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The country’s “Science and Nature City”: a mixture of nature, faith, and history (Los Baños, La Laguna)

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If the beaches of Puerto Galera and Boracay are popular names during the scorching days of summer, Los Baños is king during the rainy days due to its soothing hot baths.

Thus the town’s name in Spanish; it is literally translated as “The Baths” in English.

The numerous hot springs located at the foot of Mount Maquiling usually comes to mind when the name Los Baños, a first-class urban municipality in Laguna southwest of Calambâ (or 63 kilometers southeast of Manila), pops up in conversations. Geothermally heated groundwater deep from the Earth’s crust produces these hot springs’s. It is said that Monte de Maquiling, which is actually a dormant volcano, will not explode anymore because the heat which is supposed to fuel its explosiveness is channeled through these hot springs that are now converted into popular resorts for short-time vacationers. Also, the sulfuric content of the waters are said to have healing properties for various ailments such as arthritis. And this was discovered by a friar.

Before the coming of the Spaniards, what is now known as Los Baños used to be known as Maynit, the Tagalog word for hot (that term is now spelled as maínit). Maynit was then a part of the ancient lakeside kingdom of Bay until 1589 when a Franciscan, Fray Pedro Bautista, discovered the place. Upon the discovery of the Maynit’s hot springs, he had them examined by fellow Franciscan, Fray Francisco de Gata, who was an expert in medicine. That is how they discovered the hot springs’ medicinal properties whereupon they established a hospital there for the natives (that hospital serviced the sick up to the last century).

Years later, San Pedro Bautista was martyred together with twenty-five other Christians in Japan. He was later declared as a saint. The people of Los Baños should take pride that it was founded by a saint.

Monte de Maquiling (Los Baños side).

Strangely, while the natural waters of Los Baños are hot —enough to boil an egg for about half an hour—, the five streams coursing through it (Dampalít, Saran, Pilì, Mulauin, and Maitím) are not.

Below are more photos of my visit to Los Baños’ town proper (población) two months ago (8/10/2010).

One can enter the town proper here...

...or here.

Railroad to Manila.

Bahay na bató.

Gallo lagunense.

Town plaza. At the right is the municipal hall.

Municipio.

All the names of Los Baños' barrios/barangáys are inscribed on this rock situated on the town plaza.

A colorful entrance to the Kainan sa Dalampasigan, a restaurant on top of the waters of Laguna de Bay. It is right behind the municipio.

Kainan Sa Dalampasigan (Dine by the lakeshore).

The ancient lake: Laguna de Bay.

A view of neighboring Calambâ, beyond those hills.

To the right is a part of Los Baños. Beyond is the town of Bay from where the name Laguna de Bay comes from.

Fronting the lake is a park and recreation area.

Morning exercise for the local police right beside the lake.

This park was named after the National Hero's big brother.

The municipal hall. The current town mayor is Anthony Genuino of the political group Bigkis Pinoy.

Railway going to Manila.

Los Baños Central School (elementary campus).

Los Baños Central School (high school campus).

Magtaním ay di birò, maghapóng nacáyucô...

The national road, southbound towards the rest of La Laguna's more rustic towns.

Aside from the town’s many hot springs resort, not to mention Mt. Maquiling, Los Baños was also known as the site of the University of the Philippines Los Baños, commonly known by its initials UPLB. The school is one of the University of the Philippines System’s six constituent universities. First known as the College of Agriculture in 1909, UPLB became a full-fledged university in 1972. It’s location is strategic and so conducive to learning: nestled at the very foot of Mt. Maquiling.

University of the Philippines Los Baños (entrance).

Speaking of Mt. Maquiling, tucked somewhere in the forests of the mountain is the The National Arts Center of the Philippines (NACP), a haven for young and aspiring artists. Indeed, the mythical splendor of Mt. Maquiling’s forests is also conducive to the spirit of learning and inspiration for these young artists. The NACP also houses the Philippine High School for for the Arts. The school provides scholarship for young gifted Filipinos whom it wishes to mould into great artists someday.

The National Arts Center of the Philippines.

Aside from the UPLB and the NACP, the picturesque town of Los Baños is also the site of the famed International Rice Research Institute, the Philippine Council For Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development, the eco-tourism site Pook ni María Makiling, the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity, and various other institutions dedicated to nature, eco-tourism, and the environment. As such, this historic town was declared as the Philippines’ Science and Nature City under former President Joseph Estrada’s Proclamation No. 349 on 17 September 2000.

