Thursday, January 31, 2013

Message In A Bottle

You, who will take notice, already noticing, or secretly guarding my back.
I may still need some soul fixing.
And organic upgrades.
But just so you know,
I am not yet a train wreck.

I have survived in one piece.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Patient Diego (Last Part)

Previously on Souljacker

Allow me to recount the events of the hospital confinement. For in remembering, we will know vigilance. The couple and their baby stayed in a semi-private ward for five days. Not leaving his bedside, taking turns watching the sick child, the parents drowning in sorrow and dread as the battery of laboratory tests failed to identify the cause of the baby's illness; the hardships of having a loved one in a hospital is a learning and humbling experience.


Shift ends at 2 in the afternoon. After work is done, I accompanied my mom and the kid's older brother to the hospital. They went to visit. 

I had to shell out 8 thousand for the down payment. Doctors were still unable to figure what illness struck the little tyke.


I went straight to the hospital after leaving the office. Task was to deliver extra clothes and blankets for the couple. It took me a G-Liner bus from my place in Santa Mesa to reach the corner of Taft Avenue and Ayala Boulevard. From there, it's a stroll all the way to T.M. Kalaw and into Manila Doctors.

Avoiding the noise and air pollution of Taft, I made a detour at Luneta. 

Little red spots began to appear on the patient's back and tummy. Doctors suspect Measles.


Restday. The matriarch had to go to work and Baby Lenin cannot be left alone with the kasambahay. I had to stay home and help with the babysitting.

When my mom returned in the evening, I went to the hospital to deliver water and meals. Baby Diego was sound asleep when I arrived. 

Red spots had already spread on his ears, face, chest and legs. Fever has disappeared.


Last day of my break. Returned to the hospital for a visit. Baby Diego's health has improved. However, he still had a hard time eating because of a viral infection of the throat. It pains to swallow. Since it was almost dusk, I went to the famed bay to catch the sunset. 

When I returned to the hospital, I was told that the baby can go home the next day.


I was on my way to the office when my mom sent an SMS.

"Uuwi na si Diego," the message read. "Patulong naman sa kanila."

I got off the FX and returned home at once.

The instructions from my mother was simple and clear. I will take the car and the driver with me to the bank and withdraw money. It will be used to pay for the hospital bill. I will then help the couple move out of the semi-private ward.

After returning home, only then can I go to work.

What is supposed to be an hour-long business with the cashier took an entire afternoon to finish. The hospital's collection department demanded that we pay the outstanding balance from previous boarding and medical services. The balance dated back from the time Baby Diego was born, and which, my sister continues to pay at that time.

We tried to negotiate with the hospital - even at one point, invoking the name of the Favorite Aunt - to let us continue with the old arrangement. Manila Doctors refused. The head of the collections department even said that our relative had already abused some hospital privileges to accommodate us.

"Until you haven't paid the balance in full," the lady administrator said. "Parking stickers won't be issued to your aunt."

"Nakakahiya naman diba?"

A cold spray of shame - of knowing who really suffered from our convenience - forced me to access the secret family stash. Hidden from my sister, (out of fear that its presence will give her a notion of a sheltered life) the money - or what's left of it - can only be used in dire situations.

After consultations with my mom, a sizable sum was withdrawn from my bank account. I made it appear that a friend works across the street and he decided to lend his money so we can bring my nephew home.

In the days of confinement, I became a foster parent to my older nephew, Lenin. His toy cars became my playthings. His little plastic food bowl I held below his face (he needs to learn to eat vegetables) and at one time, after coming from the hospital to visit his brother, I held him in my arms until he fell asleep.

I did these while also packing the bags with provisions and deliver them to the weary couple. There were days I would bring toys to Baby Diego. Seeing him smile and giggle was enough assurance that everything will turn okay.

And he did.

Final diagnosis was measles and a viral infection of the throat. Baby Diego stayed in the hospital at the cost of an Apple Ipad 2. I would foot half the bill, lose a day at work and suffer those little panic spells knowing another hospital confinement will wipe away my savings.

