Monday, December 7, 2009

Choloisms (Facebook Status Updates Compilation)

***I never though they were going to be this many... these are status updates for my contacts on Facebook. Reflections of what i felt on particular moments, events or even food... Hope you could pick a line or two from this. Kisskiss! :)***

"Always treat your work, product, action, behavior and specially your name like it's a brand... " -Choloisms

"The ride was kinda bumpy, like a bulbous ginger ready to be peeled from the earth... peeled gingerly (no pun intended) to expose the fragrant flesh... like a day in my life... earthily dark soil, plucked, peeled and then being thrown to the hot wok after." -Choloisms

"It just felt like good old fashion pesto... not really osterizing... it's a feeling of gently pounding me with pine nuts and parmesan... and oiling me with some lovely extra virgin-ness..." -Choloisms

"I reckon if COMELEC gave a simpler reason for turning down LADLAD, like basically the pseudo conservative system isn't ready for anything like it, and not in the grounds of immorality, it could have been more palatable for everyone.... stupid reasons come from stupid people... and yes, our taxes pay them to do that (unfortunately)..." –Choloisms

"I long forgot being religious... I reckon that there is more substance and weight to life if you’re being spiritual..." –Choloisms

"How can a disease, such as AIDS apply in the principles of the law of attraction? If you shout to the universe to eradicate such stigma to the gay community, then it’s also an absolute validation of its existence... chicken or egg dilemma once again." -Choloisms

"AIDS' infamy as a disease isn't really because of its deadly nature, but because for the longest time people has associated it with the gay people- man has to accuse someone for the fault, while the accused burdened by the stigma of a false notion- at the end of the day, its just another disease that validates our mortality as humans... regardless of our demographics" -Choloisms for World Aids Day

"The death of one media practitioner dominoes into the grieving of two parents that nee, a wife, a brood, peers, a community gone mute, a province deafened, an island without a view, a country's spirit scarred... one death, one eye pierced not to see, one voice not to speak... one is the prerequisite of a lot of numbers..." -Choloisms

''What's the point? If your life is ruled by question marks?'' -Choloisms

"The best thing about cooking for family and friends? The most extravagant ingredient that you could mix in isn't really written on recipe books, can’t be bought on markets and delis, and doesn’t require you to chop, mince, or slice it... its LOVE." -Choloisms

"Progress as a nation doesn’t only pertain to Urbanization and Modernity... sometimes it deals with knowledge, collective wisdom as a whole, a principle, a thought... a crave for further-ment of one's self and his emotions... even a step back to rekindle lost cultural heritage...the simplest of steps produces the deepest effects in progress..." -Choloisms

"its so hard being a taurean... deep natured and often patiently silent even in the face of what seems to be a heated debate... it becomes an advantage, you believe in the fluency of your silence... then at the tip of your tongue, the first letter of your first cuss word escapes... all hell brakes loose..." -Choloisms

"in his amber skin i reside, mine, pale and cold... thawing the winter from my heart... his body, the smell of musk and grass, whiffs of anticipation... of desire... of love, i succumb to thee..." -Choloisms

"Manny, we are greatful for your win and very proud of you... but the singing ala concert performer really sucks... a simple thank you will do for the entire nation..." -Choloisms

"a call for public service doesn't really require you to run for office... otherwise, it morphs into what we call politics... if youre passionate about change and helping out, then just do so." -Choloisms

"You loved me in my worst, when my halo broke, horns beacon, wings gilt with soot... your love cleansed, you're long gone... my horn stabbed in your heart, never gone... now you're in worst, and I, in my best... should i love you?.. I should." ---Choloisms

"When you arrive at the moment when in your singlehood, you still feel love, contentment peace and calm... that's your clue that you ARE living your life." -Choloisms

"come to think of it, Love is like a boiling pot of caramelized sugar, amberish and mystical, boiling glaze of sweetness... till you try and taste it and scald your curious tongue... but hey, bottom line, it’s still sweet... sweet misery..." -Choloisms

"The end of the world starts not with earthquakes, tsunamis, or any other natural disasters, it would start when man defied the Existence of his faith and God... when faith is gone, so is our humanity" -Choloisms

"love becomes a myth to those who doesn't believe its existence... the being of love is what you make out of it..." -Choloisms

"Love for me isn't a gift, a gesture, a scholarly thing that you try to learn, dissect and analyze... Love is an ability. Simple." -Choloisms

"Slutting around and sleeping with guys frequently doesnt really fall on your dieticians's prescription of a complex protein diet" -Choloisms

"Almost everyone wanted to change the world, but always seem to forget that its a selfish reason... change should start from oneself..." -Choloisms

"The rains came back, kissing the heel of the island torn... a tease, a threat, nature's caress... mother who sobs, children of tears, let us ressurect first before another sneeze..." Choloisms

"I’m scared of my thoughts, plans for the future... scared in the sense that these plans are bigger than i am, overwhelming, meaningful... and theyre not even for myself..." -Choloisms

"I had to be where the chocolate rivers cascade along the mountain with a peak dusted with powdered sugar... there i would meet granny smith and a pooch named Syrup... toting a bottle of mable for travelers..." -Choloisms

"The Southeast Asian tragedies are the beginnings of a new breed of people... Filipinos shall prevail as expected, but hopefully wiser and more compassionate..." -Choloisms

"I did wait for you behind the accacia tree bt you were nowhere to be found, the floods brushing my cold legs shaking, but still i stood there waiting... no sign of you... just the murky waters and the accacia..." -Choloisms

"When will Filipinos be Filipinos? when will Filipinos stop blaming superiors for their miseries and actually take charge and take responisblity for themseves and for their country at the same time?" -Choloisms

"What's the point in orchestrating a dish, with all saying their best opinions regarding the positive technicalities, layers of flavors and all that crappy statements food critics have, other than delicious?" -Choloisms

