Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Grand Reopening

So okay...

My last post was... gasp... two years ago.

I was just randomly searching for whatever I can read to combat depression and catatonia, and I came across a personal blog. Well, the way blogs were supposed to be. Personal. A chronicle of sort of one's life, written in gripping prose.

Not how blogs are seen these days, as either a political piece, a short-cut to fame and, well, infamy for some, or a source of income. No. Not those at all... A personal blog. And it got me thinking about visiting this Batchoyan, that, though not serving anymore as often as it used to, remains open and takes up blogspace. And so, I turn to what have always been a panacea for me. Writing.

So yes, you can say, some darkness creates light elsewhere, and that's what you owe this new blog post to.

There I was in my somber gloomy mood, licking my wounds, staving off full on rock bottom clinical depression, just wasting my time, unemployed and alone in Manila, stretching what little money I have saved, and getting by with raket jobs that comes every now and then... It has been two years too, that I have been preparing and suffering and having my life on hold and in suspended animation... and again, I taste the full sting of defeat. I was thinking, I have been here before, I could handle it better, but not.

You know what they say about pain.

How it fucking demands to be felt.

Oh but yeah, as all returns demand, I owe you an 'ang nakaraan' explanation to how I got here at this point of my dreary sordid life.

So okay. back story to keep us up to date.

In March 2014, I have checked and rechecked my old tattered prospectus. I have penciled in all grades from all subjects and I was delighted to know that after X number of years, I was finally about to be done with law school! All marked and completed! I applied for graduation. I was already dreaming of the day wearing my garb and starting the next journey. But no. One subject held me back and gave me a failing grade. After much talking and gnashing and anguish, the 5.0 was retracted and I was given an INC. Long story short, it took me another year to finish and get a sudden death completion exams to get that over and done with.

I passed.

In April of 2015, I finally donned my Law School Sablay, and graduated. Of course. The next thing to think of was the Bar Exams. I psyched myself up. I made major decisions. I gathered all my strengths and my resolves. I moved to Manila. Again. This time, the plan was to stay for good. Well, for best, if you may.

I just figured that to be able to concentrate and focus on the review, I would have to spend at least 6 grueling months. Creature of comfort that I am, I needed my command center. The thought of having to go through the process of uprooting and settling in Manila, and then doing it all over again to come back to Iloilo was daunting. My plan was to stay. Find my command center, make a home, and be based in Manila for good. I would review for 6 months, take the Bar which lasts for a month, take a few months break, find a job maybe, and wait for the results. After which, recoup, consider my options, and stay in the Metro. It sounded like a good plan.

Of course, my mother, being the mother, like all mothers are, and my father, being unlike any father that all fathers are, did try every so often to get me to go back to Iloilo.

I was stubborn. I did not want to budge. As a result, I suffered bouts of homesickness, missing my friends, missing my community, watching the scenes I have established in Iloilo flourish without me, and the occasional push and pulls every time I come home for a break. It isn't easy. Well nothing is.

As it is, and as all best laid plans go, they do not go as best as we want them to. Fast forward... two review seasons, two years, two attempts. No such luck.

So here I am, alone in the Metro, no family, my friends busy with their own lives. Unemployed, borderline depressed, funds running out quick, waiting for the next chapter to unfold, with nothing to show for but this stubborn hope, and my dreams that are bigger than me. Ah but the stories!

Oh yes, the stories! Rich, colorful stories yes. I do have a lot. And yes I have come home to the Batchoyan to tell them all. As I have always done so...

I know I have promised to keep writing and reviving this blog, time and again. But now, the promise shall be even stronger.

I cannot wait to tell the stories.

The Batchoyan needs dusting here and there, fixing this and that, but yes, it opens one more time.

It's technically not a reopening because it never really closed but what the hell! Besides, after these days of gloom and doom, I need an excuse to celebrate, so yeah!

Welcome me back.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Bless the Beast and the Children

I had a very nice chat with a very good friend today. It started out with a voiced concern over my choice of relationships. He was asking me, well, quite well-meaning, how I would contend being in a relationship that, well, does not bear fruits - children he means. If I had not known him the way I know him, I would readily dismiss his commentary as a heternormative judgment of my relationships. But since I have known him to be an open-minded and good person, I obliged the conversation. Maybe it's also a chance to educate a would be straight ally in this long-winding and never-ending battle on marriage equality and gender acceptance. Because you know, it gets tiring to always be on the defensive and always explaining your choices to people who cannot be bothered to look beyond their own petty circumstances and biases. But I felt a genuine concern from this friend so I guess it merited a good discussion,

First of all, I'm bisexual. It means that I am attracted to both men and women, so it's a bit short-sighted to chalk it all up to having non-fruitfuil (childless) relationships. I mean, you know, I could very well fall in love with a woman and we can have all that, and the kitchen sink too. Though admittedly, the last couple of relationships I had involved someone of the same sex, but still, it does not take away that possibility for me.

Secondly, not all relationships have children as an end all and be all. I have seen a lot of heterosexual couples who have chosen to remain childless. It may be an economic thing, it may be a medical thing, or it may just be a spontaneous thing. They just don't have children and that's that. Does it take away the legitimacy of that union or relationship just because they choose to not have children for whatever reasons they want? Which brings me to a secondary point here. The problem with conforming to societal norms is that, it does not take into consideration that each relationship is as special as the next one. The details and considerations are different from any other. Relationships don't come in one mould. They are as special and as unique as the thumbprints for each individual. And to demand that each one of them conform to a held societal standard is unfair. Relationships are personal. Hence, adopting this societal norm for couples to bear children is unkind and unrealistic to say the least. What more with homosexual partnerships.

