Nearness

I rushed from Ateneo to Makati, thirsty, hungry, and physically and emotionally exhausted after a long day of seemingly endless readings and talking. I waited outside your building drenched in perspiration after brisk walking from the MRT station in Ayala to Paseo de Roxas and running from there to the front of your building. I waited more. Not wanting to sound very excited, I waited some more because you were already maybe “in a hurry”, I told myself. But I made the mistake of succumbing to my thirst. I left to buy Gatorade at a 7eleven in the nearby block only to receive that text saying my making you wait was “not funny”.

I was flabbergasted.

I saw nothing wrong in letting  you know I was.

Tonight, I am sleeping alone (because you wanted to spend the night by yourself). And because I badly need rest, a quiet time to read that book I was meaning to read but never found the time and space, a moment to check a handful of my students’ papers, and to watch Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservation or a History Channel documentary. And to also have my share of this solitude.

And you also need this as much as I do.

We often ignore the value of distance (or space) and its benefits to any type of relationships. In fact, it is necessary as it gives both parties a breather; it allows them to stretch here and there, and, maybe, give them chances to long for each other, something they forget as essential to a well-functioning union.

And so tonight, when I’m done pumping iron at the gym, when dinner is over, when I am about to sleep, I’ll relish the moments but will look forward to seeing each other again. Tomorrow, hopefully.

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Manila by afternoon

From Bambang, the LRT station closest to San Lazaro Hospital, it took my train an hour to reach Buendia because of several delays–caused by the sheer number of passengers and the numerous halts due to technical problems.

The passengers were restless throughout the trip. But the Pinoys, a perpetually-patient bunch, endured the whole experience with their humor (a man blurting “maiiwan ang braso ko” when the train was about to close in on him in Doroteo Jose leading some to throw chuckles, a confirmation from those around him that his attempt at humor was successful), texting to death (a national past time that is as quintessentially Filipino as national amnesia), or conversing over the phone with an unseen dramatis persona about a variety of cringe-inducing topics, which, basing on how loud the exchange was, was meant to be overheard by everyone on the train for vain reasons. What these reasons were, exactly, were known only to the guilty extemporaneous speaker on a crowded commuter train.

At the United Nations Avenue station, more than half of the passengers alighted. Rumors, spread by an anonymous chatterbox, circulated on the train that those who just gotten off were the people chosen by God, “mga kaanib ng Iglesia”,  according to one middle-aged man behind me. The blame for causing all the inconvenience was hurled to them. If it were not for their “national evangelical rally” (the exact words of the man in my back) this would have been another normal Tuesday commute. It was impossible for the passengers who just alighted to defend themselves.

On the opposite platform, a massive throng going to Caloocan was gaining number; the swell was acquiring malevolence. I wondered how it would feel dying from stampede.

Pedro Gil, Vito Cruz, finally Gil Puyat. I arrived in Buendia intact.

Ultimately, Manila is a city that defies any sense of order; the only rule she understands is the lack of rule. Her people are one of the hardiest, most abused peoples in the world, but complain they do not, not frequently. They get by cheerfully, quietly, or boisterously sometimes. Whoever survives Manila can consider himself unfortunate for fatefully being in the bowel of the worst living space imaginable but fortunate because he, nevertheless, escaped the bowel to tell the story.

What an impertinence, how can I forget the sunset?

Yes, seeing that sunset made me feel grateful I’m here in Manila. And very lucky.

On the MRT going home

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When do we stop?

Nowadays nothing is too ordinary as to be barred from being a subject of a blog post or a short essay in one’s page. Everyone seeks to have his share of fame, attention, a chance to be read. It doesn’t matter if it’s a popularity that will last only for a moment. To trend. To be like-d. In a sense, to matter. I guess this is what all there is to these phenomena of social networking, blogging, and interconnectedness. All these are rooted to our very human need to matter, our existence be acknowledged, and to belong however flimsy the premises may be.

Have we become better because of all these connections? Maybe. But in what sense?

In the end, everthing, including this post, will be dated, forgotten, and replaced by something, which our fickle sense of what is important deems in most need of our shifting attention.

Durian

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I retrieved this picture of a durian from my draft folder while randomly browsing the WordPress app on my phone. The picture was taken roughly four months ago to document one of our many ‘firsts’. We bought the fruit one boring night from a stall in EDSA Central. I didn’t have plans to buy the strange-looking, foul-smelling tropical fruit, but I wanted to impress my companion with the its exotic taste and my dexterity and skill in extracting the precious pulp from its obstinately prickly cover.

Last night while looking for a nice place to have dinner we were surprised to learn that the sprawling market is undergoing “renovation” and will soon be renamed Greenfield District, which will mean that the fruit market will be relocated somewhere, but definitely it cannot be where it is now because the place will soon be high-end.

And this durian, the last bought from that fruit market.

Japanese night

It was Thursday night. Straight from a make-up class and student consultations, I passed by my place to change my jeans to a comfortable pair of shorts and hopped on a bus to Ayala. We met in front of Smart, and took a bus to Glorietta to get the camera we bought online. Thinking we still had time, I offered to cook dinner and so we went straight to SM Makati and bought ingredients for our Japanese-themed dinner.

We cooked mushrooms and noodles.

Ingredients:

1 cup of any edible mushrooms, 3 cloves garlic, 1 medium-sized onion, butter or olive, 2 small tomatoes, 8 squid balls, 5 crab sticks (optional), 2 cups water, 100 g vermicelli, pepper, salt.

Saute garlic in butter or olive until slightly browned. Add coarsely chopped onion and tomatoes. Put in squid balls and mushroom and stir until cooked. Add water and let simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add vermicelli and crab sticks. Cover and remove from heat.

And experimented with California Maki/Sushi which did not turn out as planned–a mouthful was redefined to mean a little bit smaller than a good-sized fist.

But generally, it was too easy to make, anyone who has an imagination, regardless the lack of richness, would know how to make it without me having to write down the recipe here.