Wednesday, October 24, 2007

On Politics, Sort Of

One thing I've always wanted to be is a little more serious-minded.

At 22 I started working at a national newspaper, The Manila Times, working with some journalism greats, like Malu Mangahas, Pete Lacaba, and Jo-Ann Q. Maglipon. Once I co-hosted a TV show, and one of the other hosts was Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, who is now an Akbayan congress representative. To be 100-percent honest about it, I felt just a little bit inadequate around these people and others like them (except for Risa, who is just about the most gracious person you'll ever meet and who couldn't make another person feel inadequate even if she tried). I mean, what have I, a very ordinary girl, to say to such people who dealt in only the VERY IMPORTANT things.

Once at a film showing--I think it was Carlitos Siguion Reyna's Ligaya ang Itawag Mo Sa Akin--I found myself face to face and alone for a few minutes with the newspaper columnist Conrado de Quiros. The situation definitely called for somebody to start a scintillating conversation, but instead I sort of just smiled stupidly and eventually slunk away.

One time I did open my mouth. It was some cocktail event in Greenhills, if memory serves me right, just before the 1998 presidential elections, and I was introduced to one of the candidates, the late Raul Roco.

Gushed I, "I watched you on TV with the other candidates, Sir. I liked you a lot. You seemed to speak the least bullshit!" He chuckled good-naturedly, but I was mentally kicking myself as soon as the words were out of my mouth.

I did try to keep all the political goings-on straight in my head, but there never seemed to be any rhyme nor reason to how these things went in the Philippines, and there was always one upheaval after another, so half the time I felt like I was in a fog of only half understanding.

Since moving to France, where government and politics seem to function systematically, I've been promising myself to be more conscientious about keeping up with national events. But you know what, I think there was a reason my boss at The Manila Times kept giving me such assignments as the profile on child actor Vandolph and the interview with beauty queen Ruffa. I've only really begun regularly checking the news sites and buying the national papers like Libération less than two weeks ago, right about the time I heard that newly elected president Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Cécilia were getting a divorce. To put it plainly, all the new activity was triggered by the good old desire for chismis (gossip).

Monday, October 22, 2007

And Now Back to Regular Programming

Let's sing all together now: "Free again...!"

If you've had it with all the cutesy stuff I've been putting on here to promote my Etsy shop, then you'll be glad to hear that I just set up La Pomme, a new blog where I'll be posting all things to do with my crafting. I also plan to regularly feature artists and craftspeople I admire over there, as well as some DIY tips, for example how to decorate your home in slightly crazy ways, as Gwyn and I did last week with the stickers you see on the wall behind me in the photo above. If you're interested in that kind of stuff, then do bookmark the new blog.

This means that Provenciana will once again be devoted to my favorite subjects, namely, me, myself, I, and, as the photo displays, occasionally a bit of my cleavage. Yehey!

P.S. Do permit me a minor plug: The necklace bandanna in the photo above is an unusual but very charming accessory that will be for sale in my Etsy shop this week.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Dear Gwyn,

It's been four days since you left and we haven't heard at all from you. Did you get lost on the trains and end up somewhere in Eastern Europe?

Pierre thought you were a wonderfully considerate guest, and Apol had a great time playing tourist again while you were here. We wouldn't want to think that you are now wandering aimlessly about some cold foreign country in your bermuda shorts and flipflops, trying to find your way back to Paris, subsisting mainly on that saucisson we bought for your baon.

Apol has cut a bit off the toile de jouy you bought in Arles and made a little toy. Named him after you. Here he is, Gwynunu, the Scented Bear-Kangaroo:

We're thinking to call your cellphone, but then that'll cost you P400 per minute, and you might just stop talking to us forever. So e-mail us or leave a message to let us know that Gwynunu's tito is okay.

Apol and Pierre

Sunday, October 14, 2007

End of a Weekend

After a weekend away spent finally rock-climbing after too many weeks of being sedentary, and then dancing like a crazy spinning top to celebrate the birthdays of people I appreciate, I drove home this morning accompanied by this roadside view. Yep, girls and guys, I'm having one of those days when I'm thinking that life is just grand.

P.S. To add to my delight, I just found out that my short story "Pedro Diyego's Homecoming" is appearing in the anthology Philippine Speculative Fiction Volume 3, edited by Dean and Nikki Alfar. I got published in the second volume, and afterwards swore that I'd send in a piece every time they send out a call for submissions because I think that it's an important publication, injecting a rejuvenating dose of excitement to the Philippine publishing scene. For more details, go to Dean's blog.

P.S. Part 2 Oh! I almost forgot: If you want to see some of my favorite sexy and/or sad stuff on Etsy, please click to look at my treasury called, Love, the different ways of it.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Visitor Gwyn

Ballgown na lang ang kulang.

Gwyn has been here visiting me for the past five days, and a typical conversation between us goes like this:

GWYN: Ay, ati, kunan mo ako ng picture dito, kita ang ancient walls.

ME: Game, pose ka na. Click!

GWYN: Patingin.

ME: (Looking at the picture) Ay kulang. Next year, pagbalik mo, reshoot natin, dapat naka-ballgown ka. Ihihiram kita, kasi kung magdadala ka from the Philippines, baka ka ma-excess baggage.

GWYN: Ballgown talaga ano, hindi lang dress. At saka dapat hapon, para maganda ang lighting. Ganda ng blue ng sky ninyo eh!

ME: Korek ka dyan. (We continue walking.)

I take it back. It's not just food that I miss from home. I'm also missing silly, funny, only-in-the-Philippines bading humor!

P.S. And just to underline the point, when I started writing this, we were listening to the soundtrack of the stage version of ZsaZsa Zaturnnah.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Moment from a Marriage

One of the things you learn about beng married is that surges of affection for your mate can come at the most mundane moments. Say, for example, at the checkout line at your local supermarket.

There Pierre and I were, waiting patiently for our turn to pay, when I glanced down at the cart and saw that he had tucked away in a corner some of his favorite candies. I badger him about all the useless sugar he's ingesting whenever he starts munching on licorice sticks and gummy bears during movie nights, but I actually find his sweet tooth adorable, making me think of the chubby little boy he was. So, feeling a little bit mushy inside, I glanced up to smile at him, and from my vantage point a couple of inches below his chin, found myself counting the white hairs that have recently begun invading his beard. There was definitely more of them now than the last time I looked.

One of the things you learn about being married is that being with someone day in and day out can make you so comfortable that you risk losing your tact. And so, instead of the "I love you" I had originally meant to say, rushing out from my mouth came the words, "Oh my god, honey, you're really getting old!"

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Girl Friends

The girls will be making their first appearances in my shop this week. Click on daily to welcome them one by one!