Apartment sa Dapitan

Sunday, July 31, 2005


ni Michael Francis C. Andrada

Sa isang salita lamang
ay maaaring maglaho
ang lahat.

Tulad nang sa isang salita,
nabuo ang lalim at lawak
at lawas ng lahat:

sinugatan ng liwanag ang langit,
lumigwak ang dugo at naging dagat;
nadiligan ng malay ang lupa.

Sa pagtuklas ng tao,
bumuyangyang ang panibago
na laging naluluma.

Dahil isang bagay ang pag-iral,
at ibang bagay ang paglipas
ng panahong di masilo ng palad.

Ganung-ganong maisusulat
ang kasaysayan: uusbong-papanaw,
lulubog-lilitaw, mangingimi-kikilapsaw

katulad ng araw:
pitong ulit na dumaraong
upang pitong ulit ring lumisan.

Dahil sa loob ng anim na araw
ng paglikha, isang nilalang
ang natutong mapagod.

* dahil Linggo ngayon, ang nakakapagod na araw ng pahinga, na siya ring interregnum ng pahinga't trabaho. Hay, Lunes na naman bukas.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Tatlong Beinte Singko (Artwork)

This is an illustration made by Piya Constantino, the long-legged magna cum laude CL major who has the brains, they body, the face and the endurance to withstand everything that I cannot possibly withstand. An illustration for my short story, "Tatlong Beinte Singko."

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Paolo Matalo (Comics)

This is a comics version of my story, "Paolo Matalo." Graphics by Adam David, the most respected and gifted and talented and misunderstood writer and graphic artist in the Philippines.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Friday, July 22, 2005

Kasabihan 2005 (Gloria Edition)

ni Michael Francis C. Andrada

“Matalino” na nga ang matsing,
Nanlalamang pa rin.

Ang tumakbo nang nandaya,
Kung matinik ay malalim.

Ang kalabaw na apat ang paa, nadudulas pa;
Ang tao pa kayang nanginginig ang dila.

Hindi nakikilala ang bayani sa salita;
Pero nabobosesan ang taong nandaya.

Kapag may isinuksok,
May mandurukot.

Kapag may nansuksok,
May nangurakot.

Daig ng maagap ang masikap.
Daig ng corrupt ang maagap.

Madali ang maging tao,
Mas madali ang maging aso.

Walang utang sa IMF-World Bank
Na di sa bayan pinababayaran.

Kung sa lahat ng gubat ay may ahas,
Sa sukal pa kaya ng Malacañang.

Ang sakit ng pamahalaan,
Damdam ng buong bayan.

Ang pangako (ng pangulo) ay laging napapako.

Ang di lumingon sa pinanggalingan,
Sa kangkungan ang paroroonan.

Ang pagsisisi ay laging sa huli.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

On Being A Teacher; On Being Sick and Tired

It best describes how I'm feeling: "Sick and Tired." There's no need to argue with me why the "s" and the "t" are capitalized because they are much more than just adjectives; they are emotions personified.

I have perennially been dealing with tonsilitis and influenza. These are the two known diseases that biannually remind me that I am a chain-smoker and a stupid perpetuator of bodily hubris (aka sadomasochistic fatigue). Since Friday last week, I wasn't able to hold classes, stand in front of class, and facilitate discussions or whatever's in store for this overtly excruciating and monotonous life of teaching. Add that my loss of vigor for continuing with my thesis. I am a certified pessimist nowadays.

And I have let things snake their way in my mind's alleys: To teach is more than just a jostle to the brain; or a wanting to impart knowledge or know-hows or whatever it is you want to call this means of economic production. For some, it is a calling, an alternative to a consumerist or capitalist-induced job, a reason to wake up everyday, a therapeutic recourse, a socio-psychological groping for an undisputably existential hunger, a gustatory want or desire, and most of all, or most of all, an altruistic rendition of human and humanitarian epiphany. But in all these aspects, there is a truck-load of shit hovering over one's head.

