Monday, August 3, 2015
Friday, October 28, 2011
Friday, October 15, 2010
INT.BEDROOM (GERMANY). NIGHT
The room is dark and gloomy. There is only a flicker of light from the television set.
The bed is empty and undisturbed. We slowly scan through the room with its European fixtures.
We hear the talk show host speaking in German.
We see Eleuteria or Terya (19 years old), she is sitting in front of the mirror.
We hear her voice clearly while the sound from the television set becomes softer.
(TERYA’s voice, she talks tentatively and slowly)
One year has already passed
but it seems like only
CLOSE ON TERYA
(she talks to the camera)
My name is Eleuteria Duhaylungsod. I am still not used to it but my
last name now is Kirschbaum.
My story started in Olango
Island, Mactan, Cebu.
INT. VIDEOKE STORE. NIGHT
Terya, 18 years old, is singing “The Impossible Dream” inside Cacay’s Videoke place. It is a makeshift nipa hut with a couple of tables spread around. She is out of tune.
The videoke is turned to full volume.
There are some people inside. Everybody seems to be having a good time.
To dream the impossible
dream. To fight the
unbeatable foe. To bear the
This is my quest to follow
the star no matter how
hopeless, no matter how far…
A shrewd store owner, around 45 years old, clapping her hands
Dream on, Terya
Terya continues singing, ignoring Cacay.
Everybody clap their hands when she finishes singing.
Outside, people are sitting around on the bamboo benches. They share a glass of rice wine that is passed from one person to the next in the Cebuano tradition of “tagay”.
Terya's father gives out the drinks. He is humming his favorite Cebuano love song “Matud Nila”.
The men are getting drunk. They are getting unruly.
We can see motorbikes outside the store and porters dividing the day’s income. The mood is festive.
WE see Terya, and Ricky, also 18 years old,(he is Terya’s effeminate friend and classmate) sitting on the pump boat (small Philippine inter-island outrigger boats) that is full of people and cargoes.
Notwithstanding, the two are talking animatedly to each other. The conversation is inaudible.
The boat nears Olango Island and the camera takes in the beautiful scenery of the island as the boat approaches and docks.
The boatman throws a rope to a waiting man in the pier and throws the anchor into the sea.
The makeshift wooden bridge is laid down so that the passengers can disembark.
Porters compete with each other to come to the boat for the cargoes while the passengers scramble to form a line, ready to disembark.
Nesto, 23 years old, a tricycle driver parks in the pier in front of the pump boat
PIER IN OLANGO ISLAND. EXT. DAY
We capture the hustle and bustle of the pier. Passengers take the tricycles and ‘Habal-habals’ (motorcycles) parked nearby and drivers offer a ride.
The dispatchers are shouting directions to the tricycle drivers and the passengers.
Terya and Ricky standing in front of Nesto’s tricycle.
Ride with me, the two of you. I will not ask for a fee.
Painting ' A Thousand and One Hearts" is also by the author
Sunday, July 4, 2010
“Hey! Is that Tim who just came inside? He is my boyfriend since last year. So he is back again! “exclaims the suddenly alive Ligaya to her friend Marilou.
“You are talking nonsense, retorts Marilou. That guy is Jo Ann’s boyfriend. I know for a fact that he sends her money from time to time”.
But Ligaya does not hear Marilou’s answer anymore because she stands up abruptly. She rushes towards the American who just arrived at the disco house.
Tim! When did you arrive? Come her, come to me!.
Ligaya shouts and she almost fell over the dance floor because she is wearing a 4” high-heel shoes.
“ Hey Babe! How are you Babe? The foreigner answers her.
Tim gropes like a blind man in the dark disco. He goes in the direction of the corner table where the two women are sitting. Ligaya is ecstatic that Tim arrived. The night is still young but she already caught a man.
It is still low season and business is painfully slow. In fact in the last few nights, Ligaya feels like a hopeless fisherman trying to catch fish in the vast and empty ocean. Her hopes are really dashed because she knows that the other girls inside the Love Me Disco are glancing covertly at her.
At the age of 25, Ligaya is already considered old compared to the other girls plying their trade in the disco house. Every year, there are a number of young and fresh faced girls offering stiff competition.
Seven years have swiftly passed since Ligaya left Bayugan, Agusan del Sur, to try her luck in the big city. And she finds herself in the bustling city of Cebu. Because she only finished elementary school, she had problems looking for a decent job. In the beginning, she felt very uncomfortable selling her body but after a year, she got used to it. Money is very easy in this job. And now, even if she can get a respectable job as a sales girl or waitress, she will not even take a second look at it.
Anyway, the salary is always so cheap and the work is hard there. Now that she works as a free lancer and there is no more pimp or casa* with whom she used to share her income, she earns quite well. If only she has no vices, Ligaya could have saved some money already and perhaps even send some home to help her parents. In awhile, the sound system blares, playing a song loudly.
“ Like a Virgin! Touched for the very first time”
Ligaya grabs Tim and brings him to the center of the dance floor. Ligaya dances gracefully. She has done this many times before. She
worked as a bikini dancer for a number of years at the Silver Dollar Bar. The Silver Dollar is a popular bikini bar patronized by foreigners and tourists in the city. She knows exactly how to sway her hips and flay her arms and fingers. Especially tonight with Tim’s presence, she is excited and inspired. She gives her all while dancing wildly, amidst the rain of neon lights that seems to bathe her.
