Abr 16, 2002


I'll stay off the keypad for a month or so. Or much, much longer. There are songs to be sung elsewhere and voices to manufacture. There are things to be done, ciphers to break.

So, no dishes for now! Only aftertastes.

I have a new article out in peyups and stay tuned to tinig because I have stuff there too. On second thought, just stay tuned to both of them because they have such good stuff anyway and I just write there to spoil the mood, hardyharhar! (",)

Meanwhile, feast on my archives, my previous webworks in other publications, or - this is the best option - read the people linked here. I have been journal-keeping online since November, but the better occupation is to sit back and read other lives unfold, those other thoughts flourish!

Friends and strangers, good luck with your crafts and lives! And wish me luck with the things I must discern and fathom, the passions I must tame and mute.


Marami akong nais malaman. Sabi ng isang guro, ang paborito nina Jess, Astrid, at Jol na si Fr. Nudas, mas mahalaga raw ang magkaroon ng mga tanong kaysa mga sagot. Hindi ko pa rin ganap na makuha iyan at kung tama pa rin iyan kahit sa labas ng akademya.

Siguro nga hanggang sa natututo tayo sa buhay-buhay, mahalaga iyan.

Kaya't heto ang pahabol na tanong, buhat mula sa dating tanong tungkol sa mga crushing na morena. Anong mas namimiss mo? Sesame Street o Batibot? Si Maria o si Ate Sienna? Si Big Bird o si Pong Pagong? O baka naman miss mo na pareho? O wala ka nang namimiss kasi si Barney talaga ang trip mo at sinusubaybayan mo ang Blue's Clues!

O sige, hihintayin ko mga sagot n'yo ha? Nu Ni Nu Ni Nu...

Abr 12, 2002

On Sunday, I will go see about a girl. Come O happy day! First a waking-up, a shaking-off of dreams. Then a bath, a hurried grooming, and an over-conscious dressing-up. A brooding bus ride from Makati to Alabang. Bus Stop. And only then, will the sun really rise.
Et Cetera

Tinig people! Good luck with the EB on the 14th! Happy anniversary again!

Shout out to Jio of Taym Matsing! Out of Geocities too, I see. It's his fifth version featuring the Pinoy graphics he renders so well. A beer-guzzling bejewelled dog replaces the cockfighter in this monkey's page. I haven't updated my links yet so this article will have to do for now.

Other queued links include pinoy webloggers and... well, linking pinoy webloggers is like linking them all, I guess. If you are not yet linked just tell me because - you're probably right - I'd look better with your link gracing my sidebar. Question is, would you look better associated with smelly bopis texts? Hardyharhar!

Out of the sidebar and into the blog, a cosmo-vogue question: who is the favorite morena? Tweety de Leon, Angel Aquino, Joey Mead, or somebody else?

(Question inspired by an office scene comparing favorite mestizas. But I've heard that game played much too often...)

Abr 10, 2002

The Debts We Service, the Deaths We Ignore

Our sense of indebtedness is skewed.

Our veterans have lived only to see this day. And they haven't seen the benefits promised to them by the Philippine letter of law. They march on.

After 1986, we have pledged continued service to a foreign debt that a tyrant made for us. The widow Aquino had enough reason and precedent to reject payment of the foreign debts. We were down then, the aftermath of a "revolution." But the whole world was looking up at us, great capitalists saw our bloodless revolution as the great counter-argument to Marxist solution. But it was not logical at all since it proved less of a revolution than it purported itself to be.

The world's banks were already positive that we would reject the debts. The people of the Philippines did not make it, a deposed dictator did. Peru claimed the same thing after they got rid of their dictator (in a bloodier way). The banks relented. The world's governments approved that the banks released the nation of debts made on its behalf but not by it.

We had more media coverage, more applause, more of the world's faith. And the governments would certainly give us more of the slack it gave to the Peruvian balls. We were a nation held captive. We got ourselves out. And we have to pay some ransom? No! The banks could have given us freedom if we claimed that what belonged to us by sovereign right was not debt but a clean blank slate.

Time's Woman of the Year then made a stand that would sicken me for the rest of my days. She had much pomp and hubris that we would all suffer from. So pridefully, as if she owned our future as much as the deposed one thought he did, she said those debts were ours. And not a centavo of it would come out of Hacienda Luisita.

