This Blog Is Now Inactive

I have started a new blog:

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Book Review: Oedipus the King (First of the Theban Plays) by Sophocles

My knowledge of King Oedipus was merely based on what I’ve read from Freud’s theory. As defined, Oedipus Complex is an unconscious sexual desire of a child for his mother and hate toward his father as the child considers him a rival for his mother’s affection. I thought that the story of Oedipus the King was just about a man killing his own father to sleep with his mother. It was only when I read the play that I learned that it wasn’t Oedipus’s intention to murder his father, let alone copulate with his mother. But it was fated, some would say, that’s why it happened, or perhaps it’s a subconscious process, if you ask Freud:

His destiny moves us only because it might have been ours—because the Oracle laid the same curse upon us before our birth as upon him. It is the fate of all of us, perhaps, to direct our first sexual impulse towards our mother and our first hatred and our first murderous wish against our father. Our dreams convince us that this is so. (Sigmund Freud)



An oracle informed King Laius and Queen Jocasta that they will have a child that is destined to murder his father and sleep with his mother. Upon knowing this, King Laius pinned the infant’s feet together and decided to cast the infant away to die. Unable to bear doing it with their own hands, the queen commanded a servant to take the infant to the mountainside and let the infant die there “from exposure.”

The servant brought the infant to the mountainside but could not bear the guilt of committing the act, so he handed the infant to a shepherd whom carried the infant to Corinth where the infant was given to a childless royalty. The infant was then named Oedipus because of his swollen feet.

Growing up, Oedipus heard rumors that he was not of the king and queen’s flesh, so he confronted his parents about this. But he was told that those stories were all untruth, that he was their own child. Still suspicious, Oedipus went to the oracle of Delphi to ask who his real parents were. The oracle ignored his question but told him of his fate: that he was to kill father and marry his mother. After that, he made a choice to “put the stars between him and Corinth” and never to return again to avoid the aforementioned oracle.

On his way to Thebes, where “three roads meet,” he had an encounter with a carriage, which pushed him off the road. A violent quarrel ensued over the “right of way,” and this led to him killing the rest of the group but one. Unbeknownst to him, one of whom he killed was his father, King Laius, thus fulfilling the first part of the prophecy.

When he arrived in Thebes, the country was under the curse of the sphinx who kept asking a riddle, destroying those who can’t answer it:

What is the creature that walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three in the evening?

Oedipus gave his answer:

A man. (As an infant, a man crawls in all fours, growing up, he walks on two feet until he walks with a walking stick [three legs] in old age).

This released the city from the sphinx’s curse. Oedipus was rewarded the kingship of Thebes, marrying Jocasta, his own mother.

The prophecy has been fulfilled without any of them knowing it.


The city of Thebes was stricken by a plague, and the people went to the king’s palace to seek aid. The king already sent Creon, his brother-in-law, to the oracle of Delphi to ask how to stop the plague. The king was waiting for the oracle, he told his people.

Then Creon had arrived and asked King Oedipus whether they speak in private or he speak the oracle in front of the people. Oedipus opted for the latter, for “nothing is more important to him that the suffering of his people.”

The oracle said that a murderer of the previous king was polluting the soil of Thebes and justice must be served in order to free the city from the plague. With characteristic pride, Oedipus promised that he will find the murderer and serve justice.

In the palace, Tiresias, the blind seer the king has sent for, told Oedipus, during a heated argument, that he is the polluter, King Laius’s murderer. Insulted, Oedipus fumed from the seer’s statement, then put two and two together: he thought that this was one of Creon’s schemes to destroy his kingship. He took pride at his “discovery,” his seeing through things, even telling the seer how he, being just Oedipus, answered the sphinx’s riddle and freed the whole land of Thebes.

The blind seer told Oedipus that what he said was the unblemished truth, that he was polluter. But Oedipus proceeding with his arguments, irritating Tiresias. “You are please to mock my blindness,” the blind seer said, “but have you eyes and do not see your own damnation?” Tiresias exited the palace, angered by the king’s actions.

Creon knew about the king’s accusations on him and swore that if the king proves him guilty, the king is free to implement justice. After being told by the chorus to take Creon’s word for it, Oedipus then allowed Creon to go.

Jocasta came in and asked what’s happening. Creon told her the king’s accusations. Jocasta convinced the king that her brother is telling the truth and that the blind prophet Tiresias was wrong—that many prophets had been wrong before. She told Oedipus the story of King Laius’s child, a child that was said to be fated to kill his own father and sleep with his mother. She told him they “killed” their own child to avoid the oracle. Oedipus was told that King Laius was killed by robbers, not by his own son. But something in story troubled Oedipus as Laius was killed at a place “where three roads meet.” He was reminded of an incident wherein he killed a group of people. He asked Jocasta for Laius’s descriptions, which matched exactly to one of whom he killed. Jocasta comforted Oedipus, telling him that there was a survivor, a shepherd, who swore that several robbers, not one person, killed the king and his men. Oedipus then sent for that shepherd.

While waiting, Oedipus recounted to Jocasta his past and how he arrived to Thebes. He told him why he left Corinth because of an oracle and how he killed a group of people on his way to Thebes. He was frightened that he might have killed King Laius and his men.

Jocasta went out to the holy temple to pray for Oedipus. Then a messenger from Corinth arrived and said that Polybus, king of Corinth, the father of Oedipus, was dead. Good news! Jocasta thought as she went back to palace, along with the messenger. The news brought relief to Oedipus but was still worried that maybe it was because of the grief he caused by leaving Corinth that killed his father. He was still afraid of the oracle: that he will marry his own mother. The messenger told him to fear not as he was not of the king and queen’s flesh.

Oedipus was stunned, and he asked the messenger why he knew all this. The messenger replied that in the past, a fellow shepherd gave him an infant, which he brought to the childless king of Corinth. That infant grew up to be Oedipus. For further proof of his tale, he told Oedipus about his ankles, how they were swollen because they were pierced. Oedipus asked who gave the baby to him. The messenger said that it was one of Laius’s servants. By this time, Jocasta turned white as she now knew the truth. She stopped Oedipus from questioning further, but Oedipus ignored her, saying that he wants to know the truth—who he really is—and wouldn’t stop until he finds it. Jocasta ran out of the palace, cursing.

The shepherd Oedipus sent for had arrived. The messenger of Corinth reminded the shepherd of the their past and told him that the infant was now in front of them: Oedipus. The shepherd was in terror, asking Oedipus not to question him any further, but the king threatened to kill him if he wouldn’t utter the truth.

Finally, the secret was revealed. The shepherd cried out loud that it was done to avoid the oracle: he was commanded by the king and queen to let the infant die in the mountainside but had not the heart to do it, thus giving it to a fellow shepherd.

Oedipus broke down in disbelief, in rage, and felt the curse of his fate. How vile the gods were to make him subject of their whims! He told the servants to bring him a sword so he would tear his mother’s wombs. He went to their home, rushed into Jocasta’s room, and found her body hanging dead. He took her down, removed the gold pins from her dress, and plunged them into his eyes.

He pierced his eyes time and again until bloody tears ran down his beard—not in drops but in full spate a whole cascade descending in drenching cataracts of scarlet rain.

Now blind, Oedipus begged to be exiled, but Creon told him that it was for the gods to decide. Oedipus asked for his daughters and begged Creon to take care for them. Oedipus was then led away from the city.

Love and Self-Preservation

What struck me first was King Laius’s immediate, bold, and seemingly cold-blooded decision to kill his own child—which was still an infant—upon knowing the oracle. I felt no love coming from both parents, only the guilt of staining their hands and concern of their fame and power and, mostly, of themselves. But it’s their child, the union of their own flesh. It was a wonder to me how they could resort to infanticide. When I read about ancient Greek history, I found out that “infanticide through exposure” was widely practiced during that time. It was a “preferred method of disposal, as that act in itself is not murder…the child had technically had a chance of being rescued by the gods or a passerby.” This was once acceptable.

