Friday, August 22, 2008

I Tried Not to Cry

by Charmaine M. CampaƱer

Day 1-2. My dog MIMI painfully gave birth to six puppies. I witnessed how each of the puppies died one by one during the course of reviving their mom, leaving me with just one pup, GENESIS. I prayed. I tried not to cry.

Day 3. While Mimi and Genesis were recuperating and under extreme care, my sister CHAT who had been living with me for twenty-six years left to permanently live in Florida. I prayed. I tried not to cry.

Day 4. While adjusting to Chat’s absence, I rushed my grandma MOMMY to the hospital due to difficulty of breathing. I thought we could go home after the emergency check-up but we were not allowed to leave. I took care of her alone as I was the only one available at that time. I prayed. I tried not to cry.

Day 5. While no one’s home, heavy rains caused major flood penetrating our ancestral home resulting to major damage. Someone who blocked the major drainage of the community caused the flood. I didn’t want to list down our loss as I prayed and tried not to cry.

Day 6. No one can replace me in the hospital because everyone’s fixing the damaged house. I tried not to cry as I decided to enjoy my time with Mommy for she loves to tell stories. I didn’t mind wiping poops in between my meals. I didn’t mind being awake all night for I enjoy our talks. Talking and singing with Mommy enriched and refreshed me. Around 1pm, Mommy suddenly experienced extreme pain but was able to overcome it. I held her hand as I always do but she could not understand me. She was hallucinating. She kept on removing the oxygen and dextrose tubes. She was not cooperating with me nor with the doctors treating her, causing more damage to her system. The doctors had to put a tube on her nose for food. I felt I was tired. I prayed. I tried not to cry.

Day 7. I miss my husband DENNIS. I miss my daughter TRISHA. I CRIED. And I was comforted as I prayed. I remember Job when he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, naked I will depart. The Lord has given, the Lord has taken away, and may the name of the Lord be praised.”

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Room 324

by Erika

I used to live alone alone at Blanco Center. It was this half a century-old (seemed like) residential condo in the heart of Salcedo Village. I worked at an office buidling a 7-minute walk away.

I had to work late for a particular project. So i went home at 4 am, took a quick shower and dived into bed.

I woke up at 7am to take a leak. It felt surreal as if it had just rained inside the room. As I was about to get back to bed, a dark hazy vignette began to close in on my eyes. My head felt light and cold. My hands & knees were heavy. I tried to reach for the couch, any soft landing, then BANG! My head hit the sharp edge of bathroom door. I crashed to the floor, face down. My last memory was of my hand trying to reach for the empty bed.

I woke up with my cheeks on the cold tiles. It was 1:30 in the afternoon. My forehead and right cheek were throbbing. I had huge bruises, circles of blue and yellow. I called the office that I was coming in half day.

I came to work the day after though. I was still a bit dazed. Staring at the computer I thought, what if I had not awaken at all? Would the neighbors smell my decaying body? Or dismiss the stench as just one of the many reeking through it's cracked walls? I remembered how the room smelled when I first inspected it before moving in. It was sour. Like an old man waiting for death. I had thought about urban legends of people dying alone, locked in their houses. The stench would get so potent that neighbors would have to force the door open only to discover unidentifiable remains. Or crimes of passion wherein a woman was killed and buried within the cement walls of her house. Or closer to home, like dying of fatigue doing overtime work. Bah. I should get more sleep.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Restroom Fiction

by Abi

It was the usual second floor bathroom –same leaky faucets and (unflushed) toilets, same Manang also, by the door as always, supplying the unarmed student with bluebooks, junk food and sanitary napkins. Same doors that won’t lock, same clogged bowls of waste and whatnot. By the mirror, a row of colegialas bury their faces underneath layers of make-up as if the next beauty pageant will begin any minute, while pretending like the smell of the lunch aftermath was not in the air. I noticed, that the usual angry squiggles on the ceramic walls are becoming more evident now.

The fact is that no matter how ridiculous the vandalisms may appear, a story will always be behind them (or so I would like to think, as I sometimes amuse myself by reading the cheap entertainment off the wall.) I would wonder about what would motivate a certain Miss Petra (not her real name) to amuse her fellow washroom users by writing:

here I sit / broken-hearted; / tried to shit / but only farted

I don’t know. Perhaps I’ve spent much a great deal of my time watching how people behave in this place. How many times have I skimmed through rows of endless cussing, to end them each with a new name, always unsigned. Sometimes there’d be hearts pierced with a name, looking like a high school crush hangover. “I crush you, Jordan!” would be a common thing amidst the sea of Paolos, of Jeffs and yes, this room’s hall of famer, a certain Amboy from MBB. I would be lucky to find entire scripts, from the most random things (“Ang buhay ay isang arinola..”) to entire dialogues on virginity, or politics.

Funny thing though, as it turns out to be one of the rather sad stories I’ve imagined – when you came all of a sudden and wrote poetry instead of usual gabble, that instead of writing “Ang mag-vandalize dito ay fanget”, you began with:

“Love comes to the dry soul like rain to a parched land…”

It looked odd, stood out from among the other scribbles – it was, on its own an oasis in a desert; a Popsicle on a hot summer’s day.

“Inlab ka ba ineng?” someone wrote next to your verse. For a while I had a break from the usual cuss words and imagined a story slowly unraveling itself on the ladies room bathroom. I especially liked the extended version of “If I were the clothes on his body, I shall weep every time he undresses, like it were my death…” And just the same, you came in day after day, writing poetry, or letters – and your face would look as though you have just heard the first joke on earth.

Save for one day.

“For the season of drought has brought nothing, Save the past outbursts of the storm, A torrent of bitter tears Cursing the ground…”

Indeed, it was a drought. It was the last I’ve heard from you.

I can think, perhaps, that you have simply ran out of permanent markers and felt-tip pens, or just a short episode of writers block rearing to you its ugly head. Maybe you have found a more convenient bathroom to deface. Or maybe, your words are no longer constrained to the wall, I can imagine you finally whispering them to the ears of a boy, and on both your faces, that same smile…

But I seriously need to work on being a better optimist.

I still keep amusing myself reading off the vandalisms. In all my years seeing the same second floor bathroom, watching it deteriorate into a dull gray, I remember being witness to countless lives unfold, simply by looking at the writings on the wall - even the most vulgar scribbles must have had some inspiration behind it, I constantly remind myself. Year after year, some janitor would scrub them off, paint over them - over and over and over. Some however, are much harder to forget than the others. Strange talk. Cuss words. Conversations. Euphemisms. Poetry. All I can do is watch. And wait.
And hope.

For that’s who I am, the silent arbiter. I stand watch to these short-lived outbursts of human honesty.

And you thought I was just a wall.

Encrypted File 102354

by tirabarook

Journal 18-3
August 8, 2453 a.d (Earth time)


I'm lost in space, in this silent yet annoying universe and I smell really bad. It’s been 3 days since I have taken a bath. All these stars i'm seeing, seems to be laughing at me, laughing at my misfortunes. I was supposed to help my planet from those scumbags, but now i'm lost in nothingness.

I am a complete failure. I was supposed to drop a hydragonite bomb to destroy that planet of Eonix. But as I was to enter their gravitational field, 5 fighter jets tried to disable me. One got lucky, and now i'm lost with little amount of food. What’s the use of my 7 years in applied physics and aeronautics, if I cant even able to dodge those scumbags? I guess they're just better species.

I miss my family... this invasion on my planet that's been going for 4 years now; I just hope it ends soon.

Journal 18-4
September 7, 2453 a.d (Earth time)

I’m seeing this great white horizon across this dark universe. For centuries, scientist believe that the universe is infinite, that it's continuously expanding... well I guess I prove them wrong.

It may take me one more earth week to get to that white horizon.

Journal 18-5
September 16, 2453 a.d (Earth time)

Its more than an earth week now, and the white horizon is getting bigger and bigger. Here, on my cockpit, the view is all white, I don’t know if I’m just getting crazier or I’m going to be blind, or this is the great white light most of those 'near-death experience people' are talking about... or probably this is just really the end of the universe.

I don’t know. Shit

If that white light is indeed the end, please make it soon, can’t take this hunger anymore.

Journal 18-6
September 17, 2453 a.d (Earth time)

I’m so stunned to where am I right nowwwww//||@@||\\ = FILE ERROR======================

The Price of Happiness

by Chris Martin

Despite its cliche name, I won't be talking much about how to attain true happiness and whatnot (well, I hope so).

I really wondered what happened to the 500 peso bill I had two days ago. One moment I had the luxury that could rival any lord or king on earth, the next moment, its as if a twisted turn of divinity, all that’s left is enough to feed some of the little digestive monsters inside. And then it hit me, only 6 pesos left. Three 1 peso coins, eight 25 cents, and some 10’s and 5 cents that I’m pretty sure makes up 1 peso just by looking. It’s already past lunch as I walked back to the office. Along the corporate titan called a ‘shopping mall,’ I went along as I ritually do, glancing around the stores and shops that has almost everything… I do not need. I pulled out my coin purse and took what’s left, trying to see if there’s possibly anything to eat with what I have. But unfortunately, the cheapest thing you could buy are the 10 peso ice cream cones from the local fast food joint.

I wonder sometimes if there’s a store where people sell things that you really need. Things like freedom or melancholy, anger or happiness. I even wonder what they would look like if they are actually being sold. Would they be in small bottles, each having a different color than the other. Or would they be sold in a more literal (or perhaps freaky) sense? Would ‘freedom’ embody the head of a dead national hero served on a silver platter, or maybe a cooked dove on which you can eat it to achieve its potency (Lord have mercy on them). Would ‘anguish’ be as simple as a late night television soap opera, or show itself in our world as the god of death himself? Now that would be an interesting bargain. ‘Anger’? I guess my former best friend would be the best thing to represent that (long story); but what about happiness then?

I started to become more conscious whenever I looked around the shops. Most of them sell ‘happiness’ for 1000 pesos, ecstasy (another form of happiness I suppose) for 300 (sometimes even 50, it really depends on the quality or brand that you want. But in the end, it’s how comfortable or how good you’d look in them that matters). Sadly enough, this kind of happiness or ecstasy lasts for only a few moments, years if you get a little lucky. There are some forms of ‘happiness’ that sells for about 70, a ‘value meal’ most would say, with little toys for the kids. None of them could actually give real happiness (or to be frank, none of them costs 6 bucks).

