| Marso 2003 | Abril 2003
QT |
+ Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction (Jonathan Culler)
+ Sapin-saping Pag-ibig at Pagtangis (Rolando B. Tolentino)
+ Ang Kaulayaw ng Agila (Lilia Quindoza Santiago)
+ The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1 (Alan Moore)
+ Christopher Unborn (Carlos Fuentes)

Ernan's Curse
Neva's Slate
Paul's Fossilring
Jeline's Red Shoes

A. and I had a misunderstanding last night, Kris. But the mere fact I accept that there was indeed a misunderstanding, didn't I really understand it at all? How can I possibly understand that we failed to understand one another? Was I jealous? Or was I being so confident of our relationship? Of how much she cares for me? I asked her not to go to the poetry-reading/gimmick/boating-along-Manila Bay that they were planning. Okay, I think I was jealous. She asked us to go, since she wanted to be with her friends who will surely go there. I didn't reply. Almost three hours later, she texted me that if I really don't want to go, we'll not join the gimmick. Again, I didn't respond.

Right now, Eraserheads is playing in my media player with their Para sa Masa. I am an Eheads fan but I learned of this song just two months ago. When I first heard it from the Bandmanania 101 album (thanks to AJ's pirated copy), even though the songs had no labels, I immediately felt that it couldn't be any other group's song but theirs. I don't know, intuition perhaps. For four years in college, I had always been an INFJ person. Now I am beginning to believe that a large part of the MBTI test results was self-fulfilled in some ways.

Beej called me in my cellphone right after I had my lunch. They thought I was still in Ateneo. I texted Miong and told him that I already know the "news", that it reached me through Cheko almost two months late, and that I am happy for the two of them. He thanked me and said that the block is planning an out-of-town, and asked me if I could come with Nikka. Of course I said yes, Kris. I really miss my blockmates. Especially whenever I see how my students are so bonded to one another. | ako, ngayong 6:52 AM |

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I woke up a few minutes before nine. I set my alarm at 7:30, but I dozed off as soon as I shut my cellphone off when it alarmed. I went to the City Hall to get my cedula. I saw PM there; he actually saw me first. He seems to be getting heavier everytime I see him. I found out he finally finished his course. The graduation was last April 1. I should have teased him, Kris, on why I didn't get any invitation for the graduation. But the longer the years we haven't spent time together, the farther the distance between us seems. I felt guilty when while shaking his hand, I felt I never really missed him. Or that he was not the PM I thought I missed. It was just five years ago when I really believed I could never find any other people more worthy of my friendship. He left earlier as soon as he got his cedula, and I just gave my regards to his son. His son. Who would have thought he'd be the first one to get married from our barkada? Or from what I thought was our barkada? When I got my cedula, I saw him again as he was about to reenter the hall. I intentionally used the other exit doorway. He saw me. I felt guilty but didn't turn back. I felt somewhat relieved, Kris, when I realized how much I've let go of the past. The thought unburdened me.

When I went to BIR to file my income tax certificate, I saw another classmate from high school, Rebwell. I found out he is working there. We updated each other on the whereabouts of our other batchmates. He asked me about the Ateneo law school. I told him, it is not located within the Loyola Schools campus, and that I have no interest in law. He left when he needed to do an errand. I was about to submit my form 2316 when the person in charge told me that I need not submit it; my employer already furnished them a copy. Oh well, how's that for a waste of time and tricycle fares? It was not yet 11 am so I went back to the city proper. I passed by Diplomat and saw that there was a booksale. I looked over the books and ended up buying PhP750 worth of books. Book lovers would envy me, Kris. I bought copies of books, even those that I already have because Erick promised to get them from me, and because the low low price would make one feel guilty for not getting them. This is the list of what I got:

