Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Great Neutralizer

Pinagmamasdan ko pa rin ang iyong liwanag na yumayapos sa lupa
at pikit-matang dumadalangin:

Na sana

Sa pagsikat ng araw at muling pagkagat ng dilim,
tanglaw mo pa rin ang patuloy na gagabay sa akin.

November 8, 2012

In some alternate present, today would have been a celebration of my first anniversary with someone.

My partner would have been the guy who first brought me to a museum. He would have been the one I kissed under a Balete Tree near my workplace; the one I introduced to my relatives when I paid a visit to my father's grave; he would be the one who gets to sleep in my bed, say "hello" to my nephews, and eat in my plate without my mother raising too many suspicions about us. 

He is known at home by his first name, and in a way, is seen as the only guy associated with me.

However, the bonds were not strong enough to hold me in place. We were saying "I love you's" yet we never had commitments. He was there during my birthday, I was with him last Christmas. He gave a present to my younger nephew when I invited him to his first party, I was there beside him when he slept over and had a terrible cough. I took care of him by wrapping him in my blanket and hugging him tight. And yet, despite these common triumphs and struggles, I was still searching for someone else. I would say to friends that I was just waiting for him for clarity, but because nobody made the first move, I didn't pay attention to his presence. I was looking for reasons not to take him seriously, until a time came when he told me that he was giving up.

That he was letting me go.

It was the first time I felt a sense of loss, not only because he was my friend, but because we were intimate to each other. He was the one I could think of every time I needed someone beside me. Being a true-blue Manila Boy, every picture I take of the city was a nod to him. We could talk and finish each others' sentences, listen to the same mellow music played on Jam 88.3's A Different Sunday, and watch documentaries on GMA 7. If I had been attached to other men after him, it was because somehow, they have semblances.

The traits he possess and the passions that drive him are the qualities I look for when searching for the Other. 

But he, never really left. And we are still in contact even to this day. No longer we would go out like we used to, and no longer we would exchange messages like we did. But at times, when the urge to express one's deepest longing is strong enough to break barriers, he ends up next to me, the way it has been the first time I crossed the line.

The Weatherman has always been in love with galleons

"Itigil na natin ito." He once quipped during our pillow talk.

"Alin?" I felt his arms wrap tightly around my shoulders. I was waiting for him to answer, he gave an awkward smile.

"Puwede naman tayo magkita ng walang nangyayari ah." I pressed his face against my chest. I didn't want to let go.

"Nagkakasala ako."

Much as I hate to admit, but the consummated encounters put so much strain in his beliefs. The reason he had to give up is because of the religious calling he chose to lead. That night, I gave my word that I would avoid becoming the cause of his sins. I promised to treat him with respect, and never lead him to temptation. But before we sealed the deal (with another make out kiss), I confessed that I still think of him as the one I shouldn't have let go.

Hindi mo ba ramdam sa mga yakap ko na parang ayaw kong bumitaw? Na para bang hanggang ngayon, ang turing ko kapag magkasama tayo ay parang tayo? Hindi ako maka-usad kasi laging nakatatak sa akin kung paano kita pinabayaan. Sa mga panahong kailangan mo ako at wala akong inatupag kung hindi lumingon sa iba. Pinagbabayaran ko pa rin ang mga pagkakamali ko. Naroon ang karma na patuloy ang bulusok sa akin. At kung sakali man na matagpuan mo ang sarili mo na nakaunan sa aking braso, ito lang ang alam kong paraan para makabawi sa iyo.

Some days I still wonder if we could bring back the old times. The days when I would surprise him by showing up at his workplace, or he would buy me food that we would share together. I wonder, had he stayed a little longer; granted me more time to mourn the break up, or even told me defiantly that he wouldn't let go, would we end up becoming lovers?

For as we lead parallel lives, and entrenched in our own protracted pursuits, there is a sense of regret in what we have become: he, an emotional sponge I call every time I wish to forget. Me, the one he goes to every time there is a need to feel...

...his human impulse.

It's a cycle, I couldn't let go. One that hinders me from drifting too far, to look for happiness elsewhere. But when you are reduced to nothing and in a full-scale retreat, or you wanted to feel better not with someone you do not share any connection, don't you think of the first person who let you live.

Don't you still look forward to holding the hands of the one who has been there, for the longest plunge of your roller-coaster life?  

Out Of The Hermitage (The Highlands Last Pt)

Previously on L'Heure Bleue

Twice, the kid had invited me for a roadtrip - back to the highlands. 

The first was when I sat beside him as he drove home from our drinking binge. It was already past 6 in the morning and out of the blue, he thought of having breakfast in Tagaytay. The second was when he casually invited me on the day itself he wanted to go there. I had work. Both invitations I declined for reasons of convenience. So when he asked me the third time, I decided to abandon my post to become his chance passenger.

Time was ripe for a reunion.

While the fog-covered ridge was our destination, we were there for work. He was doing his rounds of convenience stores and wanted some company. As for me, I can't turn down a joy ride. Not when you have strong affinity with the person behind the wheel. 