With the taste of mortality comes a deeper gratitude for the things we value. Like family togetherness, the beauty of self sacrifice, and the understanding that life belongs to the universe. Diego has fully recovered and went on to celebrate his first birthday two weeks later. The terrible needle scars and faint dark spots, already gone on the surface of his skin. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Estero De Paco (Last Part)

Previously on Souljacker

A short walk under the Osmena bridge carried my feet to the other side of the estero. And with the crossing came the cold and empty reality that all my notions of the estuary is but a glossed-over achievement that is still a work in progress. 

When I was planning the tour, I had this impression that the waterway is already teeming with wildlife. I imagined parts of the estuary being restocked with fish and other marine animals. I also have this romantic idea that the entire stretch had been cleared of houses. Instead, communities that were spared from the wholesale demolition try to live alongside a trash-free body of water. While families welcome the greener landscape (and the linear park that is packaged along with the return of the estero's natural habitat) it will take more than round-o-clock vigilance and strong-willed reinforcement of rules to keep the estero's pristine shape from returning to its ugly past.

Estero de Paco, January 2013

Upon reaching the other side of the bridge, the stench had already clung to my skin. Not even maggots would survive that foul-smelling water. The homes along the estuary's edge were painted green. If only the government spent the money buying more plants instead of paint, the rustic appeal would attract more visitors to the verdant riverine. And while the auburn tiles adorning the trail were made of trash, (hauled from the estero) there is a lingering feeling of superficiality. Maybe I was hoping for a more organic and lasting approach to the project.

Yet, I am well aware that one must begin somewhere before nature, at long last takes over. Dredging the estero, convincing the squatters to relocate and putting those plants that heal the soil are gargantuan tasks. A feat nobody would imagine happening before this present government oversaw the restoration. Along with the prospects of failing are the struggles which I have seen that afternoon. What is interesting is that the communities are in a crucible. Nothing forms until change finally sinks in the hearts of those who make the estero's banks part of their home.

The River Warriors: (L-R) Lady Councilor and River Warrior Babes

Roving River Warriors (with broomsticks and nets they carried behind) made sure trash no longer floats along the estero. The kids playing near the banks told me its a mortal sin to throw garbage into the slow moving water. And while homes are also transforming, (some even started growing vegetables in their small pots) resistance remains to Kapit Bisig's accomplishment.

The project is less than 3 years old. Capricious politicians acting in their interest can overturn progress with a single election. A lady councilor from a barangay near the Paco Market expressed her frustration after a barangay chairman on the opposite bank of the estero allowed some of the displaced residents to return. Habits that were ignored for many, many years continue to pose headaches for the River Warriors. The same councilor pin pointed some homes that continue to sneak out and throw their garbage directly on the estero.

The pollutants: (L-R) An open drainage. The Paco Market. Slum dwellers who were allowed to return to the estuary's edge

Community concerns aside, my knowledge of ecology management is rudimentary at best. But when I spotted an open drainage flowing directly into the stream, I asked how can the fluvial restoration begin on other creeks when the smallest veins in the city's river system is still blighted with pollution? When the metropolis gets inundated once again, (like it always does every monsoon season) trash from every nook and corner of the city will find its way back to the estero. I hope Kapit Bisig and its affiliates included these challenges in their afterthoughts.

In the end, winning the community's hearts and minds require an approach no money can buy. Not by a long shot. Schools must play their part in shaping the minds of kids living beside and around the waterway. Families that are caught throwing trash must not only be fined, they should be kicked out of their homes as well. Better to have eco-minded residents looking after the estero instead. 

Signs of returning to what was the trash-strewn Estero de Paco may happen with a blink of an eye. Displaced families return because of lack of work opportunities in their new communities. Some even have no running water in their faucets. I spotted a boy trashing some Birds of Paradise along the banks. If I didn't take his picture, the elders who were watching wouldn't give a shit.

