Three Months Into 2016 and I’m Still Alive

The last few days of December has brought me to a realization that I had just flown over 2015 without much thought – of time. Or reason. Because we are, and I am, human like that – always digging for validations for how we pass time.

But that is not entirely true. Looking back, 2015 has been one hell of a ride.

I’ve been a nomad for the most part of the year. Lahug. Lower Busay. Mabolo. The far Mabolo. For the last two years, I’ve been reckless and took so much time in transit. Boat to bus. Island to mainland, as if staying would mean sinking. I saw people, places, made excuses as to why I expend too much time in getting lost.

I was looking for home, I guess.
I have been looking for the perfect words with which to describe this city and my place in it and why I shouldn’t leave. Dank, rough, damaged. Infested, hungry. Rapid. Fun, laughter, late night dramas, and long, interesting jeepney rides. This city owns my memories but is not keen on keeping it. Instead, it harbors its own – the trace of waste on the streets tell of sundry market tales, the noise keeps it breathing; the colors keep its history moving.

And here I am, scouring for travel narratives of places that have been looked at once. First impressions of Dinagat, bleached tales of Bantayan. Sunset photos of La Union. All I ever remembered for the past ten months was getting my heart broken and sealing the pieces off in packets to throw to unfamiliar places. I dump memories in beaches yet, I still keep picking at my heartstrings.

I have wonderful plans of being alone, blueprints of how to observe people and immortalize them in essays I tuck under my memory or digital diary. I am a master of solitude and I often feel invincible knowing that I am independent, hooked to none other’s decision. But fate has a way of sabotaging such beautiful personal schemes.

Grace told me youth is easily polluted by the thirst for movement, but being wise means knowing when to stop. It’s been easier to press the onwards button lately. I’m itching for change, I miss walking the streets at three but I slap my own hand and tell myself to take a look, “plant your feet in place and cherish the horizon before you.” When will I know when to hold on?

There are narratives in my head that I want to tell. Que L’s small habits, the way this little Tech Park I’ve been going to and fro for over a year and a half feels like home at random times, how those kids on the side of the foul river wrinkle their noses as they cover them with plastic filled with a five-peso dose of dope, the pile of market merchandise in Colon street at night, the gigantic Christmas tree at the center of Fuente Cirle, the beautiful, lazy Sunday nights.

It’s cathartic to write off worries and for these rare moments that the task seems easy, I am thankful. Along with the little things that still make me think about stars.



This piece was actually written back in January.


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