Saturday, December 31, 2005

all over the world on New Year's eve

Five places I'd like to see at the stroke of midnight:

New York City. I imagine it's gonna be a riot of lights and sounds over there. Times Square will probably filled with New Yorkers singing Auld Lang Syne with champagne glasses and sparklers on their hands. Haha. Or maybe they don't do those things anymore.

Rome. I want to see Rome. New Year or not. The cathedrals and the piazzas, the cobblestone streets and the fountains. I want to go there in 2006. Haha! Wishing wishing wishing.

Hongkong. Will there be a New Year in HK tonight? Don't they celebrate it in February? Nonetheless, I'd want to see the city at night. The only time I'd been there, we had to plane out of the city by night. And the only time I was able to see HK at night was when I was onboard a passing plane, 2 years ago. The entire mini-archipelago looked like a galaxy of stars underneath us. Beautiful!

Paris. I'm sure this place will be breathtaking on New Year's eve night. It's not called the City of Lights for nada.

Brazil. I wonder how South Americans celebrate their New Year? I imagine taverns and flowing beer, native music and dancing, maybe even fireworks. Never been to South America, and if I were to venture in that continent, I'd choose Brazil as my stop.

Sigh. Wanna be Superwoman and fly all over the world on New Year's Eve.

Gotta get back to work. Happy 2006, passing reader!

laboring through the holidays

afternoon of New Year's eve.

getting myself another slight fever.

my head making this clunking sound (or maybe there was no just FELT like something was clunking inside) each time I'd get up from a supine position.

and it seems like the work that has to be done will go on and on and on, straight through the 12 midnight and over to the new year.


it's alright. to work for no payment. this is all about love, anyway. past, present, and future.

a week to go before shoot. help us, lord. no other option but a good film.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

farewell note

Next to a love song, there's nothing more universal than a sad song.

Just as a certain Coldplay song will forever burn in my memory, so will it forever remind me of certain persons.

When you try your best but you don't succeed...
When you get what you want but not what you need...
When you feel so tired but you cant sleep...
Stuck in reverse...

And the tears come streamin down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
Could it be worse...?

Lights...will guide you home
And ignite...your bones
And I will try to fix you.

And high up above or down below
When you're too in love to let it go
But if you never try, you never know
Just what you're worth...

Lights will home
And ignite...your bones
And I will fix you.

Tears stream down your face
when you lose somethin that you cannot replace
Tears stream down your face
And i...

Tears stream down your face
I promise you I will learn from my mistakes
Tears stream...down your face
And I...

Lights will home
And ignite...your bones
And I will try to fix you.

You, finding momentary solitude in a back alley, playing with a stray dog.
You, walking alone along the railways and the shanties, when all the rest have packed up and gone home.
You, trying to drown your thoughts in the sights and sounds of a place that, in a different life, could have been your Home.
You, getting acquainted with the locals and the language, laughing over your inability to speak your mother's tongue.
Your silent moments with a cigarette, collecting your thoughts for the next moment ahead.
Your silent moment that night, outside the bar, blowing off smoke, nursing a broken heart.
You, walking out into the night, searching for something that seemed to have been lost, something that nothing--and no one--can replace or compensate for.

You were a stranger, just as I was to you. But I thought I could tell whenever you were down and broken. And almost each time I'd find myself fervently wishing that I could do something, that I could be the person who could, somehow, fix you.

But I'm not. I know. We don't choose the people who affect and touch us in ways that few people could. And I bid my farewells with that in mind.

Byebye. Have a nice life. Hugs. I never could have hugged you in person, not even after those packups. At least I was able to give you those hugs via SMS.


Sunday, December 25, 2005

too busy to not procrastinate

Ito ba ang supposedly maraming ginagawa?!

Laging naka-online?!

I'm hooked. Blame it on DSL. The Internet has officially become my number one favorite pasttime. Supposedly it's watching movies, right? But when was the last time I saw a movie..? Three days ago? And when was the last time I got wired? Just this morning. From movie geek to prosumer-net geek, don't know if I got worse or better.

My favorite virtual hangouts:
* - (have two--this one, and the other made by the Alter Ego. heheh). the habit is that i do the rounds with the existing links, and blog-hop every once in a while.
* - i don't know why, but i like posting pictures of me and my recent hap'nins a bit too much. haha. what i can't do here, i do on friendster. post pictures, that is. and what i don't write here somehow finds a way to get published in The Alter Ego's blog. essentially, stuff that would bore the disinterested reader to tears.
* - my other photo album. vain beeyatch! the photo album is the only feature i use. i'm faithful to blogger--better to not disperse your thoughts in too many different directions.
* yahoo! messenger - i automatically go online everytime. fast way to communicate with pals who are also ym contacts. i rarely use the invisible mode these days...hmm, wonder why.
* - indispensable form of communication. snail totally obliterated. well, nearly. cruise photog friend melissa just snail-mailed me a postcard some weeks ago.
* - my favorite search engine, over yahoo. lately i discovered that i could trace certain links here that i couldn't with yahoo (never mind google).

so there. just the basics, but these hangouts are already making an addict outta me. haha. if you guys know other cool places to visit, hope you could share it with me. i've created accounts in photobucket, the kodak photosharing site (the exact addy totally escaped me...wuz), and wouldn't you know, even downelink and connexion, the gay community "counterparts" of friendster. haha. don't even ask me why. you might laugh if i actually tell you.

my wish list for christmas 2004:

1. A brand new PC unit that's ideal for Adobe Premiere editing. DIDN'T GET IT
3. A comfy couch-potato sofa (to complement my DVD player). GOT A BEANBAG INSTEAD
5. Repair services for my CD player. NAH-AH..FIGURED I COULD LIVE WITHOUT IT
6. A minidv cam. Or better yet, a Panasonic 24P cam. YIKES. SUNTOK SA BUWAN LANG TO
8. A confirmed new job assignment. GOT IT, THREE WEEKS AFTER THIS ENTRY
10.Merry Christmas text messages from the ones who matter. (wink, wink) I THINK I DID, BUT NOT THE KIND OF TXT MSGS I'D HOPED FOR. HAHA. LOSER
11. A brilliant concept for a short film. BUMMER!

