Pandemic My Ass

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Two years ago, a Swine Flu epidemic brokeout in Metro Manila's back yard. Nobody gave a shit and the only way you'd ever know it existed is through the medical journals and some article written by a local journalist who obviously hates his job.

Nowadays it's a whole different ballgame. Everybody from CNN to Southpark are taking notice, comparing the possible threat to the post WW1 bout of Spanish Influenza.

If we're on the topic of Spanish Influenza, how worried should we be?

Imagine a world where half of the working hospitals is out of action because they got bombed the shit out. Barely anybody has access to proper drinking water, and hygiene is basically an optional thing that most people don't really bother with. A good portion of the land around you have more craters than trees. Everybody's got at least on relative who died by bullet/artillery overdose. Synthesizing antibiotics is still a mystery. The only good thing you got going is that nobody's being too bitch about environmentalism, and Miley Cyrus wont be around to haunt humanity for another 89 years.

And THIS is supposed to be the condition in Europe right after World War 1, the most modern area of the world at that time. I can just imagine the Philippines as some country filled with caves, dinosaurs, and people with names like Gurthar and Dokdor.

This was the setting for the first time our world got assraped by the Spanish Influenza. Young soldiers returning to the front after dodging death so many times they might as well have been immortal suddenly started dying because of some weird fever that's not venereal.

30% of the population eventually contracted it, and millions died through complications afterwards, after the disease peaked at a mortality rate of 2.5%. Sounds scary? Think about it. Basic maths.

That also means only three out of ten people ever got the flu. And of those three, the likelyhood of each one of them to get infected is less than 2.5% The number will be much less if you're not from the demographic the flu is targeting.

We can't also discount the fact that we have modern medicine on our side this time around. And that our hospitals aren't suffering from the "WE GOT WIPED OUT BY REALLY BIG GUNS OF WW1" syndrome.

If you're a frequent commuter like me, the odds of you dying from crossing a road during rushhour while it's raining is more likely to kill you than the Swine Flu.

I'm not saying there's no reason for concerned people to be alarmed. 2.5% is still 2.5%, but what are you going to do about it? Will you save people if you start blogging about how you'll probably die if ever you get infected? No. Shut up.

All this panicking is stupid.

And if you're panicking, you are too.

Code Comments: Obscure Avenues of Frustration

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Thanks to Bryan for spotting this.

There was a point in time where I got so frustrated with writing codes that I wrote jokes, scripts, and chunks of prose into the comments to get my head out of the mess I was in. Sometimes these events happened at 3am and like many things that happen during that time, they wound up being sent to production with the stupidity intact.

Programming is not an easy job.

The Red Book - Manila Again

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Boarding the last available commercial flight out of Saudi Arabia, we took a detour to Singapore and then finally got back to Manila. It's the middle of the school year, I'm well ignorant of my own country, and I haven't really seen our house in many years. I could probably not have returned at a better time.

When I was being enrolled at school, I turned out to be underage. Back then, the age requirement for a first grade student is seven years, and since I was advanced one grade unconditionally back in Saudi Arabia, I was only six. My mom asked me to lie about my age, while she did her trademark smoothtalking to the principal. Good for both of us, I got accepted for two reasons: One, I was a naturally good liar and two, some guy named Andrew left for Australia which left a seat vacant.

During my time, St. Andrew's was still run by the most uptight group of Belgians Missionaries you'll ever know - the CICM. Because of this, educational quality was strictly enforced, the tuition fees were subsidized, there were only boy students, and everything was kidneystone hard - including getting in.

But thanks to the kid who migrated, I got a slot that I could fill, and the slot happened to be in the pilot/best section. In St. Andrew's, the faculty took no steps in showing a kid how near the bottom of the barrel he is. Sections were labeled by alphabet. If you got good grades you're A. If you're a potential cement mixer, street vagrant you belong to section D. I think the governing idea here is to not let the rotten apples mix with the premium ones, because back then people were so sure that stupidity is communicable and political correctness is nonexistent.

Back then we had our facts right.

St. Andrew's was my first real school. I wasn't studying in an office complex. We had real trees around us with a real quadrangle and kids who actually knew how to speak Filipino (and only Filipino). I was regarded as a weirdo back then, as my friends later told me, because my hair was inexplicably reddish, making me think that I was adopted and I was actually the son of a frenchfry kid.

Even during the first grade, I've already displayed an unusual propensity to get into trouble. I had my first fight (or rather I got my first asskicking) barely a few days after starting school. I learned my first couple of cusswords that same day (although I had to ask my mom what Putang Ina Mo means, much to her alarm) My parents was first called in a months later, because I was cutting classes to play video games in some rental shop near our school. This was not the last time that I'll ever have my parents called up for things both computer related and not.

Matter of fact, it was merely a prelude of things to come.

Thinking about it, I sometimes wondered if I would have been better off remaining in Saudi Arabia. But then I also think, there were many things that I could have never learned there. I probably wouldn't have learned to speak Filipino as good as I got,
or learn the proper way of playing traditional Filipino games.

Or eat street food that kept on making me sick, but did so anyway for the next 10 years.

Because man, streetfood is just awesome.

Hanging Out In The Arcades: Things We Learn

Monday, April 27, 2009

Arguably one of the best features of my generation is that back then we didn't really have a lot of options when we wanted to play the awesome games. Back then if we wanted games that rocked our socks off, we had to go to the arcades. Sure, there were home consoles too like the NES and the SNES but they didn't really give you that spirit of competitiveness that you get when you sit beside a complete stranger and for the price of one token, get the chance to hand his ass back to him, or vice versa.

Nowadays we already have online console gaming, and the consoles almost always have the games that we have in the arcades which we can play with people from around the world. The arcades has taken a smaller role in entertaining people, but I still think it has its better points that you can't really get in a home-console environment.

Here are some things that I can think of at the moment:

Arcade games are healthier - Barring the Wii, I can think of a lot of ways arcades are more healthy than consoles. For one, you can't really spend 10 hours straight inside the arcade for many reasons, one being monetary and another being sanitary (the air gets too musky after a while and natural instinct will kick in and tell you to run outside or risk fainting) . Another is that you get to walk around more. Changing games you're playing means you have to move from one location to another, whereas in console gaming you only need to change disks/cartridges. Lastly, you get to move more to play games. Even just the joystick movements require movements of the entire arm, as compared to the finger movements required by a game pad. This, not including the more involved control systems of drummania, dance dance revolution, and running away from the local bully asking for extra tokens.

Arcade games are more social - Sure, the console games have online gameplay too, and you get to play games with your friends anytime you want - but that's not exactly what makes people good social creatures. I think being sociable does not have a lot to do with being able to talk to friends often. Instead it has more to do with being able to make friends no matter who. Because online gaming gives you the choice of only playing wiht the people you know, you forget how it is to make new friends. Again, sure, you get to play with strangers in online console games too - but they might as well be part of the game. Interactions with other players have seldom any real consequences in real life - just like the games you're playing. If you start trashtalking like a 12 year old on a bad day, you know in your heart the other guy cant' really do much except beat you in the game. In the arcades, trashtalking while you're within an arm's reach of the other guy is simply stupid. And you know it, or if you don't, you'll probably know it after you wake up in the hospital three days later. You learn how to deal with people, because they're really around you.

