Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ghost Month

I have always known who am I in a relationship.

I am selfless and nurturing. I go the extra mile to please. I take care of my partner more than I would look after myself. When he has problems, I try to take the burden off his shoulders - at least by lending an ear when he needs someone to listen. I avoid conflicts by finding my own resolution to issues in the relationship. I immerse him to my life: he meets my family, eat my meals, let him swim in my mind. I give up my dreams, if it means having to put up and make his aspirations real. I surrender my freedom. A union with another for me is an opportunity to put my life in order and so I make the relationship special by being devoted to my partner. 

I wish to believe that I am not a difficult boyfriend. That I am never a cause of sleeplessness of the other. That the reason for trying to have a steady relationship is for me and the partner mount a common front against life's riddles. That we are on a journey - together and to reach our destination, we have to always be one.

Someone who gets to read this entry would find these ideals naive, if not hopelessly romantic. And in truth, the dreams run hollow for it is the same reason why many couples break up. It is the perfect recipe for boredom. Stagnation. And much as my aspiration tells me to pick someone with the same blueprint for a relationship, I somehow end up at the losing end. When expectations aren't met, I find attention from another. If calls for rebellion find no advocates within, I thrust myself into the other that my presence strangles the relationship.  

I have been given up because of this desperation.

These past few weeks, I've been thinking of my exes and why our relationships failed. The first was because of fear. Fear that I've been doing something behind the partner's back, and every small misstep were a cause of petty fights. The bickering happened every day. The second was because the relationship became too one-sided. In my partner's quest to reach his dreams, I have been reduced to being an instrument, so he could get more from life at my own expense. I became his benefactor. The third was because the relationship was too easy. We seldom had fights. I hardly demanded his time and in his words, he can't love me the way I loved him. 

And so we parted ways.

If there is something in common with these three unions, I've never been seen as a threat. I never raised my voice, make the partner jealous of someone else (even when I slept with other guys) and I never said that I'm busy, for my time was always theirs. Save for the third (for he was the one who introduced the nightly pillow talks and classy dinner dates), it tends to be me parting more to enrich the relationship experience. 

The earlier ones were there to affirm I did things because of love. 

There will always be another side to the story, but their defense is already irrelevant as they would not be able to read this entry. But for the sake of remembering; of soul searching; of letting myself get spooked at how easily swayed I am when terribly attached with another, may this serve as a chilling reminder that I already had three failures. If the fourth comes a little later, I would look back at my history and assure myself, "somewhere in my underworld, the Preta in me still hungers."

*Preta - Hungry Ghost, These beings are "ghosts" only in the sense of not being fully alive; not fully capable of living and appreciating what the moment has to offer.


I had already told him I was about to sleep this evening. That was before midnight, less than an hour after I got home. At work, I was already feeling under the weather. My skin is feverish, and my body at some point was on the verge of collapse. 

Nap, I was able to do. But my mind tells something isn't feeling right. Instinct doesn't want me to sleep, so I was stirred an hour after midnight. Maybe because he was out there - somewhere. We might not be a couple. The odds are stacked against me. But there is no denial, my thoughts are with him in ways the heart speaks only in hushed tones.

And then I remember: from the first time I had a partner, to the last one around a year ago. Never would I go to sleep until the Other tells he is home. The habit I must have picked from the first one: Just to assure him that I was home, I would use the land line to drop call his phone at night. Then I would send him a text greeting before sunrise - to assure him I didn't sneak out. Talk about a paranoid boyfriend. The routine remained unbroken (even when a petty fight drove me to cheat) until we split up three months after meeting him in Malate. 

The next one came and I was the one paranoid. One mistake of not telling me his whereabouts and off I did the unthinkable. Just to shake the feeling of restlessness, of that head-splitting worry and betrayal, I left the house at 4 in the morning. Sleepless and with work just hours away, I went to a massage parlor to vent off the seething anger. The second and I were able to patch things a few days later. 

