Huggybear's August 2013 Diaries (1 of 3)
August 24-30 Edition
Jonathan Aquino's Journal
August 4, 2013
8:51 p.m., Sunday
Lahug City, Cebu
I'm in another transition. What an evanescent life. I seem to be a ghost, like the lead character in Man of Steel, though I'm living my life to the fullest that only a true artist can understand. I'm looking at the Waterfront casino building that looks like a Maharaja's palace from my French-style balcony. I'm chillaxing, soothed by the sound of music from my radio on earphones, trippin' on songs I haven't heard for quite a while. Always brings a smile.
I'm a kid of the 90s, and I had this vision of getting married to Alannis Morisette. It's super nice to hear Hand In My Pocket again after all these years. And yup, I still love her.
"What it all comes to
is that everything's gonna be
fine, fine, fine!
'Cause I got one hand in my pocket,
and the other one's making a high five...!"
The song that came next is David Lee Roth's version of Just a Gigolo (I Ain't Got Nobody). I'm thankful that my life is the opposite, though I really like the song.
The weird thing is that it makes me happy
"I ain't got nobody!
Nobody! Cares for me!
I'm so sad and lonely...!"
I always remember that scene in Mad Dog and Glory where Robert De Niro plays it on the jukebox while investigating the scene of a crime.
I honestly can't imagine anything cooler than that
August 5, 2013
2:11 a.m., Monday
Lahug City, Cebu
I just finished a cigarette on my balcony, with the ashtray on the sill of my French window, with only my underwear. I hope the city skyline won't mind.
My article, "Immortal Dictums From Rock Legends" got published in Panorama last Sunday, and I made a special blog page for the soundtrack: Rock Legends. I've just written some scenes for my latest screenplay. I finished reading a book about conspiracy theories and I'm going to write some blog vignettes about them before I return it to my buddy Harvey.
In a little while, I will meditate, having done my daily quota of squats and push-ups, though I haven't done my yoga moves yet. I need to purify my body, mind and spirit, and hopefully I can regain my ability to read minds, like Charles Xavier
I uploaded my short film, Cebu: City of Angels, on YouTube last week.
I'm slowly recovering from my encounter with Doomsday, my code word for a traumatic experience that's still too raw to share with anyone, though I doubt if I ever will. I found new friends who are bringing back my shattered faith in humanity. I'll be on the road again soon; after all is said and done, that's where I really belong.
I'm sitting on the floor beside my bed again, like Peter in The Amazing Spiderman, thinking about how easier life would be if I'm like everybody else, at the same time realizing that I wouldn't change a gosh darn thing if I had to it all over again.
I just did my daily round of squats and push-ups. It's better to be consistent than to be burning with zeal one day and go POOF! the next. I'm about to go out when it starts to rain. I think it's a sign that I should stay home. I start working on a writing project instead, typing on my phone as I lay on my bed.
I'm on the radio again, and the first song is I'll Be Over You by Toto, one of my all-time favorites.
"Some people live their dreams,
some people close their eyes;
some people's destiny passes by..."
I'll make this moment special by jotting down happy thoughts while trying to finish my screenplay which I'll soon transform into the novel that will be my masterpiece, but I won't spend the night listing songs. Then came One In A Million, which I spoofed in a poem I wrote immediately after getting lost in La Loma Cemetery in All Saints Day in November 1, 2003, when I was living in Quiapo, Manila, which is one of the places where I have set my short novel Fisherboy. I was in La Loma to pay my respects to one of my closest friends, Jimmy Locsin, who died that year. I was the only physical mortal in the farthest part of the cemetery where Jimmy's grave is. I wasn't the least bit scared even if it was in the dead of night, pardon the pun.
I'm not afraid to die. I treat Death as my constant companion, as I learned from the Yacqui Indian sorcerer Don Juan Matus from the books of Carlos Castañeda. Don Juan Matus is part of "My Most Unforgettable Literary characters," one of my earliest published stories, in Panorama on January 2005.
I think of Death, memento mori, and it grounds me and adjusts my perspective on what's really important in my life.
Just when I'm writing the love story of my character Alfonzo, a young man who will become a vampire, next came the Twilight theme A Thousand Years by Christina Perri, my favorite of all the songs I heard since I arrived here in Cebu earlier this year.
It's about immortality.
"I have died everyday
waiting for you,
darling, don't be afraid,
I have loved you
for a thousand years..."
