Images of New York

I walk from the 57th street station of the N train on Seventh Avenue to the QM1A stop on 56th and Sixth (or Avenue of the Americas) most days when Alan and I decide to go home together.  We then take the Express Bus which takes us a few steps away from our doorstep.  It’s a little pricey at $5 a ride, but it’s certainly worth the convenience.

As I walk the two blocks from one station to the other, I can’t help but take “mental pictures” of the views I see.  I don’t often lug my digital camera with me unless there is a definite reason to take it, but when I do, I take snapshots spontaneously.  So on those days when I don’t have the camera, I keep thinking of pictures I wish I could take.

The picture above is a view from Central Park which I took when my sister Offie and her friend Mike walked around the city with me. On that day I mostly took pictures of Mike, but I had to take this photo as we walked around Central Park as the sun was about to set.  It’s a little grainy and the camera had moved which is obvious because of the poor lighting, but I think it’s a good picture nonetheless, worthy of posting here.

There are days when I wish I can just walk the streets of New York ever so leisurely and take picture after picture after picture.  For every picture I take a liking to, I actually discard 8 or 10 other shots of the same subject matter — so it’s not always as easy as finding a subject to photograph and clicking away.  That’s me, the amateur photographer.

Feedback on Feedback: from a fellow Blogger, Lani

On June 10, Lani wrote:

Hello, Pinay. Super enjoy ako sa pagbabasa ng blog mo. I am Lani from Quezon City, Philippines. I know how much you miss our country and the people here. Sabi nga nila, there’s no place like home. Kahit na super ma-traffic at polluted dito, hinahanap pa rin ng mga kababayan natin ang amoy at gulo ng Pilipinas (lol). I have a cousin who lives in New Jersey and is working in New York. Actually, his mother died two weeks ago kaya nagkita kami sa burol ng mom niya. Very lucky rin siya kasi noong 9/11 ay sa mismong World Trade Center siya nag-wo-work at wala lang siya that time noong nangyari ang delubyo.

I hope you’re okay and keep on posting. I will always read your blog. I also have a blog entry, if you want to read it, eto ang link – Worthless Anik-anik

My response:  I’m sorry it took me forever and a day to post this comment which actually made my day when I saw it.  I quickly went to Lani’s blog and posted my own comment.

Lani — I am impressed! If you enjoyed reading my blog, nag-enjoy din naman akong magbasa ng entries mo. Feeling ko kausap ko yung mga younger officemates ko noon.. masaya, machika! I was actually starting a new category of posts in my weblog supposed to be written in Tagalog, pero masyadong malalim, baka di naman maaruk ng mga magbabasa. Ayun, draft pa din. Pero na-inspire akong magbasa ng gaya ng pagsulat mo– I will also provide a link to your blog from mine, so that others who bump into my blog can be treated to the same kind of entertaining writing I found myself reading yours. (My baby is desperately trying to grab the laptop!).. Keep writing — and I will definitely be back.. I just disagree with your blogsite URL.. you are not worthless!

I have actually provided the URL as one of the blogs I read — and I have gone back there twice since already.  As I whine about life in New York, reading about the challenges of living in Manila sure brings me back to the reality of things and it provides a good wake up call.

More anik-anik please!

Delikadeza

There are scandals aplenty in the Philippines as always, and the First Family is being attacked right and left. I was already out of the Philippines when the incumbent became President by virtue of the EDSA Revolution III. It unseated a popular president after allegations of graft and corruption were hurled against the former movie actor. Now it appears that the same charges are being hurled against the Incumbent.

This is a very political family. The current President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is actually the daughter of a former President of the Republic herself. (My late father-in-law served in that Macapagal as Secretary of Education, but had later resigned due to differences with the policies of the then ruling administration.) While the so-called First Gentleman has no position, elected nor appointed, Mrs. Arroyo’s son is an elected Congressman of the House of Representatives. Some whistle blowers are touting him to have been the recipient of multi-million peso bribes. The new allegations have revived former exposes in the Senate, this time, of the First Gentleman’s accounts under an assumed name, which reportedly saw the latter receiving huge sums of dirty money as well.

It’s a never-ending soap opera. And as many lament, the victim, in the end is the Filipino. But that’s not the point of my post here. I just read today that the younger Arroyo has taken a leave of absence from the House of Representatives to allow for an impartial probe. I personally do not like the guy but I must say that whether this is just all part of a “moro-moro” or something he felt he was inclined to do out of delicadeza, I believe Mikey Arroyo did the right thing by stepping aside and allowing his peers to investigate him and clear his name of any wrongdoing.

At the same time, I am not too optimistic about the outcome of this so-called investigation. Politics is a dirty business but it’s mud dirty in the Philippines. You literally have to have the stomach to take all the dirt they will throw at you, as well as the unfair and sleazy dealings associated with any office in the land.

This administration, like the others before it, will hang on to power even if they have to die for it. And it’s not just the money — there’s family pride and honor at stake here. Oh, forget about honor — pride alone will suffice to make the powers-that-be move heaven and earth to perpetuate their legacy — be it good or bad.

I can fill post after post about how bad I hear things are back home. My own family still lives there so I know of it firsthand. Even friends whom I thought were prospering or doing well despite the economic downturn are contemplating if not planning on leaving the Philippines to start anew and seek out a better life outside of the country. I have no proposals to solve the bigger problem of poverty so let me stop here.

It is heavy on the heart but I still look back to Manila as my one true home — even if love and family have made me start a new one here in the big apple. I am reminded of a friend’s declaration that if he were to go the consulting route, he would go back to the Philippines and offer his services to the country for free, after advancing and nurturing a successful career in the US Navy here. I do not have that big a heart but I wish more of the people in power had that in their minds and hearts — maybe then, we wouldn’t have to take so many leaves of absence just to give the investigators a freehand, because if there was less graft and corruption, there wouldn’t be any investigations.

Kelan kaya tayo aabot doon?

Wish the weekend were longer

It’s half past noon on a Monday when the airconditioning in our part of the building has not been working since this morning.  I heard it’s been scorching hot in Manila — and it’s getting warmer in New York.. while I love the warmth of a summer day, I’d prefer to bask in it at will and not bake in it without airconditioning indoors!

Mainit!! (taking a swig of my bottled water..)  Thankfully, I am dressed appropriately — a summer skirt and a light sweater top I bought in Manila, so the material is not meant to warm you needlessly on a day like this.  (83 degrees and climbing to 90!)

Makes me wish we could just rest easy at home with the AC on.. or maybe take a drive inside our cool car or just lounge in the mall.  Right about now, if I were in Manila, we’d be thinking of where we would have lunch.  Is it worth the trip to Glorietta or just down to the Jolly Jeeps?  Or should we order?  (I’m wondering now if SINGKIT is still operating..)

That’s my stomach thinking now.. haha!  I’ve been playing around with a topic in my head for a couple of days that might develop into another category — Pinoy Cravings.  (Eto na naman ako..)  One thing I really miss is the food and delicacies of Manila.. walang kapantay!  I only got my craving satiated when Mom was here and she’s not back until July, so I continue to pine for her home cooked meals.  (I was soooo spoiled with that when she was here!)  I’m still thinking about it though.. there are other more important things to write about!