Coffee and Me

{November 7, 2008}   Hello! Welcome to my site!
enjoying the scenic view at jack's ridge restaurant
enjoying the scenic view at jack’s ridge

These blogs are collections of thoughts, stories about life or things that I ponder upon while sipping or engaging with my favorite drink: coffee. Hope it inspires you and view the world as a wonderful place to live in.


The House that My Parents Built at PresentIn the 1980s, my parents bought a 152 sq. meter lot located at Dacoville Subd., Dumoy, Davao City, just a few meters away from where our family lives.  Tall grass and two or three trees covered the lot at that time. In the year 2003, the family decided to put up a commercial building at the same time a place where we can also stay.  We decided to put up a bicycle parts and hardware business. They let me draw the draft layout of the building.  Construction of the building started in June of 2003. Before the building was completely finished, my mother suddenly fell ill and was rushed into the emergency room of a local hospital in July 2003. My mother hasn’t recovered from her illness and died on August 9, 2003 due to aneurysm.

The death of my mother left the building unfinished. Responsibility of the building was handed to us siblings primarily to me as the eldest. A few months after  my mother’s burial we tried to finish what was left unfinished in its construction but still it is not 100% finished.

My two brothers and me decided to have the building rented out but unfortunately, we had two successive bad renters who damaged and left unpaid bills. Fourth quarter of last year we posted a for rent sign. Many called or texted me to inquire and are many people showed their  interest in renting the building but we wondered why no one is actually renting it at present. Because it has been vacant for months now, trespassers damaged the building and even stole the electrical wirings.

Because of this very sad event, we decided to sell the building or have it rented out. At present we posted a signage that the building is for sale or for rent.

{March 10, 2009}   Facts About Coffee
a cup of coffee

a cup of coffee

According to Wikipedia, coffee is a brewed beverage prepared from roasted seeds, commonly called coffee beans, of the coffee plant. Caffeinated coffee has a stimulating effect in humans. Today, coffee is one of the most popular beverages worldwide.

Coffee was first consumed in the ninth century, when it was discovered in the highlands of Ethiopia. From there, it spread to Egypt and Yemen, and by the 15th century, had reached Azerbaijan, Persia, Turkey, and northern Africa. From the Muslim world, coffee spread to Italy, then to the rest of Europe, to Indonesia, and to the Americas.

Coffee berries, which contain the coffee bean, are produced by several species of small evergreen bush of the genus Coffea. The two most commonly grown species are Coffea canephora (also known as Coffea robusta) and Coffea arabica. These are cultivated in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Once ripe, coffee berries are picked, processed, and dried. The seeds are then roasted, undergoing several physical and chemical changes. They are roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor. They are then ground and brewed to create coffee. Coffee can be prepared and presented in a variety of ways.

Nowadays, coffee is a favorite drink among young and old alike. Paired with pastries or cookies, it is a perfect combination.

I love coffee

I love coffee

It is no wonder coffee is my favorite beverage day and night. Cheers!

{January 31, 2009}   Northside Jazz Bar

Tagum City is really booming with the addition of Northside Jazz Bar, the newest classy jazz bar located at Bonifacio St. It is the first jazz bar to open in Tagum. The place has a relaxing ambiance and comfortable lounges and chairs. They have friendly staffs and the owners are very accommodating. Upon entering the place you will notice its modern interior design. Jazz music is cool especially when our band is playing. The band’s name is LIGHT and EASY BAND. I admire Kuya Boy dela Cerna the lead guitarist and leader of the band because of his talent and dedication towards music. The rest of the rhythm section is fantastic and very talented.

We are currently promoting the place to attract more people specially music lovers. Tune in to 88.7 FM radio station to listen to us promoting Northside Jazz Bar live on air.

Upon approaching the place you will notice the bar's attractive signage

Upon approaching the place you will notice the bar's attractive signage

Sexy ba? O, Diva?

Sexy ba? O, Diva?

I just love jazz music!

I just love jazz music!