I saw three blinding lightning arrows come down from the sky above the Waterfront parapets. The dark sky is dancing in the spectacular aerial show. Wow, an electrical storm, and I have a front seat on my balcony! Awesome! Mother Nature rocks!
On my story is a confrontation which will become a rescue scene in a 17th century public market. And on my radio is another song that's special to me: My Fair Share by Seals & Crofts.
lost as a child's first thought,
I must have arms to hold me,
lost without love and care,
I must have my fair share..."
After switching to another station, I happily stumbled across another long-lost gem: Something In Your Eyes by Dusty Springfield
"Something in your eyes I see,
is all I ever wanted,
and something in your smile for me
is calling out my name..."
Playing next is a song I find really cute: the piano solo Out Of My League by Stephen Speaks
"It's fright'ning to be
swimming in a strange sea
but I'd rather be here
than on land..."
I can't believe that what played next is one of my most cherished songs of all time: What Matters Most by Kenny Rankin.
"An early morning smile
we tearfully recall,
what matters most
is that we loved at all..."
August 6, 2013
12:07 a.m. Monday
I really like Where Are You Now by Honor Society. I first heard early last year on a bus going to Tanza, Cavite where I was living at the time, and the bus was getting passengers diagonally across the semi-deserted Uniwide Mall before entering Coastal Road.
I am me and I'd rather be me than be someone else. The song says everything I want to say to the people who had touched my life.
"Where are you now,
'cause I'm thinking of you,
you showed me how,
how to live like I do;
if it wasn't for you
I would never be who I am..."
August 9, 2013
4:34 a.m., Friday
I went to my barber downtown in Manalili. On Osmeña adjacent to Colon, I bought a bottle of Drakkar. When budget is short, I get by with baby cologne. People always tell me I smell nice.
Then I went to SM in Mabolo. I watched the players in a cafe with tables designed as chess boards.
There's a show in tribute to the revolutionary war hero Andres Bonifacio. The main audience are school kids.
On my pocket is a guitar-shaped keychain with real strings, emblazoned with "Cebu," which I bought yesterday in Ayala mall in the business district. That's where I also bought a couple of ounces of original Jovan Musk. My parents died when I was a baby and one of my few memories of my dad is that almost-empty bottle of cologne. The scent is special to me though I used CK Obsession during my "showbiz" days.
August 11, 2013
3:44 a.m., Sunday
Lahug City Cebu
I'm starting this day like how I want to spend the rest of my present lifetime: waking up at dawn, meditating and doing my yoga. Breakfast is hot chocolate with a local bread variety named Francis.
Yesterday I was with Chad, one of my closest friends here, who studied law at Ateneo de Manila and scion of one of the influential political families in Cebu. We were chilling, strolling like tourists downtown. I treasure moments when I'm with good people, unwinding from the stress from work, just shooting the breeze but with sense.
I've always felt like the modern-day bohemian Troy (Ethan Hawke) in Reality Bites. My favorite scene is when he was walking down the street with Lelaina (Winona Ryder) pointing out the many places where he had worked for a while and then had left.
"You see, Lelaina, this is all we need" says Troy. "A couple of smokes, a cup of coffee, and a little bit of conversation. You and me and five bucks."
Chad and I had lunch in the historic district of Colon, the oldest street in the Philippines. It was a open-air restaurant that's famous for it's mami, rice noodles in steaming hot stew. We also had ngohiong, a local vegetable dish rolled in lumpia wrapper and crispy fried. Finally, I got a taste of rice made from corn grains.
Beside a gigantic old-school metal electric fan is a radio playing Pusong Bato. I'm in the Visayas, and this popular ear-bleeding song is perfect.
"Akala ko ika'y langit,
'yun pala sakit ng ulo..."
We spent the afternoon in Plaza Independencia park in front of the 16th century Fort San Pedro. It was a beautiful day, the weather is just perfect.
I remember telling an American expatriate earlier this week that I fell in love with Cebu because the climate is fine and there's no traffic jams and floods unlike in Metro Manila. He agrees, saying the air is free from pollution.
Chad and I chillaxed in a bench facing the Malacañan Sa Sugbo port office and the sea beyond it. The breeze was heavenly, the sensation of its gentle caresses is worth the journey. I like Cebu, and I'm beginning to feel at home. But I don't belong here. This is not my home for the simple reason that I don't have one. I confessed all these existential musings to him.
