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heights seniors folio 2014 Copyright 2014 heights is the official literary and artistic publication and organization of the Ateneo de Manila University. Copyright reverts to the respective ­authors and ­artists whose works appear in this issue. No part of this book may be r­ eprinted or reproduced in any means whatsoever ­w ithout the written permission of the copyright holder. This publication is not for sale. Correspondence may be addressed to: heights, Publications Room, mvp 202 Ateneo de Manila University po Box 154, 1099 Manila, Philippines Tel. no. (632) 426-6001 loc. 5448 heights - ateneo.org Layout by Meggie Ong and Eugene Tuazon Cover by Cheska Mallillin and Eugene Tuazon Photography by Beatriz Ignacio Typeset in mvb Verdigris and Brown


Seniors Folio an anthology of seniors’ writing and art 2014


Contents Hannah Romey  2 Light  4 Katrina Gaw  14 Into the Deep  17 Lara Antonio  18 Not Otherwise Specified  20 Joseph Ledesma  34 Dinnertime  36 Melissa Yu  40 The Water is Thick Enough  43 Matthew Olivares  56 Just a few causes for the itch beneath my hair  60 Ilyena  62 Stephanie Shi  64 Projectile  66 Stella Acosta  74 Prophet  76 Angelo Galindo  78 Tangents  81


Abner E. Dormiendo  90 Mga Ulap  93 Recuerdo  97 Apophasis  98 Noel Clemente  106 Agua Bendita  109 Aidan Manglinong  110 Tablas Strait  113 Chise Alcantara  114 The Perfect Crime  116 Banyo Escapades  119 Mais-na-Mais-na-Mais  138 Jan Frederick Cruz  152 Dilim ang ugat ng paglikha  155 Socorro Orlina  156 Habulan  159 Gwen Bañaria  160 Flora  162 Niki Calma  164 Siphayo  166 Katabi  202


Ace Ancheta  228 Si Lolo sa Kabila  230 Dominique Beatrice La Victoria  236 Chipline  238 Reia G. Dangeros  260 Tiyanak  262 Meggie Ong  268 Immanent Suns  271 Patricia Lascano  272 Clarice  275 Punky Canlas  276 Float  279 Angelo Juarez  280 Sambahan  283 Adrian Begonia  284 Gardening  287 Landscape  288 Sarah Arrojado  290 Hiatus  292 Latency  293 Hubris  294


Stefanie Chan  296 Whole  299 Loyola Schools Awards for the Arts  300


Introduction In the four or five years you’ve stayed here in this university, you might have asked yourself at least once: What is the value of this folio that I hold in my hands? heights publishes these books filled with poetry and short stories, paintings and sketches, and they are made possible by each student’s significant contribution to the annual publication fund. Unfortunately, not everyone views the folios as something to be perused and appreciated. In fact, some argue that since not all the students desire to keep copies of the folios for themselves, then not everyone should have to pay for their production. It seems to be pointless for some. Admittedly, even those part of the literature and art community problematize this. In the face of the many issues in society, both national and global, do the things we do in heights like poring through each work that gets submitted to us or organizing lectures on the dichotomy of art and pornography and the like even matter? Just in the past academic year, we were faced with tragedies such as Typhoon Yolanda that struck the southern islands of the country and political scandals like that of the pork barrel scam. While these issues pervade our timelines and late-night news programs, one can’t help but beg the question of necessity: Do we actually need to talk and worry about art? But then that is the thing: necessity. It must be highlighted that the talented individuals seen on these pages created their works of art out of need. The act of laying down the right collection of words to construct a paragraph in an essay or the way a photographer frames and angles one’s camera to capture an image comes from a deep-seated desire within to immortalize thoughts and ideas into something tangible. These are the people who are not able to sit still unless they communicate their vision to the world through their craft.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · xi


The goals of these writers and artists may vary but their necessity to create art, in the end, culminates the experience of a human person. From their experiences and ideals, they attempt to make something permanent and encapsulate a part of their lives. It is through their art that they try to present the voice of a generation, the beauty of being alive, and the pains of everyday misfortune. Ultimately, art tries to help everyone in the pursuit and creation of meaning in our lives. Here in heights, we try our best to give the talented individuals of Ateneo a space to address their need to create and to seek what is meaningful. Though this may seem unimportant or secondary compared to more pressing matters in society, we believe that the role of art to capture what is worthwhile in our lives is still relevant to this day. It is an effort to never forget the moments—simple or crucial, wretched or blissful—that make up the human experience. Art compels us to value life more. The necessity to create is not confined to the world of literature and art. As you leave this university, may you never neglect the need within you that your experience here in Ateneo enriched. Same as what the writers and artists on the pages of this folio did, welcome the longing within you that once drove you to audition for that dream role, build your own startup company, or produce an ep of your music. Perhaps the continuation of such endeavors may lead up to the realization of answers. Or perhaps the answer is in the attempt and that should never be forgotten. 

Audrey Mae Ferriol editor-in-chief March 2014

xii · Introduction


Works


Hannah Romey

bfa creative writing

Hannah is a senior creative writing student on the nonfiction track. But she would like all her works to be called essays. She has decided that she will graduate with God as her subject, and essays as her pen towards a career with the same.


Light Kids in my class would usually take off my glasses and play games; they’d hold up a number of fingers and ask how many I could see. When I would tell them the right answer, which I always got right, they would give back my glasses and say, “You can see!” It’s not that I can’t see; it’s that I can’t see properly. I found out when I was in first grade. I wouldn’t participate in class; I just kept staring at the board. So my parents had me checked. Here I was, four years later: still wearing my glasses. My name was called. “Halika, check natin ‘yong eyes mo.” Almost robotically, I followed the optometrist. I took off my glasses, sat, and rested my chin and forehead on the autorefractor. “Hija, don’t blink ha,” she said. “Look straight ahead. Nakikita mo ba ‘yong parang bahay sa dulo? I-focus mo lang ‘yong mata mo doon.” I could see the barn. I used to think it was a house. There’s a path leading to it which made sure that the eyes didn’t wander around the image but focused on that red barn surrounded by green pastures. The image cleared. I relaxed. It got clearer and clearer and I felt my chest rise. Then, as if it was so clear, too clear, the image blurred. I waited for another moment of clarity. I held my breath and tightened my grip on the table. I imagined hitting the machine just so I’d see clearly again. There was a beep. The image cleared but by then, my eyes were tired; tears coated my view. I couldn’t blink; I wasn’t allowed to. The screen turned black. I blinked. The machine moved and focused on my other eye. Again, the image cleared but it blurred too quickly then cleared again as if adjusting for my eyes, so I’d see. The screen blanked again. I was ushered into the exam room. I hated this part. I made a quick glance at the eye chart and memorized as many little letters as I could. I sat on a chair and she pulled down the phoropter to my eyes. She arranged the lens and asked, “Malinaw ba?” I said no and she switched the lenses until I said it was clear. She 4 · Hannah Romey


covered the left lens and made me read from the eye chart. At first, I read, the letters were big enough. When I couldn’t anymore, I tried to remember the letters I memorized. I said a few successfully until I couldn’t remember anymore. A sudden rush of embarrassment drowned me. “Oh. Paki-ulit.” “K.” “Tingnan mong mabuti.” “R?” “Hindi mo talaga mabasa?” “X?” She changed the lens. * And we sang: Light of the world You stepped down into darkness Opened my eyes, let me see Beauty that made this heart adore You Hope of a life spent with You I started swaying slowly and peeked through my lashes, my eyelids quivered at the awkward position they were in. When the song got to the chorus, people (including my mom and dad) raised their arms. Here I am to worship. Then, they bowed. Here I am to bow down. Some of the others stood straight again with their arms still raised or on their chest. Here I am to say that You’re my God. The hairs on my arm started to stand. I shut my eyes. You’re altogether lovely, altogether worthy, altogether wonderful to me. I stopped swaying and raised my right hand. In school, they told us heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 5


that was a sign of surrender, total surrender. They also said that when you clapped, you were supposed to clap above your head because a clap at shoulder-height was a clap for people and a clap below the waist was a clap for “the enemy.” Of course, I knew they just wanted us to clap properly when praising God. “‘Yong gusto pong magpa-pray, lumapit po kayo dito sa harapan,” a voice boomed from the mic, cutting into the song. “If you want to re-surrender your life to God, come. Don’t be shy to admit it. He’s not a condemning God. He wants a relationship with you. Leaders, ipag-pray po natin sila.” I heard shuffling of shoes and dragging of chairs. I felt a pang on my chest. Should I go? Before I got to make any decision, I was pulled back to a side. When I opened my eyes, about twenty people were in front. Our pastor asked them to raise their hands. I saw one girl who was weeping; her tears dripped down her chin to the line of her throat, then absorbed by her black shirt. Next to her, I saw my friend. Slowly, step by step, I made my way closer to them. I shut my eyes again and raised both hands. Here I am to worship. Here I am to bow down. I was pushed to my left and I opened my eyes. A man fell on his back—the ushers caught him and slowly laid him on the floor. His eyes shut tight, tears falling down the sides of his face. The pastor laid his hand on the man’s forehead and continued to pray. “Let’s continue to worship God,” said the worship leader. I closed my eyes again. I began singing louder; drowning everything around me, even my thoughts, flushing them out with each word and note that came out of my mouth. Here I am to say that You’re my God. I felt something in my chest. Something warm wrapped around my chest and it began to spread all throughout my body. Then, I realized I was sobbing. You’re altogether lovely, altogether worthy. Tears accumulated and fell. Altogether wonderful to me. Sharp breaths escaped through my lips. My legs became weak and it was as though I was about to lose consciousness—I panicked. I heard the pastor come near me. He touched my hand and forehead, and then he began to pray. There was a long shriek from a woman somewhere—to my right, 6 · Hannah Romey


I thought—which made it difficult for me to understand what the pastor was saying. I inched closer to him, even tilting my head to a side to hear better. The woman was too loud. I opened my eyes, about to glare at the direction of the shriek—“Sa pangalan ni Hesus!” The pastor half-shouted. I closed my eyes again and waited for the magic fall. I didn’t fall. I kept waiting. It never happened. The warmth in my chest was gone. My legs were firmly straight. I was fully conscious. I force-tipped myself backwards and immediately, I fell. As I lied on my back, I remembered the man who fell. The smile on his face, so serene—was he seeing God right now? I saw nothing: a black, empty space. After the service, my family ate lunch with the other leaders and their families. On my way to get a second helping, the pastor passed by me. He was smiling from ear to ear and I smiled back. He said, “Ang galing-galing naman ni Hannah.” When I started scooping rice to my plate, an image flashed in my mind: my fake fall. I looked back at our pastor and he was talking to my parents, joking about something. My mom caught me staring and told me to come near her. “May practice ka ba ulit sa Friday, anak?” The pastor’s daughter came and wrapped her arm around me. “Sasayaw ka ulit, ‘di ba?” I looked at her, then at my mom, and nodded. “Mabuti naman, anak. Masarap mag-serve sa Lord, ano?” The pastor grinned at me. “Lagi ko nga tinatanong ‘yang si Hannah eh. Bakit ka nga ulit sumasayaw, anak?” My mom asked. I said softly, “Kasi love ko si God.” My mom said that’s the only reason why one would serve God. They said “Aba!” in approval and I smiled. I was only ten. What else was I supposed to say?

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 7


* I was handed my new glasses. New frame, new lenses. After a week of not having one, wearing it would probably cause me headaches. I wore it, slowly sliding the frame closer to my eyes as if to lessen the impact. Everything was clearer. I felt like I could even hear clearer, maybe taste and smell better too. I looked at my new frames in the mirror. Its shape made me look older, more mature, unlike the Harry Potter-like frame before. When I made quick glances to my sides, my view would blur for a second. My eyes felt strained like something was tugging on all sides of the pupil, forcing it to see. “Hindi ba parang malalim ‘yong floor?” The optometrist asked, probably expecting a yes. It was always a bit like that in the beginning. I looked down and walked a few steps. The floor did seem deep. I imagined Peter walking on water at the call of Jesus. Seeing the floor wasn’t enough. My feet had to trust my eyes that when I’d take a step, it would land on safe ground. “Is it okay, anak?” My mom opened her wallet, getting ready to pay. I smiled and nodded. She went to the counter and I took a seat near some frames, in front of a mirror. I saw my dad and brother. They were standing outside the shop, talking. My dad noticed me and gave me thumbs up. I swung my head to face them but for a moment, I couldn’t see anything. Someone patted me on the back which brought all my senses back to life. I looked up. It was my brother. It seemed as though I could look into every pore of the skin of his face. I didn’t realize how blurry my life had been before these glasses. But this was the case with every new pair of glasses I bought. How much clearer could things get? * I didn’t always want to dance in church because of the new rule: When we had a role on a Sunday service, we’d have to come early on the day itself and share our “quiet time.” We would stand in front of everyone, including our pastor and other leaders of the church with their knowing 8 · Hannah Romey


eyes, and share what we learned from reading a chapter of the Bible that day. I used hundreds of (valid) reasons to avoid practices those Friday nights: I was sick with a cold, I had a big project I needed to finish, I was tired from school, or I was hungry (which meant we needed to eat first and by the time we’d finish eating, the roads would be packed with red-lit cars). But I couldn’t escape it for so long. My parents came up with vitamins, encouragements, and drive-thru dinners from Burger King. Little by little, I started coming to practices. I willed myself to come early every Sunday just so I could continue serving God—or not feel guilty. “Alam mo, anak, ang pangarap ko lang bilang magulang ninyo ay makita kayong nag-se-serve sa Lord, sumusunod sa Kanya nang tunay,” my mom told me and my brother on our way home from one Sunday when I served as a dancer and my brother, a guitarist. The next time I danced, I made sure I focused. I focused on the song, on the large space I had to fill up, the gracefulness of my movements, on the movements, on focusing. I wasn’t sure when it happened, but at some point when I was dancing, I got lost—not with the choreography but with my focus. I got to dance again that day, a second time, since our church had two services. I tried to focus again, just like the first time, but I failed. I saw my crush at the audience. I didn’t miss a step from my choreography or look at him for more than half a second each turn. After the services, in the car, my mom gushed over the worship that morning. “Hannah, nakapag-worship ka nang todo noh?” I smiled and she added, “Pero parang mas nakapag-worship ka nung first service kaysa nung pangalawa.” I pursed my lips. “Nakakatuwa talaga ang mga ginagawa ng Lord sa buhay natin, noh?” “Opo,” I said. * “I-try mo mag contact lenses, anak,” my mom said while putting one on. She held her eyelids apart, the wet contact lens approaching her eye. heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 9


When it stuck, my mom blinked. Clear liquid dripped down from the corners of her eyes. My dad agreed. “Oo nga, anak. Mas maganda sa‘yo walang salamin.” “‘Yon nga lang, mag-iingat ka,” my mom added while she was putting another lens on her right eye. “Hindi puwedeng matulog na suot ito. Baka pumunta sa likod ng eyeball mo. Naku! Masakit ‘yon! Tsaka nakakabulag daw ‘yon.” The first time we asked the optometrist, she said my astigmatism was too high and contact lenses wouldn’t be able to fix it. One day, my glasses broke. The tiny screw that held the frame together fell and it was gone. I had walked around without my glasses for a whole week. The lost weight on my nose felt great but empty. I had to wait for people to be within a meter near me so I’d recognize their faces. For some reason, I also had trouble hearing. While waiting for my frame to be fixed, my mom asked the optometrist if we could try contact lenses for me now. Unfortunately, the optometrist said yes. And they had stock. She led me to a room and asked me to try putting on the lens. Every time it reached near my eye, I blinked. “Hawakan mo ‘yong eyelids mo,” the optometrist said. I did and tried again. I blinked. She washed her hands and took the lens. “Gusto mo, ako maglagay, ikaw humawak ng mata mo?” My mom smiled behind her. I nodded. “Ayan, tingin ka lang nang straight. ‘Wag kang pipikit. ‘Wag kang pipikit.” I blinked. The lens fell on the white cloth where the container was. “Teka. Tuyo na siya. Basain lang natin ha.” She dipped the lens inside the container. “Try natin ulit.” It was near, so near, too near. I fought hard not to blink. I could almost see through the lens. “Hindi ‘yan masakit, anak.” I blinked. The optometrist sighed. “Siguro sa bahay na lang niya ulit itra-try. Natatakot pa eh,” my mom said. The optometrist left the room. 10 · Hannah Romey


Water coated my eyes. * Every first Sunday of the month, the birthday and wedding anniversary celebrants were called to the front so everybody could greet them. This time, the emcee invited even those celebrating their “spiritual birthday.” I asked my mom what that was. No one was born Christian, of course— though I felt as though I technically was. A spiritual birthday is the day they accepted Jesus as their Lord and savior. It wasn’t a formal thing. People just liked to remember that day. A church friend had asked me when mine was. I didn’t know. First, I couldn’t remember formally saying in prayer that I accepted Him. All I could remember from childhood was that our pastor kept coming to our home in Bulacan. They worshiped and prayed with my parents. Our pastor gave an exhortation while either I played outside or wandered off in my imagination. But even before they started coming to our house, we already went to church and my parents were Christians before they got married. But if I did formally say the prayer, I didn’t know we had to take note of the date. One Sunday, there were new comers. The pastor talked about salvation and asked the new ones to pray with him if they wanted to accept Christ. He asked them to stand up. I sat up straight. I whispered the prayer as our pastor led. But I still forgot to take note of the date. I could argue it wasn’t about the prayer. Being a Christian was a way of life. During my elementary days, school was all the way in Quezon City and home was in Bulacan so I’d wake up at three in the morning every school day. I would take a bath, brush my teeth, and climb into the van in comfy clothes. My dad would turn on the radio; with a prayer and the lyrics of Hardin ng Panalangin, I would fall asleep. When we reached New Jerusalem School, my mom would wake us up. She’d help me get into my blouse and skirt, put on a ribbon, my ID, and a pin, then white socks and black leather shoes. I’d kiss my parents goodbye and I’d receive, “God bless you!” in return. heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 11


I was picked up exactly when I was dismissed and going home, my brother and I would sing to Shout for Joy while jumping around the van. When we got home and got ready for dinner, we’d wait until everyone is seated around the table. Once, my mom asked me to pray for the food. I shook my head violently. “Sige na, anak.” I buried my head in my arms on the table. “Magpe-pray lang eh. Dali na.” My dad said with a stern voice. “Hannah. Hindi tayo kakain hangga’t ‘di ka nagpe-pray.” I peeked and saw my mom’s eyebrows furrowed and said, “Dali na, Hannah.” “Si kuya na lang!” I pointed at my brother. “Ba’t ako?” “Sige na, anak, ikaw na lang,” my mom told him. “Siya inutusan eh!” “Ano ba ‘yan? Bakit ayaw nyong mag-pray?” My dad’s voice made us tremble. I buried my head again. My mom led the prayer. * I learned that our eyes are like machines that decode what we see. Light enters our eyes and when it reaches the back, our brain is able to recognize what we see. We don’t actually see images. We see light. I had two problems: I was near sighted and had high astigmatism. Near sightedness meant light didn’t reach that back layer inside my eyes that supposedly converted light to image. I never sat at the back of the classroom because even with my glasses, I couldn’t see everything. I had the habit of sitting near the TV just to see, though my parents always told me my habit would ruin my eyes even more. An irregularity in my eye’s lenses caused the high astigmatism. Everything was not just unclear, they were also blurry. The blur affected everything: my taste, my hearing, my behavior, my confidence. I had often tried taking off my glasses, laying my hands on my eyes 12 · Hannah Romey


and praying, “I have faith in You. I know You’re real. You can heal my eyes. When I take my hands off and I open my eyes, I will see clearly and it’s because You’ve healed me.” I never understood where I went wrong. The optometrist had said it was inborn but there was hope: my eyesight could be corrected as long as I kept wearing my glasses. * My mom asked me and my cousin one time, “When you pray, what do you see? What do you imagine?” I looked at Renz. He said, “I picture God looking down at me, listening to my prayer.” “Oo, tama. Nakikinig talaga Siya,” my mom patted him on the back. His answer seemed much better. I’d probably never know how he was able to conjure an image of God, but it still sounded better. At least his was concrete. They both looked at me. “I see… a bright light. Just a bright light,” I said. My mom nodded. “Well, that’s the first step.”

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 13


Katrina Gaw

bs legal management, minor in literature (english)

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” —Anaïs Nin It always feels appropriate to begin with a quote from a great writer—as if taking from the wisdom of a higher power, hoping her words reflect in yours. While I cannot yet claim to be a master of verse, I hope this piece stirs something in you, allows you to taste a morsel of life that will linger in your mind a moment more. There is a tendency to make these pages a sprawling, unending list of “thank yous.” This one will be no exception. After all, there really are countless people I am grateful for. Thank you to the friends who made college one big adventure: Block o 2014, jta-lm, the Dijonies, Tugoners, pana peeps, Ateneo Lex. Thank you to the friends that stayed and grew even better: Sasha, Kukha, gg, yaya, the Saturday Playgroup/Four Friends and the Single Since Zygote society. Thank you to my literature professors, who each deepened my love for the written word: Ma’am Trina Tinio, Ma’am Rica Bolipata-Santos, Sir Max Pulan, and Sir Migoy Lizada. And thank you, Sir Exie, for always being critical, comical, and encouraging all at the same time. Your class has taught me so much about writing, and writing well. Thank you to my roster of friends-turned-editors, Sean, Queeny, Erika, Melissa, Kazumi, Pia, Meggie, Karl and all my cw nonfiction


classmates. Most of all, thanks to my friend-turned-editor-in-chief, Candice Gan. You will always get strange messages and attached documents from me in the wee hours of the morning. Thank you to my siblings, who let me be sillier than I should be at my age. Thank you to my parents, who support me in all ways. Thank you to heights and the English staff for accepting this work, and then for giving me a page to myself just to express my gratitude. Thank You for giving me a blessed life.

And thank you, Ateneo, for the past four years. It’s been a pleasure.

16 · Katrina Gaw


Into the Deep I would like to lose myself in your ocean. Somewhere underneath that stillness I know there is a force— already with the nimblest feet a creature walks the tension of your surface; already sinking ships have lost their voyagers in your depths. There are torrents there, likely— currents, fierce and feral, that swallow souls whole, like those tales of ghosts and invisible hands pulling down into the sleepiest caves, sirens dooming dreaming sailors to the unseen below. I find I would not mind if tomorrow I will be found a floating corpse upon the sea-weeded coast by then I would have weeded through the forests of your soul; I would have emerged completely given, as flowers thrown from cliffs to missing farers for farewell— lost in the madness of pressure and pleasure that is nothing but water, and weight.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 17


Lara Antonio

ab communication, minor in creative writing

Lara L. Antonio is set to graduate this March from Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in communication and a minor in creative writing. One day, she would like to live in an empty loft—romanticized organized chaos, artistic attempts, her bed and a coffee machine all accounted for—but, for now she lives with her parents, her two little monsters, Ate Gie, four dogs, two parakeets, and occasionally, a cat, somewhere along Katipunan. She passes her time by running, singing, running while singing, and dancing (foolishly) (on stage). She likes to catalog moments for revisiting. These essay is an excerpt from her chapbook, tahanan. For Mama. Thank you for the gift of words.


Not Otherwise Specified i. My mother told me that when I was born, the first thing I did was vomit blood. I cried hysterically for months before they could figure out what was wrong with me. She says the lining in my stomach was weak. Doctors tell her I have gastro-esophageal reflux. My grandmother tells her it’s nothing. She’s a colicky baby; it’s normal. Statistics show that out of four million babies, 35% will have gastroesophageal reflux (gerd) in their first year. The thing is, human beings are helpless and some do not automatically adjust to their new living conditions. Science says not to worry; she’s supposed to outgrow this. As a first time parent, my mother didn’t know what to do with all the crying. Somehow, she’d conditioned my baby brain into thinking that the easiest way to feel good was to let it all out, baby burp-vomits to make it all better. The truth is, I don’t remember when it started. I do remember growing up always complaining of stomachaches, my dad constantly teasing me that it was just a little bit of gas in my stomach. I never liked bubblegum, but because it was supposed to give you gas and make your stomach feel funny, I wasn’t allowed any of it. Stomachaches were stomachaches until they started getting more frequent; until they started getting worse; until they started feeling like you’d swallowed a knife and it was stabbing at your gut, trying to force its way out; until rushing to the bathroom meant your lunch would be in the toilet before you could enjoy it and still, the urge to vomit lingers—even after you’ve purged everything, when all that are left are bubbles you learn later on to be acid. The problem was, as a child, they could never get me to eat. What it 20 · Lara Antonio


took was spoonfeeding by force: my sister’s nanny carrying me to the dining table on several occasions. Sometimes, my dad threatening to ground me. Even then, they could only get me to sit still for three bites and then I ran off to play. Eventually, I was diagnosed with hyperacidity. My understanding of that was: no iced tea. No soft drinks. Nothing too acidic. Sour mangoes to a minimum. Don’t skip meals. Don’t overeat. These days, I take three sips of soda and I feel my insides burn. By sixteen, the hyperacidity has developed into a full-blown ulcer. I take Zantac for the pain. My mom says I’ve had this since I was a baby. ii. As of 2011, experts have categorized four types of eating disorders. The two most popular and officially recognized ones are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. The other is the binge-eating disorder. Of the four, the one unknown to most people is ednos: Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. ednos, not be confused with anorexia or bulimia, has symptoms of the two combined. It’s easy to mistake one for the other or as a combination of the two. Experts say the signs to watch out for are almost the same—but not quite. It’s severe, but the key word is almost. Watch out for people with distorted body images. People who restrict eating or compensate by purging and/or too much exercise. It’s easy to fall into the trap of mistaking these people for every other teenager on this planet. There is a need to be wary of that. Because the eating disorder is not widely recognized, people suffering from ednos may not know that they are. heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 21


They aren’t always overweight; they aren’t always underweight. They don’t intentionally vomit as often as those who are suffering from bulimia do; they starve themselves on very rare occasions; sometimes the closest thing they get to it is entertaining the thought. On the surface, they are obsessed with eating healthy, sometimes putting themselves on diets that are “doctor-approved.” More importantly, people suffering from ednos always feel the need for exercise, but don’t necessarily follow through with it. A person suffering from it could look as healthy as an athlete but never really feel that way. Recent studies show that in 2012, ednos has become one of the most prominent eating disorders, occurring in people of all ages. If left untreated, people suffering from ednos are at a risk of developing long-term psychological and physical problems that are closely related to the eating disorder to which their symptoms are closely related. Some of these long-term effects include: irritability, self-loathing, anxiety, and depression. iii. You are 107 on a good day. #1: When you wake up in the morning, everything is still. You get up from bed and you stare at yourself in the mirror—nothing. Your heart is not pounding fast against your ribcage and you don’t feel the need to rush to the bathroom because you can’t breathe. You ate too much the night before; there were too many options you just had to try; it was your best friend’s birthday; you told yourself you were going to burn it the next day—so what? The good news is, you don’t feel anything. #2: It’s eleven in the evening. Your running shoes are on the floor, the sauna suit and cling wrap already laid out for use but you are already comfortable. You are already settled in your four-poster bed, watching the brand new parakeets from your window, the ones your brother’s best friend gave him for his birthday. The urge to run is dwindling. #3: There is a pack of instant coffee on your desk and a glass of hot water filled three-thirds from the rim that remain untouched. You don’t move from your seat and proceed to work without coffee. You 22 · Lara Antonio


tell yourself coffee has high levels of acid which means coffee is bad for your health. Coffee will have you rushing to the toilet, half-regretting the fact that you had next to nothing else to eat. Coffee will leave you with a bad taste in your mouth and a petrifying lack of remorse for consciously choosing to have it that way, so you have none of it. You tell yourself you don’t make room for the things that make you feel bad about yourself. You are 107 on a good day. And by good day, I mean, ideally. iv. My best friend has a habit of squishing my arms when he sees me, making sure to emphasize the loose skin from my once toned triceps, calling me fat. It’s his show of affection—almost a greeting. Every so often, exasperated, I tell him that if I ever get an eating disorder, it’s his fault. We’ve rehearsed this exchange a million times, perfected it. I complain. He laughs and tells me it’s impossible. I love food too much. I tell myself he’s right. When he’s around for our twice-a-month catch-up sleepovers, he brings cake and ice cream and peanut butter kisses. He pays for our meals. He says it’s because he has a new job, that it’s his way of giving back for having housed him for almost our entire college life. One night, while examining himself in front of my mirror, he asks if we have a scale. I took out the batteries, I tell him. He doesn’t ask why. There was a time where that glass, digital weighing scale was my first thought of the day. The first thing I did in the morning was stand on it, mentally taking note of my “starting value.” If I were home and proximity allowed it, I’d run back to my room just to check if I’d gained anything after every meal, stripping down to bare essentials and sucking my stomach in every time I had to. The weighing scale, now stashed away with the rest of my unused things, used to sit comfortably in front of my mirror before I decided to remove the batteries, before I decided to put it away. Every time I had to check my reflection, it was impossible not to heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 23


step on it. The only way to get a good look at yourself was to take that step and to pray that the numbers don’t go past 110. I can’t recall the last time I stepped on a weighing scale. In my head, I call that progress, but the truth is: I’m just scared. v. By the time my mom gave birth to my little sister when I was five and a half, I had already spent a good enough time alone that adjusting to someone else was completely out of the question. For the rest of my prepubescent and adolescent life, this unspoken pressure to be better, this imagined constant competition will hound me like a guard dog trained to react to an exploding bomb—always waiting for it, dreading it, my existence secretly revolving around it. At five and a half, my sister joined gymnastics—recruited into junior varsity for our school after a couple of sessions. Because of that, for years I jumped from sport to sport to sport, one varsity after the next—fencing, softball, firing, tennis, flag football, and occasionally (much to my regret and embarrassment) my batch’s cheer dancing team. Where my sister managed to stick to one sport her entire life (thus far) and excel at it—her bedroom’s walls lined with medals and her bookcase with trophies—I floated along. I tried everything, never really sticking long enough to one, always refusing to compete. Regardless, I’d like to think that one point in our lives we were both equally athletic. It wasn’t until I hit fourteen and had turned into a walking tempertrap that my parents thought it might be smart for me to take up something that would aid my anger management. There was a boxing gym near my place, and it got to a point that at the height of my anger, I hit my sister one too many times that they figured it might be funny if one day they left me at the door of the boxing gym to fend for myself. Much to everyone’s surprise, I went along with it and found that I really enjoyed myself. It was there I learned that if you stay long enough, the coaches would eventually take a liking to you. That lost, angry girl who walked into the gym alone and intimidated would soon become a crowd favorite: sparring in the ring occasionally, despite her father’s 24 · Lara Antonio


protests, lifting twenty pounds instead of the five she started with, training religiously, every day after class instead of once or twice a week. At the time, 115 on the weighing scale was never problematic, it only meant muscle weight, and for a long time, because your body is constantly building muscle, it needs the energy; your brain will be conditioned to thinking that weight gain is a good thing, even when it no longer is. Two years later, my priorities changed. I stopped feeling the need to compete with my little sister. I was sixteen and thought I’d gotten nothing out of my chosen sport except the occasional bruised, bloody knuckles and bragging rights that I was tougher than most of the boys I knew. On the other hand, my little sister was eleven and had already competed internationally twice (to be followed by several international competitions in the years to come), already bagged all-around champion several times in local competitions and was unofficially being groomed for recruitment into the Junior National Gymnastics Team of the Philippines. What was a swift, clean uppercut to that? I was a couple of months into my first serious relationship. She was my friend before anything else, and for a long time, we justified our intimacy with excuses like: she’s moving to the States next year, we just want to make the most of what we can. Because we thought we were always running out of time, we always found ways and excuses to be together. Eventually, I’d reverted back to training once or twice a week, and then after some time, even that wasn’t enough. I stopped training with my boxing coach altogether, only attended softball practice when the annual intramurals were coming up. What I did not know then was that being in a relationship did not mean you had to drop everything else to have more time to spend with each other. Nobody told me that once you stop training like an athlete, you could no longer eat like one.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 25


vi. For a long time, the problem had always been elsewhere: my eyesight and the sudden need to wear glasses, the fact that mom felt I was going to lose them and would only purchase the ones that came with strings to wear around your neck; my unfortunate penchant for nail-biting and absent-mindedly plucking hair strands at the back of my head whenever I felt anxious; eyebrows that were too thick; permanent teeth that started growing misaligned; the overbite that seemed amplified every time I smiled; acne from the acne years; scars on my legs, my arm, my chin, from childhood rough-housing that up until then I never once felt the need to cover up. Pants sizes, shirt sizes, cup sizes, shoe sizes—they all meant the same thing to me: I was a growing kid. By the time I hit fourteen, I’d settled (un)comfortably into UK size four, extra-small-small, 32A, 7 ½. I would step in front of the mirror, and never really see that my eyes were a bit smaller than usual because my cheeks were bloated; that my limbs were not proportional to the rest of my body; that my stomach was extra pronounced. These days, I try to look at myself and I can’t even notice anything else. My gaze held by the girl standing before me—a figure over the years I have found I no longer recognize. What you learn the hard way is that the longer you stare at yourself, the bigger and more bloated you feel. To combat this, you start to come up with excuses, reasons, spiels to justify your behavior. For example: the camera adds ten pounds. I say this to myself every time I sit in a dark room watching the first preview of anything I act for. At photo shoots, I hold my breath before I hear the click of the camera and the shutters go off. Always desperately trying to make my eyes look bigger, my face longer than it is. When I see bootlegs of a show I was a part of, I cringe a little every time I come on screen. Here—something I have never said out loud: my favorite part about doing Spring Awakening was that the exhaustion I felt from playing Martha Bessel manifested in my weight. A couple of months into rehearsals and I had dropped back to 105. During our cast party, the 26 · Lara Antonio


day after closing night, my ex-boyfriend gives me a congratulatory hug: the familiar squeeze, his hand lingering on my waist. Feigned concern and all, he jokes: Ang payat mo masyado, kumakain ka ba? I take this as a compliment. For all of the shows and films I have been a part of thus far, of myself this much I’ve learned: The difficulty of acting is directly proportional to being able to look at yourself in the mirror and being happy with what you see. How many times do they have tell you: The size of your body is not equivalent to your self worth? What they don’t say is that the bigger you are, the more room there is to hate yourself. #1: The camera adds ten pounds. #2: The symptoms of peptic ulcer include: abdominal pain, nausea, copious vomiting, bloating, weight loss, loss of appetite. #3: It isn’t an eating disorder if you don’t force yourself to vomit. #4: You can’t skip meals. You have an ulcer. #5: Running will keep you alive. When your lungs feel like they’re on fire and your calves are shaking, you’re doing something right. I learned to beat asthma this way. vii. The truth is, I can pinpoint the exact year it started. I was a senior. Seventeen years old. 2009. I ballooned to 130, a weight that was too much for my tiny frame. I was lethargic but restless. Every attempt I made at trying to get back to my old lifestyle was thwarted by my newly diagnosed asthma. A year and a half without training and I was terribly out of shape. I could no longer recognize myself in the pictures people would post online. This took a toll not only on my self-esteem but also on my already troubled relationship. After a year of struggling to be with my thengirlfriend, the delusion that we would make it no matter what, I realized I was tired. I was tired of looking at myself in the mirror, unable to find my cheekbones—what was once one of the most prominent features about my face. I was frustrated at having to purchase new clothes, heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 27


new underwear, new shoes: UK size 6, sometimes 8, small–medium (sometimes large), 36A, 7 ½–8. I hated my hair, the fact that I had to hide my face behind bangs I always knew did not look good on me; I hated the fact that every time someone would take a photo of me smiling all I could see was the weight I’d put on on my cheeks; I hated the fact that every time my mom would offer to take me shopping, I would have to ask the saleslady for a bigger size; I hated standing in front of the mirror, finding that almost more than half my lifetime’s accumulated muscle was nowhere to be found. Gone were the toned abdomen, slim arms, long, lean calves. I looked in the mirror and all I saw was 36-30-37: measurements that were far too big for a girl who was barely five feet and three-thirds of an inch tall. For the first time, I knew what it meant to be so unhappy you refuse any love coming your way. To my then-girlfriend and my family, I stopped saying I love you back, pretended not to hear when it was said to me because how can someone love you, when you looked and felt like that? That was the first time I ever put myself on diet after diet after diet. That year, I learned what it was like to be hungry. Here, have a banana for breakfast. Make it last the entire day. That year, I developed a love-hate relationship with arrows, and numbers, and pounds, and calories. By the time the pointer on the scale found its way back to 115, I was out of a relationship and angry at the world. A couple months later, in my freshman year in college, I drop to 105. My sister tells me it’s the best I’ve ever looked. The truth is, I might have an idea why: This is my mother’s favorite detail about her college life: At almost 5 feet tall, she weighed a little more than 85 pounds. She tells me it’s because she scheduled her classes in such a way that she only had ample time to run from one building of the campus to the next one. Having studied in the University of the Philippines, she says it was impossible to grab food during her breaks. Sometimes, she forgot to eat. Much later in her life, this habit she’s developed will come back with a vengeance: 28 · Lara Antonio


In 2009, my family was supposed to leave for Australia to accompany my dad on one of his trips abroad. I chose to stay behind for many reasons, one of which was school. It was mid-July and the annual Sabayang Pagbigkas competition was coming up—something, at that time, I would not trade for a trip to another country. In the morning, while everyone else was busy saying their goodbyes, telling me to stay out of trouble for two weeks, my mom pulls me aside. It takes a moment before I realize that she’s pale and that just standing there in front of me took huge amounts of effort. She tells me in a whisper too tired to raise her voice: I think I’m passing blood. She’d been taking these weight-loss pills and lived off of coffee. She was hospitalized for a week—internal bleeding, ulcer; the lining in her stomach had gotten so thin, she wasn’t allowed to eat crackers or anything “sharp” because it might tear through the hole that had already formed in her stomach. When my uncle and I rushed her to the hospital, I remember her ask in the chaos that was the emergency room: What’s happening? Am I dying? I’d never seen nurses look so tense. Weaving in and out of our temporary confinement, shouting orders I could not understand. I’d seen this situation before but it never looked this bad. What’s happening? Am I dying? That same year, she promised to stop watching her weight. I was seventeen. My sister is still a gymnast. She is now part of the Women’s Artistic Gymnastics National Team of the Philippines. Almost sixteen, she is two inches taller than me, long-legged with toned arms and a defined abdomen; my grandfather calls her svelte. If her weight teeters past 104–105, her coaches call my mom telling her that she is too heavy. The running joke is that she looks like a lady, eats like a man. Some nights, I come home with a box of Sonja’s Cupcakes or jars of cookie butter for my sister, and our mother gets upset. Over and over again, she tells me: Your sister is a gymnast; she is not supposed to gain weight. heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 29


How is she supposed to lift herself on the uneven bars? How is she supposed to do that Yurchenko-Tsukahara tuck now? Recently, my sister got confined for dengue and lost a lot of weight. She spent almost two weeks recuperating and hasn’t been able to resume training. The other night, I bought my sister a burger from McDonald’s because fast food was all we could afford. We meet up with our parents for a movie, she buys popcorn, and after the film she asks if we could have sushi for dinner. My mom gives her the trademark haven’t-you-already-eaten look and teases: Kain ka nang kain; tataba ka lang niyan, wala kang training ngayon. We end up eating at my dad’s choice restaurant. When our youngest brother hands her the menu, she shakes her head, looks at my mom and says: I’m not eating. The truth is, who can blame her? Before sleeping, my mother drinks this tea that’s supposed to help her digestion. A laxative. An easy, organic, non-invasive, non-harmful way to weight loss. My mother’s stint with internal bleeding has left her unable to drink her diet pills. She’s been taking this every night for four years. It’s become a ritual. She doesn’t feel well in the morning without it. viii. This is what stress-eating looks like: there is a bag of Ritz: Baked Cheddar chips lying on the floor, almost empty; a jar of Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter, a silver spoon balancing on its rim; a plate of toyo and rice. You lie on your back; too full to move and swear you will go for a run the next day. And some days, you do it. You do get up in the morning and despite your body’s protests, you go for a run until you feel like you’re no longer on the ground but underwater, unable to breathe from pushing too hard. Some days look like coffee in the morning and a desperate attempt to ignore the palpitations hammering against your rib cage from too much caffeine intake and not enough of anything else. Some days, 30 · Lara Antonio


you look at yourself in the mirror and you notice that your cheeks are rounder, arms are bigger, softer and you waste a good hour trying to put on make-up as if something artificial could cover up how you feel; some days you refuse to leave the house altogether. Some days are ugly, but on the upside they don’t always look or feel like this. You have good days. Sometimes it takes longer to get there, but you do—and when you do, you slip on those worn-out, yellow running shoes just because it makes you feel good about yourself, because your body is used to expending copious amounts of energy on end, and the run will wear you out, help you sleep earlier. You have three slices of pizza for dinner and maybe split a lemon cheesecake with your little sister; maybe even throw in a glass of milk tea if you feel like it. When your best friend asks you, do you want anything from the mall? You immediately tell him yes, I want a Crunch bar and a box of macarons. When your friends ask where you want to eat for dinner, you say anywhere and you mean it. You sit down for an hour and a half, and enjoy a good meal with good company, without mentally calculating what time you have to get home so you can exercise to burn whatever it is you ate. When you get home late at night and you find your mom waiting up, you walk over to her, sit down across her and ask: Do you want to have midnight coffee with me? And she will agree and the two of you will sleep at four in the morning, exchanging stories, catching up. One night, after a show, we have dinner with the rest of the family. My aunt, my mom’s older sister—a vegetarian in her mid-fifties (who still manages to be thinner than me), eats about as much as a rabbit—takes a good look at me and says, Lara, pumapayat ka ata. I tell her it’s because of the show and she tells me it’s unhealthy. My sister laughs and says no, she’s fat. As if on cue, my best friend squeezes my arms to emphasize this. I roll my eyes: a default reaction to my sister’s unforgiving sass and the dynamic bullying duo she and my best friend bring to the equation. My mom, who has been casually listening to our conversation adds, Wala nga ‘yang ginawa kundi kumain eh, pero okay lang kasi kailangan niya yung energy para sa show. heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 31


Later that night, when I ask my mom for money for a cupcake, she gives me that look and says, Wag na. Tataba ka lang. Nevermind. It’ll only make you fat. Before I open my mouth to reply, there is a moment of hesitation. My automatic instinct is to agree. To walk away from the sweets and to hobble over to my dad to ask him if I’m fat; to look for assurance from my little brother who will always tell the truth, no matter how blunt, whose answer would’ve probably gone along the lines of: yes, but I still love you; to ask my best friend if he wants to go jogging when we get home later that night. Instead, I turn to my sister who makes a face, and then back to my mom. At fifty years old, she is almost my height. Wrinkles have formed around her eyes from age, I’d like to think that more than anything they’re laugh lines—signs of a happy aging. She’s gained a significant amount of weight since her hospitalization, but still, she remains beautiful: defined cheekbones; full, red lips; big, brown eyes; shoulder-length, curly brown hair. I walk over to her, playfully squeeze her arms and with a laugh I tell her: Between the two of us, I think I can afford it.

