I’ve been out of the literary and academic establishment since 2008, and save for finally finishing my M.A. Degree in 2013, and now imagining that I would like to work on a PhD., have steered clear of its trappings and requirements. I did not go without the requisite kicking and screaming, as I always thought of a career in teaching and writing. But what has become clear since is that I also needed to let go of my romance with… Continue reading »
The letter dated March 2, 2006 surprised me for many reasons. For one thing it was not addressed to me, but was about me. In it I was judged as a bitter iconoclast who had made a career out of attacking people. In it I was judged for being disrespectful of my academic and writing elders. In it my immediate superior – the Chairperson of the department I was teaching in – was implored to reprimand me, for something that… Continue reading »
It would take me forever to get to the point where I stopped caring about the establishment. The first indication I had that I was coming into my own would ironically happen when I had both my feet in activism, and I was teaching in the Ateneo de Manila University as part of its Department of English. It was February 2006. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had declared Proclamation 1017, purportedly because of intelligence reports that members of the military were planning… Continue reading »
By the time Angela won in the Centennial Literary Awards for her Tagalog essay on EDSA entitled “Himagsikan Sa EDSA: Walang Himala!” in 2000, I was more certain about my political beliefs and my relationship with the academe. I was not fearless, oh no! but I sure was becoming more critical. I knew enough about the literary and academic establishment to keep a healthy distance from it – thanks in large part to teachers who were still open to criticism.
Mine was a generation mostly uncertain and finding its footing in the political landscape. Done with whatever EDSA euphoria we inherited from our elders, apathy was the word used to describe us teenagers, also called generation X, who were in the University in the late ‘90s. We knew of how Marcos had stopped Voltes V from showing on TV, we knew of classmates in grade school whose fathers and mothers were in jail because of Marcos. But much of it… Continue reading »
When I entered the State University in 1995, EDSA ‘86 was farthest from my mind. But of course the President then was EDSA icon Fidel Ramos, Juan Ponce Enrile was in the Senate, and Gringo Honasan was running for a seat in it. I remember being enamoured of Gringo, his rebellious self something that I could relate to. I remember a blockmate saying she couldn’t imagine voting for someone who attempted those coup d’etats against Cory, for how could someone… Continue reading »
In 2014, Angela and I were asked to write an essay each for the anthology Remembering / Rethinking EDSA (Anvil Publishing, 2015). We have since published those two essays as a zine for #BLTX, and to celebrate the EDSA Revolution of 1986 this year, we’re posting our essays in parts on our blogs, to commemorate the four days of EDSA, now on its 31st Anniversary. Her blog is at stuartsantiago.com. :) *** When I was invited to write a piece for… Continue reading »
Probably the only thing worse than the fact that one is silenced in many ways by nation is the truth that in place of that silence is a male voice that says: we love you, we care for you, we will cherish you. That this voice also carries us through any romance we might have with men is foregone conclusion. That we might believe this voice is not surprising. There’s that thin line drawn between romantic and romanticized after all,… Continue reading »
In September 2014, I met Tootsy Echauz-Angara for a Metro Society cover story (with Heart Evangelista and Shalani Soledad). My interview with her started (as I try to with any subject) by establishing a connection between us. In this case, it was easy: I called her mom Tita Baboo, who supported my nanay’s book on EDSA and put out money for it without hesitation, who had (with Tita Laida) fed me so well on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Baguio in 2013, smarting as I was from a hit… Continue reading »
“7 years old.” It surprised her how easily that rolled off her tongue, like the truth that it is, like the lie that it is. The unsaid is her sanity. It seems careless to risk a nervous breakdown with strangers. Besides, the lie is only in the telling, not in what is told. She is seven years old this year. She would be. She would have been. She could have been? She might have been. She would have been. The… Continue reading »
Tres Marias made up of Bayang Barrios, Cookie Chua and Lolita Carbon will be having a concert at the Music Museum on September 4, Friday. I have no idea what it’s going to be like, but having seen these women on stage, and reading this piece from 2012, tells me it’s going to be quite a show. Click here for tickets! It would’ve been a random night over at 70’s Bistro, though it was so wrong to even imagine that to be… Continue reading »
Here’s to the friendship that could have been ours: wife of my lover, lover of my husband, lover of my lover. For women at both ends are always rivals: smiling for points at a beauty contest, icing the cake at a cooking competition, sprinting for the gold as they race to a man’s heart.
Six months since she’s arrived And yet she does not speak. She must have been chained; This I guess from the bruises On her wrists. But she will not Let me touch them. She trembles at the sight Of tall men, more so at those With shadows on their lips.
I. You are the earth and all that earth implies: The gravity that ballasts me in space, The air I breathe, the land that stills my cries For food and shelter against devouring days. You are the earth whose orbit marks my way And sets my north and south, my east and west, You are the final elemental clay The driven heart must turn to for its rest.
… mourn a woman’s bitter lot: to give birth to men who kill and are killed. Grace Monte de Ramos That morning alone he had sunk ten warships, downed four planes, marched countless armies across unseen territories, borders mapped only in his… Continue reading »
Babae akong namumuhay na mag-isa Hiwalay sa asawa Matandang Dalaga Kerida Puta. Ang aking pag-iisa’y Batik na ituturing ng aking lipunan Latay na pabaon ng nakaraan, Pilat na taglay hanggang sa kasalukuyan.
To this harlequinade I wear black tights and fool’s cap Billiken, make me three bright masks For the three tasks in my life. Three faces to wear One after the other For the three men in my life.
Ginahasa ako ng mga salita, Paulit-ulit, Paulit-ulit, Hanggang magutay ang diwa. Buntis ang alaala Sa mga alimura, Pasa-pasa ang puso’t Lama’y salanta. — Ruth Elynia Mabanglo, 1992.
i’ve been out of this blog, mostly because i was writing like crazy for most of March and April, and i mean working on four columns a week (!!!) for The Manila Times. and yes it was as crazy it sounds. i’m glad it’s over.
“At a certain time of day, between the high heat of noon and the cool afternoon, the streets of Casay have a strange quietness — of a leaf arrested in its fall, or of a vacuum from which air and life have suddenly been drained — a quietness which seems to bide its time. Very infrequently, a car, a truck, or a cart may disturb the stillness, raising brown dust in its trail and sowing screeching echoes into the silence.… Continue reading »
there are friendships that happen later in one’s life, even with people whose names you’ve known for years, that girl who was always just the girl-who’s-the-ex-of-a-friend, or that one you’d see at gigs. you could’ve studied in the same university and college, but remain as nameless faces, or faceless names. a measure really of what else we were doing, how friendships can be as limiting as they are liberating. and how sometimes age and timing — if not twitter — might be… Continue reading »
IV. At eight years old, my task was to read to my Lola, then blinded by cataract and cancer. Articles from the two newspapers and the monthly Newsweek Magazine that Lolo subscribed to were already chosen early in the morning, long before I was due back from school at noon. Lolo, having read some of these articles by the time I arrive for my task, would doze off as I read to Lola. Meanwhile, Lola would be attentive to my… Continue reading »