It was after work, I walked back home, it was fairly near (well at least to my understanding). A realization struck me like a bolt of lightning on a lightning rod. It was my mother’s birthday. I was a few blocks before I reach our place and quite far from the nearest mall. Other than that, I remembered I only have 6 left. I looked around checking out for a ‘sari sari store’ (no idea how you call that in english), as I was about to go to one, the sudden smell of fried peanuts drew me to a cart a few paces away.

She liked peanuts. When I was a kid, she always bought some home for the family to plunge in during the afternoons. Its smell was intoxicating (up to the point annoying). But the taste and texture just gives off an out of this world experience to the tongue. Every piece heating up the taste buds just right.

One small pack costs 6, so I bought some.

I arrived home a few minutes later with my mom was cooking fried ‘chicken’. Without putting down my shoulder bag, I walked to her and gave her the small gift. She smiled that sunshine smile of hers as she took it. She was radiating a surreal yet comforting glow. Even though at her age, time didn’t turn its hands on her, she was as pretty as a 20- year-old girl. ‘You’re so sweet,’ she said as she moved in to give me a hug, which felt frankly awkward yet heartwarming. I didn’t hug back, I don’t know why; but she knew that I was somehow hugging back; a hug that cut through time and space. I never knew a pack of peanuts would go this far.

After that, everything went back to normal. Or that’s what I thought. I sat down on the living room couch and turned on the television for some afternoon cartoons. But in some way, some how, I can still feel the hug she gave me.

Almost 2 years have already gone by, and still she couldn’t stop mentioning the friend peanuts I gave her. With that same radiating smile of hers, she tells the story of it to my little brother over and over as if it just happened an hour ago.

Never thought 6 pesos would go a long way, 2 years to be exact. I guess you can buy complex ideas after all. This one’s called ‘Happiness’.


by Carrie

Shadow was the name of our late Golden Retriever, taken from the name of the dog in the movie Homeward Bound. She was the “lesser” daughter of a champion breed owned by my friend, Jemboy. Shadow had a defect – a very long tongue she couldn’t keep in. It perpetually hung outside of her mouth and we would always bring a small wet towel with us whenever we would walk her so we could wipe the dirt off her tongue.

Shadow was a big dog and it was part of my weekend ritual to give her a bath. She always knew when it was time and when she sees me with her bath stuff kit, she would bark and wag her tail like crazy. She would put her head on my shoulders as I shampoo away. Either that or her two front paws. I always end up as soaked as she is, with dog hair all over me.

Two years ago, Shadow passed away. It was the day after my mom’s birthday. My mom and I were in my room chatting (can’t remember why she was there at 6 am on a drizzly Sunday morning) when our helper came in and told me to please check on Shadow because she wasn’t moving.

Shadow died in her sleep. They said it was a heart attack. Everyone was crying. Our neighbor rushed over, alarmed, thinking the worst. When she found out what happened, she could only stare speechless at all of us (you know how barrio folks are, a dog’s death is just that – a dog, dead. She couldn’t comprehend what the big sad deal was). Mom insisted to have her (Shadow, not the neighbor) buried at our back yard. And she stayed on until she was laid to her final rest and her grave covered. We placed flowers on top of the grave and lighted two candles.

Lunch was a sad meal. The drizzle turned to a downpour so I went out to take the candles and what I saw made me stop in surprise. I could feel goose bumps spreading from the top of my head to my entire body. The two cats that would always share Shadow’s meals (and most times would sleep beside her) were lying on top of his grave and they were making this sound, like they were crying. I tried to shoo them away but they just gave me this trademark cat look (they turned their heads, looked at me and then looked away dismissively) – if they could talk, they would have said “Can you please leave us alone? Can’t you see we’re in grief?”

Cats don’t like getting wet. But Shadow had been nice, tolerant and accommodating to them. Maybe, they could feel she was gone. Maybe, it was their way of paying their last respect – by enduring the rain.

The cats stayed until late afternoon. On top of the grave. They kept vigil for their beloved friend. And from that time on, my cat alienation has softened a bit. These cats, they have a heart after all.

When the Spirit Moved Me

by Carrie

11 pm. Just got home from a long workday. All I wanted was to take a shower then hit the sack and rest my weary body. My Ex decided to sleep over (it was too late to drive home) and we had to do a toss coin on who goes to the bathroom first. We were in the room across my friend’s (with whom I was sharing this up and down old apartment in Kamagong). And when I saw her light was still on, I knocked and said hello. She got up, opened the door and asked why I was still wearing office clothes. Told her we just got home. She looked surprised. Said she heard us talking earlier. Much earlier. I didn’t pay much attention to it. Said good night and went down for a shower.

Fast forward. Lights out. I was jolted awake by a strong floral scent. The motion was similar to what one does with a cotton ball soaked in ammonia. I sat up. Sniffed the side table, sniffed the pillows and blanket, sniffed my ex. I tried to dismiss it as a dream and lied back down. By this time I could feel goose bumps. I remembered what my psychic friend said that there are two spirits in the house – a couple from the 1800s – and they stay in my room. I tried to sleep. Then there it was again. Only it was stronger. I shook my ex awake and told him about it. He went through the motions of turning the pillows and sniffing around the room and under the bed. No floral scent anywhere.

I didn’t want to sleep in the room after that. We took the extra mattress, gathered pillows and blankets, and went down to sleep in the living room.

I woke to the smell of coffee brewing. As I sat down and stretched, my friend asked why we slept downstairs. My ex mumbled, half awake: “the spirit moved her.”

Friday, August 8, 2008

Whack It!

by sam z

I was listening to the radio on my way to work one morning. I was searching for a nice radio station to tune into and then I decided to finally settle with Chico and Delamar's program on RX. If you're familiar with their show, you'll probably know about their Top 10 lists - that day's topic: Top 10 Euphemisms.

Chico and Delamar were going through the entries and one entry was about percussive maintenance. Say what?! Percussive Maintenance, according to the texter, is the action that one person does when he or she whacks a malfunctioning electronic device in order for it to work. Cool!

Given the definition, I guess we're all guilty of being the "percussive maintenance guy or girl". I bet that there was at least one time in your life that you did whack an electronic thing just to make it work again - it could be the TV with a bad reception or your video game console (i.e. family computer, nintendo 64, sega + game cartridges). I remember that when I was a kid, we would "tap" the game cartridges and blow on it just to make it work (just like a wind instrument). I don't know who started with that idea but it kinda worked right? I know that you guys did that too! Then again, you're still probably doing some percussive maintenance work on your gadgets. ;p

Hmmm...if you think about it, making electronic things work properly does not involve rocket science. In order to make these gadgets work, you must have the ability of someone who's a member of the orchestra because you need "whack" and lung power to make things operate smoothly.


by Lieza

I caught Anie, our helper, singing at the top of her lungs while she was washing our clothes.

To the tune of Aegies’ “Luha,” she sang:

“Ayaw ko nang mangaraaaaap!
Ayaw ko nang fried chikiiiiiin….
Gusto ko ng AMASIIIIIIIN…..”

Bewildered, I asked what she meant by “amasin.”

Annie: Yung Jalibi ba? Yung may pinya ba! Yung AMASING ALOHA ba!

Three Times Three, Make Them See

by chantal

I was almost thirteen when, after a fire consumed our house, my family moved to my great-grandmother’s place in Mandaluyong – an old, wooden house with capiz windows, three small bedrooms and a basement. Grams occupied the biggest room in the house. I bunked in together with my parents. My sisters shared a smaller room. I slept on a folding cot that faced the open door, screened by a hideous pink curtain. Despite our sad yet temporary living conditions, we were grateful to dear Grams.

Surrounded by ancient trees, the house may seem ominous to anyone else besides us… and the others that lived there.

It was past bedtime, but I couldn’t sleep. I laid on my cot, facing the curtain that separated the bedroom from the living room. I heard the shuffling of feet. Must be Grams going to the bathroom, I thought. I peered through the sheer curtain, seeing a faint light moving in the darkness. Candle light. I waited and watched from where I laid. I had nothing else to do. The light got brighter as it got closer to where I was. The shuffling stopped. I moved the curtain aside, just a tad, to see my great-grandmother.

I froze.

Grams wasn’t there at all. But the candle was, suspended in mid-air. I swallowed hard. I wanted to scream but I couldn’t find my voice. I felt invisible eyes slowly turn to look at me. I drew back the curtain, shut my eyes and counted to infinity. When I opened my eyes again, nothingness stared back at me.

Mom is an early-riser, usually awake before dawn breaks. One very early morning, she looked out of one of the capiz windows. The sun was a slow riser that morning and it was still dark. She saw someone moving outside and she heard that distinctive sweeping sound of a walis tingting (native broomstick).

“Grams!” she called out to the figure in the garden, the shadows of the trees half-hiding her.

The sweeping continued. She can’t hear me, Mom mused. So she went outside to greet Grams a wonderful morning.

Mom looked around, wondering where Grams had gone. Surely she couldn’t move that fast as she was pushing eighty. She saw the walis tingting by one of the trees and was struck cold when

“Tessie! Anong ginagawa mo dyan?” It was Grams, calling out to Mom from the living room. (Tessie, what are you doing there?)

Mom looked at the walis tingting again and ran as fast as she could back to the house.

The main gate was about twenty meters from the house and one had to pass by an old open garage house that became a dumping ground for junk. My sisters and I hated passing by that garage house. Something was not right about it. So whenever I came home from school (which was by nightfall), I’d run screaming from the gate to the house.

One night, though, I didn’t. Braving the garage, I decided to walk casually to the house. Bad decision. Something tiny hit my leg, like a dart from a blowgun. Then another and another. What the !@$#? Poised to run, I saw the shrubbery move. There was no wind so how can it move? Whatever it was quietly whispered close to my ear “Chantal”. I stopped, drawn to the voice. It was odd that I didn't feel frightened at all.

"Chantal", it whispered again. The shrubbery shook and parted.

It called to me. It asked me to follow it.

