Saturday, February 28, 2004

thank you everyone who came over to share our happiness at the big launch for Siglo: Freedom. There are so many to be thankful to and I'm certain you know who you are (I won't even embarrass myself by trying to list, and then inevitably forgetting someone's name). But special thanks to the following:

* Jamie Bautista and Choy Cojuanco of Nautilus, our incredible publishing house, who went out all the way to ensure a great launch (and to El for handling the creators' side of things). We were surprised by the beautiful exhibit, the roman banners on the 2nd level, the bookmarks, the great food and the show itself. Props also to Aries, our PR guy, and Marge, our marketing gal, for all their hard work.

* The pressfolk from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippine Star, Meg, Lifestyle Asia, Mega magazines, Newsbreak and everyone else who asked for interviews (hey there, Ness!)

* Paul Zialcita and his crew for their fantastic performance. Paul, an arnis master, performed music on drums and kahon - simply breathtaking. After his show, he told me that he was so jazzed to be invited to perform because he'd read Siglo earlier and found us all on similar wavelengths.

* Our friends and colleagues in and out of the comics industry; and our families who showed up to share our joy.

* Our readers, who came in force, bought both softcover and hardbacks, asked for us to sign our work, and bid for pages of original art at the auction. A thing written but kept unread is a poor thing.

* The Siglo: Freedom creators - Gerry Alanguilan, Vin Simbulan, Nikki Alfar, Marco Dimaano, Andrew Drilon, Elbert Or, Jason Banico, Carlo Vergara, Lan Medina, Yang Vergara-Simbulan; and to Honoel Ibardolaza and Arnold Arre who were present in spirit (we missed you guys!). Without you guys, there would be no Freedom.

And so it's all over but for the selling (well, not really, there are the still the upcoming coffeehouse, bookstore and campus tours), and we can all focus on working on the next one - Siglo:Passion.

** Pictures to be uploaded soon - when I recover from the shock my expired FTP thingie gave me.

Siglo: Passion

Tonight, we completed the roster of fundamental writers and artists (illustrators, colorists, letterers, and designers) for Passion (while the list of gallery contributors continues to grow with fantastic talents). Take a look at this alphabetical list of primary storytellers:

Tobie Abad (Diliman, Bangungot, Wan)
Cyan Abad-Jugo (multiple Palanca Awardee for fiction and poetry)
Gerry Alanguilan (Superman: Birthright, High Roads and more, upcoming: Lastikman, Komikero, Alamat Anthology)
Nikki Alfar (The Harem of Ali Akmar, upcoming: Mango Jam)
Jeremy Arambulo (Styx Taxi, upcoming: K.I.A.)
Ariel Atienza (West Side)
Jason Banico (upcoming: Tikbalang Nation)
Jaime Bautista (upcoming: Cast)
Joel Chua (upcoming: Blitzwork Anthology)
Jonas Diego (Book of John, Hot Copy, From the Dead)
Marco Dimaano (Angel Ace, upcoming: K.I.A.)
Andrew Drilon (upcoming: Pop Monster, Crossword Girl)
Camille Francisco (talented artist with her first major grafiction work for Siglo)
Vincent Groyon (Palanca Awardee for novel)
Quark Henares (Palanca Awardee for screenplay, upcoming: Hey Comics! Anthology)
Honoel Ibardolaza (multiple Palanca Awardee for fiction, upcoming: too many to list!)
Bok Jamlang (ab ovo)
Luis Katigbak (Palanca Awardee for fiction)
Paolo Manalo (Palanca Awardee for poetry)
Lan Medina (Fables, Silver Surfer)
Elbert Or (upcoming: Two Color Truth Theatre, Cast, Hey Comics! Anthology)
Vin Simbulan (upcoming: Twilight Empires, Forlorn)
Edgar Tadeo (Wolverine, Silver Surfer, High Roads, and more)
Wilson Tortosa (Battle of the Planets, Tomb Raider)
Carlo Vergara (Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah, upcoming: Alamat Anthology)
Zach Yonzon (upcoming: The Twelve, Mumu Hunters)
and me (upcoming: secret)

When you add all the names of the gallery contributors, we've more than tripled the roster of Freedom.

This will one hell of a book. In full color.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

(L to R: Bam Aquino, Jaime Bautista, Andrew Drilon, Elbert Or, Dean Alfar, Ryan Agoncillo)


Got up at 5 and was at Studio 23 by 6:30AM with Jamie, El and Andrew.

The interview was great - well, except for Ryan asking if our material was appropriate for young people given the fact that there is nudity and profanity in the book.