There is no need to argue that teaching is a formal relationship between teachers and students. In fact, this educational structure relies basically on the fundaments of tradition and parochial politics. Tradition because historically, education has been perceived as a tool for "enlightening" the young by the old and the leader. It seems to be trailing the track of passive learning while the old and the respected "actively" tutor their students and hedonistically impart in what are and what aren't true, good and beautiful. This same tradition lives side by side with an elderly's (teacher's) parochial politics -- from egotism and self-centered agitation to that mammoth term for love of self and people: nativism.

Of course, like anything and anyone in an "unevenly developed society," pedagogy (the theory of learning and the practice of teaching) is heterogeneous. While of course, there is the fact that the state or the government maintains its own hegemonic pedagogical methods to inculcate in our students a neo-colonial and neo-liberal education these days.

So, the task of teaching is more than just a worrying of whether students actually "dig" what the teacher shares or explains. It is more than just squeezing for juvenile happiness; of connecting with the young and of healthily expressing what the teacher has learned when s/he was still a student. It is more than just smiling at the end of the day knowing that a heart or two has understood a lesson, or when students participate actively in a popular culture discussion or a creative writing exercise. Because the metathesis of these all is that a student is a person and a person is a political animal.

Even Aristotle and Plato have discoursed, in their own time and own terminology, that a student is as political as his/her mentor/teacher/lecturer. The whole grand narrative of epistemology lies in a student's utterance of his/her own political belief -- and how the student -- and the teacher -- interpellate each one's political discourse. From the selection of names, the formation of subjectivies such as wants, dislikes and favorites. From the choice of food to the choice of language utilized. From the selected readings to the teaching styles and activities employed such as blogging, library work, group activities, field trips -- everything is both on a linear and a vertical plane, waiting for a three-dimensional understanding.

Because teaching is more than just a dialogue of sorts. It is dialogic and discriminating. How to discern these is a teacher's task -- the bleeding and the scarring of the superego -- the self-flagellation of the ego.

Having said this, I rest my case in an undaunted fashion. Fuck you narcissists, self-preserving, self-gratifying juvenile teachers whose only concerns are to be published, to get an ego boost, to go up the corporate-academic ladder. Fuck you MA and PhD holders who've gotten their graduate and post-graduate degrees because of nepotism and parochialim. Fuck you teachers who don't have the humility to accept your own faults. Fuck you teachers who don't actively engage in real needs of society, who choose to be silent, who go with the flow, who pretend to be progressive. Fuck you slave drivers! Fuck you sick men and women who suck out of the young their energies and abilities and use them for their own Machiavellian needs.

But most of all, thank you to all of you who have made stronger and more-willed teachers. Because of your sheer arrogance and demented politics, a young teacher or two have grown weary, angsty, sad, mad, and most of all, enlightened.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Gwen / Garci

I just turned off the television, turned on my laptop, and connected to this virtual landscape. After hearing Lito Camo perform -- as an introductory song to Yes Yes Show! Lakas! -- his new song "Hello! Garci!," I smiled, awed and despaired. Why? Because he did it, again. Lito Camo did it, again.

Last year, I think, I wanted to make a song out of the street song "Bulaklak," but Lito Camo paced faster, and made that song for the Viva Hot Babes. Now, this "Hello! Garci!" song where he used the Gloriagate tape conversation of PGMA and Garci, punning, of course, and referring to Viva Hot Babes hottie Gwen Garci. Such a brilliant, brilliant man. I intended to make a poem using Gwen Garci as pun to the Garci tapes. But, hey, hey, hey, Lito Camo did it, again.

I am not surprised though. I shouldn't be. I shouldn't even be sour here, but he did it, again. So, that's for starters. Now, let me go to another Gwen -- Stefani this time. Last Sunday, I went to Quiapo to fish out from a sea of pirated DVDs some artsy-fartsy and Korean films. But the rain stopped me. So I turned my head to pirated audio CDs. I bought four titles: The Hotdog's "Greatest Hits," Rey Valera's "Maging Sino Ka Man," Green Day's "Warning + Greatest Hits," and Gwen Stefani's "Love Angel Music Baby."

Among the 13 tracks of Stefani's solo album, I like best the song "Rich Girl," not because I would want to be one, but I like the intro part which goes "Nananananana, nananana, nananana, nanana, nanana, nana..." It reminds me of blister and sores -- NANA -- that creamy fluid like condensed milk or condensada.

