Further down the rabbit hole : explorations on the nature of writing, continued

(a note to the gentle reader : this article is a continuation of the preceding blog entry “further explorations on the nature of writing”)

What satisfaction does one get from having a completely different online image than what is actually already existing? To start, one gets to feed one’s own fantasies. It always starts with the self; rather, it always is about the self—the ego, the super ego and the id at play in the playground of your mind. Others may conjecture that they start a blog to address a humanitarian cause they feel very much passionate with, and that it’s not always about the self. This writer begs to differ in opinion by offering another way of looking at the genesis of such blogs. Let’s set our eyes on a completely hypothetical blog that caters to featuring the different handicrafts produced by cultural minorities. The owner might say he does it because the mangyans or the aetas are close to his heart. That might be true at some level, that the owner really does feel an affinity to the tribes he is supporting. But why? There always has to be a deeper explanation to things. One just cannot say because “i love them” or “i feel close to them”. A good follow up question will be, why do you feel close to them? Ask probing questions to get a glimpse of the workings of one’s psyche, and it will always redound to the self gratifying on some levels needs one is barely conscious of, but are there nonetheless, shaping one’s actions.

Yet, that does not still answer the question of satisfaction gained from the fabrication of supposed data making up one’s digital DNA in cyberspace. It just makes us aware of the self and its needs; and so we therefore make it the springboard to launching several hypotheses with regard to the concept of image or online persona. Some blog owners are very open to volunteering personal information about themselves, even reaching the point of posting their likenesses in the internet. These images, and accompanying information, keep us readers or followers of the blog updated with the blog owner’s personal life; in the process getting a glimpse too, of the owner’s personality, with each personal dealings recounted. But what if this personality, this life as we’ve come to know the person leads, is just made up—a product of a rich and vivid imagination akin to poets and playwrights? How are we supposed to know which part of the tale is true and which is not? Which picture is original or taken from somewhere else? Which is photoshoped, and which is raw and unprocessed? We may never really know. And what could really get us scratching our heads is the question : why are they doing it?

In support to the “self and needs” theory (it’s been way too long since i’ve been in a psych class so kindly provide the apt terminology for this, if ever you, gentle reader, is up to the challenge) we raise the following possible reasons :

1. Low-self esteem – the internet, over the years of its existence, has been known to provide a good avenue for self-expression. People who are introverts and who shy away in normal dealings for reasons that may range from personal issues regarding one’s physical make-up/ attributes, to a long-standing inferiority complex resulting from imbalances in the psyche caused by both internal and external factors, may use the internet, or blogs to be more specific, to build up on their self esteem. It’s very tempting to say things which are not true to make one feel beautiful, handsome, or socially accepted. This fabrication may soon result to one searching for images to support what has already been “established” as true and factual.
2. Escapist fare – one good reason as to why the internet has gained a large number of following over the years of its existence, is its ability to provide its users, through the varied sites and services, a means to escaping their worries and concerns even for a bit; a user may find oneself engrossed in reading an exciting account of one’s summer getaway; or one’s new finds while raiding a shopping mall in one of its midnight sales. It is therefore not a far-fetched idea that someone (in this case an up and coming blogger) might think of making use of his writing skills as a means of getting away from one’s boring life; adding a dash of color, and a spice of glam to it, so to speak.
3. A means to getting several needs answered (eg physical/sexual, material needs) –A well fabricated blog could give us lots of things. It could bring us adoration. It could bring us fame. It could get us material things. It could bring us love. Not exactly love, but well, for a start, the attention of a potential target in the human relations department. It is not uncommon nowadays to see blog sites that brandish the owner’s bravado when it comes to sexual liaisons. Tell-all blogs are a magnet to getting more one-night stands, or better yet a patron ready to shower one with material things, should one decide to lavish one’s attentions on that person. A blogger may resort to fabricating tons and tons of information masquerading as “facts” just to sustain this lifestyle.

Despite this gloomy discussion, still there are blogs in existence that remain truthful to the owner’s life lived outside the internet; blogs that are more avenues for introspection, than avenues for social networking; blogs that make one think on the mysteries of life.

