Sunday, April 29, 2007

Shots From The Week

The clock on my computer screen reads 4:03PM, but I’m guessing it’s no later than 7-something in the morning. I don’t know why I’m up this early. The sun’s out in full force again. I guess I figured that I might as well get an early start on a day where there’s not much to do. Mass maybe. A lot of reading for sure.

I don’t remember what time we called it a night, but it couldn’t have been more than a few hours ago. Still, the drinks worked miracles for my sleep. Poor man’s mojitos we called it. We ran out of lemons so we couldn’t go overboard. Just enough for a buzz—better than any sleeping pill. Pope and Dad were talking about corporate crap. That might’ve helped in getting us all sleepy as well.

Wednesday night. Dad’s birthday. After the guests had gone home (and after g’nyt to Korinne), and while we were capping off an evening of Gato Negro with a couple of Lights, Dad and I were all worked up debating at full shouting volume the value of the NPA and the communist party. This was 2AM. I slept well after, but woke up with a slightly sore throat.

Monday night. KATIPUNAN turnover. After a couple of Pilsens at Mag:net, had a couple of Horses at the turnover dinner itself. Was dizzy for a moment there, but was OK once it came time to go. Went home with Charz—not in the gay kind of way—which was smart cuz I’ve been known to foolishly fall asleep in cabs when traveling alone in the wee hours.

Friday night was calmer than all the others. Cerebral drinking I call it. While watching Gregory Peck in To Kill A Mockingbird at that. I had a massage earlier that day. Well, it was really the one barbers give after your haircut. But a massage is a massage, and complimentary ones are always more relaxing. Besides, I’m not a spa guy anyway—behaviorally or financially.

Nothing much on Tuesday night. Sasha was in the village. Texted her so we could hang out for a little bit, talk for a little bit. So we hung out for a little bit, talked for a little bit. Walked her home and that was that. Nothing much. Nothing at all.

I can’t recall how Thursday night went. All I remember is that afternoon, with this medical technician coming in after a lunch break, chewing gum, eye bags heavy, nonchalant in her motions, chatting with a colleague about what they were going to do after their shift. I looked away once she strapped on the tourniquet. Someone told me long ago that it helps not to look. I believed him.

But I was convinced that this time was going to hurt, with the girl holding the syringe being my age and seemingly a bit too relaxed to care. But then she removed the tourniquet, said she was done. I saw her throw away the syringe. On the table were two vials of blood. My blood. I didn’t feel a thing. The girl started laughing at some joke by another colleague.

I guess when you’re good, you’re good, and all that shit to put a person’s mind at ease goes out the window. Cuz he won’t feel a thing. He didn’t feel a thing. Nope. I didn’t. I don’t. There’s something symbolic there.


Currently reading:
Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere (from April) – making an effort to get into it, but it’s really a matter of taste, as in not really mine. Chris Martinez’s Laugh Trip – I’m finding Last Order Sa Penguin funnier and more profound.

Currently rereading:
Butch Dalisay’s Killing Time In A Warm Place – much more my taste, though I’m not feeling as revolutionary as usual.

Getting my attention from time to time:
Caracoa 2006 – “When my baby walks, she shows her crack. / When she fucks, she likes to talk about cocks / and Jeff Buckley...” (Lacuesta). Conchitina Cruz’s Dark Hours – “We walk home in the flood and cannot see our feet.”

Newly bought (secondhand):
Granta 34 – no better magazine writing; creative nonfiction at its finest. James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces – read a few pages and you won’t stop; creative prose style regardless of whether nonfiction or fiction; so what if not all of it is true? (OK, I know it’s unethical.)

Thursday, April 26, 2007


I’m reminded of a cheesy old song when I say “it had to be you.”

Well, last night it didn’t have to be, but I’m glad that it was you on the other end, amidst red wine and old persons around me comparing arthritic conditions and the extents of rising blood pressures, amidst all the crap I needed to get off my own chest while still appearing happy for the sake of a father’s birthday.

Thank you for the gift of your time. What was said has gone undeleted, but I find myself fearful of looking back, for there were probably things discussed that were a little more revealing for our own good.

It was fun, though, in that childishly emo and cathartic kind of way. And yes, of course we’ll get together before I leave. I don’t break pinky promises either.

