Friday, December 31, 2010

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Memories With Me

This is the original note:

Please leave me one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember. Don't send a message to my inbox, leave a comment here.

Then, re-post this in your notes and see how many people leave a memory about you.


I'm suggesting that you write about an UNFORGETTABLE incident/event which involves you and me. It can also be just something which will definitely remind you of me. or WHATEVER! anything goes! :)

Then repost this and tag me so I can also write something about you.

It's actually surprising to find out what people remember most about us.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Farewell, Ninang

As I walked to the casket that bore my ninang, I dreaded for the onslaught of memories that might reduce me to tears in the middle of that buzzing room. I braced myself for one look and stared at my favorite Ninang. She was barely recognizable to me. It didn't take me long to figure out that the strength and the aggressive joy by which my ninang carries herself is heavily expressed by her eyes. It wasn't physically gorgeous- she'd be the first one to tell you that, but there was definitely wisdom there. And fierce protectiveness. You'd just know she'd leap for anybody's throat if they as much as scratch you. But it was gone. The tears didn't come, as much because of expectation; she has been in heavy treatment for the last couple of years or so, and she herself has accepted the direction that her fate had turned. She tried to battle it out but it wasn't long before the cancer won over. The last time I saw her was at Davao Doc and we laughingly joked about the colostomy bag that she was to wear for the rest of life. It was no laughing matter and for someone with less self-confidence, with less life, would have been such a touchy topic. But like everything else, she accepted it in stride and gave more than a smile to it. Still staring at her, I heard her laughter as clear as a pealing bell in a quiet monastery. It reverberated in my head and the buzz of the room got muffled and diluted and tuned out. Instead of the sad ones, the good memories came in and it made me smile. I took one last gaze at her, accepted life on its terms and turned away.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Twenty Questions


I don't know who wrote this but somebody emailed this story which won an award for short story way back in college. Stumbled on it again here. I think it's so good, I want to post it here.



MGA TAUHAN

Jigs: Fresh grad. Kabarkada ni Yumi. Magtatrabaho bilang researcher sa isang financial firm
Yumi : Commercial Model. Kabarkada ni Jigs. 2 years ahead kay Jigs.

TAGPO

Gabi. Sa isang kwarto ng isang beach resort. Naglalatag ng kumot si Jigs sa sahig habang inaayos ni Yumi ang kanyang higaan.

YUMI Sige na, Jigs. Huwag ka nang magpaka-gentle man. Naaawa ako sayo e. Tabi na tayo sa kama.

JIGS Hindi, okay lang ako dito.

YUMI Huwag ka nang maarte. As if naman re-rapin kita no. Malaki naman itong kama e. Hatiin na lang natin sa gitna.

JIGS Sure ka?

YUMI Hindi mo naman siguro ako mamanyakin no?

JIGS (Matatawa) Okay ka lang?

YUMI Kung gusto mo, gamitin na lang natin iyang kumot na divider.

JIGS Good idea.

Isasampay nila ang kumot mula sa kisame para mahati ang kama sa gitna.

Magsesettle down ang dalawa. Ilalabas ni Jigs ang libro niya: Puppy Love and other Stories” ni F. Sionil Jose. Si Yumi naman ay
magpapatugtog ng Japanese Zen Music habang nagsa-zazen.

YUMI Do you mind?

JIGS No, go ahead. I'm just reading.

Magsa-zazen si Yumi. Magbabasa si Jigs. Pareho silang di maka-concentrate. Papatayin ni Yumi ang CD player niya.

YUMI I can't believe our friends.

JIGS Oo nga e.

YUMI Dapat ginagawa nila 'to sa mga bagong pasok sa barkada o kaya sa bagong...ay oo nga pala. Bagong graduate ka. Congrats.

JIGS Thanks.

YUMI So what're your plans?

JIGS Kinukuha akong researcher sa ADB. Kinukuha rin ako ng BPI sa OTP nila.

YUMI Wow naman. In demand.

JIGS Di naman masyado. Who the hell invented this tradition anyway?

YUMI (Matatawa) You won't believe it.

JIGS Ikaw?

YUMI Malay ko ba na mabibiktima rin ako nito balang-araw.

JIGS So why did you start it?

YUMI Wala ka pa sa tropa nun e. Freshman ka pa lang siguro noon. Wala lang. Napagtripan lang namin si Ronald. E may crush siya kay Meg. Noong unang beses magpunta rito ng barkada, sabi ko, magsimula kami ng tradition. Ilo-lottery namin ang pangalan ng mga lalaki at ng mga babae. Kung sino ang mabubunot, silang dalawa ang pagsasamahin sa isang kwarto sa loob ng tatlong araw. And then, we'll all see what happens. Pero dinaya namin noon yung kay Ronald at Meg. Puro Ronald at Meg ang mga pangalan na nakalagay sa lottery.

JIGS (Tatawa) Ang sama ninyo!

YUMI Kaya nga nakarma na ako e.

JIGS So is our case, dinaya? O talagang lottery?

YUMI (Teasing) Ano sa dalawa ang gusto mo?

JIGS Feeling ko may nagtrip sa'kin sa barkada e.

YUMI Excuse me po, dalawa tayong biktima dito. I don't see any reason kung bakit tayong dalawa ang sasadyaing biktima this year, unless may crush ka sa'kin na di ko alam at alam nila (tatawa).

JIGS Baka ikaw (tatawa).

YUMI The success rate of this tradition is 100% so far.

JIGS I was here na the 2nd time. Si Chris at si Cia ang biktima.