"I hope people running for 2010 are taking notes with what's happening right now... and hopefully they're not talking about typhoon proof campaign materials." -Choloisms

"The tides have hammered the shore backwards, receding almost... with the moon nowhere to be found... then a strange thing observed, how the tides existed on a sea-less society?"- Choloisms

"Passion for something isn't the only attitude to have in order to achieve something... it entails two more things... initiative and patience..." -Choloisms

"The rains hasn't come to pass... the land drenched still in suffering and irresponsibility from people who couldnt give a damn... in natures wrath we could only watch... "- Choloisms

"I have frozen my heart in solitude, it doesnt feel right... but i chose too... an egoistic, selfish heart set aside for the greater good... i knew all along that i wasn't meant for one person alone... but i belong to everyone... a cause bigger than me... i succumb, finally." -Choloisms

"I'm a twin virgin thats half water, half earth and born under the Bull's sign Taurus..."- Choloisms.

"Why would i force myself to fall for one person like the norms of people states? when i could love fifteen at the same time... TWICE!"- Choloisms

"During the disaster relief efforts, it occured to me that I’m living in a country lacking heroes... maybe because when everyone is... no one becomes... which is a good thing." -Choloisms

"Now I know why there's an eerie silence before the natural disaster hit our shores... it wasn’t anticipation of disaster and great peril... it was the sound of a country in prayer... we must have done something right this time" -Choloisms

"I salute my race for using his greatest and most powerful weapon ever... Faith... it gave our democracy back... and not to mention veering off a major natural disaster..." -Choloisms

"You know the feeling of being announced as the new miss universe, combined with the feeling of being in front of a roller coaster at its highest drop?... thats the feeling i have now, hearing the final chirps of the birds before the storm..."- Choloisms

"When I heard the news regarding escaped crocodiles lurking in the floods of manila, I thought they were being literal..."- Choloisms

"The rains hasn't stop yet, and there will be more to come... admit it or not, this is the world as we manipulated it... nature would take its course, and humanity insignificant... there are laws she abides, not ours... but we have FAITH... so we pray." -Choloisms

"How much more a race drenched in suffering could endure? when resilience is dwindling... when a wound not yet healed is opened again... when humanity is at its brink of breaking down... when people expected to help needed help too?... PRAYERS... we turn to Him- for our race has SOUL" -Choloisms

"There's an eerie calm this morning-there's a sigh of relief thet the storm has passed, but half of you alarmed with images that you might witness below the waterline, it’s almost the calm you get before you sob-maybe it’s not "calm" after all... it’s a pause of shock" -Choloisms

"Did it ever dawned to you that we were born in this world involuntarily only to slave ourselves there after with man made laws and work... all of this with the knowledge of we all eventually die in the end?"-Choloisms

"You do NOT... finish my sentence!"-Choloisms

"So you think your God's gift to the universe and the key to unveiling the truth about what's the next big thing in moisturizers... to tell you frankly, you should look for a wrinkled prune that you deserve..." -Choloisms

"I never really love Mondays... aside from the word phonetically similar to a very much hated ex's name, it is also... err... well I think that's the only reason why..." -Choloisms.

"How can we champion a nationality that is devoid of a backbone? riding on other people's accomplishments?"- Choloisms

"With only one heart, I’ve loved 10 men simultaneously... without them knowing it..." Choloisms

"Imagine, man created numbers for the mere luxury of measuring his achievements- stocks graphs, 99.00's, 100%'s, 92.03 second 100 meter dash... when success is a humble personal feeling..."- Choloisms

"I was brought up perfectly by my parents... i was always told to be when i grow up, to have a childish disposition with the credibility of an adult..." -Choloisms

"Come to think of it... if at the end of the day. you have the luxury of laughing at all the errors and faux pas in your life, then that's a sign that you actually made it..." -Choloisms

"I was raised to wear the pants of the family... I worked hard, toiled for the reigns... only to find out in the end that skirts work better on me... while carrying a shotgun and a very fat pink purse..." -Choloisms

"If Everyone made themselves responsible Filipinos both as individuals and as a nation, and put their heart and soul into this endeavor, then having a government, less a president down, seemed redundant."-Choloisms

"I would appreciate if you understand me more, settle and think of where you want to lead us... and i would appreciate it more if you add extra fries on my burger or just go biggie size and stop cutting back on my cupcake habit!" -Choloisms

“I was born with a fire tongue and an iced heart... fortunately I have the sweet tooth to compensate from this bitter world....”-Choloisms

“I learned five languages in order to convey my message… only to find out in the end that the best way to say it is to be silent.” -Choloisms

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Ondoy's wrath as we all of us know here from Facebook has brought a certain spirit of "bayanihan" in all of us. Time lines, geography, nor social status were insignificant during those times of need. Everyone pitched in with all the ongoing relief efforts, rescues and even updates from everyone, who to save first at this certain location or which orgs needed more volunteers and the likes. Blow by Blow accounts for one week, non-stop and more... But as typhoon Pepeng struck the north for a week now, it seems that after most of us prayed that it won’t land in Central and Metro manila, and landed on the north, the donations and the same charitable spirit seemed to dwindle...

I might be wrong, or might misinterpret the whole scenario but it really irked me a lot to have this inevitable conclusion that people were just extra concern because it was manila that was struck big time... proximity did a big role on the spirit. and now, since it was north, no matter how badly hit all the provinces were, its seemed an OK situation for most and it would take a good shaking before they would further on what they started with Ondoy... lesser updates from what was happening up north, lesser concern except for a few people who understood the significance of such natural disasters...

