Saturday, August 27, 2016

Waiting for the President

One hour. Two hours. Three. Four hours. I was under the GI-covered court since one o'clock, when the sun was at its zenith. He was supposed to arrive at two. He arrived at 6 pm, when the sun was already down. When reporters started arriving, they asked, how long have you been here? An hour or two ago, I said.  When you're alone to an event like this, you don't want to be late, to be accosted by the Presidential Security Group and be told, "Sorry, Ma'm, you can't enter now," and there would be no one to back you up. So, you come early. When I arrived, it was very hot, I remembered what Alan told me, "Be sure to bring along a bottle of water, it would be very hot there, and the store is so far away." I did not remember until I was thirsty. The whole week, I've been thinking, my job increasingly feels like a one-sided love affair; I love my lover but my lover doesn't love me back. I was broke. When I told Ruth all my capacity to love has already been drained, and there's nothing left to it now, not even crumbs; she said, maybe, you're just tired. I said, I've been tired before but this has nothing to do with that kind of tiredness. This one has the finality to it. It's like what you feel when you want to leave your husband and you're already set in doing it. Have you ever felt that way? I asked and added, as an afterthought, "But maybe, you've never felt that way to your husband, at all; maybe, you love your husband." 
Her reaction was violent. Her brows suddenly knotted, the color of her face suddenly changed. "Dili oy, dili! Dili!" she protested vehemently.
We were both surprised; and we both laughed.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

How I discover Brenda Tharp

Sometime in 2011, when I finally finished my part of what soon will become the book, "Bittersweet Stories of Farm Workers in the Philippines," I was so happy to have written a 36-page manuscript and had enjoyed every bit of it that I entered the bookstore so intent on celebrating.  As usual, I went directly to the rummage bin, where all the books were haphazardly strewn, without any attempt at organization. I did not bother casting a look at the well-ordered display shelf, because I have stuck to the belief that the real treasure are found in the rummage bin and not on the shelf.  True enough, the book, "Creative Nature and Outdoor Photography," immediately caught my eye. When I opened it, I discovered that its author is doing in photography what I was trying to do in my writing. I immediately knew it was a book for me.
All the previous photography books I read had in them what I called a male energy.  Everything was straitjacketed, including your vision, in a way that often constricted me. Aside from touching on the basics of composition and some principles of design, this book allows the beginning photographer to explore.

Sunday, August 07, 2016


I'm lost again and torn in all directions. Three very strong forces are pulling me and tearing me apart.  First is UpperBla, where I am locked in a violent battle against swell-headed monsters and well-entrenched chauvinist pigs that dominate the countryside; another force, a gargantuan edifice that might gobble up my last remaining precious time for pleasurable reading; and the force of love, which requires me to stay put and stay where I am.