Saigoneer

Kumain kami ni Jane kagabi sa Saigoneer, isang maliit na restaurant sa labas lang ng gate ng village namin (Rocka Complex).

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Vietnamese cuisine ang pagkain. Ang pangalan ng may-ari, Loris Santos.

Masarap ang pagkain at maganda ang ambiance, makulay at maaliwalas.

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Ang ayaw lang namin, anlakas nung tugtog sa katabing restaurant — beer haus kasi. Eh, si Loris din ang may-ari.

Simple lang ang inorder namin, di naman kami malakas kumain. Isang order ng Pho beef noodles, at isang fried spring rolls (5 piraso).

Masarap yung Pho! Sulit sa halaga. Malinamnam yung sabaw, lasang-lasa yung basil, malambot at malasa yung beef strips, at husto sa luto yung Pho noodles.

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Nakulangan lang si Jane sa togue (bean sprouts), gusto sana nya mas marami.

Napansin namin na medyo mabagal ang serbisyo. Ang tagal bago dumating yung order naming Pho. Sa paunti-unti naubos na yung 5 pirasong fried spring rolls, wala pa rin yung Pho.

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At mukhang nalilito sila kung sino nag order nung isa o dalawang putahe. Si ate serbidora 2 beses ako tinanong tungkol sa fresh spring rolls, eh wala namin kaming order nun. (Medyo na-concern din kami kay ate serbidora, kasi mag-isa sya, eh andaming customer; si boss Loris nag serbidor na nga rin.)

Hindi namin ikinayamot, at nagpasensya lang kami sa paghihintay.

Nung pauwi na kami, nadaanan namin si Loris nakatayo sa may kahera. Binati namin siya at nakipag-batian naman sya sa amin.

“Pasensya na po kayo, kulang kami sa tao ngayon,” sabi nya, “nasa kabilang branch kasi yung iba.”

May branch daw sila sa Visayas Ave. Eh, mukhang humingi ng resbak na tauhan. Balentayms kasi. Sya ngayon dito sa Rocka Complex ang kinulang ng tauhan.

O, mga tiga-Rocka dyan, dalhin ang buong pamilya nyo, kain kayo sa Saigoneer.

Kahit hindi Balentayms. 💑

Si Cesar Apolinario

Lilinawin ko lang, bago ang lahat — hindi kami magkakilala ni Cesar Apolinario. Hindi rin directly patungkol kay Cesar Apolinario ang article na ito. Kung kaya’t — bakit ko ito pinamagatang Si Cesar Apolinario???

Sumakabilang-buhay si Cesar Apolinario noong Biyernes, ika-13 ng Disyembre…

Lumuwas ako nitong Lunes, ika-16, patungong Trellis. May reunion kami doon ng mga high school klasmeyt ko sa Ateneo. Namasahe lang ako, at sumakay ng bus byaheng Cubao paluwas.

Karaniwan ay nagbababa ang bus sa SM North, ngunit sa pagkakataong ito ay hindi. Mula SM North kasi, makakasakay na ko ng jeep na byaheng City Hall (QC). Ang Trellis ay halos nasa likod lang ng City Hall.

Sa GMA MRT daw sila magbababa ng pasahero. Pwede pa rin sa kin, dahil may sakayan ng tricycle sa tapat ng JAM terminal, deretso sa Trellis. Lalakarin ko lang ang kahabaan ng EDSA sa gilid ng GMA at tatawid ng Timog Ave patungong JAM teminal.

Malapit nang mag alas singko, at ang usapan namin ni Randy, alas singko magkikita sa Trellis. Kaya’t medyo paspas ang paglalakad ko.

Iniiwasan ang mga taong kasalubong sa makipot na sidewalk, at kumukuha ng tiyempong lagpasan ang nasa harapan ko na mabagal maglakad. Nakatingin din ako sa nilalakaran ko at baka matalisod.

Nang biglang tumambad sa mga mata ko, at matatapakan ko na — ang plaque ng bituin na may pangalang Cesar Apolinario!

Nasa StarWalk (ito ba tawag dun?) pala ng GMA si Cesar Apolinario. At kung hindi ako nakatingin sa nilalakaran ko, maaaring natapakan ko lang ang plaque nya at tumuloy-tuloy sa paglalakad. Datapwat hindi.