I took a step towards the voice.

A light tap on my shoulder broke the chilly air. I stopped and looked around. No one was there. The shrubbery seemed normal again. I turned on my heel and hurried home, screaming.

Writer's Note: The garage house is gone. In its place stands the house I'm living in with my son and my mother.

Mother's Tongue

by JJ

Christie, a good friend of mine has this rather amusing anecdote about her dear old mother. Imagine this fabulously bejeweled, impeccably dressed, perfectly coiffed old lady ordering her driver to buy coffee: "Facundo, bumili ka nga ng brewed coffee sa Star buck." (Facundo, buy me brewed coffee from Star buck.)"

Christie was naturally shocked and embarassed. She nudged her mom and whispered: "Mommy, ano ba? Nakalimutan mo yung isang 's'!" (Mommy, what's happening to you? You've forgotten the other 's)

The Mom acknowledged the error. She sat up straight, waved her hand to the driver to correct her phrase: "Facundo, bumili ka nga ng brewed coffee sa Stars Buck!"

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Being D'Artagnan

by Pat Balo

If the last 20 days of my life became a book, I'm guessing it would turn out to be like Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers.

But in this book, I would not be one of the famous Musketeers. Instead, I would be d’Artagnan, the new recruit eager to prove himself to his newly-joined corps.

Gregarious and outspoken Ome takes on the role of the gallant Athos while bubbly and lively Omie plays the part of the larger-than-life Porthos. Silent but deadly Ferdie is the enigmatic Aramis and strong-willed Boots plays M. de Treville, Captain of the Corps of Musketeers.

Gauging from the pace of the action, I’d say we were right smack in chapter three, right after d’Artagnan and the Three Musketeers meet (albeit in not so cordial terms) and right before d’Artagnan joins the three in trashing the Cardinal’s men.

Hopefully, things turn out quite as well in real life.

Ube Ice Cream

by Omie

April 2006, we went home to Hagonoy, Bulacan to visit my mother who was a diabetic. She didn’t want to eat anymore. The whole family was there, and we were all worried that her health would continue to deteriorate if she wouldn’t eat. We tried our best to make her eat – anything. Never mind if it wasn’t good for her diabetes. We were that desperate.

I sat beside her and asked her what she wanted to eat. Because I knew her favorite foods, and most of them were desserts, I started naming them: “Do you want Sansrival? Chocolate cake? Brazo de mercedes, champorado? Mais con yelo? Hmm… so yummy! “ But she remained silent, her eyes closed. “What about ube ice cream?” I asked. Upon hearing that, she opened her eyes and looked at me. “Gusto ko ‘yun!” (I like that!) she said. We all smiled. Everybody was excited to buy ube ice cream.

My husband and I immediately set off to look for an ube ice cream. Unfortunately, all the groceries we tried didn’t have ube-flavored ice cream. Determined to find one, we continued our search until we saw this old grocery store near the market. I went inside the store and found exactly what I was looking for. I was so excited that I screamed to my husband: “Hey there’s ube ice cream here!”. Everyone in the grocery gave me a puzzled looked because my husband was outside, waiting in the car. I bought the ice cream and went back home. “Mother, here’s your ube ice cream!” I said. She opened her eyes and when she saw the ube ice cream, she smiled.

Nice to Meet You Mr. Generic

by Joaqui

His hands were pinkish. They seemed huge and bloated as I shook them. I’ve had shaken many hands in my entire 7 years as a human, and this was no different. Except his hands were pinkish, bloated and large. I’ve long since been versed on the art of the “Meet and Greet”: Wait to be introduced, smile, extend your hand, shake, say your name, smile and nod, then step back. It was simple, routine, and about as impressionable an experience as watching “No Reservations” on the big screen. So I look past the pink-blotched hand and smile at the equally pinkish bearded man. I remember thinking to myself “He must be feeling hot because he’s not from around here.” The tall foreign bearded man with heat-induced pink skin gives his greeting, and at that I perform my graceful dismount. At this point you must step back and let the “grownups” do the talking so you’ll never have to shake hands and vomit cordial boredom for the rest your life, until the next time. As expected the grownups begin to talk about grownup things like business and his beard and how they all enjoy nodding at one another while they speak. I of course in my wizened old age of seven see this as a welcome distraction to disappear into the shadows and to remount my assault on castle gray skull back in my room. Goodbye pink blotchy-skinned bearded man I’ll never remember.

Laughing and laughter escape a devious child’s lungs. Sometimes children do that. Shortly after the whole handshakefest, my brother makes me laugh. I laugh so hard because of what he said. Poor pink bearded guy. He looks nothing like what my brother called him. And just because he’s white and has a beard too. I find that appropriation funny. That if you’re white and have a beard you’re Chuck Norris! I laugh some more until my mother comes a long and says something that shuts a young child up. They tend to do that sometimes, be correct and tell the truth and all that rubbish. So when she asked me if I enjoyed meeting Mr. Norris, I realized my brother wasn’t actually joking

"I Like My Long Legged!"

by Boots

Marlon was asking about ghost stories so here’s one. I always enjoy a good ghost story. Probably read every book that Jaime Licauco had written about contacting spirits. But this one has nothing to do with a ghost but an elemental. This happened a year ago and during that time we would have a frequent psychic visitor in our family home. This psychic could connect with spirits, elementals and claims to even have a video recorded dwarfs playing under a table.

The psychic gave each of us little things as tokens. To my sister a St. Benedict medallion, blessed by friars and said to be a powerful amulet against evil. To me, he gave a little glass canister, and within it what looked like dry grass – as thin as needles from a pine tree. He claims he got this from a sleeping “tikbalang” (half-man, half-horse elemental). Yeah right? Even if I didn’t believe this. But even with that skepticism, I would not, could not, dare not even open the little sealed glass container containing the remnants of an elemental. So, I just kept it for novelty reasons. A little piece for conversation.

Instructions were given by the psychic: On a small piece of paper, place the name of the person who is causing you pain. Insert in the canister and seal. For 3 days and nights, that person will be tormented by the “tikbalang”. But it should not go beyond 3 nights as the result would be insanity.

No, I couldn’t even wish that on my worst enemy, although I almost did.

I was in still in ABSCBN Publishing that time. One of the magazines was an off-shoot of the popular ghost TV show: “Nginig” (how do I translate that? Shiver?)
The editor and writers were so fascinated with this story that they asked me to bring the little “tikbalang” vial to the office to be shot and for a feature story.

Shoot was done. Feature story written. I didn’t know I was supposed to ask permission from the psychic, and him consequently, to the elemental.
Perhaps that was the reason for a strange nocturnal visitation.
That night I am awakened. What I saw was something to this day I hold in disbelief. Seated on the window sill of my room (3rd floor), is tall shadow. I vaguely remember what it looked like as I was peeping from under a pillow almost aware but not yet believing that this could be “it”. All I remember are the long set of legs that did not stretch to reach the floor but were bent like its size was sufficient for it to sit on the window sill. I was too scared to move and decided the best way to send it away is to negate it. But if it had pulled my blanket, much less neighed I think I would have died in my bed. Needless to say, I survived.

I lost the little canister with the hair of that whatever.
Sometimes, I can’t help but wish it were still in my hands!
(SFX: Evil laughter, clap of thunder).

True Lab

by Boots

Finally, I’ve found what I’ve been looking for. An unconditional relationship with no complications, no demands, no emotional outbursts, no protocol – and no heavy educational plan. Something I’ve always envied other people for having. Now I have a -- a Labrador Retriever! What more can you ask for? I can just imagine: The long walks in UP, the travel to the beach, to Baguio, the quiet non-committal moments, me reading while it lay on my feet. The puppy was given by a business supplier of a friend – a little token of gratitude. The little darling arrived last night. When I received the call (“we’re going to have a puppy”), I couldn’t contain the excitement of a puppy owner-to-be: running inside the supermarket in search of the dog food (puppy formula), buying almost 10 cans so it could be fed anytime even when I’m away (I speak as if it were my own); searching for the right bed basket; picking the color of the blanket for the little one to keep warm through its first night home: a cute pink! Had I known of Sofi’s arrival way, way before, (Sofi is the name we decided to give her because of it had an easy, elegant, sophisticated sound to it; but not yet final), I would have gotten the best bed, accessories and studied feeding formulas and everything to make sure that it would feel it was in the best home ever.

What type of milk do you give a puppy? Not just once?
What if it cries incessantly at night?
But more importantly, what if the administration finds out we have a dog? (It is forbidden in our place. There are other things worthy of being forbidden than a little, cute, furry, puppy.)
I don’t think I can bear having this little dog taken away.

This must be Lab. = ) Sorry na ha.

PS. I can’t wait for the 10 signs of good nutrition!

Things you’ll do when you see a celebrity

by Rey Tolentino

In 1995, two of the most tenacious tennis players of all time played the Salem Open Tennis Championship. The venue – Victoria Park Hongkong, the event – semifinal match between 1989 French Open Champion Michael Chang and 1991-92 French Open Champion and 1992-93 Australian Open Champion Jim Courier, the witness – me and the crowd. I was in Hongkong that time doing a color grading for some project for Basic Advertising and in my downtime, I managed to squeeze in some leisure moment.

Being a Class A tennis player, I was so thrilled to watch these two players banging balls from extreme corner of the court each retrieving endlessly as if there was no tomorrow. Eventually, Michael Chang emerged as the winner and went on to win the finals vs Jonas Bjorkman. After the match, I saw both players heading towards me as I was about to go to a toilet to answer the call of nature. I was caught flat footed and suddenly forgot to take a pee and headed towards them in the practice court. I was in cloud 9 during that moment, totally in oblivion. The next thing happened I was approaching the two star players to play with me on a tie break match. I literally challenged the two of them to play with me, as if I was like a co-players : ) I was turned down obviously because I was a stranger to them, nevertheless, it was a nice move I must say because after that encounter I was able to hit with another professional tennis player in the person of South African Wayne Ferreira that same day. It turned out this guy was the only one who had a winningest record against ALL TIME GREAT Pete Sampras. Never been so lucky after that.

