Limang Minuto

Ang lamig ng hangin. Sarap matulog. Gustuhin ko man, hindi na pwede. May pasok e. Kelangan ko nang bumangon sa kama. Ang hirap. Feeling ko may trangkaso ako kahit wala naman. Actually 'di ko alam kung anong oras na. Matignan nga. 8:13 na sabi ng relo ko. Medyo late na nga. 11:30 klase ko, so dapat mga 9:30 paalis na 'ko para makapaglunch pa 'ko sa canteen.

Sige na nga, babangon na 'ko. Pero 8:13 pa la– ay 8:14 na pala. 8:14 pa lang. Pwede pa, mga 5 minutes pa tapos babangon na talaga ako para mag-breakfast. Sana makatulog pa 'ko kahit saglit lang. Limang minutong tulog na mahimbing lang OK na. Ayan. Ahh ang sarap humilata dito sa kama ko. Malamig pa yung hangin. Pinatay ko na yung electric fan ko kaninang alas-sais nung umihi ako. Malamig na e.

Ano ba yan. Ang daming tumatakbo sa isip ko. Bakit ba iniisip ko pa kasi 'tong mga 'to e. Eh kung natutulog na lang ako, mas may patutunguhan pa 'tong paghiga ko imbes na bumangon. Kaya nga nandito pa 'ko at wala sa kusina, para matulog. Chumill lang. 8:15 na't wala pa ring progress ang pagtulog kong muli. Ayaw talaga. Alanganin katawan ko. Hindi makabangon, hindi rin naman makatulog. Tamad ba talaga ako?

May reporting pa mamaya sa 1 o'clock class ko. Ready naman ako. Well, hindi masyado, pero hindi rin naman totally blangko utak ko. Ayoko lang talaga ng topic namin. Hello naman, history ng Northern Asia? Wala akong kilalang interesado sa history nun. Russia at Mongolia lang yun. Ang Russia, malamig. Ang Mongolia, may Genghis Khan. Pati Mogolian Barbecue. Pati lapis. Nag-aalala na nga ako sa report, nag-aalala pa 'ko sa pagtulog ko. 8:16 na. Sige, sige. One minute of silence….

…8:17. Nasabi ko pa yung 8:17 so ibig sabihin hindi pa rin ako tulog. Inaantok pa 'ko e. Wala pa 'kong energyng tumayo. Siguro dahil sa pumapasok na araw nasisilaw ako. Tsk. Sige na nga, hindi na lang ako matutulog. Pero tatapusin ko yung 5 minutes na binigay ko sa sarili ko.

8:18 na. 1..2…3…4…5… tuloy-tuloy lang ang second hand. Naalala ko tuloy si Jessica. Ang unang babaeng minahal ko. At minamahal pa rin. Kahit na anong habol ko sa kanya, ayaw talaga niyang tumigil para sa 'kin. Kahit anong isulat ko sa mga love letter, kahit anong klaseng bulaklak ibigay ko, kahit anong tsokolate ibigay ko, ayaw talagang tumigil. Tuloy-tuloy lang sa takbo. Parang second hand lang ng relo….

Medyo…inaantok ako. Malapit nang…mag…8:19. Malapi….

Nakatulog rin ako sa wakas. Ah, kay sarap. Kahit na isang minuto lang yun, grabe ang himbing. Energized na 'kong pumasok. Game na! Handa na' kong harapin ang bwiset na trapiko ng EDSA! 8:19 n—

Puuuuuuu-! 10:00 na! Alas-diyes na babangon pa lang ako! Maliligo pa, magbibihis, kakain ng brunch, maglalakad sa sakayan. Malelate ako sa 11:30 class ko! Last meeting na kasi namin at perfect attendance pa 'ko. May dagdag daw na 0.25 sa grade ang perfect attendance e.Tapos male-late ako? Kung kelang last meeting na? No way, highway!

