Wednesday, September 30, 2009

At Ground Zero

Para sa mga kaibigan at kasamahang ang mga tahanan at mga pangarap ay naanod ng baha...

Marikina City,
11:10 pm

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Operation Sagip Kapamilya (Last Part)

I arrived at the office yesterday morning learning the full brunt of the Ondoy catastrophe. More than half of our agents had to leave their homes as rising waters threaten to pull them into its murky depths. Five workmates live in Provident and their grim fate only reached us this morning. Their bungalow houses sunk beneath the mud in a matter of minutes saving nothing but themselves by clinging their weary bodies on rooftops while waiting for the water to subside. A mother of two hasn't left the office since last Saturday. With her home still under the pungent, artificial lake once known as Greenland Cainta, her sobs described the helplessness and guilt of leaving her kids behind. They were all safe according to her, but what she worried about is whether they have already eaten since they weren't able to save anything when their house was swamped by deadly currents when the flood came.

There were agents the office hasn't accounted yet and they all live in the worst-hit towns of Rizal. To contact these people would be close to impossible knowing their phones might be long dead, or worse, carried away by the torrents out of their once-decorated homes.

These first-hand accounts are just one of the countless stories coming out of the Floor. They were a source of disturbance, which shaped the outcome of my last entry. Despite the gains I had after signing up for the volunteer work, it felt like I could have accomplished more had I focused my efforts to convincing the supervisors to lead a relief drive. The idea, which I floated yesterday now depends on the will of each Team Leader to persuade their agents to help our colleagues heavily affected by the storm.


Situations differ at the Sagip Kapamilya Center for two reasons. Back when I was a volunteer, the relief goods just poured in. We never had to ask for it - it was the good Samaritans who came with their delivery vans, pick-up trucks and SUVs to give out their spare clothes and food stores. When work needs to be done, volunteers just pop out of their tambay places. Like an army eager to be deployed in the battlefield, their arms are already outstreched even before the heavy sacks came rolling out from the warehouse.

An hour after leaving Lagro with the volunteers, we arrived back at the headquarters to see if there were waiting convoys in need of people to deliver relief goods to the evacuees. The truck heading towards Marikina and San Mateo had just left and so were a good number of volunteers who waited all day to be deployed at ground zero. After disembarking on the pick-up truck used by Nina Corpuz, the first thing I did was to look for a store or a cigarette vendor for my much needed nicotine fix.

I tried to look around but no store was in sight. When I passed by a guy - someone close to my age - puffing a stick of yosi next to an SUV, I didn't hesitate to ask where he got the cigarette. Instead of giving an answer, he handed over his pack of Marlboro which he included among the things he brought with him. As we both had our yosi break, he told me that he considered bringing yosi knowing it would be difficult to get one at such isolated location.

He introduced himself as Red. Red works as a programmer at Emerson and like me, volunteered for Sagip Kapamilya after his home was spared from the rising waters which inundated some parts of Mandaluyong. Our small talk was brief and I had to keep our conversation light. I thought it would be best if I spare myself from fraternizing with someone I would never see again.

This was how things are with volunteer work. You meet individuals with the same goals; get acquainted with them on a personal level; share some laughter and sorrow at the sight of victims queing for relief goods; and gain insights to the lives they lead beyond Sagip Kapamilya. You would be surprised at how friendly each and every people you meet, but when the time comes friends get shuffled to different task, expect the disconnection as swift as the connection you had.

It took just a single stick of yosi to learn everything Red was willing to tell. The next thing I knew, he was talking to this gorgeous lady across the street, while I had signed myself for another deployment together with the pick-up truck owner whose vehicle was parked next to the spot where Red and I first got acquainted.


San Joaquin Elementary School,
Pasig City

What started as a simple inquiry for directions going to Buting Pasig became a full blown task force composed of seven individuals in two SUVs. We were deployed to deliver relief goods for 70 families housed in a temporary shelter in San Joaquin. Unlike in Lagro where we were accompanied by a TV personality from the Kapamilya network, in this run, we were on our own. Had it not for the sacks of goods stacked on the pick-up truck that led the convoy, our team would be easily mistaken for a barkada having a high-class road trip around the city.

In this assignment, I have proven my potentials to be an excellent slut. I would ride anything that would take me elsewhere and it was me who insisted that I join the team leaving Red to flirt with a chick without any distractions. Together with a guy who works for the government, we were accompanied by a bunch of kids who brought with them a land cruiser, and an upstart architect who turned out to be the best buddy of our team captain.

San Joaquin was still under muddy waters when our convoy arrived. We do not know the exact damage the floods left in the area, but had we pushed further, I knew the grim fates of Marikina and Cainta would be played over right before our eyes. The orders from Sagip Kapamilya strictly instruct that before we enter a community, we should coordinate with the Barangay Captain for assistance. That's what we did when we got there. Floods may have rendered the road impassible to small vehicles but we managed to keep our feet on dry ground by parking our pick-up truck inside the Barangay Hall.

The Barangay Captain - a Kapitana in her late fifties - told us that less than fifty families remain in the nearby evacuation center. Most have returned to their homes after the floods subsided earlier that day. She encouraged the team that we should see for ourselves the worst hit sitio in their barangay. However, it was getting late and chances are, the SUVs that we brought may never get out if we follow her suggestion. At the back of my head, we might get swamped by people in desperate need of assistance should we pushed through. The group came with a unanimous decision: We would hand over the goods to those families remaining in the evacuation center and would let the Kapitana allocate what was left to those we could never reach.

The distribution of relief goods was so orderly, I was having a hard time convincing myself that we were in a disaster zone. Despite the mud water around us, the families from this evacuation center seemed a little well-off than those I had seen in Lagro. There, half-naked men asked for clothes to keep their freezing bodies warm. A light drizzle soaked people and volunteers, but the distribution went on so that queues would be relieved. A father in his mid thirties stood next to the van hoping he could keep the wet carton box to serve as his family's bedding . In San Joaquin, men waited in their own separate line, while their missus and mothers received bags which included rice, canned goods and instant noodles to last them for days. Everyone got their provisions.

It would have been more profound had we been given the chance to speak with the evacuees, but for some reasons we were preoccupied by the distribution and the flood victims immediately left after getting their aid. As we prepared to return to the headquarters, I was secretly musing the idea of getting closer to ground zero - the heart of the disaster where our aid were needed most. But I doubt if it would ever happen, it was already past 10 and the operations had to stop for everyone to take their break.

We got back to camp not inside the pick-up truck assigned to deliver the relief goods to San Joaquin, but on a transport van our Team Captain used for his landscaping business. Like everyone who joined the volunteer corps for the first time, he was so moved by the acts of selflessness that he vowed to return with more volunteers the next day. One cigarette break and his van was once again packed with relief goods bound for Mandaluyong. They asked me to join but seeing some volunteers who just arrived (one coming all the way from Calamba) at the headquarters, I told them that I'm giving others the chance to feel how one's efforts get paid off in the field.

Raising my hand to bid farewell, I told my team mates to enjoy the trip and savor the bliss of handing relief goods to those who are most affected. Yet, behind the partings between brief acquaintances, my thoughts were glued towards that one single reason for my decision to stay.

I was waiting for the last trip bound for the flood victims of Marikina. It doesn't matter if I waited until past midnight for the truck to arrive but no vehicle ever came. Those who were manning the Sagip Kapamilya Center were slowing down to rest, and give way for relief preparations which everyone expected to gather steam the following day.

Besides, my request for an emergency leave wasn't acknowledged by Mami Athena. I found out a day later that her home in Cubao was under knee-deep flood waters. With nothing else to do but linger around the headquarters and mingle with volunteers who chose to stay behind, it dawned to me that I've spent the last of my remaining strength from the previous deployment I had.

I hailed a cab without telling no one my intention to leave. With an empty stomach and a work shift at 6 in the morning. I headed straight home to give myself a well-deserved sleep.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Operation Sagip Kapamilya (First Part)

When the Kapamilya network posted an announcement in need of "able bodied" men to help in their relief operations, two words swayed me to consider their plea and scrap my plans of spending the afternoon at the gym. The words "able" and "bodied" were like chicken feathers stirring my imagination. In my head, I pictured the Sagip Kapamilya Center bursting with sweaty, muscled men of all shades and races rising up to perform deeds of higher calling.

"It would be fun to get to know some of these yummies," I told myself, fiendishly. Yet, the thought wasn't enough to hold the sense of thrill building within me. I was so beset by laziness which grounded my body to the bed. Blame it to the blackout I had to endure the night before. But when the radio announcer told that they needed men to deliver relief to the affected areas - at ground zero - to be exact, something inside me was moved. I felt guilty doing nothing when all my loved ones were spared from the great flood last Saturday.