Take care, K.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Rhetorical Why

It was one week ago now—a week since young Seung-Hui Cho opened fire on the campus of Virginia Tech, killing 32, wounding over 20, scarring an entire school community, shocking the entire world.

Since then, the question “why?” has been explored from so many angles, becoming an obsession of sorts.

Some friends and family members of the victims have reportedly expressed dismay over the attention given to Cho, saying that what’s more important are the lives of those who died.

Still, I’m hard-pressed to believe that “why?” doesn’t haunt them. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt: maybe some really couldn’t care less about the killer now. But the “why?” for those persons will eventually come, and will eventually be a source of worry—replacing, perhaps, the current state of grieving.

Perhaps they express no interest for they feel Cho does not deserve the attention. Well, I can’t argue there. I don’t, however, think it is positive attention he’s getting. I suppose some solace can be found in that. Still, his is an attention ultimately needed for some sort of closure—however impossible that may seem now.

Will the fact that Cho was an unstable kid make his killing all those people any better or worse? Of course not. But “why?” in this case holds a more rhetorical weight. The explanations will never be enough, for they will never bring those 32 persons back to life. Still, the explanations are needed, just to fill a part of a void left behind by the terror.

But then again, I can’t really blame these persons who supposedly don’t care about Cho’s story. The explanations “experts” have come up with makes for riveting news watching/reading, but can objectively seem a bit too bizarre.

So he was a loner. So he wrote a couple of eerie stories. I’m sure many a psychologist are trained to read into these details. They focus on the killing scenes in Cho’s stories, and they take it so literally, as if all the great writers who had the knack for violence in their works had murderous tendencies in real life as well. That’s preposterous.

I wrote a short story about a kid in love with a guitar. I don’t play an instrument and have no intention on trying anytime soon. A talented blockmate has become infamous for writing stories about pedophilia and peculiar sexual inclinations. Nothing in his real life mimics such things.

Well, I do believe all writing is autobiographical in a way. I can’t defend my blockmate’s work, but I personally deal a lot with silence or a lack of communication and things left unsaid. If a psychologist were to say that my character’s obsession with guitar and music was symbolic of my desire to break the silence with the beauty of raw sincerity, he or she wouldn’t be wrong. But such conclusions can’t always be made so easily.

I think it was Bill Clinton who said in an interview that Virginia Tech is to psychological issues what Columbine was to gun control. He may be right. And many celebrity psychologists (Dr. Phil and crew) have been taking advantage.

They all speak of the “signs” that pointed to such a massacre. But then arises the issue of how you approach exploring a “sign,” for there comes a point when maybe you’re reading things the wrong way or reading things too hard.

That’s what makes everything so complicated. And it’s the reason, perhaps, why some friends and family members of Cho’s victims can be so skeptical about the investigations.

The most anyone can do is speculate, to attempt to empathize. The proposed answers will probably never satisfy the “why?” It’s true: maybe sometimes there really is no “why?” rather only an “is.” But try saying that to the friends and family of those killed.

Expert investigations may only lead to educated results of the imagination. But that’s probably far better than just letting the imaginations of friends and family run wild. That could lead to something awful—likely not as horrific as last Monday, but perhaps no less tragic.


Sitting with you by the church parking lot, with wind blowing semblances of yellow flowers to our feet, with the imagined threat of dealers offering us something, with obsessive mothers and lolas texting, with midnight beckoning marking my dad’s 53rd birthday, I’m left to wonder how it came to be that we’ve run out of things to say save for a few musings about airports and airplanes.

Is there something that needs to be discussed or did we just skip that something or am I just questioning things because I just can’t sleep?

A half-hour after I walked you home I’m clockwatching and restless amidst the subtext of silence.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Jollibee / Dumaguete

We were all there at Jollibee, Tomas Morato: myself, Dr. Wang, Jun Gelle, Elaine, and Doc’s new patient—a year removed from surgery—and her mother.

Jun, forty-something, went on and on with his usual testifying spiel. Elaine, mid-20s, would occasionally drop a line or two. The patient and her mother listened intently. I’ve never been much for inspirational talk so I sat at one end of the table quietly, eating my fries while occasionally nodding and smiling to almost look like I’m involved.

