Saturday, February 28, 2015

Hopia (Finale)

O pagibig na makapangyarihan
kapag ikaw ay nasok sa puso ninuman 
hahamakin ang lahat masunod ka lamang.

Florante at Laura

February 14. 

The first thing to greet me in the morning, long before my shift was over, was a series of alerts on my mobile phone. On Twitter, someone had noticed the photos I uploaded the day before, and his stamp of approval erased all doubts about the Plan. It was the Weatherman, and even though there was no direct contact between us, I was hoping he knew all the posts on my social media account was for him and no one else. 

There will be no sleep for the day. After hitting the milestone for my Raketship, I left the house before noon to get my bag at Shopwise Harrison Plaza. I forgot to claim it at the counter when I bought the cake for my brother-in-law at the nearby bakeshop. Since I announced at home that Valentines' lunch was on me, a detour at Savory Restaurant in SM Manila was my next destination. Recalling a twitter post from the Weatherman expressing his cravings for sweets, I bought two bars of Swiss chocolate in the supermarket as well. Mint and Orange. The intention was becoming clearer, and I didn't mind being obvious. I have been given one chance to make an impression, and despite being unsure of the outcome, I choose to follow my yearning and deliver what I had in heart.

The matriarch wasn't even done yet with lunch and there I was, leaving home again to check out the Edsa Garden Store near Quezon Avenue. When the Manila Seedling Bank was demolished two years ago, they moved across the highway to set up shop and sell herbs I grow at home. The Weatherman told me he'd like to try gardening. Might as well have his first mints and lavenders come from me.

Task complete and I was back home once more. But still, I haven't sent an SMS to my Valentines' believing he was out with his siblings - or maybe, even friends. I have entrusted everything to prayers knowing the answers lie upon the success of this idea. Between dusk and early evening, I preoccupied myself writing snippets for the side job. My mother, which I have to help get upstairs to her room usually arrives at past 8. Only then can I leave the house and travel south for the big surprise.


They say, even the best laid plans sometimes fail, and it's a good thing I kept my expectations low or I'd be crushed by the epic failure. Consciousness afforded me to accept defeat, should some random event deviate my clockwork movement.

My mom, who was supposed to come home at 8 decided to go to the mall after class. I waited until past nine for her to arrive, which was a mistake I would regret when I found myself dazed in Sucat when the truth finally slapped me in the face. Between short naps, and checking the Weatherman's twitter account, he left a post about his journey toward the opposite direction. At first, I was resolved to waiting, even when I was certain it would take two hours for him to return. To be sure he knew where I was, an SMS was composed. He replied shortly after the message was sent.

By then, I knew, there's no reason to stay until he comes back.

"Wala eh. Kasama ko mga kaibigan ko." This was the very cause of second guessing the direction of our dating the first time our ties got intense.

"Andito kami sa Luneta. Kararating lang mga 15 minutes ago." The moment he stepped foot outside the FX, I was probably about to disembark the van near his place.

"At one point pala, nagkasalisi tayo. Galing ako sa inyo. May bigay sana ako." Resigned to my defeat, I was still hoping he wouldn't let me get home with the stuff I was about to give.

"Pauwi na rin."

An alternate ending to this story would have been him, knocking at my door at 2 in the morning saying he'd like to stay over for the night. By then, I would have been emboldened to speak my feelings, and perhaps, find out what's in store in our future. To this day, he never acknowledged the SMS, neither did I bring up my unannounced visit at his place. The chocolates were consumed by me. The mint plant had shed most of its leaves, and one of the lavenders ended up in someone else's garden.

The apparent indifferent treatment I received, which he probably felt when it was him trying to get my attention many years back would have spelled the end of our short-lived affair.

But I chose not to give up.

Not yet.

-the end-


Friday, February 27, 2015

Hopia (Second Part)

Previously: Hopia (First Part)

All I asked was a sign; an unconscious permission to cross over, and for once, go beyond the established friends-with-benefits arrangement we have grown accustomed in the past two years. It's been ages since I really had a Valentine's, where suddenly I appeared in front of the ex's house with a slice of cake to celebrate the occasion. It was a brief, but unforgettable encounter, because as much as I wanted to stay, family duties required me to be at home for my brother-in-law's birthday salubong. 

