Thursday, March 18, 2010


I have to tell you this while the smoke of memory is still trapped in my foggy mind. I was under the flyover. The massive cement block dark like a starless sky above me, I waited in the middle of that busy highway without a thing in my mind waiting for the signal to beat green. A rush of energy suddenly flowed within me from nowhere taking away the pain, the worries and the ghosts that haunt me. Then the go signal. A mute brisk. There was the homeless man almost hunch back sporting a toothless smile a worthless effort of begging from people passing the busy road. I was happy to see him. I was ecstatic to see the embers of a dying soul ignite a life. I ran and saw secret lives passing through the corners of my eyes. Beads of sweat dropped slowly to the ground. The ground was nourished by sweat because the rain has done a great abandon.

Few hours ago two women were in my sight languishing from pain. They sought help because of desperation. They talked about connections, of buying judgments, of having developed profound mistrust. I talked of keeping faith when I know very well that it is like now where everybody prays for rain and nothing else comes but futile promise of rain clouds that quickly dissipate in the skies.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Memories of the Heat

The heat is becoming very unbearable these days. It’s funny to tell you that I am hiding on the bedside to avoid the scorching rays of the sun that enter my room through its wide windows. I am trying to sleep but the heat just steals everything and it keeps me against my desire to be awake.

I don’t know how to begin this. But years before when my family has been in the downside of life, staying under the heat of the sun was quite as natural as say reading a book. By now, you must have heard of the whole story, or maybe pieces of it, that during some days in the past, I walk for miles just to reach a solitary hut beside the river carrying breakfast, lunch or dinner for my father as the case maybe. I am trying to remember those days when walking in the middle of the day with the might of the sun for at the most mostly an hour was just an ordinary event or daily undertaking in my life.

It was a sad story you see because looking back, I really never wanted myself to do it and I basically questioned and blamed everything that my father had reasoned about to make such duties logical and necessary in the scheme of things. I hated it because, first of all, I will be missing my friends and their playful journeys at the back of the house of my cousin Badong and I detest the thought of people seeing me in a pitiful state carrying a container of water and bayong which is often filled with big casseroles and all. I detest the thought of my classmates in the highschool next our town where I am attending to seeing me doing that thing and them thinking that I am just a poor boy raised in a poor family trying hard to meet both ends just to study in such school which is the painful truth and fact.

And that I was able to do the long walks for years together with my siblings never made me rest into accepting that it was a necessary thing to do under the circumstances and I went into believing that my father did that to us in order to persecute us and to bring shame in us because he believes and I saw him utter this words that we, his children have no future and that we are bound to fail in whatever road we will take. I thank him somehow for telling that to me because in all the years after that and until now I am trying my best to prove him wrong.

It went like I said for years, walking and walking and walking everyday every night that passed and creative I did some things to make the activity a mental one and to push myself into believing that I should humble myself to lessen the negative impact of it into my being.

Sometimes just to get over the heat I think and pray for rain. With the mind of the child, I put stories in every step I take, in every house I pass through, the stones by the roadside, the dikes in the paddies, the haystacks, the bliss of seeing beauty in a barren field with the parched land crumbling upon the footsteps, and that God loves me more than ever.

Seeing the nearing hut as I approach it gave immense comfort to me like a mirage in a desert. For all the years of walking, I developed this weird attachment to the beauty of it making me think that someday I will build the same hut for my own family as a rest house. When my father sold the property against his will, he didn’t mind that in his sadness comes a painful awakening in me for the last time that we will never have the power to cling to things which make us happy forever and that poor people as we are, we have the least of control over things in this world.

I was not so much relieved by the fact that I will end up the story of me walking for miles, passing through the once happy houses and homes I envy so much by losing the hut and the pond. Sometimes I really get emotional especially during these days I don’t know why.

Maybe it’s because of the heat and the memories that came with it.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

New Chapter

It’s a Sunday afternoon and I have nowhere to go. I should have slept half-naked there in my tepid shelter with only a rusting industrial fan to ventilate it but my feet are yearning to stride somewhere my mind doesn’t know about. So I have decided to walk and survey the neighborhood. I live in the city and in this part you can rarely see empty spaces where your eyes could find rest. On every imaginable lot stands buildings, apartments, schools, all roads lead to high rise structures, so barren and distressing. A soaring condominium rises above the horizon surrounded by scaffoldings as it is yet to be completed and where the train lay near its base.

