Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Sound Of One Hand Clapping

Our searchee number one attended a KTV party a month ago. He was solo when he showed up. But after a few hours, he tagged along a new guy. Someone he invited at the last minute. Searchee one said, it's the first time they met. And as the night wore on, they were seen in a corner holding hands. Even whispering sweet nothings. 

Observers worried it might just be a night-long affair. Something, searchee one was good at doing. But as the days rolled by, the couple were seen going out. They posted messages on Twitter telling their activities, and after two weeks of getting to know each other, news spread that they have formed a union.

A domino effect would take effect.


Now our searchee number two broke up with his boyfriend of many years. He had to let go because of love. In his words, his ex's life choices would force them to adjust to a long distance relationship. Something he cannot do. So searchee two had to let go, and in his partner's absence, he started attending our weekly binges.

He never missed it.

It is in these one of our drinking weekends that he met a newcomer. Someone introduced to our side of the table for the first time.

Searchee two would later say that it was the newcomer who sent the first direct message. His claim, I side with as I recall remarking how cute the newcomer was, but searchee two paid no attention. In just a week after they started talking, the newcomer would sleep in searchee's pad. They would dine in and out, talk over Facetime, had Twitter-vised fights, do sleep overs again and attend the weekend get together as pair.

Soon, they too would announce on social media, "kami na."


One by one, drinking buddies I go out every weekend got hitched. There is Panda and Amorsolo, whose secret trysts may have resulted in some friendships to end. But they weaved their love story well, their attachment blossomed and has now become permanent. Jaysome found his prince at some distant realms nobody in the group knew existed. And while Team JoozyJake decided to lie low, with Jake's work assignment abroad, everyone who knew them believe they are a power couple.

These unions happening all at once had a profound effect on those few remaining unattached. Where spaces didn't exist, now honeymoons have to give way to collective merriment. Some, no longer show up despite repeated invitations. And while we try to understand the absence; the pervading silence among couples, whose songs and stories once made joy to our boring days, there is no denial that they now lead guarded lives.

Feeling left out, one has to create ways to shake off this loneliness. No wonder, I was on Wechat searching for digital affections. The troubles I used to dodge I now embrace with alarming desperation. If there is one point I felt so disarmed knowing lives have changed, the month was an eye-opener. All of a sudden, reflections on how I missed so many opportunities to love came to haunt me with loss and regret. Singlehood has now become a struggle I no longer believe, and while shards remain locked with the past, the future stays bleak as I feel my unspoken fondness to some people eventually turn them away.

Leaving me to question my self-esteem.


June was the month I started feeling the chink in the armor; where the lullaby of human longings bedlam with domestic and career issues. It was the month I wasted time on distractions and showed off some stuff that didn't need to be seen - especially by strangers. And to cap it off, a social experiment took place to know if joy can be found in a single tablet. For a few euphoric hours, it felt bliss. I came crashing just when I realize it was the break I needed.

Still, good graces let me find my center, my worst fears stayed in the domain of fiction, and I remained in pursuit of abstinence, in spite of the free access to the tools of lust. While questions still linger as to why some "interests" cease talking, comfort comes when reason takes over and decry my unreadiness for romantic engagement.

All is well for now, and for couples-friends whose lives deeply affected my own. As I return solo to the spot where others found love, and for some, who found it again, it is my sincerest wish that theirs multiply in years, and they get to know each other in ways the pasts had never done.

1:30a, June 30, 2013

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Beast In Me

you are scary and wild
i'm afraid to meet you
again on the dance floor.

Time In Manila, Makati

Pausing to catch my breath, as the man-sized speakers over my head continue to pump heavy bass from the DJ's progressive trance set.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

State of Disarray

Dust coats the surface of bookshelves, and the grime-stained drapes have yet to be taken down from the windows. They have been blocking the sunlight since last Christmas. Mites and dust bunnies may have taken residence at the peripheries of the carpet, and keepsakes found in my closet have not been rearranged.

It is the middle of the year, and I have not begun with the room overhaul yet. That obligatory, and almost ritual cleansing to keep my corner dirt-free. The general cleaning stands for many things: a blank page for turning a new leaf; a night's vigil recollecting lives; a zen for the cluttered mind. It is a purging that happens only twice, and this year seems to be taking longer to start than in the past. 