Enter veterans. Veteran's Day, Bataan Day, Araw ng Kagitingan. The day of people who staked their lives for sovereignty. People who loved the future more than themselves, a future that they did not care to own, only to honor. Enter veterans. Heroes day. The day of the bright enduring ones who would die for the country.

Not merely say they would.

Most of their rank did. Our forefathers, our grandfathers and great grandfathers and their families. Bloody deaths without the peace of slumber or good times or full unwearied smiles.

Some of them lived. What did they survive to become. Bemedalled soldiers made to prostrate themselves as beggars, stripped of the dignity that they deserved. We would have been a race of noisy, good-for-nothing cowards if not for their sacrifice! I would not look back to an honorable past of look forward to hope were it not for them. There would have been no Filipino or Philippines as we know it if they did not hold the lines as far as they did.

But they are beggars. The ingrates of the legislature would only reap the rewards of their sacrifice without thanking them for it. Damn common thieves of the basest, vilest kind. They ignored the budget for our veterans. They saw only for their own pork barrels. It was the fault of the lower house. The house that would see and make only heroes that would give them media mileage. And these fathers who gave them their arenas of power? The kongresistas conveniently cross them out of the budget. A billion-peso treachery. And that already is, even if it were only about the money. But the boiling blood knows that it is much more.

The Senator, Mr. Vilma Santos, speaks now. There's just no budget. Well, the Congress was constitutionally directed to make that room. They were sworn to it! Though the heavens may fall! Lawmakers as they are, their consciousness of the Letter should drive them to resign if they could not make it happen. And they would have had much more honor.

But the only room made was for the Six-Billion pork barrel. The righteous Senate's oily hands are not bloodless. Pockets filled with lard, minds filled with the lust of power, what is the excuse for their oversight? The Senate could have rejected the whole budget or direct modifications where they saw fit! No excuse. It was not oversight at all. It was willed.

Not one of our elected elite stood up for the veterans. Sure, they will all die anyway. And every year we delay, we deny. All the better! Money was saved. Or used to finance other things more precious than honoring the blood of heroes. And we will all forget the injustice done our fathers.

Every year, we deny. But let the future generation be so warned. The fate of ingrates has been ingrained in us since our cultural infancy:

"ang hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan,
di makararating sa paroroonan."

And such a proud nation is not exempt.
May nakita akong isang site. OK ang teksto niya. Kakaiba, medyo nakakapanibago pa nga sa mundo ng ranting&ravingweb. Ewan ko ba pero trip ko sya. Ngayon malalaman na ng madlang pipol kung ano ang ibig kong sabihin kapag tinatanong ko kay Monica: Kumusta ang mga bata?

Abr 8, 2002

Bagsak ang Blogger madalas. Nakatsamba lang ako ngayon kaya, bago ko mabati at mawala uli, heto: test blog, test blog, 1... 2... 3...

Ewan ko kumbakit ako napaisip dito. Si Ate kasi tinanong kagabi habang nagpepekwa kaming magkakapatid, kung sinu-sino raw ang bespren namin. Heto ang tanong. Isa lang ba dapat ang Best Friend?

Abr 6, 2002


Mangungumusta lang ako ha?

Napapatanong lang ako, kumusta sa iyo ang tubig at tag-init? Ang mga ekskursyon at outing? Kumusta ang hot springs sa tanghaling tapat? Ang shower na mainit na tubig pa rin pala? Ang malalamig na pool na minsan may bubbles pa? Ang maaalat na beach? Ang asin na namuo at pumalit sa balat?

Kumusta ang taas ng araw? Kumusta ang mga shades, cap, shawl, sleeveless, plunging, swimsuit, at trunks? Ang sunblock, lotion, o sopdrinks na pang-marinate sa balat? Ang mga gamit, kumpleto ba?

Kumusta ang pag-iihaw-ihaw ng kung anu-ano sa tabi ng pool o beach? Kumusta ang alat sa dila at labi? Ang manggang hilaw na pangontra rito? Ang bagoong na pangontra sa pangontra? Ang serbesa na pangontra sa lahat?

Kumusta ang mga kasama? Ang mag-anak, kaibigan, kasama sa trabaho, o estrangherong nakilala sa bus at natsambahan rin sa resort? Kumusta ang kiskisang-siko, ututang-dila, bunuang-braso, at tagisang-isip? Ang halakhakan sa umaga at seryosong pagsesentimyento sa paglubog ng araw?