And not when your heart races away from the metropolis. 

We met outside SM Bacoor at past 4 in the afternoon. He parked his car near the overpass, and when I slid inside the passenger seat, it felt as if the corner was already reserved for me. Gone was the strange awkwardness of the first time, when he had to pick me at the gym before heading to the same mountains after running out of places to hang out. 

The drive was uneventful, with silence punctured only when my music playlist caught his attention. Unlike the first climb where we had to wind through the hinterlands of Amadeo, we took the straight route this time albeit having to endure the rush-hour gridlock of Aguinaldo Highway.

Sunset was upon us, and we were still far from our first stop. To pass the time, I would skip tracks on my iPod and change the playlist to songs that would make him talk. I'd learn that he has a soft spot for acoustic covers and knows how to play the piano. I'd also see with my own eyes how his control over the steering wheel had improved, and with such skill comes a short fuse that would make him raise a finger, every time he was cut by another driver.  

It was already dark when we left the second and last pitstop. It was a gas station at the city proper. The rounds were not as productive as expected, but neither did he go home empty handed. It was time for dinner, and after driving around to find a modest place to eat, we ended having our grub at the Pancake House overlooking the lake. 

Over Roast Beef platter and Grilled Cheese sandwich, the kid and I talked not about his past, neither did we drop hints of the future. There were never any mention of the fling, or the boys he fancies lately. So light was our conversation that I actually have no memory of it. All I remember - musing - as he gobbled the lemon pancake he personally picked for our dessert was that had it been a date, it would go down in my history as one of those awesome ones.

The ones I'd wish had lasted until daybreak.

Over the course of two months, communication lines between the kid and I never got broken. It experienced some pauses, especially when my eyes trailed towards the direction of sunrise. But as I wrapped another episode in my long and arduous search for the Other, my ties with the kid grew stronger. So visible was his presence that friends thought he was my date.

"So bakit nga hindi puwedeng maging kayo?" Panda confronted me one Shoturday, in front of friends.

"Kasi sobrang bata niya." Nobody bought my excuse. 

"Alam mo naman na kaya mo maghandle ng bata pero bakit hindi mo magawang subukan sa kanya?" Everyone waited for my response. I was evading the question.

There were many reasons I could lay down aside from the 10-year gap. There is the honorable excuse of not flirting with the one you have just freed from a one-sided affair. The kid is not a conquest to begin with. There is also the unresolved past with the Weatherman. His story I would confess in another blog entry. And as I continue to court trouble every time I become a tease, the only path to atonement is to leave the kid in peace.

Any attachment I have for him must be quelled before it gets out of hand. 

However, despite mounting a defense, the truth is, I am more vulnerable than what my tough exterior reveals. I am prone to giving too much - attention, care, protection when I let my guard down. And judging from the last time I let strong affections take control, the outcome was getting a serious beating - a resounding defeat I'm still learning to accept as part of the great romantic enterprise. 

"Natatakot ako..." I said softly to the people around me.

Fear. Yes. I've grown fearful of attachments. After I had to give up someone because I felt it was going nowhere. Fear, thinking JC has become my benchmark and that it would be difficult to find someone who can hold me together the way he did. Fear, that if the kid and I were to switch places, the 23 year old me will never let a 32-year old guy get too close. 

I would never open up to him 

The way the kid does to me.

There were times I wish I was younger, or that, he was older. So I could pursue him without having to consider the age restrictions I have boxed myself in. Sometimes, when he drives and I happen to be in the passenger seat, there is this temptation to hold his hand and tell him the reasons why I'd like to stick around. And as I begin to open my eyes to the things that fascinate us - whether it be a song, performance art, or cats - I could no longer ignore that part of me growing a little more fond of him.

It shows every time he sends a Viber message, or when I refuse to part ways until he is mere blocks away from home. 

"You know," Panda said in a serious but motherly tone. "He might actually be your future." I merely brushed off his prognostication, to avoid harboring such thoughts.


When I summon that memory of that second road trip to the highlands, on our journey back to the plains as we listened to Nerina Pallot's Sophia,

and realizing for the first time how one of a kind the kid was.

Passion and silence, every word, every rhyme a measure
It's the science of the soul
And his books they breathe a reason
And now I wanna know

Deep down, I secretly wish our cruise would still lead us to one destination.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


He was a closet exhibitionist long before the others learned this fetish of his. And those who already knew didn't take it against him. 

We brushed it off, like those little quirks that pepper our dysfunctional personalities.

So when I woke up this afternoon, and read on Twitter drop tweets about a buddy who had suddenly become the talk of everyone, I had to find out who he was and what caused the sudden banter on my timeline.

"Nakakaloka lang ang pic na yun," Wrote Prodeeboy. "Never fails to be controversial."

"I must say I'm impressed with the sheer guts," Goodboybaddboii added. "Di ko kaya yun unless anonymous ako."

