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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tondo blood

circa 2010 Tondo, Manila, self portrait 103


When I was a young lad, my cousin, Kuya Cris, would drag me along the streets of Tondo in Manila, introducing me to left and right huddles of guys in their drinking session under the streaming sun and often I would hear him say “Oh baka makita ninyo ‘to dyan naglalakad, walang tatalo diyan ha. Pinsan ko ‘yan!” 

During then, I didn’t understand what he meant, even the occasional forced-drink of Tanduay and Gin from grimy glasses handed by some topless guy with sprawling tattoo marks, either on chest or in their bulging arms. But whenever I would snob the guys or would hesitate for the offered drink, Kuya Cris would nudge me and I knew I have to oblige. 

Kuya Cris was a former drug addict. Every nook and canny, he told me, in Tondo, where crystal meth and drug sessions is to be found, he had a map of them in his mind. Because of that, he was and is still close to them bad boys. Drug pusher, addict, snatcher, hired killer, rapist – name it, he said, “I’ve been with all of them.” Some turned friends, others became enemies to watch out for. 

Tondo is a familiar place since childhood. My lolo and lola, coming from Ilocos, lived there for a period of time. It’s the place where my mother and uncles were brought up. One of my uncles even became head of Tondo police station. 

It is in this story that I remember what my Kuya Cris once told me. I was crying then because of some stupid reason, I was young by the way. It’s still fresh in my mind what he said that day and maybe, I'll never forget: “Lalaki ka at may dugo kang Tondo. Dapat matapang ka.” 

To my surprise, it was the same line that was mentioned in the latest reprise of the movie featuring the late gang lord and modern day Robin Hood of Tondo – Asiong Salonga. 

The story of Nicasio “Asiong” Salonga is not new to me. One of my uncles, my Tito Erning, is friend to Bong Salonga, son of the man himself Asiong Salonga. It is a curious tale, a story about a man who lived surrounded by guns, women, money and other gang lords while remaining popular to the brethren of Tondo; as if a savior, a Messiah that could alleviate poverty and ironically, even violence at its kingdom. The name Asiong Salonga created a mark in my young mind, and recently, I finally met him. 

I am often amused by his story. Who wouldn’t? For someone whose serious child ambition is to become an assassin, who plays with toy guns with all the scathing sound of bullets firing angrily to an invisible nemesis, Asiong Salonga is a hero. A name that sends chills even to authorities, Totoy Golem, Toothpick, Erning, Zapanta – I’ve heard them all, and watching them in theater screen as the era of Tondo bloodbath and gangland violence passed by in front, suddenly I was a kid once more, reliving the former ambition of a macho feared image. 

Allow me to digress a bit from my thesis statement, but the recent Asiong Salonga movie is really good. No, I wasn’t paid by anyone to say that. The photography employed is not just pleasing but tells so much about the story. Congratulations also to Manong Jesse Lasaten for delivering such awesome scoring to the music and Mr. Carlo Mendoza for the amazing cinematography. 

So back to my storyline. I’ve lived with that warning. That having a blood of Tondo requires you to be brave, especially in the face of your enemies. Hide your weakness. Don’t cry. Suck it up. Avenge. 

And then I became 18. And you all probably knew what happened. The gangster fell in love, and everything changes. 

I lost the strut, the arrogance, the swag. I became a soft faggot. Someone who became understanding, someone who now bends his philosophies and pride to comply with some asshole, someone who acts to please the other one – I looked at myself and no more I could find the gangster. He died. 

Maybe life really is ironic. Love killed him, now love will resurrect him. Maybe it’s time to sharpen the swords, pick up the bullets and let the roaring guns trumpet. I forgot that people may not have guns, but one mistake and you’ll have yourself killed by people around you. Worse, it’s the same people you trusted. Or the same people you gave your heart to. 

Tell you what, literally, next year, I’ll be having my own gun. My uncle promised he’ll help me acquire the necessary license. He’s a former police official. Within our family compound, our house is the only one where guns are not kept. Most within our clan are police officers, that’s why; others just have them for protection. Uncle said it’s time for me to take the responsibility of acting as the head of house since my father is abroad working his ass out. Somehow, I’m flattered by this. Maybe finally, they’re seeing the man I’ve become. Finally. 

A gun may not equate to courage, but sometimes it helps. I just want the old me back. I just want to live again with that mantra: “Pag may dugong Tondo, matapang.” I’m tired of getting hurt. I’m tired of crying. I’m tired of not fighting back. I don't know what this means, what will this declaration brings, but one thing is sure: I'm never going back to that softer me. Now I'm Désolé Boy - the gangster. Bang bang!
______________

Nilusong ang kanal na sa pangalan niya’y
tumawag alang-alang sa iba tsaka muna
ang paawat sa mali na nagagawa na tila
nagiging tama ang tunay na may kailangan
ang siyang pinangtatamasa lahat sila’y takot
makakapaso ang iyong galit mga bakal na may
nagbabagang tinga papalit-palit sa hangin
na masangsang nakakapanghina ang nana at
hindi mo matanggal na para bang sima ng
pana na nakulawit subalit sa kabila ng
lahat ay ang halimuyak lamang ng iisang
bulaklak ang siyang tanging naghahatid
sa kaniya sa katinuan at hindi ipagpapalit na
kahit sino man. 

-Hari ng Tondo by Gloc 9

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Friday, December 23, 2011

All along the watchtower

self portrait 102


It’s been more than a year and a quarter since I thought I lost everything. And since then, I’ve been everywhere you could imagine. Been undressed by kings, been to the bottom of the seas, been to the kingdom of hearts, been to different bat caves and sometimes, even to the depths of a howling Inferno. I’ve seen things, great and bad. And what I understand is that there is little understanding of happiness in everything. 

Happy are those who sleep with demigods, then those who pretend to be emperors. And then there’s the cabinet maker, those who lick their black mirrors and then those who see visions of future. Chief among these, I’m curious to the savage state of those who are drunk from the cocktails of romance. 

This I pretend to understand, for I thought that happiness lies at the bottom of its crystallized glass. And so like Alice, I drank from the many strange bottles I saw. “Drink me,” the bottles said; printed in full bold colors attached to their necks. Neither turned me giant; capable of picking the tree of triumph. Neither turned me small; enabling me escape through the narrow hole leading to the illusive freedom of reality. 

You see me and people tell many things about me. To some, I am miniscule rabbit; others thought I’m a glaring vulture. Consequently, these tend to equate to my idea of happiness. 

I couldn’t blame them though. 

This holiday season, there seem to be an additional present for every single one I get. Often you will hear people say “I hope you find happiness,” “I hope you’ll get hitched soon,” “I wish for you to find the right guy,” and many other variations of it. Honestly, it’s the same desire I silently wished for a distant time ago. It’s a silent prayer to no one in particular since I never really included it to my prayers to God. 

I’ll tell you what most of you do not know. Strip of all names, all cloaks of grandeur and the high ambitions I speak off, I am, first and foremost – a kid. 

A boy in his early twenties who has specific fixation over leather boots, who enjoys mini RC cars and glows every time an M&M mascot is in sight, is what lies behind philosophical speeches, high political commentaries and drama anthology worthy write ups. As my iBlogger friends recently discovered, I adore those wide eyed cuddly stuffed toys, swoons over giant wheels and tend to get nervous whenever a clown is in sight. 