It would have been a breeze to tell the Weatherman that I'll be coming over, and give him something on that special day. But to speak of the plan defeats the massive undertaking. We are not even a couple to begin with, and to lay down what I had in mind, probably results in being told to - politely, or even rudely - back off, like what I did to someone a month ago. There is certainty I won't be entertained had I asked even for a fraction of his time, so the idea was to surprise the boy, hoping the effort will pay off.

But first, he needs to make me believe I have a chance.

On the eve of Valentines Day, just mere hours after the cryptic Twitter post was seen by hundreds of digital souls, the succeeding updates on my timeline belonged to him. They were objects associated with our common interests, from historical speculations, to places and things that we both love. The idea was for him to click the "star" button to tell me he liked what he saw.

Just one.

So I know, we still have that connection.

To prove my attachment, I scaled the walls of Intramuros for that image of the clock tower of the Manila City Hall in the distance; I took a photo of that stray cat, even distracting her serene gaze into the sunset for her to crane her neck and look at my phone's camera. I rummaged the Internet for that song that got me hooked to his Tumblr account when he used to be a secret crush. Also, I came across an image of that painting by Juan Luna depicting two ladies pointing at the horizon. It represents Mother Spain and Lady Philippines, not as master and slave, but equals in progress and friendship. The corresponding Tweet includes musings about 18th century Manila, and how I'd probably speak English just to pass off as an American-Asian lost in a Spanish colony. The postings gathered more approval than I could ever imagine from my followers, save for one:

The Weatherman.

Either he chose to ignore my tweets, or I was on mute, therefore preventing him from seeing my references.

No sign ever came during the day, and as the night wore on, I was bracing for the possibility that the Valentine's plan had to be scrapped. It was only before bedtime, in a cab going home from buying a cake for my sister's husband did he finally respond to my call: A single "like" for that photo of the cat I posted on Facebook through my Instagram feed. It was not the validation I sought, but it would suffice to raise my hopes and pursue what I had in mind.

At the strike of midnight, I posted a tweet greeting everyone still awake on my timeline a Happy Valentine's Day.

To my surprise, he replied to the tweet, which further emboldened me to make the surprise visit.

"Happy Valentines, Weatherman." I shot back.

Of all the guys who greeted me, it was only him who received a resounding response.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Note: To the blogger I used to be, who was struggling with words while penning his first blog post in his attempts to join a bandwagon, let me write to you how your first entry would appear like eleven years later. It's been a journey, my friend, and I'm glad that you took the first steps and did your best never to lose the craft.

I have a lifetime to thank you for. 

Previously: Colony Ship Landed

Every guy has a first time, and this is my introduction to the blogs. It's been ages since I wielded a pen - imaginary, or otherwise - to create a journal such as the one you are reading right now. Perhaps, it's time to move on. I'm done sharing my musings on online forums like Pinoyexchange.

My friends are leaving, and so am I.

I no longer recall who among my buddies posted it on Yahoo Groups, but his forethought was a chilling wake up call. He said, "Eventually, people outgrow a fancy and public forums are so yesterday." I've been checking the Odders' thread on Pinoyexchange everyday for the last three years, and absorbing what he said, I realize that I don't want to be left out. Sooner than everyone had thought, I hurled myself into this growing bandwagon, unannounced, hence the title "Colony Ship Landed." 

Folks, this is a migration.


Still, I find it devastating to hear what Henry's boyfriend did to him. The jerk cheated with another guy behind his back. Kunsabagay, boys will be boys, and the moment one gets bored with a partner, off he goes searching for a new playmate. Sigh. Hearing my friend's woes, I can't help but think of my own relationship. It's been almost a year since Phanks and I became a couple and one can't help but speculate,

What if my partner does to me what my friend's ex did to him?

Of course, I would break up, and return to my old ways of sleeping with every guy I come across online and in Malate. I don't know how long it would take for me to move on, but the accomplishments of the last 10 months will be wiped out all because one betrayed the trust of the other. Sana, totoo ngang seryoso ang boyfriend ko sa akin. I'm really looking forward to sharing a life, and future with him. 


Well, that is all for my first blog. There's a Contingent* at Garppy's pad tonight. Maybe I will post again when I return home later, or whenever I feel like writing.


While tinkering this platform, I learned how to add links to my blog. The boys wouldn't know yet, but I'm already snooping around and reading their posts. Lol. For some reasons, I'm beginning to understand why the friend who started this all finds it amazing to have an online journal. Anyway, it's time to leave this chair and take a bath. 