Untouched by Civilization: A portion of the estero largely spared from slum dwellers

My eyes have seen only a glimpse of the everyday lives of the people living beside the estero. Credible news sources tell of a positive spin, a belief I am willing to embrace only because there are people, like the lady konsehala who is doing her part to protect what is, the greatest treasure of Manila. As I cover the distance from the estero's source in San Andres, to the still undeveloped portion of the water passage near UN Avenue, there remains a feeling of uncertainty if the estuary's ecosystem will prevail over the short-sighted needs of the communities along its banks.

The end of the journey: UN Avenue Bridge. Across the estuary is the Unilever Industrial Complex.

But there is hope.

As I passed by a group of kids, I stooped down to look at their activity. Laid down on the recycled tiles was a coloring book and a set of crayons. Perhaps, donated by some kind souls who wished nothing but learning for these children. As I looked at them putting color and shading to the stale pictures with greens, reds and yellows, I begin to appreciate the vision of those who made the Estero de Paco a living, breathing space for all.

For the Future: Kids and their coloring book

Friday, January 25, 2013

Estero De Paco (First Part)

Has the Kapamilya network's Bantay Ilog really succeeded in bringing the creek back to life, or I was being toyed by my audacious visions?

Midnight Afterburner


Coming from Paco Station, a swerve of your head to the left window when riding a train lets you catch a glimpse of a lush clearing. A jungle wedged between the flimsy homes of slum dwellers, a commuter may need a second glance to believe that a green landscape thrives in a squalid place.

It is easy to dismiss such oasis being a showcase of a non-profit group. After all, behind the habitat restoration is a TV network that is trying to score points with its viewers. Corporate responsibility aside, I was hoping that the idea lives up to its press release. Seldom does Manila see an urban renewal project happening in one of its most repugnant communities. 

I need to see if it can be sustained.


My journey began at San Andres train station. There is a side street next to the rail tracks. But for reasons of security, I chose to leap between the concrete crossties holding the steel rails in place. Better this way than pass through a narrow alley and receive stares from weary locals.

After what seemed like forever of looking behind - to see if a train was approaching - a clearing led me to the manicured oasis. It was manicured in a sense that Talahib grasses and Birds of Paradise suddenly shot up along the banks of the estuary. There is also a wooden pier jutting out of the pool. If not for the corrugated houses nearby, it is easy to mistake the oasis for a real estate development. But as I learned along the way, my feet led me to the headwaters of a serpentine estero slithering all the way to Pasig River. 

I was lucky to discover its source.

Before Restoration

Not so long ago, the estero was in the news for its horrid reputation. Houses on stilts under the bridge, and at the middle of the waterway. Its dozen occupants lay side by side at night. They sleep on the floor that is just inches away from the murky and foul-smelling water. Heaps of trash so thick, one can actually walk over them. Untold sickness and misery happened there, but its a way of life for the squatters. The estero's banks offered refuge when none could provide them decent homes.

All these had changed when ABS-CBN Kapit Bisig para sa Ilog Pasig stepped in. They hauled tons of trash clogging the waterway. Planted grasses and toxic resistant plants to restore the soil, and with the help of the city government, houses that encroached on the estuary were demolished. Its former residents trucked away to government relocation sites in Laguna and Rizal.

The undertaking, which began in 2009 took three years to take shape. With a price tag of 20 million pesos - mostly coming from the non-profit group's coffers, it was one of the more ambitious fluvial restoration project ever conceived.

Did it accomplish its goal, one may ask? The answer I learned when I decided to trace the estero's direction from its source down to its confluence with another body of water.

Solar Lamp Posts


Wednesday, January 23, 2013


"Let's make a story," I told Darfie. He was downing his third bottle of Tanduay Ice when O-Bar's show girls took the small stage.

"Once upon a time, when O-Bar Ortigas was just an experiment - a doomed experiment I used to say." I paused to watch a drag queen lip sync to Rihanna. "These ladies were asked if they'd like to be assigned there." 

"Or they'll stick with Malate."

