Red Horse Beer Also Has Stories to Tell

Desiderata always remind me to listen. I listen to anyone. I learn to listen to silence. I listen to everything and everyone around me.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.


 I listen to Red Horse Beer. Yes, every bottle and can of Red Horse Beer has its own stories to tell.

Look at this beer. Alone; but does it look lonely?

You can’t tell, of course!

Bottles of beer need to be alone sometimes. Being alone isn’t loneliness but a great chance to make a difference. Being alone is not boredom; it’s a big happy and peaceful party!

We don’t just drink beer. We need to listen to the stories of beer.

Because even bottles of beer, they too, have great stories to tell!

Problems and Politics

I have serious political problems. Shame on me but I have been talking like a true politician. My life sometimes is a great political joke that gets elected!

Sunday. I got a serious matter in my mind that needed careful deliberation.

Alone (not all politicians ally with political party, eh), I went to Sto. Nino Church to say my serenity prayer and headed towards Balyuan.

I felt in love with the place many times but yesterday, the place seemed dry as the President’s speeches. I felt a little sad but I was smiling like a mad. Crazy politics!

In my mind, I was solemnly deleberating my next major decision. Like our Senators I have serious relationship problems.

It seems to me that loving someone is as risky as running for the Senate. There is risk of being cheated (dagdag-bawas, perhaps); the risk of losing after investing time and money.

Without a hint – unpredicatably – a couple, both my sangkay – arrived. Of course you would expect them to ask me why I was alone.

I told them in a matter of fact tone that I was thinking of the fate of Chief Justice Renato Corona. It looked like both of them believed. Well, I likewise believed in that lie, too.

But what do you expect me to say?

I have learned the beauty of concealing what I feel. I have learned the craft of true politicians.

I ended up with cans of Red Horse Beer and pancit canton. With nothing in mind. Just like how our legislators slept underneath the Reproductive Health Bill and the Freedom of Information Bill!

That’s life’s most unlikely combination.

Music is like sex

I am wondering if music is as good for you as it is for me. Music does me good things – makes me happy, makes me excited, makes me relax, makes me high!

Music does as good as sex. I am one of those who say that music is like sex.

If music is sex then I could have a very happy sex life. I have it everyday and it is within my reach each time I want it, and everytime I like it.

If music is sex, am I oversexed? Of course not – there’s no such thing. Not even when I have it early morning before getting up, after breakfast, mid-afternoon, before dinner, and before going to sleep.

A good friend of mine who loves sex more than anything would only consider music to drive sex urge. Accordingly, it stimulates the innermost mind like touching and kissing do in stimulating senses. Maybe true, I mean, perhaps you would agree. Sex videos are never good without music and sound effects and background music, isn’t it my friend?

I talked to some fellows who got secret videos in their phone. Six out of ten like “Careless Whisper” in sex scandal videos. There was a particular sex video that I could remember when I hear “Careless Whisper”, although I haven’t seen it. Ring a bell?

How far a romantic dinner goes if without romantic music? What a romantic night would become if without sex?

Different type of music draw different emotions. I listen to pop music along with coffee when I need to boost my energy level. I listen to Eraserheads when I need beats to inspire me and keep me going. I listen to country music to sustain the calmness of the moment. I listen to Yanni’s Rites of Passage when I celebrate success. And I would drown to Enya’s Only Time when I need to move on and when I need to party with my past.

I listen to music when I’m sick and when I’m sad. It’s my medicine. In an evening radio program about sex, I heard someone claiming sex as the best remedy when sickness is caused by stress and pressure. Would you believe? I have not tried it, so I cannot affirm.

Recently, I wrote Music Therapy to share about recent researches on the therapeutic effect of music to people. I am still finding out if there are studies about the therapeutic effect of sex. Perhaps personal experiences of those who tried would be a good material for a claim.

I don’t know if sex would give me the same thing music has endulged me. But I will tell honestly that music make me experience sex.

I am not alone in this world who talked about sex and music. In fact there are scientists who devoted their energy and time on it.

A year ago, published an interesting story. It reads,

Listening to a favorite pop song or classic rock hit can trigger the same chemical reactions in the body as having sex, eating good food or taking drugs, according to Canadian researchers cited Monday in The Montreal Gazette.

