The Hundredth

I believe in the good. When I talk about good, I mean enough. A century would have passed, and like the unfamiliar scent of a deserted island, the Filipino would have enough. What they have enough of is food, shelter, and transportation. A family- with truth- stricken variety- will have food that would cater its members for three times a day or more, shelter sturdy enough to not let monsoons behead homes- a house made of concrete walls and cement, with suitable ventilation, and virtuous government- subsidized technology- and transportation where the rich ride with the poor. This is not too much for a century to have transpired- war attacks by foreign lands here and there, reigning victorious yet a little broken, our Philippines is. This is not too big of a change, but it is good. It is enough.

The Filipino Farmer- once in desperate of rice to eat, once in dire need of lands to plant on, money to garner more seeds, once handed over to a hurricane of bullets- at present, lives in the good. When I mention good, I mean enough. They have their own respective hectares of lands to plant as many root crops as they desire, to bring the whole nation meal on their plates, to cultivate long rooted dreams as they receive ample education to experiment with new planting techniques, to research more on organic matter upheld as fertilizers. The Filipino Farmer, by this time, is a scientist.

Cardboard justice serves victims no good. Drug users, under the law, shall recover under the custody of rehabilitators and not under the hands of those with guns and falsified power. The Filipino Victim deserves good. When I discuss of good, I mean enough. The Filipino Victim receives medicine, at only the right amounts, and daily consultation with recognized physicians and psychologists. The Filipino Victim is endowed with respect by his caretakers, such as a mother loves her child. The Filipino Victim is not dead.

I believe in better. When I disclose what better stands for, I mean the government is replaced by the grandsons of the millennials, those who fought for and opposed the murderer buried among those whose blood relentlessly poured for the flag with three stars and a sun and is raised every morning to welcome the light of dawn. When I state my belief in better, I mean that the arts is duly conceded as a body of knowledge necessary to supplement humankind with guts and bravery and a horizon extending outwardly, enticing the Filipino, regardless of where they stand and sector they represent, to aspire of something greater than the sunrise before them. I also imply that the Filipino receives his very right to health care, to marry, to save a broken family, to get into a job fit for the demands of his responsibilities including kin, identity, and country, to speak up for himself when subjected to criminal screening, to vote and receive the truth about his vote, to acquire honesty from those in command, and most importantly, to education. The Filipino deserves better. The Filipino now holds, a century later, what those that came before them never had, but sincerely, with the dignity they refuse to let loose, begged for.

I believe in the best. What best cradles for me is the Filipino Youth. A century later, the Filipino would have stopped counting for the day the children Dr. Jose Rizal claims as the hope of our country arrived. They have long came, generations over, only in few chosen souls, not permitting a change earlier than now, where the best of youth has gathered in outraging number, excelling in the fields of engineering and mathematics, medicine and law, arts and theatre. These outstanding youth, however, are not the best solely because they have embarked on the journey of the Renaissance man; but because they embody a light that sets them apart from the rest. They know what to fight for and how to fight for it; the Filipino Youth fights the hardest.

The Filipino Youth is raised by a century of outpouring revolutions from the pain and triumphs of their forefathers. It has been a long process. Good is enough. But more than that, we deserve better, and now, after all these years, we have the best.


I wrote this essay for my PI 10 class. It is my version of Dr. Jose Rizal’s Philippines: A Century Hence. I thought I might share it, even if my Professor probably did not find it interesting enough, nor if it is any good.

The independence we have today is a fraud; we can all do better than this. Nevertheless, although far from sufficient, much has changed since the colonial period.

Happy Independence Day, my Philippines. We will work hard for your freedom.

Cheap Cigarettes & Heavy Mornings

I might as well seep through the clouds.

At 3 AM, I found myself staring from a couple of feet off reality. I have lost contact with black and white. The concrete that swallowed my feet into a glacial abyss has endowed me with frequency fast enough to lead me into breakage. Into sedition.

Tiny, fading lights could sure make the world a little less dark.

No, I’m not relentless about the idea of jumping- of falling, maybe.

People would hurt less, knowing they couldn’t have done anything. I want them to come to think of it that way.

The world, from up here, is a world of shapes. Rectangles. Squares. Multiply length times height. Get the area. Count the windows. Count their edges. Follow the curtains dance from every balcony. Make the most out of this, close your eyes and feel the wind. The stinking, polluted breeze of Manila. This is nowhere, not even close, to dying.

I want a do- over. I do not want to feel as if I’m still holding you in between my arms, whispering I have to let go. I do not want to keep you anymore. I want to jump off the railings, inhale all the nicotine I could possibly drown myself into, break loose, make a different version of heavy. I want my own. I want my own kind of heavy, not the heavy you keep pinning down on me.

