Monday, March 30, 2015


The Guitarman performed to an empty bar to pay for his dinner and beer as an accidental meeting with the man formerly known as SLED turned into two bottles of beer, and a bucket from the ex-Boss who came as we were about to leave, and more for Mickey who came possessed and rabid in his defense of a post-Mamasapano unrepentant soon to be ex-president. 

I miss the brandy and the whiskey but the beer will do in bracing myself for a graduation marathon, pissed that Bulan was dropped from the honor roll by a stupid technicality, amused that he won't be getting a consolation perfect attendance medal because of a single tardiness AFTER the regular classes has ended, resigned to climbing the stage several times when his medals and diploma can actually be awarded at the same time, proud that he dared think and act out of the damned conformist box.

Those confirmed "no shows" are starting to get to me but really, riding solo is a preference because the time alone in the saddle gives me the space to reflect further and convince myself that I did right in refusing to work in Eastern Samar and hesitating to a follow-through "medium-term" offer [I thought I am more than a researcher!], why I did not bite the bait of several headhunters [I need more time to discern the way forward!], why I submitted applications to two international NGOs [I thought I should try their online application portal which is actually easy!], why I opted to be an LGU consultant and a freelance editor [I like the flexitime, output based, and work-at-home arrangements!].    

Bottom line: AK got itself a potential National Coordinator and an Advocacy Officer, Enchong Dee received his first degree, Bulan will go to college, and Ariel Guieb Tangilig finally changed tires. 

Monday, March 23, 2015


Muli, sumabak si Totoy Bato sa ring.

Subalit sa pagitan ng mga round ay namaga ang bato at umalsa ang apdo.

Kaya nakipagbalikan kay Dr. Cayco si Totoy Bato.

Nangawala ang adobong baboy at pumailanlang ang inabraw na labong, sitaw, at saluyot.

Muli, namanata sa malapulbos na alikabok ng mga daang kalabaw si Totoy Bato. 

Maliwanag ang langit, konting ulap lamang ang nakaukit sa ekta-ektaryang pisarang asul.

Malawak at malapad ang mga tuyong sabana na naghihintay sa ulan at mga magbabakod.

At sa basbas ng walang kaubusang apple cider ay pinakawalan ni Totoy Bato ang mga suntok para sa Galing Pook Award at P30 milyong kalsada.

Matiyaga ang pang-unawa niya sa inaarugaang kampanya. 

Dahil lilipas din ang pagmamaliw ng mga agimat na bato at muling sasayaw ng cha-cha ulupong si Totoy Bato...

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


We came for these.

We came with our bikes.

I came for this.

It was good until I saw this.

That stoked the other night's beer and and plates of tokwa't baboy, and stirred last night's flavored lambanog and crispy pata remnants, as the last two months of lechon and Johnny Walker Black caught up too.

The Buscupan helped but Chef Gerry's buffet spread did not despite confining myself to grilled pusit, pako salad, and sweet and sour tanigue.  

We also came for this.

Which quickly ended up like this.

I peed red the rest of the week, so I guess I will be needing more of this.

Monday, March 16, 2015


Both of us, in our younger days, came to Minalungao.

Me with my starry eyed artist/activist friends, lugging a case of San Miguel Beer, cooking rice in a bamboo tube, exploring one of the caves.

She with the family of a neighbor and perhaps a boyfriend.

I walked, and maybe she did too.

That was many years ago.

Today, a road connect Minalungao to the rest of the world.

A checkpoint collects P20 from each visitor.

And bamboo huts and concrete and humanity litter what was once a pristine and raw almost-paradise. 

For us, Minalungao is somehow one of the dots that brought us into this single continuing journey.

It is a small pocket where a bit of a happy memory is stored. 

But that aside, the Minalungao of today is misspelled tourism at its best.

And I say that a challenging mountain biking trail is its sole and only redemption.

Monday, March 09, 2015


Walter Mitty is not Walter Mithoff.

Neither is he that "ordinary, often ineffectual person who indulges in fantastic daydreams of personal triumphs" which Wikipedia cited The American Heritage Dictionary to have defined.

Walter Mitty is in fact an Ilocano-Tagalog born in Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya some 45 years ago.

And he was first named Super Lolo for his seeming penchant for unmatched segunda manos, not because he liked it but because he had no other choice then, before jersey No. 6 of the legendary Jawo-era Ginebra San Miguel bad boys transformed him to the infamous Ampalayo whose fondness for the Holy Smoke and rustling free ranging poultry eclipsed the only two points he scored in an amateur basketball league, thus ostracizing him from those who determined what's right from the wrongness of it all.

In Hogwarts, Walter Mitty metamorphosed into Kimat T. Amianan who wrote poetry for an unrequited love, sometimes plagiarizing a line or two, and whoring left and right as the Sons of Lam-ang battled the Triskelion Knights and the ghosts of his sad story.

Thus was begotten Bertong Langis of the Kingdom of Pee who chased shadows until daybreak, gorging on tons of kapal muks and crispy pata and chicharong bulaklak which earned him his name and the stones now swimming inside him, until he reluctantly and then happily retired from it all.

Today, the real Walter Mitty is nameless.

He likes to lunch on sashimi at Dad's and recently Sambokojin, and prefers to wash down his lugaw and tokwa't baboy with ice cold Mountain Dew.

Walter Mitty, aka xxxxxxxx xxxxxxx of the present day, also enjoy watching the sun rise as he goes on chasing shadows with Ariel [Marana] [Carlo] Guieb [Ryan] Tangilig.  

Because he who was born and raised in Bambang prefer to play hide-and-seek with the sun in the uncertain trails of the of the mountains, detesting the boring predictability of the flat lands, regardless of the places where Major Tom took his protein pills and wore his shirts...    

Monday, March 02, 2015


Or simply the Unretired as I finally pulled myself from the presumed life of an unemployed which the Kingdom of Pee declared me to be but in real life I'm not, and took on several odd jobs to provide for the bread-and-butter.

Meanwhile, unexpected reimbursements tided me as I pondered on the most appropriate investments, lost sleep on Bulan's new bedroom and where will he take college, contemplate on how much will it cost to paint the house, and take those long bike rides to nowhere with Kas Bong who enjoyed watching the sun rise from his saddle.

And that explains, perhaps, the Universality as I effortlessly shifted from a mentor into an editor, from politics to economics, and riding a motorbike and a mountain bike in between to escape the temptation of even looking back at those Manila-based talk shops, ranting and cursing at one who failed to deliver the reimbursement of a promised mobilization, happy that the wife and kids enjoy whatever I cook for dinner.

The thrill of exploring new biking routes further inflamed my addiction to cross-country riding as I tried discovering the most straight lines from Don Francisco Munoz to St. John the Evangelist, in all stealth and determination like a Soldier crawling to an enemy position, and me so powerfully consumed that even the vast rolling fields of Dangla got caught in my jigsaw of odd jobs.

And of course, there's the high moment of voluntarily slipping into a glass of a Double Black whiskey, or maybe a bottle, and the fulfillment of finally crossing the finish line with Bulan and Lupo Domingo Quilban.

I am the Universal Soldier.