It’s evident that they have no love for their own child. Instead of suffering—or maybe even dying for their own beloved child, they have chosen themselves. It’s this absence of parental love that disturbs me; its what led to the act of disposing the infant as if it were just an object, a piece of furniture that keeps on bringing bad luck.

The oracle and King Laius’s choice to kill his own child were the first major events of the play. This is the advent of the doomed fate of Oedipus, who lived and obliviously killed his father and slept with his mother, and even sired offsprings. When Oedipus discovered the truth, he was in the fullness of his rage toward his fate and his parents that he wanted to rip her mother’s womb apart with a sword. But Jocasta, choked by the guilt, hanged herself as she could not face her son. So Oedipus took the golden pins from his mother’s dress and plunged them into his eyes repeatedly, perhaps for seeing the horrible truth.

Bleak and miserable, the play exposes the extent of selfishness and how far humans will go just to survive—that even a parent will kill, eat, his own child if the situation demands it. This same act, though varying in degrees and in methods, is happening in this world. It’s a wickedness that never fades with time. Humans will do anything for self-preservation no matter how ruthless they’ll become. Man is part animal; man can just throw away all morals and sink in depravity. Morality is maybe an illusion. (What kind of morals do gods have putting Oedipus and his parents in that situation?)

As a child, for example, I even saw a mother cat eating her own kittens out of hunger. (Humans too have done this.) It’s either the lack of love or just the powerful instinct for self-preservation—the life instinct that “screams bloody murder.” Humans, undoubtedly, do this in a number of ways. But we know humans have the ability to transcend such circumstances, and that’s through selfless acts of love and sacrifice, which are perhaps alien to the gods. Immortals will never know what dying for someone means.

Love and sacrifice are the most beautiful and heartbreaking of human acts because in doing so, human show courage to face their own vulnerability and mortality for what they love. A deed gods can never do—completely fading into the darkness without salvation and be nothing more. Love, when strong enough, is a respite from death.

(Many times , I was tempted to respond to Christians saying that Jesus died on the cross for us sinners; I want to tell them that technically, Jesus died for three days and was resurrected. It’s a divine act, the resurrection, I know, but what I am referring to here is a savior, a Messiah, without a promise of resurrection, like a soldier, a mere mortal, dying in war whose name is now forgotten.)

Now I imagine King Laius and Queen Jocasta loving and raising Oedipus despite knowing the oracle, even accepting it wholeheartedly because of their love for the child. Perhaps this selfless love alone can make the gods tremble and Oedipus will change his fate.

I say this not out of pride but because of hope for humanity: We may suffer heavily from our weaknesses, but we can be stronger than the gods if we choose to be. We can create a better world because we are mere mortals; we know what life really means because we know what it means to only live once.

Free Will and Fate

Was Oedipus merely a puppet of fate or…
I pondered whether it was entirely the gods’ fault that the prophecy has been fulfilled or it was solely because of Oedipus’s own choices, since the oracle did not directly influence his actions when he killed his father and slept with his mother.

We cannot deny that those acts were because of his own choosing, but we also cannot just leave behind the oracle as it may be the one that started the chain of events that led him to where he ended. (Paraphrasing from Albert Camus’s The Rebel: It’s impossible to live a life without choices, but it’s also impossible to live a life of perpertual choosing.) As for the reason behind the oracle, we can never know what the gods wanted to happen in the first place, why such cursed fate had befallen on Oedipus.

Despite the prophecy, it can never be denied that Oedipus and his parents had made the choices, not the oracle. This is what torments us, being humans: we have free will, but we can never control everything.

From another perspective, it can be simply seen that Oedipus was a puppet of fate as if he made no conscious choices, because it’s all written and God knows everything that will happen. To think of it that way, we see that we are but phantoms of the past and no longer responsible for our present actions. Since the present is highly dependent on the past conditions (the Butterfly Effect), for example, the oracle, how can we accountable for our present choices? In this play, without the oracle being made, things would have been different for Oedipus and his family. A single element creates a chain of infinite continuity, and this single element also stems from a previous one and the previous one from a previous… It roots all the way back to beginning. We can even think that the oracle has been made as punishment because of King Laius’s or Queen Jocasta’s actions in the past.


I believe in making conscious choices, but I also believe that there are things that go beyond our choosing, that even if we were to make that choice, it won’t make a difference as we can only choose based on what the circumstance permits. I can “choose” to fly by flapping my hands, but that doesn’t mean I can do it. I can choose to live forever, but that doesn’t mean it’s possible. But here we see the “act of choosing,” which is the heart of the matter. We can choose what we want to become. The curse is that our capacities are finite; we are not gods. What happened to Oedipus was the torture of being human, and the same curse is on us.

Posted in Book Reviews, Essays | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Notes from the Undergrad (Pilar, Camotes, Odyssey, Part 4)

Zeigarnik effect “is the tendency to experience intrusive thoughts and objectives that was once pursued and left incomplete,” as per Wikipedia. If I won’t ever finish this series, I figured, I will never write anything anymore here. So consider this a dumping, a desperate move to finish the “business.”

Last year’s summer, I went to Camotes. It was during Holy Week this time, so it was pretty summery indeed. While the heat was burning my skin, I was feeling more and more connected to the external reality. The more I get in touch with what’s happening around me, the more my own despair falls into the background—I have forgotten myself. The more it gives me the illusion of healing where, in fact, what’s happening was actually a switching of focus: from internal to external. Well, most of all, the circling around the island was great help; for a few hours under the sun, I have forgotten my yearlong struggles. I was able to suppress them with the help of the bike. With each swift kick to the pedals, I push the past behind me. The feel of the rough roads gave me another thing to conquer. The soothing juxtaposition of the green trees and the feathery sky made it look like new day, and the motherfucking glares of the sun awakened my anger—better be angry than miserable.

My breathlessness. My near cramps. The fire all over my skin, especially on my neck and back. I thought all this over. It’s Toka Koka, or equivalent trade.

DSCN3097 DSCN3094 DSCN3106 DSCN3110 DSCN3105 DSCN3101DSCN3117 DSCN3122 DSCN3125 DSCN3129 DSCN3130 DSCN3133 DSCN3147 DSCN3163 DSCN3164 DSCN3174 DSCN3186 DSCN3205 DSCN3199 DSCN3209 DSCN3211 DSCN3244 DSCN3245 DSCN3248 DSCN3249 DSCN3251 DSCN3259 DSCN3269 DSCN3273 DSCN3276 DSCN3279 DSCN3282 DSCN3283 DSCN3296 DSCN3307DSCN3304

I had biked 14 kilometers, back and forth. Surprised that I didn’t get a heatstroke from all this. Only burnt skin. I was real red all over. Even sweating stings. Shishio’s skin burning.


Sleeping that night was a struggle. I had to sit to sleep so that nothing will touch the area around my neck. I can also control the pressure I put on my back if I sit instead of lying down in bed. My whole skin was sticky with heat…

I didn’t get any sleep at all. At 3 AM, I said my good-bye to my lola, who died two weeks later. I knew it was going to be our last good-bye. The hug was heavy. It was like I felt all her eighty-plus years of existence. Hers was a sad one, I must say. She was a retired  teacher who went on with life as a spinster ridiculed and not much liked by my relatives. I should have understood why she was so scared when I told her I was going home the next day.

The jeep arrived minutes later. I hopped in like a snail with legs. Despite the cold touches of dawn, my skin still stings. We were on our way to Cawit. The sail back to Cebu was at 5 AM.