32 · Lara Antonio


heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 33


Joseph Ledesma

bfa creative writing

Sir Martin Villanueva and his nonfiction class a semester ago helped write this essay. Cool guy, cool people. My previous mates: class, block, org, courses, any other mates I might have made along the way. Mom, dad, sister. Thanks for everything. Hope I don’t die when I’m out in the real world. For my friends. I don’t like socializing, so I consider it an act of god that we got along. heights. Been with you for four years. It’s been a pleasure all this time. The cats. Hope that Ateneo becomes the next ancient Egypt. My Twitter co-ego, Mr. Sunshine, a.k.a. @velocidragon. Everyone I’ve loved but whose names I forgot. The English staff. The best. Darling, Satan. Audrey. ☼


Dinnertime in many ways, not staring at the rats becomes the norm. As easy as it is to get lost in the intricate details of these tiny lives, there is a need to be as cold as the snake that awaits feeding. As usual I find them huddled together in a corner of the tank: a single cuddly ball, their furry bodies beating in deep, peaceful breaths. Wood shavings tossed aside, forming a makeshift bed. They tussle at times out of sleep and spend their waking moments nuzzling closer to their kin and curling back to sleep. It’s easy to get jealous of these creatures—not just in the often unspoken shame of admitting one’s lonesome, but also the disturbance in seeing so much calm. They would wake simultaneously when I open the cage, and confused by the disturbance they would turn to me. In their little rat memories I’m the guy who fills up their bowl with pellets and seeds. Before, I’d even go so far as to reach in and stroke their backs but eventually I learned to stop doing that. The first rat starts squealing as soon as the tongs clamp down on its tail—and just like that, like the break in a game of eight-pool, everything scrambles. I pause here, before the first rat dies. The others are wide awake. Some are watching their comrade from behind the glass while others are making futile leaps at the lid of the cage. The rat in my grip is gnawing at the steel. I have to press the tongs tight enough to draw blood from its tail otherwise it would fall loose. Often I think about just dropping it with Darling and letting her take matters into her own fangs but as every responsible snake keeper would say, that would be lazy and unsafe. It’s the same reason you can’t keep rats in a wooden box: these things chew through wood for fun. My friend once left his boa constrictor alone with a live mouse. When he came back, the rat had chewed through the snake’s scales and had made its way to the skull. The snake survived after months of intensive 36 · Joseph Ledesma


treatment; the scales grew back—with its restored coloration being an out of tune shade of orange—but the eye did not, and henceforth he never fed his snakes live again. It’s a pleasant thought to keep while I hammer the rat into the table. If performed correctly, death would be instant and painless. I’m not perfect though: sometimes I miss and the rat flops around and gets hard to pick up. Sometimes its spine bends in a wrong angle while it flails its legs and cheeps; other times it doesn’t get to cheep at all, blood muffling its throat and running into puddles on the floor. In these cases I don’t bother with a second strike. As long as it doesn’t look strong enough to fight, I just pick it up and rush it to Darling’s mouth. A snake’s natural feeding response is to strike. Darling is a constrictor. In her case she both strikes and strangulates the dead body. Left alone she eats like a princess: very picky, opening her mouth to swallow the rodent, pulling it down her mouth very slowly. I grab the rat’s tail with the tongs again and wiggle it around, causing her body to coil even more. This is the only exercise Darling’s muscles get aside from slithering around. I don’t approve of her trying to eat animals from the wild. Hygienically, it’s comparable to if I ate a dusty cheeseburger I picked off the sidewalk. Meanwhile the other rats are making noise. I have to kill the next one so that by the time Darling finishes this one her second serving is ready. After the first rat, catching another starts to feel like playing a really exhausting video game. They know; they run around with their tails tucked anywhere they could tuck them. Sometimes I have to get rough and scoop them over with the tongs before I could reach their tail. The process is the same. I run this little slaughterhouse at home every Thursday. Kill kill kill. Drop into Darling’s mouth. Wipe the blood from the floor. When she’s done with the last rat I wash my hands. She likes to slurp heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 37


down their tails like spaghetti noodles; you can see where the rest of the body is going down her throat. I pick her up—carefully just in case she thinks she’s getting more—and place her back in her terrarium. She rushes straight for her hide, curls up, and sleeps. There is one rat left, shaking in his paws. He circles the cage, foreign to the space and quiet. You don’t leave rats alone for an extended period of time I learned; they die out of loneliness. I reach inside and approach him with my hand, slowly. He doubles back on my approach and I pull back as well. I grab a handful of pellets and rest my hand on the bedding, the shavings moist with the urine of his now dead kin. Instead he walks up my hand, tosses some of the pellets aside, nuzzles in the space between my fingers and palm and falls asleep. My fingers clasp around him, his fur tiny pinpricks against my skin. He’s warm, breathing. I brush aside the rest of the pellets with my other hand and enclose him. I go to the table and lay him there; he wakes up. Two of my fingers find their way to his neck, right at the area where his spinal cord meets his skull. I press down, and my other hand grabs his tail. His resistance consists of two tired squeaks. I pull on the tail. Snap. Dead. This is the rat I save for Satan, whose feeding is on Monday. I place the dead rat in a Ziploc and open the freezer. I place the rat corpse in an empty ice cream can where I store their food. Incidentally there is also a full bucket of Blue Bunny chocolate chip lodged in there too. It’s the first genuine smile I’ve had all night. I wash my hands. They’re still wet by the time I return to the freezer, and they stick to the frozen can as I take it out. I scrape a little bit off the top to savor the flavor, and the ice cream melts as I move in to the milky core and I can scoop larger and larger chunks. I let the cream melt in my mouth while the chips crumble into pebbles of chewy, chewy chocolate. I could finish the whole bucket in one sitting, and that’s how I’d end my night: with the tragedy of the empty ice cream bucket.

38 · Joseph Ledesma


heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 39


Melissa Yu

bs management, minor in creative writing

To Quintos, for noticing that I couldn’t sit still, walk a straight line, or tolerate jargon. To Iris, for leaving Ateneo midway through college because she had the courage to say no. To Pia, for disappearing often, because she is more elusive than me or you. To Bea, for allowing me to live vicariously through her stories of Columbus, Ohio (frat parties and lake jumps included). To Billie, for making us all proud. To Bianca, for migrating without notice to New York only to be closer to me. To Nadine, for being my friend again. To Nix, for being my friend even from a distance. To Toni, for being my friend even if it was just for a while. To Pimpakarn/Oop-ib/Eve, for keeping up with me four years after we conquered Osaka Minami. To Vanessa, for descending upon us from her home in Sagada to live as an international school-bred Igorot who could leg press 500 lbs. To Arianna, Hannah, and Georgia, for running the 400-meter relay with me. To Chris, for flipping people off when needed when she race walks. To Poly, for remaining humble by not posting pictures of her muscles online even after years of cutthroat discipline. To Dels and Carissa, for going home with me. To Jaffy, for inspiring me to run the best 1500-meter run of my entire life. To Miko, for making me laugh, but most importantly, for sharing with me his most serious moments. To Coach Mick, for believing in me even when I stopped believing in myself, and for Miko. To Jorel, for having my back no matter what the cost—even if it meant subverting the state.


Para nila Jason, Daryll, Gerard Joann, Justin, and Mikel, kay daghan pa kayo ta’g mga laag. To Audrey, Steph, and Tasha, for serving the literary and artistic community with me in heights amidst all the hate mail. To Sir Martin, for reminding to be self-reflexive when writing about sad stuff. To Ms. Gomez, for embodying cool. To Sir Mayuga, for braving the First Quarter Storm. To Sir Giron, for giving me the license to look like my idol Maita Gomez for an amateur photoshoot. To Doc Mendoza, for asking me to help him get fit again in time for his third child. To Father Arcilla, for smiling apologetically when he declined to jog with the team at the blue oval. To Father Mario, for listening to me when no one else did. To Winston Churchill, for getting me through the day. To James Blake, for performing even better live. Mwah. To James, for taking care of me ever since I was born. To Roy and Mila, for loving me. To Mark, for challenging me every day to love.


The Water is Thick Enough The black wallet made of synthetic leather was tattered; its skin chipping off, stitches tearing apart in all corners from the bulk of so much paper. I had never opened it, but I knew none of its contents ever had ever amounted to much. There were numerous receipts mostly from convenient stores, but never any trace of cash, or plastic, or change. All was enough and nothing ever remained. Stacked into compartments, I assumed, were a few calling cards of doctors from various clinics accumulated over the years. I had stolen one of those myself just in case the time would come when I would need it too: a pill to be consumed every few hours. * “Putanginamo!” he would scream to the maid as she sat by the laundry area soaking in tears and bubbles. Where did that conclusion come from? She denied, and denied it many times with her voice strong and firm as if she was already used to handling so many freaks from living in Siquijor for most of her life. She was a woman at age 23. He was, after all, still a teenager: young, skinny, and clean from all the tattoos he would have in the next few years. She was, on the other hand, stronger in built with muscle enveloped in radiant brown skin, and much taller than the rest of us, but I couldn’t keep my eyes away from the kitchen where the knives lay undefeated. It had always seemed that he would finally pull that drawer once and for all, and that day he finally stood two meters away—a possible solution to end the pettiness. He picked on anyone, but mostly on women because it was funny. Maybe I should just have understood all this earlier, because hearing an urban legend from his short stay in normal school for pulling down his briefs for two innocent girls who wouldn’t talk to him made me laugh too. The fact that our humor aligned at one point was absurd, really. I peeped again heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 43


at the fight, and found my maid storming out of the house untouched, thankfully. I could no longer remember if she was part of those who came back hours after to cook for dinner, or those who left for good, but this mostly happened while I studied in the afternoon. Amidst all this, I had begun to notice that I was performing exceptionally well in elementary school. * He is much bigger now, weighing over 200 lbs. at the height of five feet and four inches, and thus has priority over the passenger seat. I never have to look at him, and I never have anything much to say anyway. He never turns back. Silences in long car rides on days like these are the most confrontational of conversations. Sometimes, I would glimpse at his lips murmuring. He is mostly fixated by his thoughts; I never ask to know them. We only need rides to different places, I remind myself. His driver’s license has been revoked until now because he had gotten into some trouble regarding a lost Honda sir. On the aftermath of one of my track meets, he coincidentally sat beside me in the backseat instead. He had come from a long day at the mall, and I had come from all the way in Cavite where only my parents came down to support. If he looked to see, he would have noticed the weary expression on my face, with pale lips from a loss of oxygen juxtaposing the shine left by the sweat on my nose. I was a mess. Instead he looked out the window searching for better news and, under the surveillance of my parents, cordially asked if I had won. I gave a quick no and smiled to myself for his effort. He patted me on the back still without facing my side and said: “Ah, that’s okay.” I nodded my head quickly in acknowledgment, Sure, I thought. It must have been from the hunger and exhaustion, but I kept silent until we had reached the nearest stop once and for all. *

44 · Melissa Yu


We were all equal when we no longer saw clearly anyway. The salt of my sweat burned my eyes as the band reached halfway through the set. In that angry mob, nothing could asphyxiate like an ordeal of a young girl passing through. Men continued to mosh against my frail twelve-year-old body—tugging, pushing, and extending the courtesy of a warm welcome into their night’s main activity. The grounds spiraled out of control in the advent of the#2 hit song about wounds (#1 was a powerful rock ballad about the end, and thus could only be played last), but I continued to move forward with the cut on my calf from a bottle trashed to the ground earlier. You couldn’t blame the existential first time concert-goer; to see was to believe, and listening provided nothing of the night’s meaning. As the line of defense transitioned from violent metalheads to idle bourgeois ticket-holders, I stretched my arms out and lengthened my spine to the sky for a quick breather. Hay. Here I regained my height and mass; the worst was over. The pushing and pulling were replaced by bad stares and nostril flares that couldn’t pierce through a female pubescent’s heart in the dead night. Fifty meters of this maze and I had arrived; I clung unto the steel barricades right by the stage and looked up to my heroes of 2004. It was underwhelming to whisper something so unbelievably factual, but only to oneself. I stood alone with strangers; all the band members looked bare and sweaty that I realized that I could have enjoyed the music with my brother at the back of the field without a stiff neck from that vantage point. But I couldn’t deny that there was something so liberating about being allowed to disappear, even if this was more for him than myself. The amplifiers gave a nasty feedback and I shrieked beside two unresponsive guys now jaded by the proximity. Nevertheless, out of courtesy for myself, I accepted the consolation. I looked up to my heroes again. The powerful ballad began, and it didn’t even matter. * On Sundays, there is mostly silence in my room. No one is exempt from the long arms of good rest’s caress, but occasionally this splendor heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 45


would be replaced by a neighbor’s singing. Today, she belts out a famous Todd Rundgren ballad ecstatically, like sending me a message from my window that her day was going to be even better. I turn a few times in bed. It makes me wonder what their poor German Shepherd was thinking at that moment, from the corner of their gate where he is tied up for most of the day. * When stroking his back would not work, often my mother replied in tears. I was informed early on that he had adhd combined with paranoid personality disorder, an intermittent explosive disorder, some leftover teenage angst from the ‘90s, a great deal of drugs; the mix could go on. I had witnessed most of them firsthand, but sometimes he had the courtesy to find a time slot where I would be away from home. My brother, like a professional wrestler (also a symptom from the ‘90s), liked to taunt people to his favor; in his own special way he found all the cash he needed in buying jackets, marijuana, or a new car if he was feeling lucky. All was enough and nothing ever remained. “Diskarte,” he says; a skill I wish I would have for myself someday. He has no job. He is not resourceful, but he is adept at depleting the only two he has: my mother and father. In life, sometimes people will threaten us with their determination to be able to get what they want, but this became an intimidation he frequented too often over the years that I learned not to listen to most of it. He cusses in variety when he is tense. There is English, almost harmless; Tagalog, comical; Bisaya, sharp like daggers. I observe carefully in peripheral view just in case they hit me. I try to look deeper into his interests, and grow delusional in the process. There were always people to hurt and lessons to learn in between the hairstyles he frequently changed, jackets he habitually bought, and food he eagerly shared with me. The cycle never stopped, only slept at regular intervals when he did too. To save face, my parents would even give him money for cigarettes and (often did they know) prostitutes—offerings to appease greater sin—because no one else would love him the way they did in the manner that I was supposed 46 · Melissa Yu


to, or that my other brother—the middle child—was thought to. The concern was always frail, and one by one, the petals fell off over the years. We left the house constantly to attend to bigger things, more serious matters, life-changing decisions, and greater rewards. I went to college and was taught that the only hostile reality that mattered came from the world outside, yet the greatest suffering I experienced was always from the comfortable life they say I had within. I do not identify him with his name, but with a burdened sentence: He is the hardest person I ever had to love. * There was a time I cheated on life, and knew that I had burned a few good things along that path. Father Mario sat me down on the sofa of his office, a place where haphazard files and furniture worked together to produce much of his research. He was, after all, a religious man and many other things. It had been years, and I had never done it that way before—yet the claustrophobic setting was much more comforting than all the space reserved for me in a conventional wooden box. I had never seen a Jesuit’s face that close, and almost felt the urgency to kiss his cheek as I do with my two uncles who also serve (they are both holy men who demand no less). “So how do we do this?” I ask. He raises his right hand to make the sign of the cross. “You may start talking.” Normally I would lazily mention that I’ve committed all seven deadly sins (as I did, in fact, confess often as a teenager just to speed up the process). But even that no longer embarrassed me. “Well, I lied about cheating on someone—to someone I used to cheat with.” “What?” He was impressed. I said I wanted to stop quarreling with someone special to me, and thought of the easiest way to escape from everything for good. I was highly reliable in that department at that point anyway, and jumped at the opportunity. “Besides, no one ever drops that card to be asked if heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 47


they were really telling the truth. People just accept it and… go crazy,” I said. It was perfect. “Well you’re right; the waters are all muddied up.” He didn’t flinch. He then explained that it was time to take a step back. Now I was impressed as well. He agreed that the communication had grown toxic and that the measure was absolutely necessary. I think he used to do research on psychology. No one was a bad person in the field of psychology—only disordered. “For it to work, you must keep the lie a secret for awhile.” Wow. How long? I had assumed that this was my penance. But he was right; I needed to detach myself from everything. Who cared at that point if I had compromised myself a little bit more along the way? He could tell that I was too stubborn to handle things maturely but, regardless, had the creativity to get things done in a rather crude manner. I had nothing to lose; I just needed the church’s support. I needed to know if I was in the clear. “Wait, Father, did I sin?” I asked before we wrapped up. “Of course you did. But I don’t think you did anything wrong.” It’s hard to be young and secretive, with the added burden of constantly working on a tight allowance. That, then, was all I could do for free medical attention. * Four panels divide my father’s shelf located in the music room. The lowest level is where the old karaoke machine is placed (whipped out only to entertain guests). The second level accommodates stacks of paper encased in a green basket-weaved box, indicating files that none of us are allowed to touch. The third level contains wooden carvings from various places he has traveled to on business trips, including a Malay doll with movable joints. The fourth level houses a few of the many trophies of his career in golf (champion, runner-up, or nothing). On the top shelf, a series of books are lined together: Hope is Not a Method, Ultimate Leadership, Good to Great, Customer Intimacy, A Manager’s Guide to Globalization, Positive Words, Powerful Results, and the ever so 48 · Melissa Yu


convenient Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Quotations. My father, they say, neglected my brother at a young age and condemned him for his misbehavior ever since. That was standard protocol for training a boy to become a man. This has conditioned my brother to be constantly fearful of him, never raising his voice when he arrives in the house. This poses a problem, of course, because my father is hardly a domesticated man. He is the sole breadwinner of the family, after my mother’s early retirement when she decided to take care of us full-time. We were the kids who played with knives; you can say that she wanted to catch us doing it each time. But my father didn’t need to see any of that because he knew what man could do—because he himself might have done it before. And only he could show my brother that he was wrong when he got himself kicked out of school multiple times, when he ran over someone with our car on purpose, when he harassed numerous women like my mother, when he would scream at anyone, anything. It was only my father’s voice, besides his prescription drugs, that could calm him down. He calls me up after a fight between my mother and brother is over, and asks me what exactly happened. I tell him not to worry. He believes me; I’m his girl. * It was a catastrophe to have the battery of my mother’s phone dead at any point in time. The struggle became more apparent when she finally got herself an iPhone. She always urgently had to type messages, helplessly, in the morning or the dead of night. Where are you, she needs to know. She made you dinner but that was now stored away. She changed my sheets when she would see bed bug bites around my arm and legs. She filled out our forms. She made the best chicken cannelloni. She went to all my mall shows as a kid. I think she just posted photos of our home on her Facebook account to show off her new Christmas decors to her friends like Miya, and it mildly embarrassed me. She knew that I was fooling around with boys, though she never knew I was in love with all of them. Once, my brother started throwing heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 49


a fit from the passenger seat screaming that he needed to get marijuana from his supplier, and she couldn’t calm him down so she obliged to drive him all the way to his transaction, in between texting my father for a full report. I had watched all the commotion annoyed that I could not make it home soon enough to have my pork and beans, because I had just come from training. My mother deserved more respect than what we had ever given her. From her family of thirteen siblings, some have had the foresight to avoid having children, some have been lucky to produce children, and some have had children in the form of us. She calls us, albeit cheesily, her lucky charms. * The middle child was a handsome man—resembling Caucasian features and tanned skin, eyes drooping downward opposite the rest of ours. People used to say that my features were the only connection my two brothers had to each other; otherwise they would never be related, they would never be the same. He was intelligent and rational; he was also the best liar I had ever met. My parents never matched him. When he was overweight, I remembered those small moments when he shared about texting a few girls who never really paid attention to him yet when he shed all the fat off, he became quiet and aloof to everyone else but me. Those must have been 75 pounds of his fat boy’s heart. Yet he took care of me always, especially in the kitchen where he cooked in retreat from the other spaces of the home. That was also when he stopped caring about him. As soon as he decided to stay at a condo unit in the Fort which my also father owns, he drove away from the house for good. Sometimes I think he bought his way out, because he has plenty of use for the very good money he makes at his age today. I aspire for the same, yet the idea of success scares me. What if I attained it at a time when I longer deserved it?

50 · Melissa Yu


* My brother visits the House of God, but always stands just right outside the parking lot. He dabbles on peanuts, or maybe flicks a cigarette. The church is massive and illuminates against the evening, but he does not notice the brilliant view. He faces the gravel, the mud, or the pavement of the world outside but he never minds this either. Instead, he wanders in his space and murmurs into the dark. His lips move fast forming words I couldn’t seem to catch, but I know I may be able to hear it soon; this is after all how he prepares for a spiel he is going to say someday. He walks around in circles while he does this, and if I were lucky I would look back again to see him smile. I hope and imagine, of course, that this is good. He only enters on two occasions. One is when he pats all of our backs to make amends, and then proceeds to ask for a beso from me (for the past twenty years, I’ve looked at him like I never knew how and that was always embarrassing, but he pointed to his check just the same to guide me). The other occasion is when he eagerly lines up to receive Christ’s body. After that, he leaves in confidence ready to face another week. * Capillarity: the tendency of a liquid in a capillary tube or absorbent material to rise or fall as a result of surface tension. Do we trust the water to lift us this time or will we sink in panic? * As routine, I had placed one goose down feather pillow for my head, one to my side and another by my feet, and lastly one to hold unto. I was ready to sleep, but the easy night was interrupted because he began banging on the door. What was wrong this time? I turned to the other side of my bed hoping that the noise would disappear from a few inches further. He was screaming my name now. “Open the door!” I wanted to resist this time, just once. He couldn’t possibly ruin that night. I pretended heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 51


to be asleep, but that gave him license to ram the door harder. Both man’s dependence to technology and the PC’s location in our home were unfortunate coincidences. I couldn’t believe he was going to go through that much trouble to use the desktop sitting comfortably near my closet. After a while, he had grown so furious and started saying a few hurtful things I no longer remember. Stubbornness had turned into a gift. Nevertheless, it was too late to aspire for some solitude; I had to give in and unlock the door. As soon as I had done just that, he grabbed the lamp by my bedside table and threw it at me. It must have been a cheap one because it didn’t hurt me more than it startled my senses. I began to cry—looking for a phone I could use to make a long distance call. I retreated to my parents’ room, empty at that time, and began to dial my father’s number. He picked up and I threatened to leave the house; they apologized for being away. Nothing made sense as I remembered it. My other brother, the middle child, had woken up to stare at my disposition. It was enough to soothe me at that time. I just needed someone to look at what had been done. After a few minutes, he showed up again to apologize. He didn’t mean it, he said. He was just tense. He just really needed to use the computer. He was sorry. He would never do it again, he promised. I was still frightened in my parents’ bed, curled up to one side with its pillows marked with my tears. Worst of all, he asked for a kiss. “Sige na,” he said pointing to his cheek. It made me sob even harder knowing that things were going to be alright. I leaned in closer to try and make amends, but thirty minutes was too soon. There was not enough endurance to spare me of that moment; therefore he leaned in the same amount of inches to finish the kiss for me instead. Since then, they had moved the computer out of my room and I have since stopped locking my door for emergency purposes. * In May of 2013, I couldn’t open my mouth because my jaws locked, causing me to spend the entire week murmuring about my pain until I could explain myself wide enough to a dentist. Despite the trip-inducing 52 · Melissa Yu


muscle relaxants and the soft food, the mouth guard was perhaps the most fascinating aspect of my bruxism. It began as a strategy to resist my unconscious urges of grinding my teeth in sleep. But wearing them around the house made me discover something new entirely: I was always grinding my teeth. It was only when the place grew quiet that I began to hear escaping sounds of clenching in my head, such as when I struggled to type up an opening description of an old prison from the confines of my bedroom. It had been my molars wanting to chafe off my lower occlusal splint, succumbing to a daily grind. I assumed lying to a priest that I had visited the area activated a defense mechanism for my conscience, and for that I was relieved and thankful. Soon however, the activity expanded to reading, thinking, listening. One by one, I had unlocked more of these instances by accident—and I sincerely wondered how I could have gone through life without biting my tongue once and for all. The struggle verified that leaving the normalizing mechanism would be far too taxing on my own. I diagnosed myself with a subtle oral fixation, and now hold an obsession for a mouth guard that prepares me to relax for a few hours outside my home. I’d recommend it. * My father is in the middle of his one-hour dial-a-massage therapy once again with his favorite masseuse named Ruth, at the music room downstairs. She is adept at the linear and circular pressure that the Swedish technique uses, kneading firmly enough to keep his blood flowing without bruising him. She knows how to control her pressure over her clients. Dinner has passed, and the home is nearing closing time. He can no longer be bothered at this point onwards; therefore all my requests will have to wait for tomorrow through a short text message. There is lesser room for questioning that way, and through time I had realized that I had become opportunistic in this manner. My mother is finishing the last few minutes of her local television show now, composed of bright young stars of my generation or younger. I no longer know their names or their features, but once I peeped in heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 53


the master’s bedroom to see my beloved ‘90s artistas now belonging to supporting roles—mother, father, others. It offended me, yet my mother watched them all the same because she is more forgiving of change. She sees everything growing up, apart, or otherwise; she watches long after the good things on TV have come to an end. She snoozes to sleep this way, lightly. The middle child is somewhere far away drinking single malt whiskey. He is most likely hopping to different tables and treading across discarded cigarette butts, electrically taped wires, socioeconomic boundaries, and feelings. I wish for the same drink, but only to appease the discomfort of my flat, aged pillow. My brother resides in the bedroom beside mine, fast and sound in his slumber. Amidst all circumstances, he never fails to come back and rest here. The house is quiet during these hours, but hollow. This frightens me more than noise. Is he hiding something underneath his pillow? He’s behaved remarkably over the past few months; maybe this time he will surprise us all. He would run over you with a car if he could, because he has done so deliberately, but he could also just sleep. A part of me hopes that he begins to feel the weight of his age once and for all where evil things are no longer defined as desperate pleas for help but acts of boredom with life. On quiet days, his daily routine resembles a child’s despite being 30: he sleeps for a few hours at irregular intervals, he asks for food, he decides to take a bath, he listens to music, he masturbates to porn with his speakers up loud, he watches television, he smokes profusely, he talks to himself, he wishes he were dead instead, he gets a haircut. But he relapses just the same, and right now I am just counting to that burst of rage to appear once again. For this, my brother has grown lonely, paranoid, and overweight but always in the shelter of our home. Sometimes I wish he had fled from all of us once and for all, for his sake. In this house of Catholics, no one hopes for a loved one to get what he deserves; instead, we hope that he is forgiven.

54 · Melissa Yu


* On most days that I try to remember the day that I almost drowned, my mind resolves to exaggerations. Sometimes I would envision a remarkable detail of memories flashing right before me in the moments before I passed out, as if my life had already been burdened full and romantic at age three or four. In my head, I could still picture the illumination above me as if it were divine, not simply a result of a bright noon in summer I swear. On some days I could almost make up a figure watching me drown and telling me something inaudible against scattered underwater acoustics. Whatever it was, I silently agreed, hoping that my ease would keep me back afloat on the surface, but instead I saw myself get pulled further down by the weight of my own body. I tried then, perhaps, to make circular motions with my legs as if riding a bicycle, to no avail; I had not even learned how to ride a bicycle just yet. Water engulfed my lungs as I responded with final resistance, but in the water there was nowhere to turn. After struggling for what seemed like hours, I had begun to die, almost obediently. It might be true that only an idiot would panic in slow motion, absorbed in his own demise. I did not wake to see that same brother pulling me out from the water. * It was a letterman jacket lined in pink. “Do you want to have this? It doesn’t fit me anymore,” he explained. Before I could agree to accept the late-night gift, he opened my cabinet to hang it by my other clothes and walked out. “Thanks,” I finally said from the other side of the now closed door.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 55


Matthew Olivares

bfa creative writing

Matthew is a cult of personality and he goes by many names. Most of the time, he is called Matt. Sometimes, Mateo. Rarely, Danni or Dane because his second name is Daniel. People call him Jesus because of his long, curly hair. While he does feel flattered, he can’t help but feel like a walking blasphemy. He prefers Matt or Mateo. He is also a Gentle Creature and a Creative Sleeper. He will love you forever if you give him free food. He was a fellow for fiction in English for the 18th Ateneo heights Writers Workshop. Most of the time, he writes short stories that deal with the strange, the absurd, and the macabre. He wants to tell stories for a living. Recently, he released a chapbook called The Sun Smells Too Loud along with those by his blockmates. It features four stories he wrote for his thesis. In this folio, none of his stories are published. Instead, you will find two poems here. One of them he wrote back in second year high school, and one of them while drunk. After graduating, he will stay in the Ateneo for one more year in order to finish his ab Literature (English) degree, and then move on to advertising for a few years before taking up graduate studies abroad. He also plans to teach in the Ateneo someday. Of course, he will continue writing and get back to painting and drawing things. He also wishes to get back to music and record grunge, alternative rock, electronic, deathcore, and post-rock songs. He is working on a post-rock project called Daguerreotype. He longs for a tricycle that will take him to the moon. I guess it’s time for me to finally come up with a long list of people to thank and dedicate these works to. For my family. Thank you for the love and patience.


For Aldo Dizon, Leandro Fabregas, Nick Barber, Faye Castillo, Trina Martinez, and the rest of colf Batch 2010. Not a day goes by without missing all of you. For Aidan, Chise, Izo, Sam, Soc, Steph, Yanna, Maria, Mika, Niki, and the rest of Block e 2014 including those who shifted out and disappeared. Thank you for the four years. It’s been fun. I love you guys and I’m going to miss all of you. Tuloy lang (sana) tayo sa pagsulat, o sa mga iba pa nating mga trip sa buhay. For Juno, Jenina, Dionne, Miko, Sam, and the rest of my second block, Block b 2015. Thank you for being welcoming. You’re making this double major stint worth it despite the stress caused by my overloading of units every semester. For ahww 18: Aidan, Steph, Jenina (I’ve mentioned the three of you earlier, but what the hell); Jam, Abner, Ace, Nica, Rie, and Marc. Best co-fellows, ever. thug life. For the Sons of Aragon: Mateo Escueta and Renard Calalang. Maybe, someday we can actually make this fictional band, even if we don’t play glam rock. For RJ Dimla and the soh Sanggunian. We did great. Tiwala para sa susunod na mga taon. For Block b 2014: Isa, Vhan, Clarice, Ace, Lui, Bea, Gwen, Lara, Guil, Cressa, and Jess. I love your block. Ang saya niyong kasama at kausap. For the underclassmen, Block e 2015 and 2016. Cool kayo. Sobra. Also, Block b 2016. Haha! Snaroe.


For AJ, Mavi, and WriterSkill, the first organization I’ve ever joined. For the Literary Society, heights (especially Bagwisan), and the Ateneo Musicians’ Pool (kahit inactive ako). For Stef Tran. Thank you for listening. I really appreciate it. Also, thank you for reading some of the poems I’ve showed you and commenting on them. For Keisha Kibanoff. Stay fierce. For the grunge, post-rock, electronic, metal, alternative, and indie bands and artists that kept me sane during nights of stress. Thank you. Thank you to the following professors that I’ve had the privilege of studying under and/or have made an impact in my life. Ma’ams and Sirs: Devi Paez, Miguel Escaño, Richard de Guzman, Jema Pamintuan, Clarissa Mijares, Mitch Cerda, Eumir Angeles, Neville Manaois, Dave Lozada, Brian Giron, Gino Trinidad, Justin Badion, Father Dacanay, Bobby Guevara, Gilbert Jimenez, Jope Guevara, Jade Principe, Jacklyn Cleofas, Migoy Lizada, Exie Abola, Mark Cayanan, DM Reyes, Glenn Mas, Allan Popa, Allan Derain, Egay Samar, Vince Serrano, Martin Villanueva, Daryll Delgado, Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta, Mabi David, Laurel Fantauzzo, Benilda Santos, Alona Guevarra, Charlene Diaz, and Cyan Abad-Jugo. Thank you so much. Thank you for being patient. I’m still learning. I’ll work to get even better. If you’re someone I know and I forgot to mention you… Here. Fill this blank because you’re special, too:


60 · Matthew Olivares

My friend keeps bugging me about how to understand Kant’s ethical theory. I never answered his texts. I saw him the next day on a bench, and he said: Hosanna in the highest! because he finally understood it. He took out two lemons from his lunchbox and squeezed them over his eyes.

I am watching an indie band play a depressing song about a man eating cereal contemplating on his girlfriend leaving him. Suddenly a drunk girl leans her head on my shoulder. She whispers into my ear: I’m a few particles of a good carrot in your hands.

There’s a turtle in my head playing with a watermelon, and it wants a hug.