I am but a kid. And I may have wished for a romantic relationship, even frustrated myself over the idea, but I no longer lean on that kind of longing. I’ve walked the narrowest of the narrowest road and have seen one of the worst images there are, and at last I’ve learn to content myself in small things. 

When you’re happy with the small stuffs, happiness is easy. Happiness not only becomes yours but you yourself, you become happiness. 

I am my own happiness, so to people wishing me a boyfriend or a partner to gain happiness, thank you, but no more that I want one. 

I’ll tell you my idea of happiness. Whenever I could run and play barefoot on the seashore, whenever my friends and I would take a bath and sleep together, whenever I see stars hovering over dark clouds, whenever I get new books, whenever I eat hand to mouth, whenever I listen to strangers tell their stories – that, I am already happy. 

Bad decisions from the past does not make me any less of a person. Or being mistreated. Or being misunderstood. Or being misjudged, being mistaken and rejected. Or being single. I am as good as you are lovers; probably even happier than most of you are.

So long as there are free cakes to taste, so long as jokes would always come, so long as stealing one’s donut is not punishable by law and Timezone won’t be swallowed whole by the Earth, I think I will be fine. If not, I think this time, it’s best I teach my feet how to fly.

"There must be some way out of here," said the joker to the thief.
"There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief."
Businessmen they drink my wine, plowmen they dig my earth.
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth.

"No reason to get excited," the thief he kindly spoke
"There are many here among us who think life is but a joke."
"But you and I, we've been through that, and this is not our fate."
So let us not talk falsely, the hour is getting late."

-All along the watchtower by Bob Dylan
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Friday, December 16, 2011

Rolling on cam

Boobs


I can't say that I hate watching myself on television, but I must admit I'm very uncomfortable with the idea. Even with family home videos, it's too painful for me to watch myself on screen. The gestures, the voice, even the slight rise on my brows whenever I talk, feels so morbidly wrong.

My formal debut on television would probably be on the now defunct ABS-CBN debate show Y Speak. Every member of my family and friends back then in 2005 were able to watch it. Save for me. And then many more follow, obviously, as I was a former activist and the fact that I'm a broadcast communication student made the appearances more often than I would like to.

And then I entered Entertainment Television Group. And boy, my ordeal doesn't end with late night tapings, the derogatory words my Executive Producer shoving on me and the occasional tantrums of my pretentious actors and actresses. Whenever the paid talents weren't able to deliver their lines or simply dragging the entire production out of their crappy acting, or when the production cost is already skyrocketing, or a quick revision on script is need and the undying flashbacks, my director would often throw his headset, shout on top of his lungs and say "DB, take over. Wardrobe bihisan nyo na."

I didn’t and I won’t like it.

Now, it was our anniversary/Christmas party the other day and I know some of my readers here were able to share my nervousness as I was tweeting about my ultimately dreaded dance number. I already knew it’s going to land an item c/o our respectable reporter Sir Mario [Dumaoal] on TV Patrol. However, it didn’t occur to me that my face would be shown, in tight shot and in full more than five seconds, on national television during primetime news hour.

Of course it was hilarious for most people – except me. Instantly, I received tons of messages, SMS, BBMs, on FB and others telling me the obvious – “You were seen dancing like crazy on TVP man! Waddup with that?”

Friends, not only here in the third world but also those who are from Chicago, LA and Singapore didn’t miss my seconds of shame. What a joke!

I find it very ironic. For someone whose ambition’s trajectory leads to becoming a TV news reporter [and a popular one at that], being seen on the screen should be something I still need to learn to master. Maybe it’s still a question of confidence. Maybe it’s still an issue of not fitting with the society’s dictate of what looks good and not. Or maybe it’s just a habit.

But I will remember that being on television is not the ultimate goal here, or looking damn beautiful with it. I must remember that there’s a higher reason why I have this kind of ambition. For now, I’ll probably give all the fun to friends and relatives seeing my gorgeously hilarious face on screen.
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Monday, December 12, 2011

Conversation of a prince and an outlaw

Self-portrait, 101


This is a fairy tale.

And like any other tale, it begins with a once upon a time.

Once upon a time, there was a young prince like no other. He grew up to be a fine man though nothing really exceptional. His hair and eyes black as night, his skin as fine as any wood. He stands like a sentinel in battle and speaks like a politician in pew.

**

“I never really believed in fairy tales, sire, if you asked me. “


“But I came from a fairy tale, and you won’t believe in me?”


“That is neither here nor there.”

**

One day he heard of a famine brought about by a raging dragon, so destructing that he sets out in a journey not knowing how and why, though one thing is sure - he will fight the devil.

So he left the confines of his castle, rides his horse with his sword on the waist, and trails the treacherous road to the realms of the unknown.

**

“You mean you don’t believe me to be a prince?”


“Pardon my uncertainties but you don’t look like one.”


“It seems to me that you have turned yourself into a stereotype.”

**

On his way, he saw a few people. He met his fellow princes. While some are vengeful, others prove to be frauds. Soon he surrounds himself with friends. A noble, a priest, a virgin, a whore, a thief, a clown and a piper, to name a few. And all they set together to find dragons of their own to slay.

And then the prince chokes on the apple.

**

“I see no favor in dressing in capes and proclaiming I’m noble.”


“And yet I must look clean and well so the town’s people won’t suspect.”


“Well, you may pass on being a beautiful stereotype but my conscience won’t allow it.”

**

The prince slept for years. While he is aware of himself, he is neither dreaming nor awake.

And then at one fine day, he spits the apple chunk and rises from the crypt. He picks up his sword, joins his joyful friends and sets out again to find the dragon to slay.

**

“If only one could agree for a dragon-bait, it must be well.”


“And I goddamn refuse. I am as capable of rescuing you as you are of rescuing me. I’m an outlaw, not a hero. We’re our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves.”

**

Once upon a time, there was a young prince. But the story does not end with a princess on his side, or even with another prince, or with a kiss or in a happily ever after.

In fact, it doesn’t end at all.



___________
with lines from Tom Robbins
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Massacre by the Ampatuans

photo by Kiri Lluch Dalena

Stronghold of the southland. Lords of political dynasty. Executioners. They are the Ampatuans. On November 23, 2009, they committed the most gruesome slaughter of 58 men and women. Fathers, mothers, sons, children, lawyers and journalists – mutilated, buried under piles of rubbles and dirt and smashed vehicles. Two years after, the soil of Maguindanao continue to crave for justice, papers bleed inks of mourning and still, two years after, the glaring impunity persists. 

I’ll tell you the same story told harshly two years ago. In the morning of 23rd of November, Friday, 31 media workers together with the women of the Mangudadatu clan trailed the road leading to the capital Shariff Aguak. This was after Ismael Toto Mangudadatu declared his intention to run for governor, challenging its kings, the Ampatuans, once his allies. Fearing for his life, he sent his wife Jennalyn Mangudadatu and the others to file his certificate of candidacy, thinking since she’s a woman, barricaded by lawyers and the rolling cameras of media men, she will be safe. Only death found them. 

It is a murder, so evil, Philippines became the most dangerous place in the world for the practice of journalism. Men and women, children and mere passersby, stripped of their own identity, bodies disfigured, buried by the same backhoe with imprints of perpetrators names. 

Two years after, 197 people were accused, 93 were arrested of which 64 were arraigned whereas 87 people were presented as witnesses by the prosecution. Two years after, only two main suspects from the Ampatuan clan have been arraigned. The primary suspect, Andal Ampatuan Jr. has not been arraigned for trial. Zaldy Ampatuan meanwhile appealed to the government to turn him state witness in exchange for testimony that could pin his family for murder. 

Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, in an interview for dzMM says more than half of the entire numbers of suspects are still at large. He admitted case’s progress is very slow. In the words of a certain Joker Arroyo, he thinks this case might take 200 years to be presented and resolved. And that might be true and all, but if we look at a family who lost both its father and mother, when we listen to a son reminisce how he found his daddy’s piece of finger, eye out of it socket, while still convincing himself of that faint chance that the body might not be the same daddy who use to challenge him for a push-up match, tell me, should we count those 200 days and wait what lies ahead? 

But we do not see 200 as 200 in the same way that we don’t see 58 as 58. Along with them died universes, a family that lost its father, a mother who lost his son with a promise of a better home for her and a news organization that lost its most promising young journalist. Lamentably, the current Aquino administration shows little interest in helping these families. Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma once said, "we will seriously look into this concern because this was a commitment made by the previous administration and we need to revisit this proposal. 

Today, everyone speaks of the same names yet the gavel of justice has not given its verdict. The ghosts of the Ampatuan's private army continue to march within the grounds of their territories, scaring the living, reminding everyone how heads rolled at the mention of few names and nods of them warlords. The roll of justice's wheel is slow. The country’s justice system is flawed. 

It is hard to believe. Sometimes, whenever I listen to their stories, I had to shake my head, convince myself that this is totally unthinkable. This could not have happened. When you are twenty four, twenty two when the massacre happened, you believe that there are innate goodness people possessed. But when you witness the counting of bodies, 48, 49, 50 and then another more under a Toyota Vios, under a certain Adventure and several more under many vans, you realize, death is always there in a country once called pearl of the orient. 

Two years after, we tell the same sad tale, we march under the same battle and we cry the same plea of searching. Writing and telling stories about this massacre will not give much, I know that, and I’m sure all journalists knew that. We fight, not because 32 among our colleagues are killed in that certain highway, but because we are Filipinos second and humans first. 

The end is still far from sight, but if we stop now, even for a second, in doing what we can in this arduous fight, not only we are condoning the murder of our 58 brothers, we also allow the Ampatuans to continuously mock us, continuously massacre our hope and repeatedly defy our pride and goodness as humans. 

These are the names of 58:

Noel “Bogs” Decena
Alejandro “Bong” Reblando
Daryl delos Reyes
Eduardo Lechonsito
Cecille Lechonsito
Mercy Palabrica
Wilhelm Palabrica
Humberto Mumay
Rey Merisco
Ronnie Perante
Jun Legarta
Val Cachuela
Santos “Jun” Gatchalian
Joel Parcona
John Caniba
Art Betia
Ranie Razon
Archie “Ace” David
Fernando “Ferdz” Mendoza
Daniel Tiamson
Jolito Evardo
McDelbert “Macmac” Arriola
Victor Nunez
Neneng Montano
Marites Cablitas
Gina dela Cruz
Ian Subang
Lea Dalmacio
Jhoy Dojay
Andy Teodoro
Bartolome “Bart” Maravilla
Napoleon “Nap” Salaysay
Henry Araneta
Bebot Momay
Genalin Mangudadatu
Eden Mangudadatu
Rowena Mangudadatu
Manguba Mangudadatu
Farida Mangudadatu
Farina Mangudadatu
Faridah Sabdulah
Concepcion “Connie” Brizuela
Cynthia Oquendo
Catalino Oquendo
Rasul Daud
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Monday, November 21, 2011

It will be better than before



And then I felt sad because I realised that once people are broken in certain
ways, they can't ever be fixed & this is something nobody ever tells you when
you are young & it never fails to surprise you as you grow older, as you see
the people in your life break one by one. You wonder when your turn is going
to be, or if it's already happened. -Douglas Coupland
Jokes are often my thing – save for life’s cruel jokes. They’re never easy and often they come unexpected. Take for example what I always say. I’m too lazy to write so I declined to take journalism yet now, I make my living through writing. Not to mention having this blog, which, by the way, brings me to my next point. 

I was actually thinking of easing out my exit here in blogging lately. You know when you feel that you’ve already outgrown something? That’s how I feel as I stare at my blog, at this person called Désolé Boy which I incarnated more than a year ago. I was thinking it probably is the right time to make the curtain fall on Désolé Boy’s stage, take the final bow and leave quietly. 

There could’ve been regrets on my venture here, what with the many terrible life jokes I was thrown with and a few destruction that almost brawl me. But when I think of the few accomplishments, like that one surprise from international best seller novelist Jonathan Carroll corresponding through this blog, the e-mails and short messages I get saying they learn things and was touched by my writings, and of course meeting my iBlogger friends, somehow, saying goodbye gets tougher. 

So allow me to thank all of you, once more, especially Bino. If you’ll notice, I already got a domain of my own right now. From here on, it’s desoleboy.com. All credits must go to this gentleman, a very generous and a very good man I had the pleasure of meeting through here. 

I was never envious of the idea that I’m the only one not sporting a dot.com address out of the bunch. I am, after all, just a small voice in this vast blogosphere compared to them. Two or three visit count and they’re enough to make me go back to the drawing board and compose my next post. I could never be as good as Mugen, or as witty as Mandaya. I couldn’t write about the high end life like Kane and got no sexperiences like Soltero. I will never be as interesting and as hot like Papa P and could never provide you a high literary read like Nyl do. Also, I remained single throughout the course of this blog so it’s the same usual frustrations and dreams and passion and craziness I always share here, unlike Alterjon. That’s why I want to thank those who stayed regardless. It’s always been my pleasure. 

But we have to cut some ropes for a better, smoother sailing. Some baggages need to be thrown and some doors must be closed. Sometimes, few goodbyes are inevitable so we could have better hellos. Often times, I know one would think I’ve said too much, but like what this song says, please know that every word is true. 

Like Jonathan Carroll, there was this time when someone asked me if my blog is addressed to anyone in particular. I found it hard to answer his query for I know his intent was malicious and he was referring to an old entanglement with a fellow blogger. So it was with great relief that I can now answer that question with conviction and dignity. 

“This blog is my love letter to someone I haven’t met yet.”




______________

Many thanks again to Bino. Also to Carlo, Leah and everyone else and all the mentioned and unmentioned people in this blog. Thank you for the inspiration. 

Thank you also to all the people who've hurt me in so many ways and in too many times. The tears you brought me are the continuous ink bleeding before my papers. May God grant mercy in all of us. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

An aria from the catacombs



I.

Somewhere along the calm of the night, someone is writing.


II.


Oh Helena, I am alone
Must you take me with Thee?
Must you and I take flee?

Carry me with you, Helena
to the bursting bliss of Thy Peace
where darkness never cease.

This tender madness,
this hideous duress
no more I could bear.

Oh why my goddess Helena
must the light be so cruel,
so illusive, so abusive?

Spare me from this bright abyss
such horror of sorrow
such despair that is tomorrow.

Lift me towards your darkness.
Save me.
Make me.




III.

…so our fervent poet wrote. The Moon, almost on its fullness, peers through in between of the blinds, joining the mild ghostly flickering light of candles. The poet writes furiously, running after metaphors and rhymes, afraid of them escaping his long-fingered bony hand before dawn arrives.

He quivers as the mild icy breeze of the Northern night whispers behind his ears. Loose pieces of papers spiraled in an invisible line. At once, they kissed the floor joining a clutter of pieces branded with strange lines and blackened dots.

