Seeing Ghosts

I got this email, and it is sad. Sort of.

I have a few demons of my own, biting my ass as I go along. But this one has her own army of zombie sins chasing her.

dhey santos email

She’s at it again

Her email looks like a teenager jejemon wrote it:

and I replied with this:

Miss Dhey,

You may have to give me a really valid reason, or any legal basis for this “request”of yours, or if it won’t be too much to ask, be professional about it, as you are carrying the name of Island Weddings with this email, I expect a more detailed format other than a hastily typed sms formatted, shorthand message, which is hardly professional at all. 
My blog is mine, it’s a free account, it is public, much like the gmail account you are using, and this is all public, as public as internet. I do with it what I want. Unless you’ve got something heavier to back up your request, go make your own blog.
And I could have forgotten all about it, but now, this email exchange will get a blog post version.
You should have just kept your  mouth shut. As you have always done before.
No, thank you.
reply to dhey santos
I could have let this pass. But I guess the woman is being hounded, and her solutions is to ask people to delete post with her name on it.

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Strangers. Not Anymore.

Monday, November 18th:

After a failed attempt at what could be a graceful exit from my team at work, which is by all accounts, will be another garment I don’t have the heart to thow away, but kept in that emotional baggage I carry with me through life, I volunteered, following a friend’s advice to help out, in  something I used to do incognito. Packed a couple of shirts, my water bottle, bought some ready mix coffee, some styro cups, plastic utensils, and boarded a white-knuckle bus ride to Magallanes, a stop necessary to switch rides to Villamor, one of those jam-packed commutes.

At the stop, it’s like I hardly knew the place, with all the construction made in the last 7 years or so. Still, I know my way around the place and found Villamor Airbase Gate without a glitch. Surely, I was confident there wouldn’t be that much change with the airforce base entrances. I went in, remembering military bases are different from civilian places and I have to abide by their rules, something the average person might want to consider before barging in.

Cool. Villamor Airbase has a small fleet of e-Cars, those nifty, electric-powered shuttle vehicles that remind me of San Pedro buses that used to ply Laguna towns, with open sides and no need for a door. And eventually I arrived at the Grandstand, buzzing with activity and easily found them:

1426595_10151719853761428_2022386069_n

Introduced myself as a volunteer, somewhat awkwardly, as things go, and looked around to see what I could do. Located at the back of the grandstand, it was a row of open tents filled with people all doing one thing or another – a real kitchen functioning with skilled chefs and cooks, knives slicing away, the coffee commandos giving out hot beverages, and there was Ted, jovial fellow who I took for as the person in charge for the night. Farther on I could see clothes, donations for the survivors, being sorted out so that people can find their sizes easily, and beyond that, bigger tent that served as the dispatch spot, where a group of volunteer drivers, taxis and private vehicles wait for their turn to transport people to their destinations. There, a small group of organizers are tirelessly speaking on PA system, asking takers for fares as far as Nueva Ecija, social workers assisting their charges, a couple of people taking turns at the mic coordinating, nudging, cajoling, something that continued, I surmised ,  24 hours. Good people.

As I took it all in, it was automatic, right then and there, helping out where needed, usually carrying stuff , spot clean ups, anything that need extra hands. The kitchen, as it really is, is literally a cauldron of activity,  and these are people who are really into culinary art. I know, I used to be a waiter at a golf course, and the people there are expertly cooking, stirring, slicing, all volunteers. And the smell of food just fills the air. There were times me and Adrian, a  seaman by trade exchanged stories, in between puffs of smoke.  And so it was that the whole night – sandwiches, rice in volumes, meat, vegetables , all from donors, prepared by volunteers, and we gave them out readily.

Some 200 to 300 survivors arrive with every C130 plane that land. The whole process was handled by people from the government. Not going to comment on that. It deserves a different post. And I could say a lot about THAT.

2am, Tuesday, November 19th:

By this time, I got the groove sustained. Stocks are stacked, coffee is flowing, our numbers increased by two, sisters, who lived nearby. Lugaw is prepared for breakfast, sandwiches from a good volume of sliced bread donations, meat dishes all the way from Batangas or Cavite, I hardly remember, and anyone can ask for it.

Everyone. Soldiers. Marshals. Social workers. Volunteers. Survivors.

Not strangers anymore.