Just a few causes for the itch beneath my hair…


heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 61

Every day, I prick myself and pretend that I’m a deflating balloon.

While smoking underneath a bridge, my friend tells me to look at his cigarette box because it’s profound. Like a pelican. Like a robot pelican.

While eating dinner with my friends, a group of men sat on the table beside ours. One of them was drunk. He was crying. “Pare, my heart is a shattered plate with a chunk of adobo in the middle of each shard spiced up with the feathers of falcons.”

A girl in an art gallery thinks aloud to herself: How do I paint my face with rubber boots?


Ilyena Ilyena’s life is colored by accidents. She has a fixation for wreckage and crashes her car the same way each day: 180 kilometers per hour into the trunk of a sequoia. She longs for comatose. She succeeded one morning. Autumn’s treetops shed their leaves to blanket her. I took a picture: torso through the windshield with her arms stretched out, her head pillowed by shards of glass, hair red like the leaves, melatonin smile. I wonder what it’s like to dream in a car crash.

62 · Matthew Olivares


heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 63


Stephanie Shi

bfa creative writing

A recipient of the 2014 Loyola Schools Awards for the Arts for nonfiction, Stephanie Shi graduates from the Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in creative writing. She was a fellow for essay at the 18th Ateneo heights Writers Workshop. Her works have appeared in heights. “Projectile” was first published in Plural Prose Journal in a slightly different version. It is also part of her chapbook White Noise. She thanks all her friends from the Ateneo Musicians’ Pool (esp. to Isa Salazar, Vicky Marquez, and Miko Galvez), heights (esp. to Sab Cuerva; everyone in the 2013-2014 editorial board), and Block e (esp. to Maria Cervero, Chessie Guerrero, Yanna Lopez, Iona Mapa, and Izo Lopez), as well as those she has met on campus and gotten really close to (esp. to Miko P and Mico P), for being there for her and making her days worthwhile. She sincerely thanks all the panelists at the 18th Ateneo heights Writers Workshop for helping her with her writing even after the event. She is immensely grateful to all the professors who have inspired and taught her how to write better, be more critical, more hardworking, more patient, more a person for others, and more human; shout out to Dr. Trina Tinio, Dr. Queena Lee-Chua, Jackie Jacinto, Dr. Benilda Santos, Martin Villanueva, Allan Popa, Glenn Mas, Exie Abola, Dr. Vincenz Serrano, Justin Badion, Dr. Remmon Barbaza, Dr. Jade Principe, and Dr. Bobby Guevara. For showing her what truly matters and what it means to live, and for all the happiness beyond belief, she warmly thanks Rafael Mirafuente. For letting her study creative writing, she gratefully acknowledges her parents, Alvin and Evelyn. amdg


Projectile The signs of life here are those of death. Little spiders that throve on the bugs that found their way in the room. Mosquitoes that buzzed by my ears. The little insects that crawled on the leaves of books. All smashed by my hand. The bodies of mosquitoes are on the window. * People ask me where I live sometimes out of whim, others out of necessity for flood updates or picking me up and dropping me off. I cringe whenever I say Biak na Bato; it feels so coarse in my mouth, as though I were chewing rocks as I say it. I don’t have the leisure of saying I live in Intimate Street, Calypso Street, Paraiso, or Third, Sixth, Seventh Street like my friends and other relatives do. Biak na Bato turns people off. They, too, feel the coarseness. But they don’t know where it is. I’ve been answering Banawe for a while now, a mistake every time as the customary reply Rice Terraces? makes me feel like I belong nowhere. For proms and balls back in high school, there’s no evading the question unless I went on my own to the hotel or country club, or just stayed at home. I had to go, though, because my mom said so. She had the pleasure of putting make-up on me, dressing me up, and fixing my hair. She loved having my date go in the house and showing me off. I always just led the boy out as soon as I could, tugging his suit to the direction of the stairs. Going down the stairs or on the way to the parking lot, the date would comment on the house: how traditional Chinese it was with the workplace on the ground floor, and that my family had not yet outgrown it while his did; how difficult it was finding the street, and then the apology for the slight lateness because he got lost. One pointed out the stench, another laughed at the plump lantern torn apart by time. It still blackens like a rotting pumpkin as it hangs in the warehouse. 66 · Stephanie Shi


* What’s framed becomes permanent. The sunset at my bathroom window. The crisscrossing bars over the glass impede the view. I take my camera out for a shot. They become part of it. Nothing’s ever clear. The first time I drew my curtain to the side at night, I jerked in fright. A person was staring back at me through the window. Then I recognized myself and my room. * The convenience of things is in the nearness. Twenty-six steps on the staircase separate the warehouse to our bedrooms; 21 between my grandparents’ place and mine. I live on the second floor, my room beside my brother’s, both directly above the office. A door at the fourth floor opens to the playground with swings and seesaws. I once frolicked with my brother and my cousins there, bruised my right knee, twisted an ankle. Attached to the slide where I used to play on, the basketball hoop rusts. No net hangs from it. It remains unmoved no matter how turbulent the wind against it may be. I used to look up to it from the bottom end of the slide. The sun would find its way in slowly and carefully unlike the ball my brother and my grandfather released years ago at the flick of their wrists. To view the sunrise or the sunset, one may go up the spiral stairs to the fifth floor, the roof deck. There is no need to go out; I’m comfortable here. See me climb stairs to dine with my grandparents every meal. *

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A cousin two years younger than I am waits with a boy at two in the morning for the gate to be opened. Sitting on the counter, I watch them sometimes through the kitchen window when I happen to be awake and hungry enough to look for food instead of surrendering to bed, anticipating breakfast. He smiles when she is let in. She turns to him and wishes him a good night. She walks right beside the part of the lot where a garden used to be. Three cars are parked there now. * The house in Greenhills had too much empty space for a family of four with two helpers. The ceilings were high, walls plenty. Either there was one commodious living room or three living rooms separated by arcades. Afternoons were spent in the living room. On one side: a billiard table, the sticks leaning on a corner with their tips lining the white wall blue. Another: a treadmill beside two punching bags suspended on a black stand; a cycling machine; a wooden bench before a wooden table that looked like the remaining trunk of a tree that had been chopped. Another: a piano before cream-colored leather couches. Another, by a window: four cushioned chairs surrounding a little round glass table, their metallic green legs curled like tendrils. Our voices echoed. So did music, so did the sound of chairs brushing the floor and the clatter of silverware. Over dinner: I bought a pair of small boxers today. Why not extra large? I asked for extra large and the guy showed me this!—my dad stretched his arms to the side and we laughed that a ridiculously large pair would even exist; I think that rum cake had too much rum. I had a slice today, got sleepy, slept the whole afternoon. Me, too! And I got so dizzy while taking my trig quiz today. Would you believe Adams Street got flooded ‘coz of Milenyo? What does ‘yero’ mean? She’s the girl who vandalized my face in our group picture. Wait, she’s the sister of that guy who hated me for having a girlfriend! How’d the stampede happen? What did he say? Well, it’s obviously his fault. How’d he react after you asked? What did you ask him again? I asked, How could you say ‘I love you’ to two women at the same time? Outside was a garden. There were steps that led to a little house. The kitchen. Beside it, a little shed for grilling. In between their roofs, 68 · Stephanie Shi


metal bars where I hung from to keep my scoliosis from worsening and prayed my weight make my spine straight. Sometimes my brother did pull-ups beside me. After dinner my dad would spend a few hours by the garden, whispering to someone over the phone and smoking. * You are usually under a roof. Outdoors, you open an umbrella. You clutch the handle as if your life depends on it. Sometimes you guess the length of shadows that buildings cast, what the angle is and where they face given the time of day and year. You walk where the shadow is. Choose the shady path in a fork. Averse to the sunlight and the freckles it might give you. All for whiteness. More averse to having dark spots on the body than what creeps and crawls in the dark. But at night the shadows on the ground keep you from walking. * All bedrooms in the house are clothed with wallpaper. Vines with flowers which I thought looked like fu dogs or one-eyed ducks, spiral down from the ceiling until two-thirds of the wall. I used to fear them. The bottom part is polka-dotted. I became attracted to pristine white walls when I lived in Jefferson Street, Greenhills West for five years. The house was white, and so was my room. While barking dogs woke me up in Biak na Bato, chirping birds did in Jefferson. Because I had curtains for the first time, a shift from Venetian blinds, my room would have a touch of pink or peach, depending on their color. I caught myself imagining the silhouette of my naked body by those curtains. People knew Jefferson Street. Going there was hardly a problem to any of my friends; it was just like going to school. It was about ten blocks away from my school. The house was then pregnant with classmates and friends, few suitors that brought letters, bandmates I played rock songs with. My brother had his friends over, too. Hours heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 69


of practicing his shots and tricks on the pool table paid off as he beat them in every round. The village was across a mall. Most Saturdays were spent in the cinema with my mom and my brother, then in restaurants in the area for lunch. Some were spent with my girl friends who had invited boys to hang out with us. It would take me around an hour to fix myself for people I weren’t close to. My clothes didn’t seem to fit me well anymore. The hem of my tops stretched on my hips. I was having hips. My mom teased me that they were becoming wide like my grandmother’s. It was a ten-minute walk to the music studio I frequented. Even if I was prepared, having practiced well, often, and hard, before my music teacher my hands stiffened. Right hand forgetting how to hold the bow. Right hand being tapped by his index finger. Relax, relax. He was a decade my senior. We had to move back to Biak na Bato. Furniture sold to make up for money lost and spent elsewhere. I asked if I could at least have the wallpapers removed and my room painted. My mom said no. The wallpaper had been imported by my grandmother, the woman my mom disliked yet wanted most to please. * I don’t have friends over anymore. The ground floor consists of scattered piles of boxes. Across the ceiling dangle cobwebs, nestling every insect and bug whether predator or prey, dead or alive. My grandmother’s employees spend most of the day on a stool. Their bent bare backs glisten with sweat. They polish and sharpen parts of vehicles. The area is dim save for the light that plunges its way through where the garage gate should be, and the intermittent sparks. The sound of metal: a canon of hammers pounding nails. Endlessly rolling grinders scratching away like a gramophone on a steady 78. A silver tube tossed, crashes in a box filled with others like it. The scent of boxes too putrid; a waft stabs the sinuses. Once during a typhoon when the local government officials opened the dams to release water to prevent them from breaking, the warehouse 70 · Stephanie Shi


got flooded. A monsoon rain three years later resulted to the same mess. When the water receded we saw that the towers of stocks had collapsed, that pieces of metal jutted out from the soggy boxes like a fractured bone pushing against skin. The graying walls from years of dust became bistre with the addition of mud that swept across the place. The odor of mud, boxes, and rain altogether lingered for a month, and so did the germs on every speck of each surface. My grandmother was occupied with her drenched stock of auto supplies and the boxes for them. She ordered a group of men around the house to go one way to dry things, another to pack them, and then another to pile them high up once more. I worried about my health. I found myself holding my breath and rushing past the muddle of brown every time I got home from school—I gasped for air never mind fresh or not as I moved—quickly turning the doorknob to let myself out of the warehouse and into my grandparents’ office. Its mint blue bubblegum walls attempted to console me, but with the undeniable stench and the tingling sensation on my fingertips from contact with the knob teeming with filth, I stormed to my room where I washed my hands. I shivered in the warm water. One day I heard that the walls and the doors that had been submerged were scrubbed clean. I wondered what pushed my grandmother to consider sanitation. I found out later that my dad had scolded her workers for thinking of their salaries and work hours instead of health. * The spotlight is turned on every six in the evening, off every four in the morning. It’s there underneath the kitchen window of the second floor overlooking the parking lot and the gate for us to see who knocks, who has just come home. A few months after moving back, my father and I stood on the orange pool of light. My head down, his hands on my shoulders. *

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I wanted my grandfather to teach me Tai Chi a couple of years ago. With some Tai Chi strokes, he once knocked down a man who held him up for his wallet. He muttered under his breath that Tai Chi was difficult, that I wouldn’t be able to do it properly even if I tried. After my mother coaxed him that nowadays no one in this generation apart from maybe myself bothered or was interested to learn Tai Chi, my grandfather led me to the parking lot where we began stretching. We did the basic 24 positions that day. I wasn’t sure of what I was doing other than attempting to copy my grandfather’s movements. My grandfather and I hardly spoke to each other. I didn’t quite know how to talk to an authoritative figure without being considered impolite, and I didn’t want to stammer and fumble for the right Chinese words in the proper intonations so I couldn’t ask about the placement of my limbs, let alone have him teach me how to fight. * My brother and I used to pretend we were ninjas or spies. After creeping down the stairs, we dashed through the warehouse and workplace. Sometimes, when I was ahead of him, I would hide behind one of the many stacks of boxes. I’d slide out, he’d shriek, occasionally nudge me. With stifled giggles we continued. Standing behind him, I watched my brother slowly open the side door of our aunt’s house, put his left hand in to gather the chimes hanging by the doorknob. He then further pulled the door open to let me go through, then himself while closing it carefully, then gingerly opening his hand to release the chimes that coyly swayed without a sound. We would creep through the living room and up the stairs to surprise our cousin in her bedroom. We invited her to play with us. Patintero with our yayas on the lot when the cars weren’t home yet. Cops and robbers, my brother and I ganging up on her—during the pick: wet willy, BMW, and other cues. It was only us three kids at the time. When exhaustion claimed the best of us, we strolled on our garden, even plucked little red flowers.

72 · Stephanie Shi


My cousin sucked what she said was honey at the end of the stem. My brother and I gave our humble bouquet to our mom. * I told my mom I wanted a maya bird. She had the cook catch one for me. One day, the cook was in our living room; the maya bird happened to be there, too. It was then only a matter of her stretching out her arms and jumping to clasp the frenzied animal in her fingers. The bird darted to the wall, the corner. No escape. The cook finally caught it. My mom got a big rectangular plastic basket and inverted it to serve as the cage. Frenetic, the bird kept chirping and flapping its wings and bumping its head against the basket. My mom got a stick and pushed it through one of the open spaces of the basket. The bird, finally having something to perch on, fell silent. I ran to my dad when I saw him, tugged his pants to follow me; I was going to let him meet my pet. “Free the bird,” he told me after seeing the makeshift cage and the bird. I didn’t want to, especially not after I saw the difficult task of grabbing one by hand, the almost impossibility of it all. “What if you were the bird and someone caged you?” “But I’m not a bird.” “You’ll let it die.” I asked my mom if that were true; she said it was. Later that day, I stood by the raised gate of our warehouse with the cook. The maya bird was in her hands. Realizing I had not touched it yet, I asked if I could pet it before we let it go. The cook passed me the bird. She said I should be the one to free it. The bird clawed my palms—so birds had claws and these hurt. It wanted to be as far away from me as possible, and it did what it could. The natural course of things.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 73


Stella Acosta

ab psychology

From Davao City. Fellow for poetry, 19th ahww.


Prophet I saw God once. Left wandering for forty days in the famine of my soul my lungs gathered dust. Inside a leper’s cave I stumbled, a mouth filled with crows and His image, it persisted in the crown of my eyes, in the brightly burning bush. I trembled when He spoke— boom of thunder and wine. My heart ached, my body wept. Love is a selfish creature. I think of my wife’s hands.

76 · Stella Acosta


I dreamt of manna and a blind turn from the spring. He marked me amidst locusts and cicadas lightning struck a rock that spurt honey. He made me feel laughter in my fasting. He turned to me made me see a shepherd’s hook and two branches on top, an x on the grave of my departed like a criss-cross A Roman cross, He showed me but I could not understand In time, There is time enough for love, He said In time all love will be reciprocated but I still don't understand.   heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 77


Angelo Galindo

bs environmental science, minor in creative writing

Sophomore year was the year I decided to shift out of Chemistry and, after multiple detours, finally managed to arrive at my current major. Because of my shifting, I got the opportunity to explore and take classes that were neither core nor majors. During the first semester of that year I took, quite impulsively, my first poetry workshop. Back then, I barely knew anything about writing, my feverish and haphazard attempts in high school were all that I had, so I really wasn’t sure what I was in for. It was also the first time my attempts at poetry were to be workshopped so I was deathly scared. It was a struggle, at first, to keep up but I managed and I was able to better my writing. Suffice to say, after that class, I decided to muster up my courage and pursue a minor in creative writing. I pursued it for the simple reason that I had so much more to learn, so much more I wanted to learn. I’ve been fumbling (and stumbling) with poetry ever since. Regrettably, I won’t be graduating with the batch that I identify with but I’m very grateful that at least I’ve left some mark on Batch 2014 by being here on this folio. You guys have been amazing. * Tangents is for all those that have been touched one way or another, for people who still wish on stars, and for people who still want to believe in people.  Thank you for all those who believed.


80 · Angelo Galindo


Tangents

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 81


i. Sagittarius (♐) ran as fast as he could, relishing the freeing wind on his face and the bite of the cold on his cheek. He sped through the plain expanse and made his way to a half frozen lake. Out of breath, he sank by its edge, glints of light reflected on the gentle water. Slowly, with his bow and arrow, he shot towards the moon.

82 · Angelo Galindo


1. I remember the sky. It was a reddish brown like iron oxidized in soil. I remember the clouds, heavy with oncoming rain. I remember the trees, how their thin stems bent along the direction of the wind, how their leaves swiftly swooped down and landed on the stone pavement near where we stood. And the moon, I remember the moon. I remember not being able to see it. I remember the two stone benches parallel to each other and how you laid down and how I did as well. I remember looking at the starless sky and how I looked at you looking at the starless sky and how when I looked at you, you turned your head and—

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 83


ii. Libra (♎), seeking lost things, walked towards the direction opposite of the sun where light reaches last

84 · Angelo Galindo


2. you looked at me a few more seconds like no one normally would. It’s the kind of look that gently slips into you like needle and thread, sliding through cold and slow. It’s the kind of look that slithers through the crevices of your walls and you don’t even realize the many tangles they’re creating, the many whorls and knots beginning to form weight— making you remember how strongly gravity can push you down. It’s the kind of look that makes you feel like you’re being carved open again and again with your chest exposed to air. It’s the kind of look that makes its way up your ribs like a ladder exploring in between bones, indiscriminately puncturing flesh. It’s the kind of look that ruptures the oxygen right out of your lungs just stabbing and stabbing and stabbing. It’s the kind of look that makes you realize why needles became metaphors for eyes.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 85


iii. ♎ continued along his path, never straying. Soon, dusk began to blanket the sky and the sun was no longer seen in the horizon. Realizing this, he stopped to take in his surroundings. There were no more trees nearby, only a vast stretch of ice and the dark, dark sky.

With the light from the waxing moon, he found an arrow cradled in the snow.

86 · Angelo Galindo


3. And you hope to whoever god that you pray to, that those same needles can sew you back into one piece.

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88 · Angelo Galindo


† ♐and♎: There are only two possibilities when fire meets air.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 89


Abner E. Dormiendo

ab philosophy

“People told him anything was possible as long as he believed. People said this.” —Matthew Olzmann, “The Gallery of Failed Flight Attempts” Magtatapos si Abner sa kursong pilosopiya, minor in self-loathing. Habang hindi pa nahahanapan ng mundo ang kaniyang kurso ng saysay sa totoong buhay, nagsusulat siya ng kung anu-ano sa kung saan-saan. Madalas sa laptop niya. Minsan sa cellphone ng ibang tao. Sa mga taong naniwalang kaya kong gawin ‘to (kung ano man itong ito na ito). Sa pamilya ko. Di ko pinapabasa ‘to sa inyo kasi nakakahiya. Pero salamat pa rin sa suporta. Promise, hahanap ako ng sustainable na trabaho. Mahal ko kayo. Alam niyo na ‘yun. Sa aking mga naging classmate sa high school, special mention kina Ellesse at Mimi. Nadedicate ko na ‘yung isang work sa inyo dati, pero lagi namang kulang e. Heto, idagdag niyo. Sa Block j. Unang barkada sa kolehiyo. Lalo na kina Cris, Nicole, Ann, at Mike. Di man ako unang natutong uminom sa inyo, una akong natutong magparaya. Di lahat ng oras di kailangang magseryoso. Minsan masarap lang magpakabangag. Sa Ateneo Gabay, lalo na sa mga kaibigan doon.


Sa heights Ateneo. Mga kasama sa Bagwisan mula nakaraang taon hanggang ngayong patapos na ‘ko. Mga miyembro nito mula noon (Pao, Japhet, Jero, Ariane, mga Tandangwisan na di ko na naabutan; JV, Deirdre, at Alfred) hanggang ngayon (bgwzn 13-14, lalo na kina Christian, Jonnel, Ace, at Gwen; Manuel, Audrey, Steph, Moli, Tasha, Carissa, at buong heights rEBels). Di ko na kailangang sabihin kung ano ang halaga ninyo sa akin. Sa 18th ahww, mula sa panelists hanggang sa kapwa-fellows. Di ako malilinang kung hindi ako isinalang sa apoy. Tinitingala ko kayong lahat. Sa aking mga naging guro, sa loob man o sa labas ng klase. Mula sa Filipino hanggang sa pilosopiya—higit na higit sa lahat kay Sir Eddieboy Calasanz. Hiling ko lang ay maisabuhay ko ang inyong mga turo at isabuhay ito sa iba. Walang hanggang pasasalamat. Sa oaa, sa San Jose Seminary, at kay Fr. Silvino Borres, SJ. Hindi ko kailanman maibabalik ang inyong ibinigay sa akin. Nawa’y sumapat ito. At others: Mae at Dave Elkins (lalo na sa The Everglow, nagsilbing soundtrack ng buhay ko), mga tulang ninakawan ko ng ilang kataga (hi, Lola Jorie), Twitter na outlet ng aking feelings, Wordpress na outlet para sa mas mahaba kong feelings, sa aking laptop na si Dave (formerly Finn), sa ulan, sa dagat, sa dilim, sa ulap, at sa tala. Di po ako marunong lumipad. Pero para sa inyo, susubukan ko. Wish me luck! lagimlim.wordpress.com


Mga Ulap Walang nakakaalam kung paano ito nangyari. Baka dahil ilang araw na ring walang makain sa bayan kaya pare-parehas na silang nahibang at nagkaroon ng kolektibong delusyon ang bawat tao doon. Ngunit kung delusyon nga ang nangyari, bakit hindi lang isa, kundi lahat-lahat, ay naranasan ito? At higit sa lahat, kung tunay ngang kahibangan lang ang lahat, bakit nadarama nila ito: naisusubo nila’t nakakain ang ilusyon na iyon—kung hindi nga talaga totoo itong mga nangyayaring ito? Ngunit wala na rin naman taong makapag-iisip nang ganoon, lalo na kung halos malusaw na ang bituka nilang lahat sa ilang linggo na ring pagkagutom. Sa totoo, walang makapagsabi kung paanong biglang naglaho ang pagkain sa bayan. Basta ilang linggo lang ang nakaraan bago itong sinasabi nilang “ilusyon,” nawala lahat ng puwedeng makain. Kahit sa mga tindahan at mga pabrika, wala silang makita. Tanging ang mga naimbak na lang ng bawat tao sa kani-kanilang tahanan ang natira. Kaya ilang araw matapos ang malawakang paglaho, kaunti pa lang ang talagang namomroblema sa kakainin. Ang iba, idinaan na lang sa tulog ang gutom. Nakumpiyansa naman ang mga taong may pagkain pa sa kani-kanilang bahay. Habang may ibang hindi nagdalawang-isip mamigay ng pagkain sa mas nangangailangan, nagsulputan naman ang tunay na mga gahaman, na kinimkim sa sarili ang kanilang naimbak. Sinigurado naman ng gobyerno sa mga tao na babalik ang pagkain sa lalong madaling panahon. Ngunit ang totoo, hindi magkandaugaga ang gobyerno sa pakikipag-ugnayan sa mga karatig-bayan upang humingi ng tulong. Ngunit wala silang nakuhang kahit na anong suporta mula sa iba, dahil, sa isang hindi rin maipaliwanag na dahilan, hindi nila magawang makipag-ugnayan sa labas ng bayan. Napako ang pangako ng gobyerno ng muling pagbabalik ng pagkain, at ilang linggo lang ay gumuho ang lahat ng institusyon sa bayan. Sa kabutihang-palad—o baka sa kasamaang-palad—wala pang heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 93


namamatay sa sobrang gutom sa bayan, bagaman labis naman silang nagdurusa’t namimilipit sa gutom. Nagkani-kaniya na rin ang mga tao. At bagaman sa kung anong dahilan ay wala pang namamatay sa mga tao, nananatiling masakit at nakapanghihina pa rin ang kawalangpagkain sa bayan. At kung hindi man para hindi sa mamatay ang mga tao, problema pa rin ng mga tao ang pagkain para lang maibsan ang hapdi ng gutom. At dumating na nga ang sagot sa kanilang suliranin isang araw; bagaman ang dumating na sagot ay hindi tulad ng kanilang inaasahan. Gumising na lang ang bayan na nakukulambuan ng makapal na makapal na hamog. Hindi. Hindi hamog—kundi mga ulap. Bawat sulok ng kalye, bawat distrito’t bakuran ng mga kabahayan ay naliligiran ng makakapal at mapipintog na mga ulap. Maputi at malambot, tulad kung titignan mula sa malayo noong nasa langit pa sila, ngunit hindi kasinggaan sa malapitan. Sa katunayan, mabigat talaga ang ulap, at nahirapan ang mga taong hawiin sa tabi ang nagkukumpol na ulap. Hindi alam ng mga tao kung ano na ang nangyayari sa kanilang bayan: taggutom, pagkawala ng pakikipag-ugnayan sa labas, pagkatapos ang pagbaba ng mga ulap sa langit. Hindi nila alam kung paano maipagtatagni ang mga pangyayaring ito. Hanggang dahil na rin sa kabaliwang dulot ng matinding pagkagutom, pumutol ang isang tao ng kapirasong ulap at sinimulang kainin ito. Bakit hindi, aniya. Gawa rin naman sa tubig ang ulap. At nagpatuloy sa pagngasab ng ulap ang hibang na taong ito. Ilang saglit pa ay sumunod na sa kaniya ang iba. Unti-unting pinira-piraso ang ulap at nilamon hanggang sa mapunta ito sa kanilang kumakalam na sikmura. Nanatiling hindi kumakain ang iba, nahihiya marahil sa pagkain ng isang bagay na hindi naman talaga dapat nakakain. Ngunit narito sa harap nila ang patunay na nakakain mo ang ulap. Kaya isinantabi na muna nila ang hiya, at nagsimula na rin silang kumuha ng kanilang kapirasong ulap. Ilang linggo nawala ang suliranin ng gutom sa bayan dahil sa bagong pagkaing kanilang natuklasan. Kakaiba pala ang ulap bilang pagkain. Hindi nakakasawa. Mabilis makabusog. Isang piraso lang ng ulap na kasinglaki ng palad ay sapat na sa isang maghapon. At hindi rin mabilis makauhaw dahil nga gawa sa tubig, at kahit na gawa siya sa tubig, may 94 · Abner E. Dormiendo


lasa pa rin siya na hindi maipaliwanag. Kaya siguro hindi maipaliwanag dahil ngayon pa lang nakatikim ang tao ng ulap. Nakuntento ang mga tao sa pagkain ng ulap, hindi batid ang untiunting pagkaubos nito. At nang sa wakas ay nakain na ang pinakahuling piraso ng ulap, nagsimula muling mamroblema ang mga tao sa kanilang kakainin. Unti-unting bumalik ang taggutom. Ngunit hindi na gutom ang pinakamalaki nilang suliranin ngayon. Nagsimula ang panibagong suliranin sa isang bata. Sa simula, dahan-dahang namuti ang bata. Akala ng mga magulang nito’y dahil sa gutom kaya namutla ang kanilang anak, ngunit malakas pa naman ang bata’t nakakapaglaro pa kasama ng iba pang mga bata. Ilang araw ang lumipas, hindi na normal ang pagkamaputla ng bata: kasimputi na ng bulak ang kaniyang balat. Matapos ang ilang araw, unti-unti siyang lumobo. Nagkumpol-kumpol at nagkabukol-bukol ang kaniyang laman. Lumaki nang husto ang kaniyang dibdib at mga biyas hanggang sa maging isang malaking puting kumpol-kumpol ang bata isang linggo pagkatapos nitong mamuti. Hindi na nila makausap ang bata pagkatapos nito. Naging isang malaking tipak na lang siya ng puting masa na umbok-umbok. Sa takot, itinago ng mga magulang nito ang kanilang anak—o kung ano na siya ngayon—sa kanilang bahay. Lingid sa kanilang kaalaman, nangyari rin sa ibang bata ang nangyari sa kanilang anak: Naging tumpok-tumpok na puti ang lahat ng bata sa bayan. Itinago ng bawat pamilya itong unti-unting pagbabagong-anyo ng kanilang mga anak noong una, ngunit hindi nagtagal ay lumabas din ang totoo. Wala nang hindi nakakaalam sa epidemiyang ito, na ngayon ay halos matumbasan ang dumidiing problema sa gutom. Ilang araw ang lumipas, pati ang iilang mga nakatatanda ay naging mga puting kumpol na rin. Naglutangan palabas ang mga puting tumpok hanggang sa napuno ang bawat kalsada ng kanilang mga lamang malambot sa pagkaalsa. Naghahalo-halo ang bawat tumpok hanggang sa hindi na maari’t makilala ng isang tao ang kaniyang kamag-anak sa kamag-anakan ng iba. Bawat kalsada ngayon ay napuno ng mga puting umbok-umbok sa bawat sulok, tulad noong bumaba ang mga ulap mula sa langit.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 95


At oo nga, napagtanto ng mga natitirang tao: Mga ulap na nga silang lahat. Sila, na tao noon, ay mistula nang hindi mga tao ngayon. Ni wala nang bakas ng pagiging tao silang mga naging ulap. Wala nang kahit na anong parte ng katawan na masasabing tao pa nga sila, o na sa isang punto ng panahon ay naging tao nga sila. Tanging alaala na lang ang kanilang sinasandigan upang masabing tao nga sila noon. Ngunit wala silang nagagawang salita, ni tunog, para masabi mong nakakaintindi pa sila. O kahit itulak mo sila, tapikin, kausapin, wala. Wala kang makukuhang tugon mula sa kanila. Walang salita, walang paghinga, walang pagpintig ng puso—kung may puso nga talaga sila. Ngunit wala talaga. Nakalutang lang sila sa ibabaw ng konkretong kalye, na para ngang hindi na sila tao. At marahil hindi na nga sila talaga tao. Ulap na lamang sila. Ulap na nga talaga sila. At silang mga natira naman, gutom pa rin. Silang mga natira, hindi pa rin magawang makahingi ng tulong sa labas. Silang mga natira, nagdurusa pa rin. Tumigil na rin ang pagkakasakit sa bayan. Nahati na ang kanilang bayan sa dalawang pangkat: ang mga ulap at ang mga tao. Ngunit kung babasahin ang mga mukha nitong natitirang mga tao, makikita mong mas gugustuhin pa yata nilang maging ulap kaysa maranasan ang ganitong paghihirap, ang ganitong gutom na kumakagat hanggang sa mga buto. Na lumipas na nga ang epidemiya ng ulap ay gutom pa rin sila. At walang nagawa ang mga natirang tao kundi hagkan ang mga ulap: sa awa, sa inggit, sa pagkainis. Hinagkan, at iniyakan, na para bang may kakayahang makiramay ang mga ulap na ito. Na para bang naiintindihan pa rin ng mga ulap na ito ang paghihirap na dala ng gutom, ng pangungulila, ng pagiging tao. Umiyak nang umiyak ang mga tao habang nakayakap sa isang tumpok ng ulap. At ang mga ulap, nakalutang lang. Wari’y walang pakialam sa hinagpis ng tao.

96 · Abner E. Dormiendo


Recuerdo Walang naiiwan sa dalampasigan Na hindi nadudurog o nahuhugasan. Noong huli nating tagpo, naghagis ka Ng isang bato. Kung marahas ang mga alon, Banayad ang alaala. Ngunit hindi lang bato Ang binabaklas ng panahon. Sa bawat Paghampas ng alat sa nanunuyo kong balat, Tinatangay ng kanilang pag-inog ang aking Bawat pag-asa, hinahatak pababa patungo Sa pusod, kapiling ng mga korales, durog Na kahoy, agnas na mga isda, basag na kabibe. At mistulang paglalamay ang bawat paglalakbay Sa dalampasigan, tinatanong ang bawat bato Kung nagtagpo na ba sila ng kamay mo? Kung ito ba ang naihagis minsan nitong Mga daliri mo? At kung sakaling matagpuan ko Ang inihagis mo noon sa piling nitong Napakarami pang buhangin at bato, baka Maaari ko siyang makausap, humingi ng simpatiya Sa mga bagay na kagyat lang nabubuhay Sa paghipo ng mga daliri, umaalpas sa paglipas Ng panahon. Isang baybay ang iyong gunita At ako lamang ay isang alon. heights Seniors Folio 2014 ¡ 97


Apophasis “There are sounds the planet will make, even if there is no one to hear them.” —Jorie Graham O paano ko sisimulan. O baka paano ko sisimulan sa gitna. Na iniuunat ang kuwento—salaysay— naratibo, isang rolyo ng walang katapusang tela (natatanaw mo ba ang magkabilang dulo) (hindi pa iyon ang dulo) at ito: sinulid: talinghaga ng wika: at kakulay dapat ng kung ano ang Mayroon: ibig sabihin, ang tela: at ako ba ang karayom? ang mananahi? ang ibinuburda? ang butas sa hinabing sanlibutan ng Mayroon—ako ba ang dapat takpan— ako ba ang panakip? O nagdadaki-dakilaang sangkatauhan.

98 · Abner E. Dormiendo


Paanong tuwing gabi sa labas ng durungawan: nakatalikod ako sa kaniya (bintana): ang paningin ko sa dingding sa tapat niya: at ang ilaw-poste na naninilaw at nag-iilusyon ng papatay-patay: at ang sa totoo, isang gamugamo: hindi pagdapo kundi pagdaplis dito sa bumbilya: hindi pananatili kundi panandaliang paghablot: kinukuyom marahil sa kaniyang pali-palitong gabuhok lang na mga paa na init—kahit sandali lang— kahit walang makukuyom— dahil una, hindi mo mahuhuli ang hindi mahuhuli at pangalawa, hindi maipanghuhuli ang hindi maipanghuhuli kaya mata lang at anino. (Walang salita.) (Katahimikan lang.) At ang pagsasayaw nito sa dingding ng aking kuwarto. At ang panonood ko. At ang kumot na hating-talukbong sa aking katawan. At ang dilim.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 99


Di pa natin napag-uusapan ang dilim. Hindi natin mapag-uusapan ang dilim. Ngunit may nasasabi ako sa mismong dilim, sa gitna nito (nakapaligid) na parang isang pagkakatapon. At ang lahat ng pagbigkas ay isang pagsuko—hindi sa walang magagawa kundi isang pagoo. Sa narito. Sa pagparito. Sa naparito: noong kabataan sa gilid ng bundok na kinalbo ng kaingin: ang lupang pinalambot ng husto ng kimpal-kimpal na dayami: ito na aming titipunin at susunugin paglaon nang walang imik: at paglaon nitong paglaon, matapos ang dakilang pagsunog, ang dilim. Ngunit alam kong mayroong mayroon sa kabilang dako nito: doon: ang balangkas ng bundok: ang matamlay na alitaptap: ibig sabihin, mayroon pa. Nakikita mo ba. Sige. Pilitin ang mga matang makakita. Nakikita mo pa ba. O nalamon na ba ang iyong paningin ng walang-hanggang dilim. O dilim.

100 ¡ Abner E. Dormiendo


Tanging ibinubulong ko sa dilim. Paano papangalanan ang dilim. O dapat ba itong pangalanan. Sa dingding ko may nabubuo: laro ng anino: anino sa karimlan? Maaari. Kailangan lang ng kaunting liwanag. Oo nga pala. Hindi ko kinilala ang liwanag. Dito ako maaari

heights Seniors Folio 2014 ¡ 101


nang magsimula: pagtabas. Hindi parang nagtatabas ng tela ngunit isang talahiban. Itong aking pagkatao: gulok: ang kislap nito sa liwanag ng buwan: ang pagdaloy ng kislap sa kaniyang talim na parang tumatakbong tubig: na parang binasa ng paparating pa lang na hamog: ang sundang ng buwan sa kulambo ng langit: ang matinis na pagtangis ng di (pa rin) matagpuang mga kuliglig: lagaslas ng pakpak ng pumapaimbulog na paniki: lahat pumupunit

102 ¡ Abner E. Dormiendo


sa katahimikan. Ngunit ano matapos ang dakilang pagtabas? Matapos maihiwalay ang hindi ito ito sa—saan mo nga ba ito inihihiwalay—o doon tayo sa katotohanan: hindi mo alam, hindi ba?—ang patutunguhan nitong paglalakbay— ngunit sumama ka pa rin. Alam mong naroroon ito— kung ano man ang ito na hinahanap mo. Ano ang iyong sandigan? Ako,

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 103


itong dingding. Ako, itong anino. Itong liwanag. Itong dilim. Itong hindi ko mabigkas na dilim. Nananalig ako sa hindi ko makita sa dilim.

104 ¡ Abner E. Dormiendo


heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 105


Noel Clemente

bs/m applied mathematics major in mathematical finance

Isang math major na napaibig sa pilosopiya. Isang makatang kasapi ng lira. Isang estudyanteng nahalina sa salamangka.


