Monday, April 30, 2007

Where A Hundred Wind Chimes Clanged

I live in a flat up in the highlands of Baguio and down under. (Huh?) Well, let me explain.

My apartment’s located in one of the lagoons. I myself didn’t know how I managed to find this place and subsequently love it. From the road where jeepneys pass, you will need to walk meters to get to a waiting shed where you will find a steep and nauseating stairs with seemingly immeasurable steps. I don’t find it immense nowadays after living in this corner of the world for almost four years to date. Mornings are always feats of stamina and agility like a mountaineer who just reached the peak of Mt. Everest. Stories from the neighborhood tell of drunk men, children, and disoriented wives who stumbled and tripped while passing to this deathly stairs. Many survived, they tell, but their experience immortalized by dislocated arms, pain in their heads, hemorrhages, and lasting protuberance. But, some unluckily perished. Those who didn’t survive the ordeal of rolling down the Cimmerian abyss left their spirits there, stories tell. At one instance, an old woman cautioned and advised me to bring flashlights as I usually come home late because of my evening classes which last till 9 o’clock. She told me the story of a young little girl’s soul who pushes indiscriminately the backs of those who pass by the stairs. Fortunately, in the whole duration of my stay, I did not stumble nor pushed by any apparition to roll down. My landlady did just few weeks ago. I was shocked when I saw her one morning black and blue. I was reluctant to ask her at first what happened (this might be a case of domestic violence I guessed) but she explained it anyway when she noticed that I was a bit shocked by her sudden appearance (her face was splintered with bruises and her arms considerably clothed with tourniquet). She was one of those disoriented wives who suddenly lost balance while going down.

I guess you can’t think of a man who inhabits this place dying of a heart attack. People here are naturally exercised strenuously by the height of the stairs except for lotus-eaters whom you can hear of something like: “I hoped politicians will donate and construct an escalator here.” or “I wished I would find a partner who will carry me on his back everyday.” (Cruel punishment. Lesson learned: Never marry one of these ladies who lives here.)

From the road, you can see our village like a mound of ramshackles. Many families can tolerate the daily grueling experience. Every time I go to work I see children playing at the stairs not minding the danger they were into. Just imagine them sliding their bodies down the railings as if no one really cared about their lives. And they do this with so much fun. The daredevil instinct in them really shows. Hehe.

A lot of times, I thought of leaving and finding another flat somewhere near the city. But, oh God, I have a lot of books, thousands of them and imagining myself transporting all those books, makes me sigh. I conditioned my mind already that I would stay until I finish from law school, anyway, and hopefully, that’s only a year away. So I’d better brace myself for another year of pandemonium: women’s echoed voices shouting at their husbands at night; drunk men doing relentlessly, and always out of tune, their version of Sinatra’s “I Did it My Way” in their videokes (I think there are hundred units of those in the village); drunk teens throwing empty beer bottles and stones indiscriminately at each other’s houses; gossipers throwing cracks of laugh at each other during afternoons.

When I look back, on hindsight, and ask myself what made me stay for almost four years, I answer with so much conviction: “Nothing”. hehe. I think the place loved me for it gave me so much pleasure. I loved my bed which gave me a clear view of the night skies when I lie down at the end of the day. And oh, I loved the magical and melodious clanging of the wind chimes of every home when storms visit. Last year, the experience helped me to appease myself of so much grieving when in the mood of gloom a rush of wind passed by the village. The roaring woke me up in the night. I got up and looked at my window; it was misty with the continuous rains and splattered with droplets of water. I planted my right ear on the window and the music of hundred wind chimes serenaded me well through into the night.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The “Reptilic” Flying Fishes

As I write this blog entry polar ice caps are melting significantly in the arctic and antarctic regions. Polar bears, penguins and sea lions are palpitating about their changing habitats and basically how to save their lives and their youngs from the consistent thawing of ice where they used to sing and dance their lives out. (Poor Mumble!) Eons ago this melting drama happened at the conclusion of ice age and will make its grand comeback.