There were many others who made indirect references about the image, and of the person they were referring to. The comments were harmless and amusing, and would not offend the person who had the guts to show off his family's asset. After a quick check of a dozen updates about the subject, I was able to trace who the culprit was, and the deed that sent everyone blocking their eyes with their hand, while leaving a small gap to peep through their phones' screens.

"Pangako kong pa-birthday sayo amo," He posted. "Delete ko rin after 2 minutes." Attached in that microblog post was his stiff cock, shaved, and held by a hand that apparently, wasn't his.

The guy who did the exhibition was none other than Tee.

His audacity to display his manhood, when conventions dictate that it should kept hidden by all means had taken everyone by surprise. After all, he shows up during our weekly binges, and is the secret crush of many. And for the likes of me who knew him for a long time, behind his mischievous smile is a story we no longer tell. Sure he has a package that is bigger than everyone; it even probed the warm, moist holes and mouths of some guys I know.

In a sense, there's nothing controversial about the photo.

Thus, I wouldn't mind turning a blind eye to his stunt, as I was still reeling from my own fallout during last night's binge. The cock photo didn't turn me on, neither did it cause a feeling of repulsion. I see the owner as a brother. I wouldn't mind what others would say, or how people he hasn't met would talk about his antics. "Impression goes a long way," I mused.

"I'm most certain Tee won't get affected."

But Tee and I have come a long way, and no matter how assured I was that his "harmless scandal" wouldn't tarnish his image, the unspoken thoughts disturbed me. Between amusement and apathy, and people relishing their deepest fantasies seeing Tee's delight, I felt the need to relay the concern, of that fear that he and the recipient would be judged harshly by those who knew them only as a name.

"Tee, yung picture na pinost mo 2 hours na. Kala ko 2 minutes lang? Lol." I sent as SMS.

"Tae, nakatulog ako hahahaha. Salamat."

"Overexposure na. Pinagjakulan na yun ng mga pumapantasya sa iyo. Lol."

"Hahaha. nde aq maka react sa twitter... Nahiya aq bigla."

"At vukheet naman kailangan ng reaction. Haha. Parang walang nangyari lang. Ganyan."

"Para namang di namin nakita na yan no?" I sent as a follow-up message.

"Hahaha tomoh!!! Parang walang naganap. May mga DM na kasi. Hahaha..."

I deliberately maintained a light and non-intrusive tone throughout the whole exchange. At the back of my head, the goal was persuasion: to ask him to take down the picture and not feel bad about the dare. The subtle approach worked and we moved on to other trivial subjects only the two of us could laugh at. When I refreshed Tee's account halfway through the end of the conversation, the picture was gone.

And everything was back as if nothing stirred us on a quiet weekend morning.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


In the dead of the night, he called his advisers for a last-minute briefing. He sat on a mono-block chair with a table hastily set up to be his command post. His men perched his tent, not far from where the hopeless and the vanquished slept. He was there to show them - that the most powerful person in the land is one with them in their suffering. To make them feel they were not abandoned. Forgotten. That the long arm of the government reaches their frail hands. I do not know the reason for the thoughtful gesture. He could just send his men while he ran the day-to-day affairs in the comforts of Malacanan. But as they say, never underestimate the impulse of the heart.

He is after all, the beloved President.

The devil is in the details. It was obvious he wasn't aware that his picture was taken. The other photo revealed how grounded this man is. He drank from a humble styrofoam cup. He had a pen light next to him - to guide him in the dark. News stories tell he retired in a cot, at the mercy of the elements. The next morning he would tell reporters it was so cold that he wore jacket to sleep.  And while an aftershock roused him at the middle of the night, he had a good rest. 

I have never seen such leader go to great lengths just to be with his people. To lay under the stars, to camp out in the middle of nowhere, where even a clean toilet is hard to find. It's no wonder, no matter how his critics and those non-believers try to put him down, the people can easily spot the benevolent from the desperate:  those who cling on to power.

It's been more than three years since my vote had put him to office, and still, it amazes me how he turned out to be the leader no one has ever seen in our lifetime.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Blogapalooza 2013

Blogging is the new graffiti on the walls: moments of one’s existence forever inked on temporary surfaces. But some habits are difficult to let go.

The Art of Blogging

There was a time when this was the epicenter of happenings. The sociopetal fulcrum of dialectics. This used to be the home of many, the melting pot of voices. Varied, distinct, uncompromising voices. Now it lays in the silence of oblivion. Falling into disarray, becoming obsolescent in the changing climate of social media, of shorter and fickler attention spans, and shallow, crass, soulless content. What used to be a kaleidoscopic space, chromatically psychedelic, is now geige and muted. In the absence of its voices, it has become blunt and still.


I was out in the streets this afternoon when I received the letter. It was an email from Vince, the founder of WheninManila. The invitation was about an event: a gathering of bloggers, brand specialists and social media influencers. Dubbed Blogapalooza 2013, the activity aims to showcase products - thoughtfully packaged in the form of loot bags - famous bloggers and Twitter demi-gods are expected to promote in their social media page. 

