Wednesday, April 27

the inevitable abandon.

they keep asking me what triggered it, because i was with him when it had finally caught up with him.

and most times, i just shrug them off, and tell them that perhaps, this was an inevitability. that all of us are doomed in the end, because mortality is something that we need to confront as we age. but deep in my heart, i know when it happened, because i am convinced that i was the first to witness his surrender.

it was early evening, the distinct aroma of escabeche wafted in the room, and i was in my own, impenetrable bubble, hammering away for my online employer.

all of a sudden, the distinct sound of shattered glass sliced through the uneventful silence that night. i looked at where the sound came from, and there i saw him -- the glass had apparently slithered from his grip, and he lay there motionless, his eyes empty, and his ethos, that of a defeated man.

from then on, he spiraled downwards -- it started with his loss of locomotor skills, then his speech abandoned him, until finally, he regressed back into infancy.

my grandfather, at age 84, had just been engulfed by senility.

prior to writing this, i had a clear idea of what i wanted to write about: i wished to describe him down to his littlest endearments. how he looks for example, or how he is passionate about world war two and manny pacquiao, or how very lovingly he prepares his sliced papaya fruits for dinner, or how he always beams with pride when he tells his friends that one of his grandchildren is the batch valedictorian.

but each time i attempt to muster the adjectives that can paint a clear picture of him, i fail to do so -- because apparently, love is a beautiful abstraction, and words, sometimes, are never sufficient to encapsulate the dictates of the heart.

but one day, just as i was rummaging through his things, i found my heart silently weeping after it had seen how his affections were reduced to a few belongings that he had kept hidden from all of us.

being one to be drawn by sentimentality, he had a lot of items stacked in his room: on that day, I saw his favorite hammer on top of his drawer, a blue ball cap that was hanging in his graying wall, a vietnamese hat that my mom got him from bohol, a solar-powered flashlight that rested on a monobloc chair, a walking cane beside his bed, and empty bottles of menthol rubs that were just strewn in disarray.

he also had a wooden box that he oftentimes kept locked. but this time, it was unlocked. i carefully pulled the lid open and peeked inside.

what instantly caught my eye was a packet of papers that was wrapped in plastic.

when i meticulously loosened the packet from the rubber bands that kept it intact, i saw the two most beautiful things:

a yellowing love letter from my grandmother before she passed;

and the kindergarten test paper, dated 1990, of a cousin that had a perfect score.

lolo, even when most people think otherwise, i believe you can still come back. i love you, and we miss you so much.

Tuesday, April 19

because without our memories, we are nothing.

last weekend, after five long years of busily living our lives away from home, our family was complete once again.

the brother who slaved away two years of his life in dubai, the other brother who is now pursuing a geothermal engineering career in the metropolis, and the sister who spends her days and nights nursing the inconsolable and the medically miserable in cebu finally went home.

naturally, what ensued was a mayhem that we have not tasted for those five longing years. love, apparently, is fleeting and evasive altogether -- but all it needs is an ignition, a memory, and once stoked to its full form, it rushes back to the sensibilities.

last sunday, we spent the entire day melted by the sun's warmth, bathed by the blue waters of the loving sea, and engulfed by the childhood stories and life anecdotes that we have collectively gathered and called our very own.

and right in the middle of the beautiful ruckus, in the unguarded moment when one simply feels, sees, and tastes the bliss of childhood abandon, i mused about:

how we are all really transient beings. that there is no definitive label as to who we really are. yes, we are defined by constructed standards -- we have our identities -- but more than these trivialities, we are defined by our memories, our collectivity, and our shared sense of identity.

our memories, of happy and loving days, and most especially that we are all inclined to romanticize the past, remind us that once upon a time, happiness was within reach.

for in the midst of the chaos that surrounds us as we try to make our own niche in the vastness of the world, our memories keep us grounded and remind us of who we truly are -- that in the midst of family, the world is ours for the taking, and there is nothing that can hinder us from becoming what the universe has intended for us to become.

yes, it is easy to get lost in the trappings of the world, and our very identities are oftentimes compromised by the fluidity of living, but when we are reminded of our childhood bliss -- of days spent frolicking under the sun, nights dedicated to reminiscing stories of days and nights that have since passed, and summers spent being sun-kissed and not minding that sun burns will scar the skin – we are reminded of what satiates the yearnings of the heart.

and even when our very mortality inevitably makes the flesh wither and perish, our memories will forever be infinitesimal -- and they will be our validation that once upon a time, when happiness was abundant and life was less doleful, we were in the midst of love, and love was as trivial as the morning dew, or the first flower that blooms in spring.

yes, we are all transient beings -- but having the best travellers around can make the lack of permanance less scathing.

