A Very Long Hike Ko

(written a summers ago) 

It’s really sizzling hot here in Pinas, the other day while walking from CCP to Pedro Gil there were bikini-clad ladies playing beach volleyball in front of Rajah Sulayman’s statue in Malate, complete with sands and tan. Too bad it was getting dark to shoot it with my cellphone camera. The funny thing is in España – yeah in front of UST – at about the same time, it’s flooded because of high tide. Have the icecap melted already and the sea level rose or has Manila sunk because of too much garbage, people and debt. All hell is breaking loose. We’re nearing apocalyptic period, I think. Goddamn, greenhouse effect and global warming. I used to hike Manila in summer time. Now I’m going to fry my brain and use my perspiration as broth if I try as much as walk from our house to UST. You know what? I am becoming sedentary, yeah like a barnacle. Home bound. I am nurturing my abs to be the next big thing after the Chocolate hills or the next surfing getaway with the waves that has started to sprout.

 

On the other hand, if it’s going to get hot still, it is better to get hot soon. So that everyone will be compelled to strip to the naked glory. Imagine the new fashion statement.  I sure wish I took photos of those bitches, I mean beach volleyball players. But I was too wet – that is from perspiration, I mean – to think about my natural appetite.

 

Here’s the proof of the sun’s trying to get back on us. I don’t know if you have seen this movie way back in the early 80’s, where people were disappearing because of the sun. In the movie the sun was linked to the disappearance of the Mayan civilization. I forgot how the sun managed to snatch a whole civilization. I can’t even remember now how the movie ended.  Maybe, the television viewers had disappeared on the spot one after the other. It seems the sun’s power also worked on the viewers also. My entire memory almost disappeared. Maybe, I would have followed suit if the movie did not ended soon.  Anyway, I think that is just what happened with my classmates who borrowed money from me.  She disappeared just when we are starting to experience very high temperatures this pass few days. I don’t know, it is just my hunch. What do you think?

 

By the way, I am writing this while sipping a café latte at Figaro UN Avenue. Yes, I said Figaro. Guess what? Starbucks at UN and in Robinson’s Place in Ermita likewise disappeared. There you go – ala Catherine Zeta Jones. Something is telling me nothing is acting normally lately.

 

At least my charm is still as it is. When Isay Alvarez smiled and acted as if she knew me while she was queuing at CCP canteen and I was at a table across her and was about to eat my kalderetang broccoli, which I mistakenly thought was chicken, I knew there was something not normal. Against my better judgement, I couldn’t restrain myself I waved and smiled back at her. Sure enough the person Isay was actually smiling at emerged from my behind, no let me rephrase that, came behind me and approached Isay. I could have buried my face in the sauce and cupped rice in shame.

 

I remember also another incident that the sun may have a hand in the disappearance of a large number of people. My entire E-group buddies disappeared. How’s that? Well, it occurred when one of my E-groups that had been inactive for a while suddenly buzz to life when we learned that one of our former classmates died of drug overdose. So everyone wrote his or her piece on him. I wrote mine as well. It took about no fewer than four pages long when written in longhand in yellow pad paper. I wrote how our classmates who moved on to the next life seem to literally resemble Night Crawler of the X-men. How, while alive he touches everyone’s lives and in some other places as his form of greeting.  Now he’s touching us still and added to make it funnier the idea, that maybe, our dead classmate is sitting right now beside the one reading the email and finally how he will surely send everyone in heaven high with his constant supply of grass and chemicals. Well, after I sent that email the next day the temperature in Manila was at its hottest that month. Ho and behold no response from anyone. When I tried to email again including my journal on my trip to one of the islands of Babuyan, my email bounced back. If it’s not the sun, maybe alien took them, don’t you think?

 

I also receive a mysterious anonymous email filled with a cryptic word, “blog”. It filled the page as if someone is knocking from the other side. Blog, blog, blog. Pretty freaky.

 

You might be wondering why I was walking from CCP to Pedro Gil. When I could be riding, right? Well, lately I develop this fear of riding PUV. You may have experience it once or twice you’re trying to pay the jeepney fare while you’re seated at the exit aisle and no one wants to pass your fare to the driver. Well, I thought maybe the reason behind this is that those who do obliged to take your money and pass it along does not get the proper thanks. So, I decided to thank all those who passed along my fare. I thought of individually approaching them. So I began squat walking toward the furthest one. There after greeting her with, “isang magandang araw po, ako po ay…”. I didn’t had the chance to finish the sentence, when the sole of the shoes of the one I approached first kissed my snout and before I could recovered, another kick and another until I was suddenly flying out of the jeepney. I heard someone cursed and said, “ kay aga-aga nanlilimos. Ang laking tao hindi maghanap buhay”.  See? how good intentions are taken for something else. It’s not difficult to imagine. Further back, when I was the one sitting behind the driver and was busy passing along fares, the one sitting beside me was busy trying to slice a hole in my bag. I only found out of the several attempts and one successful cut the next morning when I lifted my bag and saw the gaping hole. Nothing was taken. In fact have my students found out about it, they would have prayed that the snatcher succeeded in spiriting the test papers I was bring along inside my bag. Got to re-hydrate, they say one sign of loosing too much water in the body is delusion.  

 

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