toys for big boys

“i lead a very simple life,” i said in response to chette, widowed wife of my high school classmate, jim ayson; when she asked me what ‘toys for big boys’ i was into.  “i play the guitar, and i write songs,” i added.

the occasion was jim’s 40th day, last dec.19 (2016); all the other guests and relatives of chette and jim have left; and it was only me, her, and howie severino, (another high school classmate,) left talking at the table, inside the cozy poolside reception area of the blue sapphire residences in BGC, where earlier a mass was celebrated and dinner served.

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gina & bong mojica, chette, bobbit suntay, howie severino, and me.

our attention was glued to howie, who told us about his newly fabricated fiberglass kayak — his ‘toys for big boys.’  he had ordered a personally hand-crafted kayak from a hobbyist kayak enthusiast, eli napolitano; and it was scheduled to be delivered the next day (sunday) to his lakeside rest house in taal, batangas.  that same week i learned (howie had posted it on facebook) that he had named his new kayak — ‘bughaw II.’

jim’s ‘toys for big boys’ were cameras, (and sounds,) chette told us.

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jim with a 70-200mm lens and barbie almalbis

jim had a collection of cameras and lenses — she could altogether put them on exhibit, she said.

some of our classmates are into big bikes, chette noted.  (update, jul.14, 2016:) francis told me (recently) that he had sold his big bikes.  i think he’d outgrown them or he got tired of getting injured — i don’t remember.

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francis and owen (randy and robbie not in view) on 800cc BMWs

(update, jul.29, 2017:) bong mojica (in top photo,) i discovered recently, rides his “toy” bike (a ducati scrambler) regularly.  he, in fact, belongs to a bike clubthe chosen few — with fellow martial arts enthusiasts, with whom he rides.  one of bong’s favourite hotspots — etivacs.

one other, who was also present at the occasion earlier, bobbit suntay, is a diver and an excellent underwater videographer.  (i haven’t gotten the chance to ask him though what his “toys for big boys” is.)

(update, jul.14, 2016:) another classmate i got re-connected with recently, just about a couple months ago (after 37 odd years,) gerry munda, said he “refurbished an old station wagon” that dated back to his wedding year, ’91.  “brings back memories of my bachelorhood,” he told me.  i asked him if it was a chevy.  he said it was “a small BMW wagon.”  then he went on to tell me that another classmate, richie hormillo, (who i also just got re-connected with in 2011 or 2012) had “7 low-cost classic bimmers, which he races!”  talk about ‘toys for big boys’this one has race cars for toys! 

(update, july 25, 2017:) richie doesn’t only own bimmers, he also (partially) owns a shopbimmerzone inc. (it’s on fb) — that sells them, and parts and services, too.

bmw 3

“i lead a very simple life,” i told chette, “i am the poor classmate.”

i content myself (of course) only with what i can afford — not much; but i enjoy vicariously whatever my friends find pleasure and excitement doing.

get real.  if i had one, what would my ‘toys for big boys’ be?  hmm… a backyard wood-fired brick oven would really make me very grateful (pun intended) — i would enjoy my handmade pizza and lechon de pugon (roasted pork belly) a whole lot better!  (update, jul.29, 2017:) and reverse-sear grill steaks!

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bencab museum

na-miss ko ang ‘unang buhos’ sa una kong paligo ngayon sa baguio (la trinidad talaga, pero sa mga tiga-maynila ay baguio na rin yun.)  ang balat ko ang inaasam ang sampal ng nagyeyelong lamig ng ‘unang buhos.’  eh sa pagkakataong ito shower lang na may timplang mainit ang meron.

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naiiba ang bakasyong ito, dahil sa unang pagkakataon nakapunta kami ni jane sa bencab museum.  matagal na rin kaming umaakyat na mag-asawa, mahigit 20 taon na; ni di humaging sa isip namin, at wala rin namang nagmungkahi na magpunta kami dun.  eh ngayon, sumagi sa isipan ko.

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eh, may panalo naman sa pagpunta namin ngayon lang, sapagkat may mga obra si bencab, na pininta nya nung 2013 at 2014 lang.

maraming banayad na mga likha; marami ring mapang-udyok — ang isa sa mga ito, ang misis ko ang tinuturo ang ibon.

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hindi ito isa sa mga sariling likha ni bencab; ngunit bahag-i ito ng koleksyon nya ng mga likha ng ibang katutubo.

sa dinami-dami ng nakita ko sa museum, isa lang ang bumighani sakinsi sabel.  may natatanging alindog si sabel kay bencab.  (makikilala ko rin si sabel, igu-google ko.)

pagpasok ng museo, sa unang palapag, sa unang silid, ang marilag ang bumabalot ang ganda — si sabel.