E di huminto ako sa paglalakad at kinunan ko ng litrato…

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Kagabi, nag-post si Howie Severino sa fb ng madamdaming article tungkol kay Cesar Apolinario. Kapwa mamamahayag at dokumentarista ng GMA si Howie at si Cesar. Mas matanda si Howie kay Cesar ng mga 10 taon, datapwat naging magkaibigan sila.

Sa sinulat ni Howie, binanggit nya na si Cesar daw ay tulad ng isang bulalakaw (comet) na nagbigay ng kaniyang liwanag, datapwat sa sandaling panahon lamang.

Kinuwento ko kay Howie ang pangyayari sa StarWalk, at sinabi nya sa akin,

“Nagparamdam (si Cesar) sa yo 😂” (sulat baybayin).

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Sabi ko, hindi man kami nagkakilala, datapwat dahil sa pangyayari, ay tulad siya ng isang bulalakaw na nakita kong saglit, at ngayon ay nasa kamalayan ko na —

Si Cesar Apolinario.

no other way out but out

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the thought of taking one’s own life is a serious thought. a serious thought that indicates a serious problem or a problem taken way too seriously. whatever the case may be, the thought of taking one’s own life — no other way out but out — is desperation.

the thought of taking one’s own life is never — almost never — articulated, especially to the people who will be most affected by its achievement, namely, your loved ones or your immediate family… until it’s too late. but ironically the thought of taking one’s own life is really a matter too private and too delicate to articulate, especially to your loved ones.

telling your loved ones that you are planning to take your own life complicates matters in your head. it either increases their awareness of your presence and their involvement in your life and thoughts, that it becomes an extra burden that takes away your thought that there is no other way out but out. or you might get lectured in return thus galvanizing your resolve that there really is no other way out but out, because your ears can only take in too much.

thinking — and believing — that there is no other way out but out, is desperation. obviously, this is how you feel, that there’s no other way out of your problem in this life but out.

but taking one’s own life solves only one problem: the feeling that there’s no other way out of your problem but out. the problem is still there, you are not. however, your precipitate decision spawns multiple problems for those you will leave behind, including your dog.

taking one’s own life only works best with people who have no family and friends who care. or a pet. but that is exactly the mindset of people who entertain the thought that there is no other way out but out — that is, that no one cares. but people (loved ones, family and friends) really care. they care enough to get hurt even over the fact that you’d thought there’s no other way out but out.

they probably just weren’t there when you felt you needed them — when you felt you were crouched crippled in the shadows, and they can’t see you. or though they were there, you felt they did not see you.

it is a form of escape, taking one’s own life. escape from the responsibility of having to care about others. it is ironic that the feeling that no one cares for you brings you to care for no one but yourself. this is the first thought your friends and loved ones who you left bitterly would entertain — that you were too selfish. and you are — or were, because by now you’re already out.

too selfish to care about the grief you caused. too selfish to care about the trouble you brought. and too selfish to care about the expense that your burial would entail. unless you signed a demand note that you be left alone where you got out and be left to rot there.

but even this becomes an inconvenience for those who’d pass by your exit point. but even the government won’t allow this and would spend for your burial or cremation if no one else will. but if someone or some may care for you to give you a decent wake and burial, it’s still an inconvenience for them.

even if your own personal estate pays for all the expenses, time will stand still for those you left, family and friends. and they all, most of them, will grieve your demise for days. and you’d leave them ever wondering why you did it, why you concluded that there is no other way out of your problem but out, why you took your own life… until they forget.

so, don’t believe that there is no other way out but out. and don’t literally jump to a conclusion! hang in there… oops!

i’m out.

eliz and CV

saturday was antithesis: in the morning, we were invited to a birthday breakfast buffet; in the afternoon, we went to a wake.  the birthday, was the 60th birthday celebration of a dear christian friend, eliz ‘maling’ francisco: the wake, the wake of an uncle, dr. cesar vicente san pedro, 87, who died of liver cancer.

there are no ironies — if ever there were — in birthdays.  in deaths there often are.  one of the ironies in deaths is that a death in the family becomes the occasion of happy reunions between siblings, cousins, relatives, and friends who haven’t seen each other in ages.  a death in the family brings us together, and the tragedy of death becomes a comedy of reunions.  an irony.  an irony on a tragedy…

maling is special.  she is one of a few.  she hosted the birthday breakfast buffet largely for her churchmates and us fellow christians (long-time friends) from all over (100-120 persons) — a huge blow-out!  she wanted to celebrate her 60th birthday with people closest to her heart.  the lady loves the Lord, and drives a silver jaguar.

