Unseen Monsters: A Review of Monsters The Musical

•November 20, 2019 • Comments Off on Unseen Monsters: A Review of Monsters The Musical

From the promos and marketing all over Facebook about this original, Cebuano musical, the only thing I’ve expected about Monsters: The Musical is that it’s about LGBTQIA+ and #LoveWins but, man, was I still in the dark even with those facts on hand.

Monsters: The Musical is a breakaway from traditional musical play format, but with its timely theme, brilliant cast, and stellar music, made it a grounded and realistic portrayal of what the members of the LGBTQIA+ community are struggling with in the Philippine context, specifically the ever looming heteronormativity that serves as a barrier for our LGBTQIA+ brothers and sisters to ever have a truly happy life.

Monsters: The Musical tells the (more than a) decade-long friendship/relationship of Bea and Elle; a friendship that grew beyond just homework on Filipino Literature (hey there, Edith Tiempo’s Bonsai! It served as the play’s symbol, and anchored definition of love, which seriously left me amused the whole time because we have discussed that poem in our writers org); both having struggles to ever find themselves, and that ever philosophical “happiness.” It’s more than just #LoveWins to be honest. Bea and Elle also have this one close guy friend, Dexter, who secretly crushes on Elle, and sometime in the future, marries Elle and have a family with her. What I love about the idea of this is that the play portrays that love knows no gender and labels. Bea and Elle have their own male partners, while even having their intimate relationship, but it’s portrayed so naturally, nobody in the audience seemed to have bat their lashes on something deemed “unnatural”—because, duh, this is really happening right now. Relationships like these—the throuple, the open, the polyamory, and even the toxic ones—do exist! And that’s one of the strongest elements of Monsters.

Before I get to the rest of the strong elements, I shall mention my problems with the play, of course. I’ll make it brief. First: as I mentioned above, the play’s format is a break from the traditionalist, chronological three-act structure. I have no problem with it starting en medias res; almost all playwrights use that technique. I probably have a bit of qualm over the fact that it started already almost to the end point of the play then jumped back through flashbacks. What I’ve learned from writing plays is that flashbacks should be rarely used because plays show what is in the moment. But, somehow, the style fits the story, and it worked. Not to mention it’s something new. Kudos to Mr. Jude Gitamondoc because the play really held itself firmly to the end! Second: the clichés and the kill your gay trope. But still they are minor things to be worried about. Third: the use of language. I expected the play prominently-riddled with Binisaya/Cebuano lines. I mean, it is an all-Cebuano/Visayan cast but majority of the dailogue is in English. But I totally understand since the songs are in English. Again, not a major problem.

Now, the strong points.

Monsters: The Musical has a brilliant cast. That’s also due to the brilliant direction by Jude Gitamondoc. I’ve watched the 2PM run last November 17, 2019. Alyza Kamille Miole, as Bea, was gripping everyone with her strong vocals. Not only that, her chemistry with both Shaun Pilapil, who played Elle, and Les Paul Pineda, who played Dex, was something you must see for yourself. It was so natural you’d think those three really have endured the moments from the play in real life. I label them the Throuple of the Year. I’ve worked with Shaun Pilapil before, both in theatre and film, and to see her as one of the leads in Monsters is very heartwarming. Her portrayal of Elle, biases aside, marked in my brain the idea that the musical wasn’t Bea’s story, but Elle’s. How Elle has touched both Bea’s and Dex’s lives served more as a pedestal and tell us the story of somebody who has to change and suffer the heteronormativity in society to fit in. Les Paul Pineda gives life to Dex with his voice, and he brings in the subtle comedy this tragedy needs. Every Dex solo is just so captivating and so smooth to the ears you have to focus on the stage to see whether he was lipsyncing or not. The three complement each other so well, they need the well-deserved acknowledgment.

The ensemble was amazing as well! And the subsequent knowledge that the alternates were there all the more grounded this as a great team effort. The choreography was not distracting and fits perfectly. And it reminded me a bit of the dances from Hamilton.

Let’s talk about the music. Cattski Espina’s songs perfectly meld and create Monsters: The Musical. She is Monsters: The Musical, and it’s amazing. The songs were damn relatable and catchy, and can be used in almost every experience. I have to be honest, when Elle had to give up being a writer, I bawled like a baby watching the scene. There’s something about the lyrics and music that just pulls on your emotions and after that scene, I have to keep on wiping my tears, because I just couldn’t stop crying up to the end.