Lastly, Arcade games give you more time for pretty much everything else. As mentioned earlier, unless you have unlimited coffers or happen to work for the arcade, you can't really spend your life just playing. One token can get you only so far and sooner or later, you just have to face the game over sign - sooner if you get your ass kicked by some random challenger. You walk away by your own volition or by force. If that doesn't keep you away, the closing times of the arcade will. It may sound like a bad thing, but many years later, you'll be happy to realize you didn't spend 120 hours of your youth just completing the set of similar looking items for some RPG that can't even give you an edge in real life (unless by some chance you get a job that requires you to press an X button lots of times of the course of 12 hours)

Yes, console gaming has its merits. Nobody bullies you into giving them money. You don't have to put up with the funny smells of other kids playing. You don't have to sweat it out holding filthy controllers that have probably already been used by a leper or two previously.

I can safely say however, the the console games will never replace the real computer games. They'll always be in that same special dark, noisy place.

The place we call the arcades.

Jeepney Seats are Sadistic

Friday, April 24, 2009

I think people who make Jeepney seats are evil sadists. It seems that there is no jeep in existence that has exact sitting space for N people. If you fill a jeep to its sitting capacity, there's always that one guy who will have to spend the trip sitting on 1/4 of an asscheek while praying to God his legs don't give way from the strain.

It doesn't even matter how long the jeep is. If it's a 12 seater, you can only seat 5.5 people on each side. If it's an 18 seater, 8.5 sitting spaces on each side.

It's inhuman I tell you. One of these days somebody's going to have a badly injured buttcheek and that person will not be able to sit straight for an entire month.

Are we going to allow that tragedy to happen?


GI Joe Remake by Warren Ellis - Resolute

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Let's spend the rest of the day contemplating how awesome this GI Joe Warren Ellis remake is. An 80s cartoon injected with a touch of realism - like Teenage Mutant Ninja with anatomically correct turtles - although I'm not so sure about that one. If GI Joe can admit that war is indeed hell with lots of people dying, maybe now is a good time for He Man to admit his show is all about being gay and proud of it?



Wednesday, April 22, 2009

When you told me you had an idea to save up on ferry fees this wasn't what I had imagined.

Dude, tubes float on water. Motorcycles move forward. When we combine the two, we'll move forward on the water's surface - just like Jesus.

That doesn't sound convincing.

We just need to hit 100km per hour before splashdown.

Are you really sure about this?

Trust me, I've seen this done on Looney Tunes hundreds of times.

Stock Market 101 (part 2)

I'm writing this with the assumption that you've read part 1. This is the second installment of my "get to know the stock market while treating it as a joke" series. And no, I did not sell my soul to satan to enter the stock market.

Okay, so you have a broker and you already have money at hand. You're ready to trade, playah.

Let's take a closer look at a typical stock index query website such as (I'm using this site since it's more likely to not crash during trading hours compared to the PSE website, which offers more comprehensive information on stocks.)

Starting with the Stock Quotes section, you'll see that every company has a 3-4 letter stock code. They're used to identify companies with inconveniently long names, kinda like nicknames kids gave you when you were younger, "spud". To get the stock code of a company, you can either visit the pse website or use the symbol guide link on this page.

At the bottom part, you see the following elements:

PREV. It's the price of the stock from the previous trading day. Trading days are usually mondays to fridays 9:30 -12:15 except public holidays and special emergencies.

OPEN The price of the first trade made during the day.

HIGH Highest price used in a trade made during the day.

LOW Lowest price used in a trade made during the day.

LAST Price of the most recent trade during the loading of your screen.

RANGE The fluctuation of the price from it's high point to its low point.

DIFF Difference of the price of the last sale compared to the price yesterday

%CHG The difference in percentages of the last sale compared to yesterday. A positive value means the stock is gaining value and a negative one means the stock price slid down from yesterday.

TVOL Total number of stock that changed hand during the day. A low amount means the stock is not very active and not many investors are interested in playing with this stock. Active stocks means prices may fluctuate faster (higher highs and lower lows, depending on the situation) than usual.

TAMT Total amount involved in the changing of hands. This is a good index for comparing the activeness of a stock with respect to other stocks, since some stocks differ in price per stock by as much as 1000%. (see megaworld, meralco)

Next we have the items on the top part of the Quote tab, which is the ASK PRICE and ASK VOL as well as the BID VOL and BID PRICE.

The ASK PRICE here is the highest possible asking price that buyers would like to buy their stocks. ASK VOL is the total number of stocks that investors want to buy at that price. If you have a stock that you want to sell at the moment, ASK PRICE is the highest amount that you can possibly get for your stocks. If the ASK VOL drops to zero, that means nobody wants to buy in that range anymore and you will have to look for

Stock Trade Experiment #1: MEG

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bought 20,000 stocks of Megaworld (MEG) today at 0.67 for a short-medium stay.

Let's see how this one goes.

Fun With Starbucks

So the other day, I was passing by Pedro Gil when I saw a lot of counterfeit Starbucks mugs being sold by street peddlers, and I thought it was kinda cool that they actually looked like the real thing, and given that the mugs in Starbucks aren't exactly in prime condition (i.e. they look like a thousand people have slurped through them), a few washings later you won't know the difference.

More after the jump.

Cris, an officemate of mine suggested before that if you are good enough, you can swap a fake mug with an original one when the baristas aren't looking. Of course you just have to live with the fact that you're indirectly kissing at least 30 other guys who've used the mug before you everytime you use the mug, but hey, real starbucks mug.

I have a better idea.

Everytime you visit starbucks, smuggle in a fake starbucks mug, make it look like it's been recently used by pouring some of your coffee into it and then leave it on a table (if possible, not yours). I can just imagine the reaction of the manager once he/she realizes that the mugs are multiplying.

Disappearing mugs, managers can handle. But what will they do when the mugs are suddenly in a surplus? I'd like to see this mindfuck done.

Of course it'd cost you a bit, but hey, I bet giving the manager a pleasant shock will be priceless - at least for as long as you dont get caught or come clean.

Because let's face it.

When you start messing with the guys who make your coffee, there are about a hundred ways they can get you back. Half of them with the term "spit" as part of the recipe for revenge.

17 Again Review: Cute movie, Bad Math

Sunday, April 19, 2009

17 Again is a movie flick that explores the question "what are the funny things you can do if you're a 39 year old man who suddenly turns into a 19 year old boy?" while trying to avoid awkward situations that will warrant this film an R-18 rating.