More on this vein of thought when inspirations strikes. Until then, ciao.

further explorations on the nature of writing

Why do we write? A previous issue of the backseat dared to answer this question. In all honesty i feel i haven’t exhausted all the answers yet to this age-old question that plagued the great philosophers of the olden times. I do not posit the idea that this humble writer is in the same league as them for daring to tackle this issue. I am not. Perhaps, my old teachers from the faraway land of Diliman might even laugh at the sheer ambitiousness of this project should they ever stumble upon this blog; that might be the case if the technology of blogging ever reaches the doorstep of the great Malaya Ronas; but since his presence is not yet felt in the many circles i have chosen to make my presence known, i think its fairly safe to assume that whatever arguments i might put forward will be taken in and examined by lesser beings than the great Malaya; the gentle philosopher can safely spread his wings without fear of persecution for now. Hehehehe.

As with the previous issue, we will attempt to narrow down the coverage of this issue’s discussion to the fairly recent technological phenomenon called blogging—the seamless marriage of the human brain and the binary digits that make up the digital world. Web logs, or blogs as they have become popularly called by the netizens who practically live most of their waking lives connected with each other in cyberspace, are increasingly becoming more and more the “it” tools for broadcasting to a large number of subscribers or followers—people who have taken interest in one’s daily travails—bits and pieces of real-time information taken in as facts. More and more, we encounter a slew of sites that do not cater to niche blogging, but which rather choose to be more versatile and spontaneous with their topics; entries may range from the mundane—like pops fernandez’s tacky billboard image that the mikaela aesthetic center third party contractors concocted, to the more serious ones—like a blogger’s opinion on the reproductive health bill, or charter change.

Further narrowing down our discussion as much for the brevity of this treatise as for the benefit of the limited understanding of this blogger, we turn to the concept of image—the online persona that develops over the course of a given period, one blog entry at a time. this online persona—the representation of the person maintaining the blog through his accounts in words, pictures and sometimes, even moving images—can run parallel with what is actually existing in the realm of the real; or can run in a totally different direction by being completely fabricated, a feat that can be achieved by supplying false information and other images culled from already existing sources in the internet, completely repackaged to pass as original content generated by the owner. Such clever manipulation already runs the path of diabolical machinations—misleading one’s intended reader for purposes we can only surmise.

to be continued...



I just grabbed this churbei from the wonderful Dylan Dimaubusan. The instruction reads : all answers should be in the present. So here goes me, currently (by “current”, i mean 29 March 2009, 11:45 pm). You are very much welcome to answer this survey and post your answers in your respective blog sites. I will be very much delighted to read from you soon; meanwhile, enjoy reading!

1. Where is your cellphone --- charging, by the kitchen table.

2. Your hair --- curly and papa-long hair pa lang. Six months in the making ito! hehehe.

3. Your father --- chinito na malakas ang sex appeal, parang ako. :P

4. Your favorite thing --- my sanuk sandals which i bought for 50% off the original price at rcbc plaza, two weeks ago. Very comfy at ansarap ilakad. Alang pressure sa paa, kahit pa nagmamadali ka. Last year ko pa tinitingnan yung design na yun. Akalain mo, nag-sale! Buti na lang i was at the right place and at the right time. Last item na yun sa size ng paa ko. Swerti!

5. Your dream last night --- ala ako maalala.

6. Your favorite drink --- coffee sa kopiroti/ morocan mint hot tea sa coffee bean and tea leaf/ cappuccino sa vendo sa opis.

7. Your dream goal --- kumawala sa tanikalang tinik ng kaapihan!

8. The room you are in --- my bedroom, puno ng nagkalat na cds, papel, sapatos, damit at kung anu-ano pa.

9. Your fear --- madami eh. Ayoko matakot kaya di ko na lang ie-enumerate.

10. Where do you want to be in 6 years ---somewhere challenging and exciting where i will be able to use my abilities to the hilt and for which i will be pleasantly rewarded with monetary compensation commensurate to the services i will be rendering.

11. Muffins ---Sonja’s (not sure of the spelling eh, hehe) sa the fort. Sarap. Nakakatulo-laway, just by thinking of ‘em.

12. One of your wish list items --- a Nikon D60 professional camera.

13. Where you grew up ---Sa purok Tres, sa barangay Camantiles, sa bayan ng Urdaneta, sa lalawigan ng Pangasinan. Ilokano ak, manong!

