Thursday, October 23, 2008

Memoirs of The Hill Series 5 (The Long Road)

The idea of entering the seminary did not sink in until it was about graduation time, when everybody was busy dreaming and fantasizing about college life in the city and all the (mis)fortunes awaiting small town boys like me. We would imagine the naughty colegialas and the kilometer-long stretch of girlie bars very close to the university downtown where we dreamed about enrolling in college. Just a thought of those fortunes tickled our bones and the muscles to the hilt. But those were just a dream. After all, the wholistic education that the Ignatian university offered was and is still beyond every aspiring probinsyano's dream. The best we could afford was a "hole-istic" kind of education offered beyond the confines of that walled haven. There, outside the walled haven the world is much, much larger, much stranger, more cruel and brutally real where sinners and saints don't make any difference and where hunger pangs make the rules. 

Graduation time was painful especially for those who have built solid friendship only to be broken by virtue of forced separation for a better, some say higher, cause. But it was a new beginning for the clumsy high school boys who wanted to become fine young men and make the difference. Leaving the stage for the last time after receiving the diploma presaged already the act of bidding farewell to your loved ones who would be seeing you less often that it was before. But life is a motion, a perpetual movement from one point to the other, regardless of its order as long as it is moving. Some move upward, some moved south. No ifs, no buts.

By mid-June, I was already late two weeks late for reporting to The Hill as new recruits were required to report earlier. As usual, it was all about money. We didn't have yet the money to pay for the boat ride because somebody who owed us had not paid yet. (No plane ride back then as it was too expensive). Finally, with less than a thousand pesos coupled with a dose of hope and determination to become a brother first and father later, I left for the big city. 

It was not  a smooth ride. I was stranded in the Visayas for a week and had to subsist on DSWD-supplied packed meal consisting of rice and hotdog that was too hard and whose taste I could not even remember anymore. When the storm subsided, the boat sailed with a passenger load good for three (3) trips! Before reaching the big city, I had the one of the most memorable boat-ride memories of my life. Wait! This is not about hitching a colegiala aboard, or having a three-some or what-have-you. The boat had trouble maneuvering the gigantic waves in that shark-infested area famous for drowning ships especially on bad weather. Bad weather! That was it! I thought the boat I took being the largest in the country would not bother the waves but I was wrong, DARN WRONG. When it tilted to its left for about four long minutes, I felt it was already bound to the ocean floor. That set us into panic. Everybody was grabbing life jacket and I grabbed mine--two of them. I thought one jacket would not float me up so I grabbed two. But before anybody could jump overboard, we heard the captain's voice on the loudspeaker urging us panicked passengers to calm down. There was no order to abandon ship, okay?

On that memorable trip I met a marine graduate by the name of Albert, who I befriended while we were stranded in the Visayas. When we reached the big city, he offered me an extra room at their family home somewhere in Roxas District for the night. It was too late to travel to an aunt's place up north so I decided to stay. In the morning, the first thing I did after breakfast was to call the then beloved rector of The Hill, informing him that I made it to the big city, albeit late. No problemo, come iho mio to The Hill right away. I was touched. But of course, I was determined to come no matter what, remember?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Oh! Baby!

Who wouldn't love to drive this baby, ha? But which one?

Of course, you don't drive the limo yourself. Here it comes with the driver. You drive the driver and you will go nuts, believe me.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Remembering the Forgettable (Romance)

Below is the draft of a note that I never sent to the apple of my eye before:

Dear mahal,

I believe I'm falling for you already. You may probably ask why. I don't have an answer. But I can talk to you about it.

Will you hate me if I tell you I love you? 

Yes, I already love someone, but is it wrong for me to love another, to love you?

I care so much for you and I knew I needed you. I only wish you care for me, and need me, too.

But I really don't care. What I care is that I tell you how much I care for you, how much I love you, how much I need you. I don't expect anything in return, except to continue inspiring me. 



Sounds corny, but true. That was the hopeless romantic in me. I made wonderful love letters for my friends way back in high school. After college, I made a few, this time, for a lady who was desperate to bag this guy (not gay). She got him, and she did not even bother to invite me to her wedding although I would like to believe my letters were not entirely responsible alone for hooking him up.