    PhP10 each (all paperback):
  • The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader" (C. S. Lewis)
  • Prince Caspian (C. S. Lewis), 2 copies
  • The Catcher In The Rye (J. D. Salinger)
  • Franny and Zooey (J. D. Salinger)
  • The Bridge of San Luis Rey (Thornton Wilder)
  • Our Town (Thornton Wilder)
  • The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
  • The Middleman and Other Stories (Bharati Mukherjee)
  • The Sound and the Fury (William Faulkner)
  • The Ballad of the Sad Cafe and Other Stories (Carson McCullers)
  • Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
  • Demian (Hermann Hesse)
  • Frankenstein (Mary Shelley)
  • Second Foundation (Isaac Asimov)
  • An Illusion in Red and White and Ten Other Stories (Stephen Crane)
  • A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens)
  • Lives of the Noble Greeks (Plutarch)
  • The Voyage of Argo (Appolonius of Rhodes)
  • Julie of the Wolves (Jean Craighead George)
  • Le Petit Prince (Antoine de Saint Exupery)
  • The Mad Book of Sex, Violence and Home Cooking
  • Sergio Aragones's Mad Marginals
  • The Family Circus: I Need A Hug (Bil Keane)
  • Ziggy & Friends (Tom Wilson)
    PhP20 each (all paperback):
  • Selected Stories (Great Authors that include G. K Chesterton, Joseph Conrad, Saki)
  • Heart of Darkness & The Secret Sharer (Joseph Conrad), 2 copies
  • The Uses of the Past (Herbert J. Muller)
  • The Kipling Sampler
  • A Man For All Seasons (Robert Bolt)
  • The Second Sex (Simone de Beauvoir)
  • The Art of Loving (Erich Fromm)
  • The Reprieve (Jean-Paul Sartre)
  • 100 Great American Novels: Plot Outlines, Author Biographies, Critical and Historical Data (Eds. Albert H. Morehead, Harold J. Blum, et. al.)
  • Faust: First Part (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)
  • It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It (Robert Fulghum)
    PhP60 (paperback):
  • Beloved (Toni Morrison)
    PhP200 (hardbound):
  • Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype (Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.)
So many books, not enough time to read them all. Besides my academic reading, I am now going over Wong Phui Nam's Ways of Exile. He is a Malaysian poet writing in English. In the book's foreword, K. S. Maniam writes that the word "home" in Nam's lines "creates the poignant recognition that there can never be a home, only a longing for it." But isn't this home, Kris? Just being with oneself, isn't it home? | ako, ngayong 11:23 PM |

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April begins. And so are many new things in my life. This should have been a welcome letter for you, Kris, but I realized you were never really gone. Not for a single day, at least. Last night, I fell asleep earlier than I thought I could. Earlier this morning, I bought internet prepaids (I went back to the city when I realized that the first one I got, Matrix, wouldn't connect with our PT&T phone line) and two books from the Booksale, one of them about creating a lifelong education program for oneself: Peak Learning. I'll begin reading the book as soon as I'm done writing you this letter.

Because I didn't have an internet connection last night, I wrote the following in my treepad instead. I am now sharing them to you:

(3/31/2003 9:46:04 PM) It was a very lonely journey back home. And a long one, too. The bus left at about 5:30 in the afternoon and I arrived here past eight in the evening. Almost three hours. Our puppies have grown into dogs and they don't recognize me anymore. Tita Ayen needed to go out the house and open the gate for me, the dogs' barks were very unwelcoming. Earlier, Ma'am Beni talked to me about my poetry collection which will be published as a chapbook by the NCCA. Pag-aabang sa Kundiman. She suggested that I change the title to Pag-aabang sa Kanto ng Kundiman. I'm seriously considering her suggestion.

I haven't shaved for weeks. It was a dilemma for me last Saturday on whether I should shave for the graduation ceremonies. I decided not to. Tita Ayen didn't seem to notice, or she just pretended that she didn't notice. The first thing I asked her upon entering our house was the correspondences I received for the last months. She handed me a hardbound copy of my memoir, Detours to Deserted Countries. I guess I should write to Johan and tell him that I already received my complimentary copy. I browsed through the pages and found several typo errors, grammar mistakes, and awkward expressions.

