Category Archives: Random Thoughts

Kabaliwan at Sibilisasyon: O Kung Paano Kami Nag-usapang Lasing ni Foucault Tungkol sa Pag-Ibig

Bago sya dumating dito sakay ng eroplano, nagbabasa ko ng Madness and Civilization ni Michel Foucault. Basically, tungkol yung libro sa nagiiba-ibang kahulugan ng “kabaliwan” sa kultura ng Europe mula sa Middle Ages hanggang sa 18th century. Halos wala kong maintindihan. Pero may mga kaunting tumatak sa isip ko na lalo kong naalala habang kasama ko sya rito sa maikling panahon.

Sabi sa libro, at the core of madness is passion and a flawless, perfected reason.

Passion. Kahit anong translation nito sa Filipino, magtu-tunog cheesy: silakbo ng damdamin, simbuyo ng damdamin, pagkahumaling, pagsinta. Kapag hindi nakontrol ng isang tao ang kanyang passion, maaari itong mauwi sa kabaliwan–at wala na sigurong mas may alam pa nito kundi ako.

Gigibain kong lahat nang pinaghirapan kong buuin sa tatlong taon pagkatapos naming natapos, at iiwan kong lahat ang meron ako kulitin lang nya ko ng tatlong minuto. Yung kakulitan na parang bata na sya lang ang nakakagawa. Wala saking nagbago. Ipagpapalit ko pa rin ang trabaho ko, ang common sense, ang hiya, ang tamang pag-iisip–makasama ko lang sya ng ilang saglit. Kahit pilit. Kahit parang ampalayang mapait.

Siguro may mga magtatanong, “Eh kung ganon, bakit mo ginawa pa rin eh alam mo namang wala na? Di ba mukha ka lang tanga?” Sa totoo lang, hindi ko alam. At wala akong pakialam.

Makakalimot ang mga tao, iikot ang mundo, iibig si Kris Aquino, iiwan si Kris Aquino, iiyak si Kris Aquino, at –bukas makalawa–iibig sya ulit. Darating ang araw, mauubusan ng sasabihin ang mga tao tungkol sa kanya at saken, pero ako, di ako mauubusan ng nararamdaman para sa kanya. Continue reading


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Mars is our Asshole

It’s quite obvious that Mars is our asshole.

I mean, it’s been with us for such a long time but it was never possible to get glimpses of it ’til recently.

And even today you have to go to drastic measures and use highly advanced technologies just to take crappy snapshots of it

(oh, the gadgets and techniques you’ll have to employ).

It has mischievously poked mankind’s collective fantasy for centuries,

tickling it

until we giggle with the unearthly sensations.

It’s inserted itself in our highest works of art and our foulest films; a cosmopolitan cultural icon colonizing our consciousness.

But in all its omnipresence, it’s still a mystery.

Aside from the fact that it’s red and bumpy

we don’t really know anything about it.


there’s also the fact that it’s uninhabitable.

They say it’s full of carbon dioxide and other foul-smelling gasses,

noxious fumes that will make anyone’s eyes pop out

like Arnold’s in Total Recall.

But even though I’m no scientist, I can tell that there’s life there.

There has to be. Did you know that they found organisms in boiling magma? So why not this place?

Experience tells me that life can bloom in the filthiest of places.

So there’s hope and promise

that someday, we’ll come face-to-base with the thing that has haunted our imagination from time immemorial,

the black hole of our being,

the shadowy tunnel into the unknown.

We’ll see it,

feel it,

smell it,

taste it,

and then we’ll know who we truly are.

But I also know that someday soon our corrupt instincts will get the better of us

and we’ll find ourselves

drilling the shit out of that poor, sore soil for fleeting pleasures.

And the universe will hear our groans and moans;

lonely asswipes in paradise lost.


Inspired by photos of Mars:

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The Tin Man

There’s an inner loneliness in us that makes the entire contraption tick; the gears of emotion and ambition turn; the levers of the mind move up and down while moving gradually to a pre-encoded, semi-violent self-destruction as the screws loosen up. An inner emptiness that is the very fuel and the only source of life in this metallic shell. This mighty vacuum sets the mechanism dreaming like anything’s possible while knowing nothing is. And the tin man’s computer chip builds majestic castles out of alien sparks and electrons. Current and smoke. We dream of the organic life we can’t possibly have for the only life we know is something that corrodes in the rain. We dream of things we can’t have. We dream of places we can’t go to. We dream of people we can’t have. We dream. And the endless dreaming, strangely enough, somehow programs love into our Code.

