about the talking fish

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Writer. Wheelman. Occasional DIY mechanic. Walking collection of hang-ups. Hopeless romantic. Old-school. Analog soul in a digital world. I am all of these things and more.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Just like that, my vacation is over.
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We arrived in Manila last Friday at 3 am. The first thing I noticed was this thick blanket of humidity enveloping my being as I disembarked from the airplane carrying two very heavy bags...and just how hot and sticky everything suddenly felt.

Taking a minivan from the airport, we had unloaded the four boxes that we carried along with us full of our clothes, our things and the myriad giveaways to our relatives here. It was then that I noticed the full extent of the trip's damage to my body. My belly had bloated. Apparently that was where all the weight gain went.

Floating in and out of jet lag, I immediately got to work with lifting weights, jogging and eating less. I'm proud to say that less than a week after we arrived I've lost all the 5 pounds I gained, and I'm thinking of losing 10 more.
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One thing I noticed on our way to the Duty Free Fiesta Mall is just how rowdy we Filipinos are as drivers. We are uncouth, aggressive, undisciplined and disobedient assholes in possession of two-ton weapons deadlier than guns. After getting used to the sanitized driving environment of US streets I feel as if I have to re-learn my way driving through Manila's chaos.

I did learn a few things I try to incorporate in my formerly aggressive driving style. Nowadays I try keeping to the 80 km/h SLEX speed limit. I stop longer for pedestrians and at every intersection, no longer automatically assuming the right of way. I change lanes slower and more predictably when circumstance allows. I've even given up trying to bait other cars on the highway and outrunning them.

I learned that driving is not something to get worked up about. Driving should be taken easy: you will get to your destination anyway.
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I miss them. A lot.

I miss JB's incessant chatter and "weird kid" opinions. I miss Czasha and her sing-song way of speaking. I miss Auntie Carole's warmth and shopping sense. I miss Uncle Butch's humor, good nature and predilection for Filipino tackiness.

Just like that, the de Leon and Chaingan families live separate lives once again.
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I was wrong about Henni Espinosa, the editor who had asked me for the article I contributed for the Filipino Examiner in San Francisco.

It turns out she no longer works there; while she's still based in San Francisco, she works for the US arm of the Manila Bulletin now as part of the marketing committee. Just before our flight home she sent 5 copies of the February tourism issue of the Filipino Insider with my article inside, as well as a copy of the Manila Bulletin USA.

Thanks for coming through, Henni.
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This morning while having breakfast, my dad was asking me once again what I planned to do with my life after I was finished with college, especially with having two degrees under my belt. This was after he had read my article in the San Francisco monthly earlier mentioned.

I told him perhaps I would concentrate on the marketing side, thinking that it would be easier in the short term to land a job as a salesperson. Positions for communications graduates are rather thin and I made a promise never to work for the local TV stations. Surprisingly he told me otherwise.

He maintained that I should concentrate on becoming a writer---especially to aspire for a motoring journalism career, with all the perks and fringe benefits. Priority drives for new cars and international trips are indeed tempting. He also told me that out of the 12,000 students in DLSU, how many would have proficient experience in marketing? Anyone could learn how to sell. The simple act of selling newspapers or fishballs is already an application of marketing. How many, in contrast, would have the same skill as I do with writing? He claims not more than 10% would have my proficiency.

He made a lot of sense.

I told him I sent my provisional resume to Henni on Uncle Butch's suggestion. He told me to send my resume to the local news dailies as well.
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This final academic term of mine's turning out as a pretty interesting one. I have an honest-to-goodness Filipino writer as professor for FILIPI3, a hardened PR practitioner and shrewd Chinese pundit of a professor for MARKPUB, and a subject called MARKEVE---where, at the end of the term, we can truly say yes to the increasingly prevalent job interview question "Have you ever handled events?"

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