Monday, June 30, 2008

Biker Chicks--The Prequel

Way before Rix got her motorcycle and before that fateful Biker Chick episode, I got us a couple of mountain bikes first. Now that I think back, I realize the foolhardiness of youth. I mean, I am not the best biker in the world. Or in the neighborhood. Or even in a 100-meter radius (unless my mom is with me). I don't even know why I biked. Each biking excursion left me wiped out from a mixture of fear and exhilaration. But bike we did; Rix and I really went places with those mountain bikes.

We lived near the Buendia end of Leveriza, and Harrison Plaza was a short jeep ride or a calorie-burning walk away. We were aimlessly wandering around Harrison one day and we saw "Buy-One-Take-One" on mountain bikes at Toby's and I still have no idea how she did it, but Rix convinced me that it would be a fantastic idea to get ourselves bikes. I think she used lines like, "Think of all the places we can go to!" and "It's good exercise!" and "It's fun!" and "It's cheap!"

Let me digress here a moment--so we got the "cheap" bikes and soon after, we were becoming regular customers at the Cartimar bike shops; so much so that our bikes were hardly the ones we started with. And eventually we traded in our bikes and added twice what we first paid for them to get spiffier bikes. By then I realized that I would never be Lance Armstrong, and I refused to spend a single peso more on my bike. Rix, though, really souped up her bike and used to bike to and from UP! And as with the motorcycle, I settled for vicarious biking thrills. I would say, "Oh my sister bikes to school and back," in such a way that you'd think I was there pedalling with her.


So from Harrison, we biked back to the apartment. And I remembered that the last time I biked on anything with only two wheels was a decade ago. And that was in a controlled environment, with no silly pedestrians who think that the road is the place to be; no maniacal car drivers whose sole mission in life seems to be terrorizing those on vehicles with half the number of wheels; no oops-did-I-just-run-into-something jeep and truck and bus drivers; no biker-unfriendly things littering the road, like parked cars, trash cans and sign posts. But we made it home safely, and began to plan our next trips.

We biked to church (Union Church on Rada St.), and it always made for a more worshipful experience--I fervently thanked God each time for still being alive. We biked around the CCP Complex; we even went around Intramuros several times. And one time I got a flat right outside Intramuros and we couldn't find any vulcanizing shop and I had to walk my bike all the way home while Rix biked in circles around me.

Once, on impulse (naturally), we decided to meet a friend one afternoon at our Kuya's gaming shop in BF Paranaque, passing Roxas Boulevard, then the Airport Road. We figured it couldn't be that far. I guess in our minds we were thinking of Merville, not quite realizing that BF is way, way, way past that. And on the way we encountered more of those silly pedestrians milling around the road. I sort of almost ran down one guy--not my fault; I called out 'excuse me' and he didn't listen!--and he kinda got surprised and possibly to save face, he yelled at me something like, "Gago ka! Bulag ka ba?" and I felt like getting off my bike and yelling back at him, "Hoy, ikaw ang bulag, GAGA ako!" But stopping gracefully and getting off the bike was something I hadn't quite mastered yet. We made it to BF in two hours. I think. And we made our friend drive us back home.

But the most memorable by far--and the most fun, in a weird way--was when we biked along Manila Bay in the middle of a typhoon. Fine. At the tail end of a typhoon. It was one of those slow moving storms, and we were cabin-fevered, cooped up in the house for days. On the third day, we peeked out (like Noah) and saw that the wind had let up a bit and it was still raining, but not as hard. So what's a little rain, right? We headed out to an eerily empty Buendia then on to Roxas, where we saw the waves slamming against the wall, sending massive sprays of sea water onto the sidewalk and street.

We felt like we were in some kind of man-against-nature movie. I mean picture it. We were the only ones out (only brave ones or only foolish ones, you decide) on the road. The rain was coming down in sheets, the wind whipping us, monster waves out to get us--stopped only by that wall--and further drenching us. We were screaming our heads off each time a wave hit the wall. We felt invincible! I would have raised my arms over my head as we biked down Roxas, or spread them out, like Meg Ryan in City of Angels, except that I would have most likely lost balance and toppled over.

We were thoroughly enjoying pitting ourselves against the sea. Then we saw it. First it was one supot. Followed by another. And another. Then we saw tsinelas. When we got to the end of the wall, we saw a whole mountain of trash being spit out by the sea. We continued screaming our heads off--this time with a different tone, and as much as possible, with our mouths closed.