Last Saturday, I finally got to watch this movie. And yes, I came to the cinemas with the full intention of watching it. Yes, even though I knew Zac Efron was in the movie. Yes, even though I knew Vanessa Hudgens won't be debuting an adult movie career with this movie. Or even appearing at all.

So here's my take.

First things first. The movie is a popcorn movie, and it'd be wrong to expect something innovative about it. Even with just the trailer's voice over, you already know that it's the type of movie you'd sit down, have a fun time laughing at jokes, and then completely forget about afterward. It's not supposed to change your life, barring the idea that you lose your virginity while watching the movie.

Anyway, in case you missed the dead giveaway trailer, 17 Again is about a washup guy (Matthew Perry) who thought if he relived his life again, he could do better. One night he gets his wish and becomes 20 years younger and turns into his 17yo self (Zac Efron) and he tries to see his life from another angle - as peers of his kids and the MILF-stalker of his wife.

The whole I-became-younger-lol premise appealed to me and probably a lot of other people because most of us probably had questions about whether or not what would have happened had we made different choices in our life's turnpikes. Also, hints jailbait sex and being young enough so every other woman you know belongs to the "hot mature" category.

The movie made me constantly laugh, and in that light, it was successful. Zac Efron despite his reputation for being a shitty actor, actually pulled off a nice performance, at times convincing you that he IS a 37yo man in a 17yo's body. The nerdy antics of Mark's best bud throughout the film was an added bonus, and even my gf laughed loudly to every scene he was in.

(bit of spoiler starts here)

One thing that I found strange though was the math of it all. Mark impregnated his wife Scarlet when he was 17 and gave birth to their eldest daughter during 1989. 20 years later, Mark is 37 and the daughter is of course, 20. Mark becomes younger by 20 years making him 17. Meanwhile, the eldest daughter is 20 years old and is still in Highschool, making me think she's either a repeater (but she couldnt have been because she is going to some ivy league school).

One explanation from a technical point of view is that this movie had been slated to have been released years earlier. Like 2-3 years earlier. 1989 was chosen as a year so the script could have 80s jokes in it at the first part of the the film. Had it been made in 2006, both the father and the daughter would have been 17 which made more sense. But the movie got made later on, but it was too late to edit out the 80's jokes (I mean what joke can you make about the early nineties? Nothing was funny back then) so the crew just had to pretend the problem didn't exist.

But like I said, it's a popcorn flick.

My recommendation? Watch it if you get the opportunity to do so.

Stock Market 101 (part 1)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

This post goes out to all the guys who keep on asking me about trading stocks here in the Philippines. I won't claim to be an authority, and I'm relatively new to this whole stocks thing, but I can give you some of the things that I learned in my experiences of playing with stocks. I'm not very learned in the terms too, but I'll try to make things as clear as possible. Feel free to correct me if you know better.

What is Stock Trading?
Basically, stock trading is just buying company ownership in piecemeal manner. Partial company ownership is represented in stocks. The more stocks you have, the bigger part you own in the company. As a company owner, you are entitled to attend stockholder meetings where you elect officers that run the company, cast votes on company decisions, and partake in free doughnuts and coffee while pretending your small share actually matters.

Earnings of the company are also given to you depending on the percentage of your ownership. (more on this later). Values of stocks increase or decrease depending on the value people think of the company and the actual "fundamental" value of the company.

Why Stocks Trading?
The stock trading is one of the highest yielding investments out there, just below selling drugs and kidnap for ransom. I'd like to point out that among these three, only stock trading will not put you in a wanted dead or alive poster, or in presidential races - both of which are unfavorable to your reputation.

Trading Stocks is a good way to make your existing money grow. Compared to other legal methods, mutual funds earn about 20% per year on a good year, government bonds get about 7%-15% per year, and time deposits give about less than 5% per year. In stocks, you can get that 20% in a matter of days.

Other legal alternatives that can par up to this kind of earning is Forex trading, which is somewhat like a more brutal form of Stocks trading. There are of course commodities trading, futures trading and many others, but we won't cover those. I'm just saying if stocks isn't your thing, there are other things you can trade.

One good thing about it is even Muslims can do it without breaking the Islamic laws, since it does not work on the prohibited concept of interests earned from debt. Although there are a few regulations. (no joke)

There are, of course risks involved and I'm not fucking around when I say risks. The reason why time deposits, bonds and bills, have low interest rates is partially because these are very secure investments. You can sleep at night knowing that unless your bank or the Philippine government gets annihilated overnight, your money will still be around when you wake up.

Stock market on the other hand, is often compared to gambling. The value of your investments have no certainty, even for stocks of big corporations (referred to as Blue Chips). If a company closes, your money is gone. If tomorrow, the company is found out to be satan spawn, and the investors lose confidence on the company, your stocks values may turn from gold to goop overnight.

Of course unlike gambling, you can try to predict how a company will perform and you can try to catch trends by reading the news or analyzing the price graphs. If you do those things, that lessens risks and makes stock trading more of an intelligent guessing game. You can make the odds favor your side, but of course odds are still odds and there's no real certainty (and you can still end up homeless)

Big yields, big risks. That's the name of the game.

So how exactly do you earn money?
You earn money in two primary ways - buy and sell, and dividends.

First, after buying a stock of a company at a certain price, it's possible that the company will become more valuable or at least sound more valuable. Because of that, the price of ownership of the company may rise as well. If you sell your stocks after the price of each stock rises, you earn money. For example, if I bought 10,000 shares of Megaworld (MEG) a few weeks back at 0.54 pesos a piece at a total cost of 5,400 pesos and then one week later the share price rose to 0.61 pesos, my 10,000 shares now has a value of 6,100 and I'd have earned 700 pesos (enough to pay for cable)

Second, as I mentioned earlier, companies share profits with their stockholders on a periodic basis. These are called dividends. Dividends be either stock dividends or cash dividends.

Stock dividends are earnings in the form of additional stocks. For example, a few years back, Meralco declared a 10% stock dividend. That means for every 10 stocks you have of Meralco, you get an additional 1 stock. If you bought 100 shares of Meralco at 100 pesos each, that means you end up with 10 new shares worth 100 pesos each (a 10% profit) (enough to pay for premium porn channels). It should be noted, however, that stock dividends often alter the value of a company, causing the worth to plummet just after the dividends are released so you have to wait for prices to restabilize before you can cash out.

Cash dividends are a more direct approach, which give you cash directly for every share you own. If Meralco announces a 5 peso cash dividend, that means for every stock you have, you get 5 pesos. So as with the previous example, if you have 100 shares, you get 500 pesos (yay).

There are other ways to make money, such as short selling, but we can cover those in some other post.

So how exactly do you get into the game?

To buy, sell, and trade stocks, you have to have a stock broker, or a brokerage firm. They act as the middlemen for any trades. In movies, theyre the ones running around the stock trading floor with paper and phones on their hands shouting jibberish. They should not be confused with elves.