Third, do we really need children? Maybe we should also question the reasons behind wanting children. Do you want them because you feel it is a gift of nature to be given the care and nurturing of a young individual or do you feel it as a measure of one's success in life? Is it for the altruistic reasons of rearing and caring for a child in continuance of the good of the human race and as stewards to a good life and future or is it a badge that we brandish to make us feel complete and accomplished? I believe that another human life is a gift and a wonder and it should not be used for selfish purposes of making one feel his own achievement and completeness. This gift comes to us as a responsibility and a privilege and not as a matter of right. It's not as if we can just go to a store to get a nice dress because it looks good on us. I believe that if we adopt this view, then maybe, herein lies the reason why we have so many failed parenting and many shattered children nowadays. Besides, the world's population continues to balloon uncontrollably. If we do not have our own lives at a manageable condition, why the hell would we want to bring in someone innocent to share in this savagery we call the earth? If you cannot even make ends meet and cannot figure your own life, why the hell would you bring someone in, whom, you have the obligation to guide towards a good life? Isn't it ironic, don't you think?

Fourth, like I said before, relationships are as special and unique as they come. To answer the question, I am in such relationships because I believe I am in love with the other person and that he or she feels the same way towards me. Why are we to stop from wanting to be together just because we cannot have children? Can we not hope to share each other's lives and be witnesses to each other's wonderful journey? Can we not want to have dinners and coffee and endless talks and dreams shared, ours or as a couple, under the moonlight? Can we not want adventures and trips together? Can we not want to build a future, a home, or want to close our eyes at night, being hugged secure, or wake up in the morning to their sour breaths, or go through the day knowing that we do not need to be alone anymore? Can this not be enough reasons to be with someone? Is that not as valid as they come?

Finally, I believe that until our relationships are dignified by the ability to be recognized under the law then we should not be required to subscribe to a societal world view from those who enjoy such privileges that we are not given. Why? If we have children, either by scientific ways or by adoption, are we given the same rights to claim tax exemptions or to exercise parental rights the same way those whose marriages are recognized does? Can we go to games and activities and family days and what nots for our children without raising eyebrows? Are we accepted to raise children in the same way the heterosexuals do without meeting a lot of hate and judgments and vehement objections to start with? Then, if that is not the case, then why saddle and expect the same things of us that you do? You do not want to give us those rights and privileges, why expect the same responsibilities from us? Unless we could all level off and accept the fact that we are as good as you, or even better than you to be parents to our children, and our families receive the same support and the same protection then do not expect us to honor whatever traditions it is that you have taken upon yourself. The disparity only grows more apparent unless and until you accept the fact that we too want the same things, not as homosexuals or anything, but as human beings who are capable of the same love, both parental and spousal.

The struggle is long and hard, but I believe that we have gained so much grounds and we are winning. Well, not really us, but love. Because if it is not love that compels us to do what we do, then I believe we have already lost from the very start. Unless everyone accepts that love is love is love, and that this love defies boundaries and distinctions, then we will never be able to level off. As for me and my choices, I am only defined by one impetus. LOVE.

And yes, after all these abstractions and deconstructions, at the root of all these, is LOVE. And yes, I believe that in the end, no matter how long it takes - LOVE WILL WIN!

Mabuhay ang mga LGBT at MABUHAY ANG PAG-IBIG!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

To My Next Adventure

Dearest One,

I hope you are doing fine, as I am. Forgive me if I'd ramble and bumble through this letter. How, after all, do you write a letter to the future? Sorry if it's taking a while. See, the last one was one death-defying, crazy, wild, heart-stopping one that almost did me in. It's still a bit of a mess in here so you would understand if I took time to do house cleaning, right?

I'm not sure I'm ready for you, and I still have a few dirty and soiled shirts from the last one, but are we ever ready for this shit? Do we get warnings and indications for this one? If we do, well I have ignored it anyway and plunged headlong, as I always have. I crash and burn, you know. So that's the first thing you should know about me. My timing is off. I was born with this wicked, unreliable sense of time. It's as if, I'm always on the brink and at the cliff's edge when I should have noticed earlier. So yes, fair warning #1 - I am INTENSE. I still don't know what this means when people tell me this, and I wish I knew if that was a good thing or not. Well, some people in the past told me it was endearing and all, and they wanted it, but when it got too hot, they fled. So I am left clueless what exactly being intense means? I wonder what this would mean to you, but it is what it is, and I'm just saying.

How would I meet you? Maybe it would be in a coffee shop where I usually haunt. Maybe you'd be looking for a table, and seeing me all alone there, would ask to share ,my table. Maybe it would be the other way around. Maybe you'd ask for a light. Maybe it would be in a crowded party. Maybe it would be while walking the streets. Maybe it would be on one of my impractical soul retreats where I would waste time just being quiet and staring at the distance. Maybe it would be on one of my trips to wherever. Maybe, it would be through a common friend. Maybe it would be online. Maybe it would be somewhere random. Maybe I already know you and it would be like a rediscovery. Maybe it would be all of the above, or maybe it would be none of the above. Thus Fair Warning #2 - I have a full life. It overflows to the brim that sometimes, it could get overwhelming. It may seem then to be a really bad idea, because, how then do I make space for you? I have no idea, but surely, there would be, and the spaces are mellifluous, and they have a way of rearranging themselves somehow, so don't give up. There will be space. I will make space. Most of the past adventure actually asserted themselves, and that's just that.  Trust me.

I also wonder how it would be when I'd realize that it is IT? Will it be like the movies in my mind, where you'd be bathed in heavenly light, slow-mo, musical score, as the world comes to a standstill and black and white, or sepia even, and there's just the two of us? Will it happen at the touch of your hand, as sparks fly, and we would know there is magic? Will it happen as you lean close telling me, 'You want another mug of coffee?' Or will it be as you lean to me because you are all drunk and wasted? Or will it happen before that second of ejaculation? Will it be something of a free-flow? One of those, "I don't know when it happened, it just did" thing? Or it may never even happen. I don't know, and surely, I'd like to know, so yes Fair Warning #3 - I tend to over think and it gets the better of me sometimes. I imagine scenarios in my mind that may or may never happen. I'm just wired that way. So please be patient with me, and please do encourage me to go through all the scenarios in my brain, holding my hand all this time, and helping me pick the worst of the lot!