But look at the draft above. It's lousy, right?

Memoirs of The Hill Series 4

That distaste for karatula led me to consider pursuing other options than becoming a titled one. But I never gave serious thought on becoming a priest, either. I was in my senior year when a brother came to our school to talk about  priestly vocation and seminary life. The rest of his blah-blahs did not register, nor it left an impression about something very promising. 

It did not help that we had this weirdo and socially withdrawn asshole for a parish priest who drove his faithful to Iglesia sa Dios and some society of nocturnal devotees who would rouse the whole town from sleep with their pasyon-cum-orasyon amplified on loud speakers at dawn, starting at 2:00 AM to be exact. This weirdo minister never cut his hair for the entire duration of his short-lived ministry in our town; he was recalled after he figured in shouting match with a resident who was furious over the asshole priest's refusal to allow the resident's husband's remains to be brought inside the church for that reason: the shouting match. 

That asshole priest also invited vandals to his convent and there were nights when stones would rain on his roof as disgusted and disgruntled parishioners vented their ire over his asshole ways. He mostly refused to say mass in the barrios, and he locked the church doors most of the time. His Sunday sermons were downright dry and boring it made me wonder why such an asshole could become a priest, supposedly a good communicator, an excellent marketer of salvation. He was one of the worst preachers I have ever encountered in my life, though I must confess I stopped listening to sermons many years ago for fear of damnation caused unnecessarily by a bad preacher! 

That asshole priest made me rethink my decision to enter the seminary. But I had a way of convincing and reassuring myself that I would not become like him. When I asked for a recommendation, the asshole priest readily gave me, although I never got to see what was written inside the sealed envelope. (The one I handed later on to the (e)rector of the seminary.)

Fast forward to December of the same year. Six of my schoolmates trooped to city to take the exam and joined with the rest of prospective seminarians in a two-day get-together. But I went there as an excuse to see my favorite city, no more, no less. Then two months later, I received a congratulatory letter, saying I qualified for the seminary. I was the only one who made it. Two of my classmates were dying to enter but were unlucky. In two weeks, a fraile came to see me and family, probably checking if they were in the position to send me to the seminary.

News of my qualifying spread quickly, and friends and neighbors came congratulating and wishing me success daw in the seminary! Mukhang napasubo na yata ako, a. There's no turning back. What about the girls? Well, I kept them of course! I even added one shortly before graduation. The more girlfriends the better to keep you inspired (no argument, please).

Everything went fine and in three months, I was ready to enter The Hills. 

Monday, October 13, 2008

Memoirs of The Hill Series 3

Before recounting and recollecting all those fond memories of The Hill, I thought it is good to share and recollect, among other memories, how the fancy for the sutana ever started. 

My religious (in)sensibilities developed late. Though I grew up a Lola's Boy, and by extension a Catholic, I find my mother's Lutheran faith more attractive for both selfish and selfless reasons. I loved and hated Sundays when I was very young. That would mean I had to be dragged to the Sunday service that would take a good four hours. Sunday playtimes were short, and humid chapel and boring speakers were the order of the day. But by 11 AM, my mood would automatically shift from gloom to joy. It's Sunday school. Did I love the lessons? Of course not! I would only light up because there I would get to see my crush then, Ms. L, the minister's daughter. Just seeing her would make my day! For that little joy of a child, I became the object of envy among my friends because I found out they had a big crush on her! But they were not Lutherans, fortunately! Bigotry was strong as far as I could recall so they had no way of getting closer to her unless they abandon their grandmother's vow to Rome. What a pity!

Fast forward to few years. Now, for that attraction to sutana. In high school, I had the (mis)fortune of having X-Men as friends, both priests and seminarians, who early on understood the mysteries and miseries of their faith and left the convent in disgust. It is to them that I drew much inspiration (and desperation) from their inspiring and equally despising/despairing stories of their quest for the holy grail, er, the sutana. 

The sutana projects power to the one who wears it, regardless whether he is a she deep inside and in disguise. Power is a magnet, especially for those weak creatures who need to mask themselves with the trappings, in this case, of divinely blessed and immaculately white vestments. This concepts I wanted to validate. 

