Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ateneo Loses ...

... and order's restored in the world for everyone who loves seeing the Blue Eagles shot down, especially by abled arrows from a university up in Taft. And so ends the most Filipino of all escapisms, the one thing that unites professors and students in the desire for free cuts, the one thing that actually gets people talking outside of petty issues like an impending dress code. And yes, it's that dress code that will now take over campus chit-chat again, tomorrow being October 1, the supposed beginning of implementation in the original plans before "student uprising" -- Arneow-style. And I sort of remember someone telling me about October being the month when seniors are supposed to take another hack at this online enlistment thing, meaning it's the eve of another AISIS system crash, which means a lot more petty whining.

Chris Tiu played his last UAAP game for the University today, and it's unfortunate how the season ended for him, as well as for fellow senior Ford Arao (graduating na ba?). When I was a freshman, Ford Arao couldn't run faster than a dude on crutches nor jump over a piece of paper. It's the same still, but somehow he's been giving steady double-digit scoring and close to that in rebounding. When I was a freshman, one of the key plays that lost us an Ateneo-La Salle game was a missed wide open lay-up by Chris Tiu, who at the time was an easy target of mockery because of that estringent commercial. The next year he left for London, and I began questioning the guy's dedication. This year, he emerged as a leader, and essentially the team's star, finishing games off cuz he's just so calm in that way. JC Intal missed Ateneo's last shot against UST last year; Chris Tiu missed Ateneo's last shot today. You live and die with your stars. You wouldn't want it any other way.

So as reality sets in, we all come to realize that we have to shape up. I have my thesis due on Tuesday; a long test and another paper due the day after. My finals week will spill over to the week of the 16th, after which I'm hoping to be an "epal" at the Ateneo National Workshop. (Didn't apply cuz was told that I wasn't allowed to. Congrats to Drew, Khaye, and Migoy.) Then somewhere in between is the KATIPUNAN evaluation seminar (and I'm only going if in Manila or in Baguio) and Twiggy's arrival from Dumaguete. Oh yeah, Justine's in town -- and I'm not even sure if I'm going to be able to see her. (Oh, and rumor has it I'm turning 22 on the 23rd.)

Last two minutes -- before 6:30PM, according to my clock. I plan to begin studying at that time; my phone's off to rid myself of distractions. Beside my computer screen are my theo notes mocking me. April's the only message box open on my YM -- she's in charge of keeping me awake to do work. Next to my chair are my blue Chucks, waiting just in case this dress code thing actually happens. Dad's driving home from the golf course, where he got in nine holes before watching the game in the clubhouse over beers with Tito Rene. At least they're happy.

And so it's actually past 6:30PM now. The janitors of Araneta are doing there thing while players in blue and white are hopefully drying their tears. Move on. Moving on. Shit. Work.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Of Magazine Writing

Still reelin' from the opportunity to meet and listen to the great Gregorio Brilliantes yesterday during thesis class. Three hours of listening but I didn't mind -- a privilege is a privelege and yesterday was one of those once-in-a-lifetime deals. Mr. Brilliantes went through a number of topics but I've decided to focus on the issue of literary magazines.

Mr. Brilliantes said that he thought that the short story was the favorite literary form of Filipinos. As much as I wanted to comment on behalf of the poets, I stuck to what I know and asked about creative nonfiction. He said that this is the "one type of writing that we should have more of." According to Mr. Brilliantes, one need not look further than Nick Joaquin for the ideal model for creative nonfic.

"Unfortunately, we don't have the magazines for this sort of work anymore." Mr. Brilliantes went on to reminisce about the glory days of Philippine magazine writing and literary journalism, with the likes of Panorama, the Philippine Graphic, and the Philippine Free Press leading the way. It was a time when the likes of Joaquin and NVM Gonzales would serve as editors and artists like Manansala would serve as cartoonist.

Heights I hold dear as a literary folio, and I have much respect for The Guidon and Matanglawin, but even on the campus level, literary journalism has found no venue. I like the direction we are going (and we don't know that my piece's cartoonist and good friend Korinne Banal or resident cartoonist Panch Alvarez won't be national artists in the future) but Katipunan does little to fill the cause for creative nonfiction in student magazines.