I read the letter, clicked some links leading to the event's landing page, and found some 150 bloggers who will be attending the event. Most of them are endorsers - people who made a name in blogging press releases for local products and events. Some are bloggers who write about gadgets, and travelling. Others are foodies - people who love to take pictures of food and write stuff about eating places. 

While it is interesting to note that I am familiar with some of the bloggers attending, at the back of my head, I wonder, what stories will these people share of the experience?

Will they be doing crafty storytelling, or become a random mouthpiece of the products they are endorsing?

Not so long ago, I too used to get invites to such gatherings. The only flip-flops I wear today is courtesy of Ipanema. When they launched their sandals in the country. I got mine for free, in exchange for covering the event with some of the blog luminaries of that time. The event was well rehearsed, the dance performance was aimed to show the beauty of the footwear, and the guests went home with their tummies full.

I still remember the exact feeling of sliding your feet in one of these flip flops. I wrote that it felt like stepping on a White Rabbit chewy candy. The flops' soft pads have this buttery texture. The footwear was designed with comfort in mind, and even if the wearer treks the countryside the whole day, he won't get blisters from all that walking. 

Had I known the Ipanema slippers would last four years (and counting) after the first time I wore them, this important detail would never miss my entry.

I'll recommend the product for its durability. 

These thoughts come across as I contemplate the blogging scene today. I read in one blog that blog marketing in the Philippines is actually growing; that in his words, readership is on the rise. While he didn't include a link to the study supporting his claim, the truth is not too difficult to discern from reality: None of my friends still publish their written works, and while blog marketing remains a vibrant niche (according to its advocates), these bloggers' impersonal approach to writing leaves many of their comment boxes empty.  

Thus, SEO junk aside, my hope is that the event delivers, and the products' selling points really get out on the web. For I still believe in the power of storytelling, and connecting to your readers on an intimate sphere. In a time when the shadow of the paid hacks (the Big Bad Bloggers) still loom large over blogger readership, photos and general information don't court a following.

It is the blogger's personal touch and honesty that make people read one's work.  

To be sure, I won't be attending the event - despite the freebies I'd be getting, and the potential exposure and network I'd be receiving. I won't be there, not because I publish a personal blog (whose author is in the middle of catharsis), or it is an exclusive event attended by people who know each other, and breathe the same marketing air that snuffed out many other bloggers in the past. 

I won't be going for one reason. 

One that strikes deep into the craft itself, and of my existence.

"To each his own," I would remind myself while writing this entry. It is for me to see the big picture, and to sound less condescending when the final draft gets published. For the longest time I've been telling stories. Stories that were drawn from my solitary journeys and epiphanies. True to my approach, the only reason I have come this far is because of the notion; of that enduring belief that I have no audience.

Much as I would like to enjoy the perks that comes with blogging. I get inspiration to pen words when I know my works are beholden only to myself.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Out Of The Hermitage (Casual)

A text message:

Good morning papi!!

Gandang umaga. Kaka-send ko lang ng DM (Direct Message) sa iyo. Hehe.

Hehe!! I want to have sex with you pre...

Not today paps. I'm off to work. Next time.

Gusto u rin ba na makipag-sex sa akin? Or ako lang nakakaramdam nito?


Ignore, your consciousness tells. But how will you overturn instinct when you have suppressed your need for so long? "I'm just human," you say. 

I won't contest your claim. 

You are not beholden, as far as we know. No more considerations, for you have declared yourself open. You can tell everyone the joys of having your own space, and distance; of celebrating solitude and raising walls.

They would just nod in approval, to keep tabs with your trivial life. 

But at the end of the day, you can't deny that longing to feel the presence of another. 

To make you feel good. 


But you say it's better when that person is a stranger. "It is easy to get out," is your excuse.

"No commitments."

Pero bakit ganun?

Plans have already been set. You don't even have issues checking in a motel like he proposed. In fact, you can even ignore his invitation, and could have gone across the street this evening. There was someone in your past tempting a repeat performance. Tinulugan mo lang for reasons we couldn't spell. (FYI. Of all the Wechat and Viber messages you got this evening, only one stirred you from your nap. An indication of connection maybe?)  We could even talk about that other tryst of yours. Yung twice mo pinuntahan sa apartment niya to have your pole sucked. After the second time, you disappeared. He didn't look for you so it's quits.

There is no chemistry to begin with.

Pero bakit nga ganun?

You have already donned your battle gear, and recognized the casual arrangements. You have set aside that aspiration to settle down and embraced the principles of "play as you go." You have all the options to choose who to sleep with. 

To pretend to have affections.

But when the sexual encounters become inevitable and the prospects of returning home losing something confronts you. 

Something within would like to back out. To remind you that you have not been consumed yet despite inching closer to that condition.

Parang na-guilty naman ako dun sa sinabi u na libog lang talaga... Coffee na lang muna tau para makapag-kwentuhan... Hehe!!
Kasi naman 3 hours lang eh. Okay lang sa akin. Sana. Pero alam mo bro, hindi lang sex hangad ko sa iyo. Gusto talaga kita maging kaibigan.