The lights and production design are something to praise as well. Admitting minimalist set the likes of Dulaang Atenista here in Cagayan de Oro, the play felt so close to home. Regardless of the little set or props to play with, the musical was compensated with one of the best lights design I’ve ever witnessed. The curtain call was one thing–the colors of the rainbow smoothly blending into white in the end, signifying the enlightenment of Bea was, for me, cinématique.

Monsters: The Musical is a great addition not only to Cebuano Literature but to Filipino Literature as well, and for one who promotes and advocates literary arts and equality, this is a proof that art appreciation isn’t dead.

Realizing Bea’s tragedy and change because of her monsters, seen (in the form of Jake) and unseen (mental health and trauma), and being uplifted from such circumstance through Elle’s love is the core of Monsters: The Musical. This is their story. #LoveWins jud.


Highlights and Observations:

  • “Loving is not owning” will now be a motto in life.
  • The fact that Elle had to give up writing to pursue what she thought was her dream was so painful to watch. Quitting something you love because of heartbreak is an experience I’ve temporarily encountered, and seeing Elle let go of her journal with her voice cracking sent me hysterically crying.
  • Memes from this play: “mama’s boy,” “fuck girl,” “abi nako bayot ka,” “akong playmate bahog ilok,” “san mig light apple flavor” and the classic “boys are stupid.” Check out all the Monsters: the Musical no context accounts in Twitter!
  • Dex being a writer and a law student is basically me. I felt so seen.
  • Monsters: The Musical didn’t preach about the LGBTQIA+ at all! It showed us what love really is. That is boundless, encompassing, and can never be tamed. Love is love is love is love is love is love is love…
  • “Okey keyohh…” lmao
  • 12 years….5 years….7 years…. damn. Can you imagine–we were seeing their lives in that length of time???
  • The eulogy scene was heart-wrenching and heartwarming at the same time. I bawled again.
  • It’s been years and we’re still crying about the same thing/Why can’t we just let it go/” pretty much sums up the whole musical.
  • Wish I could’ve witnessed the alternates (Jacky Chang of Atik Ra fame, Marlon Tansengco, and Trixie Alturas) as well because I’ve heard they also did likewise powerful performances.
  • Will watch out for the rerun in 2020!!!

The Trial of Tomas

•March 23, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Just a work in progress. Have to write these all down before I forget everything. My first attempt for a full-length play. Mind you, names would probably be changed in the future, once the whole play is complete. Even the title. Anyway, enjoy the first scene.

This is based on a true story.


Scene 1.

In a cafe. TOMAS, CAROLINE, and JACK are seated in a corner table. Sheets of paper, pens, and almost-consumed frappes are on top of the table.

Tomas: Mao dayon to. I wrote it all and decided to submit it. I was surprised when I received the e-mail!

Caroline: You’re getting published! Again!

Caroline claps her hands. Tomas nods and takes a sip of his coffee, smirking.

Jack: Kanusa siya i-publish? Wanna read it na.

Tomas: End of this year. My editor in Singapore said they’re still working–gathering blurbs for it. I’ll give you a digital copy na lang.

Caroline: O-M-G! Super excited na aketch! Super jud! Naa jud ko ato ba?

Tomas: Ha-ha! Chapter five, if I can recall correctly.

Jack’s phone rings, a notification. He reads it longer than usual.

Tomas leaves for the toilet.

Jack shows Caroline the message he has received.

Caroline: What? What does that even mean?

Caroline continues reading.

Jack: This is crazy!

Another notification alert.

Jack: Hala uy. Asa ni niya nakuha?

Caroline: Waits a minutes… Verified ba na? We can ask him now.

Jack: Don’t think that’s a good idea. The hell. After what happened sa ilang duha…

Caroline: Bitter break-up. He’s something else ha. That little bitch.

The two don’t notice Tomas returning.

Tomas: Kinsa?

Jack & Caroline: Wala.

Jack: A stupid article from a blogger.

Tomas: CDO? Si Jericho? He’s so full of himself ra ba.

Jack: Nah. Random hag. Nothing to worry about.

Jack eyes Caroline, egging her to not say anything.

Caroline: Tom, naa ko’y i-ask. Don’t take this the wrong way, but–

Jack: Di ba naa pa kay meeting adtuan?

Jack glares at Caroline, who shrugs while smiling awkwardly.

