Tag Archive: Traveling



On my way to work today, I saw a 15-foot billboard of the Mandaluyong City Ordinance against riding-in-tandem. Riding in tandem is the Filipino equivalent of a drive-by.

The said ordinance prohibits two males from riding the same motorcycle together, unless they are father and son. It sounds absurd, but wait till you see the pictures.

I remarked on the billboard and the taxi driver weighed in… (I’m paraphrasing)

He explained how terrible the problem of riding-in-tandem is. His neighbor, who was having coffee in front of his house one morning was shot 10 times on the head and face by two armed men on a motorcycle.

The two strangers rode up to the front of the house asked the neighbor what his name was and bang– (times ten)

Wait, there’s more…

The motive? The men were hired by a trader from whom the victim owed 8 sacks of charcoal. (that’s Php1,200/$30+) It’s so fascinating how some people can so arbitrarily assign a value on someone’s life. And because they do, seemingly absurd solutions turn into City Ordinances.

A Hike


Imagine a cat being run over by a car. Its forelegs up like a black man pulled over by a beat cop, hindlegs spread awkwardly apart, the way the “walk” sign is.

Now imagine me at that position, sprawled on the couch.

“I can’t breathe,” I told Nikki. She always has a way of expressing extreme concern. “What’s wrong? Are you okay?” I felt like a blanket of thick mist was draped over me, invading my nostrils, I had to breathe through my mouth.

On certain days, I feel like this, especially today. And I feel my face slowly melting into sadness, assuming the position it takes when I cry. My tearducts also begin to ache, signaling the imminent flow of tears.

But I had nothing to cry about.

At least nothing concrete.

I’ve had mood swings like this for almost the entire year now. In the past, I’ve been able to time when they would come (usually on the third quarter of the year, around the time I celebrate my birthday). But recently, it’s been really, really erratic.

I’ve had bouts of anxiety on and off for the past two years. They’re inexplicable.

The safest way to get over this is to sleep. But in my case, when I do choose to sleep, I end up sleeping the entire day, upwards of 12 hours. And when I finally am forced to wake up, due to the call of nature or a rumbling stomach, or work, I feel even worse.

I’ve had dysthymia since third year college. During my first phase, I stayed on the couch for six months, only getting up to get a glass of water or to go to the bathroom. I’ve had to drop all of my non-major classes for the entire term because I wasn’t going to school.

It’s recurred every third quarter of the year since then. And somehow I was able to manage it.

Before, whenever I’d have an anxiety attack, I would walk. And when I say walk, I’m talking about serious walking. Like 15 or so kilometers.

Last night, I went to sleep when Nikki left for work. I woke up at 2AM feeling like shit still so I decided I would take a walk. So I walked to the city hall, around 2KM or so and around the rotonda. Then I decided I’d walk from the city hall to EDSA through Boni Avenue. That’s around 5KM. It took me an hour to get there. I was walking really slowly, because I don’t want to be drenched in sweat by the time I reached the highway.

When I got to EDSA, I crossed the train station to get to the Northbound Side and took a bus to Shaw Blvd., which was literally one train station away. I got off the stop and walked all the way to Emerald Ave., which was roughly around another 3KM.

I’d hoped that someone would pick me up, actually. And not to take me back home but to pick me up like a prostitute, you know. A Nissan Adventure with a really cute driver actually slowed down to make eye contact with me. Yes, the light was on in his car and his window was rolled down. But after we made eye contact, I just looked down again and kept walking.

Ordinarily, I would have taken the offer he implied and probably had meaningless sex. I would even pretend to be mute, or deaf, to avoid having to talk to him.

Stupid things happen when you take extremely long walks at 2AM, if you let them.

I texted Ian, “I need gravity…”

I was floating away.

I needed an anchor because everything in my mind was going awry. It felt as if the neurons in my brain were endlessly firing and I couldn’t make them stop. The thoughts just kept flowing like the water from the faucet I leave on when I’m in the bathroom.

Yes, I keep the faucet on and put a bucket under it. But I let the water overflow because I like the sound of it and how it wets my feet but not completely. Thinking for me is both unstoppable and very bad for the environment.

I can’t write on days like this when I’m firing.

I can’t stand writing crap. And when my brain goes into hyper mode, I can’t keep myself from seeing only crap in whatever I write. So I end up being more miserable at the end of it.

I was seriously contemplating taking a marker to my bedroom wall and making a mural. But I knew that it would be hideous, so I had to take myself out of the house to stop myself from doing something I’d see and regret when I wake up in the morning.

Last night was the perfect night for someone to have been there and tell me, “there, there, everything’s going to be just fine.”

That never happens, of course.

Even with a random stranger. Especially with a random stranger.

As I was walking all over the city, I was reintroduced to the foulest of smells, the direst of circumstances, the worst of hopeless cases sleeping on urine stained steps and nooks. Their clothes encrusted with the grimy residue of the bustle of the city. I look at the faces of the people I walked past. They were either coming from somewhere or going somewhere. Some were waiting for someone else, or something definite. They all had something to do and they just happened to be not there yet.

And I, the aimless wanderer, had more in common with the urchin passed out under the footbridge. We were both suspended. There.

There, there… nothing was fine.

I looked at my watch and noted the change in the sky’s color. It was about to be morning, and soon, as the earsplitting blaring of the city buses become more sustained and almost overlapping, the city will shake off it’s sleep and begin to overflow.

The clamor may be too much for my exhausted mind.I decided to walk back the 3KM and hailed a cab somewhere along Shaw.

The thing about walking is that you never really feel how far you’ve walked until you stopped.

As I was sitting on the passenger seat of the cab, this fact was reiterated to me. But I didn’t complain. Pain in the legs is way better than pain in the heart, any day.

I went straight to the bathroom after opening the door to the apartment and washed my feet. I got my stash and smoked a pipe a little bit. I took my clothes off and passed out on my bed.

When you’re exhausted, everything else doesn’t matter. I make my body tired so that I’m forced to sleep. And when you sleep, you can dismiss thoughts as dreams, and I always forget my dreams anyway.

I slept eight and a half hours.

I woke up today not feeling any happier. But feeling relieved, despite some aching in the legs.

When I got to work, Ram asked me what I was doing in EDSA at 3AM. I didn’t realize someone had seen me. Marice also asked me if I was fine, since Nikki told her that I was funking again.

I didn’t know what to say.

I know that I’m miserable, but I’m not so worried about it. Because I’ve been feeling that way on and off for years. My rationalizations always prevail over any need to resolve my so-called issues.

There is no cure for dysthymia, besides therapy.

I actually called the Phil. Mental Health Association.

They told me to take a hike.

Quiapo


 

Ilang kopi†a ng

Pampagana

Pampakipo†

Pampahaba a†

Pampa†ambok

Ang nabibili sa Quiapo bawa†

Linggo?

Ilang kapilya ang mapupuno ng

Mahalay na pelikula,

Mga dibuho ng mga

Adan a† Eba,

San†o’† San†i†a?

Ilang namamana†a

Ang †ikom na

Nagkakas†ahan

Sa loob ng mga mumurahing

Mo†el?

Ilang pu†a ang nebebendisyunan

Ng mapu†i a†

Malansang †amod?

Sabay sambi† ng

“Diyos ko po!”

Sa anino lang ng bahay ng

Nazareno.

Sobrang lapi†

Maaaring lakarin nang

Paluhod.

Ilayo mo po kami sa †ukso a†

Iadya mo kami sa laha† ng masama.

Kaninong awi† ng

Libog

Ang ikinukubli sa alingawngaw ng

Kampana?

Amen,

Amen a†

Amen.