It stunned me because, really, I didn't think there was. I answered something.

Andrew later reminded me that his story did have Adam & Eve illustrations. And I guess the profanity was in HAI's Ilonggo dialogue.

Both of which do not count.

Still, it went swimmingly well, despite the fact that my brain was operating at 2% efficiency.

Thanks to the cast of "Breakfast" for having us.

Tomorrow, at the big launch, we'll face the press and listen to speeches on freedom by Bayani Fernando (I know, I asked the same question, but I think the rationale is that he gave freedom to traffic or something silly like that), Raul Roco Jr (not the presidentiable but his son, my classmate in high school and college) and maybe the head of the Department of Trade & Industry or someone like that.

Should be eyebrow-raising...

Wednesday, February 25, 2004


Must get some sleep for the early wake-up call for the TV show tomorrow.

Didn't help that my group is buried under a ton of writing stuff, despite the holiday today.

Didn't help that the silly writer that the TV show assigned knew spit about Siglo.

Can you feel the negative energy? It emanates from me. Yes, right now "mean-spirited" does not begin to describe me. I am totally pissed.

My big issue is with stupid people who think they're being smart, and have the arrogance to buy their own hype. In the mood I'm in right now, I would have no qualms about rounding up all the stupid arrogant people in the world and subjecting them to Marco's Vanishing Ray. All of them. Quick dissolution, painless and well-deserved.

Must do something constructive and look forward to the launch on Friday.


with every word you speak
I half-expect toads to
fly out of your slippery mouth;
fairytale half-sisters do not
have a monopoly on the conceit -
whatever possessed me
to hope for rubies?

I am suprised I can even
understand your words,
the way your wet lips
wrench syllables into gargoyles
twisting ideas into caterwauls
explosive in close proximity

and yet I listen
helplessly haplessly
struck by the odd cadence
the almost-familar slurring
(vanity tells me if I try hard enough
an epiphany will provide
cliff notes or a kodigo)

But you don't stop
unfettered by restrictions
the rest of us observe
as you spin
and whirl
beyond reason
adept with confusion
brazen in the riot
of syllababble

Monday, February 23, 2004

siglo: freedom grand launch

Everyone is invited to join us for the big Siglo: Freedom launch on Friday, 7-ish at the Activity Center of the Glorietta in Makati City. There will be an exhibit, an auction and other cool things. On Wednesday and Thursday, we'll have something up there - so check it out.

Bring a friend (actually, bring everyone you know) and support local comics!

Big, big thanks again to Jaime and El for spearheading this event in conjunction with our publisher, Nautilus.

breakfast redux

Well, it seems I'll be joining Jaime, Andrew and El at "Breakfast" on Thursday. The schedule changed and I can't run away from the early morning TV show forever.

I hope my brain functions - if not, then it's El's chance to be discovered and made a star.

Sunday, February 22, 2004


Last night and well into this morning, at the request of Nikki, I ran a game. We rented a room and invited Vin, Dino, Carl, Buddha and Mark (along with perennial observers and voice talents Marco and Jason) and played the first three Acts (5 hours) of story that was brewing in my head.

To tell the story properly, I had the players create two sets of characters.

The first was a group of graduate students on a dig near one of the ancient dried out tributaries of the Euphrates. Horror struck the excavation camp, ultimately resulting in a spectacular earthquake - the ground ate them up, leaving their fates uncertain.

The second group was a set of Roman Catholic black ops, with divine ties to select Saints, able to do things based on Faith.

I, of course, played the Adversary, whose plan involved a cunning escape from Garden of Eden and the reversal of time.

Heady stuff, but you know I can't do something "fairly straightforward". Where else could you find a game where the conceit revolved around cerebral and impassioned discussions of free will?

Horror, action and theology - our idea of a Saturday night.

Friday, February 20, 2004

tears in my eyes

I just got back from a client meeting when I checked my email and found a letter that said in part...

"...we would like to reprint your story L'Aquilone de Estrellas (The Kite of Stars) in the Year's Best Fantasy and Horror Seventeenth annual collection, edited by Ellen Datlow and Kelly Link & Gavin Grant."

My vision blurred as indescribable happiness razed through my senses. I couldn't believe it. It was just too...impossible!

And yet, there it was. My story was selected from among all the other contenders in short story collections, anthologies, magazine publications and online sites as among the best.

Nikki and I religiously buy this book every year. It's like a bible for us, showing us what's good to read, what good authors are doing and what the "state of the art" is in terms of genre or interstitial writing.