Sutanas aside, I could find fulfillment and ecstacy higher in degree than say manu strupatio (your indulgence please) or plain great sex in the stories of struggles that my X-Men friends shared, including those life and death situations they found themselves in during the dark days of Mang Ferdie's kleptocracy which went on for so long due in part to the silence of the apostles of Sin. (I should stop here, now.)

I was amazed, with the feeling very much like that of awe-and-sh0ck effect Dubya had promised the Taliban when he bombed out Afghanistan. Their stories were so engrossing, engaging, inviting, and at times, titillating. Before I realized it, I wanted to be like one of them for the reasons I just stated--the many irresistible -ings

I knew back then that having a piece of karatula bearing your name and title hanging in front of your house was and is still something, especially in a place bereft of titled men and women, some honorable and some never mind. But I began to suspect that I did not like hanging my name and my title in front of our house. This began my infatuation towards something more profound, something beyond the daily and ordinary course of living, whatever than meant I didn't care before.

Whew! Break muna.

Isang Gabi, Tatlong Babae, Memoirs of the Hill Series 2

The then newly-opened Robinson's Galleria was so tempting to be explored for a barrio (but not barriotic) boy who only had sari-sari and at times sira-sira (had to close for stacks of debts) stores back home in the boondocks of Mindanao as hang-outs. 

But the most inviting part of that mall along Edsa and Ortigas was its cinema that was showing what was to be a seminarian's dream flick-ST films, which were very much in fashion at that time. Not that I, nor were they deprived of skin flicks because back in the province, we had seen films hundred times racier and hotter than those offered in some Cubao theaters or elsewhere.

But it must be different when you were on a restriction: the stakes are higher and the thrill simply unimaginable. This thought I shared with three of my fellow X-Men, who agreed to avail of our Sunday liberty and partake of the skin flick on the big screen. But we were plain curious about how much that starrer could arouse our sensualities as boys of the cloth. We were young boys, yes, but our young testicles were oozing with advanced testosterone levels, mind you.

I could still remember the three ladies who made me perspire despite the ultra-cold AC and my heart beat faster: Cristina, Greta, and Rita. The three X-Men had the same trouble, only that they made more frequent trips to the RR where they must have poured out their 'sama ng loob,' with the lone flourescent lamp hanging overhead as their only witness . 

Aftr two hours, we left the place grinning, recounting the most titillating parts that mostly left stains on our undies, we found out later. 

That's how we enjoyed and not just fantasized and looked at sexual freedom in the context of sexual repression. Some X-Men brought their sensualities to the next level, but I restrained myself for fear of ST + D. Hitching should not have been a problem but my fear prevailed. My conscience was not sick, and I had and still have a clear sense of what is good or bad for me. I chose to be safe. Besides, I fully trusted and made use of my creative imagination with little help from the ever reliable Ms. Palmy. 

Guilty? Not a hint. We were being truthful. The recklessness of youth in us resolved to introduce ourselves in advance to the world of sensuality before age or death catches on us, leaving us desiring and despairing to do things we could not possibly do anymore, things that we could not do within the walled confines of The Hill, of things forbidden by Padre Pio because he was the only one licensed to do it with the blessing of his padre de amore. Mama mia! 

I wished I could bring the tres marias to meet the tres padres, but I knew they knew better than importing flesh traders to The Hill. Amen.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Memoirs of The Hill Series 1

So the public may know, a classmate- friend in the Visayas was telling me about SEX. SEX is actually an abbreviation for Society of Ex-Cams. I was floored! What a brilliant idea! Of course, I insisted on being enlisted as a founding member.

See, sex and seminary and seminarians and their masters are inseparable. They are mutually dependent and therefore, a necessity. Which brought my favorite (e)rector and dean into some kind of oral intimacy, as intimated to us by a fellow who had witnessed that passionate lip-locking moment where else but in the blissful quarters of the frailes at The Hill.

