Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A night of confessions, revelations, and making a “tabo” list

(L-R)Jing,Wennie,Bebang, Haidee, and Mar

Even now I cannot understand the measure of a life, but I can tell you this. I know that when he died, his eyes were closed and his heart was open. And I'm pretty sure he was happy with his final resting place, because he was buried on the mountain. And that was against the law.

- Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman), The Bucket List

Part 1: Confessions and revelations

I met with my co-writers the other day at the Oz Café in UP Diliman. Beverly had set up a meeting to discuss our recent book project and also to distribute to us half of the payment from our recent book anthology. We have a new publisher, owned by someone who pays on time and treat his writers with a bit of respect.

Wennie was waiting inside the café when I arrived. A few minutes more, Bebang came in followed by Haidee who was in a funky attire matched with her infamous white dangling earings (I really admire her fashion statament). We knew that Mar would not be coming because he was in Isabela, his home town.

While waiting for Jing to arrive, Wennie told us about her "gutsy confession" to a guy whom she’s been admiring and loving for years. She said such confession "has to be done" so that she could function normally. She does it to free herself (I love the way she puts things in perspective). I was smiling the whole time she was telling to us the incidence. Such a gutsy lady, I thought. She calls the guy “tol” which I find really cute (dunno it's equivalent in English). It turned out that the guy has a girlfriend. But the confession have gotten along so well that they've become friends and have shared stories for hours.

As Wennie’s story came to an end, Jing appeared from the door of the café. I knew something was up, there's something in the heavy air she brought with her. I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I was too caught up with the story of Wennie that I shrugged it off. True to my hunch, Jing did announce something that night. One, that she is pregnant. Two, she is getting married soon. Flabbergasted but we are happy for her. I am (quite) excited to cover her wedding actually. It's going to be my first wedding assignment, if things pushed through. Well, a civil wedding for that matter.

Part 2: My "Tabo" List

So while everyone was happy about the confessions and revelations and the royalties we recieved that night, I suggested that we watched a movie afterwards. I just felt like being with them for a longer time. I haven't seen them much. Everyone seems busy. Being a movie buff that I am, I took the initiative to suggest Rob Reiner’s The Bucket List.

The movie tells the story of two terminal cancer patients (Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman) who formed a friendship while stuck sharing a hospital room. When both are told that they only have a few months left to live (6 months to a year), they decide to accomplish a "bucket list" -- a list of things they'd like to do before they die. Soon they were jetting off to see the Pyramids of Egypt, the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, The Serengeti in Africa, The Himalayas and made stop overs at fancy shops and restos in Chateau de la Chevre d'Or in France. They went skydiving and drive race cars. Throughout their journey, they have discovered more than what they hoped to achieve.

Bucket List is a simple movie. It’s inspirational, thus it tends to be melodramatic. It’s a travelogue through life offering a deeper perspective on one’s existence and purpose in life. But I should say that there's enough humor strewn throughout the movie to keep one from overdosing from the sense of seriousness. I had a dose of my own laughs.

When watching a film (especially during the sappy part), I try to pan my view from the screen to the audience and observe them. Beverly was beside me and I saw her crying (trying not, but she was hehehe!). And then I turned to myself: Why the heck am I not crying?! I (almost) did but my tears went back, haha!

After the movie, everyone agreed. The movie is inspiring. “Bucket list looks fun but it’s expensive!” I retorted.

Bebang suggested that we make our own “bucket list” but she wanted to put it in the Philippine context so she dubbed it the “tabo list”. I honestly think that Beverly is not only pretty, she is witty and funny too. The English word for “tabo” is “dipper”. Filipinos use tabo when taking a bath because most of us are not fond of using the shower. We hate wasting water (especially for some whose water comes by schedule or has to be paid by the bucket). All we need is a bucket (balde) of water and a dipper (tabo) and we are all set.

So anyway, I was thinking some items for my “tabo list” and so far, here’s what I got.

