Things were still not looking up for Judith. She just lost her job at the fish cracker factory earlier today. Your services are no longer required, they said. Well, that wasn’t exactly how they said it, but it sounded that way. And now, her son, Junjun, was nowhere to be found. Did she know where he was? No, she didn’t. But he’s old enough to take care of himself, anyway.
Today, she decided to just screw it and looked for the first thing she craved. Judith hailed a pedicab to the nearest sari- sari store.
The first few notes to Englebert Humperdinck’s “The Last Waltz” played inside her head. This was her ex-husband’s favorite song. That bastard. He used to listen to it all the time. The song rang in her ears until she realized that it was coming from the pedicab’s radio.
Judith bought three sticks of Marlboro reds. She inhaled the cigarette smoke, letting it creep into her lungs. It wasn’t her fault when Junjun’s father left them years ago. It wasn’t her fault that Junjun wasn’t able to attend high school when his father left. It wasn’t her fault that she didn’t have a job anymore.
Continue reading Performance
It was a Saturday and a payday. The sun was asleep that day and the dim clouds hinted rain, but I was up early for my Master’s and I had to beat the previous night of writing a thesis proposal and singing lullabies for my one-year old girl. My sleepy face invited a debate from my wife whether I should go to school or not. I won so I took a freezing bath and packed my bag. San Isidro was a one-hour drive from Mati City and the ride entailed enduring the meandering road that I had gotten used to.
My classes proceeded with lectures and hasty reports prepared by my preoccupied classmates. For fairness’ sake, I hoped they also struggled on the way to school.
I could not go back home without buying groceries and pasalubong for my six-year old girl so I had to join the rush at the supermarket. I went out of the market still alive, gladly. I carefully tied my box of groceries to the back of my motorcycle and headed home. While I was on the way, I was so mindful of my load that I checked it with my left hand from time to time. I was worrying that the knot was loose. I tied the box with the interior of a motorcycle wheel cut into a strip, a sort of a rubber tie, which got tighter while I travelled. At the time, it had grown a bit short.
I was worried that my load would unravel by the time I reached the road construction at Badas. The repair had been taking forever. The government seemed to have a lot of money to spend. The sky was also growing dark, like cellophane filled with water and would burst any time.
Continue reading The Rain
Subo palandungon, wala damha sa akong higala nga kalit mawala ang iyang kauban sa balay nga iyang igsoon,iyang bilas og duha pa ka tuig nga bata nga si Ronron. Tungod kay mag- unsa man sila sa syudad og walay diploma og grado, hinoon makakaon man sila, kay pareho man naay trabaho ang igsoon sa akong higala.
Nanguli sila sa ilang yutang natawhan; ang nahitabo, nag-inusara na ang akong higala sa iyang balay. Nagpoyo si Joseph sa tiil sa Mt. Talomo; mogawas siya sa iyang balay arun motrabaho, Samtang gi- ilog na ang kangitngit sa adlaw, og sugaton siya sa mga sitsit sa langgam, timailhan nga nagsugod na ang lumba sa kinabuhi, og sa likod sa Mt. Talomo, ang baga nga gabon maoy telon sa dakong entablado. Matag buntag sayo, mao kana ang programa sa kinabuhi ni Joseph.
Continue reading Itik Nga Walay Balahibo
At the age of four, my father would take me to my kindergarten classroom.
Upon entering the classroom, the door would shut behind me leaving him outside. I cried– afraid of the fact that I am alone and too weak to face the world all by myself – I screamed, and pleaded to everyone to let him stay with me. I slapped the door wishing I could knock it down with my little hands– wishing that I could make my way out and see him.
Struggling to calm me down and shut me out, the teacher just desperately repeated these words, “Stop crying. Your father will be back soon. But, he won’t come back if you keep on crying.”
Continue reading Kindergarten Classroom
On the 25th Sunday, the 3rd month of the year, the breaking of the breeze comforted the whole season. The sun was so brilliant engulfed throughout the day, while the chirping of the birds sounded melodiously. They flew here and there, catching each other like lovers missed from hugs and kisses. They were played by the wind blows, swaying their wings against the air, chasing until they found their refuge and rested. Under the monstrous tree they were on, there was a nipa hat, a native, beautifully designed by hands. It was made up of good Nara, a lumber where drawn on it, the lines of the old ways. It was surrounded by the grassy ground but viable to anybody who would like to rest from a journey. But one could ask: was there anybody around that small house? If there was, then who would that someone be?
