Sunday, April 27, 2008

New Sanctuary

Whole week has passed. It has not been hard for me to adjust to a new environment as I have thought. I am lodged here at an unknown flat, an unknown place where different modes of nuisance abound yet comfort and silence play intercourse like fighters drawn to dripping blood.

There’s not much to talk about a community of illegal settlers. They’re here to have roofs above their heads like anybody else. Houses here are a lot more decent than what you might think. Here in my rented space I have my own sink, my own bath, my own bed, a foldable table, a chair, an antique bed to look and gaze at when my eyes get tired of looking at words ad infinitum. Outside my dwelling is a garden where two tall trees stand. Their fruits and leaves occasionally fall and litter the ground.

Am always reminded by my portly landlord who always catches his breath to lock the gate and have a separate padlock for the front door. Just to be sure that my belongings will be secure from thieves. As long as thieves won’t learn to eat books I will definitely survive. I brought three big boxes of books from Baguio and they’re now lined up waiting to be read by this slacker in me who’s more interested in reading fiction M & M

Murakami & S. Meyer. Thank God they’re nowhere to be found.

The Bar, yes the Bar. Thinking of it gives me feverish thoughts. I want to believe there’s such a thing as sadism by way of loading your brain with too much information. But, the painting of Michael O’Toole remains an icon. It’s entitled Racing the Wind. A sailboat on a tough spot amidst rough waters. The strong wind drawn through high waves in a deep blue shade. I bought it three years ago. It now found its place on a barren white-washed wall. It would always follow its owner’s changing sanctuary.


A drifting message in a bottle has found its way to the shores, west. Thanks to you Lydia for filling something in me that’s long been empty. It’s just that I couldn’t find the right word to describe that filled space. I hope you continue to pursue your interest in learning to play the violin. A teacher once told me that it’s never too late to bow the strings and produce the most sacred sound on earth. I enrolled as a beginner back in December 2006 only after years of planning and yearning. It’s a joy to realize a childhood dream. Follow the beat of your heart always and you’ll find happiness.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Today's the second day of our bar review and I am already exhausted because of the stifling heat. Yesterday's temperature surged to 38°C. The review hall's four heavy-duty air conditioners didn't work against the heat. Everybody still perspired and made their own way of fanning the heat out.

Don't have so much to tell you about how the review process is going. There's nothing to talk about yet because I'm still primping my mind. I have to pretend to be organized as yet and make a schedule. The sad fact is that there's so much trying involved. And that must not be. Call that the Great Squander. Yes. And I am losing balance.

The heat. Yes, the heat is stifling.

And there's a lot of Old school here. A lot of old man with hoarse voices. From the black woofers a blast from the past; a redolent feel of listening from a 60's radio show; from a vintage radio.

Bulging eyes, sagging face, thick lenses, the old man welcomed the 700-strong crowd like an announcer at a circus show. Welcome, welcome. If there's one thing I remember from his long speech it's about the call to Redemption. Sheer redemption, yes. “By way of passing the Bar, you will be redeemed of your mistakes, of all your sins from the past.” How true, how true.

Amidst the stifling heat, you indeed made a horrible assumption. And what is that you told about: “Yes we're willing to give you a mock bar after July. . .yes we, will. . .if (devilish grin) you will give us something for our effort.” Oh, please repair your air conditioning system first will you?

The heat. Yes, the heat is stifling. And I don't want to be redeemed anytime soon.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Magistrates at the Forest

Last night was a rather monumental evening. We had dinner at the renowned Forest House along Loakan Rd. at half past 8 with friends having a dismal experience over a research “deadbeat” action. You know, burning-the-midnight-oil-until-there’s-nothing –left-to-be-burned drama for the sake of keeping within the hour of donor moguls right up there. That’s what soon to be discovered donor-driven life is. (Credits for me please!) Hahaha

The resto’s country appeal is reminiscent of the log cabins of the by-gone era-the breathe of Legends of the Fall minus the sepia look on faces. People here come and go for the experience not much for the menu although the cakes are great. So we’re there last night full of gaiety fast approaching until we realized how the political crisis months ago was replaced by the food crisis, what a shocking transition.