  1. Try nude photography using an Adam and Eve motif. (I will just be the photographer).
  2. Go to Peré Lachaise and spend half a day at the grave of Jim Morrison and the other half at the tombs of Honoré de Balzac, Marcel Proust, and Oscar Wilde.
  3. Conquer my fear of heights and try extreme sports: skydiving, bungee jumping, rock climbing, hang gliding, and paragliding.
  4. Tell the story of my life to a total stranger, sparing no details.
  5. Climb Mt. Apo, the highest mountain in the Philippines (2,954 m or 9,692 ft).
  6. Do my own version of the Wennie-gutsy-confession to a guy I have been admiring for the last 8 years and never expect anything.
  7. Do a cameo role in a film (preferably a Coen Bros film).
  8. Write a novel and have it published.
  9. Drink beers until I drop at the Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.
  10. Participate in the Boston Marathon.



Sidney said...

Tabo list:
I can volunteer for number 4.
Maybe Pieterbie for number 1! ;-)

Saw the movie. I found it a bit superficial but a nice idea and two great actors!

Anonymous said...

Bungee jump tayo next year sa Thailand.


my gulch said...

No. 4? but you are not a "total stranger" to me. at least in the strict sense of the word. except for the "meet n greet' aspect, i think i have a pretty much idea of what kind a person you are. Peter for No.1? hahaha! he will be my Adam then. but i think he's too conservative for that. plus, i believe i have to get the permission of Ms. Beyen for that.

well some find the movie utterly phony and melodramatic but then again, this film is supposed to be like that. and people who would want to see this kind of film need a little inspiration to go on.

shempre game ako dyan! :-D

pieterbie said...

Mr and Mrs Beyen are not the kind of people who ask each other for permission :-)
Nude photography is the big void in my curriculum as well, but then it doesn't really interest me. Maybe when I'm too old to go trotting in nature and cityscapes, I'll try my hand at it :-)

This is to me one of the best posts you have ever done, Rayts!
I find it very personal and very deep.
And thanks for the film tip, btw, I'll see if I can catch it during the weekend.

Love the picture of the girls, by the way.

Anonymous said...

you should try wall climbing muna. i know one who does because she wants to conquer her fear (same as yours)

masarap power up!

Anonymous said...

ay ako pala yung power up. hehe. samahan kita if you want. better yet, ayain mo yung nandun sa bucket list mo power up kayo :P


my gulch said...

that is quite an information. maybe "permission" should not be the word i used rather "consultation", hehe! but even so, i never even imagine you would be engaged into such genre of photography. architecture and people have always been your strong points. i almost enrolled into one of these "nude photography" classes some years ago (you know with professional models doing the act for you but i chickened out the last minute. honestly speaking, i don't know if i will be comfortable (and treat the man's anatomy as a still object). jees.

by the way, there are two guys in the photo. one is Mar, the only male in my group and the other one, an 8-yr old kid (slightly hidden in the photo) who is far more intelligent than all of us combined.

uy musta MBA mo? hehe. actaully, i have tried wall climbing (sa Power UP din) a couple of times (or more) kaso wala namang masyadong challenge. hehe. iba kase ang adrenalin rush sa extreme sports tipong mamatay ka tapos mabubuhay ka uli. yung tipong sisigaw ka na lang at the top of your lungs kase wala ka ng magawa. risky but challenging and awfully fulfilling! hahaha

cathy said...

aww.. :) but, "Do my own version of the Wennie-gutsy-confession to a guy I have been admiring for the last 8 years and never expect anything"? hehe, kicking the bucket soon or not (not, i hope) you should do this. go go go hahz

my gulch said...

hi Cathy!

"kicking the bucket soon?"
--> haha. wag naman. hope not. marami pa akong gustong gawin sa buhay.

yea. i should do this. you should make your own bucket list too. not because death is coming (although it is inevitable to think that it will when we least expect) but because we need to do these things. we need to seize the day and treat each day as if it's our last.

i have to say my No. 6 is the toughest. so i might do that if i will be hitting the bucket soon. haha. last resort na with pasensiya effect pa.

Toe said...

I really really like this... tabo list. Mine is to run a marathon and same as your number 8. Your Part 1 is like a scene from a French movie... really nice... I like it. :)

Chris Vallancourt said...

Always wanted to do #10 -- living only 25 miles from Boston - the photo fits well with the first part of the narrative

ndiginiz said...