It's because something is not well lately, and this has been stalling my plans to eliminate the litter. Somewhere above our heads is a hole that lets water in. The ceiling over my dresser is in a state of disrepair. When cloudbursts inundated the city early this month, water drained into my repository and soaked the stuff I stored within. 

Damaged were the send-off notes I keep in a Dragon Ball folder. Thoughtful words and vows of kinship from high school friends I no longer speak. Also found in the puddle were mini-journals from the days I was the caretaker of my dad's publishing business. There's also a coffee table book about the joys of having siblings, a newsletter edited and published by my college buddy, and drafts of poems I scribbled during class lectures. These were all hung up to dry in the veranda where the AC blows hot air. But even when the papers have turned crisp and brown, the ink had dissolved the words and some of the pages laid fused, refusing any reader to keep them apart.

I told these woes to my mother who promised to dispatch a carpenter the soonest her contacts found one. But days passed, torrential rains had sunk depressed streets once more, and water seeped back into my closet creating piss-colored puddles. I had to refrain from returning the photo albums and other trinkets of childhood, lest they suffer the same misfortune like those heartfelt letters bound inside the illustrated folder.

Once more, I would have called the attention of the matriarch so she could act on it. She has ties to the people with leads and I was too busy to be bothered with home affairs. But a new consciousness had surfaced replacing dependence with self-reliance. At the back of my head, why should I ask my mother to find one, when I have feet to look around and ask if anyone knows someone who can fix my roof?

This pivot on how repairs at home will be addressed promises to ease the burden on the matriarch. This self-delegation is a step forward in learning to run the house responsibly. And though it would take weeks for the works to finish, this new-found appreciation to a life less dependent will make the wait worthwhile. 

Meanwhile, I would still  have to wake up with clutter greeting in the midst. The dust would have to layer the surface a little longer, and the memories of youth lay piled up and scattered leaving my self-contained habitat in disarray.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sueños de Manila

Manila City Hall Clock Tower

When former president and now mayor Joseph Estrada appointed Carlos Celdran as Manila's tourism consultant, his sound judgement was welcomed with open arms and collective jubilation.

Celdran may have been known as the guy who went to the Manila Cathedral to protest while the clergy performed the blessed sacrament. But before his fall from grace, he walked the cobbled streets of Intramuros offering educational tours to Balikbayans and curious onlookers. He was the guy who wore colonial dresses, and his knowledge of Spanish Manila breathed life into the walled city. Celdran is also a well-known social change advocate, and his liberal thinking might bring change to a city falling into obsolescence.   

Being the hand-picked guy of an outsider whom many of us didn't put into office, we know that Celdran appreciates the city some prominent and old-time residents still fail to see. It is, and has always been the parts greater than the sum of its whole. Manila is an agglomeration of histories and events, that one needs to weave a single narrative - like tapestry - in order to tell its story.

It is true that the city doesn't need more skyscrapers and malls to make it attractive. Contrary to claims by the old mayor that we need an urban enclave like Eastwood and Fort Bonifacio to catch up with modern times, it is the city's cultural treasures that will return Manila to prominence.

I don't know what's on Celdran's mind, and how he will make recommendations that is faithful to his vision. But with the support of the mayor, and social media as his way of collaboration, I have no doubts he will deliver. In a way, the news of his appointment begins my own re-discovery of the place I call home. This I will put in words as I journey around the city and see what can be done to bring back Manila's old glory.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Interior Design

Other than playing simulated lives and writing vignettes around my characters, another reason to love Sims 3 is the ability to create house layouts and style furniture. I was into one of my sims, whose gender-bending, artistic leanings require an eccentric home that fits his personality (and of his butch-looking daughter), that I ended up customizing every corner of his property. I was only able to enjoy the family briefly because the sims had no special part to play in the neighborhood. Looking back, now that I no longer play the game because of hardware issues, I wish I had spent more time styling and designing houses.

For in real life, only a chosen few breaks into the cutthroat industry. I can't even find a decent carpenter who would fix a punctured roof, whose collected rainwater from the ceiling soaked some of the high school keepsakes in my dresser a week ago.  

