Monday, March 26, 2012

And he left with everything he came for

There is that one great love for every person. For some things will be easy and they will meet sooner than they could’ve hoped for. Others in quite some time yet still the fateful day of crossing distance surely will come. And then there are those who are less fortunate. For in eternity, they would spend the universe’s time searching and searching. Fate won’t be kind to them. The threads of their paths will never meet and on they go further in their sorry barren life. But worse is those who are given the chance to meet yet tragically no one would dare cross the borders of strangeity. From then on, they will have to go on with their lives more miserable than they could’ve imagined. 

It was an official business that brought me that humid night of March 23 in Caloocan. It was a Friday. I was in a meeting and I didn’t notice the time was already verging on midnight. So I packed my things, hailed a cab and directed the driver to drop me off at the Victory Liner bus station in Monumento. 

There were no more buses when I arrived. It was around 12:05 in the morning and it’s already March 24. I walked a few meters from there to this van terminal hoping there are still units en route to Malolos. 

I was lucky. In a distance, I could already hear the barker calling “Malolos, Malolos.” I approached him. The vehicle is nowhere in sight, but he assured me it’s already on its way and that I could wait at the benches with the other passengers. I chose not. I bought two Clorets and two sticks of Marlboro Black. It was my first smoke after half a year. I was agitated. I was tired and all I want then is to go home and sleep. 

The place was dark. In front of me is the haunting sight of the burned down ruins of Ever Gotesco Mall. All around are closed stalls and the ground was dank. 

I was sweating like pig and the weight of my backpack started to feel like punching my shoulders. I looked behind and I saw the benches. There are people there, waiting. A young couple who looked like students; the girl was hugging a pillow and the boy was carrying all sorts of architectural stuffs. Two men who appeared to be in their forties and a woman carrying a plastic bag; a saleslady, I presumed. And then him. 

H e was at the right edge of the bench. He was wearing some loose blue shirt, black slacks completed with black leather shoes. He was clutching a plastic bag with clothes in it. Beside him were his backpack and an empty bottle of mineral water. I approached him, asked if I could put beside my backpack. He obliged, threw away the empty bottle of mineral water and placed his backpack on his left. He invited me to sit. I chose not, instead I dropped my backpack and focused my gaze at the far monument of Andres Bonifacio. 

It’s around 12:35 in the morning and my feet were already giving up. I sat behind him. I sensed his frustration as he kept glancing on his wrist watch. We were both sweating and I noticed we were seated like we knew each other; arms gliding and legs in collision with the tiniest move. I broke the silence. 

“Was it always like this here? The vans taking too long before they arrive?” 

“I dunno. The barker said it’ll be here in a jiffy. In fact I already ate there at the Ministop to while away the time and yet this,” he politely answered. 

I was taken aback by the way he confronted me. He delivered those words with his piercing eyes unhesitantly crossing mine. I broke the stare-off and shy away. And then, again, silence. 

He called the attention of the barker. It was already 1:00 in the morning. I was cursing under my breath. I wanted to go home. 

“It’s scary here. Everyone looks like a criminal or some sort,” I said to break the monotony of waiting.

He chuckled. 

“Actually. It’s dark and…anyway, do you know any other terminal where we can get a ride home?” 

I was surprised with the way he used the word “we.” Suddenly, I felt something bizarre stirring inside me. 

“Well, I was originally planning to take a cab or a bus to Trinoma. There we could get a ride,” I said. 

“Right. But the best choice, I think, is for us to go straight to Cubao,” he answered and here, I was beginning to get excited with the idea especially when he used the word “us.” I loved the sound of it: “us.” 

“Yeah. Besides there are options there. We can even go for those en route to Cabanatuan. Where exactly are you in Malolos?” I asked. 

“Actually I’m from Pulilan. I will alight at Malolos Crossing and then another jeep from there.” 

“How ‘bout in Tabang? You can also catch a jeep there to Pulilan right? I will alight there.” 

“So you live in Tabang?” He asked. 

“Uhmn, no. I still need to ride a tricycle from there and that’s it.” 

At that point, the van came. The passengers piled up and the barker collected our fares. We hopped inside and we were seated side-by-side. 

Once inside, I whipped out my phone and texted my momma. He whipped out his, too. It was a myPhone model cellular phone with qwerty keypad. A few moments more and my momma called. We talked and finished for about two minutes. And then he had a call, too. I heard a woman’s voice asking him if he already got a ride. He asked the woman in the phone if all their friends are there already. At that point I received another call, this time from a friend and we chatted in length. 