And what would humans become of this complete turn around of events. Living things’ capacity to adapt to its environment would be put to test for sure. Charles Darwin left a legacy of trying to explain and stir Christianity by presenting his theory of evolution; just as remarkable as his theory is the fact that he left among us, in our time, a question a few men have tried to explore. Would humans continue to evolve? We will. (Said who?) Me. Hehe (Uh, okay! Curtains down please the show is over!!!) Okay let me try to expound my hypothesis.

We’re fishes once according to the theory and that’s because there’s no place like dry land before; our planet’s water-filled there’s the air space but God is really good He didn’t make us into birds or we’ll be tiring ourselves flying forever; that’ll be more strange I think than swimming forever. So we’re good swimmers once. We swam the depths and the breadth of the ocean so it’s quite okay that we cannot explore the whole depth and breadth of our seas and oceans because we’re the kings and queens of the aquatic kingdom long time ago. There’s no sense in exploring it again, what’s important is that we knew it before. But when waters receded and formed into ice, dry land appeared before our eyes. Some fishes who were sleeping a little above these lands when this tragedy happened, were left flapping their fins in search of waters to swim through. They didn’t find water anymore because in seconds the water went thousands of miles away from them. Some fishes gasped. Others breathed. Those who gasped naturally died and those who still breathed unsurprisingly lived and became humans to cut the long story short. Hehe.

Millions of years after, humans continue to evolve, nevertheless, interminably from his sojourn in the sopping world. The evolution, however, was concentrated in the innate characteristics not much of the physical manifestations except for some isolated cases of women growing beards, minds mutating into those of crabs’; snakes’; some becoming animals but which is usually not specified out of proclivity. Humans achieved the height of mental prowess but of which mental prowess declined their capacity for reason. Humans knew the logic of things: actions, thus, consequences; from premises to conclusions. Humans knew the logic of things, but in most cases, learnings out of deduction or induction come late; very, very late. And so out of a thousand years of abuse or disuse of the earth’s resources we thought of things being limited and of sustainability. We’re the greatest primadonna in our planet’s time and existence.

Hundred years forward and few land masses could be found. There you could find them at the highest peaks. Expect a mall atop the Sierra Madre or Mt. Apo at that; a basketball court at Mt. Everest. Humans would evolve and would probably have gills and wings, yes, that much sought after wings for flight. But after 100 years, we could only fly a few yards like those of chickens today. Expect a hundred more years for longer flights when humans become leaner because there is no more food to eat. Humans will likewise rediscover themselves as fishes: a reconnection to his previous habitat. Humans would no less than evolve to a different kind of specie: the so-called “reptilic” flying fishes. Humans will have the ability to walk on land, swim through the seas, and fly the skies. Few thousands will remain of the former human specie and that’s because many opted to live the way humans do before conditions became hostile not to mention the return to- what others consider as despicable-“orangutanic” ancestry. Naturally those who accepted the truth survived them.

As “reptilic” flying fishes, they will walk, fly and swim, and get a bird’s eye view of the extent of devastation; the remnants of generations of human living inundated and submerged deep within the waters. A tale of a great civilization which was not able to deconstruct reason in due time.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Still Dancing in the Apocalyptic Tune of Global Warming

I mean, we still perform our daily tasks, we still eat, we go to work or school, we sleep, we go to the mall, and because it is summer we go to the beach. We go on our daily lives doing our daily businesses in the foreshadow of a looming global disaster that is brought about by global warming. All of us including myself may tire about the news we see on TV or we surf in the internet about the effects of global warming like the current death toll in Iraq or the unending political wars. Maybe, we already became flaccid at the constant spur of bad news. Grabe naman parati na lang bang ganito!!! Many of us might consider the fact that the apocalyptic drumbeat will likely to start rolling not within our lifetime. So why should we care anyway we will not be the ones who will be directly affected by the phenomenon. And so goes the sad story of the earth and its earthlings propounding the ephemeral concept of coexistence and the sordid tale of hushing around and doing the usual blabbermouth at the eleventh hour for a horrendous catastrophe.

