Losing Track of Time . . . .

As I grudgingly sit in one of those white-knuckle bus ride to Novaliches earlier today, at least the driver and conductor felt the need to play some music in their nightly plights of EDSA.

“..It’s three o’clock in the morning and it’s starting to get light . . “

Don’t get me wrong. I said “grudgingly” not because I am angry or anything, but rather, disappointed I had to leave Villamor earlier than I had anticipated. In one of those clean up and wash runs for the kitchen, my right index finger got hurt and I can’t scrape the large rice cooker pan clean enough. I guess I’m not that young anymore. I remember moving heavy tabletops, chairs and dinner stuff up and down Capitol Hills Golf Clubhouse years ago without my legs nor bones staging a protest, vehemently, I should add.

Still, time passes.

And being with the volunteers, with the smiles back in our faces at Villamor, time, really does fly. Like those Ospreys we saw lifting off like space ships from off the runway.

I’m distracted.

As we give out food prepared by volunteer cooks and chefs, sandwiches lovingly made by other volunteers at the tent, we have a good gig running – a coffee commando stand, the long table for hot meals, the kitchen all a buzz, the sandwich pantry busy like any bee hive , it had to wonder what will the survivors be doing in Camp Aguinaldo.  We tried to talk to some of the survivors as they wait patiently, although as of 4:30pm yesterday, the survivors were already in buses but were still waiting to be transported  for 3 hours already.

Imagine that.

In Tacloban Airstrip, they had to wait 3 days, or at least 48 hours to be on a flight to Manila. The flight is about an hour and a half, and at Villamor, they have to be grouped and processed, some for immediate medical attention, the rest mostly documentation and records, so give a an hour or so.

And I complain about a 3 hour bus ride to Magallanes just to switch buses bound for FTI to alight at Villamor.

But at the site, time passes, like rain drenching me when I was at Camp Aguinaldo meeting another volunteer who’s doing psychological support for the survivors – Ms. Tetchie of Gold’s Gym ,whom, by the time I got to ArtRelief at Villamor sent a group of young ones to help out – the rain poured and  fell and washed the streets I walked to EDSA.

The rain went quickly, and these weather mood swings seem to be the norm nowadays.

Arrived at the site, buzzing.

And I began to lose track of time.

Maybe because I lost my Casio watch while enjoying the camaraderie. It was a 10-year battery , and about to die on me. That was a long time to own a watch, even for me. Goodbye, old watch, hope the person who found you can use the time to appreciate, even with the dilapidated state.

Maybe because  doing volunteer work does wonders for the soul.  And if auras are visible to the naked eye, the whole setup will be glowing bright colors, should you see the faces cooking, stirring, slicing, chopping, packing food, giving out water, minding the discarded stuff , cleaning up and then messing the place again with a new set of food preparation. By 1am this morning, Oplan Hatid was back in form, adding to the radiance of people and smiles.

And I lose track of time.

Maybe because I really don’t have to.

Photo stolen from Juan Benedicto’s FB

Photo stolen from Teddy Arellano’s FB

[Apologies to Teddy Arellano and Juan Benedicto. Sorry guys, I gave up on photography long time ago, so I steal from Indios and you guys. Thank you!]

Behind The Scenes – CS/N on Pagbabago2013

I Said it before:

“But , like I always thought, we are good at what we do.I honestly believe we were the sensible coverage, opting to put substance first and foremost. Let the other networks cover the polls with fanfare and pomp. We did it with grit and grace.”

Looks to me I was right the first time. Big WOOT to the people of News5, specially those wonderfully aloof creatures of CS/News.

Thank you Social TV Awards for the recognition.


A rare moment of non movement

This is a time when all the labor and toiling and drudgery and frustrations and milestones converge.  I wasn’t talking about the recent polls that up until now, has yet to finalize its tally.

Pagbabago 2013 is TV5’s election coverage. And most of the motion graphics you see on TV is from our motley crew of mean, creative machines.

I want to talk about the people behind the the screen – like the cameramen, the carpenters, the production assistants, technical directors, runners, coordinators, make up artists and everyone else that work in the background. Specially us, the graphics specialists. Working with talented people everyday seem to dampen the greatness and awesome experience, when all just seem to be just a normal thing.

Well, to us, it is normal.

What I mean is, you get to work, you see people you collaborate everyday, with different talents and skill, each an…

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Pedestrian Panderings

I came home last night, midnight, the way I came to work yesterday afternoon – walking. Seventeen minutes of putting my right foot in front of the left seem to be a good, practical way, since my apartment is not that far from the tv studio. Of course, most of the time, I’d have to take a tricycle to the main road, and catch a jeepney for a quick trip to work.

What am I saying?

This is Metro Manila, after all. There are no quick trips to anywhere. Every place you need to be, you have to leave early, depending on the distance. Gates of Hell, and all that. Anyway, I could really use the exercise, whenever I can. Yes laundry can be a formidable exertion of sorts, but nothing beats walking. More so now, that I still have to gather enough dough to build me another mistress, of sorts, a hybrid bike for my needs.

Good luck with that.

I’m still paying for a motorcycle I haven’t enjoyed riding. That makes it worse.

So I walk. Whenever the opportunity presents itself. The clouds up there promises a bountiful rainfall, and that makes the decision exciting. Better to risk being wet, than getting stuck in traffic, inside a jeepney where most passengers forget they only paid for one, but occupies space for three, a booming stereo system that is neither entertaining nor soothing, given the fact that the driver have chosen the irritating FM radio station or a playlist that has fewer lyrics than cha-cha music.

And I walked, avoiding the errant elbows and arrogant knees of daily commute. I get to scout if there are new Lugaw stands, or if QC garbage collection has improved as of late. Still no luck with that.

I put on my earplugs and listen to Michael Crichton‘s Congo on my mobile phone. But the darn thing is so cheap, the earplugs, I mean, the audiobook get overpowered by the noise, I give up and adjust my backpack, and just stroll.

Backpack? Yes. I started carrying extra clothes again, a pair of flip flops for those impromptu water wading moments when it rains, and a change of underwear and trail shorts. Either I get splashed by vehicles driving hard on puddles on my way to work, rain may fall without warning. It’s like having prophylactic in your wallet, better to have them around and not use it, instead of needing one and not having any. Better this analogy than that gun reference. I hate guns.

Halfway through, my eyes zeroed in on some delicious looking isaw on sticks, frying on used cooking oil, exposed to the elements, with vinegar for dipping ready on the side. Sliced gizzards, pork kidneys, day-old chicks. Man, I had to gulp air, holding back.

I may have forgotten to mention earlier: I am deadbeat broke.

Amusing to find one’s self surviving on coffee, and a couple of instant noodles on my depleted pantry. My rice supply just went. Working for a big ass tv network and I end up broke weeks before the next paycheck comes out.

And so I walked.

Never mind that I miss a few meals. I’m a big man, I won’t die instantly. And of course, there’s always water. Good thing I grew up marginally poor. I know when to curl up, tighten the belt, you know, those clichés we tell ourselves when we have to be stronger.

I ended up borrowing money (again) from my co-workers, something I thought I have long put past my way of living. Still, that pinch on the ego when I do this. Just smacks of being stubbornly stupid with my finances.

Good thing, I might have to reason out, is that the girls back at home have their budget laid out. I’m the only one having to go through the humiliating phase of having to really scrape the bottom of the barrel.

And I worked. Actually, it doesn’t feel like work. When you love what you do, it’s no longer work.

And I came home last night, midnight, the way I went to work yesterday afternoon – walking.


Feels good to stretch these aging legs from time to time.