My (Material-Girl) Wish List for 2006:
1. A digital stillcam!
2. A stabler savings account
3. An I-Pod (I don't need it that badly, but sure, I'd like to have one of those little thingies)
4. A confirmed new income-generating job assignment
5. A new color TV for my lola
6. A completed, beautiful, compelling personal project
7. A prince that won't turn into a frog, or (worse...) a princess
8. A trip to Boracay and/or any place outside the country
9. An absolutely happy, stress-free 26th birthday for me
10. Successful, lifetime detoxification

christmas scroogette (for a nanosecond)

christmas morning. crisp cold air, warm coffee, last night's Noche Buena leftovers for breakfast, and work to start on. my, my, this newborn lark just couldn't wait to get on with her day.

and then, at the door of the next-door-neighbor, little voices call out "Mamamasko po!" in unison. that's when i remember. this IS the day when they come in hoards at your doorstep. most of them are faces and names you hardly remember, some of them who now remember you all of a sudden, after an entire year of being, what, invisible.

godchildren and their parents. mamamasko po. sigh! bah humbug!

not that i mind giving pamasko in the form of cash or gifts. it's a pleasure to be a giver to the people i love. close friends and family. but when you've been blessed with five or six godchildren at the age of 25 (i know, di pa marami yon, but that's just about enough for me, please), being someone's godparent tends to become a somewhat expensive role. quite frankly, it bleeds me dry. every christmas. i've only included one of the five or six godchildren (that one godchild is the only one i'm close with) in the christmas shopping budget; the rest, that means, will automatically receive cash.

it's ok if i'm, like, filthy rich. it's christmas, after all (scrooooooge! scroooooge!). but at my state right now, with the next income-generating project still in the hazy horizon, and a month ahead to scrimp on what's left of the once-secure savings account, you can't blame me for being tempted to make "tago". go out of the house--anywhere but here!--and pass the day away til the semi-anonymous godchildren finish their rounds of "mamamasko po".

makes me wish i were just a kid again. back then i was the one collecting the presents and aginaldos. i was the one who would get up early in the morning to begin my rounds (towed by my parents, of course--having the folks with you kinda "legitimizes" your quest and results in bigger aginaldos, compared to when your on your own or with other kids). now i'm the one who has to give the presents and aginaldos. haha. what goes around, comes around, so they say.

one other major difference between now and then was that, as a kid, money didn't have as much value to me as it does now. i was well-provided for by my parents, i had no big needs beyond the occasional toy or candies i'd ask them to buy for me, didn't have to worry about earning, spending, or saving up. now that i'm this (big, bad) adult earning my own dough and struggling to be financially independent from my parents as much as possible, i find that money is, actually, of big consequence to my daily life. ESPECIALLY during christmas.

(sidenote:ano ba yan...di lang pala ko scrooge, silas marner parin pala! haha!)

cause that's when the godchildren (and their parents) come in hoards. like ghosts of christmas past. tots with faces and names you hardly remember, children of distant relatives or casual acquaintances who, by God-knows-what inspiration that came over them, bestowed on you the privilege/duty of being godparent to their children.

that's so weird, you know. i'd always thought that you would want to entrust your child to a person you're close to. or someone whom you know would, in case anything happened to you, take your child as if it were her own. in most godparenting cases i've had, i don't think i fit that profile. how can i treat a child as if s/he were my own if i hardly see him/her, hardly know him/her, and in worst cases, hardly even know his/her parents? duh. why do they choose me??

that's just the thing about godparenting in this culture. you have no choice. when someone asks you to be godparent to their child, i've been taught not to say no. to decline would be to turn your back on some sort of a "blessing". or a holy duty. or a privilege. whatever. okay lang naman kung malapit talaga ako sa magulang. because i have this thing about giving people gifts/aginaldos out of my own free will, not out of duty or responsibility.


i can still hear the little voices in the distance. my, do they start the day early. and with a practiced in-unison "Mamamasko po!" to boot. i wonder if they have flyers? even the most dogged aginaldo-seekers of my generation weren't that organized.

geez, i'm so bad. i know i'm just rambling...again. christmas scroogette that i friggin am. despite all that, though, i have every reason to thank God for this Christmas, and the past three Christmases that i've had as a member of the work force. despite the occasional bumps-on-the-road of the past year, God has been very good to me and my family. yet another year of us all being intact, healthy, and happy.

i'm blessed. hmmm. maybe that's a reason to stay home for today. and brave the barrage of "mamamasko po"'s. maybe, just maybe, one way to thank God for the little everyday gifts of the past three years is to share it with others (haha! cliche na to ha). kahit depleted na ang savings account (God will provide!). kahit hindi ko mamukhaan ang batang humihingi ng aginaldo sa harap ko. amazing. honestly, i've only thought of that enlightening little thought as i was writing this entry (finally...light!). so the demons finally went away, eh.