108 · Noel Clemente


Agua Bendita Sa isang simbahan sa bandang Maynila, samantalang ula’y hindi tumitila, mag-isa ang pari’t wala nang alila: ang tanging liwanag ay isang kandila. Tuloy sa pagpatak ang ulang maingay kaya’t nagpasiyang tuluyang magnilay; ngunit Dominiko’y nagtaas ng kilay nang biglang kumirot ang paang may pilay. Maibsan ang sakit, tangi niyang pita: naghanap, kumuha ng Agua Bendita; ngunit ‘tinapon din kagyat nang makitang ang sisidlan nito’y may tatak Heswita.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 109


Aidan Manglinong

bfa creative writing

“Cuz the boyz in the hood are alwayz hard Come talkin’ that trash and we’ll pull your card Knowin’ nothin’ in life but to be legit Don’t quote me boy, I ain’t said shit” —Eazy E., “Boyz n the Hood” Pasasalamat sa mga sponsor: Many thanks to Block e 2014, especially the CoD Boys and my thesis classmates under Sir Martin, the #Arbiters, WriterSkill, LitSoc, Bagwisan, the Niceghuls, ufeg, pwu-jasms High School Batch 2010, Ben Villanueva and Daniel Maslog, my homeboards: /fit/, /pol/, and /b/, the Commonwealth Boys a.k.a. Mga Batukanni Heartless, my professors from my (supposedly) four-year stay at Ateneo, the cw upperclassmen from years past, and to you random friends not belonging to any of the groups mentioned above. “We’re all gonna make it, brah.”


112 · Aidan Manglinong


Tablas Strait May nagsabi sa akin na tahanan ang dalampasigan para sa amin na isinilang sa islang sumalok sa mga karagatan. Una sa kanilang mga tinuro: Di ang lalim ng tubig na binabagtas ang katakutan, kung hindi ang lamig na babati sa pag-ahon, at ang daluyong na sa tuwing napupunit ang mga kalangitan. Isipin: mga kamay na sumasalok ng tubig, isang salaming napunit, kurtinang marahang hinahawi. Bulong ang naging puno’t dulo. Lulan ng bangkang kalaban ang mga alon ang isang katahimikang hindi mabigyan ng pangalan. Gaano kalalim ang karagatan? Kung papayagan, ipagpapalagay at ipagdarasal na ang kapayapaan ay nasa kailaliman.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 ¡ 113


Chise Alcantara

bfa creative writing

Hi, ako si Chise. Kung napansin niyo, may recurring themes sa lahat ng aking mga pinasang akda... pagmamahal. Joke lang. Pero pareho lang ‘yun. Ang pagtatae ay pagmamahal. Joke ulit. Half-meant. Salamat sa lahat ng mga nakasama ko sa pagtatae, pagmamahal, at iba pang mga kagaguhang ginagawa habang nasa kolehiyo ka pa. Block e, Bagwisan, heights, mga naging prof ko, mga mambabasa, mga kaibigan, kapamilya, kapuso, God, Coco Martin... sobrang cool niyo lahat. Sa lahat ng mga babasa sa mga pinagsusulat kong katarantaduhan, sana matripan ninyo. Sana matawa kayo. Maiyak. Maihi. Masuka. Matae. Sana labasan kayo ng kung iba’t ibang klaseng bodily excretions. Dahil masarap. Mabuhay!


The Perfect Crime * Recess noon at kakatapos ko pa lang kainin ang baon kong vienna sausage with rice at inumin ang medyo nainitang tetrapack ng gatas. Halos palaging ganoon yung baon ko araw-araw pero hindi ako nagsasawa dahil Grade 2 pa lang ako noon at hindi pa yata nagdedevelop yung taste buds ko. Maaga akong natapos kumain noon at ayaw kong makipaglaro sa mga kaklase kong nabilad sa araw. Ayaw kong mahawa sa amoy nila na parang pinaghalong Johnson’s Baby Cologne at pawis kaya naisipan kong magpa-aircon na lang sa classroom namin kasi sobra rin yung init noong araw na ‘yon. Habang mag-isang nakaupo sa classroom, may naramdaman akong kakaibang paggalaw sa aking tiyan. Inangat ko yung isang pisngi ng pwet ko at nagpakawala ng medyo napahaba at napasarap na utot. Nang maayos ko ulit yung upo ko parang hindi ako mapakali dahil parang may something-something squishy sa loob ng brief ko. Hindi ko alam kung bakit ko naisip i-check ito gamit yung kamay ko. Kinapkap ko yung loob ng brief ko at aking laking gulat sa natagpuan kong sorpresa. Nataranta ako dahil nasa kamay ko na ngayon ang problema. Inisip ko kung paano malilinis ang krimen mula sa aking pwet at kamay. Alam kong hindi ako pwedeng lumabas ng classroom na may ebidensyang dala-dala kaya naghanap ako ng magagamit upang mailipat ang kasalanan ko sa iba. Napako ang tingin ko sa bukas na notebook ng foreign exchange student namin na ayaw ko dahil maitim siya at hindi ko siya maintindihan mag-Ingles. Hindi ko alam kung saang bansa siya nanggaling. Sabi sa akin ng lola ko na ‘wag daw ako lumapit sa mga maitim na tao kasi madumi sila kaya hindi ko na rin sinubukang alamin. Madali kong pinahid sa isang pahina ng kanyang notebook ang aking kamay na parang nagpapalaman lang ako ng chunky peanut butter sa Tasty. Isinarado ko ang kanyang notebook * Unang nailathala sa unang issue ng Plural Prose Online Journal

116 · Chise Alcantara 116


at tumakbo palabas ng classroom papunta sa pinakamalapit na cr. Nang makarating ako sa CR natandaan kong nakalimutan ko pala yung pampalit kong brief at tissue. Pumasok ako sa isang cubicle at sinakripisyo ko ang aking brief for the greater good. Flinush ko ang lahat ng ebidensya, nagpaalam sa aking magiting na brief at agad bumalik sa classroom dahil narinig ko na yung bell. Medyo feeling wet, wild and free yung pwet ko noon dahil hindi ko na siya natuyo nang maayos sa pagmamadali ko. Kahit naging moist and sticky yung shorts ko dahil sa pinaghalong pinanghugas na tubig at kabadong pawis nang makaupo na ako, tiniis ko na lang siya, at nagkunwari akong nagsusulat sa notebook habang pasulyap-sulyap kung namalayan na ni foreign exchange student ang regalo ko sa kanya. Dumating ang aming titser at pinabuksan ang mga notebook namin para kopyahin ang sinusulat niya sa blackboard. Binuksan na ni foreign exchange student yung pahina kung nasaan nakatago yung sorpresa niya. Palihim kong pinagmamasdan ang kanyang reaksyon nang makita niya ito. Sa unang tingin mukhang akala niya yata na mantsa ng tsokolate ito kaya nilapit niya ito sa kanyang mukha, at bigla na lang narinig ng buong klase na sumigaw siya ng “Yuck! What is this?! So gross!” Sabay hiniritan siya ng katabi niya, “Yuck! May tae sa ilong! Kadiri!” Nagtawanan ang mga kaklase ko habang naiwan akong nagtataka kung paano nakita ng kaklase ko yung tae sa ilong nung foreigner kung kakulay naman ng balat niya yun. Isa-isa kaming sinuri ng aming guro para malaman kung sino ang mga salarin. Nang oras ko na para tanungin ng aming guro kung may kinalaman ako sa nangyari, binigyan ko siya ng isang Oscar-award winning performance. Hindi kayang pagdudahan ang aking simpatiya sa aming kaawa-awang bisitang dayuhan at walang katumbas ang paghahangad ko ng katarungan para sa karumal-dumal na nangyari sa kanya. heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 117


Pagkatapos ng ilang oras ng sermon ng aming homeroom adviser kung bakit namin dapat galangin ang mga bisita tulad ni foreign exchange student, pinapunta ng aming adviser si foreign exchange student sa clinic para malinis daw nang maayos ang kanyang mukha. Nang makalabas na siya ng kwarto, tinawag ng aming adviser ang ilan sa aking mga kaklase sa harap. Pinagalitan sila dahil tinawanan nila si foreign exchange student at sinabi sa kanila ng aming adviser na sila raw yung prime suspects sa kaso na ito. Narinig ko rin na sinabi nung adviser namin na pag umamin daw sila ngayon mas mababa raw ang parusang ibibigay sa kanila kaya umamin na raw sila para wala nang problema. Humingi ng tawad ang buong klase sa kanya dahil walang umamin sa amin. Umalis na si foreign exchange student papuntang New Zealand noong sumunod na linggo. Napagalitan ang aming homeroom adviser dahil hindi niya nahanap kung sino ang may kasalanan. Pagkatapos ng insidenteng iyon, natutunan kong hindi dapat akong uminom ng gatas habang nasa school.

118 ¡ Chise Alcantara


Banyo Escapades kurtina Isang banyong nahahati sa tatlong “cubicle” ng mga pader na gawa sa plastic na hangang bukung-bukong ng tao ang baba at mas mataas sa karaniwang tangkad ng tao. Bawat cubicle ay may isang inidorong kita ang pang-flush, yung tipong pwedeng apakan yung pang-flush gamit yung paa upang mag-flush. Ang pintuan ng cubicle ay gawa sa transparent na plastic, bubog o puwede rin wala talaga nakatakip upang makita ang nangyayari sa loob. May “border” ang mga pintuan sa cubicle sa gilid upang makita ang hangganan nito. Ang mga border ay hanggang bukung-bukong ng tao at mas mataas sa karaniwang tangkad ng tao. May isang lababo sa kaliwang bahagi ng banyo yung de-pindot na kailangan laging nakadiin para bumuga ng tubig at may isang tabong nakapatong dito. May isang pintuang bumubukas paloob sa kaliwang bahagi ng kwarto ginagamit ito upang makapasok at makalabas ng kwarto. May nakapakong pako dito. Tutugtog ang masayang musika. Bubukas ang pinto at papasok si LERON. Naka-backpack, school uniform, at antiparang masiyadong malaki para sa mukha niya. May dala-dala siyang “Under Renovation Sign” at sinabit sa pako ng pintuan. Isasarado ni LERON ang pinto at ikakandado. Ngingiti si LERON. Parang may “I’ve been a naughty boy look” sa kaniyang mukha.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 119


Ilalabas ni LERON ang kaniyang hygiene kit sa bag. Isa-isa niyang ilalabas ang tissue, wetwans, sabon, at panty liner. Pinasok niya ulit sa bag yung panty liner na parang nagkamali lang siya sa paglabas nito. Pupunuin ni LERON ang tabo ng tubig at pumasok siya sa loob ng cubicle. Bubuksan niya ulit ang pinto ng cubicle upang idikit ang pangalawang sign niyang “Do not disturb” sa pintuan gamit ang pandikit na galing sa kaniyang bag. Tumugtog ang malaswang musika. Naghuhubad si LERON na mistulang nagsi-striptease siya. Dahandahan niyang binubuksan ang zipper niya hangang lumitaw ang nakadikit na “smiley face” sa kaniyang brief. Sabay mabilis siyang umupo sa inidoro. Tunog ng utot. Basang utot. Nakangiti ang mukha ni LERON. Pikit ang kaniyang mga mata. Ilang sandali ang lilipas. Tunog ng malakas na pagbukas ng pintuan at pagkalas ng kandado. Gulat ang mukha ni LERON. Pumasok si JUAN na may dala ring bag at pareho ang school uniform nila ni LERON. Sabay tutugtog ang kantang “Wrecking Ball” ni Miley Cyrus pagkapasok ni JUAN. juan

(Pakantang sasabihin.) i came here for the toilet bowl! i always have to break the rules!

120 · Chise Alcantara


but all i wanted was to cut your class! all you ever did was bo-o-ore me! sir a-as-ri-al! Tumigil ang musika. Itataas ni LERON ang kaniyang mga paa. juan

“Renovation” pala ah?! Parang wala naman atang “renovation” na nangyayari dito! Tamang-tama ‘tong lugar na ‘to! Walang makahahanap sa‘kin! (Bubuksan ni JUAN ang pinto ng gitnang cubicle at papasok sa loob.) Sa wakas nakaalis na sa classroom na yun. Boring ni Sir Asrial magturo. Makatatae na rin sa wakas.

Maghuhubad rin ng pantalon si JUAN at lumitaw rin ang smiley na nakadikit sa kaniyang brief. Namimilipit sa pagpigil ng tae si LERON. Narinig ang sirit ng utot kasabay ang mukha ng pagsisisi ni LERON. juan

Hoy! May tao ba diyan?

Tahimik nang pipigil ng tae si LERON. juan

Wow, may nakaiwan ng tabong puno pa ng tubig pati ng tissue at wetwans sa sahig!

Kinuha ni JUAN ang tabo, tissue, at wetwans ni LERON. Sinasabunutan ni LERON ang kaniyang sarili dahil hindi niya mapigilan si JUAN.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 121


Lumipas ang ilang sandali. juan

Ba’t walang lumalabas?! Tae na po! Tae na katawan ko! Tae na! Kaya ko ‘to! Igiling natin!

Giniling ni JUAN ang kaniyang beywang para mapatae. juan

Pakiramdaman ang ritmo ng tae...

Tunog ng kumpas ng dram. Simula ng kanta. juan

Get ready ‘cause here we go, now kick it!

Tunog ng kumpas ng dram kasabay ang recorded na tunog ng paghampas ng kamay ni JUAN. Tigil tunog ng dram sabay tunog ng isang mahabang utot. juan

Ayos yun ah! Sige eto pa!

Mas mabilis na kumpas kasabay ng mas mabilis na hampas ng kamay ni JUAN. Malakas at solidong tunog ng utot. Napansin ni LERON ang tunog ng mga dram. Sinabayan ni LERON ang kumpas at hampas ni JUAN. Tunog ng dalawang utot na sabay. juan Finale! 122 · Chise Alcantara


Tunog ng dram sabay hampas ng kamay ni JUAN. Tunog ng dram sabay hampas ng kamay ni LERON mistulang sinasagot ang tunog ni JUAN. Tunog dalawang mahabang utot kasabay ng huling bagsak ng dram. Titigil ang tunog ng utot ni JUAN. Tuloy pa rin ang tunog ng utot ni LERON. Nasasarapan si LERON sa kanyang napahabang utot. Tigil-ang-utot ang mukha ni LERON namalayang napasobra ang kaniyang utot. juan

Lakas ng acoustics dito ah! Nagutom ako doon ah.

Pinakinggan ni LERON ang mga sinasabi ni JUAN Nilabas ni JUAN mula sa kaniyang bag ang isang pirasong mais na nakatusok sa i-stick. juan

Wow is a corn! Mainit-init pa! Yammy!

Nandiri si LERON. Umutot uli sa JUAN. Tunog ng talsik ng tubig mistulang may nahulog sa bowl. juan

Grabeng corn yan! Bilis lumabas!

Malapit na masuka si LERON sa sinabi ni JUAN. juan

Ay meron pa pala!

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 123


Naglabas ng palayok ng kare-kare kasabay nito ang tunog ng isang basang utot. Sumubo si JUAN ng isang kutsarang kare-kare. Nalagyan ang bibig ni JUAN ng kare-kare. juan

Buti na lang may tissue ako dito pampunas!

Pinunasan ni JUAN ang kaniyang bibig gamit ang tissue. Pagkapunas ng kaniyang bibig tinapon ni JUAN ang tissue sa kabilang bakod ng kaniyang cubicle papunta sa cubicle ni LERON at tinatamaan si LERON sa mukha ng tissue. Nakita ni LERON ang kulay kare-kareng tissue. Nandiri si LERON at mistulang gusto na niya magpakamatay sa diri. juan

Sarap kumain, dami na naman ako mailalabas! Makatunes nga muna habang nag-aantay bumaba kinain ko.

Nilabas ni JUAN ang kaniyang mp3 player at siya’y pumikit. Tumugtog ang kalmadong musika. Sinusubukan ni LERON kunin ang kaniyang tissue mula sa cubicle ni JUAN. Tunog ng pagbukas at pagkalas ng pintuan. Tumigil si LERON sa pagkuha. Dumungaw ang mga ulo ni FRANCIS at MATT sa pintuan.

124 · Chise Alcantara


francis

Tao po?! Wala yatang tao, Matt! Tara!

Unang pumasok si FRANCIS at hinila si MATT papasok ng banyo. matt

Babe, baka mahuli tayo. Wag na lang.

francis

Di yan! Tingnan mo nga “Under Renovation” nga eh! Walang tao dito, tayo lang...

matt

Sige na nga...

francis

Lock mo na yung pintuan, babe. Nag-iinit na ako dito.

Sinarado ni MATT muli ang pintuan at kinandado. Pumasok si MATT at FRANCIS sa kanan na cubicle. francis

Tagal na natin ‘tong hinihintay, babe. Hubad na.

Naghahalikan sina MATT at FRANCIS habang hinuhubaran ang isa’t isa. Tunog ng malakas na utot ni JUAN. matt

Eww, babe, ikaw ba ‘yun?

francis

Hindi, ah baka ikaw.

Tunog ng basang utot ni JUAN. matt

Hala, babe, may tao nga, patay! Umalis na tayo!

francis Tara! Tumayo si JUAN.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 125


juan

(Pakantang sinabi, sinusundan ang lyrics ng kantang “I Caught You With Your Pants Down” ni Shirley Brown na pinapakinggan niya sa kanyang mp3 player.) I caught you with your pants down!

matt

Sorry po, hindi na namin uulitin!

juan

(Pakantang sinabi.) There’s nothing you can say, I caught you lying! It’s written all over your face!

francis

Ssshhh! Hindi yata niya alam andito tayo. Kumakanta lang ata siya.

juan

(Pakantang sinabi.) There’s nothing else you can tell me! I’ll see yo ass… in the courtroom.

Upo si JUAN sa inidoro. Si JUAN naghe-headbang sa tunog ng kaniyang mp3 player. Sandaling tahimik. matt

Tumakas na tayo!

francis

Baka mahalata niya tayo pag binuksan ko ulit yung pintuan! Dito na lang tayo hanggang umalis siya.

matt

Babe, I’m scared.

francis

Me too, babe, me too.

Nagyakapan si FRANCIS at MATT. Tunog ng utot.

126 · Chise Alcantara


Tuloy sa pakikinig ng mp3 si JUAN habang gumigiling-giling. Lumipas ang ilang sandali. matt

Tagal naman niyang umalis, babe.

francis

Alam mo babe, hindi naman ata niya tayo naririnig.

matt So? francis

Baka naman puwede na natin tuloy yung binabalak natin kanina.

matt

Eww, babe, turn-off yung baho eh.

francis

Okay lang yan, babe, ito may posporo ako. (Nag-spray ng posporo si FRANCIS sa cubicle nila.) Sige na, babe, please.

matt

Sige na nga.

Simula ang musika ng “Like a Virgin” ni Madonna. Simula ang kanta. juan

Like a virgin, touched for the very first time...

Naghihimasan ng katawan sina MATT at FRANCIS. juan

Like a virgin, when your heart beats next to mine...

Naghubaran sina MATT at FRANCIS ng t-shirt.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 127


francis

I‘mma give you all my love boy...

Tinanggal ni FRANCIS ang butones ng pantalon ni MATT. matt

My fears fading so fast...

Tinanggal ni MATT ang butones ng pantalon ni FRANCIS. juan

Been saving it all for you...

Tumayo si JUAN at hinawakan ang kaniyang dibdib. francis, matt & juan

‘Cause only love can last!

Hinubaran ni FRANCIS at ni MATT ang pantalon ng isa’t isa hanggang makita ang kanilang mga. smiley na nakakabit rin sa kanilang mga brief. francis, matt & juan

Like a virgin, ooh, ooh (Sinusubukan ni LERON kunin ang tissue mula kay JUAN ngunit napipigilan ni JUAN ito ng hindi sinasadya.) Like a virgin... (Hinihimas-himas nina FRANCIS ang kanilang mga smiley.) Feels so good inside

128 · Chise Alcantara


(Itinalikod ni FRANCIS si MATT upang makaharap ang kaniyang smiley sa pwet ni MATT.) When you hold me, and your heart beats, and you love me. Kinakadyot ni FRANCIS ang pwet ni MATT. matt

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oooooooohhhhh! Ooohh baby!

Hinarap ni MATT ang kaniyang sarili tapos lumuhod para katapat ng kaniyang mukha ang smiley ni FRANCIS. francis

Can you hear my heart beat... for the very first time...

Nilapat ni MATT ang kaniyang tenga sa smiley ni FRANCIS. Tapos ng kanta. Naglalambingan sina FRANCIS at MATT habang nakikinig si JUAN ng musika mula sa kaniyang mp3. Tunog ng utot. Sinusubukan ulit ni LERON kunin ang tissue. Tunog ng pagbukas at pagkalas ng pinto. sir asrial Hoy! Sinong naglagay ng under renovation sign sa banyong ito?! (Pasok si SIR ASRIAL sa banyo.) (Sinubukan magtago nina LERON, FRANCIS, MATT, at JUAN.) Lumabas kayo diyan! heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 129


Tunog ng sabay-sabay na flush. Sabay-sabay lumabas ang apat na binata. juan

(kay SIR ASRIAL) Sir, hindi pa ako tapos!

sir asrial (kay JUAN) tapos ka na! francis & matt

(kay SIR ASRIAL) Sorry po, Sir! Hindi na po mauulit!

sir asrial (kina FRANCIS at JUAN) Takloban ninyo ang mga smiley ninyo! (Sinubukang magsalita ni LERON.) (kay LERON) huwag ka nang magsalita! (Nagsimula nang sermon si SIR ASRIAL.) Ano bang pumasok sa mga kokote ninyo?! Anong klaseng mga utak yan?! Wala na kayong inisip maliban sa tae at sex! Tae at sex! Tae at sex! Kung ano-ano ang inaatupag! Ayaw na lang kasing mag-aral! Mga (tingin kay JUAN) walang kwenta! (tingin kay MATT at FRANCIS) Mga bading! (tingin kay LERON) At ikaw… supot! Lahat kayo suspended for cutting classes at violation of school property! (Sabay-sabay hihingi ng tawad sina JUAN, MATT at FRANCIS.)

130 · Chise Alcantara


(Nananahimik lang si LERON.) Mga estudyante ngayon, tae nang tae sa school. Daming oras na sinasayang sa pagtatae. Walang kwentang pagtatae! Mas mabuti pa siguro kung hindi na kailangang tumae ng tao! Walang masasayang na oras sa walang kwentang pagtatae! leron

Anong sabi niyo?

sir asrial Hindi mo ba ako narinig, bingi?! Sabi ko, dami ninyong oras na sinasayang sa pagtatae! Bakit, may gagawin ka? Supot?! Ha?! Ha?! leron

Huwag na wag...

sir asrial Anong pinagsasabi mo diyan? leron

...babastusin ang pagtae! Super pwet smash! (Nag-super pwet smash si LERON sa mukha ni SIR ASRIAL.) Bastusin niyo na pagkasupot ko! Pagkatao ko! Basta wag lang ang pagtatae!

Nawalan ng malay si SIR ASRIAL. Nabigla sina JUAN, MATT at FRANCIS. juan

Leron, chill lang.

leron

Gusto mo ring matikman?! (Sabay turo sa pwet.)

juan

Wag po, koya! Wag mo ako i-pwet smash! heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 131


matt

Babe, make him stop!

francis

Leron, tama na yan!

leron

Tumabi kayo dyan! Baka gusto niyong ma-twin pwet smash?! (Lumayo sina JUAN, MATT, at FRANCIS kay LERON.) (Nagsimulang magmonologo si LERON.) Kung wala kayong galang sa pagtatae, wala rin kayong galang sa inyong mga sarili! Hindi niyo ba alam ang tae ang nagpapaikot sa mundo? Siya ang bumubuhay sa sangkataehan. Ang tae ay nagbibigay ng kasiyahan sa mga taong katulad kong nais lamang magkulong sa kanilang sariling paraiso nang ilang sandali upang magkaroon ng panahong tumigil at isipin ang kagandahan ng buhay. Huwag niyong balewalain ang pagtatae. Huwag niyong balewalain ang inyong mga sarili. Hindi niyo kailangang magtago sa mundong ito. Humanap kayo ng sarili niyong paraiso. Sa piling ng isa’t isa... (Hawak kamay sina MATT at FRANCIS.) Huwag matakot kalabanin ang mundo. Iparinig sa kanila ang inyong boses dahil importante ang iyong sasabihin. (Ngumiti si JUAN sabay tunog ng utot.) (Humarap sa mga manonood.) Don’t believe in the you who believes in me, or the me that believes in you, believe in the you who believes in

132 · Chise Alcantara


yourselves because this tae, is the tae that will create our havens! So... (Tunog ng “With a Smile” ng Eraserheads.) (Simula ang kanta.) Use your pwet, babeh, don’t be scared Walang mali sa ginagawa mo-oohhh Wag ka nang... mahiya Ikaw nagmamay-ari sa ligaya mo Baby, you don’t have to worry About sa iyong pagtae (prounced ta-i) Kahit ilang beses pa, everyday Pag sinara na yang pinto May sarili ka nang mundo Na para ‘sayo, in every way Halaga... ng ‘yong tae ‘Di kayang masukat in... any way Dahil ang... ‘yong pagtae Ay nagbibigay ng saya sa iyong buhay Sapat nang dahilan Ang iyong kasiyahan Dahil napakaimportante nun Maging masaya ka na Wala sa iyong mawawala Maliban sa sakit ng tiyan at ‘yong baon! (Bumangon si SIR ASRIAL at nakinig sa kanta.) (Naghawak-hawak kamay sila lahat.)

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 133


(kaya) Tae na po... tae na po... Tae na po-oh-oh-oh-ooooh... (Let me hear that tae!) Tae na po... (Tunog ng utot.) Tae na po... (Tunog ng utot.) Tae na po-oh-oh-oh-ooooh... (Tunog ng utot pagkatapos flush.) Sapat nang dahilan Ang iyong kasiyahan Dahil napakaimportante nun Maging masaya ka na Wala sa iyong mawawala Maliban sa sakit ng tiyan at ‘yong baon! Use your pwet, babeh, don’t be scared Walang mali sa ginagawa mo-oohhh Wag ka nang... mahiya Ikaw ang nagmamay-ari sa buhay mo! lahat

Tae na po... Tae na po... Tae na po-oh-oh-oh-ooooh... (Let me hear you living!) Tae na po... Tae na po... Tae na po-oh-oh-oh-ooooh... Tae na po... Tae na po... Tae na po-oh-oh-oh-ooooh...

134 · Chise Alcantara


(Sobrang taas na boses.) (Aaaaiiiiyyaaa) x2 leron

(Sobrang taas na boses.) Taenaaaaaaaaaa-ah-ah-ah Taenaaaaaaaaaa-ah-ah-ah Taenaaaaaaaaaa-ah-ah-ah-aahh-aahh-aahh-aaahhhhhhh

Tapos ng kanta. Nag-iyakan silang lahat. sir asrial (Paiyak na sinabing.) Suspendido pa rin kayo lahat! leron, juan, matt & francis

(Paiyak din sinabing.) Alam po namin!

kurtina wakas

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 135


Gamit: 1. Lababo – Puwedeng gumagana o hindi basta kung hindi gumagana may sound effects yung pag puno ng tabo. 2. Pader ng cubicle – Dapat hindi babagsak kung hinampas ng kamay. 3. Pinto ng cubicle – Mga border ng kungwaring pintuan. Maaaring kapareho ng materyales ng pader ng cubicle. 4. Inidoro – Totoo o hindi basta kayang upuan. Aksyon: 1. Bawat tunog ng utot ay may kasama dapat galaw ng mukha o katawan ng tauhan na nagpapahiwatig ng pag-utot upang malaman kung sino ang umuutot sa panahong iyon. 2. Ang parte ng dulang gumagamit ng tunog ng dram: Ni-record lamang ngunit kailangang sabayan ng mga tauhan ang kumpas ng dram para mukhang ginagawa nila ang tunog. Maaaring dubstep o drumstep ang gamitin. 3. Ang tama at ligtas na proseso upang magawa ang super pwet smash ay isinasagawa sa ganitong paraan: a. Mula sa nakatayong pusisyon, yuyuko ang tao at kukunin ang lakas mula sa kaniyang mga tuhod at binti upang makatalon nang malakas (kailangan ng malakas na talon). b. Habang nasa ere ang kaniyang dalawang paa ay itatapon niya paharap upang parang gumagawa siya ng “reverse kadyot motion” (maaaring isama ang mga kamay para mas maganda ang epekto) habang ang pwet naman niya ay itutulak niya palikod. c. Habang ginagawa ng tauhan a ito, si tauhan b (ang mapwepwet smash) ay yuyuko nang kaunti upang masalo ng kaniyang mukha ang pwet ni tauhan a. d. Kailangan ng maraming praktis upang walang masaktan at maperpekto ang aksyong ito.

136 · Chise Alcantara


4. Ang pagbato ng tissue na may kare-kare ay kailangan din ng maraming praktis upang maisagawa nang tama. Pero kung may nangyaring pagkakamali sa mismong dula ay iiwasan na lamang ni Tauhan b (ang babatuhan ng tissue) ang tissue. 5. Sa parte ng “Like a Virgin:” Habang kumakanta sina Juan, Matt, at Francis, sinusubukan kunin ni Leron ang mga gamit niya mula sa cubicle ni Juan gamit ang pagsingit ng kaniyang braso sa ilalim ng biyak ng cubicle sa ibabang bahagi nito ngunit lagi siyang bigo dahil naapakan ni Juan ang kaniyang kamay o naiipit ito. 6. Sa buong-dula may constipated look sa mukha ni Leron. 7. Ang mga linyang “Don’t believe in the you..., is the tae that will create our havens! So...” ay rebisadong linya mula sa anime na Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Puwede itong baguhin o alisin ng direktor kung gugustuhin niya.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 137


Mais-na-Mais-na-Mais Natatandaan ko nung mas simple pa yung buhay. By simple I mean madali, and by madali I mean easy to take in. Katulad nung baby pa ako, yung panahong tanging mashed baby corn lang ang pinapakain mo sa akin dahil yun lang yung kayang kainin ng premature gilagid without teeth ko. Walang nguya-nguya, diretso lunok, from the ngalangala to the esophagus, kaliwa’t kanan through the small and large u-turns of the long and winding road, and where it ends, everybody knows. Simple. Dahil wala rin namang ibang pupuntahan. Simple. Dahil wala ka rin namang choice. Dahil yun lang yung tanim sa farm natin. Pero at least masaya tayo sa corny nating buhay. Dati. Yun din siguro yung dahilan kung bakit 3 years old na ako nung na-discover natin yung amaizeing super corn power ko kasi disguised pa yung true potential ng pwet produce ko. Dahil wala namang magbabago kung nakontento ka na sa simple corny corn.

138 · Chise Alcantara


Natatandaan ko nung sinubukan mo akong i-potty-train dahil wala ka nang pera pambili ng diaper ko. Sinabi mo sa akin, “sa pagtae, you let things take shape, para bang nagpapatulo ng isperma sa tubig, you start siyempre with memories, yung medyo malagkit, kahit mais, na mais…” kaya ayun, sinumulan ko nga sa mais. Tandang-tanda ko talaga, yung defining moment. I felt it, bawat utot, nagsisilbing hudyat para sa isang matinding labanan within myself. Umaalingawngaw ang hangin, tumatalsik sa mga pader ng banyo ang bawat putok hanggang hindi na nakaya ng aking intestines ang intensity at biglang... may eerie silence. Yung tipong silence na alam mo naman yung what-comes-next-but-you-don’tknow-how-it-will-come-next-till-it-just-does. When you least and most expect it. With a cute *plop* sound sa surface ng water. And a buntong-hininga of relief and bewilderment. Isang piraso ng popcorn. Caramel flavored.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 139


Sobra kang nagulat nung nalaman mong meron palang magical corn metamorphing powers yung digestive system ko. Nung una, inisip mong baka fluke or once in a life time thing lang siya pero gumawa ng rebuttal yung pwet ko sa theory na yun by producing a bottle of cream corn. Sobrang nabighani ka talaga sa mga corn substances na lumalabas sa butas ng pwet ko. Para siyang dispenser ng frozen yelong yellow na yogurt. Yung tipong yogurt na nabibili per ounce kaya napaparami ka ng lagay dahil hindi mo alam na tatlong house and lot pala yung katumbas nung nasa lalagyan mo dahil masyado kang nahuhumaling sa pakiramdam ng bawat ounce na pumapatak bawat hila sa slot machine type lever. Nakakasabik kasi ang maaaring kalabasan ng bawat hila.

140 ¡ Chise Alcantara


Throughout my childhood and adolescence, sinubukan nating alamin yung scope and limitations ng digestive system ko. Nalaman nating may law of tantsahan exchange pala yung tyan ko. Ito yung banal na batas na umiiral sa bayan ng Agham at bote’t dyaryo kung saan it states that, “Human-kind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equivalent-perohindi-rin-dahil-medyo-kulang-or-sobra-in-a-saktong-sakto-kindof-way must be lost.” Sobrang naging deep and meaningful nung run-on sentence na ‘to lalo na para sa ating nasanay sa mas simpleng buhay. Exciting siya to say the least. Super duper astig awesome angas siya to say the most. Kasi kahit pang-araw-araw lang yung life natin. Kahit somewhat predictable. May bago. At nagbabago. At least. Everytime kong naisipang maglabas ng ginhawa sa trono. That weird-ass nuance mula sa pwet ko. Yung special moment between you and me tuwing inaabangan natin yung kalalabasan ng mga combinations na naiisip mo. Nakahanda na yung plato mo sa ilalim ko. Sabik na sabik ka sa bawat ihahain ko sa ‘yo. At pag nasalo mo na ang corn corncoction, at magsasalo tayo, habang mainit-init pa.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 141


Isang araw nakita kitang umiiyak sa isang corner ng corn barn natin. Inalisan na tayo nung huling trabahador natin para lumipat sa Wais Mais Cornglomorate, yung bagong go-to mainstream supermarket supplying corn suppliers. Nalungkot ka dahil wala nang pumapansin sa corny ordinary corn natin dahil may super duper genetically technologically-modified, cutting-edge while cutting-corners, amaizeing corn produce silang binebenta. Yung tipong seeds pa lang may artificial-flavoring na dahil pinapasimmer for 16.5 hours in room temperature high fructose corn syrup flavored pesticide. Halos na-out-of-business na lahat ng neighboring corn farm friends natin at feeling mo yung farm na natin yung susunod. Sobrang nalulungkot ka na gumagawa na ng manifestations yung feelings mo sa ere. Mga feelings mo towards corn. Emoticorns. Medyo a truly sad sight talaga siya, kaya nagpasya akong tulungan ka using my super special excitingly unique and ironically uncanny uncorny corn powers.

142 ¡ Chise Alcantara


Nag-trial-and-error tayo sa mga corn-combo-kung-ano-na-langang-maisama meals na pinapakain mo sa akin. Naisipan mong lagyan ng karne yung corn kaya naging corned beef. Mabilisan kong kinain yung corned beef kaya naging corned brief. Nilagyan natin ng pepper yung corn kaya naging peppercorn. Naging maanghang and slightly bitter yung corn towards the world and all who consume it kaya pinagalitan natin siya pero dahil doon naging scornful siya. At dahil naging scornful siya, sinabihan muna nating mag-time out muna siya sa isang corner. Hindi natin malaman kung ano yung gagawin natin sa scornful corn in the corner natin kaya nag-isip tayo ng paraan upang maisali siya bilang isang valued mais of society. Dahil kung iisipin, merong cornucopia of possibilities na bukas sa isang mais na katulad niya kung nanaisin lang niya kaya naisipan natin siyang alagaan. Tinuruan natin ng manners yung corn. Ng Moral Judgement. Ng sums and differences. Ng right from wrong. Ng Science. Math. Religion. Economics. Philosophy. At iba pang values na magsisilbing corner stones ng kanyang pagka-mais upang maging bigger, better, buttered corn. Lumipas ang panahon at naisipan natin na it was the right moment upang malaman kung naging successful ang ating pagpapalaki sa corn, pinakuha muna natin yung corn ng cornprehensive entrance exam bago pumasok sa katawan ko. Needless to say, pumasa siya with flying colors, nagaccelerate siya through the stages of my digestive system at nung pagkalabas niya sa katawan ko, siya na ang pinakamagaling na corn sa buong mundo. A first class, top-notch, wonderfully amaizeing kind of corn. A true acorn.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 ¡ 143


Bumalik na ulit yung mga customers ng corn farm natin. Hindi mapantayan ng Wais Mais Cornglomerate yung somethingsomething special na meron sa corn natin. Kahit hindi natin malaman kung ano yun. Sinubukan ng Wais Mais Cornglomorate na makisabay sa new and unexpected popularity ng farm natin. Nagkaroon sila ng super all expense paid buy one take no prisoners 99.99% off sale sa lahat ng products nila. Nalungkot tayo para sa kanila dahil wala nang bumibili ng laos nilang product maliban sa mga hipster corn eaters na nagustuhan yung fall nila from the mainstream kaya binili na lang natin yung kompanya nila using yung special all-purpose corn mill-to-power generator natin. Natuwa naman sila sa trade-off na yun kaya umalis na sila sa lugar natin para pumunta sa isang land far far away na wala pang corn factory. Nang umalis sila, tayo na lang yung natirang corn supplier ng buong lugar natin. Medyo naramdaman natin yung pressure and anxiety from society pero sinabi mo sa akin na magiging okay lang lahat dahil magkasama naman tayo. Kaya hinawakan mo kamay ko and we stared out onto the horizon tapos nag-pan yung camera sa likod natin para yung shadowy outlines na lang ng katawan natin yung makikita. Yung tipong eksena na mistulang pinapaasa yung mga tao for bigger better brighter things. Alam naman nating ang lahat ng bagay nagbabago. When you least and most expect it.

144 ¡ Chise Alcantara


After a while, naisip mong kailangan na natin kumuha ng hired help para mapagana yung new and improved exciting farm/factory natin. Bumili tayo ng mga Oompa Loompas kay Willy Wonka dahil naloloko natin yung sistema ng dole sa wage management dahil pwedeng yung pagka-Oompa lang nila yung babayaran natin at hindi yung pagka-Loompa. Sobrang laki ng savings nun para sa atin yung tipong pwede gumawa ng movie tungkol sa savings na yun tapos yung title niya “Saving Private Capital.” Nagugulat ako sa business choices na pinipili mo at lagi mo sa akin pinapaala na “It’s for the good of the company.”

