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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The metaphysics of singlehood

I am single. I’m single in a country with the loveliest sunsets and the most romantic men the world has ever seen; where the word “love” is etched on pack of noodles and where February comes monthly, hence the term “monthsary.” You look at the police blotter and you’ll see files dubbed as “crimes of love” and if you’re lucky, you’ll find in the middle of a crowded street a dancing traffic aide blowing kisses to irate motorists – Manila’s very own King of Hearts.”


It is hard and painful being at this state of singlehood especially when billboards around you advise you to wear pastel color underpants and you'll find “The One,” the love of your life. (Just to make sure, I did buy and wear one but still nothing happened.) It’s hard to take note of all the pick-up lines the primetime teleseryes invented with Sam Milby teaching you how to say “mahal kita” in full American twang.


It is difficult to hide in my khaki long sleeve polo, tight worn-out jeans and black leather Wrangel boots when everything in me yells about me being single. The furious red pimple on my right cheek, the sprawling stretch marks on my ass and the threatening nails of my feet rambling for a decent pedicure – all spelling out a single word: SINGLE. 


I never really dated for no one could put up with a person like me. I would shamelessly write down our conversation in a damp piece of Starbucks tissue paper, lock eyes with you while reciting The History of the Kingdom of Negros and correct the use of "s" in your verbs. I'm afraid whenever the temperature would go low and I would have to constantly piss under the falling sky while consulting the half-eaten moon for its approval. 


There's a revolution inside my personal nation and the uprisings focus on one main ancient issue - romance.  My Executive Secretary insisted on buying a Porsche because it equates to being single. The only problem is that I've been scraping from a two hundred peso budget a day plus the elusive coins under my mattress and filthy drawers that I couldn't even afford a single orange.


Let me tell you why I’m writing about my singlehood. I write about me being single because if I don’t, I would turn mad. I write because I’m 23 and still single in a country going mad about love and I thought I should be part of that madness no matter what. I write because I’m protesting against God that I’m a virgin yet nobody finds me holy.


And because writing is all I can do. I don’t have bulging muscles to flex, no dashing smile to flash away or an 8-inch dick to fire you up on bed. I write to point out that I’m single, and always been, and it is pointless because I am binded by the letters of this world's pornographic standards, rejections and self-loathings within the twenty three years of my existential suspension.


I am single. I’m single in a community who constantly tells me that I am single. I’m single and I don’t wanna care anymore if my taxes would be spent for your condoms and whatever other things I’m not allowed to touch. I am single. I’m single and that gave me the authority to get drowned in Margaritas and Tequilas, kiss the doorman at the local pub and flirt with a Catholic deacon on his way to priesthood. And because I am single, I’m allowed to end this post without finality, although in the tradition of every literary piece, I have to provide some form of ending notwithstanding. And so to ending, of this post but not of singlehood, I give you three dots and a smiley in the hopes that it will haunt your living spirits from here on. 

. . .   =)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Face to face with Osama bin Laden Part 1 (Target: The Philippines)

Leaping through the pages of Maria Ressa’s “Seeds of Terror” stirred my interest over the man named Osama bin Laden, so elusive that I had to ask, what do we really know about him? Yes we all know he’s to be held accountable for the “9/11 attacks” in US, one among the top of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s list of Ten Most Wanted Fugitives, founder of al-Qaeda…the list could go further and further.

But how far can we understand his notion of jihad, the creation of an extreme radical Islam and his battle against the imperialist country of the United States of America and others whom he/they called “enemies of the Islam?”

The Osama bin Laden that I pictured reading Maria Ressa’s book is a god-like creature with his eyes all over the world that I felt like even at this point that I’m writing an article about him, he’s watching me, giggling over my naivety and my dumb effort in trying to study the organization he created, the al-Qaeda and the sprawling network of its arm group here in Southeast Asia, the Jemaah Islamiyah .

I know even before that al-Qaeda has been using the idea of Muslim persecutions to recruit new mujahideen (new recruits). Ever heard of the saying “slaves of today are the tyrants of tomorrow?” The al-Qaeda, with its leader Osama bin Laden formulating strict ploys of brainwashing and sweepings of Islamic digression, continue to dominate the world of terrorism.

Former president Joseph Estrada was right after all waging an all-out war against the MILF. But really, do we still need to question where the MILF stands? Just as crazy, the thought that if the Bangsamoro ancestral domain succeeded would mean more training camps for terrorists here in the Philippines.