And just when the hustle and bustle of life continues as of the moment, I came across this article by Live Science predicting the timeline of earth vis-à-vis global warming outcomes. I remember in my childhood days there’s this show in TV every New Year’s Eve with a cast of foretellers predicting that the “end is near.” Everybody at the house pass upon this joviality like a spoof-grown sitcom that does no less than tickling the human mind. Now that scientists become foretellers of the earth’s doom. We may at least want to “booh” ourselves and have that necessary goose bumps that will help us realize things.

Here’s an excerpt of the portents we might want to reckon ourselves with:

Timeline: The Frightening Future of Earth
By Andrea Thompsonand Ker Thanposted: 19 April 200708:32 am ET

Our planet's prospects for environmental stability are bleaker than ever with the approach of this year’s Earth Day, April 22. Global warming is widely accepted as a reality by scientists and even by previously doubtful government and industrial leaders. And according to a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), there is a 90 percent likelihood that humans are contributing to the change.
The international panel of scientists predicts the global average temperature could increase by 2 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100 and that sea levels could rise by up to 2 feet.
Scientists have even speculated that a slight increase in Earth's rotation rate could result, along with other changes. Glaciers, already receding, will disappear. Epic floods will hit some areas while intense drought will strike others. Humans will face widespread water shortages. Famine and disease will increase. Earth’s landscape will transform radically, with a quarter of plants and animals at risk of extinction.
While putting specific dates on these traumatic potential events is challenging, this timeline paints the big picture and details Earth's future based on several recent studies and the longer scientific version of the IPCC report, which was made available to LiveScience.


More of the world's population now lives in cities than in rural areas, changing patterns of land use. The world population surpasses 6.6 billion. (Peter Crane, Royal Botanic Gardens, UK, Science; UN World Urbanization Prospectus: The 2003 Revision; U.S. Census Bureau)


Global oil production peaks sometime between 2008 and 2018, according to a model by one Swedish physicist. Others say this turning point, known as “Hubbert’s Peak,” won’t occur until after 2020. Once Hubbert’s Peak is reached, global oil production will begin an irreversible decline, possibly triggering a global recession, food shortages and conflict between nations over dwindling oil supplies. (doctoral dissertation of Frederik Robelius, University of Uppsala, Sweden; report by Robert Hirsch of the Science Applications International Corporation)


Flash floods will very likely increase across all parts of Europe. (IPCC)
Less rainfall could reduce agriculture yields by up to 50 percent in some parts of the world. (IPCC)
World population will reach 7.6 billion people. (U.S. Census Bureau)


Diarrhea-related diseases will likely increase by up to 5 percent in low-income parts of the world. (IPCC)
Up to 18 percent of the world’s coral reefs will likely be lost as a result of climate change and other environmental stresses. In Asian coastal waters, the coral loss could reach 30 percent. (IPCC)
World population will reach 8.3 billion people. (U.S. Census Bureau)
Warming temperatures will cause temperate glaciers on equatorial mountains in Africa to disappear. (Richard Taylor, University College London, Geophysical Research Letters:)
In developing countries, the urban population will more than double to about 4 billion people, packing more people onto a given city's land area. The urban populations of developed countries may also increase by as much as 20 percent. (World Bank: The Dynamics of Global Urban Expansion)


The Arctic Sea could be ice-free in the summer, and winter ice depth may shrink drastically. Other scientists say the region will still have summer ice up to 2060 and 2105. (Marika Holland, NCAR, Geophysical Research Letters)