Paciano Rizal Shrine

“Él es mucho más fino y serio que yo; es más grande y más delgado, no es tan moreno, con una nariz fina, bella y aguda, pero tiene piernas curvadas.” —José Rizal’s description of his brother in a letter to Ferdinand Blumentritt—

Indeed, this town is even made more historic because this is where José Rizal’s brother Paciano breathed his last.

The mysterious Paciano Rizal (1851-1930) was the second of eleven in the Rizal/Mercado brood. He was a disciple of the controversial and martyred priest, Fr. José Burgos. It was from Paciano who Rizal imbibed much of the martyred priest’s nationalist/secularist ideals.

It was Paciano who, in a way, “recruited” his younger brother into joining Masonry by secretly sending the latter to Europe (without their parents’ knowledge!). Although not much has been written about Paciano’s association with The Craft, it should be carefully noted that Paciano worked with Fr. Burgos in the Comité de Reformadores, an organization which had many Masons in its roster (it should come as a surprise as to why Fr. Burgos, a Catholic priest, worked with such a committee at all). The said organization was also backed up by the liberal Governor-General Carlos María dela Torre, himself a high-ranking Mason.

It is therefore safe to conclude (as concluded by many other scholars) that Rizal’s early notions of liberal-mindedness was from his Cuya Paciano. Paciano was Rizal’s first “bridge” to the liberal tumult of 1872.

After Rizal’s execution, it was written that Paciano escaped to Cavite to join the rebellion against Spain. Many historians even wrote that he reached the rank of a general and saw action in Santa Cruz, La Laguna. Later, during the American invasion, he was captured somewhere in the province. Subsequently, after American subjugation, he lived a life of peace in his modest Los Baños enclave.

Paciano Rizal Shrine. This is where Paciano lived his last years. The house was designed by renowned architect Andrés de Luna, the son of painter Juan Luna.

This is where Paciano is buried. The remains of his sisters Trinidad and Josefa were also transferred here a few decades ago.

Descendants of Paciano Rizal.

Paciano's bedroom.

The Rizal family tree.

The house/shrine's floor plan. This house used to be a nipa hut.

A bust of Paciano.

Iglesia de Inmaculada Concepción

It is sad that this centuries-old church no longer bear its original features because it was bombed beyond recognition by the Americans’ careless and almost useless carpet bombing in the area during World War II. Although there were indeed Japanese soldiers that had to be annihilated, it was not really necessary to bomb churches. Such frenzy in bombing various churches in the country —from Intramuros to Antipolo to Los Baños— leads a critically thinking mind to suspect that there could have been (and must have been) a hidden agenda, and that the so-called “liberation” of the Philippines from the Japanese Imperial Army is only part of a veiled attempt (and a good excuse) to destroy the Filipino identity. Collateral damage, so to speak. But that’s for another blogpost.

The previous war also explains why only a few Filipino houses (bahay na bató) are left in Los Baños.

The church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception no longer carries the sterling qualities and architecture that is known of Filipino churches during the Spanish period. However, despite its small size and the apparent lack of expected Filipino architectural aesthetics, its modernity —most especially its interiors— still hold a distinctive flavor which could not be compared to churches found in other countries. It still is Filipino. Also, it has a “mini cupola” situated right above the retablo, something rarely seen in both old and modern churches.

Iglesia de Inmaculada Concepción.

Liceo de Los Baños stands right in front of the church and is actually within church vicinity.

Come, let us adore Him!

View of Laguna de Bay from up the church tower.

The steel steps towards the bell tower are so wide apart from each other. And it's a dizzying sight looking down. Good thing I didn't tag my daughter along.

A view of the town and Monte de Maquiling from the church tower.

Liceo de Los Baños and Laguna de Bay from up above the church tower.

Nope, these two bells aren't from the Spanish times.

Upon descending the church tower, I was able to see the old Spanish-era bells; they were right below the steel stairway, cobwebbed and all.

The words Nuestra Señora de Aguas Santa de Maynit are inscribed onto one of the bells. It refers to the Virgin who is the patroness of this town. Maynit was the old name of Los Baños. Maynit means hot, pertaining to the town's numerous hot springs. I could not make anything out of the year due to heavy rust.

The bells beneath the steel steps.

A list of the church's early donors solicited by Doña Sofía M. Villegas.

Although it was bombed during the last war and has been disfigured beyond original recognition, this church still stands proudly today.

