June 14, 2010

We Are Never Anyone Else

This day, we visited our grandmother in Pandacan. They have transferred to a new house, and with that, I have to familiarize myself with a new route again. *Sigh*. Manila is such a crazy network of interlocking roads with different names. Welcoming us was Timmy, her seven-year old grandson and my cousin, who was watching SpongeBob at that time. He is an English speaker, that’s why I kept my mouth mostly shut on the minutes that we have stayed there. He is with his mother (effectively, my aunt) and our grandmother.

Aunt: Look at Kenneth, Timmy.
Timmy: (staring at me)
Aunt: He is tall and handsome
Kenneth: (laughing inside)
Aunt: (continues to talk) and he is also smart! He is a scholar.
Timmy: (stares down at the coloring book he’s holding)
Aunt: You should be like him Timmy!
Timmy: I’m not Kenneth. I’m Timmy.

Be yourself. Will you let someone chew the meat for you before you eat it, or will you take control, do it on your own, be yourself and eat it? Remember, we are never anyone else. It is either we let them draw our path before we take it or we choose where to go.

June 4, 2010

The Checklist

College life is here! Yes! And of course, I would not spend my college life wastefully, I need to make a checklist of what I need to do, to change, to learn or to get! It is similar to a resolution, only it is done before a change in the phase of life.

If you are an avid reader of WP, you’ll be well aware that I’ll having a great shift in my life. From studying in a not-so-famous college and living in the green pastures of an air base at Pampanga with my family, to studying in a 400-year-old nationally-renowned college and living in a dormitory along the crowded streets of Manila – and that is for four years (if I maintain my scholarship, that is.)

At this point, I made a checklist for my college life. I am going to setup my short- and long-term plans in my college life. Here it goes…

1. Know Manila – first off, I need to know a hefty load of jeepney routes, of labyrinth-like roads and the twists and turns around Manila. I’ll learn what to ride on where to go, for I’ll be living there soon! It is really unlike here in Pampanga wherein there are only up to jeepney routes at a time and they are even color-coded.

2. Learn the piano – for all my life, I have been desperate for this one instrument – the piano. (I exaggerated it, my passion for it began on high school.) Never mind the guitar, the violin, the flute or the drums.. I’ll prioritize the piano! (But if I have no choice, I’ll try to learn the guitar.)

3. Publish an online novel – nothing fulfills a writer’s heart than for his write-ups be read. I have so many ideas in my mind, but I can’t seem to find the time.

4. Master body language – non-verbal communication accounts for 93% of the total message we relay, the words just make up 7%. I want to be a master of body language, to learn the signs and to try to control it. Currently, I am reading books with regards to those topics.

5. Learn more of Photoshop – if life will allow me, I want to learn Photoshop more. I am amazed at what I see in some sites, and I want to learn them too! I need to learn professional-style editing! Hahaha!

6. Be a great speaker – sometimes, I also need to drop the pencil or hold loose of the mouse, well, I have a voice box to use. I want to learn how to control speed, rhythm, pitch and the other factors that makes a speaker a great speaker.

7. Join the school paper – once a writer, always a writer, and that’s why the urge of being a campus journalist still runs in me.

8. Serve God more – at number eight, my favorite number, is one thing that I not just want, but I need to do. Serve God always.

9. Change my face – haha, not the face transplant, but just some improvements on my impoverished face. Pimple removal, skin whitening – all in a gradual and a natural way. Haha!

10. Improve my vocabulary – I am planning to read more and more books about words and wordplay. I just want to know more words in the English language to improve my writing ang speaking.

11. Master Sudoku – this is one simple-looking number-placement that I want to master. Being one of my pastimes when I am totally bored and any gadget is not in place, Sudoku is such a brain-trainer. Currently, I can’t finish Very Hard puzzles, and I can barely hang on to those of four-star difficulty. I want to nail ‘em soon!

12. Read the Bible and Devotion books – this is one habit that I would like to spark up in college life. Everyone needs their daily dose of God’s words in their lives to enlighten our minds, to jump start our daily routines and to end well before we sleep.

13. Gain weight – aaahhh. This is one physical change that I have wanted for so long. I want to gain weight; I want to build more mass; I want to have those kilos. Having a cute face is not enough, if you have a body that is really thin and a BMI that is rated as severely underweight! Haha!

14. Get organized – My new year’s resolution for 2012 (see tumblr) – get organized is going to be one of my college resolutions! Because I am living all alone in a shared room, I’d better get organized on my things before I see my underwears flying off the windows of our third-story room.