Friday, June 21, 2013

Home Court Disadvantage

Sitting in the gutter one night, a stranger - much younger than me reached down between my legs. He was feeling the package resting within. 

"Malaki ba ito?" He tried unzipping my pants. I declined.

"Depende kung gusto ang kalaro." I then showed him an image of my cock. The one I sometimes store in my phone. 

"Gusto mo?" He grinned.


"Saan?" I refused to get up despite his insistence to leave.

"Sa place mo."

"Hindi puwede dun." I dismissed.

"Bakit?" There was disappointment in his voice. After all the teasing we did during our unscheduled meet-up, he didn't expect his advances to be refused.

"Maraming tao."

He was the first person I decided to see from Wechat. A complete stranger I came across after checking the mobile apps' social features. He was also the same guy who suggested the eye-ball. Because he lives nearby, and the prospects of getting laid was more enticing than self-restraint, I walked to his place expecting a fast and favorable outcome.

But instead of getting the deed done, we found ourselves sitting in the gutter as he had friends showing up unexpectedly for booze. He asked me to join, I turned down the invitation. Sensing that it might be a trap or an orgy given the situation, prudence reigned and consciously, made it more difficult for the gentleman to get into my pants.

Despite calls for abstinence, technology has made it easier for two strangers to connect for activities that lie within the heart of pleasure. And if not for reasons I share my dwelling space with loved ones, I find no reason not to go home with someone I am sexually attracted to. Even if he is a dubious character I met online. A one-track mind seldom sees risks, and given this habit to follow impulse rather than restraint, a raging boner will get me far.

Just like old times.

You may call it a change of heart that I have not given in to sexual persuasions even when the first one ended in disappointment. Nor I have let people lie in my bed save for the Weatherman and the whirlwind affair from Planet Romeo. Times have changed and chains that were already in place bind the strongest of wants. Had the stranger offered his place, there is a likely chance I would walk away without dropping a single vial of my seed.

At the back of my head, someone out there might offer a better deal.

But the decisions are mine alone, and given that a much lonelier, yearning soul finds himself in my shoes, he would have done differently during that chilly rainy evening. For lust, in its bare essentials is a longing for intimacy. A connection.

I have been there countless times before. Restless. On the verge of crashing. Where solace comes in the arms of complete strangers. And being in the front lines once more, I can only offer quiet understanding to why the trend goes on, sometimes with tragic outcome.

Rest in peace to those betrayed by their hearts.
And may they find light not far in the edge of darkness.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Time For Replanting

Not too long ago, one could never part the curtains without leaving sullen reference to the windows. Criss-crossed by iron grills, its apple-green paint hides the decrepit apartment facing the room. Uninhabited since I first took refuge, the blight that greets me as the sun casts its first light is a reminder of how despair still looms - over this part of the city.

So I began putting house plants to make use of the available space. I had my reasons. Practical ones that sell even to the dubious of skeptics. Said plants filter dust from the busy highway just a block away. They nodded in approval. They also sprinkle life to a stale room that has become my sanctum.

My heart felt assured.

What I didn't tell even to the closest of confidants is that it filled the void I sensed within. As the Other quietly drifts away, something has to be done to keep my troubled thoughts from getting out and being known.

It was a splendid idea that was months in the making, but was done without any insight to how plants are grown. All I knew is that I looked forward to a breath of fresh air. Something, the herbs give off as their foliage block the sun.

Overnight, the Manila Seedling Bank at the corner of Quezon Avenue and Edsa became my haunting ground. I became acquainted with the different varieties of Mint and Basil, and a handful of other plants whose leaves put the soul at peace.

In the grandest of dreams, I had hoped to cover not only my part of the window, but the untouched veranda at the back of the master's bedroom. I was ready to give time and money for such undertaking, until setbacks came rushing like a torrent of flood held back by crumbling earth dikes.

Hubris has its way of breaking the spirit, and my serving came in steady painful succession. I have gone through the horrors of break-up. Withstood the onslaught of birds, as they found the delectable leaves of Basil more appetizing than after-meal refuse. Mints bloom only to wither without reason and if that's not enough, pestilence gnawed at the stems and roots of some of the first plants I raised on the iron grills.