"For more than a decade, readers have turned to The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror to find the most rewarding fantastic short stories. Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling (now Kelly Link and Gavin Grant) continue their critically acclaimed and award-winning tradition with another stunning collection of stories. The fiction and poetry here is culled from an exhaustive survey of the field, ranging from fairy tales to gothic horror, from magical realism to dark tales in the Grand Guignol style. Rounding out the volume are the editors' invaluable overviews of the year in fantasy and horror, and a long list of Honorable Mentions, making this an indispensable reference as well as the best reading available in fantasy and horror."

Last year, I joked that it was my dream for "L'Aquilone" to just be listed in the Honorable Mention section. I didn't even think I could compete with the likes of the authors selected; people like Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Ursula Le Guin, an entire galaxy of big names.

And then this happens.

And it was because of the story, as a story. I have no agent and thus no politics. Just writing and craft and opportunity. I am indebted to Jed over at Strange Horizons for publishing this story in the first place (and making sure it was up to standard) and to Carl for writing his story "Parlores".


I am giddy with joy!

Thursday, February 19, 2004

siglo at newsbreak

from Newsbreak, March 1, 2004

Seriously Comics
by Carmela Fonbuena

It's a comic book. But it's nothing like Spawn or Batman, much less the Japanese manga. Readers are not to laugh at or be amused by fictional scientific advances. They are to feel, think, and reflect.

SIGLO is a collection of 10 comic book stories bound by one general theme, freedom. It shows how freedom is longed for, how it is achieved, and how it eludes many.

Although it is also fiction, SIGLO defies the escapist trend in comic books. The stories are based on reality and are depicted in a literary style. It's all Filipino, has Philippine settings, and Filipino issues.

It's real, serious, and gripping. And it's in black and white.

For these, SIGLO will likely get mixed reviews, but it's good food for the Filipino mind and soul.

SIGLO is available at Comic Quest branches for P250.

It's your birthday today and I wish
I wrote you a play or
something - but I wasn't able to
because of this and that -
so I hope you're okay with
the little gifts your daughter
and I got you (though we argued
bitterly over who got to plug
your new printer in - but we
resolved it like the old friends
that we are)

You should know how much
we love you (we know
that one of us is just learning language,
and the other one gets taciturn);
how much you mean to us
(beyond food and companionship -
like bouncing up and down on
the bed or watching you paint
your toes).

Over dinner tonight
at that place you like
(let them see people in love
and tremble at their own lack)
let me tell you again
and again how much
i love you

Then let's


Tuesday, February 17, 2004


It's only Tuesday but I'm already feeling exhausted. Yesterday, my work day ended at 10:30pm, after my last meeting. It's not so bad, considering I got two new food and resto accounts - but still, it took extra adrenaline to stay wide-eyed and bushy-tailed and close the deals.

I looked at my calendar last night and for a moment felt paralyzed by the things I need to do: manage projects, get new business, produce shoots, manage the company, do creative work, manage clients, grow our business. I'm not really complaining but with last week's truly long workweek plus Sage's birthday and party, I feel I didn't get enough rest.

My mind is not at peak efficiency and I'm a tad more irritable than usual. I need to recover my pleasant (!) disposition way before Nikki's birthday so she can celebrate with someone who is not Oscar the Grouch.

And after this week is another week loaded with work, deadlines and the Siglo launch.

Come, March!

Monday, February 16, 2004

sagewatch addenda

Diana Zubiri (my ex-crush) and the other FHM girls were giving autographs in the same mall - but my attention was focused on my own little girl. Though perhaps it would have been different if it were Aubrey Miles (ha ha).

sage days

Being born on a holiday isn't a particularly wonderful thing when you're a kid. I was born a day after New Year's Day and remember getting Christmas gifts that said "Merry Christmas, Happy New Year & Happy Birthday". I felt robbed. My sisters, born in between the same holidays felt the same thing.

And so with Sage, born on Valentine's Day, we swore it would not be the same. Nikki and I held our Heart's Day a day earlier and decided to devote the holiday and the day after just for the little girl.

She knew her birthday was coming. She would point to the page in her Winnie the Pooh book where everyone was gathered around Eeyore and say "Happy Birthday".

At 5AM on February 14th, she got up in darkness, sang a verse of "Happy Birthday", prayed ("Jesus, love you, Amen"), and fell asleep again.

