Heinous Armpits

A team of scientists has classified the different smells human nose can detect into 10 basic types.

Having been exposed to different kinds of mighty underarms, I’m particularly interested to talk about this 1 type of smell. The “Pungent” smell. This type has distinguishing characteristics that you would notice the very moment someone with scarce bathing habit gets near you.

1. Offensive. You’re just sitting in your office on a normal day and you get mad at someone who’s only sin is being in the same room as you.

2. Sharp. The kind that sometimes doesn’t proceed to your lungs but pierces your forehead and gives you a migraine.

3. Strong and powerful. Has a detectable radius of at least 5 meters. Like an olfactory aura at its best.

4. Suffocating/Stifling. You would rather open the windows of the taxi cab and inhale the hot and humid air than die in a contained space under the wrath of the driver’s armpits.

5. Acidic/sour. You start to drool or salivate to the smell.

6. Stinging and Biting. It hurts your stomach as if something’s digging inside. You feel hungry but you lose the appetite to eat at the same time.

7. Sickening/Nauseatic. You are so stressed you want to take paracetamol.

8. Fetid. The evil and most sinful smell like someone eats 10 onions a day.

9. Repelling. Someone who doesn’t need a spray to kill mosquitoes at home nor mothballs to scare away cockroaches. . .and humans.

Yeah, I just ranted coz I can’t take it anymore. LOL


The Perks Of Being An Engineering Student

The Perks Of Being An Engineering Student

Engineering is not just all about the proverbial sacrifices and sufferings of a college student. Here are the bonus, premium and benefits of it.

1. Getting a 75% mark feels greater than getting a girlfriend. That is the dividing line between life and death. From my observation, many don’t care for more. It’s either pass of fail. That glorious moment of hallelujah the moment you receive your report card with a 75% on that subject you struggled the most.

2. You don’t have to memorize brain-draining long lists of items for the enumeration part of the exam. We actually have a few items to memorize, but we mostly deal with analytical problems. We just need to understand the theory and we could go on from there. Thank goodness we don’t have to deal with those long, exhausting, brain-bleeding, confusing and tongue twisting words as pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism, pneumonoultramicroscopicsiliconvolcanoconiosis, and the likes that I don’t even bother to finish reading. They hurt my eyes.

3. Engineering classes are the most fun, noisy and lively classes to be in. Parabolas and hyperbolas are not just curved lines on the board. Our teacher must mark the vertex with a big dot to cater the perv crazy minds of the students. In return, the students clap their hands, stomp their feet and push their seatmates while cracking up in full support to the teacher’s clever move.

4. Most of the students from other departments don’t really expect us to be good english speakers. What a relief for that low expectation, and how flattering the compliments when they eventually find out that we speak english, too, aside from jabbering numbers and equations. LOL

5. The engineering students give “life” to the university. By that, I mean vivacity, ebullience and effervecense. What adjectives could I add more to highlight the gist? University week is boring without the brazen-faced engineering male students wearing sexy dresses, exposing nipples, and flirty dancing to the tune of “Superbass” in competitions.

6. The “extra chick points”. I really don’t know what’s with it but just the mere fact of being an engineering student either boosts or complements your looks. Whichever it is, yeah it’s really helpful. LOL

7. The Math tutor. Well, they expect and assume that all of us are math wizards, which is kind of a pressure (like around 414.7 Megapascals). Pretty gals from the nursing department approach us for their math subject. Thankfully they are only taking rudimentary math or we’d wish to be eaten alive by the ground if we put ourselves to shame by being useless jerks who can’t solve their assignments in basic algebra. We also get to earn extra money from tutorial sidelines.

8. Female engineering students are one of the coolest things in college. Because you know, they’re both female. . .and engineering students. And it’s cool.

9. We are crazy and at times, bully. But we don’t have competitions and crab mentality. We help and assist each other pass the course. Together we stand, others just love being an engineering student they decide to spend a few more years in college.

How about you? How did you experience your life as an engineering student?