Dali-dali akong naligo. Sa sobrang pagmamadali, muntikan pa 'kong madulas sa banyo. Kinuha ko lang sa cabinet ko kung anumang nasa ibabaw. Wala nang pili-pili. Mahuhuli na 'ko, 'no. Pagdating ko sa baba, nakahanda na ang pang-almusal ko. "Kain na, anak," sabi ni Mommy. Ang bilis kong sumubo. At hindi ko na rin nginunguya masyado. Konting nguya lang tapos lunok na. Nakikita ko si Mommy sa sulok ng eyes ko. Meron siya noong pagtataka-look. Iniisip niya siguro bakit ako nagmamadali. Nakalimutan niya sigurong may pasok ako ng 11:30.

Ayan, ubos na ang pagkain. Nakapagsipilyo na rin ako. Pangit pa ata pagkakasipilyo ko. Parang may tinga pa 'kong nararamdaman e. Pero 'di bale. Wala nang makakapansin niyan. Hindi naman nila iinspeksyunin buong bibig ko e.

Pagbaba ko ng hagdan, dumeretso na 'ko sa pintuan. Palabas na 'ko nang tawagin ako ni mommy. "Anak, may nakakalimutan ka ata," wika niya.

Ay, oo nga. Ako namang si tanga, aalis ng bahay walang dalang pera. "Onga pala, 'my. Pamasahe ko," sabi ko kay Mommy.

"O, eto," iniabot ni Mommy sa 'kin yung 200 pesos kong baon.

"Salamat, 'my!" sagot ko, sabay kiss sa pisngi niya.

"Baon mo yan para sa Monday. Sabado ngayon. Walang klase," sumbat niya.

Kaya naman pala walang gumigising sa ‘kin. Kaya naman pala wala sa mood yung katawan kong pumasok, o kahit man lang bumangon. Kaya pala parang walang pakialam si Mommy sa pagmamadali ko.

Sabado kasi. Walang pasok.

The Budget Cut seen from a “Conyo” Kid’s Eyes

I arrived in UP just in time for my first class. As I was walking towards the Media Center, I hear someone speaking into a microphone, with a speaker blasting what he was saying. It was the College of Mass Communication student council chairperson Norman speaking about UP's terrible budget. He was also inviting everyone to join the march to Mendiola.

I didn't mind him. As I walked on, I saw two of the newest UP Journalism Club members, Telle and Beata. I didn't really know why they were there.

So I went to my room and put my bag down, then went to the restroom. When I came back, Ma'am Sari was already there, but surprisingly, she had nothing with her. Nothing except her baby. I enetered and she said we wouldn't meet that day. Reports will be moved to next week. She postponed classes for one reason: she wanted us, she encouraged us to join the rally. It was the last day of the 3-day strike, anyways.

I exited the classroom, still mulling whether I'd join the march. Rallying  isn't really my thing. I don't usually join them, whether it is just in-campus or outside. Especially those outside. I stay in campus to do what a student does: study, go to class, strive for good grades, do my duties to my organization. Rallying is last priority.

Some of my friends were there where Norman was speaking. I decided to join them. I also so Beata and Telle. They were going to join. They were freshmen yet they were going to join this cause. My orgmates were there. I felt pushed. I decided to join the march for greater education budget.

When the march started, the mob first went around CMC, urging classes to join the march. Days before, I remember being the one asked to join them. Now I was part of the group asking people to take part.

We marched and marched until we reached Palma Hall, or AS, to converge with other groups. I don't know how many thousands were present, but the sheer number of people raised my spirits. I have to be part of this.

I stayed with the two freshmen girls since my closest friends weren't present. We were positioned near the front, and whenever I looked back, it was just astonishing how many students took part in the rally. I don't know if it exceeded last year's number of 3,000-strong, but from my vantage point, it seemed like it did.