Maybe I’m ahead, or right away misjudging, but I’ll take the hit. It’s a subjective observation of mine that I can't seem to contain anymore. More people up north needs the all the help they can have, farmers almost to harvest loss billions collectively. Even Baguio with its altitude, has floods, Pangasinan is more than 90% underwater and the facts go on and on, probably the most expensive typhoon damage ever for our country since the great flood of 1972 when Central Luzon was in the same position... It’s time to light that candle of charity, of wider concern for our brothers... a collective effort once again to help out a greater population. If you don’t have time, prayers will do wonders, volunteer again and donate to your able charity that has the capacity to utilize and distribute all donations in this massive scale.

The government, civil society, private sector, common people and everything in between should be taking notes with what has happened. This is actually the time when people running for government positions next year should be tested with what they can do. But in the midst of all of this, I am actually proud to see that boundaries seemed to be in gloom for a while when groups actually function as a part of a whole. When the process of how a certain mission, though in individual, seemed to cohere in one and made the mission fan out to its original purpose. Help. Swift help.

We are continually tested for our spirits as a nation. Probably we are slated to be the first nation to actually feel the fury of nature because of man's deeds and materialism, global warming and the continuous conscious disrespect for our environment. But there’s always a silver lining for the lucky Filipinos if they would just see it in a different perspective. Studies for both urban and geographical model flood simulations have a better gasp now of what is to happen next time, funding scientific studies result to factual information on how to deal with very predictable disasters. There is a chance now for better urban planning and people have a better understanding that cheaper land isn’t really a good land, even being conscious with locations, types of housing and even safety precautions of so. Agriculture wise, there should be proper funding and support for all the people involved in it, that farms and primary crops should be dispersed and encouraged all over the country, that in case of this kind of disaster or any that would devastated our food supply, other provinces can be tapped. Let’s face it, we are built for agriculture not subdivisions. If only the government can make simple farmers into really capable experts with their crops, then probably we are exporting out surplus now. And individual people could actually make a difference by participating on a common purpose if they would just really work hard on it. For the past decades, we’ve been wailing to change the governance that the people we sat in office are doing, but we almost forgot that we can change as people and eventually a whole population with the same basic idea of an able country. A fresh start if you could put it that way.

Idealistic, but very feasible.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

When the Steel Kubo Sank

No one was really prepared for anything, les changing their lives forever. September 26, 2009 was just an ordinary day for most of us but not till that afternoon when most of Metro Manila, the capital of vulnerable Philippines was hit by a month’s worth or rain within six hours. Life altering indeed and it came from the waters that gave life to the capital who’s been the country’s main port city.

Life versus Material

As the raging flood waters enveloped most of the city, when cars toppled upon another, when the walls of your house that protects you defied its purpose, and when roofs become the only solace of safety available, one couldn’t help but wonder. With all material things striped from you, you are left with your humanity and shaken faith with God. This was hurricane Katrina with a big mound of rice in it that most of us couldn’t bare to swallow. As the hours trickled on, and the rains pour vigorously, we held on to that faith. We know that its common sense that the murky dark waters of mud, garbage and the hard earned life of the people, swallowed house after house, subdivision, buildings, aimlessly and indiscriminately: commoners, politicians, actors, rich or poor, all succumbed to its wrath.

Democracy and Government

Let’s go back when we were mourning for the death of the Mother of Philippine Democracy, Corazon Aquino. All were moved, appreciative of what she gave us back, restored our soul as a race and as freemen. It’s the time when nationalism and love for our country was at its peak. I think that this event made us more responsive and vigilant regarding what’s happening around and it did helped a LOT during Ondoy’s wrath. The evening of September 26 became a milestone for everyone. A shining silver lining on what we are as a race drowning in fear and chaos: the birth of a new breed of people.

People online became newscasters, weather men, making everyone aware of the extent of the disaster. Groups helping out for relief efforts, volunteerism and compelling hoards in prayer, people connecting to people as their voice to direct them for and to help. It’s the only time when politics and government was irrelevant and noticeably non-existent. Media took over and everyone has a voice. True democracy in action and deed… an exercise of when a person governed himself and saw his part of a greater group, the results seemed so much more significant. To be frank, people online were far more organized with coordinating, informing and acting on Ondoy’s victims and the help needed for them, more than the Philippine government itself. Shame on you people who we pay to govern us.

Your Declaration of the State of Calamity is Good… But Where is the Rubberboat?

As the rescue operations started with people stranded in their homes, roofs and even powerlines, one can’t help but wonder how our government is so ill prepared with calamities such as this, that it’s such a given fact that our country is bombarded by typhoons several times every year. We don’t need your words. We need action. And coming from the glistening positive behavior of the Filipino people, the government should be threatened. Why? Because this was the instance when they’re needed to act and no one really cared if they do. The bayanihan spirit was so alive that people depended on other people to survive, that the boundaries of society were defied and deemed insignificant, that the bottom-line of it all was that people need help, so they’re going to get it, and no politician would put malice on such humanitarian effort. It’s simply us, like a family.

Stories of Bravery, Death, and Survival…

Relief work started immediately, first in small ways such as checking your neighbor next door, prayers and small bits of heroism here and there. But the full story of this chapter in our history didn’t really materialize till the day after the storm, when practically a giant pitcher of rain water was poured all over the city like a tsunami. Death littered the streets like the gunk and garbage it has, pushing 300 as of this moment. The whole world was watching as people wade around puzzled with what has happened to a modern metropolitan city they live in. Story after story, each one more disastrous, sad, heroic than the other… It’s a whole chapter of stories that we as a race are capable of writing legibly and properly.

This is a test given by God and we are given this chance to have straight A’s. Yes, you might think it’s just a small part of a country with seven thousand plus islands, and Manila is not the Philippines, but the capital, after all, is the melting pot of all the people in our country and properly represented. God probably thought that the Filipinos are very ripe for this. We were given a chance to rekindle our soul as a freedom loving and respecting race a couple of month’s back, and now is the time to act on it with Him on our side.