Tena koe ehoa
Such an interesting array of things you'd like to do before inevitability comes to claim you Rayts.
I don't have a list as such but I think if there was one thing I'd like to do before inevitability comes to claim me it would be to travel the world with my camera and a memory card without a limit on capacity.
I would love to see and experience many countries like the Philippines purely to expose myself to the an extreme of heat and humidity I would otherwise not be use to. And to learn about the people and the influences of other cultures and origins that play a big part in their present day societies and their past.
I would love to visit Iceland to see a landscape that contains so much beauty it's coldness as it does in it's Nordic heritage. To experience the feeling of time being stilled in a Nordic wind where time seems already timeless. And to see colours in a evening/night sky that exist nowhere else. I would love to see the winds ladened with the moisture of clouds still on top of the mountains there as well.
I would love to visit and experience a war zone to know if I'm emotionally able to withstand the effects of life and death in an environment that is dependent on people adhering to a specific side of intellect, thought, belief, religion and/or history.
I would love to stand naked on the top of the world so that I can feel alive in the nature of my minuscule existence transposed against the wealth of an eternity contained in the mountain beneath my feet.
I would love to stand on the corner of a Hong Kong street so as to be able to feel the complexity of a mass population of people in a way that I have never done before, the temper of the moment and the compression of humanity.
Not a list as such but a collection of thoughts as to thongs I'd like to do.

I wish you the best of fortunes in the endeavoring to experience all you hope to before that time arrives.

kyels said...

I like your 'Tabo List'. May you achieve all of them!


my gulch said...

thanks. you know you should do your own "tabo list" too. hehe. masaya siya. well there's no guarantee that i will be able to do all of these but everything is achievable, given the time and enough resources. "a scene from a French movie" wow, i will definitely take that as a compliment, hehe. i've always enjoyed French films. bold and daring.

wow..25 miles from Boston? that's pretty much close. i am sure you'll find the time to join and participate. i guess it's every long distance runner's dream. hope we both make it! yey.

wow. the flow of your thoughts really amazes me sometimes. and it's nice how you put things into the right perspective. i guess as a photographer as good as you are and a frequent traveler, your thoughts must have always been wandering in different places. Philippines? Iceland? Hongkong? why not. everything is possible these days, my friend. even me conversing to you right now through this means seems impossible some decades ago. but look at we now. going places/traveling for me is the most enriching of all human activity. you experience life and actually taste it. i hope you go places!

Anonymous said...

Ah yes such a list is a good thing and a chance to pause and reflect where you are and how much it deviates from where you wish to be. I did a 40 things to do before I'm 40 a couple of years ago, I looked back on it as a result of your post and I've got quite a lot of work to do and considerably less time in which to do it!!! I can give you the link if you want to check on it.

No. 9 is definitely one I can help you with having lived in Munich for a while and having, I may be so bold as to wager, a better capacity for beer than you! It's not so much the drinking until you drop at the Oktoberfest but who's going to bundle you in the taxi and get you home! Consider your back covered.

I'd volunteer for the photography but I believe there isn't a solar eclipse planned for some time!

Anonymous said...

Oh, and amusingly you commented at the time that you wondered why people always made these kinds of lists! Are you any closer to figuring it out?

That was 3 1/2 years ago would you believe?!

my gulch said...

Hi there Red!

now you got me curious! yea, please do give me that link. i've always wondered what would happen to me if I participated in the Oktoberfest. although i don't know if my beer capacity is even half close to those who go there, but i really would like to experience "the drop". yea, i need Redbaron to make sure I am home the next morning. i guess, this was brought by too much watching foreign films. they always make the Oktoberfest looks fun in the films. we actually have our local version of the OKtoberfest which is sponsored by a famous local beer company and it's usually held in the mall with all the overflowing beer and huge mugs and all that.

yea, you're the second person to volunteer for my Adam and Eve motif. All i need is a great, brave woman to volunteer for my Eve. ;-)

i said that? oh that's me alright. i am still wondering why people like to make a list. and i am still wondering why i made one (and why i continue to make one). i guess we, human beings, need CONSTANT reminding. to know where are we now and where are we heading, or have we met our own expectations. if yes, where are we next, if not why are we such a failure. things like that. Like you said, it makes you stop and wonder. Three years ago, my number 10 would not have been included. that's because I never see running as a passion, not unlike today. The rest, pretty much the same, which only means one thing: I am not making any progress.

Anonymous said...

Trust me, you really wouldn't want me for Adam, there are certain things even an enlightened world is not ready for!

Here's the link. - I tried to html tag it but it didnt like it.

Things staying the same doesn't necessarily mean a lack of progress, merely that we have certain core values that always remain part of us. This means you have already found some of yours.

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