I told Telle and Beata that I wouldn't be staying for long. I told them I'd leave when the mob reaches the AS. Didn't push through. I told them I'd stay only until University Ave. Nope. Until Commonwealth. Nope. My leaving got postponed and postponed, from Quezon Ave. to EDSA to footbridge after footbridge along Quezon Ave (on the other side of EDSA). "Yes naman, Enzo, nandito ka pa rin!!" they said, referring to my repeated postponement of going back to CMC.

How can I leave? The Isko in me got awakened by the chants. "Iskolar ng Bayan! Ngayon ay lumalaban!" How can I leave when this is my first protest outside of UP? How can I leave when there are two freshies beside me more showing more concern about this than I am when I am a UP student just like them? How can I leave when there is a looming 800-million-peso budget cut straight ahead?

I went back to UP when the mob reached Quezon Ave. corner West Ave. just as it started drizzling. I needed to talk to my groupmate regarding the paper we would submit. I went back to class, yes, but during that whole time I was in class, I regret not continuing on to Mendiola. Nabitin talaga ako.

I wrote this in English to show who I am. I come from a well-off family which can pay for my tuition fee. I came from a school notoriously known for its being a school of conyo kids, De La Salle Zobel. I am a Bracket A student who pays 1,500 pesos per unit. I can be branded as burgis, conyo, and elitista. 

But all of these don't matter. These are just labels. I am affected by the budget cut as much as that Bracket D student. I am afffected by the budget cut as much as that professor emeritus is. I am affected by the budget cut as much as that janitor who cleans up the colleges. I am affected by the budget cut just as much as those who have a higher social status than I have, just as much as those who are more grade-conscious than I am.

I may not have walked all the way to Mendiola, but walking halfway is better than not walking at all. I may not have participated in the strike during the first 2 days, but joining the culminating activity is better than not participating at all.

My professor once told me, "OK lang sumali kayo sa mga walkout walkout at rally rally na yan, basta siguraduhin niyong alam niyo ang ipinaglalaban niyo." 

The budget cut affects me, and I will not allow that to happen. Budget cut rally, 'til we meet again next year.

The Father and The Cake

I'm the type of person who gets irritated easily when commuting, especially in the MRT, when it can get really packed and cramped. More often than not, I'd be wearing a frown on my face during these tight instances. It really gets annoying when people bump into me with their bags, or stand so close to me that I could feel their sweat from under their shirt.

One day I was on my way home. The MRT was almost full. When it reached the Cubao station, it immediately became full, almost overflowing. The following station, Santolan, a man came in bringing a big Goldilocks box and stood near the doors for lack of other options. I found it really annoying that he will bring such a big box to such a tight space. I started thinking to myself, "Ano ba naman. Ang sikip-sikip magdadala ng ganyang kahon." I saw him having a hard time with it as people enter and exit the train, so I thought, "Ayan kasi, magdadala dala ng ganyang kahon. E di nahirapan ka."

I tend to notice and get annoyed at little things like this. And I really was annoyed with this guy. Because, really, if I had a box that big, I wouldn't ride the MRT.

What I saw next, though, I wasn't ready for.

When passengers alighted at the Guadalupe station, a seat became available, and the man wisely went for the seat (although, as expected, he had a tough time going to the seat). The man sat down. I saw the top of the box. There was a candle that says "1" on it. It was a birthday cake for the first birthday of his child.

The moment I saw this, I felt so ashamed of myself. He wasn't a dumb commuter. He was a loving father. He probably took a part of his paycheck to buy the cake, since I think that was a payday. Based on looks, he doesn't make a whole lot. He probably was a factory worker earning just a little over minimum wage.

But despite this, he still found a way to buy something for his child's first birthday, a cake.

After all this, all the annoyance I was feeling was replaced by a heartwarming feeling. I looked at the man and I couldn't help but smile. He was doing a fatherly gesture for his child.

After this realization, I just prayed for him. I prayed to God to bless the man as he makes his way home to his child, to protect him from harm or any accident. And I also thanked the Lord for giving that child a wonderful blessing in the form of his/her father.