The poet avoided the Sun in exchange for the Moon and the Stars. He writes at midnight thinking the darkened sky would hide him from the blinding brightness of sunshine. He hopes in darkness, he’ll be able to see better; that the deafening silence and calm of the night will carry him away from the many illusions of Light. In this, the poet becomes a creature of the dark.

For now, the last line was brandished. It’s almost dawn. Come dusk, the poet shall once again rise.



IV.

Good night tiny humans.

___

A little less past midnight, 20th of August, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte
photo credit: a shot of  "Diary of a Time Bomb" (oil canvas, Diptych, 60 in x 96 in) by Ronald Caringal 
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Monday, November 14, 2011

Waking up, not on the wrong side, but on the wrong bed




I was so drunk last weekend to the point of passing out for some unexplainable reason. Alright, let me at least try telling you.

I'm sure at some point before we have our iPads and Macbooks, we've all been drowned by pestilential virus in our PCs. Remove and all, we did try our best including thousands of tools from the very same websites that gave these parasites. But they just keep coming back, yes? And just when you thought you finally eradicated these morons, there it is, sheepishly sitting comfortably in our PC system, breeding every second ticking.

That's what happened. A virus which I thought I already deleted on my system, continue to persist, glaring arrogantly at me after months and months of hardwork and resistance. I just couldn't understand how it happened. So I let the vile of booze and wine went all the way inside my gastritic system. Another virus, yes.

It was not really my intention, to be honest. A beer tower just appeared out of nowhere while we're dining at Gerry's grill, Saturday night. The girls came. The boys did, too. Partyphiles are messaging left and right and we gave in. I gave in.

At 1 am, I was already drunk. We tripped to Eastwood and continued the party. I was leaning at the back of Angela's car on our way not noticing this guy beside. He was Angela's classmate in college we'll call him by the name Preston.

I was half annoyed, half amused by his interrogations about my job. He's a communication graduate too but as he said, not fortunate enough to land a job inside the industry. He's a call center agent of some sort.

At first, I thought he was just trying to break the ice but as we trash the dancefloor in Circa, I realised the dude wanted a fuck for the night. And I'm his target. I'm his fuck.

My phone was ringing off the hook courtesy of my mother. Yes, I was drunk, but I kinda know she won't sleep well not until I get home. I must admit I wasn't able to tell her I'll be going home late. So I told my friends I need to go home and asked if someone could drive me to Cubao where I could hail an FX to Malolos. As with any good friend who wants to keep company for the party, no one bothered to.

So we went to some odd place, a shady condo somewhere in Makati and the party heats up. Preston shared some doobi which I declined at first. I haven't tasted that shit since high school, my darkest years. But he won't take no for an asnwer. He bit my ear, licked my neck and went on with my bitter lips. The doobi triggered everything. I just got wilder and wilder and I couldn’t control myself anymore. And the rest, of course, is history.

But the "horror" came late Sunday morning. I woke with a jolt. I'm wearing a white shirt and a blue striped boxers, lying in a unfamiliar bed. And the worst of it, Preston was beside me ...naked from waist up.

I quickly got up and looked for my clothes. Apparently, Preston was awake and spoke.

"Hey, are you going?"

"Yeah."

"Angela said she'll pick you up. Why don't you wait for her?"

Everything flashed back and it hit me. Angela promised we'll sleep in her apartment. While trying to suit up quietly, I was screaming curses for my very thoughtful friend for dumping me in this stranger's bed. And what the hell happened? Why am I not wearing my clothes? Questions drowned me. Did we have sex? Am I devirginized by this bloke? F*ck, what if he gave me HIV.  F*ck! F*ck! F*ck!

"Can you even remember me?" he asked at the middle of all these thoughts. He chuckled.

"We partied last night, right? But I must admit I can't remember your name. Peter?"

He laughs. I'm actually a sucker for name. And birthdays. And other important dates.

"Preston. And you're DB."

"I know I am. Listen, I'm sorry but I really have to go. Thank you for letting me crash in."

"It's nothing. Friends naman na tayo since friend mo si Angela and friend ko din siya college pa lang. That makes us officially friends," he declared.

"Alright."

I'm starting to feel better. I know I'm okay and by checking, somehow, I confirmed nothing against my normal mind happened. I felt no discomfort and everything was just my usual paranoia.

"Do you want to have coffee first? I'll make some," he blurted with his left brow slightly inching up. 

I studied his proposal staring at his bare chest. The sight might not be tempting enough but the idea of coffee after a night of shits sounds irresistible. But I know if I agreed upon his invitation, it would lead onto something I'm avoiding in the first place.

So my dear readers, what do you guys think DB did? Did he dive again to the boy’s bed, this time fully conscious or did he keep his vow of chastity and quietly went home? Take your wild guess at the comment section. For a few special people, your answer might make or break our friendship so don’t fret!



Kidding. Nothing you’ll say will be used against you.
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Monday, November 7, 2011

Don't fall in love with a writer



I’ll tell you about it. Writers are like aliens. They string words of proportions to make people understand and see what their views yet behind all these, they have their own planets, they have their own language that even people of their own kind don’t get to fathom, at least most of the times. Writers are boring. They tend to look at the sky without particularly knowing why, or which part of the sky they’re staring at. They swoon over silver clouds while talking to a bunch of alter egos they always drag within them. 

Don’t fall in love with a writer. They love weaving magic carpets of words that will lift your poor soul far beyond the fray and cacophony of heartache and strife and will carry you to a realm of fantasies and dreams. Still, remember that words are words and fantasies are fantasies and that essays are just essays. 

Writers have the most deadly temper and the quickest switch-on switch-off mood. They are slaves to their emotion and can dramatize even a rusty leaking faucet. They justify everything in the name of their art. They read other people’s receipt and tend to eavesdrop at a couple having coffee nearby, not minding that you’re at his side, telling the most awesome tales of ants trailing the sidewalk. This, of course, is justifiable by saying “it’s research.” 

Also, writers give the cheapest of cheapest gifts. They’ll dote you with cards made of milk cartons with a written four-verse poem that doesn’t even rhyme. They’ll bring you flowers handed to them by admirers and would sometimes write “I love you” in your arms. Because state of poverty, to writers, are major avenues of their calling. They look at themselves as creatively complex and hard to understand in a Pablo Picaso cubism sort of way individuals since suffering is art. And because life in the media industry can be a cruel and a fickle beast, they can’t accept just any job. It has to serve their purpose. It has to contribute to a general public and must live to their philosophy yet, still, pinch a nerve near the heart. 

Even the most intimate details of your relationship could most of the times turn up in their writings. And although they are mightily concealed behind metaphors and allegories, you, of course, will still recognize them. It’s all about you after all. 

Although they never really intend to insult you, they will sheepishly remind you that “your” and “you’re” are different and that “despite” is the right one and “despite of” is the wrong one. I’m telling you, they’ll notice the smallest of details about you as an orgy of your descriptions are banging wildly inside their heads. Yes, even the color of your socks. 

Conversations with them are tough. They will talk about characters in books and art films as if they’re real, as if they’re someone tangible, someone he recently got a chance for a vis-à-vis over some tea and biscuits. Annoyingly, they have this habit of writing parts of your conversation on some dank piece of tissue paper. And like lawyers, everything you said is valid and can be used in favor or against you in future discussions. 

Probably the hardest one to understand is their addiction to solitude. It might not be close to that of Ernest Hemingway’s seclusion, but a time alone is always a must. It’s not a snob. It’s not barricading. But in solitude, not only he is gathering his thoughts, formulating sets of theories, but also re-arranging himself. 