14. The last thing you did --- ay, di pwede sabihin eh. Smile na lang ako, pwede?

15. What are you wearing --- i’m wearing a big smile. :) haha!

16. Your TV --- ala akong hilig sa tv, ba’t pa ako bibili?

17. Your pet --- ala din.

18. Your computer --- si gael. An acer aspire 4730z model i bought last December 19 sa villman megamall branch.

19. Your life --- makulay, madrama, masaya—parang isang telenovela sa kapuso channel.

20. Your mood --- happy. Yun lang. :)

21. Missing someone --- nope.

22. Your car --- ala po.

23. Favorite store --- seven-eleven sa boni! Feeling ko nga pwede na ako maging stockholder sa dami ba naman ng nabili ko na sa kanila.

24. Your summer --- no concrete plans drawn yet. There’s talk of going to Baguio, Sagada, Palawan, or Albay. Sana may matuloy kahit isa noh?

25. Your favorite color---maroon and green. Loyalist eh.

26. When was the last time you laughed --- kani-kanina lang.

27. When was the last time you cried --- nung super emote ako sa death scene ni fantine habang nakikinig ng les miserables last night; nginig pa ang baba habang nangingilid ang luha. Di ako gaanong affected eh. Hehehe.

28. Last person who emailed you --- si grems; we drew up plans to meet up para mailibre naman nya ako sa starbucks. What can i say, i’m lucky with friends. Hehehe.

29. Your favorite food --- paksiw na pata at pakbet ni nanay!

30. A place you would rather be right now --- Anawangin! Nainggit bigla sa pictures nina shattershards, haha!



For one hour and a half, your world does not go beyond the rectangular mat you have chosen to enclose yourself in; as you move in complete synchronicity with your breath—muscles tensing and relaxing, with every pose you will your body to take. With every breath, you listen to what your body is telling you; you fold or open to a pose, sweat trickling, like dewdrops to a bud opening in the morning sunshine. For one hour and a half, you are that bud caressed by dewdrops. For one hour and a half, you and the world are at peace. Namaste.

Reads like an ad for a yoga studio? Haha! I had the idea of writing my thoughts on how peaceful i felt while i was moving silently into the poses just minutes ago. For a change, i didn’t play the catchy tunes i am used to lace each practice with. For a change i didn’t internalize on Madonna or Michael jackson’s lyrics, but instead just listened to my heartbeat, and to the whirring sound of the electric fan that i accidentally left opened in the adjacent room. For a change i didn’t try to keep my pace with the tracks playing in the background. I kept to my own pacing, listening for inner cues my body tells me, if it’s already time to be moving on to the next pose. I was so relaxed, that falling asleep while in corpse pose (the last in any yoga sequence of poses) felt like the natural thing to do. But then again i had to get up and write about the experience, lest i forget a single, precious detail.

Hah! The blog addict prevailed! Yay!

tayong mga bulalakaw

Minsan akoy napapaisip na ang buhay ng tao ay parang isang bulalakaw na pumapaimbulog sa kalawakan; kagyat na guguhit sa madilim na langit upang isulat ang kanyang pangalan. Magniningning sa isang saglit, kapagdaka’y lalamunin din ng kadiliman.

“ang ganda ng bulalakaw!”

isang ala-ala ng dumadaang bulalakaw sa aking pagkabata ang ngayo’y pilit na umuukilkil sa aking diwa. Tinawag ko si ina upang ituro ang landas nitong tinatahak sa kalangitan; kung anung bilis ng aking pagturo’y siya ding bilis ng kanyang pagwika na mauupos ang daliri ng sinumang mangahas na iguhit sa pamamagitan ng daliri ang landas niyon. Sa aking pagkatakot ay kagyat kong inalis ang aking daliri sa landas ng haring bulalakaw at pinagmasdan na lamang iyon, puspos ng pagkamangha.

Ngayong akoy nasa hustong gulang at isip na, dumarating ang mga panahong ako’y napapaisip kung tama nga bang pigilan ang damdamin sa pagpapakita ng buong pagkamangha. Napapatingin pa din ako sa aking daliri, at napapaisip na mas naging masaya siguro ako na kung kasabay ng pagtalon ay naituro ko din ang nagdaang bulalakaw nang gabing iyon, maraming taon na ang nakakalipas.

Akin ding napagtanto na kung sakaling ako man ang bulalakaw na iyon na pumapaimbulog sa kalangitan, siguradong may kukurot sa aking damdamin kung sa aking pagdaa’y may isang batang walang pagsidlan ng tuwang nakamasid at nakaturo, sunod ng tingin hanggang sa akoy wala na. marami nang bulalakaw ang nagningning at gumuhit sa kalangitan ng aking buhay. Di ko man sila naituro o nakatalon ng walang patumangga, sa aking puso’y di nawawala ang kanilang dalang liwanag.