Tomas: Oh yeah! Thank you so much for reminding me. Meeting up with James for the layout. Of the book. Heh. I better get going. See you this Sunday!

They all say their farewells.

Caroline: Let’s bring this up sa board?

Jack: Of course. I can’t believe he’s been lying to us!

Another notification alert. Jack sighs.

Caroline: What else pa man, goodness!

Jack rolls his eyes after reading.

Jack: It’s Velma.

Caroline: Wow. Naa pa siya’y nerve to feel concerned? After ghosting us?! Baga siya’g kubal!

Jack: Baga’g bilbil‘s more like. Unbelievable!

Caroline: Looks like ang kanyang pagbabalik is gonna be a total shit storm.

Jack: What’s her motivation? The timing is just….

Caroline: Basta. We better tell the others.

Another notification alert.

Caroline: Kinsa na sad na?!

Jack: Oh. Now they included Marco in a freaking group chat? Jericho, Velma, you, me, and… Rita. Why in the world would they involve Rita Seguerra?

Caroline gets her phone.

Caroline: Kung si Tay Tay pa, I’d rather be not part of this narrative. There. Just left that group chat. Kaw na bahala ana nila, Jack. I’ll notify the others. What is this even?

Jack: Feels like a witch hunt. With all these receipts.

Carol crosses her arms and slouches, sighing.

More notification alerts follow.

Jack: Car, murag sakto jud ka. This is going to be a shit storm.

Month-sary, They Say

•January 13, 2019 • 1 Comment

Note: After multiple revisions, I am finally posting my output from the mini-flash fiction workshop with Jack Alvarez, “Diyosa ng Dagli,” yesterday.

Walking along the dirty sidewalk of Divisoria, I smelled the stench of spoiled milk from the gutters. I passed by the closed Dunkin Donuts, its glass walls covered with torn Manila papers. Glancing at the al fresco area, I remembered that day we fought over a petty issue: Forgetting our “month-sary,” as most of us Filipino romantics call it. I don’t know why that particular date of the month is so special, when, in fact, there’s only that one date of the year.

I snorted.

Funny, I was the one who went all crazy because you hadn’t remembered.

As I was about to carry on walking, my phone rang.

“Happy Month-sary, bib,” you said, elated. “Kita-kits unya ha? Fat Monk. Just wanted to call you. Balik sa ko’g work. Love you!”

I hung up, smiling–the warmth of your voice lingered on my right ear.

Inside A Toyota FJ Cruiser On CM Recto

•December 17, 2018 • Leave a Comment

He walked toward his olive green Toyota FJ Cruiser, a cloud of disappointment looming over him. My eyes followed him and caught him glimpse back at me. I stopped midsentence talking to my friends. Should I?

“Kadyot lang,” I called, jogging toward him. I didn’t look back to my friends. I hoisted the strap up of my messenger bag to my shoulder. He didn’t say anything. His car beeped twice signaling unlock, and I invited myself into the passenger seat. He still was silent.

Was this a wrong decision? Should I just let him drive off alone? I tapped my fingers on my knee, waiting for him to shut his side. He turned the AC on, not once, looking at me.

“I didn’t want them talking.”

I saw a hint of a nod. His lips pursed as if stopping himself from saying anything. Say it, my mind whispered, just say it. Let’s tear it before the bud blooms. He strapped himself with his seat belt. That settled me staying put.

“I like you, I really do—

“But your girlfriend’s waiting for you,” I quipped. I also had to stop myself from saying “and I’m a guy.” Like that would even matter anymore.

He turned his key on the engine. Again, he remained wordless. I looked out the window. My friends were still standing by the exit of the mall basement, giving the car a triumphant look. I was sure they cannot see the face I carried. How I hated their smug faces.

“I don’t think it’s cheating if I just want to get to know you, you know,” he said, stepping on the clutch and adjusted the gearstick. The car drove on.

I wasn’t sure why he said that. All I know was that I was the one who told him first of my feelings for him. He barely talked to or glanced at me after that. Until today, when he earlier asked me out to watch Call Me By Your Name in Ayala Cinema. Still spiteful over his actions the past two weeks, I had my friends chauffeur us. When he offered to drive us home after that, I immediately declined it.

He was right though, was he? It’s not really cheating? But it felt like he’s done this before. My paranoia was eating me away. I had to stop and give him the benefit of the doubt.

“I’ll give you thirty minutes then,” I said, glancing at him.

