Fisherboy (4 of 11)

2Rivers March 2-8

Fisherboy: Imaginarily Directed By Ishmael Bernal
A Story by Jonathan Aquino (4 of 11)

Jay was looking out the minicab's window, fascinated by the sight of the open highway at breaking dawn. He craned his neck to watch the glimmering lights of an airplane make a beeline to the dark horizon. Prudy was driving, smiling at the boy's sense of wonder. Ah, to be young again, he thought. 

"It's a long way to Bicol," he said, patting the boy's leg affectionately. "We're just entering the expressway."
"It's the first time I've been here, Tsong!" said Jay happily.
"I can tell," Prudy laughed. "I've always loved traveling. I used to be an insurance supervisor, going around Luzon to check up on our branches. I have distant relatives in Bicol, that's where we're going, by the way. So when I retired, I thought it would be fun to deliver fish. Besides, I have nothing to do anyway. It's not really about the money, you see. I can live on my pension, and I have enough in the bank." He shrugged. "I guess I just don't want to spend the rest of my life cooped up alone in the house."
"Uh, Tsong," said Jay tentatively, "can I ask you something without you getting mad?"
"Why should I get mad?" replied Prudy, amused. "You can ask me anything, Jay!"
"It's about Arman," said the boy, looking out the window. He then looked at Prudy. "How did you meet him?"
The old man sighed. "I just retired then," he said, deep in thought. "He used to live with a friend of mine, Francisco."
Jay felt the van going slower.
"Then Francisco was petitioned by his son in America," continued Prudy. "So he left Arman with me. The boy had nowhere to go. He left home because his father used to beat him. At first, he was happy to go back to school. I took care of his papers. But, as time went by..."
Jay was looking at him intently.
Prudy sighed again. "But I've grown to love him," he went on. "He wasn't the most obedient person in the world, I can tell you that! But there were times when he was so caring, so affectionate..."
            Jay nodded, looking straight ahead, lost in his own thoughts.
Prudy looked at him. "Now," he said brightly, "what about you?"
"What do you mean, Tsong?
"Well, for starters," said the old man, "where's your parents?"
"I...," the boy began, embarrassed. "I don't have parents."
"Yes, you have, Jay," said Prudy tenderly. "You probably just hate them now."
"I don't, Tsong!" the boy replied, looking at him. "I never even met them!"
"They died?"
"I don't know," said Jay, shaking his head. "I've lived in Boys' Town as far as I can remember. I studied there, I finished second year high school. I even brought my Form 137, it's in my bag in your house."
"It's our house now, Jay," Pruding said, squeezing the boy's knee.
"Thank you, Tsong," Jay said, holding the old man's hand on his knee.
"I'm sure you're curious about your parents," said the older man.
"Oh, come on," smiled Prudy. "Of course you are!"
Prudy turned to him. "Not even a little?"
Jay shook his head. "No, Tsong, I'm not," he said firmly. "Well," he shrugged, "maybe when I was a kid, but not anymore!"
"Why not?"
The boy looked out the window. "They told me, I mean, the people in Boy's Town told me, they found me at the gate when I was a baby." He looked at Prudy. "Tsong, there's only one reason why they left me there! They don't want me!"
"Jay," said Prudy, "there may be another reason."
"Like what, Tsong?"           
"Well..." said Prudy, groping for words.
"Don't worry, Tsong!" smiled Jay. "I don't hate my parents! Not anymore. Besides, they probably won't even remember me!"
"Your parents miss you, I'm sure," consoled Prudy.
"Then why didn't they come back for me?" Jay asked matter-of-factly, with inviolable logic.
"Ah..." Prudy has no reply to that. 

It was late afternoon when they arrived. The dirt road with centenarian trees on both sides were idyllic, like traveling back in time.
"Here we are, Jay!" announced Prudy. "This is Camarines Sur!"
"It's beautiful, Tsong!" the boy marveled.
They turned to a large backyard sheltered with towering trees. Chickens and ducks scampered out of the way. An elderly woman who looked like Anita Linda in Lola was sweeping the fallen leaves. She looked up and smiled at them.

"That's Miling," Prudy told Jay. "She's my second-cousin. Her brother Temyong used to be the village captain here. He's now a fisherman."
The minivan stopped as the old woman went over to welcome them.
"Hello Prudy!" she greeted warmly. "I'm glad you arrived safe!"
"Thank you, Miling!" smiled Prudy as he got out of the minicab. "I want you to meet Jay," he told her, motioning to the boy who was getting off the other side of the vehicle.
 "Good afternoon, ma'am!" Jay said, smiling.
"Good afternoon to you too," replied Miling cheerfully, already liking the pleasant and well-mannered boy. "Come," she told them, holding the boy's arm. "I'm going to prepare some maruya!"
"Perfect!" laughed Prudy. "We're hungry!"
"Aling Miling," said Jay, "I can see the ocean behind those trees!"
"Would you like to go there?" asked the old lady. The boy looked at Pruding, an unspoken plea.
"Go ahead, Jay!" laughed Pruding.
Jay smiled at them and went to the beach, almost running, exhilarated by the intoxicating sweetness of freedom.
Prudy watched him tenderly.
 Jay turned before he disappeared behind the trees. He smiled, the wind ruffling his hair.
The old bachelor knew then that he would love the boy forever.

