Friday, February 16, 2018

a LOVE STORY that’s sublime ( Or Where Do I Begin To Tell The Story Of How Great A Love Can Be)

      Today is Chinese New Year but one of the first few posts that rolled out of my Facebook Newsfeed this morning was this Valentine’s Day-worthy GMA NEWS Video of two unusual lovers. Theirs is one of the strangest love stories you will come across with (probably as peculiar as the love story in the movie The Shape of Water—okay, probably not, my bad).

      But it is really unusual, so unusual that at first, I thought it was just scripted to amuse—but it’s apparently real.

      He, a small businessman, was 28 when he first saw her, and she, a vegetable vendor who went house to house, was 71. That’s a ginormous 43 years age gap and it was the woman who was older. Okay, I am probably being chauvinistic here, but it’s really more acceptable when the man is older. But he fell in love with her and wooed her, and naturally, his family objected.  They told him to find a younger woman, probably one who’s, I don’t know, 65-68 years old. But no, he refused, he’s so in love and they started living together.

      More than two decades later, he is now in his fifties and she is now 96. But his love for her remains steadfast, faithful and untiring, and he continues to take care of her, which is far from being an easy task, considering that they're poor and she’s now paralytic and senile.  If there’s a love truer than this, please tell me. Love can move mountains, they say, and his love’s a solid proof of its validity.

       It turns out that that there really is forever.

      “No, what they have is not forever,” my bum of a neighbor neighbor correcting me, “it’s fivever, which is longer and greater than forever."

      And he’s right, it’s fivever. Or maybe, it’s sixever even, or sevenever.

      Simply sublime.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

A Beautiful Couple Taking A Leisurely Stroll

      I was looking for something in my drawer when I chanced upon this illustration (see photo above) of a couple who seemed in love with each other and was taking a leisurely stroll. I was told that it was a drawing by my seven-year old niece while her family was visiting us three weeks ago. It was an effortless, nonchalant and an original drawing, they said.

      I know that she loves to draw but this one’s really good—it has character, quite proportionate, a bit detailed, gotta love the girl’s eyelashes and the way she lovingly glances at her man. I don’t know if this is unusual to kids her age but many people in their seventies can only draw stick figures. Me, I learned to draw like this when I was already in college--and up to now, I still draw like this.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018



      Pagkaraan nang labingwalong taon, muli akong napilitang lumabas ng bahay at nagtungo sa city hall upang umayos ng ilang papeles. Naninibago sa tama ng araw, nanghahapdi ang balat ko at gustong magbitak-bitak. Pagdating sa city hall, dalawang babaeng kawani ng nasabing tanggapan ng gobyerno ang nakausap ko at nakatransaksiyon, na ang edad ay kapwa mahigit limampu na siguro.

KAWANI 1: Ano ba ang trabaho mo?
AKO: Freelancer po.
KAWANI 1: Freelancer na ano?
AKO: Writer po.
KAWANI 2: (medyo incoherent) Dubber?
AKO: Ano po?
KAWANI 2: Ano ka? Freelance dubber?
AKO: A, hindi po. Writer po (pabulong) writer-writer-an.
KAWANI 1: (may hindi naniniwalang reaksiyon) Writer ka? Ows? Totoo?
AKO: Opo.
KAWANI 1: May pruweba ka?
AKO: (ngumiti lang) (sa mahabang silyang inuupuan ng dalawang kawani, may isa pang babaeng nakaupo, nasa mid-twenties siguro, hindi ko alam kung empleyada rin na nakadistansiya ng kaunti at may nakapasak na earphone sa mga tenga at mahinang kumakanta ng “On The Wings Of Love” na version ni Regine Velasquez) 
BABAE: (mahina, halos pabulong) Up and above the clouds, the only way to fly…
KAWANI 1: Hindi nga, writer ka nga?
AKO: Opo, minsan nagpapanggap na editor.
KAWANI 1:  Bilib ako sa mga writer pero hindi ako naniniwalang writer ka, wala sa hitsura mo.
AKO: Ano po ba hitsura ng writer?
KAWANI 1: (tiningnan ako) Basta!
KAWANI 2: Hindi ba naghahanap ng dubber ang pinapasukan mo? Marami na rin akong naging project.
AKO: Hindi po, e.
KAWANI 1: Ano ba mga isinusulat mo? (ngumiti) Bigyan mo nga ako para maniwala akong writer ka!
AKO: (malabong uuwi pa ako para ikuha lang siya ng gawa ko; pero kung magkakapilitan, uuwi ako at ikukuha ko siya ng Filipino translation ng libro ni Maya Banks) Nasa bahay po `yong mga gawa ko, saka malayo po `yong bahay ko, animnapu’t dalawang sakay mula rito.
KAWANI 1: (ngumiti uli, para ipakitang nagbibiro lang siya) Sayang naman.
Kasunod niyon ay natapos na ang transaksiyon namin at nagpaalam na ako)
KAWANI 2: Sabihan mo naman ako pag naghahanap ng dubber o voice talent ang pinapasukan mo.
BABAE : (mahina pa rin habang kumikiling-kiling ang ulo)  Yes, you belong to me and I’m yours excusively…
AKO:  Hindi ko po alam kung may balak silang magtayo ng radio station at gawan ng radio drama ang mga libro nila. Pero sige po. (Inisip kong hingan siya ng pruweba na voice talent nga siya at ipagaya ang boses ni Morgan Freeman habang nagbo-voice over sa pagsabog ng Mayon o iyong boses ni Mocha Uson habang nagtuturo kung paano maglagay ng condom gamit ang bibig)
BABAE: (medyo malakas na) On the wings of laaaabbb!

