On Junjun

I heard him talk once, when I was 19, at UP. He gave a talk on public governance and local legislation. I barely remember what he said. That time he was a young city councilor of Makati. There was nothing impressive about him. I thought he sounded like any other politicians I’ve met before. I must have been very cynical then, perhaps, but I thought he was too young to sound like those politicians I’ve learned to distrust.

Whenever I  see him being interviewed on TV these days, I found Junjun unimpressive and unreliable. Like his father, he appears to regard truth as an amorphous, fleeting, flexible concept, which he and other members of his family could mold to suit their purposes. I gained the impression that he is not deliberately lying (or maybe he is), but he fully had deluded himself into believing his own version of truth. And that is even scarier.

He’s a dangerous man.

Para sa’yo na nag-enroll sa akin


Ang hirap magpasalamat sa iyo gamit ang Skype na sobrang unpredictable ang connection. Magkikita din naman tayo six days from now. Magsusulat na lang muna ako.

Magsisimula ako by saying ‘Thank you’ dahil nag-leave ka pa para lang pumunta ng UP at i-enroll ako. Salamat at sorry, dahil kahit hindi ko sinasagot ang tawag mo, ala-tres ng hapon diyan, alas-tres ng madaling araw rito, naipasok mo pa rin ako sa mga courses na pinri-enlist ko.

Kahit na sabi ng isang Chinese-looking prof sa iyo e hindi ako pwedeng hindi kumuha ng isang core course in a semester, nagawan mo pa rin ng paraang kausapin ang isang old-looking prof para mapirmahan lang ang Form 5a ko. Alam kong napaka-charming mo, pero hindi ko alam na ganun katindi ang charm mo.

Source: http://soloflighted.com

Salamat sa pagbyahe mo galing Makati papuntang Diliman, Babe, sa kabila ng init at siksikang MRT at nakakatakot na jeepney-ride from Quezon Ave papuntang Campus, di baleng magkawala-wala ka. Di baleng maluma kaagad ang bago mong sapatos. Nakaka-touch isiping nakayanan mong gawin yon, ayaw  na ayaw mo pa namang naglalakad ng mahaba at madali kang napapagod.

Salamat sa paghahanap ng Vinson para i-register ang iskolaship ko (at makakatipid ako ng kaunti ngayong sem), sa paghahanap ng OUR na nasa kabilang ibayo pa. Kahit na sumakay ka ng TOKI instead of IKOT, at pagsakay mo ng IKOT instead of TOKI. Ngumingiti ako kapag naiisip ito. Ngayo’y alam mo na kung bakit ako mukhang haggard kapag umuuwi ako galing UP. Naaalala mo pa ba nung sumama ka sa akin before? Dahil kasama kita, biglang ang ganda ng UP at biglang ang dali ng class? Ganun ata katindi ang ng epekto mo sa lahat, sa akin, Babe.

Salamat dahil kahit pagod na pagod ka na sa pag-i-enroll mo sa akin ay nag-sorry ka pa dahil muntikan nang hindi mo ako ma-enroll sa mga gusto kong subjects. Ayokong pumasok ng Sabado, gusto ko magkasama tayo ng buong Sabado. At ito’y mangyayari. Yehey!

Salamat dahil sabi nila iba raw ang pakiramdam ng mayroong kaibigang nag-eenroll sa iyo, ngayo’y naranasan ko na rin ito. Sa wakas. At di lang basta kaibigan.

Babe, miss na miss na kita. Tuloy, di na ako makapag-antay na umuwi.




I have been reading blogs of people my age, that is, those between 20-29, some by my really good friends, but most by strangers; some, those who have not been weaned from their consuming naivete, wrote posts celebrating this point of their lives as if it is a to-be-concluded-soon fête when nothing is definite except its indefiniteness; some, those who think that things have got to be taken seriously, took it too seriously, exhausting themselves along the way while still referring to this choice they have made logical, intelligent, an exercise in scheming prioritization, and themselves individuals worthy to be described mature; and some, those who do not think this point is worth reflecting upon, live a life enslaved, chasing the wind.

Should I go back to this moment one day when I have already accumulated experience enough to allow me to see things in hindsight, I would say that I had a great 20s, lived it like how I deem it appropriately lived. Interesting how the word ‘great’ can by itself capture and summarize succinctly a decade of an uphill climb, insecurity, small victories, epic failures, love lost and gained and so much more.