God will provide. I have faith in that. so bring it on, mga inaanaks, mga kumares/kumpares. God will provide for all of us this Christmas!

well. first visitor for the day: my unemployed uncle with his forlorn little girl. she's not my inaanak, and i remember her well, but what the heck. maybe what small amount i can give would kick off their aginaldo-seeking day to a good start.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

somekinda lost after the series of goodbyes (on christmas eve!)

two hours to go before christmas, and i have loads of work to do.

transcription for the last project, which the holiday tasks have hindered me from starting.

review of a script of a short film that we're shooting in two weeks.

production calendar for another film (o di ba, feeling superman/superwoman/supergay ang mga utaw sa grupo namin, di pa nga nagsisimula ang isa may pangalawa na. hay god help us.)

and on top of that, the pressure i'm feeling over having to finish a bulk of my (individual) preproduction work for the personal project within the month of january.

yeah, i know, i'm rambling again.

just some thirty minutes ago i got into a really bad mood swing because there were no available Autolad Max supplies anywhere near our neighborhood. ano ba, low EQ ha!

buti na lang there was the nearby 7-eleven and its helpful personnel to the rescue.

hay. dalawang oras na lang, pasko na. what makes this christmas different from the past 24 christmases of my life? nothing, except for the addition of new contact numbers to send "Merry Christmas" text messages to. and the new experiences of the past year, which i can't say i had in the previous years.

two weeks of preprod. can i pull this off? can i actually make a good short film with just two weeks' preparation? only the future will be able to answer that. and i have to make sure--by god, i MUST!--that the answer will be in the affirmative.

all these thoughts on Christmas Eve. haha, bah humbug.

i'm kinda missing the last batch of co-workers. when i said we were an "ideal troupe", i wasn't exaggerating. everyone was just so dang...ideal. nice, down-to-earth, lovable people. professional workers. i love them.

what did our pinoy line producer say? he said that the odds of getting to have a shoot that was as smooth as the one we'd had were 1 in 30. i say that the odds of getting to work with a group like the one we'd had are 1 in 300.

sniff sniff. that's life. a series of hellos and goodbyes.

time to try having a merry christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2005

shopping note

shopping for christmas is a test of patience, stamina, and haggling savvy.

but i guess that's common knowledge already.

after how many christmases i've spent shopping for gifts, i can't seem to get used to it. the long queues. they're horrible. i hate them! i just want to think that the effort i put in trying to acquire these gifts makes them a bit more special for me. so kahit maliit na halaga, nadadagdagan ng value dahil pinaghirapan kong hanapin at bilhin.

haha, rationalizations. one of my favorite defense mechanisms.

merry christmas world!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

five-day express (days four and five)

december 19. back to work on the last indie project.

had to submit some backlog paperwork at the office. met the tribe leader again. and the ex-missus. and everybody.

there was to be a "thank you" dinner sponsored by a supplier that night, and we all came. i was just glad enough to be around him. trying to hold a decent conversation with him. hearing him try to speak in the native language. seeing him laughing.

when he learned that The Puller was going to join us for dinner, i saw the whole demeanor change. it wasn't an evident change, but palpable for me, nonetheless. i knew he was dreading having The Puller there. maybe he was scared of a Wrap Party Scene part two.

well, nothing of the sort happened. the Ex Missus and The Puller were careful not to be physically blatant this time. personally, i was glad that i got to chat up Tribe Leader somehow. glad enough that i got to know from him that he was going to spend Christmas with his pinoy relatives in town.

pinoy, ikaw, pinoy...ipakita sa mundo...!

sigh. but time will come that he'll have to go back to where he grew up. and it's gonna be bye, bye mr. american pie.

the night ended early for all of us. at the end he started hugging, beso-ing, thanking everyone within reach. he does that at the end of each packup day and i'd always managed to stay away. i've always felt awkward about his besos and thank yous. i don't know why.

so this time around wasn't any different. when i sensed that he was coming near my direction i turned away, discreetly as i could. i just couldn't. awkward, torpe schoolgirl me. haha.

december 20.

the only free day that i had in days. i was online the entire day--after 48 hours of having been too busy to get online, the cyberaddict in me had felt deprived! i logged on feeling guilty because there were still so many things to do. transcriptions. translations. production calendars. etc.

i wish i'm in my element right now to get down to the dreary details of the last two days. but the last three entries had been so long, naubos na ang lakas ko. haha.

right now i just can't believe that it's christmas again. lights blinking all over the city again.

merry christmas, tribe leader. hope to see you again before you leave.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

five-day express (day three)

December 18. Personal Project Day.

9 am. Straight from the house of Beatlebum, Waterfowl, and Michiko, I hopped on a cab bound for Eastwood Libis to meet with friends-cum-colleagues for a day-long ocular in Nasugbu, Batangas. I was in 12-hour clothes, still hung up from the events of the party the night before, feeling filthy. Great way to start another long day.

The ocular was for a personal project. The first for me and screenwriter Dennis Teodosio, the baby we're going to nurture and rear to full glorious completion. (oops, that sounded, Dennis is gay. and not my type of gay! haha)

Full glorious completion. I hope, i pray. That everything will work in harmony with our dreams.

I burst through the door of our producer's condo puffing. life was tough without a cellphone on hand (left the temporary phone at home, been out of touch with the world for forty eight hours hence). on impulse i decided that i was going to buy my permanent phone that morning. plus a fresh shirt, too.

impulsive-compulsive beeyatch. got a shirt in one of eastwood's shops for a bargain price of P50--not bad at all! and i don't regret my purchase of a brand-new Nokia 1600. it fits the budget, serves the purpose. no camphone, no video, which suits me just fine. i'm not going to risk owning another pricey mobile again. i'm too burara for that.

anyway, the new phone is serving me well. it's pocketsize, sleek, with all the features that i need (alarm clock, big inbox memory, and the ringtones are music to the ears). i'm going to buy it a harness one of these days and hang it around my neck. you and me, baby, together til kingdom come. a promise to be kept at all costs!

life on the express lane. was it only twenty four hours ago when i was riding a trolley along the Sta. Mesa railway with a camera crew? on this day i found myself riding at the back of an open truck. breezing past rice fields and sugarcanes and rolling plains and miles and miles of greenery. hwow! from urban grit to the rural rustic in a span of twenty four hours. and with some partying in between!

that's the beautiful thing about this kind of life. you never know where it's going to take you next.

riding at the back of that truck, i couldn't resist the moment--stood up and held my arms up, surrendering myself to the wind, and howled.

haha. like some teener in an American road movie.

the adventuring staff:
JP, line producer. soon-to-be chef extraordinaire at the shoot. he vows to entertain everyone on the set in whatever way he can.
Tita Emily, executive producer. mommy figure. the best that's ever come round this side of the indie circle.
Dennis, writer. my co-parent, co-creator, mind-to-merge with. gets excited with every aratilis tree we come across. always.
Sheryll, production manager. new recruit. one of my best friends. she rolled up her sleeves and got to work as soon as she came in. i love working with friends!
Me, nature-trekker/production muse. just taggin along.

in a nutshell, we found what we were looking for.

we stopped by the side of the rode and found a perfectly aligned grove of mango trees perched on a long, elevated patch of earth.