He didn't find out whatever happened to me that morning.

The third was different. He was considerate enough to tell me exactly where he is. Even when he went out with straight friends, he would call at daybreak - or send a text message that he is safely tucked in bed. He knew I was waiting. That I wouldn't sleep until he does. To show my gratitude, I hardly went out at night. Even when he was abroad. For I knew he would wait and I didn't want him to lose sleep just because of me.

These recollections are needed to understand once more the reason my eyes stay wide open, until the special someone is in a safe place. For I was apologizing to Buchok two nights ago when I insisted to wait until he gets home from a drinking binge. Let it be clear that I didn't ask him to leave his friends, or tell him that it's getting late. Part of the vigil is patience, and in all the times I waited for another, never did I ask when they will go home. 

One day, this blog entry will be read by the fourth, and he too (if he hasn't get my explanation yet) will wonder why I refuse the call of sleep when he is still on the road going to his destination. For all the mouthful and tasteful reasons for such gesture, and how the pattern of wakefulness evolved from one boyfriend to another, I can only think of one to encapsulate my thoughts:   

0:02: Ingat ka pag uwi ha. Please tell me if you're home. 

0:02: Tulog na ako.

0:03: Opo

0:05: Nanayt

0:07: Sleepwell =)

1:30: Home and about to sleep

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Newsstand

Around this time many years ago, I would be at the Port Area to oversee the dispatching of our newspaper. We had a small cubicle, in an old building occupied by another tenant during the day. It was next to other publishing houses whose headlines fed the masses' curiosity. 

We were spinners of information.

The people working at the Port Area knew no elements. Even when typhoons smashed into the city, we were there to deliver the news. At this very hour, one would find me standing near the entrance, watching, as suppliers drop unsold copies and hauling tens of fresh prints of tomorrow's stories. Sometimes an aide would introduce me to some of the agents. They say, "this portly lady came all the way from Baguio." I would nod at her to acknowledge her presence. "Other provincial suppliers leave before midnight." 

Back then I didn't pay much attention. I was there pretending to work. I didn't speak much, neither did I bother asking suggestions on how to improve the paper's content. The dispatchers and cashiers knew the drill. They have experienced managers to report to. The numbers would simply fly to my desk the next morning and so life begins, with me wiggling at the center.

Looking back, I thought I knew everything. For Christ's sake, this was what my formal education taught me. Hubris is in the air, and looking at how we sold our products, things will get better. 

That's what my dad always said.

Only now, when I get to stand next to a newsstand and spot the paper whose pages I never bothered to read makes those nights different. I may not have the tools of trade to turn those early mornings to my advantage, but talking to the groundsmen would help.

That's how we learn.

"Look how old the banners are." I said to Butchok this afternoon. I sent him a picture of tabloids laid down on a newsstand.

"Sumuko na si Napoles kagabi pa."

"If it were me and my dad running the paper," I continued. "The banner story would read: "Yaya ni Napoles handang kumanta: 10M PABUYA SA PORK BARREL QUEEN."

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Because it feels like I have known you for a long, long time.

Death By Tablea

"I'd like to ask you a question," I raised, as we approached Katipunan. "And I hope I can have an honest answer."  

It was past 8 in the evening and our conversation at Chocolat Bake Shop had reached its peak. The mood was set for an open-heart, make or break revelation when the store attendant told us they were about to close.

"Sige, pero bago muna yan toilet ako sa McDonalds." 

He laid down the herbs we brought at the Seedling Bank on the table. I was left there watching our belongings as I thought of my decision:

Is it the right time?

It's been a month since we first met. Buchok and I. The details, I would leave for a future blog entry. But the meet up was almost serendipitous. He came into my life at a time when changes were taking shape. That I'm no longer bound to the past given that footprints cease making its mark on the present.