Top 3 Things a Boy Shouldn't Say to Another Boy

by Pat Balo

1) “Pare, ang pogi mo.”– It doesn’t really matter is the person saying this is gay or straight. For as long as the object of the statement is straight, this is a definite no-no. Why? Because boys have wildly malicious minds and egos the size of Luzon, which is why they assume that no one (not girls, not gays, not even other men) can resist their charms.

2) “Tol, jackpot ka sa girlfriend mo ah.” – What this statement actually means is that the guy looks like his girlfriend’s alalay and you just can’t figure out paano niya naloko yung babae (how he was able to fool her).

3) “Liit ah.” – You better be hoping that a) you aren’t in the bathroom taking a leak or b) you aren’t the object of this conversation. If you are, then you are honor-bound to stage the “Rumble in the Bathroom” for your officemates.

How do you develop certain emotions?

by Rey Tolentino

This is one story I would never forget because this was where I begun to know the meaning of the words hate and assertiveness. I remember when I was in Grade III, I was one of the most I would say talented artist in my class. I used to get no less than a grade of 98 in every piece of art that I submit in our art class. I was so thrilled when my teacher announced that there will be an art compettion in our school, sensing that this was an opportunity to showcase what I’ve got that time. Our teacher picked out art pieces from the student’s art envelopes where we kept our innocent works. Then cut to the art exhibit, I was so shocked to find out my three colorful artworks displayed on the bulletin boards where all art pieces are posted. I should be happy right? but no, my three wonderful artworks bore a different name. Maybe because our names were written in pencil so it was easy to erase, I could still see trace of my name underneath. My oh soooo bad teacher put the names of my three different classmates in those three artworks that I did. For whatever reason only God knew. I supposed those students were our teacher’s pet, (I had this feeling eversince), I just kept it to myself throughout the exhibit but I felt I was so violated that time. My feeling during that time was that my teacher was so bad and I begun to hate her ever since. If not for my father who taught me to value my work all the time and assert yourself in any given situation, I would be forever hateful. Nevertheless, I have forgiven her and I’m very happy now.

Top 3 Things Boys Shouldn’t Say to Girls

by Carrie

1. “I think about you all the time” – This statement, at the very least, is an exaggeration of a man’s capability to focus his thoughts on a single thing at a time. No offense meant there, just that when directed to a girl (please note that I will not use the word “woman” here), specially if the girl is so smitten she will believe anything, this statement can be fatal to both parties and can lead to migraines and little moments of death. Girls tend to take your word for it, and when this statement is uttered, better be ready to support it with action and a response to every single text message she sends you from dusk ‘til dawn.

2. “You’re too emotional” – Girls. Venting. Venting. Girls. They go together. When girls talk about a shitty day in the office and how they’d love to kill this smart-alecky new girl who made a snotty remark about the clothes she was wearing, just listen. Offer some consolation. Telling her she is “being too emotional” translates to “you don’t care”. Girls love to go mushy about a lot of things and most times they are just excuses for you to say the things she wants to hear so she’ll feel better.

3. “I love you” – the rule is, don’t say it unless you mean it. Love has become the generic term men use to achieve a variety of objectives. Love/loving is the high ground, people. And it is a level that is definitely not there yet on your 1st monthsary. It is more realistic to say “I’m in love with you”. Believe you me, she will recount the story of what you said to 12 of her friends and they will dissect it to death including how you said, when and where. 10 hours and two bottles of vodka later, one of the 12 will hopefully have the wisdom to make her understand what ‘in love with you means”. 6 months after and you break up, you both can truthfully say when asked why: “we were not in love anymore”.

Joining the Pod

by Marlon

I never wanted an iPod but Lara introduced me to Eva Cassidy and I really wanted to listen to "Over The Rainbow" over and over and over again. I do that every morning at home, but I want to listen to Eva wherever, whenever . The problem is, I never liked "earphone" music. It isolates the user while invading him at the same time. Come to think of it, I never really liked listening to music constantly. I do like some songs, like Eva's, so I was going to buy an MP3 player. My office mates nearly stoned me to death.

"You're the Chief Creative Officer, you should get an iPod."

"Hindi bagay sa status mo."
("It does not befit your status.")

"I won't travel with you if you're using an MP3. Get an iPod."

Snobs! They don't understand why I own a Xenon DVD player, and it's only P2,900. I can buy a bottle of bubbly for P5,000 but not a DVD player for the same amount of money! My mind works that way, I'm Michael Dell. An iPod Mini is around P15,000! Way too much. I own a sunflower iMac and a Titanium Powerbook but that's a different story.

To test my decision I called Ricky V. and asked if I will still be his friend after I buy an MP3 player.

"Kaibigan ka pa rin namin, pero may konting awa."
("You'll still be our friend but we'll pity you a little.")


But I never read manuals of things nor heeded the warnings attached to pillows, so I snuck out of the office and went to CDR King in Greenbelt One. They have this BenQ MP3 player worth P1,990. Winner na sana but it's out of stock. I went back to the office and talked to the I.T. guys.

"Call our Mac supplier and ask if they have a Mini iPod. I want one now."

I got the usual supplier answer, they have it BUT will take three days to deliver. ASUS! I'm sure they don't have it on stock! Back to an MP3. After work I went to Automatic Center in Greenbelt One.

"Ms. saan ang mga MP3 players?"
("Ms, where are the MP3 players?")

There were very few MP3 players to choose from and in the same shelf were three boxes: a Mini, a 20G iPod and a 40G iPod. The iPods were way too expensive unlike the AIPTEK 256MB MP3 S-I! It's white and it has an alarm clock. I reasoned, I can say that I bought a thumb drive for transferring files. Oh and by the way, it plays music too. Neat no? I sent this rationalization as a text message to Judith and Ricky hoping to get some support. Meanwhile, a motherly saleslady came to assist my journey. Edith, that's the salesmother's name, opened the AIPTEK box. Hmmmmm. It's very light, like holding the door handle of an Isuzu Amazora van. Hmmmm. What's with the red band around the sides? Hmmmm. If it had a stem out on one side it looks like it can take my temperature when I'm sick.

"Where's the manual ho?"

For the first time in my life, I was unhappy to see a small and thin manual. I read all the english words in three minutes but I can't find the part where it says "Hi, I am AIPTEK, stick me to your Mac, I speak Apple-lesse." Panic! I called Ricky V. He was online so he searched for reviews.

"I only own an AIPTEK because my girlfriend gave it to me. Otherwise I will never buy such rubbish."


It didn't escape Edith that my eyes strayed back to the iPods on the shelf.

"Pwede mong hulugan ang iPod kung gusto mo. May BPI card ka naman siguro."
("You can pay the iPod on installment. I'm sure you have a BPI card.")

Installment? She took her calculator out and stated punching.

"Kung twelve months sa iPod 20G, mga one eight a month. Gusto mo ng 18 months?"
("On a twelve-month spread for an iPod 20G, you will pay P1,800 a month. Do you want to do it for 18 months?)

Self pity was skipping between ropes of madness and laughter.

" After twelve months may interest na mga P3,000, siguro naman kaya mo na yan, may bonus ka naman siguro."
("After twelve months the interest will be P3,000, I'm sure you can manage, i bet you have a bonus.")

Self pity was doing cartwheels. I bought the iPod. She took my card and the iPod 20G. When everything was done, she handed me my new iPod.

"O, 'wag mo lang ipang-reregalo."
("Hey, don't just give it away as a gift.")

I named my iPod after Edith.

Breezing EDSA

by Ronan

The roads were tame.

The yellow lines streaked with the breeze as fast as thoughts zoomed my mind. Sadness used to be my muse. I would write lines away instead of tears and howl away the sorrow in description and silence. My fingers did all the crying as my mind consoled my heart from weeping.

Inbetween buses changing lanes, my car rolled along. Flashing through narrow gaps running like tomorrow has come. The driver had a madness in his eyes. Lack of sleep perhaps? I didn't care. His motion was liberating as he brought the engine wheeling across Santolan and Shaw stretch.

Something inside my mind was banging to come out.

I peeped through the hole and saw a red demon ramming my vision with its broken curled horns and its wings crashing up a storm. The sight pushed me back. The door was locked. Tight. Yet, I felt the seething fury of the breeze entering the smallest of gaps underneath and on the side.

When the car dashed on empty lanes, up to speed, I felt cradled in a hammock dangling from etheareal posts. Softly it swayed my soul side to side. I stare into the sun. I see the madness in my driver's eyes. The top arch straight and the bottom arches wide U's catching black orbs that stain the road it passes.

It was calming.

Sadness used to be my muse.

She went on a sabbatical.

And I am about to open the door.

I handed 150 bucks to the driver as I stepped out into the world.

I opened the door.



by Alice

Back in 1996, when my husband LOU and I were married only for two years, we were sort of planning to have our first family car but never got around to inquire about loans and stuff. The closest to effort that we did was sending raffle entries to the HOPE -WINSTON SUPERSTAKE where we hoped to win a LANCER GLXI which was my hubby’s dream car.

Then one day, we saw a brand new Lancer GLXI parked in front of my neighbor. It was for sale. After a few inquiries, we knew that car was meant for us.

Not just because it was in silver which was my husband’s favorite car color.
Nor was it because the owner, Mr AGUILAR, was also named LOU like my husband.

What clinched the deal was when we found out that LOU AGUILAR won the car in the HOPE-WINSTON SUPERSTAKE and he had to sell it to buy prosthetics for his wife who LOST HER LEGS IN A CAR ACCIDENT.

Immediately, we approached a bank to apply for a car loan. And we could only smile to ourselves when the loan officer introduced herself as Kathy AGUILAR.

Two Whispering Men

by Erika

I used to live with my boyfriend in their old house. My boyfriend usually leaves for work earlier than I do. I would savor the few minutes before the alarm goes off.

After a few weeks I began having strange dreams. It would always happen before 8 am. These were the same dreams actually. The setting would be in that bedroom. I'd be lying in bed. There would be two men whispering behind the open door. They would look at me and whisper to each other. At times there would be this girl. She was dark and short with curly hair. As our bed was low, this girl would step up to the bed and walk to me. She would closely examine my face. So close that her knees would be on top of my chest, her nose almost touching mine. After which she would turn to the 2 whispering men still behind the door as if confirming their discussion. It was more disturbing than scary. I would fight to open my eyes to wake up.

