I GREW up with the transistor radio as my best friend. I was the loner type, which means that while the other kids in the neighborhood were beating the hell out of each other in imitation of a wrestling match they just saw on TV, I stayed home glued to the radio set, crying over the story of a peasant girl who had to leave home after she got pregnant by, of all people, the parish priest.
Mother: Wa ka nauwaw sa imong gibuhat? Nakig-relasyon ka og pari, usa ka-alagad sa Diyos! Layas! Sukad karon, wala na koy anak! Layaaaas!
Daughter: Igo na mama, igo na. Uhuhuhu… Imo kining sala. Ikaw ang nagtudlo kanako nga way gipili ang gugma. Nahigugma ako ma, ug way gipili ang pinitik ning akong kasingkasing. Apan sige, molayas ako. Ug sukad karon, wala na pud koy inahan! Ari na ko nang!
On Sundays, when radio stations didn’t air soap operas, I switched to musical shows and felt the weight of the world on my shoulders while listening to Imelda Papin’s “Kung Liligaya Ka Sa Piling Ng Iba.”
That’s why early morning yesterday, before I sat down to write this column, I went outside the house, lay face down on the ground, placed my palms flat against my sides and had the wife take photographs of me performing what is probably the most noble and self-sacrificing act of this generation-–planking.
The neighbors, who wouldn’t normally stop for anything that would delay their trip to work even if it was their house burning, became seriously worried and paused to check if there was anything wrong with me and our family.
I GREW up in a town where people considered the tuko, or Tokay Gecko, as part of the family. A house was considered blessed if a tuko lived there. We respected the tuko not because it rid the house of pests. We respected the tuko the way we respected the objects of faith inside the house: with a mixed feeling of fear and awe toward something mysterious and powerful.
We had a least one tuko while I was growing up. The whole time he was with us, I can only count with my fingers the times I saw him in the flesh. When he chose to reveal himself, he only exposed part of his head, and only for a few seconds, but long enough for me to take a good look at his large, brown eyes. He would sneak out from a hole or a crack and quickly disappear when I tried to get close.
PRESIDENT Noynoy Aquino disappointed me yesterday by not mentioning something of great national importance: breastfeeding. I don’t mind him talking about corruption and wang-wang issues, but I expected him to at least open his Sona by saying, “Wala nang hihigit pa sa gatas ng ina.” Or, “Salamat sa gatas mo inay at akoy naging pangulo,” or if he wanted something more brief and catchy, “Gatas ng ina, ikaw na!”
Or, since our beloved senators and congressmen were there, the President could have adlibbed by saying, “Politicians and diapers have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly and for the same reason.” And then segue into “Ang batang lumaki sa gatas ng kalabaw ay jeprox at laki sa layaw.”
THIS is a Father’s Day article, so forgive me if I sound extremely sentimental today.
You can’t write about fatherhood without tears welling up your eyes. I consumed 30 rolls of tissue paper before I could even start a word. So here we go.
Last Sunday morning, while all the other fathers in the world woke up feeling important and ready to bask in the limelight, I was challenging my three-month old baby to a fight. The boy accepted the challenge and fought in the best way he knew how, by screaming his baby lungs out. Like the real gentleman that I was, I refused to smack the boy’s face with a pack of diapers and fought him in the best way I knew how under the present circumstances, by screaming my aging lungs out.
BEFORE we start, I would like to ask you to press your lips together, got it? Push your mouth out like a pout or pucker and suck in your cheeks, got it? Raise your eyebrows, with one slightly higher than the other, got it? Set your cell phone camera ready and point it at your face at an approximately 45-degree angle, done? Now click!
Congratulations, you are now part of the Duckface Generation! To complete membership, post the picture on Facebook and beg friends to like it.
Yesterday, thousands of members of the Duckface Generation went back to school to start another year of duckfacing inside the classroom, at the canteen, in the library, in the science laboratory, inside the Student Affairs Office, inside the comfort room, at boarding houses, in dormitories, under the mango tree, at the sidewalk, at the mall, at parties, in drinking binges, at the bar, and just about any place where a phone camera can be pointed at a 45-degree angle to the face and there’s enough light.
TWO news stories caught my attention last month because they involved two of my favorite funny Cebuanos, Esteban Escudero, who is Provincial Board Member Julian Daan when he tries to be serious, and Max Surban. Of course we know Max Surban. He popularized the song “Billionaire” written by Bruno Mars.
Last May 16, a man barged into Teban’s house in Talisay City, held him up at knifepoint and ran off with P1 million worth of jewelry, the news said. Teban was working on an episode for his regular drama show when the robber demanded money from our funny man. Teban only had P300 in his pocket and the vintage manual typewriter in front of him, so he led the robber to the master bedroom where the jewelry was kept.
The news said that at first Teban thought a prank was being played on him. We can imagine him telling the robber, “Dong, wa man ni labot sa eksena, HAHAHA.” (In English: Dude, this is not part of the scene, LOL.) But that moment, Bisaya humor seemed to fail, even if the robber was arrested the next day.
FOR once, let’s get serious here.
There’s crisis everywhere, earthquakes, tsunamis, Joavan Fernandez. In fact the Lord was almost forced to return for the Second Coming last May 21 because of our wicked ways. We would be remiss in our duty as citizens of the world if we keep making fun of things. So for today, allow me to write about a topic of extreme global importance: the foreskin.
And not just the foreskin but also circumcision, the act of removing this poor little loose fold of skin from its base attachment, the penis. The relevance here is that it’s summer, the time of year when civic organizations and politicians get frantic about cutting foreskins off little boys’ penises in the slums as if it’s Erection Day tomorrow. Yes, I said Election Day, read it again.
TO MY readers who were just too happy to have not seen this column for the past three consecutive weeks, I’m sorry to tell you that I’m back. I’ve been too busy attending lousy pre-Jordan seminars to remember that I have an obligation to ruin your Tuesdays.
And when I say lousy pre-Jordan seminars, I really mean “lousy” pre-Jordan seminars that ruin most people’s Sundays.
To those who are not familiar with traditional religious practices, a pre-Jordan seminar is a momentous family event that proves true the religious saying that the road to holiness is paved with burden. The way the seminar was handled, it was a really a burden to all of us 130 parents, godparents and infants cramped inside a small room shut tight from the unbaptized world outside. But I will leave it at that.