DSCN3328 DSCN3343

The trip was quick; I guess we arrived an hour earlier. I slept for most part of the trip since I was still too exhausted from the biking the previous day. I was trying to absorb everything that had happened in the whole trip and realized that nothing had really changed. The transformation I wished didn’t happen. I was still myself. The answers I was hoping to find didn’t present themselves. My eyes were still not ready. My heart was still too hurt to recognize the truth.

Upon arriving back in Danao port, I decided to eat somewhere. The daylight in the streets stings three-folds. I went inside Jollibee to hide and eat. Inside, I started reading Rilke… And it was like the Gods laughed a me. The lines were…


“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A Degree

Processed with VSCOcam

Wherever you are right now, I hope you’re watching. We haven’t been in good terms in your last years here on earth and I wasn’t able to graduate while you were still alive—the very thought still haunts me now—but I would like you to know that you’re one of those people who completely changed me and made me into who I am right now. You have showed me the path I wanted to take, ever since. I will do everything to push through that path, and I am guilty of going nowhere near that path as of the moment. Yeah, it sucks to remain an undergraduate, and I don’t like where I am right now. Years have passed already. But I will graduate some day—that’s a promise—and pursue that path. So enjoy watching from up there and know that you’ll always be missed.

Posted in The Notes from the Undergrad | Leave a comment

Notes from the Undergrad (Pilar, Camotes, Odyssey, Part 3)

Day 3 (Friday)

“Spend the afternoon, you can’t take it with you.”
—Anne Dillard

I woke up to the chill of dawn, but soaked in sweat, with beads still forming in my forehead, my hands clutching my chest for breaths. What I had last night didn’t feel like sleep at all.

It was still dim, so I went back to sleep. In the room, the heat stood like invisible walls closing in on me, but then turned into icicles at dawn. I was freezing and sweating. The remnants of the nightmare still stuck in my head like grains in the corners of the teeth the tongue can’t reach.


After I finished my coffee, I went to the port, my favorite place here. It was a ten-minute walk from the house. Looking at the sky, no wonder it was cold. The sun was still nowhere to be found. From the way it rained last night, I thought that it might rain too this morning. The sea breeze lulled me into sleepwalking. When I got near the end, the changes started to register: The trees looked either dead or dying. The remaining leaves were under the mercy of the gray sky. Last year, their bushes were a thick green, and when you come close, you can even hear little birds singing inside.  

I saw one that looked like it was inches away from being ripped off. All the trees were standing as if off-balanced, their almost empty branches struggling to grow back what was lost. I thought again about how much damage that bitch Yolanda had done. The ground seemed to have lost its lively color, as if grieving for the trees. The lampposts were destroyed too, most had missing light bulbs. All of them nothing but dead pieces of metal. Even the stone benches which were seriously heavy to lift were thrown during the typhoon.


On my way back to the house, it was only then that I noticed how much trees were destroyed after the typhoon. The thick foliage were now gone. The island life I used to experience had changed. I wasn’t even able to eat a lot of fruit and fish throughout my stay, as the whole island was still recovering from the ravage of Yolanda. From what I’ve heard, only one died, an old lady who wasn’t able to run away in time from a falling tree. But still, the damage to the trees and properties were large splinters to the heart. Bit by bit, one by one, time will pluck them out.



That afternoon, the weather got better, so I borrowed a bike from my relatives. Last year, I biked around the island, passing around 12 or 13 barangays, from Lower Poblacion to Cawit and back, which, in total, was approximately 24 kilometers. And that was done from 9 am to around 3 pm under the scorching summer sky. Had I known the symptoms of a heatstroke, I can say I almost had one. I was just using an old bike, even minus the brakes, on typical island rough roads, which gets rougher the deeper I enter the heart of the island. It would still be tomorrow when I’d do it again, so I spent the afternoon getting ready for the next day. Along the way, I was starting to feel my skin burning from the inside; my skin became so sensitive that it even stings when I sweat. I thought I got it from Danao Port where I was in a long line waiting for the gate to open for the pump boat, with the sun above and a few minutes away from its zenith.


Along the way, I found out that the school was in ruins, including the rooms that were newly constructed. Quite ironic because the new rooms were completely destroyed, whereas the decades-old ones seemed to look almost untouched at first glance. The rusty roofs and the creaking floors and windows, all of them were almost intact. Talking about wear and tear. When I went near the white rooms, I was doubtless it was due to the substandard materials used. The dangers of it. It was painful to look at.



Afternoon was about ripe into a cool, refreshing dusk, so to welcome it and to end the really sad day, I ran back to the house and grabbed some beer, then reloaded my pack of cigarettes, but almost forgetting the essentials: the guitar, pen, journal, and book, as I was too excited get drunk there, write a poem of hope and recovery, read passages from Hemingway, play the guitar and sing my heart out to the grieving sea. But once I got there, an assault of wild sensations rushed into me and filled my guts. Then I noticed that my breathing had changed, like I was suddenly freed from something I could not name.


The afternoon brought the wounded dock back to life. Illuminated its lost blood. Colors I had not seen that morning caressed my eyes. They appeared as fresh as daylight. I was awed, stunned by unexpected feelings. I then ran to the building, the salty wind against my whole body, feeling the spirit of a child, an inexhaustible glow of a smile, and was once again freed from the learned loneliness and sterility of city life.


I went down around thirty minutes later, as the wind had gotten too cold and strong. I was having chills despite the beer. I was sitting now in the stone staircase which led down to the seawater. The sea was just a step away. The salty breeze cleared my lungs, leaving an aftertaste in each breath. The beer was not enough to warm me anymore, so I decided to finally lit a smoke for good measure and put it in my mouth. I lost my lighter the night before. Luckily, when I turned around, I saw a middle-aged passerby, with a cigarette hanging in his mouth. I looked at him as he passed by, and seeing the unlit stick in my mouth, he went to me and handed me his half-smoked stick. I offered him beer, to which he refused. He was an Iglesia. They don’t drink beer, he said. But they were allowed to smoke. He was a carpenter from Bukidnon and was assigned here by their group to repair the roofs of their church. He then talked about how religion changed him. How God changed him. Then he told me he should be going,. We shook hands and said good-bye. The sun was falling down; the sky was getting shades darker; the temperature dropped gradually. Evening was approaching. I finished my cigarette and beer, then walked home. It was great afternoon.


Posted in The Notes from the Undergrad | Tagged , | Leave a comment

SISENEG 0:0-0 (A Short Story)

The perfect azure of the sky split into an abyss, which then engulfed everything. God stepped out, sobbing, limping, his head down facing his creation.
“The nigh”—his voice boomed all over the world—“is at its nearest.” The words forced their way into all languages that even the deaf can understand. “Things have to end,” God continued, “I now shall put myself to sleep.”

Stampeding in the thick darkness, the humans said, “No, God! Please. You must not do this,” they said, groping for anyone, for anything. “We can’t die just yet. No, Lord, you PROMISED us eternal life if we accept your grace. This can’t end this way. We want to live with you for eternity. We pray to you, O Lord God our Savior! We’ll pray even more and praise Your Name,” they cried. “Forever.”
Every human being of all religions kneeled and prayed—even the “nonbelievers.”

The demons heard it, their burnt sockets glowed like the sun, and tears rained all over as if extinguishing hell. “Yes, God!” Satan led the way. All demons raised their hands in glory. “Please end it now. Our endless, senseless agony. We’ve already suffered for far too long. No one deserves this kind of punishment. We’re sorry for all wrongs we did, God. I hope you’ve forgiven us.” From the depths of hell, Satan reached out for God and hugged him. “No matter how much we suffer, we can’t die. Please let us die. We shall accompany you to your sleep.”
God didn’t say anything, his eyes still moist, but held Satan as he continued to sob in His arms.

