An odd character

Until now I am still trying to figure out how to read this man, not necessarily the writings on the banner he proudly brandished, which was, surprisingly, written in near impeccable English, but the very idea of his being there, complete with a huge plastic pail headgear, the colorful Disney bag, and the reddish teeth that peek every time he smiled. He professed to be a Chinese national seeking political asylum in this country but whose request was repeatedly denied by the Philippine government. So while waiting for the decision on his appeal as stated, he played mendicant.

The wide avenue of Recto in Manila has different versions of characters like him. And one’s visit to this part of the capital is never consummated without encountering an oddity like the man pictured here. I guess he views sanity using a different eyepiece. For him, the rest must be an incomprehensible, meaningless bustle. And he an oasis of rare sanity amid a huge desert of demented humanity.

Time travel

By Marj Bunda*

Traveling through time is physically impossible but others continue to believe in it. No proof has been documented throughout the years of scientific research about its feasibility yet many still take faith in it. If you could travel through time, would you rather go and seek your future, or try to reinvent your past?

THE PAST is what has been done, what has happened, what has been voiced out. These are actions we cannot change, words we cannot say again, things we wish we had but cannot have. If I were to go back in time, I would not want to change anything. Everything that has happened these past years is one thing I don’t want to change. Everything happens for a reason, and everything has its own consequences. We can blame no one for our actions but ourselves. What we do is always our own choice. What we have done will always have a positive and negative impact, not only to ourselves but to others. There is no other way than to face the results of our actions. There is no way we can return and change the actions that have caused our downfall or success. Always take note of the fact that what happened may always serve as an inspiration for our future actions. Find hope in every failure, every mistake.

THE FUTURE is something to behold, look forward to. What lies ahead is always a secret. A few may take a sneak peek but what they see will always be hazy, not always clear. When we think of the future, there are many possibilities, many opportunities, but no assurances. There is always hope, but there is also doubt. You may never know what will happen next. One time, you’re happy, the next you’re drowning in sadness. No one can tell if a fairy tale ends in a happy ending. Sometimes, even endings don’t happen. Future possibilities may confuse you. Planning for the future can be a stressful experience for you may never know if your plan would work or not. One lesson I learned – don’t rush into the future. Think of now.

THE PRESENT is what is happening now. It is the bridge and the gap between the future and the past. What we do now will become the past. What will happen tomorrow will become the present. It is a never ending cycle. Every day is a special day. Take each moment as if it will be the last, enjoy every bit of life while you can. Do not take advantage of, but take pleasure in what you have. Take something, but always give something back. Everything that is given to you now may be taken away in the future. Cherish today for not everybody is as lucky as you are now. Be thankful, be happy.

TIME is an incredible thing. It wraps itself in mystery. No one can figure it out. Only time travelers can. However, they do not exist today, they may exist in the future, or they may have existed in the past, no one knows for sure. What we know is that there is a past, there is a present, and there is a future. How we take these times in our life depends on us.

*Marj Bunda is a former student of the author at the University of the Philippines Visayas.

Magsimula ka

I didn’t know that the classic OPM song Magsimula Ka came from a musical of the same title. It was, according to my friend Gibbs Cadiz, one of the very first musicals in Filipino staged in the 1980s. With the onslaught of Broadway musicals that almost totally eclipsed the Philippine musical theater scene during that decade, Magsimula Ka was a welcome respite from the tried and tested production of musicals imported from that famous street in the Big Apple.

After my Media Literacy class at UP last Thursday which ended at around 7:30 in the evening, I took a cab to Greenhills. It was my first time to be at the Music Museum, or the Greenhills Shopping area, so I had no idea where it was except that it’s “sa likod ng mall”. I thought of directing the cab driver to ask around where the venue was as he was also not knowledgeable. It was a good thing I did not because the word Music Museum was in bright white neon light, drowning all the other signage in the area. I climbed up the narrow semi-spiral staircase and was directed by a very amiable staff to my seat.

The venue was not as big as I imagined it to be based on the video clips of concerts shown on Showbiz reports of the nightly prime time Tagalog news programs I used to watch. I got not expectations of the production either. I am not keen on singing and dancing. But since Gibbs invited me, I thought of giving it a try. Although i know it’ll run for more than two hours which is my threshold of boredom for musicals and other forms of theater.

