unnamed verse #6


a tiny plant inside
a concaved cement
the hollow no more
occupied by grayness
left-over food,
remnants of your tasty fish
on the canal,
swimming in murkiness
pretty faces, along the side
waiting for a jeepney
to wheel them off

the fish is back
in the waters
it swims with its bones
dark waters of the canal
enveloping the spaces
where flesh and scale had been.


The Presents, the Parties, the Empty Wallets

December 25 is Christmas day in the Philippines, as it is in countries that celebrate His birth. By this date, employees will have their pockets a wee bit full – Christmas bonus + 13th month pay + salary. If you’re a typical Pinoy, there’s no way you’ll keep that all by yourself. 🙂 Here’s why:

(1) Presents! You will need to buy a present for mom, dad, sister, brother, special someone… the list goes as long as your specific budget for gifts allow. But there’s another list of persons that you would need to handle with delicate care: your godchildren a.k.a. “inaanak” (in Filipino) or “kinugos” (in Cebuano-Visayan).


Each year, dodong or inday will get a year older. Your kinugos will grow taller or more robust than the last time he or she visited you to mano, greet you, and then shyly, ask for that present. This is why I say it’s delicate because if you didn’t do any basic research or simply call your inaanak’s parents to ask what he or she likes these days, you might end up with a crying toddler or a displeased expression that will haunt you for several months whenever you think of your godchild (halaka!).

(2) Party!! There’s that company party, team party, clan party, barkada party, and a lot more depending on the number of cliques to which you belong. Each party promises fun, prizes, and feasts. Naturally, you need to “invest” a bit. For themed parties, you might check out malls, ukay-ukayan or do online shopping. Of course, you’d be looking at your closet first before shelling out (hurrah to savings! 🙂 ). For exchanging gifts, you would need a gift that costs, at the very least, a minimum amount. Some parties are free, like for company parties, but the rest will require you to contribute or give your “amot.”

(3) Feast!!! Christmas day makes every Filipino table colorful. It summons every family’s home specialty and Noche buena favorites, from caldereta to lechon, from the Christmas ham to sweet rice cakes or “kakanin.” Nowadays, you could simply choose to cook some dishes and also buy already-cooked food for a more stress-free preparation. Yet, either way, you’re gonna be spending. 🙂

Worth adding here is one of the most awesome things about home specialties: the sharing and, sometimes, food-exchange between families, neighbors, and friends! Yum, yum 🙂

(4) New Year!!!! Just when you thought your budget can’t take the stretch anymore, the New Year looms close! After six days of respite, it’s January 1. The first day of the year is just too special that you got to…

… it’s really up to you. It’s your wallet, your budget. The feasts you’ve been indulging for the past days and the not-so-healthy bulge in your tummy will help you decide how much food you want for the Media Noche. It sounds cliche and I keep hearing this via TV, but it’s true: what matters most is that during the holidays you’re with the people who matter to you most. 😀

The Makeshift Heart


Your heart’s a robust thing,

bulbous flesh

pumping eerily inside that

anatomy of perfect construction.

I wish mine is like yours

so we can see a pair of

pumping things

beat in harmony,

but it can’t, my heart can’t

— where a flesh is supposed to be

are a bunch of sticks,

its hapless form

supported by a hollow space,

where there is pumping

is a blinking,

a little light that grow,

glow into a shiny thing,

yet your heart of flesh and rhythm

don’t need this light,

the blighting glow cannot even hum.

Oh love,

I am sorry but,

it cannot love,

not with a makeshift heart.



You couldn’t say the truth out loud

But I’m the type who loves to peek at carefully wrapped presents,

crispy hand-written letters,

yes, wheedle every secret out

so if I can’t take it from your lips

then trust me to search

somewhere else…


You have no idea how resourceful

and stubborn I can be.


On your neck?

— I see a vibration of pulses: too vague

On your jaw?

— my fingers attempt caresses: too tense

Where is your truth?

Ah, I know:

my growing impatience is part

of your little game.

I scan your face only to find no

sign of frustration. Tsk

Where is it?

Your lips spread a grim line

— your reply,

I sigh.



well, you have an expanse of interesting landscapes

and I’m not the type to shy

from tracing each bait in the dark,

I sank


somewhere, I think

I heard a shudder,

air sucked to

bring back air to your lungs.

then I found it,


I heard it sing