Friday, March 26


at last, to meet you
while in my desolation,
where has the truant
little girl gone? i ask
in the silence of
your responsiveness,
where there has never been
a time for it,
a reason to it,
a voice in it.
perhaps there was a dream?
out of our worship
for the stars and
the greater heavens
we have settled into this littleness,
where we can spin
to our delight
and forget that
there has never been
a Life
in your name.

welcome, little girl.

A poem I wrote in march 21 1992 for Honey Love de Vera, a girl I never met, but whom I learned died at age 5 after she succumbed to myelogenous leukemia.

Thursday, March 25

Hypergraphia a condition when a person undertakes writing as if it were an autonomic feature of the brain like breathing. It is a sickness in the sense that it overwhelms and replaces other forms of expression available to human beings. Hypergraphics write in toilets papers, table napkins, on their clothes, on their arms, on post-it notes and virtually everywhere, at a pace parallel to the activity of their brain, which means all the time.

So goes the article written by Maria Isabel Garcia in The Philippine Star. She was referring to the research findings of a doctor specializing in compulsive writing disorder. This doctor mentioned the great writer Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Idiot, The Brothers Karamazov-ones I've read), whose literary gift may have been a result of a temporal lobe epilepsy, which means very distinct changes in the activities in the temporal lobes of the brain. He must have been a hypergraphic.

Now, who wouldn't want to have a "sickness" like that??

The way of blogging is fast becoming a contagion, at least amongst those who know about it- and if this predilection is one sign of hypergraphia, if not otherwise a good excuse for indolence--then there must be one dostoevsky in every million bloggers, somewhere in the dark recesses of the blogosphere, ranting and rambling with a genius of wit and insight that will put all our most impassioned philosophic waxings to shame.

Ten years ago I have been more prolific in prose and poetry as though I woke up perpetually from a surfeit of dreams that couldn't wait to be ranted on paper. Depression and deprivation perhaps have been the muses of my musings, and I'm sure many other minds would agree that circumstances like these would have inspired them to put pen unto paper, never settling down until everything from the mind is exhausted and ascribed.

There are as it happens zillions of hypergraphics, thinking thoughts this very minute and every waking minute, maybe writing up their sleeves, or up the walls of their minds, or probably sweating over blogger now, happy in their drudgery- although no published work to their credit, but to where terms genius and writer rightfully belong.

As far as I'm concerned, my creative juices in the times of yore have already been wasted by the many years of domestication and fretting over inane little affairs. All that's left is an emaciated brain trying very hard to understand the elegant wisdom behind the blogs of an imperturbable London call girl.

Isabel Garcia capped off her column by quoting Oliver Wendell Holmes:

A mind that is stretched to a new idea never returns to its original dimension.


Wednesday, March 24


For five straight days now, I have not touched nor imbibed an iota of caffeine in my system. Used to be that without my morning fix, I could hardly get through the rest of the day with a sound mind. My knees start to wobble, I'd feel vacuous and irritable, at worst becoming a cantankerous bitch--to myself and to everyone around me. Well, I do not exactly snap, but boy do I have murderous thoughts of anyone who crosses my sacred bubble.

Coffee was like a shot in the arm, I only had to have it to calm my frayed nerves, then I'll be as meek as a warm-blooded platypus again. Like I always am. Except when coffee-thirsty. Not only that, coffee makes think better, move better, my tactile senses ever heightened, therefore making me work more productively. Tudo belississimo!! Can I be blamed?

But I've long ago come into terms with reality--I'm an addict. The fatal palpitations, constricted nerves, and the sudden feeling of emancipation once the caffeine seeps in through the bloodstream, and wanting it again and again--I'm a disaster waiting to happen! So I've resolved to avoid it altogether, and the other sweet happenings adding up to my daily dose of poundage and evil adipose tissues.

Day One of detox attempt was torture....typical dependence-withdrawal symptoms like headache, fatigue and muscle pain from my last dose....So were days two and three....but I cleared out bourbon street in day four and five....and I survived.

La vita e bella, Life is beautiful!

I never discount the possibility, that someday, somewhere, I will somehow bump into my bitter friend again and strike up a friendship anew...