From the first time I said hello, I already felt the ties that bind: the chemistry of personalities that makes us a compound: the subterranean attraction I refused to let out for reasons of pride. The discoveries were made possible because of the sunrise-to-sundown talks. For days, I was off the grid - on Twitter. He had my attention and I wished not to be disturbed. And for all the stories we shared, values we embraced, and the joys of indulging our passions, I was drawn to him in ways no one has done before.

One soul was able to break the wall. 

However interesting our beginnings, I was pulled into his sphere just when he was about to begin his restoration. Coming from a difficult break-up less than a year ago, I deeply acknowledge that it wouldn't be easy for him to let go. To start over again. He was me when I was turning down people left and right. 

When I was the "troublesome extraordinaire." 

I heard his narrative, the sad song I've seen others had to face through in their quest for love. He confessed the perils after the crushing fall. The loneliness of disillusionment just when it felt like love could last a lifetime. And just by looking at my own climb out of the ditch, the blow done to me was lighter compared to what he had been through.

It was a deep union severed by a runaway distraction.

Much as I would like to sympathize, recognized attachment spawns implied reciprocation. I was hoping he felt the same way; that we are getting somewhere despite the crawl. I was told to enjoy. Make things easy by letting everything fall into place. But how can I listen when the same sunrise to sundown talk we used to do held me so close, that even my thoughts were aligned to him from the moment I wake up to the very minute I sleep?

And it wasn't getting healthy anymore. A little inconsideration is becoming a cause of friction. The lack of intimacy makes me stand on shaky ground. The penchant for reading subtexts gets me confused; it triggers a wait-and-see attitude that has trickled our daily chatter into one-word replies. 

It hurts.

Deep within I was in for a crushing defeat. I was already giving away my cards only because I knew the likes of him comes only a few times in one's lifetime. The freedom fighters in my head advocate for a full scale retreat. That I can still limp all the way to the exit. There were attempts to disconnect of course - a lot. Even fate was tempting with a number of stranger "invitations" which I strongly declined. And for some strange reasons, at a time when drifting was imminent, he would unconsciously send thoughtful words reminding his presence.

That he is still there.

The cycle went on for a week that it came to a point that I needed friends' intervention. Not to help me secure Buchok's attention. But to put sanity back to my head. "There's a resolution," Panda said, over one of our drinking binges. "Why not ask where you stand instead of second guessing his gestures?"

I was tempted to say: "My ego could not afford it. I used to be the one forcing others to state their intentions."

Pero ganun talaga eh. Especially when you know the sublimity of your selflessness.

Going back to the first night. When I was told by Papa Tagay to entertain their "guest;" when I was perfectly comfortable to nod at him and see him as a straight acquaintance. Who would have thought the "guest" and I would last a month under each other's sun?

So I took a stand and sought his answer.

Drawing a stick of Marlboro Black before saying a word, I took a deep breathe hoping the evening drizzle would grant me comfort. The third hang out and first date is already perfection.

"Would it still be okay for me to expect?"

Buchok smiled wordlessly and said..

Friday, August 23, 2013


Previously: Planetship 

"Construction crews are ready to fix the breach." The head engineer in his heart said. With a terrified look, he knew how difficult and painful the task is. Part of the unfortified shell enclosing his citadel shattered for reasons the Directorate wouldn't tell. 

Whispers tell it was deliberate on their part. It was long ago when they last felt this urge to be vulnerable.

But the exposure has to stop. Radiation kills.

"Just say the word and we will begin rebuilding."

Thursday, August 22, 2013


"Bro are you there?" 

He sent a direct message on Twitter. I knew the guy way back when I was still a fervent clubber at Time In Manila. He sent a direct message and we had a no-holds-barred conversation.

"Yup wassup?" I replied. I was at the gym, waiting for someone to send me a message on WeChat.

"Uhm, medyo dyahe. But do you know someone who's game for some Viber phone fun?" 

I suddenly remembered why I had to cut the exchange of direct messages the last time we talked. He was confessing his kinkiest fantasies when I was not even hinting that I'm interested to share mine.