At that time, every out guy wants to be seen in Orosa. It's the gay capital, not even the dingy but cheap Palawan bars could match.

"Of course, no one wants to perform in Ortigas. Nobody goes there." I tossed my cigarette and kicked it under the table. "So they stuck with Malate, leaving the present Dream Girls of Ortigas running the show."

"For some reasons, they agreed never to switch places."

"Now Malate's patrons are disappearing. Pansin mo naman, kung hindi mga tanderz ang pumupunta dito eh mga affam* na katulad ni Miss Jay." Miss Jay was the black guy who wore a muscle shirt, a very short, shorts and fishnet stockings to complement his skinny legs. He looked like Miss Alexander of ANTM.

"Kaso wala na pumpunta ng Malate. Hindi na jampack dito gaya noon." Darfie nodded. "Lahat tayo, sa Ortigas ume-eksena."

After thirty minutes of lip syncing and sashaying, the girls' performance had ended. They went down the stage to collect tips. Unlike in Ortigas where I hide from these queens, I gave enough cash to buy a bottle of San Mig Lights. The lady holding the bag thanked me before shoving it to the guy behind.

It was one of those chilly Saturday nights. I was restless, lonely and feeling a bit blue. I was allowed to stay out, but I had nowhere to go. Ditching boredom, I went back to the dance floor. I chose Malate over Ortigas because the cover charge was cheaper. Darfie, my twitter acquaintance was also there.

"Felt like I leveled down." I told him after the party. "Kung hindi estudyante eh mga laborers kasama natin." I was telling him earlier of a friend who is a Starbucks Executive. He goes to Ortigas. Meanwhile, a twink barista was one of the revelers among us that morning.

The call boys still lined the stretch of Nakpil even when daybreak was fast approaching. In desperation, some even tried to call our attention. I traded naughty glances with them.

"This place is dying."

No longer the fairy land of our time, Malate is now an echo of its colorful past. Gone are the nights when men of every shade of pink spilled over the streets after they can no longer stand suffocating inside the bars. The corner of Nakpil and Orosa used to be a melting pot of ideas and dramas. And while love and lust were found and lost there, people return to purge themselves. It is their way of renewing the bonds that attached them to the community.

There is no doubt that I'd return. Malate has always been home. And even when the club who had seen the best and worst of times will be, but a history come February.

"After seven party years, O Bar Malate will be closing its doors on January 31, 2013." I read on Facebook. "We would like to thank everyone who helped us become what we are today. More power to all of you! See you all at O Bar Ortigas!

Party out......Party loud!"

Life will move on. Another wicked dance club will take its place.

Like all dance clubs and watering holes before it, O-Bar Malate has served its purpose. No longer a place to have fun or forget one's sorrow, I hope that those who have seen its pink walls and green laser lights more than half a decade of their lives will find a place of solace: some to perform on stage and for some, to forget the present even just for a night.

*affam - white/black gay men

Monday, January 21, 2013

Patient Diego (First Part)

A slight, barely noticeable fever lasted for days. My sister began to worry. Her son is barely a year old. But her hesitation forced my mother to intervene. On a cloudy Sunday a week ago, the couple had to bring baby Diego to a medical clinic. My mother's instruction.

Within the day, the blood test results came in. Doctors ordered immediate confinement. The baby's blood platelet count dropped below 100. Possible cause: Dengue Fever. I was at work when the news broke out. Coming from a crisis after our network had been hacked, the family emergency had me telling the boss that I would go half-day. Understanding my situation since he too had gone through such ordeal with his son, he let me go.

Grim images ran through my head as the taxi sped to Manila Doctors. Where did the mosquito come from? What about the dozen kids who live in our compound? Was it the dirty driveway? Was it because of my plants? Between the empty streets and cluttered thoughts, I didn't notice that I was already approaching the Emergency Room. There, inside the Pedia quarters, screams of a baby boy can be heard. A huge needle had pierced through his underfoot for the intravenous fluid to flow. His body temperature shot to 40 degrees an hour before I came in.   