Maybe I'd be writing a lot of poetry for you. Maybe haikus - or maybe I will name a character in one of my short stories after you. Well usually, I write poems of the bitter sad emote kind. I am usually prompted to poetry by a shattered heart so I used to warn those who ask, to never ask me to write poems for them, because that would only mean they've broken my heart in one way or the other, but maybe you'd make me write saccharine sweet icky mucky love stuff shit for a change - maybe, yes, maybe, no, but surely, I'd write for and about you. So Fair Warning #4 - I am a poet. I write. A lot. So yes you'd somehow end up there, whether you break my heart or not, hopefully the latter.  As such I am a hopeless romantic shmuck, believing in true love and all that jazz, so yeah, it would be crazy. And you'd find yourself immortalized in my writings, for good or for bad. Maybe I'd kill you off in one of my stories. Ah, but let's not jump the gun. The muse is so untrustworthy. Jokingly so, the last ones were brief painful brushes and I kid that I would, for a change, want someone who'd enable me to write the magnum opus of my life - a whole epic poetry book, in 8 volumes maybe, or a grand novel at least. We'll see - but definitely, I will write.

Maybe my friends will like you. Maybe they won't. Maybe they'd cheer for you. Maybe they'd refuse to speak to me for months on end. Understand, they are good people with good hearts, and they are only looking out for me. I have built such a reputation, see, for going for the non-standards - the crazy ones, the spontaneous ones, the difficult ones, the unconventional shits! So you see, they are just being careful and loving me in ways they know, but I ask you to please try your bestest to be in good terms with these people. They are my life-support system. Somehow, in their own weird, special way, they have kept me alive and living through. It may not be possible for us to have met if not for them, so yes - Fair Warning #5 - I have amazing friends and I love them to the death. Of course it would be a two-way street and I promise to do my bestest too, to be in good terms with your friends. Actually, it has been an on-going struggle because, the last adventures I had? Some of them left me with really good friends that made it a bit harder to move forward. I have a handful of really good friends that are still with me, despite the fact that they were exes friends and the affair is long dead and gone, and every now and then, we would tease each other in the most uncomfortable and awkward of ways, about the possibilities of bringing back the dead, with their friends. Funny, but some of them have been valued allies, more valuable even, than the ex, at the start.

With those, I can't wait to finally see you. Like I said, I may not be ready, but when it comes, it comes. No one can ever expect the Spanish Inquisition, so they say. Maybe I'd dream my old dreams with all my past adventures. Maybe I'd dream new ones. Maybe I'd just play it cool and coy with you in a spontaneous reckless shit, or maybe I'd delude myself with the fact of marrying you, and spending the better rest of my life with you. Maybe there will be children. Maybe we'd move halfway across the globe. Or maybe they'd be just fantasies and one month or two after, you'd just shatter my heart like all the rest who came before you, and so I would have to write another letter for my next adventure after you - or maybe I'd be like cinder-fucking-rella, who shall live happily ever after - and as you can see Fair Warning #6 - I am a hopeless romantic shmuck. I believe in LOVE! Maybe you'd find it endearing and cute, maybe you could use it against me, and maybe, you believe in the same shitty thing, and would thank your lucky stars you found me. I know I've been through hell but this crazy stupid heart of mine just won't quit it! It just won't stop believing. It won't stop beating for that one person out there who shall be as it is, in the movies, in songs, and even in poetry - for that ONE TRUE THING! It may bee foolish yes, but I am proud of my fucking heart! It has been through a lot but it remained true to me! HEARTSTRONG!

I would have wanted to give you four more fair warnings to round it up to a good nice ten, but then again, as they always say, no matter how many warnings we get, we still plunge headlong. I know I do! And after all, life has no guarantees! We cannot return merchandise if it is not fit for use. We do not have warranties, nor a 30-day free trial period for these things. So finally, in closing, let me just ask you for one simple request. I know it's too forward of me, but listen anyway. All I ask of you is simple. Please BELIEVE! It may be too easy really, but trust me. It could be the hardest thing to do. So yes, no matter what, please believe. The going will get rough, and this is exactly why I do not ask you to take it easy on me. I have been built hard and strong so I know I'd make it through. I am not asking for you to LOVE me, because in the course of things, love would be too hard to see. In fact, a lot of my past adventures left me, even if they swear they love me, because they say, love is not enough. I sometimes wonder what. if not love, would ever be enough, but sadly so, some people think otherwise. I won't ask you to stay either. I asked that from all of them. They said they will, and changed their minds. So I am asking you to believe instead. Believe in yourself. Believe in me. Believe in US! Believe in love. Believe in staying. Just believe. And I promise you too, I will believe. I will keep the faith.

With that, see you when I do. Let's make this adventure all worth it. Give it your best shot. Expect mine too! With all my heart, I love you!

I remain,


Monday, February 23, 2015


Tabugon Reflections

I saw an online post from a friend. Some indie film director wants to do a project for a short film. They were looking for a male actor. Long story short, I missed acting and theater, went to give it a go, and got casted. I had no questions - how much, what for, or stuff - I just said yes.

Fast forward, the film was to be shot in an island off Estancia in Iloilo. This is not about the movie though. This is about this amazing geological/nautical feature called sandbars and the wonderful moving realizations I had with the experience.

As soon as we arrived in the afternoon, after unpacking and all that I wanted to swim. But the tides were out and the sandbar was all around. You had to walk for miles to find the fringe of the sea that can take you deep enough to wade and swim in.