Moving On…

After all the relief efforts that’s going on right now, giving victims means to survive the day, what efforts are we supposed to do to help people stand on their own once again? Everything that’s offered now is just temporary, but rebuilding back intangible lives is a bigger task. Sometimes I entertain the idea that Ondoy is a chance for Manila to retrofit its urban planning, a chance to view our capital in a different way, a capital more respectful of nature, and aware of environmental concerns, a clear message for everyone to participate in the global drive to combat global warming, an example for other cities in the country to re-evaluate and asses what’s lacking in their community, an opportunity for groups and organizations to practice their mission and vision, and simply relive a value that makes us all Filipino. Bayanihan.

Together we should force ourselves to move on and be prepared all the time after this disaster. We are resilient as a race, dutiful with our spirituality but we all tend to forget sometimes. We don’t need another Ondoy to kiss the cheek of our mother country just to make us realize why our race is a survivor or why we are Filipinos, and be inspired to write our history better and with an A+ from God.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My Ode to the Mother Of Democracy

Her family mourned, unselfishly
Her country, drenched in yellow confetti
streets, lines of people
hearts, rivers of tears

yellow, bright... bitter sweet
songs of praise
half mast raise
honoring our mother of freedom
silently watching from the kingdom...

sorry if we've been disobedient
sorry if we sometimes did wrong...
sorry if as your children we've strayed far
and sorry as citizens we seemed to forget...
like a mother, you still forgive and inspired many to do right...

further on, her message states
to take care of the thing she fought for
the freedom, enabled us to have a voice
today, tomorrow we should be thankful for...

her crying children, forced to share
the only mother they've known
to the country who grieves with them...
at the end of the day, realized
in her eyes
we are all citizens of this country.

goodbye our mother of democracy...
goodbye our yellow rose...
bloomed, wilted and now ready to shed...
shed the seeds of her sacrifices
for the country she loved unfazed...

the orphaned Philippines will miss you greatly
Our president, our mother, our giver of freedom...
thank you.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Timely Flight of the Yellow Dove by Cholo Ayuyao

For the past days, as the country mourns over the death of former president Corazon Aquino, there’s a certain feel of calmness all over the land. The eerie silence actually transcends fluency that is cloaking each one who is affected by her death, some viewing it like the loss of a mother, a sister, a leader both spiritual and political. But after being hooked by this historical occurrence and observing the people’s behavior this afternoon as the remains of the former president sliced through the seas of people towards the Manila Cathedral, one couldn’t deny the fact that no other leader of this country has ever commanded such ardor and respect from the masses the way Corazon Aquino does.

She’s a perfect example of what a leader should be: Imperfect and admitting that she is. That humility raised her status to a very influential leader even after her tenure as president. Even in her death, she still commands that same influence and even more. Her death maybe a great loss for her closest of family but it is very much timely for the country. In her death, I’ve noticed the silence from politicians aiming for positions on the coming elections next year. The recent SONA, which was a failure in itself and managed to only light up a little candle from the expected bonfire it would produced was still outshined by her death. The snowballing of event signified one thing for our country: In Cory’s death, she’s still telling us a message to be conscious of what our government is and what the state of the Filipino is now.

The Filipino is a resilient race, Cory believes. Her death is telling us to gather up our senses as a people and make next year right. Her legacy to the world of not using violence, but prayers en mass and act on that faith and belief to make it be heard and materialize further on. It’s a wakeup call for everyone to guard that democracy and practice it the proper way. Cory gave us back the voice that we needed now, a choice if such ill governance and political hodgepodge shall persist. Her death is telling us that each one of us is significant in democracy, that our collective voice would make our race wiser the coming year. From the death of her husband till her death, she sacrificed everything for our democracy and continually fought for it when circumstances try to tarnish it. That was her commitment to us, her people, and she’s expecting that kind of sacrifice and commitment to be returned by continuing that legacy of freedom and prayer.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Untying The Yellow Ribbon by Cholo Ayuyao

When I was still a child, around the year 1986, my aunt who hails from Manila came in for a certain family gathering. Playing with my cousins at the porch she stood there with a stern stance and talking to the adult side of the family. I didn’t bother to know what their conversation was but I did notice pins bearing the colors red and blue being handed out by her. Then in my utmost innocence I asked for one and pinned it in my soiled cotton shirt. It read “Marcos-Tolentino”. My mind could not really grasp the state of the nation that time but I know now that after I pinned that campaign material on my shirt, it would have been so awkward for my aunt to hear all of us cousins who were playing in the porch yelling “Cory-Cory-Cory!” as a helicopter hovered past above us. That was the first memory of who Cory Aquino, the first lady president of our country, to me.

More than 20 years past that day at our porch, I have now a bigger spectrum of understanding on who is Cory Aquino. Her color of choice, Yellow, has become a symbol and beacon of democracy and freedom for the Filipino race though when I was kid I did funnily chose the yellow over the red simply because I thought it was prettier. Cory’s demise this morning is almost sanctified. Her death was around 3am, like the Savior’s dictated time when He redeemed the sinners in the Bible. This blessedness I think is what kept Cory apart from the present president. While the present was toying with the books, Cory’s hand was towing the books of prayers. That’s Cory’s power. Even after three presidents, Cory’s rule would transcend from generation through the next with her motherly stance and teaching the country who she helped restored their democracy that prayers could actually move mountains and even change the phase of a country’s history. That is Cory Aquino for me now.