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at sa huling mga baytang, sa ika-ibabang palapag, ang mga bighani ang nasiyahan ang panlasa — sa cafe sabel.

eh masarap at malinamnam ang pagkain sa cafe sabel; di-karaniwan at di naman kamahalan.

tara, akyat na ng baguio!  pasyal na sa bencab museum!  sulit na ang P1,000 sa mag-irog: P240, entrance fee; P760, lunch or merienda cena.

simpleng kaligayahan

hindi ako karaniwang nagbibigay sa mga batang nangangaroling sa village namin, malibang kilalang-kilala ko (anak ng kapitbahay naming kaibigan ko.)

“patawad,” o “bumalik kayo sa pasko,” ang karaniwang maririnig nilang tugon sa unang linya pa lang ng kakantahin nila.

kaya’t naiiba ang nangyari nang gabing ito.

kararating ko lang at kabababa ng trike (pedicab) at papasok ako ng gate ng bahay namin.  galing sa kabilang bahay ang apat na batang nangangaroling, at pabirong tinaboy sila ng maybahay.

“oi, bawal mangaroling!”

nakita kong papalapit ang apat na bata sa akin, at magsisimula nang kumanta.

“bawal mangaroling, kung wala kayong permit,” ang biro ko, “may permit ba kayo?”

“sige na kuya,” ang sagot ng isa, “pasko naman!”

“oo nga, kuya,” ang dagdag ng ikalawa.

“kuya, kahit piso lang, sige na!”

hindi ako natitinag sa ganito, lalo na’t may malalim akong iniisip nung mga oras na yun.

“kuya, ang pogi, pogi mo!”

aba’y binola pa ko, (sige dagdagan nyo pa!)

“oo nga kuya, ang pogi, pogi mo, mukha kang artista,” ang dagdag ng isa.

“kuya, kamukha mo si alden!”

ano???   patay tayo dyan!  sino ba’ng wala sa sarili nya ang hindi mabibilog ng ganitong biro!  parang isdang kumagat sa pain — nabingwit!  ayun, lumabas ulit ako ng gate, napapa-iling pero nakangiti (hanggang tenga.)

“sige, kanta!”

masaya at masigla ang pag-kanta ng apat na ito.  buhay.  buhay ang diwa ng pasko sa kanila!  sumasayaw ang isa, at pagewang-gewang pa habang kumakanta.

inabutan ko.  pero inisip ko bago ko abutan, habang dumudukot ako ng barya sa coin purse ko… kung piso isa, e di apat na piso lang, masaya na sila.

“o, meri krismas!” sabay bigay ng barya sa batang babae.

papalayo na sila nang may isang nagtanong.

“magkano binigay?”

“sampung piso!”

simpleng kaligayahan ngayong pasko!

 

 

a case for unity

“endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” (eph.4.3.)

peace is the bond of unity.  it is a strong bond.  it is a mighty bond.

peace is the absence of adversity and conflict — with God above, (peace with God;) with your own self within, (inner peace;) and with others outside and around you, (peace towards others.)

peace is conditioned by love, (col.3.14-15.)  love attracts: love binds.  and so does peace.

hatred and envy divides, (james 4.1, 2.)  envy drives you away from others — you avoid them.  hatred drives away others from you — you get rid of them.

unity is based on commonality.  the unity of the Spirit, is based on a commonality that is non-physical but spiritual.  it is not based on external ties like nationality, language, or skin color; but on internal, ie, spiritual ties.

it is a unity of having the same faith in christ; of believing in the same gospel; of possessing the same hope of eternal life.

it is a unity wrought and created by God the Father, from whom the whole family is named, (eph.3.14, 15;) by God the Son, who reconciled all into one, through his body on the cross, (eph.2.14-16;) by God the Spirit, who unites all in one body unto its head, (eph.4.4.)

we did not create this unity — but we are to preserve it.

the powerful influences of the devil and the world outside us; and the corrupting nature of sin within each one of us; these mar our unity, and act against us keeping the unity.

this is why we need to endeavour — to endeavour to preserve the unity of the Spirit.  it requires serious effort.  it involves hard work.  we need to take pains to keep it… or our church will fall apart at the seams.

remember: hatred and envy divides.  but peace binds… by love.

bless the peacemakers, (matt.5.9.)

don’t be stupid

there are two things known to man that are limitless, the universe and human stupidity — i am not sure about the universe.  words to this effect were attributed to einstein.  he had serious doubts that the universe was indeed limitless or infinite — but not human stupidity.

but this is no less seen in the way man handles matters pertaining to God and his eternity.  how stupid man is is proportional to the reckless confidence, the knowledge he supposes he has, about matters that are spiritual and eternal in nature, the divine.