Almost every morning for a month I would have these dreams. Until it was time to move to Blanco Center.

After a tedious week of making the 4 cement walls look like a home, I had my first relaxing sleep. But then I woke up not being able to move my legs. Then I realized I couldn't move my entire body. It was a terrible feeling, being trapped. I must've been really tired. But as I turned my head to the clock beside the bed, I saw the same 2 whispering men. Closer this time since my room was smaller. It was eerily familiar. The same faces, one with a moustache, both guys are short and dark, same red and white shirt. Their arms were folded as they were whispering to each other.

I squinted my eyes to feign sleep, maybe they wouldn't see that I had waken up. But one of them saw me. He took two steps towards my side of the bed. He looked at the other guy as if asking permission. Then what he did really horrified me. He thrusted his face through mine. His face was like a hologram, like light and air. I felt violated and terrified. I was suffocated. I tried hard to breathe. I willed myself to tell them to stop but it seemed as if my lips were stitched together. I mustered all my strength until I had managed to scream "Tama na!" (Enough!).

Then they were gone.

I told a girlfriend this story. She said I must have had something that the spirits needed badly, so bad that they had to follow me.

More months would pass and my sleep had become peaceful. One weekend as I was watching the news, I was reminded of an incident when I was still living in the previous house. I was in the sidewalk on my way home, when a guy came running to the same direction as I was. But when he was about 2 meters away from me, he stumbled to the cement floor. Immediately, another guy came running towards him and gunned him down.

2 men, both short and dark. Same red and white shirt. One guy with a moustache.

Let's Get Physical

by Lala

Here's the thing: I've been trying to shed some unwanted baggage and it's finally taking effect! That said, there I was, diligently working my way to 'ideal weight', at 8:17 in the morning doing what I had hoped to be the last 15 minutes (give or take) of my morning run (on the treadmill). When suddenly the belt decides to slow down. Hmmm? So I shift my gaze to the treadmill console to see what was the matter. Machine, in turn, tells me:



It then proceeds to give me a 30 second ( or was it 10?) countdown before it completely stops. Slightly annoyed and slowly panicking, I start pressing any button...ALL THE BUTTONS! just so it won't do what it's planning to do. And as I start at the realization that it was totally ignoring me, another thought immediately sinks itself into my conciousness:

"What if…?"
"Could it be that I'm…"

I rapidly turn my head to look behind me, half expecting too see my corpse halfway down the belt and on the floor, with head bobbing up and down, as the belt comes to a halt.

Still here.

Dehydration? Overactive imagination? Or maybe the machine was just complementing me on my success (so far). That said, I'll take whatever complements I can get.

Disney’s Dirty Little Secret

by Migs

I was 10 when I took my first trip to Disneyland. And, it was everything I imagined it to be – the exploding fountains, dizzying rides, grand parades around every street corner, a lot of white folks and the song It’s A Small World following me everywhere I go.

In front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle, we were getting in line to pose with our favorite Disney characters (who were, back then, literally larger than life). When our turn came I ran straight to Mickey Mouse. My uncle who pushed Minnie aside took his place beside me.

Somehow, amidst the frenzy of snapshots and a huge white hand smothering my face, I overheard my uncle complaining:

“Bilis na, ang init!” (Hurry up, it’s hot!)

With Mickey quick to reply, “Oo nga, eh!” (It sure is!)

I couldn’t believe my own ears.

My uncle who apparently heard this as well looked at the big furry mascot and asked:

“You in there, are you Filipino?”

And a muffled voice from inside the mouse’s head replied, “Oo, sir.” (Yes, sir.)

At 10 years old, this experience taught me one thing. It is a small world after all.

First Day High

Originally posted: June 6, 2007
by Mae S.

as many suckers for drama would do, I planned to write about my first day as an—ahem—intern. But no, work actually did not permit me to do so because during my first day, I have actually already experienced the monumental work moment—overtime.

Nonetheless, I have interesting stories to tell. After only two days and currently on my third day here at the ad agency, I have a surprising amount of things to talk about. My first day was like no other first day in fresh grad history—it was way too packed for a fresh grad’s own good.

I started the day meeting my very own cubicle and officemates in the near vicinity and being shown how my windows 98 computer works. In case you really want to know, it works fine, just like a computer should. After my meet and greet, I was given three binder’s worth of readings—I had to familiarize around 3 years of my account’s print ads. I have a good brand, by the way, and I now have a lot of respect for this brand that I used to think before now was not at all that “me”. After a while, I finally met my immediate supervisor--nice guy, told me right on na sasabak agad ako sa trabaho. I smiled, swallowed hard and said okay. Then it was off to this thing called offline.

Oh my gosh---working with clients and an actual TVC offline editing thing. To my surprise, Teta, a good friend of mine from UA&P, is so to speak—client. They told me this would happen, but I didn’t expect it ON MY FIRST DAY.

For those who will not be fortunate enough to experience agency life, let me tell you that there are buffet meals EVERYDAY with dessert!

Nah, just kidding… ☺ We had one that day, and the only reason why I’m mentioning it is because the cake, served to me by Direk was really yummy. I wanted to eat the whole thing but I was, like, the only girl there. Dyahe naman.

After lunch, I witnessed a momentous occasion where the creative guy blurted out a random idea that turned out to be a good storyboard concept. Everyone got excited and decided to shoot the damn thing that afternoon. So we did. We shot an animated story on the side of a Makati street in about 45 minutes. Lots of fun actually--just the kind of spontaneous agency activity that I always wanted to experience. And then we went on to the long and freezing part—color grading. Basically, it’s this really long process of improving the color of the commercial they shot. They do it by scene and by reel. There were about 3 reels. Each one took more than an hour it seemed. Just do the math for me.

Finally, after yet another yummy (and free!) meal, I went home at around 8:30 pm. Actually, I was chauffeured home. Part of production costs, don’t ask me why.

And that was the end of DAY ONE.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


by Monica

As defined in the dictionary:
Passion [pash-uhn] (N) - a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything

When I was in high school, I came across this word. I was amused by it’s meaning primarily because I wanted to experience the feeling. I mean, who wouldn’t want to experience a strong desire for something? A desire, which pushes you to do things you can only imagine yourself doing? So being the curious girl that I was, I asked myself: What is my passion? I thought of activities, which I can associate with passion. Passion for eating (that explains my chubby cheeks)? Passion for talking (I was always reprimanded by my teachers because of this.)? I settled for that definition in my mind as I thought of passion as something I want and enjoy doing.

Years passed by until I entered college. Come my second year, I auditioned for our department’s dance group. It was basically for fun. Just for the heck of it. All of my friends in college were part of organizations, hell I should be a part of one too!

I never expected anything from this. However, the unexpected happened. Before our performance, as I stood in the backstage of my first ever hiphop dance competition, I felt something heavy in the pits of my stomach. I felt like I wanted to blow (eeeewwww! I know.). I couldn’t understand what I was feeling. I wanted to faint and jump at the same time. I wanted to cry and laugh at the same time. I was shaking all over then something occurred to me. It was shouting at me! The heavy feeling, the fainting and jumping struggle, crying and laughing at the same time, was my passion for dancing which wanted to burst out of me.

As I danced my heart out on the stage, I felt as if one of my childhood questions were answered.

Finally, I found my passion.


by Ronan

The back door to my mom's clinic in Cubao lies beyond this dark and stingy eskinita right beside two pawnshops and a Muslim general merchandise stalls selling cell phone casing and various trinkets. It's a few meters off the side entrance of the Murphy Market that leads to the dry market section selling kitchenware, slippers and pots. Numerous vehicles park right in front of the opening of the eskenita block the existence of such a secret passageway. If Araneta had its Gateway, this was the gateway of 15th Avenue.

Once you reach the end of the eskinita, you now have before you a secret garden of shanties, clothes hung to dry and random plants in random pots made of clay, tin and rubber tires. It's the looban, one of many in the area. But this one rested right in the heart of 15th Avenue. This would have to be the Residences (right above Greenbelt) of 15th Avenue. The way to our back door lies to the left from the end of the eskinita. It's on top of our staircase on which hang three sets of clothes lines, as we too have to dry our clothes and save on the electric billing.

When I was younger (than I am now,) I hardly passed through the eskinita. I always found it dirty and quite the scary way to our house. I would only pass there if I was with my mom, dad or an adult companion. I would always pass through the front entrance leading straight to my mom's clinic. Not until recently, when I began spending more time in Cubao, did I find myself passing through this portal almost all the time, to and from home.

Then, I did have friends who lived "down there" (the term I openly use to refer to the area down from our back door.) We'd play street games on the backyard when it wasn't so crowded yet. See before, there was half a basketball court there, a canal, and a semi-vast garden and semi-vast tall grass area. Now, there hardly is any room to run around the backyard since the owners decided to make it into a dump for residential occupancy. Really, the situation "down there" is quite the depressing site, that when my friends moved out there over a decade ago, I never bothered to go down there to check. Ever.

The eskinita is the only way that connects the inner cluster of lives out to society. It is actually quite the convenient path to take to revere discretion of the hustle and bustle of the jeepney route passing through 15th. On dry days, patches of wet area are scattered along the path. On wet days, the patches get deeper that sometimes, wooden planks are placed for the pedestrians. You see, along the sides of this hall of sorts lies the NAWASA meters for the entire community, most of which give off the occasional leak every once in a while, explaining the blotches of dark grimy water.

On bad days, you could catch a fat rat run across the eskinita carrying in its mouth a piece of bread or food from some nearby house. This rat is just one of the regular passers of this eskinita. Around 530-6 am, you could see school children who live "down there" pass through with their small bags. Early evenings, the entrance from the 15th is cluttered with residents eating isaw that the Muslim businessman readies by five in the afternoon. Late nights, you could be walking along with a few overtime laborers or some regular drunkards, still capable of walking their way home, with the stench of strong alcohol perfuming the entire stretch of the eskinita.

When I leave for Makati in the morning, I pass through this rundown eskinita to save our helper the hassle of waking up earlier just to open the front entrance to the 15th. At night, I creep my way through the back to save them the hassle of waiting up for me and unlocking the front entrance for the clinic. It's quite the rundown routine, but through time, you can see the scratches of weather and civilization breathe through its thinning walls. This eskinita is alive.

