Watching Movies in the 70s

Fiction by | May 5, 2019

I’m a Gen Xer and I love movies.

It saddens a movie freak like me that the movie house of my youth, Timber City Cinema in Tandag City, has gone kaput and become display center for all things China.

In mid-90s, during the dying years of Timber City Cinema, watching movies meant sweating bullets from heat; inhaling cigarette smoke; resting one’s feet on the seat to avoid contact with rats the size of cats; and evading raindrops falling from the holey roof.

During heavy rains, a puddle would form on the orchestra floor, between the screen and the first row. And from the balcony I would watch the movie on that pool of water because images were less blurry.

In the 70s, movie houses were enclosed by foldable gate grills. Behind the grills and encased in glass cabinets were movie posters under the “Next” and “Coming Soon” labels. And outside of the grills, tacked on both sides of a plywood panel were still pictures under the “Now Showing” label.

As we waited for the movie house to open at 1 o’clock, we would entertain ourselves by gawking at these posters and photos.
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Ulan-init

Fiction by | April 28, 2019

(lugit gikan sa sugilanon)

“Hooooo!”

Gibira ni Nenet ang pisi nga nagtapot sa ilong sa kabaw, mihunong kini sa pagkadungog sa iyahang singgaak. Nagtungtong siya sa buko-buko sa mananap nga ganina pa naghalhal. Walay klase, mao nang nanghakot silag lubi kauban ang iyahang maguwang nga si Teban, disi-saes anyos ug manghod nga si Pawpaw nga dyes ang panuigon. Tig-isa silag tugsak sa iyahang mga igsoon, gama kini sa kawayan nga adunay hait sa punta aron madagit ang lubi nga ilang ipanulod sa ilahang kariton.

“Punu na!” tubag sa igsoong si Pawpaw paghuman og hakot sa lubi.

“Siiii!”

Gipitkan ni Nenet ang lubot sa kabaw, misutoy kini sa laing punoan. Nagpasiaw si Pawpaw tungod kay nagkumpayot kini sa likod sa kariton. Nag-una iyahang Manoy Teban sa agianan arun susihon ang dalan kon aduna pa bay mga lubi nga angay ikarga. Sa dihang nakita sa iyahang maguwang laki nga wala nay lubi nga nahibilin, mipauli na sila.

“Una na lang mo Noy kay mangita pa kog lawa-lawa diri. Ibaligya nako kang Justin.” asuy sa kinamanghuran.

“Tagaan na lang takag damang unya sa balay, gilaming nako to. Dako kaayo to.” segun sa ilahang manoy Teban nga gikuha ang pisi kang Nenet. Walay nahimo ang manghod ni Nenet nga si Pawpaw busa misakay na lang kini uban niya nga kadtong higayona mibalhin sa ibabaw sa kariton ug nag-ingkib og turok samtang gahigda.

Naabtan nila ilahang tatay nga gikaestorya sa anak ni Don Ramon nga ilahang amo, ang tag-iya sa yuta nga gina-ugmad sa iyahang anhing lolo Tito nga usa ka Waray. Nahisalaag kini sa Mindanao sukad pa niadtong 1980’s ug miabot dinhi sa probinsya sa Sarangani kon diin sila nagkaila ni anhing Don Ramon.

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Duhiraw

Fiction by | April 21, 2019

(lugit gikan sa sugilanon)

Kinahanglan niyang mopasar bisag unsa pay mahitabo, bisag unsa pay dangatan ug kinahanglang mosunod ang tanan segun sa iyang laraw bisag unsa pay paagi. Kon mahibaw-an siya nga dunay problema sa iyang pag-eskuyla, labinas iyang grado ug sa eskuylahan, dakong katalagman ang gibahad sa mga ginikanang OFW. Usa na niini ang pagputol unya sa buwanang alawans. Simpol kaayong butanga, apan dako na alang niya. Ambot kon tig-absent ba pod sa lain niyang propesor nga maoy iyang buhat sa akong sabdyek. Mao gani segurong nahadlok kay takilid man gyod ang iyang estanding naho. Wa pa man pod ko idungog nga manghagbongay, o teror ba kaha hinuon. Madunggan man dayon ang pedbak mahitungod sa abilidad sa usa ka titser ngadtos mga estudyante labinas paborito ug wa nila ganahing propesor kay mokatap man kinis hungihong sa tibuok kampus morag karangrang nga molating sa tibuok bagtak.

