Sunday, October 29, 2006

the elavatory

Development all throughout the ages has totally defined what our current technology is capable of. From the latest Cellphone with built-in Turbo Boilers to the most famous Washing Machine that irons your clothes at the same time, it is indeed notable to see such inventions in the near future.

But Silimen University College of Chars and Sciences actually had its discreet unveiling of something groundbreaking, something innovative, and at the very least something fresh in the community. The CS Elevator has finally found its use!

“Since the elevator has been completely neglected for how many years, the College along with the Bored of Trustees approval, we decided to renovate the elevator,” Dean of the College Claros Magsulit said. “It is a first of its kind!”

Though the quandary of the elevator was finally faced in the times of the Great Depression when the Chars and Sciences faculty grieved in bloody tears, at long last the once forgotten piece of marvelous idle machinery is transformed into an upscale state-of-the-art restroom that could transport you up and down the levels of the college building at the same time relieving what is supposed to be relieved. They called it as the “Elavatory,” a fusion of an Elevator and a Lavatory, another word for Pinoy restrooms.

In line with the celebration of the World Oppressed Bladder: Changing the World Towards Urinary Perfection, the Elavatory was launched last Friday, September 22 at the CS Grounds.

Combining both style and substance, it is equipped with modern amenities found usually in six star hotels of the 22nd century, the elevator cum restroom boasts of ultraviolet cleaning mechanism aside from the flushing water. Floors are made of granite. Automatic rubber-emitter slippers are also provided that keeps you away from slipping on the scratchproof tiling. Tissue papers are still being utilized but are improved using a special kind of paper wherein it can be reused several times. “We still wanted to stick with tradition,’ Prof. Claros Magsulit pointed out.

“I am so proud of being a Silimenian. With this Elavatory, it goes to show that this institution is truly competitive in terms of technological standards. We are now famous! Bwahaha! We’re famous!” Psychology major Valium San Peter joyously said, who is now on her fourth year.

Resident Janitor Jave Jacob Baltusa is also happy for this new facility. “Murag dili na jud magamit ning mga C.R. sa mga floors aning buildinga [CS Building] tungod aning Elavatory. So meaning, mugaan-gaan gamay akong trabaho kay otomatic man diay mulimpyo ra ug iyaha ning Elavatoriha ni; from the floor, ceiling, and to the walls! Mao nai char!”

According to Microshoft Endarta, it is known that in the 16th century the puritanical spirit of the Reformation further discouraged bathing and use of lavatories in a mysterious island in Europe. Believe to be cursed especially for women who have their monthly “visitor,” these were their worst nightmare.

It was then in the 18th and 19th century that the use of bathrooms and lavatories became a form of fashion when some elite men proved that it was harmless. Because the previous trend before was that the grimier your look, the better. And this explains why most people before are darkly toned and smelled awfully bad.

In these years, we truly need to keep ourselves clean, and the unveiling of this Elavatory highlights its purpose. “Let us steer away from all superstitions that hinders proper hygiene for ourselves,” Magsulit proposed.

It is heard that the cost have summed up as much as the overall salary of the whole departments’ staff. As always, along with critical praises, comments are still endlessly flowing. “Who can ever benefit from a toilet that would unexpectedly spurts out water to our bottoms, and that the whole cubicle would go up and down to add to that?” Dr. Deal Low, a philosophy professor, commented. “It is no use after all.”

A professor from the Filipino Department, Prof. Rosaria Lops also objected to the Elavatory’s unimportance. “Parang wala namang gamit yung restroom-elevator na iyon. Sana naman merong bar dito sa KH para mas masaya! Makakaparty pa kami!”

“Samuk kaayo! Bastos! Ninggamit ko aning bago na C.R. pero ningkalit ra man ug open and sliding doors… nakuyapan ko! At least, in fairness upholstered ang toilet mao na dili kaayo sakit ang pagpakog nako,” a Speech and Theater Arts junior stressed, who decided to be called as Claudine. “Bisag naai tabon, lain pud noh. Gagamit kag banyo then naay musulod!”

Still, this Elavatory faced a lot of controversies even if supported with Silimen President Ben Malaya. “This is indeed an added landmark in the history of Silimen University aside from the Over Overpass,” the President closed his speech.
After all the purpose of these things is to make the use of what is available to its fullest extent, and the College of Chars and Sciences’ Elavatory is a testimony to that adage’s legacy.

- this previously appeared in the Weekly Sillimanian last September 27, 2006 as a lampoon article.
All places, events, and characters are treated without malice -- fictional.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

after the break?

