I Just Couldn’t…Not Really…

Because I lived those days. I was in the middle of it. I knew what was happening and we were ecstatic about something we do not fully understand. All we know was the tyrant in Malacanang is finally being deposed, and that a new era of hope was being ushered in by the people. My feeble comprehension only reaches as far as getting to class without fear of sniffing tear gas around Mendiola, or being mistaken for a radical protester along Recto. At the time, a yellow ribbon meant something.  And that Cory, along with Doy maybe the start of something  that will unite the country, bridge the gap between rich and poor, stop the senseless war in Mindanao, and pave the way for a true archipelagic state, closer to the utopian society my professor was adamantly discussing in our Humanities class.

It was somehow kickstarted with Ramos and Enrile, the tough military hands of Marcos turning against him and Ver, but we were yet to know then because television and radio can only guess what was unfolding. With what was only shown on tv, we saw pictures of the manly Honasan, or at least images of him leading the elite group of the new breed of heroes. I had to visit my uncle, then a Major in the Philippine Army and was aghast at the yellow pin I had on my fatigue vest ( he gave that vest to me) and was told, in a very forceful manner that under no circumstances am I going to leave the camp with the yellow pin on it. He was fuming mad, but apparently not at me since he was sporting a white arm band.

And when I got back to Lincallo Street a small alley connected to Legarda in San Miguel, Mendiola is already devoid of students, most have taken to closing their doors and windows, in our rented rooms, and boarding houses, and it was a kind of euphoric expectation that somewhere, somehow, the palace is going to fall.

And we were so sure everything is gonna be alright, just like Bob Marley says.

Or so we thought.

My Flag2

30 years is along time to stay  deluded to the concept of liberation from oppression. Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue witnessed an event that could have been bloody and turned out to be the something worthy of getting down in history. The standing ovations they gave Cory when she addressed the US Congress, the irrational name-changing of Manila International Airport into NAIA, the ugly statue in Makati. What are all these things for?

I could have sworn there was a hint of hope somewhere back then.

30 odd years, never have I celebrated EDSA. Because all I see are ghosts.

Just a vestige of something that might have been. We owe it to ourselves to choose better leaders, yet every election we get the same names, the same families, the same treatment.

And we watch the same lame ceremonies on tv nowadays. Only now we get livestreaming on the web.

Mindanao has drifted farther, Visayas is still slumped and Luzon, well Luzon is doing well if the mushroom like appearance of Condominium Buildings are to be the gauge of its pomposity only equal to the Houses it accommodates.

I mean , really , people, what is there to celebrate?

There’s Something Wrong With Me

Cover Image

Something I have been noticing as I get older.

I’m not normal.

Let me put it this way. My existence is something of an enigma even to me. To prove the point – I have never liked basketball. Which is, by far, what most manly, semi-athletic males aspire to be at a young age. Didn’t go for the basketball shoes that players endorse, was not excited to wear a favorite team’s jersey, nor follow the games religiously, like a penitent during lent.

I never read any Shakespeare. Not for the lack of trying. But growing up in Paete, Laguna, my literary choices border on the lewd and pornographic to the absolute crazy stories like Flowers for Algernon, or the novels by Clive Barker and Stephen King to name a couple of writers I am really familiar with. I even read The Lord of the Rings on the dusty, darker side of the school library while my friends are busy harassing the girls elsewhere.

A deviant.

Tv program choices, even that makes me think I am  somewhat off kilter. I was watching Sesame Street and The Electric Company in my elementary years. Three’s Company, Mork & Mindy, Saturday Night Playhouse, The Wacky racers, just some of my boob tube favorites. Not the soaps and That’s Entertainment. Even the movies I like are not quite mainstream. Because I seldom trust movie reviews and prefer to make my own view of the movie rather than bash a movie I haven’t seen. Come to think of it, why bash a movie when you can just recommend what you like about a film you just watched?

Never liked AlDub. Outgrown Eat Bulaga. I laugh at people reacting vehemently when they feel nsomeone has besmirched their name or their school, or their company, online. I cry at sad parts of movies. I love old school illustrations and drawings, even woodcuts I place in high regard.  I like to get to an appointment an hour early. I don’t like people waiting on me. At the same time, I am loathe to wait for people who are never on time.

I’m an aberration.

I don’t care for Kanye West’s recorded music, but I love every bit of track Moz Def put out. I can listen continuously to Rammstein, Metallica, Rivermaya, The Dawn and maybe throw in a few Classics and Tom Waits in between playlists. I cover my ears on every Nicki Minaj sound on radio. Rishloo, Enigma and Crystal Method I play on my laid back hours. But I am extremely annoyed with videoke singers singing the same song every chance they get. Gimme some live music, but please don’t make everything Bossa. But I like singing.

Not normal.

Am I too radical to declare I do not care for religion, but still believe in God?

Abomination

I have this strange fixation with ramen, boiled food and lots of soup. I once enjoyed a plate of Pasta Carbonara lavishly garnished with salty, spicy bagoong, and it got me hooked. And I don’t care much for fine dining. Street food, turo-turo works for me. But when I eat at someplace expensive, I eat everything. I don’t subscribe to that train of thought of leaving something on your plate, lest they think you a patay-gutom. Fuck you, I love food.

I’m one of the few who still insists on using email for professional transactions, social media is just for advertising and online ranting. If there ever was a reason or cause to rant. I don’t put too much value on titles given to you at work. Hell, I’m a Graphic Artist, yet I can clean the office, run errands, make coffee, and while all of these are occurring everyday, I still manage to handle uploading articles to the entertainment website I used to hold, create collaterrals for print, you know, stuff I’m underpaid for.

Heck.

I even created some video clips for a very special friend for free. What could otherwise have netted me five grand (pesos, friends, in pesos) I gave away for free.