Apan makapatahap gyod ang kanunayng pagteks-teks ni Jen nako.

Nagsugod ang tanan pagkahuman sa prelim eksam. Human ko nagkompyut sa grado, nakita nakong wa siyay eskor sa tanang eksam. Wa lang nako ni panumbalinga. Prelim pa man pod. Di pa kritikal nga hugna sa semestre. Di na nako problema kon sumahon. Wa koy mahimo gawas sa panid-an ang iya unyang sunod nga buhaton. Labing maayo kon magbinuot na siyag su’d sa akong klase, magtuon kon ting-eksam ug mohatag sa tanang asaynment ug resirts nga akong pangayoon.

Samtang nanguli kog papel pagkaugma, nakamatikod kong permi siyag pasiplat sa akong gilingkoran bisag nahibawo siyang wa gyoy papel nga itunol niya kay wa man gyod siyay bisag usa sa tulo nga akong gipangtunol. Pawa ra seguros hilas aron ingnon nga duna siyay gipaabot o lahi ba kaha ang naumol nga diskarteng gimapa sa iyang bagulbagol.

“Sir, naa man ko adtong last quiz nato,” pagduol niya dihang wa nay papel nga nahibilin sa akong kamot.

“19 ganiy eskor nako adto,” dala niyang bag-id gamay nako simpig sa lamesa.
Nasaghid ang iyang bukton sa akong braso. Nanglibawot ang akong balhibo nga nakabati sa kahamis sa iyang panit. Dunay dilaab nga kalit midaaw sa maong saghid nga lisod hukman kon unsa kini ug ngano adtong gutloa.

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Maligno

Fiction by | April 7, 2019

(kataposan)

WALA MOTINGOG si Luningning. Apan maaninaw sa iyang nawong ang pinugngan nga pahiyom. Giubanan niya ang dalaga sa atabay sa tiilan sa bukid. Iyang gisulayan pagkapot ang kamot. Wala motutol ang dalaga.

Human sa kapin sa bulan niyang pangamoral, nauyab niya si Luningning. Usa ka buntag, iyang gidani ang dalaga pag-adto sa dapit nga gisalipdan sa labong nga bugang. Iyang gihalog ug gihagkan ang dalaga. Nabati niya ang pangurog sa lawas sa babaye. Tungod ba sa kahadlok o sa nagsalimuang nga pagbati?

“Mouli na ko, Sir,” ni Luningning pa nga milingkawas sa iyang gakos.

“Sige, ugma magkita ta pag-usab dinhi.”
Pagkaugma, midiretso sa siya sa dapit nga gisalipdan sa bugang. Nagpaabot kang Luningning. Miabot ang dalaga pas-an ang sag-ob nga kawayan. Gisandig sa dalaga ang sag-ob sa nag-igdal nga bato.

Anad siya unsaon paghaylo og babaye. Gisulayan niyag gakos si Luningning. Wala kini molihok sa iyang gibarogan. Iyang gihagkan sa aping. Wala molingiw ang dalaga. Iyang gihagkan sa ngabil. Migakos si Luningning kaniya. Nag-abot ang ilang mga baba. Nag-ukob. Wala mobalibad ang dalaga nga iyang gipahigda sa yuta apan nagdumili nga huboan sa iyang sinina. Nahapla ang sagbot nga naligsan sa ilang lawas. Nalimot si Luningning sa kaugalingon ug mipasignunot sa labing praymal nga hunat sa tawo.