Thursday, April 14

free verse: lake balinsasayao.

in the midst of this tranquility,

where only the faint whisper

of the wind consumes the senses,

and the soft ripples of water,

slowly disturbed by the rafter,

i have been broken to the simple truth:

that in the finiteness of my being,

and the vastness of the world

that cradles me,

i am merely a child,

of the heavens that

has bequeathed my humanity.

for here, in this moment,

suspended in poignant silence,

and beautiful poetry,

i have known

that the simple melody

of sounds that seem to echo


is what keeps my heart breathing.

and that i,

after being consumed

with sadness so profund,

can still love.

and be loved in return.

Tuesday, April 5

ensnared by.

these days, when the long and dragging spell of boredom often ensnares me, i start to question who i really am.

i know that we are defined by constructed standards: i know my name, where i live, how old i am, and what i will be doing this june.

but on the metaphysical level, on the plane which i cannot really qualify nor quantify -- on the world that does not pay heed to flesh, and names, and addresses, and university courses -- i do not know who i really am.

growing up, i think, i have not always had a clear picture of who i was.

mostly, i conform to what people think of me, or how they want me to be. in front of my parents, i always see to it that they deem me fit to be their son. sometimes, even when i know it is superfluous, i feign religiosity. i try to wake up for breakfast. i try to talk like a good older brother. and i always strive to have proper behavior.

but does that really define me, or am i allowing myself to be defined by their frigid standards?

in front of friends, i am the cool guy who drinks, and smokes, and curses, and adapts well to all sorts of people. i can crack jokes pretty good. and i am loved by them. but when i am alone, with only my thoughts to keep me company, i often ask myself: is this who i really am?

i know it's too early for me to be gobbled alive by all these existentialist queries, and that i ought to reserve all these life questions when i get older, say when i turn 50, but i can't help it. perhaps this is my attempt at deciphering why, during unguarded moments, i often get sentimental and inconsolably sad.

i know that the novelty of sentimental and emotional sorrow wanes as one ages, but i think mine will drag on for longer than usual.

i think i need rescuing.

but i do not know from what,
or by whom.

Sunday, April 3

giving in.

hello mga friends!

dahil nagpapanic na ako at tila yata walang humpay ang pagsalanta ng katamaran at katigangan ng utak ko para makapagsulat dito ulit, ay ninais kong maging isang conformist at makigaya na din sa kung ano ang trending ngayon: ang 50 things about me shietz. normally, busy akong tao at ayokong aksayahin ang pawis, oras, at panahon ko para magsulat ng kung anu-anung mga random shitness about me -- kasi sa totoo lang, feeling ko naman, ay walang magbabasa.

char lang!

para lang basahin nyo to lahat, at maapreciate nyo din ang effort ko. mahirap din kayang magsulat ng singkwentang bagay na pumapatungkol sayo. kaya dahil dito, ay gagawin kong installment basis ang random things na meme ko. parang pahulugan lang sa mamang bombay na nagpapautang. hihihi.

here goes (excited much?!):

1, pangatlo akong anak sa anim na magkakapatid. limang lalake, isang babae. madalas akong hindi napagkakamalang kapatid ng mga kapatid ko, kasi dambuhala sila sa laki. JOOKE. sana wala pa sa kanila ang nakapagbasa ng blog ko. hihihi. actually, totoo. sabi nila ako daw ang pinakaiba ang itsura, at ahem, pinakagoodlooking. JOOOKE ulit. hihihi. sarap ng may blog!

2, political science ang kurso ko sa college. pero umabot ako ng walong taon sa kakaaral. kasi palipat-lipat ako ng school, tamad ang mga guro ko, at lasenggo ang unang unibersidad na pinasukan ko. ayknowrayt.

3, accountants ang magulang ko. educators din sila pareho. kakaretire lang ng nanay ko from being a college dean, pero nagtuturo pa din siya. si erpat naman ay nagmomoonlight bilang isang guro, pero isang self-made businessman na siya ngayon. pressure pressure!