So off I went to Examiner Street after dropping some goods for a friend, who's home in Bulacan was under chest-deep mud water the day disaster struck. The small warehouse where the Sagip Center sits overflowed with relief goods and volunteers coming from around the city. Signing my name to be a volunteer, I was asked to wait in a corner as the organizers sort out where people like me were needed most. The security guard called our names a few minutes later. There were no instructions to the job we have to do so I just squeezed myself between two young men wearing Jersey shirts. I joined the team tasked to carry donations dropped off outside the center to be repacked by another group of volunteers who were doing their task at the inner sections of the warehouse.

Carrying relief goods in and out of the center was already a backbreaking task. However, it never satisfied my desire to be at the forefront and be one of the volunteers delivering relief to the affected areas. Responding to the inner restlessness I felt while transporting the package out of the warehouse, I mounted an empty truck parked outside to drop the heavy sack of relief goods in my arms.

Unaware that I was already signing myself to deliver the needed necessities in behalf of the Kapamilya network, I sat between the driver and the foreman for our long journey East.


Sitio Ruby, Greater Lagro
Quezon City

This community of around 300 families sat at the edge of Fairview. Like other areas of Quezon City inundated by flash floods, their homes, which stood at the lowest point of Lagro had to be abandoned as surging waters from Angat Dam already swelled the nearby La Mesa Reservoir. It merely took 30 minutes for the rising tide to swallow everything in sight.

"Wala kaming nakuha kahit damit," said one of the victims queing for relief goods.

"Nasa NLEX ako nung tumaas ang tubig. Yung mga anak ko nasa bahay pa. Kelangan ko pa sila sabihan na tumakbo sa mataas na lugar bago matangay ng agos papuntang sapa," added one mother recieving canned goods and rice from our caravan.

Lines were organized into two - the children got ready-to-eat meals and bottled water sent by Ministop while adults accepted anything that would get them through the night. Some adults still wore damp clothes on their bodies, while others who queued had no footwear to cover their feet. I wanted to feel sorry for these people, but knowing that some colleagues were still in their rooftops, cold and hungry, as they waited for help to arrive, the least thing I could do is perform my duty as a volunteer and get on to my next assignment - hopefully, closer to the places where my friends might be seeking shelter after their homes were washed away by the elements.

The main road where we set up camp turned out to be the highest ground. The heart of the community still lies below the hill. The narrow street going there is a good 10-minute walk down a steep slope. To my amazement, one of the victims said that waters would reach leg deep levels had we stood there a day earlier.

The distribution went smoothly, save for some periodic ruckus caused by hardheaded folks cutting lines. Since those who waited twenty minutes would not dare complain of the injustice, we had no choice but to hand over the bags whether these people queued or not. The Barangay Captain was not helping either. Those who directly approached his group would instantly receive the relief goods ahead of those who were still waiting behind the line.

So many families were affected by the flash floods that we actually ran out of supplies for distribution. Had it not for the extra boxes of Siopao and Swiss Miss to give away, a stampede would cause further troubles. The queue, which was getting longer from the influx of those living nearby were becoming restless and the organizers lead by News Anchor Nina Corpuz had to assure them that they would return with a bigger truck to everyone's relief.

I doubt if such caravan would ever return.

We had a wrap-up at past 8 in the evening. After a short picture taking with the Barangay Captain, (all smiling faces including some of the victims who stayed with the team) the delivery truck and its owner announced their return to their base in Visayas Avenue. With no one else to shuttle me out of the sitio, I had to hitch with the volunteers back to the Sagip Kapamilya headquarters to seek more relief distribution which was already in full swing that night.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Picture Of A Tragedy

A news advisory flashes on Channel 2. The female anchor's stiff face and expressionless eyes could not hide the burden of announcing the troubling news. She said, with a tinge of tension in her voice, that Signal Number 2 was raised in several provinces, and that some areas of the city are now submerged under ten feet of water. As she delivers the news, a video footage shows a river somewhere in the East. It was swollen, its waters overrun vast tracks of land beyond its banks. And just beyond the foggy horizon, a silhouette of people - most of them men - appeared on camera. They were clinging on a cluster of debris, perhaps the remains of their once-shanty homes. And as waves upon waves of treacherous waters toss their flotsam, it hits a bridge - the bridge where the cameraman, a handful of bystanders and rescuers stood - and the debris disintegrates as the people who held on to dear life were being carried downstream.

As the camera pans to reveal the bigger picture, the bridge - which spans half a kilometer long is at the brink of being swallowed by the river as well.

Solace for those who are still trapped in their rooftops, soaked and freezing, while waiting for help to arrive.

Friday, September 25, 2009


After Tom Victorino

Once there was a bloke, someone whose aged figure blends well with the younger folks at work. He was fondly called "Meyor" as a gesture of respect, and because without him, the team would be a little less bonded if not huddled among their own flock.

Like wine stored in wooden barrels to mature, this bloke acquired a distinctive taste different from those he shared the same age. He was the heart of merriment and was the guest of honor in every drinking spree his teammates had put up for different occasions. With his trade mark leather boots, long, white pony-tailed hair, a grin with a missing tooth, skinny jeans and dress shirt splattered with psychedelic colors, Meyor lived like he had never outgrown the Groove age. He was the last among the Hippies and wasted no effort to hide it. His true nature shone at every gathering and every small talk he was in.


He was hired soon after my uncle joined the company. They were best friends as far as we know, and with a third wheel to keep them merry, they were known infamously as the Oldies within the team. The two men - my uncle and the third wheel - live their lives very different from Meyor. They were reclusive; perfectly aware of time turning its back on them and they were cautious when dealing with kids for reasons that their antics were too strange for them. Meyor on the other hand, was different. He was a free-spirit whose openness and independence made him one of the most loved characters at work. The boss, whose eternal graciousness touches random people at the floor ordered a huge bilao of Pansit during his birthday. Agents from other shifts, who have known him through the years greeted "Happy Birthday Po..." to the laughter of everyone.

Our lives crossed when I was assigned officer-in-charge a few months back. The Assistant Team Leader will have her first baby and I was needed to take charge of her responsibilities. The ATL warned that the Oldies were the most difficult group to deal with. Telling short of being troublemakers, her impressions bore deep within my psyche. My female counterpart vowed never to deal with them and despite my uncle belonging to the group, I was afraid that familiarity may breed intrigue within the team.

Meyor had a history of being mischievous, if not downright naughty towards the people around him. During our swimming outing last summer, he showed his butt (and some claimed even his birdie) during a dare session with the ladies. The ladies were all red-faced of course, but they knew well that Meyor was just having fun. Being a closeted "ladies" man, everyone was assured that nothing untoward will happen during our extended work break.

As a colleague, I always knew him as someone who loved his job more than everything. They say old dogs find it hard to learn new tricks, but Meyor was a puppy whose glimmering eyes shone excitement when introduced to new things. I taught him once how to print screen an image and save it as a jpeg file. One time, I gave him hints on how to deal with difficult user situation from where he learned much.

For all the impressions that his stubbornness and playful attitude would cause me a lot of headache, the truth was Meyor acknowledged my authority more than anyone else at the floor. He was cool enough to ease the tension when the situation calls for it, and gave his selfless support at a time I needed it most. He was rewarded by the boss with a new account at the end of my term, which made him one of the fluctuation proof among the commission-based agents in his team.

Soon after I returned my duties back to the Assistant Team Leader, I left the Afternoon Shift to take higher responsibilities elsewhere.


"To the friends and relatives of [insert Meyor's name here] has passed away and joined our Lord this morning - [name of his wife]"

September 23, 2009

A week had passed since Meyor suffered a massive stroke. His doctors told that his condition was beyond recovery and that time was running out for his friends and loved ones to see him alive. His best friend - my uncle - was inconsolable. The mood in his shift was depressing. The same day the news broke out, I quietly slipped out - without telling anyone my plans to visit - to see for myself his condition. He was in the Intensive Care Unit of a hospital in Fairview. Talking to his wife, I learned many things about him that only few people in the office knew about.

He was a year shy of being sixty.
It took him a decade before finding a job again.
His wife is ten years younger than him.
They were both into sales and that something tragic had forced Meyor to turn his back from his profession.
His 90-year old mother is a "psychic" and lives alone in another continent.

These things, I knew nothing before. I think not even my colleagues knew of these details. As Meyor's wife recalled how his last breaths gave way to expiration, his final hours played back, like it was the same story my father had before he passed away. The wife understood the predicament and knew that his husband was at the end of the line. Much as I would like to feel sorry that he had to fight for his life before being granted peace,

I should at least feel relieved.

Meyor lived a funky life.

I went to his wake yesterday morning, still unaccompanied and unknown to everyone. I viewed his casket and saw his lifeless remains wearing a pink long sleeves topped with a black vest. A velvet black tie runs down the entire length of his chest. His long white hair, which he often ties at work was now flowing freely behind his back.

In death, Meyor still grooves.