"Try Spyder." 

Spyder is a friend who joins us once in a while during my group's Saturday binges. As far as I know, he is the best guy to recommend since he is a master of this game.

"Is he a top?"

"Yeah game yan, and he is a top." 

Another reason why I picked Spyder is because I claimed last weekend that someone has hots for him. It was a ruse, of course. I just had an opportunity to keep my word, someone suddenly becomes available.

So I sent word to Papa Tagay informing him to contact Spyder and tell him the details. Who knows, our friend might be interested. While there are no assurances they would click, at least, I was able to help two men, whose idea of fun I refrain to engage.

"Here's my Viber number..."

"Is he cute?"

"Will he like me kaya?" 

The guy had raised so many questions that even I could not keep up and supply the answers. No feedback came from Papa Tagay, or from Spyder approving the pair up. He was after all, at work. I was still responding to the guy's direct message - up-selling our cute, semikal friend - when it hit me and got a reminder of why I didn't cross the line the last time: He was in a relationship, and even though they have already approved an open set-up, it is not in my desire to trouble myself with the complexities of gay life.

That is why I was in a straight dance club.

The exchange of direct message went on until I disclosed that he might not get a reply from the person I recommended.

But when he asked for another suggestion, I was forced not to reply because it was getting clear where his message was directed at:

"He hasn't replied yet."

"Baka nasa work."

"You have someone else in mind? Hehe."

"None that I could think of."

"Hehe, thanks bud."

"Paano kaya ito?" 

Direct message terminated.

Assumptions aside, gut feel tells where the conversation might lead to. I was merely anticipating what his replies were and so I could steer clear without sounding too fake. Naive. And much as I would like to help the guy find his toy for the night, I wouldn't risk getting caught in the crossfire, for I know - like his subtexts were - I had thoughts to say that don't require to be put into words.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Day They Become Ordinary

Tuesday morning and I woke up late. My shift was supposed to start at six in the morning and it was already six thirty when I got out of the bed.

The rains never ceased pounding the rooftop as ribbons of ice water cascaded down from the ceiling. The carpet was soaked and so was my closet. Without thinking about the looming disaster in my room, I went down the stairs to call the office. My teammate was already there, an old lady who braved the floods just to get to work.

"Sir, hindi na passable sa Kalentong." She said. "Baha na rin po ang Pureza." I went out to check the intersection. My colleague not only spoke the truth, the boulevard was no longer passable to small vehicles. 

I had no choice but to work home. Sent word to the boss that I'd go online from my house.

But then, I was beset by guilt. Had I terminated my shut-eye at 5am, I can still reach the office without getting stuck in the floods. How can I let my subordinates leave their homes while I stayed in my room, when I'm supposed to lead? Picking my towel, I walked inside the bathroom to get ready for work. It will be a long day, and might as well be where the action is.

Kissing my mother goodbye, I left the house to go to the office.

Calm In The Home Front

The ground where the rows of apartments sits is prone to flooding. Fortunately for our unit, the brackinsh waters have not reached the driveway yet, unlike last year.

Pureza Watersports Complex

However, scenes were different a few blocks away. Say hello to the Pureza Watersports Complex.

It is highly improbable to find a jeepney driver mad enough to pass through that knee-deep floods. And should I choose to go with his insanity trip, I would have to turn around and pass through a narrow alley. I would then have to climb the overpass to get to the opposite side of the boulevard. 

But I decided to wade through the flood waters and walk until I reach the train station. If a tsunami (caused by passing trucks) breaches the rim of my rubber boots, the attempt would be put to rest and I would have to work from home as originally planned. 

Tiptoing my way to the LRT Station, I was able to reach it without so much hassle.

Home Station, Pureza

It was past seven in the morning, and the clouds have not heaved. Zero visibility renders the cityscape unseen. As for me, I had reasons for taking the train. 

Valid ones. 