"Kuya pupunta ka ba dito?" I read the message on my phone. "Nawiwindang na ako."

I was doing my report but the thought of Baby Diego, smiling, showing off his tongue, leaping from one side of the bed to the edges of the mattress kept me from accomplishing anything. I was beset with gloom. 

On the phone, my mom tried to down play the situation, but you can sense her alarm by the sound of her voice. Knowing what's need to be done, I was already on my way when she asked for assistance. "They might need a down payment before admission." I thought. And knowing it will take ages before the matriarch can prepare, (she looks after Baby Lenin) my timely arrival eased the young couples' trouble.

The Favorite Aunt soon followed to make sure the patient is well attended. Being the only doctor in the family (and a caring relative who's always been there every time there is a medical emergency) her presence had wiped away every fear clung to my skin. 

"Hindi ko na pinapunta si Ate para hindi na siya mahirapan." She was referring to my mom. I saw her gently touching Baby Diego's forehead before a hunky nurse told us that the semi-private ward is ready for occupancy.

My nephew showed signs of improvement soon after we moved in. He began to smile again, crawl across the bed, stick his tongue out and even mimic the baby sounds we did. It felt like he had no illness at all. Our best guess was that he regained his strength after being re-hydrated.

The Favorite Aunt left at the same time provisions from home began arriving. After carting the bags and baby stuff from the lobby to the room upstairs, I told my sister that I'd be leaving as well. I have work at six the next morning, and our mother was eagerly awaiting news.

"Get well soon," I kissed my nephew goodbye. He smiled at me.

That night, my sister sent a text message.

"Please pray for Baby Diego," the message read. "Mataas ulit ang lagnat niya."

- tobecontinued-

Saturday, January 19, 2013

In Your Dreams | Visions


Mankind sending massive solar panels to float in the sky. The size of a small town, the arrays are capable of harvesting sunlight enough to power a machine that creates clouds. Think of the solar arrays being positioned into orbit; into places across the planet that are in desperate need of water. With the rain maker high in the atmosphere, (carried there by balloons the size of jumbo jets) clouds begin to appear. Soon, wisps become Nimbus. Thunder and lightning follow. And then, just like nature does it, the ground flows the rivers of life. 

It is beyond my imagination how the apparatus can wipe out global famine, or stop bush fires from spreading. I do not know if it can ease the worse effects of heatwave or it can grow forests and jungles out of barren lands. It is beyond my thinking if it can resolve humanity's problems, especially its need for clean, drinking water. But who knows. We have eliminated Polio from the face of the earth and made correspondence faster with Internet. 

All I'm saying is that I had a vision, while looking at my seatmate's fancy Iphone as the vehicle we found ourselves crosses a dead river, in a city that is becoming less and less breathable with more lives it takes in.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


It must have been Bon Ivler's Stacks that first caught my attention, or the playlist where the song used to be a part of. It might have been the pictures of the city we both love (and loathe). Maybe it is our passion for history, our shared cat personality, the joy we get from sunsets and breathtaking urban landscapes, or our intimate knowledge of trivial facts. It is his interests that kept me returning to his Tumblr account. I remember saying, "he must be an amazing kid!" I kept the thought bubble to myself. In the folded layers of my heart, I longed for his attention. For his world could have been carved out perfectly from mine (or ours could be fused so perfectly, we can speak of the same objects with different perspectives). The quiet admiration in a time when the shaky union with someone else could anytime fall apart, blossomed underground, until one day, I decided to send a word on his Twitter account. I no longer remember the exact and carefully crafted thoughts or how he received my letter. Only the conveyance that we connect on so many levels and that, I look forward to getting to know him, more.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Every Vice Has A Price

O Bar, Ortigas

Strange how stage lights and full-blast speakers take your life a little, and yet, when mixed with high doses of booze and unnumbered sticks of nicotine, they keep you going when smoke-screened nights become a bitter aftertaste.