I departed the chapel unannounced like my arrival. His sole keeper, his son perhaps slept the whole time I was there. Only my name etched on the guest list served as a proof of my quiet presence. This is how our relationship was when he was still alive. We had this kindred connection; this distant yet warm ties that allowed us to walk the same ground together. Just like in death, where remembrances matter most in the days of grief. Our brief transit reminds us that young and old, lives crossed heed no bounds.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Letter


May idudulog ako sa iyong problema. I felt an inappropriate attraction to a friend of a friend. We got introduced and I find his sex appeal really getting on to me. The thing is, this friend of mine and him are "dating". They haven't gone out yet, but they have an understanding that they're getting to know each other and open to the possibility of being together as lovers.

I think this feeling is more of obsession than falling for the person. I'm getting more and more interested in him. I hate it. Kasi, I had to go online to my friend's profile, search his friends list until I find the guy's profile. I did find him, but stopped at adding him as my friend. Because I think it's very inappropriate.

I remember the time when I was so inappropriately flirty to my other friends' dates. There was this one friend of mine who dated a guy. Whenever we go out, I'm so pa-cute to his date. Of course, the barkada hated me for being malandi and haliparot. I didn't end up with the guys they dated, but still what I did was unacceptable.

How do I get over this predicament? My friend's away for another week, and I'll definitely see the guy he's dating at the gym (all three of us workout in the same club).

Please help me. I can't stop staring at his profile pic with that cute smile, moreno tone, and nice arms.


Hello there!

Thanks pare for writing this letter. I appreciate it that you trust me on these matters. You see, not only you faces this kind of dilemma. I know a couple of guys who had the same predicament which you are in right now. Pasensya na if I haven't gone through the same path as you. First, I'm not really as competitive as other people think and second, when I stake my claim over someone, I make sure there are no rivals.

I agree that your attraction is inappropriate. From what I understand, you see him more of a challenge than someone you will take seriously. To compare your situation with mine, its like going to the club every week only to seduce, flirt and then when I score big, (like when someone invites me home only to turn down his invitation) I move on and seek a more challenging game.

You have a very good set of friends. In the circles where I belong, such seduction will never go unnoticed. We have banished several members because their inappropriate acts stirred tension within the group. Besides, kapag nagkasamaan rin ng loob eh nadadamay ang buong tropa. That is why we have learned that friendship and karir don't mix. When "scoring" becomes the objective of a person, he ends up being left out in the end.

Kahit gaano pa siya ka-gwaping or ka-attractive sa amin.

There is nothing wrong to feel an obsession to a person, or feel an overwhelming attraction when he is around. I think it is perfectly normal. You can stare at his photos all day, learn about his hobbies and pastimes, go see him in the gym and have fun - like how you have fun with your friends (unless your definition of fun is different from mine. I belong to the "conservative" school of kalandian kasi.) The bottom line is, you should be supportive of your friend and not the threat like you used to be in the past.

I have no idea how your friendship values work. From what I see, the past has already preceded your present. You are having this dilemma because you can't afford to keep a bad boy reputation anymore. You are torn between your nature and your morals that it gets difficult to strike a deal between your two sides. I understand. It takes time for an obsession to become ordinary and my suggestion is - just let things fall into places without lifting a finger to affect their movements.

Chillax lang. Wait and see lang tayo.

I do not expect you following my suggestion because in the end, we might have different perspectives in life. But if you can't really turn you back to the challenge, just don't let the blame fall upon you. Ibig sabihin. Don't flirt, unless he's the one seducing you first. Strike without mercy only when he is the one crossing the line. It is not your fault when something untoward happens. In fact, I think you are doing your friend a huge favor by unmasking the prospect to reveal how jerk he really is.

Yun nga lang, you have to drop him the moment your goal succeeds.

There are two paths you can take. A third route might just be around the corner. Remember, it is always the friend who sticks with you and not the boys you meet everywhere. So in cases where you have to compete with a friend for attention from a cute guy you just met - it is not bad to give way. After all, your supremacy prevails over your companion's by taking pride to look for another, rather than staking claim over his domain with no certain goal what to do with the plunder.

The Murtaugh List

The Vulcans take pride in their greeting "Live Long and Prosper," while Gandhi is quoted saying "Live as if you will die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." Whatever adage these wise men follow, one thing holds supreme:

Life never takes the same scenic route twice. The moment it does, everything is very much different.

Last week, Engel compiled a list of things he is now too old to appreciate. He calls this checklist the Murtaugh List. Since I know nothing about Mr. Murtaugh or the TV series How I Met Your Mother, reading his list made me realize that there are some things you will pass only once in a lifetime. Either by age constraints or perspectives changed by maturing awareness, never do we see an object the way it used to be.

What we cling to are memories, and lessons learned that we shall carry on as we waltz and swing with time.

Here are the things I'm too old to do and enjoy again.
1. Sneak out of the house at 2 in the morning and drive the car around the neighborhood without a license.

2. Endure several days without taking a bath.

3. Appreciate Ultraman, Maskman and Bioman like they truly exist in real life.

4. Run with no any reason at all.

5. Fuck with a stranger without being too guilty about the careless deed.

6. Heavy drinking until the sun rises and un-cursing the hang-over that comes with it.

7. Stay out of the house for more than 3 days / Have a week-long vacation without any care in the world.

8. Pig-out during a meal without thinking of hitting the gym the next day.

9. Take risks without back-up plans.

10. Have a role playing game with my action figures and enjoy the sheer bliss of hearing the announcement over the radio that classes will be suspended on the day a long exam in school will take place.
Since this idea came from someone else, feel free to blog about your own Murtaugh List.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Ghost Story | The PGH Experience

The Philippine General Hospital has been around for almost a century, and such edifice with a long history of witnessing so many people coming and going, it is not surprising that it carries with it the echoes of those who walked along its dimly-lit corridors. Though modern conveniences now abound everywhere, behind the masquerade known as technology are some very old questions no medical or health science could ever answer. When I pass through wards filled with patients struggling to live, its walls retain the hopelessness and misery of those who already moved away. I sense their lingering emotions and it's the reason why I avoid staying long when I visit my aunt who works there.


It was the summer of this year. Utol had a minor surgery whose goal was to enhance her aesthetic worth. She had to consult her doctor to see how the stitches from her surgery was healing. Being the reliable kuya, I had to wake up early to accompany her despite going late to bed the night before. The lack of sleep made me feel woozy. My very short fuse meant that I was best left alone. Sparing others from my grumpiness, I usually take a nap inside my aunt's clinic while waiting for my sister to return.

One morning, I took a nap while utol was having her consultation in the other room. The secretary who was also inside the clinic where I stayed told me that she had to go out and do some errands for the consultants. In short, I would be left alone. I was too durog to acknowledge her, and what mattered was that nobody will disrupt my peace. However, upon reaching the sleeping phase known as lucid dreaming, my ears could hear a lot of chatter. It felt like the room was filled with people.

I tried to force my eyes open and when I finally succeeded, I was surprised to learn that the door was open and patients of all ages were queuing to have their turn to go inside the consultants' quarters. What was strange about them is that most of those who were falling in line were adults and elder people. The clinic where I stayed specializes in Pediatric Surgery. The consultants there only treat kids. I tried to get up but I could not move. I wanted to roll over hoping that I would fall to the floor but my attempts were all in vain. Suddenly, some of those who were in the line noticed my struggle. They began walking towards my direction. They spoke of things which I could not recall, save for some snippets of memory about how they died.

Yes, they were all spirits.

People who experience an inability to control one's body while sleeping call the ordeal bangungot. I do not know if mine could be considered as one. What I know is that I was in the verge of panic. (because I could see the wrinkled face of a very old lady who was standing beside me) It took several minutes (and a Lord's prayer) to regain control of my body. When I finally did, I woke up still alone inside the room. There were no other people nor doctors calling a patient's name waiting outside the consultation room.

It was all but just a dream.

But the experience, where I cannot wake up despite my futile attempts to do so happened many times over, I already know what to do should I lose control of my body. And in many cases, I am aware that some unseen forces were taking advantage of my weakened state.

I have one ability only few people know about. Those who knew, also possess such ability too - and often, with theirs - much more powerful than mine.

And in the coming entries, I'd tell more about my encounters and how I came into terms with my strange talent.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Earth Elementals

Dahil ang tunay na magkakaibigan ay may pinagsasamahan.

Jaycee's aka Tinkerbell's graduation party.
Congo Grill, Tri(Bi)noma

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Comeback | Opening Salvo

"Dude I have to go."

"Talaga? Aga pa ah."

"Ummmm... Kanina pa ako sa labas eh."

"So tulog ka na niyan pagdating mo sa bahay?" I cannot help but see his mischievous smile as something else.

So there goes another chance to score big in the seduction game last night, but I withdrew at once when things got a little fired up. The hunk dad I was talking to is a Balikbayan from Singapore. His rugged appeal was something I could not resist. His good looks and undeniable charms attracted me and I was a bit surprised at his warm reception to my subtle advances.

"Nope, clubber lang yun... Inggit ka dun sa nagsasayaw no?" He asked me if the guy in front was one of the go-go dancers.

A grin on his face reinforced my assumptions.

