Miyerkules, Oktubre 26, 2005

The Star of Bethlehem and Other Christmas Wonders (Essay Series Part 3)

Christmas decorations are always fun. Seeing the flickering and dancing light of parols and Christmas lights as I walk down the street makes me feel like a child. Seeing how the Christmas lights outline the shape of a narra tree fools me into believing that the lights are actually part of the tree. Appreciating them is fun. But putting them up is also fun, in its own unique way.

My Dad takes Christmas decorations very seriously. He would always be the one who would check out the all the Christmas decorations as we drove by the streets of San Pablo. He would comment on how nice the parol that we saw in that house and how ingenious the use of Christmas lights was made to make the image of Christ in this house. And he’s the one whose driving too as he made those comments. I don’t know why he’s like that. Maybe because it’s one of those few times where he could unwind without any excuses.

Each year, we decorate the house from head to toe, from the gate, to the windows, to the gutters of the roof. It all started in 1997, we started to outline the windows, the edges of the walls, and the roof with lights. It really showed how big the house really was. Dad was quite happy and impressed, even though it cost us more on the electric bill. But what is a few thousand per month compared to having the brightest house in the street during those cold, windy nights?

The next year, Dad raised the ante when he installed a Pampangan parol. It was this massive, multi-colored paste-work that was taller than my thirteen year old sister, who was just seven then. We hung outside a window over looking the second floor terrace. And every time it was turned on, it was an instant disco floor on the second floor sala of the house. It was especially weird when watching MTV.

Then the house got renovated in 2001. It was a lightless Christmas for Dad. So instead of putting up a bigger and better lights show, he just focused on making a bigger and better house.

After the renovations were done, back were flickering Christmas lights that outlined our now even bigger house, which is now four floors compared to previous three. We even had our two new pseudo-pillars, these pillars in front of our house that looked like marble but are actually cement pillars wrapped with wallpaper that looked like marble, covered with lights We also hung the Pampangan parol (yes, it survives until now) on the new balcony on the third floor. Then Dad, envisioning how our house would look from the horizon, stood in the open air space of our fourth floor and felt something missing.

On the first night of the first Christmas season of our newly renovated home, Dad turned on his new addition, a star of Bethlehem on top of our house. It was an outline of a five-pointed star made of Christmas lights and wires. It was held up nearly 20 feet up in the sky by a pole. More lights came down the pole. It was an awesome sight. It could be seen from all over the barangay.

Putting up all those lights is like boasting our wealth and status. But Dad was never two faced. He knew he would attract hoards of aguinaldo seekers. And he would welcome, with all smiles and warmth, those who would pass by our house come Christmas Day. He would give aguinaldo to all those who came, attracted by the star of Bethlehem.

Linggo, Oktubre 23, 2005

Sana Yun na ang Huli kong Bus Ride

Sumakay ako ng bus kasama si Mama mula San Pablo papuntang Makati. Dapat kasabay namin ang mga kapatid ko papuntang mall pero nahuli si Mama dahil meron pang nag-CS at marami pang bilbilhin ang mga kapatid ko. Sumakay kami ng bus nang mga alas tres. Kung wala lang manlilibreng ahente dahil kahapon ang birthday ni Mama, baka hindi na kami umalis.

Hindi masaya ang trip. Gumagalaw ang inuupuan ko. Kailangan kong palaging ayusin ang kutson sa puwetan ko dahil palaging sumusulong tuwing pumapara ang bus. Tapos natopak pa ang aircon. Ang init ang kalahati ang biyahe. Mabuti na lang hindi masyadong nag-angal si Mama. Nakakainis pa naman iyong magreklamo.

Sa isang maganda punto ng araw. May nahanap akong kopya ng "The Silent Cry" ni Kenzaburo Oe. Hiniram ko siya sa library pero hindi ko siya natapos kasi ang haba niya. Ayoko namang mag-extend o kung ano. Kaya nung nakita ko ang kopya nun sa Powerbooks. Binili ko agad. Mahal siya, kulang-kulang isang libo pero may sale sila kaya nakuha ko ng mga 750. Ok na rin. Maganda namang nobela.

Miyerkules, Oktubre 19, 2005

The Mitch Cerda Essay Series Part 2 at Isang Sagupaang Matindi

Mukhang todo na ang pagkaadik ko sa Rome: Total War. Nakakaenganyo kapag nanalo ka. Feel na feel ko ang pagiging heneral ng Roma. Nakakatuwa.

Babalik ulit bukas si Mae galing Maynila. May bitbit siyang mga kaibigan, dito magpapalipas ng ilang araw. Invade daw nila ang kuwarto ko, dun muna matutulog ang mga lalaki. Nakakainis pero ganyan lang talaga ang hospitality. 'Wag lang sana nilang guluhin ang aking libro.