We had dinner at the popular row of sugba grill eateries on Osmeña Avenue which only opens at night. The way to immerse in the Cebuano culture is to eat outdoors with your bare hands. I happily demolished the large grilled fish and pork barbecue, along with a staggering eight pieces of pu-soh, rice that was cooked while wrapped in strips of coconut leaves the size of golf balls. It was a delicious culinary adventure.
Sure, I'm an outsider in Cebu. I never pretended otherwise. But I'm glad to be here. Someday I will have to continue my voyage, but I don't want to leave just yet
I just got back from having breakfast in Jollibee I.T. Park with some friends from my last company: CJ, Joanne, Jessica, Carolyn and Robert. Then we trooped to 7-11 beside The Walk for some choco-vanilla sundaes.
I bought a copy of The Manila Bulletin. My article on Richard Feynman is published in the Panorama Sunday magazine today. Also, it's about time I learn about what's going on in the world. There was an massive oil spill in Manila Bay. There was also a bomb scare in the major cities here in the Visayas region. That's why I saw a S.W.A.T team in Colon in front of Gaisano mall yesterday.
August 14, 2013
7:16 p.m., Wednesday
Lahug City Cebu
I began reading Paulo Coelho's The Pilgrimage at the Cebu City Public Library around two in the afternoon. I finished a third of the book, until the waterfall scene, when they closed at five. I have to go back. Paulo is on a mystical quest in the San Tiago Compostela. His guide is Petrus, sort of a sorcerer.
"The good fight is the one that's fought in the name of our dreams," says Petrus. "Many times in our lives we see our dreams shattered and our desires frustrated, but we have to continue dreaming."
I'm now in my apartment reading The First $20 Million Is Always The Hardest by Po Bronson, one of my favorite writers whose style I find so sparkling and original. The hero of the novel, Andy Caspar, is having his exit interview.
"Can you give us some idea of why you are choosing to leave?"
"Can you give me a good reason to stay?"
Bronson also wrote The Nudist On The Late Shift and Other True Stories of Silicon Valley, which inspired my story, "Silicon Valley: Where Ideas Change The World", which was published in Philippine Panorama on August 16, 2012.
I bought $20 Million yesterday in Booksale in Robinson's Fuente along with Como Hablar Con Sus Angeles by Kim O'Neill. What I'd saved for tuition for the Spanish class in Instituto Cervantes in Manila last January instead went to my magical mystery tour to Quezon, Bicol, Samar, Leyte and Cebu where I'm now.
During the ride home on the shuttle-style jeep, the man on my right kept looking at me. He seems to be pushing his legs next to mine.
"What time is it?" he asked.
"6:42," I told him.
"Is that advanced?"
"Yeah." I took out my mobile phone. "6:38," I said, checking the time there.
"Yeah," I replied. "Philippine Standard Time," I added. It is. I've synchronized it.
He said something.
"I don't speak Visaya," I said.
We were talking in Tagalog and cruising down Escario past the Capitol going to Gorordo.
"Where do you live?"
I'm used to strangers coming up to me. I don't even have issues with gays trying to make a pass. What I found uncomfortable is the way the other passengers were looking at us. They seem to find it fascinating. I find them parochial.
People who stare have no class.
August 15, 2013
5:47 p.m., Thursday
I'm in the park doing a scientific experiment. I'm checking if it's conducive to writing. I'm sitting in one of it's few benches, near the Filipino-Japanese Memorial, and they're all too narrow. Plus there are strange insects over my head. So my experiment is not giving me positive results. But it's not a failure. There's no such thing as failure.
I started the day doing yoga and strength-training exercises. Then I spent the rest of it at the library. Physical and mental. Balance. Harmony. I thank my Higher Self for an idea that popped this morning. I can now turn my library times into something practical and enduring. I'll write magazine articles on everything I read starting today. My first is about the eminent theologian Harry Emerson Fosdick, with stories from an encyclopedia of the supernatural like the ones about the Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg and the Israeli telekinetic Uri Geller.Who else will do that?
A lamp post beside the bandstand casts its pale spotlight on the dimming grass. I take a stroll and sit on the steps around the statue of the late President Magsaysay. The spotlights hurt my eyes. Night has fallen. The V-shaped Veterans Memorial stands blazing in the darkness. I find it symbolic and fitting.
Heroes should never be forgotten.