Wanderlust for Guimaras

I am a schedule- and itinerary-driven traveler. I map things out in advance before I start packing things up. Somehow, there are just times when the “adventurous” in me wants to try something new especially when an unreflective urge to travel suddenly pops up. . .but since I am physically incapacitated and intellectually disqualified to be the Man Versus Wild fit enough for a daring experience, let’s just say the “complacent” in me is presuming it’s gonna be painless.

Come what may” was obviously the slogan of our trip to the sought-after Guimaras last February. The ever-naughty Tita Jo started the day by intentionally not bringing her mobile phone to meet with us at the passenger terminal. Well okay, the size of the terminal made it a no-brainer to find somebody anyway, but just to give you the gist of the day.

On the way to Pulupandan at around 5 in the morning, we shivered convulsed to the dawn’s cold breeze in the jeepney. We were heading for the beach for goodness’ sake! We forgot we were in shorts, summer shirts and flip-flops before sunrise!

We didn’t know how to proceed to the seaport upon reaching Pulupandan town proper. Good thing was, a lot of teens were heading to Guimaras for camping, so we just had to go “wherever” they might be heading. Happenstance was really our guide.

Let’s skip the dull 1-hour barge ride across the sea so we could fast forward to Sibunag seaport where everything started to get exciting dreadfully exciting. There was no public transportation! Well, the kind that I was used to back home. I was expecting for jeepneys and motorized tricycles, but none was there! Not even water buffalos! (In the Philippines, they are locally known as carabao. They do not only aid in plowing rice fields, they also pull transporation carts).

Anyway, moving on, everybody else’s got their own private vehicle. Under the searing 10AM heat, we stood there jaw-dropped (more of disbelief rather than amazement) seeing everybody leaving. At the other end of the quay, parked motorcycles that served as motor-taxis we locally call “habal-habal“. Each could transport 2 persons maximum at P250 per head to our “destination” that we had know idea of – practically and desperately any beach would do just for the sake that we “set foot on Guimaras soils”.

We couldn’t afford a long travel to the beach because we only had a 4-hour window to enjoy the pristine waters and shop for souvenir items and the renowned Guimaras mangoes! Spending the night in Guimaras was not an option since we had to be back in Bacolod for the next day’s (Sunday) church service. The barge’s last trip was leaving at 3PM for Pulupandan.

We nearly lost the impetus to proceed to the beach because of the habal-habal drivers’ supposed marketing strategies that we otherwise took as discouraging statements, telling us that the nearest beach was 1 hour away from the port and there was no other mode of transportation available. Even my father on the phone told me to just board the barge again to return to Pulupandan. Seriously? I was standing on Guimaras soils! Might as well jump and swim on the harbor than turn our efforts futile! Returning ahora mismo was neither an acceptable option!

Thankfully, the driver of a ramshackled L300 van (that’s surprisingly still working!) carrying vegetables from Negros Island offered to drive us to our destination (should be the nearest beach). It was the only rational choice than divide ourselves into two groups for the bumpy habal-habal ride. So there we were in our summer outfits sitting beside the sacks of onions, potatoes, garlics and eggplants!

We departed at last, bound for Rayman Beach Resort in the municipality of Nueva Valencia. The first stretch of the trip was the climax of paranioa. The road was unpaved and all you could see were trees and fields. Civilization, where wert thou? I should warn you that it’s not the right time to recall all those thriller and horror movies you’ve watched. Wrong Turn, anyone? I was travelling with my 7-year-old niece for goodness’ sake! She could not endure a hostage situation, how much more a saw-torture!

The horrifying half-hour first stretch ended when we started to see some homes, concrete pavement, and finally the town of Jordan. After eating in a cafeteria, we hopped in for the rather peaceful second stretch. For umteen miles, both sides of the road were filled with mango trees!
When we arrived at the resort after all those misadventures, the feeling of finally stepping on the white sands was. . . .how should I even describe it?. . .priceless and glorious! The majesty of an UNSPOILED Guimaras beach was way more stunning than I expected! We had a reasonably priced island-hopping experience, more practical than the other expensive destinations of the country. I had this urge to roll on the sands or root like a pig if I only had a snout, and drink the crystal clear waters, jump and heavy splash, LOL. Too much ineffable happiness there was! My sister and niece fell asleep on our way home. We were bone-tired and ultra exhausted but it was overcome by the amaaaeeeeeeeezing experience. It sure will be on next year’s bucket list.