There are times I would have abandoned the passion, especially when its very purpose disappeared when dissolution leaned towards self-destruction. But I held my ground, knowing that genocide will erase all the hard work I've put into nurturing my hanging garden. I will lose the remnants of my green thumb, and for all the lofty words and hearty promises of not repeating the same cycle, the surviving plants have to live on, bloom, and keep my part of the house verdant no matter the price.

Where there is pocketful of sunshine, leaves churn light into nutrients and tap water lifts sagging stems making them sprightly once more. Entire pots, whose previous tenants have turned dry and brittle were replaced by saplings. And when bird seeds and scarecrows failed to persuade the winged beasts from leaving the shoots unharmed, pointed sticks rose from the ground to deny them a place to land their feet.

Still, much has to be done and while entire plants wither and die, the spirit of creation lives on - every time thoughts of the seedling bank stream into consciousness, or when I pass by some saplings spreading on the ground. Their soundless whispers take me back to a time when I used to pull roots and plant them closer to home.

The Great Caladium Expansion

Thus, life goes on with barren pots being dug up for new plants to occupy, and pruning becomes a discipline whose rewards can only be seen when the sun glistens in droplets edging over the leaves' tips. I may no longer be as driven like when I started gardening, but with humble certainty and grace of wisdom, no longer will an empty, glum space feature prominently every time the curtains parted.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


kahit walang usap.
makatabi ka lang
magbabalik ang mga sugat
at ito'y sapat na
maramdaman ko lang na
ako'y tao pa rin.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Situation Critical

Job requirement includes tracking down the volume of work coming to the office, and if this is adequate to keep everyone in my team earning - to support themselves. 

Unfortunately, reports indicate that less than half of the agents go home with commission. The rest have to make do with their salaries, which, is slightly higher than what average high school teachers receive in a community private school.

The truth however is duller than what we are ready to accept. The year has not been good. Spreadsheet files - one after another - reinforce this fact. It's like fighting a losing battle; a hard-to-swallow pill meant to keep everyone afloat. But at the back of everyone's head, there's an uneasy possibility of retreat, of folding up. 

The losing streak is partly because the company still adheres to an obsolete business model, whose products no longer appeal to the market. We saw this coming many years back - before smartphones were the standard of social contacts. But lacking urgency and will to overhaul the system, I relied on the company decision makers for instructions. 

My task is to make their visions real.

I go to work everyday afraid to ask the most basic of questions: "Did you hit quota for the day?" The answer already shows in their resigned faces, or in the wordlessness of their mouths just before leaving the office. If not for the pleasant vibe of the boss or the stress-free work environment, no one can stand the feeling of the noose tightening around one's neck. 

Minsan nga, I really wanted to ask how they cope with the pay they're getting and still able to meet their loan obligations. But I refrain to raise the inquiry at the last minute out of fear of cracking the shell they cocooned themselves in. They have their ways and I have mine. What I cannot stomach sometimes is that I am still receiving the highest pay and still afford to take long naps when my reports are done.

Life isn't fair and I know that.

There are times, I am tempted to jump ship. Swim, before I get sucked into the vortex. I am itching to send my credentials elsewhere, and with the treasure trove of wisdom I gained from running the company, I'm most certain to be a prized talent somewhere.


But loyalty aside. I cannot abandon the cradle that nurtured me these past half decade. Not when I can still make a difference if discipline decrees so. May diskarte naman ako, and I've been speaking to clients since Elance taught me to look for other means of earning. It's just that, after all these years, I've never learned to stand up and take control. 

I've always been someone's wingman.

The situation at work will stay critical for quite sometime, and I'm counting the days when the boss would ask me to accept a pay cut. As for me, I would hold on - long enough until I see my colleagues having the means of earn outside the workplace. Or when someone calls the shots - God forbid - and ask each and everyone to take their final bow. At least, in the future, when I get interviewed in a start-up company or a government post, I can always say to my new liege. 

"I made sure everyone was able to take the last boat out." 

"I chose to go down with the ship."


I have a meeting with my web designer on Sunday. I have a few more ideas that I'll run by him and let you know where things stand. 

Thanks for your patience and your continued work on my projects. 

I can only see you running one of my organizations in the future. You are incredibly talented.

Have a great weekend.

