Monday, August 28, 2006

Cupid Without Wings

I finally saw you sleep. Like a little baby. No, like a cupid without his wings. I love your curly hair. Your almond eyes. Your eyebrows. And those pink lips.

You asked when we woke up how was my last relationship, whether we were happy. (You saw his picture and wanted to spill beer on it).

Ask not the details of my past. I tried so hard to forget. Now that you're here, none of those matters.

Here's A Real Talent

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
(photo from Philippine Idol)

Please vote for Maureen in this year's Philippine Idol.

Maureen is from the same high school, Quezon National High School, as I am. She was a batch lower. I remember she was some sort of a protege of Ma'am Pionilla (of the QNHS Glee Club). She'd be asked to sing during special events in school and she'd pack the grandstand like no one could.

My friends and I were elated to learn that she made it to the top 24 of Philippine Idol.

She's one talented girl and we couldn't wait to see her be the IDOL!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Last Night

She was walking away, as though we've come from the same destination and were parting ways.

Hazel was giggly, wearing a red scarf and a white top. As she was walking away, she was heartily laughing saying: "Alam ko lahat 'yun. Ako nga 'yun ...."

And then my alarm clock set off.

If it was Hazel's way of saying goodbye, then I appreciate it. At least, even if it was in a dream, I saw her walk away ....

Godspeed ....

Last Night

She was walking away, as though we've come from the same destination and were parting ways.

Hazel was giggly, wearing a red scarf and a white top. As she was walking away, she was heartily laughing saying: "Alam ko lahat 'yun. Ako nga 'yun ...."

And then my alarm clock set off.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Goodbye, Hazel

Josie described it best, that feeling after knowing what had happened to Haze: crushed. Last Saturday, I knew what Josie had meant.

It was my first time to see Arlene (Farol) who were there in Bicol when the accident happened and who attended to Hazel and her crew's remain.

One of Hazel's friends was speaking about their group's memories of Hazel. "Marami kami memories ni Hazel," she said.

At that point, Arlene turned to me and said, crying: "Tayo rin naman, 'di ba?"

I could no longer hold back the tears, I sat beside her and we both wept uncontrollably. I felt being orphaned.

Before the necrological services ended, I presented a gift to Sacha (Hazel's baby) and her family on behalf of the Justice and Courts Reporters Association (JUCRA): a scrapbook we lovingly fashioned into a big diary. We named it the "Dear Sacha (stories about Mommy) album."

I couldn't contain myself, sitting before her friends and family. We were one in grief and longing for Hazel.

"Mommy," I turned to Hazel's mom, "this is our gift to Sacha. In it, we've written stories about Hazel and included photos of her. So when Sacha grows up, she'll have stories about her Mom, who had loved her so much, to live by."

It was our small gesture of immortalizing Hazel and making tangible which could only be felt, like love.

Words are a writer's currency. That has always been a secret source of joy for me.

And with words, Hazel shall live immortal, both in our hearts and our collective memories.

Goodbye, Hazel, however unacceptable, death always is.

You will not be forgotten.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Hazel, To You Who Showed How To Live Life

Last night came the inevitable.

Hazel's picture in a corner stood in stark contrast to the dead body in the coffin. It was impossible. It couldn't be her. She's still young, only 37 and full of dreams.

"I need this, Jiji," I told a friend when I convinced her that we should stay longer and wait for the body to be brought in.

I needed a closure; a point where reality shatters disbelief. She lay there, lifeless, and a tidal wave of memories came crashing in: that day when a saleslady mistook us for a couple; the spur-of-the-moment coffee trips, the singing, the banter, the fond dreams.

She was one of the first few trusted friends I came out to, long before the incidental coming out. She was there when I first fell in love with a boy. She was there to listen to my ramblings about my insecurity about my long-distance relationship. She was there when I broke up with him and long after the break-up. In all of these, she never judged me but always listened and comforted me.

Maybe that was why I was always excited to go to the beat knowing I would see her. After phoning in my summaries, we would cap our "days" with a short trip to the mall to share coffee, or perhaps to argue which shade of foundation would look good on her (was it the yellow-based foundation? Or the nude?) and what shade of lipstick would be camera-friendly.

If we didn't go to the mall, we would spend our days singing. Just singing. From her cubicle she would burst into a song, a classic preferably, that showed her talent. Or maybe Kenny Lattimore's "For You" and how we related to the message of self-less giving and loving. Or maybe Broadway songs and how it mirrored life's tragedies and mysteries.