This sand bar thing is just amazing! You know, you come in on a boat because the waters are all over deep just as it should be, separating islands and all that, then all of a sudden, when the tides go out, there is dry land you can walk on, and even walk to the next island, just like that, miraculously, and when the tide rushes back in, it's as if it never happened and the islands are all separated again by the deep salty seas!

It made me think. Really think deep on this mysterious sight. How, we are islands. We have lived through the atrocities of the tides that come and separate us.

But in time - upon heaven's appointment, the waters recede and the tide goes out. And then there shall be land. Dry land to walk upon, and the distance to your island and mine can now be traversed on foot.

All we just need is the faith to walk it. And the quick vigilance for such an appointed time. So as not to get caught up with the rushing of the tides - once, there will be such a time. All we need is patience. And the courage to walk the distance.

How we are islands, separated by the tides, and yet, how, there will be sand bars. It shall appear. In heaven's appointed time!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Friendship Bond

Last night was a happy night of celebrating friendships.

I came home happy and in good cheer from the birthday dinner of my very good friend and personal style maven Jor-El Espina. While waiting for my meds to kick-in, another new friend, Topher was chatting with me online. I am scheduled to fly to Manila next week to be with him and spend some time bonding.

It got me into a pensive and reflective mood. This friendship thing is really amazing! Jor-El and Topher are contrasts, if length of time is to be the basis.

Jor-El and I have been friends, way back when he was still in College. I may not exactly remember how we became friends, but we have always been friends and I can barely recall us ever even getting into a fight or misunderstanding. It just worked. It has also endured absence and distance. I have always been very very proud of him. He was just a struggling young conceptual jewelry maker, stringing together beads and jeweler wire. When he joined the Robinson's Iloilo Design Lab Competition, he was adjudged 1st Runner Up because his designs were too conceptual and way out there, which is what I loved about him. He has brilliant, brave, bold ideas, and he is very passionate about what he does. The reward for his hard work and dedication is his growing atelier with numerous clients, and his being recognized by the fashion industry, being featured in glossy magazines and being named as one of the top young designers of the country. I have watched him rise to where he is right now and I have always been proud and will always believe in him. Our friendship has this quaint quality. We do have a lot of common friends within our circles, but we have always yearned for 'our' time. I would visit his shop, we would grab coffee or Batchoy or Halohalo at the nearby wet market. No matter how many of our circles meld, we always make it a point to be with just him and me.

On the other hand, Topher is a relatively new friend. We are members of this online group and I first noticed him when he lauded a comment I gave on a certain thread in that group. He then added me on Facebook but never really picked up and connected from there, not until I discovered that he sings and sings well, so I requested him to sing a favorite song, which he obliged. We then agreed to meet one time I went to Manila, and from there, formed this amazing bond that I do not understand. It's just so light and so right! Very natural and fuss free! We just clicked! Just like that, and now he calls me his BFF, much to the jealousy of some of his long time friends, and mine too. I cannot really explain how it happened. It just did!


Jor-El and I has this recurring conversation about the quest for artistic integrity and how to harmonize it with the demands of the industry. We are both fans of each other's works - his designs and my writing. Of course we do talk about the little things - such as the detractors and the scums of this planet. And it is so much fun!We inspire each other and drive each other towards artistic excellence and achievements. We celebrate each other's successes. There is nothing sweeter for me than seeing a friend succeed and reach for his dreams, and see him do it!

Topher and I share talks about his passion for singing. I cheer him on as he has decided to embark on the very difficult decision of giving up his stable corporate job to follow his dreams of being a singer and performer. We are both fans of each other's craft - his singing, my poetry and acting. Of course we also gossip about, well, personalities we both know in the community and of course, flings, flames, and exes, and yes it is so much fun! He adores my humor and wit. I adore his bumbling openness. It is very refreshing.


During dinner, Jor-El's effervescent Mom was talking to me. I adore her! When I came in, she wanted me to be seated beside her (which by the way killed off a potential flirtation with one hot guest who kept checking me out, but what the heck) and she engaged me in talks. She talked about Jor-El and the friends who came, some she did not know, some she knew for a long time and how she said I shouldn't call her Tita, but that I should call her 'Mama'! It warmed my heart and I genuinely adored her! She said that she felt my friendship with Jor-El, as she thinks it is genuine. It made me proud. She remarked that some friends come only when you are already successful, and on top. And the more success you gain, the more 'friends' you attract.

It lead me to ask myself how these friendships work. Of course I have had other friendships worth years that did not withstand the tests of adversities, some, intense as they were, but forgotten, set-aside, non-active and even ended. I had my share of cutting loose some long standing friendships that were no longer working and are more of a liability than an asset. It got me thinking how these friendships I still keep could work, with not much presence and not much effort on both our sides. I have a very busy life and I keep many circles. Sometimes I am amazed and jealous of those 'groupies' who are forever within each other's reach. I do not have that. I have circles yes, but I do not have a permanent fixed group so to speak so I wonder how the many friendships I have could work and exist, and how some could just wither and die off.

Whether we admit it or not, somehow, there is this 'commodification' of friendships nowadays. How we keep friends for the benefits they have in our lives and what is in it for us. Jor-El has made me a number of outfits, and yes, will make more for me. He has never asked me to pay for any one of them! NOT ONE! And if I would insist to pay, he would be hurt and insulted, I know that! I understand how the atelier is a business, and that he has bills to pay, materials to buy, workers to give wages to and all that, but he just refuses for me to pay him! He just tells me to treat him for lunch - or dinner- or coffee. I do not know. He is just like that with me! It has never been a question and money has never figured in our friendship.