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 145


Nagbago na rin yung methodology para ma-extract yung magical corn extracts mula sa pwet ko otherwise known by its professional name Stationary Hydrothermic Involuntary Tyrannosarus Corn Objectifyng Radioactive Neutralizing Thermodynamic Heteregenous Innovation of Nature Gadget. May mga Oompa Loompas na nagmamasahe sa tyan ko at ngumunguya ng artificial substitutes para sa mga corn combo ingredients na naiisip mo. Ayon sa mga Oompa Loompas, tumaas daw yung productivity levels ng farm/factory natin by 99.99%. Natuwa ako dahil mukha ka naman masaya. I mean lagi ka namang nakangiti. By nakangiti I mean nakatawa. Yung tipong tawa ni Mister Burns pag sinasabi niyang “Excellent” o nung nalaman ni Frankenstein na buhay na pala siya.

146 · Chise Alcantara


Binigyang pansin ng iba yung farm/factory natin. Binigyan ka ng Ford’s Magazine ng prize bilang richest richie rich corn baron sa balat ng lupa sa lugar natin. Sobrang yaman mo na raw. Yung tipong yaman na kaya mo nang bumili ng sampung kotse nila without a sweat corn. Pinapalitan mo na yung ngipin mo ng gold kernels mula sa corn combination ng gold extract mula sa Anlene Gold na pinainom mo sa akin dahil sa nararamdaman kong cornmonal imbalance. Sabi mo sa akin na bawal ako magkasakit dahil meron tayong cornvention para sa product natin sa harap ng who dahil gusto nila tayong gawing suppliers ng corn para sa buong mundo. Sobrang new and exciting opportunity nun para sa‘yo kaya ayaw kitang i-disappoint.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 147


It comes when you least and most expect it. Yung something new and exciting. Sabi mo sa akin yun yung naramdaman mo nung nakita mo ako sa harap ng pinto mo nung baby ako. Walang akong kasama at wala ring evidence of anyone being there para iwanan ako maliban para dun sa mga limang crop circles shaped as corn sa corn field mo pero syempre hindi mo yun nakita dahil kailangan mo ng overhead point-of-view perspective para doon. Sabi mo umiyak ka nung unang beses mo akong naamoy, dahil amoy akong corn. Yung simpleng kind of corn. Yung walang bahid ng kung anumang pampakumplikado ng buhay.

148 ¡ Chise Alcantara


The day of the cornvention. Sobrang buzzing with glee lahat ng tao doon. Sabik na sabik sa mais na nais nilang makita. Nag-dim yung light, yung tipong somethings-about-to-happen kind of dimming. Tapos biglang may fireworks na gawa sa popcorn at cornfetti habang nakasakay ka sa ginawa kong unicorn by eating one piece of corn with a horn. Mukha kang Brony na may corn. Crony. Binati mo lahat ng nanonood. Gumawa ka ng speech na may kasamang childhood experiences. Yung tipong nakaka-move at nakaka-set up ng mga tao. Sine-set up mo sila para sa akin. Para wow na wow sila sa maipamamalas kong angking galing sa paggawa ng super new and exciting top secret corn combination meal mo that would solve world hunger pero syempre hindi yun yung nangyari. Tatlo at onefourth oras tayong tinawanan ng crowd dahil tumae ako sa plato.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 ¡ 149


May mga bagay sa buhay na life-changing. Feeling ko hindi dapat kasali yung corn dun. May hangganan kasi yung pagiging new and exciting ng corn bago siya maging corny. Baka wala sa corn yung something-something special na meron tayo dati. Kaya itinanim ko na lang yung mga paa ko dito sa lupa ng farm natin na hindi na factory. Tapos kakainin ko yung corn na ‘to. Tapos itatae ko ulit. Tapos kakainin ko ulit. Tapos itatae ko siya hanggang may magbago. Hanggang madala ng simoy ng utot na umaalingawngaw sa ilong yung dating amoy na kinasasabikan mo.

150 · Chise Alcantara


heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 151


Jan Frederick Cruz

ab economics (honors)

Si Jan Fredrick P. Cruz ay magtatapos ng kursong ab Economics (Honors Program). Balang araw, gusto niyang bumalik sa Ateneo at makapagturo. Sa ngayon, maghahanap muna siya ng master’s degree at “work experience.”


154 · Jan Frederick Cruz


Dilim ang ugat ng paglikha Hindi ko alam kung bakit sa gabi ako nangungutang ng mga kataga. Marahil, talagang dilim ang ugat ng lahat ng paglikha. Gaya ng tula. Gaya ng pangako ng bagong katha sa pinag-isang himig ng ating katawan habang tayo’y idinuduyan ng buwan. Sa bagay, tuwing tinatalakbungan ng dilim ang bawat tahanan tanging mga bituin na lamang ang saksi sa ligayang nararamdaman sa bawat pagdampi ng iyong tinig sa aking mga tainga. Hay musa ko’t diwata! Kailan kaya muling masasalat ng aking mga sabik na daliri ang kay daming talinghagang inililihim ng iyong balat?

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 155


Socorro Orlina

ab communication

Magtatapos si Socorro Orlina ng ab Communication. Kasapi siya ng Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika at Anyo, at ng Kuwentista ng mga Tsikiting. Nais niyang magpasalamat sa kaniyang ina.


158 · Socorro Orlina


Habulan Natigil ang aming patintero Nang may dumaang eroplano. Nakatingala namin siyang Hinabol. Airplane! Airplane! Nagkadapa-dapa kami Hanggang sa naglaho Siya sa mga ulap. Hingal namin Ngayong pinagmamasdan Ang aming mga galos.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 ¡ 159


Gwen Bañaria

ab literature (english)

Lumaki si Gwen sa Pili, Camarines Sur, at magtatapos siya ng kursong ab Literature (English). Katulad ng karamihan sa Block b, hindi niya alam kung saan magsisimula sa pagtatapos ng kabanatang ito. Isa lang ang alam niya: kailangang magpatuloy. Para sa mabubuting kaibigang nakasalo ko sa paghigop ng Earl Grey milk tea sa Moonleaf Batcave. Para sa mga nagtataya sa Ateneo Gabay. Para sa mga kaibigan ko sa heights, lalong-lalo na kina @bntzc, @paotiau, @abnerd16, at @DazzleMeAce. At para sa hamog at liwayway ng buhay ko, kay Mommy at Daddy, maraming salamat po sa lahat. P.S. Para sa mga hindi kayang makalimot: “I love in shades of wrong We learn to live with the pain Mosaic broken hearts.”

—Taylor Swift, “State of Grace”


Flora Nahihiyang magpakita sa una, ngunit sa panahon namukadkad ang angking ganda.

*

Paglago sa bawat dampi ng hamog, dapyo ng liwayway, nahuhumaling sa kariktang walang kaparis.

*

Ngunit tinatangay ng hangin, pinaiiyak ng langit, ‘di makasabay sa indak ng sandali— pagbabago. * Sa bawat paglubog ng araw, unti-unting kumupas ang tingkad, napalitan ang halimuyak ng pagkanta sa pagkalanta.

162 · Gwen Bañaria 162


*

Napayuko sa pagod. Kinailangang magpatigpas— ‘di naiwasang pagkapungos sa pagsuko.

*

Hihintayin ang muling pagtubo.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 163


Niki Calma

bfa creative writing

Isang wannabe-mandudula si Niki Calma. Maliban sa pagsusulat, kinahihiligan din niya ang pagguhit, at ang pagtrabaho sa teatro. Binalak niya noong kunin bilang track ang fiction, ngunit nang mapasama siya sa Tanghalang Ateneo, napagtanto niyang mas babagay yata siya sa playwriting. Nais niyang magpasalamat kay Ginoong Glenn Sevilla Mas, ang kanyang naging guro, gabay, at kaibigan sa magulo’t makulay na mundo ng teatro. Nais niya ring pasalamatan ang lahat ng mga nakilala niya sa Ateneo—ang Clingy Playwrights, Block e, 816 and Friends of 816, ang Fine Arts Program at lahat ng mga taong bumubuo nito, at, siyempre, ang Tanghalang Ateneo na pawang naging pangalawang pamilya niya sa pamantasan. Higit sa lahat, nais niyang magpasalamat kay Ram at kay Mama. Lahat ng kanyang ginagawa ay para sa lalong ikaluluwalhati ng Diyos. * Itinanghal ang Siphayo sa Fine Arts Theater, sa Ateneo de Manila University, noong Enero 24-26, 2013, bilang isa sa mga dulang nanalo sa paligsahang “Short and Brief” ng School of Humanities. Idinirehe ito ni Jay Caluag, isa ring estudyante ng pamantasan. * Itinanghal ang Katabi sa ika-30 ng Enero, at ika-4 at ika-5 ng Pebrero, 2014, sa Fine Arts Theater ng Ateneo de Manila University, bilang bahagi ng senior thesis ng manunulat. Idinirehe ito ni Emmanuel Dela Cruz.


Siphayo Dulang may isang Yugto

mga tauhan lalaki 1 – mausisa sa punto ng kakulitan; hayper lalaki 2 – pagod na pagod—matinding emosyonal na pagkapagod babae – dumadalaw nang paminsan-minsan; sobrang kyut lang ang tagpuan Madilim na tanghalan. Sa gitna, mayroong dalawang upuang magkatabi—maaring gawing tunay na upuan, ngunit pwede rin ang blocks. Nakahandusay sa sahig si lalaki 1, tulog at nakasuot ng suit. Papasok si lalaki 2, nakasuot din ng suit, dala-dala ang isang styrofoam cup—mahalagang hindi ito plastic na see-through. Humihingal ito. Inaayos at pinapaluwang ang necktie. Mukhang hindi makahinga. Iinom mula sa baso. Kakalma. Hihinga nang malalim. Mapapansin si lalaki 1. Pupuntahan ito, at dahan-dahang iaakbay papunta sa kaliwang upuan. Papaupuin ito. Aayusin ang suot. Matapos iyon, uupo si lalaki 2 sa tabi ni lalaki 1, at maghihintay. Bahagyang didilim ang tanghalan. Malalakas na paghagok galing kay lalaki 1. Liliwanag muli sa tanghalan. Makikitang mukhang pagod si lalaki 2. Sa tabi naman nito, tulog pa rin si lalaki 1. Tatangu-tango ang ulo nito. Hindi ito pinapansin ni lalaki 2. Lalong lalakas ang paghagok ni lalaki 1. Pababa nang pababa ang ulo nito, hangga’t sa ito’y magising nang biglaan. Uupo nang matuwid. Bubuksan at isasara ang bibig. Kukurap nang ilang beses. Titingnan si lalaki 2. Mapapangiti. lalaki 1

Isang napakagandang umaga para sa‘yo!

lalaki 2

Hindi umaga.

166 · Niki Calma


lalaki 1

Gandang gabi?

lalaki 2

Hindi gabi.

lalaki 1

Hapon?

lalaki 2

Hindi hapon.

lalaki 1

Gesing geym ba ‘to?

lalaki 2

Hindi—

lalaki 1

Mahilig ako ng gesing geym. Wala bang klu? Pahingi naman ng klu. ‘Di ka ba nakaiintindi ng Ingles? Kailangan mo ba ng—antawagdun—talahulugan?

lalaki 2

Hindi—

Ipagdidikit ni LALAKI 1 ang mga kamay nito na parang libro. Isasara at ibubukas. lalaki 1

Klu. Ingles. Pangngalan. Susi. Pahiwatig.

lalaki 2

Hindi ito “gesing geym.”

lalaki 1

Hindi ba?

lalaki 2

Hindi.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 167


Isasara ni LALAKI 1 ang “libro” nito. lalaki 1

Okey ka lang ba?

lalaki 2

Natanong mo na ‘yan.

lalaki 1

‘Di, imposible ‘yun. Ngayon lang tayo nagkita, e.

lalaki 2

Kanina. Kanina pa tayo nagkita.

lalaki 1

‘Di nga. Kelan kanina?

lalaki 2

Mahaba ang kanina.

lalaki 1

‘Di nga.

lalaki 2

Oo. Natanong mo na ang oras. Natanong mo na ang petsa, ang panahon, ang klima, ang araw. Lahat-lahat na, natanong mo.

lalaki 1

Saykik ka ba?

lalaki 2

Natanong mo na rin ‘yan.

lalaki 1

Weh.

lalaki 2

Wala ka talagang maalala.

lalaki 1

Maalala? Wala akong maalala tungkol saan?

lalaki 2

Hindi iyon tanong.

lalaki 1

Ah, hindi ba.

168 · Niki Calma


Patlang. lalaki 1

Ano ngayon?

lalaki 2

Anong “ano ngayon?”

lalaki 1

Ano ngayon? Maggegesing geym ba tayo uli? May plano ba tayo? May gagawin ba tayo ngayon?

lalaki 2

Wala.

lalaki 1

Wala?

lalaki 2

Oo. Wala. Dito lang tayo. Parang lagi.

lalaki 1

Mukhang mahirap isipin ‘yun.

lalaki 2

Mahirap ba?

lalaki 1

Oo. Ayoko nun, e. Ayokong nakaupo lang. Ikaw, gusto mo ba ‘yung nakaupo lang?

lalaki 2  Walang ibang puwedeng gawin. lalaki 1

Maraming pwedeng gawin!

lalaki 2

Hindi kailangan. Nandito lamang tayo, nakaupo. Walang ginagawa dahil walang magawa.

lalaki 1

Ang lungkot naman nu’n.

Mapapatingin na lamang sa kung saan-saan si LALAKI 2. Patlang.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 169


Makikita ni LALAKI 1 ang Styrofoam cup. Dudukutin ang baso. lalaki 1

Ayos! Mainit na kape!

Hihigop si LALAKI 1. lalaki 1

(habang niluluwagan ang necktie) Saraaaaap.

Iaabot nito ang baso kay LALAKI 2. lalaki 1

Gusto mo ba? Okey lang sa‘kin. Bibigyan kita kung gusto mo. Gusto mo?

lalaki 2

Hindi.

lalaki 1

Sige na. Masarap ‘to. Siguradong matatauhan ka. Mukhang kelangan mo, e.

lalaki 2

Maraming salamat, subalit hindi ko ‘yan kinakailangan.

lalaki 1

Sigurado ka?

lalaki 2

Sigurado.

lalaki 1

E ‘di, sige. Ikaw bahala.

Hihigop muli si LALAKI 1 galing sa Styrofoam cup. Ilalapag muli ang baso sa sahig, banda sa kung saan ito natagpuan. Uupo nang mas maayos. Patlang. lalaki 1

Ano ngayon? Wala talaga? Nakaupo lang tayo?

lalaki 2

Oo. ‘Yun lang.

170 · Niki Calma


lalaki 1

Gano’n talaga?

lalaki 2

Oo.

lalaki 1

Nakaupo lang tayo dito?

lalaki 2

Nakaupo lang tayo dito.

lalaki 1

Ayaw mo talaga ng kape?

lalaki 2

Hindi ko napupusuan.

lalaki 1

Sigurado ka?

lalaki 2

Sigurado.

lalaki 1

E, dito lang tayo?

Isasara ni LALAKI 2 ang mga mata nito. Hinga nang malalim. Bukas ulit. lalaki 2

Oo. Dito lang.

Patlang. Aayusin ni LALAKI 1 ang pag-upo. Aayusin ang necktie. lalaki 1

Sige. Dito lang tayo. Parang lagi?

lalaki 2

Parang lagi.

lalaki 1

Nakaupo… Naghihintay.

lalaki 2

Para saan?

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 171


lalaki 1

Ha?

lalaki 2

Naghihintay para saan?

lalaki 1

Nasabi ko bang “hintay?”

lalaki 2

Oo, nabanggit mo, bago lang.

lalaki 1

‘Di, pero nung sinabi kong “hintay” bago lang, gusto kong tanungin kung nasabi ko ba ‘yung “hintay.”

lalaki 2

Oo nga.

lalaki 1

Oo nga.

lalaki 2

O. Ano ngayon?

Patlang. Nagsusumikap maging tahimik si LALAKI 1. Hindi gagalaw, ngunit kitang-kita sa mukha nito na nahihirapan ito. Mukhang atat na atat. Kukunin nito ang baso at iinom. Hihigop pa nang ilang beses bago ito ibabalik. Kakamot ng leeg; aayusin ang necktie na para bang masyadong masikip ito. lalaki 1

Ahem.

Uulit-ulit ang pag-ahem. Titigil. Sisipol nang walang maayos na tono. Mapapatingin si LALAKI 2 na mukhang naiirita. Lalakas ang pagsipol ni LALAKI 1 bago ito tumigil nang tuluyan. Magvo-vocal exercises ito. Sisigaw ng “MA,” “HA,” at kung anu-ano pa. Titigil. Magta-tongue twister. lalaki 1

Minekaniko ni Moniko ang makina ng minika ni Monika.

172 · Niki Calma


lalaki 2

(pagod; nalilito) Anong ginagawa mo…

lalaki 1

Ano nga ulit ‘yung kadugtong—ha?

lalaki 2

Anong ginagawa mo…?

Tatayo si LALAKI 1. Maglalakad kung saan. Pagala-gala. lalaki 1

Wala.

lalaki 2

Hindi naman ‘yan wala.

lalaki 1

Wala ngaaa, bayaan mo na ako.

Iikot-ikot si LALAKI 1. Tatalun-talon. lalaki 2

Tanga ka, ha?

lalaki 1

Sakit mo naman manalita.

Lalaylay si LALAKI 1 na para bang nawalan ng lakas at sigla. lalaki 1

Sige na nga, sige na nga.

Tatabihan muli ni LALAKI 1 si LALAKI 2, at mananahimik. Hindi pa rin nito makakaya. Luluwagan ang necktie, gagalaw-galaw sa upuan. lalaki 1

(habang biglang dinadaklot ang braso ni LALAKI 2) Hindi ko kaya, hindi ko kaya, paano natin nagagawa, paano mo nagagawa—

lalaki 2

(bigla ring sasabog) huwag na huwag mo akong hahawakan.

Ngayon, si LALAKI 1 naman ang magugulat. Agad-agaran nitong

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 173


tatanggalin ang kamay mula sa paghawak nito sa braso ni LALAKI 2. Hihinahon muli si LALAKI 2. Magpapahid ito ng sarili at ng iba’t ibang bahagi ng suot nito na parang walang nangyari. lalaki 2

Karaniwang nangyayari ang kung anu-anong kakaibang bagay.

lalaki 1

Talaga?

lalaki 2

Oo. Sa tuwi-tuwinang hindi mo ito inaasahan.

lalaki 1

Totoo ka?

lalaki 2

Oo.

lalaki 1

Kung ‘di natin inaasahan? ‘Yun ba sabi mo?

lalaki 2

‘Yun nga.

lalaki 1

E ‘di, hindi siya darating!

lalaki 2

At bakit naman?

lalaki 1

Kasi inaasahan natin siya. Ngayon. Inaasahan natin siya ngayon.

Iaakyat ni LALAKI 2 ang isa sa mga kilay nito. Titingnan muna nang ilang sandali si LALAKI 1 bago ito iiling at titingin sa malayo. lalaki 2

Sige. Kung iyan ang gusto mo.

lalaki 1

Totoo naman kasi, ‘di ba?

174 · Niki Calma


lalaki 2

Hindi ko alam. Ikaw na ang bahala.

lalaki 1

Alam mo? ‘Di kita ma-gets. Ang werd werd mong magsalita.

lalaki 2

Bakit, ikaw ba, hindi?

lalaki 1

Aba, siyempre, hindi. Normal lang naman ‘yung pananalita ko, ‘di ba?

lalaki 2

Hindi ko alam.

lalaki 1

Ayaw mo lang talaga akong sagutin nang maayos, ano?

Katahimikan. lalaki 1

Ganyan ka.

Katahimikan muli. Titingnan ni LALAKI 1 ang baso. Kukunin ito at iaabot kay LALAKI 2. lalaki 1

Kape?

Papaluin ni LALAKI 2 ang baso. Mahuhulog mula sa hawak ni LALAKI 1. lalaki 1

Anak ng lola mo!

Wala namang mabubuhos mula sa baso. lalaki 1

Kape ko! Nabuhos!

lalaki 2

Wala namang nabuhos.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 175


lalaki 1

‘Di, kung walang nabuhos, e ano ‘yung ininom ko kanina?

lalaki 2

Naubos na.

lalaki 1

Imposible! Hanggang dito (kukunin ni LALAKI 1 ang baso, at tuturo banda sa may labi nito) pa ‘yung kape kanina!

lalaki 2

Hindi ba’t kakasabi mo lang na inom ka nang inom kanina?

lalaki 1

Ha? Hindi! Panay higop lang ‘yun.

lalaki 2

Sinabi mong umiinom ka.

lalaki 1

Hindi, higop lang. Ang init, e.

lalaki 2

Iabot mo nga iyan sa akin.

lalaki 1

Ang ano?

lalaki 2

Akin na ang baso!

Ibibigay ni LALAKI 1 ang baso. Titingnan ni LALAKI 2. lalaki 2

(tuturo kung saan banda sa baso nakaturo si LALAKI 1 kanina) Hanggang dito ba, ‘ka mo? Dito?

Ihahagis ni LALAKI 2 palikod ang baso. lalaki 2

Walang laman, at imposibleng nagkalaman ang basong iyon; ngayon, tumahimik ka na’t napupuno na ako sa kakulita’t kabalbalan mo. Mabuti pang matulog ka na lang, at hayaan mo na akong—

176 · Niki Calma


lalaki 1

Ba’t mo ba ‘to ginagawa sa‘kin?

lalaki 2

(halatang nabigla) Ha?

lalaki 1

Lagi mo na lang akong ina-ano. Lagi mo na lang akong pinapagalitan, pinagsasabihan. Ang tahi-tahimik mo pa, pero parang gusto mo na ata ‘kong patayin, e. Ngayon lang nga kita nakilala uli, pero sa tingin ko… Sa tingin ko gan’to ka na talaga, dati pa.

lalaki 2

Ano?

lalaki 1

‘Di ‘to gesing geym, sabi mo! Walang araw ngayon, ‘di mo alam, ewan mo sa‘kin, bahala na ‘ko! “‘Wag kang sumayaw, ‘wag kang magpatawa, ‘wag kang mag-ingay, walang laman ang baso!” Sabi mo, matulog na lang kaya ‘ko, sabi mo!

lalaki 2

Tumahimik ka nga. Para kang batang nagdadabog.

lalaki 1

E, pa’no na nga kung gano’n? Galit ka na naman sa’kin, gano’n ba?

Papasok si BABAE. Maikli ang buhok at nakasuot ng makulay na bestida. Halatang maraming make-up. Maaaring gumamit ng false eyelashes. lalaki 1

O, ngayon, may babaeng pumasok, ano na namang sasabihin mo sa‘kin, ha? Na walang babae, ha?

lalaki 2

Babae?

Lilingon si LALAKI 2. Makikita si BABAE. Kakaway si BABAE. Kakaway rin si LALAKI 2, ngunit mukhang asiwa at nalilito.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 177


lalaki 2

At bakit naparito ka?

babae

‘Di ba puwedeng bumisita?

Mabilis na susulyapan ni LALAKI 2 si LALAKI 1. Ibabalik ang tingin nito sa BABAE. lalaki 2

Puwede naman.

lalaki 1

Magkakilala kayo?

lalaki 2

Malamang.

lalaki 1

A.

Mapapaisip si LALAKI 1. Maglalandian sina LALAKI 2 at BABAE; nagaatubili at mukhang asiwa si LALAKI 2. Lalong lalandiin ni BABAE; mapapasuko nito si LALAKI 2 na kusang manlalandi na lang rin. Patlang. lalaki 1

Saglit lang po, miss!

Biglang hahatakin ni LALAKI 1 si LALAKI 2 paalis. babae

Ah, sige.

Hihilahin ni LALAKI 1 si LALAKI 2, at ilalayo kay BABAE. lalaki 2

Buwakang ina mo, bitiwan mo ako, tarantado—

lalaki 1

Kilala ba niya ‘ko? Magkakilala ba kami dati? Close ba kami? Syota ko ba siya? Pakilala mo ‘ko, plis plis plis, pakilala mo ‘kooo.

178 · Niki Calma


lalaki 2

Lintik kang tao ka, umayos ka!

lalaki 1

Oo, pramis, aayos ako, pakilala mo lang nga ‘kooo!

lalaki 2

Matulog ka na nga!

lalaki 1

Ayokooo, kakagising ko lang, pakilala mo ‘ko!

lalaki 2

Ikaw! Magpakilala ka! Marunong ka naman, hindi ba?

lalaki 1

Ssshhhhh, hinaan mo boses mo, naririnig niya tayo!

Mukhang gustong sumigaw ni LALAKI 2, ngunit pipigilan ang sarili. Lulupaypay. lalaki 1

(pabulong) O sige! Ako na bahala! Ako na, ako na!

Magpapapogi. Babalikan ni LALAKI 1 si BABAE, na mukha namang naaaliw sa kanila. Iaabot ni LALAKI 1 ang kanyang kamay at ngingiti. lalaki 1

Isang magandang umaga—este, hapon —este, ano— sa‘yo. Isang magandang sa‘yo, binibini, ako nga pala—

Tutulakin ni LALAKI 2 si LALAKI 1—na matutumba’t mahuhulog sa sahig—at agad-agarang dudugtungan ang huling pangungusap. lalaki 2

—Ay isang walang-kahalahalagang nilalang. Kay tagal nating ‘di nagkita, binibini.

Hahawakan ni LALAKI 2 ang kamay ni BABAE at hahalikan ito. Hahalikhik si BABAE. babae

Ano ka ba naman… Ilang oras lang nga lumipas, e. Arte mo.

Hihilahin ni LALAKI 2 si BABAE palapit sa kanya. heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 179


babae Aba. Ididikit ni LALAKI 2 ang kanyang hintuturo sa mga labi ni BABAE na para bang nagsasabi ng “sshh.” Marahang ibubunggo ang ilong nito sa ilong ni BABAE. Maghahalikhikan ang dalawa. Kakargahin ni LALAKI 2 si BABAE, at maghahalikan sila. Tatayo si LALAKI 1 at magpapahid ng sarili. Makikita ang eksena. Kakamutin ang ulo. Titingin sa kung saan-saan. Hahanapin ang Styrofoam cup. Susubukang uminom. Walang mapapala. Susubukang luwagan ang necktie, pero mukhang nasisikipan pa rin ito. Litong-lito. Titigil, at tititigan muli ang dalawa. Naghahalikan pa rin sila. lalaki 1

E, ano ba naman ‘to.

Ilalagay sa sahig ang baso. Lalapit nang kaunti kina LALAKI 2 at BABAE. Uunatin ang bisig hanggang sa maabot ng daliri nito si LALAKI 2. Susundutin ni LALAKI 1 si LALAKI 2 nang paulit-ulit. Titigil sa paghalik si LALAKI 2, ngunit nilalandi-landi pa rin ito ni BABAE. Isa pang sundot galing kay LALAKI 1. lalaki 2

Ano?!

Patlang. lalaki 1

Anong ginagawa niyo?

Isasara uli ni LALAKI 2 ang mga mata nito. Ibababa si BABAE, at susugurin si LALAKI 1. lalaki 2

Putang ina, kanina ka pa, ah, tarantado ka—!

180 · Niki Calma


babae

(hahatakin pabalik si LALAKI 2) Tumigil ka nga! Pagbigyan mo na ‘yung tao. Dala lang ‘yan ng pagka-op.

lalaki 2

Wala akong pakialam kahit dala pa iyan ng isang higanteng buwitreng may pakpak ng paruparo—tulog na dapat siya!

lalaki 1

Ha? Tulog na naman! E, kakagising ko lang, e! Ang aga pa, e—! Ah! Teka!

Patlang. lalaki 1

Anong oras na nga ba?

lalaki 2

Hindi ko alam! Walang saysay ang lahat ng mga pinaggagawa’t pinagsasabi mo, at napupuno na ako, kaya tumigil ka na!

Babalik sa upuan nito, at titingin sa malayo. Mabigat na paghinga. babae Naku. lalaki 1

Uy. Okey ka lang ba?

Hindi sasagot si LALAKI 2. lalaki 1

Uy, okey ka lang?

Hindi pa rin sasagot. lalaki 1

Huy! Sige na. Okey ka lang?

Wala pa rin. lalaki 1

huy— heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 181


babae

Diyos ko, kuya, tumigil ka na.

lalaki 1

E, kasi, e… Dapat kasi, ‘di ganyan pag magkaibigan, e.

babae

Magkaibigan ba kayo?

lalaki 1

Ha?

babae

Magkaibigan ba talaga kayo?

lalaki 1

Aba, siyempre, e…

babae

Sigurado ka?

lalaki 1

Ah, e, oo… E…

Magtitinginan ang dalawa. Lilingon si LALAKI 1 at sisigawan si LALAKI 2. lalaki 1

Uy, pasagot naman, o! Magkaibigan ba talaga tayo, o ako lang ba ‘yon?

Tatayo si LALAKI 2 at aalis. babae

Ayay ka.

lalaki 1

Ayyyy, isa ka pa; tara tara tara, sundan natin—!

Hihilahin ni BABAE si LALAKI 1 pabalik. babae ‘Wag. lalaki 1

Ha? Bakit?

babae

Gusto niyang mapag-isa.

182 · Niki Calma


lalaki 1

Pa’no mo naman nalaman ‘yun?

babae

(mapang-uyam) E, umalis ‘yung tao.

lalaki 1

Ba’t ba gusto niyang mapag-isa? Loner ba siya?

babae

Ba’t ako tinatanong mo?

lalaki 1

Kilala mo siya, e. ‘Di ba? Bumibisita ka?

babae

Kahit na. Akala ko ba “friends” kayo?

Patlang. lalaki 1

Akala ko rin.

Patlang. lalaki 1

Ewan ko. …‘Di bale na. Pagbalik nun, magsosorry na talaga ako.

babae

Sorry? Para saan?

Uupo si LALAKI 1 sa dati nitong upuan. lalaki 1

Ewan. Basta, sorry. Para magkabati na kami. May “potential” kami, e.

Tatabihan siya ni BABAE. babae “Potential?” lalaki 1

Oo. Para maging matalik na magkaibigan. Sayang nga,

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 183


e. Me kuneksyon na sana kami no’n. …Dumating ka lang. babae

‘Di ba may away kayo bago pa ‘ko dumating?

lalaki 1

Ha? ‘Di, ah.

babae

Oo kaya.

lalaki 1

‘Di kaya.

babae

Oo kaya.

lalaki 1

‘Di kaya. Siya nga pala.

babae Po? lalaki 1

Sa’n na siya?

babae

Umalis nga, ‘di ba?

lalaki 1

Hindi, ibig kong sabihin, sa’n na siya ngayon?

babae Ewan. lalaki 1

Pa’nong ewan? Du’n ka nga lagi nanggagaling, e!

babae

Siyang tunay.

lalaki 1

Ehhh, dapat alam mo.

Mahabang katahimikan. babae

Basta, ewan.

184 · Niki Calma


lalaki 1

(magugulat na malilito na maiinis) Anlalabo niyong lahat.

babae

‘Di mo kayang makisabay?

lalaki 1

Ewan. Sa tingin mo?

babae

E, ba’t akong tinatanong mo?

lalaki 1

Ewan ko rin!

Magbubuntong-hininga. Patlang. babae

Ang kyut mo pala, ‘no?

lalaki 1

(uupo nang tuwid) Ha?

babae

Wala. Sabi ko panget ka.

lalaki 1

Weh, ‘di nga.

Maikling patlang. babae

Sabi ko… kyut ka. O, ayun. Masaya ka na?

Didilaan si LALAKI 1. Patlang uli. Magtitinginan lamang ang dalawa. lalaki 1

Alam mo? Ang bakla mo. Nakakaaliw ka.

babae

Ikaw rin.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 185


lalaki 1

Ikaw rin.

babae

Eh, ikaw rin.

lalaki 1

Ikaw.

babae

Ikaw nga.

lalaki 1

Ikaw lang.

Patlang. babae

Ano baaa, kinikilig naman ako.

Mapatatawa si LALAKI 1. Titingin sa ibang direksyon. Kakamutin ang pisngi. babae

Kilig ka rin?

lalaki 1

Ha? ‘Di ko alam.

babae

Uuuy, kilig siya!

lalaki 1

‘Di nga.

Bubungguin ni BABAE ang balikat ni LALAKI 1 gamit ang balikat niya. Malaki ang ngiti nito. Iiling si LALAKI 1 at iiwasan ang tingin ni BABAE. babae

Uyy, sige na.

lalaki 1

Sige na ano?

babae

Wala... ‘Yun. Basta.

Dahan-dahang yayakapin ni BABAE si LALAKI 1.

186 · Niki Calma


babae

Sige na...

lalaki 1

‘Wag.

Tutulaking palayo si BABAE at tatayo. babae Bakit? lalaki 1

E, magagalit siya.

babae

O. Anong paki mo kung magalit siya?

lalaki 1

La… lahat paki ko.

babae Ha? lalaki 1

Basta. Gusto ko magkabati na kami, e. Tapos, ano…

babae Ano? Nag-iisip si LALAKI 1. lalaki 1

Ahhh, basta. ‘Yun. Hintayin na lang natin siya. Babalik naman siya, ‘di ba? Babalik siya? ‘Di naman siguro masyadong matagal ‘yung pag-iisip, ‘di ba? Onti lang naman, ‘di ba?

Palapit nang palapit si BABAE kay LALAKI 1. Paatras naman nang kaunti si LALAKI 1. lalaki 1

Babalik siya? Antawagdun—asap? asap ‘di ba? Magiging magkaibigan uli kami? Mabilis lang naman ‘yun, ‘di ba? Onti lang? Kwik lang?

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 187


Ididikit ni BABAE ang hintuturo nito sa bibig ni LALAKI 1. Patlang. lalaki 1

May… gusto ka bang mangyari?

Tatanggalin ni BABAE ang daliri mula sa pagkadikit nito sa labi ni LALAKI 1, at mabilis na titingin sa ibang direksyon. babae

Sorry. Wala. Never mind.

lalaki 1

Ha?

babae

Never mind, never mind. Wala ‘yun.

lalaki 1

Teka, ano bang nangyari?

babae

Wala. Wala ‘yun. Bayaan mo na.

Maglalakad si BABAE papunta sa ibang bahagi ng tanghalan, malayo lang kay LALAKI 1. lalaki 1

Uy, uy, teka, teka.

babae

Wala, wala, basta.

Iiling-iling si BABAE. Yayakapin ang sarili. Mukhang naiiyak. lalaki 1

Huy, huy, ano… Teka. Umiiyak ka ba?

babae

Ha? Hi-hindi!

Patuloy sa pag-iling si BABAE. lalaki 1

Ay, oo nga, umiiyak nga… Nakunakunaku, umiiyak nga! Teka-teka… Anong gagawin ko. Teka…

188 · Niki Calma


Lalapitan ni LALAKI 1 si BABAE. babae

Wala. Paba… Pabayaan mo na ak—

Hikbi. babae

Pabayaan mo na ako!

Lalakas ang paghikbi. Tatakpan ang mukha ng dalawang kamay. Babalik sa kung saan naroon ang mga upuan at iiyak-iyak doon. lalaki 1

Anak ng tipaklong, pa’no ‘to?

Muling lalapitan at dahan-dahang susundutin ni LALAKI 1 si babae. lalaki 1

Uy… Uy, miss… Teka lang… Joke-joke lang ‘yung bakla, ah. ‘Di ka naman bakla, e—babae ka, e. ‘Di ko naman ‘yun sinasadya, a; hindi naman ‘yun ‘yung intensyon ko, e. Miss… Miss, ‘wag ka na umiyak, kasi… kasi galit na nga siya sa akin, Miss, e, tapos ikaw rin, magagalit ka na rin sa ‘kin, lahat na lang galit sa‘kin? Huy, Miss…! ‘Wag ka nang umiyak, sorry talaga, sorry, sorry! ‘Di ko sinasadya talaga, pramis!

Patuloy sa paghikbi si BABAE. Maguguluhan si LALAKI 1. Maglalakadlakad. Hinahanap ang baso. Makikita. Susubukang uminom. Walang laman. Aayusin ang necktie. Biglang titigil. May naisip. lalaki 1

Miss! Alam ko na, alam ko na, ah! Bati na tayo, bati na tayo, ah. Friends na tayo, ah! Walang iyak-iyak, ah, wala nang galit-galit, ah, kasi… Kasi… May naisip ako, Miss, e! Ano… Pakinggan mo ‘ko, ah, pakinggan mo ‘ko. kakantahan kita. O, hindi ba okey ‘yun? Okey ‘yun, ‘di ba, Miss, okey naman? Kakantahan kita! Tapos, tapos, pag nakantahan na kita, dapat, dapat, yung ngiti mo… dapat abot dito. (dalawang hintuturo sa magkabilang heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 189


pisngi; maikling patlang) Ah, hindi, hindi! Dapat… Dapat abot langit! Ha? Ha? Sige, Miss, ah? Kakantahan na kita, ah? Sige, pakinggan mo ‘ko… Luluhod si LALAKI 1, uunatin ang dalawang bisig sa isang mala-“ta-da!” na pose, at magla-“LALALA” nang walang maayos na tono. Patlang. Hindi kikibo si BABAE. Nakayuko pa rin. Ayaw pa ring ipakita ang mukha. Maguguluhan uli si LALAKI 1. Maglalakad kung saan-saan. Mag-iisip. Biglang mapapatigil. Mayroong bagong ideya. lalaki 1

Ah! Miss! Alam ko na! Alam ko na talaga, alam ko na! Kung, ano, ayaw mo ng kanta, ano na lang… iba na lang… sasayawan kita! Okey naman ‘yun, ‘di ba, okey naman ‘yun? Magugustuhan mo ‘yun, ‘di ba? Kung sasayaw ako, sasaya ka ba? Oo, ‘di ba, oo! Tapos, tapos, pag natapos na ako, dapat, yung ngiti mo abot doon (itataas ang mga bisig) sa kataas-taasan! Ha? Dapat gano’n, Miss, ha? Sige, ah, sige, sige, sige! Heto na ‘ko… ‘Ta mo ko, ‘ta mo ko…?