San Juan River, Quezon City - San Juan Border

For I know that when the jeep rolls past the Lourdes Hospital in Santa Mesa, the San Juan River had already swelled beyond its banks taking back the floodplain and the homes built over it. 

Kalentong and Shaw Boulevard disappears under chest-deep waters.

Aurora Boulevard, San Juan

So I stepped out of the train at J. Ruiz Station and found it dry. Parts of San Juan was spared from the floods because of its hilly terrain. From there, a short and breezy cab ride would take me across the narrow streets of N. Domingo, P. Guevarra and Wilson. The odd-looking building where my office perched is on high ground, so even when a deluge shuts down the metropolis, never had we experienced work stoppage.

It was a good call that I decided to brave the rains and show up at the floor. For the boss and I would face various operation problems throughout the day. There were power outages issues. Agents who can't come to work as their homes and streets were at the mercy of the torrents. Even our salaries were delayed because the bank was closed since Monday. I would tell myself later on, that for all the complacency I show, my real job turned out to be a troubleshooter. I was there to get things done, and maybe, prepare myself for more troubles to come.

What people don't know were the other, less-heroic reasons for coming to the workplace. I needed a reliable bandwidth connection to finish my writing side-project. On top of that, a hazard pay is in the works. Rather than seek a fresh round of loan to pay for all my expenses, seeking ways to earn and replenish my dwindling savings seem to be a better choice.

I left the office at five in hopes of hitting the gym before I return to completing my tasks. But then, I learned that the gym was closed when I arrived there. A short walk back to the office to leave last minute instructions and then my day was over.

It was time to go home.

Bagumbayan Street, Floods Ahead

"Sanay na kami sa baha," a resident who refused to be evacuated was interviewed in the evening news. Another affected resident in a different disaster area disagrees: 

"Ngayon lang po kami binaha ng ganito."

In retrospect, it's been less than five years since Ondoy left a scar in people's memory. A year after the same deluge sunk Manila underwater, leaving scores swimming for their lives. Just by looking at my broken ceiling, with flaps of rain-worn wood planks gaping in mid-air, soon it will come crashing down to the floor, and I have to spend my days knowing another Habagat will breach my home and interrupt the lives we carefully live.

"Masaya po kami pag may baha." A gleeful resident of a nearby creek said in another news interview.

"Talaga lang ha?" I mused, as I curled under the blanket. Soon I will be asleep.

But before I closed my eyes, and take some rest, my thoughts fly to some worrisome truth only few get to muse these days: I wonder, how long before fear sets in when the destructive fits of nature becomes random and ordinary?

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Million People March

Collective rage and indignation these days mostly happens online. In the Internet, where protests form into fashionable words. You will find them posted on Facebook pages and Twitter feeds, and shared among friends and strangers, until the digital bounce reaches the newsmakers.

And as more revelations come out about how billions of taxpayers' money were divided among lawmakers, and Janet Napoles' NGO networks; and how the Pork Barrel queen got away with so much money, that she brazenly puts it in a bath tub, one can't help but turn that gnashing of teeth into a collective march to demand accountability.

So remember the date. August 26, Luneta Park. As we remember the sacrifices of our fallen, let us all join hands and become patriots. It is time to excise some of the "kanser ng lipunan" once and for all.''

Friday, August 16, 2013

Live-In (Repost)

Memory these days leans toward telling an incomplete story. The success of the purging affords erasure of milestones, that if not for the old journal, the narrative is gone forever.

Seven years and the world has changed. Nobody would ever get to stay at home for that span of time, and domestic conditions at present would not afford it. Unless the Other earns the full trust of the matriarch, or I out myself and introduce the boyfriend to loved ones.

Until I take a leap of faith, all I have is a tale; a history, that once, a boy was able to stay at home and became part of the family in a simulated live-in arrangement that has now kept its distance from my aspirations.

