Saturday, April 24, 2010

Busy Week and a Hodgepodge

I have had a busy week this week. On second thought, it's not that I am always busy but I kind of like to get the hang of feeling the busy day. And making the most of the day. If you are busy, you get away from two things: old habits and vices. Well, for me, I was able to get away from the old habit of spending a lot of time in social networks. Before, every time I feel the skin of my computer, I always see to it that I check out my e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter. I even installed a program called Digsby so that I can access all my IM accounts, mail boxes, and social sites in just one client application. Now, I ask myself the question "Why do I have to?" I was able to manage to live a day without these social sites before so why can't I today? When I finally got the answer to that query, I decided to limit myself (but not entirely) from this kind of practice so that I can shove the addiction before it eats me away. I knew I have conquered this thing in the past. How much more now?

Going back to the present, I do not only like but most appropriately love the things I do today. This whole experience of going to India and being able to work in a large I.T. company is a huge feat for me. I consider this as a great accomplishment. I realize that I am destined to be part of the I.T. industry. For one, I love to think very hard. Second, I love to create and recreate. Third, I love to solve problems. Yes, problems! Right now, I don't have any problems such as a financial problem. I have money more than I need and I'm just saving it for a very important future use. It's certain that we don't know the future, do we?

Going back to social sites, one friend posted on my wall "Busy kna?ala kna mau pabatyag FB hw?" (Busy? You don't get in touch on FB anymore). Last time, my cousin also tweeted something like this: "Pa batyag batyag kman" (Get in touch). I know he was talking about getting in touch with my family which I seldom do. I'm not sure if "seldom" is the right term. Maybe, "once in a blue moon?" (Haha) I'm kind of guilty but it doesn't seem to be true in a strictest sense. We don't have to say a word to make someone feel he's special. I am not the type of person who is going to say the sweetest words because I believe I'm a person with few words. Words are precious and according to a quote, "You are a slave to your own written words." It is said that one word could either make a woman fall in love or break her heart. Words could also either change a person's life or make it miserable. Words could create another dimension and they could wrap you into an entirely different world. I am always marveled to watch a movie based on a book. According to Bo Sanchez, "Words become your reality."

I think I'm a kind of person who is emotionally attached with things. I cried and grieved when our two dogs were murdered. I walked very fast and covered my laptop as hard as I could when I got caught in the rain. I keep on thinking for a couple of days when a friend doesn't talk to me. I know I am emotionally vulnerable. I consider it as a weakness sometimes but I also consider it as a strength at the same time. I don't know how to explain it in a lengthy manner but I can just feel it. Lately, I just felt that a friend doesn't want to talk to me. I sent a message over FB chat. I waited for several minutes for her to respond but nothing came. Disappointed was I. Maybe, she was away from the computer. Or maybe she don't just want to talk. Maybe. Just maybe.

If you'd ask me, do I miss you? I may say not. I may say I do. This whole experience of being in India is incredible. I got to be independent and self-reliant. I got to be more outgoing perhaps. I like that I'm on the field. I perform my niche. On the other hand, I miss Bacolod. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I will miss the Presidential elections! OMG. It would be my first time to vote supposedly. The next time I can vote for President of the Republic, I will be 27 years old! I couldn't believe it. It's going to be one generation for the country. I always pray that the Filipino people will choose the right leaders. I always have high hopes for my country. Even if my vote will not be counted, I will say that Gibo is going to win. Words become a reality, right? I hope so.

2GB Random Access Memory is not a luxury, it's scarcity! With three to five big programs I need to run on my computer, I would at least need 1GB more. One remedy is not to buy cheap RAM at the moment (funny to say), but to remove some start up programs (programs that start at boot up) and uninstall some apps. As far I can remember, I have removed a set of start up programs on my computer. One of them is Digsby. Hmm, what else?

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Friday night is probably the time when I can oversleep and yes I did it! When there's no work the following day, why not? Kidding aside, the reason that I woke up late earlier this Saturday was that I'm not used to sleeping alone in a very silent room! Killer silence it is! Noises and disturbances from outside (if there's any) could not reach you while inside the room, thus, I've had a very nice slumber and I just woke up on time for our malling day!

Today is the day that I have received my first pay for my contractual work in India. Yes, it feels nothing ordinary. The three of us ramped up our opportunity to enjoy our salary by going to malls, eating, shopping, and roaming around city. It was so much fun!

