There's a reason why coffee tastes bitter that not even too much sugaring can possibly weaken--both the reason and the taste. Like this one that lingers in my mouth as I am writing this--the mystery of which remains unclear--I am in the dark about a lot of things recently.

I may appear confusing more than how this post is but nevermind. Like coffee, life can be bitter. And dark. Or creamy or sweet. And like life, coffee are sometimes bland. And yes, nevermind because anyway, there's poetry in coffee as there is to life, no matter how sad or tragic or tragically mundane it is. And there's poetry in bitterness. In darkness. In confusion. In reasons. And failing to find reasons. Or appreciating those that you have found.

And there's mystery in poetry as there is poetry in mystery.


fall of Hercules

Cheryll Fiel’s face was washed-out—her lips chapped and pale, her eyes mirrored unspoken fear—as the aircraft struggled through the thick clouds over Davao skies Monday night.

Around 20 minutes before the scheduled touch-down of the Cebu Pacific Flight 5J 969, set to land at around 8:30 at the Davao International Airport , the aircraft experienced turbulence in the air.

Apparently, it was not just an ordinary turbulence as minutes after the plane--which left Manila at 6:30 pm--finally landed at the airport, the military C130 plane crashed off the sea of Davao killing all of its nine crew members, including the captain.

(Earlier, the Cebu Pacific plane captain announced that the airplane would be arriving Davao earlier than scheduled.)

Gasping for air, Cheryll, the managing editor of the online magazine Davao Today and one of the newly elected members of the directorate of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), frantically rummaged through the pocket of the plane seat in front of her for a litter bag.

She might threw-up, she said as she slipped herself out of her red sweatshirt. She found no litter bag. Her state was contagious and I suddenly had the urge to call for help from one of the cabin crews but they were nowhere near.

She stiffened her small body and nailed her attention to the valves beaming soft lights on the headboard.

Peeping at the window, I could see not a faint light from down below—except for the distractive red one flickering from somewhere the plane’s right wing—although I know, after the captain announced shortly before that the plane was already making its final decend—that we were already flying over Davao.

There was nothing outside but ghostly shades of white film that broke into what appeared to be rain or bed of water when sliced by the plane’s wing—visible only through the faint light of the aircraft.

The descent was extremely rough, sending a frightening sensation worse than the one being felt when riding an extremely fast ferries wheel. Difference was this one was not a ferries wheel ride and inevitable, the question dangling in my head was whether or not the plane will touch-down safety and we disembark alive.

The female voice over was assuring, if not reassuring, but did not promise any hint of a safety landing: “We are experiencing turbulence…please remain seated and your seatbelts remained fastened.” The Tagalog translation, which was contextually incorrect compared to its English version, was obviously tensed.

As the plane was making its descent and broke through the clouds, leaving a scary shudder to the aircraft, all passengers fell into silence—even the group composed mostly of children who were earlier boisterous.

“It is raining in Davao ?” Cheryll nervously asked. Outside, still the dark clouds are only exposed with few streaks of lightning.

Another nagging question was: “What if we will be hit by lightning?”

Terrified, Cheryll said: “I am experiencing motion sickness…this one is definitely one of my roughest flights.”

The situation was even made worst by the ringing of a mobile phone from somewhere at our back which made a nervous male plight attendant to run towards the direction to curtly remind that it was prohibited. Few minutes after, the same phone rang again.

As the turbulence painfully dragged, Cheryll looked me in the eye and said: “God…we will still be hovering back to Samal Island .”

By that time, though, city lights have started to emerge, signaling that the we were already approaching the airport.

“No. The captain said were on our final descent…and we are already flying under the clouds,” I told her.

In the morning, a text message reached me that made me imagined the worse—a C130 plane crashed shortly after we landed safely.


Hail, Holy Jos Smith

In highschool, when I was still madly in love with a girl--a madness that dragged on for seven years until I had my longest serious relationship with gorgeous and intelligent Ay.Ar--I never thought of Hitler as somebody incendiary. Sure, that's OA. Fine. Hot.

