2020

I took this photo one day in Oct last year shortly after I found out that Y had been longlisted for a couple of prizes. What a ******* year, went my vague pabebe post on Facebook, and well-meaning friends dutifully offered their needless commiserations. These days, months after that heady afternoon and after hearing less…

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Views

In one of the many heart-wrenching images taken in the aftermath of Ulysses, about a dozen people can be seen half-crouched and trying to walk on top of the flimsy-looking GI roofs of shanties, held-up umbrellas impotent in the pouring rain, the wind visibly upending their steps, while behind them in the hazy distance residential…

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‘Knowing the Enemy’

For the better part of the past year and a half I had been reading up on counter-insurgency. Work-in-progress is set during the spate of political killings under Gloria Arroyo in the 2000s, and things sort of clicked for me when I noticed a similar phrasing of a key idea in a leaked AFP PowerPoint…

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Freedom

I think my sense of freedom arrived during commute. Not one moment ofc but in their accretion. Over time. In the early 2010s I think when I just finished college and Manila traffic transitioned vaguely from tough to mind-numbing to the routine existential quandary that it is today. When I and my fellow passengers are…

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Lockdown 3

The world is burning, I wrote R, a good friend from India, a few days ago. The usual kumustahan via email (he isn’t on social media). Their lockdown was entering its second month, he said, and not to be outdone I told him ours had just passed its tenth week, officially the longest in the…

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Lockdown 2

In the middle of writing about narrative and historical imagination for thesis. First chapter, heavily theoretical, and I’m just plodding on. Every now and then, while trying to catch and solidify an idea, I’d pause, stare into space, the entire project just alien and befuddling. Beyond my flailing comprehension. On one hand haven’t done theory…

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Lockdown

Some nights back a friend, a resident at a private hospital in Makati, messaged and said, apropos of nothing, that he was Ph*9 for Covid-19. He is now in recovery, he added, just awaiting a confirmatory test result. Feeling needier and more vulnerable than usual, I asked him if we were going to get through this.…

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FQS daldal

If I can begin with biographical ek, I was born on February ’86, a couple of weeks before the ouster of Marcos and I started writing in the late 2000s. W/c means I’m a generation or so removed from the FQS generation. Even so I’d like to think that I can trace my own politics…

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Inventions.

The few friends I’ve told all laughed: it is turning out to be much more difficult to write fiction when you actually have to invent stuff. I am not being facetious (I think), and all writing is invention to some extent; but if anything it points to just how rudimentary my practice of fiction had…

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