Tatalon-talon sa buong tanghalan, at maglalanding uling nakaluhod sa isang mala-“ta-da!” na pose. Humihingal. Patlang. Hindi pa rin kumikibo si BABAE. Walang epekto sa kanya. Muli, maguguluhan si LALAKI 1. Uulitin ang proseso ng paglalakad at pagdadabog at pagsasaayos ng necktie. Muli, biglang titigil. May bagong ideya. lalaki 1

Ah! ‘Eto, Miss, ‘eto na talaga! Alam ko na kung anong gagawin, alam ko na talaga! Kung ayaw mo ng kanta… kung ayaw mo ng sayaw… E, ‘di… sasayaw at kakanta

190 · Niki Calma


na lang ako! Oo! Tama! ‘Yun ‘yung mas masaya, hindi ba? Pagkatapos no’n, siguradong abot langit na ‘yung ngiti mo! ‘Di ba, Miss, ‘di ba? Sige, sige! Gagawin ko na, ah! Heto na! Ipaghahalo ang dalawang nagawa kanina. Magla-“LALALA” ng walang maayos na tono habang tumatalon-talon kung saan sa tanghalan. Muli, maglalanding na nakaluhod sa isang mala-“ta-da!” na pose. Hindi pa rin nakatingin si BABAE, ngunit hindi na ito umiiyak. Magbubuntong-hininga si LALAKI 1. Susuko ito. Tatayo at titingin sa malayo. Maya-maya, tatanggalin nito ang sapatos. Ipalilibot ang necktie sa ulo nito at itatali. Tatanggalin na rin ang sinturon, at ibababa ang pantalon (at makikita ang makulay nitong boxer shorts). Isasantabi ang mga ito. May kakaunting pasa ang mga binti nito. Tahimik na gagawa, sa huling pagkakataon, ng isang nakaluhod na “ta-da” pose. Nakatingin na si BABAE. Mapapansin ni LALAKI 1. lalaki 1

O, biglang napatingin ka yata?

babae

May… may pasa ka, ah…

lalaki 1

Ha?

Tingin sa baba. lalaki 1

Ah! Oo nga, ano.

babae

… Masakit ba?

lalaki 1

Hindi naman. ‘Di ko napansin, e.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 191


babae

E, kung hipuin mo?

Hihipuin ni LALAKI 1. lalaki 1

Aray! Medyo masakit nga…

babae

Sa’n mo naman nakuha ‘yan…?

lalaki 1

Wala akong maalala, e.

Hindi sasagot si BABAE. Dahan-dahan nitong lalapitan si LALAKI 1, at dahan-dahan muli nitong yayakapin si LALAKI 1. Magiging asiwa si LALAKI 1. Aalis ito sa yakap ni BABAE at gagala-gala sa tanghalan. lalaki 1

Minekaniko ni Moniko ang makina ng minika ni Monika! Ano nga ba ‘yung sunod no’n? May kasunod pa ‘yun, e. ‘Di ko na maalala… Minekaniko ni Moniko ang makina ng minika ni Monika!

Uulit-ulitin ito. Matutuwa. Susubukang magsomersault ni LALAKI 1. Babagsak. Mapapahiyaw sa sakit. lalaki 1

araaaaay!

babae

Okey ka lang ba??

lalaki 1

(nasasaktan) Ah! Oo! O-okey lang naman!

babae Sure? lalaki 1

Oo, oo, sigurado.

babae

Halika nga rito.

lalaki 1

Ha?

192 · Niki Calma


babae

Dito ka.

Paparoon si LALAKI 1. Uupo sa harap ni BABAE. babae

Talikod ka, boy.

Tatalikod si LALAKI 1, ngunit mananatiling nakaupo sa sahig. Iaakyat ni BABAE nang kaunti ang likod ng damit pantaas ni LALAKI 1. lalaki 1

Uy, ano ‘yan, anong ginagawa—

babae

Chill ka lang, ate girl. Walang gagahasa sa‘yo.

lalaki 1

Sigurado ka, ah. …Sa ganda kong ‘to…

babae

May pasa ka nga sa likod mo.

lalaki 1

O?

Hihipuin ni BABAE ang pasa. lalaki 1

Aray.

babae Masakit? lalaki 1

Oo, malamang sa malamang, po.

Marahang hihimas-himasin ni BABAE ang likod ni LALAKI 1. Walang masabi ang LALAKI. Hindi rin iimik si babae. Papasok muli si LALAKI 2. lalaki 2

Anong… ginagawa ninyo?

babae

H-ha? Ah-eh— heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 193


lalaki 1

Wala. Wala kaming ginagawa.

babae

Ah, oo, wala!

lalaki 2

Anong wala-wala, mag… maglayo nga kayo, mga gago!

lalaki 1

Teka, wala naman talaga kaming ginagawa, e!

lalaki 2

Ha? Sa tingin mo, tanga ako?

lalaki 1

Hindi, hindi, sinasabi ko lang—

Lalapitan ni BABAE si LALAKI 2 at susubukan nitong pahinahunin si LALAKI 2. babae

Kung anumang nakita mo, limutin mo na!

lalaki 2

Alam ko kung anong nakita ko!

babae

Hindi, maling akala lang naman—

lalaki 2

Maling akala? Wala akong pakialam sa maling akala!

babae

Hindi, makinig ka lang, saglit lang—

lalaki 2

Wala! Wala, wala, wala! Wala akong kailangang marinig!

babae

Sandali lang, kaya kong mag—

lalaki 2

Huwag kang makasagot-sagot, putang ina!

babae Pero—!

194 · Niki Calma


Itutulak ni LALAKI 2 si BABAE na mahuhulog naman sa sahig. lalaki 1

‘Wag mo siyang saktan!

lalaki 2

Putang ina, tumahimik ka.

Dahan-dahang tatayo muli si BABAE. Iiwasan nito ang tingin ni LALAKI 2. lalaki 1

‘Di mo naman kelangan gawin ‘yun, e…

lalaki 2

Hoy, gago. Tawagan mo na lang ako kapag nakadamitmaayos ka na. Tapos usap tayo.

Titingnan ni LALAKI 1 ang sarili. Hiyang-hiya. Susubukang magbihis. lalaki 2

At ikaw, babae ka…

Dadaklutin ni LALAKI 2 ang braso ni BABAE. Iaagaw muli ni BABAE ang braso. Ayaw pa ring tingnan si LALAKI 2. babae

Bitiwan mo ‘ko!

lalaki 2

Hindi ba’t sabi kong huwag kang makasagot-sagot? Ha?

Dadaklutin muli ni LALAKI 2 ang braso ni BABAE, at aagawin naman pabalik ni BABAE. lalaki 2

‘Wag kang makulit, ah? ‘Wag kang makulit!

Susunggaban ni LALAKI 2 si BABAE at iikutin para magkatinginan sila. Paulit-ulit nitong uuyug-uyugin ang mga balikat ni BABAE. lalaki 2

Ikaw, babae , makinig ka sa akin, ha. Makinig ka nang mabuti. heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 195


Nakatingin pa rin sa ibang direksyon si BABAE. Hahawakan nang mahigpit ni LALAKI 2 ang mukha nito at pipiliting iharap sa mukha niya. lalaki 2

Lumayas ka rito. Ayaw ko na muling makita ang pagmumukha mo. Ha? Kung tulog man siya o gising, wala akong pakialam, basta’t lumayo ka lang. (hinga nang malalim; nanginginig) Alam mo? Hindi ko inakalang gagawin mo talaga, e, hindi talaga. Ngayon, huli na ang lahat. Kailangan mo nang umalis.

babae

Inakalang ano?

Itutulak si BABAE. lalaki 2

Huwag kang magpanggap! Alam ko naman, e... Alam ko… Dati pa. Alala mo pa?

Hindi iimik si BABAE. lalaki 2

Dumating ka dito. Ako ang nakita mo. Ako ang gising. Ako ang gising, at hindi siya.

Patlang. lalaki 2

Hindi ba ‘yun ‘yun? Ako ang gising. At hindi. Siya.

Isang mahaba’t matinding katahimikan. lalaki 2

Sa simula pa lang, siya lang naman ang pakay mo, ‘di ba?

Hindi sasagot si BABAE. lalaki 2

Siya lang naman, ‘di ba?

196 · Niki Calma


Mukhang naiiyak na si BABAE. Tititigan muna nito si LALAKI 2 nang ilang sandali. Tititigan naman si LALAKI 1 na nakabihis na at nanliliit sa isang sulok. Lalapitan si LALAKI 2. Susubukang lambingin ito. babae

Uy… Ano bang pinagsasabi mo, ha? Wala namang… wala namang problema, ah… ‘Di naman ‘yun totoo. Ikaw naman talaga ‘yung gusto ko, e. Alam mo naman ‘yun, ‘di ba?

Mukhang nahihikayat muli ni BABAE si LALAKI 2 sa kanyang paglambing, ngunit hindi ito matutuloy. Itutulak ni LALAKI 2 si BABAE paalis. lalaki 2

Layas, puta.

Mapapaiyak si BABAE nang ilang sandali. Patlang. Titigil ito. Walang emosyon ang mukha. babae

Ngayo’y huli na ang lahat. Kailangan ko nang umalis.

Aalis si BABAE. Patlang. lalaki 1

‘Di… ‘di mo naman kelangan gawin ‘yun, e…

lalaki 2

Ha?

lalaki 1

‘Yun. ‘Yung ginawa mo. ‘Di mo naman siya kelangan saktan, e.

lalaki 2

Isa ka pa, ah. Huwag ka nang magsimula. heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 197


lalaki 1

Hindi. Hindi ako nagsisimula ng kungano, peksman. Sinasabi ko lang na hindi mo siya kinailangang ganunin. ‘Di mo kelangan saktan, palayasin…

lalaki 2

Wala akong pakialam sa opinyon mo, matulog ka na lang.

lalaki 1

Bakit? Gusto mo na namang mapag-isa?

lalaki 2

Hindi ko alam. Basta. Umalis ka.

lalaki 1

Lahat na lang kami, papalayasin mo nang gano’n?

lalaki 2

Hoy, hoy, huwag ka nang magsimula ng away.

lalaki 1

Nagtatanong lang ho.

lalaki 2

Iniinsulto mo ako?

lalaki 1

Hindi! Bakit naman kita iinsultuhin?

lalaki 2

Punyeta, tumahimik ka na lang nga. Umupo ka na diyan sa putang inang upuan mo at matulog ka na.

Patlang. lalaki 2

Narinig mo ‘yon, ha? Matulog ka na. Gusto kong ako lang. Mas madali ang lahat kung ako lang. Matulog ka na.

Iiling-iling si LALAKI 1. lalaki 1

‘Di. ‘Di ako naniniwalang ‘yun talaga ‘yung gusto mo.

lalaki 2

At kung ‘yun nga ang gusto ko? Mas panatag ang loob ko kung ako lang.

198 · Niki Calma


lalaki 1

Magkaibigan tayo, ‘di ba?

lalaki 2

Hindi.

lalaki 1

Magkaibigan tayo, ‘di ba?

lalaki 2

Putang ina, hindi.

lalaki 1

Magkaibigan tayo!

lalaki 2

Punyeta sabing hindi!

Susuntukin ni LALAKI 2 si LALAKI 1. lalaki 1

Aray! Ansakit no’n, ah!

lalaki 2

Putang ina, kasalanan mo ‘yon!

lalaki 1

A-ano? Kasalanan kong sinapak mo ‘ko?

lalaki 2

Hindi tayo magkaibigan! Hindi tayo bati! Wala akong kaibigan! Wala akong gustong maging kaibigan!

lalaki 1

Teka-teka—

Susuntukin muli ni LALAKI 2 si LALAKI 1. lalaki 2

Putang ina, lumayo ka!

lalaki 1

Ha? Hindi! ‘Wag, mag-usap tayo—

lalaki 2

Lumayo ka, sabi! Gusto kong ako lang!

lalaki 1

Gusto kong tayo! Tayo! Magkaibigan ta— heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 199


Susuntukin ni LALAKI 2 si LALAKI 1. Mapadadapa si LALAKI 1. Mapahihiyaw. lalaki 2

Ayoko, ayoko, naririnig mo ba ‘ko? Ayoko!

lalaki 1

Tumigil ka! Sandali lang—!

lalaki 2

Tumahimik ka, tarantado!

Patuloy sa pagsuntok si LALAKI 2. Sinusubukan ni LALAKI 1 na takpan ang sarili laban sa mga suntok ni LALAKI 2. lalaki 2

Ayan! Ha? Alala mo ‘yan? Ha? Heto uli tayo! Heto lang uli tayo, putang ina mo!

Hindi na makaimik si LALAKI 1. Tinatabunan na lamang nito ang ulo nito. lalaki 2

Heto pa! Heto pa, ayan! Magkaibigan pala, ah?

Mamaya-maya, magiging tikod ang katawan ni LALAKI 1. Hindi na ito kikibo. Titigil si LALAKI 2 sa pagsuntok. lalaki 2

Magkaibigan pala, ah…

Hinahabol ni LALAKI 2 ang hininga nito. Mapadadapa. lalaki 2

Nandito lang pa rin tayo…

Mabigat ang pakiramdam ng katawan ni LALAKI 2. Marahang kakapa-kapain ang sahig. Maghahanap. Makikita ang Styrofoam cup. Kukunin. Susubuking inumin. Walang lalabas. Magmumukhang gustong bumagsak na lamang at umiyak. Hihinga muli nang malalim. Dala-dala ang Styrofoam cup, lalabas ng tanghalan.

200 · Niki Calma


Babalik agad. Pagod. Lupaypay. Humihingal. Inaayos at pinapaluwang ang necktie. Mukhang hindi makahinga. Iinom mula sa baso. Kakalma. Hihinga nang malalim. Titingnan si LALAKI 1. Pupuntahan ito, at dahandahang iaakbay papunta sa upuan. Pauupuin ito. Aayusin ang suot. Matapos iyon, uupo si LALAKI 2 sa tabi ni LALAKI 1. Maya-maya’y tatangu-tango na ang ulo ni LALAKI 1. Hahagok-hagok. Pagod, galit, at nagpipigil ng luha, uupo si LALAKI 2 at maghihintay, nakatunganga sa kawalan. wakas

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 201


Katabi Dulang may isang Yugto

mga tauhan niño – lalaki, 25 taong gulang; nakasuot ng jaket, jeans na may butas, at lumang sneakers na dating kulay puti subalit masyado nang narumihan at nalipasan ng panahon vanya – babae, 23 taong gulang; nakasuot ng itim na dress at mukhang galing party, magulo ang buhok, at makapal ang make-up, lalo na ang eyeliner; maganda ang tagpuan Nakahati ang entablado sa dalawang kwarto; isang dingding lamang ang pumapagitan. May higaan, aparador, salamin, at pintuan (sa likod, nakaharap sa mga manonood) ang dalawang kwarto. Magulo’t makalat ang unang kwarto—puno ng mga damit na mukhang inihagis na lang kung saan-saan ng may-ari, mga pakete ng sigarilyo na wala namang laman, sapatos (high heels, wedges), stockings, pati bra at panty, mga bote ng alak, mga magasin, at kung ano pang pwedeng kalat. Madilim ang kabilang kwarto. Maliban sa mga muwebles na naroon rin sa kabila, wala gaanong laman ang silid na ito. Halo-halong ingay: sanggol na umiiyak, telebisyong nakabukas sa sports channel, sintonadong taong kumakanta-kanta sa isang bidyooke, tunog ng martilyong may pinupukpok, keyboard na tinutugtog. Dahandahan at paisa-isang mawawala ang mga ingay. Liliwanag ang entablado. Katahimikan. 202 · Niki Calma


Sa makalat na kwarto, may babaeng nakahiga sa higaan; ito si vanya. Sa kabilang kwarto naman, nakaupo si niño, yakap-yakap ang mga binti’t tuhod, sa paanan ng higaan. Nakatago ang mukha at dahandahang dinuduyan ang sarili. Paminsan, tinitingnan ang dingding na para bang naghihintay. Minsan naman, aayusin ang sintas ng sapatos. Uungol si vanya. Titingala si niño. Uungol uli si vanya nang mas matagal. niño

Gising ka na?

Hindi iimik si VANYA. Lalakasan ni NIÑO ang boses. niño

Vanya, gising ka na ba?

Patlang. vanya Ha? niño

Sabi ko, gising ka na?

vanya

Oo, kanina pa.

Mauupo si VANYA sa higaan, hinahaplos ang sentido. vanya

Takte, sakit ng ulo ko.

niño Ng? vanya

Ng ulo ko! heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 203


Patlang. niño Ah. Tatayo si VANYA. gigiray-giray ito. Matatapilok. vanya Bwiset! niño

Napa’no ka?

vanya

Hindi, natapilok lang!

niño Ha? vanya Oo! Patlang. Tatayo muli si VANYA. Sasandal ito sa higaan, pati na rin sa aparador. Maghahalungkat sa ilalim ng mga damit. Makakakita ng isang plastik na bote ng tubig; kakaunti na lang ang laman nito. Uubusin ang tubig. Babalik naman si NIÑO sa pagtatali ng sintas. Hindi nito magawa nang maayos. Maiinis. Mapapahiga sa sahig. vanya Aaah. Ihahagis ang bote ng tubig sa kung saan. Susubukang tumayo nang matuwid. niño

Anong ginagawa mo?

vanya

Sabi mo?

niño

Anong ginagawa mo?

204 · Niki Calma


vanya

Ginagawa ko?

niño Oo. vanya Heto. Mapapahinto. Hindi alam kung ano nga ba ang ginagawa. Mapapatingin sa paligid. vanya Nakatayo. Hindi sasagot si NIÑO. Iiling si VANYA at tatama-tamaan ang sentido gamit nang palad. Iiling-iiling uli. vanya

Wild kagabi.

niño

‘Di kita marinig.

Lalapit si VANYA sa dingding at uupo sa harap nito. Malakas-lakas na ang boses. vanya

Wild kagabi, sabi. Andaming tao. Andaming pogi. E, andami ko ring nainom.

niño

Gano’n ba.

vanya

Nasuka ‘ko.

niño

Naburat ka?

vanya

Nasuka, bingi.

niño Pasensya. vanya

Lapit ka na kasi. heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 205


Patlang. vanya Huy. Gagapang si NIÑO papalapit sa dingding. niño

Heto na.

vanya Ayan! niño

Hyper mo. Kala ko ba masakit ulo mo?

vanya

Masakit nga.

niño

Pa’no mo nagagawa ‘yan?

vanya Ang? niño ‘Yan. vanya

Hindi ko alam.

Mapapaisip si VANYA. vanya

Mukhang uhaw na naman ako.

niño Ha? vanya

Uhaw na naman ako. Uminom ako ng tubig kanina, pero uhaw pa rin ako. Anong gagawin ko?

Patlang. niño

Bumili ka ng tubig.

206 · Niki Calma


vanya Pautang. niño

‘Di pwede ‘yan.

vanya Pwede! niño Hindi. vanya

Kailangan ko ng tubig. Masakit ang ulo ko. Kailangan ko ng tubig. Uminom na ‘ko kanina, pero uhaw pa rin ako.

Mahabang patlang. Tatayo si VANYA. Mabibigla. Iiling na naman, at tatama-tamaan ang sentido. Bubuksan ang pinto. Lalabas ng kwarto niya. Maiiwan si NIÑO, nakaupo sa harap ng dingding. Sisimulan nito muli ang pagtali ng sapatos. Maya-maya’y maririnig ang pagtunog ng busol ng pintuan ni NIÑO. Mayroong nagtatangkang pumasok, subalit hindi ito mabuksan-buksan. niño

Vanya, ikaw ba ‘yan?

vanya

Buksan mo ‘yung pinto, Niño!

niño

Umalis ka diyan; baka may makakita sa‘yo.

vanya

Wala ‘yan. Buksan mo na lang kasi ‘yung pinto.

niño

Hindi nga pwede. Sabi, ‘di ba? ‘Di pwede. Bawal ‘yan.

vanya

Buksan na kasi!

niño

O, eto na, eto na! heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 207


Titigil ang pag-ikot ni VANYA ng busol. Susubukang buksan ni NIÑO ang pinto. Walang mangyayari. niño

Sabi nang ‘di pwede, ‘di ba?

Patlang. niño

Bumili ka ng tubig mo do’n. ‘Di kita matutulungan.

Patlang. Babalik sa VANYA sa kwarto niya. niño

Bibili ka na ng tubig mo?

vanya

Hindi na pala ‘ko uhaw.

niño Ano? vanya

Hindi na pala masakit ulo ko.

Patlang. Isasara ni VANYA ang pintuan niya. Mapapatingin siya sa paligid. Maghahalungkat. Ihahagis sa kung saan ang ibang mga damit. Titingin sa ilalim ng kama. Bubuksan ang aparador. Susubukang ipasok ang sarili sa loob. ‘Di kakasya. niño

‘Di naman kasi talaga pwede, e. Alam mo ‘yun.

Patuloy sa paghalungkat si VANYA. niño

‘Di ko rin naman mabubuksan ‘yung pinto para sa‘yo, kahit anong subok ko. (hinto) Buti ka pa nga. Pwede kang lumabas.

Titigil si VANYA. 208 · Niki Calma


vanya

May sinasabi ka?

Magbubuntonghininga si NIÑO at iiling. Aakyat sa kama, at mahihiga, nakaharap ang likod sa dingding na pumapagitan sa mga kwarto. Mahabang patlang. Nakatingin lang si VANYA sa dingding. Magkikibit-balikat. Iuurong ni VANYA ang higaan para makita kung anong nasa ilalim. Iiling. Titingnan ang higaan nang matagal. Biglang dadaplutin ang unan. May handbag sa ilalim nito. vanya Ayun! Kukunin ang handbag. Hahalungkatin. Maglalabas ng pakete ng sigarilyo, pati lighter. Iiipit ang sigarilyo sa bibig, at sisindihan ito. Magbubuga ng usok. niño Nakakainis. vanya Ha? niño Wala. vanya

May sinabi ka. Ano ‘yun?

niño

Wala, wala.

Patlang. vanya

Nakahanap ako’ng yosi.

niño Susi? vanya Yosi! heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 209


niño

Masaya ka na?

vanya

Hindi tubig, pero pwede na.

niño

E, ‘di mabuti.

vanya Hm? niño

(mas malakas na boses) E, ‘di mabuti.

Mukhang mapapaisip si VANYA. Bubuga na naman ng usok. vanya

Gutom na yata ‘ko.

Hindi kikibo si NIÑO. vanya

Kakain kaya muna ‘ko.

Pupunta si VANYA sa pinto. Titigil sa harap nito. vanya

Pero wala na yata ‘kong pera. Inubos ko na kagabi. Nakailang Pale Pilsen din yata kami no’n.

Mauupo si NIÑO sa higaan. Titingnan nito ang dingding. niño

Kinakausap mo ba ako o ang sarili mo?

vanya

Hindi, sabi ko bibili ako ng pagkain. Kaso, wala na yata ‘kong pera. (hinto) Gusto mo ba sanang bilhan kita?

Hindi iimik si NIÑO. vanya

Gutom ka, ‘no?

Hindi pa rin sasagot si NIÑO. 210 · Niki Calma


vanya

Pa’no kaya ‘to. (mag-iisip) E, kung sakaling makapaghanap man ako ng pera, tapos makabili ako ng pagkain para sa ‘ting dalawa… ‘Di ko rin naman maaabot sa‘yo.

Maglalakad-lakad, nag-iisip. vanya

Hindi ako pwedeng pumasok ng kwarto mo. Hindi ka rin pwedeng pumasok ng kwarto ko—hindi ka rin naman kasi pwedeng lumabas.

Titingnan ang paligid. vanya

E, kung may butas…

Iiipit ang sigarilyo sa bibig. Maghahanap. Matagal-tagal ito. vanya

Walang butas.

Iiling si NIÑO. Bababa sa sahig, sa may paanan ng higaan. Titingnan ang sapatos. niño

Bayaan mo na. Hindi ko kailangan ng pagkain.

vanya

‘Sensya na, ha? Gusto rin sana kitang bigyan ng pagkain, e.

niño

Wala ‘yun. Nasanay na ‘ko. ‘To kasing kwarto ko, e.

May maaalala si VANYA. Mananabik bigla. Uupo siya sa harap ng dingding. Malapit-lapit na ang dalawa. vanya

Alam mo? Bigla kong naalala ‘yung kwarto ko dati. ‘Yung may-ari ng katabi nung kwarto ko, may anak yata. O, ewan, baka sanggol lang din ‘yung laman ng kwartong heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 211


‘yun. Iyak nang iyak kasi, e; ‘di na lang tumigil. niño

‘Di ko na maalala ‘yung sa ‘kin dati.

vanya

Bago naman no’n, katabi ko, lalaking pala-bidyooke. Sintonado pa. ‘Di marunong sumabay sa kanta. Arawgabi, ‘yun lang ‘yung inaasikaso no’n.

niño

Gano’n ba.

vanya

Minsan nga, ramdam ko, parang naririnig ko pa rin sila. Lalo na sa pagtulog ko. Parang naririnig ko pa rin ‘yung sanggol na umiiyak. O ‘yung lalaking kumakanta ng “My Way.” Minsan, parang galing sa ibaba. Minsan, sa itaas.

niño

Naaalala ko na ‘yung sa ‘kin dati.

vanya

Naaalala mo na?

niño

Oo, ngayon lang.

vanya

Sige nga.

niño

May TV ‘yung akin dati.

vanya

Swerte! Lahat ng mga naging kwarto ko na, walang gano’n. Kahit radyo, wala.

niño

Hindi ‘yun ordinaryong TV. ‘Di gumagana; ‘di tulad nung sa ibang mga kwarto dito—may nakakanood ng basketbol, e; naririnig ko minsan.

vanya

Wala lang palang silbi ‘yun.

niño

Nakabukas lang ‘yun. Walang remote, tapos ‘di ko pa

212 · Niki Calma


mapatay kahit gamit nung TV na mismo. Kaya lagi siyang nakabukas. vanya

Anong channel?

niño

Wala. Statik lang. ‘Yung parang kumikiskis na tunog. Tapos maraming puting langgam.

Hindi iimik si VANYA, pawang nakikinig nang maigi. niño

Minsan, nagiging klaro naman, pero ang nakikita ko lang rin ‘pag gano’n, parang silweta o anino, ewan. Iniisip ko na baka minsan, nakatutok ‘yun sa ‘kin habang natutulog ako. Kaya katagalan, hindi na rin ako nakatulog.

Patlang. niño

Hindi rin ako pwedeng lumabas no’n.

Patlang. Tatayo si VANYA. Hahayaang malaglag ang sigarilyo sa sahig. Tatapakan ito at ididiin sa sahig. vanya

Maghahanap na ‘ko ng pera pambili ng pagkain.

niño

Nabahala ka ba do’n sa kwento ko? Pasensya.

vanya

Hindi. Hindi ‘yun. Ayos lang ‘yun. Gutom lang pala talaga ‘ko.

niño

Uhaw ka pa rin ba?

vanya

‘Yun na rin.

niño

Dami mong kailangan, ano? heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 213


Patlang. Mukhang hindi nagustuhan ni VANYA ang nasabi ni NIÑO. Iiling lang ito. vanya

Kaya pinapalabas ako. Kung hindi, mabubulok lang ako dito sa loob.

niño

Pa’no kaya ‘yun…

vanya Ha? niño

Sabi ko, pa’no kaya ‘yun…

vanya

‘Yung ano?

niño

‘Yung maraming kailangan. Tulad mo. Ako kasi, hindi gano’n. Matagal na ‘kong walang kain. Matagal na ‘kong walang iniinom. Matagal na ‘kong ‘di nakakikita ng araw—ng tao, ng mukha.

Mapapaisip si VANYA. vanya

‘Di ko yata kaya ‘yan.

niño

Kaya ka nga pinapalabas. Kasi gano’n ka. Maraming kailangan.

Hindi iimik si VANYA. niño

‘Di ba?

Hindi pa rin iimik si VANYA. niño

‘Di ba? Gano’n naman talaga?

Katahimikan. 214 · Niki Calma


niño

Ba’t ‘di ka na sumasagot?

Patlang. vanya

Hindi naman siguro ako gano’n.

niño Hm? vanya

Hindi naman ako masyadong maarte.

niño

Wala akong sinabing gano’n.

vanya

Hindi, sabi mo, ako ‘yung tipong maraming kailangan. Sabi mo ‘yun. Maarte ako. Kaya ‘ko pinapalabas. Kanina mo pa ‘yun inuulit-ulit, e.

Magmumukhang may gustong sabihin si NIÑO, subalit mauunahan ito ni VANYA. vanya

E, hindi mo naman ‘yun alam, e. Wala ka namang alam tungkol sa ‘kin, e. Hindi mo ‘ko pwedeng husgahan nang gano’n lang. Wala ka namang alam. Hindi mo na kailangang ipamukha sa ‘kin na ‘yun ‘yung tingin mo. Mali ka pa rin naman.

Magugulat si NIÑO. niño

Teka. Nasaktan ka do’n?

vanya

‘Di mo naman ako kilala, e.

niño Vanya? vanya

Magkaiba lang tayo; ‘yun lang ‘yun. Magkaiba. heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 215


Tatahimik si NIÑO. vanya

Alam ko. Lagi na lang akong lumalabas. Lagi na lang lasing. May dalang alak, yosi, pagkain, kung anu-ano. ‘Di naman ako special, e! Porke’t pinapalabas ako, tapos ikaw, hindi… Hindi naman ako special. Gano’n lang ‘yung takbo talaga. ‘Di ‘yun kasi may… may, ewan, may special treatment sa ‘kin.

Patlang. vanya

Pasensya na’t hindi ka na nakakalabas. Pero hindi mo ‘ko kilala, Niño. Hindi mo ‘ko pwedeng husgahan.

Iiling si NIÑO. Titingnan ang sapatos. Pupunta si VANYA sa may higaan. Kukunin ang handbag. Maghahalungkat. Maglalabas ng wallet. Titingnan ang laman. Sisimulan ni NIÑO ang pagtali ng sintas. Hindi niya pa rin ‘to makuhakuha. Dahan-dahang maiinis. Wala namang laman ang wallet ni VANYA. Maiinis rin ito. Ihahagis ito. Magpapahulog sa higaan; magbabaon ng mukha sa unan. Mahabang patlang. Mamaya-maya, uupo si VANYA. vanya

Kinausap ko lang ba ‘yung sarili ko?

niño Ha? vanya

‘Ka ko, kinausap ko lang ba ‘yung sarili ko? Hindi ka na

216 · Niki Calma


kasi sumagot. niño

E, ano bang gusto mo? ‘Di ba naiinis ka pa sa ‘kin? Ayoko namang kumausap ng taong naiinis sa ‘kin.

vanya

Hindi naman ako naiinis sa‘yo. Parang… wala… ‘Di ko lang nagustuhan ‘yung sinabi mo.

niño

Halata naman, e.

vanya

Ano, ikaw naman ‘yung naiinis?

niño

Hindi. Wala. Ewan.

Habang nag-uusap sila, inaayos pa rin ni NIÑO ang sintas ng sapatos niya. Napipikon na; lalong nabubuhol ang sintas. niño Bwiset. vanya

Talagang naiinis ka?

niño

E, kasi… ‘Tong sintas ko. ‘Di ko maayos-ayos.

vanya

Galit ka dahil sa sintas, ‘di dahil sa ‘kin?

niño

Bakit naman ako magagalit sa‘yo?

vanya

Sabi mo kanina!

niño

Wala akong sinabi!

vanya

E, ano ‘yung narinig ko?

niño

Hindi ko alam! Baka ‘di mo lang ako maintindihan. Ewan!

Tatayo si VANYA, galit. Lalapit sa dingding. heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 217


vanya

Lumapit ka nga dito.

niño

Ha? Bakit?

vanya

Lumapit ka.

Tatayo si NIÑO at lalapit sa dingding. niño

O. Ano na?

Mumuwestra ng parang may sinasampal si VANYA. vanya

pak!

niño

Ano ‘yun??

vanya

Kunwari sinasampal kita. Kasi naiinis ako sa ‘yo. Inis na inis ako sa ‘yo.

niño

Ha? Akala ko ba maayos na tayo?

vanya

Akala ko rin!

niño

Ano?? Ang labo mo, Vanya!

vanya

Ikaw rin naman, a!

niño

Kasalanan ko ba? E, may putang inang dingding dito; ‘di kita marinig nang maayos!

vanya

E, ‘di, kung gano’n, ‘di ko rin kasalanan na may dingding dito!

niño

Nakakainis ka! Ikaw lang ‘yung nag-iisang naging katabi

218 · Niki Calma


kong kumausap sa ‘kin nang gan’to! Hindi naman ako pinapakialaman nung iba, e! vanya

Pasensya na, ha, pasensya na! ‘Di ako tulad nila! ‘Di ako nanonood ng basketbol buong araw, o kumakanta, o tumutugtog ng piano! Pasensya na kung gusto ko rin ng kausap paminsan!

niño

‘Di, maghanap ka ng makausap do’n, sa labas! Mahilig ka naman uminom at mag-party! Malandi ka naman! Maghanap ka ng kaibigan do’n!

vanya

Malandi? Ako, malandi? Talaga, Niño?

niño

Oo! Malandi ka!

vanya

Talaga lang, ah? E, sino ‘yung nagsabing gusto niya ‘kong mahawakan at halikan, aber?

niño

Isang beses lang naman ‘yun, a!

vanya

Nangyari pa rin!

niño

Pwede naman sigurong kalimutan ‘yun, ‘di ba?

Bababaan ni VANYA ang boses na para bang ginagaya si NIÑO. vanya

(pakutya) “Anong suot mo ngayon, Vanya?”

Tatalikod si NIÑO, nahihiya’t naiinis. niño Putakte. vanya

“Wala, wala lang naman. Gusto ko lang malaman.”

Haharap uli si NIÑO sa dingding. heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 219


niño

E, sumagot ka naman!

vanya

Pupunta ka do’n? Pupunta ka do’n?

niño

Sabi mo pa, “Wala. Eto. Naka-dress.” Tapos alam mo kung ano pang sinabi mo, ha? Alam mo?

Tatabunan ni VANYA ang mga taenga niya. vanya

La la la la la la ‘di ako nakikinig la la la—

niño

(lalakasan ang boses) Sabi mo, “Pero kung gusto mo, pwede ko namang tanggalin.” ‘Yun ‘yung sabi mo; malandi kang babae ka!

vanya

E, kasi naman, kanina ka pa no’n, e! Sino ba namang hindi matuturn-on do’n sa mga pinanggagagawa mo!

niño

Inaamin mo na?

vanya

Ikaw pa rin naman ‘yung nagsimula no’n, e!

niño

Naki-ride ka naman!

vanya

e, anong gagawin ko?

niño

ewan ko sa ‘yo!

Patlang. Magtatalikod ang dalawa. Hihinga sila nang malalim. Mauunang lalayo si NIÑO mula sa dingding. Babalik sa paanan ng

220 · Niki Calma


higaan at uupo do’n. niño

Mabuti pang tapusin ko na ‘tong pagtali ng bwiset na sintas na ‘to nang makalipat na ‘ko ng kwarto.

Patlang. Haharap muli si VANYA sa dingding. vanya

Ansabi mo?

niño Wala. Aayusin muli ni NIÑO ang sintas ng sapatos. vanya

Gusto mo nang umalis, gano’n? Gusto mo nang lumipat?

niño

Hirap mo kasi.

vanya

Hala, sige! Sige, tapusin mo ‘yan. Gudlak. Tagal mo nang inuulit-ulit ‘yan, ‘di ba? Bahala ka diyan.

niño

Wala ‘kong paki.

Minamadali ang pag-ayos. Laging nabubuhol. vanya

O, ano? Naaayos mo?

Hindi sasagot si NIÑO. vanya

Bahala ka. Hindi mo naman mapipilit ‘yan, e. Ililipat ka kung dapat ka nang ilipat. Kung hindi pa, e ‘di, hindi pa.

niño

Ano ba talagang gusto mo, ha? Gusto ko na ngang makaalis dito para hindi na kita kailangang kausapin— pero mukha ngang ayaw mo pa ‘kong umalis, e. ‘Di ba

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 221


ayaw mo rin naman akong makausap? vanya

Wala ‘kong sinabing gano’n, ah.

niño

Talaga lang.

vanya

Totoo naman, ah. Porke’t naiinis ako sa ‘yo, ‘di ibig sabihin nun, gusto ko nang umalis ka.

niño

Ang sweet mo naman. Sa tingin mo, mananatili na ‘ko dahil do’n?

vanya

Ang bastos mo lang.

Maiinis si NIÑO, bilang hindi pa rin naaayos ang sintas hanggang ngayon. Huhubarin ang mga sapatos at itatapon. niño

Bwiset! Bwiset bwiset bwiset! Anong klaseng sintas ba ‘yan?

vanya

Hindi naman kasi pwedeng gano’n kadali lang, ‘di ba?

niño

Ano ba kasi ‘tong mga kwartong binibigay sa ‘kin, ha? Ba’t ganito lagi? Ba’t wala ‘kong maintindihan lagi? Ano bang ginagawa ko rito?

Iiling si VANYA. Babalikan ang handbag, at bubunot ng isa pang stick ng sigarilyo. Sisindihan ito. Uupo sa higaan. niño

Ang swerte-swerte mo nga, e! Ang swerte mo’ng nakakaramdam ka pa rin ng gutom, ng uhaw, ng kahit ano. Ang swerte mo’ng nakalalabas ka pa rin. Ang swerte mo kasi ‘di mo na kailangang magkunwari para lang masiguradong buhay ka pa.