I love jazz music!

I love jazz music!

taking a break

taking a break

{December 26, 2008}   Christmas in our Hearts

I’m back to writing in here. It’s been a long time. I was concentrating so much in personally attending to the internet and graphic design business that I seldom visit this site.

Well, it’s Christmas season. Filipinos celebrate it with family bonding and abundant food. We at home, no father and mother (my mom passed away year 2003 and my father abandoned us in 2004) though we are siblings have live life differently as if we were strangers or boarders in our own house. Christmas eve and Christmas day were no exemption.

I seldom go home because of the long travel time from my business place. Whenever I come home, I feel I am treated as a boarder by the people living here: my brother’s family. He and his wife have three small children. The youngest is a two-month old baby girl. They cook and eat on their own never asking if you have already eaten. Their bad attitude is rarely a Filipino attitude at all. My youngest brother is also treated the same way.

They say Christmas is a season of giving and sharing but here we are living the other way around. Although I try to share the food that I have they seem to ignore and continue to act as if I were not around.

So sad, and I ask myself why is this happening to us? Wish I were in a different home celebrating Christmas.

Merry Christmas everybody. Have a great new year!

{November 7, 2008}   Thinking of writing a book?

I was just thinking, what if i start writing a book? I always thought of writing a good book and look for a publisher for my work. As they say, anybody can write a book but only a few can write a good book.

An author of two best-selling books, Scott Berkun has tips on how to start writing a book (check out his website at Here it goes:

scott berkun

scott berkun

Writing is easy, it’s quality that’s hard. Any idiot who knows 5 words can write a sentence (e.g. “Dufus big much Scott is”). It might be grammarless, broken, or inaccurate but it is writing. This means that when people can’t start they’re imagining the precision of the end, all polished and brilliant, a vision that makes the ugly clumsy junkyard that all beginnings are, impossible to accept. Good voice, tone, rhythm, ideas and grammar are essential to good writing, but they’re never introduced all at once. I promise you, the first draft of Strunk and White didn’t follow Strunk and White. The secret, if you can’t start, is to begin without constraints. Deliberately write badly, but write.

For this reason writer’s block is a sham. Anyone who wrote yesterday can write today, it’s just a question of if they can do it to their own satisfaction. It’s not the fear of writing that blocks people, it’s fear of not writing well; something quite different. Certainly every writer has moments of paralysis, but the way out is to properly frame what’s going on, and writer’s block, as commonly misunderstood, is a red herring.

Consider this: Have you ever been blocked while playing Frisbee? Eating doughnuts? Dancing naked in your living room? Those are joyful things and there’s nothing at stake: if you fail, who cares? Nobody. If there are no rules, and no judgment, psychological blocks are impossible. And remember writers like making names and overthinking things: there is no term for architect-block, painter-block, juggler-block or composer-block. Every creative pursuit faces similar pressures, but they don’t obsess about it the way writers seem to do.

So play. Loosen up. Smile. Break the framework that’s making it impossible to start. Forget the deadline and the assignment and just be an open mind with a pen. Remember that until you say you’re finished, you can break all the rules. If you can’t get started, your psychology is making the challenge bigger than you can handle. Thinking of the book, the chapter, the page, the paragraph, is all too big if while you’re thinking, the page remains blank. Like a weightlifter out of his class, a writer with a blank page needs to lighten the load.

In the grand tradition of lists and books of hacks, writing hacks are clever little actions that give you leverage and put the dynamics in your favor. Here in part 1 it’s all about how to start.

Start with a word. The first goal is to get one word on the page. It can be any word, but you have to choose it, and put it down. I’m partial to the ridiculous, so for me it’s often Papaya, Pomegranate or Throat-warbler-man-grove (If you’re thinking that’s not a word, go back two paragraphs). If one word was easy, go for two. Still feeling lucky? Go for a small sentence. It doesn’t matter what the words are, but get them down. Write the lyrics to the song on the radio, the names of people you’ve slept with, your favorite Dr. Seuss lines, it just doesn’t matter. Once all the magic muscles in your little fingers get going, you’ll soon find yourself, in between rounds of one fish blue fish, writing some intelligent things. If it peters out, repeat. Return to the unit of writing anyone can do, and build up again.

Write about how it feels not to be able to write. It’s sneaky, but damn, it works. The voice in our heads is always saying something, so get it down. Writer-weenies call this free writing, implying something unfortunate about other kinds of writing, but I find it easier to think of as listening. Imagine yourself as a recording device, writing down the radio broadcast of some other person who happens to live in your head. If you think this is weird, write about why it’s weird (See: you can’t win. There’s always a way). Eventually your mind will hit thoughts on the topic itself and, presto, you’re on your way.

Have a conversation. Since you can’t get “converse with a friend” block call up your buddy and talk. Get their opinions on whatever you’re writing, or throw them a bit of yours. Take notes about the conversation. Guess what? You’ve started writing. Friends are too busy? Go to a café or bar. I’ve found that if you tell bartenders you’re a writer, after they stop laughing, they’ll happily chat and occasionally give you free drinks. In a pinch, or if you’re a loner, talk with your dog. No dog? Create an imaginary friend (or three). Perhaps I’m insane, but I talk to myself all the time, and sometimes I even like the answers. If you know a writer friend, be writer buddies, available by phone to help each other get started.

Read something you hate. Opinions come easy to me, but some days I’m as indifferent as the wind. To get started I’ll read things that I can’t stand, express opinions in violent opposition to mine and, when pressed, are written so poorly my eyes burn straight through the pages. A paragraph of outstanding tripe is intellectual smelling salts. It puts me on my feet, sticking and jabbing like Mohammed Ali, raving and ranting on the page. I can rarely use those first rant-laden riffs, but it puts me in the ring. Sometimes its love you need, so go to your masters: Emerson, Fitzgerald, Orwell, King, get your nose into whoever’s writing get you jazzed. Writers often write about writing, a trick few arts can follow; so reflective motivation from writers is easy to find.

Warm up. Do you imagine Olympic sprinters wake up and immediately sprint around the house? Of course not (unless they drank too much the night before). No one performs well without easing muscles and emotions into place. And everyone warms up differently. Sometimes responding to e-mail works because hey, that’s a kind of writing. Or type the alphabet forwards and backwards. Maybe revise something old and unfinished to get warm. My ritual is to type in quotes from good books I’ve read to get the fingers in rhythm and my mind thinking good writer thoughts. More exercises here and here.

Make lists. Nonfiction often starts for me as bulleted lists. I imagine what things the finished work would answer, how it would do it and I write it down. Not that I know how to fill them, but what might good section headings be? List making is never as threatening as “writing”, so go there first (There is no shopping list block, is there?). I kick the list around for awhile, changing, moving, shuffling, and then once it has critical mass, I put in a document and go. And I’m always ready to leave the list, and my plan behind, if I find a sweet spot: the list is a tool, not a contract. I have dozens of essay ideas in various states of list form, in a Moleskine, slowly growing until they’re ready.

Switch to something harder. My wife is an artist, and for years she’s worked on two paintings at the same time, switching between them. Why? When she’s hit a wall on one project, the second project is a godsend: it’s an escape that’s still productive. I use this hack as follows: when stuck on project A, including not being able to start, I’ll joyfully switch to project B, thinking I’m pulling one over (on myself of course, but even the idiocy of self-delusion is tolerable to the acid misery of returning to A). But 20 minutes later when I hit a wall on Project B, a wall that, by comparison, seems like the Maginot line, I’m more than happy to return to A, even if it’s a blank page. I’ve forgotten A’s particular horrors, and jump in, possibly over the hurdle that seemed impossible before.

Run like hell. I can’t write if my body isn’t happy and my body feels happy when it has been used: it likes to run or lift or almost anything. So think physical: let your body get out the stresses that block your mind. Go for a run, mow the lawn, chase your cat, do something to get your body moving, and your mind relaxed. If you move your body, your mind will follow. Maybe take a bath, get a massage, have sex, anything physical and positive. If you get into the activity enough I bet you’ll have a moment when your body is finally happy enough to let your mind do its work.

Whiskey. Yes, alcohol is writing’s seductive little mistress. A well timed shot of whiskey can work wonders for the jittery, neurotic mind. It’s the shock to the system that works for me, so when I can’t start, there are alcholol free alternatives to get things flowing: a cold shower, an underwear clad run up the driveway, a shot of espresso, a peek at my naked wife, the list goes on. Don’t depend on these (as the more you use, the less they work, except for the last one), but ocassionally they’re the only way.

Rummage your scrap pile. In 1994 I started writing a novel. By this I mean I created a word document named “My Novel”, hit save and then got drunk with friends. The next day, terrified as I was to return, I created a second document, called “My Novel – notes”. And in there I wrote down every idea that came to me about what might be in the novel. Only had one at first (“The narrator gets drunk. And then…well…hmmm”) but more came the next day. It was a hard core rule: If I had any idea at any time, I wrote it down immediately. No exceptions (Thus, the moleskine). I’d think of snippets of dialog, lines of narrative, names for characters, or bits of plot, and stick them in, rarely looking at the previous bits. Eventually I had enough material to psyche myself up for the dive back into “My novel” as it wasn’t a blank page anymore.

Smart writers have stockpiles of old ideas to arm themselves against the evils of the blank page. When stuck, rummage. Laugh at the goofy ideas. Groan at the pretentious ones (there will be many). Feel the occasional awe of not remembering writing something that shines or happens to fits your blank page. Like a flea market or garage sale, let ideas feel cheap, light and easy to throw around. If you can do that, new work will get off the ground almost on its own.

I sometimes write “I have nothing to say” and repeat it on the page. I’ll go and go until I get so pissed off that I decide it’s less painful to write something real than it is to watch myself type this idiotic phrase forever. We always have something to say: we’re just not always brave enough to say it. A little self torture can sometimes bring it out.

True story. This essay started when someone sent me a link to this essay on When you can’t get started, which you might like, but I had trouble with. Halfway through I had so many ideas I jumped into a blank page and didn’t stop until I had a draft of much of this essay. Mind you, as a writer I know this subject well, and had done plenty of thinking on this topic beforehand.

By the act of writing “writers often write about writing” I’m writing about writers often writing about writing, which means you’re reading about writing about writers writing about writing. Say that ten times fast and I’ll give you a cookie.

I wrote the novel on and off for 10 years, and finished in 2005 (with draft #5). Currently unpublished.

So, that’s it folks. To those of you who are thinking of writing a good book, I hope you find this article helpful. Enjoy writing and more writings and novels to come.

{November 7, 2008}   Rain, Rain, Rain

As I stared into my blurred, retiring pc monitor hearing the rain, heavily pouring outside the internet cafe, I have to think of ways to amuse and entertain myself in this boring and monotonous job of watching the time of customers. Reading a book just strained my eyes even more.

Working 16 hours per day, seven days a week in the internet cafe is a straining, boring job. No physical social life, only virtual life through Friendster, Yahoo Messenger, emails, etc.

Internet cafe business is not for impatient people. With regards to profit, it is very slow-paced. Patience is a virtue as they say. One has to think of other ways to source out income.

The rain still heavily pours filling the street knee-deep. I wonder when it will subside. Big trucks and vans pass the street causing ripples to the shoulder of the road. I’m getting really hungry as we cannot cross the street to buy our dinner at the neighborhood barbeque eatery. Hey, is the reader getting bored here? What must I do, my stomach is already growling…..

No choice but to cross the street filled with knee-dip water while the rain still pours. Time passes by so fast its almost 9p.m. The rain makes business slow as no customers would dare to go out of their house and go inside the internet cafe because of the flood and rain.

et cetera