Days have gone by but still, he remains in my mind whenever I lie in bed.
For six days, my world became his. He had become an occupant of my sanctuary, the place I hide myself whenever I get into trouble or whenever something scares me to death.
And whenever I realize every morning that he is already gone, I cannot help but feel empty. It's like a half of you has been taken away after waking up from a good and memorable dream about someone very close to your heart.
It was a mere 6-day dry run but I have discovered a lot about him and myself. There are things that I thought we were not compatible, but it seems like after almost three years, I kept on discovering hidden things about him that complements me.
It began last Valentines Day. I thought he forgot that special occasion since he was more preoccupied with his self-created illness than me. At its worst, I almost exchanged him for a moment's intimacy with someone else. I even betted that there's an 85% chance I'd do an SEB that evening. But I held on, hoping he would eventually realize what he missed. I held to the remaining 15% chance I'd keep myself for him, knowing he might surprise me with another of his dramatic text when evening comes.
And he did shortly before dinner.
He complained that his siblings doesn't realize that he was sick. That he was recuperating from a trangkaso he had a week before. They kept on asking him to do some favors, which they can do themselves. When I called him, Phanks was crying. He told me that he wanted to leave his apartment and stay with me until his anger had subsided.
And even though I am not sure what my mother and sister would say when they find out the partner would be staying with us, I nevertheless told him to pack up for I would be meeting him that evening.
In the end, my Valentines Day wasn't that disappointing as I previously anticipated.
I can see the worry on my mom's face when she saw him, especially when she found out that the partner brought a lot of things.
But being a good host, she just ignored her thoughts. Besides, my sister would be gone for two weeks so its easy to make an excuse that the partner would be staying in to keep us company.
However, for some reasons, my buddy told my mom that he just had a trangkaso, which worried my mom even more. That evening mother asked me not to let him sleep in my bed.
Which of course, I ignored.
For two days, Phanks never left my room except to eat or go to the bathroom. But he assured me that after he regained more of his strength he would go back to school.
The maids were quite nice to him as well. They never complained whenever he wore my shirt or tops, or whether he wore my shorts or used my towel. While at work, I called home to check whether my guest had eaten his breakfast or he skipped it out of shyness.
He became part of the house and everyone became used to him.
While at work, he enjoyed the perks I was enjoying at home.
My TV was at his disposal, even my porn CDs which I kept away from him whenever he visits. In his stay, I discovered that we have the same passion for watching Discovery Channel and National Geographic. He loves nature and animals. Because of him, I voted for Keanna Reeves to stay in Big Brother's House.
And since we stayed in the same room, we can make love anytime we wanted. However since our schedules conflicted all the time, its either we slept or one of us is out of the house. Either way, we were one and everyone supported us - indirectly. Even my mom started to be concerned about him during his stay at home.
He left while I was still at work.
But before he stepped out of the house, he personally paid a courtesy call to my mom, thanking her for all the kindness and warmness she showed to him. My mom in return told me what happened, and in her eyes I saw an approval from her.
I know, she might have an idea about us. The mere fact a bi friend of mine is a classmate of my sister somehow gives them a thought about the people I am hanging around with. Besides, except for some of the girls that have been linked to me way back in college, I have never introduced a girl friend in the family.
It would take some time before the partner would return home. I, for one realized that I cannot compromise my independence for a very long time. At the same time, I know that I cannot control him that much anymore.
In his stay, I've felt how he sleeps more soundly and securely beside me. The whole time he was there, I never heard him complain about his hypochondriac tendencies. He was well taken care of, perhaps if he stayed a bit longer, we might even add some fats to his skinny body.   

Six days is such a short time to know a lover better.
But in those six days, between heaven and hell of being with him and sometimes hating him at the same time...
I found my own relationship's perfection.
It was one of those moments nobody would ever rival in this lifetime.

February 20, 2006
Fullmetal Dreams 


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

In Jeane Napoles' Shoes

Across Jeane's Universe Tumblr

I could just imagine the life Jeane Napoles breathes at the moment:

A queen bee who lost her clout and prestige over her wealthy subjects.