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Let’s Write Again.

Let’s write again.

And let’s hope I haven’t forgotten how to stitch up with words what’s usually left gaping in life.

Let’s write about stuff again. My favorite petty things that have occupied so much space in my mind. Let’s write about work and home and the MRT; if you’re me, you almost always find yourself occupying one of the three.

Let’s write about thoughts again. Thoughts that dance so wildly they’re often more real than what I can touch with my oily fingers. The same thoughts that are so lethargic they make me sleepy just thinking about them. God they’re boring.

Let’s write about politics again and limit it to a single, icky sentence.

Let’s write about writing again and secretly gloat over the playfulness of the words–the inverted reflection of an ego so serious it abhors playing. Let’s express our love for words. My bread and butter. My feeding tube and others as well. The reason I’m digesting a huge piece of grilled meat right now and going to the bathroom to take a huge dump later. The reason why somebody on the Internet today, right this very moment, is probably cashing out while gladly taking my bullshit in. It’s a craft.

Let’s write about a girl again.

Oh, there’s always a girl–and that’s the first excuse. The first strokes of a craft well executed.

Yes, there’s always a girl. And the truth is, when everything coated with bull crap is wiped spotlessly clean, the only thing worth writing about is a girl.

There’s always, always a girl.

The one who breaks your heart walks away, another one comes creeping in. Freakin’ creeps they are. The new one’s not the same girl but something indescribable moves you to think she might still be the same, exact one.

Strange but maybe she’s even the same one you thought you got over with years and years ago. Sometimes, it seems to me, she’s all the girls in my life just wearing different masks and costumes. A trickster par excellence.

Maybe her ultimate role is to keep me chasing after her skirt–and you know how much they’re a killer when they’re wearing skirts. Maybe she’s a fishing line and I’m a fish. Only she’s the kind of line that doesn’t end and I’m the kind of fish who’s addicted to hooks. The endless whirring of the reel goes on.

Maybe–just maybe–it’s her purpose to keep creaming my heart until there’s no more and I’ll take the first woman I see by the hand on a drunken night in front of the altar just to fuckin’ get on with it and die.

Maybe her ultimate reason for living is to make me live.

Who knows?

But I guess I’ll wait for her and try to set an appointment despite her impossibly unpredictable schedule. I’ll search for her masked face in the crowd who don’t really give a shit about me and her. Keep on looking ’til I pick up her scent, that familiar fragrance of a kind of fear that has to be met like a man in order to feel like a man. And if I can’t sniff her out because she’s so elusive and rare, maybe I’ll wait some more and grow old some more. I’ve done it before and fairly recently.

In the meantime, I think I’ll tap on the keyboard.

Tap on it like a modern mating call ’til she shows herself–the love that won’t leave.

But come on. Let’s just stop this madness and write again.

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You know what sucks? Coming to a point in a twisted course of mental maturity to realize that you have absolutely no knowledge to impart.

It’s that Socratic understanding that you know nothing about the world, only you can’t put it philosophically because you’re too hopelessly dumb for that shit.

Maybe your old professor could have done it but not you.

And that’s what’s frustrating, you know? Some people–a lot of people–no, most people can actually impart knowledge. And not just the really smart ones but also the bluntest tools in the shed.

They’ll say things like, “Work hard, live free, love with all your heart and pray.” And lots of people will like that piece of hackneyed, bullshit knowledge and it’ll accumulate Likes and Retweets.

Or they’ll spout ideas such as, “Have peace in yourself and the world will follow.”

They sincerely believe that and a lot of people, upon hearing that message or reading it on their computer screens, will believe that. And that right there is a piece of knowledge benevolently given to people who love such positive thoughts. That was a good piece of advice genuinely given and appreciated.

And the Socratic schmuck that you are, you’re just there in your chair, disbelieving the shallowness of it all. You’re there, half-shaking your head at the inane kernels of truth people are joyfully swallowing.

