Renaissance

The quietness of my activity on this sphere is because of Instagram. The platform is a mine of all sorts. A simulacrum about life in general, I may say. My interest in this social media took off 3 years ago sharing a selfie as my first post. I was skeptic really of making, trying to keep this account active in the long run. What makes me skeptic is of my online presence. Maybe I’ve watched too much of Enemy of the State reruns in our cable TV, that’s why a stir of paranoia also hangs in the air.

Inasmuch I try to limit the breadth of my online presence. I’m talking about having accounts from other forms of social medias, chat apps, online music and video streaming sites. Aside from the paranoia, the mere memory of keeping your usernames and passwords get the best of me. It sucks when even for a couple of weeks you haven’t signed in, trying to remember it is enough to turn your brain upside down.

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Boracay Island, Philippines

Since last week I have been sharing these photos I took between 2013 and 2014. The time I was having this urge to go somewhere. Bonus was I got to spend some of these favorite adventures with friends and family. Capturing landscape and seascape reflected on my point and shoot camera and to memory as well.

My Instagram game is now fueled because of my elder brother. He sent his old smartphone home. It was in dire need of reviving. Something about it not turning on when one day he was using it. Out of his frustration and the lack of time to reboot, flash, root and all the possibilities of gadgetry magic, he sent it back here. He talked over our third brother to do all these tricks and crossed fingers that it may breathe back into the world of gadgetry. In no less than two days, the phone was lit.

Elder bro then Skype-d me enthroning me his, this smartphone. He added that I have a dope phone now once I start with my new job. I told him no. It just won’t be the case because I might end up being robbed. Well, I am being realistic here. Being guarded and cautious is what I have to deal with in the urban area where I will soon work. I only prayed that the new president’s will to combat crimes and enforce security will be apparent.

So I have this new old smartphone now. And what to do?

 

My bestfriend a.k.a. Twin S, talked about setting up our own coffee shop or cafe restaurant. We would be partners along with some other close friends. Dreaming of what our future cafe would look like I told her about pictures I searched and looked in Instagram. I was inspired by our dream to delve more into some interiors we might consider having in the cafe. A book shelving slash book nook inspired spot for our book lover customers. Or maybe a contemporary spot peppered with some magazines and arts for those who aren’t into books.

I too shared to her and to my elder brother the dream of developing an estate of my maternal grandmother. Mother owns a piece of it sharing it with her six brothers. I dream of building an eco-hostel. A sustainable farm resort where guests get to farm and be involved with the community and impart something. The idea of having, taking your vacation with a purpose.

 

This is how I am having my smartphone now. My skepticism and bits of paranoia sit on the curb while I continue to be inspired. And dream on.

 

 

 

What Do You Want?

 

I realized that as we grow and expand our lives towards career, family and relationships sometimes over time we become restrained with how we deal with each other given the close friendship that we have. I understand too that unsolicited advise comes down the drain easily. Maybe it’s a part of us maturing and there are things that we need to do just on our own.

It is a fight we need to face with strength and confidence. I wish you luck and pray for your wins always.

— An excerpt of my unsent letter to a friend last 2013

 

I can still remember how I felt writing that letter. It was good. I was in my most sensible state. Part of that letter spoke my honest thoughts. Some parts were all about making things better. Not that it is but some more than parts of it. I wrote it to be opened on Christmas Day of that year. Same with this.

This is my unsent letter part two. But I choose not to put a banner of it. Neither publish the whole letter here. It is something I continue to reread every time I would come across it. It is inserted in my journal so the frequency of seeing it is high as I tend to skim through the pages when I feel like to.

My letter is light in tone. It is full of hope, well wishing, and love for our friendship.

It feels quite different from where we are right now. When I try to look back, everything is different. So much have changed. While change is inevitable it compromised the foundation of friendship where we stand now. Now. I can be more than sentimental about it because I just can’t help myself. We’ve threaded such a long line of friendship. The kind of friendship that you wish for a lifetime.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately of my unsettled thoughts about how this friendship stands now. It felt hollow and filled with pretense careful not to burst each of our protective bubbles. It is heavy at some points especially when you are trying to get rid of the annoyance. The tiny ticks seem to be magnified this time and that too isn’t doing any of us good.

Part of this unsettled thoughts is that the burden of response isn’t really on my shoulder. As much as I want to brush off the idea of awaiting what might be the response, it clouds my judgment to better our friendship. I wrote a lengthy letter after this unsent one. It bared everything and that one I can say was a cowardly move. I admit. But the timing isn’t favorable to have a talk.

I’m sorry. I wish I hadn’t sent it. Even trying to get it back was a worst idea.

 

So what do you really want?

 

 

The Sound of Silence

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Nanay with me

During the two months school break, this falls on April and May, we spend the last week of April staying with our maternal grandparents. Together with my three brothers we are in the company of our Tatay and Nanay sharing dinners and helping them with everyday household chores. And the dreaded limited TV time. It sucks but somewhat good for us.

Taking this one week vacation with them is more like taking volunteer work. Not that we are complaining or we do not want to be with our grandparents but young and carefree as we are back in those days we choose to spend our afternoons lounging or watching TV. If we are at their place during that week, we run for the clock. Every hour counts and we need to have something to do and be good at it.