Patlang. 222 · Niki Calma


niño

Ang swerte mo kasi, habang nag-uusap tayo nang gano’n nung isang araw, naramdaman kong totoo ‘yung pagnanasa mo para sa ‘kin. Naramdaman ko’ng init mo, kahit may pumapagitang pader sa ‘ting dalawa. Ang swerte mo kasi may naramdaman ka nung sinabi mo ‘yung mga nasabi mo, habang ako naman, halos wala na. Nagkukunwari lang. Naninigurado lang, kung kaya ko pa ba.

Mapapatingin si VANYA sa dingding. Mahabang patlang. Kukunin ni NIÑO ang mga inihagis na sapatos. Titingnan ang mga ito. niño

Balang araw, mararamdaman mo rin ‘to. Hindi ka na rin papayagang lumabas. Magkakaroon ka na rin ng sarili mong TV. Makikinig ka sa statik. Panonoorin mo ‘yung aninong nakatutok sa ‘yo, araw-gabi. Hindi mo na gugustuhing kausapin ‘yung mga katabi mo. ‘Yung mga taong nanonood ng basketbol, mga taong may anak, mga taong abalang-abala sa sarili nilang buhay. Mawawalan ka na rin ng gana.

Dahan-dahang isusuot muli ni NIÑO ang mga sapatos. niño

Mag-iimbento ka ng mga kung anu-ano para lang makaraos.

Dahan-dahang aayusin ang sintas. niño

Hindi ko na nga alam kung talaga bang may nagsabi sa ‘king makakalipat na ‘ko sa ibang kwarto kung maaayos ko ‘tong sintas ng sapatos ko, o kung gawa-gawa ko lang heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 223


ba ‘yun. ‘Di ko na maalala. Magbubuntunghininga. Mahabang katahimikan. niño

May nakikinig pa ba sa ‘kin?

Patlang. Iiling bigla si VANYA na para bang natauhan. vanya

Ah, oo. Oo.

niño

Naririnig mo naman ako?

vanya

Oo, naririnig.

niño Mabuti. vanya

(pabiro) Parang manipis kasi ‘yung dingding bigla.

niño

Malay mo.

vanya

Parang gano’n nga minsan.

Katahimikan. Nakaupo lang si VANYA, halos hindi na nagagamit ang yosi. Patuloy naman si NIÑO sa marahang pagtali ng sintas. vanya

Totoo ba?

niño Hm? vanya

Na wala kang naramdaman? Nung… isang araw?

Patlang. 224 · Niki Calma


niño

Eh… Naramdaman kita. Pwede na ba ‘yon?

Patlang. vanya

Pwede na.

Katahimikan. Maghahalungkat si VANYA sa kwarto—isang walang patutunguhang paghahalungkat. Patuloy naman si NIÑO sa pagtatali. Matagal-tagal ito. Paminsan-minsan, titingnan ni VANYA ang dingding. Susubukang lapitan. Magmumukhang para bang may gustong sabihin, subalit hindi nito tinutuloy, kung meron man. Iiling at babalik na lang sa paghahalungkat. Hinahalungkat pati na ang mga gamit na natapos na niyang halungkatin. Dahan-dahang makukuha ni NIÑO ang ritmo sa pagtali ng sintas ng sapatos. Dahan-dahang maaayos na niya. Maya-maya, matatapos na siya. Hindi siya kikibo. niño

Natapos ko na.

vanya

Hm? Ano ‘yun? May sinabi ka?

Titingnan ni NIÑO ang dingding. niño Wala. Titigil si VANYA sa paghalungkat. heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 225


vanya

Ano? ‘Di kita masyadong marinig. Lakasan mo boses mo?

Hindi sasagot si NIÑO. Uupo si VANYA sa sahig, sa harap ng dingding. Patlang. Mukhang nag-iisip nang malalim ang dalawa. vanya Niño? Tatayo si NIÑO. Lalapit sa pintuan niya. Mag-aatubili itong buksan. Magkakamot naman ng ulo si VANYA. Mukhang may gustong sabihin. vanya

Pasensya na pala. Do’n sa… mga nasabi ko.

Susubukang buksan ni NIÑO ang pintuan. Hahawakan ang busol. Dahan-dahang iiikot. vanya

Baka pwede tayong magsimula muli. Gusto pa rin naman kitang makilala nang husto.

Mabubuksan ni NIÑO ang pinto. Katahimikan. vanya‘

Wag kang matawa, ah, pero… pero medyo napamahal na rin kasi ako sa ‘yo nang kaunti. Madalas, excited akong umuwi kasi alam kong nandiyan ka lang, e.

226 · Niki Calma


Lalayo nang kaunti si NIÑO sa pintuan na para bang ‘di na sigurado kung ano nang gagawin. vanya

Niño. May sabihin ka naman, o. Kausapin mo ‘ko.

Parang gustong lumabas ni NIÑO, subalit nag-aatubili ito. Titingnan nito ang dingding. vanya Niño? Walang kikibo. Ilang segundo ng isang mala-tableau na eksena—si VANYA, nakaupo sa harap ng dingding; si NIÑO, nakatingin sa dingding, subalit mas malapit sa nakabukas na pinto. Didilim ang entablado. vanya Niño? wakas

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 227


Ace Ancheta

ab literature (english)

“A hybrid can withstand these things My heart can beat with bricks and strings My artpop could mean anything.”

—Lady Gaga, “artpop”

Tubong-Malabon si Ace. Tumira sa Quezon City. Lumipad papuntang San Francisco, at saka bumalik. Maraming nagtatanong kung bakit sa Bagwisan siya pumasok at sa Filipino siya nagsusulat gayo’t ab Literature in English ang kinuha niyang kurso. Kung bakit siya kukuha ng Law matapos magbabad sa sining. I dwell in Possibility— Nagpapasalamat si Ace sa kanyang mga magulang at sa kapatid niya, kay Gwen at Abner, sa Block b, sa Gabay at heights, sa Tandangwisan (lalo na sa mga naging patnugot niya dati: Nicko, Pao, Eejay, Jero, at Ariane) at, siyempre, sa mahal niyang Bagwisan ‘13-‘14. Ang unang nalimbag niyang akda ay para sa (mga) taong hindi napagod maniwala sa mga posibilidad ni Ace.


Si Lolo sa Kabila Nasa sofa ako alas-singko ng umaga at pinipilit makatulog. Tulala ang kapatid ko sa harap ng tv, palipat-lipat ng channel. “Pakipatay na ‘yung tv, Tim, ayaw ni Lolo ‘pag bukas ‘yan ‘pag mabagyo. Ang lakas ng kidlat, baka masira.” Walang imik, tinanggal ng kapatid ko sa saksak ang tv at nahiga sa kabilang dulo ng sofang hinihigaan ko. Sa sofang ito ako madalas makatulog noong bata pa ko’t dito pa nakatira sa kabila. Ngayon, masyado siyang matigas sa balat. May nakabukol na sa parteng hinihigaan ng batok ko. Lagpas na ang mga paa ko sa dulo ng sofa. Sa may paanan ko, tulala ang kapatid ko sa kisame. Walang nakatulog sa aming dalawa simula noong tinawagan si Mommy kagabi ng Tita ko at dali-dali siyang nagpahatid sa ospital. “Ngayon na? . . . Ano na ba’ng nangyari? . . . Sige, sabay na kami ni Wilson pupunta,” binaba niya ang cell phone sabay hablot ng bag. “Ma, anong nangyari?” Tinitigan ko ang kapatid ko pagkatapos niyang magtanong at nagkaintindihan kaming ‘di na siya dapat nagtanong. Nagbilin lang si Mommy na lumipat muna sa kabila, sabay kami ng kapatid kong tumawid ng kalsada alas-onse ng gabi para makitulog sa kabilang bahay. Sa lalim ng gabi at mugto ng mata, tahimik naming binagtas ang aspaltong unti-unting nangingitim sa basa sa ambon. Parang aninong nabubuo kasabay ng anino naming magkapatid. “Ate, ‘di ka nagdala ng payong.” “Sa kabila lang naman tayo, bilisan mo maglakad.” Sa kabila ang nakasanayan na naming itawag sa bahay ng lola kong may limang taon nang nagpaalam sa amin. Ang kabila ay may dalawang palapag, anim na kuwarto para sa anim na anak, hardin sa harap, garahe para sa apat na sasakyan; tila nanliliit ang ipinatayo naming bahay sa harap ng bahay ni lola at lolo. Ang bahay naming pang-apat na tao, na kapag may bagong bisita, cute at quaint ang paboritong mga 230 · Ace Ancheta


pang-uring ginagamit sa unang kita. Pero kahit maliit, pinataasan namin ito nang mataas na mataas. Tambak dito, tambak diyan, mas mataas pa siguro kaysa sa kabila kasi bahain sa amin. Kaya hindi namin inasahan na aabutin ito ng baha noong gabing napagpasiyahan ng Mommy ko at ng lima niyang kapatid na iuwi na si Lolo sa bahay. Ding-dong. Pagka-doorbell nila, may init na dumaan sa katawan ko. Nanggaling sa paa, gumapang papuntang dibdib ko at doon nanatili. “Ate, nandiyan na sila,” bulong ng kapatid ko habang tinatapik ang braso ko para gisingin. “Alam ko.” Hindi naman ako nakatulog. Nahalata niya yata ang irita sa boses ko kaya tumayo na lang para silipin mula sa bintana ang mga bagong dating. “Ate, si Lolo—” Ayokong makinig, tinakpan ko ang tenga ko saka pumikit. Hindi rin ako tumatayo. Sa sofa, iniisip ko na hindi sila Mommy ‘yung dumating. O ‘di kaya’y may kung anong mirakulong nagsalba sa Lolo ko. O sana hindi Fierra ng Floresco ‘yung dumating para i-set-up ang sala ni Lola para sa lamay ni Lolo. Naisip ko na yata lahat ng maaaring senaryo, pinakaabsurdo at pinakamasakit, pero hindi ko inasahang iuuwi nila si Lolo nang buhay para lang hintayin mamaalam dito sa kabila. * “Dahan-dahan lang, baka mahulog ka, tumama ulo mo. Sayang ganda ng apo ko.” Inaalalayan ako ni Lolo habang bumababa sa hagdang gawa pa lang sa pinagtagpi-tagping sobrang kahoy mula sa construction. Sabik akong nagpasama kay Lolo dahil paggising ko, binanggit agad niya sa akin na pinipinturahan na ang bago kong kuwarto sa bago naming heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 231


bahay. Sinabay niya ako sa arawang pagbisita niya sa lote sa tapat ng bahay niya kung saan itinatayo ang magiging bahay ng pamilya ko. Nabuo na ang araw ko nang makita ang kulay-tsokolate kong kuwarto. “Hoy, halika dito, ‘yung pasimano nitong bintana sa may pinto, hindi pantay. Ulitin niyo ‘yan,” sigaw ni Lolo sa isang trabahador na naghahalo ng semento sa parte ng bahay ng magiging kusina. “Ser, pangatlong ulit na ho namin ‘yan, baka pumangit na,” sagot ng lalaking nagmamasilya ng pader. Nakita kong kumunot ang noo ni Lolo. Kinuha ang drill, pinanood ko siya mula sa pagkakaupo ko sa kahoy na hagdan habang sinira ang pasimano ng bintana. Lumilipad ang buhangin, unti-unting bumigay ang semento hanggang gumuho ang isang bloke mula sa ilalim ng bintana. Hindi siya mapakialaman ng mga trabahador na nagngingiwian sa ingay ng drill. “Ulitin niyo ‘yan.” Si Lolo ang tumayong foreman ng ginagawa naming bahay. Si Daddy, nasa ibang bansa noon para magtrabaho. Ang totoong foreman, laging nasa ibang proyekto. Si Lolo rin ang naggilit ng leeg ng manok pampaswerte na ibinaon sa tambak ng bahay. “Tena na, Angie, mag-aalmusal pa tayo.” “Opo, Lolo.” Inalalayan ko siya paghakbang sa mataas na tambak ng lupa sa harap ng pinto at sabay kaming tumawid papunta sa kabila. * “Binabasbasan kita…” Alas-siyete ng umaga nang simulang lumakas ang hangin sa labas. Tila bibigay na ang mabibigat at madidilim na ulap. Nagsiliparan ang winalis na damo’t dahon sa isang sulok ng hardin kasabay ng pagwasiwas ng mga puno ng buko ng kapitbahay namin. Sa loob ng bahay, nasa kuwarto ako ni Lolo sa unang palapag ng bahay, nakatanaw sa bintana at iniiwasan masagi ang tingin sa Lolo kong binibigyan ng huling sakramento. “Sa ngalan ng Ama, ng Anak, at ng Espiritu Santo. Amen.” 232 · Ace Ancheta


Sa pagtahimik nangibabaw ang sipol ng hangin. Palabas si Mommy at ang dalawang lalaking kapatid para ihatid si Father at dinig ko ang lubos-pasasalamat nila sa pagdating ng pari kahit ‘di maganda ang panahon. Saka dumagsa ang mga bisitang gustong makita si Lolo. Ako, nasa papag sa tabi ng kama ni Lolo, pinapanood sila. “Kaya pa, de?” Tanong ng asawa ng isa sa mga tiyahin ko. “Kaya pa! Fight!” Sagot ng lolo ko sa nanginginig na boses. Ako, pinipigilan umiyak. Tinuruan ako ni Mommy na pigilan ang luha. Matagal ko na ‘tong natutunan: huwag ko raw ipakita kay Daddy na umiiyak ako tuwing umaalis siya kasi mas mahihirapan siyang umalis. “Gusto mo ba, huli niyang maaalala sa‘yo eh gusgusin ka kakaiyak?” “Hindi po.” “O tumahan ka na, magpaalam ka nang maayos.” Kaya natuto akong magkimkim. Maya-maya pumasok ang kapatid ng Lola ko sa kuwarto, nakatingin ako sa kanya habang nakatitig naman siya kay Lolo. May mga hikbing hindi matago sa pag-angat-baba ng balikat, bigla na lang humiyaw: “Kuya, kung hirap ka na, pwede ka nang magpahinga.” Tumakbo palabas si Mommy, palayo sa sumisikip na kuwarto. “Ako nang bahala sa mga anak mo.” At doon lang, nasira ang pagkimkim ko’t bumuhos ang inipong luha. * Simula nang palagyan niya ng cable, madalas na kaming mag-away ni Lolo sa tv noong nursery ako. “Lolo, papasok ako ng school kung papapanoorin mo ‘ko ng Cartoon Network.” At ipagpapalit niya ang panonood ng Video Karera para sa apo niyang nagwawala tuwing gigisingin para pumasok ng eskwela. Si Lolo nag-aayos ng buhok ko, hindi naman talaga siya marunong kaya bibilhan niya ako ng supil para hindi kailangang itali. Si Mommy nasa office pa kaya si Lolo ang nagpapaligo, nagbibihis at naghahatid heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 233


sa akin sa nursery sakay ng owner-type jeep. Nangitim ako sa pagtirik ng araw sa bukas na sasakyan paghatid-sundo araw-araw. “O apo, ako naman, ‘yung tinayaan kong kabayo, baka nananalo na.” Manonood siya habang kumakain ng tinapay na may asukal at margarine na ininit ni Lolo sa oven toaster. Pipilitin ko ring intindihin ang pamphlet ng karerang may mga pangalan ng kabayo tulad ng Lucky Horse, Footstepsinthesand, Seabird at Majesticperfection. ‘Pag napansing tulog na si Lolo, maingat kong kukunin ang remote sa kamay niya saka ililipat sa cartoons ang channel. * Pagsapit ng hapon, bumubuhos na ang ulan. Isang araw ng walang habas na pag-ulan katumbas ng ulan sa loob ng isang buwan. “Ma, hanggang baywang na ‘yung tubig sa kalsada,” aniya ng kapatid ko. “Baka abutin ‘yung kusina natin.” Lumusong ang mag-ina sa maitim na tubig para isalba ang ref naming mumuntik nang abutin ng baha. Tulog na sila Tito at Tita sa sahig ng sala habang nakabantay ako kay Lolo sa kuwarto. Habang lumalalim ang gabi, nag-iiba na rin ang itsura niya. Sa pagiwas ng mata ko, tila mas nahuhumaling akong tumingin sa Lolo kong iniilawan na lamang ng kandila simula nang nawalan ng kuryente. Kahit payapa at walang galaw, impis na pisngi, malalim na mga mata, at namumuti na rin ang labi. Nanliliit si Lolo sa mga kontrapsyong nakakabit sa katawan niya. May malaking tangke ng oxygen katabi ng kama. May isang tubo para makahinga, isa pa para makakain at isa para makaihi. Sa mga tubo dumadaloy ang pumipitik-pitik na ulirat ni Lolo. Sa labas ng kuwarto may pagkalabog, may mga umaakyat ng hagdan pero mga anino lang ang naaaninagan ko mula sa kinauupuan sa loob. Isang anino rin ang pumasok sa kuwarto. “Ate, nandito na sila Mommy mo,” binalita ng bunso kong pinsan. Nakabalik na sila Mommy galing bahay namin ngunit kasabay nilang dumating ang papataas na tubig-ulan: ang ‘di natitinag na bahay ni Lolo at Lola ay aabutin na rin ng tubig. Nagsigisingan silang lahat para mag-akyat ng gamit sa ikalawang palapag. Inakyat ang sofang 234 · Ace Ancheta


hinihigaan ko kaninag umaga. Sinusubukang isalba ang tv at ang mga paso ni Lola. Iniangat na rin ang mga silyang narra ng dining table. Nakapasok na rin ang tubig sa bahay. Hindi isang pagragsa kundi mala-along dahan-dahang tumataib. Si Lolo, nasa kama. Tinanggal na ang tubong magpapakain sa kanya. Iniangat ko ang paa ko sa papag at sabay kaming inihele ng tubig-baha. * Si Lolo ang nagturo sa akin na mag-oro, plata, mata sa bagong-yari naming bahay. Sinubukan ko ito sa naka-parque naming hagdan at natapat ako sa mata. Sinisi ni Lolo ang mga trabahador sa construction. Sinisi niya rin ang mga ito dahil imbis na lumiko pa-kanan ang hagdan, pakaliwa ito nakaliko. Siya ang nagsaboy ng asukal, asin at bigas para hindi raw matuloy ang malas. Hindi namin agad napabendisyunan ang bahay dahil hinihintay naming makauwi si Daddy galing ibang bansa. Umulan ng isinaboy na mamerang hindi maaaring gastusin noong araw na iyon. Hindi na inabutan ni Lolo ang blessing ng bahay. * Paggising ko sa umaga, naiangat din kaming dalawa ni Lolo mula sa baha, ngunit hindi siya naisalba sa pagtawid. Hindi titila ang ulan hanggang mailibing si Lolo.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 ¡ 235


Dominique Beatrice La Victoria

bfa creative writing & bfa theater arts

Vix is a senior studying creative writing under the playwriting track. A proud member of Ateneo entablado and a student of the Fine Arts Program, she occasionally directs, acts, and does production work for the stage. She hopes to finish her thesis, write more, and double major in theater arts.


Chipline * mga tauhan itoy bambam gigi scene 1 Makikita si ITOY at GIGI na naglalaro ng mga bato at patpat. Gumagawa sila ng mga “fort” gamit ang mga ito. Sa ibayo ng entablado ay may isang lubid na nakatali sa dalawang dulo ng entablado. Sa gitna ng lubid ay may nakapaskil na NO TRESSPASSING. gigi

Hoy Itoy! Kinuha mo yung bato ko ‘no? Yung itim?

itoy

Naunsa ka! Di ko kinuha ah! Tapos na nga yung sa akin eh.

gigi

Uy! Itoy! Umayos ka nga! Hindi ko matatapos yung fort ko kung wala yung bato!

itoy

Hali ka nga! Tingnan mo yung sa akin! Hanapin mo! Wala diba? Samok!

Lalapitan ni GIGI si ITOY at titingnan ang kanyang mga bato.

* Itinanghal ang dulang ito sa Sentrong Pangkultura ng Pilipinas sa Tanghalang Huseng Batute para sa ika-9 na Virgin Labfest, 2013

238 · Dominique Beatrice La Victoria


gigi

(Ituturo ni GIGI ang kanyang mga bato.) Basta! Nandito lang yun kanina!

itoy

Baka natabunan! Tignan mo baka nasa damo-damo lang yan.

gigi

Wala oh! Na uy, ayoko na nito! Laro tayo ng iba!

itoy

Ayaw mo lang kasi natalo ka eh. Mas malaki naman yung sa akin o!

gigi

Kung nandito pa yung itim kong bato, mananalo ako. Laro na lang tayo ng patintero o sipa.

itoy

Sandali lang! Wag muna tayo maglaro ng iba kasi wala pa si Bambam. Samuk! Dapat nandito na yun. Ang pangit naman kung dalawa lang tayong maglalaro.

gigi

(Uupo at kukunin ang manika. Kakarinyuhin niya ito.) Nakakatamad maghintay! Ang tagal niya. Baka pinapastudy ni Teacher May.

itoy

Papunta na yun. Hintayin na lang kasi natin!

gigi

Manika ko na lang ang laruin natin!

Ipapalakad ni GIGI ang manika sa entablado. itoy

Pangbabae yan eh! Ayoko! Hintayin na lang nga natin si Bambam. Wag ka munang maglaro diyan. heights Seniors Folio 2014 ¡ 239


gigi

Sige. Bahala ka.

Tuluyang nilalaro ang manika. itoy

Wag ka nga munang maglaro! Anong gagawin ko dito?

gigi

Sus! Ituloy mo na lang yang kampo mo! Mamaya na ako magsisimula kung nandito na si Bambam.

Magbubuntong-hininga si ITOY at sisimulan niyang itumpok ang mga bato. Si GIGI ay tuluyang nilalaro ang manika. itoy

Hoy! Wag kang tumingin sa kampo ko! Baka gayahin mo pa!

gigi

Taka! Hindi nga ako tumingin eh.

itoy

Hmph! Lipat ka na lang sa kabila para di mo makita.

gigi

Unsaun man? May lubid dito eh!

itoy

Tanggalin na lang natin yung lubid.

gigi

May nakabitay eh. Alam mo ba to? Wala to kahapon ba!

Lalapitan ni GIGI ang NO TRESSPASSING at hahawakan. Titingnan ito ni ITOY, nalilito. itoy

Ambot lang. Baka may nakakita na di natin binabalik yung lubid pag nilalaro natin at naglagay ng ganyan para ibalik natin.

240 ¡ Dominique Beatrice La Victoria


gigi

Hindi ko alam kung ano ibig sabihin niyan eh. Basahin mo nga Itoy!

itoy

No…no tress…trespassing.

gigi

Unsa na?

itoy

Di ko kabalo. Tanong na lang natin si Bambam pag dating niya. Siya pinakamagaling magbasa eh.

gigi

Ay sandali lang! Baka yan yung sabi ni nanay sa akin!

scene 2 itoy Ano? Magbubuntong-hininga si GIGI at bibitawan ang manika. Haharap siya kay ITOY. gigi

Makinig ka. May sinabi si nanay sa akin!

itoy

Ano na naman? Pinagalitan ka no?

gigi

Dili ha! Makinig lagi!

itoy

Di ka na naman pinayagan maligo sa sapa no?

gigi

Hindi! Paminaw gud! Sabi ni Nanay, baka di na daw tayo makakapaglaro dito bukas.

itoy

Bakit? Baka tinatakot ka lang!

gigi

Hindi kaya.

itoy

Bakit nga? heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 241


gigi

Sabi niya may bumili daw ng lupa. Gagawin niyang isang…ang sabi ni Nanay gagawing playground.

Iibahin ni GIGI ang posisyon ng kaniyang manika. Tatapunan siya ni ITOY ng maliit na bato. itoy

Bakit may no trespassing?

gigi

Ang nasa loob ng lubid ay ang lupa na binili! Baka yung no…no trespassing ay nilalagay pag may nakabili na!

itoy

Ah! Eh di sige, sa bagong playground na lang tayo maglaro. Magkapareho lang naman siguro sila dun sa playground sa Camp Philips!

gigi

Hindi nga raw eh! Libre dun. Ibang playground ang gagawin! Playground na pang-mayaman, may bayad!

itoy

Hindi yan pwede ah! Nauna tayo dito!

Magtatapon si ITOY ng mga bato sa lupa. itoy

Bakit kailangan may bayad pa?

gigi

Gusto niya kumita! Yung mga pinsan ko nga sabi nila magtatrabaho daw sila sa bagong playground.

itoy

Ay oo! Sabi nga ng tindera doon na may bagong trabaho daw dito sa Dahilayan, at maraming tao ang kailangan!

gigi

O, yun! Kahit si Tatay rin eh, gusto rin niya magkatrabaho dun.

itoy

Ayaw na ng tatay mo magsaka? 242 · Dominique Beatrice La Victoria


gigi

Baka. Hindi ko alam.

scene 3 Tatakbo si BAMBAM patungo sa kanila. Muntikan siyang madapa dahil sa lubid pero hindi natuluyan. itoy

Yan! Dumating rin ang hari.

bambam

Di ako pinaalis ni Mama hanggang na-solve ko yung math problems. Akala ko nauna na kayong maglaro.

gigi

Naglalaro kami kanina, pero ito si Itoy, nandaya eh.

itoy

Sinabi nang wala sa akin ang bato mo. Samuk ui! Tanawa pa.

Kukunin ni ITOY ang kanyang tumpok ng bato at sisipa-sipain. gigi Hmph! Titingnan ni ITOY ang NO TRESSPASSING. itoy

Uy, Bambam, basahin mo nga ‘to!

Lalapitan ni ITOY ang NO TRESSPASSING at ituturo kay BAMBAM. bambam

No tresspassing. Sino naglagay nito?

gigi

Di namin alam. Nandito na yan nung dumating kami eh.

itoy

Anong ibig sabihin niyan Bam?

bambam

Di na tayo pwede tumawid sa kabila ng lubid. heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 243


itoy Bakit? bambam

Kasi yan yung ibig sabihin ng No tresspassing eh. Baka pagalitan pa tayo.

gigi

Ha? Ayoko nang ganiyan! Magagalit sakin si Mama. Nakakatakot!

itoy

Wala namang nagbabantay. Ayaw lang talaga siguro nila may pumupunta dito.

gigi

Bakit naman?

bambam

Hindi ko alam, pero alis na kayo diyan! Hanap nalang tayo ng ibang lugar.

Mananahimik ang tatlo. Titingin si Bambam sa paligid. bambam

Psst! Dali na!

gigi

Bambam, ‘tung No Trespassing dahil ba ‘to sa bagong playground?

bambam

Hindi daw playground yun eh sabi ng Nanay ko. Ano daw…chipline…chipline man siguro ang tawag nun.

gigi

Aaaaah. Chipline. Anong chipline?

bambam

Sabi niya may mahabang lubid daw na nakatali sa dalawang bukid at ibibitay daw ang mga tao sa lubid. Tapos magsaslide daw yung mga tao sa lubid.

gigi

hala! Ang sakit niyan ah, nakakatakot pa! Bakit may gustong magbayad para diyan?

244 · Dominique Beatrice La Victoria


bambam

Oo nga! Sabi rin ni mama maraming nang tao ang pupunta dito para sa chipline.

itoy

At di na tayo makakapaglaro kasi sila na ang maglalaro.

bambam

Eh maglaro na lang tayo ngayon. Sige na!

itoy

Pasok ka dito, Bam!

bambam

Hindi nga pwede.

itoy

Kunin na lang natin ‘to. Tapos isauli natin pagkatapos.

gigi

Oo nga naman, palagi naman natin yang kinukuha noon.

Kukunin ni ITOY ang NO TRESSPASSING at ilalagay sa gilid. Hihilahin niya si BAMBAM para tumawid. bambam

itoy! wag! Mapapagalitan tayo!

itoy

Wala namang nakatingin, walang nagbabantay.

bambam

Sige, sige! Makukulong talaga kayo diyan!

itoy

Bam, wag kang ganiyan! Isasauli naman natin, diba? Tara! Habang may araw pa.

Tatawid si BAMBAM. gigi

Oh ayun! Bambam, doon ka, ha? Wag kang lumayo!

Silang tatlo ay magsisimulang magtumpok ng mga bato. Mauunang matatapos si ITOY.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 245


scene 4 itoy

Tapos na ba kayo? Dali! Baka pauwiin na ako ni Nanay.

gigi

Dalawang bato na lang, sandali lang.

bambam

Uy Itoy! Alam mo ba na yung nanay mo nasa bahay kanina. Nag-usap sila ni mama tungkol sa bagong chipline.

itoy

Huh? Bakit?

bambam

Sabi ni papa na kung may chipline na, marami nang magpapatayo ng bahay dito.

gigi

Anong pang pinag-usapan ng mga nanay niyo ni Itoy?

bambam

Ano nga yun? Masaya ang mama ni Itoy kasi magkakachipline! Marami na daw kasing negosyo at trabaho ang susunod at pwede na magtrabaho si Itoy.

itoy

ha? Dili ko uy!

Tatapunan siya ni GIGI ng maliit na bato. gigi

Hahaha! Tumahimik ka nga. Di mo nga matapos yung fort mo nang maayos, trabaho pa kaya!

Itatapon ni ITOY pabalik kay GIGI. itoy

At yung sa ‘yo?

gigi

Nag-iinarte ka lang. Diba ileben na ka? Ten nga si Kuya nagsimulang magtrabaho bilang tiglilinis dun sa barbershop.

246 · Dominique Beatrice La Victoria


Tatayo si ITOY at masisira ang kanyang fort. itoy

Ayokong magtrabaho ngayon

gigi

Eh, paano kung kailangan?

Uupo ulit si ITOY at sisimulang gawin ang kanyang fort ulit. gigi

(Maiinis si GIGI at sisirain niya ang fort niya.) Bahala na ‘yang chipline na ‘yan. Gusto ko namang tumira sa siyudad eh.

bambam

Ha? Eh, hindi na tayo kumpleto!

gigi

Ay. Basta. Di ko alam.

Mamadaliin ni GIGI na gawin ang kanyang fort ulit. itoy

Tapos na ako. Laro na tayo?

gigi

Babantayan kita Itoy ha? Baka mandaya ka ulit!

Mamumulot silang tatlo ng maliliit na bato at sisimulang itapon ang mga ito sa fort ng iba habang pinoprotektahan ang sarili nilang fort. bambam

Aray! Ikaw Itoy ha?

gigi

Bantayan mo yung sa iyo, Bam!

bambam

Ang hirap naman nito.

Matatamaan ang tuhod ni BAMBAM ng maliit na bato galing kay ITOY. bambam

Aray! Bukas, iba na naman ang laruin natin ha?

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 247


itoy

Wag ka munang bukas nang bukas diyan! Ayun!

Masisira ni ITOY ang fort ni BAMBAM. gigi

Talo ka na naman, Bam!

bambam

Oo na, kayo na ang panalo!

Kukunin ni BAMBAM ang kanyang mga bato at ilalagay sa gilid. itoy

Itago natin yung mga bato natin dito, para nandito pa sila bukas.

gigi

Hindi na nga tayo pwede dito, diba Bam?

bambam

May iba namang lugar kung saan pwede tayong maglaro.

gigi

Sa bahay namin. Pwede naman ata.

itoy

Hindi kaya. Sabi ng nanay mo hindi daw pwede kasi ang gulo daw natin. Dito na lang tayo pumunta.

bambam

Saan pa ba pwede?

gigi

Tanungin na lang natin yung may-ari ng chipline kung pwede tayo maglaro dito, kahit sa gilid lang.

bambam

Kung ayaw nila?

itoy

Pwede ba yun? Taga-dito tayo eh.

bambam

Nagbayad sila eh, sila ang masusunod.

itoy

Saan tayo maglalaro bukas?

248 ¡ Dominique Beatrice La Victoria


Mananahimik ang tatlo. Kukunin ni GIGI ang kanyang manika at uupo sa gilid. Sisipain ni BAMBAM ang mga bato habang si ITOY ay nagtatapon ng mga maliliit na bato. May maalala si GIGI at hihingalin siya. gigi

Ay! bukas di ako pwede. Isasama ako ni mama sa siyudad.

bambam Bakit? gigi

Gusto niya doon na daw ako mag school. Kasama si kuya.

itoy

Sasama rin ba nanay at tatay mo? Doon na kayo titira?

gigi

Oo naman.

bambam

Ganiyan kasi yan, Itoy. Gaya ng sabi ni mama. Gusto niya na lumipat kami sa ibang bansa. Sama-sama daw buong pamilya.

itoy

Aalis ka rin?

bambam

Di ko alam. Usap-usap lang naman yun eh. Di naman siguro totoo. Palagi naman ganiyan si Mama eh.

itoy

Alis kayo dahil sa chipline ‘no? Ano ba yan! Sana mawala yang chipline na yan!

bambam

Itoy, wag kang ganiyan. Marami daw mabibigyang trabaho. Maraming masaya dahil sa chipline, no!

Sisimangot si GIGI at itatapon ang kanyang manika. Kukuha siya ng mga maliliit na bato at susubukang i-shoot sa isang lumang lata. Kukunin ni BAMBAM ang lata.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 249


gigi

Wag mo kunin, Bam!

bambam

Ito, tumba-lata na lang!

itoy

Sige sige! Una ako!

Maglalaro ang tatlo ng tumba-lata. itoy

Hindi talaga ako magaling sa tumba-lata.

Matatalo si ITOY. gigi

Wag mo nang pilitin Itoy.

itoy

Ito lang talaga ang game na di ako magaling.

bambam

Hindi naman pwede na magaling ka sa lahat ng game.

itoy

Oo nga naman.

gigi

Sandali lang ha? One, two, three go!

Mananalo si GIGI. gigi

Kapuya uy! Pero first time nanalo ako!

Uupo si GIGI, pagod. bambam

Pahinga muna tayo.

Kukunin ni BAMBAM ang kanyang bag at kukuha siya ng tatlong star apple. itoy

Ang sarap nito Bam! Sa’n mo ‘to kinuha?

250 · Dominique Beatrice La Victoria


bambam

Namunga na yung star apple tree ni lola.

gigi

Diay? Tara akyatin natin! Kuha tayo! Tara!

bambam

Mamaya na. Akala ko pagod ka?

gigi

Ay onga no? Sige maya na lang.

Mag-uusap ang tatlo habang kumakain. Susubukan ni ITOY laruin ang tumba-lata mag-isa. gigi

Huy Itoy, wag ka nang maglaro! Talo ka na!

bambam

Pabayaan mo na, nagpapraktis lang yan!

Mananahimik si ITOY at mananatili sa paglaro. scene 6 itoy

Aalis talaga kayo?

bambam

Baka sabi-sabi lang nga yun ni mama.

itoy

Sus! Ano ba ‘tong nangyayari? Gusto ko yung Dahilayan ganito lang. Walang chipline at maglalaro lang tayo.

bambam

Maraming excited sa chipline, ‘Toy! Si papa nga, sabi niya trabaho rin daw siya doon.

gigi

Ha? Diba papa mo may trabaho na? Siya yung nagpapa-karaoke!

bambam

Wag kang mag-alala, Gi! Pagbukas ng Chipline, maraming susunod! Mga restorant, karaokehan, bilyaran!

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 251


itoy

Pero baka mahal na yan.

gigi

Eh kung susunod ako kay kuya sa siyudad, marami namang restorant at karaoke at billiards dun.

bambam

Eh Gigi, di magtatagal parang siyudad na rin ang Dahilayan. At gusto kasi ni mama na magtrabaho ako sa bagong chipline para may pera ako. Libre na kita ng karaoke!

gigi

Magtratrabaho ka rin? Eh nasa school tayo eh! Di ka pwede magtrabaho!

bambam

Sabi ni mama Sabado at Linggo lang ako magtratrabaho para walang school.

Mahuhulog ni ITOY ang kanyang star apple. itoy

weh! Bata ka eh di ka pwede mag trabaho!

Tatapunan niya ng maliliit na bato si BAMBAM. bambam

Itoy! Di naman mahirap ang trabaho eh. Kuwit boy lang naman ako.

gigi

Kuwit boy? Ano yan?

bambam

(Kukuha si BAMBAM ng patpat at aagawin niya ang manika ni GIGI. Ilalagay niya ang manika sa lubid at tutusukin niya ito gamit ang patpat.) Kung may ma-istak sa gitna ng chipline, may hawak akong mahabang kawayan at gamitin ko yun pantulak sa na-istak.

itoy

Eh mabigat yung kawayan eh! Di mo kaya yan.

252 ¡ Dominique Beatrice La Victoria


bambam

(Ituturo ni BAMBAM kay ITOY ang patpat na parang espada.) Ui kaya ko yan. Nagpraktis na nga ako eh. Yung mga star apple kinuwit ko lang yan. Di ko inakyat.

Kukuha rin si ITOY ng patpat at mag-eespadahan sila ni BAMBAM. itoy

Nagbibiro ka lang! Ano namang magagawa niyang trabaho mo?

bambam

Makakabili na siguro kami ng kuryente. Makaka-study na ako nang maayos.

itoy

Sus! Palagi ka na lang nagsa-study! Makukuryente ka diyan!

gigi

Pag may chipline na, baka magkatubig na yung gripo! Makakaligo na ako ng maayos!

itoy

Naliligo ka pala Gi?

gigi

Che! Ang baho mo kaya!

itoy

Weh, baka malunod ka pa sa tubig!

Iwawagayway ni ITOY ang kanyang patpat/espada sa ibabaw ng ulo ni GIGI at gagawa ng tunog ng tubig. Mahuhulog si GIGI at gagawa ng “glug-glug” na tunog. Tatawa ang tatlo. gigi

Sige, Itoy! Baka paliguan ka ng nanay mo!

itoy

Bakit naman nasali pa nanay ko?

gigi Weh?