But then that’s exactly where you’re wrong–when you think these thoughts are “shallow.”

And you know that.

You know you’re wrong.

You know that while you may know a lot of half-understood social theories and philosophies, such thoughts are probably as shallow and useless as the ones that repulse you every day.

Maybe you’re a Marxist who’s not really a Marxist because you’re not doing anything to change the social mode of production. Heck, maybe you’re having trouble changing the mode of your everyday office fashion, or the mode of your Sunday loserly hobbies.

Or maybe you’re a postmodernist who likes to debate on forums about the plot holes in massive theories. But the problem is, since you’re a postmodernist and you’re keenly aware of what makes people tick, of biases and rhetorical tricks, you’re also keenly aware that your being a postmodernist is just an excuse for your dry, postmodern life devoid of ideals worth fighting for. Case in point: you’re all for “differences” but you go gaga with every new revelation that some celebrity hunk is apparently as gay as a Teletubby.

Or you’re probably just another atheist hating Christians, a bookworm reviewing a stack of books in your blog like your literature teacher is going to make you summarize chapters anytime, or an indie and news media-guzzling social butterfly who can talk to anyone about anything:from the Eurozone’s crisis to Ai Weiwei to what the color of shit is after one eats a whole jar of prunes.

Maybe you’re one or all of that and you still can’t impart a single piece of knowledge. Not to your best bud, not to your romantic partner just begging you to spill it out, not even to yourself.

And why?


Hell, you don’t really know why exactly.

You’re not sure about a lot of things and that’s why you’re silent. You’re not sure that if you speak, somebody will listen, and if their listening would be worth the act of speaking that piece of knowledge in the first place.

I mean, is it worth it to say, “There is an ongoing revolution right now even if you don’t see it. It’s happening online and offline and this blog you’re reading is just another chess piece or battle tank in this historical battle to give Hegel’s Reason a worldly form.”?

And what will you do in case someone agrees with that? Would you like to be responsible for the things in his head? Would you egg him on? “Oh yeah, I have the truth of it, dude. Go ahead and read more Hegel!”

Doesn’t that suck? It’s like attending to a baby but you’re the kind of psychopathic mother who drowns her babies when they cry too loud.

That is actually what separates you from a normal, knowledge-imparting man of the streets: he believes what he says and he sticks with it. And even if he comes to disbelieve it in a week or two, he just doesn’t care.

But you care. You’ve matured so much you fuss over the authenticity of things. It has to be true before you can say it. As true as the fact that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. But aside from being undoubtedly authentic, a piece of knowledge has to be driven by something inside you. It must be motivated.

And you’re not motivated. So here you are, smirking at people’s shallow ramblings when you don’t even have any motivations at all for whatever truth drops from the ceiling.

You’re the ultimate disbeliever. The monstrous, lab accident of disenchantment. Of maturity. Of sterility. Whatever you wanna call it. You don’t even care about the proper names of things no more.

Call the goddamn chair “Henry V” for Christ’s sake! That’s cool. But in the back of your mind, you know things are labeled “cool” because they’re worthless and the ones who thought of them just wasted their time. Because they’re like you, Socratic schmucks.

Somebody says you’re wrong? Who the fuck cares?

You don’t care about being right.

And the sad thing is, the few times in your life you’re sure of being right and you actually bring yourself to fight for your rightness, you just know no one’s going to give enough shit anyway.

You need shit but there’s never enough shit.

Never enough shit for you.

Your parents won’t learn a thing from your strangely busy days. Your kids won’t learn to tie their shoelaces from you.

You just sit there in your chair, smirking your smirk. A silent treasure of knowledge no romantic pirate from the most beautiful fantasy can ever hope to uncover.

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The Real Problem is Gravity

The real problem is gravity. This primordial force of nature that oftentimes subtly, but sometimes violently and mercilessly, pulls our feet down to the ground where we belong. It would throw us savagely against the face of the earth, splattering our brains and guts all over the map. It would crush us the second we get ahead of ourselves and think we can really fly.