Further more with the comparison of the two lady presidents, which is utterly inevitable, it’s so uncanny how the two commanded the country differently. So opposite in fact, that their middle ground can’t be even described as grey but more of black from white specially zooming in on their last SONA’s. With her almost unabashed feistiness and stern scholarly knowledge of the constitution, GMA’s speech was beautifully crafted to whip back at her detractors and strategically constructed sentence after sentence to polish a tarnished Filipino soul. Though I think that with the new batch of people, specially the younger set who’s consciously making themselves understand how their government works, read between the lines and could analyze the full valedictorian speech behind the purple French fries. Cory’s speech though, during her last SONA was more of gratitude, thanking the people and her constituents for trusting in her capabilities to rule a tortured country. People listened then silently, like a child listening to his mother. One comparison though that stands above the rest is that while everyone’s almost paranoid to make sure the present doesn’t stay further than her term, in Cory’s time, more people begged her to stay and in full humility, the housewife turned commander in chief chose not to stay, instead opted to be ck to her normal life.

The legacy of Corazon Cojuangco Aquino can’t be tarnished by anyone. The whole country is now praying for her eternal rest as she arrives in the heavens and being patted in the back by the creator for a life well lived with substance. The country mourns but thankful for her legacy. In her sacrifice, she brought back a country’s soul through prayers and democracy. The heavens laments he leaving, dark skies around the country as the rain drizzles and soaks the yellow ribbons around the hospital she’s in. Yellow isn’t just a pretty color for me now. Yellow is Hope, Peace, Freedom, and the color best worn by a woman dressed in a gentle motherly fashion with a will and faith of an armored warrior… Cory.

Monday, July 27, 2009

An Affair with a Cupcake by Cholo Ayuyao

This is ongoing for the past weeks and I can’t really explain why. I know I’ve always been a pastry fan, anything that’s drenched in butter, frostings and the works to embellish and flavor a humble piece of baked dough. It all started one day at the mall, having my hair shaved and still on an emotional roller coaster with “stuffs”. I can remember the smell of pomade from the old man beside me as my designated barber bombard my fragile scalp with a heavy hand and a buzzing hair clipper. I was just there staring at myself, face glistening from the harsh fluorescent lights around me, showing every nooks and crannies of my imperfect face. The barber turned my face into the clear door of the shop to shave my head’s right side and there, I saw a kiosk selling what seemed to be confetti of colors conveying a message of relevance and comfort. Dots of colors in circular form covered the racks of the refrigerated glass cabinets, choking my eyes with glee. I sigh. Like an adolescent seeing his crush once again. The barber splashed my head with aftershave and the sting of alcohol on newly shaved skin jolted me, realizing the barber was done with me. After I paid up, I went to the enchanting sight of rows upon rows of cupcakes. I bought myself one and held it in my hand with utmost dexterity.

Striding along the mall with a cupcake in my hand, I felt giddy all of a sudden. I stared at the cupcake that I was holding and saw the florettes of icing in different colors. Finally I stopped at my favorite coffee shop and ordered a cup and placed that tempting cupcake of mine on the table. I just stared at its magnificence, wondered how that chocolate pastry below the clouds of hardcore sweetened butter tasted like. Then my coffee arrived, savoring the smell of freshly brewed coffee and the alluring colors of the cupcake. I was thinking this is foreplay. I picked it up and placed it in my mouth. Taking deep breaths my mouth started salivating till the first peak of whipped cream, butter and castor sugar touched the roof of my mouth, feeling that cloudy softness rapture along my stiff palette. My teeth sank into the chewy and moist goodness of the cake, probing deeper as my upper and lower teeth connected and displacing that big morsel into my mouth. I exhaled so hard that it sent shivers down my spine. Moistened and drenched with my saliva the cake started to melt, feeling that sense of excitement once again for another bite. But the cupcake was such a tease. It doesn’t want to be hastened. I knew, like a partner, it wanted to be consumed slow and with grace. Caressed by my tongue, the morsel cloaked me in satisfaction. I chewed on further. I could feel crumbs of chocolate cake embracing the walls of my mouth while swirls of sweetness drape my teeth with elation. Don’t swallow, my cupcake seemed to be saying. And I obeyed dutifully. It was both painful and gratifying at the same time while my eyes shut. But I’m just human I thought and eventually succumbed to the urge to swallow. Heavy breaths upon another I could feel the churned goodness’ talons clutching my throat. I can’t resist I reckoned and pushed it deeper inside me. My lips pressing like a child committing his first sin, wetting them with my tongue. I released a sigh while looking at the unconsumed cupcake in front of me. I know it was telling me “don’t… not yet.”

My heart was pounding when I peeled off more the paper cup that was dressing it. It was totally nude now with all its natural dark skin of chocolate. I knew I was in control now. I won’t be submissive anymore. I opened my mouth once again and put it in my mouth. I know how it wanted to be treated gently but I’m rough now, my mind clouded with temptation. I bit, licked, and took advantage of its gentleness and unabashed sweetness. Bit every crumb and swirled it around my mouth as I licked off the sugar from my fingers laid with its oozing sweetness. I’m hungry for it, sweat forming on my forehead and nose. The coffee doesn’t matter anymore as I feel myself choking with its goodness as it never wanted to enter me. Then it finally succumbed to my yearning and finally slipped down my throat. It was so explosive I closed my eyes in satisfaction and had the weirdest urge to light up a cigarette with my naked body covered in sheets in mind. I wiped off the sweat from my nose and stared at the cupcake’s robe of corrugated paper cup. I smiled, my eyes closed and satisfied. Then I felt a small pain at the back of my head and heard a buzzing noise.

