Guilt trip

I went on my first backpacking trip last week — I’m certain I’ll find the time to write about it here in this lifetime!
A temple run through Cambodia’s fabled Angkor Wat monuments, with my brother Andrei, was the adventure of a lifetime.
Still, there were times I felt guilty about traveling without my wife and sons. Even as I spoke to them on the phone every day, I couldn’t help but feel bad. I was having the time of my life learning about this ancient civilization and eating all that awesome streetfood, but…it just felt wrong not having them with me.
A local restaurant Phnom Penh gave me a chance to redeem myself.
One day, my sons will go off on their own adventures. If they happen by this awesome restaurant called Kabbas, which lets customers write reviews to tape on their wall, Noah and Moses will find a nice surprise shoutout from their dad.

It was a good meal alright, but I didn’t have time to write a long review as we were rushing to catch our bus to Ho Chi Minh.
But I know, wherever I am in the world, there’s always enough time to be a good dad.

Oh, Noah!




My friends know how forgetful I can be. It bothers me to see that quality in Noah, though. So, for days now, I’ve been badgering my 8-year old about how to plan his activities well so he does not forget things like his assignment notebook at school — this has become an upsetting, common occurrence lately. I suggested, during dismissal, before he runs out to play with his classmates, the first thing he should do is to make sure his homework notebook and other books are in his bag.
When I dropped him off at school after another talk yesterday morning, he kissed and hugged me. And as I was about to leave, he pulled me close and said:
Noah: “Daddy, I remember what you said!”
Me: “What?”
Noah: “I will plan so I don’t forget things!”
Me: “Cool!”
I felt so proud watching him walk into school. Wow, I got through to him finally, I thought!
And then I realized he left his lunchbox with me.



Turning it around


image from crashtestdaddy’s instagram

I haven’t felt this good in a long time.
It’s inevitable, I guess. You can’t ignore your body for long. An aching here, a throbbing pain there, you can’t manage a flight of stairs without panting…and wrinkles!
I’m having a hard time not using the word ‘abusive’ for the way I’ve been living in this body.
So three weeks ago, I started juicing fruits and vegetables at home. The next day, I bought a blender for the office and I’ve been alternating super fruits pineapples or soursop with super veggies moringa, spinach and cucumber, daily. To make sure I get ’em fresh and healthy, I’ve been going to the weekend Salcedo Market in Makati for organic food supplies: i.e. Himalayan Salt to replace table salt, fresh greens like kale and spinach.
Then, last week, I quit smoking. I cheated last Tuesday and smoked two sticks with a client but got a headache after — I guess this means my body’s really saying goodbye to those sick sticks.
And then, the kicker: this morning, I actually did 100 push ups!
Hahaha! What is happening to me?!?

Sighing: The agony and the ecstacy of daddyhood

I’ve been in a few discussions about why I don’t write here often like I promised when I began this blog. It’s not that I do not have the material. I have that in spades, thank God.

Maybe, since becoming a dad to Noah and Moses, I’ve become more aware of how blessed  my life really is. Not to sound unappreciative, but that’s kind of been my dilemma.

My sons, they smile a lot. And whenever they smile their sweet, naughty cherub smiles, my heart feels like it’s going to explode. All in one moment: gratitude, disbelief, joy, wonder, and also worry and fear that the moment’s happiness is just that – a moment fleeting just for the remembering. (More painful, I have a really lousy memory now!)

It’s just too goddamn beautiful. I take it all in, I let it flow through me. I sigh. I sigh a lot.

If you’re a parent and you still watch your kids while they sleep, you probably know what I mean.

Moments with my kids take my breath away like a punch to the gut. Knocks the wind out of me so I can’t easily write them down in here. I’m not sure it’s normal. I should just be freakin’ happy, but I always end up writing something sappy. So I try not to be melodramatic but it seems I can’t write otherwise.

Like one day last week, Noah caught me completely by surprise when he volunteered to take off my shoes and socks when I got home. I guess he could tell I was tired from work.  As soon as I plopped down on the couch, he sat down on the floor in front of me, smiled and said in his high-pitched sorta-baby, sorta-boy voice, “I’ll help you, daddy!” He quickly took them off, brought my socks to the hamper and my shoes to the bedroom upstairs. I was dumbfounded. Where’d he learn to do that? Why did he do that? All I could do in return was kiss him on the forehead and say thank you, son.

I was holding back my tears when he did it again the next day. And the day after that.

Last night, I didn’t feel like crying inside any more, so I stopped him and told him that I loved him but he didn’t need to do that for me yet, I can still manage and he can take care of me when I’m old and grey.

He smiled back and I sighed. See?


Intervention, comic book style!

