July 31, 2007


Just arrived from a visit to Cavite and Metro-Manila. I came to check on my uncle and cousin in Imus and send-off my cousin Tots, a seafarer, to his ship in Europe. I also visited writer-friends, and more importantly, my Esmi. It was also a chance for me to check out the Cinemalaya 2007 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. I was also there to buy new DVD for our videoke and battery for our Sharp camera phone and open the line of the LG camera phone of my aunt.

Although I have stayed for a long time in Manila, it is still easy for me to get disoriented in its complicated gridlock of traffic and pollution. I have been living here in Bicol for quite sometime. And here, almost always, I just walk my way and get to places. There, moving about can get really expensive. You will need food and transportation allowance. And soon enough, there is a risk that a friend might just stick a knife or gun unto you and ask for money.

Thankfully, I was able to negotiate my way around the place. First stop was the Mall of Asia where we ate and roamed around. It was there where I was able to open the line of my aunt’s LG camera phone. You see, it was sent to us (along with my Nokia) by my cousin Anne from the United States. I could not find an able technician here in Bicol but there, it took them only about 15 minutes to finish the job.

I also attended a lecture on digital engineering by George Palmer, an American, right there at the CCP as part of the Cinemalaya festival. He focused on the duties of a digital engineer as tech support during filmmaking. It was well-attended by cinematographers, writers and producers. By the look of things, digital films will not only be the way to go for indie filmmakers, I think it’s also the way of the future. The lecture was made possible by Sony.

Afterwards, I went to my girlfriend’s office in Makati. While waiting for her, I found this decent but cheap restaurant where they serve beer. It was just in front of their building. Next thing I knew, I was already gulping a couple of San Mig light. I was thirsty, Makati disoriented me again that I almost got lost. The smell of beer annoyed her to no end as we were to watch Harry Potter in a nearby cinema. Lesson learned: Esmi first before beer.

Meeting with poet Cirilo F. Bautista has been part of my Manila tradition. And so there I was, along with Pangasinense writer-friend Sonny Villafania at Burger King-Kanlaon waiting for the Master. He did arrive shortly with his usual blue Honda CRV and treated us for merienda, big burgers and coffee. We talked about our projects and the writing life. It was cool that he shared anecdotes about himself and other writers. Did you know that he keeps his trophies and awards in their upper and lower comfort rooms? And that he is allergic to beer? His father used to scold him thinking that the he was drunk just because the allergic reaction caused skin rashes and redness.

As usual, the Master gave us lots of books. Perhaps those stuffs were sent to him as complimentary copies from publishers so that he can write about it in his Breaking Signs column in Philippine Panorama. Too bad I forgot Pili nuts, he wanted some. He also expressed disappointment because I forgot to greet him on his birthday. He never fails to greet me whenever I celebrate mine.

We stayed in there for about three hours, just talking about literature. It is no secret that our group nominated him for National Artist, and we will repeat the process. Far from being a recluse, Cirilo F. Bautista loves to talk about writing in front of younger writers. He also goes out often, perhaps observing people at the marketplace. It is a known fact that he is the household cook and gardener.

But above all, it was my Esmi that I missed the most. And so I spent more time with her. A writer cannot live without a muse, and I have found mine.







  1. badoodles said

    you’re right there. esmi muna bago beer. though it’s good she knows that you drink. i kept mine a secret during ‘papogi points’ phase of courtship so myBebe’s in shock when we’re already together learning that i’m pro in booze.

  2. hagbayon said

    Yeah, thanks man. Yesteday is international mead day since it’s the first Saturday of August.


  3. Gerry said

    Wow, Jason, it must be great talking casually with Cirilo Bautista the literary giant! I use to follow his Breaking Signs during college days. Wow!

  4. Gerry said

    Wow, Jason, it must be great talking casually with Cirilo Bautista the literary giant! I used to follow his Breaking Signs during college days. Wow!

  5. hagbayon said

    Yeah, thanks. It’s always cool to listen to more experienced writers.

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