Monday, March 22


Mondays certainly reek, as Garfield would say. Reek of what, I dunno. I'm supposed to be upbeat and optimistic on the first day of the workweek, but this morning I learned from our househelp that there are people moving in next door, in the middle unit of the three apartment doors on the second floor where we now live.

Well, that should not be so bad considering we have somehow wanted to have a neighbor for an added feeling of security, especially since we've heard from the yayas that the previous occupants of our unit were broken in by thieves at, take note, 7 in the morning. Actually the moment I heard that story I wanted to pack our belongings and scamper off to the next safest place which I could not think of afterwards, but after a few deliberations, I thought that anywhere in Manila, is not safe. Ironic, but true.

I think an ounce of prevention is what is needed to reassure myself that we (Gabby especially) will be out of harm's way. Oliver is getting crazy over my paranoia every night, fastening every window with electric wires and bolting the door with deadlocks, footbolt, barrel bolt, and all the furniture I could muster to put behind the door. I know how frustrated he feels, but you see, it is distressing enough to remind myself that the reason why we moved to this place is because we wanted a better home than the previous one where we had to put up with a pesk of a landlady who badgered us no end, when all we've wanted there was to have some quiet and to be able to forget about the traumatic past when we were broken in by thieves at 6 in the evening. I think I will never get over the shock of having been trespassed by people whose identities to this day remain unknown to me. So I hope Oliver would understand why we're virtually locking us in. I need that to help me sleep through the night.

Anyway, back to the new neighbors. The bad news is that they are Maranaos. Not that I have anything against them as a tribe, or a group, or a culture. With my very limited knowledge about these people from Maguindanao, or Marawi, it would not be fair to pass a general judgement unto them. However, they, the new neighbors, are the relatives of our other present neighbors who are practically occupying 90% of the whole apartment compound, the rest of us being Ilonggo, Bicolano and Visayan.

Now, what I'm grumbling about is the fact that they are terrible SLOBS. They, as I have observed, are a filthy, grubby, messy lot who leave disgusting marks of their spit and piss anywhere they please, not even sparing the 2nd floor stairs. I should have known better than to get bothered by such trivial things. But when you pass by a place that smell like nothing short of excrement everyday, it makes your innards revolt, and HATE the slobs who leave filthy traces of themselves anywhere. As far as I know, we are the only ones I've seen sweeping the dust off our windows and the balcony, which by the way, is a common area for all five units on the second floor. Save for the Visayans who live at the far end of the apartment, the rest of them are just oblivious about their environment. To think they own cars and have kids! We are probably the poorest tenants who live there anyway, but certainly not the inconsiderate ones!

We wanted to make friends with these Maranaos, occasionally trying to flash a shy smile at them , just so to break some cold, hard ice--but they (the men particularly) just shot back an angry, if not hostile, look at us. The women are either shy or they share the same belligerent attitude towards everyone outside their creed, I don't know. But I swear that their kids go up to our unit everyday, sharing food with my son Gabby, playing with his toys, reading his books---and I don't have an inch of hatred for them.


Well, as I was trying to get a sneak of our new neighbors, I saw one woman was dressed in malong and didn't seem to have bothered to comb her hair and wash her face. I felt an instant aversion. I don't know, I think it's wrong to think it, but I feel maybe we deserve better neighbors. I don't care if they all have big cars or millions of pesos. I'm not scheming to discourse about their religion either.

Remembering the short story of hemingway, I feel that what all we middle-class great unwashed want is just a tidy, clean-smelling---well-lighted place. It isn't much to ask for, is it?

Anyway, speaking of bigotry, last night Oliver and I watched Monster's Ball at HBO. At first I was bored with the movie---I suppose I wasn't in a suitable condition to appreciate it while I was trying to put Gabby to sleep, wrestling him to the mattress half of the time. But when I finally had Gabby snoozing, I sat upright and thought, wow, this is one gripping movie. I was mesmerized by Billy Bob Thornton's character, Hank, whose bitterness and racial hatred for colored people was altered when his son (Heath Ledger, who had only a brief but compelling role) took his life away, for reasons that Hank and everything unspoken that had shrouded them in their fallen relationship as father and son had caused. Hally Berry as Leticia, the widow of the last convict that Billy Bob and Heath saw to his deathwalk, was brilliant.