Uh oh. Dark Phoenix. (Avengers vs. X-Men 11, Marvel Comics)

I hate to say this because I grew up reading DC Comics, but Cyclops’ fall from grace in Marvel’s Avengers vs. X-Men 11 is one of the most compelling issues I’ve read in a long while. Every page was resonant with painfully believable (if you can say that about a comic book) betrayals and agonizing attempts at redeeming an old friend — which is how I feel about my old DC favorites. The New 52 characters now feel like strangers to me opposite Slim Summer’s tragic but understandable transformation as the Dark Phoenix. He’s been drinking from the cup of power incarnate, which, thanks to his friends, makes for one, big action-packed intervention story.

AvX 11 was my only download this week. My first from the Marvel app. I just realized I’ve been downloading fewer and fewer titles from the DC app store. This new universe of…superstrangers is not working for me. Which validates my sentiment that I am not the target demographic anymore. But I’ll never forget the day my imagination exploded when I bought my very first comic book (for 5 pesos!!!), Tales of The Teen Titans 64: Interdimensional devil daddy come to claim to his teen-aged demi-demon daughter, fighting her heroic homies while laying waste to the earth from atop the old World Trade Center. But they rallied and they sent him packing, even after he dropped their Titans Tower Headquarters on their heads! Sensational story-telling from Marv Wolfman and George Perez.

Uh. Oh. Dark Raven. Wait, what is it with dark birds!?!? (Tales of the Teen Titans 64)

Since then, this has been the stuff of my (extended, ongoing) childhood.

I do miss the old Titans.

DC, I know you still have it. But, as I am getting older it’s becoming easier and easier to accept that friends, even fictional ones, do come and go. Some, they just go crazy — and even if it’s hard, all you can do is walk away.

The New Teen Titans 39

Happy baby, dizzy daddy

Gave my new GoPro Hero camera — and baby Moses here — a spin last week. Looks like we’ll have a great time with this new toy. Here’s the regular speed version:

And a slow-moses (hehe) version for his grandmother who will probably want to savor this boy’s happiness:

Unfortunately, I forgot to replace its waterproof casing so you can’t really hear his delighted squeals.

Ah, Moses, when you and your kuya Noah are all grown up, I want you to remember that I’ll always lift you up so you can fly. Even if it makes me dizzy! LOL! And always remember to be this happy!

This thing I’m wearing on my head? I’m shooting you with it.

So I got a daddy’s day gift for myself today.
I got the GoPro HD Hero, a professional wearable HD camera from the Microwarehouse Mid-year Sale at Silver City, thinking it’d be perfect for documenting future adventures with Noah and Moses. And besides, tv production work was my first love and I’ve always loved shooting stuff. Heck, I could’ve used this when I was producing for Gameplan! Like when I did something like this at the X-Games in the late 90’s:

Anyway, I unboxed it tonight and it looks ahhhhhhhhsome! And don’t you just love the smell of a new toy? Just too many accessories and the manual’s too long for my ADHD but I can’t wait to use it tomorrow — after I buy a new SD card because it doesn’t come with one. Manual says 32gb name brand SD or SDHC cards are ideal.
I might also have to buy a helmet to mount it on, since, trying it on with the headstrap makes me look dorkier than usual. But with Wolverine’s hair! Ok, even more dorky than usual.
It’s a very light photo/video camera even with its own waterproof casing. You can also buy additional accessories like a chest harness, waterproof wrist housing or mounts for a surfboard or a bike to shoot awesome POVs. Go to their website to see just how much fun you can have with it. I think it’s just perfect for a young dad like me who’s looking forward to shooting a life of adventure with his sons. In HD. There’s something to be said here about seeing things from a new perspective.

Or at least it’ll make for fun videos I can blackmail you with, say I catch you picking your nose. Crashtestdaddy will be watching and shooting.

Gotta go. Have a manual to read and a new toy to play with. Happy Fathers’ Day!

Time has told me

Reposting from my old multiply blog after I (panicked today when I) realized I’ll turn 37 this year. This happened three decades ago but it feels like only yesterday. Noah turned 7 recently and I do wonder if / when he’ll have a moment like this.

Visual from 7art Studio. Now, cue Nick Drake's Time Has Told Me for maximum effect!

I’ll always remember waking up the day I turned seven. It’s one of those rare, lucid moments that stay with you. It was a cool December morning in 1982 and the sun was shining just bright enough through the window so you could see dust floating serenely in its rays. When I was a kid, I liked to stare at the sun and then play with the residual images the glare would create when I shut my eyes. It must have been a Saturday because I stayed in bed just toying with the radiance in my mind and thinking. I can still hear the birds outside my window.

In bed on my 7th birthday, I remember the peculiar calm as I mused if this is how it felt to grow older. It was as if I could feel time wash over me, aging me. How will I be when I grow up? Who will I be? What’s going to happen to me? I had so many questions, but I felt a reassuring warmth from the sunlight and the quiet that bathed the room.

I thank God for the memory of that moment which anchors me as I ask those same questions — and more — every single day. Time is slow to reveal the answers. So here I am. Still that seven year old kid, unsure and uncertain, but quietly aware as I wait for life to unfold its beautiful, unending possibilities.