The client


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Beach House

and fill you head with
wistful memories
of sand, sea and waves
frothing down a listless shore.

Time forgets how long these ears have been spell bound by electronic dance music. Their sonar functions used to the slight, almost inaudible pitch, that it is almost certain for them to hear the difference between a Deep House and Ibiza by the sound of the beat. 

Not so long ago, House Music - as we know it - was just flourishing and multiplying into different styles. The genre trickled mainstream, until Disco House and the pop remixes bounced off the speakers perched above the dancing grounds of Malate. La Dida was the place of introduction, and from that day, no longer would Trance from my Ministry of Sound collection hold monopoly of me.

But this entry is not about my love affair with House and its derivatives. Neither I desire to cart the pages of history to reveal another look at my past in Orosa. This post is about the great finds I come across when I surf the radio stations for new beats. One such artist, whose works take my breath away lately is Mango.

  Mango feat Aqua Diva  - At The Edge Of This Mountain

Mango, Andre Frauenstein feat Ludmik  - Disappear

Google offers very little about the identity of the musician - if you don't know where to find. Using the right key words, a little known Facebook account leads to Alex Golovanov, whose hypnotic melodies is steadily gaining him a spot at the center of Progressive House circles. 

True to the artist belonging to an independent label, not even Beatport supplies details about Mango. His only exposure comes from dozens of anonymous fans uploading his work on YouTube. That is how I found him after some of his stuff were played on U-Radio one summer morning.

Despite his name hardly spoken, Mango's creations are short of divine. His signature minimalist sound conjures images of the shore, on a sunny day, with the listener somewhere in the tropics sipping a glass of coconut juice as the sun sets on the horizon. Golovanov must have though of sunshine in Moscow that his longings inspire him to produce sounds that perfectly captures the mood of a relaxing beach holiday.

Serge Flibustier  - Nowhere (Mango Remix)

A seaside escape may not be forthcoming. Not when pressing matters ground me at home. But when I think of the music that would carry my thoughts - to the palm trees and white sands, where not a single soul is there to block my sunshine; even at the heart of a destitute city, Mango gets me to my destination. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


A Wechat Message

"Good morning."

It was the first message I got from him.

"Insert smiley face here"

"Hug ko."

He asked.


"Kiss p."

"Sa lips, mwah! Laplapan."

Boners often wake me up in the morning.

"Sarap nmn."

"Gawa mu?"

I knew where it was heading, so better ask what he wants before I pay attention with someone else.

"Nkdpa lng. Tigas ni curvey ko."

He answered.

How story arcs take a life of its own, with the central character unaware of the events unfolding is still a subject of rumination. 

It baffles me, as the fog of war hinders my ability to foresee my direction. 

Who would have thought the narrative that started with a resounding "no" to a one night stand at the beginning of the month returns with foes stoking flames that are supposed to trigger bed wars. The last one was a guy I met last month. The absence of chemistry makes the meet-up a failure. But his determination - to at least spend some time with me at some private corner - went on until he realized that I was taking him for a ride.

So he quietly retreated. He stopped sending sweet nothings and hollow words of concern knowing his moves will get him nowhere.

But I didn't stop with him. Knowing that abstinence requires creative forms of orgasmic fulfillment, I downloaded apps for my smartphone to flirt-talk with my growing number of playmates. Some of them also happen to be acquaintances in a popular social media website. 

Incognito elsewhere, I have become my slutty self. A reincarnation unlike the one I've been on the Blue planet. Instead of seeing people and deciding to hop in bed with them or not, I send digital images that are supposed to stay private. I get praises for things some of my friends would only speculate. And to toy around with someone's basic instincts was my game. Once a stranger's intent becomes pronounced, there is no way a meet-up will ever happen.

Unless a person spots a chink in my armor.

I have learned not so long ago that playthings aren't supposed to cross the realms of real life. For they blur the lines of attachment, and often shakes inner peace. So I move on, biting provocations from random sexually appealing strangers. Copulating with the use of a hand-held device - with my other hand pumping my gear stick. Becoming the person I once laugh at, for being so mechanical to attain self-pleasure.

It is when strangers ask for meet ups - to do it humanely that I fall back - unable to seal the deal that will potentially unlock my passage.