Para kay tatay, at sa iba ko pang mga mahal sa buhay.

Para kay auntie tuding, na kasalukuyang nagdadaan sa butas ng karayom. Mahal ka namin, auntie.


trash talk: the schizo issue

8:56 pm. Just got home from work. Had dinner at mc donald’s boni where i feasted on a cheese burger deluxe, a paltry substitute for a quarter pounder—my idea of a real feast—but filling enough, nonetheless (i have to force-feed this idea upon myself, otherwise the earlier jog along roxas boulevard with officemates during our office’s “sports hour” would have been all in vain, had i given in to the temptation of ordering that sinfully delicious quarter of a pounder temptation, hehehe).

upon setting down my trusty backpack containing the sweaty stuff from the jog, i immediately got to readying the trash—a week’s worth—for disposal, with just a minute’s walk to the community trash commune from where i am renting. its there—the plastic bag containing the food canisters, water bottles, bus tickets, atm and convenience store receipts, flyers, and other pieces of trash—ready and waiting to be disposed, staring back at me from where i am conveniently sprawled, typing away in this itty-bitty mini bedroom with my door ajar, just enough to see my trash parked by the wall. its stare is hypnotizing.

Take me down. Take me down now.

Ayaw. My head is aching and my leg muscles are sore from the jog. The last thing i wanna do is move my tired ass to dispose of you. i’ll just finish typing this one and pretend to have disposed of you by saying i went down and took care of you. its that easy. Words are on my side.

Come on, who are you kidding? The room’s a mess and so are you. if you don’t dispose of me tonight, the next chance you’ll have of throwing me away will be by tomorrow night again. Trash disposal starts at 4 pm and ends at 12 midnight, after which i will be collected along with other garbage from trash receptacles conveniently situated round the neighbourhood. Disposing of me after that time will entail a penalty if you get caught. If i stay here for one more day you’ll be having cockroaches crawling all over your walls.

Ok, ok. Nuff said!


take heart, troubled child

you are not the dining table, nor its maggots aching in endless fornication;
you are not the chandelier, the padded rooms, the straight jacket—
nor the warden’s truncheon;

found myself writing these lines this morning.. i originally planned to get myself sweating out to a dance in the other room, maybe do some yoga after; instead i gave in to my other love.. and found myself sweating out for words. hehehe.

oh well. i guess you really can't have em all. :) will be posting the poem at naked scribbles as soon as i see a glimmer of polish. i'm tentatively calling it take heart, troubled child.


wish i could laugh this way again

labas gilagid. hehehe. but seriously.. :(

the hair issue

I’m growing my hair long for a change. Though i really dunno how long i can do this.

I’ve always maintained a clean-cut ‘do during my elementary, high school and college years. When I studied at UP, I even went to the extreme of sporting a skin head. Whenever there’s a major event/ life-turning/ aburido moment, its always the hair that goes first. Now i’m on my sixth month of not doing anything about my hair. I’m so very much resisting the temptation of going to a stylist to have it cut—hot summer days be damned!

The idea—i want to achieve a look inspired by elektra’s nemesis in that Jennifer Garner movie spinoff from hubby Ben Affleck’s Daredevil movie adaptation. That Japanese guy in kimono, with hair long enough to be pulled taut and tied at the back the Japanese way; that’s the look brewing on my mind for some time now. I’m quite chinky in my own way, so i know I’ll achieve the intended effect, somehow. Hehehe.

That just means i’ve to cut on carbo and get serious with running and yoga so that hair and physique will complement each other. Hah! Good luck. And oh, another stumbling block: office work just might intervene and dictate that i look like the rest—neat and boring; in which case i’ve to see an improvement by May or June in time for the group’s out of town trips so my attempt could be documented in pictures before undergoing some serious slashing. That, or if the boss do not bother to talk to me about it, i can pretty much tie it in an itty bitty pony tail, neat and inconspicuous to the public eye—growing incognito til it reaches a level of desirability that I can finally call “long hair”.

Just gimme that image, shining and resplendent, just once, and I can live with a skin-head look in the years to come. I’m calling this post the hair issue.


damn hotdogs.