Anyway, I stayed inside our apartment in Tandang Sora the whole fucking day. I tried to go out but my flesh was / is so weak. My throat was dry and aching, and my temperature rose, just like when I watch porn movies, and just like when I have sex, of course. So much about this stingy stuff.

Back to Garci. The Congress motioned to subpoena Garci. The atmosphere in the said congressional hearing is so painstakingly long and absurd, with all those tight solons selfishly deciding on the faith of the Filipino people. At the forefront of this strenuous occasion, PGMA revels in the lie that everything's fine, even if her morality and political leadership are tarnished, so to speak. I watched, with the large head of guilt rearing, how people from various sectors and political sides amassed in Ayala. I envy them, and I am guilt-stricken, because I wasn't able to participate in the said mass mobilization because of this trangkaso.

But of course, there will be more mass mobilizations, especially that PGMA badly clings to her position and perennially annoys me and others by her sheer Tupperware-ness (read: plastic!). And how I so want to throw my ashtray at Mike Defensor speaking on national television, defending her beloved but begrudged Arroyo. To puke on him would not be a crime. And to kill him, of course, would be ridding the world of an evil henchman. Mike Defensor is one of the crudest and most nihilistic trapos (traditional politican) in the Philippine political arena.

CONTEND will be coming up with a publikasyong-iglap of poetry on the PGMA ouster. Submit your poems to manlabusaw@yahoo.com and/or mjbarrio@pldt.dsl.net. Deadline is on July 18. 2005, of course.

Monday, July 11, 2005


ni Michael Francis C. Andrada

Ang karanasang pangkultura at pangrelihiyon ng mga Pilipino hinggil sa Marianismo (pamumuhay ayon sa ehemplo ng Birheng Maria ng mga Katoliko) ay isa sa may pinakamatinding impluwensiya sa konsepto ng pagkababae sa Pilipinas. Noong panahon ng Kolonyalismong Kastila, ang estatwa ng Birheng Maria ay isa sa mga simbolo ng bagong relihiyon ng mga katutubong Pilipino. Ibinibigay ito ng mga misyonero bilang pabuya sa mga baranggay at distritong nagpabautismo sa Katolisismo. (Mojares) Malaki ang implikasyon ng Marianismo sa paghulma sa pag-uugali’t gawi ng mga babae – na dapat gawin nila ang lahat ng makakaya upang maging kawangis ng Birheng Maria: madasalin, mahinhin, masunurin sa utos ng Diyos, at higit sa lahat, pinagkakaingatan-ingatan ang “puri” o pinananatili ang pagiging “birhen” hangga’t mabasbasan ng Katolikong kasal.

Sa panahon ng globalisasyon at kulturang popular, mamamasdan at mararamdaman ang pagbabago sa konsepto ng “babaeng birhen.” Pinakamalinaw ito sa konsepto ng babae at ng birhen sa softdrinks na Virgin Cola at iba pang produkto ng transnasyunal na korporasyong Virgin Drinks Group ni Richard Branson. Unti-unti na nating tinatangkilik sa Pilipinas ang Virgin Cola – ang ngayo’y pinakamurang softdrinks sa bansa sa halagang P5.50. Ngunit bukod sa mababang presyo, kapansin-pansin ang hitsura ng basyo (bote man o plastik) ng Virgin Cola. Kung dati’y isang estatwa ng babaeng banal, birhen at balot na balot ang dinala sa Pilipinas, ngayon ay isang boteng hubad at seksi ang ginagawang simbolo ng bagong babae sa bansa.