But writers are one of the most romantic people you’ll ever meet. They’re lamentably passionate and will adore you for the most natural thing about you. For they don’t succumb to the societal dictates of beauty and form. You are an abstract masterpiece seen in a philosophical beautiful way. They are phenomenally too human that even their tears are sometimes trails of fluid words. They’re achingly martyrs and they can tell you in thousand ways how much you mean to them, how much they adore you and how much they love you. 

So don’t fall in love with a writer. Don’t fall in love with me.
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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ding dong the wicked witch is dead


I wanted a life that forgets the horrors of the past. I want that something to completely wash away the cold temptress orgy of malevolent thoughts that invaded me for so long. I want them gone. The monsters, the witches and the ghouls, I want them gone below where they truly belong.

Once there was a wicked witch
in the lovely land of Oz
And a wicked old, wicked old, wicked old witch
That never ever was
She filled the folks in munchkin land
With terror and with dread

I have tried to convince myself they don’t exist many times despite knowing they really do. Surely, most of you don’t even believe their reality, but then again, they do. Eyes tight shut, I walked the daily taps of clock pleading for them to go away. They never did. I tried the many concoctions of potions and puffs and spells to scare them away. Still, they never did. And then at some point, like this very moment, they begun fleeing away, fading from the very same cloak of darkness they carry with them.

What I did? I return to my own self before they came. And so they died. And here I am, living.

But in all ironies of it all, witches may be staked and they may be burned and die but the horror stories remain imprinted in every leaf of pot’s tale that no one can evade. In spite of it all, do you know you can turn those tales of dooms into fables and legends and comedies?

I remember how veteran journalist Gus Abelgas reacted when asked about how he deals with death threats brought along by his profession. And he said he just let it be. “If someone is really gunning for your slaughter, you can do nothing about it,” he uttered seriously. The very same perspective comes with the many avenues of life. If one's keen on fooling and hurting you, you can never evade them. Always, there would come a time when someone will overpower you, someone who can push through the walls of your goodness. That, we must accept.

Courage and the goodness within you, very cliché, but all the same true, is everything you’ll ever need. You’ll be fine.

I could not believe it at first. How can there be goodness that lies within me when I believed they’ve been snatched away by demons masked as princes? Tell you what, every goodness might fly away from this world but your goodness for yourself will never get tired of being good to you, and with that, you can start building again for all the goodness that left.

Even a mutilated soldier can start again with what remains of his self. For as long as he still got his heart pumping kindness, his brain breathing conscience and his soul shouting justice, freedom is just around the corner for anyone. Even for me. Even for you.

Happy is an odd word for me to write. Survival is what I put in banners and ribbons and songs. Happy is not for my writings. I know it is selfish but happy is something I share to the innermost brethren of my existence.

But maybe Paulo Coelho is right. The words in my writings are tears that have been written down. Because tears need to be shed. Without them, joy loses all its brilliance and sadness has no end. So I’m leaving them all for now. There are just too many things to see, too many places to conquer and to many dreams to turn into reality. I have so much love in me and there are so many people who need them. I have all the youth I need, all the courage and every support one would need. So for now, I think I’m too excited to bother myself with written tears.

Nightmare’s over. Time to wake up.

Wake up, the wicked witch is dead.
She’s gone where the goblins go
Below, below, below. Yo ho!
Let’s open up and sing and ring those bells out.
Sing the news out.
Ding dong the merry oh
Sing it high and sing it low
Let them know the wicked old witch is dead!


_____
"Ding dong the witch is dead" by Barbra Streisand and Harold Arlen
originally from the 1939 The Wizard of Oz

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Peace in P5 million

It was very disconcerting to read in The Manila Times how President Noynoy Aquino handed a staggering P5 million to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chairman Al Haj Murad Ibrahim in their last secret meeting in some shady hotel in the land of Tokyo Japan. It's as if like it was only yesterday when we threw criticisms as to the secrecy of such talk as we demanded the full disclosure of it. After all, we don't want another Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain glaring all of a sudden on our faces, just like what the previous Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo did.

First, the Malacanang won’t validate nor deny such story. Palace deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte was even quoted saying, "if President Aquino did gave P5 million to the MILF leader, it would be for social alleviation, education and other needs of the Muslim people.

But later, after torrents of criticisms and the rapid spread of the story in e-mail and text messages, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, in an interview over dzMM admitted that the MILF was handed P5 million pesos, but not in the so-called secret meeting of President Aquino in Tokyo, Japan with MILF’s Al Haj Murad Ibrahim and that the president did not hand the money himself.

Implying that the release of the story in time when the nation is incensed with anger over the killings of more than 19 soldiers and police elements in Basilan, Zamboanga and Lanao del Norte is malicious, Lacierda explained that the money was wired through Peace Panel Chair Marvic Leonen in a meeting with his MILF counterparts in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last August. Apparently, the money is to be used for a so-called Bangsamoro Management and Leadership Institute and more importantly, it was part of the agreement of the MILF with the previous Arroyo administration.

But of course, media sources tell otherwise. The said money was said to be used for purchase of ammunitions and trainings of their armed men.

Not only the Palace is hiding again behind the shadows of Arroyo’s crimes, they are actually trying to make sense the giving of the P5 million which by the way came, obviously, from the national coffer. The defense used saying the money was used to fund trainings of young Bangsamoro leaders is either plain naïve or just blatant stupidity, again from the administration’s mouthpiece. Since when was when was MILF building schools, giving out food for the impoverished Muslims and promoting the welfare and Mindanaoans? If so, then they would be peacefully campaigning for posts on ARMM and not busy themselves by building cells, camps and communicating with the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) which coincidentally functions as al-Qaeda's arm in Southeast Asia.

That P5 million appears to be a way of buying out some time for the government, like some cheap token so a carousel ride would keep on going for a definite period of time. And why was it given when the ceasefire agreement was not yet in motion? Why all this secrecy?

Isn't it painful to hear that the bullets that killed the 19 soldiers in the past encounter in Al-Barka, Basilan as well as the other soldiers and police in Lanao and Zamboanga came from the very same government they are serving?

This is why the MILF leadership and its numerous renegade groups are getting cocky. They see our president as "easy." And this is why there are silent cry for mass resignations as well as coup within the AFP today. The recipe of it all are present no matter how soft they seem to be as of now and another wrong move could lead the entire country crashing into wild avalanche which not even the entire Presidential Communications group can undo.

The status quo is no longer a political circus were men ride in colorful wagons trying to outshine one another. It is no longer a simple matter of overhauling the government's image and pin pointing of who's behind the agenda or not. Our sovereignty is being threatened and for so many years already. Don't we think it's time to live with our anthem "aming ligaya na 'pag may nang-aapi ang mamatay ng dahil sa 'yo"?

What the administration did is what you would call "framing the argument." When the president said "we do not want an all out war" against the MILF, he provided only two choices as to the matter: it's either you're pro war or not.

There are definitely many choices we could act on right now instead of thumb twiddling and creating raucous which could lead us to what Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago called "a failed state." Like the temporary halting of the peace talk and the re-framing of the boundaries of ceasefire. Who are we talking to? What happens if not every demand of the MILF is agreed upon? Would there be another splinter cell the way the current MILF sprung from Nur Misuari's MNLF? Do these Muslim rebels even consider themselves as Filipinos?