15. Continue poetry – How about a Tinig ng Torpe XXVIII?! Poetry is one of my hobbies, ever since I was eight years old and I have no plans on quitting over it, instead, I’m gonna read more poems and get myself even more inspired to write more.

16. Update WhitePanorama – if I fail to follow Internet on wherever he goes, as much as possible, I will still update WhitePanorama. I’m still working things out on how.

17. Go back in Pampanga – of course, my heart is at my hometown, and I need to go back home, maybe at least once a month, or once every two months.

18. Watch an NCAA game – and since I am in Letran, the defending champion on the NCAA, I can’t miss the chance to watch out an NCAA game. They say the thrill of seeing the athletes of your school compete against other schools is different, and I’m gonna try it here! Arriba! :D

19. Get my Plurk to 100 Karma – I won’t let my four years of college life pass without bringing my Plurk to the fullest Karma! I gotta find a way to update it daily in spite of being busy and in spite of the absence of Internet connection!

20. Study colors – if I’ll learn more of Photoshop, I should have that passion to learn colors. On the tip of the iceberg that I know, colors express different emotions, have their certain pairs when it comes to combination and has a profound effect on the one seeing it. I want to learn how to use them, the hues, the brightness, the shades, the tints, the saturation etc…

21. Remember the days – I want to keep a record of all significant events of my college life. It will be similar to a log book, and not necessarily a diary. I just want to keep in track of the important events that, who knows, may change my life in the future.

22. Be a little less selfish and a lot more compassionate – I want to be that friend that I never came to be when I was in high school. After I touched, and I was burned, now the lessons have been learned. I guess I’m off to a better Kenneth and college life will be a good start.

The last four are SECRETS.
The first one involves an examination, the second one involves clothes, the third one involves one of my profile pictures in Facebook and the fourth one involves a promise I made to someone. Promises are made to be broken, but as much as possible, you should not break it. Hahaha.

That’s it. I’ll have some blog posts as each one of them are being checked out of the list. I just hope I can complete them, or at least just accomplish half of them. My checklist is so fragile as I see it at the moment.

Make your own checklist, I suggest. Plan for your life.

June 2, 2010

The Balloon That Will Never Come Back

ABOUT THE STORY: This is my first story to be ever published in WhitePanorama. This is about a 13-year-old girl who ended up hoping that the balloon will come back. What’s behind it? You should probably read it. This is not based on any actual experience and the characters are all fictitious, much like all short stories. I’m just trying out my skill in short story writing. I hope you like it! Hahaha! Here it goes, The Balloon That Will Never Come Back.

Sunshine is touching my skin, and not only my skin, but all the trees, all the people and the towering ferris wheel. Everything seems so alive. Look, that kid has ice cream all over his face! Haha! That man over there is doing some magic. I want to take a closer look, but I am being pulled by my brother to a hotdog stand. He’ll buy us some hotdogs to eat.

We were in an amusement park, because my brother promised to me last week that he’ll bring me here if I pass all subjects in our examinations. It was really hard reviewing, but all those hardships had paid off today. The amusement park, from its name, never fails to amuse me. The wonder of such a big wheel carrying people, spinning slowly and bringing everyone up to heights they never reached, simply amuses me.

“I want to ride that big wheel, Kuya!” I told my brother.

“But the ride costs eight times that hotdog you are eating. It is too expensive.” My brother reasoned out.

“Eyyyy. If only we had enough money,” I said as I continue to stare at the height of the steel wheel.

I was biting at my hotdog mindlessly because I am focusing my attention at how high the ferris wheel reaches. I wondered if the birds will surround me if I am at the top, or if I’ll be able to peek in at the window of an airplane. I guess it will take some time before I know if those things were real.

My brother noticed me gazing high at the ferris wheel. He held my hand and started to pull me.

“Where are we going?” I asked.

He did not answer my question, and all I can do is to helplessly follow him wherever he leads me. I wanted to look back at the ferris wheel, but I cannot for I’ll trample in the way. Finally, he stopped. In front of us is an ugly looking clown.

Clowns never fascinated me ever since I was young. They look like they have been playing with Crayola so obsessively that they decided to put the colors permanently on their faces, in an application so thick that they look like aliens. If they can only do magic without coloring on their faces, I will love them so much.

I can’t look at the clowns, for I can’t stop to laugh with ridicule when I look at them. I was staring at the clown’s right hand. His right hand is the same as the right hand of my brother, brown, with five fingers, and not painted. I looked at my hand, and realized that it is the same as his, too. After all, that clown is still a human, only masked to put joy on some kid’s faces.

