The Day I Met Juan Luna

Fiction by | August 19, 2012

It was a crappy, crappy day. My client for a vegan website had just requested a revision of all one hundred articles I sent him, simply because we could not agree on two points: he thought eggs were fruits, and I thought he was crazy.

No matter how hard I insisted that eggs were animal-based produce, my client still wanted me to rewrite everything. He wanted to encourage his website visitors to include more eggs in their daily diets. With much gnashing of teeth, frequent head shaking, and finally, inevitable resignation, I inserted positive (though inaccurate) snippets into all one hundred articles about the benefits of consuming eggs every day for all vegans to read.

After that, I felt like creating my own website that would educate the world about the simple truth that eggs are not fruits, and that these shelled products actually emerge from the posterior of chickens, thereby making them animal-based. I had planned on dedicating the website to all vegans and crazy clients alike.

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An Open Letter to Ms. Long Lean Limbs

Nonfiction by | April 29, 2012

Dear Ms. Long Lean Limbs,

Right off the bat, I would like to say that I have this unwavering need to decline your friend request on this social network site that we both subscribe to. For one thing, I have no idea who you are. At the same time, I doubt it very much that you know anything about me at all.

The truth is: before I saw your friend request in my message box, I was living a boring virtual and real life existence. I was actually pretending that the articles I was writing about would somehow change world views and rewrite history, despite the fact that my client had limited my online literary expertise to: how to cure athlete’s foot, and how to avoid smelly armpits, and how to eliminate other yeast-friendly environments on the human body.

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Cheesecloth and I

Nonfiction by | September 4, 2011

When it comes to reminiscing about one’s childhood, most people would not look back, fondly or otherwise, on the underwear they have worn over the years. But since I was never really in the category of “most people” but rather in the “weird ones,” I would like to share a few thoughts on this particular subject because it has been percolating (or more aptly: fermenting) in my mind for the past two months. 

Recently, a friend posted his embarrassing underwear moments on his blog site. Funny enough, while I was reading his article, all I could think of was this particular pair of undergarment that has haunted me from 4th grade, all throughout high school, and even up to now.

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How Not to Exercise in the Morning

Nonfiction by | April 3, 2011

How Not to Exercise in the MorningWorking at home and basically having my back side literally glued to the computer chair for more than eighteen hours a day is not only detrimental to my sanity, but it also makes those little figures on the scale increase rapidly. Of course, the word “little” here is relative—and so is “sanity.” It has come to a point where I have to cheerily greet, praise loudly, and then apologize to the weighing scale before I get on it, hoping that the machine would reciprocate my effusive demeanor by shaving off one, two, or preferably 150 pounds. After weeks and weeks of doing this and getting nothing but an escalating series of results, I have come to one conclusion: the darn thing was broken.

Then my clothes started getting tight again. Certain pieces of undergarments began to pop at the seams. I was glad enough to blame the shrinkage on the new laundry soap I was using.

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I Really Just Want to Write

Nonfiction by | June 20, 2010

I’ve always said it: I just want to write. Some of my classmates in Creative Writing were born to become professors passing on their knowledge to the next generation of students, others were born to edit, to analyze other writers’ works, and to put together papers that become chapters of textbooks. I firmly believe that my niche in this world belongs to writing. And so I became a web content writer.

But the life of a web content writer is not as glamorous as it sounds. I can assure you, the pay is just as bad. On the other hand, I encounter situations my former classmates do not.

In my quest for a better paying job and in the misguided belief that I needed to step up my game, I accepted online editing work for a company based in the United Arab Emirates.

My new employer was the head of human resources of a drilling company. As to what the company was drilling, I could only venture guesses: oil? water? sewage? Sensitive documents never came my way, but what editing work that did kept me busy for days on end.

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When Pigs Run Freely On The Streets Of Mintal

Nonfiction by | September 13, 2009

Until a few years ago, the only “living” pigs I ever saw in Manila were the ones that were shown cutely prancing around on TV or on the big screen. Of course, there were also pictures and illustrations of smiling or gamboling boars and piglets on print; but somehow it was not quite the same. Occasionally though, I would get a glimpse of a truck crammed with pigs on some busy thoroughfare. Their squeals would lightly pervade the closed environs of our family car. I would always notice people outside covering their noses and grimacing, as if they were suddenly plunged into an invisible but inescapable miasma.

I would watch in fascination at the packed mass of moving bodies, often saddened by the thought that that was the last time the pigs would ever experience rides again. My parents had blithely told me once that they (the pigs I mean, not my parents) would be headed for slaughter when I asked them about it. My eyes would follow the truck until the vehicle made a sudden turn to a street where our car would not go. Pretty soon the truck and animals were nothing more than another indistinguishable speck on the choked up, traffic-jammed streets of Manila.

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My So-Called Glamorous Life As A Freelance Writer

Nonfiction by | May 17, 2009

Everyone assumes that writing is such a romantic occupation. I most certainly did—I wished with all fervent hope that I would eventually walk the path that Edgar Allan Poe, Joseph Conrad and Mary Shelley took when they made it through the annals of literary history.

In my youth, I had imagined writers cloistered away in their lavish Victorian-inspired home, dark with velvety crimson curtains and thick tapestries. Quill in hand, parchment under their elbows, these writers would look out into the vast open countryside seeing not the green landscape, but characters—fictional characters, characters of their own creation—speaking, weeping, and eventually floating back to the paper, becoming wisps of breath fashioned into the writers’ great languid scripts where both characters and writers would eventually be immortalized in written text.

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One Sunny Day in Mintal, Davao City

Nonfiction by | November 18, 2007

One sunny day when green snakes basked by the dormitory gates, and the warty toads came out of the toilets, and trolls from the adjacent rooms were creating such a ruckus that my headache had a headache too, I decided to go to the mall for some peace and normalcy. The dormitory of the University of the Philippines in Mindanao was situated literally in the boondocks, and it was a 2 kilometer ride down unfinished roads to the highway. The only available transport was the habal-habal: a motorbike turned rough-road-taxi, whose driver ferried up to 4 to 6 passengers at a time.

To the people of Davao, this was a way of life. To me, it was a learning experience. On my first semester at the university, I was literally stuck at the dorm. I did not know how to ride a habal-habal. I was terrified of it, being the size of two normal Davaoeño. When an errant jeep or bus chanced by, I hailed it with so much zest that people thought my armpits were on fire. On one particular day, when I was desperate to get off the mountain, I begged for a ride on a meat delivery truck, and hung on a hook in its cargo bay like one of its produce. I knew, despite my circumstances, that I was blessed, since the truck’s cargo was long delivered and the bay was freshly cleaned.

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