Only two weeks are provided for us to breathe free from campus stuff before we would be receiving our acidic grades? It is not enough!

The first few days of the first fresh week of my not-waking-up-at-six-in-the-morning was just pure warm up for me to get ready on a number of activities I planned to deal with for the following week. Oops. Activities? Nope, not the boring kind, it's more on the enjoyable counterpart.

And now that I had just done something great this day (our campaign was so unforgettable), I just realized minutes were running so fast -- enrolment season is approaching! Bullfrogs, I should have Hermione's Time Turner!

Huhu. I can't believe it. So in order to relieve and comfort my mind from any pressures in the coming semester, I am thinking that after this break, we will all be seeing once again in the campus...

smiles on our faces and ideas for the weekends.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

introducing something strange

In this era when we see children carrying books bigger than their heads, the most evident downside of it is that we seldom see the “us” category bringing these things that are either thick or thin in covering and have tiny letters, numbers, and sometimes a few illustrations in their content (what are they called again?) unlike our younger generation.

It is easy to say that these children have caught the “reading bug” as they grew up totally exposed to things we have not. Clichéd as it may sound but that’s the hard fact. Books would just scream “Come Over Here! Buy Me!” in time passing. Let's warm-up our reading skills. I think all of the “us” category should be cultured in the wonders of literature. The book is entitled, “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” by Susanna Clarke.

* * *

Set in the early 19th-century Britain, English folklore and fantasy blended well in this extraordinary novel of two magicians who attempt to reinstate English magic in the age of Napoleon. In a common world imagined by Susanna Clarke, old Britain is never seen in a different kind of view even in the presence of notable obscurities. It seemed that magic itself is instinctive to the setting. Talking stones, whispering leaves, and moving grounds are not at all surreal but natural.

When gentlemen scholars only pore over England’s magical history, which is ruled by the Raven King - a mysterious man who mastered magic from the lands of faerie, the study is highly academic there’s no application at all, until Mr. Norrell, an arrogant and mistrustful bookworm surface. He showed that he is capable of creating magic and was verified when he showed the society speaking statues! Suddenly, he became the cream of the crop. From this event to the creation of English ships out of rainwater to block the incoming French colony, Norrell became the government’s prized icon.

Suddenly, a person in the name of Jonathan Strange enters the scene. Overly impulsive at such a young age, this aristocrat finds himself in the same practice of magic too under none other than Mr. Norrell himself.

Being the first student in his valuable library of forgotten and rare books, Norrell shared Jonathan his knowledge of the craft but totally not everything, afraid that someone would take over his throne of fame. Jonathan still learned voraciously.

In my favorite scene where Jonathan and Mr. Norrell debated, the younger magician finds himself unable to accept Norrell's tight views of magic he sets out of Norrell’s apprenticeship and creates a new approach on magic all by himself. Mr. Norrell on the other hand focused his attention to the government’s pleadings of assistance. He disregarded the thought of Strange’s backfiring actions towards him for he had not wholly taught him powerful magic. And this he is wrong.

Jonathan Strange with his vengeance of edging out the cleverness of Mr. Norrell tried everything that he thought would topple Mr. Norrell from his pride. Through many circumstances, both of them ended in a way that they are not ought to. Discovering morale from their own actions, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell still wanted to resolve the intricacy of magic. So, I would not further mention any more details for I might spoil the occasional or curios reader in wanting to read the novel.

In the author’s part, Clarke is superbly pertinent in showing magic as both a believably multifaceted and tiresome labor. Disregarded pieces of conversations would later on be very crucial in the latter part. The system of politics where magic is involved is portrayed with seamless realism and unquestionably part of the same England! Written in an old-fashioned narrative way with an addition of lengthy footnotes (that could occupy one page!) to fill in the uninformed reader events on the history of magic may even seem useless at first, reveals that reading it is worth the price when reaching to the last few pages of the novel.

To those who would attempt to grab a copy of this book, just take this heed of warning: If you are the type who only reads something of the fantasy-kind that involves delirious waving of wands, dragons that breathe fire, handsome elves and beautiful faeries, band of assorted creatures treading dangerous territories, and where words of enchantments began at the very first sentence of chapter one, then you better leave this book alone, shun it in a corner, and forget it altogether. This is not for you.

This book is unique in its genre not just that the presence of magic shows up only after hundreds of pages, but in its capability of engrossing a reader its 1000-page being! One could never notice that it is actually that long. It is a masterpiece that can be enjoyed in lazy afternoons with your favorite beverage on one hand and the book on your lap while lounging comfortably in your seat.