A social outcast who is no longer invited to the parties she used to grace.

A nobody who can't even go out and hang out at Starbucks without eyes derisively looking at her.

The world has turned against Jeane, and living a sheltered life has not prepared her for such nasty blow.

I somehow understand her plight. Not because of the arguments written on Rappler the other day, but because the sympathy was drawn from the same vein of experience my family had many, many years ago.

We used to run a business that some prudes said "exploit" the women. That, I cannot deny. Back then, we would invoke the spirit of free expression, and that the women whose various stages of undress needed the skin exposure to promote their careers.   

While we didn't spend taxpayers' money like the Napoles matriarch "allegedly" did, we were agents of corruption. Not only we were poisoning the minds of horny pre-teens, good-for-nothing husbands found the audacity to cheat their wives because of the stories and images we churned every day.

We were able to reach the pinnacle of power, with my dad saying the business would go on long after he's gone. Politicians came for a visit, to speak with my father to help them advance their political careers. This emboldened him to attack his enemies with impunity. He would write opinion pieces that destroy names without checking the facts. 

He used to get away with it, so he pressed on.

Unfortunately, Karma was able to catch up and one day, law enforcers appeared to take everything in our office - computers, printing machines and even rolls of paper they didn't spare. We were left with nothing, with my father being pursued as a fugitive. Other tabloids took the opportunity to pin us down. We were headlines for several days until the story faded away.

When the dust settled, our fortunes have changed.

I can stomach Jeane Napoles' tasteless display of wealth; her desire to remain the pack leader of her snooty and moneyed friends, and her love for luxury brands many of us can't even pronounce properly. But to call her names, and put her alongside her disgraced mother, is in my opinion, unfair. For sure, like many kids of corrupt parents, she has no idea where her family's wealth comes from. She merely accepts what her mother tells her and that she never bothered to find out.

It is only when it blows into a national scandal that these children are forced to pay, becoming a collateral in a way, because of what their parents wrongly did in the first place.

Monday, August 12, 2013


Na-confess ko minsan kay Panda na sa dalas kong magsabi sa mga kaibigan na "everything will be alright" sa tuwing may mga pagsubok silang hinaharap, minsan, nangarap rin ako na someone would tell the same words to me, at a time when it mattered the most.

One of my nephews fell off the stairs this evening. Yung bunso sa magkapatid. Dahil mabilis ang mga pangyayari, at hindi kaagad ako naka-recover sa shock, siya ang hiningan ko ng advice kung ano ang gagawin. Bilang nasa medical field na naghahandle ng mga cases ng bata, ang mabilisan niyang tugon ang nagpakalma sa akin.

Bukod sa nagdugong ngipin at dalawang bukol sa ulo, ang kinatatakutang pagsusuka ng dugo ay hindi nangyari. For that, I am deeply grateful. Tomorrow, he will visit the doctor to make sure no bone fractures or internal hemorrhage of the organs happened.

Situation at home is back to normal, with the 2-year old kid who just rolled down the stairs earlier smiling again. The shock is still there, with the screams of my mom and my sister still feeding terror to my ears.

But it will pass. Sana.

In the end, what will nest in the heart are those four words I didn't expect to read when I was on the verge of panic: when irrational decisions will result in a trip to the emergency room only to find that it wasn't necessary. Ang sarap lang basahin at i-internalize. It makes you believe you're not alone, and that somebody's watching your back.

No wonder, I am twice as brave when I am next to him; that guy who keeps telling me that things will be alright. Deep down I feel, not only has he become my strength. Slowly, steadily, he is the reason there's something within that ceases to be broken.

Somehow, there is something to look forward to the days again. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Previously: Rajah Humabon

In the early 1980's, there used to be seven frigates sailing the waters around the Philippines. The frigates - with its sheer size, speed and firepower - were the only warships capable of performing effective deterrence against foreign navies. At that time, the country was said to have the most number of military assets in the region. However, years of neglect and lack of support from the Philippine government lead to the retirement and scrapping of these navy vessels. When President Pnoy stepped into office, only the Rajah Humabon patrolled the waters west of Manila.