The Night Owl

Those moments when I tell myself I’m gonna go to bed early so I could get up the next morning early? – yeah I break it 98% the times – waking up the next morning either as high as not feeling the presence of my brain (physically) or as heavy as feeling like a snorlax and the only strength I have is to move one eyelid half open.

I am a fancy-sleeper. By that, I mean taking a bath to lay fresh and clean on the newly-washed bed sheet and downy-smelling cold pillows, playing a relaxing static noise like the sound of the rain (from Youtube), lighting up the candle for the fragrant oil diffuser, dim overnight light, Vicks Vaporub on my forehead and nose, how more relaxed could I get? In fact, I’m so relaxed that I read and read and read and suddenly it’s 2AM! And I’m already greasy and hungry and exhausted and haggard! Dream night ruined.

Whilst I count getting up in the morning as one of life’s hardest tasks, I always end up doing it again the following night, and again. And again and again (repeat ’til fade).

Yes, the early bird gets the worm, but in the classroom context, the early bird gets the broom and the coconut husk (back in the 90s, we wax and scrub our floors). In the office, the early bird gets either the Plaque of Appreciation for the unpaid pre-official-working-hours duty or the First Procrastination of the Day Award.

But. . .I have always been a night owl, and the late bird who gets the salary-deduction worm. I usually suffer from 11AM to 3PM like a living zombie with a 2-ton ax cracking open my skull. These are the times when the heaviest things in the universe are not the super-dense blackholes but my eyelids! My eyeballs fall and roll on the table and my boss whacks my forehead, then I wake up realizing I slammed my head onto the monitor. Then I sleep again and start to fall on my side. Realizing I’m falling, I suddenly spring back vertical and oscillates like a dancing bamboo culm or that nodding dog you see on the dashboard.

Anyway, I want to share the ways to fight the evil forces of dreamland during office hours to minimize the futility of these ramblings of mine:

1. Talk a lot. Not as effective as a minty fresh flavored toothpaste, but a lot better than an open-rectum heinous breath. It also wakes the person next to you, annoyingly or not.

2. Play. Dribble a baseball or balance a rotating pen or whatever it is that works. Playing while working helps keep stress level low to keep efficiency high. Playing excessively keeps stress level low and keeps your boss’ eyes on you. Playing all day keeps stress level low and you get to keep a termination memo with you.

3. Laugh. Read humor blogs. Whatever makes your jaw lock. You also get instant 6-packs for free. And evil sinful gases.

4. Stand up every 30 minutes. This is necessary for good health. Weekend sports does not offset the effects of sitting whole day for 5 days, studies show.

5. Take a short walk. Go to the ground floor and back. Use the stairs. But only for 2 to 4 flights, not the whole stretch up to the 15th floor if you want to reach your office before 5 o’clock.

6. Go to the toilet and face the mirror. Two things will happen: (1) You’ll wake in awe of how awesome you are, or (2) you’ll wake in shock of how awful you look. Either way, welcome back to your consciousness!

Untamed Stupidity

Just when you thought everything would be fine, you’re caught off-guard. Yeah, we all do make mistakes but some of them are just so severely terrible you’d wish to disappear on the spot.

