Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tuesday #3

The Tuesday before he leaves for a workshop in Australia, Jerome graced us with his presence during our usual post-thesis class get-together. When we were in the car, Jerome sat alone in the back, which led Drew to reminisce about the first time Jerome ever hung out with the block: sitting alone in the back, two weeks into our freshmen year, when it suddenly occurred to everyone that he didn’t know anyone’s name.

But it’s safe to assume that he knows all of us now—after all, it’s been three years. Jerome still hasn’t changed: still the disturbingly talented asshole that he is, coddling nothing more than a glass of water, while quietly forking away at someone else’s order—but whose name he actually knows now.

A certain bassist had to leave early, because apparently the band needed to practice a “rocked” version of some Atenean cheer before Friday’s cheer rally. But we were reinforced that night: with Khaye, who in two and a half weeks has been the co-culprit in all the CW seniors’ hangovers; and with April, the first junior to hang out with us, who took the liberty to blame me for a sudden increase in “intake.”

And so the night with CW majors went on, depressingly cliché, but still ironically fun. Voices were raised—okay, only mine. Some musings about being unemployed in a year. Khaye and I arguing about going abroad—she wanting to for her MFA, I content with a school down the road. Then Jerome realizing that he actually had a sister he needed to pick up.

Somewhere in between all that, other things were raised: Ursula Le Guin, Hills Like White Elephants, White Elephants, DM Reyes, my story I sent to people, Drew’s story in Abola’s class, Drew’s story idea, Tennessee Williams’ short story, the poem Khaye sent me, April’s being accused of being emo or goth or something else, Drew’s use of conditioner, my preference to wear slippers, yadayadayada…

“So is this how we’re going to be like when we’re seniors,” April remarked, referring to Sasha, Nikay, Yaps, and the rest of her batch.

I hope not, I thought, with a knowing smile.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Out Now!

Expecting the friend angle to be enough, I approached this girl and asked if she would be interested in buying the latest issue of KATIPUNAN.

Knowing my expecting an easy yes, this girl playfully said, “Okay. Come on, dude. Give me your pitch. Why should I buy?”

“Do you want the serious pitch or yung may bola?”

“Both. Give me the serious one, then yung may bola.” Pause. “Better yet, because magaling ka, give me both combined in one sentence.”

I thought about this for a minute, then said, “Cuz there’s no campus publication like us and each issue comes with a 2-by-3 picture of me (referring to my column pic).”

Laughs. And sold. Well, sort of. She’ll buy when/if I see her on Wednesday when she has smaller bills with her.

One thing about being an independent magazine that I’m not particular good at or fond of is the self-selling aspect. We don’t have much of a sales team yet, so writers and editors have the awkward task of selling the magazines with our articles in them.

Being not much of a salesman, I’m left to pseudo-charming friends and acquaintances with corny humor to sell.

The particular girl mentioned in my example would later humorously admit that she was wearing her tube top to entice more members to Heights. See—in sales, you have to do what you have to do, whether joking about attractiveness or flaunting it.

(Blind item! cry a few readers: she’s part of the Heights edboard, shoulder-length hair, English Lit minor, taken.)

KATIPUNAN June 2007: Meeting the Grade

In this issue:
Aga Dela Torre on the state of science education.
Mina Reyes and Aeli Alba on the anti-trapo bids during the recent elections (featuring interview with Ang Kapatiran’s Jess Paredes).
April Sescon on jeepney art and the Pinoy graffiti scene (with insights from Caliph8, motherfucker!).
Cindy Custodio on Kaya ng Pinay’s voyage to the top of Everest (with interviews with the three Filipina climbers).

at column ko:
(Memoir)izing about not voting and not caring about it—wasak!

(KATIPUNAN is independently published by students of the Ateneo de Manila University. Can be bought (Php40) from staffers and editors around campus. Orders also taken here or at

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Rate, Describe Yourself

A couple of days ago, during our thesis class’ first session, Rica Bolipata-Santos asked each of us to rate our writing ability on the 1-10 scale (10 being the highest).

I thought for a while about how I was going to play this: (1) the humble card; (2) jokingly arrogant; (3) plain honesty.

I had the luxury of being the last name on the class list (thank you, family name), so I was able to see how the others would handle the question.