We would dream of things we thought we still could accomplish: life in Paris for her, life in Spain for me. With her, nothing was impossible.

I remembered how proud she was of Sacha and how slowly she's taking after her: the temperament and the boisterous laughter when she's happy.

She was, very much, like a junior Hazel.

I told her, during the send-off party JUCRA held for those leaving the beat (Philip for Congress, Hazel for the General Assignment and Josie for Canada) that I resented her replacement (not the person but the idea) because a friend was taken away from me.

But now death has robbed me again.

It is hard writing about her in the past tense because I thought we would grow old to see our dreams come true. See Sacha blossom into a young lady and marry. And later on, much later on, die fulfilled in a faraway land carved out of our dreams.

But her life was cut off. God, they say, has his own time. But it would take time for me to comprehend this and accept. Maybe, I will never.

Looking at her last night, I wondered, if she liked the way the embalmer had set her hair. Or if the foundation and lipstick were the right shade. Or if the barong suited her (or would she have preferred a more lady-like garb?).

Looking at her, I tried but failed to reconcile my memories of her with the lifeless body in a coffin.

The reality I am looking at says Hazel is gone. But I guess I can never accept her passing away.

The tragedy of death, is that it is a tiny punctuation: someone you know will die, but the rest of the world will soon move on.

But for us who loved Hazel, our lives have taken a jolt, and its course are forever changed.

If there were lessons Hazel has taught us: it is to love, unconditionally, to treasure your friends and nurture them, to always dream, and dream big -- to live in the nowness of the moment, to burst into a song because that is the language of the heart that is alive in loving and to pause, once in a while, to make those near you, feel that they are loved.

Yes, sooner or later, the world will move on for all of us. But it will be a different kind of revolution, made beautiful and worthwhile because of Hazel.

Monday, August 14, 2006

August 13, 2006

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Back when death was an alien idea. Hazel (front row, second from right) still pregnant with Sacha at the steps of the Department of Justice with other reporters covering the beat.

Tanda ko pa, Hazel, nung dumating 'yung pinakamagandang balita na dumating sa buhay mo. Noong una, duda ka pa, nasa mall tayo 'nun, sabi mo lately nahihilo ka. Sabi ko, "neng, baka buntis ka!" Nagtawanan tayo 'nun.

Isang linggo pagkalipas, totoo pala. Napakaswerte ko na kasama mo ako 'nung unang pumintig ang isang nilalang sa 'yong tiyan.

Mula noon binawasan na natin ang pagkakape sa San Francisco Coffee. Trip natin dun, kasi parang nasa Amerika tayo sa tunog ng coffee shop. Ambabaw minsan talaga ng kaligayahan natin. Pero ang pinakamababaw minsan, siya ang nagbibigay ng pinakamatinding saya.

Mahilig tayo mag-mall at hindi naman natin itinatanggi 'yun. 'Dun tayo nagbo-bonding. Nag-aangasan. Nagpapalitan ng pangarap (ang plano mong sundan si Josie kahit maging mga DH tayo sa mansion ng lola mo). Ang mga sapatos na ilang beses nating susukatin. Ang mga pangdekorasyon sa bahay (hanggang ngayon hindi ko pa nabibili 'yung sabi kong bolang bilog na magandang lampara sa bahay ko).

Mami-miss ka namin. Ikaw ang nagturo sa amin kung paano maging totoong tao at totoong kaibigan. Para kitang nanay dito sa Maynila. Pero aminin, minsan napagkamalan tayong mag-jowa sa Black Shop. Habang ipinapakita mo ang sinuot mong damit, tanong nung saleslady (salesman?), kung boyfriend mo ako. Isinumpa mo ang shop na 'yun dahil akala nila matrona ka. Hindi lang matrona, lesbiyanang matrona pa.

Kung wala rin lang tayong ginagawa sa JUCRA, ginagawa natin itong music school.Sa sobrang hilig nating kumanta, nagdala na si Kuya Roy ng electric guitar para naman may accompaniment tayo.

Magkatabi tayo ng manalo si Fantasia Barrino sa American Idol. Mangiyak-ngiyak tayo sa kanyang panalo. Parang sinasabing, tinuruan tayo ng estrangherong ito na mangarap at abutin ito.