We sat by the veranda which is close to a ravine, casually exchanged discourses until someone announced that the SC justices are there sitting at a long table. What they’re feasting I didn’t see; their mumblings I didn’t hear but I did see Justice Chico-Nazario’s face enthralled at being serenaded by angelic voices beside the piano. I thought probably an en banc decision is in the brew right there, that night. Maybe, deliberations in restaurants are becoming the fad again hehe or just maybe they’re just there period.

Personalities are populating the restaurant that night, indeed. After a while, a group of oldies sat beside our table. I recognized that the bald old man was Lumbera and the woman wearing thick glasses was Pantoja-Hidalgo; my cue was, okay, the group was talking about poetry. What do I expect?

After being “star struck”, for lack of term of feeling dumbfounded at the fact that I didn’t know about Tuesday’s being Personalities Night and that Wednesday’s is Ordinary Night, our group remained constant in dealing with the rice shortage. People in the province are lining up in NFA warehouses for 1 kilo of rice while families there in Sagada are much well-off with rations from DepEd. Sec. Yap was quoted as saying that what matters is the sufficiency of rice in the country and that he doesn’t damn mind if the people can’t afford it. Sufficiency, Yap, sufficiency. Being a mere minion, Yap lives true to the faith of his master. Because he don’t damn mind the price of rice, his master approves that the solution to this is to increase the wages of the labor force anew. Yes, and she’s an economist. Thank you Gloria but it’s like this: You want to increase your height, so that you won’t embarrass yourself any more by asking your assistant to put a high stool at the podium every time you address people, and drink Growee.

So we’re there at Forest House last night enjoying the evening with the SC justices and the men and women of letters of the land. I just don’t know but I feel like a scene in Storm in June is brought to life and the macabre in O’Hara’s Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos reenacted. Weird.

Monday, April 7, 2008

LlB, (Sigh)

“A white briefcase for you my child.”

“What’s inside?”

“Tools for you to beckon when you grow up. Did you say you wished to be a doctor?”


Nineteen years ago when I was about to turn six, my father gave me a present encapsulated in a med kit complete with stethoscope, syringes, gauzes, matchboxes with Rx imprints on it, sets of syringes again, a pen, and a prescription pad. The tools were very much in place they don’t run about there assigned spaces even when you toggle the med kit. The syringes had a Velcro to secure them, so too are the stethoscope and the others.

I played around that med kit with my sisters, trying to be the astute role-player diagnosing the baby dolls and teddy bears of illnesses I have heard from eavesdrops. Little Ana has cancer. . .Baby has tuberculosis afterwhich I will doodle on the prescription pad like doctors do because I still don’t know how to write.

Eventually, everyone got tired of the new toy until it found its way a feet under the soil. Like old toys do. My mother believed that someone steals our toys but lore has it that at the least, two-year olds are dug deep into a hole at the yard. Chickens would run afoul at the hornet’s nest and would search for feed around the area with all the burrowing until the old toys are uncovered. It would always follow a scream of cacophony. . .from my mother. hehe

A year after that when my father had his vacation again, the same thing was his present to me. Apparently, my mother told him that the first white briefcase was destroyed.

A year after that I had a stethoscope, a real one.

Two years after that, he bought a whole set of medical encyclopedia.

A decade had passed, and I saw myself choosing between economics and mass communication. I chose the former because it sounded money and our family is in dire need of it. Reality bit me so hard I found myself, after earning degrees in economics and psychology, submitting resumes and getting rejected twice.

And then my father wanted to me to enroll to a college . . . of law. Apparently, because he wanted to use me to get back at his second wife for a breach of promise to marry-after all of his fortune went to the drain and it’s better if his son would pursue the case for free.

Four years after, I finally earned this law degree (although million steps closer to being a full-blown attorney in shining armor of his dream). I am consequentially happy. Far from being a law degree holder, I took a leave from self-torture (because there’s still the Bar) and I am waiting for someone to tell me something like: “You did one hell of a high-wire act. Bravo!”

I am consequentially happy, right. Because I never saw myself reach this far. And I want to end my life story with a happy ending the way the story “The Perfume” ended. There’s a million reasons to stay put when all appear to be in shambles. There’s my benefactor for one who remained the anonymous payor to a lot of paychecks. (Please, reveal your identity now!) And friends who dragged me all the way up to here not minding if I sustain bruises, cuts inches deep and all. Thanks to you.

. . And God who responded to a letter I sent Him on a stormy night.

I need nothing but prayers for the Bar. Please pray for me.