“Hey Riz!” my brother called me.

“Her name is Riz?” the clown asked.

“Oh, ahmm, yes,” my brother answered.

“Do you want me to put her name here?” the clown asked more. I have no idea on where was he going to put it for I was looking at his right hand.

“For free?” my brother asked.

“Yes,” the clown said as he slowly pockets his hand. “Hold this for me,” the clown said as his hand pulls out the pocket with a permanent marker, “now, how do you spell it?”

“R – I – Z … Riz,” my brother replied.

There was a squeaking sound as the clown writes it, and interested, I looked up to see what is going on. It was a pink balloon that the clown is writing on.

“Riz, it’s done,” the clown smiled and gave the balloon to me.

I was shocked. Why was he offering a balloon to me?

“Hold it Riz, it might fly,” my brother warned me.

Scared, I grabbed it and I held it with my hands clenched very tightly around the string. We left the clown, and the clown was now writing a new name on a different balloon, and I assumed he’ll give it to that child in front of him.

“Why did the clown gave this to me?” I asked.

“He gave it to you because I bought it for you,” he answered, with that smile on his face that releases the angel inside of him.

My brother, is not actually my brother, but just a family friend. His name is Hans. He sleeps in our house sometimes, plays with me really often and sees me at school always. I do not have any brothers, really, and he plays that role for me. He is my best friend, though he is three years older than me. He knows me well, and I know him, too, and he has shared a lot of stories with me.

“Just take care of that balloon, Riz. That is my gift to you for being great in your exams,” my brother said.

“Errr…,” I said playfully as I hug him tight around his waist, “that’s really touching Kuya.”

“Pink. That is your favorite color, right?” he asked.

“Yes! That’s why I like this balloon so much now,” I said.

That was five months ago.

Today, things are different. His memory still keeps playing like an endless filmstrip rolling in my mind. But to him, I’m down to being an acquaintance, a familiar face around the corner, a part of the past that has been forgotten. I lost my best friend, and all I can do was to stare at him with his new best friends. Yes, he had replaced me, but I can never replace him. Every time I see him, I wish I was one of his friends, so that I can be with him. As of today, that is a mission impossible.

Four months ago, I was with him in a park. I am holding an ice cream on my left hand and the pink balloon that he bought me on my right hand. He was at my side, and we were happily chatting with the calm breeze.

“Kuya, I have something to tell,” I said to him in a childish manner.

“Sure. What is it?” he asked.

“I’ve been feeling this for a long time now,” I said, “And I guess this is the right time to say it.”

He was just silent, but the smile on his face was slowly disappearing. I do not know if he was just curious, or he knows that he will not like what he is about to hear.

“I know it is not right,” I continued, “but Kuya…”


There was that two-second pause in time. The witnesses were the withered trees that are just starting to bloom for spring, and the wooden benches lining up the pathwalk. Everything was silent, except for the breeze gently whispering to the grass.

With a sudden flame in his eyes, he grabbed my hand forcefully and shook it hardly. I was shocked; I have never seen his face like that. His once calming eyes were looking at me piercingly and his once caressing touch became painful. He shook my hand so violently that I dropped the ice cream cone in my hand to the pavement below, only to be consumed by the heat of the sun.

The balloon, yes, the balloon that could have been the only concrete memory of him to me, went out of my grasp. I was in shock. The string slowly slid off my palms, and without me noticing, it was soon out of my reach, floating in a seemingly endless sky. I was looking at the balloon as it slowly floated away from me. It was getting smaller and smaller, until it totally vanished from my eyes.

“Why?! You do not know what you are saying! You do not know what will happen!” he said to me in a tone I never heard before. I never saw him angry before, and that was the last face that he gave in front of me – a face that will haunt me in my dreams until now.

He left me standing there, with a dropped ice cream cone in front of me. I was staring at him as he was walking away fast from me. I was not able to answer his question, for I really don’t know why I love him – until now. The breeze is still blowing, and I guess the balloon is still flying somewhere.

Just as the balloon flew away, so is our friendship. I remember seeing the balloon go smaller and smaller as it floats farther and farther away from me; it reminds me of how our friendship diminished in such a short while -- a terminal to our friendship. I took the risk to exchange it for love, but little did I know that with it, I have let go of the string of our friendship and let it drift away.

Until now, I always go to that park – on that very place where I dropped my ice cream cone. I look up the sky, and talk to myself, “will that balloon ever come back again? Will our friendship ever come back again?”

Four months later, here I am, still searching for the balloon that will never come back.