I have settled here for weeks now since I started working in a law firm as an associate. I commute every day taking two jeepney rides just to get to the office. Oftentimes, I arrive late because I have yet to adjust myself waking up early in the morning in order no to be caught up in traffic jams. I have no choice but to let myself be employed for the meantime and not to put up my own law office for lack of resources and experience. But don’t get me wrong, I enjoy working under the supervision of an Atenean. I am learning a lot of things including certain realities I have yet to digest and understand.

From here on, I will be transferring vignettes of my life to a new site entitled: The Fledgling Lawyer. I can’t help but be sentimental about this. I have lurked in this corner for years and have wept all the tears and shed all the blood that came with what Frost once described as one’s love quarrels with this world. I tried to trace back what made me decide to put up and start this blog and has realized that little has been really devoted to telling the story of the death of thirty thousand fishes.

The death of thirty thousand fishes refers to my childhood. It spans years of being with fishes every second of my younger days. We have this small fishpond near the river and miles from our house which I used to tend for years before it was later mortgaged and sold by my father. I have witnessed many splendid moments and miracles in that pond which I used to tell my sister will be later captured in a memoir I will write before I die. I used to be left alone in that small hut standing in the dike near the river to look for cranes which will dive in the pond and eat those little fishes which I tediously feed everyday. Those little fishes which I must protect according to my father because it is because of them that we get to eat three times a day.

There are many unforgettable memories among them is the fondling of a swarm of hungry fishes as I put my hands full of caked feeds underneath the water, the nibbling of thousand gentle creatures, the splashing of salt water, the scorching heat and the sparkling sight of fishes reflecting the light of the sun through their silvery scales…scenes I could not just leave behind the pages of forgotten reminiscence. The water spout which passed by the river on that stormy day in June; the sound of the motor banca and the feeling of its nearness in the middle of the night; the packed dinner which my father delivers to me every night, always late and leaving me starved; the bickering between me and my father and how he almost beat me to death; the sight of him lying in the banca prostrate and almost dead. Rich and haunting experiences that molded me into what I am now.

From here on, this blog will be devoted to those recollections. Whenever I will have the time to ponder and reflect on them, I will make sure to immediately write them and rush to an internet shop to post it here. I will say goodbye to this journal for now and make it a repository of my past. A cathartic activity I hope to share with you. It was a pleasure to meet all those who had time to visit this blog some of them fellow bloggers who share the same experiences in life. Ciao…

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Love on Paper

A blot of ink
starts a serenade
of words.

On an infinite line
flows a rush
of feelings
only this pen could attest.

A gentle grip
and then slither
a smile, a thought
that runs
in a complicit
between love
and paper.

And you hope,
a smile.
Could it ever be
written on this scrap
when all that it is waiting
is a period
to end,

this love
on this paper,
now flying
in the air.

Translated in Spanish

Amor en papel

Una mancha de tinta
comienza una serenata
de las palabras.

En una infinita línea
los flujos de un apuro
de sentimientos
sólo que esta pluma puede dar fe.

Un agarre suave
y, a continuación, para resbalar

una sonrisa, un pensamiento
que se ejecuta
en un cómplice
entre el amor
y el papel.

Y que espera,
otra vez,
una sonrisa.
¿Podría ser
escrito en este trozo
cuando todo lo que está a la espera
es un período
a fin,

este amor
sobre este documento,
ahora que enarbolen
en el aire.

Monday, May 11, 2009


It was like an atomic bomb has been dropped in my little town. As the bus passed along villages, one cannot waver at the communal feeling of sorrow and sadness because of homes destroyed and lives lost as typhoon “Emong” (codename: Chan Hom) wreaked havoc Thursday evening, May 7th in Western Pangasinan. Our house in Bani was not spared from the ravaging storm packing winds of 150 kph with gustiness of 185 kph uprooting electric posts and trees, toppling off cars and trucks, displacing thousands of families from their homes.

