Monday, August 26, 2013

on beauty

Early morning last Friday, with barely enough sleep, hair tied in a tight bun and put into a place by a head band, and eye bags as heavy as the backpack I carried, I stepped into the elevator followed by a woman probably in her early forties. She looked familiar, so I greeted her a good morning. She smiled at me and started a small talk. I thought this is going to be one of those situations when things go awkward until, before stepping out onto her floor, she cheerfully said to me, “Ang ganda ganda mo!” (You're so beautiful!). I didn't exactly know what she saw, but that was enough caffeine to perk me up. I want to hug her dearly.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

something mostly true

Before, the concern of “Don’t be too serious” comes up as often as daylight. In return, the fact that each of us belong to different poles is raised and accepted. Again and again. Well, I thought we did. I embraced the opposite but what I get is a shrug and a casual exodus to whatever that self-interestedly pleases you.

Here is a link that would serve as a reminder, something that I have stumbled upon just this morning. Hope it makes it clearer.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

sands & coral 2013: celebration

This book has been in the works for more than a year, and finally, under the helm of Ian Rosales Casocot, it is coming out this month. A special edition of the Sands & Coral that commemorates the 50th anniversary of Silliman University National Writers Workshop—founded by the Philippine literary monoliths Edilberto Tiempo and Edith Tiempo—it gathers works from select fellows of the said workshop’s half a century run of guiding the young writer’s pen. Thus, it is fittingly called Celebration.

As a writing fellow in the year 2008, I have been invited to share a couple of poems and have also been commissioned to do the illustrations for the anthology. All of this is a first for me. And whether my works would see print in its pages (table of contents not yet revealed), I am still glad to get the opportunity to be involved in this historic project. You see, Sands & Coral, which remains to be one of the Philippines’ oldest academic literary folios, had a hiatus, its last issue seen in the early 2000’s. But now, having this teaser of a book cover circulating the internet, there’s really something to look forward to.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

the sty who shagged me

“Is someone with you? Are you alone?”

Alone. The doctor said it with much emphasis and in a tone that seemed higher than the rest of her words. She smiled the smile of a cashier: tired and required. Whether it was an accusation of my solitude, a mockery to my singledom, or just plain honest question, it did not matter because I entered the clinic with a dread reserved for the victims of Jigsaw finding themselves in his puzzle-torture chambers.

It is not everyday you need to have someone flip your right eyelid up and slice it open.

All this was caused by a sty, kuliti or budyinggit. I could not remember any itch before this, as believed by many. It just started with a feeling of discomfort in the eye and a pain like that of a grandmother’s pinch the next day.

I had no problem with it, carried on, especially insistent on the recommendation of someone from the medical field that I leave it alone and let it pass even if my office colleagues suggested I pay a visit to the ophthalmologist soon. It didn’t pass. On the third day since it started acting up, the eye presented to the whole world a sty. And it lingered.

Time constraints got me visiting the doctor only on the fifth day. She immediately gave me two options: take Fucithalmic eye drops and some Augmentin antibiotics for a week or undergo minor surgery. Of course, I took the conservative approach.

Fast forward to yesterday and none of them work. I had no choice. The sty was as stubborn as the frizz on my hair. After the operation, I got a patch over my eye. Achievement unlocked: the closest I could get to being Jack Sparrow. 

Before I left the clinic, the secretary asked if someone would take me home. I gave her the cashiers smile because, suddenly, it hit me: Never in my whole life had such small thing reminded me of my solitude in this universe. Indeed, the smallest things matter.

“Nobody, I said.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

bad luck

2013, I think, would go down in history as my worst, bar none. The first half of it has been awfully terrible: the inevitable departure of the geographical kind, the second severe ankle sprain in less than four months, the persistent thievery at my home province’s house, the news of mild scoliosis, the same old issues that run in the blood.

The second half opened to something much worse: the constant unreciprocated feelings, the lost iPhone 5 that was only five months old, the car accident that left my father with a map of bruises on his body and a fractured rib, the sty that didn’t go away and would now require an eye operation soon, the doubts that proved to be true in the end, and finally, another departure, but only this time, it was of the emotional kind.

I greeted July not with shining optimism but with a dread that would shame even the most ominous of feelings. Up to this very day, I’ve been wondering, why? Why now? Why me? Could it be a conspiracy of everyone I’ve made ill in the past? Could it be the number 13 that, like a clingy girlfriend, latches on the 20 to make the ultimate year of bad lucks? Could it simply be not my year?

More questions, less answers. One may never even know why, and that’s what hurts the most. The obscurity of reason or the absence of it is just as intense and piercing as the bliss of discovery. All this is fairly personal. Some brought by acts of the divine and brought by my own doing, therefore the art of blaming this on that can easily be regarded as null and void. No one’s to blame but me. The stubborn, illogical, “emo” me.

There was, of course, the tailspin of emotions. It happened, and the descent was rapid and violent and even close to hitting rock bottom if not for the distraction of my family and friends’ familiar noise, the insight of newfound acquaintances, the numbing drudgery of the everyday, and even alcohol. Red Horse, Tanduay Rhum, and Emperador Light were my closest of friends. I remain thankful to them for pulling me out of that dark, dark place instead of plunging further down.

And now it is the first day of August, the second month of the second half of the year. It could have also been the anniversary of a word that had brought so much joy, so much promise when it was flung at me out of the blue before:


Who would’ve known such simple utterance would create a ripple in my life. Like a pebble dropped on still pond, something was stirred, something was changed. I believed it was the start of something handsome and lasting, but now, in retrospect, I think it could have also been a disturbance, just a blip in my fight for sanity.

Many have said do not dwell on the past. But it is hard not to. At the moment, the past is just too close to the present. Bad luck’s still throbbing in the air. But there’s a silver lining: the stone may have been dropped, disturbing the calm, the ripple extending and reaching far, but I know the water will soon become still, the undulations edging away. Things will be at peace again.

I wait for the ripples to go.