YUMI And last year were Rod and Kay. They're getting married kailan? sa June yata.

JIGS What do you expect? Ikukulong mo ang isang lalaki at isang babae sa isang kwarto for three days, imposibleng walang mangyari doon!

YUMI That was exactly my point. (Ngingiti)

JIGS E kung may madisgrasya?

YUMI Ano'ng disgrasya?

JIGS Alam mo na yun!

Hahawiin ni Yumi ang divider nilang kumot.

YUMI Ano? Sex? Pa'no kung magsex sila? Nakakatawa ka naman. Di mo masabi.

JIGS Ang alin?

YUMI Ang sex!

JIGS Hah!

YUMI Sige nga sabihin mo nga?

JIGS Para kang tanga. Tumigil ka nga.

YUMI Shet, Jigs. Graduate ka na totoy ka pa rin!

JIGS Excuse me?

YUMI Sabihin mo nga: Sex! Sex! Sex! Sex!

JIGS Para kang bata, Yumi ha.

YUMI You used to call me Ate Yumi when you were in third year.

JIGS Well, graduate na po ako, Ate Yumi.

Tahimik.

JIGS Hmmm. I wonder if we're gonna last three days.

YUMI (Teasing) Bakit? Ayaw mo sa'kin?

Di sasagot si Jigs.

YUMI We're gonna survive this one.

JIGS What makes you so sure?

YUMI No offense, Jigs. I honestly find you very attractive pero I've no time for this. Alam mo naman siguro na kaka...

JIGS Same here.

YUMI Same here what? Na you find me attractive o you don't have time for this? (Matatawa)

Di sasagot si Jigs. Tahimik. Io-on ulit ni Yumi ang CD player at ipagpapatuloy ang zazen. Itatabi ni Jigs ang libro. Nawalan na siya ng ganang magbasa. Pupunta siya sa ref. Bubuksan niya ito.

JIGS Hah! (Sarcastic) Perfect! Red Wine! How very conducive.

YUMI May chips ba diyan?

JIGS Sa awa ng Diyos, may tsibog naman.

Papatayin ni Yumi ang CD player. Tatayo siya at kukuha ng chips sa ibabaw ng ref.

YUMI Since we're gonna be stuck naman with each other for three days, might as well make the best out of it di ba? I-enjoy na lang natin.

JIGS What do you mean?

YUMI Get the wine, let's have a drink! 50 hours to go na lang and we're gonna be the first failure of this tradition.

JIGS Oo nga. (Kukunin ang wine. Maglalagay sa dalawang baso.) When they chose Cia and Chris, naiintindihan ko pa e. Lalo na sina Rod and Kay. Kung baga, tinulungan lang natin silang umamin sa isa¹t isa. Pero us...

YUMI Weird ng barkada natin no?

JIGS To our barkada and our weird traditions!

YUMI To us, the first failure of this tradition!

Magto-toast sila at iinom.

JIGS Sige, Ate Yumi. Let's make our stay here more interesting...

YUMI What's with the Ate?

JIGS Fine...

Bubuksan ni Yumi ang chips. Uupo sila pareho sa sahig para magkwentuhan.

JIGS Let's play twenty questions.

YUMI Sige! Ano yon?

JIGS Each of us will have ten questions each. Tatanungin kita, tatanungin mo ako, mga gusto nating malaman sa isa't isa. Alternate tayo. Pero the thing here is, you can't ask the question that I already asked.

YUMI That's pretty interesting.

JIGS At bawal magsinungaling.

YUMI Fair enough. Pero whatever is said inside this room remains in the room. Ok?

JIGS Of course. You wanna start?

YUMI No. I want to ask the last question. (Ngingiti at kikindatan si Jigs)

JIGS Smart move. Game. First question: Ano ang greatest frustration mo sa buhay?

YUMI Nge. Ang korni naman ng tanong mo. Walang ka-challenge-challenge. Ask me something na mag-iisip naman ako.

JIGS Simula pa lang e.

YUMI Sige. Ano nga ba...?

JIGS Akala ko ba walang ka-challenge-challenge?

YUMI Wag kang maingay, nag-iisip ako...I¹m a frustrated ballet dancer.

JIGS Talaga?

YUMI I took lessons when I was six pero umayaw ako. Wala kasi akong disiplina e. Mas gusto kong makipaglaro sa mga kalaro ko. Pero I really enjoy watching ballet dancers. When I see them dance parati kong naiisip na sana, ako rin. There! Ang dali naman ng tanong mo. Walang thrill.

JIGS Appetizer lang. Yari ka sa'kin mamaya.

YUMI We'll see. Ako naman: Did you ever have doubts about your sexuality? I mean, kahit minsan ba, naisip mo na bakla ka?

JIGS Never.

YUMI Bilis ng sagot a.

JIGS Coz I never entertained the idea.

YUMI Homophobe ka ba?

JIGS Alternate tayo sa tanungan, di ba?

YUMI So, not once? Kahit konti? Kahit what if lang?

JIGS I'm straight, okay?

YUMI I'm not asking if you're gay or not. I'm asking kung...

JIGS Never nga.

YUMI We all thought na you were gay. Well at least nung first few months mo sa tropa before you introduced your girlfriend to us.

JIGS What?! You thought I was gay?!

YUMI E pa'no kasi, masyado kang mabait. Ang pogi-pogi mo, pero parang allergic ka sa mga babae. Over ang pagiging gentleman mo. Too good to be true. You have a good body, it seems that you work out pero iniisip namin front mo lang yun. Kadalasan kasi front ng mga bakla ang pagiging maganda ng katawan nila at pagiging sporty...