How stupid of us. How ridiculous! Just look at how we fill our heads with the most complicated of thoughts and our notebooks with the most elaborate of plans just to see real life break them into two simple shards: to live or to die. And of course, we always choose the first option, making things even more laughable. For the moment we choose to live, we die bit by bit. Who really lives? Is this life? Working from morning ’til night, typing thousands of insignificant letters on a screen, so someone can make millions off them while we waste hours, years, decades, eternities cheating ourselves? Listening to nifty bits of music in the train to dull the senses and hide our consciousness from the zombie of a world banging on our door, screaming, “Let me inside your head, so I can eat your brains, you yellow-bellied fucktard!”

Yeah, that’s about it. That’s about life. And then there’s the amusing fact that when one chooses to die, he miraculously finds the secret passage to real, radiant, thriving life. Ask the people who are ready to die anytime. Ask the rebels in the mountains who have something to live for. The scavenging souls in the streets who still find a genuine reason to smile. The terminally ill who can find spiritual meaning in a matchstick or a dead cockroach. What are their mornings like? I sincerely think they have something I don’t.

See I’ve tried to rise above it like every John and Mary in the room. Hoodwinked myself into believing I’m worth something priceless and intangible. Perhaps an element of immortal love, rushing above people’s heads in a gust of wind. Or an embodiment of hope–a furnace of phoenix fire eternally renewing itself. A lighthouse signaling ships where to go in the darkest, most directionless nights. I’ve tried to imagine myself as such to no avail.

When the time has come for the twinkling fairy dust to collect on the floor like regular dirt to be swept away, all I see is a man, sitting in a dreary desk in a square building, facing his computer screen for the upteenth time. An existence deprived of the time to love. Or to take his lunch. A bag of sickness and porn waiting to explode into something fleeting, filthy and futile.

It’s all because of gravity.

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Cut the Bullshit: The Sanctity of Toil

It’s always been one of my greatest fears that by some twist of fate (not really that strange and even much closer to reality when I think about it) that I’ll end up a beggar on one of the many footbridges of Manila.

That even with all the education and the job experience I have, I’ll end up being one of those subhuman creatures barely distinguishable from the dirty concrete on which they crouch and lay festering with all the grime and soot of the city.

Then one day, my educated and well-off friends from the university will pass by my footbridge and happen to identify my face among the faceless. And they’ll be shocked to their wits’ end. They’ll cry. And they’ll be afraid to talk to me for fear of what I have to madly rave about the world, about life, maybe even about them.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that that fear is one of the many reasons why I strive daily to make something for myself. I want to be able to tell people I’m ok–in fact, that I’m doing great and I have a future. Like many of us who have actually finished our studies, I’ve always wanted to send a crystal-clear message that, so far, my life was worth it.

But what if I fail?

What if the devil whips its cruel tail and this nightmare of nightmares by some not-so-strange twist of fate comes true and I become, by tomorrow, a hapless beggar on a bridge muttering insane?

Would I not be worth considering a worthy friend and schoolmate?
Would I not be worth considering a productive and honorable citizen of this nation?
Would I not be worth considering a good son to my family?
In other words, would my life not be “worth it?”

Let’s cut the bullshit. You and I both know the answer and we don’t have to sugarcoat it just to defend our conscience currently being questioned. When I say “burger,” you instantly think of the object “burger.” And so therefore, just to be honest right here, right now, don’t stop that burger from appearing in your mind. The easy, simultaneous and honest answer, stranger, is that “Yes, your life would not have been worth it. Your life would’ve been a waste.”

It would’ve been an utter waste because I failed to make something for myself. All that learning and toil for nothing. Networks of useful people down the drain. Hopes extinguished by a terrible, inescapable destiny when an unspeakably shameful, shabby and fearsome monster came out from the skin of a former, now forgettable, human being.

What this means to me is that my life’s worth is in my toil–in my hollowed place in the market, in economics.

Stripped bare naked without my education, without my networks of friends, without my career, without my money, I am not worth it. To cut the huge pile of bullshit again, I don’t deserve to live.

No, it’s not that harsh of an idea and this is definitely not just the ramblings of another depressed soul who’s overflowing with sappy melodrama. Make no mistake about it. This is a rational proposition you should think about.