His dark brown eyes twinkled, but stayed focused on the road, inevitable congestion right in front of us.

“I think it’s gonna be more than that. Traffic.”

Before I looked out the window again, I saw him smile those perfect, pearly teeth. I couldn’t help feeling kilig.

“Fire away then.”


•December 9, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Ghosting isn’t a solution, really. You are just prolonging the problem. Why, you think the problem disappears upon your return from the dead? I don’t think so.

There’s a difference between taking responsibility and being one’s responsibility. We cannot let our being f*d up stall us from performing our obligations. Let’s be mature enough to own it up. I mean, what are friends for, right? They’re there when you need support. They don’t need explanations because, heck, they know what you’re going through. But how many times should we kid ourselves with that easy escape route? Albus Dumbledore once said about the difficulty choosing between what is right and what is easy. And yet, whichever choice we make, it would definitely shape us and how others would perceive us. History has its eyes on you.

Yeah, it’s easy to just disappear. We all have those days when we just want to be left alone. But it’s really disappointing to just be left hanging from a cliff, not knowing what to do, with barely even a notice. So it’s either you struggle to climb and save yourself, with all your effort, or just let go and let the depths of the ocean drown you. Choices can lead to one’s survival or one’s demise. But we keep on forgetting that we are not alone.

I wish you’d remember that.

We are here.

Where are you?

The Woes of A Potterhead

•November 18, 2018 • Leave a Comment

The moment I read the news that Joanne Kathleen Rowling is writing five screenplays focusing on the adventures of one author of a certain Hogwarts textbook, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, my heart skipped–Potterhead that I am. It will be set in the 1920s, ending timely with the end of World War II, specifically on the climactic battle of Dumbledore and Grindelwald in 1945. Imagine my excitement: The Wizarding World is expanding!

November 2016. The whole world was introduced to Newt Scamander. I actually liked the film, despite the cluttered writing of JKR. David Yates, the director who helmed the last four Potter films, did a great job translating this whole new world into the silver screen. The film was not met without controversy (from the casting of Johnny Depp to the changes on spellcasting logic). Back then, I was still a giddy Potterhead who blindly consumes whatever Rowling was gifting us. Some of the friends I know have the same mindset. We all accepted it as it is, no questions, no analyses. It’s the writing, the storytelling of somebody who shaped us–shaped me and my brilliant friends–growing up. So, yeah, Fantastic Beasts was something refreshing for me–until I’ve watched it the second time. Honestly, it is the only Potter film that I’m not as excited to rewatch. And that’s coming from someone who’s seen the eight installments multiple times.

I’ve reread the books (the sacred seven texts) countless times as well (two decades is enough time to read all books whenever you can). I’ve studied the canon. I’ve learned and memorized all small details: from the Hogwarts Houses, all the professors’s names, the places in the Wizarding World, the histories of each character, the spells, and the logic of the world. I am proud to say I am one of those Potterheads who can tell you any trivial matter in the Potterverse.

All the more, my appreciation and understanding of the Potterverse expanded after listening to Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepcion of Bingemode, a podcast tackling pop culture. That’s after some serious prodding from my best friend, Anna. (I’m currently listening on their deep dive discussions on The Half-Blood Prince.)

When the final trailer of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was released weeks ago, I was ecstatic! It’s back to the Wizarding World. Younger Dumbledore! Paris! New beasts! But…said trailer details met several reactions, mostly shock.

The Nagini reveal was one of the most shocking and polarizing revisionism ever made in the history of literature. This was the moment my blinds were shattered. I can’t understand what this is all about. When was this established in the canon, I asked myself. Fans were torn about it; one side says it’s a great development, another says it’s a dumb change. And change it does as to the light we see Lord Voldemort’s closest ally and Horcrux. And, as honest as I can be, I hate it. This was the point where I asked myself: will the sequel have more twists in store? That dread left a bad taste in my mouth.

November 15, 2018. 11:00AM. I bought my ticket for Grindelwald at Ayala Centrio Cinemas and waited for 1PM to arrive. I wasn’t excited, perhaps of the fact that I also happened to watch the finale of American Horror Story: Apocalypse that morning, and when I took my seat (I11) inside the theater (Cinema 2), the WB trailers blazing by, I barely had any trepidation or any feeling, for that matter, when the WB logo faded in the screen. (Also, a viewer was snoring loudly just five seats away in a row in front of me. Talk about…foreshadowing.)