When she got up, she saw the first of the gifts we had for her - a 10-foot long house with a ball-swim porch. It took Nikki and myself almost an hour to inflate the miniature domicile, armed with an electric pump and smokers' lungs. We placed a comforter and pillows inside and attached the slide (in case you're wondering, no we didn't buy the horrendous P30k+ thing for Chicco - this amazing house was only a fraction of that impossible cost).

Her eyes lit up and she let up a shriek of delight. She explored the house, sprawling in the ball swim (a hundred multi-colored balls) and rushing to place Winnie the Pooh, Dora the Explorer and her other dolls inside with her.

After we took her out to a resto, Nikki gave her a little dollhouse with over 40 pieces of furniture, including a commode for poo-poo. Sage played with it a little before going back to her bigger house, and so that night Nikki played with the dollhouse.

The next day was her party, a Pooh-themed party at McDonald's. Among her many guests were her gang from the condo led by her best friend Ella, her ninongs Vin and Dino and the ComicQuest barkada, her cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents. She was rather overwhelmed by the whole thing, and sat out most of the games and things, preferring to just watch until the cake blowing.

And so got so many gifts. So much that it took her ninongs and myself to carry them all, Santa Claus-style, back home where she proceeded to open them: a working mixer for her cooking, a porcelain tea party set, a McDonald's playdough set, a doll and carriage, more inflatable things, goggles, lots of clothes, books, and other toys.

Thanks to everyone for making her squeal with delight and to everyone who greeted her.

At the end of it all, when she was asleep and surrounded by all her loot, all the exhaustion was worth it.

Two years old. How quickly time passes!

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

thoughtlife: where is the love?

Happyland is writing a series about love, in time for Valentine's.

Ah, love. So much has been written about it and it has been the object of rumination, song, prose, parody and everything else. It has been dissected, analyzed, inspired philosophies, condemned untold hundreds and given much more a kind of lasting peace.

In my teens, love was about the "ooh" and "ahh" of things. The thumpthumping of my heart when the object of my adoration was nearby, the stirring of my loins when opportunities for sex were presented (or created). It was about fantasy, living for the moment and the next few seconds or painful days of anticipation until the next encounter with the beloved. Love, if what I felt could be truly called love, was about heat and moments and passion and timing and imagination and eros. It did not think about the far future, was afraid of commitment, and experimented madly.

In my twenties, love was about the "oh" and "ah" of things. Walking down the wedding aisle as my heart provided a countertempo to the music, saying "I do" to the woman who found my seal skin. It was about the boundaries of union, seeing how far two can go, pushing the orientation of paired intimacy in novel directions - but always always always coming home to the comfort of a trusted partnership. Love, and it was (and is) love, made itself evident in setting up a household, discovering unplumbed depths of mind and spirit and body, and heat and moments and passion and timing and imagination and eros in a more art-directed, director's-cut, for-mature-audiences-only manner. It thought about the future and made plans while living squarely in the present.

Now, in the exact middle of my thirties, love is about the "ohh" and "ahh" again. Becoming a father to a little baby who is grwoing up so swiftly, engaging me in a staredown/clash of wills, riding on my shoulders and kissing me awake. It is about how my heart learned that love is not finite, that I had space for more than one girl. It is about learning lovingkindness and loving patience. With my wife, it is about the absolute trust in silences, utter longing during absences, and sharing the everyday pattern of parents, lovers and best friends. It is less about heat but rather calculated flashes; less of moments than expanded hours; joie d'vivre intregrating with ardor's passion; creating oases of solitude, timed to regenerate sanity; a broader, more responsible imagination in terms of making things real; and erotic variations the young, in their haste for orgasm, cannot possibly comprehend. It thinks about the future, remembers the past but as always lives in the today.

What will my forties bring? My fifties? My sixties?

From my pattern of thinking and behavior, I can make educated guesses. But I hope that love, specifically my two great loves, will always be there.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

kalis ilustrisimo

Part of the on/off writing project that is Hinirang is developing societal backgrounds for the world. This encompasses a large gamut of things, and one of the aspects I'm thinking of expanding is the Katao martial arts.

In a bit of retrofitting, I'm thinking about adapting elements from Topher Rickett's Bakbakan International system, which is based on Kalis Ilustrisimo.

In his book Filipino Martial Arts, author Mark Wiley says that "the art of Kalis Ilustrisimo encompasses the ancient sword fighting techniques of the southern Philippines, the classical sword and dagger methods of the central Philippines, and the systematizations and structure of the Northern Philippines."

Of interest to me is the Tulisan knife-fighting system which makes use of constant sparring as oppossed to pre-planned drills plus the fundamentals of the dagger.