Kumusta ang pagtulog? Ang pakiramdam sa katawan na tila nakalimutan ang pagkapirmi at nararamdaman pa ang alon? Ang mga panaginip na singklaro ng tubig ngunit sing-ilap ng hangin?

Kumusta ang pasalubong? Ang mga iuuwing damit? Ang mga pinulot na shell sa tabi ng dagat? Ang mga hinablot na ashtray, bolpen, at lalagyan ng sabon sa tabi-tabi ng pool? Ang mga tisyu na may tatak ng dinaanang restawran, tinuluyang hotel, o lipstik ng crush? Ang mga pasalubong na kwento?

Kumusta sa iyo ang tag-init? Kumusta ang araw na nagpapatakbo sa hangin? Ang hangin na ngahahabi ng daluyong? Ang alon na nagbibigay-mukha sa tubig? Ang tubig na nagbibigay-ritmo sa katawan, hanggang sa paghimlay sa gabi?

Higit sa lahat, kumusta ang paglangoy? Kumusta ang karera sa tubig? Ang mga water-game, water-polo, beach volleyball, at hanapan ng barya? Ang pagtumbling at pagsisid, at paghahagis ng tubig at buhangin?

Kumusta ang paglangoy, ang pakikipaghuntahan sa dagat? Ang tanging wika na kinikilala nito? Kumusta ang paglangoy? O, tulad ko ngayon, kumusta ang paglangoy sa utak?

Abr 3, 2002

National Artists Lucio San Pedro and Levi Celerio, In Pace Recquiescat. The voice of the Filipino sounded richer because of them, but their poetic genius were clearly borrowed from divine minstrelsy. The Land is poorer for the twin losses, but the legacy of greatness will outlive them here. Our ears will be ever full with their songs.


Music by Lucio San Pedro
Lyrics by Levi Celerio

Sana'y di magmaliw ang dati kong araw
Nang munti pang bata sa piling ni Nanay
Nais kong maulit ang awit ni Inang mahal
Awit ng pag-ibig habang ako'y nasa duyan

Sana'y di magmaliw ang dati kong araw
Nang munti pang bata sa piling ni Nanay
Nais kong maulit ang awit ni Inang mahal
Awit ng pag-ibig habang ako'y nasa duyan

Sa aking pagtulog na labis ang himbing
Ang bantay ko'y tala
Ang tanod ko'y bituin
Sa piling ni Nanay
Langit ang buhay
Puso kong may dusa
Sabik sa ugoy ng duyan mo Inay
Sana narito ka Inay

Sana'y di magmaliw ang dati kong araw
Nang munti pang bata sa piling ni Nanay
Nais kong maulit ang awit ni Inang mahal
Awit ng pag-ibig habang ako'y nasa duyan

This song was the collaboration of masters San Pedro and Celerio. I feel as if it were a recalling of the oyayi (the Filipino lullabye). As the child recalls the love of his mother, persona weaves around himself a cradle of music, a song doing honor to the lullabyes, the genesis of all music that would ever issue forth.

We will not forget the womb of our own music despite the din of the world. We are the children of such art. The masters are dead. Long live the music.
Love of the Remover

Love alters not when its alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.

Your heartaches are within his purview because you put them there. Maybe your narratives never considered the span of his sight. Or you deliberated but succeeded only in underestimating him.

Either way, he would that you didn't show your heart. You don't know him. As you see him, he is merely a blurred copy of his true likeness. As you hear him, he is only a muted version of his voice.

Yet you confided. His hands have wrought more ill than his face betrays. His tongue much more so. Measuring the length of his words and hearing its cadence, you thought there was no silence in him. You drank of his eyes too little to understand.

He is not to be trusted. He told you so himself. He has worn many faces before for both necessity and game. He has used myriad tongues. And he loved you in a way you never imagined a woman could be so broodingly worshipped. So he told you not to trust him with your secrets.

He loved you. So he tried to spare you his love.

But you poured them on, your secrets, your pain. You tried to fashion him to be the company of your misery. But he was bludgeoning himself to be the music you are bound to face. His forgery surpassed yours and, despite himself, he had to curse you with his dark love. Because of himself, he drew you to his dark love.