"Tanggalin na kasi natin yang sando mo, mas maliit pa nga tiyan mo sa kanya eh." I was nudging his tummy while prodding him to reveal the entirety of his dark-skin goodness. Later during our small talk, when his attention was already more focused towards me than the Dubai Chinoy who flirted with him earlier, he didn't resist when I put my arms around his broad shoulders.


The comeback, in which I chose BED as the touchdown, was a stellar performance from my arrival up to my departure. The guys out there were a little too friendly despite me keeping a recluse mood.

Drunk, after downing more than seven bottles of Red Horse and San Miguel Light at a birthday party I attended before dropping the bomb in Malate, (Where I flirted with a guest introduced by a tropa to the group) the absence of restraint granted me the confidence to approach whoever I want.

I could have struck the hunk guy with seductive lines such as "nope, pagpapantasyahan muna kita bago ako matulog," or "sounds like you want me to stay pa ah" or "why did you ask, wanna sleep with me?" but I decided not to.

Some actions must be thought well.

Had he touched a sensitive part of my body, which often preludes the games I played in some other bars in the area, things would have been different. The night-out would have ended in a home run.

And the bonds holding a stringent cycle will be broken.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Habit Of Shores

"Anak may ipapakita ako sa iyo?"

"Ano yun?"

"Basta, kunin mo yung bag sa may tabi ng electric fan." I picked up the nylon bag leaning next to the fan.

She took out two pieces of glossy paper. One was a black and white photo of several children sitting next to one another. The other was a sepia image of two girls, one was sitting on a bike and the other hugging her.

"Hulaan mo kung sino si Ninang jan?" She was referring to her sister, my favorite aunt.

"Hmmm... Eto?" I pointed my finger to the young girl beside her.

"Hindi mo mamukhaan si Ninang mo?" How can I recognize her, the bunch of kids in the picture were barely five years old.

"Sirit na." I finally decided to quit.

Standing far left among the huddled children on the black and white photo was an odd-looking girl. Her face expressed annoyance, her curly hair sprawled all over her head. The girl on the picture is my aunt, and more than half a century after the photo was taken, she still has this aura that makes anyone feel uncomfortable when she is around.


It was past 3 in the morning when I went to the master's bedroom to see if my mom was sleeping. Waking up at such ungodly hour has become a habit - a persistent nocturnal nature asserting itself against my life's new order. Truth was, I sought her permission to allow me to go to work. An assistant team leader from the graveyard shift was in need of my help. The client required him to do some extra work before his shift is over.

Mom complained that it was too early to leave; that the streets were still dangerous to travel. Peril was the least of my worries, what was essential is for me to show up anytime I am needed. Life revolves around the floor of my workplace nowadays, what difference does a day or night have on my presence.

But seeing my mom's worried face, her unspoken longing to have a companion at the twilight hour of the night compelled me to stay. After all, we seldom talk when we see each other in the evening, and the utol was nowhere to be found again. It's just me and her looking after each other.

So this is bonding time for us. I stayed long enough to help her get out of the bed and watch her go to the bathroom and do her thing. When she returned, I fixed her blanket and stretched it to cover her entire body.

And I silently daydreamed, until she was assured that I will never leave until its really time to go.

Ten minutes before five, I readied myself for work.


Will be buying toilet seat for her toilet
and talk to a carpenter to install the safety
bars I bought for her bathroom last year.

Our roles are beginning to change.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


So I decided to take the role of the IT guy today. My job is to clear all computers of trash data dumped by agents who see their workstations as a repository of their personal mementos. As I sift through different folders, I found a notepad document containing words evoking deep and profound emotions weaved and crafted into poetry.

Out of admiration for that agent who, in his idle time has chosen to spin stanzas than surf the internet one bitter December morning, I decided to immortalize his poems by sparing the folder containing them and publishing one of his finest to be part of my blog.

carving dimensions...
1:46 am 12/20/08
4:36 am 12/20/08

the darkest of shadows, may have wilted across shallow waters
crushing every drop of vapor, that once streamed still on lands
gripping tight of the sand, that time has never quenched
bricks of wind being thrown around, as it echoes within the ground

gracious in every way, like a star that never wants to fade
the trails have been long tossed, for generations to amass
yet tomorrow is still unclear, as footsteps washed along the shore
unable to put a single motion, unable to bring a caution

stairs have been built, forever crawling onto the skies
some of the lines are going brittle, making way for a new harvest
they will keep on coming, glass shrieking loudly with tremor
stones are breathing heavy, with the rain marching in unity

nativity is moving closer, leaving holes with crisp sharp edges
weaving trees and boulders, wiping all that stands in its path
planting seeds along the way, till the dawning of the night
roots are burrowed deep, another cycle is meant to weep

*dreaming in a perspective of ones mystery*

unspeakable thoughts, swarming a simple mind
brainwaves travelling, as one side by side
a force that levels, the imbalance of oddity
dreaming in a perspective of ones mystery…

before a frigid soul, there was a lonely wicked spell
casted on that body, heavily anchored with farewells
the sight of emptiness, was so clear to see
eyes are blanketted, with hurtful memories….

but the heat gently melts, the aching away
emotions are high, moments are there to stay
feverish touch welded, by a scorching intimacy
dreaming in a perspective of ones mystery…

lips of a charcoal, burning canvass with deep red
resembles how an ocean, drifts the sun as it sets
drawing an artform, that have been etched while being sent
nevertheless diverted, to be seen but not felt….

i’ve collected my mind & composure seems so right
with these colony of words, marching towards each door
you’ll be a witness of this crazy, somewhat strange uncertainty
dreaming in a perspective of ones mystery…

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pagoda Cold Wave Lotion

These are the nights I would love to lie on my bed, wrap my arms around someone's chest,

and snuggle his back until we fall asleep.

But knowing my penchant for abandonment soon after someone gives in to my need.

which includes


Better to be left alone and endure the weariness on my own.

Little Miss Toothache

Lack of sleep has forced me to down bottles of Cobra Energy Drink. The sugar rush has kept me alert during the trainings, and has given me added strength doing my work outs. I was taking a big risk and I knew it. Too much glucose and it may trigger the latent Diabetes already imprinted on my genes.

The downside of guzzling an "energy drink" is that it replaces compound nutrients with basic carbohydrates. It means that I could last a day without having a meal (which I did, a couple of times) - unless I really force myself to eat. Strangely enough, I never felt weak or my body compromised. It seems the sugar rush sustained me

until it began assaulting my teeth.


I resolved the trouble of toothache by having my tooth extracted when I was a kid. It doesn't matter if I lose one because a tooth will replace the one that was taken away. When I became a little older, I resorted to almagam application to restore the damage. I've never been an enthusiast when it comes to oral hygiene so imagine the patches left by the pasta on my teeth.

Going back to the tooth problem, the symptoms began to appear after having a scrumptious Fried Chicken for lunch the other day. I do not know if it was the breading, but something tells me that Ministop's Chicken tastes very different from the others I have already tried. I took a nap shortly after the meal and when I woke up later that evening, the left side of my face began to feel a tinge of pain.

It's like the teeth within is being beaten by a drum stick.


I try to ignore the sting but when the pain suddenly assaults my senses, it keeps me from functioning well. This morning, the pain did not manifest after deciding not to resort to Cobra for my wakefulness. However, denying myself of stimulants to keep me awake, I was left in a lethargic state during the rest of the day.

Shift ended at 5 pm. I could have stayed longer to keep Mami Athena company. But with the pain becoming too agonizing, I had to excuse myself so I could secure an emergency appointment with the dentist. When I left the building, I ran towards the nearest ATM to withdraw money. Weird, when the one thousand bill spewed by the machine has slid over the palm of my hand, the sting ceased and the pain disappeared without a trace.

There. I don't know how to explain it, but it seems after realizing that I have to shell out money for some unplanned expense, the nerve connected to that part of my teeth that was in pain suddenly stopped sending pulses to my brain.

I hit off the gym instead.


Five things to keep the sting from returning:

1. coffee, instead of energy drink to keep me awake
2. water, lots and lots of it.
3. avoid sweets
4. never use the left molars for chewing
5. ponstan 500

Monday, September 14, 2009

Eye On The Tiger (Episode Eight)

[23:54] eltigre: muggs magkanu mag pa pasta ngayun

[23:55] knox galen: nasa 600 yata

[23:55] knox galen: butas ngipen mo no?

[23:55] eltigre: wah ang mahal pala

[23:55] knox galen: oo kaya

[23:56] eltigre: ganun

[23:56] eltigre: ang hirap naman maging ok sa panahong ito

[23:56] eltigre: :))

[23:56] knox galen: oo nga

[23:56] knox galen: kaya dapat hanap ka na mag-aalaga sa iyo

[23:57] eltigre: mag aalaga ?

[23:58] knox galen: uu

[23:58] knox galen: para hindi ka nagkakasakit

[23:58] knox galen: me pakilala akong tsik sayo gusto mo?