      Naglakad na ako palayo, lumabas at pumara at sumakay ng jeepney habang iniisip pa rin kung ano ang hitsura ng writer. May kailangang hitsura ba ang writer? Hindi ba’t sabi nila ay invisible dapat ang writer at nakikita lang kanyang mukha at pagkatao sa kanyang mga akda? Kung may hitsura ang writer, ano ang hitsura nito? Laging nakakunot-noo? Laging tulala? Laging mukhang walang pera? Napapailing na dumukot ako sa bulsa at nagbayad. “Mama, bayad ko, estudyante (yuck) (mahina) Inseparable it seems, we’re flowing like a stream, running free, travelling on the wings of laaaabb…


Thursday, January 25, 2018

A Little Bit Fast And Furious

      I was inside a passenger jeepney yesterday, seated behind the driver when suddenly, it forcefully stopped and I almost found myself flying through the windshield. Apparently, a boy, probably 13-14 years old, uniformed and carrying a bag, suddenly darted in front of the vehicle and thank God for the driver’s alertness, nothing gory occurred, the boy gleefully ran away and the driver continued, well, driving.

      But it reminded me of an incident which happened around many years ago, when I took the fancy of learning to drive a car. I didn’t have a car then, but I was thinking, “the wind of change continues to blow and I might find myself a multi-millionaire one day and able to buy myself a Lamborghini, so I better be prepared to drive it.”

      So I decided to learn to drive (which really was a bad idea since I was often reckless, had bad reflexes, was easily distracted and would often, like many other writers, zone out).  And after four or five days, I was already cruising ( for bruising, I didn’t realize then) in the streets of Manila. I was, I think, in Port Area then, and, since there were scarcely people and other cars around,  I was going a little bit fast ( for a beginner) but my companion didn't mind. Suddenly, a teen-aged boy came out of nowhere and dashed in front of our vehicle. I was able to slam the brakes, but probably not in time, I thought grimly. The boy vanished in front of our car. We couldn’t see him and we were too afraid to move or get out of the car, so we just sat there, numb, heartbeats alternately racing and fading. Did I just kill somebody?

      A prison life started flashing in my mind... me wearing the dreaded orange shirt, mingling with hardened criminals, murderers, rapists, carnappers, litterbugs, bank robbers and jaywalkers, me unfortunately dropping the soap while taking a bath together with the other (sex-starved) prisoners who think every other male prisoner is Scarlett Johansson... which made me furious, then scared. My body would then be filled with tattoos, I would be forced to join jail riots, stab somebody's neck with a thumbtack, make a name there, and then I'd be involved in drug dealings while still imprisoned, which would make me a multi-millionaire... Wait...

      But I was disturbed from my reverie by something stirring in front of us—the boy stood up and ran away, unscathed.  I was so relieved that it felt like a baby elephant was hauled out of my chest. I drove away from there—slowly now, of course, not fast, not furious—and went home. 

      After two centuries, I still can't afford a car. I'm still not a millionaire, not even a thousanaire. But at least, I didn't go to prison. And who would want to drive in this hellish Metro Manila traffic anyway? I haven't driven a car for a long time now that I will probably won't be able to distinguish now the gas pedal from the clutch.  And sometimes I wonder about  the boy I almost hit. Whatever happened to him? Probably, he's a congressman now... stealing from the government coffers, or a young (perverted) CEO sexually harassing his female subordinates, or a taxi driver, who already has three hit-and-run-victims...

      Darn! I probably should have just run over that bastard!