You should have kept your distance as he cautioned. You did not know him. For once, he was thoroughly honest when he said goodbye was best. You turned the deaf ear, believing only the best in him, your confidante-prospect.

And if he was flawed, you would change him. Such misery. Such ego.

Didn't you know? Friends and lovers broke themselves on him like waves on an ebon rock. They didn't know. Unsuspecting, they would reveal their syories to him. He would know however that the mere fact you were sharing your "joy" meant you weren't blissful. You were trying to convince yourself you were.

He saw through ruses men create for themselves until even they would believe their own deception. And if you said you were happy, he'd know you were lying.

But there was always something. Imperfection in the alloy of souls. Something. How about a difference of opinion between friends? Or a difference in religion between lovers. Or a difference of lovers of the lovers. Something. Either a difference or a sameness.

He was both wolf and bloodhound. He would know the smell of sickening sameness. How the routines you shared bred only boredom. How you walked the same pace and never really fought. He read ennui even beneath webs of denials. Same favorite color. Same sitcom. Same job. Same making-out procedures going-in-circles-and-circles ad infinitum.

You would unknowingly present him your cycles and he would show you with a word or gesture how vicious it was. How you had to take control. How it had to be broken somehow and how you-can't-wait-for-him-to-do-it-can-you?

Difference and sameness were akin to him. They were causes of destruction. Variation was violence, the-sameness was decay.

Without love or remorse he'd break hearts. Black rock as he was to sparkling gay foamy waves. And more terrible, he could crush without hate. It was just him. Seduce and destroy.

He wasn't touchy-feely as you thought him to be. Not the sensitive guy with his advice to ailing friends. He was the remover. He would dismiss all those years you guys loved each other by merely stating the obvious: you just wanted to believe you did. All that time! All those months lovers counted (even coining words like monthsary or buwanniversary). All of the family and friends they had to meet and endure. All the habits each had to put up with. All their noises. All shared moments and damn irritating silences! All those gifts, letters, text messages, marathon phone calls. All those receipts of dates saved, meticulously sorted and pasted on a special scrapbook. Scrap.

The remover was not a stone causing small ripples as they thought. They were the ripples. His unassuming veneer, that fake humility, that dishevelled look, those corny jokes? Those were not pebbles. He was the black rock. Waves broke themselves upon his hideous face.

And you, beloved one, what do you suppose is in store for you? You had your chance to run. So many times he gave them to you, little portals of escape. Little rabbit-holes out his wonderland. Fairydust to fly from neverland. He almost pushed you out at times. His love however could not be stronger than what-he-was.

And he could not click those ruby-red shoes for you.

Now your narratives are within his hearing. Your heartaches have color in his eyes. Your pain is in his mind. Your misery, he has thoroughly espoused. There is no escape now, no shelter, no shell.

The remover. He is the music you will face, sooner or later. The music of waves breaking on a rock.

Abr 2, 2002

I'm Destruction!
Which Member of the Endless Are You?

I thought I was Dream or Desire. But then again, this was not surprising at all.


Tapos na ang Semana Santa. Kung sa puso natin, araw-araw Pasko, sa mukha naman, araw-araw pa rin, Biyernes Santo.

Saan kaya nanggaling yung ekspresyong iyo ano? Mukhang Biyernes Santo? Dahil kaya sa mukha ng mga matatandang mapag-isip o talaga namang malungkot, tila naglalamay, sa pagpapatuloy nila ng kanilang panata sa Pabasa? O baka naman hindi ganuong kasagrado?

Hindi kaya hitsura ng mga batang lalaki sa bingit ng kanilang rite de passage? Hala, kagat-kagat ang dahon ng bayabas (kasama na ang tangkay, para sigurado)! Sobrang takot ng sa mukha, matatawag na rin sigurong hinagpis, ipit sa pagnanasang tumakbo palayo at sa pangangailangang itaguyod ang tapang at pagkalalaki. Matatawag din kayang Mukhang Biyernes Santo ang mukhang ito, matang tutok sa talim at pamukpok ng tagatuli, halata sa puso na nais nang lampasan ang bahagi ng ritwal at tumalon na sa dagat.