I've been warming my balls the whole day.

*contingent - weekly drinking binge.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Principles Of Neutrality

To this day, people would ask why I didn't join any news publication in the university, when I took up Journalism as my major in the College of Arts and Letters. The answer lies in my poor news gathering skills, and because it was never my intention to take up a writing course, believing I was better off probing the depths of the human mind in the realms of Behavioral Science. 

It was for business reasons I was pressed to become a modern-day scribbler - an apprentice groomed to take over a publishing empire created by my father. I'd still recall that fateful afternoon I made the decision, and the blissful two years conjuring words I thought I'd use only for poetic expressions. Wherever Estrelita Cruz is, this lifelong pursuit to master the prose came from her nonchalant blessing.

Much is owed to her.

Now you ask why, despite getting into the program, I still didn't join the school paper. I already mentioned my undeveloped writing skills; also the prissiness of the literati somehow turned me off. More importantly, I recognize the unspoken creed which all Journalists are supposed to be bound to, and to belong to a news organization when I was identified with a student political body besmirches the values we hold dear. The perception of neutrality, no matter how the subterfuges resurface from time to time must be preserved. It is for this reason I always give up my post during the Student Council election campaign period, and the refusal to discuss matters concerning AB politics to my classmates. In our little ways, we were able to put some credibility into our batch, which our esteemed professors, who eventually taught media ethics before we all left the St. Raymund's Building should be proud of.

In light of the obvious media bias against the sitting President, which is paid for by some shady interests to fan the flames of the ongoing Twitter #hashtag wars, I can't help but ask, where did our values go?

Friday, February 20, 2015

A Full Eight Hours

Finding my ideal sleeping pattern has been a struggle since my sister asked me to bring Diego, my younger nephew, to the dentist at 10 in the morning. The dental trip falls beyond my waking hours, and because of some personal stuff I had to accomplish before my work at night, I was left with barely 4 hours of shut eye to rest and recuperate my strength. 

Since that fateful day almost three weeks ago, I clock around 6 hours of sleep which I have to squeeze between jobs. That six hours is broken by a few hours of diurnal activity, as the body refuses to have an uninterrupted rest. I had already asked my mom for some pill intervention, twice. It worked for some time, until I found myself getting up at noon only to feel woozy again just when my night job is about to start. 

The sleep deprivation has begun to take a toll on the overall quality of my life. The routine is no longer followed.

And the result was alarming. I had to limit my body movement for several days to prevent a nasty lump from becoming more swollen. The immunocompromised body had to deal with boils just above my birdie. On the eve of Valentines' Day, I left my backpack at the package counter of Shopwise inside Harrison Plaza. I had to get up before noon to retrieve it the following day. Workouts had to be skipped. I no longer have faith to carry on lifting weights when my mind thinks nothing but the bed. Less sleep means more appetite. I have no doubt the accomplishments of the diet have been wiped out by this failure to follow the pattern.

Lastly, since I tend to doze off at night, the job performance takes a direct hit. It will show when I produce the KPI report at the end of the month.

Realizing the problem, I consulted the Favorite Aunt for medical help. I was hoping to restore my sleeping pattern. Or at least, afford more time for slumber with the aid of melatonin.

"Mag Benadryl capsule ka na lang." 

She declined my prescription drug request. 

"Tiyak tulog ka dun."

Following her suggestion, I went to the adjacent Mercury Drug Store while the family is having an early dinner at Savory. Three capsules of the suggested cough medicine, the first I gulped down before going home. It worked as recommended, but the hours spent frolicking in the realm of dreams rendered me incapacitated for one night - to work out at the gym and deliver work.

It was 8 hours of pure uninterrupted sleep. But giving up a night for another daylight didn't accomplish anything - yet. 

When nighttime falls and I am required to make decisions at work, expect me to take naps - again - that would last until daybreak.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Hopia (First Part)

Previously: Deux Ex Machina

He would always hide that part of his skin to keep his scars from being seen. I would insist and say, "show it off, it's okay," which he would reciprocate with a smile, and sometimes a tender kiss, when we perform things lovers do in their intimate moments. As the years go by, the more I embrace his defects. It is a thing of beauty that assures me, the feeling is ripe with sincerity.

That he could have always been the one.