For I have grown a little weary of eyeballs that end in bed. 

And it's consequences.

Jaded, perhaps. Prude, not entirely. Maybe, the resistance to all forms of real, instinctive sex has grown defiant believing that when a liberator does come, he will find me intact and unbroken. The union we would forge will be untainted with smudgy histories; and that the bonds we nurture in its infancy will be bereft with doubt and infidelity. 

But time is no longer my companion. And one of these horny days, I would really give in to that need; to that urge and suspend my penchant for artificiality. I just hope that when it happens. Sana. I end up with the right person. Someone, who instead of taking a chunk of my humanity, will at long last, put me back together and make me 

whole again.      


"Bwal muna."

"Tgnan mo n lanh pg ng-meet tyo."

"Malaki siguro si curvey."

"Kaw bhala kng immeet mo aq."

End of conversation.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Driving Lessons

Previously: Man-Machine Meld

It has always been my dad's aspiration for me to learn to drive. He thought that by doing so, I could shuttle him to work one day. Or perhaps, it has always been a father's dream to see their sons take the wheel.

Whatever his reasons, he told me to look up for a driving school and sign up.

He will pay for it.

So I did his bidding and took a short, hands-on course at Socialites. It was the nearest driving school from Morayta, where I am taking a public speaking class that summer. 

The lesson plan was spontaneous and organic. No orientation was done. Not even the traffic rules were explained to me.

I was already behind the wheel the first day - learning to shift gears by stepping on the clutch. I remember throwing it on reverse. The Hyundai Charade inched backwards. Very slowly. I don't know how long it took for me to clear the parking lot, but the instructor was getting impatient.

We have not reached the road, and yet, he already showed what to expect in his class.

"Pag sinabi kong apakan mo ang break, apakan mo!" he hissed

"Talagang ibabangga mo tayo ha!?"

The account may have now meshed into the collective memory. But I still remember the smell of rubber (because he was stepping on the break while I hit the gas), his order to switch the hazard lights so he could insult me at a shoulder, and the uneasiness I felt after. The instructor had took all the fun away from driving.

Disinterest had set in that I dreaded attending the driving lessons. The instructor went with his intimidation tactics that the next two sessions no longer mattered. Kumbaga, I just had to get on with it. Sayang ang pera. I won't drive anyway, so the next option is to make my dad happy.

From the initial thrill, I ended the course disillusioned and disinterested to pursue the road. I didn't even submit an application for a non-professional driver's license for I feel that I've not learned. I would remember the instructor for a long time, and lament how time was wasted.

On the day my lesson was about to end, I even spoke to another instructor - a perky one - and thought how fun it would have been had he been assigned to me. 

I was 16 when I first held a steering wheel, and for several years, I believed that I have forgotten everything: stepping on the clutch while changing gears, releasing the hand break for the vehicle to move, and moving in reverse to exit the driveway. But then one day, in a video game arcade at a department store, a college buddy challenged me to a race.

"Karera tayo," he dropped the tokens into the slot.

"Manual transmission dare!" I accepted his challenge.

I was not able to outrun my buddy so I lost the race. But in defeat, I realized that not everything was lost. Inside the cockpit. As I stepped on the clutch while shifting gears, I was applying the lessons I've learned from driving school.   

For all the times I thought it was forgotten. There I was, at long last, driving. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


It was a marvel of nature; an opus of engineering unmatched by all humanity. It was otherworldly. Something that could have been laid and dug out by a sentient, hive-mind species. For ages, we see ant mounds as nuisance to our creation; this habit of turning our surroundings, exploiting it according to our wants. Older, less threatening societies conjure tales that are paranormal in essence - to keep our fits of destruction away from these subterranean ecumenopolises. Mostly hidden from the naked eye, we see only the passages that lead to these worlds. And for this reason, we seldom see their true value. We destroy what we deem crude and backward to our sensibilities.    

The last time I came across an ant colony, the pot of soil where they took residence was soaked in hot water. The Basil, whose roots intertwined with their tunnels have become their feeding grounds. The plant wilted, its leaves crumpled. The method didn't solve the ant problem as they have founded settlements elsewhere. But taking out their eggs ceased the colony to exist.

