Saturday, February 28, 2009

PRANSIS TRAVELS: Bagong Silang (Part 1)

Beautiful way to end the tumultuous February. Went up to Bagong Silang today and got reconnected, in a way, to nature. It makes you realize that there more things for us to marvel at besides brooding over our problems. LIVE. Un lang masasabi ko ngayon. Will face March with a confident heart. (Dance with the smokes. Pff.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thoughts for EDSA I

“The world embraced EDSA-1 in 1986. The world tolerated EDSA-2 in 2001. The world will not forgive an EDSA-3 but will instead condemn the Philippines as a country whose political system is unstable…”

For as long as the ones who take the seat of leadership show to the people that they are insincere in serving them, for as long as they show more interest in securing personal gains while in power, for as long as they choose to remain blind to the faces of poverty, corruption and poor quality of living amongst the Filipinos; the people, the common tao, would stay on to this agitated attitude, ready to build fire around those leaders who would not even take notice of the degradation amongst the people.

Our EDSA Revolutions are distinct marks in our history; proofs that the Filipinos are strong in the resolve not to be subdued by tyrants and ill governance again. Maybe the last statement from ‘her’ prove ominous, but if it would move the country forward, leaving behind those who are unfocused to the vision of change in the lives of the Filipinos, then I don’t mind seeing our people together again, I don’t mind joining the people in taking share on the burden of making the country a better place to live in.

I wish that the next people power revolution would take place in 2010, when the people would choose to build again a government that is composed of real people whose hearts would not remain in their offices, but whose hearts would remain in the people. (A cliché? Whatever. Forgive me if I have entangled different thoughts in here.)


Monday, February 23, 2009

TO DEFY: Recalling EDSA People Power I

I’ve spent the last night cranking my brain to finish that automation system program exercise yet it seemed always expected that I should find my own excuses for doing something else (hehe). And so I left it staring ominously on my monitor and immersed myself against to a collection of short stories.

And so finally I’ve got the chance to pour over that ‘Defying Gravity’ story that caught my attention as I poked through the book during our physical chemistry class (yeah, it was more comfortable to read stuff in an air-conditioned room that to sip in my mind those weird diagrams for solution, liquid, vapors, etc, etc, etc, hehe) simply because it recalled physics to my mind.

The story is about the coming of age of a certain girl named Lucy and how her stay with a famed writer named Maxine hastened her maturity towards things she thought she was completely ignorant of. For me, the story proceeded as a quest for her to understand why it took 17 years before Maxine was able to write about what she saw on her visit to some of gas chambers, ovens, and concentrating camps in Europe. Lucy struggled with this question but her talks with Maxine gave light to the reasons behind it.

Maxine reasoned that there were “no words for it”. But she proceeded anyway and she saw it as one of the ways how life distracts you. Yet Lucy still failed to see how it fitted to the seeming cold-heartedness of Maxine as she narrated some of the notes she gathered from those who survived the Holocaust.
But Maxine is bound to have surgery soon and so Lucy was promptly discharged from her job as her secretary but not before receiving the bunch of notebooks containing the notes of Maxine’s visit to Europe. On her way home, Lucy finally realizes the peculiar attitude of Maxine about her work and her experience –

“…without the benefit of wine, understood that counting up the horrors was both participation and protest.”

Maxine participated in sharing the horrors and yet her work served as the protest at the same time for those heinous acts, however gross her rendition might have been in her book.//

This gave me platform to talk about the commemoration of the first (relatively?) peaceful revolution in the country more than twenty years ago and witnessed from all over the world – the EDSA People Power Revolution. I have always dreaded the coming of abstraction (in the context of Camus’ definition of the word) on such occasions but am nevertheless calmed by the fact that many of us still understand the spirit of the event.
I do not want to look like a hypocrite but I believe I fairly I understand the events leading to the now-revered historical event. The point to be made here is that, like in the story, we are bound to keep the spirit of EDSA Revolution alive (this sounds quit off-mark but I hope you get I what I mean, chance reader) as it is important for the next generation to fully understand the relevance of that ‘bloodless’ revolution.
Talking about it, writing about it, discussing subjects related to it are some of the forms by which we could participate in keeping it alive. And by these acts also we show our protest to the underlying reasons for the revolution, the events of which most of us would not want to experience again (the Martial Law of course).
It would not be relegated to shame if I talk about the tale that my father and his friends were allegedly paid by some people here in our city just to join the rallying people at EDSA back in the ’86. It would not be relegated to hypocrisy if we, the children of the post-EDSA revolution, would talk of the contrasting life we have now to the kind of life lived by those who found themselves under the martial rule. These, I believe, are important in their own respect as they expand our learning of the consequences of the EDSA Revolution, far beyond those which are recorded monotonously in our history books.

Recall the EDSA Revolution back in ’86…

(Tss, whatever. High lang ulet, hehe.)