After visiting ate fely at her father’s wake in their zambales residence, the group headed to subic to buy px goods. We went to royal subic mall, already a familiar ground, as i have been there countless times already—the last one, when the group had a team building at ate fely’s residence almost five years ago. I remember the group had a sumptuous dinner prepared by ate fely’s household after we had a blast partying, having a nearby beach all to ourselves that glorious, distant and golden afternoon of april 2004. On our way home, same as what the group did just hours ago, we went ballistic with shopping. Hehehe.

But my memory of royal subic mall goes all the way back to the 90s, when subic, the former base of naval operations of the US here in the Philippines, opened its doors to the Filipino people. Those were the years when tatay, with the whole extended family in tow—aunts and uncles galore—would take frequent trips to subic just to replenish their stash of px goods. With tatay, its always the corned beef. As i don’t have tatay’s purchasing power yet (and i doubt i ever will) i just picked up a few cans for old times sake, making a mental note to take ‘em home next weekend to pangasinan. Chocolates. Well. And chocolates, too. I breezed through shopping without so much stirring the tiniest hint of nostalgia in my bones.

I was done paying for my purchase and was headed for the vacant lot where our vehicle was parked when all of a sudden, an all too familiar scent of roasting hotdogs wafted through the open air. I closed my eyes and for a moment, i can hear a kid’s voice from the distant 90’s asking his dad to buy him hotdogs. The father obliges, gamely asking how many can one growling stomach devour; the kid chuckles and says “a whole lot, buy me a whole lot, ‘tay”.

Damn hotdogs.

si nanay

"Sang barrio ang pupuntahan nyo dun? Alam mo ba ang pangalan?"

"Nay, natanong mo na sa kin yan ng ilang beses kahapon, diba? Sang beses pa lang ako nakarating dun at mag- lilimang taon na din yun. Di ko alam. Sa city hall naman ng olongapo nila ako dadaan eh".

thus ended yet another conversation between me and my dear mother. Reading her facial expression, she could have been saying, “wag ka na lang kaya pumunta anak, baka mawala ka dun”.

Ate fely’s father died last Thursday at Zambales. People at the office made arrangements to go there to show support. They will all be coming from manila, while i’m coming straight from tatay’s birthday celebration here at pangasinan. The rendezvous point will be olongapo city hall.

From bus signages to how many transfers i am supposed to take to get to olongapo should i miss the bus going straight there, she has to know it all. And the best part is, she already asked me all these things yesterday.

she's asking me again, now.



tatay will be celebrating his 66th birthday tomorrow, had he been alive today. Its been almost five years now since his passing—he lived long enough to see me turn 23; died five days after, from complications brought about by his diabetes. Five years. one helluva tough ride if you ask me. i remember making a promise on his grave to make him proud. I remembered the conviction. I remembered the tears.

Now i just feel numb.

Nanay will cook pancit tomorrow, that is already a given. We will visit his grave. We will say our prayers. I will thank him for the best years of my childhood, the warmth, the glow; things i miss so badly now.


the long road to watchmen

At last the curse has finally been broken. I am no longer broadcasting to you live from the moving confines of a bus, but rather in the antiseptic gray walls of knowledge and forgetfulness I’d rather call the shifting zones, borrowing from neil gaiman’s concept he used to represent that space between the dreaming and the waking worlds, in his sandman series of comic books; in a way, this is a space where I am awake yet still has the feel of something out of the twilight zone—because witches issue out orders on a whim, as if ordering dishes from a restaurant menu; and the gentle person that I am is relegated to the kitchen, slaving it out, lest the hag throw tantrums in the dining table. Hehehe.