Because I can.

Not normal, I tell you.

I cringe every time someone comments how good my drawings are, asks how much for this and this, and then stands aghast and spews these utterly abhorrent words “Para drawing lang?” (That much for just a drawing?).

I am an alien. Of sorts.

There’s definitely something wrong with me.

The Pinpricks and Papercuts of 2015

. . .or rather, all the good times, the crap-my-pants stuff, the bullshit and the misses (lots of ’em) that happened in the past year. No, I’m not saying nothing good came out of 2015, far from it. But these tiny pinpricks and papercuts must mean something. Things we learn as we go along.

So move along.

Here’s what I learned, and more stuff I have to un-learn.

  • Meeting friends after so long gets trumped by two bubbby daughters whom I also missed dearly. Sorry guys, I just wanna spend more time with my girls.
  • Skinny pants with garters on their cuffs doesn’t even qualify as logical. Men who wear them should be hanged.
  • Boys do powder their faces. it’s sick.
  • Most people tend to believe their online persona.
  • Smartphones are not for stupid people.
  • Cash and Carry still has the best stuff around.
  • Stop calling it “hoverboard”! It’s got wheels, for crying out loud!
  • People who talk big rarely has the stick to back it up. And sometimes the adage ” People who can, Do, People who can’t, Teach” applies.
  • Big paying jobs are rare. Big paying jobs takes a big toll on you.
  • Scott Weiland’s death has painful similarities with the music video “Fall To Pieces”.
  • “Supernatural” marathons are best when spent with your crazy daughters.
  • Minimum wage rocks. Never had so much fun with so little. And I’m not kidding.
  • Short freaking shorts are everywhere.
  • Early last year, found myself with a bunch of really good people working for a BPO gig, and I am really not cut out for this sort of work, but the people I met enriched me in some way. I miss CELO.
  • Still won’t wear tracksuits and sport related apparel. It’s appalling.
  • You can’t enjoy movie marathoins without that special someone to enjoy it with.
  • No matter wher you live in Metro Manila, there will always be that neighbor who enjoys singing that you will not enjoy.
  • Lechon Mami is a miracle in a bowl. And some chili and you’re divine.
  • Reading is still one of the best past times around. Just being stuck in traffic without something to read is murder.
  • Men who smell too much of perfume are, well, not men at all.
  • Women with ill thought tattoos are un-cool.
  • Tattoo’s used to mean something. Nowit’s a fashion statement.
  • You can find a room for Php3,200 and still retain your human dignity.
  • Working for and with celebrities ain’t such a drag after all.
  • KZ Tandingan rocks.
  • Sometimes you can’t trust a kit.
  • My home setup needs an update. badly.
  • Sensible shoes works.
  • I regret taking daental hygiene for granted.
  • Old school is the better school. Of course you can learn a thing or two from the new generation.
  • Pay back old debts when you can.
  • People with loud and filthy mouths and badly dressed are better individuals than those overly educated stiffs who stab you in the back when you turn around.
  • Vape only makes you accept you are in denial.
  • Coffee I make is still better than coffee I buy. No barrista fame can enhance the taste of badly prepared overpriced coffee.
  • Sci-Fi
  • Never ask the printers without the final word from your Boss. It could cost you 4grand. And it sucks.
  • Anilao is beautiful.
  • Need to get my teeth. Lost most of them in last year. Now I got to earn enough to get me some pearly white smiles.
  • A dentist is your best friend.
  • Family is cool again.
  • Philippine movies, in general, suck. Only gets worse when you see Kris Aquino’s mug in some billboard.
  • Indie movies, however deserves a break.
  • I love Regine Velasquez again. Because of  Mrs.Recto.
  • People with names like Jojo, Mark, Alyssa, Myr, Carlo, George, Maryo deserve the title “Cool”.
  • Salt and pepper scraggly beard seems to be my look nowadays.
  • MMFF wouldn’t be complete without a scandal.
  • Pay attention to money matters. Comes with the job.
  • Smartphones are overrarted.
  • When you need another bag (or pouch) so you can carry a power bank to sutain your so-called gamer-life on your mobile phone is just too…pathetic.
  • Sometimes a m,ovie can be secretly a sci-fi one.
  • Powerbank phonnes are cool. Gonna get me one.
  • Jess Lapid Jr. is cool.
  • When your boss is Hagrid, expect to make a bit of magic along the way.
  • El Nino in 2016 could be worse.
  • I’m the most un-showbiz person you could find, and I manage some showbiz oriented stuff in my line of work.
  • I was lazy with my art.
  • Staying holed up in my room is never good. Need to get out more.
  • Missed out on most of the friends I should be with last year.
  • I could be aging rapidly.
  • Gyms are overrated. HIGHLY overrated. Just do household chores and your limbs will be fit. Buying all those conveniences only makes you soft. And they want you to pay so you can shed some fat? Bull.
  • I need a bike.
  • I need some sleep.
  • Having your workplace inside a mall does have it’s moments.
  • Creative Saints has to be resurrected. With a bang.
  • Need to buy a dart board.
  • Need new darts.
  • Ned to draw more.
  • Lost some good illustrations by way of leaving them lying around for a kid to throw water on.
  • Must replace my 12-String with a new one.

. . .and there are more I should be ranting about but, like a resolution, things won’t get done, even if you write them down. So let’s just leave the past back there. 2016 is just another calendar to go through, but getting through it with style is the key.

A photo of my daughters Amiya (L) with Ate Alyssa, my eldest Alia and Kuya Kian (R). I learned these kids need to see each other from time to time.

A photo of my daughters Amiya (L) with Ate Alyssa, my eldest Alia and Kuya Kian (R). I learned these kids need to see each other from time to time.

Happy New Year!