SPOILER ALERT. Be warned!!!

Okay. I was supposed to rewatch Crimes of Grindelwald before I write anything OBJECTIVELY about it, but…allow me to just rant at what was happening (like fifteen year-old Harry James Potter). I’ll just do an enumeration of the things I like and abhor in the sequel of the Fantastic Beasts saga…

For those who have watched the film already, I implore you, for us to have a discussion on the following matters with mugs of Butterbeer between us.

For those who haven’t, stay away until you watched.


1. Loved the costumes. Except, Newt doesn’t have other clothes? That costume was so first film. The others have new designs…

2. Loved the expansion of the Wizarding World to Paris. But no Beauxbatons cameo? Also, whatever happened to MACUSA’s name? You just replace it with American Ministry of Magic. And if it’s in UK, you call it British Ministry of Magic. And in France…? Yeah, the French, of course. You got to be kidding me. But you still saved it by showing us Nurmengard—although…it didn’t look like a prison? It looked more what I imagined Durmstrang would look like.

3. Good choice of introducing less new fantastic beasts to ogle at. Some of the new beasts in the film: a zouwu, firedrakes, a kelpie, a kappa, and an augerey. Shaking my head at the beast ex machina that happened in the end relating to…

4. I like that blood pact reveal between APWBD and GG. Obvs, Dumbledore will destroy that a la Horcrux. Though, will he?

5. Also, love the blue fire vs yellow fire sequence in that cemetery. So Zuko-Azula Agni Kai.

6. I like the sorcerer’s stone easter egg.


8. But seriously…ANOTHER FUCKING PROPHECY? What a fucking joke?

9. I like the World War II foreshadowing. But don’t like the implication that Grindelwald might be the cause of Hitler’s rise…just too in-the-nose.

10. Too many supporting characters supporting supporting characters…? Who barely have anything to do in the story…(i.e. Theseus Scamander, Nicolas Flamel, Nagini, Vinda Rosier) I bet you, most of you barely heard their names throughout the film. Most of you barely get to know them!

11. Apparating in Hogwarts grounds? Who the F– is the headmaster that time? Also, why does Dumbledore seem to be the only professor in Hogwarts around?

12. Oh wait. There’s McGonagall…who should be considered an anachronistic flaw? It’s 1927 and she isn’t born yet? Please explain, JKR. (Another revisionism I am appalled to think about. Really, JK?)

13. There’s a baby swapping subplot for Credence which made no sense at all. I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes.

14. Um, there were Muggles/non-magique in that Circus—um, isn’t that a violation of The Statute of Secrecy??? SERIOUSLY. And after all those carnage from Credence and Nagini’s escape…

15. Not having Grindelwald to kill a baby just so he wouldn’t be compared to Voldemort? Hmmmm? Saw what you did there, JK.

16. Queenie turning to the other side was a less established arc for me, that’s why I felt not invested with all the Jacob-Queenie relationship at all. Also, Tina just got downgraded into a nonsense love triangle…?

17. I never imagined looking at a Phoenix in a bad light. Wtf…

18. GRINDELWALD HAS MAGIC OVER TIME? How did he advance that phoenix’s growth? Ugh. Magic logic is subpar and not well-thought of here.


20. Fucking AURELIUS DUMBLEDORE…so you’re saying that Credence fucking Barebone is a Dumbledore…??? Um. What. And you think making him as another Obscurial just like his sister Ariana would make it so intriguing??? Such a cheap twist and basically lessens the emotional impact of Dumbledore’s journey to defy Grindelwald’s FOR THE GREATER GOOD. Not to mention…how the fuck did their parents have a secret baby after Ariana, when Dumbledore Sr was sent to Azkaban after attacking those three Muggle teens? (Author’s revisionism is a dangerous thing to deal with.)


Of course, many of you will disagree with me. You will say, “The movie was amazing!” “Rowling is such a wonderful storyteller,” “That was a mindblowing twist!”

Well, we all have our opinions.

But sometimes, you should take a step back and look at the whole situation as objectively as possible. Yes, the film (in the whole technical and entertainment sense) was amazing. It got all the great action sequences a film about magic should have. I’ll agree with you on that. But it didn’t have an essential plot (it was all subplots being all over the place), the characters were barely developed, and that final act was such a horrible montage.