My body is tired but my mind doesn't want to take a rest yet. I already texted Erick and Dennis, telling them that I arrived safely here and that it feels good to be back home. But why do I feel empty? They immediately sent their replies. I texted Dennis and asked him to send me a puzzle. No reply. It seems he ran out of problems.

The videoke session for Thursday is postponed. Sir Jerry will just text us on when it's gonna push through. We had our videoke at Taverna Marquina last saturday night after graduation (actually, right after the dinner at the Jesuit Residence). I badly wanted to sing Iris but I had to accept that its tune is way beyond my vocal range.

Should I sleep now? Can I sleep now?

How do you do, Kris? I would have thanked you for always being there despite all I do and am not able to do, but I also knew too well that no thank-you will be enough. Laging kulang ang pasasalamat. I live; I hope that's somehow sufficient to let you know I'm grateful for everything. | ako, ngayong 8:28 PM |

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I am going home to San Pablo this afternoon -- after almost three months of my stay here in QC to finish the sem. I was able to accomplish a lot of things for the past few days: computing my students' grades (2 got A's; three less from last sem's); watching Y Tu Mama Tambien and Adaptation, thanks to the pirated DVDs I bought last week at the back of Riverbanks for PhP80 each; buying my mattress and electric fan for the new dorm (we bought them at Metro East, thanks to Dennis for carrying the mattress); moving my things from our present apartment to the new one along Katipunan. Now, everything seems to be done. Dennis and I brought the last batch of stuff early this morning and we gave our keys to Elena and left our old apartment for good. Several chapters of my life end today. They will end as they should, for the good of most people. Some things are meant to be this way. Tomorrow, a new month begins. As I decide to write this journal in English (changing the title from "ang aking kundiman" to "bypassing kundiman" and making myself believe that in using a more foreign language -- a language that I will not really call my own -- I am also able to distance myself from the experiences that I try to recollect), does it mean that Kris comes back to my life, too? I fear for the possibility of his presence as much as I longed for him in his absence. Almost two years. He must have been tired of introductions. | ako, ngayong 9:00 PM |

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Naglipat na kami ng mga gamit kagabi. Salamat kay John, at sa kotse niya; medyo napadali ang buhay namin. Sina Erick at Dennis ang nakakita sa dorm na iyon nung isang gabi. Serendipity. Sa isang banda, nakabuti pang hindi kami natuloy sa Sunrise. Nakamura na kami (PhP1,800/mo. kasama na ang tubig at kuryente; may dalawang ref at stove), mas malawak pa ang espasyo kaysa sa tinitirahan namin ngayon.

Espasyo. Sa tingin ko, iyon talaga ang problema. Hindi lang literal na espasyo, dahil kung tutuusin, higit na kumportable sa bahay na tinutuluyan namin ngayon (hanggang Lunes na lang!) kaysa sa tinirahan ko noong first sem kina Kuya Wes. Pero parang masikip pa rin. Mas walang layang gumalaw. Hindi nga heograpikal lamang ang espasyo. O talagang hindi materyal na realidad lamang ang heograpiya.

Sana'y maging maayos naman sa bahay na lilipatan namin. Medyo makulit si Lea ('yung isa sa caretaker na kasama ni Manang) pero maaari namang magkulong sa kuwarto kung kailangan ng katahimikan. Sa tingin ko, mas magiging produktibo ang summer ko kahit na 6 units ang kailangan kong ituro (at magkaibang subjects pa!) at 6 units din ang kailangan kong i-enroll para sa MA. Ibig sabihin, anim na oras ako sa loob ng classroom araw-araw. Ang saya! Buti na lang, 22 lang ang class days sa summer.

Hindi ko pa alam kung excited na nga ba talaga akong umuwi. Nagpasabi na ako kay Ate Mel na sa enrollment ko na lang ipapasa ang mga papel ko. Imposible na talagang magawa ko pa sila hanggang sa lunes. Mamayang hapon, may exam pa kami kay Vim. Masaya talaga ito. At least, nabawasan na ng isa ang iniisip ko (iyung bahay nga).