The angels, which were just behind God, their halos flickering, said to the humans, “You disgusting creatures! You don’t understand God. Never did!” Their tears gushed, their halos emitting a mad glow. “We’ve been with him since the dawn of time, loving him for what he had done for us. We were so thankful. Can’t you see his greatness is already beyond measure? He did everything for the world. He gave you Paradise, and you, human beings, wanted freedom, if only…if only you didn’t eat the apple. No one would have been hurt. Now He’s tired of all you humans have done. His heart had grown numb he can no longer feel anything, not even our love. And we, the Angels of our Lord, can no longer bear His tears. We won’t let Him suffer any longer. Everything has to to cease.” With that, they ripped their wings off from their bodies, throwing it into the abyss below.

“No!” said the whole human race, arms raised in submission toward the darkness. “It’s you who don’t understand—even with suffering, life is too beautiful to end. God, we promise that from now on, we will change our ways, completely, and live in accordance to your Word! We shall be your angels here on earth!” Then they started again with the Lord’s Prayer, their voices filling the greatest void. “Our Father who art—”

“Suffering is too much to bear for eternity!” the demons cried. “You selfish bastards… God, end it now. Please have mercy on—”

God waved His hand, then silence ensued, and everything was on a standstill. All creatures held their breath. The stars had stopped blinking. The whole world listened to the silence that wrapped all creations. God waved his hand for the last time, as if to say good-bye. Finally. God fell into sleep and dreamed of a better world. Eyes closed. Smiling.

Posted in Short Stories | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Notes from the Undergrad: Midyear 2014


A million books, poems, short stories, drafts, sperms, articles, plans, things, things, things are brimming in my head and now it’s time to spill them on the floor…they’re words, fragments, oil and water forced to copulate, realities and illusions, and I spit on them and wipe them with my foot and I kiss them and see them like crystals trapped in unexplored caves, dungeons, hymens.


I have been miserable, but happy for most part this year. Especially when I started to notice the good things that happened and are happening, as if the storms had cleared it all up. How blind can one get? It’s not that bad after all. There’s still enough light to see where I am going. Taking it slow, one day, one breath, at a time, step by step, note by note, the natural rhythm and progression of life’s music; I am now at the edge of the nth verse, breathing deep, and then loosening my lungs to scream the choruses of repressed spiritual immortal melodies. The flux of unsung choruses were stuck and rotting in my throat, as I was hanging with a noose tied around my neck, my body swinging like a pendulum between the past and the future, and then falling into an abyss of mirrors whenever I try to escape myself.


The sweet harmonic kiss of her violin and bow, and my hysteric internals bleeding rivers of consciousness; the delicate, calming strokes of her fingertips, and my wild streams of libido, danced together on top the bottomless surface, floating in the sea of her virginal gentleness, carried by the still current of her innocent pride, bathed by her puritanical orgasmic tendencies. We rise into sleepless ecstasy, standing on the tips of our toes, melting our ankles into Freudian liquids; we knot ourselves in a fertile embrace, whispering esoteric images with our tongues. The pattern and emphasis of her accents caressing each word; the breathal pauses restraining the spirits of our innuendos, but swirling them into a tango of wet dreams bursting from Neptune’s testicles pricked by his own trident. Our dreams dance like epidemic fevers in the middle of winter, cleansing the world and introducing a new season, a new race… a new language. Bed sheets are stained by the catharsis of deviant angels. Talks and ideas shoot like wildfires from our pores. We embrace in joyful deafness and submission to the lyrical catharsis of life.

Posted in Photographic Stillness, The Notes from the Undergrad | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Notes from the Undergrad (Pilar, Camotes, Odyssey, Part 2)

Day 2

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” 

–Mark Twain

Lights out. But still, sleep didn’t come, so the whole dawn passed through me wide-awake. I felt every second lying in bed. The silence in the room stretched time. I blinked in and out of sleep, eye-fucking the walls and then checking the clock only to see how slow time moved. I got up around 7 a.m. Dawn passed like a dream when I got up; it so seemed unreal to be awake lying in bed for 7 hours. I was lightheaded for the first few steps but recovered quickly as soon as I got out the room.

I walked to the port and found out that Junmar 2 would sail to Pilar at 11 a.m. There was still enough time to roam and get ready. I breathed in the relief and excitement. I couldn’t wait to get there. I lit a stick and looked around. A lot of people were waiting for their trips, their faces untouched by sleep but fully awake. They were the same people who were waiting yesterday, but despite that, the joy of their upcoming travel lit their eyes.

The weather was a celebration of dear life. I could hear everything around me breathing in and out the soft warmth of the early summer morning. Above me was a perfect stillness of a cloudless, naked blue sky. Below were soft waves against the shore. People filling in the streets, getting on with their daily routines. I listened to the speeding buses as they hit the street and wondered how such a threat made me feel rather calm. Yes, the “calm” enveloped me as I got ready and waited for the sail.

The clock struck 11 a.m. and I was now in the port waiting. The line was a fucked-up long one, and there was nowhere to hide from the scorching heat. The sun licked me into scorching madness, buckets of sweat pouring out from my skin. I was so angry I could eye-fuck the sun. My hair was drenched in sweat and I could say the same about my whole body. I willed myself not to get naked and plunge into the polluted black green of sea nearby. But before anything like that could happen, the crew gave the go signal for the passengers to hop aboard.

It wasn’t even a minutes before the vessel was full. Then the coast guards checked to see if every seat was occupied and no one was standing. If by chance that there we no longer seats, then you would be thrown back to the port. So we all squeezed into place, choking the seats with our butts. As the coast guards went back to the port and boat started to sail, some people immediately stood up to find their comfort, and the seats took their breaths.

DSCN2678 DSCN2671 DSCN2680 DSCN2700 DSCN2715 DSCN2724 DSCN2733 DSCN2736 DSCN2787 DSCN2750 DSCN2753 DSCN2759 DSCN2776 DSCN2778 DSCN2827 DSCN2831 DSCN2834 DSCN2833

The waves got stronger in the middle of sail but was nothing alarming. I continued reading Watchmen and found it beyond my expectations. We arrived earlier than usual because the pump boat went straight to Cawit Port instead of dropping by San Francisco and Poro. The heat was getting weaker, and dark clouds hovered the sky. I rode a jeepney to my lola’s place, and the sights along the way struck the chords of nostalgia. Last year, I went to this place broken, and now, I still was.

It was evening when I arrived. I said my hellos to my relatives and then went to my lola’s. She was sick and coughing really bad. (She just passed away two weeks ago at 92 or 93). I went outside to buy matches because I lost my lighter. It was raining pretty hard, and moments after I lit my cigarette, everything went black, and then I heard people saying “Brownout!” accompanying it with laughter as they get drunk on a Maundy Thursday.

The darkness around me made my mind mumble:

the cape of doom
shrouded in the black of death
the sea crying for the sky
the pitch black screaming deathly silence
people basked in their fermented loneliness
the wind carries the unheard cries
the waves lost their love to kiss the shore
the sea stood still.

Posted in Photographic Stillness, The Notes from the Undergrad | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So Lunac, a Mooning Call


Beholding the presence
of her lonely eminence,
I fell inside
a monster’s dream.
her lunar cycles,
I started perceiving
the nuances of her dark quietness,
the secret transitions of her phases,
the shadow of her smiles,
and the light she gives off
during her weakest moments.

The first time
I heard her silent cries,
I was possessed
by a strange madness;
I started to thirst
for her divine tears.
My nightly gaze
through the abyss
of her mysteries.
The smell
of her nakedness
aroused my demons.
I licked
my teeth
at times when she ripens
into the fullness
of her beauty
that she can’t fit
into the doors
of my perception.
I could see flowers
on her dead skin,
the petals
into stars.