Quotations from Carol K. Howell, “Defying Gravity” in American Fiction Volume 7: The Best Unpublished Short Stories by Emerging Writers, New Rivers Press, 1995.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Simba Tribute

I lack the energy, the will to come up with a flowery title for this entry not because I am physically tired. It’s just that the whole idea of putting words in memory of something, perhaps someone who/which has recently passed away is an activity I am not used to be doing. And so I ended up with a simple yet direct description of what this stuff is all about – a short tribute to what I can think of something...someone who has touched the hearts of certain individuals.
It was but a curt message that I received: “Patay na si Simba”. The shortness of the statement that brought the news has unnerved me. For I know that beyond those ordinary words, there was a swelling of feelings, a shadow that falls in the departure of something...of someone.
Despite having only short encounters with Simba (my fingers would suffice for the count), I have seen how deep man can be so attached to animals. Simba was well fed, well taken care of, spoiled, cleaned, among many other things an ordinary animal do not usually receive. Simba has come to dominate the playful, if not the childish, aspect of my intimates who own Simba. It the literal sense, Simba was adopted member of the family. Simba could roam the house freely, enter rooms at will, rummage through the food in the kitchen; Simba was well at home.
Just a few days earlier he was caught in a singular accident, passed on to the care of a veterinarian but is now dead. Simba has left a family...Simba’s own family.And I would hold my mouth at these moments about getting so moved by the passing away of something...someone as an insignificant dot in the world as an animal. Yeah, I know there is more to grieving for an animal that we could perceive.
Experience has taught such feeling when a puppy of mine – a white one to which I’ve become so fond of – was rudely taken away from me simply because Whitey (his moniker) was so noisy at night. I remember getting to a corner upstairs, hiding just behind an old drawer, and crying the whole afternoon, bitter (yeah, I could say I felt bitter at that time) for giving away what I knew was a part of me, a part of my being.
In a way, I could say that getting attached to animals take us closer to nature itself, realizing along the way that we – man, nature and its inhabitants – are intricately connected with each other; that we are in fact an ecological family, differentiated only by our features and functions in this world.Simba, do not worry, for your memory would live on for those whose lives you have touched.

DEADliest DEADlines 3

Beat ‘em deadlines mah man! Hehe. For those who are interested in writing escapades, you might want to try these things out.

February 22 – World Bank Essay Competition 2009 (
Februrary 28 – Kwento Fantastiko (
March 1 – 2009 CIPE Youth Essay Competition (
March 20 – Romeo Forbes Children’s Storywriting Competition (
April 15 – 2009 Maningning Miclat Poetry Award (
May 31 – Likhaan Journal 3 (

I tell you!

Man, I tell you; dealing with a pregnant woman is a completely different story. ‘Nuf said.

Monday, February 16, 2009

One Eight Dash Two

On The Edge of the Aphy Tour, Almost

As some of my friends probably know already, I won’t be graduating this semester (yet again) and the fact hits very hard on me more than anybody else.
The blame cannot be put to somebody else’s shoulders but to Pransis’. Looking back, the hostility I had over that darn professor of ours, coupled with the problems that messed me up in the past months have utterly distracted everything in me – my study, my dealings with people, etc., and I wasn’t able to cope up. You know chance reader; it was all but a story of choices. I would meet people, have talk with them, tell them my tale, then I would be asked why in the world I have decided to do this or that thing. Well, my answers varied depending on the flow of our conversations, but they definitely fall into one same thought: those decisions seemed to be the best things to do at those times.I don’t really have any feelings about getting delayed over this academics thing. It’s just that my family at home is the group next hurt (I think so?) by this extended study thing. How can I forget that fateful Monday morning when I finally had the chance to tell things to my mother? Darn. Semi-MMK. I knew she was terribly disappointed and I could swear I saw tears in her eyes.
And I had my share of tears too. All along, I thought that the reason she was urging me to finish off this course was so that I could finally get a fine job and help with the bills. But it came actually from her, that graduating is an end in itself. It matters not whether I choose to work or not, she continued; it’s enough that I finish it and she’ll be able to shed one of her numerous responsibilities (it’s a quite complicated story but the fact is that she’s the only who works at home).
Well, she was still optimistic and asked me to submit whatever things needed that could hasten the end of the course…but I could barely say ‘yes, I will’. The candidates for graduation this semester are already out. The list does not contain my name.
Anyway, I have gotten over it and I am just augmenting that sense of relief by writing about it. (I’ve learned from some recent experiences that telling the truth makes things a lot easier for everybody else.) I know I can finish things off anyway this year (middle of the year I think) and I believe that is good news enough. I just need to prove it to them (who are these ‘them’, I no idea, perhaps my family or relatives or friends or girlfriend, whatever).
As for now, I need to reconsider getting some jobs (yeah, with an ‘s’) and probably a place where I can work freely on my personal studies (an apartment maybe?). We’ll see.