Susanna Clarke said boredom is probably the reason she wrote this book. “I could always imagine more interesting places to be than where I was and more interesting people than me being there. Eventually this led to making up stories and writing things down,” she said in an interview in the book’s official website. She also added, “I always really liked magicians. I’m not even sure why — except that they know things other people don’t…”

Like a character in the book had said: "Magic! Do not speak to me of magic! It is just like everything else, full of setbacks and disappointments." That’s a very essential statement. It means that though some results looks either superbly beautiful or wretched, you never know how taxingly it was done.

Indeed, the mastery of Clarke’s ability to weave the appropriate words made her even a more competent writer in this debut novel. It is a book where you stop over a line and read it once more or let its effect seep deeper into you for a while, whether out of admiration of the effectiveness of its brevity, of simple awe, or of its intelligent wit. From a span of ten years in developing this one-of-a-kind novel, this turned out as an instant classic to readers worldwide. A historical fictional novel at its best – for now.

Friday, October 20, 2006

think it over!

"Tension always tails right behind calmness, if it isn't, calmness shall pursue trouble."

It is a cycle. We cannot escape how great we really are, even Houdini cannot get through with this one. It is like your shadow, always at your side, your back, and even right in front of you -- the sun creating these funny silhouettes is just the accompanying humor (well in the sense if you get what is the humor behind those magnificent trick of light!).
Seems ironic but if God ever forbids tension to stop its childish doings, your calm being will initiatively finds fun in the wilderness; from booze, sex, and to the newest book in the nearest novelty book shop. Calmness' pursuit for something bizarre should be expected. Then again, tension comes back into play, for calmness is good in hunting, the big "C" can find it (nope, not cancer!) in every place imagineable no matter where it hides.

And hey, it could be right under your carpet, accumulating the dust of Wednesday that brings an original itch to your nose. Tissues, here I come!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

yuletide in october

You are alone in the round table. You breathe the air that is different from a neighboring province that you had cultured on for a long time. It is morning; not too early and neither it is too late. You are alone, well except for two water pitchers on it, one made of glass and one Tupperware; two delicate chinaware plates covered with large saucers fronting you; a spoon and a fork; and a large bowl of hot tsokolate – and you questioned why it is filled in a bowl. You take off the two saucers that are intended to cover the larger plates, seeing what is hidden beyond its fragile innocence.

A weak steam goes out of the tiny open you make, it reaches your olfactory senses that awakens Ben – your dear old friend for the longest time – and groans in annoyance urging you to start filling your mouth with food that you are yearning for the past months. You hastily put the two saucers aside and immediately marvel at the sight that fronts you: slices of meatloaf coincidentally arranged to form a smiley face, and the other plate a large flat circle of scrambled egg. Whoa! That is the best breakfast you have. Not because it is the first time you are going to divulge into such feast but the presence of your mother around and your nephews playing at the living room add the most tasteful flavor that enriches your palate. Without telling anyone for the longest time about your peculiar panache, you take three full scoops of tsokolate from the bowl and pour it into your two-cup rice. Now, your secret is revealed.

Your mother incessantly looks for her compiled compact discs and cassette tapes of Christmas music around your house. She insists that she place it in shelf at a corner in your abode that is full of mixed-up furniture: two coffee tables with accompanying a pair of hard-wood chairs, two sofas, three refurbished cabinets, another two antique lost dining chairs that still came from your grandparent’s ancestral house, five heavy wooden tables, a piano, and a wide array of multicolored objects that outstand in the domination of brown and dark green hues. Finally your mother finds it and hurries toward your VCD component with speakers of different sizes scatter on the table and even below the table. At first she is questions speaking to the air on which music should she play while you continuously gobble down on your meal, until she decides to tune in to Jose Mari Chan. Inserting the audio tape that is now five-years-old, it immediately play on the track A Perfect Christmas.

My idea of a perfect Christmas // is to spend it with you…

You suddenly stop from your gluttony; the line of the song tingles down from your throat going down your stomach and gives a strange quiver in your deeper insides, prompting your mind to think back all over again when you have not ventured yet the alluring innocence of the city of the gentle people:

You were all seven then; three ladies and four boys. You never thought of tagging them as men because all the time, even though you were not yet half-skilled in the English vocabulary, you always thought that they are the same age as you are. Your reasons? You said that they usually committed the same mistake over and over again – and if not the same mistake done over and over again, they committed something worse than the previous case. So, they stay as boys until now. You interrogated yourself if you will consider yourself a man by now, and yup, basing on your experience meter, you are an inch above from them but not enough to be called as a man; you are still somewhere in the middle, just like a slice of salami or cheese sandwiched between two piece of wheat bread, getting ready to be bitten or forget it that it actually exists there. Again, you were seven then.