One guy, whose name eludes me (might’ve shifted into the course late), gave himself a 10. His quiet, self-confident demeanor didn’t make his self-rating surprising.

It was the fact that he was willing to say it in front of 11 others who have been around each other’s work for three years that made it surprising.

We all know where we’re at in terms of writing. He’s the newcomer. I commend the confidence, but he’s setting himself up.

Drew, Cindy, and Misha—three of our better writers—all gave ratings of less than 7. Everyone else, save for another confident 8, gave themselves ratings under 6, including co-fellow Khaye who gave herself a 3.

I don’t remember everyone being so humble.

As my name was approaching, I figured I’d play it safe at 7. But before I could say anything, a chorus of scoffing and muffled mentions of an award broke my front.

“Oh, so are you the award winner?” asked Rica.

“Opo. Ata.” (Pa-humble pa yung gago!)

“So 10?”

“Di naman. 9 siguro.” (Sabay pa-cute smile. Fucking sell-out! Kill me now!)

Oh well. It was all for laughs. (Tumawa rin si ma’am.)

Days before, Gella asked me to help her with an assignment for her features writing class under Ruey De Vera. The task: five sentences that best describes yourself.

Jokingly, I gave her a version of a line Sir Sawi Aquino dropped on Justine: “The color of my outfit matches the invisible glint in my heart.”

Note: it was a joke. But I think Gella might’ve used it.

Yesterday, Gella approached me again. “Mart, I have a perfect line to describe myself.”


“I’m young, and I’m beautiful (WHAT?!) yadayadayada…” Sorry. I forgot the rest.

“Gella, you lost me after the first clause.”

She laughs.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I Don't Get Tiger Woods

I woke yesterday in time to see Tiger Woods miss a long putt on the 18th that would have put him in a playoff with eventual US Open champion Angel Cabrera. The camera cut from Tiger’s dejected expression to one happy Argentinean rejoicing in the locker room after the greatest ever actually missed.

I don’t get Tiger Woods. He’s arguably the best golfer ever, by far the richest ever, and he’s still at it—managing to feel dejected over a lost tournament here and there. I say this not in complete ignorance of the adrenaline of the competitive spirit. But the fact is that Tiger really has no competition on tour.

Vijay Singh took his shots at him over the years, so did Phil Mickelson, but no one has ever stared Tiger in the face for a prolonged period of time. Of course he’s going to lose a few tournaments here and there. It’s the law of averages. But odds-makers will always put their money on him. And he’s really likely to win the tournaments he’s in. No one will argue against that—not even Tiger himself. But still, where does all this competitive energy come from?

Jack Nicklaus had Arnold Palmer staring him down for a number of years. Pete Sampras had the likes of Andre Agassi. Tiger’s got nobody—nobody pushing him but himself. It’s kind of disturbing.

Comparisons are made to Michael Jordan. But I think Jordan had the benefit of doubters. Before his first three championships, people said he couldn’t lead a team. When he came back after the first retirement, it was the question of whether he could do it all again after laying off. Then his last return was marred by questions of age. Jordan always had something externally pushing him, which I suppose only pushes his internal drive.

Tiger’s got nothing. No one questions him. No one on tour has been his Palmer or his Agassi. It’s all internal. And not that material things are everything but he’s one rich motherfucker who doesn’t need to play at all to continue his lifestyle. He’s untouchable, yet there’s this continued obsession with winning.

That’s a scary way to live life.

I know Tiger has his fun—how can you not with all that money? But to still be consumed with winning when a tournament begins…I don’t think I wish that on anyone. To know you’re the best ever but to still have that desire to, in a sense, prove yourself (to who?) is inexplicable.

I suppose it’s chasing the record books now, which in sports is something—though chasing numbers for me seems preposterous when perception overrides it most of the time.

I don’t know. I’m a Tiger fan, and I hope he doesn’t stop anytime soon. But I can’t help but wonder if I was him, would I continue playing professionally past the age of 35? Or will I just move on to another challenge?

