Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Big shit

I was twice introduced as Jay, the big shit of *mentions the office I'm working with*. I wasn't taken aback really. In fact, it was sort of amusing. The cordial exchanges ends with more laughs.

Recently taken from a presidential suite of an expensive (understatement) hotel here (perks, perks, perks), this photo doesn't really say how much of a big shit I am. In fact, I'm that proverbial speck, oblivious and marginalized.
(TY to my colleague Jong for including me in the frame.)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Direct me if I'm wrong.

Participating in a film directing workshop (The Mindanao Film Directing Workshop) with the enfant terrible of the Philippine independent cinema Nick Deocampo, will probably be one of the most important highlights of my self-absorbed cinephilia. He called me to give a brief background of Stephen Frears' The Queen (I raised my hand when he asked who saw the film thinking that a lot would have seen it. I was the only one who showed hand) and told me to analyze the dialectics of the poster. I felt my knees weaken.

This was already last month, and since the outpouring of events that ensued after it was so overwhelming, here it is.

I still don't have words, though. Mr. Deocampo is amazing. And his Nora Aunor histrionics are beyond compare. Perhaps I can film it. Soon.

Mr. Nick and his tummy. That tiebox hanging in the middle is a makeshift frame constructed to stage a scene.

Ibang leveling na photography ni Mark Limbaga (hehehe). Thanks sa photos, Mark. Nick is supposed to be playing Cherie Gil here and that iced tea should be splattered in her famous one-liner.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


After lighting the last candle and firmly placing it on the grassy edges of Mama's tombstone, I sighed a sigh that knows no meaning. Not of tiredness for sure. I stared at her name and felt a sudden pang of inexplicable loss and melancholy. On the second day of undas, the air of exhaustion and joyous relief can be felt among the families getting ready to depart from their departed.

I remembered Abigail Breslin's character in No Reservations when she said that she's afraid she's going to forget her mother who died in a car crash. I must have heard this line before in some other movie and while I may not fully understand such apprehension, I admire the young girl's longing. In this noisy world, one can easily drift in wave of inanities.

Days before Mama died, she called me to lay beside her. She started telling me things that were a blur to me back then. When she talked about responsibility, obligation and other familial ties, I didn't know what it meant. I never thought she was going to die though I was aware that her cancer was deadly. I was listening to her but I was only looking at her sad, tired face. I cried but I didn't know for what. If that happened now, I'd be terrified. I'd tell Mama to stop saying such foolish things. The next day she was already seeing things. Figures clad in black and wanting to take her away. We called a priest the following day but she only spoke of nice things and that she already being called by figures clad in white.

She passed away in peace. In the deathbed, where she used to tell me that I be a good man, a good son, a caring, responsible brother. Ma, I hope you look down at me pleased that I'm trying my best to do what you told me to.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Spooky stories

The last time I saw a ghostly apparition was last month -- or something close to supernatural. One time, I came ten minutes early so naturally the lights on our side of the one-floor office was still switched off. I saw my colleague's back about 2 meters from where I stood from the glass divider and thought why she didn't turn the lights on and how I was weirded out why she was sort of staring aimlessly at our glass cabinet full of tapes, CDs and other materials. I thought about it for three seconds before I was about to greet her. (I have to turn to the left side after switching the lights on and I wouldn't see her in about 2 seconds because of a blockade). My colleague who I think I saw wearing a washed-out tangerine and a headband turned out to be arriving later with an entirely different set of clothing. I told my division-mates of the supposed doppelganger. They made me swore never to tell of it again.

Experiencing the supernatural was sort of commonplace back in college. Working as a student assistant, I was usually assigned at night because almost all of my classes were during the day. I'd stay up to 9 pm and I'm practically all by myself by 8 except for rare times that I get visitors at night. Human visitors that is. I usually hear the doorknobs go berserk like somebody wants to barge in. I'd immediately peek unfazed by what I might see but I'm always greeted by darkness or sometimes I'm greeted by the glaring eyes of the resident black cat scouring the trash bin of the oldest building where my office is situated.

There was also this one time that I heard a loud shrill scream in the desk of the division chairperson. It was 10 pm and on the way out that time, I think I was the only living soul aside from the guards at the gates. I scrambled downstairs hitting my hip with the edge of the table and I didn't bother to turn off the lights. I was also able to see a ghostlike apparition while I was taking a photo of myself through the cameraphone. It passed behind me while I was at the height of my narcissism. Last time I saw a much clearer ghostlike figure was in the third floor of the same old building. While accompanying my fellow SA, I just sat there quiet, unmoved by the passage of what seemed like a white lady in the window. I didn't tell her right away but she did see it also. From calmness, her scream drove me nuts and we ran downstairs.

Back when we still had a decent house in a subdivision, I was able to witness the so called aswang (jeez, my hairs suddenly shot up) in the form of a very large cat atop our chicken house in the backyard. According to my mother, when she was still alive, she drove the beast away with a bolo. The cat, it turns out, have shapeshifted from a dog, to another form of animal. I was also able to hear the proceedings of an exorcism from our neighbor's house at the back. The growls vis-a-vis the incantations of the priest just spooked the hell out of me. The kids in the neighborhood were told not to gallivant around the area when 6pm approached. That neighbor of ours vacated the house but the next occupants were still pestered by what seemed to be lamang-lupa.

Oh God, my goosebumps won't stop. Lord, please don't let Linda Blair visit my dreams tonight.

Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family, Choose a f—king big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose a three piece suit on hire purchased in a range of f—king fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the f—k you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing f—king junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, f—ked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourself. Choose a future. Choose life . . . But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin’ else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroin?

Renton, Trainspotting