Tatawa lang si Jigs.

YUMI So we thought it's either that or you were planning to become a priest.

JIGS What?!

YUMI Well, you were always this goody-goody person. Pumupunta ka sa chapel. Nangungumpisal, nagsisimba...

JIGS The way you said it, parang equivalent ang dalawa a.

YUMI Of course not. I didn't mean that!

JIGS I take my faith seriously. That doesn't make me gay!

YUMI So you did want to become a priest...

JIGS Hindi rin. Actually, I always wanted to raise a family...and be a father.

Tahimik.

YUMI So you're not gay.

JIGS No.

YUMI You never...

JIGS Ilang beses ka ba ipinanganak? Kulit mo e. It's my turn.

YUMI Homophobe ka no?

JIGS Hindi kaya!

YUMI Whatever...

JIGS Ako na, daya mo naman e.

YUMI Okay, okay. Shoot me.

JIGS How do you see yourself five years from now?

YUMI You expect to win this game? Ang kokorni ng mga tanong mo e.

JIGS The object of this game is not to win.

YUMI E ano pa ba?

JIGS To get to know the other person.

YUMI Sure. Basta ako, I will win this game. Walang thrill ang isang game kung walang nananalo.

JIGS Sagot.

YUMI May time limit ba to? (Tatawa) Wine pa nga.

JIGS Sabi nga nila: in vino veritas.

Magsasalin si Jigs ng wine.

YUMI Masarap ang wine, ha? Saan kaya nabili ito? (Iinom) To answer your question, either maging entrepreneur ako, magsisimula ako ng sarili kong botique or bar, o kaya, magiging artista ako sa pelikula.

JIGS Not bad.

YUMI Pero mukhang malabo yung stint ko sa movies. Tough ang competition e. Saka mahina ang manager ko. Panay hosting at pictorials ang nakukuhang raket para sa akin. Papalitan ko na nga e. Pag nakaipon ako, baka magtayo na lang ako ng botique.

JIGS (Magbibiro) Ayaw mo mag-bold?

YUMI Yuck!

JIGS Lahat ng gustong mag-artista doon dumadaan.

YUMI May talent naman ako kahit papano a!

JIGS Lahat naman ng bold star may talent a! Sa dibdib! (Tatawa)

YUMI (Hahampasin ng unan si Jigs) Bastos ka talaga! Akala ko goody-goody ka...Hindi ko papatulan ang pagbobold kahit ano¹ng mangyari no! Kahit ganito ako, may respeto pa rin naman ako sa sarili ko.

JIGS Ganito? Ano'ng ganito?

Di sasagutin ni Yumi ang tanong.

YUMI These producers think all the people want is sex, sex, sex! Kaya puro basura ang mga pelikula e. Wine pa nga!

JIGS (Magsasalin ng wine) Bakit naman botique?

YUMI Hoy madaya ka na ha? Hindi pa ako lasing. Ako na'ng magtatanong. Ang korni mo namang magtanong. Bigatan naman natin nang konti...Inom ka muna.

Iinom si Jigs. Magsasalin siya ng bago.

YUMI Who was your first crush in the barkada?

Tahimik.

YUMI Haha! Binigo ka no? Bagal mo naman sumagot.

Iinumin ang wine. Magsasalin ng bago.

JIGS Lalaki o babae?

Tatawa sila pareho.

YUMI Dapat may time limit ito e.

Tahimik.

JIGS Hirap naman ng tanong mo.

YUMI Iyon nga ang maganda e. Para may thrill. As if naman ibo-broadcast ko sa barkada kung sino.

JIGS Wine pa?

YUMI Di mo pa sinasagot yung tanong ko, nagtatanong ka na!

Magsasalin ng wine si Jigs kay Yumi.

JIGS Yung crush ko kasi...siyempre, sino pa ba? E di yung pinakamaganda sa barkada.

YUMI Nge. Subjective yon no! Para sa'kin ang pinakagwapo si Joel. Sa babae, si Kay. Para kay Ronald, si Meg...

JIGS Yung literally na may dating; walang tanung-tanong. Yung kahit sino'ng tanungin mo sa tropa, objectively, siya ang isasagot.

YUMI Jigs, twenty questions ang game natin. Hindi guessing game. C'mon man. Play your own game. Pa'no na kung truth or dare to e di pahirapan na. Dadalawa na nga lang tayo e.

JIGS Yung commercial model.

Matitigilan si Yumi.

YUMI Wine pa nga.

Magsasalin si Jigs. Mag-iisip si Yumi. Iinom. Biglang matatawa.

YUMI (Tumatawa pa rin) Talaga?

JIGS Sige, pagtawanan ba?

YUMI You can say it to my face, I won't bite. Bakit hirap na hirap kang sabihin kung sino? Takot kang ma-reject? Parang tanong lang e...Wine pa nga!

JIGS Okay, 1 point ka na...

YUMI (Ngiti) Gee...thanks. Flattered naman ako. At kailan naman nangyari ito?

JIGS Sorry, my turn to ask. (Ngingiti) Who is your crush in the barkada...NOW?

YUMI E ginaya mo lang yung tanong ko e.

JIGS Hinde no. May qualifier ako. Ang sabi ko, NOW. Ang tanong mo, first crush ko.

YUMI Korni pa rin. Alam mo, kung basketball 'to, tambak ka na.

JIGS Just answer the question.