A young boy will fall from one of those trees and hurt himself. But his lolo--a hilot--will heal him of the pain.

Right across the mango groves stood a craggy hill that looked dramatic in the sunset. A visual find, doesn't exactly fit in the script but something that might be put to use as setting for one of the scenes.

It would have been ideal if, in place of that unused Meralco electric post perched on top, was a lone tree.

The discovery of the day: a wide meadow of rolling plains, perching rocks, and lush green trees in Barangay Catandaan. Now THIS is what we had in mind. THIS is going to be the paradise of our child characters. THIS place is going to witness a summer in the life of our young boy Toto.

The digicam doesn't do this place justice. Hopefully, our videocamera will, when the time comes. I can't wait...!

The road towards the birth of a beautiful film. Here's hoping.

We hiked down a foot trail and came upon a shallow river running through a wide open clearing. The river's waters were clear and the entire clearing was surrounded by trees and mountains on most sides. This will fit in on the script too, eventually. it's too beautiful a place to pass up. It will fit in the script AND the story. With justifiable purpose.

the river runs through me. and within me. and out of me. flowing, like a beautiful story aching to be told.

we've seen these things, as well...

the rice fields turn gold in the summer. we'll be waiting.
sugarcanes in the countryside. kids will be running through those rows, chasing each other.
lonely rice stalks at sunset.
the young boy will watch this sunset as he sits by the hills. he can see the sun, but he cannot touch it. it frustrates him, so he eats an aratilis instead. :-)

We ended the day somewhat fulfilled. We got what we came for and it was time for the next phase--securing these locations. That will be worked on during the holidays. For the moment it was time to go back to Manila and call it a day.

Man was I exhausted. Was asleep the entire trip back.

This day was a breather. I love working on this personal project. But there still were things to accomplish for the indie film that had just wrapped up, and tomorrow was going to be another day.

Goodbyes actually mean "see you later".

And "later", I realized, was going to be tomorrow.

five-day express (day two)

december 17. B-roll day.

All in a Day's Work

Principal photography for the indie film was formally finished, but this day was reserved for shooting additional visuals. all morning we shot visuals of the sta. mesa railway area. skeleton crew that we were, somehow i was glad that i was there. bein around him and all, i was glad enough somehow.

in the morning, after a pleasant-enough exchange of greetings, he asked, were you lasing last night?

i'm sorry...? i asked. duh. how bingi of me. it was wrecking the happy momentum of the conversation.

hangover, did you get a hangover last night? he rephrased patiently.

oh, i chuckled. no, i didn't get drunk. did you?

nah. i had four bottles of san mig light and lots of water. i don't have fun when i get drunk.

i have more fun when i'm drunk. i sheepishly confessed. i loosen up. (if that's the case then gawd i wish i had been drunk all day. the stick in my ass was doin a good job at stiffening me up.)

ok, i didn't have a voice recorder at the time of the conversation. remarkably my memory serves me well when it comes to conversations with him. or, well, maybe it was the script continuity training. who knows. haha.

all morning i tiptoed around my dealings with him. awkward, awkward me. couldn't treat him like a normal person. god knows i wanted to. to be normal, for once. but it was just...such a task.

anyway. it doesn't really matter. this whole fascination is just going to be one of those passing things.

one moment we were all waiting for the rain to stop at a sidewalk by the railways. doing nothing. i was seated there and he stood next to me. doing nothing, but watching the people passing by. a braver girl would've tried to make a conversation. so many things to talk about under the shining (albeit invisible) sun. but cat got my tongue. chatting up the crewmen was so easy but when it comes to him i couldn't even think of something to say. frustrating. finally he moved away and walked towards the nearest suking tindahan. sheesh, there goes my wildest dream. haha, dang it.

can i buy tubig? he asked the tindera. haha. i crack up everytime he does that.

and so it goes, torpe girl. i can be a lively talker most of the time, but somehow i find that i can do a good job at playing a bore. a talent that i'd rather do away with, really. hay!

the rest of the day was just...dreary. i couldn't wait for the work to be over with. i realized how non-normal everything about me actually was, and pushed away all thoughts of fulfilling even a scrap of that wildest dream. fairy tales come true only to those meant for it. i wasn't born to be a "love princess" (as how we call 'em during my qpids days). this schoolgirl thingie i'm nurturing won't do me any good. now or in the future.

at 7:30 pm i found myself hitching a ride to philcoa, glum and frustrated. i've since learned that the next best thing to winning the heart of the one you want is winning his friendship at least. i had 24 days to accomplish that, and i had failed miserably. sayang. i had all the time and proximity i needed. but the project was ending with him being no less a stranger to me than he was the first time we met.

oh well. i'm screwed up. just have to live with it.