The movie kept me thinking all through the night, about human bondage, the deafening silences of unspoken feelings, and the why and wherefores of it. Monster's Ball was a movie of symbolisms although we were terribly disappointed that we didn't see the sex scene (damn chauvinists!), between Halle and Billy Bob-which reportedly turned in 1 million more dollars for Halle Berry by baring her great bod.


Friday, March 19

anyone lived in a pretty how town

from one of my favorite poets
E. E. Cummings

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn't he danced his did

Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn't they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone's any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.

Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain

Wednesday, March 17

Minor Interruptions

Wow, it feels good to be back to my little not-so-secret cranny again. I wasn't in a hiatus from blogging you see, I've just been mercilessly busy slogging in the domestic front like erma bombeck. Gabby had his vaccine today, a long overdue shot really, since he was supposed to get it at the most proper time which is 9 months. For that, I got some friendly scolding from the doctor with the spanking white frock and handsome face. Why are most male doctors gorgeous and goodlooking, anyway? Is it always destiny that make these fine creatures go into a profession where they come into the most contact with lesser, sicker maybe more repulsive mortals who are supposed to be enlivened by their hale and hearty presence? Does it have to do with the handsome face that signal the pink of health and an antidote to everything unwell in a sick man?

Well, I dunno. It's just an impetuous observation, I suppose. Maybe I oversimplify. Like saying that most artist and writers are slobs. They probably are. But that's a sweeping accusation again, which proves me wrong when I see a great work of art which only bespeaks of the precision of hand and clarity of mind of the artist who made it. But, I always digress.

Work has been heavy these days. And I've missed my readings. I'm trying to pick up again on the book that my aunt lent me, How to Teach Your Baby to Read (The Gentle Revolution), by Glenn Doman. It's an interesting read. In a nutshell, its a product of more than twenty years of research on attacking the basic problem of a brain-injured child, and how one is able to help her become a well child, the technique being is to teach a very small (brain-injured) child to read.

The same ability to raise a neurological organization can be done to teach a well- BABY to read. Notice the word baby. It says in the book that the younger a child is when he learns to read, the easier it will be for him to read, and the better he will read. I will quote a paragraph in the book to summarize what it is all about, "Children can read words when they are one year old, sentences when they are two, and whole boks when they are three years old--and they love it."

I agree with what the above says, and that's why I'm putting much effort to delve deeper into the method of teaching Gabby to read, obsessive as it may sound. Of course, I know that it is not at all that HARD to follow what the book suggests a parent should do. I think what more importantly matters is one's commitment--to give my son the time, the sacrifice, the attention and the focus needed to make the thrust of the book a realization. Wow, that's mommy speaking. Do I make sense anyway?

So, on to the book. I'm just about finished, but my next project would be to make the charts that will aid his learning everyday. With Gabby's early fondness for books, I don't think this is going to be a Herculean task. I'm having fun while thinking about it already. So don't blame me if my blogging would be sparse in the next few's for a great cause.

Tuesday, March 9

PInoy Blogging

I guess boredom antes up the ones who welcome it with open arms. And for a jaded, old slacker like me who spends a lot of time googling everything from aswang to zeitgeist, I have my found my home in the words Pinoy Blog. It was out of curiosity and indefatigable thirst for something kindred that I began clicking away the spots supposedly occupied by filipino diarists, and what they have to say and how they say what they have to say.

Not that I'm settling a score with who writes better, and who has a more interesting story to tell. It is simply intriguing to read of thoughts and vague innuendoes of real-life drama in the local stage. I wish I have half the wit to think and write as they do.

These pinoy bloggers I've come across with have a way with words. They refresh me as only a sultry afternoon zephyr from Lake Sebu can. I have become weary of bloggers whose lives and experiences are seemingly confined in picket fences and boring platitudes, talking only about the latest perfume they shopped and the last trendy club they've gone to the previous night meanwhile grumbling about the failed tryst with the prospective ONS (one-night stand).