"Is it still possible to walk away without incident?" You mused.

"Even saved, maybe?"

The coming days will tell.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Previously: Stirrings Of A Techno Revolution

The money set aside to buy an external hard drive didn't come. Instead, the desktop was replaced by a laptop, and the data stored on my old hard drive got transferred to my portable computer. While the desktop had already been given away, the hard drive is still with me - kept inside my closet in case the files on my laptop get lost.

But storage devices are cumbersome and unreliable hardware, and I am not certain if the data stored in the drive could still be retrieved. It's been two years since I got my portable machine and I have not run a diagnostics on the original disk to check the condition of its contents. Faced with the possibility that only my laptop holds my digital pictures, music files and office documents in its magnetic vault, to contemplate on procuring an external hard drive is a sound foresight.   

However, technology is changing how data is stored today. And with faster bandwidth connection at home, I can do away with the external hard drive, which is not only open to being tampered, the elements can break down the hardware as time goes by. In a way, the investment is good only for a short time. Long-term data protection is still the goal.   

This is where the Cloud comes in. For those who are still parched under the sun, the Cloud idea creates a network of computers in different location, and are connected to a remote, third-party server. The hosting site operates by providing data storage to different clients for a fee. 

With file hosting and back-up services on the rise, it is time to think out of the box. The plan is to move my documents and photos to a place where it can be accessed and downloaded from any computer. The concept worked with Dropbox, when it was introduced to us by a client last year. However, with a storage limit of 2 GB, and the fact that I could not create another account for my personal data, (since I am using Dropbox to sync my files on my laptop and workstation) the choice is to look for another service to store my files.

Enter the Box.

Box was introduced to me by Sloane as a way to share his audio files. We have the same passion for Alternative music and since I was too lazy to see him and get the mp3s myself, he found a way to share it online. At that time, the concept of Cloud has yet to reach me, and so I didn't pay attention to the technology. It is only when I realize the threat of losing my Word documents from high school and college did I change my mind and look at redundancy with utter desperation.

Like I said, no longer can I use Dropbox because I am already using it for work. Google Drive offers bigger storage, but you can only store documents and pictures in their service. I searched Wikipedia for alternatives. I even sought experts on my Twitter account. 

In the end, I stuck with what has already been introduced to me. I will use Box. File evacuation was supposed to begin after I have written a blog entry about the service. But with Avast detecting a Malware on one of my Windows .exe files, urgency requires that I should begin data uploading at once.

I'm on my second day of migration, and most of the essentials - including the first Sales Letter I drafted in high school - have already been stored in the Cloud. I also started uploading music files to the server to see if the service works as it was promoted online. 

It does.

And while it will still take countless hours and massive amounts of bandwith to finish the task, (not to mention, my Personal Account grants me 10GB of storage space and 250MB maximum upload for a single file only) my need for redundant file protection has already been accomplished.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Out Of The Hermitage (The Highlands Pt I)

Tagaytay has always been a place of refuge.

With its nippy air filtering my lungs, a vista of the lake surrounding a volcano taking my breath away, and the sporadic fog shrouding the city in a blanket of clouds, the ridge often stands for my habit of running away from my troubles and disappearing. It's no wonder I have so much adoration for the place, and those I've been with in the highlands become part of the cherished memories I reserve for that cold haunt.

Nobody knows this secret. Not even the kid, who learned to love the city because of me. 

The kid and I's beginnings date back last June, when I used to be his confidant every time he and his fling had those little fights. I knew his fling way back, when he confessed last summer of his attraction to me. I didn't believe him, of course. Who am I to get his attention when better looking guys thought he was hot, and could win him over without putting up a fight.

What I didn't know at that time, is that he was going steady with someone. The hints I figured after paying close attention to his Twitter timeline and the one he often tagged when he wanted to talk to someone.

So I began my quiet retreat, and allowed them some space to know each other. I turned my attention elsewhere, while tuning in from time to time to take a peek at the progress of their relationship. I was content to remain an observer, but the alarm bells started ringing, when news from common friends called for intervention.

It turned out, the guy who had a crush on me, also admitted being attracted to some of my friends. He even went out with some of them. He was a smooth talker through and through and loved the challenge of becoming someone's fancy. It was easy to unmask him - especially after he didn't reply to my invitation that we should go jog together. And when I felt that his steady date was being left in the dark, I pressed forward to side with the losing party.

Even when we barely knew each other.

And that he was 10 years my junior.

The occasional Viber messages exchanges became an almost nightly communion. The nastier the tussle with his fling, the more I became his object of distraction. The glaring age gap didn't put a ceiling to the subjects we could talk about. Having so many things in common - like electronic dance music and  Japanese animation films, it was easy to start a conversation. In the gustiness of his stormy romance, I was there to offer some shelter. And when it came to a point his fling decided to stop talking, I thought of seeing the kid in person. I just had to tell the missing pages of his sad love story, in hopes he could let go.