“Sir sorry po” the barber told me after he saw the dot of blood from my nape, poked by his buzzing hair clipper. Then that was the moment I realized that I was just day dreaming inside the barber shop. I smiled at my silly self and said to the barber that it was ok. I paid up and went straight to the cupcake kiosk in front of the barber shop, bought a pack of six chocolate frosted ones, rode a jeep home and went straight to my room. I placed them on my side table near the bed and thought that it’s true when people say “once you go black, you’ll never go back.” and silently laughed at my odd behavior that day. From then on, I never missed a craving of those silly ol’ cupcakes, I was so consumed by the craving that people thought that it was actually a person. I can’t blame them though. I talk about them cupcakes like they were actual people in the first place. Today, I’m ten pounds heavier but contented with my cupcakes. Even in my disfigured, unflattering, sugar rich form, they would always not mind and try their best to satisfy me, and without the commitment- Haha!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Where is my Adobo? by Cholo Ayuyao

As I was walking home from my errands this morning, I chanced upon this vivid red tarp hanging from a three story building that used to be a developing center for old school camera shots. The signage was dominated by three bold letters “KFC” signifying the rise of another branch to be opened in our city. I walked further and saw adjacent the building was another fast food giant and another one on the left. Progress , I thought. Onward I went and passed by the manang who sells me the best okoys (papaya and shrimp patties deep fried to a golden brown and eaten with a vinegar based sauce) and after her quaint cart was the line of barbecue vendors selling meats on sticks from pork to chicken and every innards in between smothered and basted with the classic pinoy barbecue sauce. Then it dawned to me, after the stark comparison among the two opposing and oddly connected factors that I just saw, that the arrival of fastfood is the sign of the end of a culinary culture.

I know, it is a very heavy statement but it does make sense. Progress is something that we all hoped for, but together with it a progressive community would change its time table and even the basic norms to accommodate such change. Having progress entails having a faster pace, development, till the community becomes a money making machine, hence not having time to spend cooking at home. Progress’s solution to the problem is Fast Food. Then you thought eating out is cool because of your extra cash in hand, till it becomes a norm and eating in becomes a chore, for you would have to cook like your mama used to. That’s the pitfall. It seems no one is aware that slowly, creeping in, is the death of home cooked meals that left the progressive society fatter with its saturated fat goodies and loaded with preservatives, least to say, forget that there IS actually a culinary culture to carry on.

I remember when I was still a boy and I pass by the kitchen, looking at my lolo, who’s a great cook, chopping off some garlic and throws them off to the hot pan, the sizzle and smell of sautéing garlic would fill the air, my lola by his side mashing the boiled mungo beans with a wooden ladle, laboriously making the whole batch to one consistency. How I wish I could return to that time now so that I could learn every trick and recipe he does after learning through years of rummaging books and talking to friends about Filipino food (specifically Capampangan) how rich our heritage is. I could only imagine if my lola’s preparation of that Balatong (Mung Bean soup) was the same as our forerunners at the banks of the Pampanga River as the Spanish galleon traders pass by bringing in new ingredients from the “new” world. That’s my sad story for it was just in my latter years that I’ve discovered this new passion for cooking. Yes I could learn from the television, manuals, books the recipes of our country but I surmised that nothing beats the feeling of being taught by a manang or your lolo or your mom their recipes that was also passed on to them and be actually the new bearer and the bridge to further on that tradition and knowledge with you in the future. While Filipino cuisine isn’t as popular worldwide as our southeast asian counterparts, it does deserve due respect in its purest form.

Another thing that troubled me was how complacent the Filipino has become with its culinary culture, magazine after magazine, shows, advertisements, featuring Filipino chefs proudly waving their victorious attempt to cook a French peasant dish or even the fanciest named one they could find. At the end of the day, when all these fancy chefs go home to their minimalist white walled kitchens, clad in the best line of German made appliances and Italian named plates, I’m sure they would still have to learn how to make the killer atchara or how to properly prepare taro stalks for laing without making the throat itch while eating it. I wish though, with their media millage and influence that they have, be aware of their capacity to educate their fellow Filipinos with our culinary traditions more. Bottom line, we would have to want and need that kind of knowledge and actually be proud of it down to the cooks, food enthusiast and to the common person. While not everyone knows how to cook… everyone eats, and in this way, creating a demand for quality authentic Filipino food.

Two words would eventually sum up this article of Filipino rustic gastronomy: Progress and Demand. We can actually salvage those once very rich traditions of Filipino food in the face of progress if we would only demand for it. Demand it in a variety of form: Consume it regularly, trying you best to learn it, or even demanding quality to existing menus and actually urge authenticity with the dishes you’ve come to love elsewhere and at home. Saving these heritage is like saving the soul of a race; Soul Food. A nation’s culinary culture, thus this “soul” should be consumed daily. Being nourished by your heritage comes hand in hand with the continuum of a cycle. You cultivate and respect your food and it would do the same to you. And this wouldn’t come in a bucket meal with three extra fix- in’s and a two litter bottle of soda.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Seventh Day

The Seventh Day

By: Cholo Ayuyao

Gloomy like the rainy skies outside his pad, he couldn’t seem to contain the emotions that were running through the pits of his soul. Sitting down his easy chair near the door of his room, he finished the final sips of whisky in his hand. Ralph just sat there, sobbing and staring at his bed. It’s the seventh day since Larry left him. The heavens rattle with the thunder and lightning, illuminating the whole room like strobe lights inside a disco. He stared again at the bed that was his and Larry’s, at the far end of the bed, he positioned a couple of pillows ad covered them with a blanket, creating an illusion that there is another person there sleeping with him. But in the illusion comes the bitter truth that he’s alone now because of his infidelity.

Ralph regressed on what happened the week before. It was his fault because he allowed himself to be entangled with a fling and all Larry did was to love him with full loyalty. Now, all this came to a halt when he finally admitted to Larry that he was having an affair. Ralph could still remember the day when that happened, what Larry was wearing, the smell of the freshly cut grass in their front lawn, the taste of vanilla in the air from Larry’s lit candles. Ralph’s mind was racing so fast he couldn’t process the right chronology of the events that occurred before that instance. All he know definitely was that his infidelity consumed his relationship values and by the time he realized what he was doing was wrong, all the foundations of a very strong relationship with Larry was already in ruins. The only right that he ever did that moment was admitting that he was wrong to Larry and before he knew it, Ralph was sweeping the debris of a crumbled love.