Dahil tubong Maynila ako at mas naniniwala sa modernong agham ang mga mabulang ko, sa gauze at hindi sa langgas, hindi ako nakasama sa ritwal na iyan.

Iba ang ritwal na dinadaluhan ko sa aking kabataan. Duon ako nagbabakasyon sa amin - sa barangay Quisao, Pililla, Rizal - kapag tag-init. Duon po sa amin, magaling ang mga tao sa halos lahat ng bagay. Kapag naruon ako, nararamdaman ko ang sakop at lalim ng aking pagkabobo.

Gayumpaman, nakakasalo pa rin ako sa ilang mga ritwal. Paborito ko ang lutuan. Ginagawa ito ng mga magkakabarkada, kahit puro lalaki, puro babae, puro tinedyer, o puro matanda. Kapag tinedyer ka, tatakas ka ng bahay sa udyok ng mga kaibigan. Ikaw naman, sabik tumakas sa pag-igib, pagsaing, at pagluto sa bahay. Itatakas mo ngayon ang ilang salop ng bigas na ilalagay mo sa plastik na para sa yelo. Pipilitin mo itong ibulsa.

Tapos, dalhin mo na kung ano ng matatangay mo. Isisiksik sa bulsa. Sisipol ang mga kaibigan. Ito ang iyong senyal. Ito ang pangalan mo sa kalye. Kung makulit ka, hindi ka na magpapaalam. Mahahagilap ka rin naman e, maliit lang ang Quisao.

Sasama ka sa bukid o looban ng isang kaibigan kung saan, kadalasan may punong hitik sa indian mango. Duon ka ngayon mag-iigib, magsasaing, at magluluto. Hindi ka rin pala nakatakas.

Pero dito, kasama mo ang mga kaibigan mo kaya magbabaraha kayo (kung saan kailangang mabilis ang mata mo kundi ibang luto ang mangyayari!). O di kaya kwentuhan hanggang masunog ang sinaing. Minsan, magseserbesa pa, tanghaling tapat. Tulungan sa paghanda ng pagkain. Duon po sa amin, magaling magluto ang kalalakihan.

Masarap mag-ihaw kahit mataas ang araw. Kahit na pag-uwi mo, maaamoy nilang lahat kung ano ang inihaw mo at may abo pa sa kamiseta mo. Minsan, nagsinigang kami. Kasama yung bayabas na sobra sa hinog. May isang beses naman, nagsinigang kami na sardinas. Sinigang lang tapos ibubuhos mo sardinas. Lahat pati yung sarsa. Hot and Spicy pa. Ewan ko ba kumpaano nangyari pero masarap naman!

Minsan, nangyayari ang sinasabi nating too many cooks spoil the broth. Nalagyan na pala ng asin nuong isa, nang magkasumpong yung isa at inamoy, inasnan pa uli! O di kaya, maghahanap ka ng konting sili sa bundok para sa manok. Ubos na pala. Sasabihin nung isa ok na raw yung tangkay ng sili, maanghang din daw. Akala nuong iba, mahina ang anghang nuon kaya halos buong halaman e isahog sa manok! Keanghang pala!

Ito ang masarap sa lutuan. Kahit palpak ang luto, sama-samang titiisin, hati-hati sa tutong ng sinaing. Pagtatawanan lang. Kaya busog ka, hindi man masarap ang kinakain, sarap naman ng halakhakan. At nauubos talaga, hanggang sa mapuno pati balumbalunan!


Ngunit sa pagtanda ko, napansin kong may madilim na kakambal-kabaligtaran ang lutuan. Duon po sa amin laganap ang mga durugista, nag-aalok ng kakaibang ritwal sa rural na kabataan.

Magagaling talaga ang mga tao duon sa amin. Hindi mahuli-huli. Magaling tumakas at magtago. Malihim. Minsan na lang malalaman ko kasama na yung isang pinsan o isang kabarkada. Mga mukha nila, lango, mga mata, hungkag.

Wala na silang takot sa mga naghihinagpis na matatanda o mga matatalim na bagay. Iba na ang lutuan nila. Kusina nila ang tabing-dagat, mga liblib na lugar sa bukirin, o sa bahay-bahay. Iba na ang burner nila at kubyertos nila e tooter. May paturok-turok pa. Wala nang takot.

Hindi ko na mahagilap ang mga dati kong mga kasama sa lutuan.