I am yet to be convinced of the peculiarity and the importance of the ongoing fad of giving special awards based on strata-clustered votes in most award-giving bodies even in the Philippine blogosphere. For one, its doors are wide open for the lack of or for the limited criteria of making a “more justified” choice rather than a personal one.
While I ruminate on the merits of critical acclaim, popular appeal and the productive union of the two, I find it quite ironic that I, always shunning popular choice categories, am making a choice and I am voting for Joseph “Otep” Zablan’s blog “Libre Lang Mangarap” as my pick for the 2011 Philippine Blog Awards Bloggers’ Choice.
Otep’s blog is a far cry from being a literary haven. It is littered with misspelled words, disagreeing tenses and redundant non-words even when it is written in his native tongue. Sometimes, his posts lack coherence and form. But then, his entries are always engaging, with the unseemly pair of pomp in his optimism and the raw honesty of a struggling young man trying to find his own place. He acknowledges his fear of highfalutin words and sticks to his own standard: self-expression. He admits he is not a rocket scientist. He chose to fly rockets instead – in dreams like most dreamers do. This I believe is the endearing quality of his blog – dreams are woven free…
Maybe the inspiration that his struggles and dreams give has appealed to his many readers. Life may serve us with different color-coated chocolates, but not all chocolates are sweet. Along with the joy of having his little dreams fulfilled come failures and heartbreaks. Sometimes, he stubbornly wallows in the sickening taste of bitter chocolate for far too long but in his own time he picks himself up, takes his own sure strides and dreams again.
If this vote would make him dream more, why not? In our current times, perhaps we need more dreamers like Otep. Perhaps, the future will be much brighter and more colorful…
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 – 1962)
(14 July 2011)
The kitchen is a world all on its own. It has its own rhythm, sound and time. It has seen faces come and go, rites of passage in its stoves, and masterpieces heralded by sonorous and rain-like sounds of thick stews and sautés. Within it lie silent witnesses to the ebb and flood tides of a family’s ever-changing circumstance – pans that may have fried best portions of meat or boisterously smelly dried fish, pots that may have boiled intense soups or glutamate-rich instant noodles, and ladles that have become sticky with clinging rice or have hit and scraped several pot bottoms.
(04 February 2011)
He slowly walked along the timeworn paths. It was raining that day, short-lived but frequent, brought by the passing rain clouds. He was glad that the trails are now covered by broken seashells. They crumbled under his sandals and announced his every step as clearly as the fading rain falling on his umbrella.
He found the spot. And he stood there in silence. The rain clouds vanished and the heavens have cleared. The scent of ylang-ylang blossoms in the breeze brought him many years back into his past, in a spot on the sidewalk…
(10 January 2011, Cebu)
Strong rains, typhoons and hurricanes plagued that school year. One hurricane even took off our house’ entire ceiling and dropped it in the middle of the nearby rice field. Aside from literally sleeping under the stars for a night that year, I fondly remember it for the times when classes were cancelled for several days but we still went to school – in uniform and with bags fully equipped with books, writing pads and pencils.
My partner in crime was Keran. Our crime would start when, realizing that there would be no class (since our teacher hasn’t arrived after an hour or two), everyone else would head home. We would proceed to a roadside canal overflowing with water from the nearby rice fields along our way home. There was a small stream that flowed through the dirt road.
(17 June 2010, Cebu)
I still have your letters. Although it stabs my heart to see them, I find it uneasy to let them go. I haven’t read them for a long while. I know they contain our once shared dreams now toppled by time and fate.
I have always looked forward to those exchanges. I felt so alive with the thrill that a letter would be waiting for me. And I always wondered what color and design the stationeries would have.
(29 June 2010, Cebu)
There was a slight drizzle when I woke up early this morning. And there were many puddles of brown water outside – remnants of the heavy rains last night. I decided to bring my umbrella to work.
The early morning smell of the wet grasses, the cool breeze of the air, and the soft, slippery feel of rain-soaked soil on the sole of my shoes transported me to many years ago. I remembered what it was like to go to school in June. Like today, it was difficult to get out of bed. I just wanted to snooze all day.
(25 May 2010)
Tonight, we’ll walk together, side by side in cobblestone streets. I had hoped, no, longed for this for some time. And somehow I fear that those moments would be fleeting, for time is always unkind to me and the next time this would happen would be close to never.
Tonight, in each stride I’ll soak myself in the joy of closely seeing you – soft black eyes twinkling with every shy smile, each shy smile disarming and uplifting…