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 253


itoy

Palagi siya galit eh. Kung dili siya galit nakikichismis dun sa may deyker (day care). Kung dili nagchismis, nasa bahay lang natutulog. At ayaw niya may kasama. Palagi niya akong pinapaalis.

bambam

Eh maayo na kasi nakakalaro ka palagi. Mama ko di payag eh.

Katahimikan. itoy

Kung may chipline, kung aalis kayo, saan ako maglalaro?

gigi

Sa bahay niyo! Laro kayo ng kapatid mo!

itoy

Ayaw ni nanay eh. Di ko daw siya pwede hawakan kasi baka masaktan.

bambam

Eh pwede ka naman maglaro na isa lang ah!

itoy

Eh ayoko niyan! Baka magalit pa si nanay. ano ba yan! palagi nalang—

gigi

Paghilom Itoy! Tama na yan!

itoy

Gigi ano ka ba? Ayaw mo na ba sa lugar na ‘to?

gigi

Wala ako pake sa lugar. Gusto ko lang kayo kalaro. Kahit saan tayo.

bambam

Di nga pwede kahit saan, diba?

scene 7 May maririnig na malakas na pugak at mapapatalon ang tatlo sa gulat.

254 · Dominique Beatrice La Victoria


gigi

Hala, baka yung may-ari na yun!

bambam

Itoy! Ang no tresspassing! Ibalik mo na!

itoy

Lagi! Lagi!

Susubukan ni ITOY ibalik ang NO TRESSPASSING. Hindi niya magagawa. Susubukan rin ni BAMBAM at GIGI pero di rin nila magagawa. Magaagawan na ang tatlo. Masisira ang NO TRESSPASSING. bambam

Hala Itoy!

gigi

Hala! Anong ginawa niyo diyan!

itoy

Inaagaw niyo kasi eh!

bambam

Kasi di mo alam anong gagawin.

itoy

Inaayos ko nga, di ba?

gigi

Eh nasira!

bambam

Papagalitan talaga tayo nito!

itoy

Ayusin niyo oh!

gigi

Bakit kami? Ikaw nakasira diba?

Hihilahin ni GIGI ang lubid, mag-aakmang paalis. itoy

Tayong tatlo kaya!

gigi

Wala namang nakakita. heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 255


Titingin siya sa malayo at susubukang silayan ang mga sasakyan. bambam

Alis na lang tayo, baka mahuli pa tayo!

gigi

Hanap na lang tayo ng ibang playground.

itoy

Saan nga? Ayaw niyo na dito?

bambam

Okay nga dito, pero may bantay na! Tara, alis na tayo!

itoy

Takot ka no? Ayusin na lang kasi natin ‘tong no tresspassing.

gigi

Itago na lang natin!

Kukunin nila ang sira na NO TRESSPASSING at susubukang itago. itoy

Itapon na lang natin!

Susubukang itapon ni ITOY sa malayo pero pipigilan ni GIGI at BAMBAM. gigi

Kung hahanapin?

bambam

Alis na nga tayo!

Pipilitin nang umalis nina BAMBAM at GIGI. Magpapaiwan si ITOY, naghahanap ng paraan para maitago ang NO TRESSPASSING. bambam

Itoy! Itigil mo na yan!

Tatakbo ng paalis si BAMBAM at GIGI. Susubukang habulin ni ITOY. scene 9

256 · Dominique Beatrice La Victoria


itoy

Gi! Bam! Laro tayo!

May maririnig na tunog traktor at matatakot sina GIGI at BAMBAM. Gusto na nila umalis pero hindi pa rin kumikibo si ITOY. gigi

Ayun na naman! Yung may-ari!

itoy

Hindi nga! Dumadaan lang na sasakyan ‘yun.

bambam

Yung may-ari na kasi ‘yun. Tara, alis na tayo!

gigi

Oo nga, sinira pa naman natin ang no tresspassing.

Isa pang pugak. gigi

Ayan na!

bambam Tara! itoy

Ano bang nangyari sa inyo? Wala lang nga yan!

bambam Tara! itoy

Dito muna tayo! Wala lang nga yan!

Tatakbo si GIGI at susunod si BAMBAM. Mananatili si ITOY. itoy

Wala nga yan! Hindi yan yung may-ari.

Hihinto sina BAMBAM at GIGI. bambam

‘Toy, hali na!

gigi

Parating na, ‘Toy! Dali!

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 257


itoy

Maglalaro muna ako, di pa naman ako hinahanap ni nanay.

bambam

Pero ‘Toy parating na! Gagawin na nila ang chipline!

itoy

Kahit na! Bahala kayo, dito lang ako!

gigi

‘Toy makukulong ka talaga!

itoy

Hindi nga! Natakot kayo no? Waaah! Wah natakot sila!

bambam

Hindi kami takot!

gigi

Itoy! Hali na!

Lalakas na ang tunog traktor. bambam

Ayun! Pang-konstraksyon na yan!

gigi

‘Toy hali na!

itoy

Wala ngang mangyayari! Okay lang! Laro muna tayo!

bambam

Itoy bahala ka na diyan!

itoy

Wah natatakot sila! Psh! Wala ngang mangyayari!

Sisigaw at tatakbo sina BAMBAM at GIGI. itoy

Huy bumalik kayo dito! Bam! Gi!

Lalakas ang mga tunog traktor hangga’t may ilaw na kikinang sa mukha ni ITOY.

258 · Dominique Beatrice La Victoria


itoy

Bam! Gi! Okay lang! Laro muna tayo! Sige, maglalaro akong mag-isa dito. Bam! Gi! Oh, naglalaro ako! Ang saya! Woooh!

Mananatili si ITOY at sisimulang buuin ulit ang kanyang fort. May iba pang tunog kunstraksyon na maririnig. Iba’t ibang ilaw na ang kikinang kay ITOY. May maririnig na lalaking sumisigaw ng “Pakilid, pakilid!” Magpapatuloy si ITOY sa pagbubuo ng kanyang fort. Mawawala ng unti-unti ang ilaw. telon.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 259


Reia G. Dangeros

bfa creative writing & ab psychology

Walang kalakip na takot ang tunay na pag-ibig. Si Reia ay nasa ika-apat na taon sa kolehiyo sa kursong bfa Creative Writing at ab Psychology. Takot si Reia sa maraming bagay: sa f, sa ideya na hindi pag-graduate, sa pagbagsak ng ekonomiya, sa lindol, sa kidlat, sa aso, sa tinted na kotseng kulay berde, sa bahay na walang tao, sa multo, sa nuno, sa tiyanak, at sa Nanay niya. Pero gustong-gusto niyang natatakot. Hilig niyang magsulat nang takot. Hilig niyang mangarap at matakot. Nais niyang pasalamatan ang kaniyang pinakadakilang Mangingibig at Iniibig sa walang katapusang grasya, sa paglalaan ng puwang para sa kaniya sa kasaysayan upang siya ay umiral, sa pagbibigay ng boses at wika upang makasulat ng iba’t ibang akda, at sa pagsama sa bawat pagkakataong siya ay natakot. Ang akdang “Tiyanak� ay para kay Lorainne at sa lahat ng taong nangangarap ng makabuluhang mundo sa kabila ng nararamdamang takot.


Tiyanak Tiyanak ba ‘yon? Tunog tiyanak. Saan galing? Ang ingay! Jun, may tao ba riyan? Tao po! Nakita ko si Jun noong isang araw sa palengke. Gabi na nga ‘yon e. May kasamang lalaki. Sigurado ka si Jun ‘yon? Oo, nakaasul pa nga e. Tao po! May kumakatok. Ayon, may tao sa loob o. Baka si Jun. Sino ‘yan? May bata! Ang iingay! Bakit ganito, nasaan ako? Ang amoy. Ano ‘to? Ang ingay. Ang dumi. May butiki. May alupihan. May ipis. May langgam. Anong lugar ‘to? Nasa impyerno ba ako? Nasaan ang langit? Kailangan ko nang makabalik sa langit. Gusto ko nang bumalik sa langit. Alam ko kung nasaan ang langit. Itinuro ko dati kay Ma’am Bundang. Nasaan ang langit, tanong niya. Sabi ko, doon po. Itinuro ko ang langit. Sabi niya, tama Emily, at sa langit kasama mo si Papa Jesus, si Mama Mary at maraming angels. Talaga po, sabi ko. Gusto kong pumunta sa langit. Lahat tayo pupunta sa langit, sagot niya. Alam ko kung nasaan ang langit. Alam ko. Itinuro rin sa akin dati ni Manong Tasyo? Sino si Manong Tasyo? Siya ang naghahatid sa akin sa langit noong bata pa ako. Hindi. Hindi si Manong Tasyo. Siya. Basta noong bata ako. Bata? Pero matanda na ba ako? Hindi. Hindi ko alam. Doon, basta sa dulo ng kalsada, naroon ang langit. Kulay puti. Malaking mansyong nakatayo sa isang burol. Sa may hardin. Sa damuhan na iyon. Kung nasaan si Jun. Naroon ka. Alam ko. Hinihintay ako pagkatapos ng JS prom, matapos akong iwanan at ipahiya ng kapareha ko. Umiiyak ako kaya sabi mo, tahan na, tahan na Emily. Alam ko na, pumunta na lang tayo sa langit, gusto mo ba ‘yon? Tinanong mo ako. Sabi ko oo, gusto ko. Bigla mo akong hinila pahiga sa damuhan, sa likod ng punong akasya. Hinaplos-haplos habang binubulungan. Langit, langit, langit. Hinila mo pababa ang aking gown. Pababa. Ayoko, pero sabi mo kailangan ‘yun para makapunta sa langit. Tinanong mo ulit ako, gusto mo pa ba pumunta sa langit? Sabi ko oo, gusto ko pumunta sa langit. Kaya sumunod ako. Gusto ko pumunta sa langit. Unti-unti kong nakita ang langit. Malapit na. Sige pa, konti pa, malapit 262 · Reia G. Dangeros


na tayo sa langit, sabi mo. Nagsimula nang magtakbuhan ang mga ulap habang itinatago ang buwan. Tinawid nating magkasama ang manipis na alambre papunta sa langit kasabay ng malakas na ungol na nagmula sa mga pusa sa likod ng punong akasya. Pero hindi ako mapakali. Sandali nating itinigil ang pagyugyog ng mundo, narinig kong may kumaluskos sa gilid ng puno. Pero sabi mo, pusa lang ‘yon. Pero natatakot ako, sabi ko. Nakatingin sa atin ang pusa, nanlilisik ang mga mata. Akala ko mapuputol ang oras ko sa langit. Pero sabi mo, ‘wag ka mag-alala Emily. Akong bahala sa‘yo. Ikaw ang bahala, sabi mo. Sigurado ka, sabi ko. Ikaw, ititigil na ba natin o ano, sabi mo. Sabi ko, ‘wag. ‘Wag ka tumigil. Malapit na tayo sa dulo ng langit. Mahaba ang daan patungo roon. Alam ko. Dahil hinihingal tayo nang makabalik tayo sa lupa. Maraming beses tayong bumalik doon at ‘yon ang pinakamasayang sandali ng buhay ko. Kung ilan, hindi ko alam. Basta nakarating ulit tayo sa langit. Nakita kong biglang lumiwanag ang paligid. Umaga na yata. Hindi ko alam. Buwan yata o araw o mga bituing tumutok sa ating katawan. May sumisigaw. May mga nagtatakbuhang yabag. Hindi ko alam kung dumami ang pusa sa paligid. May mga nagbubulyawan. Tama na, sigaw ko. Hindi ko na alam kung anong nangyayari. May humila sa akin. Sa buhok. ‘Yong bata! ‘Wag mo saktan! Bitiwan mo siya! Lumakas ang ingay. Sigawan. Humagupit ang malakas na hampas. Tuktuktuktuk! Hindi ko na kaya, sabi ko. Tumigil na kayo. Ilan pang palo ang natanggap ko. Kung hindi palo, masasakit na salita. Walang hiya kang bata ka, narinig kong sabi ng boses. Wala ka nang ginawang mabuti. Nagkalat ka pa ng eksena sa mga bisita! Ilang beses ko bang sasabihin sa‘yo na ‘pag magkakalat ka, doon ka sa banyo! Nakakahiya ka! Kung kailan pa may bisita! Pumasok ka sa kwarto mo ngayon na! Bawal kang lumabas hangga’t hindi ko sinasabi! Doring, walang magbibigay ng pagkain dyan nang matuto, ha! Nakakahiya ka! Hampas ulit. Tumawag ka ng pulis o tanod heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 263


dali! Ang bata! Bawal tumae. Bawal umihi. May oras lang. Bawal humikab sa harap ng bisita. Bawal umutot. Dapat pigilin. Bawal umupo nang nakabukaka. Bawal kumain nang nakabukas ang bibig. Bawal tumawa nang nakalabas ang ngipin. Bawal maglabas ng dila. Bawal ang sinisipon. Bawal ang inuubo. Bawal maglaro. At bawal tumakbo. Bawal. Kaya tumakbo ako. Mabilis. Walang sinasayang na oras. Tumakbo nang tumakbo palabas ng kulungan. Kasama si Jun. Walang dala kahit na ano. Sumakay ng bus. Takbo rito. Takbo roon. Naglayag sa laot nang hindi humihinto sa pagtakbo habang nagtatago sa ilalim ng mga kargo, umiiwas sa kung sinong pwedeng makasalubong. Hindi ko alam kung saan kami napadpad. Dadalhin kita sa langit, ulit ng isip ko. Oo, pupunta tayo sa langit, sabi mo. Pero bago makapunta sa langit, kailangan munang maghirap. Kailangan munang maranasan ang impyerno bago makatuntong sa langit, ‘yon ang sinabi mo. Pero nasaan ang langit. Tumingala ako. Puro kable ng kuryente sa tabi ng naglalakihang gusali sa gitna ng nagsisikipang eskinita bago umabot ang paningin ko sa abuhing langit na hindi ko na halos matanaw. Anong nasa ibaba ng langit? Naalala kong tanong ni Ma’am Bundang sa akin noon. Doon po nakatira ang masasamang espirito, sagot ko. Marumi po roon, maraming ipis at uod, amoy kanal, masikip, mainit, walang pagkain at gabi-gabi may pusang nag-iingay. Magbigay ka nga ng halimbawa ng sinasabi mong masamang espirito, tanong niya ulit. Ah! Tiyanak po Ma’am. Ano nga ulit ang tiyanak, Emily? Sila po ‘yong mga halimaw na nag-aanyong mga cute na baby. Sabi ni Yaya Doring, mga pinalaglag na mga sanggol daw po sila. Kahit cute sila, ayaw sa kanila ng kanilang mga Mommy. Ginagamit nila ‘yon pati ang kanilang iyak para makaakit ng mga tao. Pero ‘pag binuhat mo ito sa una, tahimik po, tulad ng normal na sanggol, gagawin nito kung anong inaasahan ng isang mommy sa isang sanggol na mabait, kaya gugustuhin na ng ina na kunin ito, angkinin at gawing totoong anak. Pero kapag nagkapalagayan na sila ng loob noong sanggol, bigla-bigla na lamang itong magpapalit ng anyo, mangingitim ang mga balat nito, manlilisik ang mga mata, lalabas ang mga matatalas na ngipin at saka po sila mangangagat. Kakainin nito ang puso ng sino mang may hawak dito. Sisirain ang buhay tulad ng pagkawasak ng buhay nito. Naalala ko ang 264 · Reia G. Dangeros


hitsura ng mga kaklase ko pati ni Ma’am Bundang. Wow, ang unang salitang lumabas sa bibig niya. Saan mo naman nakuha ‘yan Emily? Nakakita ka na ba ng tiyanak, tanong niya maya-maya. Ah opo, meron po sa bahay namin sa likod ng akasya sabi ni Yaya Doring. E sa langit, anong meron? Sa langit? Maraming pagkain. Tatawagin ko lang si Yaya Doring. Oo, tama, si Yaya Doring po. Gigisingin niya ako para mag-almusal. Pipiliting kumain. Hindi, ayoko niyan, sabi ko. Pero gusto ko talaga. Sasabihin ko lang kay Yaya Doring at ipapaluto niya agad. Alam ko. Sumusunod sa akin ang lahat ng anghel. Sasabihin ko lang, Yaya, lutuin mo ‘to! Ngayon na! Susunod agad siya alam ko. Ganoon din sila kay Mommy at Daddy kahit minsan lang sila naroon. Narinig ko minsan si Mommy, Doring, tawagin mo nga si Tasyo. Opo Ma’am, sagot niya. Agad-agad lumabas si Manong Tasyo, nakayapak pa nga at walang pang-itaas. Ano po ‘yon Ma’am? Sabi niya. ‘Yong pinapahanap kong pusa sa‘yo, nakita mo na ba? May pinapahanap silang nagtatagong pusa. Hindi kaagad nagsalita si Manong Tasyo. Nag-iisip siguro kung anong sasabihin. Ay ‘yong pusa po, narinig ko, wala po talaga Ma’am. Ilang beses ko na po napasuyod ang buong asyenda tuwing mataas ang araw. Baka lumipat na po sa kabilang bakod. Nag-ingay po ba ulit? Natahimik ang paligid. Hangin lang ang maririnig. Oo, sagot ni Mommy, nag-ingay ulit parang tiyanak. Pero pwede rin po na kapag gabi lang. Hindi ko maalala kung anong sunod na sinabi ni Manong Tasyo. Basta alam ko lalong tumindi ang tibok ng puso ko. Hindi ko alam kung puso ko o puso ni Manong Tasyo o ng pusa. Hmm, ikaw Jun? May nakita ka bang pusa dito? Naglalampungang mga pusa? Ikaw ang naunang rumesponde dito, wala ka bang nakita kahit bakas man lang kung nasaan ang nagtatagong mga pusa. Nagsasalita siya nang nakaharap sa akasya. Lumapit si Jun kay Mommy, taas-noo. Ah, ako po? Oo, ikaw. ‘Di ba hardinero ka? Opo, hardinero po ako dito. Paputol-putol. Hardinero ka lamang, dapat mga halaman lang ang pinakikialaman mo. Ano pong ibig sabihin niyo, Ma’am? Nararamdaman ko ang kaba sa boses niya. Alam mo naman siguro kung anong hitsura ng pusa, hindi ba? Alam kong hindi lamang halaman ang kaya mong alagaan. All around kumbaga. Kasi kung tutuusin ay matagal-tagal ka na rin dito. May pagbabanta heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 265


ang boses ni Mommy habang ismid at tikhim lang ni Daddy ang naririnig ko. Ilang taon na nga? Simula pagkabata po. Magtatatlong dekada. Kaya nga, sa tatlong dekada ba na ‘yon may napansin ka ni kahit isang pusang gumagala dito sa asyenda? Nagsalita ulit si Mommy bago pa man siya makapagsalita. Maliban pa sa ikaw ang naunang rumesponde sa pangyayaring ito. Titig na titig ang lahat sa kanya pati ang nagising na mga tauhan. Lahat kami naghihintay sa kung anong isasagot niya. Ang lakas. Tuktuktuktuk! Ang lakas ng ingay sa dibdib ko. Hindi ko na maintindihan ang mga sinasabi nila sa kabilang dako ng akasya. O baka naman tinatago mo ang mga pusa Jun? Bakit, alaga mo ba ang mga ‘yon? Lumabas ka! Ang bata! Lumakas ang ingay. Hindi ko na maintindihan. Iyon na yata ang mga tiyanak na nakita ko noon. Totoo ang tiyanak at hindi pusa ang mga nag-iingay. Mga batang pinalaglag nang walang kalaban-laban. Nasa impyerno sila. Dahil sa langit, mga mababait na sanggol tulad nito ang naroon. ‘Di ba baby? Oo. Tapos maglalaro tayo kasama si Papa. Maghahabulan sa parang, maliligo sa ilog. Ssssh! Dire-diretso ang agos ng tubig. Tapos sariwa ang hangin doon. May malaking hardin na may akasya sa gitna. At masasarap na pagkain. Hindi tayo magugutom doon baby. Mukhang ayos naman. Idinuduyan pa nga. Sa langit naroon si Jun. Nasa gitna ng parang. Naghihintay sa atin. May bago siyang huling isda. Malaking isda. Tilapia! Dati sabay kami nangangawil ng isda sa langit tapos iihawin namin doon mismo sa gilid ng ilog. Tapos gagawa siya ng sawsawan, toyo na may kalamansi at sili. Kakainin namin ang isda nang walang gamit na kutsara at tinidor. Kamay. Sobrang sarap. Gagawin din natin ‘yon. Tuturuan ka naming mangawil ng isda at gumamit ng kamay ‘pag kumakain. Hintayin lang natin si Papa. Pupunta tayo doon pangako. ‘Wag! Ang bata! Nangako siya na pupunta kami sa langit. Pero sabi niya sabay kaming pupunta, isasama ka namin. Sabay tayong tatawid. Baliw! Hindi, hindi ako baliw. Hindi ako nagiilusyon. Totoo ang sinasabi ko. At lalong hindi niya magagawang lokohin ako. Pupunta tayo. Nasa’n na ba si Jun? Hindi ko alam kung nasaan siya. Hindi. Hindi ko siya pinaalis. Siya ang umalis. Sinaktan niya ako. Ito, nakikita mo ‘tong mga pasa na ‘to? Oo, siya ang may gawa niyan. Pero hindi. Mahal ko siya. Mahal ako ni Jun. Sinabi niya sa’kin 266 · Reia G. Dangeros


‘yon. Hindi niya magagawa ang bagay na ‘yon. Alam ko. Nararamdaman ko. Alam kong hindi magagawa ni Jun ang bagay na ‘yon. Iiwan niya lamang ako kapag may dahilan. Pero hindi pa ba sapat na nagmamahalan kami? Baka ayaw niya na sa ‘kin. Hindi. Gusto niya ako. Sinabi niya sa ‘kin ‘yon. Ikaw, ayaw niya sa‘yo! Oo tama. Ikaw ang ayaw niya. Ayaw ka niya isama sa pupuntahan namin. Pupunta kami sa langit. Bawal doon ang tiyanak. Bawal! Dahil isa kang halimaw! Halimaw ka! Saan mo dinala si Ju— Ang bata! Buksan mo! Sino ‘yon? Nagtawag ka pa ng mga kauri mo! Kayo ang dahilan kung bakit wala ako sa langit! Ikaw ang may kasalanan ng lahat. ‘Wag ka ngang umiyak! Tumigil ka! Ano, kakagatin mo rin ako? Tumigil ka na! Bang! Teka. Ang lamig. Ano ‘yun? Kinagat mo ‘ko? Tiyanak ka talaga. Aw. Ano ‘to? Mainit? Ang sakit. Yaya Doring? Kunin mo ang bata dali! Ang bata. Headlines: Six-month-old baby rescued from a ‘monster’ Baliw na bebot, patay sa reskyu sa Quezon City House Bill on Shaken Baby Syndrome, congress supports Man in ‘blue’, raped, found dead in Pasig River Nauusong Postpartum Disorder sa mga ina, doh nagbabala Sky lanterns illuminates heaven as part of Earth Hour

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 267


Meggie Ong

bfa information design, minor in literature (english)

Meggie is learning, always learning.

oh-mg.com


270 · Meggie Ong


Immanent Suns. Film photography.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 271


Patricia Lascano

bfa information design

Patsy is an aspiring concept artist. She hopes to contribute to some really great games someday. behance.net/patsylascano


274 · Patricia Lascano


Clarice. Digital.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 275


Punky Canlas

ab communication

“You have brains in your head; you have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go.” —Dr. Seuss I have yet to decide on where to go and what to do with my life—easier said than done, Dr. Seuss—so for now, I would like to extend my thanks to the following: You, who made all things possible. To Ateneo, the Communication Department, acomm, and my fellow coursemates. To heights, especially the Production staff (2011–2014); it’s been a great three years working with you guys. To my relatives and my friends, for keeping my feet on the ground. I can’t spell lol without my two Ls; Louise, thank you for always laughing with me, and believing that I could do anything. Luigi, thank you for making hard days in school bearable, for making me laugh non-stop, and for being ok with my weirdness—it must be hard to put up with someone who claims to be a mermaid. Most importantly, thank you, mom and daddy for always having my back in everything I do. I mean, where else could you find parents who’d say “why not?” to a child who wants to be a rapper after graduating college… Ya bish?


278 · Punky Canlas


Float. Digital photography.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 279


Angelo Juarez

bs management engineering

Ito ay para sa mga taong nagpapauto sa akin para mag-pose sa mga litrato ko, sa mga taong nagpasaya sa akin sa apat na taon ko sa Ateneo, sa mga taong nakakasalubong ko sa daan, at sa mga taong dahilan kung bakit ako ako ngayon. Para kina Andrea, Gian, Kathy, Jonathan, Cat, at Bea, sa pagiging unang pamilya ko dito sa Ateneo at sa halos dalawang taong pagsasama natin sa Queens. Hindi ko makakalimutan lahat ng kasabawan natin. Alam kong minsan sawang-sawa na tayo sa araw-araw na pagkain ng cheesesteak, pero hindi ako magsasawa sa inyo. Salamat sa pagtanggap sa akin. Para sa Gabay, sa pag-aruga sa akin at sa lahat ng mga Gabayanong nagdaan. Salamat sa pagiging tahanan namin. Sa target — Alvin, Camille, Gwen, Karis, Kevin, Kirk, Lawrence, Trisha, Yan Yan, Lazir, Em-Em, at Eric, salamat sa isang napakamakabuluhang taon. Hindi man tayo perpekto, alam kong marami tayong naantig na damdamin sa mga pinagsisilbihan natin. Para kay Kuya Louie na nagtiwala sa akin noon at nandiyan pa rin hanggang ngayon. Sa lahat ng Gabayano noon, ngayon, at sa mga susunod pang taon, sana huwag tayong magsawang magtaya. Masayang magtaya. Sobra. Para sa oaa at sa me Batch 1991, lalo na kina Ate Tin, Ate Kams, Ma’am Jolly, Ma’am Jumela, at Sir JC, salamat sa pagbibigay sa akin ng pagkakataong makapag-aral dito sa Ateneo. Sana huwag kayong magsawang magpaaral ng marami pang iskolar sa Ateneo. Para sa mga guro kong nagpamulat sa akin sa mga misteryo ng buhay at pumukaw sa pagmamahal ko sa bayan. Para kay kuya sa terminal ng bus.


282 · Angelo Juarez


Sambahan. Film photography.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 283


Adrian Begonia

bs chemistry with materials science engineering

Photography was a hobby that started right away upon getting my first camera. My aim then was to take pictures that would look good as my desktop wallpaper. That spark of interest grew over time to the point that I did not mind looking stupid lying on the floor to position me and my camera when taking pictures. And now, photography has stuck with me. I cannot imagine life not taking pictures. It is my way of expressing my sentiments with what I see in my surroundings. Most of my photos highlight subjects that we generally take for granted, with the goal of making the familiar unfamiliar. Gardening and Landscape are some of the photos I took in the province while I was biking/strolling. Recently, I am looking into the juxtaposition of urban and rural elements, delving into how infrastructure interplays with nature. I would like to thank my family and friends for their never-ending support. I would also like to thank heights for publishing and sharing my photos. :3


286 · Adrian Begonia


Gardening. Digital photography.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 287


Landscape. Digital photography.

288 · Adrian Begonia


heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 289


Sarah Arrojado

ab european studies, minor in french studies,  minor in development management

“With Amélie as her alter ego, Sarah lives anonymously in your dreams. She believes she was a ninja in her previous life, and everyday she wakes up with the hope of a better world.” Sa aking mga magulang: Hindi magiging posible ang lahat ng ito kundi dahil sa inyo. Salamat sa pagmamahal at sa pagtitiwala. Sa aking mga kaibigan sa Block g1, sa arsa, at sa lfc: Salamat sa kaligayahan, sa kabaliwan, at maging sa kasawian—salamat sa pagkakaibigan. Para ‘to sa inyong lahat. Sa lahat ng aking mga naging guro lalung-lalo na kina Sir Dave, Sir Tirol, Fr. Dacanay, Sir Jope, Sir Giron, Ma’am Czar, Ma’am Lua, Sir Bobby Guev, at kay Sir Calasanz: Taos-pusong pasasalamat para sa walang katumbas na karunungang inyong ibinahagi at para sa pagpapakita kung ano talaga ang mahalaga sa buhay. Higit sa lahat, maraming salamat sa patuloy na pagpapa-alalang marami pang kailangang harapin sa pagsusumikap na maisulong ang hustisya para sa lahat: na kailanma’y ‘wag sana kaming makalimot na magpakatao sa harap ng pagsusumikap na makisangkot sa kapwa. Padayon. Sa heights, para sa pagkakataong ito. Para sa Inang Bayan.


Hiatus. Digital photography.

292 · Sarah Arrojado


Latency. Digital photography.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 293


Hubris. Digital photography.

294 · Sarah Arrojado


heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 295


Stefanie Chan

bs legal management

Stefanie is a lover of the arts and a slave to beauty. Above all, she is a dreamer. “Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” —Oscar Wilde Her work is always dedicated to the man responsible for all things glorious and beautiful in this world. Soli Deo gloria.


298 · Stefanie Chan


Whole. Digital photography.

heights Seniors Folio 2014 · 299


Loyola Schools Awards For the Arts 2014 Creative Writing: Fiction Antonio Rafael N. Elica単o, v bfa creative writing & ab interdisciplinary studies Rodolfo Eduardo T. Santiago, iv ab communication Creative Writing: Nonfiction Antonio Rafael N. Elica単o, v bfa creative writing, ab interdisciplinary studies Stephanie D. Shi, iv bfa creative writing Creative Writing: Playwriting

Christianna Dominique D. Calma, iv bfa creative writing Dominique Beatrice T. La Victoria, iv bfa creative writing Creative Writing: Poetry

Abner E. Dormiendo, iv ab philosophy Ma. Socorro P. Orlina, iv ab communication Dance: Performance

Jan Gabriel F. Cerezo, iv ab communication Music: Arrangement Maynard Kenneth D. De Guzman, v bs electronics and communications engineering Music: Composition Gianne Erika A. Cruz, iv ab psychology Mateo Tomas L. Escueta, iv bs communications technology management Rez Luigi E. Toledo, iv bs management information systems


Music: Performance Juan Gabriel S. Cabangon, iv ab developmentstudies Jose Angelo E. Gonzales, iv ab communication Theater Arts: Performance Maria Fatima F. Gabito, v bs electronics and communications engineering Visual Arts: Graphic Design Kara Beatrice C. Chung, iv bs communications technology management Mark Kevin J. De Guia, iv bfa information design Maria Sophia D. Lizares, iv bfa information design Visual Arts: Mixed Media

Meagan Dominique Y. R. Ong, v bfa information design Visual Arts: Photography Kara Beatrice C. Chung, iv bs communications technology management Patrice Anne Mendoza, iv ab communication


The members of the Awards for the Arts Committee: Alexis Augusto L. Abola Belinda G. Adora Yael A. Buencamino Laura Corazon A. Cabochan Jonathan A. Coo Jesse Gilliam Z. Gotangco Jayson P. Jacobo, Ph.D. Banaue C. Miclat-Jansen Fr. Rene B. Javellana, S.J. Celeste Aida A. Jugo, Ph.D. Glenn S. Mas Clarissa Cecilia R. Mijares Elbert T. Or Allan C. Popa Jerry C. Respeto, Ph.D. Edward David E. Ruiz, PhD. Edgar C. Samar, Ph.D. Jethro Ni単o P. Tenorio Roy Allan B. Tolentino Martin V. Villanueva Alvin B. Yapan, Ph.D.


Acknowledgments Fr. Jose Ramon T. Villarin, sj and the Office of the President Dr. John Paul C. Vergara and the Office of the Vice President for the Loyola Schools Mr. Rene S. San Andres and the Office of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs Mr. Eduardo Jose E. Calasanz and the Office of the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Ma. Luz C. Vilches and the Office of the Dean, School of Humanities Mr. Danilo M. Reyes and the English Department Dr. Jerry C. Respeto and the Fine Arts Program Dr. Alvin B. Yapan at ang Kagawaran ng Filipino Mr. Allan Popa and the Ateneo Institute of the Literary Arts and Practices (ailap) Mr. Christopher F. Castillo and the Office of Student Activities Ms. Marie Joy R. Salita and the Office of Administrative Services Ms. Liberty Santos and the Central Accounting Office Mr. Regidor Macaraig and the Purchasing Office Dr. Vernon R. Totanes and the Rizal Library Ms. Carina C. Samaniego and the University Archives Ms. Yael A. Buencamino and the Ateneo Art Gallery The mvp Maintenance and Security Personnel The University Physical Plant Office Mr. Victor Rafael M. Agbayani and The Guidon Ms. Iman Tagudi単a and Matanglawin Mr. RJ Dimla and the soh Sanggunian The Sanggunian ng Mag-aaral ng Ateneo de Manila, and the Council of Organizations of the Ateneo And to those who have been keeping literature and art alive in the community by continuously submitting their works and supporting the endeavors of heights


Editorial Board Editor - in - Chief Audrey Mae Ferriol [ab eu 2014] Associate Editor Natasha Basul [bs com  t ech 2014] Managing Editor for Communications Stephanie Shi [bfa cw 2014] for Finance Melissa Yu [bs mgt 2014] Deputy for Finance Moli Muñoz [bs ch - acs 2015/2016] Art Editor Manuel Iñigo A. Angulo [ab com 2016] Associate Art Editor Nicole Soriano [bfa am 2016] Design Editor Eugene Tuazon [bfa id 2014] Associate Design Editor Cheska Mallillin [bfa id 2016] English Editor Joseph Ledesma [bfa cw 2015] Associate English Editor Bianca Sarte [ab eu 2016] Filipino Editor Ace Ancheta [ab lit (eng) 2014] Associate Filipino Editor Abner E. Dormiendo [ab ph 2014] Production Manager Cressa Zamora [ab ds 2015] Associate Production Manager Jonnel Inojosa [bs lm 2016] Web Editor Carissa Pobre [bfa cw 2016] Associate Web Editor Jam Pascual [bfa cw 2015]

Head Moderator and Moderator for Filipino Allan  A lberto N. Derain Moderator for Art Yael   A . Buencamino Moderator for English Martin Villanueva Moderator for Design Jose Fernando Go   - oco Moderator for Production Enrique Jaime S. Soriano Moderator for Web Nicko Reginio Caluya


Staffers Art 

Dyanne Abobo, Ariana Asuncion, Micah Barker, Katrina Barreiro, Adrian Begonia, Nicole Castañeda, Samantha Chiang, Jikka Defiño, Lasmyr Edullantes, Cathy Elago, Regine Ira Antonette M. Geli, Corrine Angeli G. Golez, Selena Herrera, JJ Joson, Yannah Justiniani, Nichele Li, Marion Emmanuel P. Lopez, Moli Muñoz, David Nacar, Lorenzo Torres Narciso, Justyn Ng, Sara Nothdurft, Veronica Oliva, Mick Quito, Joel Recto, Krysten Alarice Tan, Ali Timonera Jen Venancio, Aaron Villaflores, Nikki Vocalan

Design 

Anissa Aguila, Sean Bautista, John Lazir Caluya, Bianca Carandang, Angela Chua, Ida de Jesus, Kenzie Du, Bianca Espinosa, Patty Ferriol, Beatriz Ignacio, Alex Malto, Julian Occeña, Meagan Ong, Troy Ong, Tommi Principe, Krysten Alarice Tan

English 

Rayne Aguilar, A. A. Aris Amor, Luis Wilfrido Atienza, Marco Bartolome, Tasha Basul, Christa Bucao, Catherina Dario, Regine Cabato, Azi de la Paz, Reg Geli, Jenina Ibañez, Leona Lao, Samuel Liquete, Mint Marquez, DC Mostrales, Jeivi Nicdao, Lara Pangilinan, Jam Pascual, Carissa Pobre, Andie Reyes, Stephanie Shi, Micheas Elijah Taguibulos, Catherine Tan, Ayana Tolentino, Josh Uyheng, Erika Villa - Ignacio, Pam Villar, Kazuki Yamada, Noelle Zarza

Filipino 

Selina Ablaza, Chise Alcantara, Gwen Bañaria, Christian Benitez, Pat Cendaña, Dustin Jan Cruz, Reia Dangeros, Alexander Genesis C. Dungca, Sha Hernandez, Jonnel Inojosa, Ariane Lim, Marc Lopez, Kimberly Lucerna, Francis Eldon Mabutin, Eileen Mae R. Manalaysay, Aidan Manglinong, LJ Miranda, Matthew Olivares, Marian Pacunana, Ray John Santiago, Jero Santos, Micheas Elijah Taguibulos, Roro Yap

Production 

Sheena Amit, Kim Ang, Gwen Bañaria, Punky Canlas, Karis Corpus, Grace Cruz, Louise de Guzman, Alonso de Leon, Drama del Rosario, Momo Fernandez, Clouds Lunn, Micah Nadaat, Maia Nery, Ysa Ocliasa, Carissa Pobre, Beta Santos, Max Suarez

Web  

A. A. Aris Amor, Sarah Arrojado, Billy Atienza, Nikki Blanco, Regine Cabato, Aleah Cunningham, Catherina Dario, Kenzie Du, Beatriz Ignacio, Clarice Ilustre, Leona Lao, Izo Lopez, LJ Miranda, Ysa Ocliasa, Michelle Parlan, Julianne Suazo, Jaclyn Teng, Kaye Toledo


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(2013) Heights Vol. 61, Seniors Folio  

The 2012 Seniors Folio of Heights Vol. 61. Heights is the official literary and artistic publication and organization of the Ateneo de Manil...

(2013) Heights Vol. 61, Seniors Folio  

The 2012 Seniors Folio of Heights Vol. 61. Heights is the official literary and artistic publication and organization of the Ateneo de Manil...

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