In the larger picture, we are forgetting the other Filipino inhabitants of Mindanao like the Lumads, Christians and other Muslims as well. Mindanao is not owned by the Bangsamoros. There maybe contesting to this as to certain juridical territories but Philippines is owned by no less than the Filipinos. What the P5 million symbolizes right now is the buying of time by the president over the MILF and giving in to their demands. Are we to fear these armed groups and deny lasting peace and justice for our Filipino brothers in Mindanao?

For Mr. Conrado de Quiros, this is clearing thinking. Thinking long term solutions not by surrendering via certain amount of money and thinking for the majority of Filipinos. Thinking of the possible international implications of a government scolding its soldiers instead of the enemies and thinking for our last resort in case everything fails and being prepared for it. And most of all, we could not win a war with only a single ball dangling malignantly.

Now, there’s the rub for you.
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

The two year rape of Désolé Boy



   I was raped. I was raped too many a time that I already lost count. Sometimes, when I strip naked and see myself in the mirror, I still see the marks they've left. The scratches of their fingernails sprawling from neck to chest, the purple bruises from several hard punches and the scarlet scars of blades on my thighs, everything, still fresh as if its only yesterday, as if they were never really gone. 

   To admit the rape is difficult; living after is the toughest. To admit is to recall everything, how I cried and beg them to stop though they never did. To recall is to smell once more the acrid stench of induced drugs, their beaded sweats falling from their brows and how you shiver in plain terror. 

   In my country, the women are always the victims; the men, oblivious; the gays, the willing. In my rape, the goons are never really goons. They wore respectable clothes, in whites like demigods; some in their mighty horses and glorious capes, others bringing the entire band with them. They spoke the sweetest of words and the promise of eternities. They master the sorcery of lying with honest eyes and lure you with the false pretense of their self-confusion, pseudo-philosophical excuses and addicting illusions. 

   After they tore your clothes out, after they savage your innocence and suck out everything that is good in your world, after they’re satisfied and cooled down their libido, after you’re fucked – you become nothing. You try to escape, but there’s no more turning back. 

   Wipe the tears and move on. Look into the future and not what the past brought you. You’re young, you’ll find yourself the rightful one in the rightful time. What’s important is you learn after; move on. 

   So sayeth the wise. Easy, the words maybe; tough were they not to live by? The thing these wise men forget is that each bucket fills differently. And sometimes, if not most, nightmares would come. You wake up, crying out of dread, afraid to once again close your eyes, afraid that the horror only just begun. And their advice – move on. 

   The rape would begin with a predatory look. Then they would creep on you, only to smash you with an iron rod in the head so you can scream no more. They would tie your hands and feet to limit your moves. And their play finally begins. Kick, punch, two by two, a water hose stuck in your nose, chains, boots on your face, a baseball bat pushing in your anus. Then they would piss all over you, reminding you that you were good for nothing. And then you will ask the grey heavens above, "why can't I die?" 

    Raping someone goes with the same principle as massacre. My mother was raped, since I am a son first. My sister was raped, since I am a brother. My friends were raped, since I am a friend too. Now tell me, how can we all move on at once? 

   The most heinous of crimes are the ones that are unspeakable, those that are not tackled in courts and justice halls. We learn by this rape that not every rape include engorged penises forced into someone’s orifice. Sometimes, the rape involves men raping other men; an iron clad fist digging through your chest, piercing all throughout your soul. 

   Everyday, you see the same men living like the innocents do. They walk the same road as the victims, talk the same words the preachers do, rise the same time the sparrows do. They are oblivious, swimming in the fine lake of peace in their muddy clothes; the blood of their victims gushing away, fading with the sparkling crystal of the blind water. 

   Someday, Désolé Boy will write you happy stories. Those with happily ever afters and those that got singing mermaids in them. But for now, this is his story.


____
The title is inspired by Patricia Evangelista's article for Uno Magazine "The rape of Raymond Manalo." For other reactions on this article that you wish to privately address, you may e-mail me at desoleboy@yahoo.com. Suggestions are also welcome. 
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Thursday, October 13, 2011

The mourning that never comes



     I could never mourn for Steve Jobs’ death, co-creator of Apple, as I never had any of his creations, like most of you do. I am, after all, nothing but a simple white collar worker who can’t speak of iOS updates or any application making the world squabble into mad frenzy in present state. In fact, I never knew the man before the massive reports on his death. But I do lament the fact that he passed away, not only because of his contributions to modern technology, but because a world died with him. 

     So I’ll mourn instead for simple people like me whose lives quietly lived though never had the chance to be heard the way Steve Jobs’ was, those who crave nothing but chance to live though denied, those who passed away that are not remembered and those who don’t get 10, 000 tweets per second, mourning about their death. This is for them. 

     Who would’ve thought that a Boy Scout’s uniform would mean so much for a kid like Ramsel? He was a 6th grader in Cebu, and in school, he was probably the subject of the other boys’ teasing for a mere crime of not wearing the honorable scout uniform. But Ramsel couldn’t do anything about it. His parents are away and he used to live with his grandmother and two other siblings. His teacher recalls him saying in Cebuano, “Ma’am, I want to be with my Mama and Papa.” The next morning, Ramsel was found hanging lifeless from a mango tree inside the school compound, a nylon rope tied around his neck. 

     Then there were stories of those who didn’t survive while simply trying to survive. Like the one that happened in Calumpit, Bulacan. As the flood surge into countless homes and fishponds and rice fields, Fred Tolentino, clutching a plastic-full of food for his trapped relatives, was overpowered by the raging water. He drowned. 

     The same fate met the three siblings from Iloilo. Eagerness to attend school despite the staggering distance from their home, brought demise, sending what seem to be an entire family’s dreams into crumbling dusts. 

    The teachers sent the kids home early to avoid the dangers the coming storm might bring. Michael, Mark and Marielle’s parents were late for fetching, so they opted to walk the muddy dirt road and braved cross the river. Sadly, they never made it. The waters of Nagpana River claimed the young lives of the three, as well as the other four. One body still isn’t found by the rescue team up ‘till now. 

    While others died nameless, others die without knowing their name. Just recently, a vagrant or what we locals love to call “taong grasa,” while trying to cross the wild traffic of EDSA, probably still lost from swirling thoughts that was never known, was crashed into death by a blazing Mitsubishi Pajero. But some stories cast a faint ray of hope in a clouded gray sky of misery. Like the one that continuously try defy death. Take Pao-pao’s story. 

     Pao-pao is a mischievous kid. He smiles like an ordinary kid would do. He jumps and run around like any other kid would do. At first glance, he looks like an ordinary 4 year-old kid, the one that smiles a lot and the one that loves playing with fellow kids. But Pao-pao was born with a congenital heart disease. His heart got two holes in them. 

     “We did everything,” Pao-pao’s mother, Mia, said. They couldn’t understand at first why Pao-pao, their first and only child after eight years of trying, had to endure such kind of suffering. At one point, Pao-pao was pronounced dead by the doctors after a serious attack. Only seconds later, his fingers miraculously moved, and he was revived. 

     Any time soon, Pao-pao is about to undergo his total correction open heart surgery; hopefully his last. “He seems to be fighting bravely,” Mia said. So she and her husband Joseph are also fighting bravely. 

     Mia got many dreams for Pao-pao. “When he grows up, I just want him to be helpful of the others and always God fearing,” she said. 