There are two types of brokerages in terms of investor-broker communication: Online and offline.

Traditional brokerages let you trade stocks by calling your broker or faxing him during trading hours. Brokers are people who do your trading for you. One good thing you can get from this sort of arrangement is that you can get the advice of your broker which you may or may not follow. (Warning: Some brokers are natural assholes who are just out for comissions and will force you to trade as much, even though it's not to your advantage)

Online brokerages can let you manage your own stocks online, where you can place orders for buys and sells. These online firms are now more favored since they give you direct control of your own stocks, minimizing the time wasted between you thinking of selling/buying and actually issuing the order to do so.

Stock brokers require you to go to their office to sign up and give a minimum investment amount. Trading firms like Ackerman require high minimum initial investment amounts while citiseconline requires 25k. Still others require only 5k minimum, which is good for starters.

Any sort of trade, be it buying or selling is charged a certain amount of commission, which is lessened to the amount you should be getting or added to the amount you will be paying. Rates vary from 0.2-1%.

The Red Book - Gulf War

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

By the time I started my first grade in PESA, a certain Saddam Hussein thought that Kuwait was free for all, and that if he came in the cover of darkness and put the country in his pocket, nobody would really notice. America who had cards in Kuwait didn't really take things sitting down and thus began what we would later call the Persian Gulf War.

Saudi Arabia of course joined on on the action with America and we found ourselves involved in the action, emotions, paranoia, and developments that followed soon after.

As a kid, I never really understood what war meant. Even my sister didn't, though being the know-it-all that she was, she tried to make do with what she overheard at the adult tables. Her rough explanation involved Saddam being in league with the devil and wanting to kill everybody in Kuwait with his SCUDs, which I understood as missiles that had nuclear payload.

We thought this was the start of the end of the world. Watching Nostradamus in his own movie predict about the middle-eastern antichrist didn't help either. I remember spending our nights praying that World War 3 never comes. I guess childhood prayers are effective, since it still hasn't happened even now.

Although Al Khobar is far from the Iraqi border, it is strategically located within the Persian Gulf and had US military bases that we used to visit to hear catholic mass. (Nowhere else in the kingdom can you do this without getting thrown in jail.) Throughout this period, a lot of American soldiers appeared in our city, and this made living in our neighborhood feel somewhat more liberal too.

When war broke out, of course, it was only rational for Saddam to start hitting Al-Khobar with missiles. And it was also natural for us residents to start shitting our pants. I was a kid, however, so it was only natural that I shit my pants with no proper reason (though in the event, I didn't)

I've also witnessed first hand the amount of defenses Saudi has against missile attacks, even for a country that's more than 90% barren wasteland. Sometimes we'd pass by the desert and see some patches of land unnaturally contoured. My father was nice enough to point out that they were hidden missile interception bunkers and on the way to and from Riyadh from our house, you'd see a LOT of these.

Of course, no system is 100% perfect, so we found ourselves preparing for the worst. Most of our belongings were bundled into bags that we can pickup at a moment's notice in case we need to become refugees. We also had gas masks around the house supplied by the government in case gas attacks occur. I thought they were cool, and didn't really think much about why we had them. In the kitchen, dad had some K-Rations, emergency army food. I ate them anyway. They were delicious, and I thought it's a nice incentive to join the military someday.

Occasionally, pictures of the smoketrails of intercepted missiles are shown on TV as part of the Kingdom's morale-boosting propaganda. I thought they were beautiful.

At this point, my mom obsessed about buying jewelry as well. She told me, in case the economy broke down, gold will always have bargaining value. While you may think it's all paranoia now, back in 1991, the Iraqi Republican Guard was the single largest army in the Middle East, far outnumbering the Saudis. It was no secret that Saddam hated the Saudis as well for being friendly to Americans despite the fact that they were the most hardcore Arabic people you'll ever know. Iraq had ALL the reasons to take the war to Saudi. There was no telling what will happen next.

I think despite all these things, we were prepared to weather it out, but by the end of the first quarter of our school year, our school had to close down because it had to be turned into an evacuation center for Kuwaiti Filipino workers. I remember visiting the place one last time, seeing the classrooms filled with men who were sleeping, talking and walking around. The desks were gone, and along with them, some of the best memories I've had of Saudi Arabia.

That was also the last time I got to see most of my classmates. Some of them I saw a few years later, the rest of them, the last time I'd ever see them would be in our kindergarten yearbook.

I think that was the last straw for my mom. Education being the most important factor in the family, my mom would not stand us being out of school. We had to go back to Manila, the first time in 3 years. My dad remained, telling many things that would later on happen in the war, including the successful SCUD attacks, and the bombings of the American military base.

Interestingly, we left just as the window of opportunity to leave the country was about the close - we took the last available flight of Singapore airlines to Singapore, and then to Manila.

On our trip home, I was worried our airplane would get hit by a missile and I'd land on the clouds and develop sandals and wings and get trapped in Heaven forever.

We got home safely.

So now I guess I have to take the long way to heaven instead.

7 Days - Project Progress

Monday, April 13, 2009

The past few days, I found myself involved in a project I've always been planning to do but have never really gotten the time to do (Translation: I'm effing lazy) Anyway, I'm making a visual novel with miss Xindt and we're supposed to finish 50% after 7 days - hence the working title.

Here are a few screen caps:

title screen that took 5 minutes to make

More after the jump.

This is where your taxes go.

Fuck yeah, Angel Script is the new PERL.

I still have lots of things that need to be done. The script for one, also, proofreading my shit.

Let's just say the next few days will be VEEEEEEEEEEERY busy.

(so if I start ignoring people on YM that doesn't mean I'm being lazy. Think of it as sacrificing for the love of the craft)

(or I'm lazy and I don't want to admit it.)

North Koreans Don't Take Shit From Somalians

All this news of the eventual rescue of the American captain who got taken hostage by a bunch of pirates last week with the help of the Navy Seal is just dandy. That's what happens when you mess with nationals of the country with the strongest military force in the world.

Of course the rest of the world can only say, "Maan, I wonder if my country will also send special forces to my rescue when I'm stranded in the middle of the fucking ocean with a bunch of unbathed pirates holding RPGs that could blow me and THEM up at the same time."

Not the North Koreans.

These guys know that if they get fucked up abroad, the government will give as much care as much as Kim Jong Il cares about fashion. And even if they escape, the "humiliation" brought by getting captured is enough to warrant their execution and the execution of every person they've touched the last month they were still in NoKor.

So what happens when a bunch of Somalian's attempt to attack a North Korean ship?

They TaipoDong'ed the hell out of the pirates. That's what. See, pirates are desperate starving criminals who are hoping to get chump change from whatever they can get their hands. But then again we have the North Koreans who are basically desperate, starving, AND are dead men who have nothing else to lose (see above)

When the pirates took over, the North Koreans were clearly not taking any shit from the pirates, and were reported to have asked them to surrender.

That's right.