My time at the Ateneo is almost up so I won't really benefit from such a proposition, but Mr. Brilliantes suggested the creation of a literary magazine in the University (in the mold of The New Yorker perhaps), even suggesting a possible source of financial support, and considering my being unemployed in about a semester's time, how about it Manny Pangilinan -- one for the University and one for the real world?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

You Need Money to Live

I'm not going to mention his name, cuz I respect the guy that much, but an acquaintance of mine from another course asked me last week if I could go through his group's thesis. My being a survivor, and having written about it before, made me, in their eyes, a good guy to ask if their the idea of creating a pamphlet for hopeless cancer patients would be effective. The answer is a sad no, and I say this somewhat disappointed in seeing brilliant minds put so much time and effort on something that was bound to be bullshit right from the start of its conceptualization.

The intended audience: breast cancer patients in their 20s and 30s from low income families--meaning no money for the drugs needed to get healed. But still, the theme of the group's thesis is that there is still something one can do. I say that this is true. You CAN do something--like wait to die. The very conception of this project was based on the concept of consuelo de bobo. Seriously, what good would a salad or drink concoction do--even if cancer preventing--if someone already has the disease? You can't diet your way out of the cancer.

This acquaintance of mine, again a man I have much respect for, also asked what the best way to console a cancer patient would entail. I was at a loss for words, not because of the question but rather because of this guy's need to box all patients into one personality type, so that a formula for counselling could be conveniently thought of. But of course each patient is different. Some need a fatherly figure, others need a priest, while those like me just need a good wake up call.

"You have cancer but you aren't cancer." This is one of the proposed attitudes the thesis says you should have if you're a patient with no money for treatment. Well, your supposed possession's going to kill you. That's the sad truth. Swallow the pill: you need money to live. It sucks. It's unfair. Why do you think this survivor feels so fucking uneasy about it all? And with all the complexities this issue brings forth, I can't help but feel a little angry about a silly little thesis, which despite noble intents, has no real value, no real worth.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Of Employment

Guidance counselors took over our theo class yesterday to relay the results of some test about our work habits which we took sometime in June. I didn’t score particularly well in anything, save for a 52 under a subsection call “managerial,” which means that in my future place of employment I’d sort of like a position of control. My lowest score was a 0.7 in “religion,” which makes sense cuz I’ve always thought God had bigger problems in the world than looking out for the comfort of some fuck in the workplace after He had already given this fuck 20 or so years of food and shelter and good education on top of that.

So in a test that’s supposed to narrow down our choices for future places of employment, my results are pointing me to a life of bumming—or at least that’s what the concern of the counselors told me (“Uh…Martin…maybe you should schedule an interview with us at the counselor’s office”).

The way I explain my results: I think I’m just so ready for a life where I might not be completely content with my work, and I’m sort of OK with that. I think I could handle a lot of different types of jobs and I think I’ll think of them as such—just work, to put food on the table and to plug the holes on the roof of my future shack. I’ll pursue my little petty inclinations that I love on the side, after I take off my fucking neck tie or when I finally get home at sunrise after hours upon hours of sitting in front of a computer and pretending to sound like some guy up in Seattle or something.

Incidentally, I got my first “job offer” last week. Ad agency. The lady I met was the creative director or something and was apparently impressed by the “seriousness” in my projected indifference in answering her questions about my future plans. When I left, she gave her business card to my dad and requested future meetings with me, cuz apparently this company sees value in answers like “I don’t know” or “I’m cautiously carefree” to questions relating to after graduation. Is this the kind of company you’d want to work for?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Expression of Escapism

Acker, American Psycho, Ballard, Burroughs, Exquisite Corpse, Fight Club, Palahniuk, Selby, Trainspotting, Welsh ... interested? // HEIGHTS, Ateneo's Official Literary Publication brings you a Creative Talk on TRANSGRESSIVE FICTION with Karl de Mesa & Norman Wilwayco, editors of the upcoming anthology Wasak! Stories of Pinoy Transgression and Deliverance // Free entrance, free food, and a sneak peek into the expression of escapism. Including a screening of Khavn dela Cruz's Mondomanila, a short feature based on Norman Wilwayco's Palanca Grand Prize-winning novel of the same title. // Monday, Sept. 17, 4:30-6:30pm, SocSci Conference Rooms 1 & 2

Thursday, September 13, 2007

"Finally, the big fish."