As the sun rises, and the Lugaw nearly empty, the Adobo and rice also almost gone, eggs, the rest of us night ghouls are also just waiting for the next batch of volunteers, and I failed to mention earlier, these band of brothers and sisters are cooks, chefs, doctors, lawyers, photographers, nurses, artists, students and new grads, you know, ordinary people who just want to help.

I left Villamor Airbase at 8am or thereabouts, took the long route by bus, and slept like a log at the apartment here in Novaliches.

at 7pm, Tuesday, November 19th:

Found myself already on another white knuckle bus ride to Villamor. Arrived at the site at 9pm past. It was a different group of people I found there manning the front. There was a young lady there taking stock and inventories and doing the social media posting for ArtRelief, whom I mistook for Kyra,

Alexa_Davalos_by_David_Shankbone_cropped

or Alexa Davalos, you know,  from the movie Riddick, because that what Alexa will look like if she had been a Filipina,but that’s all the familiar face I know.

It didn’t matter.

We. All of us.

We are not strangers anymore.

Gratitudes galore to Isi, (it was her fault I got into this) Ted, Alex, Chef, UP, Indios, Kuya Bodjie and all volunteers. This old man maybe taking time for some rest tonight, but will be back for more tomorrow, November 21st. And I appeal to others, this is the long haul, please click the image above and know what to do with donations and volunteer duties.

Just Who The Hell Do I Think I Am?

I have always question my own selfish interests, now, more so, in the waking hours . Not that I am going insane or anything. Wait. I am insane, so no chance of getting any insane-er.  It’s more like a personal debate I have with myself every time things get too hairy or to close for comfort.

But since a friend dropped by and we enjoyed that half a bottle of brandy I was saving to spike my coffee with, it was worth it. Jof came by and asked to stay awhile , so we talked and we discussed those stuff that always seem to lead to out own misgivings, mistakes and triumphs at work. Jof, by the way is a wizard with design and layout with architectural flavor, and I kinda like that from the guy, since I can’t even do a decent 3D image with Google SketchUp.

But it was a short stay, and he has to leave, but not before we tasted a jigger of that fine Barley Shochu a new Japanese friend gave me ( domo arigato, Riki-san). But we had to leave it for later. And here I am, still waiting for some images on the email for my web design assignment.

So, while I wait for my housemate Jackson, and with the little bit of sobriety left in me tonight, I opened this blog and started writing stuff.

You know. . .

Stuff.

And masks.

Masks we all wear.

I have worn so many masks in my life. Hence that stinging title I place at the start of this blog post:

“Just Who The Hell Do I Think I Am?”

And it never fails to bring be back to reality.  Well, reality is much more cruel than any fantasy or science fiction I have read or heard. And there’s always a mask for that. Like an app. Everything seems to be an app these days. All for the sake of convenience.

So masks it is.

GuyFawkes

The most popular mask nowadays, but this one signify defiance.

We wear different kinds.

There was an uprising, a demonstration, an event that happened worldwide. With masks, to defy those people in power who wear masks. So what better way as a counterpoint to all that’s happening, but with another mask? Frankly, it’s humorous and frightening. It frightens me when time comes I can’t restrain myself anymore and go to the streets to sound off my own grievances. We are society and this is our fault. And we are also the society that should change things.

But how?

Even now, my Tweetdeck is buzzing and endlessly rolls feeds of tweets and RT‘s of things #MillionMaskMarch and yet did the media cover it extensively as they would cover an old musician’s sex life?

No.

Did my network have a substantial coverage of the event that happened here and elsewhere?

A little.

They said there were only a handful of people out there in Batasan.

And yet, it was happenning.

Like the elephant in the room that nobody sees. Or the pubic hair in the punch bowl that everyone ignores, so as not to make a commotion.

But what the heck right? Who do I think I am? have I the right to complain about such things? Even at my workplace there are masks present. Mask we use to buffer ourselves from some wannabe-power-hungry-authority-grabber personality. Since when did connection weigh much over skill? Since when did name dropping ever get anywhere in this life?

I guess we are doomed then. Here we are complaining and getting all riled up about PDAF and politicians, and yet the workplace alone is a boiling room of politics!

But, fuck that, I’m too laid back now and too cool to rant about such things.

I’ll just enjoy this mask of content until the alcohol wears off. Or maybe if those emails contains the images I’m waiting for.