31 March 2012

The only dangerous thing

Even during his affairs with women he had always tried to avoid that phrase of the theatre, 'I love you'. He had been accused often enough of cruelty, though he preferred to think of himself as a painstaking and accurate diagnostician. If for other terms, he would have unhesitatingly used the phrase 'I love', but he had always been able to attribute the emotion he felt to a quite different malady — to loneliness, pride, physical desire, or even a simple sense of curiosity.
The Honorary Consul published by Vintage
The passage refers to Doctor Eduardo Plarr, a half English, half Spanish doctor in Argentina who is having an affair with the wife of his friend, Charley Fortnum, the British honorary consul mistakenly kidnapped by Plarr's other friends.

He moves within the world of Graham Greene's The Honorary Consul. While the novel is propelled by a political action (the kidnapping of the honorary consul) and is constantly questioning the functions of religion (through one of the kidnappers who is a former priest), it is heavily an examination of love by the doctor.
'I'm not quite sure what the word love means. My mother loves dulce de leche. So she tells me.'

21 March 2012


The latest addition to the wonderful misspellings of my wonderful name is brought to you by a caterer that serves delicious Filipino breakfast.

Food delivery receipt
This particular orthographic crime, I must admit, was done with my permission. If I may narrate, your honors—
Me: Longganisa meal with the eggs scrambled.

Guy: That's all, ma'am?

Me: That is all.

Guy: Your name, please?

Me: Razel.

Guy: ...

Me: Razel. R-a-z-e-l.

Guy: R-a-g?

Me: No, Zey.

Guy: J?

Me: Zee.

Guy: G?

Me: Yes G.

18 March 2012

Tonight, we are young

So let's set the world on fire
Despite March being the fire prevention month, Manila was set ablaze. And I was glad to be in the middle of it all.

For three consecutive Saturdays since March began, I was audience at the 3rd International Pyro-musical Competition. The first night was awe-inspiring and it only got better from then on.

Two of the best exhibitions (since both of them won eventually) happened last week. A favorite to win the championship was Canada and I took their display as Fortune's birthday gift to me.

It's only been a week since I turned 29 but already I feel like I'm 7 years older. Going back to a 9 to 6 job is challenging, not to mention working in Manila is cause of stress enough. Manila can make an animal out of you. Whether prey or predator, who knows. Just recently an expat's video on the 20 things he dislikes about the Philippines went viral. It was taken down before I could watch it; but surely give me an hour in Malate and I will furnish you with a list of 200 things I dislike about the Philippines.

We can burn brighter than the sun
Which is not to say that I hate this country. And I didn't intend to discuss this matter in the first place. There are little and big things we hate and love about our country. The fact that it can serve as a good host to an international fireworks spectacle is one tiny reason that I love mine.

At the closing night of the competition, Canada was declared champion. Not a surprise. Philippines' Platinum Fireworks, Inc. took care of surprising the crowd by putting up a most stunning show regardless of technical difficulties. For a few burning minutes, everyone under that piece of Manila sky was young. Not the young who believes himself to be the genius outsider of the world, but the young who hasn't learned what it means to put his guard up yet; with nothing to protect or fear, not even the fire.

1. Photos taken by my sister
2. Title and photo captions are from the song 'We are young', which was used in the Philippine pyro-musical display

11 March 2012

The surprise I don't know

1. What you live for
Why do you stay up so late?
Don Paterson

I’ll tell you, if you really want to know:
remember that day you lost two years ago
at the rockpool where you sat and played the jeweler
with all those stones you’d stolen from the shore?
Most of them went dark and nothing more,
but sometimes one would blink the secret color
it had locked up somewhere in its stony sleep.
This is how you knew the ones to keep.

So I collect the dull things of the day
in which I see some possibility
but which are dead and which have the surprise
I don’t know, and I’ve no pool to help me tell—
so I look at them and look at them until
one thing makes a mirror in my eyes
then I paint it with the tear to make it bright.
This is why I sit up through the night.
Not love, not meaning, not happiness, but surprises. That one can find something in the dull and that love, meaning and happiness will one day give us a blink.

2. Rainfire

Seeing the best pyro-musical show in my life incidentally happened on my birthday. Last night, on my second week of watching the 3rd Philippine International Pyro-musical Competition, all I could think of was how some of the fireworks were similar to the spray of water. Not exactly a ground-breaking comparison; but then there was Canada, who went from flirting with my imagination to satiating my desire to be awed, with fireworks set to Amanda Marshall's 'Let it rain'. That section in their display made me—and I trust the rest of those who brought their heart with them—maudlin and dumbfounded.

04 March 2012

Fiery head

Not fireworks, but fireworks set to music
Ever since I heard about the pyro-musical olympics, I knew I had to witness one; and witness one, I did.

At the seaside boulevard, Mall of Asia
Yesterday my sister, brother and I went to MOA to watch China and The Netherlands battle it out at the 3rd International Pyro-muscial Competition.

Eyes skyward
I was dazzled, elated, and utterly proud to be a human being. At one point in the night I thought, Not even God can make something as sublime as this.

* Photos taken by my sister

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