The Book Project Manila

It is a continuous and lifelong pursuit of mine to declutter and simplify my life. So one rainy day, after many visits for coffee, I finally went to Local Edition Coffee and Tea at Perea Street in Makati and left these ten books so that others can read them. These are all novels either written by gay authors or featured gay characters. Rather than gather dust at my shelf, I decided to share them to others. I have ebook copies of these, anyway. And others may find something here to relate to or perhaps reaffirm themselves that who they are is not wrong.

(Not) Off the Beaten Path

I'm trying to understand why traveling on off the beaten paths don't appeal to me. Hiking on mountains to get a decent view of the sunrise; riding buses, motorcycles, and boats then walking a thousand kilometers to get to a secluded, pristine lake. They say it's all about the journey, roughing it up to be rewarded with the beauty of nature, a silent sanctuary away from the bustling crowd of the city. But I'd take a room with a view where I can step out and get lost in the crowd and find a nook where I could have a decent local meal and a good cup of coffee. I'd take a city with trains and buses that could show me around, hop on and hop off from one stop to another until I've made full circle. And, of course, air-conditioning and a decent bathroom. With buffet breakfast, if possible.

Grief, In Silence.

It's been eleven years since my younger brother died. He would have been 29 last September 10. So easy to say that time flies, but somehow, somehow, I never grieved fully--and so eleven years later it has the freshness of yesterday's heartbreak. In the early stages, the first few weeks and months after his death, if I wasn't angry at the world and at God, if I wasn't plotting my own demise, I buried my nose in books, either trying to understand the inescapable pain and burden or escaping into horde of fantasy books. I remember feeling how thin the line between madness and sanity at that time. At any point I would've crossed over to madness and lived gleefully unaware of this sad, mad world.

Episodic (Of Books and TV)

Sometime in college, I realized I was born with a reading list I will never finish. It was in elementary when I discovered the joy of reading. At that time, in the province, we didn't have a good bookstore. Wait, correct that--we didn't have a bookstore. We had a school supplies store which sell textbooks and once in a blue moon a fiction novel would find its way in the shelves of Mathematics or Panitikan. But I didn't get those because buying books were simply out of my wallet's league. I don't think I even had a wallet then, much more any money I could call my own, except the spare coins I saved when I skipped lunch. I spent a lot of time in the library, which was sort of my refuge because I had no inclination for sports--and I didn't like staying in school playing with my classmates once classes are done for the day. I was an introvert; I just didn't know what it was called then.


The first milestone I had was when I graduated in prep school. It was made more unforgettable because I sung onstage. Long before The Voice Kids or Tawag ng Tanghalan Kids happened, I tortured my poor classmates, their parents and guests, and my teachers with my voice. In my defense, my teachers made me do it. The succeeding milestones in my life were all that--graduations. From elementary, high school, and finally college. I say finally because I'm glad that my formal education is over. I have no plans for further studies, except those short courses online that tap into my neglected creative side.


Is it too early for reminiscing? Sometimes, out of the blue, and in the most ordinary of times, I feel suddenly, electrifyingly alive and in the moment. Sometimes in the middle of work, a flood of memories overwhelm me and I am reminded of things that came to pass. There's no shaking it, everything that happened in my life is now part of my narrative. If I were a story, I'm in the middle of my arc. I had experienced loss from which I will never recover, a burden, like heavy weights in my pockets that could sink me anytime, a wound so deep it will not heal. I had found myself in the throes of death, clung to life despite the isolation and the long road to recovery. And I find myself asking why? If I were a story, I should be moving towards something--a resolution or an ending of some sorts that should bring closure to my life's questions. Instead, it's starting to feel like Soprano and I'm moving to nothing but an abrupt end. Or The Good Wife--a good slap in the fac…


For most of the year, I've minimized my Facebook activity. It started November 2015 when I noticed my newsfeed becoming more political than I was comfortable. I thought the politicization of Facebook would fade after the Philippine election was over. But I was wrong. After the election, if you agree with the President, you're a Dutertard. If you disagree, you're a Yellowtard. Not much of a gray area, as if politics is black and white, or in this case red and yellow. It's as if the President is either a god or the devil. And all along I thought he was human and, therefore, fallible. You can agree on certain things with him and you can disagree without being labelled a certain *tard (mustard?).