Konduktor na Galit

Matagal-tagal ko na ring hindi nasusulatan itong Livejournal ko.

Kanina, noong papunta akong SM North Edsa from UP with my UPJC orgmates, traffic sa North Ave. as usual. Sa kanan ng jeep na sinasakyan namin, may mga motorsiklong pilit na sumisingit para lang makauna. Sumisingit siya kahit alam naman ng lahat na wala talaga siyang karapatang sumingit dun. At isa pa, wala rin naman siyang masisingitan.

Biglang narinig naming sumigaw si Kuya Konduktor, "Kayong mga motor kayo singit kayo ng singit e! Kaya namamatay mga katulad niyo e!" Hindi yun yung eksaktong sinabi ni Kuya Konduktor, pero something to that effect. Natuwa ako sa kanya.

Una sa lahat, tama siya. Dahil sa mga ganyang moves ng mga motorcycle cockroaches sa kalye kaya sila naaaksidente. At kapag naaksidente naman sila, kasalanan pa noong nakabangga sa kanya. In other words, yung nasa tamang lugar na sasakyan na bumangga sa motorsiklong wala sa lugar, siya pa yung may kasalanan. Maling mali ito.

Pangalawa, hindi dahil kayang makasingit ng motorsiklo sa masisikip na lugar ay dapat na silang sumingit. Katumbas 'yan ng pagtatae sa kalye dahil kaya ng isang tao, kahit na hindi ito tama.

Tama si Kuya Konduktor sa mga sinabi niya kay Motorcycle Cockroach.

So noong bababa na sa Trinoma yung ibang JCers, nagpapaalamanan na kami, nag-gugoodbye-goodbye. Biglang humirit na naman si Kuya Konduktor, "Tama na yang pagba-babay niyo. Para namang di na kayo magkikita Magkikita pa naman kayo bukas e!"

Dun siya mali. Eh pa'no kung hindi na pala kami magkita-kita?

Back By Popular Demand?

It is as if the eulogy I gave my grandfather awakened a sleeping creature inside of me.

After writing it, speaking in front of hundreds of guests, and garnering praises from my family, it's like I gained back the confidence and the inspiration I have in writing. Since that faithful Sunday, I've written two (this being the third), uh, I don't really know what to call them. Essays? No, too informal. Blog entries? No, only two (including this) were blog entries.

Ramblings? Perfect.

I don't seem to be making sense right now. But does that really matter? Writing is writing is writing. As long as I express myself the way I want to, I'm in good hands. Besides, I'm not really writing for you the reader. I'm writing for myself. I'm only aiming to please myself.

I don't know who to credit for the awakening of this creature: Papa Fred? My relatives? God? Myself? I can't really pinpoint.

And for this, I'd just like to thank, the great Papa Fred, my relatives, myself, and most especially God. All of you have revitalized and strengthened my interest and eagerness to write.

Making A Way

I was thinking of how I would go about things. September 25, the last Sunday of the month, the Final Rites of UP Journalism Club was scheduled. Also, a caring circle was on tap. They both were events I can't miss because I've been looking forward to them since they were first announced without a date.

Then one good news came: the UAAP Cheerdance Competition was moved to, instead of September 18, September 17. As a reactionary move, the FR was also moved, this time to the 18th. Amazing!

Now, instead of having to choose one or the other, I can go to both.

I remember praying for these things to happen, because it is in little things like this that I feel God's presence. Because it is little things like this that we experience more often in life.

Last summer, I went to 99.5 RT's booth in Paragon Plaza along EDSA. Before entering, for security reasons, my ID was left at the lobby. After around four to five hours staying there, I already had to go home. I dashed straight for the MRT because I was really hungry already. I was already close to my destination when suddenly, I felt in my pocket that my ID was still in Paragon. Naturally, I went back.