We didn’t get the chance to talk throughout the entire half an hour ride from Caloocan to Bulacan. When the van crossed the barrier at the toll gate he advised the driver to pull over at the Tabang tricycle terminal. This puzzled me since he mentioned he will alight in Pulilan. Althroughout, I thought I’ll be leaving him first. 

He waited for me to alight the van first and for me to catch a tricycle and then he waved me goodbye. The tricycle driver was still gearing up, putting on his jacket and checking his gas. He was already about 20 meters away. When the tricycle finally ran, that moment when it was about to catch up on him, he glanced back, smiled at me so that in return, I raised my right hand, angling my point finger, directed it to my temple in an act like a salute, and off we part ways.

There is that one great love for every person. For some things will be easy and they will meet sooner than they could’ve hoped for. Others in quite some time yet still the fateful day of crossing distance surely will come. And then there are those who are less fortunate. For in eternity, they would spend the universe’s time searching and searching. Fate won’t be kind to them. The threads of their paths will never meet and on they go further in their sorry barren life. But worse is those who are given the chance to meet yet tragically no one would dare cross the borders of strangeity. From then on, they will have to go on with their lives more miserable than they could’ve imagined.  
"And he left with everything he came for" by Don't Forget, Clementine

Monday, March 19, 2012

From the moon to the sun

And so we begin in me. For this is a story about me. No raconteur is held accountable to the retelling of this story. I want you to hear me from my own words. I want you to see me in my own person. But can you really see me? I’m afraid not. 

You never really did. Now look at me. Look at me. If only you looked closer. If only you’ve tried, you’ll notice that my eyes weren’t glassy. They are perpetual embers, fixed upon the blazing horizon, unfazed of the battling bewildered and despair. I was always at the edges where no years, streets or even candid films could touch. 

I have learned to walk my own path, away from the implacable gallows, far from Beelzebub’s grasp. I’m on my own now for a long time since. I started anew. No sin I dare committed. No mistake I never repaid. 

I am not the people from my past. I am not the wrong choices I made. I’m not the moon, trapped in someone’s gravity. I’m not a twig tangled in a creep. I am not the seasons dependent of the sun. 

I could never be a saint, would not consent to martyrdom. You could’ve killed me quickly, but truth is you can’t. 

It has always been about me. I am illusive. I am god and I am evil. No one could touch me. Not even the nightmares of the past. Not even a wailing irony. I am an old painting. Remember what John Piper said? Good paintings in the long run tell their own story – though not in words – for those who have intent eyes, an open mind and much patience. 

From here on I will not allow words of uninvited people to penetrate my storyline. Again, this is my story. And no pretentious past could tell my story, least of all introduce me as my person. I have pleaded on many counts. I have spared many souls and many nameless faces in preservation of mankind’s sanity. I won’t allow it anymore. I won’t allow you, no more. This matter, I will tackle with my hands, and no more that it won’t be stained by blood. I promise. I promise. 

Now we begin in me. Look closer, but don’t come closer. This is the last time you’ll truly see me. Take a moment and look beyond your paradoxical deluded eyes. Now tell me. Did the past reduce me? Blur me? 

The endeavor to attain strength and clarity alone lies beyond; searching for differ ways, always looking for truer answers.
we got desperate desires and unadmirable plans
my tounge will taste the gin and malicious intent
bring you back to the bar get you out of the cold
a sober straight face gets you out of your clothes
and their scared, that we know
all the crimes they commit
who they'll kiss before they get home

I will lie awake
lie for fun and fake the way I hold you
let you fall for empty word I say

-Me vs. Madonna vs. Elvis by Brand New


Thursday, March 15, 2012

The gray man at the iron gym

Today when I looked at him, there was so much difference than the previous. I wonder what brought the sudden change. He was in his usual gray shirt, his above knee red shorts and the numerous chains stringed around his ankle. His snobbish eyes, the rumpled hair, his arrogant chest. To what change? 

Now, all I could see is the million mile distance between us. That no matter how many drizzling days would come, no matter how many glances I steal from him, and that no matter how many prose and poems I write for him, I couldn’t get hold of him. I understand that people may stand less than a foot beside each other, or lift the same dumbbells staring together at a single giant mirror, or even drink from the same drinking fountain at once, no matter how passionate they bring those cosmic collisions, forever it will only bring distance. Like the moon staring at the sun, sharing the same light, yet forever it will remain for night. 

There’s nothing really special about him. He’s not the most handsome, not the nicest body. I could only see him during Tuesdays and Mornings. Many times we’ve been alone together inside the steam room, the sauna, we even change clothes beside adjacent lockers. There must be silence during those especially whenever he will catch me throwing glances, even shameful stares. I will only look at his face trying to memorize every detail of it, preparing for that day when those Tuesdays and Thursdays won’t come anymore. 