I have never seen first-hand such a tragedy and stark irresponsibility in my whole life. It is in these times that you ask immediate relief and aid from the government and you get nothing in response but the same voice that you heard while you say those words. News came Friday that relief operations were on the way to affected towns and communities but as to when will those promised help filter in to the helpless families who have no roofs under their heads while torrential rain continues is still a million dollar question (not so during election time of course). Only in the Philippines. Families are left on their own to fix their homes while they put makeshift shelters near the road local government officials sit down and talk about how they would deal with loots brought in by the automatic release of calamity funds. Our incarcerated community leader has been filling in news from his cell that families will receive aid equally whether rich or poor and it made the poor people cry foul necessarily but what do you expect from a mad man who has no sense of justice at all. So that compounds the gravity of the problem: bad leaders plus ravaging storms plus poor communities equal: catastrophe.

So here I am, appealing to you all who will have the chance to read this to help in spreading the news that our communities need help in order for families in this part of the country rebuild their lives which were gravely disrupted and shattered by the recent calamity and the irresponsibility of the government. What they show and feature in the news is a minute reflection of the overall disaster here in Pangasinan. Government officials are always quoted in the news commenting on the damage to the fisheries owned by a few affluent businessmen but where are the countless people left homeless and what about the efforts to help them? We have yet to see and get help.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Boy is now a Lawyer

Heavy downpour hits Baguio this morning. Visibility is low and the temperature drops as well.It's my second time to visit the city since news came that I passed the Bar exams. It's my first time to visit the city as a full-fledged lawyer having taken my oath, having signed in the Roll of Attorneys and having given my corresponding Roll number. The bliss and excitement naturally had died down by now and I am off to face the realities accompanying the event, the fact and the truth. I still have no concrete plans to share with you about how to direct my newfound career. People in my small community have all been coming and visiting the house at Pangasinan to congratulate and to consult me about legal problems and whether I like to accept their respective cases and bring them to court. Problems like land disputes, election bouts, and collection of sum of money (that made me think whether I really uplifted my standing to a higher level or whether I demoted myself into being a mere collector of debt) have been flooding in making my life a little busier than before, a little bit dignified, if I may say, a little bit fulfilled that I am finally experiencing things which only happen in my dreams. I am also caught in a dilemma of whether to pursue private practice without capital making me more alluded to the insinuations of my father that I must accept cases without intial payment and have the proceeds of the case slashed into half in my favor and my uncle’s horrific statement that I should no longer let myself taste poverty by all means or whether to pursue work in the government or in a private company allowing me to have a fixed income for the meantime with prejudice of course to my career advancement and litigation experience. I am more bent into working with the Supreme Court having said everybody I meet with pride that I will be working there soon. However, uncertainties regarding that surface and I am now yet again bothered as to how I will pursue both worlds: a stint in the government and private practice. . .as to how I will reconcile both. . .well, I must figure that out soon.

So here I am, documenting a workshop here in Baguio for the meantime, letting myself drift away from all the realities I am facing. Letting myself indulge while I am booked at this classy hotel in Gibraltar Road necessarily surrounded by thick pine forests because it is still near the Camp John Hay Reservation area. I am booked here in this hotel where they pretty serve sumptuous food that pleases my gastronomic tastes; where a piped in music with endless jazz music reaches even the toilet and into unimaginable spaces; where a grand piano lies there at the ballroom waiting to be played; where laughs and giggles pervade rooms and halls even during an “unconventional”mass; where I felt for the 2nd time that I am shredded into pieces and had levitated in the air for a while only because of a heart-shaped paper that was given to me by that dame that always give me shivers. . .because in that paper she wrote something I will never forget in my life.

I am finally a lawyer and although some friends who likewise passed always say that fact of being such has yet to sink in their minds, in my case, it long before did. My success could not in any way be attributed only to my capacities but to many people who have supported me all the way, always believing in me and never letting me feel discouraged. I dedicate this to them. Although still a big responsibility lies ahead on how I will pay this forward rest assured that efforts are on the way including an online legal aid forum which I will put up soon that will be devoted to the public to help them in their legal concerns.

Finally, while I look back to all the experiences I went through in law school and during the review some of which are captured in this blog, I honestly felt and ask how did I make it considering that I almost gave up everything. But look at the beauty of life and happy endings. The boy who once witnessed the death of thirty thousand fishes is now a lawyer.