Friday, September 25, 2009

guiltless someone

R came one moonless night. accentuated with the profoundness of silence and the mystic of the rarest words. after a rich exchange of electronic pulses, we decided to meet the shadows of our past once again.

"what are you having?" i asked.

"a can of beer please," same thing i have in mind, "just to beat the nervousness, i guess."

we both smiled.

i grabbed four cans of strong ice, different from what I usually have, some bags of chips and something for dinner. an excuse to satisfy a different appetite.

when we reached my place, i put a couple of discs in the player just to neutralize the awkwardness. but we never really had the chance to finish either one of them. apparently, it was our similarities that led us and found the ease within our peculiarities. I thought, if this is being filmed, the song comfort in your strangeness would be the best fit for the scene.

I know from R’s voice that what were going to do/be is wrong. on the otherhand, I could also see in R’s eyes that we have the same definitions of near abstract concepts, that make us different from others, that makes us the bad crops in the basket. but I think being deviant also has its perks.

when the cans crumpled dry, the bed then invited us over. we gently laid down beside each others’ bodies, like fragile ice blocks about to break, cold but sweating. suddenly, i heard the sneaking shadows of our past as it landed on my window pane and silently slipped inside my room. then in an instant, it grabbed our arms and held our bodies as they led us dancing and sweeping our hesitations away. we heard drumbeats, that seemed like no one could hear; deep breathes that sounds like a thousand dying candles, and endless humming of night beasts, as if they too are celebrating.

but no, no one really called for a celebration. for we both knew we just crossed the word fidelity, or did we?


and when the bed broke its leg and the sheets fell down, words began to come back like fireflies in a bleeding friday sunset. we looked for shattered pieces on the floor. but too scared to see our own faces. but we guessed, theres no longer room for cowardness. so we slowly crawled at the edge of the exhausted cradle and surprised to see that there was nothing down there. there was no guilt, no shame and it felt like were just seeing each other for the first time again. the feeling of oddity came from the absence of it, as if it transgressed and vanished right into thin air.

I never really understood it, or perhaps it was never intended to be.

but i realized, in a reality full of reasons and rules, were people care so much with order and traditions, believing what is right and good is already as hard as finding the truth.

the next morning, as R slowly walked away from my room, I thought, perhaps there is really no truth, that all of us are destined to find our own versions of it and it just so happened that I just had mine but i chose to let it go for the promise of finding, not the best, but at least a better or more suitable one.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

tarlac: how i unconsioucly beat time

after a long and exhausting trip in pampanga, i decided to pay my mom's hometown a visit and stay for the night there. i texted my uncle that i'll be coming over and asked him to fetch me in concepcion, tarlac.

you see, my mom's hometown, in lapaz is your typical remote barrio were riding a tricycle is as expensive as riding a bus from manila to somewhere in pampanga. it only has one jeepny trip in the morning and the next or the last will be late in the evening.

its been a long while since i have been here. i remember when we were little, my mom would use to bring us here during vacations or if there were long weekends. within the trip, we would usually raise our hands and asked her in a range of five, how far is it? then she would reach our little fingers and gently fold it one by one, to let us know how long we would still wait. we never knew exactly what it mean but somehow it ease us from the long wait of travelling.

its already past 11 when i reached lapaz. i immediately went inside and approached my apong to kiss her hand. my apong was no longer the same woman i have in mind. i always have this picture of her rushing outside the moment she hears us coming and just literally grab our faces and give us harsh kisses in the cheeks. she was silent but always moving, busying herself with almost everything inside the house. she cooks us the best inabraw (another version of pinakbet) and would chant us with "labay, labay, sidaun ni (my ilocano nickname) na napigsa nga balong ko, just to convince us to eat vegetables.

but the traces of the apong i used to know was no longer there. yes, she was still silent. but she no longer greeted me with those harsh kisses. instead, i just saw her sitting on the couch and already holding a steel cane on her left hand. she stared at me, unmoved and just gave me a brief smile. i wondered what happened. my uncle told me that perhaps she already reached the toll of her age. there are times when she would no longer recognize the people around her, would often throw tantrums and even cry alone.

i couldn't stop wondering what i'll be when i grow old.

but then i just realized that i was just blankly staring at her when she slowly stood up. scared that she might lose her balance, i immediately approached her. but in my surprise, she held my arm instead of her cane and looked at me. i never saw her in that distance. when suddenly she moved her face slowly towards me and gave me a gentle and warm kiss. then she smile.
for a second, it felt like i have been victorious against time, that i have defied the natural course of things and that i had my apong back even just for that moment.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

pampanga: sino naman kasi may sabing mag leather shoes ka?