     I do not wish to belittle Steve Jobs’ death. But I find it more lamentable that every day, many people die of poverty, of injustice and of selfishness and no one seems to care. Their names might not be as huge as Steve Jobs’ but their lives are as significant and as great. We may not have iPhones, iPads and Macbooks but our stories are just as inspiring, though sadly, no one cares to listen. 

     Steve Jobs’ said, “no one wants to die.” “Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to do to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it.” Reading this, I had a curious thought that maybe, Steve Jobs’ understood all lives are just as equal and just as sad as it fall into reality of death. I just wish more of his followers and sympathizers are the same.

____
With reports from dzMM and Philippine Daily Inquirer. Pao-pao's story is taken from ANC's Storyline. Watch Storyline on ABS-CBN every Wednesday after Bandila and every Thursday 9.30 PM with replays on Saturday 8.00 PM and Sunday 3.30 PM on ANC 

For other reactions on this article that you wish to privately address, you may e-mail me at desoleboy@yahoo.com
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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Heartache

     More than a year ago, I left television production, where every day I had to deal with the Maja Salvadors and Coco Martins of the splendidly sparkling yet superficial universe of the local showbiz scene, only to try and become a serious journalist.

     At the risk of sounding cliché, I thought I could serve more the people of this nation who paid for my four year education by giving them information they deserve as well as providing space for their stories than feeding them with tearjerker soap operas and morbidly deranged fantaseryes nightly.

     Aside from the disappointments I gave my directors, producers and mentors and the abrupt slide of the digits on my BDO bank account, I thought everything is good.

     People call us many things. Being a journalist, one day you’re the nation’s hero for exposing a huge scandal dragging the entire government only for the next day, you become the netizen’s target for their criticism for a few things that did not appeal to their tastes. Then follow your shrieking editors, your alarming deadlines not to mention your frantic mother calling you, asking why you’re not yet home at 9 in the evening.

     In the end, it is not these trivial things that worry me. When you sit inside your service vehicle and eat with the rest of the crew while seeing the squabbling mob outside clamoring for a few packs of noodles and cans of sardines, you stop unknowingly, thinking about something that is totally unthinkable.

    Sometimes, a certain interview would haunt me even to sleep. I would often wonder how Edita Burgos, mother of Jonas Burgos, is faring, fighting a tough battle of searching for a son for four years already. Whether he’s in detention by the army, or killed, or currently in the mountains being a rebel, Edita Burgos wants only one thing. “I want him back,” she said.

     I’ve seen reporters cried silently after a devastating coverage. Like the one that happened two years ago with Ondoy and now with Pedring and Quiel. I watched those nameless staff, crews and writers working behind the cameras of news programs – the silent journalists, gather clothes and goods for families living in shanties and under bridges and victims of typhoons, still, away from the rolling cameras.

     It is difficult to do a job that forces you to face a blunt reality. There’s more to seeing a smiling young boy running around the church, wearing an oversized muddy trousers, barefoot, than people would often think there is. What the picture often misses to tell is that the young boy’s smile came from a different world he inhabits, a mother that died giving birth and a father that scavenges the entire city to scrape a living.

     They say truth must be accepted, although sometimes, one could not avoid but challenge its glaring fangs to try and ease out the clouds of miseries. Most ask, not a charity, but ears and time to tell their stories. Others just want to know that they have an ally in their fight for daily survival.

     People asked me if this is what I’ve chosen in exchange of glamour and glitter. Truthfully, sometimes I don’t know how to answer this. What I’m doing, I know, won’t make any difference in the world, but I noticed when you seek out to help others, you end up helping yourself. Maybe because I see myself in them, these people, and in doing the very little thing I can, I see myself helping myself.

     I have a terrible pay, there’s no security and no definite working hours. I’m not sure if I’m entirely happy and I’m also not sure if this is what I want to do for myself. But this, I think, is what I have to do for now. And in the world where money counts and beauty and fame matters, I think I’m more than willing to stay on the sidelines, this time for the real Maja Salvadors and Coco Martins of the streets and cardboard homes.

___

The title may or may not have anything to do with the entry. Although if you’re interested to know, my heart is literally aching as I type this. Dunno why.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Guns and roses



In my country of Philippines, every day, every waking hour of our life, we are bound by the invisible lines of love. In our songs, television shows, movies, commercials, in our liquors and even in our women’s sanitary napkins, the word love is etched, blazing in full blood color of red flame. This is our fixation. This is our fate. And in times when metal bullets pierce our hearts, we realize, Cupid’s arrow is not that far from anybody’s smoking gun. 

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” says so by a grieving housewife Shiela Macapugay after gunning her husband Abel to death in what the media dub today as a “crime of passion.” Like a scene from a primetime telenovela, Shiela confronted her husband publicly, in a popular Quezon City shopping mall, on the verge of their marriage’s melt-down. 

“I said to myself, before I die, I have to kill my husband first. I just couldn’t accept the fact the he abandoned us for his mistress.” 

But Shiela failed to shoot herself after killing her husband as mall security guard Ricardo Inamac intercepted which ended up him taking all the bullets resulting to his death. Shiela is now facing murder and homicide charges and is now in the custody of the police. 

Days later, in a certain shopping mall in San Fernando, Pampanga, a thirteen year old boy would kill his sixteen year old male lover in yet again another crime of passion. 

Past 3 in the afternoon yesterday, the thirteen year old boy, jealous of the thought that his lover is cheating on him, shot the sixteen year old boy straight in the head using a .22 caliber gun. In turn, the thirteen year old boy pointed the gun in his own head, pulled the trigger and dropped wounded beside his equally dying lover. Both are later declared brain dead after attempts to revive them in Jose B. Lingad Hospital in San Fernando.   

In a span of a week, we are told of two love stories ending in demise. Every minute and every second around the world, love stories are born while other love stories would die. Some would survive the test of times as others are never given chance of their own love story. But could love really be the be all and end of all? 

Probably, for the thirteen year old boy who shot his sixteen year old male lover, it is. The whirlwind romance that started in May via internet flamed into a passionate affair. For Shiela, it probably was the same thing. 

We could blame many things here, like the boys’ youthful naivety, Shiela’s lack of better judgment, her husband’s infidelity, even his mistress. We could also blame the mall’s security agency, the shopping malls’ lack of better security plan or even the police for their loose regulations governing security providers. But this time, allow me to blame love. Yes, love itself. In these tragedies, let love be the responsible thus let all the blame goes with it. 

This is me speaking, a man once and too many times burned by love, a certain Shiela Macapugay inside me pained by the thought of being abandoned by love and a mind of a thirteen year old boy whose only fault is nothing but to love in all honesty. 

How could anyone say what they did was wrong when love does not recognize our patterns of what is right and what is wrong? How much is too much and how much truth are there in our realities? Are my rationales irrationals and yours the rational ones, you’ll say? 

Maybe they believed they could run away from the pains of love through death, although, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in all those years of failure in love, it is the fact that you can never run way. Not ever. And as they say, the only way out is in. 

There’s no use justifying what Shiela and the thirteen year old boy did. Maybe it pained them too much that all there’s left for them to do are more painful things. It is what a certain Allan Watts said, that things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations. 

We are but creatures condemned by love. Shiela, in the brutality of her chosen ways, the impulsiveness of a certain thirteen year old boy, are all but victims. Some will say they’re victims of poverty, of shallow values, of youth and of selfishness. I’ll say they’re nothing but victims of love. Are they not that much different from us? 