Bangalore City, India is a place where you can find a lot of malls. These are malls where people don't just stroll but shop! The funny thing is that (and I know it) in the Philippines, most people go to malls to breathe cool air, meet with friends, or simply roam around, but in India, people usually go to malls to buy stuffs. This time, we had our own glimpse of malls in India justifying these malls' purpose by of course spending a few of our cash. Oh yeah, only a few because I'm sort of saving money for something else important.

First, we went to Forum mall to claim our money at Western Union. And then, we had our lunch at KFC for the nth time again! We were like patrons of KFC because we have already eaten there three or four times already. It's really finger licking good! We relieved ourselves from the hotness and spice of Indian food and KFC is subjectively the only affordable solution around. We ordered a bucket of chicken, fries, rice, and Pepsi. It was delicious food. We entered Megamart, a shopping store there. I bought a shirt and that's all about it.

Next, we went to Lifestyle mall. We didn't do anything special there. We just went around for some sight seeing. We then proceeded to Garuda Mall. We almost got lost on our way because we went another way instead of taking the same path we've had the first time. But making your own way, even though you're doubtful about it, could lead you to a new perspective. So true! Treading a wrong way, we've seen a Catholic Church named Sacred Heart. It was a beautiful church if I'm going to judge it. We've been looking for an accessible church before and now, we have found it! We have taken some pictures of ourselves there and then off we went to the Garuda Mall riding instead an Autorickshaw. An Autorickshaw is similar to a tricycle but Rique (my officemate) said - and he probably witnessed it - that the Autorickshaw can move backwards while the tricycle cannot.

In the Garuda Mall, we have again roamed around for some sight seeing. We went to department stores and tech shops. We window-shopped for iPods, Blackberry, iPhone, cameras, Nokia 5530 (unfortunately I've not seen one), among others. We then decided to go home but outside the mall, we saw some men doing promotions about Staples, a bookstore and tech shop. We got attracted to it and felt excited so we went back to the 5th floor, which was supposedly the 6th because the ground floor is - in a bizarre way - zero, to see what's in store there. We saw an array of gadgets, laptops, MP3 players, headphones, and mice. (It's mouse if you're confused). I remembered I had a crazy mouse that malfunctions at times, hence, I decided to replace it. I bought a mouse and I loved it! It has an artistic design and it's light and small enough to fit in my hands. Cool!

We thought the Central Mall was nearby, thus, we also went there for another sight seeing. After that, we went out and then I saw some books being sold at the sidewalk. I attempted to look at those books and saw some very good ones like John Grisham's, Einstein's, and other classic books. I bought John Grisham's novel "Playing for Pizza" because I like Grisham's legal thriller plots. Rique bought a book entitled "The Secret." I was kind of ecstatic because that was an excellent life-changing book according to reviews and I thought I should have bought that one. But I've already paid mine so maybe, I'll just borrow it from Rique. Those books were nice but I've just observed that they look photocopied from the original one. However, it doesn't matter as long as I'm able to read it and besides, they come at a very cheap price!

We took the 335E Bus going to Big Bazaar. We bought groceries, fruits, and personal stuffs. We then went back straight to our flat riding an Autorickshaw.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Faithful Friend

What makes a friend? Is he someone who can make you laugh and cry at the same time? Is he a kind of person who is willing to leap with you from a high cliff hoping that the net will appear? Is he someone who knows you better than yourself? And the most common of these cliches: Is he a kind of person you can count on?

I don't have friends more than the count of my fingers. But I am sure that few of my friends won't leave my side in the same way that my countable fingers would never be detached until I run out of life. We all have our own circle of friends. Even the loneliest person has a friend. He may just be unconscious about it. I don't believe that nobody cares in this world. No matter how numerous our friends are, reality-wise, there are only a handful of them we can probably depend on. Am I right?

To all of my friends I can depend on, I dedicate this song to you. I know I've heard this song somewhere but I can't just remember the title a long time ago. But now, I know it. This song has a beautiful lyrics. I didn't have intentions to write a blog post tonight but I was just so inspired and I wanted to contaminate you.