>>Just passed the board exam
>>Got hired for my first job in Makati CBD
>>Met these two eggheads: Felix and Rauden

It was lunch break and we decided to dine in a near resto. When we got in the elevator, there were no other passengers except for the three of us. We pressed all the buttons on the elevator so whoever would get next to us would stop from every floor starting from the ground floor. To bring full satisfaction, we included the basement. We were very complacent. Who would recognize us anyway? The elevator was filled with laughter as we tried to imagine the next passenger. So, here it was. The ‘G’ indicator lighted up. We arrived on the ground floor and we were very eager to see who’d be the next passenger as we were having this stomach-aching suppressed laughter. And to our surprise, out of more than 6 billion people in the world, why, oh, why? It was Sir Alden C. Ong, the owner and executive president of our company (an engineering consulting firm). I silently screamed and shouted with all might in my head. Everything was not funny anymore as I thought of Sir Alden going to the basement, and back to the ground floor again, and stopping every floor up to the 3rd floor where our office was. And to add to the terrible feeling, I just thought that Sir Alden, while pressing the “close” button every after stopping-opening of the elevator per floor, was already mentally making the rough draft of our termination memo. The day after, I was called to the president’s office. I just waited for him to say Congratulations, Romyr, you’re fired!. You know what? I was there to discuss a new project. He never even mentioned what happened the day before. I would be happy to assume and keep this to myself that he understood what happened because he was once like us – young, silly and crazy.

Being A Countryside Kid

Nostalgia Accounts Episode 3

I do not own these images. No copyright infringement intended.

I do not own these images. No copyright infringement intended.

City life is fast-paced and stressfully demanding. I am missing the plain living back in my hometown roughly two decades ago. The local community’s source of income was fishing although it was basically more of a source of food rather than income. It wasn’t psychologically exhausting back then because we didn’t have advanced thinking that worries what’s for the next few months. The neighborhood lived one day at a time, scouring the sea for something to fill the stomach – be it fish, squid, even giant jellyfish! I remember Lola Iglesia removing the venomous tentacles and then cutting the transparent jelly head into cubes. She ate it raw in vinegar, chili, tomato and onion.

I grew up scouring the shoreline during low tide to glean for mollusks and shellfishes (kinhason) and crabs (kasag). We could get nerite snail (sihi), turban snail (lumban), mangrove whelk (dalodalo or tapoktapok), telescope shell (bagongon), blood clam (litob), plicate conch (aninikad) and others too far and too deep in my memory to recall their names. It’s best to scour the shoreline during the night for mangrove crab (alimango), swimming blue crab (lambay) and reef octupos (tabugok). Gleaming for shellfish in daylight is called “panginhas” in our native tongue (Cebuano). During night time, we call it “panulo“. There’s really no one-word English equivalent for that. It came from “sulo” or the torch that we bring to light up the dark shore. Torch made out of dried coconut leaves was short-lasting so we had this Petromax pressurized kerosene lamp instead.

Tapoktapok, bagongon and alimango are best cooked in coconut milk! Talk about very rich, mouth-watering, lusciously delicious, succulent texture! Bagongon is eaten by cutting open the bottom part of its shell, then sucking up its meat.

Sihi, lumban and kasag can be meat ingredients or partners of vegetable soup we call “laswah“. In our backyards grew malabar night shade (alugbate), horse radish tree (kamunggay), swamp cabbage (tangkong), ladies’ fingers (okra), lemongrass (tanglad) and bitter gourd (paliya) among others.

Our shores were very rich of marine life back then because we only looked for what to cook that day. In our backyards bloom and sprung green leaves. We shared food with neighbors. I really don’t know how did we evolve from that way of life to the present day sell-anything-salable thinking, leaving no stone unturned.

Noontime wasn’t too hot to go out with friends to look for spiders. We let them fight on a thin bamboo stick (from banana barbeque) or a coconut leaf rib (from brooms). Along the way, we climbed spanish plum (siriguylas), madras thorn (kamatsile), jambolan plum (lomboy), tamarind (sambag), jamaican cherry (mansanitas) and java apple (tambis) growing in the wild. All for free! Giving colors to the roadside were hibiscus (gumamela), desert rose (kalachuchi), and lantana flowers (bahobaho or kandingkanding) but lantana’s smell was rather unpleasant to some.

We also used to chomp sugarcane that we pulled out of a “siksbay” truck on its way to the sugar mill (a good way to exercise and clean the teeth). The term “siksbay” is a loanword that came from “6 by 6”, referring to the 6-wheel-drive army trucks that were used to transport the harvested sugarcane.