It is this pervading thought that hounded me days before Valentines' Day. A friend had just confessed his innermost fears one early morning. That with all the wounds he had collected searching for romance, he doubts ever finding happiness again. I would have hugged him at the spot, if not for the digital conversation. Craning my neck to look at my empty bed, thoughts of the Weatherman emerges. His wry smile every time I speak narratives of the past pressed me to make the belated reversals. What if, after all these years he had given up on me, he has resigned to the idea that nobody will accept his imperfections. 

That he is bound to grow old alone, misunderstood, with so many chances to fall in love lay wasted because he no longer have faith in it?

It is this desire to counter this make-belief assumptions that led me to act impulsively once more. A week before the events of February 14, I went all the way south at 6 in the morning to surprise him with a pot of Lemon Grass. He mentioned looking for one the last time he stayed at my place, and being the pleaser that I am, I saw to it that he received it, no matter the personal toll. He was elated of course, and all morning, we were exchanging SMS about showing me the wonders of his new realms. If not for the uncalled tweet about the ex and his lies (and that vow to never let anyone get close again), the Weatherman's mood would have never soured, and the very public social media tagging would go on, to the curiosity of observers.

Regardless, the plan has been set and all I wanted was his unconscious permission. And so on the eve of Valentine's Day, I let my thoughts in the open and posted a tweet that would, in my deepest prayers, get intercepted by the intended receiver:

- tobecontinued 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Natsukashii On Valentine's Eve

I.  Dear, 2002

The campaign season for the Arts and Letters Student Council was about to end. Election was merely a day away and everyone was busy introducing the candidates to the Artlets. I was the Secretary General of the dominant party, while she was aligned with the rival - the result of a tampuhan way before we became a couple. The misunderstanding convinced her to sign up with our challenger just to get back and spit right on my face. It didn't matter. Never did I bring politics in our relationship, and on that day, given the hectic schedule, I asked her if we could have some private time at a nearby Crepe Shop to celebrate the occasion. 

She was expecting flowers. 

I remember not buying any.

II. Labs, 2003

Madly in love, I was with my first boyfriend. On that day, I left an hour earlier before my shift ends. It has been established at the beginning of our relationship that I pick him up in Makati from my workplace in Tayuman. I didn't mind the long commute, for it afforded me some time with him as we used to have dinners at a karinderia not far from his boarding house in Espana. 

The relationship was already waning weeks before the occasion. I already slept with another guy after a nasty fight left me looking for consolation in Malate one night. We no longer send SMS like we used to every day. I have already resigned to our growing distance.

Yet on that day, I had a present. A Regine Velasquez CD I brought from Music One the day before. It was a surprise, meant to reignite the dying romance. I was hoping it would change the tide of the relationship. He was perky than usual when I arrived at the clinic. Said, some admirer gave him a stalk of Rose. To this day I still remember his exact words:

"Mabuti pa yung iba, may Rose para sa akin." I was incensed.

We broke up shortly after I dropped him off at his place. He received the CD, the first original item I acquired, only after I asked a common friend to deliver my parting letter.

III. Pangga, 2004

We were at the Baywalk to witness the first Lovapalooza. Unilever Philippines and its partners had staged a mass kissing event to break the record held by Chile a year before. My boyfriend and I never planned of joining. The idea of gay lovers showing public display of affection remains an elusive dream we all yearned. The whole Plaza Raja Sulayman and the adjacent streets were overflowing with couples. As the countdown begins, the partner and I held our breath. I was tempted to kiss him but I was afraid how he would react. 

"5..." I looked at him in the eye, believing we would go on forever.

"4..." We would face life's challenges head on, no matter the personal costs.

"3..." The relationship will allow us to grow as individuals. In the end, we would look back at how far we've come and smile at our accomplishments.

"2..." One day, gay couples like us will never feel ashamed kissing alongside straight people.

"1..." We would remain faithful to each other.

It was a half-a-decade relationship that had to end after love could no longer save our bond. Sadly, the Valentine's stories after the Lovapalooza are no longer consequential.

IV. BaaBaa, 2011  

For the first time, I will let the other tell the story:

For better or for worse; for the bittersweet lingering memories needed to be unearthed just to pen this blog entry, there is comfort knowing I had pasts to tell. The fifth may not have endured the relationship long enough to see the day, and it is something I'm learning to let go.

All I know is that I loved in my own ways, and still remember.

Natsukashii. adj. of some small thing that brings you suddenly, joyously back to fond memories, not with a wistful longing for what's past, but with an appreciation for the good (and bad) times.