Blue Concerns

It's weird -- if not disconcerting -- to see that the two issues that have brought the campus to life outside game-winning shots and Archers going down are the proposed campus-wide smoking ban and the implementation of a dress code.

Perhaps a little perspective is needed, and recently it came from the FA's cigarette-smoking, tsineles-wearing, shorts-inclined secretary, Xander Soriano: "I support anything that will help rid me of a bad habit ... As for dress code, there are more pressing things to complain about."

I don't know if I should praise the guy for imparting a mature perspective or to accuse him of blasphemy.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Kulang-sa-Pansin Blog Experiment

A couple of weeks ago, I had an entry questioning the wording of a question posed about Former President Quezon by a group of Atenean students. A certain "MLQ3" left a comment, with insights on the question's subject-matter.

Today Marcee told me that JJ on his blog wrote about their plans to stage a Chris Martinez play for their thesis. A certain "Chris Martinez" commented, warning them against doing so.

This has got me thinking about the power of name-dropping on blogs -- and how it can make you look stupid.


During the next Heights event, I'm going to read a poem by Joel Toledo, pretending that I wrote it.

I'm submitting a Murakami short story to Heights with my name on the byline.

My column next month will be ripped off from De Qurios

I always pray for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's fall.

I sometimes wish Clinton was still president.

I often wish Scarlett Johanson was my intern.

Ang panget ng damit ni Marie!

Audrey arte!

Yaps bakla!

Tim emo!

Twigz payat!

Si Sha ... uh ... tangkad!

(Peace tayo lahat. :p)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Ang pogi ni Chris Tiu...

...and I say this--in a non-gay way--only because of his game-winning three-pointer to beat La Salle.

(Atenean speaking here. I'm sure you all understand.

And there goes my Lasallian father opening his first bottle for the night.)

Friday, September 07, 2007

Birthday ni Auds

Happy Birthday, Audrey!

(And why does it seem that this one's particularly "happy" for you? :p

It's nice to see you smiling more.)

Don't know if you remember but you asked some "dork" to write about you once:

And wait in line we all do, for this is the same girl who still drops phrases like “dork,” “dear,” and “I know right,” all while pinching or poking you out of endearment (or so she says).

And so it seems we wait in line for those moments—when the intense, deliberate front cracks, revealing the youthful dear she really is, the quirky girl us dorks have all fallen for in our own way.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Let Me Plan Your Friday

After class, you will go to this year's 1st Heights Open Mic, 4:30PM, MVP Roofdeck, ADMU, and you will read something, maybe even perform something, or just hang out, or do all of the above.

After the open mic, you will make your way to the Fine Arts Theater, Gonzaga Hall, ADMU, and you will support the Theater Arts seniors by watching Fluid, a play written and directed by Palanca Award-winning Floy Quintos.

Then you will go on with your night, your weekend, your lives.
Support naman.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Contribute, 'tenista!

HEIGHTS - Call for Contributions
Submit written works such as short stories, poems, essays and alternative genres in Filipino and English. Visual artworks such as drawings, paintings, photos in both traditonal and digital media are also accepted.
Submit your works to the Heights Office at the Publications Room, G-206, 2/F, Gonzaga Hall, Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU).
Deadline: Friday 21 September 2007.
Contribution forms available at the Heights Office, the Heights Promoboard along Edsa Walk at ADMU, or can be downloaded at
For more information, please send an email to or you can email me, Martin Villanueva, English Staff, at
Contribute na, 'tenista!
"Suportahan ang panitikan at sining biswal sa pagapapasa ng inyong mga gawa..." - JPaul Marasigan, Editor-in-Chief 2007-'08, Heights

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Birthday ni Sha

My dearest Zesto Girl,

Ey you.

Happy Birthday!

- Suman Boy
(Oo, lasing ako sa picture.)

(Much has been said. "I'm happy you're happy" got lost in translation. Ito na yun.)