To make things worse, it was enrollment the following day and I need my ID.

After that whole fiasco, I was reflecting on it and immediately thanked God. Before leaving, I was deciding whether to ride the bus straight home or ride the MRT to Ayala, then ride the bus from there. Had I chosen to go the bus-all-the-way route, I would've not been able to go back easily. Plus, I had to pay the fare from Boni to Alabang.

But I chose to ride the train. God made things work for my good. The decision to ride the MRT made me remember to check my pocket and see that my ID was still in Paragon. If I rode the bus, I would've remembered probably only when I got home.

Now I've got to decide whether to watch the Zobel-Ateneo game on Saturday or to go to the Youth Prayer Meeting. Maybe God has another trick up His sleeve for me this weekend.

Tribute to Papa Fred

Here's the little speech I gave during my Papa's final day, right before the cremation ceremonies.

In a 5 year span from 2000 to 2005, I lost 2 grandparents: Papa Ernie in 2000, and Mama Mory in 2005, both my mother’s parents. But age wasn’t on my side yet. Losing my grandfather, I was 8, and losing my grandmother, I was 12, still too young, too naïve, too carefree to understand my surroundings.

Those losses, though, never felt so heavy. They didn’t carry much weight then when they came around. This recent subtraction to my family, however, hit me more than anything I’ve experienced.

Papa Fred and I never had a vocal relationship. Whenever we’re together, one can probably count the words we exchanged using the fingers in both hands and feet. It is during these instances where I see the bond between us, the common dominant trait we have: quietness.

I remember one afternoon in June when I went to their house. I was sitting with Mama and Papa outside the house near the garage area. We were chatting just like we always do when I am there: I speak very little, Papa speaks very little, and Mama dominates the conversation. Everything was normal. Suddenly, the phone rang, and for a good 3 minutes, Mama was on the phone. During those 3 minutes, I never said a word to Papa, not because I didn’t want to talk to him; I just didn’t have anything to say to him. And conversely, he didn’t say anything to me, either. During that whole session with them, I only asked Papa one question: “Kumusta ka na, ‘Pa?” to which he said, “OK lang naman.”

This was how our relationship ran through the years: dominated by silence.

But in no way did I ever feel that he didn’t love me. Quite the opposite actually.

It was in this way, in being the soft-spoken person he is, that he became the best example to me and Apa. He became a passive role model.  He taught me subtly that I don’t need to be heard and seen all the time to make an impact. There is beauty in simplicity, and in this case, he has taught me that much can be said without really saying anything.

The gentleness Papa showed the world is one of a kind, to me and to my family. In my 19 years of existence, not once did I see or hear him angry at anyone. I never even sensed any negativity with him. He always wore this cool demeanor which seems to be impenetrable, that no matter what one did to him, no matter how terrible it was, Papa will never break down and get mad.

It was unmatched patience, the kind of patience I wish I had.

One of his favorite pastimes was watching boxing. Whoever was on, as Awo said, he would watch, whether it was a superstar like Floyd Mayweather, or a no-namer from Mexico. And for this, I would dare compare him to a boxing great. Papa’s character is something to behold. A man with that kind of patience and calmness does not come around every day. He is just like boxing’s Manny Pacquiao. Papa is the hero, the champion of the family: a humble man with a great character. And just like Manny, it would take another lifetime before someone can emulate Papa.

Papa Fred was a very peaceful man who met a very peaceful end. I always think that maybe Heaven just needed a handyman, and no one else is better suited for the job than Papa. He has finally arrived right where he truly belongs: with the Grandest Father of all, our almighty God.

Papa, you will surely be missed. You may be gone physically, but the memory you left will never die. Don’t worry about Mama. There are 7 of us left to take care of her, most especially me and Apa. Thank you for leaving us a blueprint of how to act, as a person, as a son, as a spouse, as a father, and as a grandfather. We love you, I love you, and your memory is still, and will always be, very much alive in our hearts.