YUMI Siyempre wala. I told you, I don't have time for these stuff. Kakabreak ko lang di ba?

JIGS Korni mo namang sumagot.

YUMI E korni yung tanong e. Pero kung talagang-talagang kailangan kong sumagot...hmmm...teka...sino nga ba? Sino ba'ng crush material sa barkada? Wala akong maisip e. Ikaw na lang.

JIGS Yung seryoso naman.

YUMI Seryoso ako. Ayaw mo yata e. Sige, iba na lang...

JIGS E napipilitan ka lang e.

YUMI Uy! Pa'no ba'yan? MU na tayo? Crush mo ko, crush kita...yiheee (Tatawa).

JIGS Dati pa yon no!

YUMI Ay? Di mo na ko crush? Bakit, na turn-off ka? Ano namang ginawa ko? Tsk. Tsk.

JIGS Is that your question na?

YUMI Oy, hinde! Ito naman...di ba pwedeng mag-follow-up?

Iinom ng wine si Jigs.

YUMI Fine. Here's a little juicy question: Describe your first kiss.

JIGS That's not even a question.

YUMI Arte mo. O: How was your first kiss like?

Matatawa si Jigs.

JIGS Wet.

YUMI Yuck!

Magtatawanan sila.

JIGS Alam mo, aksidente yung first kiss ko. Close kasi kami nung isa kong kaibigan. Pag naggu-goodbye ako sa kanya, parati ko siyang kini-kiss sa noo. E one time, sa gym habang nagpapahinga, nakaupo siya sa sahig. Tinatamad siyang tumayo. So bumaba ako nang konti para halikan siya sa noo kasi pauwi na ako. E siya naman, para maabot ko, medyo tumingala. E sakto, sa lips ko siya nahalikan. Pareho kaming nagulat. Pero di pa kami naghiwalay agad. Weird nga ang feeling e. Parang may glue. Ayaw na namin maghiwalay pareho...

Tawa pa rin si Yumi

YUMI Awww. Ang sweet naman. Parang sa pelikula. Si Krissy ba to?

JIGS Hindi. Hindi mo siya kilala.

YUMI So what happened? Nagkatuluyan kayo?

JIGS Nope.

YUMI Ha?

JIGS Ewan ko ba. Complicated kasi yung situation namin e. May boyfriend siya noon. Ako naman, takot pa sa isang relationship. Pero at least, na-discover namin na pareho pala kaming may gusto sa isa't isa. Pero hanggang doon na lang.

YUMI What happened after?

JIGS We talked about it. We both decided na it wont work. Tapos, bigla na lang, hindi na kami nagkikita. And then, I met you guys, iba na ang barkada ko.

YUMI Nakakatuwa naman.

JIGS Ikaw, pa'no yung first kiss mo?

YUMI Ikaw ang nagturo sa akin ng game na ito di ba? Bakit ba lagi mong bini-break ang rules? Di mo na pwedeng tanungin yan!

JIGS Tine-testing ko lang kung lasing ka na. (Iinom ng wine) Okay, naka-warm-up na ako: What was the naughtiest thing you ever did?

YUMI Yan ang mga tanong! Ano bang ibig mong sabihin ng naughty?

JIGS Bahala kang mag-define.

YUMI Hmmm...marami e...(matatawa) baka maeskandalo ka.

JIGS Kanina ayaw mo ng korni. Ngayong medyo exciting naman...

YUMI Eto na...I had two boyfriends at the same time.

JIGS (Nagulat) Hala.

YUMI I was with Joel and Zach at the same time.

JIGS Yikes. Alam ba ni Joel?

YUMI Kaya nga kami naghiwalay nun e. Nahuli ako (matatawa).

JIGS Ano namang pumasok sa kukote mo¹t ginawa mo yon, aber?

YUMI Nag-eexperiment lang ako. E sa type ko sila pareho e. Ano'ng magagawa ko? Saka para may thrill. Alam mo yon? Yung patago kang nakikipag-date sa isa para di mahuli. Everyday pa akong nakakalibre, kasi, alternate sila! (Tatawa) Akala nyo kayo lang mga lalaki ang pwedeng gumawa no'n?

JIGS How can you love two guys at the same time?

YUMI Who said something about love? Walang kinalaman ang love dun. I was...having fun!

JIGS Nainlove ka na ba, ever?

YUMI Nakakailang tanong ka na? It's my turn.

JIGS Don't you want to answer the question anyway?

YUMI My turn!

JIGS Kulang ka pa sa wine. (Tatawa)

Ubos na ang unang wine bottle. Kukuha si Jigs ng isa pa sa ref.

JIGS Ang bilis nating uminom a.

YUMI Are you still a virgin?

JIGS Whoa! Where did that come from?

YUMI That's my fourth question.

JIGS (Magsasalin ng wine sa mga baso). Ano sa tingin mo?

Ngingiti si Jigs. Tititigan lang siya ni Yumi.

YUMI Don¹t tell me, wala pang nangyayari sa inyo ni Krissy hanggang ngayon? Ilang taon na ba kayo?

JIGS Mag-tu-two years na sana next week.

YUMI So virgin ka pa? I don¹t believe it!

JIGS Mukha ba akong tarantado?

YUMI Mukha kang nagpapaiyak ng babae e.

JIGS Insulto ba 'yon?

YUMI Compliment 'yon, tanga.

JIGS Ah, okay. Thanks.

YUMI Pero, you mean, you never felt the urge to do it?

JIGS Alin? Sex?

YUMI Wow! Nasabi rin niya!