When I was in high school, my most favorite lesson in literature was the story entitled "The Little Prince" written by Antoine De Saint-Exupery. It was a story that taught me something about friendship. Here is some excerpt from the story. I really like this story a lot the reason that until now I could still remember it. (Not word by word of couse. I just copied the below text from a website.)
The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time.

"Please--tame me!" he said.

"I want to, very much," the little prince replied. "But I have not much time. I have friends to discover, and a great many things to understand."

"One only understands the things that one tames," said the fox. "Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me . . ."

"What must I do, to tame you?" asked the little prince.

"You must be very patient," replied the fox. "First you will sit down at a little distance from me--like that--in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day . . ."

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Thousand Mile Journey

Have you ever gone to a certain place for the first time by yourself?

Oh well, I had not actually gone all by myself but I had another person with me who felt the same as I did! Ellen (my officemate) and I had gone to a long journey to Bangalore, India for a two-month contractual work as a TIBCO Consultant.

It was our first time to travel abroad and visit three cities at once, namely Bangkok, Thailand, Mumbai, India, and finally, Bangalore, India. Around 5:00 in the afternoon of March 27, I came too early to Silay Airport for the domestic flight from Bacolod to Manila. I was kinda excited with the long journey and I was primarily thinking of beholding a lot of great sights, seeing and meeting lots of people of different nationalities, and reaching the place where I would expect to taste the dream career for me.

As I've said, we were too early for the flight. After we had checked in at the terminal, we just blew time off by talking about anything we can think of. At 8:45 in the evening, we had at last reached Manila and we were fetched by Tracy (my boss' girlfriend) from the airport to the place where we would be staying for a night. It took us about an hour cab ride before we reached Oyster Plaza in ParaƱaque due to some traffic on the way. We saw a huge number of El Shaddai devotees having a procession on the street (which of course caused the traffic) in preparation for the traditional Palm Sunday.

We had somehow managed to have a good sleep that night in spite of reaching the place so late and having to wake up the next day as early as 6:00 A.M. We had a brisk breakfast at McDonald's nearby and we readied to set off to the international airport. We told the cab driver to head onto Terminal 1 of the airport. We found that there were many people lining up, so we also did. When we finally came to the inspecting officer, we showed our respective passport and ticket but the officer said, "You got the wrong terminal. Go to Terminal 2." Oops! Wrong number. We scurried to Terminal 2 and thank goodness, we were able to reach the airport on time.

There were still a lot of things to do before we can enter the terminal. First, we had to go to the POEA and show the documents stating that we were travelling for a temporary work and that we were not directly hired by the foreign employer. Second, we had to pay the required travel taxes. And finally, we had to undergo a brief interview by the immigration officer. I felt like going through a long, dark tunnel considering we had a heavy luggage and we needed to deal with a few people who might not be too affable and congenial. But no matter what, we have to make it through. We have to survive! And we did!

We checked in our luggage and we waited patiently for the trip to Bangkok. Since we were on a connecting flight, we had a chance to land in Bangkok, but unfortunately, we didn't have a visa and we were just tagged as transit passengers, thus, we just stayed at the airport for an excruciating 6-7 hours waiting for our next flight to Mumbai. It was not good enough. Good enough if we had a lot of cash, we could have gone to a city tour that costs $50. So we just waited patiently, slept, chatted, roamed around, and sort of amused ourselves with the redundant audio speaker of the travelator sounding 'Si si kang yen' which means 'end of the walkway,' followed by our soft chuckles. It has a sensor that automatically detects whether someone is nearing the end of the walkway.

Two hours before the flight, we were able to claim a boarding pass and we decided to get into the terminal. The terminal was one floor up and admittedly, the security was stricter. They checked our hand-carried bags and we passed onto their scanners. After that, we were back again to the waiting part but this time, we were inside a more civilized world! The terminal was a more delightful place to see! There were lots of stores, money changers, and restaurants. Bangkok airport was a good-looking one. I was just shocked to know that its age is just 3 years old. It was a recently-built airport.

In the terminal, I decided to exchange my $100 to Thai Bahts so that we can buy something there. I got around 3,200 bahts. We found this one store where they sell souvenir items. I got to buy a key chain that has a shape like a teardrop and has an image of a Thai god. It costed 100 bahts. It was made of some metal and I found it very nice. Now, it is freely hanging in my bag and every time I see it, it reminds me that I've been to a place I never thought I could ever step my feet on. The same goes with the next destinations.