Mga pangarap. Kung siguro pera ang pangarap, tayo na ang pinakamayamang bilyonaryo sa buong mundo. Gusto mong pumunta sa Europa, sa Paris (para makapagkape tayo at ako naman mag-yosi).

Marami kang pangarap para kay Sacha. Nakakatuwa nang minsang ipakita mo ang picture n'ya. Wala pang dalawang taon, pero naka-one length na ang inaanak ko. Tanong ko, "wala pa bang boyfriend 'yan?"

Pero sa kasamaang palad, ipinagkait ng pagkakataon na makita mo pang lumaki si Sacha. Anim o pitong taon n'yo na hinintay, pero wala pang dalawang taon mong nakasama. Wala na sigurong mas lulungkot pa sa pagnakaw sa 'yo ng pinakamaliligaya sanang sandali mo bilang ina.

At iyon ang nakakagagalit. Sa isang saglit, bigla na lang ganun. Wala na.

Pero hindi namin papayagan na ang ninakaw na sandali ay sadyang mawawala na lang basta. Lalaban kami.

Pangako, Hazel, bubuuin namin, sa bawat larawan na meron ka namin, sa bawat ala-ala na meron kami, sa bawat kanta na alam naming kantahin kasama ka, sa bawat kwento ... Hazel, sisiguruduhin naming makikilala ni Sacha ang mommy n'ya na alam namin na mahal na mahal siya.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Si Hazel kasama si Arnel. Kapwa sila nasawi kasama si Maeng nang banggain ng isang bus sa Pamplona, Camarines Sur, August 13, 2006, bandang alas-kwatro ng hapon. (larawan galing sa phlog ni Jove Francisco)

Bus driver in ABC-5 accident released August 15, 2006
ABC 5 crew dies in Bicol road crashAugust 13, 2006
3 ABC-5 crew members die in road accidentAugust 13, 2006

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Bilog Na Buwan

Bilog ang buwan. Noong February 1, 1814 sumabog ang Mt. Mayon, alas-tres ng umaga. Bilog ang buwan noong February 4, 1814.

Hinatak na naman ng bilog na buwan ang lamang-loob ng Mayon noong February 2, 1993. Apat na araw pagkatapos, full moon.

Mamaya, August 9, 6:54 pm, magiging bilog na bilog ang buwan. Nangangamba ang mga taga-Bicol na muli na namang sasambulat ang bulkan sa mga panahong ito.

May siyentipikong basehan ang relasyon ng bilog na buwan at nag-aalburotong bulkan. Earth tide ang tawag ng PHILVOCS dito. Umaangat ang lupa sa tuwing may full moon, parang dagat, nahihila ng gravitation pull ng buwan ang kalaparan ng dagat.

Bilog ang buwan.

Pero may siyentipiko kayang basehan ang aking pagkabalisa/kalungkutan/katarayan sa mga panahong ito.

Nagising ako kanina dahil sa talak ng landlady ko. Naisip ko, hindi ko na pala dapat binili ang alarm clock na nagsasalita.

Pero ayokong bumangon. Dalawang beses akong nagigising sa umaga: isang bandang alas-siete at bandang alas-nueve y media. 'Yung una, sinanay ko ang sarili para sa maagang call time. 'Yung ikalawa, sa normal na pag-inog ng mundo.

Buong araw badtrip ako. Kung badtrip ko, hindi ako nagsasalita. Isinasara ko ang lagusan ng aking angas. Hindi rin ako nakikisalamuha sa mga taong araw araw ngang nakikita pero wala pa ring mga pangalan. Kawawa naman sila 'pag nagkataon.

Kaututang dila ko ang yosi. Tahimik siyang kasama. Maikli nga lang ang aming pagdadaupang palad.

Hindi ko alam, hanggang sa dumating ako sa newsroom na bilog pala ang buwan. Kaya pala, nasabi ko sa sarili.

Bilog ang buwan. Kung kaya niyang higitin ang tubig at lupa, bakit hindi akong taga-lupa?Hinihila niya ang lamang-loob ko. Hinahalukay niya ang matagal nang nakalibing na lungkot. Ginigising ang mga dati nang kinatakutan at hindi kasiguruduhan (naaalala ko si H. at P.). Binubuhay ang matagal nang namayapang pag-ibig, pag-asa, at pagkahumaling.