JIGS Of course I always feel it. Natural lang 'yon sa tao no? Nasa iyo na lang yan kung ano¹ng gagawin mo sa urge na 'yon.

YUMI E natural naman pala e. Bakit mo pinipigilan? I mean, pag naiihi ka, iihi ka. Pag nagugutom ka, kakain ka. Pareho lang Œyon, di ba?

JIGS Pag naiihi ka, iihi ka dahil kailangan mong umihi. At hindi ka iihi kahit saan. Pupunta ka sa banyo. Pag nagugutom ka, kakain ka dahil kailangan. At hindi mo kinakain ang lahat ng pagkain na ihain sa iyo. Pag di ka gutom, di ka kakain. Pag di mo gusto yung pagkain, di mo gagalawin. Ang aso, pag may nakitang pagkain diyan, walang tanung-tanong. Lalamon yan.

YUMI And sex is the same?

JIGS Lahat ng bagay, nilalagay sa lugar. May context. At least, yun ang nagpaiba sa atin sa aso.

YUMI Grabe ka namang magsalita. Para mo na ring sinabing lahat ng nakikipagsex, aso ah!

JIGS Sinasabi ko lang, pag wala sa tamang konteksto, mali.

YUMI And what is that context?

JIGS Matanda na tayo. Ayokong maging preachy. Alam na natin yan.

Tahimik.

JIGS Kaso, kahit alam na natin, minsan di pa rin natin ginagawa.

Tahimik.

JIGS Masarap e. Sino ba¹ng ayaw nun?

Tahimik.

YUMI (Medyo nairita) So feeling mo santo ka at dapat kang i-congratulate for being a virgin!

JIGS Sinasabi ko lang ang pinaniniwalaan ko. Ineexplain ko lang kung bakit di ko ginagawa. May kanya-kanya tayong dahilan. Di ko pinipilit kahit kanino ang mga paniniwala ko...No need to get so cross about it, Yumi.

Tahimik.

JIGS It¹s not about being a virgin or not. It¹s about putting things into their proper places.

YUMI I¹m not arguing with you.

JIGS Me neither. I¹m just answering your questions.

Matagal na katahimikan.

Ngingiti si Jigs. Titignan niya si Yumi na medyo nairita sa nakaraang train of conversation nila. Magsasalin siya ng wine para kay Yumi.

JIGS Nasobrahan ka na yata sa wine e. (Tatawa) You still wanna go on with the game? Nine pa lang tayo, eleven more to go. (Ngingiti)

YUMI Shoot me.

JIGS Who was your first lay?

YUMI (Hahampasin ng unan si Jigs) Ang bastos mo talaga! So inaassume mo na hindi na ako virgin?

JIGS E sabi mo kasi, walang thrill ang game pag walang nananalo e. So I guess I'm winning. Saka wala naman akong inimply na ganun a! I'm just hitting two birds with one stone. Kasi kung virgin ka, e di simple lang ang sagot: wala. Kung hindi naman, e di sino?

YUMI Ang daya mo.

JIGS Akala ko ba ayaw mo ng korning tanong.

YUMI You think I'll answer that after giving your sermon, Father Jigs?

JIGS Ano ka ba? Inexplain ko lang yung personal reasons ko. Kung ano man ang sa iyo, I'll respect them as well as I know you respect mine. I'm no saint. I¹m just trying to get to know you better. (Ngingiti)

YUMI How do you do that?

JIGS Alin?

YUMI I should have walked out on you kanina pa pero the way you say things...parang bumabaliktad sa¹yo...makes you more...charming. Kung ibang tao ka siguro, di na kita kakausapin.

JIGS You can't walk out. We¹re locked here for three days except for meals.

YUMI So I'm forced to like you para di masira ang vacation ko. (Ngingiti)

JIGS You don't have to answer my question if you don't want.

YUMI I guess I'll be honest with you as you were honest with me...

Tahimik. Iinom ng wine si Yumi.

YUMI Di mo siya kilala. His name was Robert. He was my first boyfriend. It was Senior Prom Night. Alam mo na...typical senior prom story. Everyone wants to lose it on prom night. Everyone thinks na pag prom night, it was something special. We went out sa hall nang maaga. We made out sa kotse niya. One thing led to the other. Tapos, yun...yun na. We went back just in time for the awarding of the prom queen. Guess what, I won pa. (Mahinang tawa)

JIGS What was it like?

YUMI Now that I look back, it isn't as special as I thought it was. Pero it was different then. Back then, we were just led by our passions. Alam mo yon? Andun ka na. Hormones raging wild. Passions and Ideals are confused. Akala mo love, yun pala, curious ka lang pala. Akala mo yun na yon. Akala mo you are in-love at lahat ng gawin mo tama. Lahat ng gawin mo perfect. Everything was magical...well, almost.

JIGS Almost...?

YUMI Sa next question mo na yan. Ako na.

JIGS (Pabiro) Wine pa? Kulang ka pa yata e.

YUMI Nilalasing mo ko no? May balak ka sa'kin no? (Tatawa)

JIGS Is that your question? Sasagutin ko na. (Tatawa)

YUMI Engot. Hindi yon. Here's something na curious lang ako. Kasi I've been hearing things...saka you've hinted on it na rin kanina...Are you still with Krissy?

JIGS Hindi na.

YUMI Since when?

JIGS Two, maybe three weeks ago?

YUMI Sino'ng nakipag-break?

JIGS Pareho kami.

YUMI Why?