Read Music Produces a Natural High Similar to Sex, Canadian Researchers Say

Music is like sex because it makes us what we want to and what we want to feel.

It’s really nice when we always have music with us. It’s as great as having sex everyday! But please be aware that like sex, music is addictive. You may end in a rehabilitation center for music addicts where patients get Brain-Music Therapy (BMT).

Music Therapy

Some babies sleep better when mothers sing lullabies.

One beautiful girl I know seemed forgot the pain she endured when she heard her mother singing their favorite, Ordinary Song (Marc Velasco). She would stop crying and slowly closed her eyes until she fell asleep. How I wish I could visit her grave today and play for her the song the made her feel well for a moment.

Ordinary Song’s chorus goes:

But if you ever find yourself
Tired of all the games you play
When the world seems so unfair
You can count on me to stay
Just take some time
To lend an ear
To this ordinary song

Did the girl understood it?

I occasionally hear Ordinary Song but everytime I hear it today, I feel serenity as if all the loads I am carrying are taken away. I think it’s the psychological effect to what I had witnessed many years ago.

Few months ago, I was not as well as today. And I would credit music for its significant contribution in fast recovery. Until today, I have enough dose of music everyday.

Music therapy evolves and now inspires scientists and researchers to work and lay down its scientific bases.

A recent article in Reader’s Digest, Music Medicine (written by Alex Kirsta, Reader’s Digest, March 2012 issue), inspire me to explore further the benefits of music.

According to the article, some US hospitals are playing classical music in the “operating theatre to help patience relax”. Advanced technology like MRI help scientists to better understand how “different musical rhythms and tempi seem to mirror our individual brainwave frequencies”.

I learned that Brain-Music Therapy was pionered in Russia by Dr. Iakov Levine and now become popular among US psychologist. Advanced computer technology and advanced equipment are used to map the brain and determine the music tempo, pitch, rhythm and harmony that fit the need of individual patients.

In other words, Brain-Music Therapy is quite expensive because it a complex science. I wonder if there are Filipino doctors and psychologist who are inclined to pioneer BMT in the Philippines.

I would rather embrace still the traditionaland conventional music listening activity. There will be no need for expensive brain mapping just to determine that kind of music fits best.

How much music we need and what kind of music we need largely depends on our individual judgement – not until the music prescription is widely avaible and affordable to the poorest of the poor.

Just for today we don’t need to think much, instead, we continue to appreciate music which rooted deep in our past. Even without our music players we must remember that there are music among tress and birds, wind and waves. And there is music in silence. That’s more than BMT!

I suggest we just continue to listen to music and listen only those that we feel can give us some benefits.

Next to “an apple a day keeps doctors away” should be music everyday keeps doctors away.

To sail through San Juanico Strait

San Juanico Strait must have been created with divine creativity.

I saw few images of the strait from books but I hadn’t thought that I would be mesmerized when I see it myself.

Until now, I haven’t touched it but it is enough for me that I have seen its beauty closely one time when I (with a Cebuano friend Roy) crossed San Juanico Bridge for the first time.

Just for today, it is enough that I could feel serenity while looking at the calmness of its water. It is so beautiful when viewed from Calvary Hill in Barangay 39 (Tacloban City).

I would reserve the day when, for the first time I would sail and touch its waters.

Almost everyone in the country must have heart San Juanico Strait as it made famous by late President Ferdinand and first lady Imelda Marcos when made the bridge of love into reality. It’s the San Juanico Bridge as it is known today.

San Juanico strait is a narrow strip of blue and calm water that separates the beautifully and divinely sculptured mountains of Samar and Leyte.

I never rest my curiosity. Deep within I have an ambitious desire to sail through San Juanico Strait. I am not a sailor but I could be one when I am given divine chance.

It’s a curious thing that I asked the world of magic to transform me into a small boat, so I can sail San Juanico. But not even my dawn dreams would give in.

It’s a curious thing that I become so obsessed with a body of water when I am afraid of the deep. Have I gone there before (in my past life)? And if I have life after this life, would I get obsessed with it still?

I know someone, someday would come and sail with me through San Juanico Strait.

Water problem

The world has water problem. Soon, those who control water control the world. I hope it would not happen very soon.