Post-Valentine Sentiments: Resolve Revisit

First half of the Valentine spent in an obscure room amidst foreign pillows and blankets, resetting my brain and mind, just taking the time to savor the rest day. The other half spent actually sleeping again, thinking every now and then about the first two months of 0the year and how well I have fared in my activities during those months.
At the end of this Hearts Day, I was able to look back on my relationships with people which, to a certain extent, is relevant enough to be chewed by my mind. And I realized a number of things…
First: that most of the time, their strengths depend mainly on how well each party value them. I fell out of the circles of a number of people because I disregarded the fact that they were exerting effort to attend to me. They have accepted as I am yet I kept looking forward for something much better…that something nothing only but an illusion. Regret slams you the hardest when the present has become the past and you cannot do anything about it. I have wronged a number of people and if there’s any way I could return and make up for it, I’d gladly do it. I am expecting the same things again. The least that one can do in the face of a wreckage is to pick up those pieces that are still worth saving.
Second: that I have made some of them a playground, a thing I am severely ashamed of. I cannot find toned-down words to explain it. The only thing that pacifies the shame in a way is that no one really makes a perfect thing in his or her lifetime. The only difference in my case is that I am yet to reap the repercussions of my past playful actions (read karma). Although my disbelief in this concept stems from some philosophical stuff I believe in, I am starting to realize its reality somehow.
And now…
In the face of a new journey, away from all the clutter of wrong decisions and bad events of the past, I am clutching a new hand – its owner whose eyes are painted with innocence and short-sighted visions of the future – ready to embark on a change, despite the loss of hope of some to me, despite their continued contempt. I cannot hope to have a perfect relation in any point in my lifetime, but one, I believe can make the best out of it…if we endure long enough.
Tss. Whatever.
(High lang ulet, haha.)

Photo credit:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Only Valentine Thought

I’ve spent the eve of the Hearts Day just eating, sorting out in my mind the recent domestic problems that came, and trying my best to get some sleep.

Well, this is the only thing that came to my mind which, in a way, is related to the day pretty much celebrated by people...especially lovers. Read it from an old booklet I bought:

The most important thing in any relationship is not what you get but what you give.
It does not hurt to worship at a shrine which is quite unconscious, for out of it may grow an inner development in yourself and sometimes a relationship of real value.
In any case the giving of love is an education in itself.
-Eleanor Roosevelt*

*From “Great Words from Great Lives”, Reader’s Digest, 1970.

Q (PAX): Did you distract the Class? A (SISEM): We did!

Ok. Let me start with a statement. We played on the semi-finals part of the DeMolay Class Distraction 8 (in UPLB of course) and the play totally sucked. Perhaps by stating that I’ll be able to free myself from any inhibitions of what I really want to say about that harrowing night.

I have fully recovered after 5 minutes or so thanks to one of the truest friend I have encountered in my whole life – Jesse (chong you deserve a link to your blog here, wait lang ha? hehe).

We had a brief kulitan (no more than 2 minutes I think) with p-i-c then proceeded to get everyone home. As for me, I immersed myself to the video of the play and tried to get anything rational in there. Arc, the best ang mga comment mo! Nanunuot sa buong pagkatao ko! Haha. I felt that semi-nightmare was finally over when we had that brief stop-over somewhere in Quezon. That was around 4am already I think. Salamat ‘Manager’ AJ for the meal at sa ride at gasolina! Bow.

Lessons, lessons, lessons. Hmm. Sometimes we have to trust machines. Period. Number two: I realized for myself that music is something that I can never pull out of my system, no matter how grueling the struggle with the guitar is. I know for myself that everything is just starting (the ‘Resolve’ entry). It’s good that the rest of the group was on the same thinking that we should make the event a challenge to transcend whatever we are doing right now. If Red Letter Day is the training ground, I’d gladly endure.

Thank you’s naman. Heto heto. Una sa napakalupet na kaklase, kaberks at kakulitan na Mim! Chong, salamat sa pagpapaboto. Kakahiya talaga, haha. Saka syempre heto ang ang mga bumoto. Kung may nakalimutan man ako, hindi sinasadya. Salamat sa inyong lahat!

Aday Ladievence, Aimee Cagalawan, Amielyn Pinsan, Arenbi, Arcena, Arvin, Aubrey Grace Flores, Bidamens, Blesyz, Carla, Christian Bringino, Christine Joy Urriquia, Crisaulo, Erica Reyes, Flor Ely, Formeloza, Gareth, Geo Mery Absin, Gwapo, Hanniel Ricaforte, Hazel, Horhe, Ja, Janelle Marasigan, Jayjay, Jem, Jemuel Clemente, Jesse Razon, Johanna Erika Tan, Joey Danila, Joschelle Ligaya, Joseph Salvador, Julius, Justine Adrianne Tolentino, Karen Malitao, Kath, Katheleen Lungub, Kaye Cabal, Khay, Kimberly Violanta, Kristia, Krysna, Lawrence Alfred Mercene, Maria Alimagno, Maria Celina May Aquino, Maricruz Marbit, Marissa, Mary Joy Almazan, Mas Gwapo, Mewin, MJ, MJ Man, Nerissa Sangre, Noreen, Pappie, Patrick Bon, Pinakagwapo, Polo, Prince, Prince Gwapo, Raji Roullo, Ralph, Rexford Salvador, Rizza Laguartina, Rizza Mae Arenas, Ronalyn, Rousseau Soriano, Sheryl Agapito, Suzette Morales, Thesa, Tristan Edgar Urrea, Yelloh Rhaiza Liban, Yeye.

Perhaps I could pull myself together now, get on with my phoenix concept of existence and get back to more serious things.