The standing military doctrine at that time was hastily revised when the Chinese began an aggressive campaign to claim the entire South China Sea. It includes Manila's exclusive economic zone. It all stared when the People's Liberation Army (PLAN) announced that it would be sending its largest coastal patrol ship for a "goodwill visit" to Singapore. What made Malacanang very nervous was the idea that the vessel will pass through waters being contested by rival nations. The Rajah Humabon was deployed in the area, but not even the country's largest warship could turn away a civilian Chinese vessel from making a not-so-subtle aggressive posturing.

Then came the urgent decision to procure excess military assets from the United States. First was the Hamilton Class Gregorio Del Pilar and then sailed the Ramon Alcaraz the past week. While these high-endurance cutters are no match for Chinese destroyers, their presence alone lifts the morale of civilians already tired of being bullied by foreign patrol boats claiming ownership over fishing grounds that have been harvested by locals for generations. 

Just barely three years ago, I have no idea that the government can bring its act together and afford an ambitious rearmament plan. What is amazing is that it has the full support of the citizenry. Even the media hailed such sea changes as necessary in protecting our sovereignty. Assured that the bidding and awarding of contracts weren't tainted by corruption, nobody thought an ideal was possible: 

That nationhood can be realized with a trusted leader.

More warships are said to be procured, with Japan supplying coastal patrol boats to beef up our security. While these acquisitions doesn't mean the country has embraced a more aggressive military policy, a credible armed force at a time when the country is hailed as the region's economic miracle creates not only an impression of internal order.

The idea that we are rebuilding the tattered armada, with the intention of guarding the country's economic interests (including those of the small fisher folk) thrust this nationhood project right at the heart of every patriot. 

It awakens the pride within.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Heart Door

I tend to speak in tongues or not speak at all. But that night, I can honestly say my words need no translation. 

It was received by someone brave enough to make a hearty reply.

"To answer your question, dumating ka sa crossroad."

"Sa simulang simula."

"Sa point na unexpected pero inaasahan."

"You came in the unexpected time as well. The day I least expected someone to be there."


"Wednesday two weeks ago, bumalik ako sa dance floor. This time mag-isa."

"Di ako nagsama ng kaibigan for some reasons. At the back of my head, I felt changes are coming. I may not come back."

"Then Saturday nakilala kita."

"A week before everything started, I said goodbye to him."

"Nakuwento mo nga."

"And I didn't expect to find someone who would make me smile again."

"More than smile, I hope you found someone you can connect with. Someone who understands you the way others couldn't."

"Okay na sa akin yun."

"Dun nagsisimula ang lahat."


"Harot rin ako. Pero a lot has changed already."

"Pagod ka na sa digmaan."

"Matagal na akong tapos makidigma. To the point na kaya ko na i-manipulate ang outcome, wala pang harapang nagaganap."

"Pagod na ako matagal na. Sumuko na ako matagal na. Until you came."

"That makes us battle-weary individuals."

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Please Transpose EU (Extended Use)

I listen to Ambient and Downtempo music on YouTube from time to time. When the mood calls for it. And one of the things I observe is that instead of a video clip, a breathtaking image complements the music stream. These images were sourced from the Internet. In community pages like Deviantart and Flickr.

To find these artworks would take time, as seldom does the music uploader give credit to the graphic artist. Even the source community is often denied reference. So for those who love having these images for wallpaper or for one's sensory indulgence, someone on YouTube shared a tip on how to upload pictures from YouTube to your desktop.  

  • Press Ctrl + U. A new tab opens.
  • Go to Line 18. There is a link there with a .jpg or .png extension.
  • Copy the link and paste it into the address bar.
  • Save the image.

That's how it's done.