Thursday, March 19, 2009


Habang nag-jajog sa Burnham kaninang umaga, may nakita akong naka-paskil na Job Opening sa isang lamp post. Di kilala yung kumpanya pero kinuha ko pa din ang details. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, puwede na ko dito kahit encoder lang. Pagkatapos ma-reject ng tatlong beses sa mga nauna kong inapplyan, medyo nababawasan na ang pagka-choosy ko sa trabaho. Kaya pinuntahan ko nga yung office na nakalagay sa ad. Inexpect ko na maliit na kumpanya lang ang may-ari ng opisina pero disheartening pa rin nung makita ko ang itsura nito. Nagpasa ako ng resume pero di na ako bumalik para sa orientation at baka ma-involve pa ako sa kung anong dubious business. Hay. Sumakay na lang tuloy ako ng jeep pabalik ng plaza.

"Hay salamat, may pasahero na din," sabi nung driver ng jeep. Ako nga lang ang sakay kaya ininterview tuloy ako ni Manong. Nung malaman niyang taga-Bikol din pala ako ay kinausap niya ako ng Bikolano. Taga-Sorsogon daw siya. Ano daw ginagawa ko dito sa Baguio. Siguro daw ay bigo ako sa pag-ibig kaya ako andito. Masyado ko raw siguro dinibdib ang nangyari. Siya daw 25 years nang kasal sa asawa niya pero di daw siya marunong magmahal. Di daw kasi siya naniniwala na dapat amuhin ang babae dahil sabi daw ng Diyos, woman was made for man, kaya sa kanya daw talaga ang babae kahit ano pang mangyari. Ang dami niya pang sinabing "words of wisdom" at muntik na sumakit ang ulo ko. Traffic kasi at pagod na ko maglakad kaya wala akong magawa kundi makinig sa kanya. Di pa siya nakuntento sa pag-psychologize niya sakin. Sabi niya, siguro daw ako ang taong takot magkamali. Siguro daw lagi kong pinipiling gumawa ng tama kaya pag may maling nangyayari, nasasaktan ako't di ko na alam ang gagawin ko.

Gusto ko sanang sabihin kay Manong na mali ang iniisip niya. Di ako takot magkamali. Siguro nga sa sobrang di ako takot kaya ako laging nadadapa. Pero tama siya sa isang banda. Masakit nga talagang isipin na nakatira tayo sa isang imperfect world. Napaka-unfair kadalasan ng buhay. Nagmahal ka ng sobra pero iiwan ka din. Nag-aral ka ng mabuti pero di ka matanggap-tanggap sa trabaho. Hay. Bitter Ocampo mood.

Bago ako bumaba, may pahabol pa si Manong. Sabi niya ang sikreto daw ng buhay dito sa mundo ay simple lang: "Paglaruan mo lang, wag mo masyadong seryosohin." Ayos. May point nga naman siya. Parang lyrics lang ng kanta ni Ben Lee ("Float On") at ni Jem("It's Just a Ride"). Ngumiti ako. Ok Manong. Salamat po.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

In the Mood for Rilke

Letters To A Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke* is consistently proving to be a treasure. Although I still have not finished the second hand copy I bought six months ago, while my friends have read theirs over five times already, I nonetheless cherish the sporadic times of leisurely indulgence in absorbing Rilke's sublime (and often nosebleed inducing) words. These indulgences have been increased as I have been constantly waiting for either the result of an application exam or the next scheduled trip. And my goodness, at every page turn the connection I felt with Rilke became stronger and more intimate. It was as if I was meant to read the particular letter at the particular moment. His thoughts on life, faith, work and love give solace to my confused and troubled being.

* I found the e-book version to my delight:

Monday, February 9, 2009

Backpacker’s Diary Entry No.1

I’m impulsive…and not just the impulsive-shopper kind of impulsive (although that’s also me most of the time). More like the ‘I’m-leaving-law-school-and-go-to-Batanes-instead’ impulsive. So, because of this impetuousness, my odyssey to the ‘Land of the Winds’ begins tomorrow.

