© 2020 by Dan Albert S. de Padua

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The Long Lunch


December 13, 2016

Today is my birthday.

Thanks to the band Parokya ni Edgar, I can say I’m pogi years old. Hahaha. It’s not that I’m embarrassed by my age. In fact, just the other day, when a Ticketworld cashier asked me for my senior citizen card, I proudly announced that I was then only 55. It’s just that I don’t see any good reason to count the years.

I didn’t think I would make it past 50. My big plan was to exhibit great potential, then die young—cut down well before my prime by an assassin’s bullet or by an undeserved illness. Biographers would bewail my “unfinished life” and hail me as a hero, qualified to be buried anywhere, despite my lack of real accomplishments. Unfortunately, the window of opportunity for that plan has long passed. Now the onl...

December 7, 2016

The Golden Rule of Gift Giving: Give unto others what you want others to give unto you. Seems like a no-brainer, right? But it wasn’t always that way. Back in the late 1960’s, I gave my grade school classmate a box of Curly Tops. I would have loved to eat the chocolate myself. That’s why I chose it as my exchange gift. What did I get in return? A bar of soap. To this day, I don’t know why. Naliligo naman ako. I have been emotionally damaged ever since.

Give cash. Obviously, there are people to whom you can’t give money; but for everyone else, cash is a most welcome gift. In fact, cash is the gift from which recipients derive the most utility or happiness because they get to choose exactly what to do with it. Cash is the gift that gives...

November 30, 2016

First, the TV went on the fritz. There were vertical lines on the screen that didn’t go away, initially only at the left edge of the screen but later near the center as well. Then the TV began clicking off on its own. Just as a program was reaching its climax, the damn TV would go dead—black and silent—except for a blinking red light indicating that it was waiting for something. I’d try every button on the remote and sometimes the TV would come back to life, other times the red light simply kept blinking, but most of the time the TV would turn itself on and off repeatedly as if it was possessed by the devil.

Somehow my inability to get the TV to work properly felt weirdly emasculating. I grew up in an era of stereotypes. Women cooked an...

November 23, 2016

Back in law school, before the Internet, before laptops, before PCs almost and when affordable photocopying (Xerox, for short) was still a somewhat new and amazing thing, we had to read Supreme Court decisions in the library. We were there in the morning when the library opened, and we were there when it closed at 9:00 pm. We only left the library to attend classes and eat, and yet we were never able to read all the assigned cases. No matter how much time we set aside for library work, our reading load used it all up.

Through the many jobs I held, the same thing happened. Drafting pleadings and briefs (What irony!), for example, took all day, all night and all weekend; and just when I thought I was close to finishing, a supervising part...

November 16, 2016

The world is not ending. Not just yet. But it has changed. In our brand new world, the Statue of Liberty could soon be standing behind a wall. Filipinos can fish in the West Philippine Sea because China says it’s OK. And the Luk Yuen restaurants no longer serve lapu-lapu congee. Oh em gee.

Everybody’s talking about change—change is coming, change is here, change this, change that—right? Let’s talk about change. We’ve all experienced some kind of bone jarring, earth shattering, unwanted change. Moving up to the big school. Being forced to live in a dorm or boarding house. Breaking up with a girlfriend. As Rico J. Puno narrated, “Pero bakit ganun ang panahon? Kung sino pa yung mahal na mahal mo, siya pa yung mawawala sa ‘yo, siya pa na ka...

November 9, 2016

When our daughter was born, I watched her for hours as she slept. She had a million different facial expressions changing from minute to minute as if she was recalling memories she couldn’t possibly have yet. I guess her body was instinctively rehearsing her face muscles for the life she couldn’t possibly know she was going to live.

When our son learned to walk, we would take him to the mall and he would always run ahead, actually just fall forward and put one stiff leg in front of the other at breakneck speed. I would rush after him in short bursts to make sure he didn’t get lost or fall on his face, but I don’t think I was really helping, only holding him back.

Last week our son flew back to Washington, D.C. where he works with an inte...

November 1, 2016

It started with crispy pata, as with everything that happened to me over the past couple of months. Because I was eating so much delicious fatty pork, I decided to get a medical check-up, you know, just to be sure. As I expected, my cholesterol—both the good and bad kind—and other vital signs were at desirable levels, but I was surprised to learn that my creatinine was elevated.

Like many other living-in-denial nearly-senior guys, I resolutely ignored that one abnormal outcome in my comprehensive blood test. My creatinine had gone up before when a gigantic kidney stone had gotten stuck somewhere causing me enough pain to make me miss a lunch meeting; but after doctors blasted the stone out of existence with sound waves, the mysterious c...

October 26, 2016

My editor threatened to kill me if I fail to submit an article each week. He whispered the threat to me under his breath as we shook hands after lunch. My problem is I am currently traveling abroad and I really don’t want to spend my time staring at my laptop instead of taking in the sights. I’d rather be having leisurely meals in well-reviewed restaurants than drowning in coffee while pounding out words for an article. How do I tell my boss this in a friendly but firm email that won’t get me fired?

Dear Boss,  - Nobody uses “Dear” in emails. It’s archaic and I’m glad it is because a boss who threatens to murder you is not really a dear.

Hi Boss,  - Too familiar. I might as well use his first name and I’d do that if we were both


October 19, 2016

What do you do when you wake up and find your house surrounded by zombies?

Snarling, snapping, crazed sub-humans, bodies twisted grotesquely beyond any functional logic, waiting for some movement or sound to trigger an attack by a horde that will devour or destroy all that is normal and good, decent or authentic . . .

I was not paid by anyone to plug “The Walking Dead” which airs on TV5 on Thursdays at 7:00 pm. In fact, I paid for my own crispy pata when I had lunch with some TV5 executives recently. Moreover, I don’t like anything with zombies, except maybe for Train to Busan because I didn’t expect a movie in Korean to hold my attention, and, oh, World War Z because for the first time zombies moved horrifically fast in that movie, and...

October 12, 2016

Why do you go the office? I’m not asking why you work. I’m asking why you go to the office to work.

Think about it. If we could all work from home or from the Coffee Bean close to home, we would improve productivity, strengthen the family and solve the traffic problem all in one fell swoop. Seriously, why do we go to the office?

Apart from it being required by the narrow-minded, nitpicking, nabobs of negativism in Human Resources, I used to go to the office because:

a) Somebody might call my office direct line.

b) My desktop computer and all my papers were at the office.

c) I had lots of meetings with other people at the office.

If any of these reasons still apply to you, my next question is: What millennium are you living in?

Nobody calls of...

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In my mind, this is still how I look.

The photo wasn't really taken that long ago, but admittedly a lot has changed since then. For one, I retired and wrote a column that appeared weekly in

BusinessMirror and many of the articles here were edited and published there. Oh, and I have some gray hair now.

January 16, 2020

November 4, 2019

April 19, 2019

February 25, 2019

December 14, 2018

September 6, 2018

November 27, 2017

December 28, 2016

December 21, 2016

December 13, 2016

November 30, 2016

November 23, 2016

November 16, 2016

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