The classical Sinawali, a double-stick style popular in the Central Luzon plains, is fluid and requires ambidexterity - a primer for the sword and dagger system.

For empty hand, there's Sagasa in combination with Hagibis, which involves throwing, grappling, and disabling an opponent in such a way as to be able to continue fighting against multiple opponents.

With the arms and armor of the Ispancialo plus their magic from their Oradors and Priests, the native Katao need some beefing up to give them a fighting chance against the oppressors.

At the very least it will force me to write action sequences - something I'm not fantastic at.

Monday, February 09, 2004


I have to confess that I haven't ever been to the piers of Manila. Sure, I've seen them from a distance, but never really so much as stood on the quays.

Everyone I know cautions me against going there - that murderers, drug-addled amoks and other unsavory characters lurk in every nook and cranny.

Go I must though, because one of my clients requires me to talk to the stevedores. We're making a comic book for them and it pays to know the audience. Sadly, not all of them are literate, which places great pressure on the art portion of the comic book. The narrative is also in Filipino, which makes the thing doubly challenging.

At least, when I'm there, I can take a look-see at all the contraband stuff for sale. Mega-inch color TVs for a song.

If I live to tell the tale.


We took the little girl over to Megamall to visit the toy store over the weekend, to let her choose what she wants for her birthday.

At the gigantic store, she quickly took one of the mini shopping carts and began wheeling around, looking at everything within her admittedly short visual range (it must be hard being very small, you miss out on all the neat stuff placed high on the shelves).

Sage selected a lamb and placed it in her cart, then moved onward. When her attention was caught by a Winnie the Pooh stuffed toy, she threw the lamb and placed Pooh in the cart. Bubbles, her favorite PowerPuff Girl, was next, replacing Pooh. And so on. The reason she only takes one thing is because she remembers her mother telling her that she could have only one thing at the store.

The cart was abandoned when we got to the section with slides and houses. Immediately, Sage began climbing and sliding, giving me heart attacks. I expected her to topple over the top. I know, I know. "Oh ye of little faith".

Feeling generous, I told her "Sage, would you like this slide for your birthday?"

"Yes," she nodded.

I looked at the price tag and died on the spot - P20,000.00. She stepped over my corpse and began playing in the houses. You know the kind, perfect for little girls - with windows and doors and chairs.

"Daddy," my daughter looked at me meaningfully.

"Wait, wait," I told her, reaching for the price tag. P14,000.00. My heart sank.

How can anyone afford these things?

Later, she found the combination house and slide. Nikki shook her head - it was too big for her room. And just as well. The damn thing costs P37,000.00.

Absurd. Why, even the Legos of my childhood did not cost as much as a real home's multiple monthly rent.

We explained that these were just too expensive and found some other more reasonable toys.

Later, as we walked home from the mall with Sage riding my shoulders, I realized that even if I wanted to get her everything she wanted I simply could not. Even if I work my hands to the bone, it just didn't make sense.

All that mattered then was her squeals of laughter as she bounced up and down my shoulders, the feel of her hands rasping the stubble of my head, and her shouts of "Daddy! Daddy!".

Sunday, February 08, 2004

crazy guys driving buses

Budjette pointed out this article about Flight, a new indie anthology being put together in the US.

He wrote "Parang Alamat. Parang Siglo."

And it is so true.

Vin and I are working on SIGLO: PASSION. We have the story pitches in and things are moving according to schedule for the most part. We're jazzed by the entire thing, working with a huge cast of creatives to hopefully produce something of interest to readers old and new. Our agenda is to create literature that is not just enjoyable but of enduring significance as well.

Budjette and the guys of Alamat are putting together one hell of an anthology, thematic and with a strong roster of writers and artists, celebrating the fine qualities that make Alamat what it is. These guys are pioneers and continue to push boundaries.

Nikki and Zach of Mango Comics are also crafting an anthology series aimed at young readers, a market segment that needs good reading material.

And I hear of another anthology, also in the works.

So all these crazy drivers, wheeling buses filled with equally crazed writers and artists, storytellers with so much to say and show.

If we all manage to get to the destination in one piece, this will be a fantastic year for local comics - and that's just the anthologies.

I look forward to the pamphlets and mini-comics and other wonderful stuff in the works from the various circles of creators, big and small. I can't wait for the new collected editions of various works.

Heroes, slice-of-life, horror, fantasy, action-adventure, serious stuff, history - there is room for all.

Isn't it just great?