Simple household chores make most of that to-do list. From making our beds the moment we woke up to sweeping the yard off with dead leaves in the late afternoon. In doing this, we have to observe silence and focus to doing it right. Nanay is strict and commands strong. Her voice alone makes us jump out of our seats or whatever we are doing. That’s the way she runs her household when we are there. But it is not really necessary because we are as reserved as Tatay. Maybe I got my reservations from him. Our parents made sure we behave well and respect elders. Thinking about it now, maybe Nanay just anticipated our rowdiness and tendencies to escape of her house to explore neighboring empty lots and mini jungle.

We grew up exposed to cemented roads, sparsely green public playground and uncomfortable mini park. Staying at our grandparents is our time to get to really take a walk under the trees along an empty dirt road. Running around and playing tag on an eerie lot lined with coconut trees and bamboos is all we do when it’s not too hot. We do this along with our cousins that lives there too.

I really enjoy this part of school break. I get to shout on top of my lungs with all the trees only staring at me. I am the weird nature loving kid. I can’t keep myself when I am outdoor. I touch the leaves. Hug the tree trunks. Pick some stones and throw it as far as I can. Get on top of those empty ant mounds and do a spread like an eagle with its wings open. Running along furrow after furrow without tripping. Just wanting to get some dirt on my feet and feel the warmth of the earth.

All of these we get to do when we’re finished with all the tasks. Nanay approves of it and would let us take the time out. Our mother gets to put off her parent hat during this time too. A short break when she returns home and be a doting daughter to her mother as well.

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Tatay with my cousin H

With all these gallivanting, Tatay is just reserved and nearby. I know he pretends looking at his carabaos but he is watching over us. He is such a quiet man. As I write this, imagining his voice and tone is lost in me. He speaks in low but round voice. Sometimes raspy at the end. His face stern at times but always kind in appearance. A memorable spot where we would gather around him when he is sitting on his rocking chair taking his time too.

Either one of us would sit on one of the arm rests or the rest of us would just sit on the ledge at the veranda. We do this late in the afternoons. I can’t remember what do we usually talk about. I was in third grade when he died and I can only remember so much of him.

With Nanay, we get to spend a little more time of her company. But I still miss them at their old house. The house as of today doesn’t feel like home anymore. It’s a dissonance of what it was like when they were still living but the memories and silence linger on.

 

It’s been a while since I got there.

 

 

 

Coffee Now, Beer Later

 

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Or sometimes we have the beer first and then coffee later.

We usually meet around after dinner time. Either each one of us calls or texts of the details but never the place where to meet or hangout. Spending some waiting time just to get a move to our place of choosing takes the first few minutes of our meet-up. Walking along the street where restaurants and bars are located sometimes is necessary to have a feel of where exactly do we want to hangout.

Standing and waiting in front of a fast food joint or convenient store is where we also try to discuss where to really go. We assess if we are hungry enough to have dinner first or straight up booze spill.

There was never a straight forward conversation that we will be just having a coffee for the night or share a beer or two to cap off. It is always back and forth, annoying banter or someone will just jump the gun and be done with it.

The three of us always have a good time. We make sure of that.

Our friendship comes a long, long way. Old friends we can call each other and happen to make things better at least when we are at arm’s length bringing our company to a multiple of three. I am happy to write about this. It makes me smile a lot and remember our nights of complete crazy laughs.

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When we get to the coffee shop we always make a good scan of the place. One of us will lead to the best table he or she thinks will be good enough. As soon as when all of us have seated, if no comments made then we are good with the table. If not, we hurriedly scan another spot even if that table is not yet bused.

Then a short game of over theres and over heres are exchanged. Adding more annoyance. Good annoyance. Never an episode of heated exchange rather more of making a fool of ourselves. Laughingstock we are for a brief there.

We order what we like. What we haven’t tried yet. Once the cups are served we take it in and only B obliges to take a photo of it or us, asking a waiter to capture the moment in her phone. Painted smiles fill our faces. All zooming our eyes to that tiny lens.

Thanks to her, all these photos of us together are hers. I grabbed it from her Facebook timeline. The irony of flashing these mementos now are on me as I tend not to want to be photographed with them. It’s not that I don’t like them in a picture with me. It’s more of being hermit with them, being private. Over time, I get used to her prodding. A and I enthuse for a pose and find ourselves blind for a second with that flash. Sometimes it’s off, sometimes not.

Either beer or coffee, we get this sort of stoked like effect on us. We talk of things that just bombed us with so much happiness and excitement. I guess three’s a company. I reckon we need to be beaten out of that.

The time we spend having coffee or beer lasts for four hours, max. A calls the time first. B and I go deaf for some time to buy more time if we are really on to a conversation. He calls it first because he can. We’re totally fine with it but sometimes not. I’m really happy to write this. He can because he needs to be early the day after. He is the priest. Our excuse of not listening to him until his last call to cap off our night is that he lives at the convent few blocks away while the two us, B and I is a mile away. B lets me crash at hers when we do this.

Playing deaf and calculating how far away are we from our beds is as always our never ending banter once we leave and exit from the coffee shop or bar. It never gets old.

During beer nights, A gets the usual. A bottle for himself. We don’t argue with that but most of the time, yes. The bucket, good five beers stare at us. B and I end up getting 2 of each always. The night will never be the same for the two of us if we keep doing it. I am talking about calorie intake.

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Crazy enough, he contends when B and I have enough of our beers then flooding him of mind boggling questions that gets him to want to cap off fast our night. This in turn becomes such a good laugh for B and I. This never gets old too.

 

Okay. Waiter, bill please. 

Waiter walks back to our table.

Looking at them both, “What?, I got it this time.”