“Years before that (August 24, 2001) and until today, thousands of Islamic militants, Filipinos and foreigners, have learned terrorist techniques in more than twenty-seven camps set up by the MILF in the southern Philippines." 
Ressa, 2003

Now, if I pictured bin Laden giggling over my naivety in trying to study his al-Qaeda, he must be laughing madly of the Philippine government’s continuous denial of the existence of terrorists and even more terrorist camps within the country.

In my opinion, Philippines got directly involved under former president Corazon Aquino’s rule. Ressa wrote, “[i]n 1988, bin Laden sent his brother-in-law Mohammed Jamal Khalifa to the Philippines to set up a financial infrastructure of charities and other organizations. Khalifa married a local woman and integrated into Filipino society, often asking politicians and Manila’s elite to sit on the boards of his charities.”

That was when the Philippines have been placed in the palms of Osama bin Laden. The September 11 attack in the United States followed and so is the series of bombings like the one that took place in Bali, Indonesia in 2001.

In style, the sweeping chaos of transition from Marcos dictatorship to Aquino’s idea of democracy pave way for al Qaeda’s infiltration of MILF and the Abu Sayaf Group. But while Abu Sayaf got an indirect linkage with Osama bin Laden, the MILF remained to be its stronghold receiving direct funds from the al-Qaeda. The MILF of course denied this vehemently. 

To present, President Noynoy Aquino followed the track of his predecessor Gloria Arroyo. The Philippine government is currently on negotiation table with the leaders of MILF, a solution they say that would create a peaceful co-existence of Muslims and Christians in the country. Obviously, President Aquino like President Arroyo is in denial of the existence of al-Qaeda forces within the country. But as of this writing, no formal statement from the Palace is issued because nobody ever asked and probably nobody would tell the president. I wonder how Osama bin Laden is reacting in this another bite in his well played charade.


But the more horrifying scene would be Osama bin Laden in flesh, stepping within the Philippine soil itself. As a matter of fact, it happened a few years ago.


...to be continued 

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Franco

It’s the blazing month of April, and while summer means sand and sea-side party to most of us, to some it means grieving.

Today, allow me to write about my father for the first time in this blog. Also, this story that took place almost two years ago in a summer like this, when a three-year old boy Franco braved the waves of Mindoro’s waters then forever left with only his smiles and dreams to remember now.

I would’ve called my father’s car “DB’s car” if it was here, but his car trails the foreign roads of Bahrain and I only heard about it over countless telephone conversation, the same way young Franco called his father’s Innova “Franco’s car.”

Unlike the boy who would grow up to become the Desole Boy, Franco rose to be a delightful and mischievous kid, a very expressive one. A bright sunny day and you could hear him say, “I’m happy” and the days when he couldn’t play to his delight would mean, “I’m sad.”

Unlike DB’s dad, Franco’s dad loves him so much, he said he’s willing to exchange his life just to allow his son live.

It was supposed to be Franco’s first big family trip. They took a boat from Batangas port to Puerto Galera, a ride that little did Franco’s dad know would take away the life of his beloved son.

Twelve people, including 3 children and a Japanese tourist, were killed after a large motorized outrigger capsized near Mindoro Island on Saturday, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said.

Chief Supt. Luisito Palmera, police chief for Region 4B (Mimaropa), said in a text message to reporters in Manila that the MB Commando 6 sank at about noon near Verde Island, 85 miles (135 kilometers) south of Manila.

Palmera said the boat sank when one of its outriggers broke.

The victims were identified by rescuers as: Beta Berdin, 2, Sta Mesa, Manila; Albino Pablico, 55, Sta Cruz Manila; Gregonia Pabliko, 58, Sta Cruz, Manila; Anton Cruz Eugenio, 2, White Plains, Quezon City; Franco Eugenio, 3 years old, White Plains, Quezon City…

-report from GMAnews.tv, “12 killed as motor ferry sinks off Verde Island” May 23, 2009

Young Franco probably said “I’m happy” that day. It was sunny after all and he got his whole family with him. His father pumped the little boy’s chest for breath, for hope, for life.

“I’m sad,” Franco’s dad said. “I’m very sad.” His Franco died.

Many times I should’ve died like Franco. How many times have I missed death? Twice, thrice, I couldn’t count anymore. All I know is that there’s no father beside those hospital beds I’ve been to, no weeping father praying for Death to spare me, no father feeling sad at the very least. The only thing that came is money; money to pay the hospital bills and meds; money to buy his presence and bribe for a wife who took all the pains.

Helicopters are another favorite of Franco. His father said Franco always dreamed of riding one. Now Franco got his wish.