Topher on the other hand is hosting me in Manila next week. He wants me to stay at their house and his Mom is thrilled to be meeting me, making him clean his room and making sure I have beddings and comfort and all that jazz. They are not exactly well to do but the hospitality is just overwhelming, and he is even picking me up from the airport! He is also looking forward to my staying with him when I relocate soon.

It got me thinking - do we keep our friendships based on the 'utilitarian' purposes of such? Even if we do not admit it to ourselves, do we value friendships because of the 'junkets' that they could provide for us? Have we commodified friendships, and those that pleases us are those that can 'do something' for us. It certainly feels good if a friendship benefits us not just in psychological presence and support, but also the 'worldly material' support and favors we get from them. Admit it or not, a free meal is a free meal. A free outfit is a free outfit and free board and lodging is free board and lodging. When we make friends, will the value of the friendship be a consideration? Do we value those friends who can 'do more' for us than those that would 'require more' from us? Scary questions, but valid ones, I should say. And this is what I asked myself tonight.


I am just proud that my answers, after careful thought, honest soul searching and reflection is in the negative. While it is true that a junket is a junket and it does make us feel good and add value to us in convenience, I could safely say that it is not me to be that.

Jor-El has been a friend even before he could be 'valuable'. The outfits he makes for me are made with my tastes and personality in mind. I could buy myself a good outfit for special occasions that call for it, and yes I do have an existing wardrobe. He just wants to do it because he wants to, and validate our friendship. He has been a friend even before he could do anything for me.

Topher has been a friend even before he offered his house for me to stay at in Manila. I could afford to pay for a budget hotel, and yes I have done that. In fact, I would be sacrificing my own 'comfort zones' by staying with him. He just wanted to spend more time with me on this trip, because we would only see each other for a number of hours for coffee if I stay in a hotel, He wants more time with me and having a spare room just happens to be a convenience.

So's with my other friends! They just happen to be doing something that I happen to be in need of at one time or the other - it just happens that they draw, and I am looking for sketches for my book; they just happen to be photoartists and I am a vainglorious GGSS feeling model; they just happen to be working somewhere with a gallery when I wanted to mount an ambitious poetry exhibit; they just happen to own a restaurant when I want to celebrate a birthday or a whimsical poetry reading event; they just happen to be driving a car when I needed a lift or to transport certain things; they just happen to work in Boracay and I need a break and I love the beach; they just happen to be in Davao and I want to go to Samal Island; they just happen to love coffee as much as I do; they just happen to harp on the same things that I do; they just happen to - all incidentals, but not the point of the friendship at all!

It's just that I am a writer when they happen to need a story line concept for their collection; I just happen to write and train for speeches when their siblings need it in school; I just happen to be giving poetry workshops when they need an activity for children in school; I just happen to be good in grammar when they need their theses to be proofread; I just happen to know some people they need for this and that - INCIDENTAL!

This friendship thing - it's amazing! It's a lot like falling in love, but even better. It's like family, but not by accident or pre-ordination but by choice. Explain as I may, I would never be able to fully understand how this one works and that one does not. It's a lot like magic.

I am just happy that I have been blessed by real people and real friendships - because really, you just cannot tell! There is no way of knowing when a friendship happens to be a masked deceitful thing that only seeks to glorify one party and use you in more ways than one. There is no protecting yourself as there is no hard-fast rule written to base and judge a friendship by. You just have to wing it! I am lucky to have friends whom I can count on through thick and thin, and well - thickest and thinnest! And yes I am very lucky to still attract more friendships that will be true to me, time notwithstanding.

I am lucky and blessed to have Jor-El and Topher - and many other wonderful, beautiful friends!

I am lucky and blessed with my friends - and doubly lucky and blessed knowing that they too, feel the same way about me!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

That Thing Called .... ASANESS

Hindi ito movie review.

More like, knee-jerk reaction.

More like MeMa

So yun... Where do broken hearts go ba talaga tita Whitney?

If there is one thing, this movie has elicited so much reaction from so many people. Polarized opinions that is. Isa lang siguro ako sa maraming nagbigay at magbibigay pa ng kumento tungkol sa pelikula. Mula sa technical details ng film making, to the very personal and what-nots. Merong sobrang thesis statement ang peg makareact meron din namang MeMa - Maganda - Pangit - ganun. So I'm getting into the fray and throwing my own, well, reaction to the film. More like - reflections.

Suspension of disbelief

Sa panunood ng sine, o kahit pagbabasa o pagsunod ng kwento, meron tayong tinatawag na believability. Kahit pa sabihin nating 'magic realist' o 'fantasy' ang tema, meron pa rin tayong mga pinanghahawakang 'realidad' at kailangan, naka-anchor dun sa realidad na yun somehow ang takbo ng narrative ng storya. So yun nga, itong suspension of disbelief ay stretched na stretched sa pelikulang ito. Hindi ko na siguro kailangan ikwento ng buong buo ang storya ng pelikula kasi alam ko naman napanuod nyo na, nabasa somewhere, or if not, binabalak pa lang panoorin, so walang spoilers, pero alam mo yung feeling na... WEH?

Unang-una, the opening frames tell of a story of an arrow with a heart pierced through it. Parang mali. Parang baligtad ata. Parang - weh! May heart ba na consciously ay sya ang magpipierce through an arrow? Wait lang...

Tapos ang unang dilemma, kailangan magbawas ng luggage ni Mace kasi excess nga sya so yun, pinagtatatapon nya sa basurahan ang mga... ahmmm... panty... at teddy bear. Like... ahmmm... sobrang bigat nyang mga bagay na yan teh! And then later on, ang eksena ay maglalalagalag sila ni Anthony bitbit ang mga maleta nya sa Baguio at sa Sagada! Teh! Wala kang pambayad sa excess baggage pero may pang rampa ka! WEH?