If only I could ask for his name. Just his name. So that I can have another thing to remember about him when the usual occurs. When everything I’ve learned to love will be taken away. 

But as I ran pass time in the treadmill, as I train my eyes in might not to look at him, I feel that our distance keeps stretching to eternity. Not only him, gone. There’s me, fading.


I am not yours
Not lost in you
Although I long to be
Lost as the candle lit at noon
Lost as the snowflake in the sea

You love me
I find you still a spirit
beautiful and bright
a spirit beautiful and bright

Yet I am I
Who long to be
Lost as a light is lost in light
lost as the candle lit at noon
Lost as the snowflake in the sea

Oh plunge me deep in love!
Put out my senses
Leave me deaf and leave me blind.

Oh plunge me deep in love!
Put out my senses
Swept by the tempest of your love
A taper in a rushing wind

I am not yours
I am not yours

Music by Z. Randall Stroope based on the poem I am not Yours by Sarah Teasdale

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Love lessons inside the impeachment court

So we ended the first season of #CJontrial last February 29 and we’re already pushing for a marathon session upon its return on March 12 (as of yesterday's ruling, the proposed marathon hearing was junked). I’ve been covering the said trial for the past months and while I enjoy the legal gymnastics and the occasional battle of comedies, it sure is draining to listen, take notes, write within your deadline and study more just for a single subject.

The past 26 days of the trial taught me so much, not just in the conduct of my profession, but also some lessons about love. Just like what Rihanna said, I found love in this hopeless place.

It started with a crowd of journalists trying to mix humor against legal talks just for their entertainment. That time I was quietly listing down things people are throwing with past forward thinking of my contribution. What I learned is that even love can be subjected into questions of legality. Or maybe not the literal legality of it.

Here are some points and legal jargons that caught most of these humble journalists’ attention that will attempt to teach you lessons about love:

EXCESSIVE ENTANGLEMENT (This is a term used by the House prosecution panel to describe Chief Justice Renato Corona’s relation to former president Gloria Arroyo.)

In love, this is a common mistake of many, including me. As they say, anything in excess is in itself a recipe for a huge mess. But what struck me are the words of veteran journalist Lynda Jumilla: Excessive entangelement. As in “luluha ka lang sa lalaking ‘yan kaya iwasan mo ang excessive entanglement sa kaniya.” Worse is when one think there’s an “entangelement” yet in actuality, there’s none. Beware. The greater the entanglement, the harder it is to free yourself from its bind.

FALSUS IN UNUM, FALSUS IN OMNIBUS (As the feisty Senator-judge Miriam Defensor-Santiago explained to lead prosecutor Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr., if it is proved that they’re lying on how they happen to take possession of the alleged leaked bank records of the chief justice, none of which that follow their initial argument could be taken as truth. The legal maxim literally translates to “false in one thing, false in everything.”)

He lied to you the first time, chances are he’s gonna do it again in the nearest future. Worse, it might be that his previous statements are not even entirely true. In my case, the Animal already confessed Its lies, but the oh-so-martyr in me still swallowed Its words like some gospel proclaimed in a high pulpit. Don’t. A lie is a lie and a liar is a liar. But worse than being a liar is a liar admitting that he’s one.

ABUNDANTI CAUTELA (Literally means “excessive caution/care.” Senator Santiago, then, pleads to the impeachment court to defer its affirmative ruling on the motion of the prosecution requesting for subpoena duces tecum against bank records of the chief justice citing the principle of ex-abundati cautela.)

Being but a mere mortal, we are all aware that falling in love is a complicated state. Yes, in theory, it renders normal senses to be impaired, but in the midst of all its intricacies, we must remain at caution despite the “hallucinogenic effect.” Remember that while it is your constitutional privilege to give abundant affection, and yes, love, it is your divine duty to provide abundant care and respect for yourself.

RATIO DECIDENDI (During the 16th day of the impeachment trial, Senator Santiago asked House lead prosecutor Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. to explain the meaning of “Ratio decidendi,” which means the rationale for the decision.)

After all the shit happens, the burden now lies on you to decide whether to continue being with a shit or cease being a shit yourself. Now, if you are a normal person with a regularly functioning neurons and synapses, as the feisty senator said, you will decide on severing ties with that asshole. In my case, it took me so long deciding to breakaway with the Animal. But at some point, I just stopped and said “enough.” And then I went on. It’s a tough decision and you’ll need to muster all the conviction you have at your disposal. There are moments when you’ll feel bad for throwing all those time invested in turning your back against him. But with not doing so, you are wasting the entire blissful future waiting for you which you’re blindly disregarding for a simple reason that you cannot move one. Remember the rationale for your decision, which is very simple: you love yourself. That’s all.