But before the world’s water problem, I had my own water problem. Since piped water in the place I live here in Tacloban runs only for few hours (mostly night time to dawn), I would need a pail or two and go to nearby public artisan well to clean my body.

I don’t cook my food. I just eat at fast food nearby and drink whatever water they serve there. Not always safe, I would say but my only choice is to survive.

I have water problem and I know many of us have water problem. In documentaries I watched in television (GMA 7), I see how big the water problem is. For example, in a mountain barangay in Cebu, people had to walk several kilometers just to get few litters of water from a well or spring. In another province in southern Luzon, some people dug meters deep to get muddy water and they consider the water enough to survive.

According to Water Environment Partnership in Asia (WEPA),

Access to clean and adequate water remains an acute seasonal problem in urban and coastal areas in the Philippines. The National Capital Region (Metro Manila), Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, and Central Visayas are the four urban critical regions in terms of water quality and quantity.

At least Eastern is not yet in the critical list. But Cebu is already in the red list.

Sometimes, our nations water problem is not only the scarcity of water but also “too much” water during occasional floods. And during that time, having too much would cause “too little” water for people to drink.

While in Tacloban, my water problem escalated one day when I realized that I have compromised my health because of unsafe drinking water.

I had traumatic water experience in Cebu. The water I drank come from Metro Cebu’s potable water supply and it didn’t came into my mind that the water was unsafe. But I got diarrhea, so it must not always be safe.

Since then, I depended on purified water – an additional expense for wage earner like me. But I had to stretch my budget just to have safe water to drink.

It’s a sad reality in a country with abundant water resources.

But water has its own politics, too. Or it would be accurate to say that water is not distribute equally because of politics. Cebu clearly has water politics problem. Tacloban also has water politics problem. A boarding house owner I talked told me that there is a force that control water here in Tacloban but he refuse to detail his story.

When I arrived in Tacloban, I only drank bottled water. I feel it safe than to drink tap water. However, I don’t always have the money to buy water. I still have to buy my food, and everything . I drank tap water  and nothing happened. For almost a month I forgot about water problem  – not until yesterday.

Tacloban, like most Philippine cities (if not all) has water problem. I don’t have statistics at hand but based on my observations, not every city folk has access to safe water.  In downtown areas, there are city-owned artisan well which supply water for laundry and washing. But this is not ideal. Ideally, each home should have 27/7 safe piped water supply. Water should not be served only to the affluent but also to the less privilege people. After all, everyone pays tax and everyone needs water  to survive.

People in Tacloban have no reasons yet to get alarmed. It seems there is no looming water crisis yet. But  Cebuanos (those living Metro Cebu) must work hard to find additional water sources as Cebu’s ground water is getting salty. Cebu’s water crises is fast approaching. Sun Star Cebu had published special reports about Cebu’s water problem. But actions seem very slow.

At home (in my hometown), we use purified water. There seems to have ample water supply there and deep well could be a good source of safe drinking water. However, since we are living in agricultural  area where there is heavy use of agricultural chemicals and fertilizers, it could be possible that such harmful chemicals reached deep down to our water source.

The Philippines is blessed with rich water resources but we shall continue to have water problem unless we all work together to take care of our water sources. With the rate of our population (we grow too fast), it would not be possible that we can solve this water problem very soon.

As WEPA puts it its State of water environmental issues for the Philippines:

With the rapid increase in population, urbanization, and industrialization reduce the quality of Philippine waters, especially in densely populated areas and regions of industrial and agricultural activities.

May the water problem be not with us always!

Want more about water problem? Go to Water and Development which says that:

If you live in a slum in Manila, you pay more for your water than people living in London.

A big problem indeed!

Fruitcake for everyone

I could hear Eraserheads speaking to me the way artists do. My favorite Pinoy band would tell, “there’s a fruitcake for everybody” and then suggest to “take a bite”.

If everyone has a fruitcake or two, where is mine now?

Where’s my fruitcake? I ask many times especially at times when I realize that I only had took a bite of someone’s fruitcake. It sounds bitter but I would bask myself with the sweetness of the moment when I remember the night I risked something and went out of my way to take a small bite of tempting fruitcake. The best things are always remembered and I am wealthy enough to have a bit to remember.

