Wednesday, May 31, 2006

241 (My Favorite Song)

I want to live forever
Inside the nights and days.
Wishing on a silver cloud,
Crawling across the moonbeams.
A summer night in heaven
Between the stars and waves.
Race across the old bonfire;
Trample on my heartbeat.

I wanted to turn you on
My favorite song.
Wanted to be near you
But somebody owns you now.

I love you with a fire,
Ablazing till times end

But what good is a heart
When it shudders to speak.
I guess it's too late now.

"I wanted to turn you on
My favorite song.
Wanted to be near you
But (of course) somebody owns you now.
(And) I tried to live somehow
Somebody owns you now" (Repeat 2x)

Somebody owns you now

Monday, May 22, 2006


November 21st, 2005 at 12:58 pm

I wonder sometimes, if, in sleeping, one is able to stop time. I imagine, doing nothing somehow keeps the status quo. Like how water in the glass remains constant, or how the worn shirt stays in the bin. Or how the slippers don’t move.

I wonder, if there’s magic in all of these that some things in constant, never changing.

I wonder, too, if we can, do the same with friendships, or lovers or the consequences of these relationships. Would remaining stagnant be actually better than moving it forward destructively.

What is then, the reality. Those scenes you see when your eyes are closed? Or the ones you wish your eyes are closed to.

What was happening last year? Ah, yeah, first anniv of break-up whehehehee. You can read this at my other blog, devoted solely to musings. Click

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Story of Argie, and the Countless, Nameless, Others

I never have felt so strongly about a small story until this one.

A 13-year old boy jumped into a creek in Brgy. Sto Domingo, Quezon City at around 3 p.m. The boy, Argie Tugbo, did know how to swim. According to his mother, Maria, he would usually swim in Amoranto with his cousins. This time, however, he was with some acquiantances in Sto. Domingo. Maria related, that his boy would never have done it. Except that this time, he did, because one of the boys with Argie dared him, or scared him that if he did not, he would hit him in the head.

So the boy did. But the current was too strong for his fragile body that after a few minutes afloat, he disappeared into the dark murky water of the creek.

I got a call from the office at around 9 p.m., advising me to cover it. On the site, I saw Maria milling around, puzzled. Where was my boy? And where were the rescue teams?

Maria told me that they had alerted barangay officials about the accident. But, apparently lacking in equipment and skills for that kind of emergency, they just waited alongside Maria. Did they hope, I wondered, that Argie would just miraculously sprung out of the waters and lay previous fears to rest? I did not quite understand the helplessness, accepting it was much harder.

There was an MMDA rescue team on standby, however, which gave the whole situation a semblance of urgency and action.

But it still was unacceptable. I., our desk assistant had informed me that the Coast Guard team had gone back to their office after learning that the current at the creek was still strong. I looked down and saw it wasn't so.

I was shocked at such disregard. I imagined, what if Argie had been my niece or nephew. Or son?

Restless and on the verge of giving up hope, Argie's cousins, Johnny Abas and two others decided they would do the search and retrieval themselves. Aided by strong emergency lights from the MMDA, they scoured the murky creek whose water level has since gone down.

A few minutes later, and a few meters away from where Argie had jumped, they found his body, face down, lifeless.

Maria nearly collapsed in utter shock. She was shouting and crying for help.

From the looks of it, Argie was dead cold. But a sliver of hope shone when one of the rescue team members said she felt Argie breathe.

I don't know if she really did feel him breathe. But still, I appreciated that act of giving hope when there was obviously none. It suspended, perhaps, the fear, allowing those who were confronted by the unimaginable adjust to accept the logical.

Argie was dead on arrival at the Orthopedic Hospital. His cousins were inconsolable. Johnny saw me when they were bringing him in. "Irereklamo ko lang 'yung Coast Guard (I'd like to complain against the Coast Guard)," he said before he entered the emergency room.

I waited for him outside. I thought that wasn't a bit too much to give. Maria had the same sentiments.

On my way back to the office, my cameraman commented, "Ganun talaga 'pag mahihirap 'no? Pababayaan ka na lang (that's just the way it is for poor people. They couldn't care less about you)," he said. He couldn't be any more right about it.

The story merited a less than a minute treatment, as a vtr sot story (meaning, a short description of what had happened and a soundbite). I would have wanted to write it as a full story considering the elements. But it couldn't compete with other stories such as the victory of Romi Garduce's ascent to the Mt. Everest summit and his successful return to the base camp.

There are, and were, other stories like Argie's. Stories of utter hopelessness, of despair, that wouldn't even see print or broadcast. A sad reality but unacceptable still.

And this reminded of why I ever got into journalism in the first place. My professors were diligent and wise enough to advise that journalism is never for the selfish. You don't do it to be a star or to be famous, or to be rich. There is a higher value in taking on this craft. It is about seizing a little of its power. Its power to shed light on otherwise, disregarded issues. Its power to provide a voice to the voiceless. Or achieving a little sense of equality.