JIGS Maraming dahilan, actually. Naisip na lang namin na it won't work. Isa na do'n, magkaiba kami ng gustong mangyari sa buhay. Magkaiba kami ng mga pinaniniwalaan.

YUMI Like what?

JIGS Marami.

YUMI At ngayon mo lang nalaman iyon after two years with her?

JIGS People change, Yumi.

Tahimik.

JIGS Right before graduation, she asked me to move in with her.

YUMI Talaga?

JIGS Sabi niya, doon na naman din daw papunta ang relasyon namin. Might as well practice na raw for the real thing. Tutal, she¹s working na naman, ako naman bagong graduate, we should try out na raw living together if it¹ll work for us.

YUMI Natakot ka sa arrangement?

JIGS Hindi naman sa natakot. If you love someone, ano pa'ng ikakatakot mo, di ba?

YUMI E bakit umayaw ka?

JIGS It's just that, it's not my thing.

YUMI Sabi na nga ba e, bakla ka no? Sinasayang mo ang opportunities! (Matatawa)

JIGS Hindi ako oportunista. At lalong hindi ako bakla.

YUMI Fine.

JIGS Naisip ko lang na hindi pa pala ako handa sa mga ganitong bagay. Wala pa sa isip ko ang gano'n. Na-shock siguro ako sa reality na iyon na nga ang next step sa relationship namin. I mean, two years of being together and knowing each other, we¹re practically ready to get married, if you know what I mean. Pero I realized, I'm not ready for any of these. Narealize ko how immature I am. Na iba yung ideals ko two years ago sa ideals ko ngayon. I need to mature some more to get into this thing I mean, getting married. Diyos ko, ilang taon lang ba ako...

YUMI Maturity has nothing to do with age.

JIGS But it has a lot to do with time.

Tahimik.

JIGS So I thought, bakit kailangan ng practice mode? Ibig sabihin, pag sumablay kami, split na kami? Live like a couple minus the commitment? Pa'no pag nawala na yung magic? Goodbye na?

Iinom ng wine si Jigs.

JIGS Kung kasal na, kasal na. Wala nang practice. I think that's the real cowardice. Yung i-try muna natin kung it will work kasi takot kayo na baka hindi maging successful ang outcome. Saan na napunta ang excitement ng buhay? Kaya nga kayo in-love, para sabay kayong humarap sa totoong buhay, sa hirap at ginahawa, di ba? (Matatawa) Hindi yung pagpapraktisan muna ninyo para siguradong ginhawa lang.

Magkikibit-balikat lang si Jigs.

YUMI Are you always like that?

JIGS Like what?

YUMI So cerebral in everything. Kahit pagdating sa relationships.

JIGS Life is too precious para lang daanin sa trial and error.

Ngingiti si Jigs. Tahimik.

YUMI So, No hard feelings?

JIGS Friends pa rin kami. She still calls me up nga sa bahay e.

YUMI That's nice.

JIGS Kayo, bakit kayo nagbreak ni Carlo?

YUMI That's your sixth na ha?

JIGS Sure.

YUMI Alam mo, ironic para sa akin yung break-up namin ni Carlo. And the funny thing was, it was about...sex. Uy, sa atin lang ito ha?

JIGS Of course.

YUMI Kasi nga, I was looking for that magic nga di ba? I wanted to be in a relationship na special naman. So of all the boyfriends I had, sa kanya lang ako walang sexual relationship. As in nag-aabstain talaga ako. Kasi parang naisip ko, para magkaroon naman ng meaning yung "making love" di ba? Parang, dapat di mo parating ginagawa, at ginagawa mo lang when you are sincere with yourself and with your partner. So I was investing muna emotionally. And I was actually starting to care about him. Yung, hindi ko na iniisip yung sarili ko. Yung siya lang ang inaalala ko. Akala ko perfect na...

JIGS Ano'ng nangyari?

YUMI Patunayan ko raw na mahal ko siya. Magbigay daw ako ng proof. Pagbigyan ko raw siya. Sabi ko sa kanya, hindi pa ba sapat na proof yon? Na I'm saving myself for that right moment, that special moment between us? Alam mo'ng ginawa? Nilayasan ako!

JIGS You deserve someone better.

YUMI Talaga!

YUMI Isipin mo, kung kelan naman I grew tired of meaningless sex, when I'm looking for the real thing, saka naman mawawala. Ang ironic ng buhay no?

JIGS That's the way we must learn.

YUMI Alam mo, kung tutuusin, never ko pang na-experience yung tunay na mag make-love. And I had to go all through those relationships para lang ma-realize yun. At least, ngayon, alam ko na ang hinahanap ko.

Iinom ng wine.

YUMI Ikaw ba, importante sa'yo na virgin ang mapapangasawa mo? How do you see virginity ba?

JIGS Alam mo, di ko pa napag-isipan Œyan. Pero now that you've mentioned it...It doesn't matter kung virgin ang mapangasawa ko o hindi. Of course I value virginity a lot. I treat it as the only real gift I could give to my wife to be. Imaginin mo na lang di ba, kung wife ko ang una ko. It's like the perfect wedding gift I could give to her. Pero kung siya hindi na virgin, I wouldn't care. As long as mahal ko siya. Kasi I don't expect her to give me the same gift. I don't do something because I expect people to do the same to me. Ibigay niya sa akin ang sarili niya nang buong-buo, sapat na sa akin yon. Masaya na ako sa ganoon.

YUMI (Mapapangiti si Yumi.) You know, that's the nicest thing I ever heard from a guy. That's why I always enjoy talking to you. You always say the nicest things.