A bunch of guys with highpowered weapons come onboard against unarmed sailors and what do the sailors say? "Mismatch, fuckers. Drop your weapons and we'll let you live."

Not believing it, the Somalians missed their last chance.

By the time the scuffle was over, two Somalians were dead and the other five surrendered while having uncontrolled bouts of shitting themselves in fear.

Now who's to say being Communist has no finer points?


Saturday, April 11, 2009

I'll just leave this here...

Alright people, Listen Up

Friday, April 10, 2009

Click this link and register a character (you just have to put in a character name and click once)

Good things will happen to those who do this.

Also me.

Mostly me, but hey, it's the holy week.

Be nice.


The Red Book - Preschool

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

By the time we got settled in Saudi, I turned five. My sister was supposedly starting the third grade too, so we had to find a way to school ourselves. At first we took this quite literally. My sister requested a blackboard from my dad and some chalk and at the age of nine, she almost single-handedly taught me how to count, read and write and pretend sickness whenever I don't want to study anymore (a valuable skill later on in life).

It's an amazing feat but we weren't kidding anybody, a five year old can only learn so much from a nine year old.

Luckily, the Philippine Embassy finally instituted the creation of the Philippine Embassy School of Al-Khobar, a spin off of their branch in the Kingdom's capital Riyadh, which as I mentioned before was 400kms away from where we were. (commuting is always an option, but it's bound to be a bitch).

The school itself was almost a joke. Despite being accredited by the Department of Education Culture and Sports (DECS), we were forced to study in a 9 room office complex no larger than the floor area of your average road hotel. The teachers were mostly volunteer housewives dotted with the occasional teachers who came to Saudi Arabia to follow her spouse. For our playroom we had a room filled with washed, used-up tires. What were the admin thinking? Even I knew. If ever we screwed up in life, we'd always know how to change tires for a living.

The school wasn't much, but it was still my very first school. Sure, nobody in our school knew the national anthem, or the national pledge, and we didn't really have any semblance of a canteen, or a school uniform, and our ragtag school anthem sounded like whoever wrote it wanted to run away with lyrics like "PESA, PESA, don't look back".

I wish I were kidding about this.

We had books, most of them came from the Philippines when my mom voluntarily went back to buy locally available books for our schooling. I got to live in an era where people were still generally confused regarding the alphabet. At school, we had to memorize a Tagalog alphabet, a new Filipino alphabet, and an English alphabet. The tagalog alphabet consisted of


while the new Filipino alphabet consisted of


No those aren't typos. We were forced to memorize RRs and LLs even though, as a kid, I can't find where I can apply those letters, that looked like other letters. It's amazing how, despite the fact that we've already standardized these letters as early as preWW2 under the quezon administration, we still didn't know jack shit on what alphabet we should take.

Or maybe it's also partly due to the fact that our teachers werent really teachers - but then again they were backed by our ever so scientific books that used words like Llannas and Arroceros (surnames) to justify the bastard letters that later I found out came from the Spanish alphabet.

As if it's not hard enough, we also had to memorize the arabic alphabet which further messed up our reading capabilities by asserting that the letter P and B are actually interchangable, which until today sometimes gets me confused. Son of a pitch!

Between learning the alphabet from our teachers and other nifty things how to say "I need to take a leak now" in arabic, I got to make new friends, both local and foreign. Why we had foreigner kids studying at a Philippine school in Saudi Arabia beats me. Here are some of the friends that I remember:

Rodney Aspra - A snooty kid who once put crayon so far up his nose, it took a long pincer and the collective effort of the entire faculty to remove it.

Mina - A jordanian boy who was probably the first foreign kid I got to know. One thing interesting that I remember is that he always had a perpetually surprised look on his face. I never really got to learn his surname until I got our yearbook six years later.

Maria Saudia Rodil - A girl who always had a hard time writing her name. Hell if my name was that elaborate, I'd get pissed at my parents too.

Sarita Langford - Probably the first real girl that made my widdle peepee feel funny. She was a half-british, half-filipina girl who I always hung out with because I felt like I wanted to be near her, and chance upon her panties, proving the fact that I've always been a closet maniac. Sarita was an innocent girl with a kind heart - just my kind of girl.

Carla Mizon - She entered our class later than most of us, and we've always found her weird because she was small and had deep set eyes, exactly what I used to imagine a fetus would look like. She was in the same carpool as me, and my sister always chided me that she had a crush on me, and I hated her for the rest of my childhood because of that. Girls liking guys? Eww.

In PESA, we had kindergarten, nursery, and preparatory - as God intended. But since kindergarten kids were taught lessons too advanced for kindergarten (I didn't really know we had pre-preparatory algebra or something), during graduation, prep and kinder levels were combined, so I ended up being only 2nd honor of our batch of 40 students. That was the first and last time I ever got into the top 3 honors in any level ever again.

During graduation, we were asked to speak in front of the audience and tell everybody what we wanted to become when we grew up. While most kids went for teacher, doctor, engineer, I figured I might as well go the distance and tell them what I really wanted.

I said to the crowd, I wanted to become an astronaut.

That day was also the first day I saw a standing ovation given to me. Or maybe I was the last kid to have to say his piece, and that really excited the crowds. Either way, the applause felt good and said to myself that I really have to make my promise go unbroken.

Many years later,one fine day, I ended up going to the Cape Canaveral base of NASA and got to touch a used rocket fuel tank that probably got far out of our atmosphere and near space.

That was probably as close as I could ever get to fulfilling the promise I made when I was six.

I guess it's okay to make big promises as long as nobody remembers long enough if you're able to follow through.

Red Book - Saudi Arabia

When I was about five, my dad finally agreed to bring the rest of the family to where he was working, which was Saudi Arabia. Until then, I did not really have any traveling experiences and the only things I knew about Saudi Arabia, I learned in Aladdin. Let's just say if you're a kid and you're going to some place strange, the last thing you'd want to use as reference is a cartoon about a street kid being chased by huge arabic people with funny looking moustaches and large swords.

That was Saudi Arabia for me. Lots of sand and scary people.

I guess being focused on getting piss scared about where I was going to live completely made me uncaring about my first plane ride, which was a grueling 9 hour affair. Nowadays we get on-board entertainment devices that play movies on demand to keep us from going insane. Back then you were lucky enough if your radio was working, and your only hope of entertainment is running back and forth the aisle, which the stewardesses did not really support. It was either that or looking outside the window and staring at nothing but skies, clouds, or darkness.

My ever-knowing sister was nice enough to enlighten me that if I took a single step outside and my foot touched the clouds, I'd gain sandals and wings and be stuck in "heaven" forever. I thought it was entirely reasonable, and that maybe going to heaven wasn't such a hard thing to do too.

Those were the simpler days.