At 3:00 o clock on that same day, I was on my way home. I walked cautiously as my feet were forceless stepping on the ground. In a far away distance, I saw an old wrinkled woman similarly exhausted as I was, as if losing her breaths. She was panting while her eyes focused to mine. I did not hesitate to come over her to ask where she might be coming from. She dropped down her sungkod without answering my question. The woman collapsed. So, I looked somewhere else but nobody could have been there.
Continue reading Time
Lola Myrna is a soft-spoken 70-year-old woman who lives with her toddler grandson, Jimboy. She has ash-gray hair, and she keeps mostly to herself.
Lola is well-known in their neighborhood for adoring only two things in this world: her garden and her only grandson.
Her garden is simple but well-kept. It complements the two-bedroom bungalow that sits on it, like a pretty porcelain figurine on a birthday cake. Adjacent to it are two Guava trees and a Calamansi tree which provide shade against the afternoon sunlight when Lola is having a siesta.
Lola used to give her grandson a bath with leaves from the Calamansi tree whenever he had fever. She plucked several leaves and mixed them with the hot bath water. It smelled really good, and she believed it made him feel better.
Beside the Calamansi tree, there are also rows of Santan shrubs on garden, and its red and yellow flowers are in contrast to the greenery.
Like most quiet summer afternoons, today Lola is enjoying her siesta under the shade of the Guava trees while Jimboy is idly playing around near her. She rests on a Rattan rocking chair that creaks every now and then, and beside her sits a glass of Calamansi juice that sweats furiously.
Continue reading Jimboy
Warning: The story below contains scenes of sex and violence.
Miguel started to have a deep breath as he observed the people walking, selling, and sleeping around San Pedro Street. His inquisitive eyes were staring to those homeless, rugged people sleeping on the public stage and in the benches. His curiosity continued as he observed the “Balut” vendor selling his product while riding a bicycle.
But behind these curious eyes, a revengeful heart is looking for that one person whom Miguel had sex with and is responsible for the HIV virus. This guy named Julius has been Miguel’s sex partner for the past five years. Julius is the park caretaker who is five years older than Miguel. He has been giving sexual pleasures to homosexuals in San Pedro Street at night after his work for the past five years. Julius is a sellable man due to his towering height of 5’11; he has fair complexion with black straight hair and a pointed nose. His sex appeal attracts gay customers both young and old who are looking for sexual adventures.
Continue reading The Parks of San Pedro Street (Part 2 and Conclusion)
Warning: This story contains scenes of sex and violence.
“I should have my revenge!” These poisonous words were running slowly in the veins of the desperate mind of Miguel as he was walking in the hushed yet lighted San Pedro Street at twelve o’clock midnight. His black jacket, white shirt, faded denim pants and gray rubber shoes perfectly protected him from the cold night’s wind. The fairly looking, medium built boy could not sleep because the laboratory result stated that he is HIV positive. This frustration gave Miguel a melting of heart and bothered soul. So, the young man rose from his soft bed and decided to leave his well organized room for a stroll in the downtown area San Pedro Street is the heart of Davao City due to its iconic landmarks. On the right side, stands the gray-colored San Pedro Cathedral; with its Spanish-style frontal-curved design makes the structure visible in the place. Adjacent to the church is the two storey beige color Sanggunian Building, in which, in front of this edifice erects the centennial monument. Neighboring to Sanggunian Building on its left side is the decade old Davao City Hall. The 1926 design building with its magnificent columns on the entrance hall makes the structure a truly landmark. San Pedro Street has four small parks-Osmena Park, Quezon Park, Rizal Park and Centennial Park.
Osmena Park is at the right side of the Sanggunian Building. It is a walled sanctuary. The green park has become a safe haven for birds which are looking for asylum in a busy metropolis. The park has tall, green trees that sway with the wind and colorful flowers that embellish the park lane, and gives blissful view to the people sitting on the benches. During day time, the chirping of the birds and the sound of the swaying leaves become the music of the place.
Continue reading The Parks of San Pedro Street (Part One)