After long hours of waiting, we were ready to set off for Mumbai. We rode in Jet Airways, an Indian airlines, and I found the inside of the airplane fantastic. It was cool because each passenger has a touch-screen monitor in front of him, and this interactive entertainment gadget enables you to choose a movie you want to watch, music you want to hear, or games you want to play. It was already late in the evening. After I overindulged myself with the gadget, I decided to sleep. It was still 4 hours flight though. After an hour, dinner was served. In mind, I had already expected some Indian food to be served which is known for being spicy. The passenger attendant asked me, "Do you want Veg/Non-Veg?" Clueless, I said, "Non-Veg." But she came back again and said that they only have one Non-Veg left, so I decided to give that one to Ellen and I took the Veg instead. Later on, I found out that the difference is that Veg is a Vegetarian food while Non-Veg is of course not. As expected, the food was hot and spicy but I thought it was delicious.

We reached Mumbai after about four hours. I was dazed because I saw a tremendous change on how the people look. Most of them have a darker complexion, much bigger and taller, and they speak a different language or if not, a different tint of the English language. I still had a longer time understanding the accent but I think I can catch up now. I saw that people there looks sternly. They had a stricter security policy than that in Bangkok. The cops were scary and they looked like Hitler. We had a little problem. Our luggage was mishandled probably because it was automatically transferred from Manila to Mumbai. Some Indian attendants helped us with the problem. They were very nice and accomodating. According to them, the luggage might have been transferred in a flight to London then back again to Mumbai. Wow! Our luggage had a longer journey than us! After about an hour, we were able to claim our luggage and how pity to find out that there were some petty damages to our bags. Anyway it was forgivable, so we proceeded on our way to the domestic airport where we would be taking on our final destination to Bangalore!

But our final destination would still be too soon! We still had (again) to wait for another 5 hours. It was very early morning past 1:00 A.M. I was really very sleepy but I thought I could not afford to sleep because the airport might be a dangerous place. Someone might take away our luggage and most importantly, our laptops. We rode a bus to the domestic airport. The Mumbai airport was also incredibly huge but it was not yet fully furnished. There were still construction works going on and I found it a little bit unorganized. There were some men who carried our luggage and they kept on saying 'Can you give me a complementary?" First, I was intrigued and thought maybe I forgot to give thanks. So I responded, "Thank you!" When we reached the domestic airport, some men also got our luggage and they asked the same thing about giving a complementary. Later on, I realized that they might be asking for some tip. But even if I liked, I could not give them any since I didn't have rupees at that time!

At quarter to 7 in the morning, we were aboard the Jet Airways flying to Bangalore. I could not remember anything there except that I just slept during most of the duration of the flight. When we reached Bangalore airport, we looked for some phone to call Rajesh (the one who hired us). Instead, we were greeted by a guy who offered his service to take us to our place. We were not sure about him so we just said that someone was already sent to fetch us. Definitely, he was the wrong one. He offered his cellphone to us so I used it and I was able to call Rajesh. I thanked him for his goodness and we went out of the airport. We saw the right guy outside. I was relieved but I was just too tired to think of any other things. I was momentarily amazed by how different India looks like. Later on, I fell into unconsciousness and slept during most of the duration of the ride.

For me, this whole journey had taught me three things:

1. Being a decisive leader. You don't have anyone to rely on. In every situation, you have to decide on your own and you have to be firm on your actions, hence, you'll get lost.

2. Being courageous. Going somewhere in a foreign place for the first time is tough. You don't know the right directions. You don't know anybody there. If you were not determined enough, you will not get to your destination. I knew that I'm not good at directions but I was courageous and determined enough to reach places. I know I can do it!

3. Being communicative and asking when in doubt. People are strangers and I was hesitant at first to ask. But I learned to be open and ask people who knew the place much better than I am.

The same goes with every situation. All of these learning from the trip I was able to apply now at work or in dealing with people. Indeed, no one beats experience. It is the greatest teacher! In our lives, there will be a lot of first times. Let us not be daunted to try out new things. We could not stay in our comfort zones all the time. If we want to win, we need to sail outside and take on every challenge even though how hard it is for us! I believe I'm always a dreamer. But a visionary dreamer. I'm amazed by the following quote from Carl Jung:

"Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes."