Come what may was my mindset for my 33rd birthday. I couldn’t afford a party, the kind I like throwing because I like that friends are gathered and having fun and creating memories and taking photographs.

Who to gather, when to gather and how to make sure everyone will catch the fever. This year, I was having none of these distressing decisions involved in party preparation. All because I was keen on emptying my pocket only for my July trip to Sing. So there were no plans for celebrating. No clear answers to friends’ queries. No early announcements.

A few hours before time switched to my day, I was stretched out in the sofa reading Women Who Run with the Wolves. Belinda messages: On my way home, U? Whatcha wanna do?

I reply: Home na rin. Come, let’s find something to do. Hehe πŸ™‚

Two vodka ice bottles, a big bag of Doritos, cheese dip!, and fresh basil leaves were fished out of the bag she brought home. “For starters,” she claims before tossing herself on the cushioned bench by the main door.

For starters, right. Only we couldn’t figure where to finish as our dilated eyes searched the ceiling for pointers to a cool comfy cozy bar in QC. We were considering going out because Belinda had again uttered what sounded like her mantra for the week: “I want to drink.”

Because it’s me who has been doing the actual drinking that week and she the mere wanting, I went: “I just want to have a fruit shake.”

We both agree we’d have to go someplace with live music, and not our usual hang-outs. But we couldn’t think of any, except for that place in Katipunan with a name that’s forgettable that Belinda had to call and ask her friend only to be told that whatever-that-bar-was had closed down. We spent some seconds wishing we were wired so we could click-the-city-dot-com. At some point, we dropped the subject and finally got on our feet to deal with the starters.

While transforming basil into pesto, Belinda was struck with another idea. “Let’s invite friends over and tell them to bring their own bisyo.”

Yes!, I beamed and composed a text invite for our instant Open House. No one came. Buhuhu. We burst into tears and slit our wrists.

Naahh. To entertain ourselves, we pretended to be in a “talk show”. I reminded Belinda of her promise in Galera last April when she first practiced her hosting skills as part of my Emcee Bee-Bee campaign. Then, she said she was gonna launch her hosting career on my birthday. So, this time around, I was interviewed not as small-scale miner, but as birthday girl. She was chatty and pretty good with the questions, I thought myself a poor conversationalist.

Two hours later, I was craving for cigs and she for the moon. So we took a stroll towards Manang vendor in Kalayaan, bought yosi, idly walked back, and hung around our gate bathing in moonshine until it drizzled.

 

We were back in our apartment when my phone started beeping with some text greetings. It was 12 midnight. But not the end of the night. Minutes later, Belinda and I were flagging a cab to Katipunan headed for no particular bar. When we spotted Radioactive Sago Project playing in Mag-net Cafe, we eagerly asked the driver to steer back.

“Oh, gabi na naman kayo,” remarked Joel, a good friend and regular of Mag-net. “Birthday ko,” I volunteered hoping this would justify our very late entrance. I had only been there once before, in May, also with Belinda, also arrived past midnight.

We only caught Sago’s last two songs, prompting the bar staff to profusely apologize for charging us with the entrance fee. It was kinda strange, actually. Especially that we didn’t even complain. Every five minutes or so, there was a waiter coming to our table asking if we’ve been refunded or explaining the simple computations. The last one even asked for my number saying the head waiter wanted to get some information. True enough, I got a call the other day checking if we encountered a problem with the waiters. Wow. They must have real issues with their staff and really care for their customers or… something else, Belinda says. Haha!

Anyway, we had a good time. It was the perfect bar — cool music, laid-back unpretentious crowd, cozy space, just the right air-conditioning, and smoking allowed. πŸ™‚

The next day, my birthday, I traveled to Victoria in Mindoro Oriental with two other officemates for work-related stuff. I spent the hours chuckling in the bus to Batangas, ferry to Calapan, and van to Victoria while also being transported to England and Ireland through Marian Keyes‘ wacky essays in Under the Duvet. Oh, I love her!Under the Duvet

Funny, this year’s birthday feels like I really went traipsing and exploring (mostly in my mind). What I found most interesting (apart from the expected wishes from dearest friends and family :P) were the greetings either thru text, email or friendster (!) from long lost friends and old buddies now living far, far away. Truly, truly heartwarming.

Thank you all!

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