September 30, 2008


Last night, I sat in awe in front of the television. I was watching CNBC. They were showing two views: one was of the US Congress voting on the $700 billion bailout, and the other on the New York Stock Exchange. As it became clear that the bill wasn't going to pass, I saw all graphs of major stock indices plummet down. As trading on Wall Street came to a close, the US Markets lost more than $1 trillion. Wow. 

Looking back at commentaries made last night on why the US Congress didn't pass the bailout legislation, it became clear to me how politics of one country can affect the rest of the countries in the planet. Everywhere you go, politicians are actually after the same thing. What will keep them seated in power. That scene played out in Washington seems strikingly familiar as in Batasanwhen they voted for (one of many) impeachment proceedings against President Arroyo.

Fast forward now to 12 hours after. How will it affect me? How will it affect all of us? Should we start rushing to the bank and getting all our money out? What will we do with it then? Hide it under our pillows? And should we now start looking for another job? Are our current employers secure?

There's too many things going on now. Too many uncertainties. I've heard stories about what happened to this company several years ago, when they were faced with so many problems and that the people wonder every morning if they still had a job by the end of the day. But in the end, what can we do about it? Everything seems beyond our control now. 

At the rate the world economy is going, lahat tayo pupulutin na lang sa kangkungan.

September 29, 2008


Last week, I stumbled into an interesting show on ITV. It's a television series called Secret Diary of a Call Girl. Basically, it's all about the life of, well, a call girl based in London. Billie the call girl finds herself in a variety of situations which I find familiar, but more of that later. She's doing tricks for an upscale clientele, she's acting as a mentor for a girl just starting into the business, she's best friends with a guy who knows about her job, and she's girlfriend to a doctor who doesn't know a clue about what she actually does for a living. I've only watched one episode so far, the one where she introduces her friend to her boyfriend, and her friend was acting like a real prick and was daring her to tell her boyfriend what her real job is.

Like I said, it's a really interesting show, not just because of what it's all about, but more sobecause I can relate to one character in the show. I'm not talking about the boyfriend. I'm not sure if that's something I can talk about here. Rather, I have find myself not unlike Billy's best friend. Yes, I count several "call girls" as part of my circle of friends. A couple of them have became some of my close friends back in Manila and I really miss them so much. Each one has their own reason for getting into this kind of "business", and I don't really want to talk about that. What I do want to talk about is that except for what they do, they're really such ordinary people. I remember spending hours with them in coffee shops, talking about nothing and everything. Sometimes, they would talk about their clients, but only if they feel like talking about them. More often than not, we don't.

Of all my call girl friends, I really miss Freya the most. She's sweet, charming, and easy to get along with. She's loves watching DVD's and whenever we would meet, we would go off looking for movies to watch. For some reason, she loves watching those Korean and Japanese horror flicks, even though she's scared witless by them. She's a big fan of thick, hot chocolate, using it like a dip for a couple of churros. Sometimes I would cook sisig for her, the one that comes out of a can, and she says that she thinks I'm trying to seduce her because I would add slightly cooked onions into the sisig, and that onions make her horny. 

I really wonder what has happened to her now. Before I left Manila, she has started to seriously date someone already. She said she wanted to go back to school, get her life straight, and quit doing tricks. Maybe one day I'll get another of her text messages, asking me when I would cook sisig for her again.

September 23, 2008


Time flies so fast and in a couple of days, I will celebrate my first year here in Switzerland. I have indeed changed! Hopefully, I have changed for the better and not the other way around. But a questions begs to be answered....

Pogi pa rin ba ako?




September 22, 2008


Actually, my wife wants a Wii. Not me. I'd rather get a Playstation 3. But if I try to get a PS3 now, I'm quite sure we'll have this argument that about what happened to my PS2. Back when we were newly married, I really wanted to have a PS2. So on our anniversary, she allowed me to get one. It was put to good use for the first couple of months or so, but since I was the only one playing (she's not much of a gamer), I had soon gotted tired of it. By the time I left for Switzerland, the only time I turned it on was the time I found out that it was broken. I then gave it to my brother, unit and all 20 or so games. Haven't heard what happend to it since.

So I'm keeping my plans of getting a PS3 on the back seat for the meantime. I have to keep the wife happy, now that she's here. I think I found something which will surely be interesting for both of us: the Nintendo Wii Sports + Wii Fit + Yoga Mat bundle. Having had the chance to play the Wii when I was still in Manila, I know what Wii Sports is all about. But Wii Fit? And Yoga? People can actually practice Yoga with Wii? So I looked it up in and saw this: Why every guy should buy his girlfriend a Wii Fit. One word. Wow.