The squalid people in the streets, they don’t deserve to live.
Our pathetic, uncivilized, dirty neighbors, they don’t deserve to live.
Our farmers who barely earn anything, they don’t deserve to live.
The 925 million people who are suffering from hunger in the world don’t deserve to live.

For if these people deserve to live, how come they’re dying? And how come it is within our conscience to let them die?

I tell you the day I join these people is the day I lose my right to live. That is the day everyone who is in their right mind would leave me to rot and be another heap of meat for the city’s voracious host of parasites, the worms, the flies.

If someone has the right to live, we do everything to allow them to live. Or to be more precise, if someone has the right to live, then he has the MEANS to live. What is right but freedom and what is freedom but the means to achieve an end? For instance, if someone says he has a right to education, that could only mean that he he has the power to access education. Otherwise, that right is nothing but an empty word spoken by a lunatic to a brick wall.

To have the right to live is to deserve to live. And to deserve to live is to have the means to live. No more, no less.

And here we arrive at a question of conscience: since it is within our conscience to let other people die of extreme poverty while some of us live in obscene luxury, do we then concede that it is within our conscience to say the majority of the people in the world just don’t deserve to live?

Do we then concede we our complicit to this setup that agrees some people should just die?

Why? Because these people haven’t found their hollowed ground in toil, in the market, in economics. Therefore, they deserve their lives extinguished.

For if these people deserve to live, then obviously, we should have already acted in a decisive way ages ago to save their lives and keep them from dying a slow, terrible death brought about by hunger and sickness. If your mother got sick, wouldn’t you spend every bit of your savings to send her to a hospital and provide her with all the medicines she needs to get better? Heck, if your puppy suffers a stomachache you would surely send it (Him? Her?) to a vet if the fee is within your resources. Your mother, your puppy, and other beloved human beings and creatures in your life–they clearly deserve to live because we have the means to make them live.

But those others I mentioned earlier, they clearly deserve to die.

Oh, don’t feel so guilty. We’re all in this together. We are stopped by the same obstacle and arrested by the same fears. We’re not so bad.

Aren’t we?

This is not a new proposition at all. On the contrary, this is something deeply ingrained in our consciousness, manifesting in our most automatic judgments and decisions. We affirm it everytime we say and we agree that “The poor are poor because they don’t work hard enough. They deserve what’s happening to them.”  We proclaim it every time we cheer the MMDA who clear away shanties, leaving the poor howling and thrashing on the ground in front of their “illegal” dwelling places. They don’t deserve such places. Some people who have already bought those spaces deserve them. They alone have the right to build dwellings and buildings or maybe even leave those spaces growing nothing but tall grasses for years. Curiously, this is the economic equivalent of that karmic belief in Buddhism and Hinduism that underprivileged people deserve whatever they have in life because they have been unworthy in their past lives. They haven’t reached Enlightenment. And in our case, this means our poor haven’t reached economic Success with a capital S. In that country we so find it righteous to follow in institutions, culture, and in many other aspects of life, that karmic enlightenment, that Success is known by another term–the American Dream.

Without toil, we are nothing. We aren’t human beings. Let me correct that.

Without toil that makes us a significant amount of capital, we are nothing. We aren’t human beings. After all, the beggar on the footbridge still captures capital in a cup. It’s just nowhere near “significant.”

And so I go from day to day, struggling to keep all my armors and weapons of life in tact–my education, my networks of people, my career. These are my chain mail, my iron shield and my great sword forged in the fires of bourgeois upbringing. I wear them always and polish and sharpen them everyday lest they crack in the midst of the often merciless battle of the global market. I wouldn’t want to be stripped of them and die suddenly, do I?

I’m sure you’ve heard of that term, the “inviolability of life,” the “sanctity of life.”

Well, it is clear to me these beautiful phrases mean nothing but the “sacredness of toil,” the “the holiness of the market.”


From my former professor, Gerry Lanuza:

“If all the food produced worldwide were distributed equally, every person would be able to consume 2,760 calories a day (hunger is defined as consuming fewer than 1,960 calories a day). Food entitlement differs from food availability in that it indicates what a person can command with income and thus consume, rather than what is available in the market.”

He said it on Facebook, if that means anything.


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