The Birthday Party

Despite the dreariness of the day, tried to psyche myself up for a night of schmoozing with friends at the birthday party of friend beatlebum. i wasn't in the best disposition to party, but i survived the night, somehow. snoring at 4 am on the couch, but falling asleep smiling.

there was videoke, a fiesta-full of party food (including a happy shining roasted lechon as the dinner-table centerpiece), drinks, boardgames, cardgames, new people to know, even some, ehem, organic stuff from one of the guests later on in the night. in the early part of the evening i had found myself a bit disoriented. for the first time in 24 days, i was partying with people other than the latest group of co-workers. i'd missed this group, but i found myself missing my co-workers, too. torn moment between gladness and sadness. every crowd is different, every crowd you get to love for different reasons. so i had to momentarily adjust my mode from that crowd to this. it took seconds.

grabbed my turn on the microphone and belted out "Who Will Save Your Soul" with as much bravura as i could muster. i remember our videoke sprees way back when, during my qpids days. ah, ted the videoke king! haha. missed that.

went outside to smoke menthols with waterfowl. we took turns telling each other just how depressing our current states were. haha! rose and our 2-woman Depressed Anonymous support group! missed that.

photo grabbed from beatlebum

Everyone was calling out to michiko to come down from her room and join us for beatlebum's momentous candle-blowing event. silence from upstairs. beatlebum candidly told everyone, "Pagpasensyahan nyo na si mitch, anti-social talaga yan e." Weehee! (twist to come later...) And i had thought i was shy. i feel like a social butterfly each time i'm around michiko. in a way, i MISSED THAT!

twenty minutes later, michiko came in through the front door, carrying a big birthday cake. beatlebum was aghast. "akala namin nasa taas ka?!"

"hindi, bumili ako ng cake mo at candles." awww, haha! you could imagine the flush of quirky guilt on the birthday boy's face at that time. ;-) everyone had a gas over that little faux pas.

i've always loved the boardgame TABOO for a number of reasons: 1) reminds me of the company we kept the first time i played the game, 2) i thoroughly enjoy playing, and 3) i thoroughly enjoy winning. heheh! and so we played TABOO all night. in between photo ops, munchies, yosis, and chikahan.

i fell asleep even before the party ended. it was a tiring day, after all.

woke up at 8:30 in the morning (in the same couch i'd fallen asleep in!) to a phone call from friend Dennis. Ocular for our personal project will push through today. Can you be here in an hour?

I was like, Hwaat?! I haven't even gone home. You want me to go straight to a day-long trip outtatown? You're kidding! Hehe. Just-woken-up moments are not exactly my most gracious moments.

Found friend monj already awake, too. I was supposed to be in a hurry but i took the time with monj to pick scraps off the party leftovers and sip on some 3-in-1 coffee. Life's been pushing me on the express lane these days but i needed to steal a still moment every once in a while. and so, over (some semblance of) breakfast, i spilled my beans to monj about the current frustrations of this non-normal fly-on-the-wall's so-called existence.

haha. monjam, the reluctant confidante! i MISSED THAT, TOO!

sigh. a loong day. if there's one kernel of wisdom that i'd picked up from project wrap-up times of the past three years, it would have to be that endings do not come at the moment that you expect them to. and most of the time, "goodbyes" can only mean "see you later".

it's a small world, after all.

i was to figure out soon that this latest ending would turn out to be a long series of goodbyes.

walang katapusang paalaman. so very pinoy.

five-day express (day one)

I’ve been on the express lane for the past five days. Exhaustingly mobile. Deprived of the simple joys of stopping to take a breath, kick a pebble, mull over the goings-on in this odd little life.

Each day was something to write about. Ups and downs, highs and lows, highlights, lowdowns, adventures, plateaus.

Let me start with Day One.

Early Morning Calltimes, Early Packups

December 16. Our last day of shoot for the indie film. Arrived at the location--a church in Quezon City--at 4 in the morning. The stars were still shining down, the place was bursting with churchgoers, the air carrying the voices of choir singers. I was happy that I was lucky enough to catch the tailend of the First Morning of Simbang Gabi--sigh, been a looong time since I actually been to one of those.

The last shooting day was like how everything had been in the past 23 days. I was in lighter spirits, kidding around with everybody in between takes. I knew that even if I wouldn’t miss them to tears I was still going to miss them. We were such an ideal troupe. Everyone was down-to-earth, congenial, real. We loved each other. I think. Haha.

We packed up before sunset. There was to be a wrap-up party that night. Everyone--crew, staff, producers, cast--was invited.

At packup time the Leader of the Tribe made the effort to personally thank each and every one of us. I got a "thank you", a beso, a bottle of raspberry wine, and a warm-eyed smile. Of all these things he’d given me i treasure the smile the most. That kind of smile was a rarity, coming from him to me.

But the party was a different story altogether.

The Wrap Bash

The bash was fun. Definitely. Music turned up, food and drinks all around, and it was easy for me to switch modes from Working Girl to Party Girl, after a few songs on videoke and a bottle of San Mig Light. The Presidential Table Dwellers arrived last. Tribe Leader, escorting the (soon to be?)Ex-missus. The punk thrasher look was gone. The belo was gone. He looked pogi in a crisp shirt and moussed up hair. I still felt awkward around him like how I've always been in the past 23 days--couldn't talk to him, couldn't even smile. Only when I'd have someone else with me talking with him would I be able to get past my katorpehan. Argh. How high school, bluey. Ilang taon ka na nga uli?

You look pogi in your outfit! AD2, who was with me, enthused to him.

Yeah, pogi, I seconded, trying to be light. To my credit, the comment sounded casual enough. No one could've guessed the internal hurdles I had to get past through just to get the words out of my mouth. Haha.

He smiled at us, humoring the compliment. But the smile wasn't really meant for me. I was just a fly on the wall. A silent hovering pest, at worst. Ooh, ouch.

The Movie Trailer

They showed a rough-cut trailer of our film. Watching the images (with Coldplay playing in the background for scoring), I was moved to near-tears. Nothing like witnessing the fruits of your labor. Seeing the scenes flash before everyone’s eyes, I could proudly say that I'd been there, behind the scenes, in each and every shot. And the memories that came with each and every shot that we had mounted made the whole experience priceless for me.