JIGS Wow. Salamat. E ikaw, is making love to you equal to love?

YUMI I always took sex and love as opposite ideas. I mean, after the first time na...you know...sa Senior prom. Kasi afterwards, we broke up na ni Robert. Tapos naisip ko, yun na ba yung love? Baka hindi love yung naramdaman ko. Baka napagkamalan ko lang siyang love. I was just after the pleasure of intimacy. And then I felt empty. So empty. That's why I wanted to change. I wanted to believe in "making love". And I'm still looking for it. Yung magic. Yung feeling mo, tao ka pala. I never felt that kahit isang beses. Men have penetrated my body but never my soul. And I wanted that. I wanted someone to touch my soul. To "make love" to my soul through my body. Pero siguro, naging numb na'ko sa dami ng relasyong pinagdaanan ko. Hindi ko alam kung mararanasan ko pa iyon. That's why I envy you.

Tahimik.

YUMI Sa tingin mo may pag-asa pa ako?

JIGS You still have your soul...(Ngingiti)

Tahimik.

YUMI With whom would you want to experience it?

JIGS Of course, sa asawa ko.

YUMI I mean, someone in particular. Take it as my seventh question. So give a name.

JIGS A name? Hindi ko alam. Basta kung sino ang magiging asawa ko.

Tahimik. Magkikibit-balikat si Yumi. Iinom ng wine.

JIGS Well, I always thought na it was Krissy. And then, it was just gone. Of course I loved her. And I still do. Pero the magic was just gone after we both found out na magkaiba kami ng mga prinsipyo sa buhay.

Tahimik.

JIGS My turn?

YUMI Shoot me.

JIGS Tell me something...a secret. Yung wala kahit isang nakakaalam.

Matagal na katahimikan.

JIGS You trust me naman di ba?

YUMI Well, you've earned it, alright.

JIGS Saka wala akong tinatago sa'yo. Sinagot ko lahat ng tanong mo as honestly as I could. (Ngingiti)

YUMI I uhm...

JIGS Yes...?

YUMI I need more wine.

Magsasalin si Jigs ng wine.

JIGS Take your time. We have less than fifty hours to go.

Iinom ng wine si Yumi.

YUMI I'll tell you something no one in the world knows except one other person. And that person probably forgot all about me already.

JIGS (Pabiro) What? You had sex with a stranger?

YUMI Ano ka ba?

JIGS Biro lang. Seryoso na.

YUMI Promise ha? Hindi ito lalabas.

JIGS Promise.

YUMI If this goes out, I will hunt you kahit sa libingan mo. Huhukayin kita at papatayin kita ulit.

JIGS Mamatay man ako ngayon.

YUMI Okay...(Pause) I...I was with Joel then... (Magiging mas seryoso ang tono niya) ...and Zach. I wasn't really with Zach, I was just going out with him pag wala si Joel, alam mo na...making out and stuff...Well, anyway, I was kinda serious din naman with Joel that time. Joel and I were...you know...doing it. And...

JIGS And...?

YUMI Uhm...I...uhm...I got pregnant.

JIGS What?

Tahimik. Iinom ng wine si Yumi.

YUMI I uhm...shit. Hindi ko naman talaga ginusto e. Uhm...Two months akong delayed...then I took that test. I found out na buntis nga ako...and Joel found out about Zach (maluha-luha na) and I didn¹t know what to say, you know? Maniniwala ba naman sa akin si Joel na naaliw lang ako kay Zach? Na I didn¹t really love him? Na wala lang iyon? And so he broke up with me and...I..uhm...I was afraid and uhm... (Magsisimula siyang magbreak-down)

JIGS It's okay...

YUMI I uhm...hindi ko na alam ang gagawin ko, Joel left me. I wanted to tell him about the baby to make him come back but I don¹t think he'd believe me after the thing with Zach...and...my parents are gonna kill me if...shit. (iiyak)

JIGS (lalapit kay Yumi para i-console ito) Ssshhh...you don't have to tell me this if it upsets you...

YUMI And so I went to a clinic...(hahagulgol) I didn't mean to, Jigs. I wasn't myself then. And I felt so afraid. So alone...

JIGS Tahan na. Ssshhh...

Iiyak lang si Yumi kay Jigs. Yayakapin ni Jigs si Yumi.

JIGS Alam ba to ni Joel?

YUMI How can I tell him? The only other person na nakakaalam ay yung duktor sa clinic. God...(iiyak) Oh God...

JIGS It's alright...

Hihimasin ni Jigs ang likod ni Yumi. Patatahanin niya ito. Matagal silang nakaganito lang.

Matagal na katahimikan.

YUMI Can you get me my yosi?

Tatayo si Jigs. Pupunta sa may side table sa tabi ng kama. Kukunin ang Yosi ni Yumi. Magsisindi siya ng isa at iaabot kay Yumi.

YUMI Thanks...

Matagal na katahimikan.

YUMI If we were...if we were the last two people on earth, would you consider doing it with me?

JIGS Doing what?

YUMI Alam mo na...

JIGS Alin? (Teasing ngingiti)

YUMI Gago mo. (Ngingiti)

JIGS Ngumiti rin.

YUMI So? Would you?

JIGS Alin nga? Di mo masabi no? Bakit di mo masabi? (Pagtatawanan si Yumi) Sabihin mo nga: Sex! Sex! Sex! Sex!

YUMI Shut up nga!

JIGS That¹s your eight na, ha?

YUMI I lost count. Answer it.