4, isang beses ko lang naranasan lumayas sa bahay. kasagsagan ito ng aking beer days noong 2008, napuno ang tatay ko at sinabihan ako na walang values. binigyan nya ako ng taning (one week from the written and verbal warning), at ng dahil dun ay napadpad ako sa cebu ng mag-isa ko. walang pera, walang bahay na matutuluyan, at walang direksyon ang buhay. ayokong ayoko na maulit yun.

5, mahilig akong kumanta. as in, pramis. sa selpown ko dati, meron akong 3-part message na nakasave sa drafts. kanta lahat. pati yung song number, andun din. at yung lebel ng kaadikan ko ay yung tipong nagbibidyoke kami ng alas dyes ng gabi, tapos aalis ng alas dose ng tanghali the next day. ganung kaadik. as a matter of fact, kinarir ko ang hidden talent ko na yan, dahil sa number

6, sumali ako dati sa isang reality singing tv show sa gma. pakapalan na ng mukha ito! pero di-nare kasi ako ng mga blockmates ko. in the fair, positive naman ang outcome. may talento naman din daw ako, at maaaring ipackage as a matinee idol. naging happy ako for one slight second. ngunit, subalit, datapwat, tinigil ko na ang pag-iilusyon ko ng may kapaan at dakmaan nang naganap. hindi kinaya ng catholic upbringing ko ang mga ganyang mga immoral practices.

7, mahilig akong magsulat. (sabay-sabay: DUH). pero alam kong hindi ako writer -- i just happen to know how to write. may malaking distinction ang dalawa for me. so far, may mga achievements din naman ako sa pagsusulat. katulad ng pagkapublish sa youngblood ng inquirer, pagiging writer para sa isang documentary na ipinalabas sa lakbay tv, at pagsusulat para sa local na dyaryo dito sa aming maleet na probensya.

8, ay oo nga pala, pumasa ako ng upcat. nag diliman ako ng apat na taon, pero dahil sa likas na mentally-challenged (parang abnormal lang) talaga ako sa math, ay hindi ko tinapos doon ang college degree ko. parang timang lang, kasi anim na subjects na lang ang naiwan ko dun. math 17, apat na econ, math 100, tapos thesis. hindi sana ako lilipat ng school, kaso umiyak ang nanay ko. kaya with a heavy heart, i had to leave oble and transfer to silliman.

9, ako pala ay isang manic depressive. hihihi. nakuha ko ang sakit na to sa peyups. kahit na mas madalas ang aking mga depressive episodes, ay feeling ng madaming tao na isa akong malaking manic machine. hindi din. dinadaan ko nalang ang pag emote ko sa pagsusulat. nakakapagod kasing maghanap ng emo din these days eh.

10, nung nasa college pa pala ako, mahilig din akong makiepal sa mga debate debate shitz na yan. as a matter of fack, nagrepresent ako ng school ko ng ilang beses sa anc, at sa tulong ni lord (at isang milyong text votes pram da parentals) ay nanalo naman akong texter's choice sa quarterfinals. (katabi ko pala si phem baranda nun sa dressing room. mukha naman siyang down-to-earth. at si karen davila, naki-CR pa sa room namin. IKR.)

11, escapist akong tao. at ang madalas na mode of escapism na ginagamit ko ay ang, tan tararan taran, alak! lahat yata ng klase ng alak ay kaya kong tunggain. red horse, tanduay rhum, san mig light, pale pilsen, gps, tanduay ice, kahit tuba. alam nyo ba yun? yung inuming ilang weeks before ang fermentation bago siya maging vinegar? yesssh yun! at pag lasing naman ako,

12, madalas akong nawawala sa aking sarili. pinakaworse ko yatang nagawa ay natulog sa quezon circle isang gabi. gawa ng matinding kalasingan at pagkapunyeta ng atm ng bpi, ay nagawa kong maging isang homeless being for one night. pagkagising ko the next day, buo pa naman ang pagkatao ko at kumpleto pa naman ang 16 pesos ko na hindi kasyang pamasahe papuntang shaw boulevard.

13, nung bata daw ako, sabi ko sa nanay ko na gusto kong maging pari. nung tinanong nya ako kung bakit, sabi ko daw, dahil madaming pera ang pari. hindi lang pera, kasi meron ding sardinas, wine, at kung anu-ano pang shit. pero nung nakita ko daw na kalbo ang parish priest namin that time, nag back pedal daw ako, kasi ayokong maging kalbo katulad nya.