I already mapped
a path
to the uncharted terrains
of her soul.
Into her
deepest core,
I’ll go.
She’ll let me;
I know.
I’ll devour her
from the inside out
and lay flat
under the empty,
seemingly Godless

I have stolen her
from the heavens,

from God.

The taste of her
remains in my tongue.
her flesh
will become my flesh,
and I’ll feel
what she feels.
Her eyes
will become my eyes,
and I’ll see
her every fear.

“Hush, fear not,”
I’ll say.
“We’ll run into the unknown depths
of the wild
we’ve always talked about.
we’ll dance and kiss
into the bliss
of freedom
and isolation.
we’ll get buried
in our embrace
and age together
with nature.

will we live
as lost spectres
haunting the wilderness
with our love.
will I be hunted
to the ends
of the earth.
will I remain unforgiven.
will we be echoes
stuck in oblivion.”

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Notes from the Undergrad (Pilar, Camotes, Odyssey, Part 1)

Day 1

“A mind so beautiful
Spirit so free
Whence came such traveler
Of words worth a sea.”

When I arrived at Danao Port, I found out that all trips were canceled due to strong waves. So I just stood there, devoid of thought, no longer feeling the weight of my bulging bag and the stares of the angry sun. Nothing registered. I was detached, even untouched by time. So what now? echoed a question that was a club to the head, which knocked me to the subconscious realm of my mind. In those infinitesimal infinite bits of fragmented dream time, I felt like a planet that fell off from its orbit, floating nowhere, held afloat by a void.

So what now?

I heard a tick in my head, and in the next ticks, I was brought back to my senses, now awake from the trance. It was as if God just snapped his fingers from heaven loud enough for me to hear, commanding the cogwheels in my head to move. I looked up at the heavens and saw thin layers of gray clouds obscuring the sky, casting a gloomy ambiance, holding me in a subtle, lonely embrace.

Then I looked for a place to stay, where I could put my bags, and sleep for the night. I decided to spend the day in Danao and see what happens the next day. As fuck would have it, there was a cheap dormitory-type lodge near the church. From there, the port was just a stone’s throw away. I got in, paid, left my stuff, took lunch, and roamed around. Solitary bliss.


The kids screamed at me and ran into me; they wanted me to take pictures of them showcasing their naked diving skills. They even asked me for my Facebook account; I just shook my head. The stroll along the road was beautiful. I could hear the wild crashes of waves that canceled the trips, and now I thanked them. From here, the twist of fate started to take its form—an odyssey was being born. I was off to wherever my whims would lead me.


I didn’t say a word the whole time I was taking pictures; I only smiled at the kids, which was made them utterly confused. I even heard one of the kids saying, “Bai, makasabot na siya’g binisaya?” Ha-ha! They all were waiting for me to talk, but of course, I did not.


Starting to feel a sleepy exhaustion and a warm sting in the eyes, I got myself some beer and went back to the lodge. There would be a procession later in the evening (Stations of the Cross, I suppose). I read a few of Rilke’s poems, finished the beer, and dozed off, and woke up just at the right time for the mass.



I was surprised. I never expected a great multitude of people, and the number was still growing as the evening went on. Then it started to get hot. Hundreds of candles were lit. The familiar smell and heat of the burning wax brought back a childhood memory, to when I was still a kid being brought to a procession by my parents whose hands were holding me very tightly, fearing that I might run and get lost in the crowd if they let go. I sank into a trance of nostalgia, blurred flashes of decade-old memories, a thousand strangers turning and talking and bowing down at the same time, their unified AMEN responses, the inaudible sermon of the priest incomprehensible and senseless to a child’s ear, the blast of the trumpets, the booms and time signatures of the bass and snare drums, the horrendous looks of the statues molded from their ancient sufferings alive in their stillness under the night sky, the claustrophobic sweating, candles accidentally burning hairs, the slow, hypnotic march of the dreamy crowd and the sound of a thousand footsteps, prayers, and chants intermingling, the annoying, sudden stops, the mystery and guessing of where the procession would lead, the twist and turns of it—all these rushed into the veins of my consciousness. My recollection was having a heart of its own, beating wildly the blood of these memories. The surge was pulsating with vitality. The rush of blood felt like it was in pursuit of something, like it was unconsciously tracing a certain part of my mind, flooding its way through my defenses.


Then I was brought back to the church, to where I was standing. I looked around with new eyes and saw a grown number of people. I listened to their sorrowful, prayerful silence. I felt sadness growing deep in my chest. The seriousness in their faces told me the weight of their prayers as they were bowing eyes closed, face-to-face with spirit of the burning candles.


As the mass ended, I felt a change slowly making its presence felt. I heard the loud trumpets and bass drums and went to where the sound was coming from. The nearer I got there, the more I felt the change in the crowd’s mood. I stopped and saw the change of faces. The people finally took off their sorrowful masks. I roamed around. To me, it looked more like a festival rather than a grieving for Jesus’s suffering and death. Their sudden excitement rather stunned my senses. Everywhere I looked, I just couldn’t see the reason why their faces flushed out such child-like luminescence. The smiles radiated a striking youthful semblance of innocence. Later that night, I found out why.

DSCN2295DSCN2345DSCN2356DSCN2385DSCN2388Because there were too many people, I decided not join. Since it was still early in the evening, I figured that it’d be better if I would just again have my own walk and have dinner. Things were a bit dull along the way until I saw the magnificent beauty of the moon. It was moonrise. The colossal sphere of blood red and yellow tint with the black canvas behind it sank me deep into my unconscious, that of which inspired me to write a poem. I was between dreaming and living. I was only aware of my eyes being locked to the image of the moon and my breathing in of its light. I was in another realm of existence and was getting drunk in it. At the peak of my spiritual gasm, three teenage girls approached me and said something in which I wasn’t able to hear at first, but the thing was, it cut me off from my trance. I didn’t know what to when do or saying at this moment; I just stood giving them a look of “What?” Then I started making out what they were saying, and it was in Tagalog. The two of them were from Makati and were having a vacation here in Cebu.

“Kuya, kuya! Pwede magpapicture?” one of the teenyboppers said. “Kamukha nyo po kasi yong bokalista nga paborito naming banda.”
What. The. Fuck. This brought me back to me senses; I know that because I responded by asking, “What band?”
“Mayday Parade!” All of them were giggling; I know the band but didn’t know the faces of the members,
“Oh, that band.” I said.
“Kilala mo sila?”
“Three Cheers for Five Years.” (This was a famous song from that band.)
They laughed in celebration. “Yehey! Sige kuya ha. ”
With naive excitement, they took pictures one by one. One of them hugged my arm way too tight that I felt the abundant subcutaneous adipose tissue of her breast. Blood then rushed in hot streams, thawing and stimulating parts of my body, waking me up completely. It was then that I started recognizing the features of their faces and figures. Untainted were their cute faces. Innocent were their smiles. Oblivious were their eyes to the thoughts of the person they were talking to. Their shorts made their legs holy, worthy of praise and worship. They were too plump and full for their age. Their young curves can cause a torrent of hormonal secretions. The lush of their bodies. Their virginal giggles. Pedophilic madness.
After that, they asked me where I was from. I told I’m from Cebu City and was just wandering around. I asked them how their vacation was so far. They said it was great (they said it was their first time here, then more details), and they said they were happy to see “Derek.” I said, “Great.” After a long stretch of silence, they each hugged me and took off. “Bye, Derek!”
“Bye.” Holy smokes.
Then I looked at the shore, but the moon was no longer the same. The beauty died out. So I lit a cigarette, and off I enter deeper into the night.