Franco’s dad held his son’s lifeless body when the helicopter took off to bring them back to Manila. “Franco, here’s your helicopter ride,” his dad said. Only it was too late. Too late for Franco. Too late for his dad.

How many times had I watched my father left in an airplane. Always, I waited for that airplane to come back, that airplane that would bring a father to our household. But it never came. And I'm already tired of waiting. I don’t wanna hear the line “here’s your airplane son” anymore. It’s too late. Too late for him. Too late for both of us.

When Franco’s dad finished telling the story, he said “remember Franco…remember this, and hold on to your Franco.”





“Pa, I am your Franco.”


____

In memory of Franco Eugenio and all other Francos out there... like me


part of this post based on Patricia Evangelista's interview of Franco's dad

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Blood Brothers

The 9th of April

There won't be any prelude or beginning for this post.This is, after all, a story that started probably from the previous lifetimes, of course only if you believe such things. But really, who knows? There's would be no coherence, no logic and everything is spontaneous. And in the manner that it has no beginning, the ending is also nowhere to be seen.

More or less 15 minutes to 30 minutes before 4 in the afternoon

1 message from Alterjon: just got off sa train. san ka?
Reply: coffee bean & tea leaf
Reply: san ka na? am juz here sitting. red checkered top
1 message from Alterjon: look behind you

And there he was. Did the usual meet and greet and what do you know? It's like I've known him far long before. He complimented how tall I am. I then remember how I refuse to be the onii-chan whenever he calls me such, and at that point, I thought there’s no point denying the obvious. He’s so little! 

The exchange of banters begun. Talked about pains of previous attempts in love, you probably would expect some drama sequence, but no. Nothing like that. The only drama we had is “hair-drama.” You see, in about the same time he shaved his head, I also shaved mine, well not entirely, but part of my head when I had a mohawk. And yeah, for same reason but for different persons.

Hanging out with him is like hanging-out with myself, a better version of me I would say. From books to sex, writing, movies, jokes, felt like we could talk about casseroles and empty shoe box and things would be just as fun.

A few minutes past 7 in the evening

We’re in a department store and he was busy finding the right size that would fit his size one body. On the background, a saleslady was promoting Wow Magic Sing, belting with her beautiful rendition of “Ang Tipo Kong Lalake.” I was grinning while I watch the saleslady sing and had this epiphany that I’m in love with the lyrics of that song. I looked at Alterjon and saw that he’s grinning too while silently singing. I shook my head and laugh.

Between us, I noticed he’s the more congenial. He would smile at the cashier and politely answer to their queries as oppose to me being the snob with my always ready smirk.

“Maybe that’s why I’m still this single. There's no venue for me to meet guys,” I said out of nowhere.

“Well, anywhere is a venue. See that guy, he checked us out! Stare back, smile and say hi.” 

He could do that. I can't. Or maybe I could?

Between 20 to 30 minutes past 8 in the evening

Hungry at last from long walks and the seemingly endless conversation, we ended up at the best place to squash that hunger --- food court. I didn’t understand why he picked the other store from another saying “mas maganda yung kulay nung mga pagkain sa kabila” but all the same, the hundred peso dinner could match those at Via Mare and Mairon. Even better.

In those events that you trail the letters of our blogs, you may probably accused us of being emo-tards. That’s no true. And here for proof, I give you Alterjon’s powder blue striped pajamas with printed little bunnies and DB’s pink velvet slippers that squeak whenever he jumps as feathers fly in all directions. 

Behold, your happy twin bloggers.

Around 10 or 11 in the evening

I am thankful Tanduay Ice is not available anywhere in Metro Walk and he wouldn’t drink anything other than that. From being the first two customers of O-Bar in Ortigas, we became the hottest dancing pair it has ever seen!

The guys around watched, envious. Some even tried to get in our little circle to no success. It is, after all, a night made for us, the night of confirmation, the night when the gods gave their nods and said “they are indeed brothers.”

After draining the last drop of booze, after that last song, when we hugged in the dance floor before leaving the party behind us, I silently said a prayer to no god in particular. Two words: thank you.

Almost 2 in the morning

Who would’ve thought walking from Ortigas to Shaw Boulevard could be such bliss? No, we’re not drunk, we decided on that. The paths are just clearer. He said the stars looked at us that night jealous as our voices and laughter filled the empty streets of that part of the Metro, want to know why? Because only stars like us can do what we did.

And so next time, we’ll dance like tomorrow is ours.

Give or take 20 to 30 minutes after 2 in the morning

1 message from Alterjon: Not a second bored. It was definitely worth my Saturday. Kudos my brother, we deserve the world, we’re good people, fuck those assholes. Take care.
Reply: Take care too. Remember that from now on, u hav a brother u can call anytime u need him. We’ll have more adventures, I promise.