Jun said that his knowing others facing similar situations helped him get well. Elaine said counseling others helped her deal with her own anxieties. I started getting well when I returned to being with persons who couldn’t care less. Obviously, I was the odd survivor out at the table.

Jun was quite entertaining, though—he being a small part of the inspiration for my manifesto against inspiration. I’m sure he has helped many with this spiel. I was just too-arrogant-of-a-fuck to ever latch on to it.

Elaine sat beside me, but with her back turned. She’s probably the one person I ever really wanted to talk about things with. She was 19 when diagnosed, I 13. Other patients were either much older or much younger. She was right there in her teens, and she came with all that immature baggage I was similarly dealing with.

Like myself, she’s well now, and has been working as a writer for ABS-CBN for a couple of years. We only got to talk after brunch was over, outside by the driveway where we accompanied Jun while he waited for his ride. When Jun left, I offered to walk Elaine back to ABS. I think we both felt kind of awkward so we parted ways at the next intersection.

As I was walking away, I found myself occasionally looking back, seeing to where she was walking. Once I turned a corner, I checked my phone, just in case she’d text saying she wanted to talk about stuff. Nothing.

It's beyond who she is. It's what she represents for me. In the loneliness of what I’ve faced from day-to-day during and post- chemo/surgery, she represents experiences that I’ve never really dealt with emotionally. In my brashness of simply wanting to move on, she represents a demon cum angel from the past—one I want to battle then eventually come to love.

I’ve always kind of known that there’s still stuff from yesteryear that I needed to talk about with someone. But I thought it would all just fade away as years pass. Now I find myself searching for the questions I would have asked, insights I would have shared given the right set of ears.


Not knowing what to do afterward, but not wanting to go home, I took the MRT all the way to the last southbound station: Taft. There I saw that most of the jeepneys were headed towards the Mall of Asia. I decided: Why not?

I spent most of my time on the second floor viewing deck overlooking Manila Bay. I realized how pathetic it was that I found a serenity in it all when in a mere two weeks the views will be much more spectacular as I’ll find myself spending hours along the benches of the Boulevard, breathing in the summer breeze from Dumaguete’s waters.

Last Sunday, I discovered that my dreams of a “writerly” May in Dumaguete at the National Writers Workshop were coming true. I found out through a text message from a teacher/friend.

If I remain truthful to my series of thoughts and emotions when I found out, I’d have to say I was/am just as excited (or maybe more so) as I was when I got a letter from Palanca. Then came the second-thoughts: about what made a National Artist like Edith Tiempo think that I deserved her tutelage. I thought about rereading what I submitted as part of my application. Scared of finding flaws one sees only weeks removed from writing them, I kept the files closed, moving them to a subfolder within a subfolder within a main folder—seclusion becoming a menial deterrent.

I’d deny thinking about Sasha, but I’d be lying. Did she get in? Should I tell her? Should I let her find out for herself? I checked Ian Casocot’s site: she’s in! Instinctively I texted her. She replied with an “Oh, crap,” before accusing me of “daydreaming.” I think she believes me now.

(Ey you. We’re on our way now, Sasha. We’re on our way.)

I got my acceptance letter a couple of days back. Having it personally signed “Mom E” was quite a trip. I find myself looking at the second page everyday now, just getting giddy over the signature. It’s in those moments when I think that my life really doesn’t suck.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I look at the blank text message screen and start typing away, erasing precise words and replacing them with vague ones. And minutes later, I don’t send anything at all, for the message I had written isn’t much of one at all, for it’s like projecting nouns thus denying the truth in the evident; it’s like stressing over syntax and ignoring the verbs; it’s like imagining the subtext when the absence of things said says it all; and it’s like when the context of writing applies only to the writer, holding no meaning for the intended, or for anyone for that matter.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Columbine II

Supposedly, the hot topics on the Virginia Tech campus, according to CNN producer Becky Brittain, had been the men’s basketball team’s season (making it to the second round of the NCAA tournament), the missing statues of the school’s moniker, the Hokie Bird (a prank by students of another university), and the growing controversy over Girls Gone Wild coming to town.

