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!]

He Knows About Angela Postscripts

Wake [verb]


1. To rouse from sleep; awaken.
2. To stir, as from a dormant or inactive condition; rouse: wake old animosities.
3. To make aware of; alert: The shocking revelations finally woke me to the facts of the matter.

a. To keep a vigil over.
b. To hold a wake over.

It’s when something jolts you out of your stupor, achingly disrupts your otherwise redundant daily activities and you keep yourself from screaming your lungs out from the disorientation and shock from the knowledge and realization that, at least, the reality of temporary existence is absolutely inevitable.

No, it’s not that you have been in a hedonistic state of living, but caught up with the race, work, family, current events, well connected but disconnected, these are times when you step back and look at what we have become, or where we have come to. Or just plain slack jawed at what transpired.

He Knows About Angela Postscripts

Wake n.

1. A watch; a vigil.
2. A watch over the body of a deceased person before burial, sometimes accompanied by festivity. Also called regionally viewing.
                                                                                        3. wakes (used with a sing. or pl. verb) Chiefly British

a. A parish festival held annually, often in honor of a patron saint.
b. An annual vacation.
One digs deeper with this feeling of loss, of finality, of severance.  A definition suggests a watch, a vigil, and I concur, this life is all about standing watch over those you hold dear. And the acceptance of holding the candle being passed unto you.  Even from someone you hardly know. As I look back, the passing of my own mother, whom I never got the chance to talk to while still alive and
feisty, caring and loving. The death of my mother in law, literally in my arms. An aunt. A childhood friend who got hacked to pieces in the mountains. A kindred spirit and probably the closest I could get for a sister,  bound, gagged, stabbed more than I could understand, lying lifeless and bloody in our apartment.  And just recently, an artist whom I would like to emulate. I’d rather celebrate their lives than skulk in a dark corner.
Wake n.
1. The visible track of turbulence left by something moving through water: the wake of a ship.
2. A track, course, or condition left behind something that has passed: The war left destruction and famine in its wake.


in the wake of

1. Following directly on.
2. In the aftermath of; as a consequence of.
So what now? Those of us who are left behind? Will we shed tear and mourn and grief ? Is it too hard to understand that their course has ended but ours is just turning a new corner? It’s not about death really, but a leap of faith, to go on without them. To burn the bridge in the dark and let the flames light the way on the path ahead. Will we crumble with what’s left or  build something from the remnants, of the ruin, from the ashes.
Ina. Mama. Popert. Raldies. Mamu.
He knows about Angela.
He  even commented, in one of those short banters we had the time to indulge in, that the chorus sounded too juvenile. I guess he was right. Too much weight on the loss. Too much ” what will I do without you” sort of sentiment.
They will never pass this way again. But it would be nice if they could see that we are holding up good and doing the best we can. The longing line from the song may even sound romantic and remorseful, but it just won’t  do to stay in that train of thought.
I’m saying goodbye without looking. Probably for the best. The rains keep coming. Probably the sign of his passing, and all those that went before him.
Move along.

He Knows About Angela

Not many people know about her.

As a matter of fact, very few people seldom remember. It was one night of good brew and great camaraderie among people who are rarely together but when they do, it seems like they know each other pretty well. It was something I treasure every time I went. There are quite a few times, and I mean really few times I went to the gathering of people who have cameras for eyes and art for hearts. Heck, I don’t even see myself as a photographer, but these guys accepted a stray, so that makes these gatherings worthy of their own stories.

And he knows about Angela.

With Jojo, it was pure wit and humor, with Darrell, it was profundity, Mike, Buboy et al, a learning session about stuff I don;t know about lenses, and most of them I still don’t know shit. Tony, the wide variety storylines one can delve into with just one topic.

But he knows Angela.

Okay, time to stop being all cryptic. Angela is a song from Vitamin Z that we hit off on at one time. An obscure 80s album with a couple of radio hits and some great music  in the roster. I made a quip about it, firing a slew of  high points for a song that practically no one heard of, unless you bought the tape, or vinyl, and listened to the album in its entire glory. I remember singing a few lines that made him remember the song  . . . .



He pointed out something about the intro, being all too techno but with a touch of good old pop rock. I said it was one of the best songs in the album, even though Burning flame was the more popular one.

And we both agreed Hi Hi Friend is the best song in that particular album.

From then on, it was music all the way, the nuances, the stuff I regret never following up with my guitar playing, and the envy we had for Tony’s Fender.

Photo by Darrell Sicam

From left – Jojo, Tirong and me. (Photo by Darrell Sicam)

As I sit here, still sleepy from the lack of it. A two-hour bus trip back this morning from Sucat, Paranaque, was worth the several hours staying with Tirong’s bro, singing some songs, and joking about stuff Tirong might have something to say  to. Turns out I hardly know the man, there were stories I need to hear, adventures I had to take in, and  Momma Orbase just felt like she was glad Tyrone had more friends than she ever knew. She took some much-needed rest at about 2am this morning, and I wish I could have picked her mind about Tirong. But the fretwork of long-haired bro Orbase made it worthwhile to shoot some musical topics and what little bit of history I could glean from him, even while gin was being passed around and I tipped the jigger like cacti thirsty for water.

I hardly know the man.

But he knows Angela.

The interment is tomorrow. I can hardly bring myself to go there and bear witness. I have issues with death and goodbyes. I just like to think he just went off somewhere.

And he knows about Angela.

That makes him one of the few friends worth keeping.