You might be wondering what did I do with my idle time at the bus yesterday; a four-hour drive is counter-productive, if you’ll just sit idly and watch houses and trees go by outside your window. Well yesterday was different. For the first 30 minutes or so, I was seated at manong driver’s right side, looking at the world passing by in 180 degrees. Yes, I exchanged the backseat for the frontseat? Ahehehehe. The bus was jampacked with passengers, and I was lucky enough to be offered a seat by kuya konduktor, his seat, beside the mechanized/pressurized door that swings open when letting in passengers. If not for that kind act, I would have ended sitting on a monoblock seat along the aisle, at the mercy of sudden stops that will definitely send me gliding across, loosing poise. Kuya conductor took the improvised seat between manong driver and me; pointing to this and to that building; stating why the local malls in Urdaneta does so much better with their finances than the sooo far away SM Rosales—why, that mall looks more like a museum than a mall, as mall goers come in trickles compared to the downpour of people that ravaged me last Saturday at Magicmall; the mall in urdaneta I went to, looking for ingredients for my spaghetti (see related story in the preceeding blog entry). After a few more kilometers, kuya konduktor began to doze off. I would’av found it funny, seeing a bus conductor dozing off beside the driver, as it is his implied responsibility to keep manong driver in full grasp of his senses and faculties while driving us safely to our destinations; well, well, well, I would’av found that funny if I didn’t feel the same—slipping out of consciousness into a blissful nap, headlining a speeding bus. Afraid! Hehe. Thankfully, my stint with manong driver and kuya konduktor didn’t last long enough, as a passenger alighted somewhere in Gerona; a smooth-sailing ride from then on.

The temptation of bringing out gael, to type away oblivious of other passengers was there, but what deterred me from doing such, was my placement—I wasn’t lucky enough to get a window seat. Being in one would allow me a more private setting while typing my thoughts; and it minimizes gael from being seen by other passengers that, for all we know, are members of salisi gang. Hehehe. it’s a good thing that aside from gael, I managed to bring my copy of alan moore’s watchmen, the comicbook that already has a live action counterpart being shown in moviehouses. I bought my copy for almost a year now. You might be wondering why oh why, am I still reading the damn thing when I should be finished by now, given that its almost a year already since I bought it. well, there are factors to consider, dear reader. First and foremost, you should be acquainted with the gentle reading pattern. Gentle reads gently. Oh-so gently, in fact, that he likes chewing the words oh-so-delicately, complete with facial expressions, when playing out scenes in his head while reading. Secondly, although a comicbook, watchmen reads like a novel. A very detailed one at that. I love stories, don’t get me wrong; but loving them and being a fast reader do not come hand-in hand, especially in my case. The very first novel I read back in college, Stephen king’s “needful things”, took me a whopping six months to finish hehehe. though that might be the case, it didn’t stop me from gobbling up volumes and volumes of anne rice and clive barker novels afterwards; of course I finished all of them in my own sweet time, no rush. And I mean, no rush at all. Hehehe.

now that work eats up most of my waking time, I rarely find time to read a good book anymore. Whereas before, there was only the plot to be considered when selecting a good read, a good read for me now includes the length of the material—something that won’t eat up all of my free time. If one is familiar with mark haddon’s “curious incident with the dog in the night-time”, I have that novel exactly in mind.

And so, after putting down the book for more than six months now, piqued by the stunning movie posters of doctor manhattan, rorsharch, ozymandias, night owl, the comedian and ms. Jupiter, I picked up the book once more and decided to read exactly where I left off months ago. the occasional swerving and potholes in the road did not pose any problem as I found myself plunging right into the heat of things; kicking my somewhat rusting literary legs to action. Knowing that its already in the cinemas, I made a mental note to put off watching the movie until I finish the comicbook, lest it spoils everything. We all know how movie adaptations do not quite catch the essence of the original. At my reading pace though, watching it at a later time might entail me looking for a dvd copy of the movie, as my pace will definitely not keep up with the movie’s run in the cinema. This is gonna be the first time I won’t elect to just watch the movie version; discarding the original for the live action—I usually do that to save time. My principle being, it (the movie) has already outrun me with the text, might as well just catch it like the rest, popcorn in hand. I did that with all the harry potter films and I lived. I’m still here. Hehehe. Watchmen is a special case though. At the start, I already knew I had something extraordinary in hand. Sure, the events depicted in the comicbook are already outdated but you know deep in your gut that the storytelling is superb. As I say, the comicbook scenes unfold like a novel, character development, clever plotline and deep philosophizing, especially from rorsharch’s point of view, make it a complete package. And so I read. I read til the byahilo took the best of me and I dozed off again.

It was around six in the afternoon when I woke up to find shattershards and eyvicat texting me that they were at robinson’s galleria, hanging out after watching a uaap volleyball game somewhere in san juan.