Thankfully, Los Baños still has the rural flavor that many aficionados of things pastoral will surely love. It can be said that Los Baños is the divisoria of La Laguna’s urban and rural side: the towns north of it are fast beoming clones of Metro Manila; the towns to its south remain rustic. Los Baños features both. Truly, Los Baños is an odd mix of old and new, of faith and anti-faith, of religion and science, of arts and commercialism, of rural and urban. But above all, Los Baños’ propensity for being a haven of some of the country’s most diverse flora and fauna is one treasure that it has to protect, conserve, and respect not only for the sake of eco-tourism and nature itself but also for the sake of future Los Bañenses.

Update on the Alberto Mansion of Biñán

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Is Gerry Alberto’s house going to be declared a heritage/historical site? Stay tuned…

Biñán City officials are hoping to prevent the loss of one of the city’s famous landmarks – the 200-year-old ancestral home of Jose Rizal’s mother – to a resort owner in Bataan by converting the historic property into a local heritage site. “Ang first step namin under the new law is to declare a property na parang local heritage site na mayroon siyang connection sa isang bayan,” said Biñán vice mayor Walfredo Dimaguila. The plan will not only salvage the structure, but also the history cradled inside its four walls. Once declared a heritage site, the property can no longer be transferred or put to other uses, Dimaguila said in the GMA News report. GMA News.TV

Our treasured family values: scribbling like a mad potato like the one I saw in a run-down wet market filled with earthworms, screaming beggars, fighting vendors, and siesta-fanatics eager to forget the trauma caused by Ondoy and Pepeng who weren’t even invited to attend Pacman’s victory party over Pacmom’s debut movie about happy families resembling one another but that every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, only to realize that it was Tolstoy who said that in Anna Karenina (not the TV soap) just to prove that he’s a prrrrrrrroud Rrrrrrrrrussian and that I’m not… but there’s still sunshine left!

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Like all the best families, we have our share of eccentricities, of impetuous and wayward youngsters and of family disagreements. –Queen Elizabeth II–

The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation into a mere money relation. –Friedrich Engels

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family:
Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.
–Jane Howard–

I just got to have a family. –Pepe Alas–

*******

Facebook: What’s on my mind?

Pepe Alas Going through very difficult times again: still no nannies for our kids; no choice, can’t go to work; writer’s block; depression; frequent low blood pressure attacks; and worse, our rent-to-own house might be cancelled, and it’s not even our fault. Good grief… why us??? =( Thu at 6:52pm
Pepe Alas I’d really appreciate it if anyone of you would take care two of our four kids for just a few days. Don’t worry: they’re polite and nice and loveable… exactly like their dad! And they’re fun to be with! They might even teach you some Spanish. Por favor, help us… Thu at 7:31pm
Jaime Martinez del Rio Pepe, animo! Ojala pudiera ayudar y estoy seguro de que muchos amigos tuyos lo haran. Si de algo sirven mi apoyo moral y amistad eso lo tienes! Aun cuando nos cubren los nubarrones mas negros aun ahi hay esperanza, y siempre vienen los tiempos mejores. Dios nos ama, ya veras que todo estara mejor! Thu at 7:37pm
Anmie Samson Martinez Relax lang. This too shall pass. Why will your “rent-to-own” contract be cancelled? What happened? Thu at 8:13pm
Leslie Nobleza hay mdmi tlg may gnyang problema.. ngka2ubusan n ata ng yaya ah.. ako pwde, mga 100k/month.hihihi Thu at 8:30pm
Arnaldo Arnáiz hang on there hombre, help is chopperin’ down… Thu at 11:34pm
Ragna Ivez pWdE b kO magAppLy, bUkoD s FrEe TuTpAsTe, sHampU at sAbOn..kLangAn mAy fRee mEaL, 2LuGan, dAILy gMik aLloWaNce (xMpRe pSyaL kMi ng mGa kIdoz) at ang rAte kO eh 3K a day wIth TutOriAL uN ah.. ahahha… kYa nYo yAn… sMiLe p rIn.. aJaaaaaaa!!! Thu at 11:46pm
Joaquin Montenegro Pertierra galing ren ako diyan more than a week ago, hirap talaga! Yesterday at 1:52am
Ann Cecil Evora kaya mo yan cuz! Yesterday at 1:56am
Levi Landrito Soledad You’ll get past through this Panyero, steady lang. Yesterday at 6:52am
Lian Gabrielle Santos Tado!! Este Pepe pala!!! Yakang yaka mo yan Peps!! Kaw pa! You’re no spanish speaking rep for nothing!!! Yesterday at 12:11pm
Pepe Alas Thanks everyone, for the moral support. Being a depressive, I really need it. My wife couldn’t take the pressure. Partly, it’s my fault; I’ve been grouch, myself. Now she already left our home together with two of our youngest boys. Pacasalán co na lang daw yung mga pinagsúsusulat co. I shouldn’t be writing about this here in Facebook. Caso grabe ang samá ng loób co ngayón. Waláng macá-usap, eh. =( Yesterday at 4:58pm
Ragna Ivez wKa n sAd JoMz… sUNdUin mO n cLa, ngHhNtay cLa s u.. b sTrOng.. bOth of U ni JenNy.. oKi?! kEeP oN rOckIn.. aJa… Yesterday at 5:09pm
Ria Gee D hey cheer up its just one of those days..mahal ka non..alam na alam ko yun Yesterday at 6:16pm
Leslie Nobleza sad.. espero q todo salga bien amigo. el Señor va a ayudarte. Today at 1:31pm
Anthony Castillo nid lng ni yeyette ng time space warp, be patient.

