Sunday, October 22, 2006


I turn 21 tomorrow. 21. Damn.

The attachment of that number to my name is funny. In many ways, I feel like I’m older; in many ways, I feel like I’m 12.

But the implications of that age don’t mean a damn thing to me.

The alcohol-drinking age here in the Philippines is 18 or something, and like many Filipinos, I’ve been baptized into the practice before I could even start growing a mustache (by no less than family members).

Almost all bars are run like all-ages joints here, and strip clubs aren’t my thing (no need if you got internet).

I’ve had my driver’s license for a couple of years now, and I’ve hurt my dad’s car a couple of times already.

I don’t intend to get married anytime soon but I could’ve done so since three years ago.

Lastly, I’m too chicken-shit to do anything that would get me arrested.

21? Big deal.

The number doesn’t matter but a birthday’s still a birthday. Someone up there thought that I deserved another year in this world. My contract’s being renewed and I’m grateful for it.

Here’s a quick ambiguous review of my life since my last birthday celebration:

On the personal front…

Things never worked out with the girl I was all touchy with during my party.

Nor did things work out with a certain “her” who managed to turn my life upside-down for a minute while turning off many of my closest friends who know what’s best for me (“her” wasn’t it, they said).

Then there’s a certain intense “she” that came in out of nowhere. “You’re in deep,” remarked a friend. I’d have to agree. In too deep, perhaps. But I really wouldn’t want it any other way.

And now, the rumor mill brings about a new “one” with whom conversations are had amidst a soundtrack of “nyiheees” and intrigued eyes. This “one” has won everyone over.

Where do I go from here? I have no idea.

Moving on…

The films I was working on during my last birthday never worked out, but aside from that, the “professional” front has been much better than the personal…

I earned some money for the first time ever for my writing after winning first prize in a university competition.

I had my first nationally-published piece, which has apparently made its rounds in emails to people I don’t even know. And it earned me my first anonymous negative reader response.

I won my first (hopefully not my last) Palanca on my first try.

I began writing for Katipunan. (And have recently been asked to run for an editorial position for next year.)

And lastly, “He’d Rather Be Relevant” (which I fondly call “the Palanca piece”) is being published in Heights.

Birthdays are all for not if nothing has happened since your last one. A lot has happened since I turned 20. Some ups, some downs. I can’t complain. That’s how life works. That’s how we grow.

Over the past year, I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve stumbled, I’ve grown.

I’ve lived a life. I’m alive.

And however complicated shit gets, my life’s not so bad at all.

To all who have truly been at this asshole’s side through awards and losses, through hers and shes, through pilsens, lights, and horses, I thank you for making it all worthwhile.


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