August 7

I came from the city of Bacolod. I looked at the situation and I knew no matter what I dreamed of becoming, it didn’t matter. My parents were poor, and even if I wanted to study we couldn’t afford it.

My dream was to become a driver, because I thought it would be a better life than what I could get as a laborer on minimum wage. I thought it would be the only dream I could attain.

My first job was as a houseboy until my boss decided to put me through driving school. I learned how to drive, and I studied hard. I was a driver at a garments factory when I met my wife. She was a supervisor. That was when we fell in love. Even if you say she wasn’t beautiful, for me, she was beautiful, and she was kind. She took care of people. That was all.
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Aug 19, 2012 under People | no comment

Danilo Suarez’s courage

House Minority leader Danilo Suarez recently announced his withdrawal of support for the Reproductive Health bill, along with several members of the chamber’s minority. Suarez said the six other members who joined his turnabout had previously supported House Bill 4244 only because of loyalty to the then minority leader, Edcel Lagman, its author and chief advocate. Suarez and Lagman had been engaged in a fight for the minority leadership, one that ended with Lagman’s resignation last January.
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Aug 5, 2012 under Health, Opinions, People | no comment

The dictator

We are told we are on the verge of open war. The generals are mounting their cavalry; the defenders of the faith are mustering their troops. This war did not spring from the deaths of the 11 members of the New People’s Army killed in a June encounter with the Army’s 85th Infantry Battalion. Neither was it a result of the hostilities in Basilan, whose terrorists shattered the bodies of the 10 soldiers whose coffins arrived yesterday at the Villamor Air Base. The war does not involve the Chinese garrison at Scarborough, or the families of the victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre, or even the millions whose lives we are told are at stake at the center of Edwin Lacierda’s metaphorical war against poverty. The battle of 2012, we are told, was declared on July 23.
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Jul 28, 2012 under Health, Opinions, Politics | no comment

The falling sky

My father is standing outside our garage again. The bags have been packed, the cables unplugged, the grandchildren dressed and waiting to be plucked from their beds. The waters are at the gates.

The windows are frosted; the sky is going gray in the morning. There is three feet of water along Magallanes and Gilmore, Bangkal’s creek has overflowed. At 8 a.m., National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council head Benito Ramos reports that “so far, we have had no reported casualties.”

It is July 21, 2012, the date that will mark the graves of the two who have already died in the wake of a tropical depression’s short visit. The first is Jonathan Sagodaquiel, 31, a man who, Ramos claims, was drunk while he was crossing the Lumban River. He drowned in Wawa Village, Laguna, “swept by the strong current.” His body has been recovered. The second is a 35-year-old from San Isidro village in Naguilian in La Union. His name is Wilcor Rellera, and he drowned in the Pandanga Creek.
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Jul 21, 2012 under General, Opinions | no comment

The scream

It started with the reindeer. You’re three, maybe four years old, and it peers down your bed through the mosquito netting, bright eyed, with shiny, sharp teeth. You scream for mama and can’t. And forever and after, you discover watching “The Jungle Book” gives you nightmares, and so does “Bambi.”

Then there were the witches. They ride broomsticks, giving chase through a warren of hallways, whipping into a fluorescent-lit bathroom to cackle and bang outside a locked wooden stall. You’re 23 years old and you open your eyes and you’re lying on a couch and you hear them, still cackling and banging, outside the windows of the room where your director sits editing and the television is playing. Bang and cackle. Crash and babble. And you try to move, to say look out, they’re outside, and when you finally make a sound, when the scream comes out a croak, you pull yourself off the couch and to the floor, pleading that the curtains be covered because they’re here, they’re coming, keep them away please. And because the director is a friend who believes in aliens and spaceships and the awesome powers of the Tazmanian devil, he will hold your hand, pat your head, and drag a blanket over the window while you take over the editing with your back turned away.
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Jul 14, 2012 under Opinions | no comment

Once upon a time

It is a difficult day for writing. I suspect it is a difficult day to do many things, but I am a writer with a deadline and very little to say, so I’ll start with that. It’s a difficult day for writing.

Some days it all comes clear: a thesis, a structure, a narrative arc, a second sentence that flows from the first. Today I will ask for indulgence, because there are too many voices in my head and none of them is willing to let me speak first. This column is going to be a story about stories, and I will lend this space to them, if only to quiet some of the voices.
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Jun 30, 2012 under Opinions | 2 comments

Contraceptive morality

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo is afraid. President Benigno Aquino III has met with the American head of state, a dangerous situation given that the United States is a known advocate of the Reproductive Health bill. There is a big push to pass the law from the outside by pharmaceuticals, he says, especially from America. He calls for vigilance from the Catholic faithful. He asks for vigilance from “pro-life” advocates. He warns against the actions of those who would rally against life.
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Jun 23, 2012 under Health | 1 comment