Pepe Alas had an ugly fight with Yeyette. Might separate… =( Yesterday at 3:29pm
Din Velilla =( kapatid… sad… i hope you can still fix it! Yesterday at 3:30pm
Ann Michelle Tulod ;( Yesterday at 3:31pm
Lilet Alas Fernandez AY SUS… LILIPAS DIN YAN!!LOVE NYO ISA’T ISA EH DI BA?? Yesterday at 4:25pm
Nante Cole pare maayos din yan. dami nyo na pinag daanan eh. wala yan! kayo pa Yesterday at 4:26pm
Lilet Alas Fernandez Pressured lang kyo kc wala kayong househelp… Yesterday at 4:27pm
Buenafe DelMundo De Padua ssshh… pepe and yet, talk it over guys :) Yesterday at 4:37pm
Pepe Alas Too late. She already left the house with Jefe and Juanito. I was able to persuade her to leave Krystal and Momay. Krystal is still crying. What did I do to deserve this?… =( Yesterday at 4:55pm
Buenafe DelMundo De Padua … it will be sorted out. however.. Yesterday at 4:59pm
April Ordiales-Katigbak follow her and talk to her… =( Yesterday at 5:23pm
Ai Ivy Chua aaww, if you really love each other and still want to work it out, go to her and talk it out when both of you cools down….things will work out fine buddy, just have faith *hugs* Yesterday at 6:09pm
Maureen Tiamsic-Dulay Anooo? panu na yung forever? Ikaw na lang magpakababa. I know you guys will be able to work it out. Yesterday at 7:06pm ·
Pogi Nazaret jom, I hope you’re not pulling another jomar… You’ve been through so much already… Yesterday at 7:17pm ·
Imee Rabang relax lang chong… baka nag-hahanap lang din si Yeyette ng space…am sure she loves you and your children that much, to give up your family will never be an option. Yesterday at 7:30pm
Jose Alberto Afanador Herrera PEPITO.. TEN CONFIANZA EN DIOS DE QUE TODO TE SALDRÁ BIEN… NO EXISTE NINGÚN MATRIMONIO QUE NO DISCUTA, ASÍ QUE, PON TU FÉ EN JESÚS HIJO DE DIOS TODOPODEROSO Y VERÁS QUE LAS COSAS VOLVERÁN A SU CAUCE. TEN MUCHA PACIENCIA HERMANO, y SOBRETODO DIALOGA CON TU SEÑORA ESPOSA.. SÉ QUE NO DEBE SER FÁCIL PERO SÍ SE PUEDE. TE SALUDA TU HERMANO VENEZOLANO. UN ABRAZO PEPITO. Yesterday at 9:19pm
George Madriaga chillax amigo !!!! Yesterday at 10:22pm
Anthony Castillo hayz… Yesterday at 11:08pm
Maria Rubia Alas are you serious this tym, Jomar? o biro2 lang? Today at 12:11am
Cake Mendoza This IS a heartbreaking post. I hope you two work things out… :’( Today at 12:55am
Jennifer Sanguir May gusto lang sabihin si Yeyette na hindi mo magets joms…importante pa din ang pag uusap. Today at 3:26am
Myla Irene Penson i hope everything will be fine soon… Today at 3:45am
Paolo Raphael Balicao kuya ayusin nio yan..wag pdalos dalos sa desisyon..goodluck Today at 8:59am
Ryan B. Palisocdude kmusta nsa marcelo nko nktira ano cell mo kita kits tyo minsan yngats and regards kay misis heres my no.09062700407 gb Today at 12:03pm
Ryan B. Palisoc dude there are times na mahairap dmi nyo na pinagdaanan wg nio isuko ang laban ………….usap lng yan Today at 12:05pm
Aileen Candido usap lang at magintindihan …mahirap ang iniisip mo Today at 1:02pm
Jesse Soriano mzta na po 11 hours ago

