiikot ang gulong;
Di laging nasa ilalim.
Kailangan ko ng tulong,
Ngunit di ng patalim.
Kakayaning sumulong,
Susuungin ang dilim,
Ibubunyag ang lihim.

June 18, Saturday

Hilíng ko sa aking diyós:
Karapatang pambagwís,
Búhay ay sumaáyos,
Panahon ay bumilís,
Lakas ay di maubos,
Kakayanang magtiis,
Kaligayahang lábis.

The First
The Second
The Third
The Fourth
The Fifth
The Sixth
The Seventh
The Eighth
The Ninth
The Tenth
The Eleventh
The Dozenth
The Thirteenth
The Fourteenth
The Fifteenth
The Sixteenth
The Seventeenth
The Eighteenth

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Welcome to My Childhood circa '80

Rummaging through the old photo albums that Tita Lucy has managed to keep and preserve, I stumbled upon a treasure of old pictures with me on them. I have hereby posted a few for our viewing pleasure.

Looking at old pictures never fails to elicit in me a feeling of nostalgia. I know that you can well relate, especially if you, too, had had so many memorable moments in your childhood worthy of remembering and sharing with friends and other loved ones.

A few pictures are worth a million memories.
So now, join me as I take a short trip down memory lane...

An eLf for a ring bearer?
Should it not be a hobbit?

The church-wedding ceremony of Tito Renyboy (Vera) and Tita Lucy (Bacay), on January 26, 1980, at Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Kanlaon Street, Quezon City, Philippines: I was the ring bearer (in brown corduroy pants), while my sisters Lovelle and Karen the flower girls. Posted by Hello

Tito Renyboy (Renato A. Vera) is the sixth in the brood of seven in which my mother (Teresita) is the fifth. His wife, Tita Lucy (Lucina M. Bacay-Vera), is the eldest in a brood of five. Their happy union gifted them with two sons, Darrel Ivan (now 24) and Davin Isidore (22).

I could very well remember the time, late '70s, when Tito Renyboy was still wooing Tita Lucy. He would sometimes take me and my sister Lovelle along when he visited her at her family's house in Baesa, Novaliches, Quezon City; we would sometimes join her family's outings.

After the wedding, the couple lived at the house, on Cuangco St., in Makati City, where my family was also residing. They moved into their own house in Baesa only sometime in 1988, so living together for many years made them regard me and my siblings as their own children. I'd seen their children, Ivan and Dave, from the day each was born until the day their family immigrated, in 1989, to Manitoba, Canada; so you could imagine us spending lots of memorable childhood times together.

Grandfather and I are currently staying here in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with Tito Renyboy, Tita Lucy, and cousins Ivan and Dave. So, now that you just had a glimpse of our familial beginnings, you will no longer be surprised with my saying I'm more at-home now, living with them here in Manitoba; and that Grandfather and I are in a much better situation.

Living with Tito Renyboy's family gives me a sense of feeling loved and being home, mainly because he and Tita Lucy have remained the same kind, jolly, understanding, supportive, and doting uncle and aunt they used to be when I was a child. Cousins Ivan and Dave, of course, have grown older; but they've not forgotten the childhood days we spent together. They could still look at our childhood pictures together with the same nostalgia and fondness. To them I'm still their Kuya aLfie, who used to be their playmate; and to me they remain my kind cousins, with whom I can spend hours talking without feeling awkward or uncomfortable.

At the wedding reception, at Marco Polo in Mandaluyong City: (from left to right) My dad's friend Wayne, Tito Fred, Tito Rody, and some more uncles—Aranzamendez brothers Egay, Ricky, and Edmon... Posted by Hello