Throwing ideas out there: maybe I’d stop now at my peak, try something else for a decade, then return to professional competition when I’m old and I have doubters trying to pull me down. Then I’d really have something to prove. Because if I was Tiger now, I’d feel like an empty ghost.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Mga Atenista! Allow me this momentary lapse into KATIPUNAN associate editor mode. We have two new staffs that need staffers.
Travel is our new section. Wala pang official section editor so under my watch (hence, my face sa poster). We are also looking for writers for our other sections (in order of urgency): News & Current Affairs, Science & Technology, Art & Lifestyle.
Applicants will have to fill out standard form and writing cluster test. The editor of the particular staff you're applying for will also have specific requirements including an interview and a sample article. I will also be reviewing sample articles and will likely ask for a final interview before accepting applicant.
We are also now looking for photographers. Nikay Paredes is (or will be) our photo editor.
Leave a message or email if interested or kung may tanong. Salamat.

First Day

I don’t know why certain things people say stick to my mind, while other things I forget. Case in point, the first day of classes and the things my professors said in the attempt to be funny or smart.

These are the quotes I actually bothered to write down in my pseudo-notebook (pieces of scratch paper clipped together): “I don’t understand why but it seems like for your generation, it has become fashionable to bash the country (history professor).” “I also teach in UP so nothing surprises me anymore (theology professor).” “If I asked you to read the novels of Henry Miller, you’d say who the fuck is that (philosophy professor)?”

It’s hard and it would be unfair to pass judgment on these teachers after only the first day. I’m just relieved that even if I didn’t take advantage of the early online enlistment, I was left with teachers who don’t appear to be terrors. But it’s still way too early. They might surprise me. Hopefully not.

Senior year. People say I’m supposed get my act together, to have some sense of future in mind. My theology professor asked us to write our individual plans after graduating. I wrote in all honesty: “Wala pa akong plano.”

I don’t want to end up as a directionless bum. At the same time, I find myself overwhelmed with the urge to punch people I know who already have a five year plan towards their dream jobs. I’m just somewhat thankful that those dreams still revolve around traditional (albeit boring) paths of becoming doctors and lawyers as opposed to falling into the trap of today’s times: nursing.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

This afternoon. At Starbucks, ABS-CBN. In comes our interviewees. Heroes they are, but no one expected them to get dressed in traditional barongs. I turn on the tape recorder, write the date on my notebook. Oh shit. Independence Day pala ngayon.

Friday, June 08, 2007

At Home, Pondering

I was in the living room of a losing senatorial candidate this afternoon, being a “professional” by suspending personal confusion to conduct a real journalistic interview.

I did not vote this year for I was busy learning to gesticulate and tearing myself apart in stillness. I haven’t read the papers in a couple of months for I was too busy thinking about myself instead of drowning in the frustrations of 80 million strong.

Truth be told, I didn’t do much of the interviewing. Thankfully, my editor-in-chief was with me. And she actually researched for the damn thing.

I was listening, though. And the guy managed to tickle the sleeping social critic in me. In short: I would’ve voted for the asshole, knowing whole-heartedly that my vote wouldn’t have helped him win. That’s what you’re often relegated to. When you believe in the greater good, you learn to put up with the frustration of losing. Almost always.

Losing. The concept of loss. (Ponder.) Moving on.

Being bitten by mosquitoes in the candidate’s house I took for a sign from God to go home. That coupled with the fact that I didn’t really make an effort to contact anyone and that no one really contacted me.

So the mind drifts to the last time it had a night in. Seven days ago exactly. Let’s open that giveaway notebook with Ang Kiukok’s work on the cover. A journal, this asshole calls it.

June 1. Excerpts: “…texts. ‘process with me?’…Basagan na!...She says she panicked…So I misread everything…Basag na basag…’perky for the two of us.’ Hope it rubs off. I doubt.”

Close the notebook. Step away. (Ponder.) (The can of Red Horse we bought is still waiting in the ref a week later.)

Ma’am Marj texted this morning. A bunch of stuff discussed. Comments on my pieces, among other things. One topic led to another, but nothing concrete was said. Thankfully.

Ask this person something for me, Ma’am hesitantly requests.

I reply, mentioning trying to reach “a point of piercing honesty” with this person.

“Hahah!” replies Ma’am. “Great way of defining a friendship between wordwizards!”

Yes. I suppose so. After all, there really was nothing, right? I guess. Absolutely nothing. (?) (Ponder.) Moving on.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Happy Birthday, Liana!

Thank you, Japs. Truly.