It was in Tagaytay when the revelation took place. We went to Sonya's Garden to have dinner. The entree was a vegetable salad picked from the restaurant's farm, while the main course was pasta and chicken. In the peak of our conversation, I told him that some dreams are not meant to be, and that truth should not be believed without scrutiny, for facts can be twisted to protect one's interest. I told him what I knew: The cheating episodes that reached my ears, and the reason he had to be given up because his fling had his eyes everywhere. In the game of love, the first to sing is the loser. I told the kid that he was in for a resounding defeat.

Much as I dislike the idea of trashing the character of the person he loved, I felt the kid deserve someone better. Someone who would not deceive him, and promise him a tomorrow his fling could not deliver in the end.

I vividly remember our post dinner hang out. It was his time to speak - the moment the truth was sinking in. He had realized that he was taken for a ride, and in his confused state, between the sadness and longing, he had nowhere to go. 

His car was parked next to the cliff, and as he looked at the vast expanse of Cavite in the distance, his eyes gleamed because of the welling tears.

I would have liked to console him the way an elder brother does to a little brother; a nurturing teacher to his stubborn student; a father to a child. But at that moment I was powerless to make a move. Maybe because I was half certain that my revelations will be in vain, and that he would open his arms and accept the fling once more when he begs for forgiveness.

Maybe not.

I took the risk with unclear goals. Did I say the truth to get back at his fling for toying the idea of attraction to me? Did the kid's story really appeal to my sense of morality? Did I trash the fling's reputation knowing very well that my recent history was not far from his? The answer still escapes me to this day. What I remember telling the kid was that I used to be in his shoes; that I was played upon by my first bf, and that a friend of his took pity of me and became my sounding board every time the ex and I had our crazy fights. 

I revealed that my presence was my way of pay it forward, and that I don't want him to have a twisted notion of relationships because someone spoiled the fun in loving and took away the joy of real companionship.

It was a long drive returning to the plains.

The night ended with me overwhelmed by the experience. And as the days go by, I could not help but feel the growing fondness for the kid I had just liberated.

"The tables have been turned," I wrote in my blog after arriving home. 

With no resolution in sight, and to steer clear of trouble that was right in front of me, I thought of seeking solace with the great neutralizer who was kind enough to accommodate my request.

For old times' sake.

These events unfurled sometime in July, exactly a week before the coming of the game changer.

Only after the chapter with the game changer did the kid and I reunite in the highlands. Two months after our first drive to that city.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Knowledge Is Power

The earth twerked at past 8 in the morning sending two southern provinces in a state of shock. 

The tectonic bang was so violent that flimsy houses tumbled, centuries-old churches crumbled, and scores of souls were forcefully taken to the afterlife after being squished, like pancakes by collapsed buildings. It was a magnitude 7.1 earthquake; the strongest the country has felt in more than a decade, and being a survivor of the July 1990 temblor, I offer my sympathies to those rendered sleepless by this unannounced jolt.

I look back a day later at the ground shaking sleeved with cold consolation. Though it was only felt in the Visayas and parts of Mindanao, catastrophe was averted because the country was observing the Id-ul-Adha feast. Being an important Muslim festival, the government declared a national holiday. The event also happened early in the morning, and most of the people were still asleep. Had it been on a Sunday afternoon, the collapse of the churches and the resulting stampedes alone would have injured thousands.

As government relief efforts go into full swing, and the Cebuanos and Bol-anons cope with the ceaseless aftershocks, a tweet reply to a news organization posted by a 12-year old girl from Cebu left me unsettled and on the verge of disbelief:

I won't deny the malicious intent of the re-tweet. That I was stirring a hailstorm of reactions from those who follow my Twitter account. So tempted was I to join the cyber bullying that my follow-up tweet would have sounded like "aral-aral rin hija kapag may time." for I was really incensed. Ignorance to natural calamities should never be allowed in these corners, and to find a person making a joke out of it deserves the strongest of comeuppance.

But then, was it the pre-teen's fault that she knew nothing about earthquakes? Or worse, made fun of it?

Or was it her science teacher?

The first time I experienced an earthquake was when I was in Grade I. I had just arrived home from school and was about to feed my pet dog. Suddenly, there was ground shaking and the house began swaying. I was scared - yes - because the natural phenomenon was new to me. It was a good thing my dad was nearby, and was calm all the time. Though I no longer recall what he said as the ground shaking went on, the seismic waves caused by the rupture in Earth's fault triggered my interest to exhume any knowledge I could find about quakes.

According to Japanese folklore, earthquakes were caused by a giant catfish whose name was Namazu. The bottom-feeder lives in the mud beneath the earth, and is guarded by the god Kashima. He restrains the fish with a heavy stone, and when the god lets his guard fall, Namazu wiggles causing the ground to shake.

