Fisherboy (6 of 11)

2Rivers March 16-22

Fisherboy: Imaginarily Directed By Ishmael Bernal
A Story by Jonathan Aquino (6 of 11)

The ocean was serenely glistening with the noonday sun. Jay and Prudy were sitting on the papag wooden bed beside the window overlooking the ocean, eating pili nuts. Prudy wanted Jay to continue his studies when they return to Manila. But the boy refused. 

"I'd rather work so I can help you, Tsong,” Jay said.“Truth is," he added, gulping fresh buco juice, "I already thought of a way! Well," said Jay, not knowing how to begin, "I hope we can stay longer here. Uh, maybe a week more? By the way, Tsong, Bugoy told me about that municipal councilor, who used to be a fisherman? Then there's this guy who lives in the next barrio? He's also a fisherman, and he was able to build a concrete house!" 

"I think I know where you're going," said Prudy, keeping it light and looking out the window.
"Tsong, I want to be a fisherman!" There, he said it! "I want us to live here!"
"You don't want to go school?"
"Let's do it this way," said Prudy. "You can stay here and be a fisherman. If you think this is the life you want, then...well," he shrugged. "But if not," he added with a smile, you go back to school! At least finish high school, Jay! Fair enough?"
"That's fair, Tsong, but," Jay nodded and shook his head at the same time. "I want us to be together!"
"I need to take care of our house in Manila," explained Prudy, "but I'll always come here, of course!"
"That's it?" asked Jay, incredulous and a bit indignant. "We'll be separated and it's nothing to you?"
"Someday you'll understand," said Prudy with a sad smile.
"Meaning, I'm giving you my blessing," said Prudy. "You can stay here and be a fisherman!" 

Prudy left the next day, taking fish to Manila. Somehow, he and Jay said their goodbyes without any suspicious show of emotions. Sensing his sadness, Bugoy took Jay to watch the fishermen return to shore. The aplaya was full of people, mostly waiting to take the catch to market. A couple of make-shift stalls had been built to sell the fresh aquatic harvest. 

"It's like a street party!" Jay exclaimed, grinning from ear to ear, as they walked slowly.
"You know, Kuya Jay, you're very lucky!" Bugoy told him. "Tiyong Prudy allowed you to fish. My father doesn't want me to!"
"Why not?" Jay asked. "There's nothing wrong with being a fisherman!"
"Of course there isn't," replied Bugoy, stopping. "My father wants me to finish school and find a steady job in Manila when I grow up."
"What do you want to be, Bugoy?" Jay asked.
The young boy was embarrassed. "I want to be the manager of an office," he admitted shyly. "Wearing rich clothes in an office with air-conditioning. I have a cousin like that in Naga."
"Why do you have to work in the city when you can live here and fish?" asked Jay, wondering why anyone would leave a place like this.
Bugoy shrugged bashfully. "There's my father!" he said exultantly, pointing to a fisherman who was dragging the wide, half-submerged net to the shore. He looked like Robert Arevalo in Gulong.

"Let's help them drag the net, Bugoy!" Jay said excitedly. The two boys raced down the aplaya.

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

(Photos courtesy of,

From The Journal of Jonathan Aquino aka Huggybear

March 1, 2013 
9:14 a.m., Friday 

I woke up this morning realizing that I need to transfer apartment again. Its my third day here in Lahug and I need a bigger space. But I'm still establishing myself so I can't afford a dance studio yet. (What?!) 

Besides, I have a neighbor who plays his MP3 too loud. Only idiots do that. Yesterday was one of those days where nothing will be the same again. I'm currently in training in a call center. I was hired last Valentine's Day, my fourth day in Cebu since I arrived Feb 10. Class started Feb 18, Monday. We are 15 in class. Only two of us are profiled for a 3- week training; the other is Reyn, a Filipino-Malaysian who will act as the source of my contacts when I have saved up enough to go to Sabah and Kuala Lumpur. The rest are for 6 and 9 weeks. We are all still on allowance. Once certified, the next step is a job contract with full salary and benefits, a certification bonus, and endorsement to product training. 

It's a unique set-up and especially helpful to me because I have no one who I can rely on here. Also, one of the most painful experiences in my life are those times when I've been forced to ask for help. As much as I have shown my appreciation to those who have lent a helping hand, I don't want to be in that position ever again. 

There's another strange phenomena in my "career" as call center hopper: when I get close to someone, they disappear. In my present classmates, there's Mac, Polly and Mikkhael. Mac's mother was in a hospital with no one to take care of her so Mac, who looks like Harry Potter, had asked last week to be re-scheduled to a different class. Also last week, Polly had texted our trainer that he'll be late for class because of a family emergency. When he arrived, everybody saw on his shirt the applicant sticker from Stream, another company. It was comedy, but he was terminated for lying. Mikkhael, a dance club studio DJ from Butuan who looks like Gerald Anderson, had double whammy bad news. Yesterday, he lost his phone in class. Hair-raisingly, I got a flash of who took it but there's no way I can prove it. Mikkhael has already been given a final warning for tardiness. He was even planning to move in to the vacant unit next to mine so he could be nearer to work. But he arrived late yesterday so he was terminated. Imagine losing your phone and your job in a day. 