September 19, 2008


It has been a terrible week, work-wise, and I am just happy I survived all the way to Friday. Unlike in Manila, there's really nothing here to remind me it's a Friday. All the days are the same. I get up in the morning after a night of struggling to get some sleep. I try to shock my body into waking up with two cups of coffee, and if that doesn't work, then a cold shower. But getting cold showers now can be such a pain, figuratively and literally. Have you ever taken a cold shower in Baguio in January? Now try doing that here. It's now about 5 or 6C in the morning. 

Back in Manila, there are a lot of ways to remind me what day it is. While preparing to go to work, I can watch Magandang Umaga Bayan, or I can listen to the radio while driving to the office. But here, there's really nothing to tell me what day it is. I usually watch Swiss Meteo, but only to remind me to bring an umbrella or wear a jacket. On the train or bus ride to the office, I listen to my Ipod. That's fine, but I really miss the feel good mood that you get when you listen to DWTM 89.9 Magic during Fridays. They play mostly 70's, 80's, and early 90's music. Songs that are great, lyrically and melodically. They really put you into a weekend mood.  So I was really delighted when I found out that DWTM streams it's broadcast over the internet. Now I can listen to Friday music over DWTM!

DWTM is streaming music on a 31k music stream. It's not really topnotch quality, but over my laptop's speakers or earphones, it's fine. It brings memories of lazy Friday afternoons in the office in Manila, when everybody is just talking of nonsense, getting ready for Friday night, or weekend gimmicks. Sometimes, I really miss weekends back in Manila. But at least, now that I have Magic 89.9, I can just imagine I'm back home on a Friday afternoon.

September 16, 2008


After much prodding by my friend Ryan, and really, I don't want to see a good portion of Migros hackfleisch go to waste, I agreed to cook pasta bolognese for him last night. Jollibee style. Oh don't you just love that? For those who don't know, Jollibee style bolognese is simply spaghetti sauce with ground pork which tastes a little bit sweeter than what you would normally get in an Italian restaurant. Since it has started to get a little cold here in the evenings, I added some dried ground chili into the mix to heat things up a little. Ryan is currently on a diet and insisted we use pasta made out of corn flour. It actually doesn't taste differently from normal pasta except that you get this weird dark tan color. Needless to say, we ate well last night. Jollibee pasta, nacho chips, and a couple of bottles of Montepulciano.

I don't know how it happened, but we ended up talking about Big Brother conspiracy theories, about how everything we're doing and we're saying are monitored by someone. Just like in that movie Enemy of the State. I've read somewhere that there are supercomputers being run by USA's Defense Department that monitors all emails being sent all over the world, looking for trigger words such as Al Qaeda, terror plots, nuclear bomb, and other things. This is also true for all conversations transmitted electronically. Say something like "I had beer with Bin Laden" over your cellphone, then your call gets routed to some anti-terror group and you then get monitored and followed by secret agents everywhere you go. Hmm... Maybe I shouldn't be posting this here then? I really should stop now. Otherwise, Bin Laden might not buy me beer anymore.

September 15, 2008


Is summer over? For the past couple of days, I've been struggling to keep warm at night. We have started to hit below 10C temperatures in the evenings and outside, some of the trees are beginning to have those telltale signs that their leaves are about start turning into wonderful shades of yellow, brown, and red. Wifey has started her long trek home, "home" now being officially here in Switzerland. Her residence visa has been issued, she now has a job here, and finally (hopefully!) life will start being normal again for the two of us. 

Work has been terrible lately. I'm running several sourcing projects now, and sometimes, I feel like this is the most amount of work I've had, ever. It's still a struggle trying to juggle different cultures, and each of my project peers have their unique way of working. Nevertheless, I'm quite surprised that this has actually been a very fulfilling job. I can't believe I've survived my first year!

And even after a year here, I still can't believe how beautiful and diverse Europe is. Last weekend, I attended a wedding in Brno, Czech Republic, and spent a couple of days in Vienna. Quite an interesting opposites, those two cities. Brno amazes you with it's people, who I find to be surprisingly not different from Filipinos. They are open, so full of life, and so eager to share their culture with you. Vienna, on the other hand, is a typical West Europe city. It so full of history and there seems to be something happening at every corner. 

So as I celebrate my first year in Switzerland, I begin to reflect. What is up? Or should I start thinking, What is next?