Ang Mahal na Birheng Global
Sa pagtuturo ko ng Kulturang Popular sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas-Diliman, ang isa sa unang ipinagagawa ko ay ang pagtukoy sa ideolohiya ng isang nilalang. Nililinaw ko munang mabuti kung ano ang depinisyon ng ideolohiya – na ito ay isang grupo ng mga ideya, kaisipan at paniniwala na siyang humuhulma sa at nagiging kamalayan ng tao (Williams). Mas lilinawin ko pang mabuti ito sa pamamagitan ng pagsambit na ang isang tao’y maaaring malay o di-malay na nagtataglay ng isa o higit pang ideolohiya – ito man ay tama o lisya (mali). Sa kasalukuyang panahon ng kulturang popular, ang mga lisyang kamalayan ay ipinalalaganap sa pamamagitan ng mga tradisyunal na institusyong ideolohikal tulad ng pamilya, simbahan at paaralan, at sa pamamagitan ng mga ahente ng kulturang popular tulad ng pelikula, radyo, telebisyon, diyaryo at iba pang midya.

Ang pinakamatingkad na lisyang ideolohiyang taglay, malay man o hindi, ng isang tao ay ang ideolohiyang patriarkal. Isa itong sistema kung saan naghahari ang lalaki at namamayani ang kaisipang maka-lalaki. Ibig sabihin, kahit hindi kasariang lalaki ang pinakamarami sa isang lipunan, ang kaisipang maka-lalaki pa rin ang nananaig sa halos lahat ng aspeto ng pamumuhay at kultura. Nangangahulugan rin itong maging ang isang babae, lesbiyana o bakla ay maaaring malay o di-malay na nagtataglay ng ideolohiyang patriarkal. Halimbawa, sa isang lipunang patriarkal, iginigiit sa kamalayan ng mamamayan na ang sukatan ng pagkalalaki ay ang pagiging matikas, malakas at matinik sa babae, samantalang ang pagkababae nama’y nakakahon sa pagiging masunurin, mahinhin at isinusuko lang ang kanyang “puri” o “kabirhenan (virginity)” matapos ang kasal. Gayundin, maraming tao sa anumang antas ng lipunan ay naniniwalang ang anak na babae ay dapat palakihin upang maging taumbahay, samantalang ang anak na lalaki ay dapat magpursigi upang maging tagapagtaguyod ng pamilya.

Ang nakasanayang dibisyong ito ay tinatawag na “sexual division of labor” (Engels) kung saan ang babae ay itinatalaga sa isang domestikadong lugar upang punan ang “mas madaling” trabaho samantalang ang lalaki naman ang siyang susuong sa “mas mahirap” na trabahong nangangailangan ng pisikal na kalakasan. Sa puntong ito, ang dibisyon ay nagbibigay ng mas mataas na lugar sa lalaki bilang tagapag-uwi ng kita. Samakatwid, ang lalaki ang itinatanghal bilang siyang bumubuhay sa pamilya, ang pinakamaliit na pang-ekonomiyang yunit sa lipunan.

Ngunit mapapansin rin na sa kasalukuyan, habang patuloy na tumitindi ang krisis pang-ekonomiya sa pandaigdigang saklaw, ang mga babae ay pinag-uuwi na rin ng kita hindi lamang dahil sa mga panawagan para sa pantay-pantay na karapatan ng lalaki at babae kundi lalo’t higit dahil sa krisis-pinansiyal. Ngunit hindi ito nangangahulugan na pagdating sa mga opisina at pabrika ay tumitigil na ang sekswal na dibisyon ng pagtatrabaho.

Sa katunayan, habang mas pinananaig ang sistema ng globalisasyon, pinalalawak pang lalo ang sistemang patriarkal sa global na antas. Makikita ito sa feminisasyon ng paggawa – ang parami nang paraming bilang ng kababaihang pumapasok sa sektor ng paggawa. Gayundin, sa global na lebel, mayroong tinatawag na “globalisasyon ng domestikong serbisyo” (Lutz) kung saan ang kababaihan mula sa mahihirap na bansang tulad ng Pilipinas ay nagtutungo sa mayayamang bansa (Amerika, Japan, Italy, Canada atbp) upang magsilbing domestic helper. Nagiging ekstensyon ito ng domestikong pagganap ng kababaihan sa globalisadong lebel.

Ang Pagsulpot ng Mahal na Birhen ni Branson sa Cabuyao
Sa kulturang popular naman, makikitang tumitindi rin ang feminisasyon bilang isang galamay ng sistemang patriarkal. Makikita ito sa Virgin Cola kung saan makikitang feminisado ang paggawa at globalisado ang babae bilang pangunahing produkto ng mga mulitnasyunal at transnasyunal na korporasyon.