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Ang Panaad ni Romeo (Unang Bahin)

Fiction by | March 10, 2019

Natandog ang pagbati sa magtiayong Romeo ug Grace pagkakita sa liboang katawhan nga nanagtindog, nanaglingkod sa bleachers aron mosaksi sa gipahigayong meeting de avance sa plasa sa munisipyo sa Tagpongan. Kini ang ulahing higayon nga magsukdanay og katakos ang duhang mingdagan pagka-mayor; si Romeo, nga kandidato sa Uswag parti ug si Luis Duhayco sa LDP (Luis Duhayco Parti), ang nangatungdanang mayor nga midagan sa ikatulo niyang termino.

Sa walang bahin luyo sa bantawan, naglingkod ang nagkadusingot nga mayor samtang gipaypayan sa iyang asawa ug mga alalay taliwala sa nag-alirong niyang mga kapartido. Ang gisul-ot ining ugis nga barong, nahimong see-through; mipilit sa tumog niyang lawas. Matagkaron ug unya, sige kinig inum og tubig ug panarapo sa nawong.

Wala maglangan, gianunsiyo ni Berting, ang tagdumala sa maong okasyon, nga sugdan na ang programa. Gisugat sa lanog nga palakpak ang partido ni Mayor Luis dihang minggawas sila gikan sa luyo sa bantawan. Dako ang ngisi sa mayor samtang iyang gisubay sa panan-aw ang gapunsisok nga mga tawo. Giwara-wara niya ang iyang mga kamot isip pagtimbaya kanila. Nahimuot si Romeo nagtan-aw sa busdik nga tiyan sa kaatbang nga kandidato. Wa damha, kalit nanaog sa bantawan si Mayor Luis unya giduol ang usa ka babaye nga naglaylay sa iyang anak. Iyang gikuha ang bata ug gihalokan ang aping niini. Mihugyaw ang mga tawo pagkakita sa gibuhat sa mayor. Migara pagsamot ang mayor, iyang gikugos ang puya unya nanukad atubangan sa nagpangidlap nga mga kamera. Nahimuot ang puya sa iyang gibuhat; kalit nga gikumot niini ang tambisong ilong sa mayor. Ug didto misulbong ang makabungol nga suliyaw sa mga nanan-aw. Bisag nasakitan, mibuhig hilaw nga pahiyom si Mayor Luis samtang giuli sa inahan ang bata.

Sa dihang nakalingkod na ang mayor, misibaw na pod ang tingog ni Berting ug iyang gipailaila ang partido ni Romeo. Wa pa gani nahuman ang tigpamaba sa iyang pamulong, dili na mabangbang ang kabanha sa mga tawo. Mas madasigon kini tandi sa grupo ni Mayor Luis.

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The New Moon

Fiction by | February 10, 2019

Many many years ago, in a little town not too far from here, it was known that a crocodile lived in the sky. He was feared among the people because he relished the taste of children who misbehaved. He came without warning, descending only when he was hungry. On each return, he acutely picked off the children whose discipline faltered during his absence. And after this, he would slowly weave back to the darkest recesses of the sky and stay hidden behind clouds for an indefinite period of time.

The crocodile ate children who did not do their homework and children who were too lazy to make their beds. He ate children who enjoyed playing tricks on their elders and fibbed to get out of trouble. This crocodile was so particular with his food that he could tell the difference between a naughty child and his good-natured twin.

He refused to eat cats as was suggested by some of the townsfolk, although they argued that a cat could be just as naughty as any child. The crocodile declared that cats were much too small to satisfy his hunger and were, besides, not worth the trouble of being scratched in the eye. And crocodiles, as we all well know, are incapable of crying but are sufficiently replete with sensations of pain and such emotions as grief.

One day, however, all the children were indoors. It had been raining all week and the rapidly rising river caused concern among townspeople. Livestock was taken to higher ground and harvest was picked earlier than usual. Each and every home was quiet save for the busy sounds in the kitchen, where mothers could be found boiling jams and jellies, pickling, and curing meats.

None of the children were sent to school; and the teachers, who had now been given a rest from their troublesome pupils, spent their days in animated gossip and speculation of the coming flood. Nobody gave a thought to the crocodile that lived in the sky. Even the old people, who normally recalled to the children stories about their childhood friends who had been eaten by the crocodile in the past, were preoccupied with the pounding rain. They fretted over their illnesses and worried that their families would forget about them in the haste of moving to elevated areas.