In Saudi, we came to live in the southeastern side called Al-Khobar. The town wasn't very different from every other city in the kingdom, in a sense that there's sand and arabs everywhere. The place was nice enough to have malls, fastfood, and even a mini amusement park half-run by Filipinos (who we convinced into giving us free rides). There were also toys-only department stores akin to Toys-R-Us that we wouldn't see in the Philippines until 1997 when the first Toy Kingdom was established. Toy Town and Toy Land, as they were called were awesome stores, and one of them even featured a small ice skating rink - but since ice wasn't exactly the best thing to work with in the middle of a desert, they had to settle with wax. So it's more like wax skating. I'll let you take the time to let that sink in.

There were no cinemas to speak of. All the movies we watched either came from the state television or through rental betamax/VHS. I remember accidentally watching my first porn after getting interested in a title called "Franken Hooker", which I thought was Frankenstein's monster who killed with a hook.

There were people with funny mustaches too, but they didn't chase me, or wield the swords I saw in Aladdin. I think that was the time I learned that cartoons can't always be believed - unless they're about Flying Houses and Jesus.

I found our lifestyle in Saudi funny, being immersed a foreign culture built around life in the desert. In Saudi, for example, being a night creature wasn't a bad habit. It was a survival strategy. Stores didn't open up until late in the afternoon and people didn't go about their lives until late in the evening. Even television programming didn't start til 3pm. I was probably in the only country in the world where it made more sense to stay up late and wake up late.

Women were not allowed to drive so we had to wait for our dad to come home and take us around town. I was young back then so I didn't really find the discrimination revolting. My sister and mother always wore black clothing called "Abayahs" around their bodies whenever they would go out and there's always yet one other story of a woman who disobeyed this policy and got slapped in the face - legally, by the holy police. Had I learned that much later in my life, I probably would've found it in me to protest - and probably get beaten up myself so I guess it wasn't such a bad thing, being young in Saudi I mean.

Families and women always had different sections of the restaurant or pretty much every place in the kingdom. Think of the MRT policy applied on a nationwide scale. Every Salah (or prayer time), all establishments were required to close, and even if you were eating, you'd have to go outside. Other friendlier more modern restaurants just closed their counters instead. I think that's the on reason why I started liking KFC. It's also because of this policy that any shop that says it's open 24/7 is a goddamn liar.

Speaking of food, the food in Saudi is always awesome, and to this day, I regret having to be so finicky as a kid. My family loved the shawarmas - real ones that contained real beef and made by real, sweating arabs. As a general rule of thumb, the sweatier the guy who makes shawarmas, the better they taste. Don't ask, I don't know either. We also enjoyed broasted chicken with pita (unleavened bread, just like how Jesus enjoyed his) and garlic sauce, which I can still taste at the tip of my tongue today. If ever I can think of a reason to go back to Saudi now, it will have to be the golden broasted chicken.

One other cool thing I found in Saudi as a kid were the beaches. Every now and then we'd take road trips to those places, wonderful untouched beaches that you don't really expect in the Middle East. In some beaches like the Half-moon beach, the beach is separated by a stretch of asphalt road from the desert. Here, Filipinos often hung around, catching fish, crabs, and shellfish. Shellfish buried under the sand was so abundant, even with my tiny feet i could go twist my feet a bit and I'd find "halaan" buried beneath. I later learned we could actually roast the shells so the flesh would open up and we can eat them with only sand as salting. It was also in the beaches where my sister and me started to learn how to drive. It was a good way to learn driving because at the worst, you'd only hit pieces of wood, or maybe get buried in quicksand - and living in a world where sand is already omnipresent, that can't be much worse.

One thing that I can happily say about Filipinos in Saudi Arabia is that they will always be the best kind of Filipinos you will ever meet. Unlike those bastards in America, these people don't see their stay in Saudi as an achievement, rather a sacrifice. Because of that, you will rarely hear boasting that's so damn prevalent in people in America who "made it". And being in a very persecutive environment, you'll see the best of the Filipino spirit to come together and help each other even at great risks even if they're strangers. If you're Filipino, you're good as family.

I remember one time, a husband and a wife came knocking at our door in our apartment seeking shelter after they ran away from their cruel masters who held their passports. Without thinking of the consequences of harboring stowaways, my parents accepted them. It was also a good thing, because it was through this experience that my mom learned to actually cook. Tita Cory, as we fondly called the wife, turned out to be a very good chef.

We ended up smuggling them across the Arabian desert using my dad's company car, with every passed checkpoint a very high risk encounter. As a kid I didn't really realize that, but it was through later retellings of my mother that I knew the dangers we faced. The husband and wife finally reached the nearest Philippine embassy through our help. We ended up traveling some 400 kilometers for it, but I'm sure it was all well worth the effort. (400 km is roughly the distance between Ilocos Norte and Manila)

If ever I tend to judge the attitudes of Filipinos in other countries and look at them with disdain, that's because I grew up seeing only the best of our race - sticking together and helping each other at all costs -

and occasionally throwing secret sessions of cockfighting.

The Red Book - Younger Years

As a kid, I was always surrounded by technologies without ever fully appreciating those things. Our family, for example, was one of the first in our neighborhood to get a telephone line, a working personal computer, and air conditioning. To me, the phone was just an entertainment device. The 80's was the golden age of prank calling for me. People did not have CallerIDs, and I was too young to take responsibility for my actions. The personal computer was just one way for me to play pacman back in 1986 - I only later learned how much potential the Commodore64 had (it had a workable modem and a programming language of its own, for example). As for the air conditioning, it was just an excuse to snuggle up to my mom.

It was also at this age that I had my first taste of beer. I hated it. It tasted bitter and I never forgot how horrible it was, ensuring that I wouldn't take another sip until I got stupid again and started experimenting drinking during my late adolescence.

Parents, take heed. If you want your kids to stay away from smoking, drugs, alcohol, and sex with women, expose them to those things before they are at an age where they can enjoy it. They will be so horrified that they'd unconsciously stay away from the vices for a very long time.

Although the sex with women part, I cannot really guarantee it'd work as effectively. Even in my earliest memories, I loved looking at panties and naked chicks. It seemed that my voyeurism started very early in life - and I got "kuliti" at age three, supposedly for trying to get an upskirt view of my Tita. I guess if you need to scare kids from sex, you just have to tape their birth video and play it in reverse, all the while saying that's what happens to kids who like nakedness. I haven't seen it in practice, but I have a good hunch it works.

Going back on the subject of drinking, I stopped drinking milk even before I hit the first year of my life. People kept telling me that I won't get strong bones if I did that. You know what else makes sure you have strong bones? Not getting any of them broken by playing stupid rough games like "climb the water tower and fall". I don't remember being breastfed by my mother either, and I think she never did. I did have memories of being breastfed by my other tita, however, I'm just not sure how accurate that memory is.

The average human's memory only starts at beyond 3 years old so any memories earlier than that might just be you fantasizing about thing, but let's not go there.