Do it again and again, and in no time your words will be laced with electronic dance music that speaks nothing but the emptiness that comes after a feel-good Progressive house set.

Friday, January 11, 2013

War Tunes


No longer at the mercy of random encounters, I can now laugh at the thought of sex eye balls and even ditch the idea completely. One may point to the years of experience; of finally gaining supremacy over the pursuit of flesh.

But I didn't get there without stumbling, and doing regrettable acts this blog (and its previous reincarnation) have written. They may be hidden beneath the layers of sentimental and cerebral stories, but the memories bond - in songs and bittersweet flashbacks every time scenes and landscapes alter my perception. 

One such song reminds me of those misfits. It remains on my playlist, for it happens to be among my favorites. Every time the music player picks the track, memory harkens me back to a time when naughty games used to be the routine.

A history I cannot undo, along with the song's haunting vocals comes the memory of that wild abandonment.

The terrace where the opening salvo began was dark and the lights around us were switched off. Downstairs, a group of ladies were having late-night chats with their friends. In front was the panoramic view of Pioneer Street; with its glittering skyscrapers, sparkling billboards and office tower lattices that are still being constructed.

And there he was, between my legs. Sitting on a chair with my pants just above my knees, his head bobbed up and down the entire length of my manhood. His hand occasionally squeezed my wet and sticky shaft, I could only close my eyes in sheer ecstasy as he rolled his tongue around my cock.

It was good.

But it would have been better if it was done by someone manlier than me

In the Name of Unholiness
January 16, 2008
Fullmetal Dreams

Artist: Deep Dish - Say Hello (Radio Edit)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Home Improvement


All the maid has to do is tell me that our dust pan is broken. 

"Nasira? Paano?" Heaps of trash covered the floor. I decided to move the spilling garbage from the bins to the trash bags.  

The maid showed me the poor thing to prove her point. It's edges were torn. It's scooping capacity, reduced. 

The state of the dust pan didn't surprise me at all. I have seen it around the house for a decade and nobody thought of replacing it. 

They say it can still be used. 

However, the cleaning object's neglected state reflects how things are at home. The hampers are shredded, bars of soap rest on puddles. The helpers have grown used to such waste. Nobody pays attention. The matriarch keeps forgetting what needs to be replaced. The married couple doesn't care. 

So when I was told about the trash pan, I gave my word and said that it will be replaced the next day. After all, the matriarch has somehow acknowledged (despite my wicked habit of giving away and throwing stuff that are no longer needed) the part I play in keeping the house in order.

And so I bought a new pan at Uni-Top for 85 pesos, and replaced the wire and cotton mesh hampers with plastic ones from the same department store. Not yet satisfied with my home improvement itch, I went to Dapitan Arcade that afternoon to procure ceramic soap dishes and a soap pump for less than 2 hundred.


Soap Dish

Dust Pans

Much is still needed to make the home improvement a worthwhile pursuit. Trash sorting is still disorganized, and the hoarders must be kept in-check before their unneeded stuff overruns the corridors.

To make the change permanent, and hopefully, be passed on to the next lords of the house, no longer can I stay idle while we let the kasambahays do all the back-breaking work.

"Ako na maghuhugas ng mga pinagkainan." It must have been music to their ears to hear those words for the first time.

I have this undying belief that I am an excellent home maker. While still unproven, I will start breaking that myth, and put my skills to good use.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013



Some of us have always known that the world used to spin in uneasy peace. There were the stars and stripes, and the hammer and sickle. Two global superpowers, whose array of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles pointed at each other. Under constant threat of annihilation, people devised ways to put sense into their lives. There were the flower hippies, whose music, spoken words and non-protest protests had born a generation of pacifists. There were also the revolutionaries who wept and wailed in podiums, and in the streets, invoking rage from men demanding equality and justice.

As soldiers and guerrillas shot each other in the jungles of Vietnam in the name of ideological supremacy, and washer-sized machines lifted into space for scientific discoveries, the irony of the time had sparked an idea.