I told my other self in consolation. A small bite of happiness was more than enough. One big slice would be too much!

I have regrets, I admit. I have regrets that I let “what-ifs” and “what’s next” to hold my steering wheel and drive me nowhere.

I have regrets that I listened to fools pretending to be wise philosophers that fruitcakes are too sweet for me. I had believed that I might be drowned with sweetness and would die bitter (that was their warning).

Yes, I admit that I have no way to change yesterday. That is something I can’t. But of course, I can always change my course. I can now drive up, down, and away. I can now cross the bridge without fear that the fruitcakes on the other side are not as sweet as I wish to be.

My confidante reminded me that it’s always never too late. I should have nothing to fear.

Since I heard such inspiring thoughts, I began to take my lessons to bake my own fruitcake. After all, it’s not too late to start over.

I would tell my confidante that it’s difficult. Very difficult. But I cannot die without at least see my fruitcake. The fruitcake that is mine, the fruitcake baked by gods for me.

Thank you Eraserheads for always reminding me that there’s fruitcake – sweet fruitcake -stored for me.

Wanna marry you

While alone at my room (if I am not sleeping), I either read and write or listen to my favorites – Eraserheads, OMD, Bruno Mars, Phil Collins, Bisrock, Reggae.

Today in my playlist are Bruno’s Billionnaire, Lazy Song, Marry You. Nice song, intriguing line “who cares baby, I think I wanna marry you”!

“Just say I do”

When would I sing Bruno’s line “hey baby, I think I wanna marry you”? When would I write a blog post, telling my friends that I am going to marry soon?

Maybe you know when but I don’t. I really don’t know. It is the funny thing I least consider in my life – just for today at least.

There are parts in Dead Stars (short story by Benitez) that I can relate – when he was asked when the long table be set. And also the part where the title dead stars become significant to readers.

At my age, one question that I love to answer is, “when are you going to marry”. Many of my new acquaintances, my friends, some relatives would ask except for one. (You know who but you must not be named hear not of fear of name but out of respect to privacy.)

My answer to the questions depends on who ask the question and how it is asked.

I would say, “very soon” and would sometimes add “and you’ll be invited”. At times I would say “not very soon” because “I am uncertain of our economy… I may not able to feed my family” Many times the subject of “getting married” would then be aborted and the conversation goes up to reproductive health bill to President Aquino’s politicking. Funny, isn’t it?

Well, for those who hate politics and social problems, please don’t start by asking me when will I get married! LOL.

Tacloban valituskouro

I flooded my friends’ inbox with my complaints – at least during my first three-weeks stay in Tacloban. Thanks to my good lord, none of them complained that I complain too much!

Now that I feel comfortable in the city, I started to realize how funny and petty my complaints were.

I am not the only one who complained in Tacloban. Folks have their own bagfull of complaints. I overheard complaints about city’s water, garbage, and arrogant tricycle drivers. My acquaintance here was ranting about the entrance to department store inside Gaisano. Entrance there should have been at the right just like the store’s main entrance. His problem – he always exit at the entrance! Funny man!

Radio stations inherently host people’s complaints. And barbershops,too. Complaints are like non-stop music – about politicians, about husbands, about neighbors, about internet connection, name it!

Just imagine the world if all of us complain about anything and everything. I have read how the Finnish couple tried to help so that the world hear common complaints. They help organized complaints choir worldwide! Valituskuoro” means “Complaints Choir” in Finland. I am not sure if there is complaints choir in the Philippines. If none, I hope it would start in Tacloban.

You should not blame me for having many complaints. Look, wouldn’t you complain if your room mate would fart like machine gun at the time when you’re dozing and dreaming? Who wouldn’t complain if people laugh because you did not understood “bunay” (a Waray word for egg)?

There are still many things to complain: beautiful girls have boyfriend; smart ladies are married; et ecetera, et cetera.

My friends, Dennis and Agnes, did not get tired reading my complaints. Now, I am giving them a break. No complaints this time. I just send to them my observations.

I admire Dennis and well as my friend Ringo. I seldom hear their complaints. Maybe they just don’t articulate it or maybe they have broad understanding and don’t find little things worthy to be complained about.

How about you? What are your complaints?