Fisherboy (1 of 11)

2Rivers February 9-15

Fisherboy: Imaginarily Directed By Ishmael Bernal
A Short Novel by Jonathan Aquino

The sun was playing hide-and-seek in the gliding clouds above Divisoria. The sprawling market was bustling with people like a town celebrating the fiesta. A vegetable vendor in one of stalls near the sidewalk was calling out to customers.

 "Hey, suki, you can be sure, vegetables are always fresh!" said Maxima, who looks like Gina Pareño in Kubrador

A young Indian guy was in his daily round to collect debts. "You're really one of a kind, Aling Maxima," he said admiringly as he parked his scooter. "You sound like a drugstore!"

"Patel," said Maxima maternally, "if you just eat more vegetables, then you won't need medicines!"

"You look happy today!" said Patel, who looks like Sam YG

"And since when did you see me look like a witch, aber?" replied Maxima gaily. "Besides, today's my last payment to you! Here, it's three hundred, right?"

"Thank you," said Patel, accepting the money. "Another loan?"

"I've just paid my debt and you want me to get another one?" 

"Nothing wrong with borrowing money," said Patel with conviction. "As long as you pay it, of course!"

"Marketing guru!" 

"Want a DVD player?" asked the young businessman. "Only 500!"

"It's only 500 but that's 500 everyday!" replied Maxima. "Hello!" 

"It's called installment!" 

"Can you make it consignment?" kidded Maxima. "I'll return it after my movie marathon!"

"I really like talking to you, Aling Maxima," said Patel, laughing. 

"Like?" said Maxima. "What am I, Facebook?" 

Later that day, a young boy who looks like Jake Vargas in Tween Academy approached the stall.    

"Good afternoon, ma'am," he said politely. "I'm sorry to bother you, but I'm looking for a job. My name is Jay. Uh, I noticed that you don't have any helpers, so I would like to apply."

"Gee, son, but my niece is coming next week," said Maxima, feeling sorry for the boy. 

"Oh," said Jay, crestfallen. "I see." Then a thought struck him. "Well, she won't be here until next week. Maybe I could work for you for even just a couple of days." 

And before she could reply, he added, "Please?" 

"Have you tried others?"

"I've been around the entire market," said Jay matter-of-factly. "All the canteens, hardwares, even the ice factory and the slaughterhouse!" 

"Where do you live?" 

"Uh, Marikina."

"So what are you doing in Manila?" 

"Oh, I went to somebody I know in Juan Luna," the boy explained. "But he gave me a wrong address." 

"Then why not go home?" 

"Well, the truth is, I came to Manila to find work." 

"How old are you, anyhow?" 


To Be Continued Next Saturday Night On The 2Rivers Saturday Evening Posts

(Photos courtesy of,,,


Huggybear's story "Fisherboy: Imaginarily Directed By Ishmael Bernal" is a coming-of-age tale about a boy and his tragic rite of passage from innocence to acceptance of the mysterious forces that guide the destinies of men

As human beings, we all respond to the emotional cadences of our collective music, as this story also deals with the unbearable pain of losing a loved one, showing that courage often shows itself in the little things we do in our day-to-day existence
I write visually, so when I was writing my 2012 Palanca Award fiction story "Fisherboy: Imaginarily Directed By Ishmael Bernal," I was already seeing it like a movie

This explains why the characters are described as looking like specific actors, and the scenes are set to let the characters come to life and the plot to develop vividly and unforgettably
Jay (looks like Jake Vargas) was a 15-year old homeless orphan who was adopted by an old bachelor, Prudy (looks like Dolphy). On their first night together, he had his first sexual awakening. Jay became fascinated with being a fisherman when Prudy took him to Bicol. Prudy wanted him to send him to school but the boy refused. Prudy, fearing that Jay would rebel like his late ward Arman, agreed.

Jay experienced the harsh realities of being a fisherman. He became close with Orlando (looks like Sid Lucero), a young man who advised him to finish school and not waste his youth. Among the fishermen, Orlando was the loudest in denouncing the use of dynamite in fishing.

Then one day, Jay, was traumatized for life as he saw Orlando, whom he saw as the brother he never had, died when Orlando's boat got blown away