I want to stop remembering. You were everything I have and more. Were. I want to be so engrossed in my reality, in a reality that is far from having to peek down and check if I’m part of this massive chunk of universe. I want to come home sweating, too tired from studying the parts of the human body to even deal with the pain of your leaving. I want to jump. Let me.

I do not love you enough anymore. In fact, I think I no longer do. I do not long for your hands holding mine. So why, why do I still feel like I’m in the same room as you are in? Why do I feel as though I’m still coming home at an empty bed?

All of me, I gave up to welcome yours.

 

I am 18. I am sorry.

I still have not figured it out.

You can say I am a product of the new era. A spirit molded by the worries of this generation which to some may refer to as whining and tremendous complaining. People place labels across my forehead, as if claiming they can fill my journey of self- fulfillment, only putting me in restriction from what they believe I am merely made of. Most humans deem their possession of such audacity to take my very humanity away from my becoming like they know better.

I do not get disgusted at all by blood oozing off women’s genitals. It’s natural; menstruation comes ticking off my mouth naturally- simply because there is nothing wrong about it. I support lovely mothers feeding their infants through their breasts which God made so beautifully to connect the product from the origin. It is a direct embodiment of life and the primary tangles of human dependence. I have absolutely no problem when people work differently as I do. Moreover, I do not hate people when they prefer a different set of clothes, or when they choose to watch movies far from what interests me.

I do converse, however, when it involves my country, the Philippines. I do communicate what I regard as just when the poor is stripped off form their rights. I never let indifference slip. I do not let my country fall under the hands of the oppressor, may it be foreign or within; in this era where the Filipino is no longer under the jurisdiction of those who claimed their conquest on the Pearl of the Orient, why would I let my country suffer more when it has suffered enough? I fight. I fight for the low- wage earners. I fight for those who have yet seen the comforts of a home. I fight for life, but I also fight for the life of the life giver. I believe in contraception, in education, in pills, in dignity, in discipline. When I say I fight for life, I mean I fight for every race Earth cradles because every person from every ethnicity breathe; they are humans: we are made of the same skin, of the same cells- we take in the same element. Moreover, I fight for life and its sanctity; the animals and the planet are of essence to protect. I fight for involvement. I fight for the accused who have gone naked from their very right to receive a spot in court. I fight for the people; I fight to serve the people; I am still fighting because the people who should be serving their countrymen are serving themselves. Skilled, extraordinary, proficient, men and women deserve a seat in office; instead, sexist, fascist, and incompetent people hold these positions. I fight for girls who are boys, for boys who are girls, and for those who refuse to encase their expression in a universe that have made something so wide into something so minimal. I fight for an emancipation that the former recognize as odd and unnecessary.

Yes, you’re probably correct. I have not met grounds for becoming the successful one the past era makes me persevere to meet; I still have not found the secret behind being Mark Zuckerberg and earning on my own at age 18. I work hard, nevertheless, to be less of a burden for my parents. But I have explored alone, read alone, chose to be alone, so I could see the world from a clearer lens, making a spot for myself to traverse this universe, my universe, without disregarding the credibility of the identity of the living and the place I call home. I chose to travel with my own two feet, so I could immerse myself in the simplicity of time and complexity of human race. I have known struggle but I have not known enough of it. I have tasted ease and comfort but others have not. That is why I strive to walk further, making use of all that I have so I can live a life for others, so that they, too, may get a hold of the life they deserve. I carry this responsibility with pride and honor.

I apologize, for not meeting the standards of those who came before me. But I will not apologize for how ravishingly I came to be. I will not apologize for being so different that it disgusts them, for being so unusual that they start calling me as rude and sensitive and a waste of time and money and space.

I still haven’t figured it out- the path that leads to becoming a machine that those who assert they have power can simply manipulate.

I probably never will.

What I Believe In

I like to believe that I’m off to med school in two years’ time. If not for my irrationality, I would have not landed in a course I won’t be pursuing in the first place.

I like to believe in the hideous idea that the four kings and queens of old will make it back to Narnia and save the god forsaken land. I like to believe that fiction, if I think of it hard enough, dream about it almost every night, then it would actually come true.

I like to believe in truth.

Yesterday, when I was looking at all the vintage finds I have snuggled at every garage sale in the city, I thought about how much shit I took out when you left.

You gave me so much that I had to pull out everything in my room that day.

I was on the floor, crying, my mom knocking on the door.

I was on the floor, grasping for air, or not anymore, I cannot possibly remember- surprisingly- like how I could no longer remember you; I could only remember you in multiple proportions. Maybe I’ve had too much chemistry to start thinking about Dalton and the Laws of Matter. I wish I would have; that way, I wouldn’t think too much about you.