Mamayang gabi, nag-iisa na naman siguro ako sa dorm. Graduation na rito sa Ateneo bukas. Kailangan kong gumising nang maaga para sa misa. Hindi ko mapigilan ang sariling bitiwan ang classic senti statement: ang bilis talaga ng panahon. Isang taon na pala. Nung isang taon, ako ang gumawa at nagbasa ng panalangin ng magsisipagtapos. Nitong isang araw ko lang nakita 'yung programa namin para sa misa habang nag-aayos nga ako ng gamit.

Last night, I was thinking of writing this journal in English. Just like the one before this: my forbidden countries. But if I am more comfortable in Filipino, why will I write something so personal in a language that is more foreign to me? For distance? Yes, for space. For me to realize that when I write about something so near to me in a language that is more dear to me (oh my, the cliche reminds me of a retreat song), the outcome may be too subjective to be real. But aren't all these illusions? When I think about something, when I imagine it so intensely that it hurts, does it become real? | ako, ngayong 4:50 PM |

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Kasama kong kumain sa Burger King sina Dennis at Erick. Iniwan ko na sila roon. Mukhang may probema pa sa bahay na lilipatan sana namin. Bahala na bukas. Kung bakit naman kasi lagi na lamang akong naghihintay ng kasunod na suweldo. Simula sa summer, sana'y hindi na ako ganito. Bakit ba nauso ang pag-iipon? Kahit pakikisama tuloy, parang pinag-iipunan mo rin. Para i-withdraw sa hinaharap kung saka-sakali? Kung mababasa ito ni Dennis, o ni Erick, o ni AJ, tiyak na alam nila ang ibig kong sabihin. Naging private joke na 'yun sa bahay. Pero ngayon, hindi ko na magawang matawa.

Ipinangako ko sa sarili ko, babawasan ko na ang pakikipag-usap -- ang pagsasalita, para sa mga bagay na mawawalan din naman ng halaga balang araw. O mga salita na kakainin ko rin naman. Pero siyempre, hindi ko rin napigil kanina. Kailangan ko nang magsimula talaga ngayon. Ang totoo, hinihintay ko na ang na sabihin ni S. na huwag na lang ituloy ang lahat ng plano. Baka mas magiging magaan pa para sa akin iyon. Bakit nga ba hindi ko na lang tapusin ang lahat? Gusto ko nga rin siguro ang ganito -- kahit pa nga nahihirapan ako.

Naalala ko na naman ang movie review ni Vanessa para sa Malena. Nakuha niya sa internet ang sinabi ng direktor na aniya'y intensiyon niyang maging reaksiyon ng mga manonood ng kanyang pelikula. Sabi ng direktor, sana'y maisip ng manonood: may nagmahal din kaya sa akin ng gayon katindi nang hindi ko man lamang namalayan? Meron nga kaya? O ako mismo, kaya ko bang magmahal sa isang tao nang napakatindi at hindi ko man lamang magawang ipaalam sa kanya?

Balik-lib na naman ako. Libro. Makikipagbuno na naman ako sa mga libro. Minsan, pakiramdam ko'y mas totoo pang kausap ang mga libro.
| ako, ngayong 10:34 PM |

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Kanina habang nasa Filipiniana ng Rizal Library at binabasa ang mga sanaysay ni Tinio sa Philippine Studies, dinalaw na naman ako ng pangangailangang makapagsulat agad. Mabuti't lagi kong dala-dala ang journal ko (na bihirang-bihirang masulatan -- wala pa sa 1/4 ang may sulat gayong Hulyo ko pa binili). At isinulat ko:

"Whenever I write, do I die -- does a part of me die? Iniiwan ko ba ang realidad sa tuwing tatangayin ako nitong imahinasyon sa kung saan-saang lupalop? May mga panahon na ayoko nang makialam sa mga totoong nangyayari. Gaya ngayon na gusto kong mabuhay para lang sa pagsusulat. Naiinggit pa rin ako sa mga taong nagawang ialay ang kanilang buhay sa pagsusulat. Kung sa ilang pagkakataon ay nagsusulat ako para mabuhay, kaya ko ba talagang mabuhay para sa pagsusulat?