There's a sassy lawyer blog that I particularly liked so much, she makes me proud to be filipino. I'm not big with words like her, but in my best effort, I can say she's a classic and deserves my approbation. Another blogspot I walked into was that of a twenty-something woman who seems to be in a endless quandary with her partner. Notwithstanding her pathetic lovelife, I find her funny, intelligent--that endless supply of wit, humor, and insight all crammed into that elegant, if not overrated, brain of hers. She surprises me no end...

The downside of nosing too much into other's lives however makes me lose focus on my personal circumstances. Honestly, there are simply too many stories I'd like to recall of from my childhood, and even the recent past, try to reconstruct them in my mind, and attempt my darned best to put them into writing. But these other delectables on the blogosphere are presently too sweet to ignore.

I resolve therefore to not google Pinoy blogs from hereon....

Or next week wouldn't hurt.

Monday, March 8

Remembrance to my Mother


Your secret glare makes me mournfully walk
Around you like a blind bluejay
and never hold on.
As if your color is awkward
As if the foliage of your white cloth
is a cold gleam of briar roses.
And yet,
Since you have promised me
A wet temperament in life
I will not suffocate in dizzy tears.
I will not mourn for you any more. ( I know
You died a long time ago ).

Sharon Ignes (c.1988)

If mother was alive, she could have been fifty-six years old today. She could have been a doting grandmother to my little son Gabby. She could be the office worker happy and content with her day job, and lugging me at my childish insistence to her workplace on Saturday mornings where I would make a mess of her table and typewriter. She could be the shy teen writing poetry in her unruffled world of dreamers and young loves. She could be that little kid bowling over her first red balloon outside the cathedral after a sunday mass....

I never really knew my mother well except in the last few months of her life. My impression of her was that she was a shy but good-natured person. She kept going in her silent ways in spite of the debilitating effects of her cancer, never as much complaining as only trying to put up a brave front to keep us from worrying and feeling her pain, both physical and emotional.

I remember once sleeping beside her in her sickbed and waking up to the soft touch of her hand on my fingers. I felt like a little baby for the first time, and realized that must be how she felt when I first met her in the hospital room after the endless anticipation and pain in trying to ease me out into the world. There was only boundless love in her eyes. But there were tears welling up, too, and a weak smile. I somehow feel responsible for her demise. I know that she would have wanted to live and see all her children grow. Were it not for me and my brothers, could she have met a more providential destiny?

Life is an ephemeral glimpse of what can be had if we made choices, but sadly the day of our departing is not something we can choose nor plan. Twenty years is a long time for me to get over the pain of losing a person closest to my heart, but the regret of not knowing her thoughts, her fears, her dreams---cuts the deepest.

I miss her today more than ever.

Friday, March 5


It's been many days since my last entry. I have no excuse for not writing except that I had been preoccupied with small things here and there. Gabby has been temperamental these days, maybe that's owing to his inflamed tonsils and heat rash and teething pains, yes many things that a child his size can barely comprehend....but lately he's an absolute force to reckon with. His moods are extreme, one moment he's an exuberant kid, the next minute he won't let you get around him and gives you the dagger looks. Maybe on his way to being totally independent, it is typical of kids his age to still look back and cling a little to what is familiar, I can only keep guessing.

I have been reading children's books in the past weeks, and those that have caught my fancy are A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snickett and The Tale of Jemima Puddle-duck and The The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, both by Beatrix Potter. Honestly, I bought these books with the hope that someday Gabby will learn to appreciate them himself, and will eventually develop a keen mind and an open heart to reading.

I absolutely love reading. It's fun to go back to the times when as a child I read of stories that seemed so real, my unsophisticated mind lay in a standstill on the thin line between fact and fiction, trying to absorb the tangled web of delightful characters who have powers and abilities far beyond my imagination. Damn, I believed in all of them, notwithstanding my ocassional transgressions with wakasan comics!

Now as an adult, I feel I have so much clout over what I read, be it imaginary fact, or factual fact. And I am not exactly happy nor proud of it.

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