Anyway, instead of milk,my mom introduced me to calamansi juice. It was love at first sip, dooming me to a future of very vibrant skin and hyperacidity. It's also because of this that I couldn't drink plain old water the earliest years of my life. You know that feeling of feeling that water tastes bitter after drinking sour lemonade? Think of my experience like that, multiplied many times over because juice was my staple drink. Anything but water.

Later on, when we migrated to Saudi Arabia, we couldn't find any calamansi so I had to switch to handsqueezed lemons. Yeah, so mothers, take a moment to reflect. If you think mixing up instant milk for your kids is tough, try making lemon juice everytime your kids want a drink. I was that high maintenance.

I'm not sure how I managed to overcome the whole bitterness problem. Maybe I went to rehab. My memory doesn't cover that much, and I have this bad habit of forgetting painful memories.

One thing I didn't really lack as a kid was imported toys. My dad was an engineer in Saudi at the time and he always brought toys for me and my sister whenever he could, easily filling a room in the house that we fondly called "palaruan". Always very messy, there came a point where I had to walk on toys because the floor was already covered with them.

I later learned that the room was supposed to be my room, but I was just too much of a sissy to sleep alone in the dark to sleep there.

In my defense, the dolls looked really menacing.

The Red Book - Prologue and Birth

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Around 10 years ago, I wrote my first autobiography for a project in our senior high English class. Around the time of the project, my mom bought our third computer which was, at the time, spanking fast (compared to our much older Commodore '84 and NEC Pentium 133mHz anyway).

Being able to use a new and much faster computer that can actually run MS Word without the processor exploding and turning into a black hole, I got carried away banging at the keyboard and ended up with 18 pages. I was only 15 back then, and I didn't exactly lead a charmed life so I guess 18 pages is already kind of long.

Thanks to the internet, I was able to upload a copy of it and preserve it so when my kids start snooping around, they'd know where their sucky writing genes came from. (after which I'd probably just joke about them being adopted)

Anyway, 10 years on, I think I'd like to do a rewrite of some parts.

So let's start from the very beginning.

I was born in Manila, 25 years ago, and I can't really think of nothing special about how I was born. Maybe, just the fact that I was born - the sexiest, most intelligent, and best liar in the world.

As my mom recounts, shortly before giving birth to moi, she had to drive herself to the hospital alone - which is probably the most hardcore thing I have ever heard in my entire life, probably made more so because she was driving manual transmission, no power steering, no seatbelts, no airbags, and for this case, waterbags. (it was 1984, all this was not only legal, but also viewed as being economically sound)

After a few hours of labor, I came out with the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck. I'm not sure how that happened, but the doctors said it nearly killed me. As for the reasons why, I can only think of a few theories. Either I was trying it as a scarf so I didn't feel quite so naked after coming out, or I was already emo, long before people realized chicks dig guys who like to mope about their selfconfidence.

I'm not quite sure about it, but my tita gave me my name, which incidentally was also the name of the doctor who delivered me. I'm getting the feeling it was all just a big misunderstanding in the delivery room.

Nurse: So what's his name? *scribbling*
Mom: Uhh I'm not sure. Say Tita, can you go get me painkillers?
Tita: Let me ask Doctor Jethro
Nurse: Jethro it is. Good choice ma'am *scribbles walks off*
Tita: OH SHI-

But let's give them the benefit of the doubt.

There's the saying that goes that we are born crying, cold, and naked and it just gets worse.

I'd say we are born crying, cold, and naked which is already how most girls nowadays like their guys.

How can that be a bad thing?

Ask a stupid question...

Monday, April 06, 2009

Math Prof: ... and so that's how we can compute the next year Christmas will fall on a Sunday.

Student: Does this apply for Good Fridays too?


Rizal Sports Complex Swimming Pool

Saturday, April 04, 2009

It's been a while since I last visited the Rizal Sports Complex swimming pool. This morning, I decided that I really need to work up my slowly lardifying muscles so I went to the pool right after waking up (any later than that and laziness would have kicked in)

Anyway, for people who will stumble upon this looking for informaiton on the Rizal Sports Complex pool, here's the lowdown:

Vito Cruz/Pablo Ocampo, right across Harrison Plaza
How to get there Via LRT-1, get off the Vito Cruz station, look for Starbucks across Jollibee, walk along the adjacent road.
Operating hours 8AM-12PM (morning session), 1PM-5PM (afternoon session). Closed on Mondays for Maintenance or special events. (I think they're closed during the Holy week.
Attire Swimwear only. Shirts not allowed. Watersport shorts allowed. Rentals available (eww)
Fees 55 pesos per session. No idea on the rentals. (eww)

Don't expect too much though. Don't bring too many valuables, as there are no lockers anymore.(Financial Crisis? I dont know) If possible, bring a lock or a bicycle lock for your bag. The showers are newly renovated and now feature doors. (before, the shower room doubled as a penis sideshow). The locker room is clean enough albeit very slippery. Bring sandals or really good slippers. (fuck havaianas)

The water is decent although a bit low on chlorine. (some of you may like this. I dont) Even on a saturday morning, the pool is not as populated as what I saw in Hong Kong before. The sun begins to rear its cancer-dealing side around 10am so it's better to be there early. I was told that in the later afternoons, the grandstand's roof offers a shadow on the pool so if you can't go early, you might as well arrive late. My mother who visits the place as well has advised me that there are a lot of people in the afternoon though and since everybody wants to be in the shaded part of the pool, expect very crowded lanes (with kids jumping from the ledge like akyat bahay gangs on the run)

Stay away from the kiddie pool if possible. Do NOT drink any of the water. Wear goggles at all times to minimize the chances of eye infection. Stay away from the four corners of the pool if possible. Kids like to urinate there. (I know I used to) If you need to drink, bring your own water.

For fucks sake, remove your underwear before entering the pool. I know you love wearing your bacon briefs and aircool panties (butas) but it's just not hygienic. If you are wearing a bathing suit, you wont need underwear anymore, and we don't need to be involuntarily exposed to genitalia debris. If you're on your period, common fucking sense, stay away form the water or you'll die of leprosy. (or we kill you. eitherway, same banana)

Lifeguards of the place double as swimming instructors, and on weekdays you can pay them 110-150 per session for swimming instructions, both basic and more intermediate programs. They're famous for being strict sons of bitches, but trust me, you need these guys at least once.

I did not notice any food, although the guy outside sold taho as a sideline for 10 pesos a cup. Besides that, Harrison plaza is nearby anyway.

Rizal Sports Complex's pool is a very nice convenience to everybody who don't have a pool in the house, or live in a village with a clubhouse with a pool, or students of UST who have to swim to and from school during storm season.

We should go swim together sometime, specially if you're a girl, and sexy in a swimsuit. Just kidding.

Skinny dipping is nice too.

You may also want to read:
My account of swimming in Hong Kong

Even Now, Nature still Confuses Me

Friday, April 03, 2009

Even now, mother nature still confuses me.
When I go to the beach, and she sends me rain
I'm not sure if she just doesn't want me sunburnt
or if she's just going the extra mile trying to drown me

Have a pleasant long weekend, everyone.

