Thursday, October 25, 2012

What I Missed About Pautakan

Five years ago, I was staring blankly at a computer at Kuya Rex’s house trying to come up with a single decent HS Math question to somehow pass Ferg’s fussy taste. I remember how Buduy would scribble some arbitrary words and numbers and voila, 10 Elementary Math questions done effortlessly. Justin came up with this strategy of writing and rewriting a History question over and over again until we headed home. My batch mates disappeared and escaped their assignments only to eat chocolates at Jer’s house. And some senior members barely had some sleep then, sharing the same struggles I had, trying to make enough questions for the arguably, most prestigious contest in Pampanga. This is the first time I saw how Pautakan was made and instantly, I fell in love with it. So hopelessly in love that I ended up running the whole show the year after.

                Fast forward this year, I am still staring blankly at my computer, trying to come up with the right words to describe how badly I missed everything about Pautakan. This year would mark the first time I skipped Questions Nights, the first time I failed to write a single question and worse, the first time I will not be attending Pautakan itself. But I will be relieved by the fact that the people in charge now somehow learned a thing or two from us and they are experiencing the same thrill and exhilaration we had then when we were still members of UP Aguman.

                I missed how Agumems would come up with the weirdest set of ideas for our questions.  From our ultimate celebrity crushes to a random viral video from Youtube to trivial Guinness records, we had questions about them all. There’s no way one can predict where our questions would come from – unless we share the same thoughts and you stalked us on Facebook.

                I missed how it feels to have your questions read by the Quizmaster. Having your questions picked is one thing but having your questions read is another. It somehow validates your mastery on your assigned subject and it’s exciting to see if anyone else could provide the correct answer. But it’s terrifying as well especially if one argues with your answers and you convince yourself you are very sure with your sources and solutions.

                I missed creating Physics, Chemistry and Math questions…even though most kids would not even dare to lift their pens and attempt to solve the problem. Trust me; they are not as complex as they may sound.

                I missed spilling out some AguChismis through Pautakan questions. If you want to know about who’s courting who, who dumped who and who’s dating who, focus on the story before the questions and you’ll find out the real score between specific Agumems. Really, it’s our chance to be creative with our narratives and it’s the best chance to torment your frenemies.

                I missed attending Questions Nights to vandalize a sleeping Agumem’s body. We are not just academic people, you know. We have our artsy side as well. And vandalizing is a form of art legal ONLY during Qnights. Transform a member into a panda or a Dalmatian? LEGAL! Accessorize someone with earrings and slippers? LEGAL! You see, sleep is a luxury most Agumems could not afford during Qnights.  And those who dared to sleep suffered the wrath of the sleepless and its consequences.

                I missed running errands for Pautakan. I probably did every role possible for this event. From being a runner, to a paperboy, host, quizmaster, judges’ slave, photographer, subject head, questions committee head, project head, to being a judge myself, I did it all. And when you see how everything is running smoothly and all, then you will feel so rewarded.

                Lastly, I just missed being with Agumems. No explanations needed.

Friday, October 12, 2012


One perfect circle. Three tangent lines. Fourteen random points – not all equidistant, but every one important. Some points would hit my center and intersect my diameter. Some just pass by and would become one of those radii. In my two dimensional planar life, one lone point would strike a chord, inscribing some integral lessons, leaving permanent scars and indentations.

                This is my ode to Pi. And like I promised, I should never lie.

                I was thinking for the perfect set of words to describe how I felt that night – that epic worst night ever. It wasn’t really that worst. I just reacted so bad and I freaked out. I don’t know, I thought I was not in control and you just overwhelmed me (?). Not sure. I thought how someone so meek and so quiet could bash my ego just like that. And I thought that’s it – end of story, goodbye, farewell, au revoir! And it may have sucked then because I thought it could be you. But given how desperate I was then (I am still, FYI) I felt the same for five more people or probably more. It’s a good thing it didn’t work out though. You moved on. I didn’t. I am still the same guy you’ve known two years ago. Only this time I have four eyes and more morphine in my pocket. Everything equal but not the same.

                What really wonders me now is how you make me feel good about me writing these b***shits. No one really cared for my dramas since everyone thinks I am that strong and invincible. But you cared, you listened, you understood. You felt the angst and the twinge I was trying to convey thru my words. You believed I have a gift when, up to now, I still doubt myself if I my posts could even pass for a decent writer. You loved my stories when you don’t even know what, who, when, where and how these things happened. Still, you identify with my odes when people think I was being too sensitive and irrational when writing. And it’s funny how you think that everything I write about in this blog is about you when it’s really just the first time and you somehow (?) forced me to do so. LOL.

                I still see you as “The Chaser” who chased “The Chased” who’s chasing somebody else. But hey, the angles have now been changed and each point already found their own lines. Maybe in a parallel universe, we may have created a connection, our own line segments. But it’s really good to know that your arrow is now heading somewhere else aside from intercepting my rather disrupted ray. As for me, I’ll search for the existence and prove the uniqueness of that one person who’ll stimulate my sleeping cardioid.

Friday, August 17, 2012

And in that moment I was SUPERMAN…

No, it’s not as if one night, I just dreamt of being a superhero or something. It was one of those times when I felt like I am trying to save the world and no one really cares. Like I am doing something so enormous, so momentous yet it still goes unnoticed. As if I am doing everything I could but all my efforts go down the drain. In these times, life lessons will hit you hard but like the man of steel I think I am, I take it all and fight the battle within.