there i was sitting on one of the many vacant bus seats, nervous of whats going to happen on my first day of work. still without a descent sleep, i took the earliest trip to olonggapo city with the plan of dropping off in lubao, pampanga as my first destination. surprisingly, i didn't feel the one and half hour trip, probably because i busied myself in rehearsing the lines i have in mind. for if there is one thing that is scarier than talking to your supervisors, that is talking to other people.

people can be very unpredictable. they may throw out behaviors, words, and actions that may be way beyond what you can imagine. thus, you need to be very careful in talking and relating to them especially if you are the one who needs something important from them. believe me, i know this, for i have lived with it for almost three years from my past work.


i have already passed my first site. but it was just then when i stepped out of the bus that i've felt bad for the leather shoes that i am wearing. i was almost two kilometers away from the site, walking underneath the scourching heat, sweeping lahar dust and literally without any shade in sight. i should have brought an umbrella or atleast wore sunblock that day, instead of shining my leather shoes the entire night.

when i reached the sight and greeted the manager, i literally ate the words of the lines i have rehearsed earlier. i even noticed the slight smirked on her face and the suspicions inside her eyes. i was already on the verge of stepping outside and quit the job because i messed it up. but fortunately, i was able to push it when i had the chance to composed myself for the second try. then eventually the nervousness just gradually subsided when i felt that we were already joking around. i stepped out and waved them goodbye with the first set of information i needed. they even wished me goodluck for the so called "thesis" that i am doing.
then from there, i started hopping from one site to another and felt i am already having the hang of the project. but then again, i still reminded myself once in a while, not to be very lax about it for i am still dealing with different people. until finally, i met ana, the cashier-bitch from hell. she was probably younger than me and already whiter than me by that time. though i must admit she was pretty, which i believe is common in the gene pool of pampanga, i noticed their was something different from the way she looked at me. i already knew she knows she's pretty and that i was up into something unexpected.

like her stare, the tone of her voice was also way different from the other people i have talked to. she didn't even notice that she was already raising her left brow at me. despite the my extreme politeness. i was already beyond the limits of my patience. but i still held the remaining of it, for the hope that i'll still be able to get what i needed. until she finally dropped the bomb, "tingin ko hindi namin pwedeng ibigay yan, kasi PRIVATE (with much stress in the word) kami e. PRIVATE (darn, she even repeated the word)..

thats it, she was already into my nerves. i looked at her with a very innocent but annoying look and said,

"ay ganun po ba? bakit? saan po ba may PUBLIC (exagerrately stressing the word too) gas station?"

i felt and saw the sudden silence and change in her face. she was already red when she saw that her co-employees were looking at us. then she softly said, " saka na lang kayo bumalik kapag nandito na boss namin."

i gave her my contact details, asked her to hand it to her boss and walked out of the room with my head up and with a slight smile on my face. i never received any message from them. nonetheless, it was still fine for i knew she deserved such embarassment from a person who also know what a bad customer service is all about.

luckily, from the 22 outlets i have interviewed in pampanga, they were only two people, who refused to participate. but the second one was still politer in giving me the bad news.

it was already getting dark and i have to look for a place to stay. until i saw myself standing infront of a popular motel aka hotel. seriously, i was smiling while standing infront of it. it was my first time to enter this hotel, which is known for... you know. but still, i pushed myself to believe that such establishments are not only for that reason, that they are also for motorist/ wanderers like me.

i asked the cheapest but longest room rate. then jolly hopped my way to my room. checking if there are any people i could bumped into. but it seemed like privacy was really the thing that people are paying here for. though the place was fully booked, i didnt see a single shadow along the motel's correigdors, aside from the hotel's staffs who chose not to notice you at all. perhaps its still part of the privacy thing. then here came my room, i gently turned the knob and looked for the main switch.


an eye-aching bright red light greeted me. it felt like i was flashblinded and entered a dark room. when i have already settled myself inside, i then noticed the channel guides on the top of the small tv set. at the top most of the list, channel 108 asian porn and 110 US/European porn. oh okay, so much for being openminded, i thought.

then i tried checking it out. i turned into the said channels. 108: oh okay, japanese. then turned to 110: OH OKAY EUROPEANS! then i suddenly noticed something in the upper right part of the screen, it was a timer counting.