[23:58] eltigre: tsik sino

[23:58] knox galen: basta

[23:58] eltigre: cge basta ba

[23:59] eltigre: pasado ako e

[23:59] eltigre: :))

[23:59] eltigre: sigurista

[23:59] knox galen: pasado?

[00:00] eltigre: pasado ako sa knaya at syaa saken

[00:01] knox galen: haha

[00:01] knox galen: paano pag di siya pasado sayo?

[00:03] eltigre: mutual dpat syempre para kanaan na

[00:03] eltigre: joke alng

[00:03] eltigre: joke

[00:03] knox galen: uyy

[00:03] knox galen: tigang si miyawmiyaw

[00:03] knox galen: hahaha

[00:04] eltigre: me note ka na naman a

[00:04] eltigre: :))

[00:04] eltigre: nabasa ko knina

[00:04] knox galen: oo

[00:04] knox galen: baka isipin mo iniwan na kita eh

[00:05] eltigre: hidni naman

[00:05] eltigre: bait mo nga e

[00:06] knox galen: ako mabait?

[00:06] eltigre: oo kahit ayaw mo makipag usap

[00:06] eltigre: :))

[00:06] knox galen: aminin mo na, nagblublush ka kapag natatanggap mo yung mga
notes ko no

[00:06] eltigre: ngek ngek

[00:06] eltigre: blushing ang pucha

[00:06] knox galen: yari ka talaga sa akin

[00:06] knox galen: pag tinamad ka magbuhat!

[00:07] eltigre: oo hindi n

[00:07] knox galen: ikaw ren

[00:07] knox galen: papayat ka na

[00:07] knox galen: hindi ka na pogi.

[00:07] eltigre: hahaha

[00:07] knox galen: wala nang hunk sa gym

[00:08] eltigre: nge maraming hunk dun a

[00:08] eltigre: :))

[00:08] eltigre: ako alng pala

[00:08] knox galen: isa na ako

[00:08] knox galen: nyehehehehe


El Tigre and I became gym buddies after his membership signing. We used to have the same work-out schedule so we get to see each other at the gym. Often, he would take his Friday's off just to join my Saturday training. I didn't know if his moves were mere coincidences, but his constant presence had always been an inspiration. El Tigre impassioned me to lift bars better.

We used to be an inseparable pair and even the head coach must have noticed how we stayed until past midnight just to wait for the other to complete his routine. We would horse around to the annoyance of other members, and scoff at each other's ability to do reps until one of us declare an exercise failure. Everything changed when I was groomed for higher office at work and now that we seldom see each other, I fear that my absence had lessened his motivation.

Twice, he told me over Yahoo Messenger that he is getting bored: That he is becoming impatient with the results. I had to remind him that pumping iron is a lifelong commitment. My pep talk seems to have brought him back to his senses. As an encouragement, I tend to leave notes on a piece of paper inside his training folder. Etched on the note are the words "miyaw-miyaw" and includes a drawing of a cat. I don't know if it worked, but certainly, my efforts brought the two of us closer.

Sometimes I wonder how I am able to evade attachments when my actions go against my rule about crossing the line. There are times our platonic relationship gets blurry, especially when one shows sweetness to the other in ways nobody expects the other could do.

More than a month ago, I was pinned down by a 120 lbs barbell after my arms surrendered from doing presses. It was too heavy, I could not lift the bar off my chest. With no help coming, I struggled to free myself from being trapped. Suddenly, El Tigre ran towards my power cage to lift the barbell that was crushing me.

He left the spot taunting how weak I have become.

Yes, I felt weak after he became my knight in shining armor.

Maybe it is for the better that our different training schedule kept us from seeing each other. Perhaps, it is good that our contact stays with Meebo instead of calling or sending each other text messages or hanging out at the mall.

For at times, when I catch glimpse of El Tigre's boyish face - smiling sheepishly across my bench - as we took breaks between our exercise - I secretly wish he wasn't just my straight training buddy.

A secret part of me hope he is someone



[00:34] eltigre: muggs matutulogs na ako

[00:34] knox galen: sige

[00:34] eltigre: nasa work ka ata e

[00:34] knox galen: at maaga pa pasok mo mamaya

[00:34] knox galen: wala

[00:34] knox galen: nasa bahay lang

[00:34] eltigre: wag mo kwento ke coach mga aspirations ko a

[00:34] eltigre: :))

[00:34] knox galen: masyadong buraot sked ko eh

[00:34] knox galen: hahahhaa

[00:34] knox galen: sure

[00:34] knox galen: ibubulong ko lang

[00:34] knox galen: lol

[00:34] eltigre: loko

[00:35] eltigre: wag mo nga ikukwento

[00:35] eltigre: pag ready na

[00:35] knox galen: opo

[00:35] eltigre: ko

[00:35] knox galen: sige

[00:35] eltigre: nite

[00:35] knox galen: nite

[00:35] eltigre: rarrr!

[00:35] eltigre: hahaha

[00:35] knox galen: tulog na

[00:35] knox galen: miyawmiyaw

[00:35] Meebo Message: eltigre: is offline

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Drowned World (Epilogue)


Bronxdude and I were walking along Ayala Avenue when a white guy approached our direction. He was catching his breath, unable to speak clearly and his weary eyes expressed confusion. After a few seconds, he began telling his story. The white guy is a tourist who took a stroll around Makati when someone stole his wallet. He went to the police station to report the theft but the authorities were unable to provide assistance. He needed P300 pesos to return to Zambales. He never told us his reason for going there nor we bothered asking for it. What I do know is that he asked for our help and passing on the graciousness I received from Flame_and_Moth earlier that evening, I took out my wallet and pulled a P100 peso bill without having second thoughts about it.


Past 6 in the morning. O-Bar, Malate.

"Medyo mababa na ang tubig, baka gusto mo na umuwi?" I asked my companion.

"Okay lang, marami pa namang tao." His faint voice spoke of exhaustion. My dance partner needed rest.

"Tara, kaya natin to. Kasama mo naman ako eh."

Earlier, I overheard some gay guys speaking near the exit. One of them said there's a path going to Taft Avenue that is free of flood water. What we need to do is hop our way to Remedios and hopefully, find a cab that would take us home.

Nobody yet has chartered the route but it's a risk worth taking. Some guys who also overheard their conversation began trickling towards that direction. I followed them half of the way. Returning back to O-Bar, I insisted my companion to leave with me and join the new batch of brave souls who were already preparing for the treacherous journey.

"Ingat ka madulas ah!" I was in front, making sure our path remains unobstructed.

"Kapit sa kamay ko dude. Makipot ang daan."

"Talon ng mataas, hindi ka mahuhulog. Salo kita." My arms extended, even if he slips from hopping between two outcroppings, I would surely catch him before he falls to the ground.

The trek was indeed perilous, if not downright suicidal. Next to the narrow ledge where we tried to stick our feet were flood waters that reached our ankles. We crossed makeshift islands out of stacked stones, stepped on wobbly chairs set up by establishments eager to close before the sun was up and slid our feet across pavements made of ceramic tiles. Twice I nearly slipped - my balance only reclaimed by some timely corrections on my body posture. The heavy bag on my back and the skater's shoes I wore didn't help - I had to take them off unless I want to court a disastrous splashdown as we escaped from Malate.

The sky still heaved of Nimbus clouds which still threatened to burst open and the occasional drizzle soaked our already damp shirts, but we made it. Whoever said that Remedios Street was free of floods was heaven-sent. After several blocks of walking its entire stretch, my companion and I were able to reach Taft Avenue without immersing our feet in bacteria-infested waters. We are free, and the goal of reaching home rest on our sheer talent to navigate a city still submerged from a night-long downpour.

"Text me when you get home pare."

"Sige ba. Ano number mo ulit?" Nobody has ever gotten my number save for him who I'd danced last.


The rest of Taft Avenue was like an endless river whose treacherous waves swamped engines and left motorists stranded at the central island that divided the street into two. I was fortunate to hail a jeep bound for Avenida shortly after leaving my companion to his own fate. The jeep's refurbished engine, despite the knee-depth water tiring its motor never bogged down from the elements. Everywhere I look, there was only inundation. The only part of the route free from the deluge was the section of Taft Avenue across Manila City Hall. It was in that spot that I decided to drop-off and seek a larger vehicle that would take me home.

"Wala na pong bawian kapag nakakuha na kayo ng ticket!" The conductor announced.

We were like sardines packed inside the G-Liner Bus. Lucky for me, I was able to find a seat before it was overwhelmed by passengers eager to arrive at their destination. With my phone's battery almost dead, a last phone call received from mother was my assurance that she will not enter a state of panic should she not get a word from me.

"Buksan niyo na lang po ang bintana. Baka tayo tumirik sa daan kapag nagpumilit ho tayo mag aircon."

I cannot recall how long it took for the bus to arrive at the last flyover before my final drop-off. In between stopovers, I was able to steal naps needed to ready myself for wading the floods ahead. You see, the street crossing going to my neighborhood is infamous for its waist-deep waters. I was already warned inside the bus that there's no choice but to take the plunge.