14, nung bata din ako, akala ko lahat ng magkakapareho ng trabaho ay magkakaibigan. kaya gusto kong maging traysikel driver. sa isip isip ko, parang ang saya lang ng christmas party kasi ang dami dami nilang magkakaofficemates. ang saya saya siguro ng kris kringle at exchange gift nila.

15, epal ako nung elementary hanggang hayskul. president ako from grade one hanggang sa fourth year hayskul. student body president din ako ng elementary at hayskul. isang beses lang akong naimpeach, sa first year hayskul ito. kasi yung letcheng kaklase ko, nagprotesta. hindi daw ako magiting na cleaner, at madumi ang ilalim ng chair ko. nagtawag ng vote of no confidence si pota, at nanaig ang mutiny. friendship over.

16, sobra, as in sobra, as in sobrang adik ako sa series na f.r.i.e.n.d.s. to the point na kumpleto yung computer ko dati ng lahat ng episodes nila. pati na rin mga interviews. memorise ko actually lahat ng episodes (dati itu), at mga linya nilang lahat. pag kasama ko ang mga kaibigan ko habang nanunuod kami nyan (at nidedeliver ko ang lines before pa man sinasabi ang mga ito), ang sama sama ng tingin nila sa akin. judgmental much kasi sila.

17, mahilig akong manuod ng mga magagandang pelikula. ayoko ng mga commercialized hollywood shitzus. paborito kong mga pelikula ay ang hero, malena, crouching tiger, at madaming madami pang iba. paborito ko si zhang yimou sa international, at si lino brocka naman sa lokal.

18, minsan na akong napasama sa raid dati sa shaw boulevard. as usual, naghahanap ako ng porno, and i was taking my time while doing it. parang nangshashaping lang ng kamatis at okra. nagulat nalang ako at may komosyon. nandun na pala ang mga reporters, mga pulis, at ang ahensyang responsable sa pagcoconfiscate sa mga piratang goods na yan. sumama ako sa mga madlang people at sa stampede na naganap.

19, madalas akong napagkakamalang bumbay. isang beses nga, may isang ale na kinausap ako ng hindi ko maintindihan kung alien speak ba, o na 'victim' ako nuon. oo, yung ripoff ng punkd na si carlos agassi ang host. as it turns out, sri lankan national pala si ate, at akala nya ay magkalahi kami. amsureh.

20, ngayong taong ito ay papasok ako sa pag-aabugasiya. sana makayanan ko to. at ng lustay na lustay na katawang lupa ko.

21, kung hindi ako nagpursue ng law, sana ay isa na akong ef ei ngayon. alam kong (relatively ay) mababaw na trabaho, pero malaki ang sahod at madaming opportunities for travelling. unang try ko sa pal, natanggap naman ako. kaso hindi pumayag nanay ko kasi hindi pa ako graduate non. pangalawang try ko, sa emirates naman. naging masaklap dahil ako nalang ang last man standing sa mga lalake, pero nag freeze hire din sila after ng final interview namen. at pangatlong application ko, natanggap na ako sa qatar air, kaso meron akong congenital heart problem na kung sa tagalog ay tinatawag na letche, otherwise known as malas. bagsak sa medicals. kaya balik ulit sa number 11. joke!

22, meron akong random social anxiety attacks. di ko alam kung bakit, pero bigla nalang akong nagpapanic during certain situations.

23, ay nakalimutan ko pala. nung final interview ko sa qatar, hindi naniwala ang recruiter na pinoy ako. naglipana daw kasi sa qatar ang mga ka lahi ko. magiting ko naman siyang sinagot na: 'proudly conceptualized, born, and bred po ako sa lower camanjac, dumaguete city, negros oriental.' proud negrense itu!

24, i hope to snap out of this writing drought soon, kasi nakakafrustrate ang hindi pagsusulat dito. madami naman akong kwento. pero nagpapanic ako everytime i attempt to write. hindi naman ako adik. five times a week lang naman akong lasing. i dunno what's wrong. char.

25, insomniac ako. kaya ako nagsusulat ngayon, ay dahil hindi pa ako dinadalaw ng antok. nagawa ko na lahat para antukin, all to no avail. lahat, as in lahat na. nakaubos na nga ako ng isang karton ng fresh milk, pero wafas pa din. suggestions, anyone?

yan muna ang kaya ng powers ko. sana matapos ko itong meme na to soon. nakakapikon kasi ang katamaran at ang kawalan ng gana na magsulat. universe, i need your awesomeness right now, es ow es!