We live in words—some beautiful, some painful, some hopeful, some gnawing, some dark, some lucid, some heavy, some light. We live in words. This one was for a certain someone. I gift words—but sometimes they don’t come out right. More than three years ago, I quoted Mary Oliver on one of the letters. To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go. *** Yes, yes. […]
Inside the tunnel-like tent, it was hot. So Nanay in her 70s chased the shade running scarce in the treeless lot at Cebu South Road Properties. She sat on a kid’s stool in the tent’s shade with her sunglasses on. The younger ones huddled at the big tent in the center of the city of temporariness and karaoked. A man announced there would be a mass later on. The altar, to my personal amusement, would be the very place where the TV and speakers were. A foreign visitor sang “Find light in the beautiful sea, I choose to be happy,” […]
November 1st and the colors it brought I greeted November with the thoughts of going home but stayed in the city instead. I welcomed November with a bottle of Tanduay Ice along the lonely, crowded Mango Street dazed from its post-October bliss with Sashi, Virhenia, and Jacklyn. We were cool for sitting and drinking in front of National Bookstore waving to the passing motorists, who smiled at our antics—our sorry attempt on pretending as prostitutes in heat.
With trash lumping by the swamp, people started to crowd around, waiting for the tide, waiting for the ferry that carried the patron—St. Vincent Ferrer. Three women remained undisturbed by the growing crowd and continued cleaning the innards of the slaughtered pig for paklay, a menu of pig’s innards and spices. A woman dropped an opened gallon attached to a rope down the well. The other two chopped the innards into chunks. Slaughtering a pig is a symbol of festivity. A pig is an archetype of lavishness, of corruption, of extremes. And barrio fiestas exactly mirror this culture, this belief. […]