 

at the wake of my uncle, it was a noisy reunion of cousins and close uncles and aunts.  noisy, filled with laughter and animated story-telling.  an irony on a tragedy…

i met CV, a 2nd cousin (son of my mother’s 1st cousin, the departed), the youngest.  i realized that for the past 30 odd years i have never talked to him — not a word — and not even exchanged a handshake greeting in countless clan reunions we’ve seen each other at.  yesterday was our first warm handshake, when i expressed my condolences to him upon our arriving at the wake…

“CV…” i said, “does that stand for cesar vicente, after your dad, cesar, and grand-dad, vicente?”
“his dad’s name is also cesar vicente,” my eldest brother rolly said.
“no, my name is cesar vincent,” CV said.
“ahh, tweaked,” i said…

CV, i learned, was a chef.  a would-have-been doctor like his dad and elder brother, paul, but chose another path — culinary arts.  he’s now the head chef at parq vancouver.  i asked him how he cooks scrambled eggs — gordon ramsey or anthony bourdain — to break the ice.  i said i didn’t like gordon ramsey’s scrambled eggs because they were “masyadong malasado” (too runny).  from then on, it was talk about chinese cuisine — herbs and spices, star anise, cooking wine, chicken powder, soup stock made from chicken, pork, and veal, century eggs mashed in congeee; pho, wansoy; bibimbop, kimchi — asian cuisine — after the ice breaker…

when it was time to go, i bade my cousins, uncle, and aunts goodbye.  i shook CV’s hand.

“at long last,” i said.
“oo nga,” he said.

 

 

pancake house: ang liit ng mundo (part 2)

may kasabihan, “ang liit ng mundo!” o “small world!” na karaniwang bulalas ng mga magkakilalang nagkikita sa isang bahagi ng siyudad, bansa, o mundo nang hindi inaasahan o sinasadya.

naka-schedule kaming magkita at magkape ng isa sa mga best friends ko nung high school (sa Ateneo) na si randy cepeda.  suggestion nya sa pancake house sa vira mall (Vmall), 2 pm.  magwa-1 pm pa lang, nasa Vmall na ako at hinahanap ko kung nasaan ang pancake house, sa likod daw kasi ng Vmall ayon sa text ni randy.  eh nasa gitna ako ng napakalawak na tiangge ng Vmall, di ko na matunton saan ang likod.  e di magtanong sa guard.

“guard, saan banda ang pancake house?” tanong ko.
“ahh, dun, sir, sa may tapat ng mcdo sa dulo,” sabi ni guard.

gilid pala ng Vmall yun, at (natanto ko kay randy afterwards) ibang pancake house ang itinuro ni guard sa kin.  datapwat, lumabas ako at naglakad sa malapad na sidewalk sa gilid ng Vmall patungo sa tinuro ni guard.

nakaka-ilang hakbang pa lang ako, nakita ko isang napaka-pamilyar na mukha ng isang lalaking makakasalubong ko.  huminto ako sa paglakad at tinitigan ko sya.  nakatitig din sya sa kin habang lumalakad papalapit.  nagtititigan kami hanggang sa magkita kami.  si noel “nono” pascual, isa din sa mga best friends ko nung high school (sa National Teachers College na nilipatan ko, 3rd year), na huling nagkita kami mga more than 30 years ago.

small world!  😋

niyaya nya kong mag-lunch sa bahay nila (kasama nya misis at unico hijo nung magkita kami), eh dahil may oras pa naman akong susunugin, magwa-1 pm pa lang naman, pinaunlakan ko alok nya at sumama ako.  napakalapit sa Vmall ng bahay nya, 5 minutes away lang.

masayang reunion at mahabang kwento… 2 pm ipinahatid ako ni nono sa Vmall.

nagkita kami ni randy mga 2.30 pm sa pancake house, nag-order ng kape, at ikinuwento ko sa kanya na habang naghihintay ako, nagkita kami nang di sinasadya ng isang kaibigan na matagal ko nang di nakikita.

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“painter sya,” sabi ko, “kilala daw sya dito, may sarili nga syang ‘reserved’ parking dyan sa multi-level car park.  noel pascual…”
“noel pascual?”
“oo, noel pascual, bakit, kilala mo?”
“small guy?”
“oo.”
“eh, pare, co-parent ko sa la salle yan, when our kids were in grade school, classmate ni fonz ang anak nya.”

small world… indeed!  😋😋