Sex and the various attempts to do it in whatever form and position or relation is not uncommon in an abnormally cloistered confines like the seminary/semenary. Trust the seminarians' creative imagination. This is about the only thing that requires no Call Slip or Out of Campus Slip that should bear the signature of Padre Pio. Everybody has a license to it and only the felines waive their licenses to do it themselves, but not giving up/given up on someone else doing it on them. Oh, that mystery byte, I remember. Or, that padre plumber digging holes at dawn. Or that confessor (bless his soul) licking the hand of the confessee, name it and you have it. Or, of used rubbers sticking out of the windows in that infamous infirmary whose wards had most of the time firmed themselves with little help from madonna reincarnates. We can go on and on but it's too premature to spill the beans here.

I shall have more of the above in the succeeding posts.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Reunion (A Reply to a Reply)

Deja vu. It's like sitting in one of your criticial theory lectures once again. I could smell the familiar barako brew swirling and smoke-laden breadth of some amidst crowd of awe-struck (star-struck?) seminarians who could not seem to get enough of those bestselling lectures of yours. Memories, memories, here we are again.


You're right. I came to the reunion with mixed emotions. I was anxious I would bump into people whom I despised before, but equally glad to see friends whom I have shared bottles of ginebra and gilbeys and marlboro lights, and secrets told and untold about some plumber who does bad plumbing and of 'divinely romantic priestly liaisons' and mystery bites and reconnecting ties with them. But the latter was more compelling, so I drag my feet to The Hill.


True enough, I saw at least three or four despicable faces but I'll leave it to the Who's H/She? corner ala Victor Agustin's Cocktales. But before my blood pressure could raise a bar, good friends came pouring in. One of them, a priest in the Visayas, I had the forture of sharing my thoughts with. I asked him if we share the same idea/meaning of an alumnus. We did. An alumnus, going by the inclusivist deifinition, is one who has studied, or has been a pupil, of an institution, and not pertains exclusively to "graduates" of an institution as some uninformed, ignorant and arrogant holy cow tend to argue.


It sounds trivial, but the exclusivist meaning is what is exactly in the minds of the holy friars at The Hill, at least a good a number of them. But I was and I am comfortable with the thought/fact/reality that I can afford to dissociate myself with the vestiges of that infamous The Hill, including those, in the words of my favorite senator, Miriam Santiago, of lower life forms where else but in The Hill. But dissociation is not totally comforting and therefore unnecessary, the point of which I shall explain later.


In the evening, I had the chance to chat with a group of mostly juniors wherein I shared with them, without them asking, my not-so-humble seminary experience and how it taught me to disbelieve in what the holy friars were preaching but were not doing anyway. All told, they were awe-struck (natch!) by my  one-liners and scalpel tongue. Asked how I felt seeing those people/faces again, "I can tolerate their presence but I still hate their faces." I was being honest.


Like an elder, I never skimp on dispensing intriguing but not necessarily controversial, calculated and measured but not cunning, irreverent yet relevant advice on how to get the most of their seminary life. I could read satisfaction and disbelief written all over their innocent faces. I told them not to set their sights totally into really becoming cloaked ministers; there is so much life can offer outside, in the whole wide world of real humans. Trust me and I'll bet, not a half of them would get to wear that prized vestment.


Then I went melodramatic, waxing philosophical and told them that I liken myself to a car. Some of my parts were manufactured in The Hill. But please don't bother to ask if I got the defective or the best parts or if the manufacturing process was perfected or flawed. The answer to this will be contained in the forthcoming bestseller, The Tales of The Hills.


True enough, many came not with their Lexus from the missus but humbler ones that were earned with the proverbial blood and sweat, and mucus and phlegm probably, or so I believe. I hope they were not flaunting it, lest they offer themselves future benefactors of the ignoble creatures on The Hill. Nothing bad about giving back? I'll leave it open.


I love homecomings, who wouldn't? But I love homecomings minus the pretentious and pretensions. So it's time we stage our own reunion to retell tales of horror, of divinely romantic priestly liaisons, of mystery bytes, of everything and anything that made us what we have become--the sum of all parts, some of which were manufactured in The Hill.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Killing Boredom

It's a quiet, chilly, and lonely Monday afternoon. I now realize how it must be difficult being alone in the office with no one to swap weekend news with. But that didn't mean unproductive, though. Made few phone calls and did some reports. 

The rain prevented me from venturing out for that much-needed back massage. Good thing my favorite is playing uninterrupted.