Never in my wildest dreams during those times could I have imagined myself sitting in front of a computer screen modelling, analyzing and designing structures that, in a way, could have destroyed or will be destroying wonderful rural neighborhood such as that.

How about yours? How was your childhood rural life like?

When Unbelievably Hilarious Things Used To Be Scary

Nostalgic Accounts Episode 2

My childhood afternoons were almost dominated by running and running tirelessly on the shore sands. Playing under the scorching sun all day, we reeked like vinegared fish stew. Wait, how should I say that? We stank like paksiw fish. In order to tame us, an elderly next to our house named Lola Iglesia whistled her signature go-home-or-I’ll-whip-your-ass call to her grandchildren who were playing with me and the other neighborhood kids when twilight bit. Around 5 o’clock or before the darkness fell, we eagerly gathered on Lola Iglesia’s small resting shack on her yard where we wrested over the first-come-first-serve spaces on the long wooden chair. We then begged her to give us a frightening horror story. But she would never tell us a story unless we let her drink tuba (coconut wine). So the kids started to chip in whatever cents we had to buy her a glass of tuba. Because of this, you would never see any kid running loose outside their homes after her stories. For many years, Lola never ran out of tales. She must have been very imaginative and creative. As long as she was a little bit drunk, she could create any kind of story that fitted your expectations for extreme fear factor. My memory has retained a few of Lola’s stories and superstitions. I’m really fascinated of how frightening they used to be and how funny they are when I look back on them today.

1. Lola’s garden had only one commandment. It had not anything to do with a fruit, but with a flower. At the center of her garden grew this bell-shaped Brugmansia Flower, the only flower in the whole wide world to which you are forbidden to point your fingers on or they will be cut off or fall off your hands! Lola was never lenient to her grandchildren with this commandment. They were scolded seriously for breaking it. We, the outsiders, were also reprimanded for doing the same.

2. Once in a while, an unknown floating object was seen far asea our little neighborhood that we could hardly see it from the shore. Lola also forbade us of pointing to it or our fingers will be cut off. She said zombies were aboard the floating object and you aggress them when you point at them. They were said to attack neighborhoods and put on their slippers. The next time the residents wear their slippers, they get infected and turn into zombies, too. So when I was young, I used to hide all our slippers inside the house after dusk. It was far later when I found out that the floating object was actually a barge probably carrying container vans or transporting goods.

3. If darkness fell and we’re still in Lola’s shack, we would see a blinking light moving across the sky. When we asked Lola about it while pointing our fingers, she would scold us because, yeah, you guessed it right – it was prohibited to point on it, too – or else, you guessed it right again, your fingers will be cut off because the aliens riding in it would get offended. How come I was aware of aliens yet I didn’t know about the existence of commercial planes? There were a lot of prohibition on the use of fingers on Lola Iglesia’s time.

4. You should never ever take a bath after you ate mung beans or monggo or else they will bloom and grow bigger inside your stomach and you’ll get bloated and die. I remember I interrogated Lola one time when one of her grandchildren jumped into the sea with us after eating mung beans because he had escaped her sight. I wondered why he didn’t feel ill. Lola said the effect could take a few days. Hehe.

5. She had this story of a kikik. A kikik was probably a large half-human-half-bat monster, at least according to how I understood and believed the concept of it. But according to an official Cebuano dictionary, it’s a witch’s bird. Anyway, there was this kikik and she said it had been making noise on top of the big tree on their yard, hiding behind the leaves in the dark night sky. So, kikiks get afraid when you intimidate them, she said. Her son purportedly told the kikik to stop making noise or else he will catch it and cook for their meal. So we were amazed that he was able to silence the terrifying kikik.

Our house was like five meters from Lola’s shack but I never ever dared to cross the danger open zone towards home. So either Lola’s son would accompany me home or she had to call Papang to fetch me.

Ignorance is sometimes bliss, but it is a necessity indeed to seek for knowledge.