In the middle of the screening, our Production Designer (who’s worked with the likes of Mike de Leon and Ishmael Bernal), randomly asked me: Saffron, ilang taon ka na?

Twenty five po.

Anong masasabi mo sa Sta. Mesa (one of our major locations in the film)?

Beautiful, I enthused.

He seemed to think so too. The production design of the film was breathtaking, but most of it was built-in on the location. The railways, the shanties, the trolleys, the locals, the clotheslines, the stray dogs, the scattered garbage—-politically incorrect as it might sound, but Sta. Mesa personifies Third World beauty, in all its uniqueness.

The Puller and The Ex-Missus

Behind the scene that was the Party, something else was going on. The Puller had been waiting for Tribe Leader’s Ex-Missus to arrive. It's a story that doesn't belong to me, and to tell it would be something akin to spreading "chismis", so I won't go into (too much) detail. Suffice it to say that, amidst the flurry of hellos and thank yous, hugs and besos, the Puller and Ex-Missus pulled a stunt in front of everyone when they unabashedly fell into a kiss. With the Tribe Leader standing less than five feet away. People started whispering.

I turned to discreetly look at Tribe Leader. His face revealed nothing. A few minutes later, he quietly, inconspicuously strode out of the bar to smoke a cigarette outside. Through the glass doors I could see him. His face revealed nothing still, but I could tell that he was sad. Anyone in his situation would be.

It seemed that he got sadder and sadder as the night deepened. I was busy with my own partying but I wasn’t completely lost in it. But he looked like he was. Lost in his own heartbreak.

Awww. Makes me wanna sing that MYMP song again.

In the middle of the party the Ex-Missus and The Puller disappeared. I could sense Tribe Leader’s restlessness. I wanted to sit down and bond with him—-it would’ve been my wildest dream—-but he was clearly more preoccupied with heavier things.

Finally I found him sitting next to me by 1 in the morning as the acoustic band played a local love song onstage.

These songs are so sad, he said to me. It looked more like he was saying it to himself.

I smiled at him and nodded, sadly in agreement. He was within an arm's reach but he had never been so distant. Haha. The overused cliché. The story of my life. His thoughts were out there, in some unknown place where The Ex-Missus and The Puller were huddled together. His heart was elsewhere, screaming and flailing with the anger and pain that he couldn’t openly display to the world.

Life was unfair for this guy. He deserved more love and respect than he was probably getting.

Soon enough he got up and walked away. Through the glass doors, I watched him leave the bar and take a walk into the night. There goes my wildest dream. Haha. He was probably going to look for her. Kick a few pebbles and mull over the goings-on in his life.

Right at that moment, I wanted so badly to make him feel better.

But I didn't know how. And I gravely doubted if I’d be the person who could.

Just a fly on the wall. A hovering pest, at worst. Haha-ouch.

I kept watch on the glass doors all night, waiting for him to reappear. A sad note to end the night with.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

taxing day

it's 10 pm. it's been a long day. i'm so tired.

emotionally taxing, as well. it makes no sense why. it shouldn't be, if i weren't so uptight, paranoid, and neurotic about certain things. one thing i do know is that i'm not imagining things this time. oh, and another thing: when it comes to riding on with the big bad world of green jokes, sex stories, and even more "worldly" topics, i really am just a sheltered little girl.

conservative pa pala ako, sa lagay na to?

when you're a girl working in a team of mostly hetero street-smart guys, you will, more often than not, hear a lot of things that might qualify as "sexist" or "demeaning" to the female gender. they don't mean any offense, of course. it's one of the few topics that gives them a really good laugh. but in my case, really, it will take a little getting used to. the green jokes. the innuendos. the leers and ogles. man. if i weren't so into my work, if i didn't like the people i was working with, i would've gone berserk. having to tolerate my biggest neurotic pet peeves nearly every single day.

i may have gotten used to it a bit after four weeks, but today was really a big hurdle. i felt like someone had figuratively pushed me against the wall. a normal girl wouldn't have taken it in the gut like how i did, she wouldn't have overreacted, but it's a sensitive thing for me. i don't like the feeling of being "pursued", even if it was meant to be a (persistent, long-running) joke. i don't like the innuendos, the "pasaring" comments, the open display of flirting-for-the-fun-of-it, the attention and what unknown motives there are. it's especially annoying because i know that the person has somehow, as a sport, undertaken the task of turning (seemingly frigid, turgid, suplada-ish) me into some kind of conquest.

he doesn't know me. i'm firewalled around all corners. that i told him that much. all that he said was, "talaga ha. tingnan natin." the nerve, eh. everything was cloaked under the guise of lighthearted joking-around so i didn't want to take offense. but if by any chance this person seriously thinks that he could actually get past the firewalls, he's got another thing going. if someone would be able to get past the firewalls, no offense, but it wouldn't be the likes of him.

anyway. this will blow over. tomorrow's our last day, after all. for all i know i'm just overreacting to things. a joke's a joke's a joke. nothing more, nothing less. nothing to get so alarmed about at all.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

the gift of words (or just how tanga can i get)

how do you spell T-A-N-G-A in capital letters? oops, i think i just did.

and i think that's what i am, for being too happy about something that came up just about 20 minutes ago.

after everything, despite everything, the hopelessness and futility of it all, the constant heartbreaks, i can't believe that one little friendster triviality from him to me could still make me smile.

paksyet talaga. i'm disappointed with myself.

but i'm smiling right now. oh, that is just so like him. the acerbic wit. how he sees me, how we met, how we got along during that brief stint in kiligtopia were all capsulized in one glowing paragraph. it was pathetic. to laugh out loud at 6 in the morning. not all of what he had said may necessarily be accurate (i'm not as "shallow" as you might think, buster. and you only got the top notch in class because i often submitted my reports late) but i still considered each and every word a gift. so now i'm compelled to consider the possibility that maybe, those months that i had spent in his company may not have been as futile and as empty as i had believed they were. kahit papano. we were strange bedfellows, but maybe somehow we had become friends.


hay, tangaaaa.

so much for closures. no wound can remain open for eternity, anyway. i'll get over it soon enough. so see ya around, partner. someday, one of these days.

