Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Love at First Sight


"Ahia, I'm here at the hospital now," Shobe said. "My water bag broke. But baka tom pa tong si baby lalabas. (But I think the baby will come out tomorrow.) Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers."

This month, I flew six thousand five hundred miles to meet a special lady for the very first time.

Her name is Alessandra, the daughter of my sister Honeylet. We call her Ali. She is six months old. Her skin is white as snow, her lips red as blood, and her hair black as ebony.

It was love at first sight.

"Who is that strange man I see?
By the Gods, is he related to me?"

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Originally written in Facebook on Aug. 9

When you finally arrive, sometimes you discover everything you know about a place is both true and false at once.

Don't tell my mom I went to Basilan, the stronghold of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf. The last frontier, where only the bold and reckless will go.

Today my friend and I visited a military camp and spoke to soldiers who just had an encounter with the Abu Sayyaf. One of the troops was killed in the firefight. We heard of places like Al-Barka, traveled to Lamitan from Isabela with an army escort. We spoke to local government officials, businessmen.

Peace and order, everyone's screaming for it, dying for it. Some are hopeful about the peace negotiations with the Muslim rebel group MILF and the creation of the Bangsamoro land envisioned to establish peace. Others aren't so. Bangsamoro, ARMM referring to the : they're all the same, one of them said.

"So there is no hope for change?" I ask him.

"No", he says. "They're all crooks. What matters is: they're my crooks."

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Gossip Girl: Kiss Yesterday Goodbye

Little Boy Blue
"I stepped up the game. I kissed him again and unbuttoned my jeans a little."

Up and at them Upper Eastsiders! New day, new gossip. Because after all, what happened yesterday is old news. And who cares about that? 

Spotted: Kane canoodling with someone else's lover. Uh oh. Careful K, you might want to wipe that smile off your face 'cause we hear the boyfriend is pretty fucking pissed.

Two months earlier

"Oh my Godddd honey!" I said to Arlan. It was a Saturday morning and I was at a sports fest with friends from work. I was trying without much success to get a guy to notice me.

"One of the organizers looks so cute!!" I squealed. "Ang laki ng arms niya. Parang kayang kaya ka niyang buhatin with one hand. (He has such huge arms. Like he can easily lift you up with just one hand.) I want to introduce myself and tell him, 'Can I touch your arms?'"

"Gaga! Huwag! (Fucker! Don't!) Just say, 'So ... obviously, you work out. San ka nag gy gym? Work out tayo minsan. (Where's your gym? Maybe we can work out together some time.)'"

"Aaaaaaayyyyyyyy," I said as we both burst out laughing.

I did get to meet Jj later on. We were introduced by a common friend. I tried to engage him in a conversation but all he gave were one-word answers. Aaaaaahhh, he's not interested, I told myself ruefully. Such is life, I've learned. We don't always win them all.

But it turned out I did. The next day I was surprised to see he followed me in Facebook. Ah ha! So he did notice me, I said to myself. I was rather pleased. A few days later, I sent a friend request and we later on started chatting.

Jj was smart, engaging. We talked about our interests, the songs, films and writers we like. He told me he loves Herta Müller, Elfriede Jelinek, Thomas Bernhard, Bret Easton Ellis, and Alberto Moravia.

"I have stacks of unread books," he said.

"What was the last book that made you go  'Wow! That's amazing'?" I asked.

"Ah. Woodcutters by Thomas Bernhard," he replied. "It made me feel like I want to disappear too and be a woodcutter"

Wow, a cute guy who actually reads, I mused. It must be my lucky day.

A few days later, I was startled to receive a message.

"This is Jj's boyfriend speaking. I read your chat messages."

Fuck. So he has a boyfriend.

"I am sorry, I didn't know," I said. "I didn't mean any harm."

"I know. But harm was already done."

Pretty soon, it was over. My account was blocked and we stopped communicating with each other.

And so time passed. Days turned into weeks, which turned into months. Until one day ... 

*Beep* I checked my inbox and was surprised to receive a message from Jj. He was asking me how I was, and we talked a little. Carlo was celebrating his birthday that night so I asked him if he would like to go. 

I had work the next day but I wanted to drop by. I always try to make it a point to go to birthday celebrations. I know they mean a lot to people.

Jj and I kept chatting during the party. I teased him that he doesn't dance. He said he needed to be drunk first. I poured him glass after glass of alcohol. We were both filled with tension, or at least I was. I could feel our bodies meld into each other as I reach for my drink, hands briefly touching.

In the middle of the night, Carlo pulled me over. "So ... tell me ... who is heeee?"

"Hahaha. Wala. He's ... a friend," I said casually.

Carlo gave me a disbelieving look. "Come on K. We all know you never just bring a guy to a party. But I like your style: new party, new boy."

We both laughed. "Gago. (Fuck off.) Besides, he has a boyfriend so you know ..."

"Well ... I'm sure you know what you're doing," he told me before going back to chit chat with other guests. "Or do you?" He gave me a knowing look as he waved goodbye.

We were almost home and I was about to drop Jj off. We were both tired, a bit tipsy.

"Hey, it was nice to see you again," I said. I realized I did enjoy the night with him. The thrill, the illicitness of our rendezvous reminded me of 

"So ... do I get a good night kiss?" he suddenly said.

For a second, I was paralyzed with the moral crisis facing me. What do I do? I asked myself. What do I do?

A wise woman once said, in life there are only three kinds of girls. There's the girl you marry, there's the girl the girl you fuck, and the m there's the girl who opened Pandora's box. Now which one are you K