Nasa Cabuyao, Laguna ang 100-ektaryang planta ng Asia Brewery, Inc. (AB), kung saan ginagawa ang iba’t ibang variants ng Virgin softdrinks sa Pilipinas. Bahagi ang AB ng pag-aari ni Lucio Tan, isa sa pinakamalaking business tycoon sa Pilipinas. Humigit-kumulang P1-bilyong piso ang ipinuhunan ni Tan upang makuha ang lisensiya ng pagmamanupaktura ng mga produkto ng Virgin: Red (Cola), White (Diet), Juicy Orange (Orange) at Blue (Lemon Lime).

Bukod sa murang halaga at baryasyon ng softdrinks, isa sa pang-akit ng Virgin ang naglalakihang mga billboard na patalastas nito. Sa Cabuyao, makikita ang patalastas ng Virgin na nagsasabing: “Hot? Get a Virgin.” Mayroon itong bersyon sa Filipino: “Hot ka ba? May Virgin dito.” Sa literal na lebel, ang naturang advertising catchphrase ay isang pagtatanong sa target na merkado: “Nauuhaw ka ba? Bumili ka ng Virgin para mapawi yan.” Tila ito isang simple at inosenteng tanong na humihikayat na bumili ng Virgin Cola. Ngunit dito na pumapasok ang usapin ng patriarkal na ideolohiya. Hindi maitatatwang nakapulupot sa patalastas na ito ang kaisipang patriarkal, kung saan ang isang softdrinks, tulad ng iba pang produkto ng konsyumeristang industriya, ay inihahalintulad sa babae. Masisilo na ang tanong na “Hot?” ay tumutukoy sa kondisyon na “tag-libog” o “nag-iinit” ang isang lalaki, at ang solusyon rito ay ang isang birheng babae na didilig o titighaw sa “uhaw.”

Sa usapin ng feminisasyon ng globalisasyon, makikita sa Virgin Cola ang pagtatakda ng malalaking korporasyon sa istandard ng katawan ng isang babae at ng mismong pagkababae. Una, ang katawan o bote ng Virgin Cola ay iwinangis sa noo’y 36-21-35 na figura ng noo’y sikat na Baywatch Babe na si Pamela Anderson. Kung kaya’t tinatawag ring “The Pammy” ang naturang softdrinks. Ayon kay Branson, “No red-blooded male will be able to resist taking the top off a Pammy and pressing his lips to its neck.” Samakatuwid, hayagang idinideklara ni Branson ang sekswal na lapit sa pagbebenta ng kaniyang softdrinks. Makikita ang deklarasyong ito bilang paglalagak sa babae sa loob ng bote ng Virgin Cola. Higit pa rito, pinagsasanib ang babae at bote bilang isang produktong bibilhin ng kalalakihan, hindi lamang sa Pilipinas kundi sa pandaigdigang saklaw.

Ikalawa, itinutulak ng korporasyon ang konsepto ng “babaeng birhen” bilang ideyal na babae. Gayundin, itinutulak ito bilang ideyal na pagnanasa ng lalaki – ang maka-“iskor” ng birhen. Masasapo ito sa billboard ad ng Virgin Cola sa C-5 Highway: “More from Virgin to Satisfy You.” Ngunit ang kapuna-puna sa naturang patalastas ay napakaliit ng salitang “from” kumpara sa iba pang mga salita kung kaya’t lumalabas na ito’y: “More Virgin to Satisfy You.” Sa mga puntong ito, iginigiit at ginagawang normatibo ang nasa ng lalaki sa birheng babae bilang daluyan ng komersyo at konsumerismo. Sa lokal at global na antas, itinatakda nito ang relasyong pangkapangyarihan sa pagitan ng lalaki at babae: ang lalaki bilang mamimili at ang babae bilang produkto.

Samakatuwid, ang konsumeristang aspekto at feminisasyon ng globalisasyon ay nagpapailanlang at nagpapamandila ng maka-lalaking industriyang siyang sumasaid, pumupuno at muling-sumasaid sa transnasyunal na babaeng bote ng Virgin Cola. At kung magpapatuloy ang ganitong sistema, hindi na nakapagtataka kung isang araw, ang estatwa ng Birheng Maria sa altar ay mapalitan ng Virgin Cola.