Modern science, however, tells of a different story. That the earth's interior is made up of plates, similar to pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, whose edges we call fault lines. Beneath these plates is magma - that free-flowing stuff that get spewed out of volcanoes. I won't go into details of how earthquakes occur. But when two fault lines get jammed because of magma, the rupture caused by the sudden slip releases seismic energy causing the earth to move violently. In retrospect, people die not really because of the tremors. It is because of the structures they built, but could not withstand the jolt.

I do not know the number of science teachers who include this topic in their lecture. I don't even know if the current generation of teachers in Elementary and High School could still describe the terror caused by a temblor. One thing is certain, and should be implemented at once: If we are to survive the next big one striking Manila, preparation must not only focus on the first responders. Civilians - especially students have to be informed and take part, when drills happen.

Because the truth is, I didn't get the facts from my Science teachers. Not even after the July 1990 earthquake sent me running towards the school's quadrangle. They were self-learned from a single coffee-table book I found at home when reading still consumed a huge chunk of my free time. I learned not only the legends, the cities reduced by past earthquakes and ways how to withstand one - and predict it - if possible.

Out of my strongest desire to understand - the thing that would haunt me for the rest of my life, I taught myself to learn why the ground shakes.

Learning somehow diminished the fear I felt within.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Out Of The Hermitage (The Benchmark)

n. hermit's place, a place of relaxing retreat

Many apologies for writing in freeverse, as I am running out of stories as of late. That, or I am beset by procrastination these past two weeks, for it now becomes apparent that my muses had walked away after the open book sessions last September. Much as I would like to blog about certain subjects that remained unspoken, I have to say that I can only afford to do so if I pen the narratives in broken sentences. Thought flows erratic, and the passion for the written words seemed to have drifted away in such manner, like when my sanity relies on Twitter to keep the solitude contained.  

So what happened the last fourteen days? 

Let's start by telling a juicy story. Someone flashed his thing to me and what I did was just stare at his shlong as he stroked it to keep an erection. "Tamang trip lang," as he would say to my mild astonishment. We were locked somewhere, unperturbed by the enclosed space. Never did I think that in his drunken stupor he would cross lines and tempt me like he probably did with others. But I stood my ground - despite zoning out and imagining myself making out with him and jacking off his dick in that cramped corner. God knows I won't flinch once the beast in me is awakened (like one time when someone asked if I am endowed), but knowing he is taken and we are friends made me cut the chase and tell him,

"Tara na nga sa labas!" 

That same night, I also learned the concept of benchmark and the idea terrified me. You see, I have an acquaintance who broke up with a friend two years ago. They had a long but one-sided relationship. Theirs was full of strife and sorrow, that even my friend's family was dragged into their drama. The acquaintance was troubled from the very start - he was possessive, a jerk, and he spends his ex's money for vices. My friend had to struggle for five (or was it seven) years before life knocked some sense into him. He realized that his partner was dragging him down and there was no sense in sticking out for him. They separated, and then my friend met a hotter boyfriend a few months after his break up. Now they are living together, with my friend having a better-paying job while taking up graduate studies in Ateneo. 

Going back to the story, I met the acquaintance in a hotel somewhere in Cubao. I was brought there by the companion who showed his cock in another gathering. The host had crashed from popping drugs with another guy whom friends said was his "flavor of the month." They were both naked, and were under the sheets. The only guy sober enough to accommodate us was another friend who I've known since 2003.

The hotel room was dingy, with plastic bags and bottles of water scattered everywhere. And the people around me were dazed. What kept their spirits high were the flashing lights from their smartphone app, and the electronic dance music bouncing off their phone's tiny speakers. It was a sad sight. The closest scene I could describe if I were to attend a Party and Play (PnP) activity. I took off my shoes, laid next to my old friend and listened to the music, for House was something we had in common. We talked about my past experience popping the party pill, and how it felt clubbing under its influence. I stayed with them until my companion insisted on doing something insane - to himself - that I had to leave rather than see him in a twisted blissful state. 

"So boyfriend nga niya yung kasama natin?" I asked my companion as we descended the stairs to buy his paraphernalia at a nearby drugstore. 

"Sabi niya, pero hindi magtatagal yun." He assured.


"Alam mo na, benchmark niya yung ex niya." He was referring to my friend. 

We continued going down the eight flights of stairs, but at that moment, I thought of my own state and how my journey towards being found by the Fourth is progressing:

It hurts, not because I have to give up, or of knowing I have to start over again because it might not work. The wound burrows deep every time flashbacks return me to the days we spent together, or remembering how I kept the faith that our forked and broken paths will merge somewhere down the road. It hurts knowing I've met someone who complements me. After all, he is my alter-ego, and yet, we didn't see each other. Or we did, only to realize we long for someone else. However, something changes when affection fails. It makes you a little weary the next time a new one comes along.

"I feel sorry for the guy." I pondered. "Does he know he exists only for a moment?"

Unsure of the answer, I kept the thought to myself knowing my companion still struggles to find his ground, despite the presence of a partner. 

Apparently, his First had already set the standard.   


