To Anna and Zeke, on the occasion of their wedding

On Interstate 5 the other day, I saw a billboard for that new Paul Rudd-Reese Witherspoon-Owen Wilson movie, “How Do You Know”.

If you haven’t seen it, it features headshots of Reese, Paul, Owen, and Jack Nicholson, and the words “HOW DO YOU KNOW” in large type, with the word “KNOW” in boldface.

I think the copy is genius. With only four words, you get the point of the whole movie. Everyone just KNOWS the question. The answer, from what I know of it, is just as cryptic. As my me and my wife or any old married couple will tell you, sometimes, you just know. Continue reading “To Anna and Zeke, on the occasion of their wedding”


Culture Shock

For Father’s Day, I enrolled in a writing workshop-cum-tour of Writer’s Block Philippines featuring the irrepressible Carlos Celdran. We walked from Plaza de España (Roma) in front of Manila Cathedral, to the crypts behind San Agustin Church. Along the way, Celdran talked about Manila’s bloody past and how it helped shape our national identity. In so doing, he extolled Manila’s charms with a passion rare in Manileños. Most would rather talk about how decrepit Manila has become, or how it’s just a shell of its former self, but not Celdran. “I may not change Manila, but I can change the way you look at Manila,” says Celdran at the end of each tour, and I believe him. After earning his degree from the Rhode Island School of Design, Celdran now makes his home in Ermita’s fabled North Syquia Apartments, where on occasion his pad also hosts other interesting events. Continue reading “Culture Shock”

Long Stories

1. When I was in private practice, the boutique firm where I worked rarely took walk-in clients. This was not because we were snooty lawyers who turned down work we deemed to be beneath our level (although I admit there was a certain pride to be had working for my firm), but because it took some effort to reach our office. The office was (and still is) on the eighth floor of what was designed in the sixties as a seven story building in the heart of Makati. Sometimes, when both elevators servicing the building would conk out, ours was an office on the top floor of an eight-story walkup with some of the worst parking in the country. As Randy Pausch would later explain, this was, in its own way, a filter to ensure that only those who really wanted us got us. Continue reading “Long Stories”


My good friend Lille Bose posted a note on Facebook today. In it, she spoke of how her grandmother, presumably now a retiree living somewhere in Wisconsin, sneered at Barack Obama’s acceptance speech – because, or so the story goes, Barack Obama is a black man and people like her have a general distrust for people of color.

I had an interesting conversation with the “older” people who live next door – my mother and her current best friend, an aunt of hers who spends a few nights now and then coming over for a nice visit. This aunt is a widow who met her late husband (a German national) while working for the United Nations. Like most of my relatives who are now or at one point in their lives based in the United States, she is a fanatical supporter of the Republican Party. She does not fail to send to my mother, my sister, and anyone else in her Yahoo! contact list the latest dirt she finds on Democrats and their candidates, Obama not excluded. She is not alone in this endeavor. Most of my relatives there are similarly engaged in the McCain campaign.

Fortunately, my mother, being sensitive to my libertarian tendencies, has decided to bear the brunt of these information campaigns, which does not mean to say that she does not believe in them – the opposite cannot be closer to the truth – but she hesitates forwarding these messages to me knowing I do not hesitate to classify them as spam. Continue reading “Matapobre”

I’m nauseous.

I’m serious, dammit.

Earlier this week, my ENT prescribed this new course of advanced generation antibiotics to deliver that knockout blow to the bacteria that’s made my sinuses their home for the past twenty-odd years. In fact, the drug is so new, it had yet to be invented when I had my first Caldwell-Luc procedure in 1991. Anyway, I am taking a broad spectrum antibiotic, so as far as the bacteria in my bloodstream goes, I’m sure that by the end of this course, it’s gone from my system. If I had an STD, it’s gone now for sure. Continue reading “I’m nauseous.”

Father’s Day Eve at Tiendesitas

I woke up to my wife asking me whether or not my Mom had any plans for Father’s Day so we could plan around it. You never know when a nice Father’s Day type celebration may be interrupted by a congratulatory call by an unwitting relative. So when Mom asked me where I wanted to go just so we could eat out, I felt terrible that we actually had to go somewhere, so I left the deciding to her. We end up meeting at Tiendesitas for what Mom saw on television to be a caterer’s convention. We’d been on the lookout for a caterer for Nicole’s first birthday and this seemed to be a perfect opportunity to look. Continue reading “Father’s Day Eve at Tiendesitas”