It's a metaphor for the lives of the people who live and thrive beyond its ends. "Up there" or "down there," we all have to go through it.

Contact Lens

by Lieza

Back when my siblings and I were still young, my mom used to wear contact lenses. She found them so expensive that she gets too disappointed whenever one of it gets lost.

One stormy afternoon, while my mom and dad were waiting for a cab in Taft Avenue, the wind blew and one of my mom’s contact lenses flew (blew-flew-blew-flew…hey it rhymes!). So there was my dad, at the side of the dirty bangketa, irritated that he had to kneel down and feel the wet and muddy ground with his hands and see if my mom’s contact lens was there. My mom decided to let it go, and so they gave up the search…an hour later.

When my elder sister was only 5 years old, she saw my mom’s contact lenses and didn’t know what went into her mind that she ate one of it. My mom got mad at her and she never touched her contact lenses again.

Two weeks after that incident, one of my mom’s contact lenses got lost (again). She thought my sister ate it again and yelled, “ILUWA MOOOOO! ISUKA MOOO!” * while holding her mouth. She yelled at her over and over again, as if it would still matter if my sister brought it back.

Our helper approached my mom and said, “Ma’am, ito po ba yun? Tinapon ko po kasi akala ko kaliskis.” **

Until now, my mom still feels so guilty whenever we talk about the chronicles of the missing contact lenses. She wears eyeglasses now by the way.

* Gag it up! Gag it up!
** Ma’am, is this the one you’re looking for? I threw it because I thought it was a fish scale.

Love at first sight

by Peachy

It was in Pandacan, Manila at this century-old house when it happened. I caught a glimpse of it and I was drawn. It just happened. I was in love with a clock.

Smitten, I stared with my mouth agape. I had to meet the owner. I told the lady how much I loved her clock, gushing about its beauty and the intricacy of its workmanship. But in the same breath I apologized. I had decided right there and then that I was going to be un-Asian and ask her the unthinkable-- was she willing to sell the clock? She smiled at me. She said she understood why I was mesmerized. So many others have admired it the same way I did. I asked for her number and I gave her mine, just in case.

The finer details:

A week passed and I still couldn’t forget the clock. Finally, I called her up. I had to. And good thing I did. She said she will sell to me and only me because I was the only one bold enough to ask her. I was buying but only if I could afford it. Thank God the price was right or this would have been a story of a love lost.

And now the beauty is in my office looking as if it was always meant to be there.

Love Story #1

by Lieza

He’s a charming guy who’s already in his 40s, super funny, chubby—okay, horizontally challenged, and is loved by everyone in the office.

He’s my boss’ boss.

It was my first time to have a chat with him about something that isn’t work related.

He told me about he and his wife’s story.

J was an introvert, his wife. He said she’s not the type who’ll mingle or would want to meet new friends. She was always too shy at parties. She was his best friend, and they had the same circle of friends.

“I broke up with her—minundo nya ako eh (her world revolved around me).”
“Ang gwapo mo naman boss!” I said. (blah blah...)

“I went to Paris, and got myself a new girlfriend. I started to like this new girl I was with.”

When he got back from Paris, he found out that his friend had set up his J with another guy.

“Nalaman ko, gwapo, mayaman…matalino...” (I found out he was handsome, rich, intelligent...) So he decided to get J back.

He tried so hard to break up with his then girlfriend. Gave her the lamest excuses a man could ever tell his girlfriend:

“It’s not you, it’s me.”
“My dad’s sick and I won’t have time for you…”
“I love you this much (gestures a measure of an inch with his right thumb and index finger), and you love me this much (gestures a measure of 5 inch with his opposite fingers)…See? Biiiiig difference!”

But his then girlfriend tried to understand him. She said it was ok, and that she’ll stay no matter what. She sends him flowers and chocolates, as if she was courting him. She even got hospitalized for severe depression.

His birthday came, and he decided to throw a party. He didn’t invite his then girlfriend, and told her that there won’t be a celebration. Little did she know that aside from his friends who were all present in their house that day, J was there.

Phone rings during the party…
Him: Hello?
Ex: Hi, anong meron senyo? (what’s going on in your place?)
Him: Uhhhhm…may konting gathering dito.. (there’s a small gathering)
Ex: Ahh. Why wasn’t I invited?
Him: Uhmmm…si J nandito.. (J’s here)


“Ayun, binalikan ko si J,” (So there, I went back to J!) he told me with a smile on his face.

“Tsaka may putok kasi yung ex kong yun eh!” (also, my ex’s got a terrible body odor!)

Then my boss arrived as if he was on cue, “Ah! Meron ding akong ex na ganyan! Puta!”

Men. ;P

Top Three Things Girls Should Never Say to Men

by Pat Balo

1) “I feel safe with you.” – This statement is seriously emasculating as it implies that the girl does not consider the man as someone with the capability of sweeping her off her feet with his charm and sensuality. This is vastly different from “You make me feel safe”, which is empowering, connoting that the man is capable of safeguarding the girl from the ills of the world.

2) “Parang kuya kita”. (You’re like an older brother to me)– Again, emasculating. Unless meant in a freaky kind of way, of course. By referring to a guy as a “kuya”, the girl is effectively saying that she is completely unaffected by his sexuality. The only time “Kuya” is not insulting is when a younger girl in a church choir uses it to address the older mentor (and you know where that leads)

3) “Di ba gwapo naman si (insert name here)” (Isn’t (name) handsome?) – The vast majority of men cannot and will not admit that they consider another man “handsome”. Hard as we try to appear worldly and modern, the fact of the matter is, we can’t undo hundreds of years of indoctrination.


by Manny

City lights hung low tonight. From a distance, a purple haze streaks across what is left of sunset. I squint my eyes to look at the yellow broken lines approaching and leaving me from the windows of the car. As beads of rain wash down my view, I see the yellow lines blurring, diffusing, and finally leaving.
I let out a sigh, and shifted my focus on the road ahead.
"Would you like to stop for dinner?" Mom asked as she began tapping the edges of the steering wheel, while slightly massaging the temples of her head.
"Yup. That would be nice." I smiled at her.
"Okay. Let's pass by some gas station convenience store for a quick st--"
"Mommy, wag naman dun..."
"Hmmm..okay, okay... how about St. Francis Square?"
While we were negotiating the crawl from the Valle 5 area up to the Mega Mall jam, I remember how I always wanted the sound of rain beating against the car windows when I was still high school. I would unconsciously stare and listen to the drops of rain for such a long time until I see myself looking at me.
Then there would be silence.
College life left me with less time to continue that habit. Well, first of all, there was no need to drive me to school and fetch me anymore. My parents had an apartment rented just for me a few blocks from campus. Secondly, of the few times that they did fetch me from school for some reason or another, it never rained.
I am glad to see those drops sliding down the windows once again.

Cooking Mama

by Kaye

Aside from Guitar Hero, the other game I like playing on the Wii is Cooking Mama. The name says it all – it’s a cooking game! You pick a dish then Cooking Mama tells you what to do (slice that, put this in a pan, stir that).

I like playing Cooking Mama because it lets me live out my fantasy that I can cook like a pro. Or even that I can cook.

You got it.

I can’t really cook. I can bake, but baking is easy because it’s a precise science. Cooking though, is something else. I have yet to fully try it. Apart from those Food Tech classes I had at BIS, I have not cooked a dish on my own since.

So lately, I have been poring over recipes trying to decide which dish I’ll try cooking on my own for the first time. I don’t know where to start. I know that if I follow a recipe, I can definitely cook a dish. But I keep getting distracted. I’m preoccupied with fervently hoping that whatever it is won’t burn to a crisp, or even burn the house down. Most of all, I keep hoping that whatever it is ends up edible. Yeah, I’m distracted by stuff I shouldn’t even be thinking about yet. I haven’t even picked a recipe.


How I’d love to have a real-life Cooking Mama to stand beside me and tell me what to do step by little step. To tell me the step in between the steps, even. I also know though, that I’m going to have to do this on my own.

So sometime this week (or month), I am taking a deep breath and I’m going to the kitchen and release that inner Cooking Mama in me.

Good God, I hope she’s there.


by Manny

Just as the waiter was going to serve my favorite, spicy chicken wings with thickly-cut potato chips, I caught myself glancing at the reflection that the immaculate plate had - it was me looking at me.

I was there for a like one, two seconds (until the sauce started flooding the plate)- yet here at the same time. It was like looking through a well and seeing someone else looking through the other end. I suddenly remembered that Looney Tunes episode where Bugs dug so deep into and through the earth, so deep that he eventually found himself in China. The earth is round. Even the plate says so.
"Hoy, bakit ka nakatunganga sa pagkain?"
I was? Gee, talk about being inside that well really deep.
"Hindi...may naisip lang ako..."
"Ah ganun ba...sige, let's eat na?"
I lit up a bit of a smile inside me as I saw my mom eat her all-veggie salad line-up. "Healthy food", according to her. Yet, when I last scanned the table, I saw two double-chocolate cakes for dessert and her usual pack of Malboro. Reds. Sometimes I wonder if she sees the note written at the side of those cigarette packs. It may shock her, hopefully.

11:17 pm – Goodbye. Again.


My life’s journey has once more begun.

Anchor reeled in, boat once again facing the oncoming waves head on.

Another island is set to be discovered... one that the mind can only imagine.

Embarking on a new voyage risks trading safety for peril,

comfort for pain, apparent happiness for grief.

But remaining anchored does little good to me as well.

My spirit feels trapped, my soul feels chained.

I have to fight back the avoidance of the possible pain.

I may be hurt, I may be wounded, but not having ventured on might spell the end of me.

At present, I am surfing the waves. Observing the tides and determining the opportune time.

Once an opening comes, and my mind tells me it's right...I will let go, and go.

Paddle like mad and strike through the wall--

Not caring if I drown or if by some misfortune I fall.

If I fall, I will swim, I will kick with all my strength,

If I can’t go on, I will float, I may be weak

But I know by some force I will still be strong enough to reach the next shore--

--which, for the moment,

exists only in my dreams.