Friday, October 11, 2013



in the oxygen sac
of my pressurized womb.
for in the fullness of time,
you will crawl across the stars
you carbon-made,
genetically imperfect
of the cosmos.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Ask.FM is a social networking website where anonymous users can ask other users questions they wouldn't bring up when their identity is in the open. It is taking my Twitter timeline by storm since last week, and some turned out more of an inquisition rather than a harmless Q&A pastime. Ask me for my insight and I would say that deception defeats the purpose of creating an account, and it's no fun to spin your answers when everyone tries to be real. 
When the trend became the subject among my friends, Garppy suggested that I create my own account. I said I'm terrified of being interrogated. 

"You can ignore the questions that you don't want to answer naman eh." He said in defense. At the back of my head, I thought censorship is boring. I might be able to bury the truth in cryptic answers, but then, it is in my nature to be brutal with facts. 

A single sentence question requires a single sentence reply. 

There were occasions I leaned towards joining the bandwagon, especially when intelligent examinations took place and the ones in the spotlight were able to articulate their responses. But when I thought of the prying questions - some, I would reveal below - I am convinced to leave the mystery uncovered for truth sometimes, trails into darkness than lead people towards the light.

  • When was your last sex and with whom?
  • You have let go of the past, but still, why don't you follow your ex's Twitter account?
  • The kinkiest sex for you is?
  • What was your strongest reason to stop pursuing your last date?
  • Who among your friends did you sleep with last summer?
  • Do you really have to cease talking to those you have hurt and those who have hurt you?

For these are difficult questions, comments will not be allowed for this entry.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Dark Beat


There are lines we refuse to cross no matter how tempted we are, not because they go against our principles, or we perceive them as destructive, or because we have grown too old to venture into forbidden realms. We impose limitations simply because we no longer wish to taint ourselves with acts that go against our attempts at restoration.

The walk out shows how unready we are to embrace the dark beat.

And yet, despite the unspoken humiliation, a gentle voice somewhere inside my head applauds my decision.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Spacefarer

Previously: Night Of The Fallen 


Just beyond the reaches of the ocean world's dense atmosphere, the Planetship lay motionless in its orbit. It drifts across the blue planet like a broken satellite bound for re-entry. The mothership's signs of life - of motion - happens only when its massive thrusters fire their engines. It does so to regain altitude. Twice, it was observed that a transport vessel leaves the belly of the gargantuan spacecraft. The ships never return from their expedition. The fate of their crews lie entombed beneath the ocean surface.

The Planetship's command structure may not be aware, but they are being watched from a distance. Highly advanced and religiously observant, this alien race has been with the blue sphere since the time it began attracting star dwellers like the people of the Planetship. They know the ones who stayed behind, and those who have returned again and again. And at this conspicuous moment, two pairs of eyes track the massive machine's eccentric movement. Seen from a bridge made of crystals and organic tissues, the beings spoke in a language only their ancient species understood.

"Stay... They desire." The squid-like creature's voice ululates across the damp chamber. His tentacled companion looks at him and warbles his reply.

"They leave and come back." Air from his breathing organs is compressed to produce a sound. It then travels through his five vocal chords before the words come out of his curved mouthpiece.

"Before, they were here too." His voice trills. "Only this time, they made two planetfalls."

The two creatures then turn their eyes toward the viewscreen; to tap stored photographic memories of an earlier time when the Planetship was spotted close to the blue planet. They counted three sightings. Each reappearance is as brief as the previous one. The longest perhaps, happens only now.

"What do you think do they seek?" The elder creature asked.


"There is no shelter here." The elder warned. Brittle suction pads hover over one of the nodules latched into the console and the viewscreen reveals the surface of the waterworld. "The certainty of finding a spot to build cities is the same as the islands disappearing under the ocean."

"Then why do they come back? The younger one inquired.

"To find spacefaring races like them..."

"Huh? And then what?" The rookie seems confused with his superior's reply.

"... whose thoughts long to find a world."


"They would then seek soft fertile ground to start over and replant their lives."

The squid-like creatures with gnarled tentacles for appendages know this truth from watching other beings direct their fleets into the ocean planet. Unlike the dwellers of the Planetship, they go to the surface until they run out of crews to send. Left with no people to look after the ships still in orbit, the interstellar machines enter the planet's atmosphere and disintegrates mid-air. Those who survive the crash become permanent inhabitants of the blue planet.

Snippets of harvested memories continue to flood the thoughts of the two observers, that they fail to see the subtle, but growing distortion around the Planetship. With a flash of light followed by a ripple in the fabric of space, the massive edifice ferrying an entire civilization was gone, leaving nothing in its wake. Stunned, the squid-like creatures fall silent. Unable to fathom what just happened.

"Into hyperspace they fly." The younger's ululation resonates with disappointment.

"They will return." Assures the elder. "I know they will." 

"And what if they don't?"

Closing his eyes in resignation, the much superior of the two creatures answers in a low humming sound.

"Then maybe, they have found a world."