Tunay na nakakagambala ang napipintong pagsambulat.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Birthday Ti-Par ni Meyor

Mga kuha sa birthday party ni Meyor (Seymour Barros Sanchez) ang aming Editor-in-Chief sa Kule 03-04. Hehehehe. Pinakamarami na ito, ayon kay Meyor na natipon niya para sa mini-reunion. Kaya lang nung mag-email siya at nagbilang at naglista ng mga pangalan ng mga tao, dalawa ang bilang niya kay Verk, ako wala. Muy bad. Hehehehehe.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Monday, August 07, 2006

Okay Na Sana

Okay na sana. Kinagat ko ang gusto niyang mag-date kami kahit inabutan na kami ng umaga noong Linggo. Galing ako sa mga dati kong kasama sa Kule noong Sabado at dumerecho ako para sa almusal ng beer at longganisa sa isang bar.

Kasama ko siya at 'yung kasama niya sa trabaho.

Okay na sana. Maganda ang kanyang mata. Dark-brown. Parang masarap ang labi, mapusyaw na pink ito. Pagupitan ko na lang ang buhok, mas okay na.

Sabi niya sa bahay siya matutulog.

Hmmmm, nagmamadali.

Okay na sana hanggang sa marinig ko yung babaeng kasama niya sa trabaho na nasa kabilang table.

Sa kanya: "Kaw talaga, namamakla ka na naman,".

Hindi pa ako lasing dahil narinig ko at nabwisit ako.

Naisip ko, tangna, may term pa lang ganun. Parang nambabae. O nanlalaki. Parang commodity. Nangisda. Nangahoy. Namangka. Nambaboy ka na naman.

Tinext ko sya: "shempre, narinig ko yung sinabi noong babae. Ano 'yun?"

"San ka sasakay?" tanong ko sa kanya.

"Ibaba mo na lang ako sa may SM. Doon ako sasakay pa-Caloocan," sabi niya.

Mukhang na-gets niya ang galit ko.

Sa loob ng cab.

"Nabasa mo text ko?" tanong niya.

Tiningnan ko ang XDA. Sabi niya sa text: "may gusto lang sa akin 'yun. tingin niya sa akin pokpok ako porke't maraming nagtatanong ng number ko."

Tumingin ako sa kanya. Tinaasan ko kilay.

Hindi ko na lang siya pinababa ng taxi. Malapit na rin lang naman ang kanyang uuwian. "Manong i-derecho n'yo na tapos balik na lang tayo Q.C."

Kinalabit ako. Sabi ko "Ano?" (Gusto yatang magpahalik, maghalikan kami.) Lumayo ako. Sumiksik sa kabilang side ng taxi.

Kumalabit ulit. "Ano?" (Gusto ko nang halikan. Tangna ang kulit!) Pero nagpigil ako.

Bumaba siya. Sa labas ng cab, nagba-bye. Feeling ko yung tipong babay ng mga sundalo na walang katiyakan kung buhay pang babalik galing sa giyera. O ng OFW na papunta ng Saudi (pwede ring Lebanon) na hindi alam kung kailan ang balik. Basta ganun ang feeling na nakuha ko noon.

Pag-uwi ko sa bahay, ibang araw na simula nang lumabas ako kahapon. Tinext ko sya na gusto ko sana siyang sa bahay na rin lang matulog. Pero nabad-trip ako sa narinig ko. (Nainsulto ang mas tamang term). Sabi ko pa sa kanya, pumasok ako sa relasyon dahil gusto ko siya. (Akala ko, ito na ang kasunod na taong mamahalin ko). Sana, kako, ganun din siya. Sabi ko kaya siguro naiinis ako na nagpapabili siya ng cap (ano'ng kasunod? t-shirt, pantalon, sapatos, bahay, lupa, sasakyan, bukirin, byahe sa abroad, scholarship grant, kabuhayan showcase?) dahil 'yun na lang ba ang magiging basehan ng relasyon.

Text ko sa kanya: "Bata pa ako para maging matrona."

Sabi ni R., talagang ganyan minsan raw natatanso tayo. Pero ayoko namang maging judgmental. Ang pinaka-test ay kung magti-text sya ulit pagkatapos ng text na 'yun.

"Obvious ba, hindi pa siya nagti-text," sabi ni M. na taga-kabilang istasyon.

Parang tama silang dalawa. Hanggang ngayon, hindi pa siya nagpaparamdam.

Naisip ko, baka walang load. Pwes, pasensiyahan, dahil hindi ako ang magbibigay nun.