The second day was almost insignificant for Ralph. The numbness from his heart brought about by his guilt still churns his mind, almost blank. His body functioning almost mechanically and the day finished unnoticed. The third and fourth day finally slit the wounds that were waiting to bleed. Larry’s absence was slowly pouring acid over Ralph’s self inflicted wounds. He sat there, at the easy chair near the bed and letting himself bleed until the time when he arranged the pillows to form as if Larry was still there just sleeping. He would stare at it the whole night till Ralph falls asleep and wake up automatically the next day and pursue his otherwise pointless life and do the same thing again.

Seventh day, Ralph thought and he couldn’t contain the pain inside him. Every time he closes his eyes, he could still see the naked body of the person that he allowed to corrupt his relationship with Larry, the taste of his sweat as he kissed the nape of the man, the feeling of his nakedness pressing against his, his hardness in between his legs, the moans trickling from his open mouth as they reached the apex of sin and the sobbing face of a betrayed Larry, all of this creating a puzzle that bit by bit created the larger picture that is his life. Ralph reached for his pockets to retrieve something as he cried in agony. It will be over soon he thought. Then it was morning.

It’s more quiet now. The smell of fresh air filled the room as the morning breeze flowed through. The languid curtains dancing with the breeze, warming with the peeking of the sun behind the clouds, the birds starting to chirp their morning greetings, all of this, great contradictions from the darkness that was last night. The first rays of the sun slowly passed through the translucent curtains and illuminating the dark room. Shadows played along the creases and folds of the bed. The piled pillows on the far end looked like a mountain casting a shadow over the unoccupied half of the bed. Then from the pile, a hand was peeking through the blanket. Larry managed to slip through the house and prepared to forgive the one true love that he has. As he opened his eyes to greet the new morning, he remembered how he smiled upon noticing the pile of pillows formed to imitate the position when he sleeps on that bed. He stretched a bit and sat himself facing the window. Larry stood up and looked at the easy chair to where Ralph was always seated. There he saw Ralph, eyes closed and an emptied bottle of pills on the floor. He immediately ran towards him and realized Ralph wasn’t breathing anymore. As if Larry’s soul was stripped from him, he slipped into shock and land on the floor. On the seventh day, the Lord rested and on the seventh day, man once again was betrayed by his weakness of never being satisfied.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


By: cholo ayuyao

The afternoon was coming to a close as the last rays of sunlight barely illuminated the old wood pews of the chapel through the stained glass windows. Cracked through the ages, the chapel stood serene beside the giant acacia tree. Inside, the altar gleamed from the amber lights around while the candles from where the icon of the Virgin Mary was located caressed the angles and curves of the pillars supporting the main altar. Murmured prayers of dutiful old women cloaked in veil echoed all around the small chapel. Then a little boy entered with a half of a candle in his hand and immediately went in front of the Virgin Mary icon. In his innocence he prayed copying the murmurs of the old women around him. He has no idea what a prayer was suppose to be, but instead he drew figures on a piece of paper and drop it on the slot where donations were placed by people with intentions. He spoke to the icon as if it were alive. He lit up the candle and then talked to the icon again. “Mama Mary… sige na po… kawawa naman po tatay ko eh. Pakisabi narin po sa anak niyo na ito lang po hiling ko…” the kid uttered. Then after a while, he blew his used candle and placed it in his pocket. “uwi ko po muna ito… baka wala na po akong kandila na isisindi bukas para sa inyo. Sige po… babay!” then the kid waved at the Vigin Mary and ran towards the door of the chapel.

The little boy ran as fast as he could towards home, which was a couple of blocks away from the chapel. He hurriedly head towards the door and went straight to the kitchen. “Nino… ikaw ba yan?” a coarsely voiced man asked. “Opo tay, handa ko lang po pagkain natin” the boy replied. Nino immediately opened a can of sardines and some stale bread inside a plastic bag, hanging from one of the cabinets in front of him. “Tay… wala na pala tayong bigas…” Nino innocently uttered. But the voice from the other room didn’t answer back. In a rusty tray, Nino brought the food to where the voice came. There, a man laid on the bed was coughing and ill. His face was old, ashy, brows almost bald from years of plucking. “Kain na po tay” Nino invited. He assisted the man and sat him up, dipped the stale bread on the sardines’ sauce then placed it in the man’s mouth. The man looked at the kid in front of him. He thought that he was too young to do this, but both of them were all victims of circumstances and end up together inside the shanty that they called home. He was holding back his tears as he munched on the food that was fed to him.

“Tonette! Long gown na dai! Bilis!” the stage manager yelled. Running from the back stage was this beautiful transvestite clad in flowing chiffon gown with intricate glittering beadings. He faced the roaring crowd like a true beauty queen, regal and charming. He approached the center of the stage and waved at the adoring people below. After exiting the stage he faced the large mirror provided for the contestants at the backstage and there he took a glimpse of his transformation. Tonette knew how beautiful he was. And that night she won the title of that particular miss gay contest. “Tay subo pa po” Nino said and Tonette realized that he’s been still for a couple of minutes and placed his hands on Nino’s head and asked “saan ka na naman nagsusuot kanina bata ka?” Nino just looked at Tonette and replied “andyan lang po sa labas at naglalaro lang po.” After feeding Tonette, Nino went to the kitchen again and ate the leftovers. Then he approached one of the cabinets and placed the used candle inside and smiled. Nino heard a knock on the door and hurriedly went to answer who it was. Upon opening the door, a beautiful lady dressed in pretty frock asked, “Uy Nino… asan ang tatay mo?” Nino took a hold of her hand and placed it in his forehead as a sign of respect and then ushered him into his tatay’s room. “Tay si tita Paula po” and left them to talk.