"Katatapos lang naming panoorin ang The Hours. Hanggang ngayon, usap-usapan pa rin ang Academy Awards. Noong isang linggo ko pa napanood sa sine ang Chicago. Ngayon, kumbinsido na akong mas may lalim ang The Hours. Kung tama ang pagka-quote ni QT kay Larry matapos daw nitong panoorin ang pelikula, gusto kong sumang-ayon sa kanya: the movie also made me want to live more. Maganda ang timing ng pagkakapanood ko ng pelikula. Ngayon kung kailan nakakaramdam ako ng pagod--when I feel consumed by uncertainties. Mabuti't dinala ni Vim ang kopya ng dvd sa Kagawaran kanina.

"Kapag nalaman ng mga kakilala't kaibigan na nagpapakabaliw (na naman) ako sa online journal, malamang ay isumpa na ako ng karamihan sa kanila kung bakit kailangan ko pang idamay ang pangalan nila sa entries ko. Bahala na. Kahit kailan, hindi ko pinilit ang sinuman na maniwala sa pinaniniwalaan ko. Kahit kailan? Baka, dati siguro, oo -- pero hindi ko na maalala ngayon. Mas mabuti pang isipin nilang delusyon ko lang ang lahat ng ito. Kabaliwan ng isang nagpapaka-makatang walang naisusulat na matinong tula sa loob ng halos dalawang buwan na ngayon. Sana'y makasulat ako, kahit sa mahal na araw."

Ngayon, narito na ako sa dorm. Ilang gabi na lang ako rito. Isang sem din ang itinagal ko rito. Isiningit ko lang ang pagsusulat ko ngayon dito dahil mamaya lang, kailangan ko nang harapin ang mga papel na kailangan kong isulat.

Kung namamatay ang isang tao sa tuwing magsusulat siya, masarap palang mamatay. | ako, ngayong 6:05 AM |

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Laging may simula. Madalas lang, hindi ko alam kung paano. Marami-rami pang papel ng mga estudyante na kailangang iwasto. Tatlong papers kay Sir Mike. Isang papel kay Ma'am Beni. Rebisyon ng mga tula. Paglipat sa bagong apartment. Hindi ko alam kung paano ko nagagawang umupo ngayon dito at maki-blog. Kung paano ako naengganyo matapos matagpuan ang blog ng mga kakilala.

Mabigat ang loob ko kanina paggising. Hindi ako laging ganito. Kulang sa tulog? Hindi naman. Iniwanan ko na nga ang mga kasama kagabi sa pagpupuyat para tapusin ang halos tatlong oras palang Gangs of New York (na wala namang nasungkit kahit isang Oscar kahapon). Ilang bagay na ba ang hindi ko nagawang panindigan? Kanina habang naglalakad sa Paseo de Reilly, naiisip ko: indifference is bliss; it is without pain. Kung tama si John Lennon na "all we need is love" and love is not without suffering, why is pain such a necessity to live? Wala lang, nagsesenti na naman siguro ako. Magtatatlong buwan na akong hindi umuuwi sa San Pablo. Hindi ko akalaing aabutin ako ng Abril dito sa Maynila -- ang abril na "marikit na kalupitan ng kalikasan" para sa hinahangaang Rogelio Mangahas.

Nagkaroon pa ng problema sa scholarship ang kapatid ko. Pagkatapos ng undergrad thesis ko tungkol sa halaga ng online journal writing, hindi ko pa rin maunawaan kung bakit kailangan kong magsulat dito ngayon. Bakit hindi sa sarili ko na lang? Exhibitionist yatang talaga lahat ng nagtatangkang magsulat.

Simula ito. Ayoko lang mangako na kaya kong panindigan. | ako, ngayong 6:43 PM |

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