What if instead of mankind destroying the world, they become peaceful spacefarers who wished nothing but explore the galaxy?

That spark gave birth to what would become the Star Trek franchise. I was told the original series lifted the curtain of fear and opened the eyes of men to possibilities; of the what-ifs should nations and people were united in peace; and the color of one's skin never limits her aspirations in life. Sure, there were hostile alien civilizations, and galactic anomalies that threatened the Alpha Quadrant. But in Gene Roddenberry's imagination lies the promise that should mankind avoid self-destruction, we will sooner or later, leave the cradle that is earth and sail the ocean of stars aboard a space vessel similar to USS Enterprise.

I first thought that this blog would be about my attachment to the franchise, and how its massive fleet of starships had fascinated me at a young age. Later in life, I would recall playing Birth of the Federation on my desktop computer, and staying past midnight to watch an episode of Voyager before heading straight to Malate to resume my unceremonious binges.

There too were the scattered, fragmented recollections of watching Star Trek movies, in theaters and rented VHS cassette tapes. Most of these memories have been lost to oblivion - even the question of how I got hooked to the franchise will be forever unanswered. What endured, however, was the undying belief that we are meant to leave this soft ground to set foot on worlds not different from our own.

With the indoctrination successful, and with the news circulating lately about the contact between two commanders existing in alternate and present-day timelines, this post has gained significance. The story must now go beyond my own experience.

And thus, this post celebrates the vision of Star Trek, and how it continues to inspire others to study the heavens. In the early years of the series, when the episodes were seen in monochrome television sets and not on flat screens attached to room walls, not one among the casts would have ever imagined how the future would come too soon. Not Captain James T. Kirk or Commander Spock. And yet, in their lifetimes, they would receive a message transmission from a human outpost suspended half-way between the moon and the blue-planet's surface.

I still look at the faint lights in the night sky, and think of the Federation.

Shatner and Nimoy, the lead actors of the original series may never go to places where some men have gone before. But in their place are souls who were once silent and faceless witness to their voyages. 

And they remember. As we all do.

If the power of imagination rests in one's ability to turn dreams into reality, then Star Trek's vision has at long last, been fulfilled.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Poverty of the Gut


Spent the holidays food binging and gym procrastinating. Ergo, I gained mass. I feel it every time I slip in my skin-tight jeans, and wear my medium-sized tees. Family pictures taken showed a much wider girth. My face is puffy. My arms, sagging. 

I returned to Eclipse on the second to reboot my progress. Tough love as Coach Blakedaddy said. It will take some time to undo those nights of reckless drinking and gluttonous eating. And I am not done yet. Parties still line my social calendar. I am still itching to go clubbing. To counter the spooky signs of obesity, I started walking to work again. I've also been abstaining on sugar, leaving my sweet tooth craving for chocolate cookies.

It will be an uphill climb this time. Metabolism has slowed down, and the strength I once had - when I was 28 - is no more. But to stir life into a seasonal campaign; to remind myself that I am bringing back the old times, the presence of an oatmeal lunch box on my work station may induce a poverty of the gut.

A Familiar Sight

But it's an unmistakable reminder that I intend to hit my target no matter the sacrifice. 

Double Take


Along the railway, between the train stations of Pandacan and Paco were tents perched not far from the rail tracks. These homes were patched using snatched tarpaulins and old cardboard boxes salvaged from the side of the road. 

When I saw them from inside the passing train, they seemed smaller than a German Shepherd's dog cage. A closer look however might reveal a roomier floor space than the junk pickers' wooden cart turned into sleeping quarters. 

As the tents disappear from my sight, thoughts float in the air. I wonder how many souls these homes shelter at night?


Still along the rail tracks near San Andres was a waterway narrower than a two-person street alley. Along its banks were wild grasses taller than an average man. There were shrubs too and small trees not seen in that part of the city. They are thriving. 

They have altered the once-dead landscape.

Has the Kapamilya network's Bantay Ilog really succeeded in bringing the creek back to life, or I was being toyed by my audacious visions?