Small alpine glaciers will very likely disappear completely, and large glaciers will shrink by 30 to 70 percent. Austrian scientist Roland Psenner of the University of Innsbruck says this is a conservative estimate, and the small alpine glaciers could be gone as soon as 2037. (IPCC)
In Australia, there will likely be an additional 3,200 to 5,200 heat-related deaths per year. The hardest hit will be people over the age of 65. An extra 500 to 1,000 people will die of heat-related deaths in New York City per year. In the United Kingdom, the opposite will occur, and cold-related deaths will outpace heat-related ones. (IPCC)
World population reaches 9.4 billion people. (U.S. Census Bureau)
Crop yields could increase by up to 20 percent in East and Southeast Asia, while decreasing by up to 30 percent in Central and South Asia. Similar shifts in crop yields could occur on other continents. (IPCC)
As biodiversity hotspots are more threatened, a quarter of the world’s plant and vertebrate animal species could face extinction. (Jay Malcolm, University of Toronto, Conservation Biology)


As glaciers disappear and areas affected by drought increase, electricity production for the world’s existing hydropower stations will decrease. Hardest hit will be Europe, where hydropower potential is expected to decline on average by 6 percent; around the Mediterranean, the decrease could be up to 50 percent. (IPCC)
Warmer, drier conditions will lead to more frequent and longer droughts, as well as longer fire-seasons, increased fire risks, and more frequent heat waves, especially in Mediterranean regions. (IPCC)


While some parts of the world dry out, others will be inundated. Scientists predict up to 20 percent of the world’s populations live in river basins likely to be affected by increased flood hazards. Up to 100 million people could experience coastal flooding each year. Most at risk are densely populated and low-lying areas that are less able to adapt to rising sea levels and areas which already face other challenges such as tropical storms. (IPCC)
Coastal population could balloon to 5 billion people, up from 1.2 billion in 1990. (IPCC)
Between 1.1 and 3.2 billion people will experience water shortages and up to 600 million will go hungry. (IPCC)
Sea levels could rise around New York City by more than three feet, potentially flooding the Rockaways, Coney Island, much of southern Brooklyn and Queens, portions of Long Island City, Astoria, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, lower Manhattan and eastern Staten Island from Great Kills Harbor north to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. (NASA GISS)


The risk of dengue fever from climate change is estimated to increase to 3.5 billion people. (IPCC)


A combination of global warming and other factors will push many ecosystems to the limit, forcing them to exceed their natural ability to adapt to climate change. (IPCC)
Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will be much higher than anytime during the past 650,000 years. (IPCC)
Ocean pH levels will very likely decrease by as much as 0.5 pH units, the lowest it’s been in the last 20 million years. The ability of marine organisms such as corals, crabs and oysters to form shells or exoskeletons could be impaired. (IPCC)
Thawing permafrost and other factors will make Earth’s land a net source of carbon emissions, meaning it will emit more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than it absorbs. (IPCC)
Roughly 20 to 30 percent of species assessed as of 2007 could be extinct by 2100 if global mean temperatures exceed 2 to 3 degrees of pre-industrial levels. (IPCC)
New climate zones appear on up to 39 percent of the world’s land surface, radically transforming the planet. (Jack Williams, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)
A quarter of all species of plants and land animals—more than a million total—could be driven to extinction. The IPCC reports warn that current “conservation practices are generally ill-prepared for climate change and effective adaptation responses are likely to be costly to implement.” (IPCC)
Increased droughts could significantly reduce moisture levels in the American Southwest, northern Mexico and possibly parts of Europe, Africa and the Middle East, effectively recreating the “Dust Bowl” environments of the 1930s in the United States. (Richard Seager, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Science)


An Earth day will be 0.12 milliseconds shorter, as rising temperatures cause oceans to expand away from the equator and toward the poles, one model predicts. One reason water will be shifted toward the poles is most of the expansion will take place in the North Atlantic Ocean, near the North Pole. The poles are closer to the Earth’s axis of rotation, so having more mass there should speed up the planet’s rotation. (Felix Landerer, Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Geophysical Research Letters)

* * *
There’s this witty answer from the winner of the Miss Universe Pageant I will never forget. When asked with the final question: “What will you do when you’re the only living person left in this world?” Miss America answered, to the awe of the audience: “I’ll probably eat. . .eat and sleep.”