O so yun na. Nung nasa Pinas na sila, yun nga, bigla na lang naisipan nilang dalawa na maglagalag nga kung saan saan. TO, you know, find where do broken hearts go nga ba talaga? WOW! Wala silang mga kaibigan, kamag-anak, kachika and everything na kailangan makaalam na nasa Pilipinas na sila at naisipang maglalalandi all over. WEH? At wala rin silang mga trabaho etc etc.

Sobrang intense ng moment na nakalimutan nilang pwede naman iwanan sa hotel, o sa baggage counter ang maleta so parang chararat lang na dala dala nila yun. Like I said, kung may panglagalag sila, I'm sure, magkano lang ang hostel na pwedeng paglagyan nun.

SO yun, at may drama silang matutulog sa labas under the stars in Sagada. Hello Hypothermia? WEH? 

At may chenelyn na kapag na mention ang ex ay magbabayad ng 100 pesosesosesosesoses! WEH? Buong pelikula, yun ang point! Ang pag usapan ang ex!

That Thing Called Asaness...

So yun na nga. Pero naisip ko, ano ba ang implication ng pelikulang ito? Well simple lang. Tinuturuan tayong maging mga ASANESS lahat! Asaness kasi sa tutoo lang...

Walang Anthony na magsasalba sa atin sa mga excess baggages natin sa buhay. Malamang lamang, ang mangyayari, drug courier ang peg natin pag ganun. Hello kakilabot kaya yung ganung chenever! One time, minadali kong umuwi from Jakarta for Christmas. Nag excess baggage ako at pagbabayarin ng 30Million Rupiah! Wala! Walang Anthony na nagoffer na ilagay ang trench coat ko sa bagahe nya at ibigay ang free luggage allowance nya for me. Kasi sa tutoo lang, lahat tayo, may excess baggage! Kung hindi ako nagthreaten na isusuot ko lahat ng kaya kong isuot sa mga dala dalahan ko, at nagsabing - well this feels like extortion. I absolutely have no extra cash left and I just want to go home for Christmas, saka pa lang ako kinausap ng manager na gagawan daw nya ng paraan. In short - tayo ang magsusolve ng problema natin. Tayo ang magbibitbit ng excess baggages natin at minsan, kailangan natin talagang ibasura ang mga bagay bagay - more than just our panties!

Walang Anthony na magququote ng mga Philosophical at Literary lines sa atin. Walang sasama sa atin sa Baguio at sa Sagada para lang chumenever sa kadramahang pinagdadaanan natin. Malamang sa malamang sasabihan lang tayo ng mga friends natin na 'MOVE ON!' Ganun! May mga pasok sila, may mga bayarin at may mga sariling shit sa buhay. Oo, pwedeng may sumama sa atin magkape saglit. Sa weekend, mga ganun! Pero sa true lang, wit! May expiration date ang pagdadrama sa mundong ito. Walang sasama sa yo para chumeneschenes lang sa Sagada! Kailangan mong umayos, now na! No one can stand a sob story!

At kumusta naman ang rebound? Sa tutoo lang, ang magkakainteres lang at magkakapanahon na samasamahan ka sa kaletchehan mong pagdradrama ay ang mga may ulterior motives. At malamang sa malamang, kawawa sa bandang huli si Anthony. Rebound ang peg. VulcaSeal. Well come to think of it, yung last ko, medyo ganun. Red flag dapat na malimit nyang sinasabi o kinukwento sa akina ng ex nya! Eh ako si tanga. Reassure na hindi mangyayari ang ganun sa atin - na iba ako sa ex mo. Ang jending, waley! Iniwanan nya rin ako kasi siguro hindi pa nga sya nakapag-move on and all that shit.

Tanong ni Anthony, bakit ba daw ang hilig hilig ng mga mayayamang babaeng kagaya ni Mace na hanapin ang mga sarili nila sa Baguio?

Hindi ko rin alam. Hindi ako mayaman at mas lalong hindi ako babae. At ang scary lang n'yang paghahanap sa sarili. Eh kung bigla mo nga makasalubong ang sarili mo sa Diplomat Hotel? OMG! ISKEYRI! Kaya never kong hinahanap ang sarili ko! WITIT!

Where Nga Ba Talaga?

Yun nga, in the end, pinagmumukha tayong mga tanga! Yun ang point. Kasi katangahan naman talaga ang umibig ng bonggang bongga. Tuturuan tayong either maging jaded, o maging asaness. Kasi nga, yun yon eh.  Nagiging mas Hopia tuloy tayo, mas nganga, mas asaness... hintay ng hintay kay Anthony, o hanap ng hanap kay Tyang Whitney at kung where nga ba talaga ang letcheng pinupuntahan ng mg broken hearts na yan.

At sa tutoo lang... wala naman talaga tayong choice sa huli eh. Walang guarantees ang pag-ibig. Walang guarantee that it is fit for use for our purposes at wala ring guarantee that it is free from defect! Hindi ito consumer's code! Walang Magna Carta for the Protection Against Wrongful Love!
Wala! Hindi mo makakasuhan sa Korte Suprema! Wit! Kahit anong gawin mo, kung talagang iiwanan ka nya, iiwanan at iiwanan ka. At kesehodang itapon at ibasura mo pa lahat ng teddy bears at panty mo, maeexcess at ma eexcess baggage ka pa din. At wala ring pakialam ang mundo kung pagod ka na!

Kaya wala ka na ring magagawa talaga... kundi ang umasa. Maniwalang may karma, may Diyos and somehow, in the grander scheme of things, lahat ng paghihirap at pageemote mo, someday soon, may pupuntahan. Na may cosmic accounting na tinatawag... na may tadhana... na may arrow with a heart pierced through it... Na may suspension of disbelief... na may happy ending... na may Anthony...

Na merong 'That Thing Called...