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

(Photos courtesy of,

From The Journal of Jonathan Aquino aka Huggybear

January 29, 2013 
6:03 p.m., Tuesday 

One of the best things that happened in my call center work is being transfered to a supervisor that is sincere, supporting and nonpower-tripping. She gave me the freedom that motivated me even more. But last night, she went on leave and I was transfered back to my former supervisor. That was the last straw

Then there's the team senior agent, sort of an assistant sup. Friday last week, she approached the workstation near their (my original) team which I was temporarily using because the PC in my own workstation broke down. I'm happy and contented at my station because the culture in that area is different: full of positive vibes. But I had to use the only available one near their area. She was berating me in full hearing of everybody about my high call AHT (average handle time). I felt extremely annoyed. 

I began to seriously think about leaving. I feel that the atmosphere was now too toxic to perform at my best. When I learned last night that I've been re-assigned, I felt totally demoralized. Like a balloon pierced with a sharp pin, all the motivation and my long-term goals for the company suddenly whooshed out of me. I felt complete demoralized. 

Instinctively, I knew it was time to go

"The most radical change can happen in a blink of an eye and nothing will ever be the same again" was my cryptic January 29 Facebook mobile tweet during my past-midnight lunch last night at the mini-park across the building. Corned beef mayo sandwiches. My game plan was to switch to another account. I'm still not ready yet, I need more time, which is something that suddenly I don't have anymore 

In the morning after shift, I went from Alabang to Makati to meet up with a long-lost childhood friend. We were supposed to meet over the weekend but I was feeling really depressed and I needed a metaphorical breath of fresh air. I'm super happy to reconnect with tried-and-tested friends. I've known him since 1997, and he was there for me during the darkest time in my life in 2004. The Greenbelt and Glorietta areas are full of happy memories for me. 

Then I met up with another close friend, from way back in 1998, for lunch in Manila. He was looking for someone to help him with his business ventures. I texted another close friend, also from the 90s. I'm overjoyed that they clicked instantly. I'm writing this in my Manila friend's house, with the two of them enjoying their new-found friendship and, I'm wishing with all my heart, a very successful business partnership 

I have made up my mind that I will resign when I get my salary this coming Friday. I already know where I'm going, where the next chapter of my adventures will begin 

"I often thought about why people leave," as I wrote on my story The Journey With Shirley MacLaine, my second-to-the-latest published article, which appeared Jan. 13, 2013 in Philippine Panorama, the Sunday magazine of Manila Bulletin. "Perhaps they found a compelling reason to -- or maybe they simply ran out of reasons to stay." 

I'll be there next week, I replied to my friend there. I'll take the longer and much more exciting land-and-sea route. I already know the people to whom I'll give away my stuff, like the electric fan and gym equipments. I always travel light. 

No excess baggage. 

From The Journal of Jonathan Aquino aka Huggybear

November 9, 2012
10:31 morning  

I'm about to go to bed after the graveyard shift work, and after watching Finding Forrester on StarMovies on the office lounge. I was actually scheduled to enroll in the gym nearest my Northgate Alabang apartment this morning. But things drastically changed last night when I was given a memo because there was an apple on my work station. I wasn't even eating it: I put there for my past-midnight "lunch" so I don't have to get it from my knee-level locker. The Operations Manager is visiting and it seems everybody (except me) was anxious to please him by showing how much they adhere to company policies, including a no-food rule in the production floor, where we actually take in calls. There's an e-mail sent to the supervisors about this, while also specifying the exceptions: yes to chips but no to rice meals, things like that. Thing is, apples are not on the list. So there you go: a single apple warranted a written memo which will be on my record and that will impact on my desired promotion to a position I'm targeting by early February (assuming I'm still alive in the global upheaval this December) 

Suddenly, I lost my motivation to stay and move up; instead, I wanted to move out 

I completely lost my belief that this company is worth staying for. What kind of company mindlessly imposes sanctions based on something that defies logic? A good company is one that values its employees' welfare and well-being, boosting their morale and developing them to be the best they can be as competent professionals 

A company that issues you a memo because you have an apple on your desk, that values rules over common sense, is a company that is not worthy of loyalty


My idea of success is radically different than most people imagine. I want the freedom to write and travel. I don't wanna be an employee or a businessman. I want to write fulltime what I want to write. I'm an artist
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
The Huggybear story, "Forever Jung: Study of Jungian Psychology In Pinoy Pop Culture," appears today March 3, 2013 in Philippine Panorama, the Sunday magazine of Manila Bulletin
Carl Jung, with his revolutionary insights and formidable intellect, had dedicated his life in finding that elusive, primordial link between the individual and the collective consciousness of humanity. His revolutionary insights has become the template in the development of modern psychology
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Short Time Stories

By Jonathan Aquino

Tales of the faces
We see underneath
The citylights of downtown
Lives lived beneath
The outside world
Smiles of sorrow
In some corner of the city

"Let me be empty,
Oh, and weightless and maybe
I'll find some peace tonight..."

~Sarah McLachlan