I want to help mitigate the effects of global warming most especially that my country located in the tropic region will probably bear the grunts of nature. I’m biting off more than I can chew. As my Communications teacher once said: “Mr. Onia, how would your premise be different and your discussion be distinct enough to invite others to read into you? This is the same argument thousands of people have used before you!” (Short of saying this doesn’t pass my standard) Through this blog entry. . .nah!!! At least I tried in my own little way.

But, Miss America might be correct. Life goes on and on and on and on and on. . . . .

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Men of Depression

In our small community, men who knot around their necks stiff blankets, flat iron wires or even straw tethers and hitch themselves like a jockey do to his horse on wooden beams high upon the ceiling or even steel clutches which support light bulbs to hang themselves, is relatively typical. Just last year, I remember at least two men in their mid-40s who took their lives the Judas’ way. The man who took his life at the backdrop of the rainy months of June was rumored to have an unscrewed up mind. Tell-tale gossipers moniker the man to be the cat-talker. Of course, you don’t find this to be a symptom of abnormality for humans because we all have this tendency to talk to our pets but of fledgling subjects and topics. What separates this man according to rumors is that he talks with them in the meow-purr dictum. Oh well, we could easily conclude that he really lost his mind. But previous to his having lost his mind is the sad story of man who have long died because of depression. They said his wife has a paramour. He couldn’t stand to see his wife being murdered by him so he probably took the pain and suffering by himself and internalized the vacuum that is with a passionate lover. The too-much-love-will-kill-you anthem by Queen to be precise.

The other man didn’t actually die because he hanged himself. This was the proximate cause but the immediate cause was that he actually drowned in the abyss of an infinite well somewhere in the middle of a rice field in the amianan. Because no one could really link his death to suicide (there was no autopsy-it was not a fad in the countryside much less a hype as in the CSI-type world) most people resigned into believing that the man accidentally tripped into the well while fetching water. I’m the last to believe when I heard the story. He hanged himself. How and why?

(To be continued. . .)

Monday, April 16, 2007


The date of the completion of its construction is inscribed on the elevated pavement leading to the front door-September 2, 1979. The deep inscription is nearly invisible during long days without rain as it was totally covered with dust. More than two decades passed, and one can only be mystified at how it stood annual spates and turbulent storms which could have wrest havoc to its existence. Its walls are made with neatly weaved sawali that were replaced once since its construction and which are starting to loosen up again. At the bottom of the walls, almost all the sides are dotted with big holes that have been patched with anything my grandmother would pick up and fit on them in order to preserve some dignity.

Ever since my mother abandoned the house, no one has been able to assume the responsibility of maintaining it. Except, of course, of the octogenarian and crippled old woman who always whispers in my ears that she would be leaving us soon because she foresees her death in just a few months. My grandmother has been living with us since my mother boldly liberated herself from the ghosts that hounded her life during her sojourn in the house. She left the house when I was twelve. On the day she was leaving, I remember myself climbing the guava tree with my childhood friend who asked me if my mother would go to another country because she had a big suitcase with her; the big and bulky maroon travel case my father forgot to carry with him in his last trip abroad to work as an OCW. I climbed the highest branch I could reach and looked over the roof of the house where I saw her on the other side of the road waiting for a bus. I answered my friend halfheartedly, “Maybe”.

My mother never spoke of her destination. Hope slipped from her grasp and even at the early age of twelve, I understood that.

The roof of our house is made of nipa that was annually replaced with new ones ready for the rainy season. My father resisted galvanized irons because these, he said, will cause too much heat inside during summer. He wanted ventilation by salvaging the cool air in the province during afternoons no matter how costly the maintenance required which only explains why our roof never improved. Cobwebs are strewn underneath it as flickers of light pass through numerous holes created by typhoons. When I was a child, the light coming from them appeared to me as a certain kind of divination because it looked as if it descended from heaven. I remember me and my sister Lia, spreading our bodies on our bed and letting the beams of light hit our nose, palms, legs and forehead. Lia would sit with her legs crossed and would position herself on the spot of the largest hole. The ray of light gave her a phosphorescent look and would pretend that she is an angel as I laugh at her.

