December Break: Friends

After bazillion years of planning, it finally pushed through. Maj and Hapi, my two dearest roommates, tagged along with me on my South. We spent Christmas in Daet – where foods are free and the weather is a mood swing.

Hapi, Mina, and Maj - Ze Roommates

Bagasbas Beach

The Beach. Maj and I chanced upon a super hot surfer dude on our first day. By “hot” I mean toned body, and abs, and skinhead, and chest hair, and putangena-ang-hot-ko appeal. We thought he’d make a good pair with Hapi, who was looking for a rebound guy at the time. But that is another story.  Anyway, we were just lurking around so we never got to know his name. Not even a picture.  But we really thought he was hot–from a distance.

Why hello there, Sunshine.



Maj is from Cebu; Hapi is from Tacloban. When Maj texted me that she’s going to spend Christmas with me in Bicol, I remembered replying “Go. Fill in the seat for Pa.” Something along that line.

ang hindi mawawalang WACKYYY shot


We were five in the family: Ma, Pa, Kuya, JR, and I. Every single year, I kept count of that number. I had a mental checklist of who’s present and who isn’t. We were always complete, you know. Ma, Pa, Kuya, JR, and I.  This Christmas, there were still five of us. Ma, JR, Maj, Hapi, and I. My friends filled in the seat for the two people who couldn’t make it this Christmas. One who will be home this New Year; the other who, unfortunately, never will be.

Foodamz and them Calories


the box office Chicken Lumpia


Maj and Hapi took charge of the kitchen. We had macaroni salad, mango float, buko salad, chopsuey, patatim, grilled fish, friend chicken, barbecue, pansit, cake, kakanin, beer, tea, juice, soda, and of course, Maj’s phenomenal chicken lumpia. I took charge of everything else in between – e.g. dish washing, peeling of carrots (which are all whatthefuck tasks). It was like our good ‘ol days in the pathetic boarding house in KNL and UP Village.



But the best part of it all was beer. We went to brickyard, drank one bucket, went home, and drank some more. I was with a group of friends who doesn’t smoke but does everything else in between and on the side. It was a good thing, more or less.

Hello from Santa

Three days had passed since Maj and Hapi left. Few more days and I’ll be facing yet another calorie-rush and a new year. My self-esteem level plummeted into -28163 and I feel bloated and unhealthy. I feel this every single year, anyway. Aside from that, everything else is different this December.

But for the sake of booze and friends and memories, Merry Christmas. ❤




ze bed was raped





slippers i "stole" from my brother's ex



This is where I live. A 1990s apartment with two rooms, a kitchenette, a small bathroom, a small sala, and a balcony waiting to happen. This is probably the biggest place I’ve ever rented since I packed my bag and left the province. I live with my two brothers and a family friend. Sometimes, a stray pussy drops by to score some leftovers. Sometimes, she brings someone to tag along, too. We are one happy family.




(Who gets to choose which one leaves and which one stays?)

She went back to the apartment the way she had left it: books on the floor, unwashed dishes in the sink, piles of laundries from last week, and scent of melancholia emanating from her room down to the kitchen and into the sala. It was as if a madman went to her apartment, uninvited, and left the door open.

The madman, too, forgot to say goodbye.

She unpacked her luggage: clothes, shoes, clothes for her brother, pre-cooked lumpia her mother made, supplies she bought from last week, a book, and some more clothes. She opened her wooden cabinet, put all her clothes in it, took one old shirt, and changed. If only she could unpack her memories, too, she would. It would be locked in the cabinet and the rage of the river would swallow the key to it.

Forty days after her father’s death, she went back into her new apartment in the middle of the bustling metropolis. Her neighbors played the same karaoke songs. Her younger brother still went home late after school.

But nothing will ever, ever be the same, she knew.


The girl was in loose shirt and faded shorts; her fingertips smelled of dye; her hair storm-tossed. She woke up thrice that day: when her phone rang, when her Mother went to her room to say goodbye, and when, finally, she felt too weak to sleep.

The girl wanted to make a coffee. Or hot tea. Or anything any 21-year old is supposed to have in the morning. Instead, she grabbed a pack of instant noodles and made one for herself. She was cold. A different type of ‘coldness’ this time, she thought to herself.

The girl moved by the window and watched the sky throw huge drops of rain, as if unloading tears. Then a bit later, the sun appeared from behind the clouds. It was a crystal-clear morning once again.

The weather, like her, was undecided.

Recurring memories still haunt her. Sometimes in sleep. Sometimes in the middle of the night. Sometimes when she thought she had forgotten.

She had not, she assured herself.

She was in loose shirt and faded shorts; her eyes smelled of pretense; her whole body, a heartbreak. Amidst her cold noodles and an indecisive weather, the girl decided to postpone her life.

No, not yet, the girl sang.