Not Now.

by Omie

A child was named Kobe.
His Daddy and Mommy loved him so much.
They will gave everything to Kobe:
complete vitamins, nutritious food,
and of course, lots of toys.

His mom always talked to Kobe
and tells him to be a good boy when he grows up.
His dad bought him more toys
and played with him everyday.

But one day,
Someone called Kobe:
"you can't be with them anymore."
"but why?" asked Kobe.
"it's not yet time for you to be with them."

"But I want to be with them,
they would be sad without me."

"Not now."

So Kobe kept waiting,
to finally see his Daddy and Mommy
one day.

Theory of the lunar tan

by Inebrieted Boracay

Walking along the lengthy stretch of powdery white sand,
with the cooling breeze blowing, the sound of palms swaying and serenity settling under the luminescent full moon and lit canopy of stars,

I strolled pondering: is there such a concept as a lunar tan?

Simply put, can we actually get exposed to UV rays and get a tan, as a result of extreme lengths of exposure under the moon?
As a reflective surface, the moon bounces off light from the sun.
Since the true source of light is the sun, can moonlight have the same effects as sunlight but to a much lesser degree?
Can lying on the beach at night in full view of the moon, for instance, still merit an ever so slight hint of a tan?

In a short experiment, a reflective surface can bounce off the sun's rays and shine on a second surface heating the latter in the process. Can this same principle apply to the moon as a reflective surface, shining on the earth?

Another evidence of this is that there is a cycle in photosynthesis that occurs at night. The occurrence of the cycle further supports the concept that the moonlight still has the components of sunlight because it allows for the cycle to continue regardless of time of day.

If so, exposure under moonlight does not spare us from the effects of sunlight (even is this is to the slightest degree). conclusion when at the beach, lay sprawled on the sand all day and all night
to get the best-EST tan for your buck.


My Driver

by Omie

My driver wakes up early everyday,
he doesn't skip breakfast.
After taking a bath he blows-dry his hair.
He opens his closet and chooses what to wear.

He doesn't want to wait when he's already in the car,
He always goes "beep-beep"
and goes "beep-beep" until I go to the car.

He always asks me to
prepare exact amount for the toll fee.

He hates traffic.
He never wants to be late.

He always makes sure
there's an umbrella in the car
because it always rains
and he doesn't want to get wet

Oh, there's one more thing,
he sings,
he dances,
as he drives.

Well, that's my driver.

Say What?!?!?!!!!!

by Cat

Given the many dialects found from region to region, miscommunication just can't be helped. I'm sure that you guys have heard a lot of stories already but I swear, this really happened to my aunt!!! So, here's one for the books...

I have an aunt who loves to bake. One fine day as she was preparing her goodies, she realized that she had run out of cookie sheets. So, she asked her maid to go to the nearby grocery store and buy her some cookie sheets. After some time, the maid returned home and entered the kitchen holding up 2 bottles of coke while saying (with gusto): "Ma'am, 'eto na po yung pinabili mo!" My aunt looked at her and was puzzled, "Bakit Coke yung binili mo?" The maid replied with an equally puzzled expression (and she said this in her bisayan best) "eh di ba ma'am, pinabili mo coke is it?"

HOLY CRAP!!!! =)

What's in a Smile

by Mondo

Ok so I went out with this guy. He seems O-K. Nice eyes. Nice smile. Great built. Turned out to be kinda boring later on.

Anyway, he was trying to find out things that I like and dislike by asking me questions that really bored me to death. I was so bored, I would just answer him straight-on whatever comes to mind. One of his questions was: “So, mondo, what’s your most tactless moment ever?” I laughed because I remembered what happened to me and an ex-date. he probably got excited to hear the story so I did tell him.

I started blabbing about this guy I dated and it was so funny because my friends think he was wearing false teeth. So silly me asked him if he was wearing false teeth and he was embarrassed to admit it but he did. I asked how many and he said just two. Then later it became three until he admitted it was the whole set. I could take 2 or 3, max is 4 (as long as it doesn’t fall off) but not the whole set!!!

So I was laughing and laughing. The date I was telling the story to was laughing… nervously. Probably thinks I was an ass.
So I tried to save myself by cracking something funny. I said “Hahahaha! Get this: I even asked kung may gilagid o wala! (with gums or none) Hahahahaha! God that was the most tactless moment ever! Hahaha…”

I noticed the date wasn’t really smiling and he was just looking elsewhere as I was nervously reaching for my drink.
Awkward silence.

Then I said to myself, “OMG. He has a nice smile. Why isn’t he smiling? Why does he look pissed?”
Oh. Sheth.

false teeth.

Then I said to him, “Well… yours look real. They’re not too white! Just the right shade… hehehe…

I guess THIS is my most tactless moment, huh?”.

I never expected him to call back after.

Flowers and Butterflies

by Jeff

Once there was an old woman who lived in a little house near a quiet lake. She was famous for her kindness and artistry; but more than that, her beautiful garden of flowers had always been the talk of the town. She was also rumored to have been practicing magical powers and performing spells—her flower garden was always in bloom, and her house always bright even at night. Many believed she's an enchantress in disguise.

A young couple from a nearby town soon came to look for the famous flower garden. They heard about the old woman and since they were quite wealthy, they sought for her with the intention of buying her flower garden.

The couple found the old woman's garden and started collecting flowers in amusement. Now, the old woman was just coming home from a long walk, and when she saw the two, she asked them to leave: "You did not even ask, you just took!" she exclaimed. The old couple kept picking flowers and even had the nerve to insult the woman because she was old and ugly.

The old woman took her cane and swished it wildly, aiming at the couple.

And they turned into butterflies.

Keeping The Job

by Patchot

We once had a helper who really couldn’t do anything right. Not a day went by that she wouldn’t get a scolding from my mother. After a couple of weeks, she knew she was in danger of losing her job. She stepped it up and really tried her best to save her job, not wanting to be sent back to the province where she came from. But just like quicksand, she just sank deeper and deeper.

We wanted to let her go but couldn’t just yet ‘coz my father’s big birthday celebration was coming up. We needed an extra hand for the preparations.

On the day of the party, my mom was very busy cooking the “handa”. I, being the eldest son, was on standby to run errands in case my mom needed to have some last minute ingredients bought. The maid, for her part, was tasked to clean the house.

As my mom was preparing her special fruit salad, she realized she did not have fresh buko on hand. She called on me to go to the market and buy. As I was being given instructions, our maid interjects as she was mopping the floor,

“Mam, ‘wag ka na magpabili. Maraming buku diyan sa punu natin.”.

True enough, when I checked, there was a lot. But the question was, who will climb and harvest them? In the spirit of trying to save her job, our maid excitedly volunteered claiming that she climbed coconut trees every day back in her province. With much uncertainty, my mom said ok. It would save us some time and a few bucks.

So I went back to watching TV, awaiting the next errand.

After about 15 minutes…


All of us rushed to the likod-bahay to see what that loud thud was. It was our maid, sprawled on the concrete pavement, embracing a full branch of our coconut tree.

“Ano nangyari?!” my mom shouts in panic.

Our maid answered (with a smile on her face), “Ang hangin sa itaas mam, ang presku, nakatolog ako..”

Well, she got her wish. We weren’t able to let her go until all her wounds and “bukols” were all healed.

Bye Bye Birdie!

by Sofia Genato

For years, there was a neurotic bird that lived in the tree right outside my window that would start his chirping at the ungodly hour of 5 a.m. everyday, no fail. I have to admit, there were times when his libretto would complement a sunny afternoon with a nice book on hand and a scoop of strawberry haagen dazs. Most of the time however, I wanted to shoot him. I tried shaking the tree didn't work. I tried throwing my slipper, a walis and a soccer ball to try and scare it into moving tree house...didn't work. I tried calling the village guard to figure out a way to get rid of the "pest"...he raised an eyebrow and scratched his head. I bowed mine in defeat. So I resigned myself to living with my feathery Pavarotti and made it a point to make sure my windows were shut tight all the time and that I dug my head under my pillows upon the break of dawn each day.

My grandmother on the other hand loved the bird, it was her "alarm clock", she had it in her mind that this bird was a little gift from God that "sang" to her each morning. She and I differ on many points of view, this little feather duster was one of them. The bird was particularly annoying when I had bouts of my periodic insomnia. There is nothing worse than trying to sleep (when you've had no sleep all night) frustrated in finding a position that gives you respite and having a crazy bird hamming it out right outside your window. I waited, seethed and prayed for a miracle (or a slingshot). 

As with all living things, his time eventually came. About a month ago, we discovered that the tree outside my window was in bad shape, it was old and the branches were pretty weak and falling. Ok I admit it, I was on the lookout for its demise, and at the first sign of rot...I pounced. So we decided it was time to take it down, lest a typhoon hit and the tree go flying around and land on someone's roof. We called the village maintenance and they came and chopped it up for good. We planted a new tree in its place. I threw a party to celebrate the birds demise. Haha just kidding.

These days, there is a welcome silence that awaits me when dawn breaks or I come home from a party at 5 a.m. As I lay my head on my pillow and hear the comforting sound of just my aircon, I can't help but wonder where the bird is and if he is still belting it out each day, who he is driving crazy with his singing. I wish that person, lots of luck and some chamomile tea.

Farewell party soon. Seriously.

The Last Basketball Game

by Pat Balo

I started playing one-on-one basketball with my dad at the age of 8. We must have played roughly around 500 games all in all.

But this isn’t about the first 499 games we played. This is about the last basketball game we played as father and son.

But first, a brief background. My dad was a good basketball player. Good enough to win a high school championship and earn a FEATI engineering degree on a basketball scholarship. Good enough to get 3 MVP awards from various commercial leagues and get a front tooth knocked out by a younger Robert Jaworski.

But by the time I turned 15, he was 46 years old, an ageing basketball star slowly fading away while I was a rising starter for a championship volleyball team. It was age and experience versus youth and energy…and up to this point, age and experience had always won out.

But this game was different. Right from the very start, it was obvious that things weren’t what they used to be. My father tried lofting layups over my head and I swatted them away. He tried driving on me and I was there, blocking his path to the hoop. I blazed past him for easy lay ups and grabbed my every miss for second and third and even fourth chance points.

