All posts filed under: Thoughts

La Maison: The beginning and the end

July 31, 2017: 9 months, 28 days since start of construction This is what building a house does to you: for the 98th time, you find yourself wide awake at 1:43 a,m., drinking some herbal concoction that you hope will help put you back to sleep, and wondering – no, screaming inside your head – “WHEN WILL THIS EVER END???” I know, that sounds like a line reserved for people who are in pure anguish, and I do not wish to trivialize anybody’s pain, but there is a kind of agony that afflicts homeowners (an optimistic term for when that house is ever finished) who, like us, have been given at least four turnover dates and yet find themselves in the same state they were in months ago: stressed, sleepless and exhausted to the point of breakdown. We began construction of our house on Oct. 3, 2016. In the description on the blueprint, it says “Three-Story Split-Level Residence” on an 88-square-meter lot, which was a generous gift from my mother. Except today, it’s not a …

The Struggle to be Still

In less than 24 hours, a tropical storm warning will be raised all over the country again, the alert level depending on where you are. I am in southern Metro Manila, hundreds of kilometers away from where Super Typhoon Maysak is expected to make landfall. BUT where I need to be in three days is exactly where that typhoon will make its second landfall in the Philippines. We had arranged a shoot in the Ifugao rice terraces and an interview for a book project that’s due later this month. The plans had been laid out weeks ago–and then this, a super typhoon. Once again, I am faced with things beyond my control. It’s a familiar feeling. I had similar thoughts last month, when a viral infection kept me house-bound–bedridden half the time–when I had a gazillion things in my to-do list. There was that first out-of-town shoot for the same book, a whole-day workshop to conduct, final papers to submit in graduate school and several stories for editing. Just when the deadlines are looming, you find yourself practically dead. What do you do? In …

How Skyjet Screwed Us

It’s two weeks to my sister’s wedding in Batanes. Like most weddings in that northern tip of the Philippines, it’s meant to be an intimate affair, with just the closest family and friends. More than the wedding preps, we spent the last 11 months on travel preparations–negotiating deals with hotels in Basco, arranging tours, attending travel expos in Manila, doing whatever we can to ease the cost for our guests. Our biggest concerns — until three days ago — were final gown fittings, table setting and what extra desserts to bring. Everything was easy breezy. And then Skyjet, that “boutique leisure airline” peddling “a better way to fly” decided NOT to fly to Basco this month. No warnings, no advisories, no explanations. My sister’s wedding is on January 27, and 21 of our 55 guests are flying Skyjet on January 26-28/30. They paid for their tickets as early as September last year, and yet, as of January 6, they had no flights. If we’re going to be glass-is-half-full here, then I suppose we should be thankful that we got the shocking news more than 24 …