Yesterday was the result of the call simulation certification. Only 6 of us, including Reyn. So we'll be in an enhancement class for a week or two while waiting for the job offer. Two other classmates whom I already consider friends didn't certify so they'll continue training: Hanani (who looks like Miriam Quiambao) and Rich (who looks like Chito Miranda of Parokya Ni Edgar) who was, coincidentally, a former local rock band vocalist in high school. Another classmate Ken, Rich and I did a production number yesterday in front of three classes. We performed because we are the loser in a parlor game while we are all waiting for the certification results. We did I'll be by Edwin McCain. 

As I posted on Facebook: "I gave one hell of a performance. With emphasis on 'hell.' " Those late in class would perform. Within the last two weeks, I did Beautiful In My Eyes by Jericho Rosales

Ken did Payphone by Maroon 5 

Mikkhael did Hanging By A Moment by Lifehouse

Rich did Unwell by Matchbox 20

Hanani did A Very Special Love by Sarah G. 

Another classmate, Jazz, did Fame

I remember Polly, Mikkhael and I found a restaurant with a Tagalog owner in the market. Ken and I once had one of those buy-1, take-1 burgers. Hanani and I went to McDonald's for dinner once. Rich is one of my unofficial teachers on the native dialect. I'm now in a situation where I have to bid them all farewell. As I posted on Facebook earlier last month while cruising the Alabang Skyway for what may be my last time: 

"I have long ago mastered the art of letting go. But it doesn't get any easier. I hate goodbyes." 

9:25 p.m. 

I'm in one of the benches in Fuente OsmeƱa Circle rotunda park as I type this. In front of me is the fountain. I can see on my right the office of Sun Star, the most highly circulated English daily here in Cebu. Behind me is the Rajah Park Hotel and Casino. I just came from work, our class' last day together. We all went to 7-11 for sundaes and had our pictures. I'm planning to buy some clothes and go swimming this weekend. From Lahug, I went down in the Capitol. I was there in the courtyard admiring the magnificent architecture. I took this photo: 

Then I walked here. I was arrested yesterday for jaywalking in front of Gaisano mall in historic Colon Street. The cop was really nice, we were laughing like pals. I was impressed (and I rarely use that word) because he even gave me a receipt for the P50 ($1+). That will never happen in Manila.

For me, the most significant aspect of that encounter is that I handled it without even an iota of nervousness. It seems I'm always at odds with authority but that's okay. The predominant emotion is bemusement, and the remaining ten percent is curiousity about how I will react. I was smoking and I told him that if I threw away the butt he might arrest me for littering. He laughed. I would too: I admire people with moxie. 

I'm very satisfied with that experience: I still have my touch. I'll be assigned to a different trainer on Monday. 

My trainer, Adrienne, who looks like a young Rosa Rosal, is one of the best ever I've been under. She sings in a local band and she let us hear a raw studio version of her catchy, radio-friendly composition, You. She and a Japanese-Filipino trainer, June, conducted the call simulation exam. We have another trainer, Peter, who was our speech coach. The word "beach," apparently, is pronounced with a long "e" sound. 

Peter reminds me a lot of a good friend of mine, Victor, who was a teacher of Koreans learning English and would give me students. That was 2002 in the Harrison Plaza area in Pasay. My communication skills achieve a full flowering in that phase in my life. That gave me the skills to work in a Korean school in the Ever Commonwealth area in Quezon City in 2003 when Victor left for Seoul. Ah, memories.

Can't get Metro Manila radio stations but the local stations here have the same format although the deejays speak in the native dialect. They have a lot of drama serials, reminding me of my stint last year as a scriptwriter for the DZRH daily drama Sa Kanyang Panahon. I would go to the MBC station besides Star City then jog around the Cultural Center complex. Maybe I should resume that, sending my scripts via courier coz they want hard copies. Yup, I think I'll do that. Oh, look, a group of teenage boys are practising a dance number on the other side of the fountain!

Gee, almost forgot. Earlier today, Magic Man, a young popular Cebu-based magician, was at the office and did some tricks for our class. His real name is Thomas Pua and he used to have a show at one of the local TV stations. 

~He hypnotized Jazz while patting Pepsi on the left shoulder. Then he asked Jazz where he touched her. She said on the left shoulder. But he never touched her at all 

~He divided a deck of cards in two and asked to Rich to pick a card and keep the other half. Rich got a 10 Hearts. Magic Man would need the card with the same color and equal value. He showed us 10 Diamonds 

~He asked Preach to crumple a hundred peso bill and give it to him. He put his hand behind his back. The bill is im which hand. Preach guessed wrong thrice. Magic Man returned it, telling him the complete serial number on the bill. He was right

~He showed Cat and Reyn a list of things on his phone. Reyn is supposed to choose an item listed on an even number, and Cat, an odd number, or is it the other way around? 

Anyway, Magician guessed them. He probably read their minds. And of course he was right Just like I posted on Facebook last night: 

"I believe in magic!" 

A friend of mine from way back, Sally, posted on my wall, asking me how I am. I said I'm fine and "I still believe in magic. If you don't, you got2believe!"

Got to Believe in Magic 
(from the movie Zapped)

(Got2Believe is one of my favorite Filipino movies. Here's a behind-the-scenes video I just found)


Two men met on a plane. One guy says he’s an account executive in an advertising agency, but he’s not with accounts or research, and he doesn’t write nor sell ads. Pressed for details, he says he’s a marketing man, but clients do the marketing for themselves. Is he in management? “No,” he says, “but I soon will be.”

"Do You Want A Career In Advertising?"