Friedrich Engels. “The Origin of the Family.”
Helma Lutz. “At Your Service!: The Globalization of Domestic Service.”
Resil Mojares. Waiting for Mariang Makiling: Essays in Philippine Cultural History.
Raymond Williams. “Ideology.”

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Donato Continente

I still remember him. And I am happy for him.

Six years ago, I visited this man, Donato Continente. Fellow writers and editors of the Philippine Collegian interviewed him. It was my first time to go inside the Muntinlupa Jail, or inside any jail for that matter. He was wearing an orange shirt, meaning he's on maximum security. Unknown to many, Kuya Donat was a staff member of the Philippine Collegian in 1989.

He served 14 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. He was the alleged assasin of U.S. Col. James Rowe. If I'm not mistaken, he's been recommended twice for Presidential pardon, but the U.S. White House blocked these moves.

That day in 1999 when we went to visit him, the air was unusually hot. But when we got to the prison, the walls were cold, but Kuya Donat was hot like the sun, cheerful and his smile was soft, subtle but honestly happy and hopeful. He told us how his life was in prison. He said that he'd been organizing co-convicts inside the prison cells. They talked about the ails of Philippine society and how systemic the crisis is in the country and all over the world.

I will never forget what he told us. That even if he's in prison, he's not gloomy, because that prison is just a miniature prison of a bigger prison we're all living in.

I am happy for him. Much happier now that he'll be able to continue his political struggles with all of us. He may not remember me or recognize me, but it doesn't matter. In this political struggle, faces and names become one, become sublimed and subversive.


Sketches by Piya Constantino

After eight months or more, I was able to visit my friend Piya's flickr account. I found in her sketches album two sketches of me. Thanks, Piya! :)

1. "Happy Birthday, Mykel!" by Piya

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

This is a sketch version of a picture of mine when I was still enthusiastic with the UP Ugnayan ng Manunulat. Before all the social blunder. Me, by the UGAT tambayan at the Faculty Center backyard, hehehe. According to Piya's flickr account, this is a birthday tribute for me. And I just found out about this today.

2. "Mykel" by Piya

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

This one is entitled "Mykel." Just one of those lutang days for me.

Friday, July 01, 2005


There comes a point in time when a wannabee writers is faced by the stark truth: that writing is a grueling matter, much like a begrudged stomach.

Lately, I have been wondering to and fro, thinking of how much there is to make out of writing. I remember pieces of myself, like Jewel's "Pieces of You" song, cascading in what seems to be an edgy ball at the rim of a glass. How it cascades at the rim of a glass is a jarring thought, a seemingly and unmistakably senseless excuse for my incapacity to describe or narrate well. Well, in such cases as this, I wonder which really comes first: the thought or the afterthought?

I saw Kit and Aste yesterday. Aste grew thin, slighted with mediocre pimples, while Kit was flashy, her eyes concealed by windshield-shaped spectacles. We really didn't talk about writing, the art of it, or the lack of it, or the use of it. Rather, we talked about binging and drinking and some thoughts and afterthoughts of collegiate life, a bit of politics, and a get-together. I left them under the hoods of the Faculty Center Walk. And I walked past the waiting shed, boarded a UP-Katipuan jeep, saw Omeng's object of love and lust, paid my fare, and descended a bit far from the UP College of Mass Communication. And then I walked past the trees, the vendors, the grass, unmindful of the heatwave, puffed a Winston Lights, and hurried home.

Now, I am here in Tandang Sora, trying to get to sleepdom. My spirit is willing to sleep, but my flesh is weak. Cheky, the household mother cat, earlier this week, gave birth to three kittens. Until now, her pussy's into bleeding. I worry for her. She's unusually silent, I surmise maybe because she's overfatigued nursing her babies. Or maybe she's just plain too old already. She's goddamn tired, I see. A couple of days ago, she refused to nurse her kids.

Are there feminist cats? Cheky might be one. And Isabel too.