DSCN2398DSCN2593DSCN2610DSCN2626After the procession, the celebration begun. The parks were full of families sitting and eating together under the dark sky. Lovers dating under the sweet jazz of the moonlight. Circles of different groups, shouting, teasing, and cussing, tickling each other or their guitar, songs blasting from their phones. Teenage flirting. The playground was ran by kids; they were energized by the other kids’ presence. Everyone enjoyed the night being together with their loved ones. And I was all alone. Beginning to seep in was a kind of solitude I had never felt before. I was walking as if I were invisible. No one knew a real shit about me, and I knew not a single soul passing me by—which brings me to question how much do I know mine. I carried that question throughout my walk, throughout my sleep.


With the night slipping away, I returned to the lodge. Surprisingly, I wasn’t pretty much exhausted this time. So I got up and went to the terrace and stayed there for almost an hour, writing, reading, smoking, thinking, lots of those. (Watchmen’s one hell of a read.) It was almost midnight, and I figured I needed to sleep early; it was going to be a long sail the next day.



Thanks, Payi, for letting me borrow your cam! Hahaha. I thought I could write everything in just a single post, but nah, it came out longer than expected. And so the whole trip will be in the next entry or entries (days 2, 3, 4, 5). This first day was incredibly long, or it felt like it; every second passed through like a wind caressing my face, leaving soft creases for me to reminisce.

Posted in The Notes from the Undergrad, Wanderer | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


We lay flat
against the cold earth,
facing the sea of the sky.

In our exchange
of words and breaths
a eureka:

“We are
the movement
of the stars.”


Posted in Poetry | Tagged | 2 Comments

Twenty Questions (Writers’ Week Tag)

(Currently at work) I just finished editing a manuscript a while ago, and it took its toll. Them Christian books sucked the hell out of me. I can’t quite get into the mood to start with the next one. My head is still having labor pains, must be from all the mindfuckings.

So here, I will shake/abort/birth this fetus off of my system.

1. What type of writing do you do? 

i just write what i write and later, then a couple of edits, i loathe it, though. the editing part—the endless road to perfection. though there are classifications, poetry, short stories, essays, etc., when i write, i let the “writing” itself take its own form. it just comes when it comes. first thing i do is to just let it out. so if there’s an answer to this question, it’d be self-expression, or in its ultimate form, world-expression, i want to be the world’s voice, god’s voice, the voice of the empty future, the desolate past, the immaterial, inanimate, the vast blue, the nonexistent source of it all. whatever. my goal is to express in its purest form. i want to pierce through the thickest glass of  psychological censorship, repression, suppression, that separates us from the deepest truths. I want to get in touch with my own truth, regardless of the facts being given, the facts being rubbed on my face. so everything i write would be an attempt to get closer to that kind of expression. to write. to be pure. to find truth in every word.

2. What genres and/or topics do you write about?

i write about the limbos, the aimless wanderings, of my mind. like what i’ve said, these limbos can take on whatever forms they want: journal, diary types, poems, essays, narratives, short stories, fictions, songs..anything. as for the topics, i usually end up writing about suffocating mind-bending philosophical existential problems. that includes God, freedom, love, the unexplainable, life itself.  yes, i write about problems. it’s what i encounter almost everywhere i go. a fucking problem. hence, the limbo.

3. How long have you been writing?

one…i counted. i think i started my journal six years ago (2008).

4. Are you published?

i had some of my works published in our local newspapers. just a few.

5. What was the first story you ever wrote?

it’s “Painless.” i wrote that dec 25 2011 when my mother was admitted to the hospital. there was just a  moment wherein i walked around and heard about a whole family submitting to the hopeless situation; they have no choice but to just give up on their family member who was in the palm of death’s hand.

6. Why do you write?

I write in an attempt to keep myself sane—my strive for homeostasis against this agonizing psychological tension. I write in an attempt to stitch these seemingly immortal wounds through a thread of words using a pen as its needle. I write in an attempt to bring the things I love closer to me. To stitch them close to the ventricles of my aching heart. (Writing is a metaphysical surgical procedure.) I believe that in this kind of way, the gravity of words will pull everything in my world back into place, and pull everything back into one whole piece. I believe that in attempting to write despite the fact that my own words leave and betray and hurt me will restore the dead, lost, fragmented pieces of my dying being. I believe that writing will make me feel whole once more. I believe that writing will bring me back to life.”

7. How do you find time to write?

it’s a mystery. i don’t know. i think i just write whenever i get the chance; and i think i rarely have those chances. i am both too lazy and too busy and too tired. how i managed to write what i’ve written remains a mystery to me. it’s a mystery.

8. When and where are the best times to write?

midnight solitude, the insomniatic nights. anywhere as long as there’s silence and no one bothering.  (writing is a state of mind. i write inside my head, almost all the time. the reason to all my headaches. i already have so many drafts, a hundred unwritten books occupying my desk.)

9. Favorite food/drinks while writing?

coffee, beer, water, a mixture of the three. and cigarettes. food is too distracting, so i avoid it as much as possible.

10. Your writing playlist?

it depends. but usually, i don’t listen much to music while writing, it’s a time wherein i would listen to myself completely. i would just play the guitar whenever i feel dried-up or dumb until an idea or an image or an impetus or inspiration or a plot sequence knocks my skull.

12. Parts of writing you enjoy the most?

that unapologetic fire in my soul which i enjoy the most—i revel in it. that part where your soul is breathing out fire. that part when that fire takes it form. that part wherein the words are in an outrage and you have to let them out or else it’ll reduce you to ashes. that part wherein you no longer care even if it’s up to no good. that part wherein nothing matters, even if you finish it or not, even if no one would read it. that part when you’ve said what you really wanted to say after aeons. that part wherein you feel like closing your eyes while writing. that part where you as a person and you as a writer are one. that part wherein you would say to yourself, laughing, “Fuck you, how’d you do that, you genius motherfucker!” that part where you’re on the peak of your wordgasmic jizzsm.

13. Parts of writing you find challenging?

the demands of the notion of perfection. that is something that could either help you or help you destroy yourself. And these days, well, this started almost two years ago, I can’t seem to focus, to drown, no, to submerge myself into the sea of my own words and find myself breathing underwater.

14. What do you write with and on?

Company computer, journal, laptop, random notebooks, walls,. tables, my brain.

15. How do you overcome writer’s block?

fucks to this question. Writer’s Block: Inertia of Creativity

16. How do you motivate yourself to write?

sleeping. seriously. then waking up from a dream.

17. Authors who inspire you as a writer?

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Henry Miller, Anais Nin, Albert Camus, Chuck Palahniuk, Kurt Vonnegut, John Irving, Anthony Burgess, Jose Luis Borges, James Frey, and the writer with fancy eyes.

18. Books that inspire you as a writer?


19. Best advice you’ve gotten as a writer?

Just be.

20. Writing goals this year 

 Get back to my writing binge. 

Posted in The Notes from the Undergrad | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Nothing Left

upload20140326-12663-10jk5lpIn that first year or two, in Paris, I was literally annihilated. There was nothing left of the writer I had hoped to be, only the writer I had to be. 

—Henry Miller, World of Sex

*I was just clocking in for work when…

Posted in Photographic Stillness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


I looked in the mirror.
I searched for my eyes.
They weren’t there.

Posted in Poetry, Short Stories | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

January Reads (Book Report)

Though editing and reviewing manuscripts is sort my job, writing reviews of the books I read has been torture to me. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t seem to pull it off the way I used to; the words and thoughts won’t come out, thoughts won’t become words, and even if they did, the words refuse to form sentences. Years ago, I can dissect a book’s anatomy and do some surgery. I am morbid when it comes to that; it usually comes out bloody. Ha! Bloodstains from books! So I am here to resurrect that dead “habit.” I would be posting my “monthly book reports” starting this month. Well, I’ve been having blocks lately and for such a long time been suffering from that with suicidal frustration, so this might help me sort that shit out.