All afternoon, we did nothing but segregate my stuff: one pile for those to bring home, another for those to take with me, and the rest for throwing. My Pa kept telling me, he thinks I’m not ready, as I haven’t learned how to detach. Hesays, he thought I wanted to get away from the environment I’m used to, and then asks me what I would do with all the books I’m hoarding. I don’t need to go far just to read books, he said. And my amenities, for what do I need them? I’ll be living with Ivatans and they wouldn’t care the least if I smell like camote or Calgon’s hawaiian ginger. I argued of course. I’ll be the one suffering from back ache anyway so he shouldn’t worry. It’s my call. I can do this.
Fine, he said, just don’t bring party dresses. Haha, like I’m that foolish.

I’ll be taking the road as all flights to Batanes this month are put on hold. Thus, I’ll take the bus to Laoag or Vigan, spend a night there and head to Currimao, Ilocos Norte the next day. From Currimao, I’ll catch a ferry, the MV Ivatan Princess which will then bring me to Basco after an 18-hour trip. Basco is the capital and commercial center of Batanes. I’ll be staying at overnight lodges/inns there. I’ll also be applying for whatever job is available there and hopefully I’ll be able to get one within a week or two, else I’m dead. This is my basic plan but then as Queenie would say to Benjamin, “You never know what’s coming for you.” May the good Lord bless me.

Friday, February 6, 2009

New Toy

Yipee! Got myself a lomo camera. This one's an action sampler. "The action sampler is a devilish contraption: what it does is to grab a period of one second by the unpronounceables and neatly dissect it into four little pieces."

I'm now imbibing the lomo motto: Don't think, just shoot!
Below are some of my first action samples. I was quite frustrated when I saw them developed...but of course i was also challenged to have better prints next time. :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Benefits of Boredom*

“Boredom’s doldrums were unavoidable, yet also a primordial soup for some of life’s most quintessentially human moments…A long drive home after a frustrating day could force ruminations. A pang of homesickness at the start of a plane ride might put a journey in perspective.
“Increasingly, these empty moments are being saturated with productivity, communication and the digital distractions offered by an ever-expanding array of slick mobile devices…
But are we too busy twirling through the songs on our iPods—while checking email, while changing lanes on the highway—to consider whether we are giving up a good thing? We are most human when we feel dull. Lolling around in a state of restlessness is one of life’s greatest luxuries—one not available to creatures that spend all their time pursuing mere survival.
“To be bored is to stop reacting to the external world, and to explore the internal one. It is in these times of reflection that people often discover something new, whether it is an epiphany about a relationship or a new theory about the way the universe works. Granted, many people emerge from boredom feeling that they have accomplished nothing.
“But is accomplishment really the point of life? There is a strong argument that boredom—so often parodied as a glassy-eyed drooling state of nothingness—is an essential human emotion that underlies art, literature, philosophy, science and even love.”


*I stumbled upon this nice article in Reader's Digest this morning. :)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Walk to Remember

kismet (n) : FATE
serendipity (n) : the gift of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for

4:30 am, Sunday: Our bus arrived at the Naga CBD (Central Bus District?)

4:32: I picked up my bags, fished for some TicTacs and semi-fixed my hair.

4:33: I looked out. Usual terminal scene--taho vendors waiting for a hungry traveler who's desperate for some sugar+soy intake, check; porters calling out for heavy travelers, check; people hustling and bustling, check; people waiting at the adjoining metal seats, check.

