Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Travel Writing

It was past eleven in the evening. A heavy downpour earlier that night has left much of the city under flood water. Drenched, (I forgot to bring my umbrella so I used my bag to cover my head) I boarded the fifth jeep I passed by. An FX from Ortigas won't be coming.

Besides, it's getting late.

The jeep was snarled in traffic. The four lane avenue was overwhelmed with cars and trucks trying to squeeze at the middle. A few blocks away, the road had sunk beneath the murky torrent. A nearby creek has overflowed again.

I could have taken a nap while waiting for the vehicles to untangle themselves. But the thrill of seeing the jeep wading through, with waves lapping against a surface kept my mind awake. Despite being in my 30s, some childish wonders remain. I used to get upset when the jeep I am riding deliberately avoids passing through flooded streets.
The cars were still not moving. To keep myself busy, I thought of drawing the rosary and use the idle time to commune with the almighty. But prayers require a special time. It is as if everyone inside the jeep shared my faith. The attention I'd be getting might cast me in a bad light. 

So the next thing I did was to press the keypad of my Samsung phone. It's easier to pretend texting someone instead of running my fingers on the wooden beads, half-exposed inside my backpack. But composing a message to a friend wasn't my idea of passing time. I was penning the words of the blog entry you are reading right now.

I have always known that the mind travels inside a moving vehicle. Maybe its the change of landscape that allows a person to ruminate, or perhaps the dizzying passage of objects in a frame drowns a writer in contemplation. I have experienced it before, inside a G-Liner Bus going to Recto. The last rays of sunlight ached my hungry soul. So strong was my urge to write a poem, but to do it in a piece of paper using a green pen will only give me a headache.

Lately, I take advantage of the mind-speak to write articles for the raketship. The swiftness of translating thoughts into sentences outruns anything I create while churning words in a study. A 500-word essay gets done in 30 minutes. Minus the editing, the time saved enables me to do other things.

Including harvesting of good thoughts.

For some reason, this lullaby of the head never gets broken. Even right now, when the jeep parts the deluge  in front of the Jose Rizal University. Any moment, the engine may go kaput and we, the passengers may be forced to dip our feet into the icy waters of Kalentong. But here I am, bent on making this disarrayed thoughts a solid narrative.

There is a reason for the flowering of words. The heart becomes eloquent when the mind finds clarity. I cannot say how it is done, but the words seem to flow, like a river on its transit to the sea. The trip is like a short story. The plot can be told in many ways, but the idea is what's driving the storyteller to reach the port.

I am getting closer to home now and this mental monologue is coming to an end. Two more road crossings, a bridge over a railway and a metro station, whose underbelly becomes the basin of Manila and I am off this vessel. To publish this musing in its pure form depends on my fancy. Perhaps, I may find it too pretentious, too cluttered, or its soul maybe lacking. Disappointed, I might ditch the exercise completely. What is important is that I got myself a blog entry at a time when my voice threatens to disappear under torrents of other worries.

To wade through, like the jeep inches me towards my destination. 


red the mod said...

You take what you can from any situation, distill the profound from the pedestrian, and weave literature from the litter of the quotidian. You are a writer, and in as much as it is a solitary and hermetic endeavor, you must always look to your reality for the morsels you must create from. I find that the urbane always has something clandestine and candid to offer, if only one knows where to look. This raw style of yours, was sorely missed.

eon said...

maybe this is just me but your 'voice' is different here when i compare it to your other writing.

i do get this too, days when the words just flow, and my celfone's full qwerty keyboard help me catch up with the pace of my thoughts.

Jon said...

i echo eon. this entry has a different feel to it. most of the time, you (really do) make people want to write (true).

i once told the fox you are the white rabbit that lures people to wonderland (blogging).

bien said...

I like it. It complements that old entry of yours when you visited quiapo or was it recto?
The heart becomes eloquent when the mind finds clarity.
I thought it's the other way around.

OK, that's me trying to make a sensible comment after reading red's, eon's and jon's lolzzzzzz

sana pala nagpapigil na lang ako.

the green breaker said...

I thought it was just me, that I find writing while in transit to be easier. The blur of the urban landscape, the overwhelming aggregate of visual manna, the ability to focus on a specific picture gives me a tableau for narration. Sometimes, too, the pressure to write mingles with the correct inspiration to start it and thoughts would start running freely, one might be afraid that it will have less cohesion than the usual. I find time editing at home after syncing the Notes. Apparently, when I look at the work, I tap myself at the back for I would never write more beautiful expletives if compared to writing somewhere stagnant. Movement is a muse.

Anonymous said...

we have the same phone. hehehe

and yes, the memo section is where my drafts are.


Nate said...

it has always fascinated me how you turn into writing something beautiful out of a bothersome experience.. markings of a true writer..

hahaha.. pareho kami ni bien.. may masabi lang.. :P

i ran out of words.. nakakalunod naman kc ang comments nila red, eon, jon, and joe.. :P

Leo said...

I'm amazed as to how you can articulate a simple thought and translate it to this kind of entry.

Ang galing! :)

Seth said...

Anjan lang pala kayu sa paligid ^^

Pepe said...

very nice writing, Mugen.

relate, sa haba ng travel time ko to and fro work, nakakapagsulat ako while on the road.

pero naramdaman mo ba yong tipong kelangan mo tapusin ang sinusulat mo while on travel because when the ride ends, thoughts halt as well? as if writing and thoughts dance with the transient movements of the world.

char. nakisali lang. lol

Lyka Bergen said...

Hey Mugen! What's ur FB account?

Mugen said...


Send ko sa iyo sa Gmail mo madam. :)


Sobrang iba kaya yung first version nitong entry na ito. The original "Travel Writing" is the skeleton, saka ko na lang ni-flesh out yung details nung nasa mood na ako magsulat.


Tiga dun ka pala?


Uy thanks idol. :) All it takes is a clear mind.

Mugen said...


There is beauty in mundane things. And its fun when you find awareness. =)


I wonder if we could still compose sentences in public if we have a more high-end phone.


You resonate my thoughts. Ang galing no?


In fair, napaisip ako dun... Pero after kong i-publish ito, nasabaw ulit ako. Wahaha.

Mugen said...


Writing is infectious. Especially when you seldom talk to people about your stories.

Nahipo naman ako sa sinabi mo kay Fox. Salamat. :)


Tranquility overwhelmed me when I was writing the published version. But yes, this is my refined voice. Lol.

Thanks for noticing.


I have a theory as to why the entry ended this way. Will write about it next time.

dabo said...

agree with you red.. pero, i really don't miss this raw style of mr mugen.. his works could dent the psyche and can be spirit one would love to keep..

(teka teka i love this post too!)

Kiks said...

you hit home with this, M.

(are we FB friends yet?)

Wilberchie said...

uso pa pala yung send ng quotes sa phone...

super tagal ko nang di nakakreceive! hihi!!

@ATE Lyka

homaygash!!!! super miss na kita!!! isang LTE Runway naman dyan! hgihihi!

Lyka Bergen said...

Teka ka nga Mugen... wala akong GMail. Kung meron man, di ko na ginagamit. Hhehehhee! BTW, Have u tried turntable.fm? We can chat there while we listen and talk about music we like. Kaya lang we should be friends sa FB muna para ma invite kita.

Leave a message sa LTE, iwan mo FB name mo. Dont worry i wont publish it. OKs?