Mabuhay ang mga umiibig, nasaktan, patuloy umiibig, nagpapakatanga, nagpapakabitter, at naniniwala pa rin at umiibig pa rin ulit!

Mabuhay ang mga ASANESS!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Love is Lovelier


Nagpapahinga lang ako sa bahay. Nagbabasa-basa ng kung anu-ano. Kakalabas ko lang sa Ospital at Doctor's Orders ang at least 3 days full rest. Wag muna daw akong magpakapagod at pumasok sa work. Sa tutoo lang, hindi naman ako talaga masyadong nakapagpahinga sa ospital. Maya-maya kang ginagambala ng nurses, tinuturukan ng kung anu-ano, kinukuhanan ng dugo, pinapainom ng gamot, kinukunan ng Vital Signs etc etc etc, so I welcomed the rest orders.

Tunog ng tunog ang cellphone ko sunod sunod. Puro text messages.

"Asan ka friend? I really need to talk to you."

"Nasa Ospital ka pa ba? Pasensya na but I'm really confused I need to talk to you."

"Papunta na akong ospital, anong room number ka nga ulit.?"

Hindi ako makareply. Redirected ang cellphone ko at yun lang ang kaisa-isang number ko, Hindi ko pa kasi nababayaran ang bill dahil nga naospital nga ako at balak ko naman bayaran siguro bukas so hindi ako makapagreply. Mabuti tumawag.

"Hello. my name is Brendan! How may I help you today?"

Si J. Kaibigan ko. Matagal na. So yun. Sinabi ko na nasa bahay lang ako nagpapahinga. Kailangan daw nya akong makausap. Syempre ako naman nagworry. Ano ba kasi yun? Basta daw. Dadaanan nya raw ako sa bahay. Magbihis na daw ako. Magkakape kami. Eh syempre ako naman, madaling kausap at basta kailangan ng kaibigan I will be there. Isa pa, hindi nga rin naman ako muna papasok sa work kaya wide open ang schedule ko. I haven't had coffee din naman with J for a long time, at one week din ako sa ospital. So yun. Nagbihis ako. After 30 minutes, dumating na si J. Sakay na ako sa kotse nya. Saan ba daw? Sabi ko, ikaw, saan ba? Sabi magkape daw may ikukunsulta lang sya. So yun. Go! Kape!

Nung nasa coffee shop na kami, medyo maingay. Na self conscious sya at medyo hindi conducive mag usap dun. Sabi ko, road trip na lang kami. Bumili kami ng chips and soda. Gaya ng nakagawian naming wala lang. Magdadrayb lang papunta sa kung saan, usap, hihinto sa gilid ng plaza na maliwanag, usap usap ganun. Nanotice ko na balisang balisa sya. Inaantay ko lang na sya magstart kung ano ang problema. Hinayaan ko lang ang pacing nya. Drayb lang. Tumunog ang cellphone nya.

"Hello! K! Wait lang, I'm with my best friend. I just want to talk to him muna. I will call you later okay?" Tinigil nya sa gilid ang sasakyan. Buntong-hininga at sobrang lalim na hugot na paghinga. Alam ko na agad. Si K! Si K na sobrang minahal nya. Si K na hindi mawala wala sa buhay nya. Si K! Ang ex nya na nagdedefine ng pagkalaki laking EX! The one that got away! So yun, alam ko na agad ang problema.

"J, akina ang susi. Ako na magdadrayb. You look distracted. Mahirap na. Gabi na at hindi masyadong mailaw ang daanan." "No, Luis ako na. I will focus. Yung right wrist mo, hindi pa magaling yan. Di ba jan pinadaan ang tube for your Coronary Angiogram? Eh nanghihina pa yan at masakit sabi mo di ba?" "Hindi naman natin bibiglain ang kabig at kambyo eh. Chill lang tayo, right? Kesa naman sa yo na distracted di ba? At nang makapagkwento ka freely. Sige na. Ako na magdadrayb. Besides, I miss driving din." Pumayag na rin sya at palit kami ng pwesto. Hinayaan ko lang sya magsimula. Drayb lang ng drayb. And after a while, he started.

"Si K kasi, Luis."

I thought so! Alam ko na! Nakikipagbalikan si K. At syempre nga, itong si J, too weak to resist. The One That Got Away nga di ba? Natawa ako sa sarili ko.

"Alam mo J, thank you! Sa dinamidami ng mga kaibigan natin ako talaga? Ako talaga na pinakatanga at pinakabobo pagdating sa ganyang usapin? Ako talaga na hindi makuha-kuhang magkaroon ng disente at pangmatagalang relasyon? Ako talaga na bitter bitteran at emote-emotan? At ako talaga  na hindi naniniwala sa letcheng 'somewhere down the road' na yan! Ako talaga na hindi naniniwala sa letcheng second chances. Kaloka ka!"

"Kaya nga ikaw eh! Ikaw na pinakabitch. Ikaw na pinakaderetso at prangka! Ikaw na alam kong hindi ako eetchusin sa sasabihin. Ikaw na out of the box! Ikaw na laging nandyan. At tigilan ako sa press release na bitter! If I know! Ikaw ang pinakahard core hopeless romantic shmuck na kilala ko sa buong mundo at kahit pa impyerno at sampu ang pinagdaanan mo, naniniwala ka pa rin sa letcheng pag-ibig na yan!"

Natahimik ako. May point sya.

So yun nga. Nakikipagbalikan nga si K sa kanya. Hinayaan ko lang magkwento si J. Kung paanong sa dami na nang nagdaang mga pag-iibigan at pagsusugal sa iba't-ibang mga kapareha, hindi pa rin nila makuhang magkalimutan. Kung papaanong ilang palit na ng numero, ilang 'pagkawala' na. nahahanap pa rin nila ang isa't isa. At nagkakaugnayan pa din silang dalawa.