14th of April, almost a week after

Doesn't everything seems bigger when looking back? I would be more than glad to give you a blow by blow account but some things better remain between us. I'm just proud about this friend who writes so well, whose smile so warm and contagious and wears a lady's pants because its the only thing that would fit him

This is for you brother... and everyone out there who can relate to Alterjon and Desole Boy. 

Searching
for a home to rest
back in the wilderness
yearning
for your light and winds
We carry a bundle of scars
We carry a bundle of stars

Searching
for a home to rest
back in the wilderness
yearning
for your light and winds
We carry a bundle of tears
We carry a bundle of dreams


The picture beside the poem is just too cheesy, yes? Just go [here] to wash away some "cheese." 
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Monday, April 11, 2011

Live Curious








 ____
Ignorance is BORING!

Inspired by National Geographic's Live Curious campaign.
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Monday, April 4, 2011

He's lovin', touchin', squeezin'


I’ll tell you where I am. This is a private resort somewhere in Antipolo owned by two former classmates in Ateneo de Manila who got bored and converted this former family rest house to a money-making entity. There are two wide swimming-pools surrounded by tall mango trees and some other cross-breeds. Nearby is a pond where fat Japanese Kois are whirling happily and a pair of swan floating majestically.

House music fills the upscale air, a glass of vodka sitting on my side and Mikey, the thirty-ish co-owner of the resort was telling me how he was forced to shop with his girlfriend in Hong Kong the other week because apparently there’s a massive sale in H & M and some other brands. I could barely understand what he’s saying since I was too busy eyeing my friend Angela at the far corner of the cottage flirting with a guy and I am calculating inside my head the possibility that she would take him home which would mean I have to find another ride after.

“…San Sebastian?” Mikey is still talking and I only catched his last two words.

“I’m sorry, what was it again?”

He leaned forward and I felt his breath on my left ear before he said “Are you a graduate from San Sebastian?”

“No. I’m from PUP. You know…a state university…”

“Really? Eto sigurado na ko, masscomm ka, right?”

“You said that because I’m working for ___. But no, I’m a graduate of Broadcast Communication. Ha!”

“What’s the difference?”

“A lot!”


Actress-TV host from a Spanish-Filipino clan who married hunky six-footer basketball player was also there. She’s very pretty and kind, which I did not expect since she appears to be this mataray in television. Then there was this gay radio and TV personality who seemed classier than what I expected him to be, GMA7 director from some gag show who also got tangled with few starlets and a girl who according to Mikey is a daughter of a politician.

At some point, I was talking to this group of struggling female models. I call them “miniature Karens” and yeah, you have to watch Mean Girls to get that line. I know three of them. One is currently a girl from The Price Is Right and two of them are former brief-case girls from Deal or No Deal. But all seven girls were hanging in every word I’m speaking about the story of executed Filipina Sally Ordinario Villanueva. They couldn’t believe how Sally got involved in a well syndicated drug cartel unknowingly and how Tita Cacayan gave her the infamous bag that contained hidden drugs.

One girl exclaimed, “Ohhh Emmm Geee, did she died (sic)?”

“Yeah. All three of them last Wednesday,” I simply said.

Now, this must be a terrible joke of fate. Almost a year ago, I left this exact scene I despised yet here I am, laughing my ass off stupidly with a dozen people who are all strangers a day ago and still. These people who are blithely unaware that Jonas Burgos “went on holiday” without notice and that deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte doesn’t fully understand half of what she’s saying, I thought I’m through with all of them.

How could I fit well? My world is with the vagabonds and scavengers, with Ate Sol in her invisible household in the side-street of Escolta and the kubol of rallying fired ABS-CBN IJM employees. I want to sweat it out under a bloody sun of protest, eat hand to mouth from a transparent plastic filled with rice and a piece of daing and study the forensic of film-making in the slums of Tondo. I'm from Idaho, for Rico Puno's sake, not from Hollywood!

I did not go back home in Bulacan that night. Angela and the guy she's tongue-wrestling with disappeared all of a sudden without the bitch telling me to go find another ride. 

But guess what? I did find another “ride” that evening, if you know what I'm saying.

I'll tell you where I am now. Tomorrow I'll think about principles and the constitutionality of condom-use but for now, I need to focus in pumping my new found "ride." This is where I am. 

Maybe what they said is true, that I am truly back. Yeah, maybe I'm back. Oh yes, I'm back!



originally titled "Still at the point of a turning world"
 

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