There was your eldest brother, who at first was so close to you that now you barley even talk to with each other – what’s more, you even think that he is not present in your house who unquestionably is sitting right behind you.

And also your sister that you have continually outrun the height always assisted you in making school projects when you were in elementary. Up to know she cared for your studies – well, all your sisters do.

Then there was another sister of yours who encouraged you to read and read, taught you to study harder and made you avoid any scary shows that you tried to hardheadedly endure in one sitting. As of this moment, she’s deciding if she would pursue her dentistry dream to tend your medical-wonder-set-of-teeth.

Then another brother of yours that set off steam so early whenever his serenity is punctuated with a child’s laughter especially in social gatherings which in return he kept any electrical music component playing, reaching the levels to the highest decibels, and you can’t even forget the day when he banged your head with a plastic dipper out of sheer irritation. Good thing is your head is thicker than any plastic dipper in the world for it was proven by the midmorning sunlight and your mum’s garden plants how the poor dipper broke into pieces upon encountering your head. Now, you two barely speak with each other.

In a party or dinner for two // anywhere would do…

Then there was your sister too; so cheerful yet also very emotional. She is creative in her own little ways, enjoys all kind of handcrafting. Loves chocolate like everyone else of the family; she has this unique characteristic of maintaining the same figure. She is always told about diabetes but this doesn’t stop her from craving more. Now, she surprised you when she gave a pair of slippers that is much costly than your monthly salary at the university publication.

And finally your brother that really gets along your other brother that banged your head with a dipper. He was so meticulous on what and how you wear your clothes. Your fashion statement in those days doesn’t suit his creative capacity. These days, you always failed him in your planned exhibit and also he doesn’t comment that much on what you look like when you go out on a weekend at the nearest mall.

Add the father, the mother, the in-laws, the guests, the helpers and the incoming boarders which compose of stray cats, dogs, rats, snakes, turtles and the birds, your numbers were gradually increasing. But fast forward, the father goes out for work, your sister goes to a farther place along with your other sister, your other other sister ventures to have a home away from you, your brother which you treated as like any dormer who’s occurrence is not so important to you kept on going home late, and your other other brothers, from being too stuck with each other, are also going home late like there is no mother worrying what might happen to them.

Always light up our lives. // Simple pleasures are made simple, too…

Fast, fast, fast forward, there you are silently sitting in front of a plate completely smudged by the dregs of your tsokolate creating a dark-brown pattern that either amuse or depress you. You gather up all the things that need to be washed. You hum along the music, that through your community’s silence, the air brings the notes to your ears.

You neither want to mull over those fragments in your life nor to feel the accompanying penetrative emotions the tune carries along but the stills of images that wander in your mind are so clear it brings your eyes watery. You hide it by whistling with the merry tune at the same time washing a dish that has a broken part. You let your fingers run over its jagged side and wonder where the other part been left or simply thrown.

Looking through some old photographs // faces and friends we’ll always remember…

Wiping your forehead that is slightly sweaty with your security face towel, you go to the sala and sit in your favorite sofa – the kind of sofa that if you would go plunging onto its soft and plush cushions, you would only receive a tiny hill of pain at the back of your head after hitting its low wooden headrests.

You are on the action of sending a message using your phone when you abruptly realize you forget where you place it. Asking anyone that exists in the second floor of the house, you feel vindicated when the answer you get is: “Naa ra na diha, pangitaa ug tarong.”

After long minutes of searching for your beloved unique phone, you find it behind a portrait of your brother that has a tiny tear on its nose. Hastily pressing some keys that leads you to the service wherein you can start writing your message, you send the message just in time for a vibration on your phone and an annoying words that literally fills up your cellphone screen:

Check Operator Services

When you check your inbox knowing you receive a message because of the vibration’s indication, you are more astounded when another set of words fills the screen one more time: Natigil na ang iyong UNLIMITXT service…

I can’t think of a better Christmas // Than my wish coming true…

And before you will throw away your phone that you think is completely lifeless, it buzzed again that prompts you to read a message. It is a message from your “companion.” You have never yet formulated another derogatory word for “friend” because you beli
eve there is no such thing. Eventually, you realized you are missing someone or anyone who are not in your midst.