All that doesn’t matter now.

Monday morning. Gun shots fired. Hours later the numbers were released: 32 dead, over 20 wounded.

“He was one of our students,” said the university president of the gunman, described as a young Asian male, 19, who lived on campus.

Excuse the deficient attention span, but I thought I overheard on CNN that motives were “domestic.” What “domestic” dispute would drive a guy two years younger than me to start shooting like that? Was it because of a girl? Was it because of family issues? Missing laundry?

I’m too young—or too ignorant—to remember Columbine. I really only became aware of it after watching Michael Moore’s documentary. I just knew that the term “Columbine” was synonymous to guns, innocent lives lost, lost youngsters losing control.

I, and perhaps many others, was living under the premise that no such incident would ever happen again. Drive-bys—fine, we’d continue to read about them. Extrajudicial killings—par for the course in our country (especially for journalists). Yes, we deal with global terrorists. Yes, wars broke out in the Middle East involving thousands of servicemen from armies of numerous nations.

But surely there’d never be such a horrific incident within the confines of a learning institution ever again…

Thirteen people died in Columbine eight years ago. Thirty-two died on that campus just this past Monday. Not only did it happen again, but on a larger scale. It’s surreal to think about it.

The “worst ever,” says The New York Times. Let’s hope it stays that way.

I can’t imagine going back to school had I been a Virginia Tech student. Can’t imagine attending class in that hall where the shooting took place. Can’t imagine wanting to walk around alone anymore, even if in broad daylight.

There are 36,000 students, faculty members, and staffers in that university. Surely, not a single one of them will ever forget what had happened. Some will probably never recover, for doing so seems like the most sadistic of things.

I believe that there are personal incidents that happen in people’s lives that aren’t meant to be forgotten. I believe that some power made certain things transpire to continue haunting us for the rest of our lives, to eat away at us until we’re on our own deathbed—perhaps less frequently as time passes, but it never goes away.

It’s what 36,000 students, faculty members, and staffers got on Monday. What they make out of it is none of our business. I can’t fault them if it takes years—decades even—for them to figure it all out.

And despite it being a moment that was technically shared by 36,000, I imagine that the horror for every one of them is different and very personal, which probably makes the following days, the following years, the following decades, all the more lonelier for each of them.

In the state of uncertainty I constantly feel, I always try to make my personal pleas to God every night before I go to bed. Tonight things don’t change, but I don’t know …it feels like He has bigger problems right now.


It appears that I’m Dumaguete-bound. That’s worth praying thanks for.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The simplicity of what I had thought, and what I was trying to convince myself, would not hold. Never again can I think there is but one narrative and that narrative belonged only to myself, that I might create my own little lame solitude and live safely within it. There are others out there, some scratching from the outside in search for an opening, some deserving of my stepping out/up in humility, more so in honesty.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Break the Glass in Case of Fire

(To those who are supposed to get it [me, you], and to those who don't but somehow relate [all].)

I’m talking about expectations…expectations met, though they rarely are, which means I’m really talking about expectations unfulfilled, for I’m pretty much used to this, bitterness being a longtime friend.

There are expectations from others of you, of others from you…and there’s the enigmatic scale of success, and the erratic on-and-off switch called “failure.”

I’m talking about being in the Intercontinental, only to find out that thing was in the Mandarin…I’m talking about being there eventually, and only consuming a half-glass of white wine (and to think “free booze” was the night’s attraction)…

I’m talking about student obligations, and only finding out about them the day of…I’m talking about persons assuming that I could guide them to where to go, only to realize that I’m the one whose most lost…

I’m talking about getting a card with more asterisks than letters…and then having a numerical equivalent called a QPI remain a mystery due to a Jesuit-professor gone AWOL…

I’m talking about mothers turning into demons cum oversized babies…I’m talking about fathers who rarely wear the hat of husbands, and about the one writing this being not much of a son…

I’m talking about sitting on a bus from Cubao to Tenement, with the stranger-girl pressed against me being far from cute…I’m talking about saving P7 by not taking a jeep, but now taking painkillers because of sore legs…

I’m talking about the air-conditioning blowing on high, its wind barely peeking through the few openings left on a clogged-up air filter…I’m talking about this scenario being a lame metaphor to something more personal, more interpersonal, more uncomfortable than just losing to the summer’s heat…

