Sunday, April 30, 2006


i've gotten tagged.

wla namang nasty chain letter consequence pero alang-alang sau iris, here goes:

Four jobs you have had in your life:
1. pinchitter reporter
2. and
3. nothing
4. else

Four movies you would watch over and over:
1. Amelie
2. Memento
3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
4.Ghost in the Shell

Four places you have lived in:
1. Cambridge, Massachussets
2. Diliman
3. Albany, California
4. Santa Mesa Heights

Four TV shows you love to watch:

1. Mars
2. Laguna Beach (my extremely guilty pleasure)
3. GMA, National Geographic and Discovery documentaries
4. Stand up comedians on comedy central presents

Four places you have been on vacation:

1. Palawan
2. Dumaguete
3. Bohol
4. Ilocos Norte

Four websites I visit daily:er, nothing daily but in most frequent order:
3. this one

Four of my favorite foods:
1. salmon
2. strawberries
3. scallops
4. dark chocolate (ran out of s foods, hehe)

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. at the beach
2. europe
3. new york
4. in a rally

Seven friends who I have tagged that I think will respond
1. kate
2. almi
3. jaycee
4. cy
5. aloy
6. hannah
7. melodie

Chronicles of Death Foretold*

I've seen dead people.

Blood congeals beneath them, slowly spreading, as if someone had merely spilled a can of red paint beneath a facedown body.

It takes a few hours before the smell begins to emanate; the stink seeps into every last pore, as if to announce, ladies and gentlemen, this body now has no core.

Day by day, the death pictures pile up.

The latest that I have seen -- the siblings gunned down in Mindoro Oriental.

They found her still tied to a post, head bowed in agony, the front of her white t-shirt red with blood. Him, only a few meters away, facedown on a bamboo floor amidst the disarray of strewn clothes, toppled cans, a ransacked house.

"The most effective way to wage war is to kidnap the relatives of your enemies," said a general to me today after lunch.

Everyone has a weakness. Single people have mothers, boyfriends, significant others. No one is invulnerable.

I remember, we spent three hours in an opinion class arguing about the ethics of showing grisly pictures. Soon, my professor said, the public would be so accustomed to them that they would become inured to the depravity, the indignity, the wrongness of a violent death.

Why is it that I still cringe at 8' o clock am sunday morning, when a man's voice cheerily announces over the radio that a newborn baby's head was severed severed! by an inept physician as s/he came out of his/her mother's womb?

No gender, name, age, life.

Just a severed head.

*with apologies to Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Thursday, April 06, 2006

My Generation

Every time I meet old friends (and yes, there now exists such a category), I am reminded of how far I have come -- or regressed; it depends from which point of view you look at it.

One year after I graduated,

Kate, Cy and Julie are at the Inquirer

Almi's in MalacaƱang

Lmae's set to enter Ateneo in May

Caloy's due to graduate and due to submit a series of poems

Kat will become the new Assoc Ed

Yani cannot be reached.

A year after graduation and we have scattered like seed. A few more years and we'll be separated by countries, continents, maybe even planets.

and God forbid, death.

Death seems very close these days, what with the news of Erika, struck down in Bicol.

I remember her in highschool, a chubby brown-haired girl striding down the corridor.

The day Vencer stood on a white monobloc chair and beat the air with his fist, surrounded by a gaggle of eager, upturned faces; her brother arrived with a friend to help highschool students flee the confines of a repressive school to attend a rally.

That year, I wrote that activism meant each of us doing what s/he could. (I meant it in the most pluralist sense possible). Something that I'm now heartily ashamed of.

Jose "Jam" Tatco, the SK Federation NCR president, still thinks this way.

I could barely control my revulsion as I interviewed him, stomach straining his blue Lacoste shirt, his head sinking straight into his collar, seemingly without the aid of a neck.

He had the temerity to tell me that each Filipino should just do what he could, instead of protesting all the time.

I wanted to stick my mike down his throat. Except that he'd probably eat it.

"So young and so corrupt." said Arsenio Lacson of Ernesto Maceda, more than forty years ago.

Now they say that most people above the age of 15 are corrupt, and the only way to cleanse the system is to hope that the next generation has more sense.

Before I interviewed Jam, I was sent to a waiting shed next to Quezon City Hall to cover a signature campaign.

There I met Carl of KMP, as usual.

We see each other at least twice a month, during rallies, signature campaigns, press conferences, and parangals. As media, and interviewee.

They estimate that the youth (those below 35) make up about 65 percent of registered voters.

We are in the thick of things; in the city, in the countryside. On both sides. Against each other.

For better or worse, the fate of the country lies in our hands.