man is like the ass in the fable: when all the animals in the forest were running out and as far away from the forest as possible in fear; the ass rushes in, headlong, in reckless disregard of why all the others went a-scurrying — a hungry lion was on the prowl!

you have a penchant for questioning God’s providence when circumstances do not go as you would have desired or expected them to happen — when you are faced with adversity and hardships despite your faithfulness and commitment to God’s word and his ways:

“i have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocence; for all day long i have been plagued, and chastened every morning,” psalm 73.13, 14.

this is how God answers man who questions his wisdom:

“who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?  now prepare yourself like a man; i will question you, and you shall answer me.

where were you when i laid the foundations of the earth?  to what were its foundations fastened; or who laid its cornerstone?” job 38.2-6.

you can never fathom nor understand what God is doing in your life, what he has designed to accomplish in the foreseeable future, and how he uses adversity and hardships for your good.  but you can be assured of this —

“judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust him for his grace; behind a frowning providence, he hides a smiling face.

his purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour; the bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.” 

william cowper, 1731-1800

don’t be stupid.

the greatest absurdity

atheists are a sorry bunch, especially when they’re all alone in the confines of their room.  there, they have nothing to deny.  since God does not exist, how can they deny God?  they would be denying something that does not even exist — this is the greatest absurdity!

he can’t be an atheist who is alone in a room.  because to be an atheist, you have to deny that God exists.  but if God does not exist, what does the atheist deny?  how can you make something that is not there vanish: if it is not there, how can you make it disappear?  neither can he make a positive assertion that there is no God, because if there is no God (as he believes) what God is there that he says there is none.  this is saying that nothing is not nothing, but something — but it is not there.  this is the greatest absurdity!

the true dilemma of the atheist is to first define, and therefore suppose, God — who or what God is.  now, the atheist’s failure to define the true God, is tantamount to her failure to deny the true God.  if she fails to define the true God biblically, she may be denying a god of sorts (a semi- or demi-god) but not the God of the bible.  therefore, it is of utmost importance to the atheist to have a clear knowledge of who the God is that the bible teaches, in order for her to be sound and unassailable in her belief in the God that she denies exists.  otherwise, why would God even bother with her, since he is not the God being denied; but some impotent and inadequate god of sorts who does not even measure up to a fraction of his glory.

this is the reason why it is requisite for an atheist worthy of any attention to have a clear biblical knowledge of who God is as he reveals himself in the bible; otherwise, he might just be denying a god who is just a slob like one of us.

tell me who this God is who you are denying, and i will tell you if the God you are denying is indeed the God of the bible.

 

oh, fine dining!

i dread fine dining.  i rarely eat in fancy restaurants; and never in a five-star hotel.

but i found myself having lunch, or should i say, fine dining at the champagne salon of the prestigious, world-class relic, the manila hotel — it was the birthday of the general manager and vice-chairman, atty. hermogenes pobre; and my wife, jane, and i were invited.

i dread those cutlery arrangements!  i wish i were dining chinese-style instead, with only a pair of chopsticks to handle all the food i put in my mouth.  then, i would only have to worry about how to hold my pair of chopsticks — between what fingers should i hold them, or should i cross them or not (a matter of style,) and how to chopstick those loose rice grains into my mouth!  but multiple cutlery — 4 different forks (one had only three prongs like poseidon’s trident, all the rest were fourks) located on three sides of my plate (two on the left, one above, and one on the right;) not to mention 3 kinds of table knives, and 2 kinds of spoons! — is one anticipated panic attack!

which to use first, and what comes next in order, can be googled, but… bahala na!  act naturally.  eenee-meenee-minee-moe.

so, the old lady on my left at the round table, the executive vice-president/treasurer of the manila bulletin, may have also gotten confused by the cutlery ensemble, she took one of the forks on the left side of my plate, mistaking it for her’s, when we were served the appetizer; which left me now in a more awkward situation, not knowing (exponentially!) which other thing to use.  but later we were smiling at each other because we were both missing pieces of cutlery we’ve already used, but which was intended for something else that was still coming up — i gave a cue to the waiter, to give us the missing pieces, and that kind-a did the job!

i tore off a piece of bread bun and dunked it into the ‘clear seafood consomme with fried crab wanton,’ as naturally as i would a pandesal into my morning three-in-one coffee, before jamming it on my waiting tongue.  and the president of the manila hotel, sen. joey lina, regaled us with his rendition of ‘you’ll never walk alone’ and ‘the impossible dream.’

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manila hotel president, sen.joey lina, regaling us with ‘the impossible dream’

oh, fine dining!