(post script)
I need people who I can talk to about stocks. Don't worry, I wont ask for tips.

Rehashing Chemical Manila

Thursday, April 02, 2009

(not funny, somewhat serious)

Rewriting a story sucks. Even considering a rewrite sucks. For this case, however, I have to admit that I love the premise of Chemical Manila to warrant it a rewrite. To the readers of the series, I'm sorry if I couldn't follow through on the rest of the story, but I promise I'll deliver something better, and this time I'll finish it. To compensate at least, I'll let you in on the thought processes I put in for the story.

Here are the problems that are making me seriously consider rewriting Chemical Manila:

1. Toffee and the protagonist(he was meant to never have a name) are badly fleshed out. To be honest I didn't really put too much attention on their personalities. Eccentricities like hobbies and sterotypical traits may sound like cop-outs but they're nifty tools to make readers connect with the figures they're following. A few chapters in, I realized that we didn't really know the characters well enough to be able to rationalize how they behaved and that can't be a good thing.

2. The plot itself feels derailed. The title is Chemical friggin Manila and as far as I can imagine, we won't even be returning to Manila for another 10 chapters. Either I should have worked with Chemical Laguna or just ditched the whole LOL-Botanical-Garden aspect.

3. Added to that, why would kids who are already secure in a mountain surrounded by soldiers in one of the cleanest environments near Manila get the urge to go BACK to Manila? I do have some ideas, but if ever, why not other people? Why send highschool kids?

4. Much of the plot was not planned out, hence the inconsistencies. I thought of half of the plot of Chemical Manila during a single jeepney ride one late Saturday night last year. You can't really get much from that kind of thing. Why would the teacher be infected, for instance?

I believe these things can be fixed, but I think salvaging the story from the point where I stopped publishing (I still have 3 unpublished chapters) is not the best course of action. I want to do a rewrite, but not without making a few poitners for myself to avoid the same problems again:

1. Prepare the general plot that can be finished in less than 30 chapters (possibly 20)
2. Create a healty pool of characters instead on focusing too much on two people.
3. More zombie action
4. Situate things in Manila.

I'm also thinking long and hard about changing to the third person perspective, which is where I'm more comfy with when it comes to non-romance stories, but that'll have to wait.

For now, I have a story to plan out.

What do you guys think?

Filipino Modes of Transportation Reviewed

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Philippines is a country that loves public tranportations. We love them so much, most of us dedicate more than 2 hours a day to just travelling to and from where it is that we work/study. (for some cases, it's 6 hours). It's only fitting that we feature these modes of transportations here in Public Static.

Carabao Sled

What it is:
A water buffalo lugging around a broad plank of wood that one can sit on and/or put things in.

The Carabao Sled should be the dream transportation of armchair environmentalists everywhere. It has zero carbon footprint, and unlike horses, when it dies, you can actually eat its meat. Flexible for both farm use and personal use, the Carabao sled is the original utility vehicle. Don't expect it to do colorum though (where will you put the signboards?)

There are no wheels, and the only suspension you'll get will be coming from the cushion provided by your buttcheeks. Also, carabaos are known for their rather large pieces of crap. With several of these walking down the road and you sitting so closely to the road surface, you can expect officemates to know how you got to work every morning.


What it is:
A BMX-type bicycle with a metal framed sidecar with an optional canvass cabin.

The pedicab does not have any working engine, making it both earthfriendly and flood-proof. Its lightweight construction allows it to be lifted up in situations where you find it sane to lift a pedicab (I have no idea either). It's also not subject to any sort of traffic law, so it can go places where normal vehicles cant (like against traffic).

The pedicab is lightly constructed, meaning, in case of accidents, you're about as safe as if you're not inside any vehicle and you're holding several metal pipes. Added to that, the range of the vehicle is only about as much as the "driver" will provide. Also, body odor.


What it is:
A cart with a horse, and huge, anorexic, wooden monstertruck wheels.

The kalesa is the upgraded version of the carabao sled. This actually looks like it's from beyond the stone age, featuring wheels and a nifty bag that catches horsedung as soon as the "engine" opens its "exhaust pipe". Suspensions are available in the more later models, presumably those that were made after the Spanish era.

I once read a comic about a Kalesa "kuchero" who picks up girls and makes love to them against their will. It was scary to me as a 6yo kid. Also, it made my peepee feel tingly while staring at the pictures. Other than that, no complaints.

Rail Cart

What it is:
Your basic wooden cart (kariton) outfitted with metallic wheels to run on railtracks.

It runs on railtracks, so even if the driver is drunk, at best you'd only go back and forth and not to the side of the road where you can get killed. Multiple pushers make this vehicle potentially faster than the pedicab, unless we're talking about drug pushers. The overall push-to-power ratio is very good.

Its. A. Cart. Running. On. Train. Tracks. Think about it. Also, if your destination isn't anywhere near train tracks, tough luck. Lastly, U-Turns can be a bitch.


What it is:
A motorcycle with a sidecar with a metal cabin.

Like a sidecar, but with definitely more push power and speed. Range is now limited only by the amount of gas the engine can guzzle, and the amount of shitty songs playing on the radio that the passenger can take without jumping off to a better fate - death.

Trikes are faster, but with similar safety features as a pedicab so in road mishaps, it will probably be more likely to kill you than the pedicab. It's not eco friendly, it's noisy, and Adam West used these for Batman and Robin.


What it is:
A antedeluvian version of the SUV. Runs on an old diesel car engine and has a customized body.

A jeepney is like a worker ant. It can transport large amounts of things (people, supplies, leftover food) despite its size. Jeeps are the cheapest most practical transport solutions for medium-long range travel in the Philippines. God himself is rumored to have his own Jeepney, with stickers "Katas ng Jerusalem" and "Byaheng Langit" on its back and front.

80% of jeepney drivers are assholes either to the other cars or the passengers. Added to that, jeepneys have the environmental impact of a mobile forestfire. Its open-air configuration ensures your lungs will make the most out of the youth-enducing air the jeepney belches. Did I say youth? I meant cancer.


What it is:
Hand-me-down buses from other countries like Korea and Japan, although some lines actually use new units.

Some buses are tourist buses, which are generally more comfortable than any other mode of transportation on this list. On-board video entertainment is becoming more and more common, and the airconditioning will save you at least from the additional body you'll get from all the lead in the air you'd be sniffing on other modes of transportation.

Buses are inconsistent when it comes to travel time. Sometimes taking 20 minutes to cross just one intersection, othertimes you'll find that they can run up to a speed of a 120 kmph along EDSA, making it a pair of wings short of flight. Buses also have this bad sideeffect of instilling the fear of God into you as you hurtle down a very rugged road with o seatbelt, and only the voice of Chris Tsuper and Nicole Hiyala calming you down.


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