Tuesday, May 22

random love.

his story.

he sits quietly still at 3 am in an inconspicuous burger joint that was bathed by the sodium light's yellow. for an observer, he seemed to be deep in his thoughts, pensive even, his stillness disturbed only by his occasional cigarette puffs. he was a marlboro lights guy, and the ashes have accumulated because he was too busy to even dust off the gray remnants of his death stick.

he thinks about what happened earlier that night. the loud music. matronas. parloristas. the suffocating smell of semen, saliva and cigarette smoke. the red light. his naked and oiled body. his gyrating. his skimpy underwear. the glaring light bouncing off of his chest. his glistening moment.

he gives it a thought and he realizes that he's been in the circuit for 3 years already. he takes a long drag from his cigarette one last time before he throws it away. his thoughts drift further into the repository of his memories.

her story.

she arrives at the burger joint for her regular cheeseburger fix. holding a cigarette on one hand while clasping her pointy heels with her other hand, she asks him if the seat beside him was taken. upon his motioning that it was not, she got comfortable in the empty chair. she fished for her philipp morris pack from her bag, and upon tearing the pack open, she lit her 11th cigarette for the night, puffing the smoke away with abandon.

she thinks of the night that she just had. loud music. tacky dj. her red heels. her boots. dirty old men. the stench of puke, beer and pussy filling the dark room that was sparsely illuminated by the red light that permeated through all corners. her performance. her fondling her breast as she looked at herself in the mirror while she gyrates. the captivated stares of the regulars. her staged biting of her lip as she fondles her pussy beneath her silk underwear.

their story.

he asks her for a cigarette, to which she motions for him to wait. he lights the cigarette, slowly inhaling the smoke that would hasten his mortality. he looks up to her as she drifts away in her thoughts, brooding and unperturbed. he dusts the ashes for the first time as he feels her head on his shoulder. he looks at her, deep into her eyes, as he strokes her dark hair that reeked of cigarette and beer.

he puffs his cigarette again, so does she, as they felt, for the first time in a long time, the comfort of how it is to be loved. in a night that was as random as the stars, they both stared into nothingness, puffing their cigarettes incessantly, as the smoke hovered above the heads of two souls who longed for affection all their life.

at 3:14 am in an inconspicuous burger joint that was bathed by the sodium light's illumine.

Tuesday, May 8

why i love UP.

it is not uncommon for me to be asked by friends why i adore UP so much. some of them even say that i interject my UP musings even when i talk about the most obscure things. and each time i am asked this, i always clam up. i do not answer right away not because i do not know what to tell them, but it is because i know what the answer is, and this certainty is what makes me think hard before i speak, for i do not wish to give them a few undiscerned sentences which do not really give justice to the love that i have for UP.

it has almost been 8 years since i was in one of Palma Hall's classrooms, listening attentively to Atty. Jamon as he tells us yet again that we are the future molders of this country. this is what i miss most about UP education: for with every new learning that i acquire in class, i am constantly reminded that i am part of a larger configuration. that intelligence does not just exist for its own sake, for to do so would be to betray the numerous souls who look up to the iskolars ng bayan for the improvement of their own lot. learning is inextricably linked with a transcendental ideal, because a mere narcissistic absorption of the discourses that happen in class translates to an abandonment of what the taxpayers -- the farmers, the lower class workers, the OFWs -- expect of us.

in UP, one breathes the interconnectedness of all knowledge, so much so that the delineation between theory and praxis is virtually not there anymore. the four walls of the classroom fail to contain the burning idealism that iskos and iskas have, because every UP student knows that the acquisition of knowledge is only the beginning -- for what is more important is the application of these newfound ideas to better the situation of our underprivileged countrymen. a UP-educated friend once quipped that the accumulation of knowledge is essentially a narcissistic venture: that people thirst for knowledge because it is a response to the self's insatiable need to enhance itself, and that the positive consequences of this yearning is merely consequential and thus unintended.

in my mind, I can only ask him: if it is through the blood and sweat of taxpayers that we are able to obtain our education, is it then apt for us to tell them that any good deed that we do after we graduate is out of charity?

in UP, one is taught to always hold on to the ideal. in a country that is afflicted with paralyzing hopelessness, UP provides that beacon of hope to students as it reminds them that yes, darkness may exist, but if we extinguish what little flicker of idealism that we have left, then who will fend off the darkness? it is this assurance of potential and promise which makes UP students strive for perfection, because they know that with collective idealism, the promise of achieving the great filipino destiny is always an ideal that is capable of realization.

UP has made me realize how minute i am in this universe, but that it is this very smallness which makes me capable of clinging on to something that is incapable of extinguishment. yes, i may be small, but i am part of a collective endeavor that will soon see the emancipation of this country from the shackles of hopelessness and desperation. if only for this alone, i will forever be indebted to UP, and constantly promise her that in God's time, i shall help her achieve what this country rightfully deserves.