An attempt to make sense of things in a random universe, one Friday at a time.

My Photo
Location: Philippines

Leaving my footsteps for you to find and follow, my love.

27 March 2007

My father, the farmer

You remember how the house almost shook when he walked. You remember flipping through his passport before he left and noticing that it said he was five feet eight inches tall, and back then, your last thought was that he must be the tallest father in the world. But now you know he isn’t. He is, after all, not taller than most men. You yourself have been with much taller men, and you know this early that there will be other taller, darker, more powerful men. But still, even when away from him, you feel a certain warmth wash over you. It’s as if your father’s gentle presence is slowly forming over your immediate world, and it is now crossing the mileage of the years, creating a particular irrelevance of time. You feel your father thinking of you at this very moment, wishing away the last moments of your separation. And then it’s as if he is already the sky over you, hovering over you, covering you with sunlight, already there where you are now, and then finally you see him before you, his face looking exactly the way you remember it, as large and as perfect as the days you spent running across the lawn while looking up to the sky with your arms outstretched, running on and on and on and laughing, knowing that you will never fall.

23 March 2007

That old mud

Thirteen months after the February 24 incident. Ten months after the 54-kilometer force march. Three commanders have led and left. Two magazine issues released. A year after beginning the book. Ten chapters written. A million more citations to embed.

In May 2006 we stood together almost ankle-deep in dense and sticky mud, up in the hills of Rizal, with only leaves and tents for shelter.

Love is in this photo, wafting all around me, and to a greater degree somewhere just to the left of me, and I did not know it yet.

Now most of the boys and those three bosses are in Mindanao, Zambales, Masbate, Abra, Cebu, the Cordilleras, and elsewhere, a different kind of mud under their boots, while I am back to my papers, that old mud from Rizal still under mine.

17 March 2007


Midnight beckons with perfect complacency, knowing it is hours away from daylight. Together we heed the call with mist in our breaths, and as you engulf me in such silvery darkness that borders on illegitimate light, I clench my teeth lest my soul fly away.

Happy anniversary, my love.

[Photo credit]

15 March 2007

I'm on Nostalgia Manila!

And there's my photograph there wearing a long floral dress and pulling the tail feathers of a fighting cock! I believe that photo was taken during the time when we were still living in the Jordana Compound in Naga City, the same compound that's the setting of the very first scene in "At Merienda."

This is so exciting! I've always enjoyed browsing Nostalgia Manila. It's a blog about all things from the seventies and eighties, which includes bell-bottoms, large collars, teased and hairsprayed hair, old Nintendo games, Voltes V, the Bagets, box-type Nissan sedans, That's Entertainment, Vilma Santos in her twenties, Metro Manila streets before the fly-overs, and so much more. It's the home of vintage Manila, and the photos are fantastic! This is the Manila of the legendary films "Manila by Night" and "Maynila Sa Mga Kuko Ng Liwanag," the Manila of a country on the brink of collapse, but not yet quite, giving everything the texture and color of a grainy, uncertain dusk. This is the Manila we will never behold again.

Indeed, Manila has come a long way. We are given a chance to relive that past, collectively, and online, through Nostalgia Manila. And I'm their featured Nostalgia Bloggista for the day!

Being a true child of the seventies -- and alternately an old fogey, a groovy mommy, and, well, a girl whose head is always somewhere in another decade -- I can still remember Hotdog, Mike Hanopol, Flordeluna, and Guy and Pip. And since my nickname is Annie, sometimes I've been called "Annie Batumbakal," although in true old-family fashion, I did ballet instead of disco when I was seven.

In the Nostalgia Manila feature I talked about Caraycayon, because I've lived there the longest, and had the most memories. But from the Jordana era I remember the strangest, most disconnected things, perhaps because I was very young. I remember having rabbits underneath the house. I remember a pair of elderly male helpers who I used to think were twins because one had a large bump on his forehead (we called him Pato) and the other one had the exact same bump, but over his clavicle (we called him Tilyo). I remember the maids throwing white sheets over their heads and pretending to be ghosts. I remember a young aunt with very long curly hair and who we thought was the monster called "Arka." I remember the women, the mahjong, the plates and the matching cutlery, my little cousins, the mornings with our mothers, and afternoons of trotting behind our fathers as they took walks around the compound checking on the roosters after siesta.

But I have forgotten a great deal, too. Mama Eden says we have lived there two years and all I could remember were certain days. I don't remember who my yaya was. I don't remember if there were parties there or crying or telephones. I don't remember the color of the sofa or the bedsheets or the bathroom tiles. I don't remember which great aunts and great uncles I saw there, and I don't remember what I dreamed of at night.

Oh, the things we remember, the things we forget. But between remembering and forgetting, there's always Nostalgia Manila.

12 March 2007

The ten thousandth

Lately I have been hard at work on the citations of some of the chapters of the book that I have been commissioned to write, and did not even have the time to think about my blog for the past couple of weeks. So it's only now that I have seen that I have just had my ten thousandth hit!

Well, actually the ten thousand one hundred and seventieth. When I started this blog, I thought only my closest friends would ever visit. Now, only a year and three months into blogging, I have racked up a substantial number of hits. I suppose many of them are people who drop by regularly to see if there's anything new here and quickly navigate to their next bookmarked page when they see I still have the same old "latest post," but still, a hit is a hit is a hit. People have actually dropped by my little corner of the world wide web and have taken a little peek at my life as it is these days.

Non-blogging tasks take up all of my waking hours and I feel that having time to blog is a privilege. So I am definitely grateful to realize that I have the added privilege of having so many readers who have made my blog a part of their lives, and those who just randomly come across these pages and feel it worth the time they spend staying.

Thank you, everyone! Happy ten thousandth to me!