The two I look forward to seeing when I reach home:

Mt Matutum being crowned by fluttering, morning clouds.

And pineapples being harvested. I am yet to taste something more divine than a freshly picked, succulent Dole pineapple. The taste and the tangy smell remind me of my childhood.

Three years since my last bike ride

At this time three years ago, you’d find me cycling in the busy streets of Hanoi in the dead of a winter night without any clear destination, only having that very clear purpose of getting my mind rid of prurient, malicious, tired, self-impaling, even suicidal thoughts by dousing them using the unforgiving, cold gush of December wind and the suffocating exhaust from motor bikes that went past me and my red bicycle I whimsically named Peggy.

I thought I have completely forgotten how to ride a bike after selling that red bike to my friend’s  mother and leaving Hanoi. But it seems that it takes longer than three years to forget something as rich in memories as the act of riding a bike.

So today because of lack of anything interesting to do, I took the rusty bike from the garage and cycled like it was my student days in Vietnam, when I spend the whole afternoon going around the neighborhood crisscrossing the maze-like Hanoian hamlets, saying ‘chao!’ to the woman who sold banh my, waving to the small children playing by the lake, and flirting with high school students on their way home from school, while doing my best to remember the way and to avoid, as much as I and my shamelessly poor sense of direction can, getting lost.

I was heavily perspiring after several pedals, but I was too happy to take notice of the dripping sweat. All I knew was during those brief moments I was transported back to a time when things were a lot simpler, when the biggest problem I had to solve was where to get the best my xao (fried nooodles) in the district, or having my bike washed, and when riding a bike could give me that unexplainable ‘high’ and a feeling of absolute freedom.

Many things have changed since (in fact, most did), but some remain simple, some remain the same, some becoming even more precious and worth-unforgetting.

On the relevance of a year-end report

There’ll be nothing of a year-end summary or something that sounds close to this phrase here. This blog won’t slide down the slippery slope of sentimentality.

The author is a self-confessed connoisseur of melodrama as his life, though far from being melodramatic, is perceived by him to be tragic if not tragicomedic. This explains why posts that precede this are nothing but emotional outpourings that are of no relevance to whatever issue of import that confront this nation or the world.

He is lost in the labyrinth of his own making, caught in the darkness of the abyss he so loves inhabiting, too selfish to look outside, too self-absorbed that the only world that exists is his world within.

But because of his affinity (a recently discovered inclination) for listing items down, he’ll come up with a line item listing of the events that defined his (notice his conceit) 2010.

The week is so over

I’d always catch myself telling my students to resist the temptation of using superfluous intensifiers in their writings, but I think it won’t hurt if I indulge myself in them a little bit this time. The week is so over. The weekend beckons itself in “green and purple invitation;” it’s sweet. Very sweet, indeed.

I’ve come up with a list of activities for this weekend while on a train from work: I will probably watch a play at UP, dinner after, catch the last full show of Narnia before the clock hits midnight of Saturday, two days of intense workout as I missed three days of gym, write an article for my writing stint at the Asian Institute of Management, buy gifts for my youngest sister, read a chapter or two and some short readings for my MA class, check the uncontrollably accumulating papers of my students, and maybe, if I still have time on Sunday afternoon, jog around the Sunken Garden at UP.

In fact, I am thinking of reading that dense book (whose title escapes me now) I’ve been meaning to read but could not gather enough bravado, time, and endurance to begin reading. But it can wait, I guess. I noticed I’ve been postponing too many things and these things staring at me in the eye brought me nothing but guilt, or if they do bring me something it’s that wringing feeling of a screwed self.

This busy week, however, and the busy weeks that came before it, taught me to appreciate the coming of this weekend and the weekends to come, to welcome them as if they’re the New Year and to really savor between my tongue and palate the delicious idea of having my hard-earned rest all to myself. It’s a good feeling being young and free at the same time.

Sunday night self-destructive thoughts

It’s probably because moments ago it was Sunday. It must have been the fear I have of Monday. Or the report I have not even started because I love screwing myself by procrastination, which, feels so good all the time, only for these undone work to haunt me in the middle of the week. But the reason isn’t in any of those I mentioned.

I’ve been unfamiliar with this emotion that I thought I had ceased feeling sadness. But I hadn’t. It took a hiatus only to surprise me tonight. And I saw myself laid bare, unable to protect myself from it. I slept, for two hours, only to wake up still with a lingering feeling of that utter, unexplainable bleeding inside. I attempted in vain to comprehend where it’s coming from. Is it solitude? Idleness? Or an emptiness that sprung from a void I’ve never bothered filling in.

I texted my mother several times, but she seemed to be preoccupied with her own concerns. I didn’t want to bother my brother. And my sister was dating a high school fling. I tried looking outside my small window, trying to find the reason for what I felt from the unflickering lights of the huge metropolis, but I felt emptier all the more. I leafed some pages of a borrowed book but I gave up as soon as the words started dancing erratically before me.

I am indulging far too much. And it is easy to do a free fall in this infinite pit of self-destructive sadness.

I will never be able to resolve this article just like the rest, those that were recently written. Because even if I try to convince myself that I left scot-free that, that I moved on after that break up, I am as bruised, as hurt. I guess one can never say ‘I was hurt more’ because in the end, getting hurt is a shared experience, but unlike love, it is selfishly kept. Pain, sadness, they are far more complex than any emotions there is.

But while they hurt us like hell, we can’t deny that inside, we somehow enjoy them. We love being miserable.

Morning coffee

My mornings are bound to be incomplete without a cup of cheap brewed coffee. Yes, it causes me to grossly palpitate minutes after I downed the content of a 200-ml styrene cup, but it’s far better than an entire morning of sleepy brain cells and distractingly unsightly yawns.

My professor once told me that one can get many benefits from drinking five cups or more of brewed, aside from keeping one awake while the world is snoring itself to death, the spree makes one, I already forget how he said it though I remember it was with wit, understand the real essence of living–which is staying awake to stay alive. He’s right.

I do not sleep because I have this to-be warranted suspicion that the world will cheat on me if I close my eyes, if I succumb to the temptation of sleep. I woke up each day paranoid. And the only way to cope with this paranoia is to burn my throat with a gush of dirty black caffeine.


I was having a late lunch/early supper at a diner beside the College of Music, waiting for my class, when these two familiar-looking ladies (they were casts of a musical by Floy Quintos which I happened to watch this weekend) called the attention of the waiter and gave him something close to a disgusted, do-you-know-what-you-are-doing  look, requesting him with tone of impatience to silence the stereo playing a Matt Monroe classic.

The two ladies brought back memories of Kundera’s Sabina who wants to hear nothing of the rubbish that envelopes the restaurant where she dates Franz. The music makes her ears bleed; anything kitsch, that music which happens to fall under this category, causes her hemorrhage.

But so did those two women to me. Their pretense reeks with kitsch-ism. I finished my dinner quickly and left the place that was already drowned in their echoing laughter.