Nino was washing the dishes as he heard the loud voice of his Tita Paula talking to Tonette. “Alam mo kase Tonette, ang tanga tanga mo. Andun kana, pinairal mo pa puso mo. Eh anong napala mo? Ayan baldado ka? Uwi sa pinas na parang walang kinayod? Kase baket? Lab layp? Jusko… di ka papakainin ng lab layp na yan!” Paula yelled. Tonette was just looking out the window trying not to cry, “tapos inako mo pa ang anak ng kapatid mo… eh di mo naman masuporta ngayun… asan ang kapatid mo? Ayun nagpapasasa sa asawa niyang bago… ikaw kamusta ka? Ha?’ she continued. Tonette just sat there, wondering of his bad decisions and looking at Paula, the only friend that never left him. He knew that Paula was telling the truth and if it weren’t for his stubbornness, he’s at the same position as Paula was. Both of them went to Japan to become show girls, while Paula pursued her career seriously and Tonette with his boyfriend back in the country in mind. Both have Japanese boyfriends, while Paula took good care of hers, Tonette continued with both relationships, only to be battered by the Japanese upon learning of his other relationship. This would all boil down to a scandal that would deport Tonette back to the Philippines with a battered body and half dead spirit. As he settled, he was left by the man he loved and a child to his possession.

Nino was barely two years old when her mother left him to Tonette. Tonette, though practically devastated from his personal debacle didn’t refuse and even embraced the grace of Nino’s arrival. He never really did see it as a burden to him, it’s more of offering a piece of future to his sister and a chance of starting anew for himself. Misfortune isn’t the right term to what has happened to him Tonette surmised, more of he was meant to be on that position and should be compelled to participate in the domino effect that was happening around him. As his resources dwindled, and a house reduced to a shanty, Nino grew up into an angelic faced young boy with a disposition of an adult. Now almost 6 years old, Nino was taught by Tonette not to make the same mistakes as he did, that prayers are his greatest weapon and this made Nino go to church whenever he can and tried to imitate how the veil clad old women inside pray. In his innocence, Nino thought that the prayers were only murmurs hence imitating the sound as it is, while his head bowed down and hands together. One time Nino met an elementary teacher on his way home and the teacher offered to teach him how to write. Nino got elated by the thought and soon was educated substantially from writing his name to how prayers should be done. All of this without the knowledge of Tonette who’s sick back home.

Time flew swiftly as Tonette’s illness progressed. Nino dutiful with his visits to the chapel carried on with his prayers and short letters that he placed inside the donation box beside the Virgin Mary icon. One day though, Tonette, now bed ridden and being taken care of Paula, was so ill he couldn’t get off his bed, noticed Nino went home tagging along a small item covered in fabric and went inside the kitchen. He asked Nino what it was and Nino just replied that it’s just the dirty laundry. Tonette just dropped his suspicions and slept it out. He wouldn’t be awaken until that evening when a group of priests from the chapel knocked at their front door. Paula let them in and one of them asked to talk to Tonette. Nino, awake from the people in their house peeked from the door where he was and saw the familiar faces of the church people. Nino could hear the priest talking to Tonette about something and Tonette kept on denying that it wasn’t Nino who did it. The priests were sure that it was Nino after talking to several witnesses. When he heard his name being summoned by Tonette, Nino, scared of what was about to happen ran as fast as he could, passing the group of people and out the house. A couple of seconds after that, a bang was heard from outside the house and people started screaming. Tonette forgot how frail he was, started running towards where the commotion was and there saw the lifeless body of Nino, heavily battered from the car mishap.

Tonette felt numb as he held the body of Nino. He can’t cry, not even a word came out of his mouth just the feeling of not feeling anything at all. Paula comforted Tonette and led him, still in shock, back to the house. As they passed the kitchen, Tonette saw a familiar thing sticking from one of the cabinets and immediately retrieve it from there. Gingerly he opened the package that he saw Nino was bringing earlier. From the fabric, came the icon of the Virgin Mary. Tonette was puzzled why it was there or why Nino took it from the chapel. He stood there, staring at the image and then fainted.

Tonette woke up and noticed the gleaming lights in the living room and saw Paula sitting there talking to neighbors paying their respects for Nino. Tonette stood up and realized that the lights came from the lamps surrounding Nino’s coffin. Slowly he approached the wooden box and saw the face of his beloved Nino. Then His face become warm and red and tears stared to fall from his eyes, wondering why this has to happen. Paula assisted him to be seated in front of the coffin and there Tonette sobbed non stop and was just interrupted upon the return of the group of priests that were in their home while back. Tonette stood up and nagged furiously at the priests, blaming them that Nino got killed because of them and questioning them with their presence in their home again. Tonette handed them the icon that was placed above Nino’s coffin and asked them to leave them alone. One priest was carrying a plastic bag containing papers and presented them to Tonette. The priest told him that they retrieved them from the donation box near the Virgin Mary icon. Tonette choked upon realizing that they’re from Nino, drawings of medicine tablets, sunshine and coins. Tonette fell on the floor with his heart drowned in emotions and one letter stood out from the rest and it was written in a child’s doodled letters and barely readable. The letter states:

“Isoli ko mama mo pag napgaliing mu na ang tatay ko

Sige po papa jessus asahn kop o yan”

Tonette’s heart melted upong reading Nino’s letter and placed it in front of his heart. He realized how such innocent behavior could change the life of people and specially him. The next evening Tonette heard murmurs from outside the house, prayers spoken in unison. Tonette went out to check it and saw a sea of people in front of their house praying and with candles in their hands. He saw lines of cars heading their way and more people coming to join the vigil. It was after the priest’s sermon of a little boy praying for his love one that the news spread like a wild fire and even gaining media attention. The touching story of Nino and how he did his prayers and how genuine his heart, touched everyone’s. Now, his story isn’t just about his sick uncle but transcended into a community in prayer for him, the boy who drew sunshine for prayers and kidnapped the Virgin Mary icon to get the attention of Jesus. Nino.