Termites are everywhere! They creep from the foundations up to the roof. They leave cavities on the wooden framework of the house. They have eaten up the windowsills and the six posts that make up the framework. They could really be said as the inhabitants of the house. They occupy the empty space of our rooms, which have long been vacated by its true inhabitants.

All my siblings have their own lives now except for the youngest who still live with my grandmother but who is always out for school and frequents himself in somebody else’s house. The “diaspora” started with my mother that brought a certain kind of epidemic in our minds. The eldest was the first victim. She escaped wittingly by getting herself pregnant. The rest rebelled and God only knows where they are now. The house is always empty except for the hanging laminated picture on the wall at the sala that shows the four of us- Lia, Mike, Manang Mel, and me- posing in front of the church in the nearby town where we, together with our mother, religiously go every Sunday to hear mass. Just lately, I saw my face blotted and blurred as moisture penetrates into the last souvenir that time has salvaged from the past.

When I went back for the holidays, after a year of not visiting it, the house did not look livid like others which are adorned with lights and all that breathed excitement and comfort. It stands amidst unkempt weeds and fruit trees whose leaves covered most parts of the house except the western side that, ironically, looked almost barren like a desert.

When I opened the front door which I haven’t used for a long time, it shuddered as if in trepidation of my arrival. The thought of the dilapidated door falling over and hitting me was shocking as it intuitively spoke of the decrepitude suffered by our house and the confirmation of a long-standing question. After all these years, I feel the same longing I feel every afternoon when I was in primary school. Back then, every time the teacher dismisses the class at the moment the bell rings at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, happiness grows out of my heart as I get up from my seat with the feeling that I will finally take refuge from long months of battle in our humble house. There’s tranquility as I look at the window of our classroom and marvel at the beauty of the sunset glowing behind the enormous acacia tree whose leaves sparkled brightly flattering the glow of the fireflies in the evening, as I eagerly imagine my mother preparing my favorite merienda, washing our clothes, sweeping the accumulated dust in the sala and uprooting the unwanted weeds in front of the house carefully watching if a boy just alighted from the jeep that parked at the side of the road.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Ad Astra Per Aspera: The Lonely March

Four years ago, when I was doing my undergrad thesis, I floated a number of requests among researchers who specialize on the subject loneliness through email. Only one responded and he was Prof. Dan Russell the main author and developer of the UCLA Loneliness Scale. His first response was based on a general inquiry of mine, which is to know the fundamentals on the subject. He gave me copies of his two researches (1) on the validity and reliability of the UCLA Loneliness Scale as a measure of loneliness across cultures; and (2) a classic research on the history of loneliness studies in the US. I was overwhelmed by his response. This gave me the cue to pursue my desired area of study. Such acquaintance further led to his approval to my unassuming request of using the UCLA Loneliness Scale in my research. In his letter dated July 31st 2003, he prompted the utilization of the scale in its entirety.

I was deeply indebted to him. After four years, I accidentally stumbled upon the green-bounded output dusting underneath stacks of papers in a forlorn brown box that smells very timeworn. My name was etched in gold. I opened it and read the acknowledgment. I suddenly felt melancholic. . .It read:

“Be able to be alone. Lose not the advantage of solitude.”

I have endured the four years in college always sitting at the back seat or at every corner at the pleasure of the birds perched on the pine trees or the blank wall. I have endured this almost unbearable part of life talking mostly to myself about how a grueling day tired my being; about how stupid I’ve become; my inadequacies as a person. I have endured living this life alone. It is a hard decision o choose this life and it is equally difficult to always turn things to my advantage.

Being solitary is good. In my case, it let me learn how to battle my own self. It carried me to a journey of self-discovery. For who knows more than your inner self knows. One just needs to find that inner self in many cases, through the wisdom provided by others or just by the beauty of ugliness;: the beauty of failing an exam; of embarrassment; of disordered thinking; of endless misfortunes. But it is an utter hypocrisy to say that there is no loneliness in being alone.