Being that its nearing dinnertime already, I asked them if they wanna meet for dinner. Shattershards texted me their exact whereabouts, and I proceed to walk the long walk toward galleria from the ortigas mrt station. Arriving at iceberg’s at the moviehouse level of the mall, I saw the two of them hangin out; at the table, two plates already lay empty—well, well, well. They told me to hurry up ordering, as we still have to try out cerealicious, a novelty food shop near the movie houses. Yum! Foodtrip? The trio will always end up in one, as statistics of previous meet-ups will show. Hehehe. As I was finishing up the chilidog sandwich I ordered, they told me that the bulldog was itching to watch the watchmen and actually requested for a meet-up at greenbelt cinemas in Makati before my arrival. they were also texting with starfish, who, like me, also just arrived from the province. The resolve I had at the bus of not too long ago started melting at the thought that I’d be left out of the loop while the four of them cap the weekend watching something that is at the top of must-watch movies for comic book aficionados. Slowly that strong resolve turned to pulpy goo as I giddily rode the taxi goin to greenbelt to meet with the bulldog.

Upon arriving at the cinemas and after a few calls made, the initiator turned out unable to see his project through. The bulldog was apparently still in a meeting at nearby shangrila hotel, not knowing when it will finish. Starfish also dropped off from the list at the last minute. and so the list was down to three once more. We didn’t mind. We were used to walking on Sundays, the three of us, just coming out of a gimik, walking the length of ayala avenue nearing midnight; before eventually parting ways. Somehow it has become a ritual for us. a ritual that made our bond all the more sweeter.

We entered the movies not expecting anything. We came out loving every moment of it—every scene carefully planned, like laying-out comic panels; every action sequence fleshed out, so that the movie came out a little bit fiercer than the original. I love it that the plot remained the same; that the circumstances depicted—the impending war in afghanistan, the nuclear threat from Russia, the political figures—were all present. If any noticeable modifications were made, they were done on the costumes to make 'em more appealing to the audience with their modern sensibilities. i mean, who would actually scour the streets wearing a purple tunic and a golden headband? hehehe. I wasn’t disappointed at all. And unlike other book-movie tie-ins, having watched this particular movie, I’m very much itching to finish the book, then look for that kick-ass soundtrack later. Watchmen rocks, watchmen rocks.


here comes the sun

I’m on a bus again, province bound; typing my thoughts away, and seriously considering renaming this site the “bus diaries”, hehehe. i haven’t been blogging the way i’ve been blogging some six months ago, when i gave birth to the backseat; when i had an entry posted almost everyday—the zealous devotion of someone wanting to establish his own place in the blogosphere. we all want that, don’t we? to not just start a blog and just let fate run its course. We want to have the staying power that will make our blogs the stuff of legends. My online existence has always been a constant struggle. I’ve so many blogs that were snuffed out as fast as one can say “poop!”

So just imagine how surprised i am that the backseat made it this far: 79 posts strong and 23 gentle followers in the course of its six months existence.

Well, well, well, well. lemme congratulate myself by redecorating a bit; the bold colors i splashed on my digital walls sort of reflect the recent unburdening that has happened in my life. i don’t attribute it solely to blogging, but blogging has been one tool. It has become a lifeline. when everything becomes muddled and murky as the pasig river, i have my writing to turn to. In that way, blogging, yoga and poetry, when you throw gentle into the mix, would pretty much become synonymous with one another—lifelines, all of them.

This blog had its genesis when i was struggling for dear life in the ugly sick pig incident, something which i only hinted at in several past entries. The most direct reference, being the poem ugly sick pig which appeared in the factory sessions entry i posted at naked scribbles a few months back. Now that the saga is drawing to a close, i feel as light as a feather; so light in fact, that the gentlest of breeze might send me flying to outer space, haha!

Joke, it just sent me flying home. today. to ate, nanay, kuya and the kids. Ahhh, finally. A well deserved rest after a hard earned victory. I’m thinking of cooking spaghetti tomorrow for dinner, just to celebrate this landmark episode in the life of gentle. Forgive me if you find this entry cryptic. All i wanna say is i’m happy and thankful. Thankful for this blog, and to you guys who kept me sane in my six month struggle.


the laundry issue

This is the laundry issue. I’m calling it exactly that, because it is. It’s the shining and shimmering account on how, alighting from the bus stop heavy with gael and 2 weeks worth of fresh underwear and socks all stuffed into my trusty backpack, i walked an estimated 250 meters to the north avenue station and arriving there, climbed my way up to the ticketing booth.