Friday, February 06, 2004

breakfast on monday

Thanks to Gerry, some of the Siglo creators and I will be guesting (is that the correct term?) on Studio 23's Breakfast, a TV show for the early risers.

It's a great opportunity to talk about Filipino comics in general, and our work with the Siglo "franchise" in particular, to the approximately 10 or so people awake at that time (wasn't that heartless of me?).

But seriously, any venue that allows us a chance to promote grafiction is something that we'll take advantage of. It's a matter of pressing the agenda forward. There are too many in our small industry who aren't willing to go the extra mile, as if the world will beat a path to our common doorstep without effort on our part.

It isn't enough to write, or draw, or create.

We need to get people to read and love these things as much as we do.

And if even one viewer on Monday goes out and buys a copy of Crest Hut Butt Shop, Wan, Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah, Darna, After Eden, Two Color Truth Theater, Batch 72, Angel Ace, Beerkada, Siglo: Freedom or any of the available locally-produced works of love, then getting up at 5 AM is worth it.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

lucky beasts

It seems that monkeys aren't the only animals that may be fortunate for us this year, writing-wise.

Again, it's too early to be certain, but another animated property, this time in 2D animation, may be in the future.

The concept is hilarious, instantly charming Nikki and myself, and the challenge will be to bring it all to life - in a full season of 26 halfs.

We'll see.


We've made the arrangements for a Winnie the Pooh-themed party when Sage turns 2 next week.

The thing to keep in mind when planning a party like this is that each child you invite will be accompanied by either nanny or at least one parent, effectively doubling the amount of food you need to prepare.

We originally thought of having the celebration on the roofdeck, but opted in the end to outsource it (amazing how business practices slips into personal life).

We'll be doing the major gift-buying for the little girl over the weekend - without the pony.

Or fortune lobsters. (Hmm. Now that's an interesting animated property to pitch - "The Luckiest Lobster in the World", a magic realist comedy slanted towards children.)

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

a bird named cockroach

The other day, Sage tugged my hand and led me to her room, with a peculiar expression on her face.

She asked me to sit on her bed and prompty plopped down beside me.

"What's wrong, Sage?" I asked.

"Daddy," she said, pointing at the low table against the wall. "Cockroach!"

"Where? Where?" I reached for my slipper, ready to twack the loathsome insect that had so threatened my beloved daughter. I didn't see any roaches though, only a small wicker contraption that was an unexpected addition to her room.

"Daddy! Cockroach! Yucky!" Sage exclaimed, hiding behind my legs.

"What's this?" I bent over the thing as Sage hid her eyes behind her hands.

I realized that something inside the wicker cage was moving. Something small and brown. My mind struggled with the concept of someone actually placing a cockroach in a cage to amuse my child - to quote Sage "yucky!". As Sage's cries of condemnation grew, I took a closer look and saw that it was in fact a small brown bird.

"Sage! That's not a cockroach! It's a bird!" I held up the wicker cage, triggering another squeal of protest from her.

"Daddy! Yucky! Cockroach! Yucky!"

"No, no. Look, it's a bird," I told her, attempting to show her the creature in the woven enclosure.

"No!" And she ran to the other end of her room.

"Sage, this is a bird. Come, look. What shall we call the bird?" I asked as I sat down on the floor, a non-threatening distance away from her.


Nikki and I found out that Len, one of Sage's nannies, bought the little bird from the wet market as a gift (since we were all thinking of getting her a pet as one of her birthday gifts next week). I couldn't understand why Sage thought it was a cockroach though.

"Because of the size of the bird cage, 'Cockroach' cannot be seen as a bird. All she can she is something small, brown, flittering and...yucky," Nikki explained, proving once again that she is the smartest in the family.

So that afternoon, we went out and bought a nice bird cage, with perches and a swinging ring. We placed the bird in it and Sage agreed to watch the bird fly inside, stretching its wings, twittering in its birdy way.

Sadly, it is still named 'Cockroach'.

Sunday, February 01, 2004


That's the number of my copy of the limited print run hardcover edition of SIGLO: FREEDOM.

Handsome, gold-stamped and heavy - it has never felt more real than today. The volume looks fantastic on our bookshelf.

And with our very own ISBN, I hope to see it in the bookstores soon.


That's the amount, in pesos, I was willing to spend last night when an absurd craving for steak hit me. Unfortunately, Alfredo's, one of the best steak restaurants in the city, closes early.

This was brought about when Nikki and I discovered the Chicago Roast Beef resto at the Podium earlier in the day. Succulent, medium-rare slivers of heaven.