I think the sea and Mother Nature had the last laugh.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Inspired by Stef's Truth Thursdays prompt.

I wish I knew why there always seems to be a shoe in the middle of the road. Drive anywhere here in Manila, and sooner or later you will see a shoe. A single, forlorn shoe. Sometimes it's a sneaker; sometimes a serious leather lace-up type; often it's a sandal or slipper. Whatever kind it is, it makes you wonder how it got there. And why, oh why, is there always only one?

Did the person wearing it dart across the road, like foolishly lazy pedestrians are wont to do, and the shoe just came off and the person was too scared to run back to the middle of the road to retrieve it? Or maybe he was riding a motorcycle and a pothole jerked the shoe off his foot. Or perhaps, like Hansel and Gretel, she was just leaving a trail her star crossed lover could follow as her furious parents carted her away?

The Hubby and I also have this theory that it's all part of MMDA's "Bawal Tumawid. Nakakamatay" campaign. These solitary shoes in the middle of a busy street subliminally underscore the message. As in, see--all that's left of the pasaway crosser is this you want this to happen to you? We have images of the blue MMDA trucks making midnight runs, dropping shoes at strategic points; and of MMDA enforcers radioing the base, "Wala nang sapatos sa EDSA-Magallanes, over."

Naturally, my mom and sisters find this hilarious, and have quickly adopted this MMDA-shoe theory as their own. Once, my mom texted me, "I think MMDA has been training the people here in Baguio...we saw a shoe on Kennon Road."

Is it a conspiracy for road safety? Is it a mystery that will never be solved? I wish I knew.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


From Stef's Truth Thursdays post. I skipped last week's prompt, so will try to be on time with this week's.

Sometimes I wonder if I have any depth or substance to me at all. I have minimal interest in current events unless it directly affects me like, right now, here where I am standing. I can't knowledgeably discuss politics, economics or give an intellectual analysis of such. I can discuss in detail, though, the pros and cons of ProKids vs Huggies Pull-Ups; and I can identify a goony bird on sight (at least I think so).

Sometimes I think the world revolves around me. And everything is about me, and what I do or don't do.

Sometimes I wonder how I can call myself a writer, when I don't sit down everyday and write. Maybe I'm really a dreamer, who dreams of being a writer. Or I'm just a plain reader who dabbles in writing.

Sometimes I feel like I'm such a fake Christian. A poseur who goes to church regularly and prays at mealtimes and spouts things like "God bless you," and "Be still before God." But if you look deep inside you'd find something dark and sinister. The amazing thing is though, God loves me just the same.

Monday, June 02, 2008


Inspired by Stef's Truth Thursdays prompt.

I worry that I'm not a good enough mother. That I'm not stimulating enough. Not patient enough. Not loving enough. I don't teach her enough. That I don't discipline enough: she'll grow up to be a spoiled brat like those spoiled brats that I hate and whose parents I blame for their lack of discipline and now I've become one of them. I worry that I don't put enough sunscreen. That I don't feed her right. That her knees are dry and her legs full of bruises from bumping into things as she walks around (so like me!) and marks from mosquito bites because I don't put enough insect repellant and she'll grow up and won't have the chance to be Ms. Universe because her knees are dry and her legs are spotty. I worry that she'll grow up vain because I can't help but exclaim, "Oh you're so pretty! You're so cute! You're totally adorable!" because I can only tell the truth and I'm her mother and she really is. I worry that she isn't speaking yet because I don't talk to her enough and I'd rather read a book by myself than read to her sometimes and I can't keep up a running commentary on every single thing we're doing like the books say I should. I worry about her character. That she won't get it about the fruit of the spirit because maybe she doesn't really see it from me. I worry about her relationship with God: how will she believe me when I tell her we should put God above all else, and that we should rely on Him totally when I run around trying to solve everything myself. I worry that her teeth are going to get cavities because I still let her breastfeed to sleep and she still wants milky in the middle of the night. I worry that it will be hard to get her to sleep in her own bed because she thinks that she belongs in our bed, with her Daddy and me, and I shouldn't have agreed to let her co-sleep with us in the first place since she was doing so well in the crib. I worry that she has dandruff because she loves pulling her hair and scratching her head. That when I trim her hair, it will grow back straight and her beautiful curly hair will be gone forever. I worry that I'm forcing her to be independent too soon. I worry that I won't let her go. I worry, I worry, I worry.