The act, everything from the walking to the climbing part wouldn’t be much of a burden, and wouldn’t be much of a story to tell had it been just me. but since i did it with extra load at my front—i wouldn’t risk giving gael to street charity—it became something of an epic struggle that required a different entry altogether than what has already been mentioned fleetingly at the preceeding entry. Why so, you might ask, gentle reader? Why go through all the trouble of writing something as trifle as laundry when one could opt to write about the mysteries of life instead? Or of the unfertilized egg that’s just heavenly especially when taken alongside poetry?

Wouldn’t a laundry post make this blog the laughing stock of the blogosphere? Has gentle ran out of things to write about that even his underwear, socks and sheets end up as entries for his blog? Laugh all you want but i was not laughing when i carried my “baby” all the way to the top. Or when, reaching boni station, i had to bite hard and bite fast, just to finish eating my fillet-o-fish sandwich so i could reach the laundryshop in time before its closing, to claim my 3 days worth of barong tagalog uniforms (the first one of which, i have to wear tomorrow—that’s why the hurry) and 3 weeks worth of plain clothes, towels and bedsheet. Again, ask me if i was laughing, or at the very least, smiling, when i carried all of them, plus gael and my fresh undies and socks contained in the backpack (in this case, lets call it frontpack) all the way to the place i am renting, a good six blocks away from the laundry shop. I could have chosen to ride a tricycle, making my life a lot easier but the thought of paying P18 for just a few blocks is just killing me; so i chose to walk.

Halfway through, i found myself beginning to curse myself for not choosing to ride the damn tricycle. The plastic bag containing the shirts, the bedsheet and the towels started to take its toll on my wrist after a few blocks. I tried exchanging them with the uniforms i carried with my other hand; no sooner have i done it when the other wrist started screaming for a reprieve too. Add to that my already aching shoulders from carrying gael for such an extended period. So just imagine my relief when i reached my doorstep.

Phew. Wiping my sweat, i proceeded to write the very first paragraph of the laundry issue.


the alcohol theory

Its 5:30 in the afternoon. The sunlight kissing the faraway mountains is golden and is a delight to see. such a view will linger for only just a bit before giving way to houses and buildings, children crossing the streets, and slow-moving vehicular traffic. Josh Groban sang “you raise me up” for the second time already, and i just finished eating the tuna potato croissant that i bought at the stopover. again i am on a bus on the way back to the metro.

The bus conductor should know me by now, as i pretty much memorized his face already, what with me riding this specific bus almost every week. Yes, if one leaves at a particular time, one is bound to come across the same bus over and over again. This particular bus conductor maintains, should i say, a very detached, i’m-a-conductor-and-i’m-just-doing-my-job kind of dealing with his passengers. Discounting the fact that he almost sees me every week, i have yet to see a yes- i-recognize-you kind of smile from him the moment he sees me waiting at my usual post at the bus stop fronting the local mall.

Not that i am turning it into such a big a deal, i just happen to compare his poker face reaction with that of another conductor and driver tandem from another, earlier timeslot that i use to take. This tandem would smile the moment they see me and greet me like i’m someone they know like a friend, tropa or barkada. Such is the warmth of reception that the smile will increase my happy levels to several notches up for a good part of the travel.

I even remember one particular encounter with kuya konduktor landing the dinner table conversation one weekend, for kuya konduktor attempted to strike a conversation with me while punching my destination on the ticket. It turned out that manong driver and himself apparently had the theory that i am a med student because aside from always travelling with a large backpack, i also had with me during those times that i ride their bus, papers that i read and go over for almost the duration of the travel. I do not remember anymore what were the papers i was carrying during that particular period, but somehow the remark stuck. What were they thinking, mistaking me for a med student? Why not a law student? Do i smell like i just bathed in a truckload full of disinfectant? Hehehe.

the landscape has changed now. We are already accelerating in speed, having just reached the tollbooth and paid toll for use of the expressway. There are no faraway mountains to see now, no sunlit fields, only distant lights from little houses scattered in what i could only make up as vast patches of rice field to the left and right of the highway. Night has descended, catching me unaware. I look up toward the digital clock at the end of the aisle. The red digits tell me its already 6:56 pm. I still have a long way to go before reaching my destination. At the back of my head, i’m hoping that i reach the laundry shop in time, before it closes for the night, otherwise i’ll have no uniform to wear tomorrow, which is not a good thing, considering it’s the start of the week. Sigh. A typical Sunday in the life of gentle.