Hitler, my classmate since first year, loved to spruce up himself and his spic-and-span look stole the attention of the girls---away from his pimples. He mattered in school as his sisters did. They mattered in our town. His family name cannot not matter.

Last time I heard of him was last year. A friend told me that our Hitler already married his girlfriend. He came into my mind after I found from somewhere a list of young hot men who exactly reminded me of Hitler. Not because he was hot because I never thought of him as someone hot ever anyway, but because he was, and I guess he still is, a Man on a Mission.

Looking at the photos, I could only gasp and whisper: "Hail, Holy, Joseph Smith!"


Putana: letter from Kremlin

PUTANA, a very dear friend who is comfortably holed in one of the palaces surrounding Kremlin--functioning only, sanely, upon the the desires of one the youngest of the young guards of Putin--sent me a letter.

He gave me a mountful upon learning about my recent mishap. He knows I need his nagging and he knows when to shoot it and how do it the right way--in my face. Painful. Ugly. But who cares when it is the truth? And it may sound really odd like what Penny Lane (in Almost Famous) implied when she said "Isn't it funny? The truth sounds really different."

And this he said:

Bananachoked wears love misery like an amulet, warding off all possible decent, long term lovers. The anti-eros amulet is not him per se but an erratic principle towards relationships on account of a crystalization of years of broken relationships, slit wrists because of broken relationships, and transient jobs because of slit wrists from broken relationships.

What's left of him is a walking, breathing void of dry lust that pounces on every homo sapien with a dick. But this is not because he is hell-bent in satisfying his craving for senseless sexual gratification.

Horribly, this is so because he has come to relate his need for connection with shallow man-hunting.

Picture a kid who has come to fancy the taste of lemon-flavored candies. To find his choice, our kid licks, munches on, gobbles, devours all other flavors in the shop--bitter melon and expectorants included (wink...wink...).

Now we know what overdose of sweets does to our oral hygiene. Uber-candied, our kid can no longer distinguish the lemon drop he so long for because his been too foolish to try everything!

Ngayon, bad teeth and all, takot na si bananas kumagat, mag-lick, mag-gobble at mag-devour uli.

Ito ang ang tanging maisasagot ko kay Putana: Puta ka! Ang saya ko kaya! Lech!



Because Bananachoked, Mandaya and our yayas will be vacationing to Samal Island's Bali Bali Beach Resort--and because I am soooo tamad to bring lappy--lagare blog ako. But before the foursome, at tulad ni Mandaya, painggit muna ako. Kita mo yang mga photo na yan sa ibaba? Dyan kami pupunta. At ipinasara namin yan. Let me introduce to you my friend--ekslosib.


What you are supposed to do...and please don't spoil the fun...

Click copy/paste, type in your answers and tag four people in your lists!

Don't forget to change my answers to the questions with that of your own

(A) 4 places I go over and over: Matina Town Square's Kanto Bar, office, SM, and church (Yey! I lied).

(B) 4 people who e-mail me regularly: Gabriela for her releases, Mother Peng for her trash, boss Lia because I also email her frequently, and MAILER-DAEMON because he's got a crush on me.

(C) 4 of my favorite places to eat: Kanto Bar for their charbroiled pork and waiters, Space Burger for their burgers, Mandarin, and Bankerohan for their Bulalo.

(D) 4 places i'd rather be? Sagada, Pagudpud, There at, my coffin.

(E) 4 people i think will respond: Mandaya, Beyef, Anthony, Jessica Zafra.

(F) 4 TV shows i could watch over and over: Singing Bee, My Girl, TV Patrol and Iisa Pa Lamang



First off, I would like to apologize to you, friend, for pissing you off. As I have told you, the thought of it--I mean, me pissing off people--does not drown me in bliss.

That I am makulit is a congenital baggage. That you do not know about my being makulit speaks of one thing: we are not really friends. You can of course remember when I told you to stop calling me friend because we are not. Well, not yet. And perhaps we never will be. Not your loss, sure. Not mine, of course. No one else's.