Some of the children stayed in bed with the flu. Others played board games or painted, quietly sipping cups of hot chocolate. Others, still, were kept busy helping with one task or another. The crocodile roamed and hovered around the town eagerly waiting for misconduct. He went upstream, and then down. He went to the school hoping to chance on mischief but found it empty.

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The Multicolored Son

Fiction by | December 23, 2018

I remember the day I almost lost Jun-jun. I was in eight grade and longed for Tatay’s attention. At four in the morning, I got up before Jun-jun could sound the morning wake up call. I barely slept the night before, thinking of ways to get rid of him or at least get Tatay’s attention away from him. Jun-jun could not cook rice or boil the coffee, but it was me who always got called useless around the house.

On the second Sunday that June, I planned to give Tatay a new wallet I’d bought at Novo. I’d spent all the money I saved up that summer from selling a bunch of buko to Angkol Nono, a buko juice vendor in front of Central Plaza, for ten pesos each. Since I went to Isulan National High School, Tatay always got mad at me for waking up late. He blamed my addiction to mobile games that kept me up at night and threatened to confiscate my phone. He didn’t like it that he had to boil the water for the native coffee and cook rice every morning.

Roosters started crowing from a distance. I opened our front door, lifting the three locks carefully not to make a sound. I checked outside. The dawn was already breaking and I smelled the cool and damp breeze. My nose itched and the next thing I knew, I was sneezing like crazy. I couldn’t make out where Jun-jun was until I saw his long, red curvy tail atop the lower branch of our Mango tree. He flapped his multicolored wings, shook his tiny head, and crowed his mighty battle cry that echoed through our house. Other roosters from our neighbor followed suit.

I looked for the kettle as I wiped my nose using the front of my shirt. I filled the kettle with tap water and brought it to the stove to boil and put four spoonful of native coffee from Kulaman. I put the jars of coco sugar and cream on our dining table for Nanay and Tatay. My head started to ache from the allergic rhinitis so I needed coffee myself.

I got the pako that Nanay brought from the market last night out from the refrigerator while I waited for the coffee to boil. I was about to prepare the scrambled egg with ampalaya when I heard the door from my parents’ bedroom open. Tatay still looked groggy and his bushy eyebrows were already meeting at the middle. He woke up on the wrong side of the bed, I suppose.

Abaw. The señorito Toto is up early, ha,” he said in his hoarse voice. He went straight to the kitchen sink and drank water from the faucet using his hand. After that, he scrunched his nose. “Is that coffee?”

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Nine Days To Understand Nine Days in Nine Days

Fiction by | December 16, 2018

Day 8
I think I now need to keep track of time. Time has been odd, has been queer, has been time has been odd, has been. There’s a loop that loops that there is a loop that goes on in my head ever since I started to attempt to understand time has been odd, has been queer, has been a loop since I tried to understand the sounds that came from this, well, I don’t even know what this is. I remember nothing from before it, but I remember now before it but I remember. I remember it came to me in a dream, a dream that came to me the night I saw it in a dream. Well, not really saw, more like felt. At least I think I felt it. That’s the thing with dreams, isn’t it? You’re never really completely sure how to word them out when you wake up. Then again, it’s not like there were any words, it was more like I felt it all around me, I think I felt it. It’s odd, it’s queer, it has been like that in a loop ever since it came to me in a dream. It spoke to me, it spoke to me in a feeling that I felt all around me, inside me, outside me, it spoke to me in a feeling. It whispered words into my ears and into my mind, in a feeling I tried to understand time has been odd, has been queer, has been a loop and it told me things I cannot comprehend. Ah well, that was 8 days ago ever since it was 7 days ago since it was 10 years ago since it came to me in a dream. I’m tired now, I think I’ll rest. I do not know why, but sleeping on this flesh is better than sleeping on the cold rock floor of this cave where I’ll rest I’m tired now.

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