Rowling as a storyteller? Yeah, she’s a great writer. A majestic novelist. But as a screenwriter? I definitely think not. She should just write in the novel form and have someone else adapt it properly.

On that “mindblowing” twist? I rolled my eyes so hard at that I believe my eyes saw my brain freezing from the whole nonsense of it. (See No. 20)

The legacy of Harry Potter is a beautiful, magical world filled with rules, with well-thought characterization, and, most importantly, relationship building. If I believe whatever transpired in Crimes of Grindelwald to be canon, it will lead to a total collapse of everything I believe in, to everything I’ve learned about these characters. And I don’t want this disastrous devolution to do that. This, like The Cursed Child, is an amusing and terribly sad enigma. I badly want to love it, but there’s just no magic to it. And that’s huge coming from a Potter fan.

2017 Resolution

•January 19, 2017 • Leave a Comment

This was what I have feared.

Not cockroaches, although I go ballistic once they fly around my head. I would already apologize in advance to anyone I would hit. My rubber slipper is my best friend on this account.

Not the eyeless baby doll that my younger brother had left lying around the house. I hated the idea of those black empty sockets staring at me. They reminded me of that one episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? Not only that, dolls reminded me of clowns, and, yes, I was definitely afraid of clowns. I could remember that joke throughout Facebook that Killer Clowns have arrived in Cagayan de Oro City. I was on the lookout then.

Right. Despite flying ugly insects and white-faced entertainers, what I feared the most was—

“I cheated on you,” he said, without so much of a hesitation. He was wearing his white long-sleeved polo, tight on his toned physique. That didn’t distract me from my immediate shock.

Fireworks could be heard from the distance, prematurely lighted by their owners. It was still fifteen minutes before the New Year arrived. We were sitting, side-by-side, on my late father’s narra bench in the living room. Home Alone 2 was blaring from the TV screen. Unlike little Macaulay Caulkin screaming piercingly from the screen, I was shouting from the inside. Eventually, to distract myself from his pronouncement, I took the remote and shut the TV off.


“Say something.”

There were many things I wanted to tell him now. I have not the faintest idea where and how to start. As if liquid fire flowed through my veins, I felt my limbs and body heat up. Then in a blink, it was replaced by a void. I felt nothing. Then I remembered. I am the one to be blamed here.

I cheated on him. My fiancé. We got engaged last year hoping that we could finally let go of our horrible past, or what I called the GYM GUY era. I cheated on him with a random stranger from Axis Gym. How many times? Twice? Thrice? I couldn’t remember how many trysts and one-night stands I managed to do while we were together. Gym guy—and other men. He never knew, until he snooped around my phone. Too bad for me, he has these telescopic eyes that could see far from normal. That’s how he probably knew my PIN. After that discovery, he became always so eager to find me at fault. I couldn’t blame him. I was known to be promiscuous. Even back in college.

Back then, I considered him my ultimate crush. He was cute, witty, very talented, and with eyes that glint of otherworldly knowledge. He was kind to everybody. He was of the old rich but you wouldn’t know by looking at his lanky frame back then. He was always so simple. That was probably the reason why I fell for him. I knew that girls and guys wanted him, but I did more effort to finally get him to notice me. I became his best friend.

Typical, I know. But that’s the formula that always worked in movies. All those Gerald Anderson and Kim Chiu movies taught me that (Paano na Kaya? was definitely the culprit.). It all starts with friendship, those movies said. And, my, my, what friendship it was. Having him close by made my heart flutter every time I get a scent of his Oxygen cologne, Static. I once did buy the same cologne from the said store, and masturbated to it, with his handkerchief covering my face, imagining him and me in bed—now that’s too much information. Kinky. But I guess I was already falling for him. Or that was just me and being a Scorpio.

“I don’t know what to say,” I told him. What should I tell him? That I hated him now? That I couldn’t bear to look at him? That I wanted him out of the house? As much as I wanted to, I didn’t want to sound the hypocrite. Well, I was. We both were.

“You probably have something to say,” he desperately moaned. “We want to have a clean slate before the New Year, and just saying that doesn’t help us at all. Na unsa man ka.

There he is. To tell you the truth, he was never the kind and loving guy I thought he was. He was manipulative, an emotional blackmailer, a Type-A asshole. He was paranoid with everything that I did. Going out with my friends? I was hanging out with another guy. Going to an out of city trip? He believed I was fucking someone behind his back.