It was easy to take a round trip journey and sleep until the bus reaches Cainta, but my doorstep was already within sight. The choice was settled when suddenly the bus driver did the unimaginable.

Habang papaahon ang bus sa Nagtahan Flyover, ito'y biglang nagcounterflow para maiwasan ang bumper-to-bumper traffic na nagbabadya sa aming harapan. Sa gitna ng tulay ay kitang kita kung paano nai-stranded ang mga jeep at truck patungong Silangan. Karamihan sa kanila'y inabot na ng umaga sa daan. Pagdating ng Vicente Cruz ay tanaw mo na ang ga-bewang na baha na nag-iintay sa Foreza. Heto ang bahang pinaghahandaan ko sa aking pagbaba ng bus.

Subalit, kati na ang tubig sa Vicente Cruz. Maari pa rin akong makauwi ng bahay ng hindi lumulusong sa baha.

Pagkaraan ng mahigit isang oras na paglalakbay galing O-Bar ay nakarating rin ako sa bungad ng aming baranggay. Gaya ng inaasahan ay lubog ito sa tubig. Ang sabi-sabi ng mga tambay ay hindi nabuksan ang Floodgate sa Santa Mesa kaya't ganito katindi ang baha.

Wala na akong pakialam sa kuro-kuro ng iba. Ang mahiga sa kama ang tanging nananaig sa aking damdamin.

Pumara ako ng Pedicab na magdadala sa akin sa harap ng aking apartment. Lubog ang kalsada - pati ang loob ng mga bahay ay pinasok rin ng tubig. Ang mga kapitbahay na nakasalubong ko sa daan ay pabirong nagsabi na ihanda ko na ang sapatos sa paglusong sa tubig. Mismong aking tiyuhin na nakatambay sa daan ay nagsabing maaring pinasok rin ng tubig ang aming pintuan.

Malapit na akong mawalan ng pag-asa, lalo pa't tanaw ko na ang driveway papasok ng unit.


Sa hindi maipaliwanag na dahilan ay nakarating ako sa harap ng aming bahay na tuyo ang pantalon at pati na rin ang medyas. Tanging ang unit lang namin at ang kalsadang sinasakop nito ang hindi inabutan ng baha. Save for one shoe na nahulog sa tubig habang tumutulay sa Malate, talampakan ko lang ang nakatikim ng tubig ulan.

Hindi na ako nagpakita sa dancefloor matapos ang umagang iyon. Ngayon ay ikatlong linggo ko ng malayo sa fast lane. Sa wakas ay nagising rin ako sa posibilidad na kaya ko palang talikuran ang Malate.

Ang aking naging kasama buong magdamag - si ex dance partner number 2, ay nakarating rin sa kanilang bahay. Panay pa rin ang text nito subalit ni minsan ay hindi ako nagreply. Naging mailap na rin ang aking puso sa iba. Tila napagod na ito sa pakikipagkompromiso.

Hindi ko alam kung hanggang kailan magiging ganito ang pagtingin ko sa buhay. Hindi ko rin sigurado kung kailan muling maaninag ang aking mapaglarong anino sa Malate. Anuman ang naging resulta ng isang gabing pakikipagsapalaran makauwi lang ng bahay, isang bagay lang ang napatunayan ko sa sarili.

Learning from experience, I need nobody to look after me.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Rummaged some graphic artworks I did in college.

Dawn and dusk have always been my element.

Himala 2

Himala 1


3D Modelling was possible using Bryce 2.0

Friday, September 11, 2009


"Gisingin niyo po sana ako sa aking pagtulog sakaling pagsubok ay mang-hamon habang ako ay nahihimbing..."

A nightly secret prayer.
The poetic version


It was past four in the morning when I was rudely awakened from my sleep. With my groins aching, I had to get up and take a leak. Across the bed sat the television. It was showing reruns of CatDog on Nickelodeon. Earlier last night, I remember setting the tv on auto-sleep before going to bed. It was already a force of habit - now that we're cutting back on our electric bill. As to why the TV wasn't switched off, reasons still elude me. Maybe I forgot to press the auto-sleep on the remote control after all.

Dragging myself to the toilet, I had to shift gears to avoid my boner taking shape beneath my tight boxers. The nearest bathroom is inside the master's bedroom and my mom is usually up during this unforgiven hour. Should she notice me wrestling with my stiffie, she wouldn't probably speak. But still, it would be the most embarassing encounter between a mother and her son.

A faint white light glowed from her bedside lamp. She was lying on a fetal position when I entered the room. Rarely do I catch her in that bed position so I knew something was wrong. Her frowned expression should already be a cause for alarm. "She must be in pain," I assumed. Yet, since my balls were about to burst, I dashed towards the bathroom before asking about her condition. When I returned to cover her back with a blanket, it was she who asked me the question.

"Gising ka pa?" She inquired.

"Kakagising lang? Bakit?"

"Kakagising mo lang? Natanggap mo ba yung text ko?" I usually check my phone for messages everytime I am being stirred from my slumber. This morning however, the urgency to go to the bathroom kept me from checking my phone.

"Bakit mama, may problema?"

"Masakit ang dibdib ko."

I learned that my mom was already in pain since last night. She compared the pain to an imaginary dagger being lodged on the right part of her chest. It felt like it had sliced through her muscles. I even caught her wincing everytime her nerves were being assaulted by the sting.

To play down her condition was my first line of defense. Worrying would lead to nothing and it might just worsen her condition. It was stress on her part. The troubles with my utol, (who is out of the house again since last night) the problems with the sikyu business (who tapped her to bring back order to the doomed enterprise) and the long hours at work (to get the attention of her stubborn students) is taking a toll on her well-being. Much as I would like to take away her misery, the least thing I could do is lessen her burdens by sticking completely by her side.

And keeping myself out of trouble.

"Uminom ka na ba ng gamot sa puso?" I asked while rubbing her back.

"Kagabi pa. Masakit nga ulo ko dahil sa Isodryl eh." The tiny table which she puts under the tongue is the only pill that whisks her away from a heart attack.

"Hindi ka na ba puwede uminom ulit nun?"

"Naubos na kasi. Di ko naman alam na magkakaganito." my hope is that she's not cutting back on her medicine again.

Instead of nagging about putting her welfare behind the needs of home, I quietly pulled the sheets up to cover her body part still exposed to the bitter winds of the electric fan. Placing myself in her bedside, I decided to stay until sleep returns to her.

"Tulog ka na ma, dito lang ako hanggang umaraw." I assured while placing some pillows behind her back.

The minutes went by without ever getting noticed. In between stroking her back, caressing her arms and reading a poetry book her sister sent last week, I waited for the sun to swing and peek through the cracks of her lone window.

As I scan my gaze over my mom's now calmed face, a sense of relief settles beneath my well-concealed frightened state. Should she asked to be rushed to the hospital, it would be me alone who will bring her there. If my groin had not urged me to get up and go to the bathroom, I wouldn't learn about her alarming condition.

And if I fail to wake up should emergencies like this happen in the future, I do not know what to find out when I check her out in the morning. There are so many possible scenes, which would only cloud my judgement and it would take an insane amount of time just to figure out how to cast away the guilt should these things occur just when I'm not looking.

Nevertheless, one thing holds true: luck still smiles at me.

I left my mother's bedside at past six. She was praying the rosary when I told her my desire to return to my room. Finding my cellphone lying on the floor, there was a text message awaiting access from my inbox.

It was from my mom. Sent a few minutes before I ignorantly barged into her quarters.

"Anak, sumasakit dibdib ko."

The message read.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Behind The Smoke Screen

The best governments in the world cannot succeed in pulling a country out of the quagmire, out of apathy, if they do not express themselves as national energies...Strong governments cannot result either from conspiracies or from military coups, just as they cannot come out of the machinations of parties or the Machiavellian game of political lobbying. They can only be born from the actual roots of the Nation

Plinio Salgado

How do you deal with life when:

The source of your fortune has been stolen. The people entrusted to run it have betrayed you. The ringleaders who lead your banishment are now facing mountains of troubles parting the spoils, and since you are the sole key in restoring the balance, they hound you to fix the mess they created in the first place.

Now you want to pull out but you don't know how.


Your utol has run away for reasons only a nincompoop would understand. She doesn't talk to your mom to explain her side. She wanted to reach out to you hoping you would still understand. In truth, you're already royally pissed off. Her behavior is becoming too intolerable. You just want to leave her alone and bear the grudges until such time you're ready to lash back and hurl the bitterness you've stirred in silence.

What makes your suffering heavier is knowing that she's in the company of brats who passionately believe in an ideology that is long dead, while you toil day and night hoping that you meager salary could ease the burden of running a house that is on the verge of falling apart.


Your mom is sick again. She has a lump on her neck and you gravely fear it might be something else. You can't do anything about it. She doesn't want to see a doctor and her medicines are slicing deep into your pocket. You never complain. Instead, you quietly make some time to procure her needs.