*******

Facebook: messages

Janis Santiago November 20 at 5:40pm

Hola de nuevo! I read your shout out.. what’s wrong??

Pepe, hayaan mo muna si Yeyette, para lang bumaba un tension between the 2 of you… at Para makapagisip kayong dalawa. You know, Yan ang scenario everyday, pagnaghiwalay kayo.. watak-watak un family nyo and your kids will be confused..
Un mga days na di kayo magkasama, both of you will realize that. May be hindi pa today kc asar pa kayo sa isa’t-isa.. Pero, eventually, pagnawala na un inis, then reality will begin to sink in.. both of you will miss each other.. Sometimes, hiwalayan isn’t permanent. May be kaya sya umalis so she could breathe.

Maybe nag freak out lang kayo sa mga pressures ng pagkakataon lately like walang maid, bills to pay, di makapasok sa work etc. and napasukan ng inis. Pero nalampasan nyo naman un dati, so, i’m sure malalampasan nyo ulit to. Ito un time na dapat you pray hard. Ask help from God and healing from angel Raphael. Effective sya, promise. Sabihin mo sa kanya lahat ng problems mo, talk to him like as if he’s just your bestfriend.. Hindi beer ang solution, magdasal ka.
Later, i’ll ask un maid ng neighbor ko na may kamag anak sa Laguna if meron silang alam na gustong mamasukan dyan. God Bless ü

4 na un mga anak ninyo, tsaka pa ba kayo maghihiwalay?? I mean, isipin nyo un mga anak ninyo kc kawawa naman sila if masisira un family nyo..

Hi Janis.

You are right. Ngayón pa nga lang nagpapalitan na camí ng txt messages.

Sobra, talagáng nag-freak out na camí parejo. Ang hirap ng apat ang anác, tapos walá namáng mag-aalagà. May pambayad namán camí, walá namáng mahanap. Tapos yung problema pa namin sa PAG-IBIG Fund at CHMI. Bacá bawiin yung bahay na binilí namin noóng isáng taón. Ang problema hindí sa aquin, eh — dun sa compañíang pinagtátrabahuhan co ngayón. Tapos yung credit card debts namin palaquí na ng palaquí. May pambayad din caso palaguí cong nacacalimutan — ewan co ba. Tapos yung mga dapat cong isulat, hindí co masimulán — dahil nahíhirapan na acóng magsulát. Ang paquiramdám co tulóy, ang bobo-bobo co ná. Casí hindí na talagá acó catulad ng dati: isáng upó lang, may verso na caagád acóng naiisip. Ngayón, tuyót na. Tapos nahihirapan camí sa mga gawáing bahay. Ayoco talagáng gumawà. Ang gusto co lang magsulát, magbasá, magsulát, magbasá…

We’ve been on our own since we eloped 10 years ago. Talagáng waláng camág-anac na puede naming mahiñgán ng tulong. We’ve been away from them ever since. At isá pá, nacácahiya namáng mang-istorbo. Iláng taóng waláng balita sa amin, tapos magpáparamdam lang camí capág may cailañgang tulong.

You know, I’ve caused my wife so much hurt because of my odd behavior. They say it’s a “writer’s thing”, a chronicler’s eccentricity. I do not want to be disturbed whenever I ponder on some things that I need to scribble down. Whenever I do that, I tend to neglect so many things. Including my responsibilities to my family.