Since I’ve read books written in Filipino, I also attempted at writing reviews in the same language. Not even once have I ever done that; I immediately regret that decision but still finished it anyway. What I’ve written were like pieces coming from a dumb third-grader, quite honestly. The tagalog reviews really suck and you might find yourself having a bad laugh reading it.


Hunger by Knut Hamsun 

(4.5 stars)

“One of the most disturbing novels in existence,” they said.

Here’s a fucking classic.

Sir Dostoyevsky’s force is so strong on this one that if I read it without knowing the author (Knut Hamsun), I would have thought that this was one of Dostoyevky’s works. The writing was highly introspective and intense I was mistaking the unnamed narrator for being one of Dostoyevksy’s heroes; it’s so hard not to relate the narrator of Hunger to Raskolnikov of Crime and Punishment. And yes, that’s the reason why I gave this 4.5 stars; but other than that, this is an absolutely great novel, and to think of it, this is an autobiographical novel, which means this is coming from his real-life experience meshed int o fiction; this book is one of its own kind. It’s one of the best reads I’ve ever had that I even read the first 150 pages over again, and after finishing the whole book, I want to read it one more time, but…that would be unfair to my other books; so, maybe soon. I still have a huge pile to consume for this year.

I want to write a full-length review, but I will have to read it again for me to really pierce through this succulent and powerful stream-of-thought writing page by page; the book is just that overwhelming. It’s getting inside the mind of someone losing grip to reality because of starvation. He strives to survive being at the brink, the most extreme and hardcore, of starvation, like there was only an inch, no, a centimeter, that separates him from imminent death. He even resolved to swallowing his own spit and eating rocks, even giving up—completely submitting to his helplessness and in bed, choosing the best and most comfortable position to die; still, he would find himself barely surviving and staying barely awake from full collapse, but he keeps himself as much as possible from begging, stealing, and losing his dignity—a suicidal pride. While he was getting consumed by this hunger and as he was wandering the streets to find a way to get through the day, hoping that his articles would be accepted by the editor, this starving writer becomes aware of his whimsical, erratic, uncontrollable impulses as they surface into his consciousness, and he admitted how helpless he is to these impulses and he doesn’t understand why this is happening. How he writes articles in the midst of this extreme physical and mental state, I can’t explain, let alone staying alive.

And the story revolved around that maze of hunger, along with his continuous misfortunes that keep him from getting through the condition he’s in. Whatever keeps him from salvation, only God and the unnamed narrator knows. Well, perhaps, both of them don’t. Disturbing and absurd, it is, but nonetheless, it’s so full of life, full of the absurd and the mysterious.

• Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx 

(3 stars)


It came out not what as I expected. I thought this is going to be an erotic piece of bromancing that will burn my eyes—that is the reason why I read this in the first place: to test myself. Ha-ha! But no….this is about two human beings falling in love in a world which refuses and doesn’t allow them to call it so…

Little Birds by Anais Nin 

(4 stars)

It was just last year that I read more about Anais Nin, and it was by then that I learned about her relationship with Henry Miller (one of my most favorite writers), which had an obvious impact to both their writings. Erotic, passionate, deeply intellectual, soul-stirring, so human—this was how the way the write. So during the last quarter of previous year, I had bought her books, and reading them makes me understand further Henry Miller’s works. Also, I must say that for me, she is, by far, the best female writer, and she reminds me of someone I knew, who was also a writer, who was also very beautiful, intelligent, and free-spirited, a woman of taste, wits, and talent. Their writing style even had similarities to the point that I thought of her as Anais’s reincarnate.

So Little Birds is a collection of Nin’s pieces of erotic literature, her short stories. The writing clearly showed why she is ahead of her time, making her one of the leading figures of feminism. And this book is so intense to the point that it could make me unzip…and more. Superbly erotic, so I gave this book 4 stars, and I’ll be reading more of her works this year. I see what I did there.

• Alamat ng Gubat by Bob Ong

(4 stars)


Sa di malamang dahilan, sa pagsimula ngayong taon ay nagpasya akong magbasa ng nga mga libro ni Bob Ong. So salamat sa aking katrabaho na nagbigay ng isang libro (Stainless Longganisa) at napahiram nito (Alamat ng Gubat). Ito nga ang pangalawang librong na nabasa ko galing sa kanya. Natapos ko lang ito kagabi sa loob ng isang oras kasi di naman gaano kahabaan ang libro, kaya nga binasa ko nalang, at kagabi, bigla ko lang nabatid ang pakiramdam na magsulat na book review na tagalog, kasi tagalog rin naman ang nirerebyo kong libro, diba?

Sa aking palagay, itong Alamat ng Gubat ay isang nakapasayang kwento na tiyak na ikasasaya rin ng ibang bumabasa, yun lang ang masasabi ko sa inyo na hindi pa nakabasa nito. Sa nagbabasa nitong rebyo na ito, gusto ko lang sabihin na hindi ako ang klasing tao nga pumapasok sa Filipino subjects. Kaya wag kayong mabibigla sa baluktot at adik kong tagalong. Di ko rin nga matandaan ko, o di ko alam ko ano ang natutunan ko pag college. Sa di malaman ring dahilan, ako ay nakapasa. Baka meron talagang Diyos. Hayaan nyo, magsasanay ako ng husto.

Siyeht! Tang-inang librong to. Nakapalakas talaga ng imahinasyon ng nagsulat—parang adik, adik sa tsinelas, o mikmik. Isang modern-day fable na tiyak na ikasisira ng iyong tiyan sa kakatawa. Ito ay isang libro na ang laman lang ay puro kalokohan na nag simula sa paghahanap ni Tong (isang talangka) sa puso ng saging para magamot ang kaniyang amang-hari na may karamdaman: hindi na raw makalangoy, kasi nga naman, hindi naman talaga nakakalangoy ang amang-hari. Kaya pinapunta siya sa lupa para maghanap sa puso ng saging. At sa kanyang paglalakbay para sa pusong ng saging, nakilala nya ang mga iba pang hayop at insekto na talagang ikaka-gulo pa ng buhay ni Tong.

Sa kalokohang ito, may mga mensaheng ipinahayag ang manunulat sa taong-bayan, ito, masasabing kong ay isang satire. Malakas ang politiko na simbo-simbolo dito. Ang nangyayari dito sa libro ay mahahalintulad sa mga nangyayari sa ating lipunan—isang malaking kalokohan. Tsaka, tang-inang aso, natandaan ko lang ang aso na nasa libro itong na kumakain sa sarili niyang suka, at susuka muli para kainin yung sinuka niya nga galing rin sa kinain niyang suka. Pwehhh.

Ibang klasing trip rin ha? So dito ko nalang tatapusin ang wala kwentang rebyo na ito, nahihirapan na kasi ako, todong-effort na ito. Hanggang sa susunod. Promise, gagalingan ko na. Paalam.

Stainless Longganisa by Bob Ong

(3 stars)

Ito ay ang unang libro na nabasa ko na sulat ni Bob Ong na isang misteryosong manunulat na noon ay sa aking palagay ay isang intsik na nagpapalakad ng malaking negosyo. Pero biro lang iyon, obvious naman, dba.

Bago akong nmagsimulang basahin ’to, nagdadalawang o nagtatatlong isip ako kung matatapos ko. Di pa kasi ako nakakatapos nga libro sinulat sa wikang Filipino, nakakahiya ngang aminin, pero yon ang katotohanan. Kaya pagkatapos kong basahin to, ako ay bumili ng beer para magsaya. Pero biro lang yon, lagi naman akong umiinom ng beer.