I’m talking about things that need to be said, but not knowing what they are…I’m talking about talking about it, but really not doing so, for doing so has become too hard…

I’m talking about the desire to live in the now, the honesty of the moment, the immediacy of what’s there…I’m talking about using excuses to not do so, hiding behind erudite ideas, and selfish immaturity at the same time…

I’m talking about being somebody, and being that somebody for someone…I’m talking about desire, and whether or not that someone wants you to be that somebody…

I’m talking about reaching out with…I don’t know…words, maybe, in the absence of being there/here…hoping they encapsulate the entirety of one’s emotion…I’m also talking about using words to do exactly the opposite, for it’s easier to skirt around, expanding the physical distance…

I’m talking about expectations, and not knowing what they are, or whether or not I’m even supposed to fulfill them…I’m talking about failure, and what constitutes it, what I’ve done, and whether or not it was really all my fault…

And as I look back to the expectations I had for the previous lines and paragraphs, comparing them to their original intent and purpose, I’ve come to realize that they have failed in a way (and I’ve failed yet again) as these words put together have become nothing more but the very thing that I’m hating right now…

So I’m sorry, me…I’m sorry, you…I’m sorry, us…I’m sorry, all…

And I’ll shortchange the sincerity of the last line with an authentic, heartfelt “FUCK IT ALL.”

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Privacy, The Right To It

During the first season of the television show The West Wing, Rob Lowe’s character, a senior White House staffer, argued to President Bartlett (Martin Sheen) that if the main, most pressing social issue a couple of decades back in the US was race relations, and if this was eventually succeeded by freedom of speech a decade ago, the main, most pressing social issue today and in the coming years is privacy.

This was a conclusion made considering the interconnectedness of the world amidst consumerism, high-stakes marketing, communications technology, the internet, and even something like outsourcing.

There has been an increase of telemarketers that have been haunting our phones at home. And whereas before they would merely just make their pitch to anyone who answered, now they look for particular persons in the house, pitching to them specifically, asking for personal information to make their sales strategy more personal.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been receiving calls on my cellphone from banks with whom I have no connections with. They have been trying to get me to apply for a credit card, but however attractive their deals are, I still can’t revert my attention from the fact that they actually know my name, my address, and my contact info—my cellphone number for crying out loud!—which are all unlisted.

There’s also the annoying internet innovation where companies email you ads for products which they feel you may be interested in based on the history of websites you’ve visited.

I choose to put personal stuff on my blog; and I suppose if I were ever to post something on YouTube, that would be a personal choice as well. So I suppose personal info released through those mediums are fair game.

But aren’t the actions of certain companies and their marketing teams a little to close to what we would describe as intrusive, if not abusive?

I have a tita whose mental state of mind is almost bordering on John Nash (made famous through Russell Crowe’s portrayal in A Beautiful Mind).

Convinced that there are people that are out to get her, watching her every move, she refuses to ride certain jeepneys because of the “suspicious” look of certain passengers. She walks out to the payphone outside their subdivision to make calls, convinced that the phone at home is tapped. She immediately hangs up, though, when she hears what she thinks is a clicking sound on the public phone.

Perhaps all that needs to be said to her is that if anyone’s listening, if anyone’s really out to get her, it would probably just be some yuppie in some marketing office in Makati. Still, it doesn’t make it right, or even less scary for that matter.


Was at the Philippine Free Press Literary Awards last night. My thanks to Sir Glenn. (So who did you go home with? Hahaha…joke lang.)

My thanks as well to Ada. (My absence over the past few months may have been unfair to say the least. I’m Sorry. Nevertheless, I hope you had a good time last night. Thanks again.)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Holy Week(end)

Maundy Thursday. Went to mass, sat somewhere outside, in the back, near a tree, where red ants crawled onto the fencing, down to the ground, up between my skin and my denims, to … ouch! Fuck!

Good Friday. Lined up behind young balikbayan apos of old neighbors to kiss Jesus’ wounded foot. Veneration of the Cross, I believe they call it. Girl, what are you wearing? You’re not at some Bora bar! I was almost angered – if not slightly turned-on – by the short shorts and the bikini top underneath the plain white tank. But there’s abstinence … and fasting, and all that other stuff we like to believe in. Newspaper says we also shouldn’t play with knives and deadly weapons on Good Friday. So I guess it’s okay during Easter.

Dad chatted with nice-old-lady-neighbor. (Eight years, and her name still eludes me). She still thinks I’m in high school. She still thinks I’m sick. “Six years cancer-free na, po.” She asks if I’m feeling okay, if I needed help with anything. (Let go, lady, let go.)

Seventh Heaven marathon on TV, and it’s been this way every year since we moved back in ’98. Jessica Biel’s no longer on the show, so why watch now? Religious movies at night: Dad watches The Ten Commandments for the nth time, and it’s still dragging to me, though I admit the parting of the Red Sea is still a kick-ass scene, however primitive in special effects. But is there a connection between Moses and the biblical “stuff” we celebrate on Good Friday? Perhaps the maids’ choosing The Passion of the Christ was more fitting … I pondered over this while watching Late Night with Conan O’Brien.

(And you were “thinking” if we had “a fight.” Sometimes it seems like it, doesn’t it? “Wala lang.” For the record: I don’t think so, but often I’m not sure. I miss you – that’s for certain.)

Finished Tiempo’s To Be Free – a pleasant read, typical and maybe even cliché in socially-relevant subject-matter, but engaging are its main characters. Started re-reading Kerouac’s On The Road, finding it very much more interesting this time around, perhaps because of my breathing the “writerly” summer air, and my feeling rather “Beat.” (“It made me think that everything was about to arrive – the moment when you know all and everything is decided forever.”)

I’ve started writing a short story based on a film concept I came up with a couple years back. Apak sa Damo Productions is dead (but shout out to Robles and Japs), and filmmaking has become way too cool for its own good; so I might as well get a Palanca out of the concept – oh wait … I forgot that I’m crap at fiction, and news writing sucked the life out of my writing in general … Fuck!

Before summoning Black Saturday, had one of my anemia attacks, which I tried to alleviate with toasted mamon, Baby Ruths, and burnt nuts (cashews, for the record). Amber bottles were calling my name, but like I said, I was abstaining.

Black Saturday morning. Yankees-Orioles. Giambi left the bases loaded, and so did Matsui. Jeter looks the same, but Posada gained weight. And looks like A-Rod’s trying to win New York fans over with higher socks. (Try something else, asshole!) They lost.

Evening. Call from Glenn Mas: Free Press Awards this Tuesday. “Free booze,” says he. Okay. I need a date. Ms. Martinez? Can’t. (Damn!) Will text Plans B, C, and D tomorrow or something.

Cindy and Echem are complaining of the cold. It’s a chilly spring day where she’s at in the US. He’s stuck in the Philippines during summer. Shit don’t add up.

Easter Sunday. Wake-up time of 6AM because I’m on catering duty – and was basically running the ship solo. Menu: barbecued beef brisket, mango relish, and coleslaw. Food must leave house by 11AM, and I’m working with the constant reminder to not make the beef tough. Mom’s finally home from church at around 10:45AM. She sees the beef, convinced that it’s tough, starts whining like the 50-year-old baby she easily morphs into. I slice the beef, juicy. I take a bite, succulent. I’m good at this, undeniably. (Let’s not forget that I started this catering company, Mom.)

Mass with Dad in the afternoon. Mind was drifting off, though I’m happy that Christ has risen. Kids are invited for our parish’s version of an Easter egg hunt: hidden stickers in the park shaped like eggs were to be retrieved and returned to a concession stand near the church office in exchange for supposed prizes.

Walking home with Dad, and he’s dreading the term papers he still has to grade. At home, he asks one maid to mix him a cup of coffee, then tells another to buy six bottles of Pilsen. “Three for you, Mart, but don’t touch the other three.” I’m looking for an opener.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Of Inspiration and Voting (A Holy Week Wish)

My dad and I were running down our to-do’s for this summer before I start my senior year and he his third year as a professor.

My schedule includes an April of writing, reading, associate editor work (style book, etc.), and bottles consumed alone as well as with other summer bums and with someone with whom pinky promises were exchanged. My May is still in limbo, but I’m hoping for a young scribe’s pilgrimage to Dumaguete. Oh yeah, and I have a doctor’s appointment that’s five months overdue.

Dad’s schedule, albeit only three weeks (victim of trimesterly schedule), includes looking for a missing birth certificate, a misplaced marriage contract, and lost pesos needed to pay debts. And somewhere in between mixes in a passport renewal, bottles to consume, and a new course curriculum he was asked to develop.

Voting is as big as an after-thought as Holy Week obligations. (So how many times will we be in church this week? And don’t we have to fast or something?)

Every night we see the campaigning on the news, and a cable channel even has candidates on the record nightly, debating real issues. Still, few candidates ignite inspiration in Dad and I, at least nothing close to the inspiration that enticed us to spend 15 hours at a COMELEC office to register.

I honestly don’t know if we’ll be at the polls, nor do I know what to say when smarter persons ask me why I even bothered to register if I wasn’t going to vote.

I used to proudly say that I registered to abstain because affirming not-choosing is a bigger statement than not having my name on the list of voters that candidates are supposed to persuade (not buy). But the sharpness of abstaining has been dulled in my eyes, especially after the choice beat out several candidates in the recent Ateneo Sanggunian elections, causing political uproar by generally politically immature persons.

Abstain has lost its muster much like how idealistic citizens have succumbed to the ugly game of politicking by becoming candidates. Voting is a duty lost on a citizenry, much like how the sense of honest leadership is a concept lost on our supposed leaders.

Fuck personal shit! My cause for prayer this Holy Week is on the realm of the nation, and it’s a prayer for inspiration – specifically from those who sincerely desire to be leaders for the purest of reasons and with no ill-intent.

May they entice me to get up to go to the polls, and may they be worthy of each and every voter’s approval and support, however half-hearted.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Somewhat reeling thanks to the alchemy of a “writerly” night (Mag:net), a couple of bottles (one free), confessions (over free coffee), and a pinky promise for more of the same.

(Still confused,
but feeling better,
and I don’t know why.)

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Four Far Away

It was based on you needing me.

And for four years it had been that way, I just a call away, the ringing followed by your endearing panic, your adorable whining. Then I’d make you laugh, and you’d be okay, at least up until the next time.

It has been awhile. You tell me now that you’ve been happy, your feet light against the pavement, bouncing. I’ve never known you like this, though I’ve always hoped for it, ignoring the fact that such a time would mean your not needing me.

I’m happy for you now, and I say this without wincing, with my conscience clean.

I know he makes you happy. He better not mess this up.


You warned me once against our drifting apart.

You said this while we were together for lunch. I forgot where exactly. It was a time when just-you-and-me came with regularity. It really isn’t, but it feels like long ago.

And now with every fumbled greeting, with every moment watching you from afar, with every commute home alone, I come to realize that we’ve allowed the inevitability you warned me about to happen.


How have you been?

You used to be my one and only constant, with me everyday, the closest thing to the center of it all for someone who hates having something outside himself at his core.

But I haven’t seen you in seemingly ages, haven’t heard from you in lifetimes, and admittedly, I haven’t thought about you in weeks. (Sorry. But maybe this isn’t such a bad thing.)

The whispers of others have been a constant with us. So what are they saying now? Do they still ask? Do they care?

How’s the team? (Where are you gals going for your summer outing?) How are the sisters? (Congrats to the two who graduated.) How’s mama? (Sorry for charging so high for the cake.)

How are you? Hope all’s well. Just checking in.


Silence is something we’ve dealt with before.

But it seems like the current stretch comes with a lot of baggage. (Is it just me?) I think I know the reasons but I’m hesitant to say, like how I’m hesitant to say many things to you.

When someone comes into your (my) life and immediately takes hold of it, albeit after only weeks, you’re (I’m) left to emotional digression, hiding behind profundity and existential bullshit as a means to avoid losing your (my) self, your (my) mind.

Part of it comes from all that I carry with me from a past I’ve yet to completely deal with. But part of it is you and the way you make yourself so hard to read, which a makes this control freak equally crazy and drawn. …

(Nervous silence.)

… Ey you. You there? You still with me?