To top this off, your personal income goes to paying the credit card bills and now that you have been denied access to the source of your fortune, all you can do is hope that your savings will be able to hold back the cascade of money troubles long enough until the sibling gets back to her senses.

Before it's too late.


At work, you are still in training. Learning becomes difficult especially when you're very afraid to fuck up with your decisions. Your salary get some boosts, but since your promotion isn't announced yet, everything could be taken away just when you are very desperate to prove your worth.


Lastly, someone got hurt very deeply. You don't know how to make up for the sins you've committed. You want to offer an apology, but words mean nothing now. You just burned a bridge that will let you pass where happily ever after exist on the other side. But you know you can't cross so you destroyed it. You destroyed it so that no one from the other side can pull you across to share his happiness. You have your reasons. Part of it is that you know you can't return his affection.

You can't share your troubled existence.

Therefore you put some distance and drove him away with words you hardly express. You wanted to spare him from your hang-ups, but in the process, left him disappointed. At night, you still think of could have been's if your life is solely yours. You know what you felt, but you had to kill it to save someone from yourself.


Juggling these juggernauts, I now understand why a State in peril requires a Fascist government.

It's because order is restored, hopefully, by embracing a one-track mind to survive.

But when the utol arrived home after this entry was published. I learned that fury has no place in a home that is still nurtured with...

...Instead of spitting the most vile words on the planet,

hatred was replaced by a tight hug.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mirror, Mirror

One overcast morning, I stood across the wall from where the mirror stood. Looking at the guy reflected on its surface, I asked him do I look gwapo. With a face looking like it just came from the battlefield - shabby hair, oily skin, and with gaundy eyes making pa-kyut in front of the mirror, The man obviously didn't speak. Instead, he just stared back without saying a word. Disappointed, I went back to my room and cam-whored using my phone until I was satisfied with the photos I took.


On some rare ocassions, the guy in the mirror do acknowledge my presence. Just like this night, while mom was glued on her favorite Kapamilya teleserye I stood across the wall to ask again the age-old question.

"Do I look good?" I inquired. No word came back.

Just when I was about to leave, I heard a voice speaking. Finally, the elusive self granted me an audience.

"I find your broad shoulders hot, and so is your new haircut." He said. In my head, of course.

"Now stop bugging me. It's not so you to ask this silly question."

I left the spot, happy with the mirror's reply.

The Vision

You first saw it here on Souljacker's Blog. Lets see how the future goes.

Angels and Demons
August 5, 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Drowned World (Last Part)

Ang lahat ay may hangganan. Pati mga pangarap, minsan ay kailangang talikuran. Sa mahabang panahong ligaw ang aking kaluluwa sa Malate, natagpuan ko lang ang liwanag sa pagsapit ng bukang-liwayway kapalit ng kadilimang bumabalot sa lugar na yun.

Matapos magpaalam ang aking ka-tropa upang sundan ang kanyang mga bagong kasama, naiwan akong nag-iisa at umaasam na muling balikan ng aking unang kalandian. Tinapos ko na rin ang ugnayang namamagitan sa amin ng huli kong kaparis sa dance floor at nang muling magkapalitan ng tingin ay may kasama na itong iba. Ilang saglit pa ang aking pinalipas bago ihanda ang sarili na makipaglaro sa iba, subalit hindi pa man ako nakakagalaw ay may tumapik sa aking braso.

Isang binata na hindi ko kaagad nakilala ang mukha.

"Kanina ka pa ba?" Bungad nito sa akin.

"Hindi naman, kararating ko lang." Pasinungaling kong sagot sa kanya.

Habang magkausap ay muling umagos ang ala-alang iniwan naming dalawa. Siya si ex-dance partner number 2, ang nakaparis kong sumayaw mahigit isang buwan na ang nakaraan. Ang kuwento naming dalawa ay maihahambing sa isang One Night Stand na nagkaroong kadugtungan. Kararating ko lang sa bar noon at ang pakay kong una ay ang banyo. Habang nakapila ay nagtagpo ang aming mga mata. Taglay ang maamong mukha, madali akong nahulog sa binata. Naging magkaparis kami buong gabi. Dala ng alak, libog at katawang hindi mapaghiwalay, saksi ang dance floor sa aming lantarang paghahalikan. Sa tuwing pinagmamasdan ko ang kanyang mga bilugang mata, naalala ko ang mga Engkanto. Alam kong ikagagalak nila kung ang lalaking kaulayaw ay aking ipakikilala.

Natapos ang gabi na nalaman kong ang aking kasama ay tumakas lang pala. Sa kabila noon ay nagpumilit akong maiuwi ang binata - o kahit mai-motel man lang. Subalit umatras ito sa aking imbitasyon at sa halip ay pilit ibinaba ang zipper ng aking pantalon.

Pumalag ako. Hindi ko binalak ma-chupa sa daan.

Umuwi akong mag-isa ng umagang iyon. Gustuhin ko man siyang samahan ngunit hangad niya ang magsolo muna. Sa kabila ng pagpapalitan ng numero, pinili kong hindi i-text ang binata. Alam ko naman na sa aking pamamaalam ay ang kanyang pagbabalik sa iniwanan naming club.


Pinili ko ang mag-stick kay ex-dance partner number 2 sa kabila ng aming masaklap na nakaraan. Bukod kasi sa pagdikit nito sa akin ay wala rin akong ma-seryosong iba. Naging magkasama man kami ay alam kong iba na ang pakitungo niya sa akin. Wala na ang hawakan ng bewang at mailap na ang kanyang mga kamay sa pagpisil sa aking sentro.

Lumalim ang gabi at kasabay noon ang pagbuhos ng napakalakas na ulan.

Makailang beses na iniwan ko si ex-dance partner number 2 upang maghanap ng ibang prospect. Naroon si wasted daddy na ilang ulit akong tinanong kung bakit hindi ako nahuhumaling sa kanya. (Sa totoo lang, trip ko rin siya, subalit dahil sa kanyang paniniwala na hindi ako pumapatol sa lalaking mas barako sa akin, pinili niya ang lumandi sa mga nagkalat na effeminates sa lugar) Naroon din ang mag-jowang mukhang sanggano na nagsasayaw sa dance floor. Isang beses ay nakasabay ko sa pag-jinggel ang mas astig sa kanila at nauwi ang aming pag-ihi sa laplapan at kapaan ng burat sa loob ng CR. Paglabas naming dalawa ay tila hindi kami magkakilala. Ang pakilala niyang kaibigan habang kami ay nakapila ay asawa pala niya.

At si ex-dance partner number 2? Nakahanap siya ng ibang ka-trip, subalit matalino ang binata. Hindi niya ako pinapakawalan hangga't hindi siya pinapatulan ng kanyang pinopormahan.

Ganito kasi ang nangyari.

Magkasayaw kaming dalawa. Dikitan kung sa dikitan. Sa likod namin ay may isang moreno at makisig na binata. Singkit ang kanyang mga mata at may dimples ito sa pisngi. Nakatayo ito malapit sa amin at pinagmamasdan ang mga lalaking nagsasayaw sa ibabaw ng ledge. Habang nakapulupot ang aking mga kamay sa bewang ni ex-dance partner number 2, ang kanyang mga mata naman ay nakatitig sa binata. Ito ay nang-aakit at nagpupumilit makakuha ng atensyon ng isang lalaking ayaw pumansin sa kanya. Sa tuwing ako ay lilingon upang sipatin ang kanyang sinisilipan, ito'y tatalikod sa akin upang ikiskis ang kanyang puwitan. Minsan naman ay ako'y itong yayakapin huwag lang makaramdam na iba na pala ang kanyang nilalapitan.

Pansamantala akong lumayo upang makadiskarte ang aking kasayaw. Lumibot ako sa paligid para nagmasid sa mga taong hindi na makalabas ng bar. Ang karamihan sa kanila ay lasing at pagod na, mangilan-ngilan ang magkayakap sa dilim. Sa aking pagbabalik ay inaasahan kong ang kaparis ko at ang binata na ang magkasama, subalit iba pala ang trip ng kanyang prospect. Si ex dance partner number 2 na halos ako ay iwanan ay dali-daling bumalik at nakipagsayaw sa akin muli.

Patuloy ang buhos ng ulan at ang mga kalsadang nasa paligid ng O-Bar ay napailalim na sa baha. At gaya ng delubyong humagip sa makulay ngunit malungkot na buhay sa Malate, ang sidhing bumabalot sa aking pagkatao ay nag-uudyok na iwanan na lamang ang aking kasama at sumuong sa tubig na magdadala sa akin papalayo sa lugar na iyon.

Ngunit nangibabaw ang aking pagmakatao, mas pinili kong makasama ang isang lalaking hindi mapapasa-akin kailanman.


Tumila na ang ulan subalit ang mga parokyano ay patuloy pa rin sa pagsayaw. Ang paligid ay unti-unti nang nagliliwanag ngunit ang lawang ikalawang beses ko pa lang nakitang nagpalubog ng Malate ay hindi pa rin kumakati. Bakas sa mukha ng mga naiwan ang pagod at antok. Ngawit man ang mga binti subalit walang puwesto na puwedeng maupo.