I don’t even know how to go further with this explanation (excuse? defense?). It’s so private, yet I tend to go public with it (by posting it here on FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES. It’s stupid, just plain stupid. We should’ve just talked about my dilemma using our language, then post the conversation in ALAS FILIPINAS. But then again, nobody here in the silly Philies would understand us — fu©k the 1987 Constitution for that! Nobody’d understand me. I won’t be able to understand myself. And I want the whole world to understand me…

Yes, I’m begging for poignancy, and that’s just to keep my fu©k!ng unsharpened pen sharp, matulis, con punta, and with much life, enough to wake up sleeping trees bending gently with the breeze, and for sobbing statesmen with the same family problems –hidden from public scrutiny and entertainment– to sit up and orate extemporaneously about my being an out and out individualist, in love with humanities, in love with my psyche, frustrated with society, angry at so many things that I want to control but couldn’t, angry at my childhood, angry at the slipshod masa, angry at the lifestyles of the rich and boring, angry at the present, worried about the future, longing for what was then, all-mixed up, going crackers again…

Sorry Janis, my mind’s a vortex of an uncompounded rage as I write this……. I couldn’t even ask for Archangel Raphael’s intercession right now. I still remember what my friend JB Lazarte told me the last time we met in 2004. He said that when he heard the news that Yeyette and I had a child (Krystal, in 2000), he somehow felt compunctious over what would happen to me as a writer now that I’ll have other responsibilities. But I understood him perfectly well because Señor Guillermo Gómez Rivera shared to me the same reaction months before.

“The main reason why my wife and I separated,” said he, “was because of all these.” And he pointed out to me the countless tomes of books scattered on his floor, stacked on his shelves, books and magazines under the bed, inside the washroom, within the kitchen walls. Yeah, it was then why I understood why Paciano Rizal and the other Freemasons kept José Rizal from being married to Leonor Rivera…

He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief. –Sir Francis Bacon (with ham, eggs, fried rice, and Tang orange juice)–

Old man Gómez’s marriage was a failure. But he achieved so much it makes me want to puke with envy…

Pero normal namán talagá ang mga hindí pagcacá-unawaán sa familia. Minsan, mahirap talagáng maiwasan yun. Pero minsan, may mga away na mabigát. Catulad na lang ng nangyaring itó sa amin ni Yeyette cahapon. Sa tuwíng may mabigát na away, magháhamon ng hiwalayan (at gagatuñgan pa ng mga in-laws). Sometimes, I’d like to think that I’m single again, so that I could do the things that I really want without any hassle.

I’ve never had a bachelor’s life because I got married at a very young age (nineteen). But I’m not exactly after a swinging bachelor’s life. I’m just looking for a sense of freedom… For ‘man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains’ (fu©k you for that, Rousseau). I yearn for liberty, but not exactly from matrimony. I’m refering to something else. And that something else is lurking behind the perpetually rainy mountains of Monte de Maquíling, in the forbidden forests of Mindanáo, in the ancient rivers of the Visayas… I want to embrace what no man has dared embrace before…

But I just couldn’t anymore.

It’s difficult to pretend what I am not. I just couldn’t think of myself without my Krystal, my Momay, my Jefe, my Juanito.

Life will seem to be difficult without Yeyette by my side. Life won’t even be life at all without her and our children.

Just observe what’s happening right now inside my mind while she’s away: deathly neurons exploding like heartache bits inside a microwave-like cerebral cortex — poppin’ and poppin’ and poppin’ and Mary poppin’… I’d go crazy without my family. If I’ll ever lose them, expect to see me makin’ love to a sexless táong grasa soon.

What about my, uh, responsibilities as a scribbler and “self-styled” defender of the national identity silently rumbling within the fabric of the Filipino cosmos? This is the price I have to pay. If I’m destined to have a life like this, then so be it. At the very least, I am not economically downtrodden. And I should be thankful for that.

The road to the truth has never been easy. Damn, I ain’t even a saint. Just who the fu©k am I? I’m just a piece of turd from an eternally swiveling galactic dust going nowhere for aeons.

Thus, I feel like the fictitious messiah of Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ. I tend to runaway from being crucified.

But that’s just the way it has to be.

Nevertheless, Janis, you made my day, my dear friend. We’re sending text messages now. Yeyette’s a very strong person; I am not. She’s only made weak whenever I scream at her out of my frustration about so many things in life. She’s been very patient with me, especially during my godless days.

Quisiera darte mi agradecimiento, por todo tu apoyo y consejo en estos tiempos malditos de cólera. Te quiero mucho como mi amiga, Janis. Que Dios te bendiga. I’ll go see Yeyette in ATC right now. With our children. For lunch. We’ll talk. About a lot of things. Let’s see what’ll happen. Cacayanin namin itó, lalong lalo na’t alám namin na ‘di camí nag-íisa.

A todos nuestros amigos, gracias por la inquietud que teneis sobre nuestra situación.

¡Y gracias por vuestro amor!

Facebook alert: today is the feast day of Christ The King…

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