4:34: Wait. One of those in the waiting area looks familiar...
4:35: I alighted from the bus and walked towards the seemingly familiar person.
4:35.5: We smiled at each other. It's Raymond.
4:36: I told him it was weird to see him there (because I thought of him in passing during the bus ride).
He said he was tasked to fetch his uncle's girlfriend.
4:38: Quick updates. Told him I am headed home to ask for my Pa's permission to file for a LOA (Leave of Absence). He, on the other, have pending applications and plans to apply abroad as a Registered Nurse.
4:40: I was being self-conscious of a bump on my forehead. I often knock my head on the window's metal edge while asleep. He laughed at me and said I haven't changed. (Haha.Really now...)
4:45: He walked with me on the way to the JC Liner lane and said our good byes.
4:50: He texted me the usual pleasantries (take care/hope to see you again/good luck). I said thanks and I hope to jam with him too some time.
4:55: He said if only I wasn't in such a hurry to leave we could have hanged out a for a while. I said, I didn't want him to have to stay there longer than he should have.
4:57: I was floored when he said he actually would very much like to stay.
4:59: Oh, I said. He should have told me earlier. He said he was trying to tell me but then again I was in such a hurry.
5:02: Oh well. There's always a next time. So, I told him I'll contact him whenever.

Fast forward.
3:30 pm, same day: Back in Naga. Happy I got Pa's go signal for the LOA and for my Batanes' plans.
3:57: I texted an old friend, asked him if he's in town since I'm on my way to a coffee shop...
5:27: He replied and said he can't drop by as he's into something at the moment.
5:28: I considered my options. To enjoy solitude or to contact someone else? I decided on the latter. I texted Raymond.
5:30- 6:15pm: He said sure he could come and pick me up at the coffee shop. So I waited for him there.
6:16: He apologized for taking a while as he got confused and went to the coffee shop's other branch at Magsaysay Avenue. He didn't notice the part of my message where I said I was at the Panganiban branch.
6:17: No problem, I said. I'll still be waiting anyway whether I'd like to or not as my return trip's not until 9pm.
6:20- 8:30: We walked downtown while talking/we talked while walking downtown. Didn't expect that after 6 years we'll still be "at home" with each other. it was amazing. exhilarating even. I was a bit ashamed though for I bet I sounded like a giddy 16 year old. As expected though, many things have happened to each of our lives within the span of 6 years. He lost his father to colon cancer and his grandma to heart failure. He wasn't able to work permanently in a hospital as he needed to attend successively to his Pa and lola.
On lighter things, we talked about the relationships/loves we had after each other. For the record, we learned ours was still the longest in terms of being together formally. "18 months, right?" He said. (Again, I'm floored. He remembered.) He told me he didn't think we'd even last that long as, according to him, I tried to break up several times. Really? I don't recall that, I said. Must be my amnesia.
We went on talking, walking, talking, walking. He came to know of my dream to travel the Philipppines before the world. At this point, he floors me yet again when he tells me he hopes to win the lottery one of these days so he can join me in my travels. That would be nice, I said. I'll look forward to that.
8:30-8:52pm: Last stop. Triboo Grill near CBD. He treated me with dinner. Meanwhile, the song playing in the background while we were eating was "Maybe this Time." I had to laugh in my thoughts. Happy accidents. Love 'em.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Chasing Butterflies*

They say love is like a butterfly, the more you try to chase it, the more it moves away from you. I concede this is true. Yet, you can't really fault anyone for chasing their butterflies, their happiness or their dreams. These are what gives sense to our humanity--our capacity to feel, to hope, to dream, to love.

And so I am just one of the many who notwithstanding the knowledge of the futile chase, and the number of times I stumbled and fell, still get up again to feel, to hope, to love yet one more time.

They also say that people in love often create a world of their own which outsiders never really see until its protective glass breaks and all that are left are fragments of a 'used to be.'
I compiled some of my fragments, some of the patches of memories for you to take a peek into my past "make believe worlds" which are also the fragments and patches of who I am now. Prepare for all sorts of shallowness, sucrosity and basically craziness. Here are my "elementary" affairs, the best and the worst moments of my chase. Enjoy!

*I recently compiled some love letters I’ve sent and received. I entertained the idea of publishing it. I know it’s insane but then if Dylan Thomas has his, why can’t I have mine? This is the introduction to the compilation.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Coldest January

It wasn't just one summer
It was a year
and two or three even
For I have seen you first