I remember you though, “hey, if ever we broke up, and you throw away all the things I gave you, I’m going to get real mad.” What a foolish thing for me to believe that you would. You see, I was still scared. I was still scared of you getting mad at me. I wish you would; instead of not caring at all. That hurt me. With the same gravity of pain. With the same weight as heavy as the whole world could ever make me carry.

I look at all my vinyls piled up on the corner of my room, thinking that if our story were placed on one of those tracks, the needle on my turntable would have probably cracked because it’s always on repeat. I think about my room, how many ancient things I love I placed in here. I’ve always been in love with the past, even wishing that the amount of stale would replace the past I had with you. This was history, and I loved it, except when I still had you.

When I still had you, I was in love with the future. I prayed to God three times a day. One in the morning, when I hear you whisper “wake up, you’re going to be late.” One at noon, hoping God hears me more than all the people praying that instant, only for you to pass your anatomy exam. And finally, one at night, when after a long, tiring fight, you still have your head rested upon my chest. So innocent; so sure about what our tomorrow will be.

Now, I pray to God every single moment of every day, “please, Lord, let me think about something else.”

Yesterday, when I was looking at all the things I have summoned into my room to cover up the scent of your perfume, I thought about not thinking about you. That finally, it’s been a while since I last thought about you. That at last, I was too busy to think about how I missed you, and how you don’t. How happy you are in the arms of your new home. But thinking about not thinking about you makes me cringe even more, because I just did. I just thought about you. Again.

I like to believe in the now. I like to believe in something real. That I am my own person, that I am not living a lie. But it can never be more difficult than now. I would have given up anything for you to be nothing but an eye contact; a chapter skipped; a plan A that could never be. I would have given up anything, because in the now that I am in, you are taking so much of my time. You are taking so much of my space, that even as I took all of you out of me, you still left me with every day.

I still have every day with you.

I like to believe I have let you go. Problem is, every day.


This is a piece that is very close to me. I wrote this leaving very few edits. This is as raw as can be. Hopefully, this will be the last of its kind.

Good luck to all of us.

Give Me A Script to Write

I am not soft bass beats.
I am not your dark, silent screen.
I am not fire dying with ignition.
I am not your indie movie.
I am not quiet conversations, bodies sunken halfway underwater. I am not moon meeting sea- fingerbeds burnt, rotten open by the unceasing lifeline of a cigarette. I am not the folk song playing softly on the background, much more the waves of the tsunami waiting to disrupt your eyes from staring into mine.
I am not your indie movie.
I am not your Celestina; I am not the mother of 9 children, the hooker who made love to her husband, her happily ever after, her dungeon for thirteen years, only to get half her face in dissection from broken vodka bottles.
I am not your indie movie.
I am not the one you seek, mountains and mountains over; I am not the plane ticket you strongly hold on to after years of saving up, I am not the motor boat that flew your hair to the sky and made you feel alive, the skiing trip that made you offer yourself to the cold, freezing wind.
I am not your indie movie.
In our little, short episode, there is no director. There are no cast. No volunteers. No creatives. No scenic views. No dialogues. 
I am not quality. I am not little money for integrity. I am not your principle. I am not your belief. I am not skins and bones, hair tangled, pressed unto my face, screaming in passion, chest in rise and in fall, in collision with the soft smile you make from the sheets and pillows of our dreams and reality. I am not inception.
In our little, short episode, there is no director. No cast. No volunteers. No creatives. No scenic views. No dialogues. Because I am not your indie movie.
I am not soft bass beats.
I am not your silent, dark screen.
I am not fire dying with ignition.
I am not your indie movie.
But God, how I wish to be.

You Will Miss Her

When she tells you leave, leave.

Give her rest. Give her all the time she needs until time itself tells her to come back to you. She is going to tell you words that will crush your insides; she will dissect each and every bone strong and firm and break it- without using her hands, without using her fists. All that it will take her are her goodbyes. It will haunt you.

Before you sleep, you will remember how the pain turned all your guts into screaming- into tears-  you will need the world to collapse, you will need the walls of your room to give you wings so you could fly and shout and yell. Because it hurts. Because you would want to feel a lot less than the hurt- than the pain. Because you want to feel more sore and numb and shaking than you already are. Because it hurts.

Give her time.

You will know then that it isn’t her speaking.

It was her weakness and her brokenness and her defeats.

It is not her.

If she does not come back to you, tell yourself it will be okay. Tell yourself that you are going to see sunrise like you have always imagined you would with your own eyes, standing with both your feet, alone. Tell yourself that soon enough, you will feel your blood rushing into your head and into your heart coming from all the places in your body which she has left cold. Tell yourself it will be okay. Tell yourself: I will be okay.

Even if it hurts- even if you know you cannot be.

Fake it. It will hurt.


Chase her.

She deserves the love she wants. She deserves a consuming love that never gives up on her. She deserves the love she needs.

However, how can you chase someone who does not want to be chased?

You never gave up on her. When the world told you to stop, you went for it. Because you love her, more than you ever did for yourself. I understand, you never gave up on her like she has on herself. You loved her. You love her. And no matter how painful it is to have your heart broken, you will reach for her hands even when she has clenched them so hard her knuckles turn white. No matter how painful it is to get your heart broken from the distance she has set between you both, you will get up and walk and run so that you can wrap your weak arms from the back around her waist. And silently, even as you will run out of breath, you will ask her to stay. And you will smile- dear God, you will- even as tears fall one after the other.

Both your mind and body are weak. But your heart is screaming, it is worth it.

When you can no longer get up from the bruises the tragedy has left you- when you can no longer raise your head up to see how many wounds and scratches it has left your face the other night, rest. Do not run after her. Do not make her a cup of coffee when you know she will toss it on the floor.

Give yourself time. To heal.

When you finally do, chase her.


When you get a headache so bad from crying, sleep.

You will need a lot of sleep. Make sleep your best friend. This is the only heaven you could let yourself fall into while you are going through hell.

Should I talk about them nightmares?

Yes. Nightmares. I mean- when you dream of waking up next to her drawing circles into your back; when you dream of the way she caressed your hair when you cried yourself into misery; when you dream of her waking you up in your sleep telling you that she needs a hug; when you dream of her laughing so hard her eyes close; when you dream of her asking you to stay.

It will be more painful than the way she spit the word, “leave.”


You will miss her.

Pinto Art Museum: The Beauty in Truth, The Truth in Beauty

  

7th January, 2016 • I’m not against anyone or anything!

 

It always haunted me: I thought, art loses its meaning once many have delved into it. Somehow, no matter how absurd, I would not pay attention to the galleries, museums, and the like seen and defined by most, for I see what they usually do (example: let others take photographs of themselves while looking at the paintings) as mere treachery to the very purpose of art. I have done this once before, I won’t deny. And yes, I have considered myself treacherous.


After the little time I spent here, I realized, art exists because of how many souls it has touched. Sadly, I have generalized and mistaken their purpose of coming because of what some do. My apologies.


On the other hand, thoughts continue to baffle me; years from now, perhaps, the universe will take me somewhere and lead me into thinking otherwise. Until then, I invite you all to take a look at Pinto Art Museum! It is painfully breathtaking. Listen closely to what every piece has to say. After all, you are for the art and nothing else!

© instagram account: rfzss, posted on 01- 07- 16


The Pinto Art Museum was, and still is, astonishing. My girlfriend took me to the place (San Roque, Antipolo, Rizal). We even got a little nervous on the way there, for we had to pass through steep roads while riding on a Jeepney running about 500, 000 miles per hour. Note the exaggeration. Nevertheless, we get there, safe and whole.

 

This is not the entrance.

While walking through the little entrance, I made so much assumptions about what the museum has in store for me inside. It was a narrow pathway that led to a door. Further on the right is a window designated for paying the entrance fee of 150. However, we brought along our School ID, so we got a discount. We only paid 100 for it.

When we entered, it surely did not disappoint for a welcoming remark.

 

This is not the view when you get inside.

There were several galleries; one led to another. It was as though you are rummaging to a series of quests, only you are not timed. Only, you will not get exhausted. You will want to repeat the walking, the staring, the whole process, a little bit longer and a couple more times. Every gallery, with its respective theme, has so much to offer. I never thought simple Filipino traits and habit could mean significance to our artists and give their pieces such a definition. The light and heavy strokes of their artwork symbolizes who they are, and what their creation is. It makes me beyond proud to have met them through their art works. I am not only talking about their creativity here, I am giving strong emphasis on their passions, on their subconscious and conscious, on their observations, on their fears, on their desires, on their views on truth, on their perspective on art.

 

Given the artworks, if one has a sense of reflection, may just provide the viewer the capacity to look at life differently. Regarding people who tend to be more realistic than imaginative, this will exercise their ability to comprehend a world between the real and the unreal- or even, between the real and the masked truth.

 

I do not want to describe what’s inside, exactly. It is enough you know a glimpse of the power it had restored in me. Also, I do not want to spoil you: for I challenge you to come and take your friends with you, or go alone, so long as you are for the contemplation, the silent walks, the serene appreciation; go and arrive safely, for you are about to have the adventure that might change your life course.

 

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