Written for the Round Table Challenge

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


I have an ex-colleague, who lost his eyesight because of cancer. One of his corneas had to be removed because of tumor. I have no idea if his other eye can be spared, or if the T-Cells have not yet spread to other parts of his body. The tomography scan alone, which cost a fortune is enough for him to give up the treatment and leave his fate in the wind.  

With no job, and perhaps, even savings, it is yet unknown how he would recover from the disease.


An aunt, who lives abroad was diagnosed with Stage 4 Liver Cancer. Relatives on my side of the family say the hepatocytes are more aggressive, and more terminal than other forms of carcinoma. While the treatment is already ongoing, her oncologists still have to see if the cells cease multiplying. Unlike the friend who doesn't know where to get the money, my uncle is among the wealthiest in the family.

His wife can expect to receive the best health care the First World has to offer.


Making light of their situation preoccupies the mind these days. The aunt asks only for prayers. It is the friend who needs cash. While I can only suggest places where help might be given, there is no certainty of a financial package. He can simply give up, and live the remainder of his life with grace and compassion. Or fight it out like the rest, and breath his last still longing another shot at living. 

I pen this entry, not only for their sake, but for mine, who keep thinking what if such trial befalls my loved ones. Would our combined wealth be enough for the most difficult of treatments? Would we ever find comfort knowing we have given love in the days when the stricken used to be well? In contemplation, the answers elude me. And the distress continues to cast a long, lonely shadow as there is this growing fear I have lost favor with time.

"We have nothing but memories and goodwill to leave behind," I was supposed to tell my mom as a consolation when she broke the news to me about the aunt. I was referring to the photos of my uncle and his wife on a cruise ship in exotic destinations I saw on their Facebook page. Walking out of the door heavy with thoughts about mortality, I resumed working on the Raketship unsure of my chosen resolution.

"This." I pressed the enter key. The snippet I just sent to the client's portal adds to the bucks I accumulate every week.

"And perhaps a sprinkle of good vibes on the side." I thought, as I recall some people I know, who have hatred and spite to give.

I don't want asking the Almighty some favors in the future.

Not, when I have yet to do his bidding. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Pains Of Infatuation

Just seven days ago, I was telling Garppy over bottles of San Miguel beer about my longing to be infatuated. That terrible, terrible feeling where your mind is set for just one soul, hoping he would think fondly of you. The conversation started after my drinking buddy spilled the beans about his last date. You see, less than three months after he parted ways with his lover, our romeo is back at the dating scene. Being cute and smart, it was easy for him to meet his match. Garrpy came across this artsy bipolar on Tinder who turned his world around. I would leave the juicy details unwritten, but to cut the story short, after they spent the night at my friend's pad, he wouldn't cease thinking about him.

In school, and even at his side job - while giving instructions on how to snap pictures with high-end cameras; every minute, every moment he would take a break, his thoughts soar back to the Tinder boy. He would send Viber messages, ask him about his activities, and draw him into conversations, only to receive disinterested replies. 

My friend, obviously, didn't like his date's treatment.

Let's just say it all went downhill from there, and for the first time, it felt like my buddy's soft underbelly was exposed. What spared him from more heartaches was his decision to walk away before things get worse. 

It was a good call. 

Less than a month after the events surrounding the Tinder boy, Garppy is once again seeing another guy. He announced on Twitter recently they were exclusively dating.

His story is just one of the narratives I hear once in a while about the people who are about to end the search - only to see ties wither as pairs explore the intricacies of their relationship. While the longing was there, (to be filled with thoughts of a person you would move heaven and earth to see him smile) it is Garppy's lessons I keep in mind now that my wish is granted. Three days after the binge drinking, the Weatherman rang my phone to ask if I was home.

He was nearby.

Knowing it would add another chapter in a tale preceding all the heartaches after the third, I still hurled myself into the waiting arms of desire no matter how fleeting it is. 

And God, after all this time, the feelings only got intense.

We ended the evening, certain the Weatherman will linger longer than Garppy's first Tinder date.

To this day, the intimate moments of February 3rd remain lodged somewhere within my chest. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Deux Ex Machina

The surprise phone call might have saved me from the risque behavior I was about to engage. The scorpions have returned, and on the eve of the provocations, there you are, putting a break to all the carnal ideas going inside my head.

It may amount to nothing, really, but there is a profound elation knowing you're my angel tonight.