WAAAAH! i was really alarmed with that thing at the top of it. i thought that they may charge me for this. that they are actually monitoring it, that i am actually watching these instead of the reasons i told them, that i am doing a research. what if they charge me for these? what if its separately? i don't have enough cash that moment and only have enough for my next trip the next day. but what alarmed me the most was the fact that they might know that it was very pathetic for a first timer like me, checking in alone just to watch porn and gratify his pathetic sexual life.

the next day, it was a relief when they cleared me out without any additional bill. embarassed with myself for thinking of such things. but hey, atleast i learned something knew: that watching porn in motels are actually free. i bet some of you also don't know this (O! huwag gaya-gaya! huwag ka'ng pa-virgin!).

i continued the remaining sites to be covered. and at the end of the day, i bumped into sussie's restaurant in the heart of angeles city, near nepo mall. as advised of one of my friends, i tried their pancit luglog, which was to die for. there local version of halo-halo, which was definitely special even without the ice cream, gulaman and sago. i ordered dinuguan and relyenong bangus to go for my relatives which i thought of paying a visit. and just like the other two, i was not disappointed at all. all for 240 pesos! (pictures to follow)
att he end of the trip, there are 4 things i have realized.

top 4 signs, na malayo ang pupuntahan mo.
4. kapag ang sakayan ay may terminal at kung may dumaan man asahan mong sabit ka o topload.
3. kapag may electric fan sa harap ng entrance ng jeep.

2. kapag puro matatandang may dalang sako, karton, bayong etc at mga batang uhugin ang kasabay mo.... BATA! TUTULO NA SIYA SA BAG KO!

1. kung may babaeng nagfrofrontal exposure sa tabi o harap mo... nagpapadede ng bata!

now, off to tarlac...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


body dropped upon this sheet
of white and aging cloth,
fingers holding a lit stick
staring blankly upon this spotless ceiling
feeling the comfort,
looking for the warmth
how many bodies have shared this bed
how many have screamed on top of their throat
how many have cried and felt excited
and how many felt lonely,
the same as i do
because behind this thick cold walls
i couldnt help but think of
those hundreds of souls
trapped inside numbing flesh
parading their way among passing eyes
dancing beneath blinking lights
its interesting
how sex can be
the center of all universe
though it can also be the coldest
and the most tragic

inside a resort hotel in subic... alone
trying to write... trying.

i wonder kung anong specialty nila dito? ikaw, palagay mo?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

travelling alone

being a travelling host or a part of a travelling show has always been the top of my list when it comes to my career path. thus, when someone offered me a job as a field researcher, i no longer considered how small the salary was. for me, as long as it will drive me away from being an almost four month old pataBUM (patabaing bum), its fine. besides, travelling all expense free (food, transpo and hotel accomodation included), its not that bad, right?

i was assigned in north-westerm luzon (the intersection of edsa and pasig river as the central and reference point), which is composed of pampanga, tarlac, pangasinan, zambales, bataan, la union, ilocos provinces and baguio. basically, the job only requires a minute of interviewing and mapping; and almost a day of travelling and i mean lots of TRAVELLING, to a point where your feet and butt will just literally go numb.

almost the perfect job for anyone. but then i've realized its not always about the perks nor having fun that matters in this kind of profession. everything you think of becomes different when you realized you are actually travelling alone.

nonetheless, its exciting! travelling in unfamiliar places is a very humbling experience. it makes you a very polite, independent and simple person. it makes your status, advantages and priviledges that you carry out from being a city person disappear because you know for a fact that these people you encounter in provinces have something you don't and you need.

you learn how to approach and socialize with strangers. how to ask in the politest way possible. how to ride old and rattling PUVS, that are way scarier than taking a MRT ride during rush hour. how to deal with them based from their own culture and traditions, that you can barely do in the city. it makes you realize how the simplicity of life is not all about having the biggest number of options that you usually get in living in the metro. rather its the other way around: the lesser your options are, the lesser complications in life you will have.

tonight, as im writing this entry, i am on my way to san carlos city, pangasinan to continue the other half of my research. though, i don't have someone to tag along with me, i am still grateful for i've realized travelling alone makes you appreciate these simple things that can help you in determining where you are actually heading.

*but seriously, im still open to the idea of someone tagging along. hehehe!

Monday, September 7, 2009

work: one week food trip

sorry been busy with work...
"burp! excuse me!"
down to my second week.