In my country of Philippines, every day, every waking hour of our life, we are bound by the invisible lines of love. In our songs, television shows, movies, commercials, in our liquors and even in our women’s sanitary napkins, the word love is etched, blazing in full blood color of red flame. This is our fixation. This is our fate. And in times when metal bullets pierce our hearts, we realize, Cupid’s arrow is not that far from anybody’s smoking gun.

But for now, we pray. 
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

The letter I would love to read to you in person (In memoriam)


"There's a line in 'Aguila' where a Moro secessionist is told his cause is lost. He replies to him that winning doesn't matter, it's doing what one feels one should do. That's wisdom for you."
-Alexis Tioseco, 1981-2009


My beloved,


Like the many other days before I met you, I was lonely. But then I saw you sitting comfortably on that couch; such ease that really caught me. There was rain that day when we met. That mild drizzling outside, I always find beautiful, captivating without really giving so much effort. And you before my eyes, it could not even match that beauty I used to admire. 

You came from a different world. I know, sometimes, you suspected that was the main reason why I was so drawn to you; because I’m dying to create this convenient escape from the mad industry where I dwell. I am telling you now it is far from being true. I could enumerate thousands of reasons on why I fell in love with you despite my hesitance due to many recurring issues brought upon by my previous delving into the intricacies of love, but nothing in there would say that I’m using you as a convenient escape from my job. 

But I have to admit that being with you, or just by talking to you in the phone, is yes, an escape but not from my field of work, but away from this entirely crazy world, going to a universe where everything is nothing but your love and your tempting lips. 

My dear, you know how I pleaded for you to love me back that one day you said there’s no more “us.” I regret the fact that my rhetoric won’t work on you, that despite my effort to become your handsome Viscount, I was always the Phantom to you. I do not know and I probably would never know what really went in your mind that day, but I thought you were only just curious what lies behind my mask and when you saw that ugly part, you just ran away without looking back, scared. 

I was lonely again. I have mourned my loss of you. I was reduced to many questions on why I could not be enough for you. I blamed myself for not being the best looking, the best thinker – just being the best with anything, just with anything, so you could finally see me worthy of you. But you didn't. And I wasn’t. I was never the best in your eyes. 

I wished I could stop. Stop from still caring about you, stop from thinking about you, stop loving you – or just simply stop, stop with anything that goes your name with it. But now, I realize why I could never do so. It’s because once you decide to love someone, you already tore out a piece of your heart unknowingly, handed it to that person and despite whatever that might happen from then on, you may never take it back no matter what. 

So this is why I want to read this letter to you in person. For the last time, I wish you would take good care and respect that piece of me you have in you. It’s yours and I swear there would never be a time that I would regret I have given it to you. You will always be special to me. 

It is painful to see you happy with someone else, I must admit, but somehow it comforts me to know that you are happy and being loved the way you deserves to be. You have truly found your match. I wish the two of you nothing but happiness. For now, I really must go and take care of mine.


Yours,

Désolé Boy

___



This post is inspired by Alexis Tioseco’s “The letter I would love to read to you in person” that appeared in Rogue magazine. 

Alexis and Nika’s love story ended too soon when on September 1, 2009, the two were shot and killed by 3 suspects in their home at 39 Times Street, Barangay West Triangle, Quezon City. 

I write this today, two years after, when justice is still not served, to inspire me to continue believing in love, in my art and in my country, despite countless reasons not to do so. 

Authorities are still on the hunt for the couple’s househelper CRISELDA GESMAN DAYAG, one of the prime suspects of the murder case. A warrant has already been issued for Dayag’s arrest. 

Alexis and Nika’s friends and relatives are offering P1 million peso cash reward for information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects. 

For any information, you can contact them through the following numbers:

+639477211901 | +639053758861 | 02-5263747



Thank you for inspiring us Alexis and Nika. We'll forever miss the two of you. 
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Monday, September 12, 2011

The four merry gentlemen



I was looking directly at the Shadow’s eyes, delirious of the pleasure engulfing as It thrust in various invading rhythm. The world was shaking, twirling as it spiraled in multi-colors and scent. In one hulking ripple, the Shadow groaned and let out a gasp of air as It collapses gently beside me, eyes shut. 

I stared at Its heaving chest, unsure of what’s going on inside. 

“I love you,” I said without knowing what it meant or how I would I want it to mean. It was barely a whisper. 

The Shadow did not answer. 

“I love you,” I repeated not knowing why I did, still without knowing what it meant or how I would want it to mean. 

The Shadow did not answer. 

___

“Hello,” it was 2.30 in the morning, which would explain the hoarse tone of my voice and the blatant taste of irritation that goes with it.

“Who is this?”

“I am Destiny,” said a heavy-airy voice on the other line.

“Who is this again?”

“I am Destiny, and today is your lucky day.”

“What?”

“All you have to do is say ‘I love you’ and I’m all yours honey.”

“What?”

“Just say you love me.”

“Fuck you.”

___

“Désolé Boy, I would like you to meet Heureux Boy.”

It all started with that introduction and since then, we've been going out a lot for the past weeks. [This would explain my trouble at home since the household is becoming stricter on me lately, I can barely understand why. But of course, I can always find a way.] 

Everything is going smooth between me and Heureux Boy. Just one thing, though. Aside from our fascination with anything French (look at our names, silly) there is nothing more that is common in our list of interests. 

He hates my writing. Except for news and commentary articles, he said they were nothing but opéra interminable or in English, endless runs of operas. 

In retaliation, I would often sneer at his naivety. He’s too simple minded and I would often find myself hating his guts. I mean, why would you even bother bite at a grocery cashier’s attempt of conversation? 

It’s not that I am jealous or anything. I’m saying this because that’s how he would often accuse me and of course I would deny it vehemently. Consequently, he would laugh hard and I would become more annoyed than ever. 

But truth is I love being with Heureux Boy. One time he asked me, “do you love me?” It puzzled me since I’ve never seen him that serious, like all the puns left his goofy face at once. 

“Of course I do,” I answered truthfully. 

“One day, we’ll go to Paris and we’ll live there forever.” 

“Tu promets?”

“C’est promis.”

___

Have you ever been in love with a Donkey? I've been in love with a Donkey once. Now, if you are thinking that this is a metaphorical Donkey, I’m gonna have to break that theory of yours this early on. I am talking about a real wild Donkey here. It’s true and in all seriousness, I’m telling you now that I've been in love with a Donkey. Once. 

It’s not too different being in love with a Donkey from being in love with a human. As a matter of fact, I once dated a Pig, but that’s a whole ‘nother story. Anyway, the Donkey has been a good companion at the beginning. It would never give me the usual “donkey-sneer,” you know how donkeys seem to have this usual irritating face that feels like they’re sneering at you? It never showed me that. I was pleased. 

The Donkey’s herd is composed of great donkeys. Gentleman donkeys, I prefer to call them. They are far from being handsome, as no donkey ever looked good in human’s eyes anyway. But I’m fascinated and some were really good to me. 

One night, finally, we decided to push forward our relationship and have sex. I stood there naked in front of the Donkey and for some unknown reason, it ran away and never came back. A few days later, I received an e-mail from the Donkey telling me how ashamed it was. It said it never wanted to have sex in the first place and it realized that night that it doesn't have any romantic inclination towards me. 

I was devastated. But what I've learned in this whole Donkey love affair is that donkeys will always be donkeys. At the end, donkeys belong to the wild and that humans, like me, deserve the city. 

I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong but from the last I've heard, the Donkey just broke up with another human and is now dating fellow donkeys again. 

 

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