Nosi Balasi

Spent five days in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro for the human rights training our office organized for local government staff and community leaders. In between sessions, had brief talks with our very chatty and hard-working local coordinator whose enthusiasm and convictions about his many activities and advocacies I found truly uplifting. He talked about his group’s many initiatives to promote sustainable agriculture, organic farming and waste management. He made us watch a documentary on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), gave us a tour of Naujan Lake, briefed us on the land titling issue in the area and shared with us their farm-produced organic “bukayo”.

But what I liked the most was his story about how he organized the youth – tambays, out-of-school and former habitual drug users — to form an environmental group. “Mahirap din,” he says, “kailangan mong sabayan para maintindihan mo sila”. So now he sports cargo shorts, plus a cap over his do of short with a strip of long “buntot” hair. He neither drinks nor smokes but he screams along the videoke’s rock tunes. “Idol” was how he was called by the boys he brought to attend our training.

On our last night, we drank with the boys in the poolside of our conference venue. When “Nosi Ba Lasi” blasted out of the videoke machine, I reached for the mic and easily revived my teenage angst. “Sabog ito,” they teased. Ayun, pasok sa puso. Didn’t mind at all that for most of the night they punctuated their love songs with “Ate Rhoda”.

It was heartwarming to see that these kids are grabbing the chance to channel their talents and energies to an initiative, an environmental cause; that they are interested in gaining knowledge, expressing their creativity, and being part of something worthwhile; and that they have their “idol” as role model, someone who took it upon himself to understand and inspire and steer these youngsters away from nasty habits and many wasted years.

Love Story

When I got back Friday, Eula promptly texted and invited me to a movie. We caught Love Story in Trinoma, which I haven’t visited before. I wept in the “kunwari” scene where Aga got to hear his Alzheimer’s-afflicted Dad say that he was proud of his son. It’s sad thinking about how someone could drag around a suffering heart all his life just because he wasn’t given the affirmation he desperately sought from a parent.


Saturday, did my laundry and finished the last episodes of Heroes 1 while the tubero fixed the leak in my bathroom. Had the shock of my life when he charged a whopping P1,200. He reasoned that he changed the pipes and this and that. But then, I only had P680 in my wallet. Tinanggap niya naman. Ganun ba talaga kamahal ang plumbing service?

Home in the Mediterranean

In the evening, went out with my other Ilonggo kabarkada that I haven’t seen in a long long time. We had dinner in Ziggurat, a Mediterranean resto in the corner of Tigris and Euphrates Streets (yes yes yes! hahaha!) just behind Makati Avenue. They have a nice cozy Tatami set-up and since we were the only ones there, feeling at home na at home talaga with matching higda higda and harakhak to death. “Ilabas na ang mahjong set!”, we roared.

The Government that’s Legit

Dinner and three rum shots later, we, three girls and two gays, strolled towards our real party destination, the gay club Government! It was Madonna night and what could be more fun for heterosexual girls than being in bar where you can dance as sexy as Madonna yet neither leery nor sizing-up looks are thrown your way. Kasaja!

In the smoking room, one gay guy casually took the empty space beside me in the couch, extended his hand, introduced himself, and soon we were sharing some personal stuff. I introduced him to this other gay friend I bumped into there. When I said my goodbyes, I gave them my warmest hugs and kisses. I was tipsy. Hehehehe.

Earlier in the night, there were three dance performances. The second one was by (yo, Maya!) Airdance Company. By Maya’s prodding, I had enrolled in their jazz and street grooves weekend classes last June (but alas, my knee snapped! :P). Anyway, my hiphop teacher was among the four from the company who danced to a beautifully-choreographed snappy number. Sometime in the night, I bumped into Paul Morales, Airdance’s Art Director. “Anong ginagawa mo dito?,” he asked somewhat surprised. I just smiled sheepishly and mumbled something about being with friends. Hehehehe.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun 😛 Super enjoy. Mabuhay ang lehitimong Gobyerno! Ibagsak si Gloria!