MOTU PROPRIO (Meaning, resolving case on one’s own. On Day 2 of the trial, the Senate, motu proprio, suspends trial since prosecution is not prepared to present evidence.)

You committed the sin of excessive entanglement with the Animal and now he decided you’re nothing but a trash so he simply threw you away helpless. Big deal. You’ll wallow on your misery, of course. That is normal. You can blame the Animal, plan your diabolical revenge or jump from one bed to another for some act of rebellion. Truth is, none of these can resolve the pain you’re having. Pain won’t go away no matter what you do. You’ll just have to make a room for it in your life. Only you, yourself, can resolve everything. As the great Miranda Priestly so eloquently said, “the decision’s yours.”

SUI GENERIS (The impeachment trial being a quasi-political and quasi judicial act is considered sui generis, meaning one of a kind. Because of this, Rules on Evidence cannot be strictly followed and the basis for conviction should not be as high as “proof beyond reasonable doubt” and neither as light as “substantial evidence.”)

The lesson here is that you cannot treat every situation the same as the others. Not because you committed an “excessive entanglement” with an idiot means all the guys/girls to follow are a bunch of idiots. Every relationship or entanglement is unique over the other. Take the lessons from the previous pains but never give up on love. It won’t be called falling in love if it won’t hurt at some point, right?

So there. We might not be able to completely grasp the art and science of love but there are fine points we should be contemplating on. Falling in love or being in love is no excuse to be stupid or worse, a paralytic. Believe me, I've been there. We cannot force to domesticate douchebags but we can be a bit wiser. I admit that I failed in the previous and the next I got a grade of 3.0. Which is good! As what the gentlelady from Iloilo Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said, in UP it means I pass you but I warn you.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Escape to the deep blue sea

I’m writing this now away from the bustling crowd of the city. I would like to call it an escape. Although to some, escape equates to cowardice, one must understand that there are many forms of escape. Like this one, when you escape to get free. 

I won’t say where I am though. Yeah, that’s selfish. Understand that this should to be a time alone, though I’m not really alone in all it's meaning and essence. I have a few friends with me who are dying of laughter a few meters away from where I was crouched. From here I could hear the usual sexual banters, the constant swear words and the occasional reference to disgusting events of our dear old college days. Truth is, maybe, I was never really alone. 

I’m not drinking though. I couldn’t remember anymore the last time I was drunk. Also, I already quit smoking for, I think, half a year already. But these are trivial things and are totally irrelevant, immaterial and impertinent to the thesis statement of this entry. Or if I’m lucky enough to have one, that is. 

I just wish I could do this more often. Roaming the sea with a jet ski, shooting sunsets and sunrises, watching kids build sand castles and making a complete fool out of myself. But you all know how hectic my work is. I’m not complaining though. I love my job. And the more challenging it gets, the more that I enjoy this small escape. 

Anyway, to get a picture of where I am, our hotel room is in the third floor so it’s much of an effort if you want to change clothes or if your forget something. But the veranda gives you a full view of the wide open sea. Last night, we got a really good view of a mini fireworks display provided by the neighboring resorts. In a short while, around five wishing lanterns flew like sparkling ball of fires lighting up the night sky. This morning, on my way to get coffee, I saw my friend flirting with some bell boy. She’s been “harassing” the poor guy since we arrive. She succeeded getting his number and God knows what else. 

There's a group of men playing volleyball, laughing and throwing sands at each other form time to time. The cocktails on the bar are not good enough that the best they could offer you are frozen margaritas. The mountain shape is like that of a woman waiting in bed. Just before breakfast, I was walking on the seaside alone and I saw this weirdly shaped shell. For a moment I thought it's like a small heart, but with a few turns, it looked more like some bended ass. I pocketed it. 

I sure love the sea. But it scares me during night. Like it can swallow me whole and bring me to a dangerous dark world. The sea is not just tranquility, summer or journey. It reminds also of atonement, of penance and return. One day, it will cover all the land. It will happen during summer, when everyone is in heat and everyone is having their own moment of fun.

While I'm here, a sad news came. Isagani Yambot, a former boss at the Philippine Daily Inquirer passed away. It's a very sad moment for Philippine journalism. I remember how he declare his fate on the young journalists, how he lament the death of newsmen in a certain massacre and his simplicity that never seemed to match his high ground in the industry. Farewell sir and thank you for the lessons. 

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