Napangiti ako. Naaalala ko. Meron din akong ganun. Yung tipong inisip ko na if we can't get rid of each other, then maybe, there must be something about us that's hardier than you or me. Yung ganung shit! Yung kahit lima, pito, sampung taon ang mamagitan, nahahanap at nahahanap pa rin namin ang isa't isa. Ang pinagkaiba lang, yung sa akin, wala na. Ako na talaga ang nagtapos sa lahat ng posibilidad. Ayoko nang maging pabitin sa ere at maging Hopiang Munggo. It's a loss, too bad. Ganun. Nakarelate ako at naintindihan ko. I was there for J the whole time. Hay!

"So, what do you think, Luis?" tanong ni J.

"Kilala mo ko. I don't believe in second chances. I do not even make friends with my exes. I cut clean.With surgical precision. I'm a pyromaniac! I burn bridges! You know that!"

"Kaya nga eh! Kaya nga ikaw ang gusto kong kausapin about it. Naguguluhan ako! I honestly believe na nagbago na nga talaga kaming pareho! Ramdam ko Luis. Andun pa din yung pagmamahal. Ewan ko! I'm so confused!"

"J, ikaw lang talaga ang makakasagot ng tanong mo na yan. Ikaw talaga ang magdedecide nyan. Handa ka bang masaktan ulit ng bonggangbongga to the max raised to the nth power?"


"Alam mo, hindi talaga ako naniniwala sa ganyan, pero ako yun. Iba naman ikaw. I want you to be happy. If there is something I believe in, it's that, for a shot at happiness, everything is worth it. Alam ko madami na tayong panlalait sa kagaguhan ng K na yun, pero kung talagang mahal nyo pa ang isa't isa, eh ganun eh. May tanong lang ako. Sa tingin mo ba, kaya mo syang mahalin for a fresh new reason? Yung hindi glow na galing lang sa past?"

"Yun na nga yun Luis eh. Hindi ko kasi ma associate sa past itong kung anong meron kami. Parang nag evolve sya. Nag mutate. In a good way. Parang walang bearing ang past. Parang mahal ko sya in a brand new fresh way. You know what I'm saying?"

Ngumiti na lang ako. Huminto kami sa gilid ng Miag-ao Church Plaza. Usap usap. Balitaan kulitan. Time out muna kay K. Inurirat nya ang buhay pag-ibig ko, na as if, hindi sya updated. Pinagtawanan namin si Behbeh. Kinalokahan namin si Dark Chocolate, at binuyo-buyo nya ako kay Katorse. Ay naku!

"See? Ako na ang pinakatanga pagdating dyan. Hindi ko alam sa yo ba't ka sa akin humihingi ng advise eh ni hindi ko nga alam anong gagawin sa sarili kong kaletchehan sa pag-ibig na yan eh!"

"Luis, pahug!"

Yakap ng mahigpit! Hay! Pag-ibig nga naman talaga.

"Pahiram ng phone mo. May kailangan akong replyan. Redirected ako eh. Saka, iihi lang ako dun sa may medyo madilim na part."

Inabot nya ang cellphone nya. Hinanap ko yung number na gusto kong tawagan. Pagbalik ko, nagyaya na akong bumalik ng city.

"Tara, baka wala nang tao sa coffeshop. I need coffee J."

"Sige, let's go. Hayaan na natin si K muna! Hay!"


"Luis, thank you."

"Walang anuman J. Go! Whatever your decision is, I'm all for it. Andito lang ako lagi for you! As I have always been!"

"Akala ko ba hindi ka naniwala sa balikan eksena."

"Kaibigan mo ako. Para sa yo, maniniwala ako sa gusto mong paniwalaan ko. Kung ayaw mo na talaga, sabihin mo. Baka may maisip pa tayong mas matinding way para matapos na yang kagaguhan mo."

Medyo sumeryoso ng konti ang mukha nya.

"Pero kung gusto mong balikan si K, Go! Push! Cheer leader-leader ako! Maniniwala ako for your sake! I want you to be happy! Magkaiba tayo. Malay mo. Mas maswerte ka sa second chances na yan kesa sa akin. Baka ako lang naman talaga kasi ang malas sa putang inang pag-ibig na yan! At kung palpak ulit yan, aba'y expertise natin yan!"

Sabay kaming bumigkas!



Pagkapark sa Coffee Shop, tinignan ko si J, Kalmado lang. Lakad lang papunta sa paborito naming mesa. Bigla nya akong hinawakan sa kamay ng mahigpit.

"Luis! Shit! Si K!"

Smile lang ako.

"So? Ano? Tuloy ba tayo o back-out?" Huminto ako sandali sa paglalakad para bigyan sya ng chance magdecide.

"Luis... I want to... eh pero... ikaw?"

"Gaga, may pangtaxi ako! Bukas, next day, sa weekend, next week. We have all the time and chance no! Ano ka ba!"

Yumakap ng mahigpit sa akin si J.

"GO! Reach out for your happiness! Cheerleader-leader ako! PUSH!"

Nagsimulang humakbang papuntang coffeeshop si J. Binalik ko sa kanya yung car keys nya. Nilingon nya ako.

"GO! I'm proud of you!" Smile.

Pinagmasdan ko sya habang inayos-ayos ang sarili. Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw K sa mesa namin. Ngumiti nang pagkatamis tamis nung nakita nya si J. Hinanap nya kung nasaan ako. I saw him look at me. Sinenyasan ko ng rakenrol! Make my friend happy tangina ka!

Ako na ang pakialamero. Ako na ang tumawag at nag set-up na pumunta sya dun para magkita sila.
Ako na ang putanginampakshet na hindi naniniwala sa second chances, pero para sa kaibigan ko, maniniwala ako. Ako na ang letchenghinayupak na hopeless romantic shmuck!

At ako na ang magtataxi pauwi!