And, yes. I am not about to blame you for calling me samok, no matter how offensive and irritating the word is to me. For I know, being makulit is irritating. And you told me you were being nice? Thank you.

And if there is something to sever, allow me to sever it. Then let's put on the bandage as if nothing happened. Then let's all sashay around as if we are, errr, beauty queens trying to redeem the lost crown to fresher queens. Or--former basketball players who have lost the, errr, balls following a lousy attempt to rebound.

And I say---good luck to all of us.


Well this day--Wednesday--is hell. Sitting in a meeting the whole day is hell. And thinking about how I woke you up smiling then quickly swept out by a hellish phone message is unspeakable.

Not three or seven sticks of Marlboro or three cups of lousy coffee can surely flush out the frown. But looking at my officemates not looking at me, probably because they knew I was sent by someone from hell, was a great relief.

An hour before the meeting closes, almost 6 peyem, I sent a friend a message telling him how the meeting was draining me off.

A couple of minutes after, he replied:

He: You sent the message to the wrong person? Well, why don't you leave and stop the discussion?

B: No. That's really for you. I really am tired.

He: What is is all about? Who are you talking with?

B: My officemates. NGO.

He: Leave then. Is it done?

B: No. Not yet.

He: What NGO? Rotary?

B: Rotary? No! It's an environmental NGO here in Davao. You ask Rolanda. He knows about my NGO.

He: Ay! Sorry! I thought I was talking to ______ . You have the same names. How can I be so stupid? I was thinking of him while I was texting you.

B: Ok. Let's stop this.

Kairita no?


10 saddest

Slumped inside Ow-Be's car Saturday night, the four of us--Ow-Be, Dashes, Jen, and I--were drowned by the weird sentimentality inside. Sure it was not about the lonely color of Ow-Be's car nor the colors of the exteriors which were uniformly close to bleak.

That we were sad, all of us, was really weird if you know us. Even us were a little surprised to know that a common denominator was apparent in all us four--misery. And Jen, a charming law student whose hubby is currently in Japan, quickly quipped that cliche about misery loving company.

Ow-Be's (cheap) music was the culprit. Imagine listening to Jeffrey Osborne's On the Wings of Love when all you have in your head is your hubby. In the case of Dashes, hubby is also far farming somewhere together with my Lover (I wish!) while Ow-Be's wife is in the Middle East.

Bitaw uy, I was in misery because among the three, I was the recently unloved. And Mandaya said being depressed is my sole purpose in this life and I am even starting to submit to the teachings of Sartre on existentialism and, of course, its take on purpose is differently stroked. Mandaya went on to name me Depressed Forever but I turned it down for it's pathetic lack of creativity. So Mandaya named me instead Sad-Na-Sad (Sad Again or So Sad, depends on whether you are a Bisaya or a Tagalog). For me, Sad-Na-Sad just sounds lovely.

Because we were not ready to fly on the wings of syet, Ow-Be pushed a button on the car stereo and voila, Vonda Shepard, the goddess, in her throaty rendition of What Becomes of The Broken Hearted blared inside the car, overwhelming us evenmore.

Made me realize that recently, I have been listening to songs the nature of which is good enough to make Jessica Zafra fart with blood and a little syet.

My list, not in order:

1. Elton John's Tiny Dancer
2. Fleetwood Mac's Landslide
3. Carol King's Up On The Roof
4. Carol King's Anyone At All
5. Dishwalla's Angels or Devils
5. Bonnie Sommerville's Winding Road
6. Dido's White Flag
7. Vienna Teng's The Tower
8. Vienna Teng's Momentum
9. Vienna Teng's Gravity
10.Vienna Teng's Drought


Eating Out 2

To say that I was ekskayted about meeting Ayel in person was an understatement. I was ecstatic. Please give it to me as I give it to him: I have never dated someone like him--with, yes, thank you u-know-me, the presupposed disposition that the date was a potential lover--in my life.

