So it’s Christmas and I’m pulling an all-nighter at work. That’s like breaking up with your girlfriend on Valentine’s Day. I’ve no complains. I am, after all, a professional journalist, and this is part of the job. To quote Hunter S. Thompson: You buy the ticket, you take the ride.

At 4 am I’ll be off to Nueva Ecija to join my wife and her family for their reunion. I’ll try not to sleep on the bus because I love watching the view outside and do a lot of thinking. A lot of people are uncomfortable with long rides. Not me. But since I’ve been up for more than 24 hours now, powered only by cigarettes and good vibes, staying awake for the three-hour trip would be a tough order.

Merry Christmas, y’all. Herpes and falling teeth to our enemies.




Winner of the Karl Kaufman Magazine Cover of the Year award. For obvious reasons.


We’re all going to cross the river sooner or later, and as I jump from one Christmas party to another, I’m going to be raising my beer mug in silent salute to those dear to me who already did.

birds, beer, baby

Had an eventful but tiring three days that can be broken down into the following statistics: 18 San Mig Lights, 20 hours of travel, five hours of sleep, five new CDs, 12 new “friends” including a town mayor in Pampanga, a pack of cigarettes, two skipped meals, and one banged up body.

Sometimes I wonder why I’m still alive and functioning.

The two-day seminar on avian flu that I attended last Thursday and Friday went well. I met a lot of  interesting folk and even drank overpriced beer with them in this swanky place called Copa’s inside Holiday Inn in Clark Field. Also learned a lot about the topic that could be useful in my trade in the future. Friday morning I found myself in Candaba swamp gawking at – but not exactly admiring – migratory birds.

Back in Manila I got invited by my office-mates to drink at Tonio’s Grill along Timog Avenue. I arrived there late and was surprised that more than half of the office showed up for the gig. It was fun. Stories and jokes flew like birds (haha!) with every bottle. Even the music was good: mostly 90’s alt-rock sang by a singer who reminded me of Lisa Loeb. I ordered one beer after another until I forgot that I just came from a swamp and totally lacking sleep. I wasn’t home until 6  a.m. Saturday.

My wife is handling her pregnancy pretty well. At the CD sale in Quezon Avenue she bought music designed for expectant  mothers – cool, relaxing stuff with a lot of piano, flute and Spanish guitar in it. She has also developed an appetite for sweets and is sleeping a lot lately. We agreed to name our child either Layne Elrick (if boy) or Raven Lee (girl).

pacq u

Even if you’re not a boxing freak, it’s pretty hard not to get bitten by the Pacquiao bug. From the moment I left home to the second I arrived at the office, every conversation I heard was about the match between Pacquiao and De la Hoya. Suddenly, every moron you meet on the street is a sports analyst.



The most beautiful – and much awaited – two lines for me and my wife.