Again, I couldn’t blame him. This was after the second time he discovered I had another pipe cleaning session with another guy. You see, every time after we had an argument about something he didn’t like, I usually black out and contact any other guy who was available to console me at that time. And by console, I mean, have myself choke someone else’s Hungarian sausage. And soon enough, he discovered from my private messages in Instagram that I was cheating on him with this Chinese Filipino cutie, who was five years our junior. We both are twenty-six years old. I called that the YOUNG CHINOY era. By then, trust between us was powdered china, impossible to reassemble with whatever glue. I never told our friends or anyone how big a problem he was. He was Mr. Perfect after all.

I knew he wanted to hear me say it.

“I am angry. Upset ko. I want to break something, but I feel,” my voice broke. I took a deep breath. “I feel wala ko’y right to feel this.” I looked straightly at him. Happy?

I could see a smile twitch. He caught himself. Or was I becoming as paranoid as he was? He wasn’t as mean—no, as evil as this. But I carried on.

“You know, there were so many guys in Facebook na sige’g chat nako,” I began, trying to play with current emotions. “But sila Debbie, sige ko nila’g kasab-an. I even asked Charles once, “Charles, feeling nako naay lain si Paolo. Ngano man ni?Mag-ingon ra dayon si Charles na, “Ay paghunahuna ana, sis. Sure man ko di na mabuhat ni Paolo.””

We both exhaled. He brushed his delicious brown hair with his veined hands. I stopped myself from grabbing him and kissing him just to shut him up, though he wasn’t speaking at all.

Kabalo man ko na naa kay lain na mga ginaflirt-flirt,” I continued. Let it all out, Alexis. “I know. And I don’t blame you.

Ako ni sala tanan.

In every argument we had for the past six years, it was always my fault. Always. Have you ever had those conversations with trolls in social media, where you are arguing, giving all your points with a particular issue, and despite all of it being rational ones, you still end up being the loser? That’s how it is with him, but the opposite. He was just too logical, always presenting counterarguments that actually make sense, unlike the fucking trolls in social media. With every rebuttal that I cast at him, he has a better point. And in the end, I always shut my mouth. I was the one in the losing end. I only had my way with him…as of the present, four times? Yawa no?

“It,” he stuttered. “It wasn’t only flirting that happened.”

Chchchchshcshshshshshshshsksshshskkkk. I heard static. All around us, the walls of the living room blackened as if tar gruelingly flowed down from the corners of the ceiling. I didn’t feel his hands on mine. His words muffled like a drowning clown; they didn’t matter. I heard him say something about leaving.

Paolo had fucked someone behind my back, just when, in fact, I have tried so hard to be faithful after that careless YOUNG CHINOY era. This couldn’t be true, right? He wouldn’t dare. He was abusive, yes, but he wouldn’t do this. He knew how much this will crush me—despite the multiple times of convincing him and myself that I am not the jealous type.

But he did. For revenge or for pleasure, I wasn’t so sure. Pleasure is relative for him after all.

I looked at him, but he wasn’t there beside me. I glanced at the clock. It told me it was ten minutes before the New Year. Engaged, I thought, and we still have so many things to know about each other. I turned the TV on again. The Force Awakens brightly reflected on my eyes. I was definitely Kylo Ren, anger focused on an imagined console, slashing and destroying that said imagined console with my menacing red lightsaber.

I thought, and thought, and thought. Questions. So many questions flew inside my mind like bats disturbed during the day. Are we to end this? Or should we make it a clean slate? Is that even still possible, given how toxic a relationship we actually have? Can this be a resolution for 2017? Will we ever learn to trust each other again?

I saw our photograph on a frame, on top of the corner table. The glass was cracked. We looked so happy. Then I remembered all those happy moments we had, ever since we became friends, and then memories when we became more than that. And of course, all the bad memories worked their way in as well.

I called his phone. I was surprised to hear the ringing from the kitchen. I went up to our bedroom.

Abi nako nilakaw ka,” I said from the doorway. He was seated on the bed, crying. With his hands covering his face, he looked like a child who lost his toy. I sat beside him. “Why did you it?”

He wiped his face and cleared his throat. “I…I don’t know. You and I, we’ve never had any action for months! And I wanted to hurt you. But it was only once. Right after I found out you cheated on me again. I always wanted to tell you. I though now was the perfect time.”