Eto nga pala ang Part 2 ng serye ng mga sanaysay na sinulat ko para sa Non-Fic. Isa lang siyang paglalarawan. Yun lang.

Lakeside Eating

My family and I used to go to this restaurant beside Sampalok Lake. It was an open-air restaurant. It was just a roof, a floor, and a hurdle that stood on bamboo poles. It stood above the waters of the lake and we had to walk on a bamboo bridge to enter.

It was just a small place. There were only about eight tables for four people. But because it was open-air, it still felt spacious. The wind came in that cooled the place. It was especially comfortable during Christmas season.

The view of the lake was fantastic. Seeing the surface of the water move with the wind put me into a trance. The mountains and trees reflected at the water’s light green surface, giving a mix of different shades of green.

Only the fresh smell of beef mami took me out of my trance. The restaurant made the best mami in the city. The noodles were just right, it was smooth and tender inside the mouth. And the broth didn’t taste like soap, the bits of beef that floated in it gave a strong beef flavor. It was so good, every time I pass by the lake, memories of mami would come to me.

After eating, my sister and I used to look through the bamboo floor, between the gaps of the slivers, watched the small fishes in the water. We used to argue what kind of fish they were. In the end, we agreed that they were dilis.

I always left that restaurant, my stomach full mami and my eyes full of green, with that brief moment of my life that I felt was not wasted, a moment that I could go back to. A feeling that comes to me every time I go to the restaurant beside the lake.

Lunes, Oktubre 17, 2005

Linggo, Oktubre 16, 2005

Adik sa VG

Nasa San Pablo na ako ngayong mga nakalipas na araw. Nakakatuwang tumambay lang dito sa bahay. Gusto ko sanang lumabas ng kaunti at maglakad-lakad pero tinatamad pa ako. Naglalaro ako ngayon ng Rome: Total War. Ang saya. Pero dapat ay tinatapos ko ang aking mga kuwento. Naiinis ako sa sarili ko. Kaya ayokong maadik sa videogame. Sa isang banda, naadik naman si Mae, kapatid ko, sa videogame. Warcraft III, yung Defense of the Ancients. Kinukulit ako kung paano magkaroon noon dito sa PC sa bahay. Kaya bumili ng kopya ng Warcraft III para makapaglaro siya habang sembreak. Hay, teknolohiya talaga.

Biyernes, Oktubre 14, 2005

The Mitch Cerda Essay Series Part 1

Ipo-post ko ngayon ang mga sanaysay na sinulat ko para sa Non-Fic. Lakas ng apog ko, ano? Alam ko namang hindi ito yung tipong mapa-publish sa kung saan. Hindi naman ito mga obra maestra kaya okey lang i-share. Nakakatuwa lang sila kaya eto na, ang unang sanaysay. Pagpasensiyahan nyo na rin ang Ingles. Ganyan lang talaga.

Welcome to Lake City

I am from the City of Seven Lakes, San Pablo City. Named after our patron saint, Saint Paul the First Hermit, San Pablo is a city of transits. Unlike our patron, San Pablo isn’t found in am unreachable and secluded part of the country. On the contrary, San Pablo is a trade city. It is a center point where goods and people pass by to their destinations.

The city is an important route in commerce and travel. Hundreds of buses pass through the city to reach other towns and cities in Metro Manila, Southern Tagalog and Bicol Regions. Many trucks filled with produce, like mango, pineapple, and coconuts Bicol, Quezon, and Batangas, stop over at the many carinderias and sari-sari stores at the side of the road.

But few actually stop by the city. Once, my friend and I commuted from Metro Manila to San Pablo. But no bus actually stops at San Pablo. We had to take the bus that goes all the way to Lucena, Quezon, which passes by San Pablo. And we were the only ones that got off in the city that day. No one come to San Pablo unless it’s fiesta, when many houses are open for visitors, or to visit the city’s famous seven lakes.

It maybe a center where all things and people cross but the city moves in its own pace. It has that urban feel of traffic jams but it also has that rural tranquility under the shadow of Mount Banahaw. It can be ‘probinsiya’ by offering hot and cold spring resorts. But it can be commercial by offering Jollibee, McDonalds, Pizza Hut and other restaurants. It’s a place where news headlines from Metro Manila are as relevant as the local gossip. The mass protests in the capital affects San Pablo as much as the latest scandal in the mayor’s office.

But for the all the progress that the city has gone through, it is still pretty much a place of myths and legends. People who have computers in their homes would still go the albularyo if something unnatural happens. Ghosts, duwendes, kapres, aswangs, and mangkukulams are believed to still walk in our midst.

