We'll still mess this up somehow

Huge crowds, inevitably, gathered at the route Pope Francis will take on his first motorcade in Manila, from the Villamor Air Base in Pasay to the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila. Huge crowds, all hoping for a chance to see the Catholic Church's highest leader, all hoping to, in their belief, be blessed somehow by him physically passing them by, maybe waving at them.

The atmosphere was as manic as expected, of course - well, one would glean that much from the television. The mere appearance of the long string of security personnel at the front of the motorcade incited howls from the crowd. A rumbling roar, maybe a roaring rumble, slowly came in, and the next thing you know, you were lost in it, even if you're just at home watching television. The reporters say the same thing, about the pope being closer and closer to their point. And then he does appear, and he does pass them by, and the reporters lose composure themselves, becoming one with the crowd.

"Malapit na po si Pope Francis sa aking kinalalagyan," Noli de Castro reported from his vantage point near the Apostolic Nunciature. The lights from the siren grew brighter as the motorcade approached its final destination. And then, the pontiff appears in his sights.

Read more »

It's the end of the world as you know it

Facebook is down, and it's the end of the world as you know it.

What do you do? How do you kill time? How will you find out who's on the beach on a Tuesday, or whose baby is making a bitch resting face?

More importantly, how do you pretend to work?

Read more »

Stubborn and proud

You'd be forgiven for thinking Malaysia is very much like the Philippines, more so if you're arriving from Singapore, via coach, passing through one of two border crossings.

Read more »

The pope they didn't expect to see

My parents went to Rome a couple of years ago, so it was obvious that they'd go to the Vatican. It was early on a Sunday morning, and many people were already gathered at St. Peter's Square, having already gone through the security procedures and are now waiting for mass to start.

They knew they wouldn't get to see Pope Francis, who was named as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church just a few months prior. He usually holds masses on a Wednesday, they were told; it's most likely some other priest will be officiating mass on that day. Still, hearing mass at the Vatican itself is an experience, so they went there anyway.

It was crowded, but it wasn't the kind of crowded we are (sadly) used to in Manila. You could still move around and shake your legs a bit. That probably explains why they managed to walk closer to the edge of the barricades, until they were on the second row of their section. They were still far away, but considering that these are tall Europeans, and my dad had to take photographs, it was good enough for them.

Read more »

Earthquakes in the time of the millennial

There was talk last night of the millennial demographic - but as I'm with people who do supply chain for a living, there was none of the bullshit about things being life-changing and mind-blowing.

"Millennials value the experience more," one of my colleagues pointed out, and while it's something that I've understood for a while, it only really clicked with me that night. Damn. So that's why those concert organizers always talk about some concert with some pretending-to-be-indie band as a once-in-a-lifetime, not-to-be-missed experience. And then it was followed by the realization, shared by everybody in the room, that I am, technically, arguably, part of that millennial demographic, something I've constantly rejected, because I think I'm much more practical than those frigging kids.

And then we wrapped up our activities for the day, went off for the usual bulalo group dinner in some restaurant in increasingly crowded Tagaytay, and the inevitable drinking session that follows - although videoke was accompanied by wine, not beer. I, however, went to my room to get nebulized, and went to sleep at midnight.

Read more »