JIGS Why not?

Hihithit ng yosi si Yumi. Tahimik. Sasandal si Yumi sa balikat ni Jigs.

JIGS If you could be something else, what would you be?

YUMI I dunno...maybe a violin...yeah. Violin siguro.

JIGS Bakit?

YUMI I always saw the relationship of a violin and its player as very intimate. Pag tumutugtog ang violinist, ang nakikita ko at naririnig ko, he strokes the soul of the instrument and the instrument penetrates the soul of the player. Para silang nagmi-make love. Di ba? Very sexy, very intimate, very sublime. Di ba? Pareho silang sincere sa isa't isa. Dahil kung hindi sila sincere, walang music na mabubuo. The violin surrenders her body to her player, her whole body and her whole soul, in full trust and sincerity. Di ba, compared to the sound of the other instruments, ang tunog ng violin parang isang naked woman? A naked woman in surrender? I want to be a violin. I want to be stroked in the soul. I want to make sincere music. I want to experience the sound of love.

Tahimik.

JIGS Lalim nun ah. (Ngingiti)

YUMI Pa'no mo malalamang in-love ka na?

JIGS Paano? I don't think there's a formula to that. Basta malalaman mo na lang. I mean, ilang beses lang ba nangyari sa akin yon? I'd like to believe na yun na nga yon...yung kay Krissy...

YUMI Kwento mo nga...paano mo narealize dati na mahal mo nga si Krissy?

JIGS Alam mo nakakatawa...korni actually. Babalik na naman ako sa pagiging korni nito e. Di ba ayaw mo sa korni.

YUMI Sige na. Hindi na kita aasarin.

JIGS I heard bells.

YUMI Ano?

JIGS Seryoso. Bigla na lang, habang nag-uusap kami, may narinig na lang akong bells, tapos music. Ewan ko kung iniimagine ko lang yon pero yun ang nangyari. Nakakatawa nga e. Parang kanta ng Beatles.

YUMI Seryoso ka ba?

JIGS O baka naman nagkataon noong oras na yon, may nagkakantahan sa kung saan sa school. Basta may narinig akong bells. Tapos napangiti ako. Pagtingin ko sa mata niya, iba na ang nakikita ko. Hindi ko na siya nakita as kabarkada lang. Biglang parang may magic. Hindi ko ma-explain. Baduy pero ganun. Tapos I just seized the moment. Umamin ako. A week later, kami na.

YUMI Korni nga. (Matatawa)

JIGS Korni talagang pakinggan. Pero pag nandun ka na. Pag naranasan mo na, feeling mo, hindi na korni.

Ngingiti si Yumi. Tahimik.

YUMI Alam mo, may times na parang tunog violin ang boses mo. O lasing lang ako?

Tahimik.

JIGS I'm into my last question.

Iaangat ni Yumi ang ulo niya.

YUMI Shoot me. Better make it good.

JIGS If you were again to be the next victim of this tradition, if you were to be locked up in this room again...who would you want the next guy to be?

YUMI (Mag-iisip) I want someone whom I could talk to... Yung makukwentuhan ko ng mga sikreto ko. Yung may sense makipag-usap. Yung may laman. The violin player who¹d stroke my strings...not even. Yung mapapatunog niya ang strings ko without even touching them. (Tahimik) Lumuluwag na ang dila ko...kung anu-ano na ang nasasabi ko. (Ngingiti)

Tititigan lang ni Jigs si Yumi. Tahimik.

YUMI Siyempre yung masarap kausap.

Tahimik. Hindi makatingin si Yumi.

YUMI Yung kahit habambuhay wala kaming gawin kundi mag-usap... I think it's better than making love.

Mapapatingin si Yumi kay Jigs.

YUMI Gosh I want to kiss you so badly.

Matitigilan siya.

YUMI I can't believe I just said that.

Tahimik. Titignan niya ulit si Jigs.

YUMI Don't you want to kiss me?

Pause. Titignan siya ni Jigs sa mata.

JIGS Is that your last question? (Ngingiti si Jigs)

YUMI Yes.

DILIM.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Circle

Don't it always seem to go that go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone. They paved paradise to put up a parking lot.
This is as much true with whatever definition you have of paradise. Anchit, Minrose and Tart and Rhea and Cor, Bar and Janus- The Circle. My paradise was, in a way, them. They were the ones who taught me that no matter where it is, it doesn't matter as long as you are with the ones you like- that it's really the company that counts. Lately I've been thinking of them and how while they were here, we spent weeks not seeing each other because we were... there. Just there; a simple call away from each other. Now, none of us is, god forbid, gone but the oceans that literally stand between us make it a bit harder to catch up with each other. Even with the internet, we are now not just a simple call away.

It must be the promise of summer and thoughts of the beach and the sun and directionless road trips that makes me thought of them. Although I have met new friends over the years, the strength of my longing points out the fact that I have yet to meet somebody like them. I suppose it's not entirely possible. We met each other when we still saw, or at least I, the world in rose-tinted glasses. Although we were struggling with our new life after college, it just seems perfect that we were there for each other, present but not exactly each other's saviours but more like each of our own audience, stumbling and grasping through our way and learning from each other's mistakes. And we also saw each other grow- a bit mature, hopefully tougher, undeniably jaded. Nobody and nothing can recreate that.

It's been more than two years that one of us went away and by going, slowly broke up what made up the circle. The Circle. A couple is still here but it's already different. I don't regret that continents separate us; after all, how can we grow some more without these kind of drastic changes? It's just that I really miss them sorely.