Saturday, October 20, 2007

BOMBING IN MAKATI, and what really hurts

From my desk, I have a great view of the Makati Skyline, including Makati Medical Center. And at about 2:15 pm I saw rows of ambulances heading to the ER receiving area, with a sizeable crowd milling about. Heard the faint sound of sirens and I knew something must have happened.

Then we got a text message. Bombing at Glorietta. Oh God. Not again.

I've always thought bombing is a cheater's way to waging war. Childhood memories of water bombs being thrown at me when I least expected it didn't seem to be a fair way to conquer the playground. And now, it's a lot more treacherous when the intent is to instill fear on unsuspecting people.

The wreckage is big but not something so big it can't be repaired in a month. The casualties involved 9 dead -- That's still small compared to the bomb that exploded in Pakistan which involved over 100 deaths. I was monitoring the news and the Philippines didn't even make the headlines on CNN and BBC. Not that I'd like us to compete for most bombed city, but you get what I mean. This country is not that bad.

I guess what really hurts is that the Philippines has great people, has progressive thinkers, and we are on the verge of fast-tracking development and globalization. The Philippine peso has strengthened against the dollar at P44. Things are starting to look up. And then shit happens. The rest of the world (which may be ignorant to the woes of this country) will just dismiss us as a volatile nation. Investors will pull out. And we may go back to square one.

And at dinner last night with the Coke team and the Aussie film guys, the joke was they can't wait to get back to Sydney because they don't want to be here when the country implodes. Gee, thanks.

There's a lot of speculation happening now on who did it. The finger-pointing is surreal. Did the terrorists do it? Did Gloria order it? Nobody is making a claim. Goddammit, I thought bombing a place is all about making a political statement. At least the Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for 9-11. But what happened yesterday was all about making people scared of no one in particular. The news feed from Inquirer (where I got this photo from) and Star were so depressing, I had to stop watching or reading the news.

But I simply can't shut it out of my mind. This is my neighborhood. Doing groceries will now be a task filled with paranoia. Everytime I'd remember Kids at work (the daycare that collapsed in Gloretta) I'll always have that chilling thought of injured kids. The next time I'd sit at my cubicle at work, I'd remember the rushing ambulances with victims who never made it to the emergency room.

And while everything on Monday will be business as usual, peace of mind will not be what it used to be.

ADDENDUM 10/29/2007: Police says it's a diesel leak accident, blaming the explosion on Ayala. Ayala says the diesel tank is intact (if it was the source, then it should've discombooberated) and that something or someone may have triggered the explosion. Lots of finger pointing happening now. Meanwhile, is it safe to do some shopping?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

My Favorite TV Ad

Still brings me the giggles... :-)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Birthdays, Mothers, Daughters

Sometime on the last week of September, the dreaded day came. Not that I'm dreading about turning a year older, but because just like a senior in college, I am cramming to fix the rest of my life... You know how all those school projects, case studies and thesis made you think you knew everything? Well, turned out I didn't. And in the school of life, just when I'm half-way through, I shifted to another course.

But before I blab about how I'd be planning the next three decades of my life, let me focus on this day.

Nanay (my beloved term for my Mom) called me up at 6 am just to make sure she greeted me first. I guess if there's anyone who shouldn't forget a birthday, it's gotta be the woman who gave birth to you. She asked me what my plans were and I said I had work that day. Also told her I can't splurge, since my quarterly rent was due end September.

I could tell by her silence that she felt a bit sorry for me, and she went out of her way to say maybe I should go see you today. I didn't want to be responsible for the elevated blood pressure she might get travelling from Kalookan to Makati, so I said I'll just see you on the weekend, mom.

"But you have to celebrate your birthday. I always did, even when you're not with me" her voice cracked.
Translation: You are my baby and I'm glad I gave birth to you.

I guess it's a less obvious way of saying she loves me. And that alone warmed an otherwise stressful day.

Now for the other female in my life. Sandra was jumping around all week saying she had a gift for me. That morning, she presented a nice little parfum with a vanilla scent. Personally, I prefer citrus or clean scents rather than sweet ones. But she said she picked the perfume herself, and this is how a Mommy should smell like. And I wouldn't want to debate on the taste of a 7-year old. Especially if it came with intricate gold wrapping from Rustans. I thanked her and texted thanks to the Ex as well (no doubt, he paid for it).

But what really got me was this... The birthday drawing. She started doing them for me since she was two, and I've looked forward in receiving them, and seeing how the artwork improves with each year. And being in 2nd grade, and only given pencils, crayolas and craypas, she thought of it as a special grown-up treat to use the "forbidden medium"... Colored ballpens. I must say that it does look nice on my cubicle wall.

That night, we ate at TGI Friday's. Just Sandra and me. She had the kiddie platter, I had the Santa Monica Nacho Crusted fish, which was surprisingly excellent. Extra crispy and spicy on the outside, and melt-your-mouth Dory Fillet on the inside. Sandra even got envious and kept forking my fish. We topped it off with an Oreo ice cream sandwich and pretended it was a cake.

Then she said to me, " Can we tell the waiters it's your birthday? I want them to sing for you."
I replied "Never mind, baby. I'm a bit embarassed because there's only the two of us, it's not like we have a dinner party or anything".
And then she hugged me and said "Oh mom, you think too much."