I’ve learned that not all people will ever like Superman. It really doesn’t matter how noble he’ll fight for justice and rescue humanity, he is still just one of those superheroes who is trying to do the same thing. Maybe it’s just a matter of preference, some leaning more towards Batman or Spiderman or even Powerpuff Girls. That because he is not the most exciting character ever nor have the best background story nor have the most vibrant personality in the bunch, he is taken for granted. But he cares not for himself alone and that what sets him apart from the others.

I’ve learned that the irony that the “Man of Steel” has a heart made of talc. That the strongest man may have a fragile heart, he is vulnerable. But he doesn’t let his emotions get the best of him. That no matter how tough things will get, he’ll downplay that struggle and at the end of the day, he will deliver. He knows that failing is not an option. That no matter how challenging the villains may be, he will eventually win and live another unselfish day.

I’ve learned that no matter how strong Superman is, he will always have that Kryptonite. People see his strengths – that’s good! But this blessing is also his biggest curse. It is as if since he is strong therefore he is required to free the world from every rogue that may harm us. As if he owe it to us to use that advantage or else he is being selfish. As if he himself doesn’t need help sometimes. We fail to recognize the fact he has his own problems and struggles. And he managed to balance everything on the line yet sometimes, as cruel as the world truly is, he has to make hurtful personal sacrifices.

I’ve learned that Superman man needs Lois Lane – badly. Not entirely romantically or sexually, but he needs that one person who will tell him that he is doing good, that his efforts are being not wasted, that he is on the right track. That one person who will show him the positive side when all he sees is the darkest night. That one person who will bring him back to earth when his mind spun out of control. That one person who will make him feel that someone will always be there for him, even when the whole world turned its back on him.

I’ve learned that Superman still needs the Justice League. No war is won by a single soldier. No structure built with a lone worker. That even if you are probably the strongest man alive doesn’t mean you can do it all by yourself. It helps to have those people who will back you up when you’re powers are dwindling and your armors depleting.

And lastly I learned that Superman is after all, just a man, not without imperfections, not without a fault.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

(Happy) Mother's Day...

It really is a sign that we are getting older when we start to celebrate occasions with one or more family members missing. May it be work, commitment or God forbid, death, it will never be complete without seeing everyone laughing their hats off and churning those extra calories. It feels awkward yet you pretend it’s not. I pretend it’s not but it is really hard. 

Last year’s a blast, all six of us present, enjoying the time, ignoring the fact that someone’s on their way to somewhere far. This year, Mother’s day going to be different. When I know the perfect gift for my Mom is not a new pair of shoes or another bag, but rather a call from my sister whom she spent the most time together with. 

But I can’t argue with work and opportunity and commitment. That’s life. And I just have to suck it up and pretend everything’s perfectly normal and things are in their usual state as they were before.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Rush Hour (and Life Lessons I’ve learned in MRT)

One thing I probably missed the most since graduation is riding those blue and white (sometimes beige if it’s that old) MRT trains. Off to or from school, those trains have been my best buds every single day for five years, though I may have cursed them quite a few times. Those trains have been the blind witnesses of what I’ve gone through in my life. Those trains knew everything about me and my feelings, my aspirations and my frustrations.

And I knew those trains pretty much as well. I’ve been in probably every single one of the active trains. I’ve been in every single station from Taft to North Edsa. I’ve had my bag checked in every check point possible, had inserted an MRT (regular and stored value) card in every single “ticket-eating machine” possible, had been through every male CR possible inside MRT. I knew exactly how many minutes would it take me to move from one station to another, how much people, statistically, would enter the train at a said station, just the mere scent of the frigid air in the atmosphere makes me distinguish where station am I.

And I felt at home with those trains. Ironic as it may sound, I felt secured in that crook-prone metal cage. The familiarity made me feel safe and comfortable no matter how clammy or sticky your seatmate may be. And like a Diophantine-based Number Theory book, I learned a heck of hard life lessons from these fast, metal railroad transports.

STAND UP and BE STILL. If you don’t want to be pushed around and dragged to somewhere difficult, you should stay where you are, hold on to the railings and protect your niche. You don’t want someone invade your own life, you don’t want someone overpowering you and pressuring you to move to somewhere less comfortable. You should establish yourself in this world, hold on to whatever your principles you have in life and create enough space for you to move.

PUSH. If you don’t want to be left behind by everything you chase, push. You need to move and be aggressive. You don’t want to be lost in translation and left out in the wilderness. You want to be in that train so make your way to move closer to that train. Sometimes, it would be bumpy and nasty but you have to have the will to cling with the beasts and stay within the hunt.

EXPECT THE WORST. When you’re all sheek and slick, and feel hot as hell, you don’t want to sit with someone sweaty and sticky. But hey, there are no rooms for pussies inside a 400-people full capacity train. Either you take a cab or take a bus if you don’t want your J’adore Dior dress be dampened with a crease or two. Or if you could do what I do best, just give someone a fake poker face and a big stare down afterwards.

And perhaps, the most important lesson I’ve learned from MRT so far is that in life in general, IT’S MUCH EASIER TO MAKE ENEMIES THAN TO MAKE FRIENDS. ‘Nuff said.

picture from