Mine has been painful.

But I have already learned to accept this condition for “life” only begins when you are able to find yourself in others.

* * *

I would like to thank a number of persons who helped me along the way:

To Prof. Russell for trusting the motives of a complete stranger.

To Evelyn for lending me money when I am in dire need of it.

To Karryl, Heather, Lovely & Tiff. How I cherished your company.

To Dhina for the friendship.

To Romar & Jeff for the unforgettable adventures in that poverty-stricken flat.

To Prof. Hamada for my free handouts on child development.

To Prof. Liezl for letting me feel that I can go as high as average if I want to. Thank you for being a teacher to a troubled student.

To Ms. Rozel for her patience and trust. I regret not being able to sit in one of your classes.

To Ma’am Anavic for giving me an ultimatum to graduate and use her gift; for being proud of me during that speech.

To Manag Pen, my mentor; For helping me land a job and her endless advices. Thank you for nurturing me.

To Badz for saving my life thrice.

To Manang Le, my comrade in battle, my hero.

To Nanay Ket, Manang Mel Lyn, Mike and Mark who patiently waited for this final moment.

And to Our Lord for responding to a letter I sent Him on a stormy night.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

What About the Death of Thirty Thousand Fishes?

thirty thousand fishes is a working title of a current pastime where I try to recollect all the memories of a past that had probably inked into my consciousness forever. That past was so powerful and vivid and I thought it was worth coming up with a story initially but the experience had seen me writing a good number of words, paragraphs, chapters and so on. . . am posting the pambungad of an experiment I started for about two years now. . .an experiment which seems to last a lifetime. . .

What about the death of thirty thousand fishes?

It marked the end of a smooth sailing passage into life’s tumultuous moments.

The bulwark of water coming from the water pump reflects the silver moon that hanged in the night. It was way past midnight and my father and I were busy salvaging the repugnant breathing of every fish that’s populating the pond. The froth created by the endless panting by the little fishes was creating an enormous white island in the middle of the pond. My father was standing still at the bank which made me chill more with the damp and cold wind passing from the north. He was a resolute man; resolute and firm. This was summer and he knew very well the danger that is brought by the season.

The Mythical Finance Cave

It breathes the ardor of unfinished business. Stacks of magazine file boxes surround the lone gas-lift chair rolling around the space during sloppy afternoons. There are several law textbooks shelved in a makeshift cabinet hanging from the ceiling. The four walls are painted in pink which makes me wonder if they’re the ones who make most days lousy and unproductive. Strewn papers crowd the glass table at the corner. Sometimes when necessity requires the presentation of certain documents to funding officials I hobble around those papers in search for a certain document which I recall was laying down somewhere deep among those garbage as a workmate often calls it. A tall CD organizer is full of mixed up CDs which was once organized to no avail. A white telephone near the door occasionally rings. And when it rings the sound fills the empty spaces in the hall. Rumors have it that spirits populate this room. And the sound of the telephone became a dreadful sound that leaves everybody shocked.

An abysmal cat who’s owned by the old woman at the basement frequently visits until after she was caught in a silent controversy by bringing in her kittens, all three of them. Some say they brought fleas during those rainy months which made all the people feel itchiness to death. One kitten was punished to death by a guest who can’t take the torment not to say the sight of the poor kittens. The cat and her two remaining kittens were never seen again. Two paintings by a student in UP hang in one of the walls. It was rarely appreciated. Once the painter visited, he said he was very much elated to see his works again hanging among those walls. A high window facing the east portion was hardly ever cleaned. Its glass was blurred by the dust that’s probably glued to it forever. One, as tall as me could peek from it. Our neighbor has a playground below. Few children play there and only during Tuesdays. You can hear their shrieks and laughs from here.