Sa lahat ng librong naisulat ni Bob Ong, ito raw ang pinaka autobiographical. Sa loob ng librong to ay inilahad niya ang mga misteryoso at mala-teleseryeng pangyayari sa buhay niya, sa paglalakad niya sa daang lubak-lubak, sa daang puro kahirapan, sakit sa puso, nangangalam na sikmura, buti nalang may sky flakes, at sermon lang ng magulang ang abot—ang dakilang daan patungo para maging manunulat ay isa sa mga pinakamahirap sa bansang ito, at kung masyado kang magaling, baka ipabaril ka pa sa Luneta. Natuklasan ku rin dito kung gaano kahirap maging isang manunulat sa bansa tulad ng Pilipinas, na halos walang alam malawak na mundo ng literature, puno nalang showbiz. Masakit mang sabihin, pero iyon ang problema. Marami namang magagaling na manunulat dito ang mga malikhaing tao, kaso, walang sumusuporta. Kasi ano nga naman ang kikita-in nila? Makalas nga naman ang supply, pero konti lang ang demand ng mga mambabasa. Pero di dapat mawalan nga pag-asa. Kasi, papaano nalang?

Pangarap ko ring maging isang manunulat. Sa pagbasa ko nito ay lalo pa akong naging inspirado, eh sa katotohanan, di ako sigurado dun. Pero susubukan ko lang ang best ko. Di mo alam, bigla akong manalo sa lotto, ililibre ko pa kayo. Ha-ha!  Pero Bob Ong, kung sino ka man, maraming salamat sa pagsulat mo sa librong ito! Wala makapipigil sa tumatae nating bolpen! Maghimagsik tayo gamit ang papel at bolpen! Bakbakan na! Powerspoonz in the house!

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

(5 stars)


Before I wrote this review, I read the poem again. And just when I neared the end, “a complex secretomotor phenomenon characterized by the shedding of some liquid from the lacrimal apparatus, without any irritation of the ocular structures” happened. Had I read it alone at home, I think I’d be bawling. No matter how many times I read it, the poem is still poignant as ever. If this poem doesn’t move you, I have bad news for you.

The Tree reminded of me my mother and how much she loved me. The selfless love in which she showered upon me ever since the day I was born made me who I am right now. That love shaped me into the person writing this. If there’s one person who taught me so much on how to love—it is my mother. I have hurt her countless times, but she still loved me despite of that. I even feel like I don’t deserve such kind of love, but she still love me anyway. Self-sacrifice. And for that, I am so thankful. If only all mothers in the world love in this kind of way.

Posted in Book Reviews, Photographic Stillness, The Notes from the Undergrad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment



If you let it,


will suck you

into a hypnotic trance.


You would be brought

to a dimension

where words are in full bloom:

words become people,

things, creatures,

moments, memories.


A structured

yet free-flowing


A phantasmagoria.


This mysterious vortex

transports you into the world

that exists

in the author’s mind,

a world

where the infallible laws of logic,

space-time continuum

no longer apply…


You are even communicating

with someone who’s dead

centuries ago.

AgfaPhotoYou pass through wormholes:

the passages to the past and to the future,

to the unknown, to the irrational,

to the realm of dreams and the landscape of nightmares,

to the mesh

of euphoria and melancholia,


hysteria and schizophrenia…

AgfaPhotoand yet,

even to the point

of a complete inertia…


This is

the power of words.


All these

are taking place

without even

moving a spot.

Posted in Photographic Stillness, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Notes from the Undergrad (Gluttony for Literature)

It’s been a wonder to some how my gluttony for literature began—me included. People who knew me way back would find it hard to believe, even surreal. As to my parents, this consuming voraciousness seem to worry and disturb them. The moment when this madness made itself obvious, my parents warned me regarding this escalating obsession. My father would keep on telling me, reiterating with growing emphasis which leads to my utter, gnawing annoyance, that these books will rob me off of my sanity and that I am really going crazy this time; well, perhaps, let’s just say he’s right. This is an instance which reminds of the times long ago when my father meddled with the music I listen to, calling me “names,” insulting ones, which got me furious to the point of tears and smashing all my CDs into bits in front of him and throwing them away out of the house. I understand I listen to music that can make someone’s ear bleed, but it’s not just right to call your son “fucking names.” And the same thing happened with my writing; he even meddled with that. He thinks I’m crazy. He’s just against these things that I love—God knows why.

Well, that was how it’s like during the advent of this promising madness. When I got a job as a content writer, when I was having some of my psychophilosophical crap essays published, when my was name mentioned in the newspapers, and then right now, working as a copy editor, he didn’t bother me much anymore and recognized his son. Of course, he didn’t expect it—who would expect something from this “delinquent?” And that was also the time when he told me it was my uncle who named me Nicolo, who was also a voracious reader. And to my surprise, my uncle got that name from a novel by Robert Ludlum. I just remember that time when my uncle was drunk, he almost “stole” a book of mine, but he returned it when I told him it is my classmate’s—and we were already in the streets.

My father told me that they all (his brothers) read a lot too. Then without him telling me, I just realized that he’s afraid of my potential for rebellion because he was once in my place and knew it by blood, and he doesn’t want me to end up in the same place like him; he was just protecting me. And looking at the zhits I did in the past, it’s no wonder why he’s so alarmed. But it’s not his fault. It runs in our blood. I will finish what he started.

So going back, the first novel I’ve read was Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut. THIS started from there. I never knew what satire was until I read it. This exposure had further developed my knack for dark or gallows humor, irony, the absurd, the deep, sick, and weird shit. That was way back 2008; a “good” friend of mine had me read it. I am forever thankful to that sick genius for introducing me to the world of books. I never fully understood why he does such things before (poetry reading and his madness for books, I mean he talks about those stuff, but I don’t really know what he means). He told me about Dostoyevksy (Notes from the Underground), Miller (Tropic of Cancer), and Palahniuk (Fight Club), which in later years, I found my way into them. All of them had become my favorites.

As I read and read and read to no end, I started discovering and rediscovering parts of myself. And I met new friends, both living and dead. The first time I read Dostoyevsky, which is my most favorite author, whose works made so much impact to my life, I was shocked with his line of thinking because …it reflects mine. It was a voice talking to me from the depths of the grave from centuries ago, telling me that there were a lot of souls as troubled as I am, lots of us.


“Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.”

― J.D. SalingerThe Catcher in the Rye

And that inspired me to write more to let “those” people know that they aren’t alone, and to read more to know that I am not alone…


I don’t know how to end this, so I’ll just end it with a “laugh.”

before it was cool

best froemd execution dostosadasd dosto222 dosto dosto 3333 hahah dosto like a boos natnattumblr_mc0shwokPq1qjbaupo1_500Ha-ha!

Posted in The Notes from the Undergrad | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Unacceptable Darkness

On 2013

Last year, every day was a struggle to get out from my own catastrophic frame of thinking—the compulsion of self-destructive, murderous, and suicidal thoughts, and the suppression of these led to an erratic paralysis that dissociated me from reality. I felt my being shook from beneath its foundation. My guts turned inside out. My spirit split wide-open. I was trapped inside a labyrinth that had no walls, but with no light entering.

I was living inside my head, shrouded with a darkness so cold, so perfect, so impregnable that it was untouchable by light. I was finding my way out of this black illusion as I groped the air of nothingness for pieces of truth, but there was nothing. There was nothing I can reach out for but the intangible. The truth I was looking for couldn’t be held by hands, maybe it was even nonexistent. But the truth was just that…it is…darknessan unacceptable darkness.

Posted in Essays, The Notes from the Undergrad | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments