Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Unang-una sa lahat siyempre ay para sa bayan.

[Hindi 'din masamang magalugad ng libre ang mundo.]

At ang pagkakataon na makapaglingkod sa pinakamasipag na delegasyon sa proseso ng UNFCCC.

[Lalo na sana kapag nakumpleto na 'din sa wakas ang mga inampalan ng PCCC.]

Iba 'din ang pakiramdam na makabanggaan sa siko ang mga ministro at bise-ministro.

[Hindi nila alam e muntik na din akong naging ministro noon... ng simbahan.]

At ang paminsanminsan na mainterbyu sa TV.

[Pero dahil Vietnamese TV ay hindi ko na ito mapapanood kahit kalian.]

Hindi mawawala ang mga photo ops.

[Bagamat mas madalas na ako ang kumukuha kesa kinukuhanan.]

At ang bragging rights na oo, minsan ay nakatrabaho ko siya...

[...nakasabay kumain, nakainuman, nakasama sa photo shoot, nakabiruan, napatawa...]

Monday, November 18, 2013


It was our Sunday off.

But MD and me have to brief the "Minister" and the "Ambassador".

That under the equivalent of a Polish rain [ambon to us] which amplified the chilly air.

The Convener waited for us in a bus stop while we waited for him in another.

So that left me, MD, the "Minister", and the "Ambassador" for the Old Town briefing and beyond.

"It was from those paintings that they rebuilt the Old Town. And those are the explosive charges the Germans planted. Warsaw's narrowest house is behind the big bell".

The "Ambassador" knows her Old Town.

And the New Town too where I got another church.

Lunch was pure envy as I watched them nibble on lamb, pork chops, and duck while I have to do with a bland baked trout in a whatever sauce.

But I had pansit finally: homemade Polish noodles in chicken broth.

Plus thick hot chocolate and muffins for dessert in another place.

We took Bus No. 128 back to the hotel.

The briefing has successfully concluded... 

Monday, November 11, 2013


Acclimatize, un-jet lag, settle down: DONE.

Report to the Oxfam Team: DONE.

Get to know how the tram works: DONE.

Register and get my badge: DONE.

Report to the delegation: DONE.

Google Warsaw: DONE.

Now the walking and the shooting. 

"You can actually walk. It's just around 30 minutes from here to the Old Town. Turn left at the palm tree and follow that road," said the blonde Mona Lisa-smiling hotel receptionist to my question on how to get there via tram.

So I did.

Through the Centrum, the two blocks along Aleje Jerozlimskie, to the palm tree amid Rondo de Gaulle which announced the left turn to Nowy Swiat.

A ribbon-ed and forlorn Copernicus sitting in front of Polish Academy of Sciences was the first to greet me.

Click, click, click.

Then what I came for: churches, and lots of it! 

Nowy Swiat hosts a lot beginning with the massive Smaller Basilica of the Holy Cross [circa late 17th century]...

...the rococo grandeur of the smaller Church of St. Joseph the Visitations [circa 1664]...

...the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and of St. Joseph [circa 1661] wrapped in an unholy renovation package where the famous Frederic Chopin was first employed as a pianist...

...and St. Anne's Church [circa 1788] just before the dramatic entrance to the Old Town [Stare Miasto].

I clicked, walked, clicked more, and walked some more --- through a long queue of shivering people trying to get into the Royal Castle, then to Piwna Street where the imposing facade of the Church of St. Martin [circa 1356] cast an eternal shadow on an Indian restaurant on the opposite side.

A right turn took me to the Old Town Square and Warsaw's monument to its mermaid defender.

A U-turn brought me to the defensive walls and the Barbican which links the Old Town to Nowe Misato (New Town], and to the Church of the Holy Spirit [circa 14th century] and the nearby Church of St. Jack [circa 1600s].

That's when the chill and hunger came.

But a unique saw-toothed church facade jutting out of the Old Town skyline beckoned so I went back through the Barbican, Piwna Street, the Old Town Square and the mermaid,  to Swietojariska Street where the Cathedral Basilica of the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist [circa 14th century] --- Poland's most important church and the Polish royalty's preferred spiritual hangout --- stand side by side with the smaller but more ornate Shrine of Our Lady of Grace Patron of Warsaw [circa 1600s].

On the way back to the hotel, I battled between Indian and Polish cuisine but finally settled for a vegetarian baguette sandwich.

I'm cold, I don't eat meat, and hot noodles is not served in Warsaw...

Friday, November 08, 2013


It must be the wear-and-tear of 43 years.

Or the 3-days-and-2-nights in the hospital and a draconian no-fat-and-alcohol diet imposed in its aftermath.

The burden and reluctance of travelling has never been this pronounced as starkly illustrated by the boiled eggs and tomatoes I have to do for breakfast while Moi and Bong feasted on an additional platter of fried dried fish swimming in a vinegar-garlic dip and fried eggplants liberally drenched in a bagoong-and-calamansi dressing during a pit stop in Zaragoza.

Manila is more forgiving as we lunched in equal footing on huge bowls of fish heads in sour broth that were surgically deconstructed into bits and heaps of bones even a cat will find too clean to eat.

Then a total culinary self-flagellation on air as meat was discarded in favor of a tasteless combo of boiled broccoli and young corn during the Manila-Taipei leg, a more palatable bit of baked potato cubes minus the chicken somewhere above China then a sausage-less breakfast of an egg omelet just before touchdown in Amsterdam, and finally a welcome egg sandwich on the connecting flight to Warsaw.

The cold and dank Polish weather does not help.

But the waiter at the Hotel Metropol restaurant did with his recommendation of a Polish dish of potato pancakes with spinach in feta cheese when I told him I don't eat meat...

Monday, November 04, 2013


Sinubukan kong patayin ang oras habang nagpapa-change oil sa talyer ng mga tao sa paulit-ulit na panonood sa mga nakamamanghang pakikipaglaban ni Eli sa "The Book of Eli", ang mga kautuan sa reunion nina Lenny Feder at tropa niya sa "Grown Ups", at ang makabagbag damdaming paglilibing ni Katniss Everdeen kay Rue sa "The Hunger Games".

Nakatulog ako.

Paggising ko ay ubos na ang rasyon ko.

Sino kaya ang kumain?