Finally, on match point, leading by more than 5 on a race to 11 game, I drove once again for the win. As I soared up, I caught a glimpse of sadness on my dad’s face.

My dad hugged me and congratulated me on my first ever win against him.

And we never played basketball ever again.


by Ronan

Just before my move somewhere in the middle of July, I got the opportunity to meet the guy who will be taking over my role as team muse. After exchanging plesantries, some stories, and a couple of chuckles, he eventually realized that he was replacing me. His eyes grew big, and his smile a bit more fixed, as he uttered the near immortal line, "Wow. I have big shoes to fill."

With a smile, I shook my head and said, "No. I'm taking my shoes with me. You have to bring your own."

In truth I'm retiring four pairs of shoes this year. They've served me well. I need a new pair of dress shoes, brown casuals, two or three sneakers perhaps, and maybe a new pointy pair in leatherette. Not to mention a new pair trainers for the gym. If I drove to work, I'd also need a pair for driving. Between parking fees and gas costs, I'd rather walk. But if the driving shoes look and feel good, why not?

Why the Sun chases the Moon

by Jeff

Once upon a time, the Sun asked the Moon to marry him. They made love and had so many children—the little twinkling stars. The Sun dearly loved his children but whenever he tries to embrace them they get burned up because he was too hot and fiery. This angered the Moon; of course, she did not want to lose any of her little children, thus she forbade his husband, the Sun, to touch their children.

One day, the Moon went to look for some of their missing children. She left the rest of the little ones to the Sun, so he could look after them while they were playing. The Sun, without the Moon to stop him, once more felt ablazed with endearment for his beautiful children and embraced them. One by one, they burned to ashes and disappeared. When the Moon came back, she raved at the horrible sight and threw stones at the Sun. To stop her, the Sun threw sand at her face.

The Moon was so mad that she ran away without even saying goodbye. The Sun felt bad, and realized that he still loves her so he started running after her. Sadly, she was already too far away; that whenever he reached the place where she stayed during the night, she was already gone.

Their chase still goes on up to this day. And, up to now, we could still see her scars.

Well, their missing children came back.

Cosplay Gramps?

by Ace

My dad was confined in The Medical City for two weeks. Because of this, most of our meals were spent in restaurants near the area. One day, I was having lunch with my mom, my uncle, and my pabling (playboy) grandpa. I told them that a nurse that I was dating, who happened to work in the same hospital, was joining us.

I told my grandpa some interesting stories about her so that he’d have an idea who she was. I told him that she was a very good dancer and that every time we went clubbing, guys drooled when she started shaking her cute booty.

She finally arrived clad in a blue jacket over her white nurse’s uniform (so cute! hehe). I introduced her to my family and she sat between my grandpa and I. And like a true professional, she assisted my grandpa as he ate his lunch. My grandpa was so pleased with her that he even showed her pictures of his former girlfriends.

After eating, I told them that her lunch break was almost finished and that she had to go back to work. My grandpa was surprised. I reminded him that she was a nurse at the hospital. My grandpa answered with a puzzled look on his face, “Nurse? Akala ko ba dancer? Ang aga pa ah. Wala pang bukas na beerhouse!” (Nurse? I thought she was a dancer? It’s still early. Girly clubs are still closed!”)

The Day I Became a Grown-Up

by Paolo Herras


was when I was six years old. I spent most of my mornings with my grandfather.

We sat down to daing na bangus (salted milkfish), fried eggs and garlic rice, the typical pinoy breakfast in our home.

To complete his meal, he made a warm cup of coffee, and poured a couple of spoons on his rice to add flavor.

I wasn’t allowed to drink coffee yet, because it’s for “grown-ups,” so he pinched a piece of bread, and dipped it in his coffee.

I had my first taste of being a grown-up.

That’s when I knew I would be just like him someday.


by Marlon

Mothers 25-45 years old from the broad C and D segments. She does everything in her power to keep her family healthy. Being healthy is not getting sick and not being sick is a primary assurance that everyone is productive. How her children turn out reflects on who she is. I am confronted with broad stroke information come planning time. The information is deepened further with verbatims from one-on-one interviews and consumer journey studies. The math looks good but I worry about the subjects of our calculation.

I always wonder about the internal life of mothers. I'm worried if there's a woman trapped inside the role. When she makes a mental note of unfinished chores does she add all her unfinished dreams, her suspended life. I'm sure a lot of women dream of becoming mothers and I am sure that a lot of mothers have grown perfectly into who they have become. But do some of them feel that they have taken a road far from their imagined selves? Did the joy they feel when they held us for the first time burn all the bridges leading to regret? Up until college, I never saw the woman inside my mother. Then my parents separated. My mother became a stranger. She constantly reassured us that nothing has changed, that we are her children forever. She is not separating from us, only from my father. I didn't believe her, I was hurt. I didn't want change. I didn't want her to change. A few years later, I was suddenly struck by an image of my mother as a young woman. She played the piano. She was not my mother then. She was a woman separate and valid. Since then I wondered about the woman living inside my mother. My mother loves me for sure and I am sure now that the woman inside her loved what she has become. I hope someday I will also meet that woman.

How the Islands were formed

by Jeff

Haring Manaul was once a powerful king who ruled the creatures of the universe. Until he became ruthless and greedy; eventually neglecting his duty to create and preserve order.

The forces of the universe finally decided to punish the incorrigible king. He was banished to the forbidding realm of endless seas and skies.

After ages of hovering and soaring, Manaul eventually grew tired of flying. His mighty wings were searing from pain, his beak was rattling achingly, and his talons were limping and almost numbed.

The banished king knew he needed some land—in this endless realm, however, land was nowhere.

He thought of a big idea.

He mustered some more energy and flew to the Sky. His innate shrewdness then came to action; he said to the Sky: "I heard the Sea is thinking of a clever way to conquer you—the Sea is planning to rise up and drown you—be wary." Of course, the Sky was enraged as he told Manaul: "Wretched Sea! Then I shall throw rocks and boulders and mountains to conquer its waters!"

Manaul then rushed excitedly to the Sea and announced the Sky's "evil" plan: "The Sky told me he shall throw rocks, boulders, and mountains onto you to prove his power over your waters!" The Sea went berserk—it almost boiled.

The war of the Sea and Sky began rather quickly and violently.

At last, clever Manaul finally found land.


by Marlon

Once upon a time, a grain of rice is as big as a pillow. This in one of my grandmother's most favorite stories during dinner time. Up until I was five, my siblings and my first cousins would look forward to dinner time because my grandmother would supervise the meal. All of us kids would eat by the landing of the staircase. We all thought this made us special, but later we realized it was the adults' way of getting us away from the dinner table. Without us, they could talk about adult things. Back to the landing. My grandmother would put all the food in one tray and we would dig in with our spoons. She would feed the younger ones herself. More than a meal, it was a convention of little monsters. The older ones would fight over cuts of meats. The younger ones would bawl. Most of the fights early in the day would carry over into dinner time. But no matter how rowdy we get, no one ever spilled food, not even a grain of rice. Aside from her regular stories, Bible stories, Grimms stories, HCA stories; she would tell us the story of why a grain of rice is so small. According to my grandmother, rice grains used to be as big as pillows. There was plenty in the land, and no one was hungry. But people wasted food, they were careless and let grains (or should I say pillows) of rice fall on the table or on the ground. One day, all the grains of rice got sad and rolled away from people. They cried. They rolled all the way back to the milling house. They cursed humans for wasting food. While they rolled they became smaller and smaller and smaller. Until they are as small as we see them today.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Name Studies

by Joujou

Most copywriters hate doing name studies. I don’t blame them. When you’ve written your 49th option and clients tell you they don’t know what they want and what they do NOT want, the itch to simply walk out of the room is understandable. However, I do think we should never underestimate the power of names to make things happen, I remember the film Boomerang, where Eddie Murphy’s character, an ad creative guy, was given the task of launching a celebrity perfume. The client? A diva singer played by Grace Jones. The brief? The essence of sex. The final name study? Vagina. I’m not sure if the perfume sold well, the movie ended with the launch party. Names mark the beginning or the end of anything. In 80s-Manila, renaming sexy starlets thematically was the rage. There were the soda beauties- Pepsi Paloma, Coca Nicolas. Movies featuring these girls were box-office hits. Then came the alcohol-laden ladies- Brandy Ayala, Vodka Zobel. The trend fizzled out when women named after canned sardines brands were introduced. Imagine watching a movie that stars Hakata Hakone? Names strangely influence the fates of people and places. When your parents name you Porntip, it’s almost impossible to just be Miss ordinary. It’s either you become Miss Universe or maybe a star adult film performer. Along Champs-Elysee is this gay dance club named Le Queen. The masculine article just spelled the difference. In-your-face on the outside, fab atmosphere inside. Also, it is straight-friendly. Maybe too much. Nowadays, it’s more straight than gay. Sigh. On a brighter note, I met my partner in another club named Bed. After dancing, we ended up in bed. Four years later, we are happily sharing a bed. I think the name started it all.

Number 419222

by Lieza

My College friends and I went to one of Ballet Manila’s events in Aliw Theatre. We stayed after the show to see if we were lucky enough to win the raffle.

One of my friends and I were busy talking about her trip in Puerto. Then I (thought) I heard the announcer say, "NUMBER 419222."

Me: Oh my GOOOOOOOD!!! Bunny, they called your number!!! Goooo!!!"
Her: Huh? Really?
Me: Oo! They did!
Her: OMG, do I have to go up the stage? Urgh!!! Kakahiya!!! Wag na!!!
Me: Sayang, go up na!!!

While she was walking towards the stage, I jokingly told my other friend’s boyfriend, "Shit, what if she didn't really win? Haha. Whatever!” Then we shouted, “GO BUNNY!!"

As soon as she heard us shout, she blushed and embarrassingly went up the stage and gave her stub to the emcee.

Emcee on the mic: 419222? Uhmm I don't think I've called that number yet. I have a photographic memory you know.

As soon as my friend realized that the emcee didn’t really call her number, while she was still on the stage, she looked at me and mouthed, “I HATE YOU!!!”