Bo's on a Sunday

View of the Interior of Luzon Island, Philippine Islands. From World Digital Library
I'm the person who just couldn't stand staying in one spot for a day. It irritates me. My feet would want to go somewhere different. Coffee shops on a Sunday are wonderful. At Bo's Coffee, there's a woman in her late seventies sitting at my favorite spot - the one to my left - who looks quite like my wife's grandmother, with shades on, looking broodingly towards Glorietta 4. She's the person you'd want to talk and know what she's thinking about. She looked like she could crush a lit cigarette in one palm, although later she would look the contrary, when she put down her sunglasses to talk to someone over the phone. She looked downcast. Another old man at the far end of the cafe, with visibly silver beard and salt and pepper hair with an Adidas cap, tinkers with his smartphone. There's an older couple across me, about late-fifties, reading Manila Bulletin. A younger couple, probably about to be wed, meets an events organizer who's in charge of the catering. (The talk about alcoholic matcha made me think that maybe the caterers operate a mobile bar?) It turned out the grandparents across where I'm sitting is one of the younger couple's parents. Everything is so slow, so laid-back: no one's rushing to the bus stop. No one's late or in a hurry. Sugarfree plays on - mostly acoustic. Then: Barbie's Cradle, which brings me back to sixth grade and those summer days when we would rent a pool in Pandi, and the entire afternoon all I would do is swim. My sister and her friends would stay glued to the TV for Tabing Ilog. I wouldn't worry about anything.


1. Slice off the tangled root end and the thick, woody dark green top of each leek at the approximate same length. Wash the leeks vigorously under slow-running cold water, using your hands and fingers to scrape away insistent dirt and sand. Arrange them on a cutting board, and in one confident move, stab the tip of a sharp chef’s knife into the leek 1/2 inch from the root end, and run it the rest of the length to the green top, in essence cleaving the leek starting from the white pale root, making two legs and a crotch, where only one thick column was to start. Back at the sink, wash again and again, keeping the leeks intact, but removing every single last grain of sand.
from Leeks Vinaigrette and Sieved Eggs Recipe, by Gabrielle Hamilton


On a Sunday noon someone is reading Grace Paley's Enormous Changes at the Last Minute in a coffee shop. He was wearing a gray shirt and shirts, with earphones plugged in from an Android phone. He ordered tea. At some point he decided to plop down the book face-down, and stared into the space - maybe listening to an audiobook?

Lipoa Rd.

There was a thin slat of night sky from where I'm lying on, and an airplane flew in the dark with its beeping lights, and it reminded me of my six year-old self, looking from a jalousy in Honolulu towards the night sky, where the same beeping lights flew. Back then it was very hot, and we had to subsist in a single electric fan, in a cramped room. That was also the time when I sleepwalked. I could remember other things: Juicy Fruit bubble gum packets from one of Dad's housemates (who also lives in the next room); mornings when we had Spam and fried rice for breakfast; an indoor golf and a framed 3D painting of the sea - which my Dad and his officemates insist that there are fishes in the water - in their office; the saltwater at Waikiki Beach that for a six year old miraculously tasted of salt; the cage of bicycles for rent; the delight when I first saw the laundry room with its front door bubbles and roving machines; the pool in the middle of the apartments, the car wash with its two huge brushes, the synchronized sprinklers; the Power Rangers robot we bought at Swap Meet with its torso that bleeps when activated; the ramps at Toys R' Us that I was very fond of; the train at Sears Tower, right across where we lived, at Lipoa Road; those day trips upstairs from our third floor apartment - the view that lets you smell the sea and taste the saltwater and feel the heat of those summer days. It felt very alien back then to be in a different place, but it was also wonderful. from October 25, 2017

Inventive step

At a conference I was stuck with a man named Eric from a known organization for patents. I feigned interest in patents until he mentioned that what separates inventions from modifications is the 'inventive step'. He also mentioned that Gatorade is from the University of Florida, and that a university in Cebu has just patented their mango starch. Interesting guy, although he sounds a bit bored when I push him to explain things further, as I'm sure he gets these questions all the time.