I plan to drop one of my MA subjects, the one on Asian Regionalism, because I found out very late that my hands are beyond full. Finishing it till the end of the semester means a lackluster performance in class or a tombstone six feet above my horizontally positioned body. I cannot afford both. After careful contemplation, I think that giving up on a battle (especially if it is not a major one, only a skirmish parading as war) does not make me less of a soldier. As a matter of fact, it allows me to strategize better my position in the fronts of more important wars I wage. So off I go to UP this time to sign my first ever dropping slip in grad school, but will have to check first if the dropping period has not yet lapsed. If it has, I guess I am left with no choice but to arm myself and accomplish all the requirements of the course; if I am right in time, then I’ll thank high heavens for giving me this chance to rest a bit and focus more on my supposed non-negotiables.

Off the sink

I spent the whole afternoon eating anything I found in my room and totally forgetting about a report on semiotics I will be delivering in my master’s class tomorrow. I am wasting precious time, and I am feeling no remorse at all.

I downed all the 30 pastillas de leche, a small suha, and sweet and spicy squid preserve. And what’s more, I am still thinking of going downstairs to buy a 1.5 L of Coke and several bags of chips.

Certainly this life is off to the dark pit of my bathroom sink.

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.

Madonna and baby

I was on a jeepney that was waiting for passengers in front of Miriam College when this woman and her beautiful, though a bit pensive, daughter climbed up the rusty and rickety jeep going to UP. I secretly took their picture together. The baby and her pretty locks reminded me of Heidi who is running about her Swiss Alps, hair fluttering and all.

Rainy afternoon, an anorexic cat, and the 33rd Urian Awards

Since I was scheduled to work half-day last Thursday, from Laguna, I went back to Makati for a quick, late lunch, it was about three in the afternoon, then proceeded to Katipunan with my friend to submit an application to Ateneo. From Ateneo, we then decided to take a jeepney to UP Diliman as we thought there were going to be plenty of jeepneys plying Katipunan. We were mistaken.

Drivers of public transportation these days prove to be more tenacious, recalcitrant is more apt, than their predecessors. This driver who parked his old, rickety, stainless but rusty made-to-order jeepney made us wait for more than what was comfortable; it was almost a quarter to five that time, and good sense told us that government offices in the Philippines close on the dot (closing time is the only time they are never late at).  So we demanded he return the 14 pesos we paid, and we took a cab to UP.

We first went to the College of Arts and Letters then to Mass Communications after we almost got lost in the circuitous mini-avenues of the Diliman campus. The guys wearing those painfully neon yellow vests, who seemed to replicate themselves by the hundreds, were really courteous and adept at giving directions. But I swear they all look the same. I suspect they’re the pilot project of the biotechnology department or else nuclear physics center of UP.

At the College of Mass Communications, my friend had a brief chat with the college secretary who’s a friend of his. They haven’t seen each other for more than four years, so I expected a long and crisp catching up. Crisp it was, but long not at all. After less than 10 minutes of chat and the customary exchange of business cards, we bade goodbye but not before she handed us two white envelopes that contained the invitation for the Gawad Urian that was to be held several blocks away in Adarna Hall, formerly UP Film Center, that night.

But before that, the cunning weather got the better of both us. We were running out of cash so we had to scurry and searched the campus for ATMs. My memory told me that there’s supposed to be one right across the block adjacent UP shopping center, but my machine was nowhere to be found.

Lo and behold, there’s the guy in painful neon yellow vest again, but he seemed to have gained a lot of weight and doubled his previous body mass index from 20 forty-five minutes ago to forty-five. It did not bother us much though because he was in his usual courteous self and again gave us a very easy-to-follow direction.

When we reached the place, just somewhere at the back of the university shopping center outside the university accounting office, and after I withdrew my meager salary for the summer, I sighted this pretty but anorexic pussy cat (I even suspected she’s bulimic):

I went near her to take a picture of her, but this one was her only clear picture that my old phone was able to capture because she was simply gyrating, like a cat in heat, well she is a cat. In heat, that is. She circled my right leg, gave me that pleading look as if she wanted me to take her home.

“Gusto niya lang bigyan mo siya ng pagkain,” the guard at the accounting office said. He must be the anorexic pussy cat’s master.

So scheming of her.

Post script: We fell in line outside the Film Center amid the drizzle. According to the invitation, the program should start at six. But diva as all the stars in Philippine showbiz are, the program did not start till 7:15 because the nominees were not done donning their do and their dresses. (I abhor artless alliterations, but not as much as abhorrent artistas). Despite the heavy downpour outside, we hailed a cab to Quezon Ave MRT station and had a nice, warm dinner in the food court of Glorietta.

I enjoyed that evening.

For results of the 33rd Gawad Urian, follow this.