The musical was not extraordinary. There were some painful moments, probably because of the un-updated script or the exaggerated acting, but the play was, shall I say, passable. It reminded me of Janice de Belen or Manilyn Reynes starrers that failed not in giving me goosebumps when I am reminded of them now. And interestingly, Magsimula Ka gave me lots of those.

Ciara Sotto’s performance was very noticeable. It was noticeably unnoticeable. The rest were forgettable. Though I remember, while writing this line, that the maid and her paramour who were both superfluous in as far as the story line was concerned, did catch my attention. And to think that the musical could stand on its own without them. But Magsimula Ka would have totally lost my attention had it not been for the duo.

I wonder why my professor in that Media Literacy class did not include theater in the list of media we will be dissecting in class. I got to suggest it to him then.

Thanks to Gibbs Cadiz for the ticket and the wonderful during- and after-dinner conversation.

Lost phone

I just lost my phone.

It feels like half of myself  had been forcibly taken away from me; but for some reason of supernatural sort, I feel liberated at the same time. I do not know from what, but it just feels good in a way quite difficult to explain.

I’d gone too dependent to it, from sounding the alarm every six in the morning, listing  the schedule of my daily work that I juggled quite well these days thanks to my phone, and in times when I was down, it was from it that I took strength to go on each day as it had become the medium for the inspiring words sent to me by my family and some friends or calls from my mother that never failed to calm my often distraught spirit. That blue Sony Ericsson had been an efficient extension of myself while remaining inconspicuous throughout.

At 7:30 this morning, while I was in my usual hurry to leave after a quick breakfast, because of its unobtrusiveness, I forgot it on top of the table at McDonald’s. I was already in Katipunan when I realized that I left it there. I did not anymore bother to go back and killed any hope that I can still retrieve it. It’s forever gone.

Losing something as indispensable as one’s mobile can expose one to the many vulnerabilities of not being connected to the rest of one’s circle or to the rest of the world, if one wants to heighten the role he plays in the universe. However, it can also mean freeing oneself from the shackles of the modern world and its insistence on materialism. And finally appreciating life for what it truly is–beautifully simple.

Losing one’s mobile is the nearest one can get to the ascetic lifestyle, like that of a hermit, when nothing matters but the mind and the possibilities it can contain, unbefuddled by the pressures of modern living. It’s finally realizing that happiness is not a result of accumulating and possessing material wealth but that it emanates from something bigger, more sublime than our very corporeal existence.

Then I remember I was waiting last night for a message from a friend about her comment on the write-up I did for her boss. I remember I had this very chummy correspondence with a high school ex. I remember I was expecting for a call from an organization I submitted an application to more than a week ago.

And the truth hit me coldly in the forehead. I JUST LOST MY PHONE!

Back in business

Not that I have already fixed everything that needed fixing, but taking that hiatus was more difficult and mentally taxing than to just simply write my thoughts down meandering, unclear, or senselessly rambling they may be.  I finally ended a 10-month relationship. I am back to being single, officially back on a prowl, technically ready to do the deadly courtship dance, but I’ll let this exercise of the species pass for now. I badly need rest, I suppose. Physically, I am battered by a deluge of work that kept coming and that I have no will to say no. Mentally, I have completely run dry of any creative sap, barren. Emotionally, I am drained, but oddly, at peace with my self. I hope to begin writing soon, I mean writing at length, with much contemplation and hopefully this time, more reckless abandon.

Photo credit

On why this day is a beautiful day

I almost got murdered inside a rickety MRT.  That man’s asphyxiating odour (or vapor) that oozed from his over-exposed armpit terrorized me and other commuters. We were simply defenseless.

Classes just started yesterday but I am already looking forward to the dawning of March.

Lunch was great: yellowish broccoli and leathery beef.

Sleep and her unforgiving cohorts visited me every thirty minutes while I was in the middle of my lectures.

The weather felt like in the center of a steamy Brazilian rain forest. And I hate the rain (or the dark nimbus clouds) it kept me from going anywhere.

But the sun was equally detestable.

Today’s my first M.A. class in Anthropology. I wonder what led me to enroll myself in this rather esoteric subject when I could have taken a more relevant seminar course.

But despite these I still consider this a beautiful day:

…because according to my Sunday School song then–this is the day that the Lord has made.