A former office mate tagged this place as my finance cave. I can have this lonely place forever she said in jest after our head told everybody that no one can enter this compartment without permission. And so when one’s looking for me they answer in such spontaneity as if my life is only within the bounds of the four corners of this room. He’s in his cave. This is half-true, I stay in this part of the world 8 hours a day; six days a week. I say half-true because my spirit frankly resented the absence of verve. Sometimes I find myself peeking at the window again trying to find sources of comfort among the inert see-saw and swings. Hoping to hear the raucousness and gaiety produced by these playful objects in the hearts of those children during Tuesdays.

Sweet Victories

“If you want something, go get it. Period!” – The Pursuit of Happyness

The frailties of human living is deterministic on one’s ideals and the road in their endless quests. As a matter of fact, many of us couldn’t get by most of our wants lest are needs are met first. But, why? Someone’s always taking advantage of our weaknesses and limitations always whispering in our consciousness that we can’t get by-“Wake up, you’re dreaming!”

Last Saturday, I had the chance to talk to a friend after how many months of estrangement, and revelations just confirmed what I thought are only mine to keep. She’s tired of her work and hopes to be in school again after a hiatus. She’s pretty tired of her work which enslaved her to routinely activities which probably diminished most of her faculties by now. But her option seems to be roughly between maintaining such “wonderful” job or to be jobless. We joked among ourselves. Said she: In this part of the world chances of employment are very high. However, there only exist two lucrative jobs. Your musings will let you pick between being a call-center agent or an English teacher. I said: In most cases, you’re doomed to not having any choice at all, and forcibly what else. She said: The pay is only a little above the minimum rate and this can afford her at most two tosses of blue margarita every week to satisfy her chills of the long-run process of desensitization to life’s cruelties and inequities. “Why can’t I have what I want.”- a question of the low-spirited voice that behooves all notions of hope.

But, really, it’s easy for one to say that you can enjoy both worlds. How true, how true? The proof of the pudding is in the eating. You can call it a struggle bordering on the most wicked form of tolerance or rather persistence. My friend resigned into saying that we must do what ever we want as long as we’re living forget when it never rained but the pour is so great and overwhelming. We can! The sweetest of victories is when you achieved things in the most painful and hardest way.

Summer's Ending

The smell of rain constantly effuses a feeling that resembles those days in June. This is not the rainy season maybe but the drizzle for three consecutive days make us feel that we’re up to days of tripping down damp passages and eternal longing for lukewarm baths. The teacher said it was too early for summer’s ending and that if there are really sunny days to speak of for the past months this should not be the time to end it. He has a scheduled vacation in


after the Holy Week he boasts. And everybody was envious of course.

Back at home, the memory of summer’s ending is quite downbeat. It was like a mourning of the complete departure of solitary walks to feel the coarseness of the warm sand during afternoons and the endless dipping in the brackish waters of the nearby river during high tide. It was also because of the grown fear of tempests that brought long days of heavy rains and the necessary in-door predilections that breathe a momentary discreet attitude among souls. Continuous outpouring would make dams overflowing with rain water and because we’re near the outlet rivers our lives became prone to soak-yourself-in-floodwaters-in-eternity life. Part-smile and part-frown for the devastation and it makes us love the place more. I don’t know why.

Once in days of childhood, an enormous water spout that visited the community ravaged some houses and uprooted some of late Tinio’s bananas at the back of his house. I saw him came close to the water spout with his bolo swinging in the air like a desperate man trying to outdo the troop of hundreds with his lone bolo in a heroic stance: fighting to death. I confessed such incident to my mother hoping that she would do something to cure Tinio’s psychosis. She only responded with cracks of laugh. I came to know that such is not a sign of madness it was an attempt to shatter the swirling water spout.

There is more to the memories of the start of the rainy days.

But, could the premature downpour be brought by global warming? Oh, and there’s the little child surmising the indelible fact of divinity in the offing. Oh I see, yours is a life of dreams and comic interpretation of phenomena that beat old wisdom and false truths in this world.