It's not always easy, as this craft, is also a function of business interest. That's why one should muster a little courage once in a while not to stray away from one's conviction. To balance, even on a personal way, business interest and advancing certain advocacies. Some day soon, another means not excluded, one can be fulfilled hopefully.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Re-Birth Redux

It was a lot easier than I thought.
I was initially hesitant to go home to Lucena last weekend because of the two letters I got from my Mom and brother (turned out, contrary to what my brother had written in his letter that Mom didn't know he wrote me). I thought I didn't want to discuss it anymore. I have, as in a matter before the Supreme Court, submitted my reply. It was a closed book as far as I'm concerned. They know now. And there's nothing left to discuss.
But there is such a thing as tying loose ends. I didn't wish for it but I guess fate has a way of doing things for us, you wouldn't know it just happened. It is what Paolo Coelho has called "conspiracy of the universe."
At the wake, I tried to evade the issue. I was successul until I invited my cousins to go to a bar (Mom said we would go home at around 2 a.m. so I thought what the heck, the wake was at the town proper where most of the bars were). I was bored and the alcoholic in me was restless. My intention was to have some fun.
Well, we did.
And this is the story of a very un-telenovela tale of coming out (in a postmortem sort of way since they already knew).
I told a friend once, that the world's best truth serum is the beer. It goes for me as it did for my ex (wehehehehe. All his angsts used to just flow out when he was drunk).
The spirit of my ever favorite beer, SanMig Light was upon us. My younger brother was visibly more drunk than I was (and so were the rest of my cousins hehehehe. It's a family trait hekhekhek). So he mentioned casually that my other cousin, Ate Leah, knew about the so-called secret and she was in denial. (I don't know in what terms she expressed her disbelief but I didn't want to bite more than I could chew). So was my Mom. (Again, I didn't seek any details).
But some of my cousins who were with us in the group said they knew and didn't mind. It helped, I guess, that I did not put up a "straight" front whenever I'm in Lucena. I have always acted the way I acted so they weren't shocked at all.
Little did I know that my brother has become sort of a spokesperson for me letting everyone in on the secret. Or a whistleblower, depending on the motivations you could read into his actions. Hehehehe. But I guess that's just his way of dealing with the discovery. I read somewhere back in college that when one is uncomfortable about a decision or a position, or a discovery as in this case, the natural tendency is to discuss it with friends to find some sort of resonance or affirmation.
But all's well that ends well, I guess. There's nobody else in the world who doesn't know my secret (except perhaps my Dad? hehehehe).
I came out when I was 24. After two years, this is my second re-birth.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Kuya Dario, 61

I was back in Lucena this weekend to bury a beloved Uncle, Kuya Dario.

He was the one who opened my love for the arts and photography. When I was little, we would go to their house nearby where, inside, several paintings were hanging, as though in a museum. And I was forever awed. There were paintings of his children, Kuya Cheno and Ate Leah, and landscapes ala Amorsolo. He entrusted me with his brush one time, when he was doing a billboard (back when billboards were still made of wood and paint). He did the outline of the letters and allowed me to fill them with paint as one would a story book.

He showed me the first ever SLR camera I have ever seen when I was a kid. I didn't know how it functions then but I remember telling myself that one day soon I would learn how to use the camera. In college, when an opportunity to enroll in one of those electives were offered, I enrolled in a photography class making good my promise to follow up on a childhood fascination.

As we grew up and my cousins and I transferred to Manila for work (some are still there) Kuya Dario's special role in the family did not change. He was, at the time of his death, the surrogate father to my pamangkins. Francine, now 5 (or 6?) has been blessed to be given this attention.

Francine called her "Tatay" and it was Kuya Dario who named her "Mot-mot" owing to an eye infenction she used to have when she was little.

When Mot-mot's family comes over to our compound (where the ancestral house is located and we're living in) on Sundays, Kuya Dario would peek into their house and as if on instinct, Mot-mot would know he was there. Mot-mot would grab her slippers and immediately ask Kuya Dario where they would go.

Until the time of his death, my cousin, Miled, did not know where Kuya Dario and Mot-mot went for their weekend date. "Sa tabi-tabi lang," Kuya Dario would answer when Miled would ask where they had their lunch.

At the wake, Miled recounted, people she never knew would ask her if Mot-mot was the tisay little girl that Kuya Dario would bring to a restaurant in the town proper, Golden City.

"Alam mo, mahal na mahal ni Dario 'yang batang 'yan," Winston, the tricycle driver who brought Kuya Dario to the hospital when he had his attack, told Miled.

After the burial yesterday, Miled said that Mot-mot had reminded her to bring the watch Kuya Dario had given her. But Miled, somehow forgot, because they were in a hurry.

Mot-mot, I thought, was holding on to the last gift Kuya Dario has given her and wanted perhaps, to tell his Tatay, before his graveyard, that she would forever keep it.

But do kids ever comprehend death. After Kuya Dario was buried, Den-den, his first ever apo said, "Na, na (Wala na), tatay," he seemed to be informing us as if to tell us that he understood. There was no sadness, however, in his eyes, perhaps only acceptance that some things do end.

When Den-den grows up, we will remind him of his Tatay and how well he loved him. One day, perhaps, when he's old enough to access the Internet, I would show him this.

Because such was Kuya Dario's generosity. There were so many gifts, tangible and otherwise, that Kuya Dario gave us. For that, and the memories, he shall forever be remembered.

Friday, May 12, 2006

No Surprises

I got letters from two unexpected senders: my brother and my Mom. Because of its nature, I won't discuss here the details of the letters but will instead highlight some important points.

My mother knows now, officially. I didn't bother to ask how she reacted, suffice it to know that she now knows. My brother let her in on the secret ("not actually a secret to those who read your blog on the Internet," my brother wrote). Turned out he could read my blog so he printed some of the entries and, lo and behold, gave it to my Mom (I could imagine a hearing where the prosecution offers evidence against the accused).

It's quite a relief to let the cat out of the bag, so to speak, to the people who should have known it first.