Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fruits and Fish

I like fish and fruits specially when drawn by Borlongan, Manansala and Ang Kiukok. I can stare at them for hours without feeling hungry, unlike when I watch the Food Channel.
Manansala's fish, for example are so diaphonous, I could drape them on to a young barrio lass's bodice. While Borlongan's fish don't have eyes at all. Blind, they don't know the end of their journey, not unlike the eyes of the fishermfolk (not seen here) carrying them from the dank sea. For dessert, we could have Ang Kiukok's pointy watermelons. But the black seeds embedded on the orange-brown flesh of the fruit are too precious to ruin, if eaten.
Let me complete this scene by telling you how delicately I'm sipping a glass of Chianti and nibbling on fava beans slightly sauteed in butter.

Saturday, August 15, 2009




All this talk about people hot having delicadeza has gotten me into remembering my freshman year in law school when our teacher asked whether we could sue based on a person not having any such sense.

The concept of delicadeza presupposes that a society is guided by a generally accepted moral compass that points to acceptable and unacceptable behavior. The sense of delicadeza requires us to play fair and be honest in our dealings with others specially in matters or circumstances not strictly covered by law or formal rules. In answer to the question, we concluded that not having delicadeza can not be the sole basis for a civil or criminal complaint. Nonetheless, being oblivious of exercising delicadeza may have some other socially-related consequences, such as being ridiculed in public.

The practice of delicadeza is admired since it is a voluntary and conscience-driven act that moves a person to act correctly or appropriately even if it is contrary to one’s personal interest. It is, most of all, an act of spiritual honesty.

Test your delicadeza IQ with the following hypothetical circumstances:

1. In a democratic framework that strongly encourages accountability by way of checks and balances, should one practice delicadeza when one is in a position to gain advantage over others by abusing and misusing power and authority?

__Agree __No Way

2. Are we enjoined by delicadeza not to rig the results of any game with rules, whether it is a sports contest, a competition for an award or an election (specially when we are in a position to do so)?

__Agree __No Way

3 Should your sense of delicadeza prevent you from employing lies and manufacturing diversionary tactics to befuddle the issue, even as one’s hands have been caught in the proverbial cookie jar?

__Agree __No Way

3. Will you practice delicadeza by declining a position or returning an award which your recognized peers think you do not deserve?

__Agree __No Way

What your test scores say:

If you answered No Way in at least one of the questions, please check the mirror. We have our moments of weakness. There may still be time to prevent an outbreak.

If you answered No way in more than one but less than three of the questions, its time to check if you still have real friends.

If you answered No Way in all of the 4 questions, we know who you are. Just in case you haven’t noticed: Ang kakapal ng mga mukha niyo. May I suggest you get a dermabrating foot spa on your calloused faces.

Friday, June 19, 2009

First Reading

They think it's a comedy.

It's the first reading of "Isang Araw sa Karnabal" a one-act play I wrote in time for the Writers' Bloc Virgin Labfest V.

There is always discoveries in these readings. When I write the script, I often have strong ideas on how the scene is going to be played. In the reading, the playwright is often amazed that there is more to what he wrote than he thought.

It helps that I have great actors-- Skyz Labastilla and Paolo O'Hara. And a very skilled director, Chris Millado. If you come to the shows (June 27 and 30 at 8pm; June 27 and July 1 at 3pm, at the Huseng Batute Theatre) we promise to share with you an intimate story about a young and confused couple dealing with desaparecidos in their lives.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Blood Extraction Junkie


It helps that I have an HMO that covers the procedure. In days where I feel low or frustrated, or feel fat, ugly or unwanted; or I have an unexpressed rage or self-loathing—I don’t binge on fatty sisig while bathing in (as my friend, Luna Sikat, refers to as) selfpitypathos. I turn to the needle.

Before, I used to walk the black and blues away. Malate, Recto or Chinatown were my favorite destinations. But the city has become so polluted. Last time I walked, I turned—I kid you not—into a quasi-taong-grasa, in two hours. The road asphalt literally stuck on my hair, face, shirt and exposed arms. The malls don’t offer any relief, either. The Hollywood movies are bland; the sale items are stale; the food offerings starchy, oily and overpriced; and the crowds are far too noisy and restless.

So, instead of browsing the fake blue ray porno disks at Makati Cinema Square, I walk, hop and skip over to the Makati Med and get a doctor’s approval for a blood test. I am telling you, it is safer than bungee jumping.

Usually, I start thinking about the blood test on a Saturday night when the week’s frustrations weigh heavily and clear. I’m in my room thinking, “What am I doing in my room thinking? I don’t have the energy to find out where my friends are hanging out. Most often, earlier that day I baled out on an invite to play badminton.

Come Monday morning, I’m up and chirpy. I skip breakfast to continue the 12-hour fast I started at 9 p.m. the previous night. I make sure I make the early trip to avoid the parking lot glut at the hospital. Once I’m inside the hospital, I calm down. I walk briskly to the blood extraction department, settle on a chair along the narrow hallway, making sure that I don’t sit opposite the comfort room. (This is also the section where urine and stool samples are given over the counter. So please excuse my paranoia. I always imagine the whiff of piss and turd whenever the comfort room doors swing open.)

When my number is called, I stand up like I’ve been called valedictorian. I smile and acknowledge the applause from the crowd—except that it’s just in my mind. I push the door that says “Blood Extraction Patients Only”. Most of the time the room has three people sitting side by side in various stages of distress. There are times when a child will be there sitting on the lap of a concerned parent.

I wait for my turn. The medical technologist confirms my stats. I extend my arm trying not to smile too much. The flat rubber cord is tied around my right upper arm. I clench my fist. Tap, tap, tap goes the med tech sweet-talking my veins to appear. The disposable syringe is undressed from its anticeptic wrapping. A final dab of alcohol on my skin. The needle is unsheathed from the protective covering. Then my favorite part of the ritual. The prick is poised above. The instruction to take a deep breath is given. I look as the sharp point connects. The thinnest and sharpest of metals slides into my skin as smoothly as a fork tong slides into a caramel colored leche flan. A vortex of feelings rises over me.

Whereas before, I was only capable of entering into one state of sensation at a time—pleasure stored in one box, in another, pain—needle piercing skin produces a relentless barrage of information that produces all feelings, all at once.

The physical self yields to the reality of mortality and eternity. I am no longer a mere human experiencing ice cream on the tongue on a hot summer day at age 6. The needle inside my skin finding its way to into the minute cavity of the vein triggers memories and realities and in all time frames. I am young and I am old; in the past and in the future. Emotions spurt and gush like blood filling the syringe. I am pulled by the hair and kissed at the same time; I am tied and let loose; I panic and cannot breath, but I also fly and am free, no longer dependent on air. You want it to stop, but you also want them to take more blood. It is penitence and charity mixed in the same pot.

And that’s what makes it addicting.