Hay. ang tanga tanga ko talaga.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

coffee-sipping thoughts

i realize that if i do have a daughter in this lifetime, i might name her "Summer". too American-sounding, i know, but it evokes beautiful images in my mind when i hear it. and to marry those images with that of the Feminine all the more makes it perfect.

i'm amused, though, thinking how the name might sound (SA-MER, with the crisp RRRR at the end), coming from Pinoy tongues.

gloomy cloudy comfy day. it's two days to go before packup time. i have some time in my hands (for another moneymaking "racket", maybe?) before i embark on a very special personal project.

and in the middle of that, the holidays. hay. equates to spending. not that i'm a spendthrift (ha! far from it), but i've since realized that i do want to keep my savings account stable for as long as i can. after all, an important reason why you work is to earn money. not the most important reason, but important nonetheless.

for the first time in my working life, i'm actually thinking of saving up. haha!

i browse back to old pictures and remember the Frog Princess. my, my that face. some tastes are acquired, but some have been there since the day you were born. despite everything else, i think that nasty little "heartbreaker" will still always be my prototype for the Ideal Guy. i get a heart-tug each time i see that face.


some people you want to hate so much but can't. frustrating lot in life.

i wonder if he's in some island paradise by now, flirting with the local boys. haha! (i don't think so, suplado yun e) i don't really care anymore, but one can't help but wonder every once in a while.

two days to go. numinoo-minoo. got dvds to watch, bought from a recent trek to quiapo:

- la petite lili (it was shown at the 2004 French Film Festival in Greenbelt. the interesting poster had intrigued me then, but somehow i managed to miss the screening)

- dogville (one of my favorite movies of all time)

- before sunset and before sunrise, back to back (it seems that everybody's seen these flicks except me!)

- the constant gardener (friend rose was recommending it when it had its metro manila runs a few months ago)

- history of violence (friend michiko was recommending this as well)

- the exorcism of emily rose (missed it on theaters! damn!)

- the stepford wives (ditto with this movie)

two days to go. the whole experience was just too fleeting for me to miss anybody from work. i know i'll be seeing some of them, working with some of them in future projects. even the foreigner co-workers, i might even encounter in the future. who knows? it's a small world. (hey direk! what are you doing here at sundance? heheh) so goodbyes are a bit too soon at this point. it's just the first project, after all.

i'll miss the director's amusing efforts at tagalog-speak, though.

naughty, ha. haha!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

making eyes

twas only last night, on a trek to a nearby watering hole with workmates, that i actually saw a glimpse of what the real deal was between him and the ex. or at least, his feelings for the ex.

i could be wrong, but it doesn't matter anyway. just seeing the way he looked at her, even a drunk could tell this man only had eyes for one woman.

and seeing the way his eyes looked when he looked at me, i could tell that he'd probably known about my little torch for quite some time.

dang. it's my eyes. they just couldn't friggin lie. they always give me away.

so many stories goin on in our table last night. some even juicier, but i could only tell mine. which is something you've probably heard lotsa times before, so i'm not going to bore you to tears.

it's Day 21 of 25 days. can't wait for the Wrap Party.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

a day of distractions

i wasn't in my element yesterday. work-wise. dang. we shot in quiapo and we only finished two scenes. it rained in the afternoon and, since the remaining scene to be shot was supposed to be done in the exteriors, the Whites decided to set it aside for the B-roll Day (the day after the Official Last Shooting Day, reserved for all remnant shots/scenes) and proclaimed it a wrap.

wasn't in my element because i could've done better. it bothered me, the little slip ups. the van that wasn't supposed to be there in the background. the stall that should've been there. the picture that should've been behind the Lead Girl's pocket. why didn't i notice these things? syempre wala namang masyadong nakapansin, ako lang ang nakakaalam sa mga booboo-lettes ko kahapon, but still it bothered me. there's no room for more than two mistakes if you're a good worker. buti na lang hindi nahalata ni direk.

it's another of those things, you know. the director doesn't seem to take the continuity of details all that seriously. often he'd dismiss it with an "It won't matter..." whenever I'd remind him (with editing in mind, of course) of a continuity detail from Master Shot to Tighter Shot or Reverse (sorry for being technical...hay, di ko maiwasan). I'd jokingly tell him silently, GANUN NAMAN PALA, E ANO PANG GINAGAWA KO DITO? hay angst. haha!

still, every day is a challenge for me to do my job better. and do beyond my own scope of duties. a lot of complaints i've been hearing about our assistant director and I, as a subordinate somehow, feel that I ought to try to make up for his shortcomings. pero pano? wouldn't want to step on anyone's toes. baka ako maka-offend. oh well, i guess i should just try to do as much as i can and be sensitive about other people's feelings as well.

actually mas gusto kong maging assistant director. mas masaya atang trabaho yon, kesa mag-memorize or mag-followup kung bihis na ang artista/nandyan na ba ang lahat ng props/mag-relay sa clapper kung ano ang number ng shot. haha! someday i know i ought to try it in the mainstream. i've done it partially in "nasaan ka man" (the claudine-echo-diet movie of last year). but that's a special case, i had the director's trust from concept-phase (which was why i ended up being his mouthpiece-cum-writer on the set), but there's nothing like earning the position from the ranks up. officially. and then i wouldn't have to worry myself over whether the Lead Actor used his right or left hand in the Master Shot. Haha.

tomorrow is going to be Day 18 of 25 days. time flies, so they say. isang linggo na lang pala, packup na kami. it's a happy and (somewhat) sad thought at the same time.

haha. but work will always be on top of my list. by the end of this project, i should have convinced as many workmates as i could that i'm reliable enough to be a "contact"--so that when they have projects in the future, they'd remember me.

haha! cold-blooded tactical beeyatch. anything to get the work-ventures goin on and on and on, ayt?

Monday, December 05, 2005

i will go back to this one year from now

these days, i love... favorite blue jeans, red sneakers, and minitee with the QPIDS logo
...wearing my hair up while at work (keber na kung mukhang loshang, mainit e)
...remembering everything
...directing talents (or "extras", as how the Westerner co-workers call them)and getting them to act right.
...early packups
...late calltimes
...hearing Current Crush try to talk in Tagalog
...seeing Current Crush without the, erm, belo (a shame to hide such nice hair)
...getting at least 5 hours of sleep
...multiple locations in one shooting day
...Wet Ones
...doing more than just my designated work
...oh, that face!
...having that face smile at me
...unsolicited treats and freebies at work
...days off
...a day's job done well
...extra joss for those long hours
...menthol yosis every now and then (arghh)
...coming home

Sunday, December 04, 2005

the anecdote of the wet ones

an adventurous day today.

we shot scenes the entire morning inside a moving bus. one of those big tin-can, ordinary-fare types, sans the air conditioning.

it was hot and sticky inside when the bus wasn't moving. we were all breaking up a sweat by 10 am. while waiting for the camera to be set up, he picked up a pack of pink Wet Ones from the floor and turned to me. "Do you want to have some?" was what I heard.

"sure." i replied almost instantly. how coincidental, i thought--i had one of those packets of Wet Ones, too, and they were also of the pink variety. and now he was offering them to me. awww. could it be fate?

"no, i said if i could have some." he said. "i think these are yours." i looked down at the pocket of my belt bag and saw that my Wet Ones were, indeed, gone.

"oh. sure." i said, slightly embarrassed. embarrassed because i was somekinda bingi, not to mention presumptuous for assuming that he wanted to offer me anything more than this job (erm, which he didn't, on second thought). and also because i had seemed to eager to take the offer, despite the fact that I had all the while been thinking that I had my own pack with me. Argh.

hahaha. pano naman kasi napakaOA ng american twang mo, dude. sino ba namang pinoy ang hindi mabibingi every once in a while. as he proceeded to wipe the wet napkin all over his sweating neck n' nape i decided that i ought to forget the incident. even if it was one of those rare instances when he would talk to me about anything else outside of work.

kahit na tungkol sa Wet Ones lang. haha, pathetic.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

after a not-so-long day

the challenge of doing what you're meant to do, it's always there. sharpening your memory. concentrating on what needs to be remembered. and why.

but somehow at some point you will be compelled to wonder if you're not doing enough. that maybe, you oughtta not be just standing by and remembering, offering some physical assistance whenever the person-in-charge-of-the-certain-task is not within immediate reach. wouldn't want to unwittingly insult anyone by doing their work (just as i wouldn't want them to do the same to me), but still, moments will come that you will be compelled to rethink. maybe i should be doing more.

maybe i would. if i could put in something extra on top of doing my designated job well, then why not. anything to get the scene shot as soon as possible, right.


and then there's the...personal stuff. somehow when it comes to the occupants of the "presidential table" during meal breaks, i clam up. go on introvert mode. i'm open and chummy with the rest of the team, but i'm finding it hard to treat the foreigners in the same sociable way that i would treat my fellow pinoys. i'm just...ilang. not because they're foreigners but for some other reason that makes me somehow hate myself. just a little bit more, each day.

eccentric beeyatch.

and they probably sense it. especially the Leader of the Tribe. he'd be the first to sense because of all the members of that Tribe he's the one I work with in closest proximity.

i'm bothered by that. somewhat bothered by that. makes me almost wish that we could get this project done and over with. i enjoy it but somehow the black spot is getting bigger each day. i'm alienating myself to the person that i should be closely working with. a no-no. being professional doesn't necessarily mean you can't be congenial. i can mingle with all kinds of people under ordinary circumstances, but these are not exactly ordinary times. i've been colored with guilt. can't treat them as friends, because i'm afraid they would find out my little secret.

well, not that the "secret" is so totally true. not really. not anymore. i was just a vulnerable soul back then. the wakeup calls are always there everyday to shake me out of it.

another early, early day tomorrow. have to go to bed now. i wish i could just be as normal as possible whenever he's around.

learning to take the blame

thanks to a long taxing day yesterday, i wasn't able to go to work today.

i feel bad about it. like how i feel a little bit bad about a few other things.

lost my phone the other night at work. losing your saved contact numbers could make your life a little more difficult than normal. bahala na ang diyos sa culprit.

i dreamed last night. and they weren't good dreams. my laptop had a somekinduva short circuit on the set. it caused a lot of damage and delay to the production. my director was hostile and the producer wanted to fire me. the last few seconds of that dream i realized that i was only dreaming. and then, soon enough, i returned to the surface. alarm clock ringing, it was time to go to work, but my entire being felt like hot lead. i felt like i was burning up, from fever or drowsiness i couldn't tell, but every cell in my body was screaming GET US BACK TO BED, TAO LANG PO, WE'RE NOT GOING TO TOLERATE THE ABUSE THIS TIME.

and so i had to relent. and i feel really bad about it. maybe it's just a matter of time management on my part. maybe if i had learned to prioritize things then maybe i wouldn't have gotten these nasty colds-and-coughs. i should stop blaming everybody else for my own faults. like that phone. and my absence today. even the fact that my nose is congested and my lungs are aching from all this coughing. gets mo, bluey? claiming responsibility for your actions is what i'm saying.

i'm going to work still. after lunch, do a half-day. at least i'd have missed only half of what was shot today.