Such protracted, one-sided assault by mankind happens everyday, repeated million times over to assert our supremacy. It so happened that the ants number in trillions and they multiply rapidly. This is the reason they have not cowered yet. But if by some divine reversal or evolutionary leap these creatures grew in size to half our own, we would be overrun as the dominant animal on the planet in less than a generation.

This suspicion, this dormant uneasiness was magnified after watching a clip on YouTube. The video, lifted from some old documentary tells of a scientist who pumped tons of cement into an ant mound. His study aims to uncover the extent and design of the ants' structure. He wants to learn the ecosystem within as these colonies sink underground.

The result was staggering.

However, curiosity turned into horror as I realize the cruelty behind such experiment. At the price of learning, the scientist wiped out the colony and the singularity behind it. I could just imagine the millions of innocent ants - workers, soldiers, eggs and its queen permanently encased in concrete for our own amusement. The structures we now see - the tunnels and pods, the lifeless inhabitants - will forever remind us that we are, and have always been agents of death.

I watched the video clip once more, and as the camera pans out to show - in human scale - the massiveness of the ant world, I tell myself over and over.

To reach the stars and land on inhabited planets will only be, but just a foolish quest.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


It is not the battles you fought along the way, but the skirmishes you avoided to win the war.


2:48 am.

Phone vibrates. It registers an unknown number.

I answered it not knowing the identity of the caller. The message might be urgent.

"Kamusta, saan ka?" Asked the manly voice. I replied casually believing he was a friend I met earlier. 

"Nasa Cubao, asa jeep... Ikaw?"

"Teka, kilala mo ba ako? Si Bioman to."

"Alam ko." I answered indifferently.

"Paano mo nalaman?" He asked.

"Kakasabi mo pa lang."


It was one of those Saturday nights. The "walang inuman" weekends when friends have their own night-outs and I'm left alone to set my own getaway. Fortunately that night, Desole Boy was available. I owe him a drink, after a year of not seeing him. Together with a couple of friends, we had a mini get-together to wrap up the week.

That same evening, I was exchanging posts with a Twitter acquaintance. Nothing fancy. Just a light banter when he said that he's alone and wanted to bring someone in his apartment. I merely said, "panood," then promised to bring "popcorn and sopdrinks." The exchange didn't prosper in public, but in direct message, I gave him my number.

Alam na.

But there was no mention of meet-up, or sex, or any sleazy encounter that sometimes happen when strangers get my number. The subtext was there, but it was never my intention to begin with. So when he called at daybreak to ask for my whereabouts, I knew where it was heading and quick decisions lead either to a "night filled with wonders" or a "loser's self-pleasure in a dark empty room." 

So the exchange went on.

"So saan ka na papunta niyan?"

"Pauwi ng bahay, sa Manila"

"Dito ko na lang umuwi sa akin." 

"Ang layo kaya ng Mandaluyong sa Cubao."

"Hindi ako sa Mandaluyong. sa Manila rin ako."

"Talaga? Saan sa Manila?"

"Santa Ana."

Under the influence of beer, I am disarmed. The one night stands usually happen at the dead of the night - when I have no control over lust, and my strongest need is to belong to someone - anyone who can make me feel. 

But half a year is enough to learn the game, the trade, or whatever playmates call it, and assuming the challenger turns out to be a pure top, defending that sealed passage may not be as effective as it had been in the past.

It has been almost a year, and the call to be drilled grows louder and more pronounced with every near misses. I've seen what needs to be seen - in pictures - and once that thing is in front of me, there's no certainty I can evade what he wants to happen.

"Out of the way, dude." a sigh of relief.

"Ganun ba?"

"Oo eh, sa susunod na lang."

In a time when everyone in my circle is either taken, soon-to-be-betrothed, or happily dating, a slice of me wishes to become part of someone, even for a forgettable night. And had he been nearer, more persuasive, or had I crashed to a new low for reasons of judgement, this entry might have been written very differently.

But prudence prevailed when abstinence was an option. Then and there, perhaps, with age's graceful wisdom and with laziness setting in, the final answer was an settling but unconvincing no.

Sex can wait.

Lust can be suppressed.

I looked at the side mirror with a faint smile on my face, as the empty jeep cruises to my destination.