That’s why when I go home I feel disoriented. Things move when I am gone yet I feel nothing ever changes when I am there. News about events and gossip about people comes to me as a shock because, in the surface, the seems motionless. Death of politicians, New People’s Army activities, hike in gas prices are taken by the people an initial shock. Then they would move on, like nothing had happened. Things move in the city like the waters of a lake touched by the northern winds in December. It’s looks still at a distance but ripples up close.

Miyerkules, Oktubre 12, 2005

Isang Malalim na 'Hay'

Natapos na kanina ang pasalitang eksamen ko para teolohiya at doon din natapos ang aking unang semestre. Ang bilis talaga ng paglipas ng panahon. Pero nagpapasalamat ako't marami akong nagawa at natutuhan ngayong semestreng ito. Ngunit marami pa ring kailangang gawin at kailangang matutuhan.

Ayoko nang pag-usapan ang nangyari sa akin sa mga nakalipas na araw. Isa itong malaking 'Ok lang.' Ewan ko ba. Masyado ko sigurong inaasam ang darating na bakasyon. Gusto kong magpahinga. Gusto kong magbasa. Gusto kong magsulat. Gusto kong maglaro ng videogame. Palaging naaabala ang unang tatlo habang talagang hindi ko ginawa ang huli. Hindi ko pa natatapos basahin ang mga nobelang 'Catch 22' at 'Makinilyang Altar' dahil sa mga iba pang mga babasahin para sa mga klase. Nakakapagsulat naman ako pero pakiramdam ko palagi silang pilit, parang palagi akong hinahabol ng oras.

Kaya bukas, uuwi na ako sa San Pablo para sa sembreak. Hay, isang buwan na ring hindi nakakauwi. Nakaka-miss ang mga kapatid ko, ang mga magulang ko. Nakaka-asam na matulog muli sa kuwarto ko sa ika-apat na palapag (mas malaki kasi ang kama ko doon kaysa dito sa condo). Gusto kong lakarin ang mga daan ng San Pablo, bisitahin muli ang Lawa ng Sampalok.

Pero sa ngayon, mag-iimis muna ako ng mga gamit ko. Marami akong mga 'basura' (mga readings at kung ano-ano pang hindi ko na kakailangan ngunit nakakapanghinayang naman kung itatapon) na dadalhin sa bahay.

Sana'y maging masaya ang aking sembreak at sa inyo rin.

Sabado, Oktubre 08, 2005

Proposal Presentation and 'Defense'

Natapos na kahapon ang pinakaunang presentasyon ng thesis/project/practicum sa tanang kasaysayan ng Fine Arts. Mabuhay ang Block E! Isang malugod na palakpakan. *palakpakpalakpakpalakpak*

Iyon siguro ang pinakamasayang oral presentation na ginawa ko. Kahit na noong sandali ko na para magsalita, parang wala lang. Masaya kasi, siguro, nakikita ko na mayroon nga kaming ginagawa, na may pinatutunguhan ang aming mga paghihirap at trabaho.

Salamat sa lahat ng mga dumalo! Simula lang ito, beybe!

Martes, Oktubre 04, 2005

Mga Huling Klase

Ngayong araw ang huling mga pagkikita para sa Philo 103 at Non-Fic Workshop. Ito pa naman ang dalawang pinakagusto kong mga klase para sa semestreng ito. Masaya na ito na ang katapusan at darating na ang mga grado. Ngunit nakakalungkot dahil may mga bagay na ayaw mong matapos-tapos.

Gusto ko ang mga klase ko sa Pilospiya dahil nakakatuwa si Sir Lagliva. Basta. Masaya siya. Palabiro at may nakakatuwang anekdota tuwing klase. Kaya kahit na nasa Bellarmine ang klase namin, ok lang. Lalakarin at lalakari ko pa rin. Hindi pa ganoon kabigat ang kanyang workload.

Non-Fiction Workshop naman ang pinakagabi ngunit pinakamasayang klase ko. Sunod sa Fil 119.2, kung saan naging guro ko si Sir Vim, dito sa klaseng ito pakiramdam ko ay malaki ang aking paglago bilang manunulat. Maraming mga babasahin at pagsusulat ang ginawa ko sa klaseng ito. Napakahilaw pa ng mga draft at exercises na sinulat ko dito. Ngunit pakiramdam ko, ang bawat sinulat ko ay may kakayahan na maging maganda o kahit na maging kaantig-antig na gawa. Ang galing-galing pa na guro si Ma'am Karla. Nakikita niya ang mga diyamante ng bawat gawa namin at malaking tulong palagi ang kanyang mga payo.

Kaya mabigat ang pakiramdam ko ngayon. Ayaw ko pa talagang matapos.