“You always have the knack with perfect timings,” I said sarcastically, smiling at him. He looked very remorseful. I couldn’t be sure though. He was, after all, one of the best actors I’ve met. Everything about him seemed rehearsed. Anyone could always fall for him. He was quite the charmer. “New Year na New Year, Pao.”

“I wanted both of us to start fresh.” He paused, then, “Tell me, naa pa kay lain mga buto gi-ngalngal paghuman ‘tong nag-away ta?

Fire returned in my limbs. This time, I really hit him on the head with my fist. “Gago ka! We are dealing with what you did right now.” I hit him again. “Sa kadaghan nimo ginapadungog-dungog sa Facebook, wala na koy lain gi-chupa, yawa ra. And again, ginakasab-an nako nila Debbie. Pasalamat ka sa ila.” One last hit.

“I’m sorry,” he said sincerely. He looked at me, with those glinting eyes. I knew he was telling the truth. “All I want is for us to have a clean slate.” Then thoughtfully, he added, “I never expected to fall in love with you. Seeing after you have a small pi-pi, I should have left you.”

Mao ba,” I said. I took the pillow and hit him a couple more times. He mentioned that every after we argue. “Ali na, we still have to light the fireworks.”

He lied on his back, staring at me. “Are we done talking about this?” He sat up. His voice was frail and light as a newborn kitten’s. “Lex…what are we now?”

I sighed. “Five years, Pao. We’ve encountered far worse shits than this. And I’ve expected this to happen. But I wish we will be more honest to each other more than ever. I only want you.”

He wet his dry lips with his tongue—the sexiest thing he constantly did.

“I can’t see anyone else with me in the future. Ikaw ra. So ayaw nag inuwag diha sa lain.”

“Likewise.” I stood from the bed, but he grabbed me by the hand.

“One thing you need to promise me, Lex,” he said, his brown gaze so intense that I immediately sat back on the bed. “Please put me down from that pedestal. Dili ko si Mister Perfect. Tell your friends, I’m an asshole. Na gago ko. Na yawa ko. I don’t want to be pressured from how you make them see me. Mao ra na akong ginapangayo nimo.

It all flashed in my head. All those times I kept defending him from Debbie. He was right. I’ve always placed him like a saint, despite his many sins. He was nothing more than a trophy for me to show around. A glass shattered in front of me, finally making me see clearly outside.

I only nodded.

“All I want is for you to trust me.”

Paolo held my hand. It was smooth as a baby’s. “I will.”

It was three minutes before the clock struck twelve. Paolo and I set the boxes of fireworks outside the yard, securing it around with hollow blocks. With the countdown of ABS-CBN’s annual New Year Countdown Concert in full volume from the living room, Paolo and I held hands together as we waited for that loud zero.

The sky above us filled with vivid colors, accompanied with flashy cracks and booms from the various fireworks lighted around the area. We both looked up. Our necks were straining for the magnificent pyrotechnic view. Paolo’s face was splashed with reds, greens, and yellows from the kaleidoscope of flares from above. He looked very happy with his perfect smile. His beady eyes, teary, were smiling as well. I never saw him this joyous. I couldn’t tell what he was thinking, but I hoped we both share the same thoughts. As I stared in awe at the sky, I thought that 2017 will be a brighter and better year.

I gazed at Paolo again, and as he glanced back at me, with those happy, hopeful eyes, my fear immediately was doused.

Writing is…

•August 28, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Something that I love.

Something that I will protect.

Something that I will do every day.

Something that will allow me to convey a message.



Well. I’ve just recovered this blog site.

•August 28, 2016 • Leave a Comment


Mockingjay Part 2: Killing Is Personal

•November 18, 2015 • Leave a Comment

As much as grand finales end with a bang, The Hunger Games’s final installment delivered to a notch but not as anticipated.
The film directly starts two weeks after Peeta’s strangling of Katniss, with the latter recovering from lack of voice.
Anyway, I love how faithful this was to the material, and how some parts were creatively added to give the storytelling much flavor.
Jennifer Lawrence is still as brilliant and in-depth as our heroine since the very beginning and we see how she portrays the journey her character has gone through. The rest of the cast were brilliant.
This final film would never have been more successful without it being in the hands of director Francis Lawrence. He made sure all scenes were so full of tension you could almost hear every heartbeat in the cinema and in the movie itself.
The film not only mirrors the present situation in the real world, but it also, again as in the first part, uses propaganda in control of the media.
If you’re a fan or not, the film is a good way to forget, for two hours, the real world.