Many years ago, I dated a nurse and found myself romantically involved with her for more than four years, excluding the painful many months of recovering from the painful separation. After her came several encounters most of which were easily forgotten for their insignificance until came Athan, the 18-year old Ateneo boy who, okay--let's forget about it.

Not that the nurse and Athan were smaller than Ayel because of his profession (for one, Athan is yet to get one) but the thrill of dating someone whose job must be kept in a safe was something bigger than the news about the Moros getting their own state in Mindanao or the Mindanao lumads, frustrated over their miserable state now, delivering their own address.

I had to assure Ayel that his secret would be safe with me. To which, he replied: "I want it to be safer." I sensed a little problem there. For me, his statement was loaded. Or perhaps I was just overthinking things. That I was just taking matters seriously as seriously as I rush in to feed my desires--both carnal and not-so-carnal.

And he was not. I mean, he was not really taking things seriously. The same way that he hates serious talks about politics and all that.

Just like how he managed to ask me who is better between Britney and Christina. It turned out that he's a Britney fan but concurred to the contention that Christina has the better voice. He said Britney, compared to Christina, is sexier and all that. Mostly during this time, I was just laughing.

And he also made me choose between Nora and Vilma. I had to think hard. I wanted to pick Vilma but I ended up not picking a name right away because while I am not a Nora fan, I don't like Vilma either. Ayel's a Nora fan.

Thanks to his mother who influenced his taste. As we were sharing the flat rice noodles of that Vietnamese restaurant--the one that he did not like at all--he said: "Once, I blamed my mom for feeding me mostly meat."


Eating Out 1

As Ayel went to relieve himself inside this small room we call CR, I sent out excited text messages to few friends who knew I was out on a date--told them how good looking he was. He was not far from the photos that I shamelessly saved from that account where I, well, shamelessly dropped a nag about the stars.

Only that in person, his face is smaller.

Before meeting him up at 6pm, I was clear to tell him not to expect much from me. In return, he also asked me to not expect much from him. He arrived at least 20 minutes late than the agreed time--armed with a foldable black umbrella--and I liked what I saw. Not the umbrella.

He apologized. And it was, of course, okay. I am not really a physical-person--someone who gives premium to synthetics and bone structures. But that he is intelligent is already a given so I indulged the self in foolery of what were visually pleasing.

He noticed my hair style. My tattoo. One time he mentioned about the photos I posted in my account that bordered in something that both of us, perhaps for the nature of the photos, refused to describe. I would have wanted to comment on the attractive rim of his glasses--how it suit him well--but I stopped. Made mental notes of how many cellphones he has (probably the same as I have), the color of his shoes. It was brown. It was leather. Mine was a dying purple. Mine's an All Star.

But the given was a dogged worker, insistent on making its obvious truth more than felt. And so the moment he sat opposite me on that poorly-clothed table, the gymnastization of the brains began.

Then came next was a bloody slaughter of principles and ideas over issues related to his work and my work. How our works clash. How our works not clash. How the people we find important to us, both personally and professionally, are made to clash with each other, the system, the faulty system, and the lack of system.

During discussions, I managed the thought that the person whom I was sharing a dinner with doesn't smoke. Allergic to alcohol. Maybe, goes to church and prays at night. He could be that person who refuses to go out in kinked clothes and non-leather shoes. And, someone who sings RNB.

Did I problematize that I smoke packs and pack of Marlboro especially when stressed out and under pressure? Did I problematize that I can stay out all night over bottles of beer and hearty talks with friends? Did I problematize that I still have to give god the benefit of the doubt? Did I problematize that I just hate RNB? Did I problematize that I detest leather shoes? Did I problematize that I don't mind wearing un-ironed clothes?

Did I problematize the contradictions? No.

But I felt sorry upon knowing that he doesn't eat vegetables. And spicy food. And we were eating in a Vietnamese restaurant. And yes, I felt bad that while I loved the flat rice noodles, he did not enjoy it a bit.