Sa huli ay natanggap na rin ng aking kasama na wala siyang ibang maasahan kundi ako lamang. Lahat ng tao sa loob ng bar ay nagparis-paris na samantalang ang mga bigo namang makahanap ng kabiyak ay muling bumalik sa kani-kanilang mga tropa. Galing sa banyo, hinawi ko ang mga tao upang makabalik sa aking dating puwesto. Natagpuan ko aking partner nakatayo sa spot kung saan ko siya iniwan. Habang pinagmamasdan ang malulungkot niyang mga mata, isang bugso ng damdamin ang kumurot sa aking puso. Naiintindihan ko na kung bakit hindi ko maiwanan ang aking dating nakalaplapan sa kabila ng mga pagkakataong makapiling ang iba.

Hawig pala niya si Ex.

I traded fame for love
Without a second thought
It all became a silly a game
Somethings cannot be bought

I got exactly what I asked for
Wanted it so badly
Running, rushing back for more
I suffered fools so gladly

And now I find
I've changed my mind

Substitute For Love

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Parable

Lest I do something stupid, I should always consult this little gem of wisdom sent to me by someone from above .

[In short: Napagalitan ako ng bonggang bongga sa trabaho kanina.]


Lesson 1:

A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her own shower, when the doorbell rings.

The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs.

When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next-door neighbor.

Before she says a word, Bob says, ‘I’ll give you $800 to drop that towel.’

After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob, after a few seconds, Bob hands her $800 and leaves.

The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs.

When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, ‘Who was that?’

‘It was Bob, our next door neighbor,’ she replies.

‘Great,’ the husband says, ‘did he say anything about the $800 that he owes me?’


If you share information with your fellow officers in a timely manner,
you will more likely be in a position to prevent a costly or regrettable mistake.

Lesson 2:

A priest offered a Nun a lift.

She got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to reveal a leg.

The priest nearly had an accident.

After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg.

The nun said, ‘Father, remember Psalm 129?’

The priest removed his hand. But, changing gears, he let his hand slide up her leg again.

The nun once again said, ‘Father, remember Psalm 129?’

The priest apologized ‘Sorry, sister but the flesh is weak.’

Arriving at the convent, the nun sighed heavily and went on her way.

On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to look up Psalm 129. It said, ‘Go forth and seek, further up you will find glory.’


If you are not well informed about your job, you might miss a great opportunity.

Lesson 3:

A sales rep, a clerk, and their manager are walking to lunch when they come across an antique oil lamp lying on the road.

They get it, rub it, and poof! A Genie comes out.

The Genie says, ‘I’ll give each of you just one wish.’

‘Me first! Me first!’ says the clerk. ‘I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world!’

Poof! She’s gone.

‘Me next! Me next!’ says the sales rep. ‘I want to be in Vegas, with an endless supply of money, and the all the time in the world to keep on gambling!’

Poof! He’s gone.

‘OK, you’re up next,’ the Genie says to the manager.

The manager says: ‘I want those two back in the office after lunch.’


When making decisions, never pre-empt your boss.

Lesson 4:

An eagle was sitting on a very tall tree, just looking at the clouds move, enjoying the view. A small rabbit saw the eagle and asked him, ‘Hey, what are you doing up there?"

The eagle said, "Nothing much. Just doing what I want to do, enjoying myself."

The rabbit went, "Wow! Can I also sit like you and just do what I want?’

The eagle answered: ‘Sure, why not.’

So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the eagle and just watched while some ants kept working in the distance.

All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit, and ate it.


To be just sitting around, doing only what you want,
you must be in a very high position.

Lesson 5:

A turkey was chatting with a bull:

‘I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree’ sighed the turkey, ‘but I haven’t got the energy.’

‘Well, why don’t you nibble on some of my droppings?’ replied the bull. They’re packed with nutrients.’

The turkey pecked at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree.

The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch.

Finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree.

He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.

Bullshit might get you to the top, but it won’t keep you there permanently.

Lesson 6:

A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold that the bird froze and fell to the ground, onto a large field.

While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him.

As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was. The dung was actually thawing him out!

He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy.

A passing cat heard the bird singing, and came to investigate.

Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, promptly dug him out and ate him.


Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy.

Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.

And when you’re in deep shit, it’s best to keep your mouth shut!


Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Croissant

"You like Dunkin Donuts ba?" The message read. I was busy doing some work-related stuff at that time so I delayed replying to his text message.

10 minutes later, I received another message in my phone's inbox.

"I'm here in Eclipse Gym. Lapit lang po ba dito office mo?"

Urgency demands to send a reply this time, lest I might leave the person on the other line lost in the vast expanse of Wack-Wack neighborhood should I continue ignoring his text message.

"Malayo po eh. Sa looban pa ako ng addtn hills. Ingat sa pag-drive."

"I have something for you so you won't have to think of lunch later." Flattered to the verge of being embarrassed, I discouraged him to pursue his goal. In all the years I've been romantic with anyone, only few - were able to show this kind of sweetness to me.

It's always the other way around.

"Waaah! Dyahe naman. Marami pasikot-sikot from Eclipse going to my office in [Name of the street] Can't even instruct cab drivers where to turn going here. Sobrang thanks! But if u would get lost or into trouble finding my building, okay lang kahit hindi na. Sobrang naappreciate ko yan."

Somehow I felt my reply might have disappointed him.

I tried my best to put myself in his shoes. There he was, braving the dark and dangerous back streets of Addition Hills, while in the comforts of my office cubicle, the only encouragement I showed was to turn him away. I know something's not right. Guilt ridden, my better angels were telling me to give him directions.

After all, no one has ever come this close.

Armed with the best navigational instructions I could muster, every back-street which I denied earlier suddenly got their names back. Every turn, every corner and every landmark was revealed to serve as a guide towards my building. I warned him that the building where we hold office was unmarked. He remained persistent. By then I was sure that no matter how confusing my instructions were, will still lead him towards my location.

Whatever that drives him, I'll leave to his interpretation.


The first time someone attempted to find my office, his efforts were turned down vigorously. The guy offered to bring me some snacks but my conscience insists that I can't let him get close. He was in a relationship. I was in a relationship. And whatever ties that bound us can be summed up with a raunchy one night stand.

The second one who did the attempt was discouraged even before his feet set forth to find me. It was the ex and we were about to split up when he thought of showing up in the office to pick me up. His gesture was sweet, but I saw the whole charade as a desperate attempt to win me back. In five years we were together, he never bothered to make such move. It was me who picked him up and in many occasions brought him straight to his home. Therefore I told him politely that his efforts were appreciated. But no. It was too late for him to turn back the tide.

Less than a week later, I finally left his side.

In times I still remember how to daydream, my mind plays a scene where a guy would park his car in front of the building and wait for me to get off from work. In full view of my colleagues, I would slide myself into the passenger seat and plant a kiss to his cheek. We would then leave to head off to a better place - unmindful of what the people will say the following day.

But daydreams are for kids.

Reality are for those whose eyes have seen how dreams fail.


"I'm here na po."

I stood up from my cubicle without breathing a word. Passing in front of the supervisor, it didn't matter if I sought his permission to take a break or not. Walking quietly along the hallway and into the waiting elevator, confusion reigns over my head.

Why did I reveal my location?

Emerging from the huge gate that separates the inner parkway from the main street, I found his Toyota Corolla parked not far from a bunch of people who would soon become my subordinates. They were having their cigarette break and being new to their shift, I chose not to reveal my true color. Opening the passenger door, I slid myself inside the car. Only few words were spoken, but my hand gripped the one whose hand is still moist from wrestling the steering wheel while driving across the city.

Returning to my work station, I opened the Styrofoam box to find a Croissant waiting to be eaten. It didn't take long for my stomach to grumble. Who in his right mind would resist a crescent-shaped bread with ham and cheese filling? It's ambrosia tempting and its presence starved me. However something tells me to wait. The provider must be honored in subtle ways I could.

"Thank you sobra..." If only he knew how his pasalubong brightened up my weary day.

"I will wait for you to get home before I eat this."

The minutes rolled over while keeping my gaze fixed toward the Croissant. Around me were colleagues who were eating their lunches at past 2 in the morning. Remembering how I evaded people from ever finding my workplace, the sudden revelation made me feel a little uncomfortable. Was it a sign of surrender? Wrestling the hesitations, the guilt, and the ever-looming past insisting to be remembered, I got a text message from the one who made the effort to find me.

The one who might become the next ruler of my...

"Nakauwi ka na po?" I inquired. My tummy was already mounting a revolution.

"Just parking the car. Enjoy your lunch po, I'm home na."

In a matter of seconds, the bread was already within my grasp. Firmly. As I was about to take the first bite, one final thought came to mind.

I guess some past needed to be forgotten to allow a better future to come.

With this, the bread and its filling melted inside my mouth like the fears of getting attached I am temporarily leaving behind.