It is indeed funny to discover that once you are in another nostalgic place, both your inner and outer being misses people and things not accessible from where you are standing. You cannot recover from the string of occurrences that happen in that short period of time so you go out of the house and played with the stray cats – and still whistling along Jose Mari Chan. And Ben is happy.

And my wish is that you’d let me spend //
My whole life with you.

My idea of a perfect Christmas //
Is spending it with


Saturday, October 14, 2006


A dilemma in the morning:
Soaking her hands
in a basin of foamy water
feeling the clothes of men
that were left in time
to soften the burden.

Scrubbing away
the dirt of yesterday,
slowly revealing
what should be presented
for tomorrow that's worth some lending.

Adding an essence of lavender
that calms her senses
expecting for the fabric's less wrinkles,
seeing them instead on her fingers.

Rinsing the qualms.
Squeezing with her closed palms,
now she readies to hang.

Lavender o, lavender ah --
the sweet scent that flows as it dries to return

as a burden.

- written on the 25th of January, 2006. This is an honor for all "Lavenders"
who untiringly cleanse that are not their's

tin can tautologies

For Joey, mornings are his business.
He enjoys every nickel clinks in his tin can,

For it is a bank. His sweat an income
beneath the sun that scorches his skin into tan.

For his friends are the Ayalas, Gokongweis, and the Lopezes.
He waits for solicitations, they watch him on the news.

And for the evenings he settles his engagements,
in treasure hunts and street sprints.

For up to now, up to the brim of his tin can,
Joey constantly fills it with dreams -

- fill it with presedential tautologies.

- a poem for the World Youth Day: Tackling Poverty Together

bullfrogish unions


Does that ring a bell? It's called as such because the male's deep resonant croak sounded like a bull's bellow. Bullfrogs are a rare kind of amphibians known for its eating habits in the world of biology. They're predators found mostly in the silent lakes of canada to Mexico feeding on small snakes (yup, small), worms, insects, crustaceans (humm, interesting!), little birds, and most shockingly, their own kind! This trait being its most significant makes it unique and dangerous!

They can only see and eat their prey whan it's moving. If not, bullfrogs wouldmn't give a damn! For as long as it is not moving, it's not part of their menu. Their hunting style is called the "Sit & Wait" technique. They wait patiently until an unfortunate victim passes, meeting its untimely death. with a single gulp, it is gone.

They're so amazingly diligent and trciky. They are on the third level of the food pyramid after all! They have earned an instant reputation distinct from other frog species as being mean and greedy as unmindful of eating their own kind for self-gratification.

These bullfrogs' exceptional trait has actually long been showing up in our nation nowadays. Some promient Homo sapiens who are graduates of reputable universities like Silliman, exhibit such trait, unmindful of thier acts and deliberatley showing up only i times of indulgence, being fraud in front of the unknowing masses. They are corrupt, greedy, and selfish -- bullfrogish, really -- sitting on high positions in the government.

Organizations, unions, party-lists, societies and other related groups is the result to all these -- attention seeking movements yet usually they're unheard.

According to the Philippine Constitution's Bill of Rights, specifically Section 8, people have the freedom to form or to be a member of any group, in which the person unanimously agreed upon its purpose and to successfully achieve it. But is this enough to solve the bullfrogish acts we are seeing and even experiencing?

Yes? But the question is, is this particular right really in our hands?

We talk about democracy in this country but look and see what's happening now: Rallyists are adamantly maltreated, and innocent people are abducted by armed forces. thier so-called rights were completely discarded.

Given the economic strait we are in, the formation of such unions is inevitable, yet they're experiencing difficulties all the same. thier lives are at stake in every move they make. That's why others tend to be with the bullfrogs!

It's funny to realize that a better way of tackling more impending bullfrogs in this country is being one! One has no choice but to take the lead of trekking onto a different path, unless one would prefer to be on the passive side. Unbeknownst to them, they are becoming bullfrogs.

Leftists, activists, or whatever they are tagged; the anger in these people may be considered a waste of energy. but using this energy through anger could lead to a change for improvement, an improvement for everyone's benefit.

Well i think it runs that way. And it's sad to note that through the years -- though little by little, we have felt some improvements in this nation -- the oppressed are getting more demoralized, and the untroubled are still getting more pleasures their wicked relations have to offer.

If you doubt my statements, i suggest you lock yourself inside a closet, and you might discover that there's something croaking ceep inside you. There will be no harm done. just ask yourself: Are you a discreet bullfrog-in-the-making who, with sheer determination, lavishes on the downfall of your fellow beings? Maybe you really are without noticing it!

And if you do... Please, don't swallow me up! Help anybody... bullfrogish symptoms at hand!