The other girls stare at her enviously. Marissa, who is sitting with Tessa at one of the sofas that is scattered around the place smirks. She turns her curios eyes away from the dance floor and laughs loudly.
“Look at that old Ligaya enjoying herself and showing off her shriveled boobs”, she whispers to Tessa.
“What?, Tessa shouts above the ruckus of the loud disco music.
“I said, Look at that old Ligaya showing off her shriveled boobs!” Marissa shouts at the top of her lungs.
The other girls who heard her start giggling and they look at each other with knowing glances. Marissa, at 18, is the youngest and currently the most popular girl hanging out at the Love Me Disco. She behaves like the queen of the place. All the desirable foreigners usually pick her, out of the 30 or so women available. This is because of her youthful good looks and morena complexion. Tonight, Marissa is on the prowl. Her latest customer just left for Germany so she is free again.
Straight from a trip to the hot springs of Camiguin, where Marissa spent a week with Georg, her pockets are filled with pesos. There is no urgent need to work now because the German left her 200 Euros and promised to send her a monthly stipend. At the age of 65, Georg fell head over heels in love with the teen-ager. He renovated the house of Marissa’s parents near the stinky Pasil Market.
This is because he bought her a four poster bed as a birthday gift but when the delivery man from SM Department Store came, it can not pass through the door. The bed was too large and it can not go through the flimsy door. In fact, they have to destroy it and place the four poster bed in the living room. It is certainly too big for the bedroom that is shared by everyone in the family.
Realizing this, Georg decided to renovate the whole house. He paid for a new door and also have the leaking roof and the holes in the walls fixed. Now, the beautiful four poster bed occupies one third of the living room in Marissa’s house. Its intricate posts are removed and are now used to support the kitchen sink that is also dilapidated.
He also bought Marissa a collection of Barbie dolls at the Duty Free Shop. One time, while shopping at the store together, she asked him to buy one for her but Georg thought that Marissa must have wished for this doll since she was a child. Out of pity for her under privileged childhood, he tried to make it up to her and bought all the different Barbie models available at the Duty Free Shop. He has repeatedly requested the girl to stop working at the Love Me Disco but Marissa vehemently refused. There is something about all the admiring and lustful glances that makes her happy and fulfilled. The promise from Georg to send her to school and to buy a house for her family fell on deaf ears. After all, it is only a promise and nobody knows if it will be fulfilled. Besides, Marissa is not in love with Georg and thinks of him only as a very generous and passing customer.
Tonight, Marissa feels threatened. She does not like it that Ligaya gets a customer while she is not yet taken. She looks around the disco house and makes a mental note of the foreigners loitering around.
“This is going to be an exciting night”, Marissa confides to Tessa.
“What do you mean? Except for that American who just came in, all these foreigners here are regulars who are stingy and also married.”
“ Sus! That guy Tim, who just came in? He pursued me last year like crazy but I didn’t like him so I donated him to Jo Ann just so he will stop pestering me”, gloats Marissa.
“Hahaha! It could be an interesting night if Jo Ann arrives, you know how she is, all her customers are automatically her boyfriends. She is even worst than the wives”
“That’s the way it should be. Especially if the wives are foreigners, I don’t mind hooking up with foreigners. I only feel guilty when they are married to Filipinas but then again, I really don’t care. However, if other girls here in the disco flirts with my men? That is absolutely not allowed! ” Marissa tells Tessa.
“ Look at that Ligaya dancing there. She must be high already”, Hey! Did you give contribution to the pot money for our stuff?”, Tessa exclaims while showing Marissa a packet of shabu surreptitiously.
“ Of course I did. I took mine already. I know that some girls here are not contributing but they still take their share.” I will complain to that Jo Ann, after all, she is the one collecting the money from us”
Marissa settles on her chair. She takes out a brand new cellular phone from her bag and started typing.
“ Your boyfriend is here. Come immediately or else he will be taken by the others”
Pressing the send button, the young woman smiles. She looks at Ligaya and Tim enjoying themselves at the dance floor. Marissa is a relative newcomer in the so called oldest profession of the world. Tessa, her neighbor brought her to the Love me Disco a year ago. Immediately, she caught the attention of the foreigners. She has always envied Tessa who tell her stories of trips to the beautiful islands of Malapascua, Bohol and Camiguin, among others. She can not wait to grow up and be just like Tessa who is not really getting rich but always managed to have money for the things she desires like dresses and cellular phones.
After a year at the Love me Disco, Marissa grew up very fast. She knows that losing her face in front of the other girls tonight is not only embarrassing but is also a threat to her reputation as the hottest girl at the disco. She is very protective of her position and will do all she can to keep it.
“It is good that I am wearing my sexy white blouse tonight” Ligaya amusedly thinks to herself.
Aside from glowing in the dark, the sexy white blouse also fits Ligaya to a T. Her breasts peep out seductively and she feels young and sexy.
“This blouse is a present from Nico when he brought me to Boracay six months ago. Golly, where the devil is Nico now? Where will Tim bring me this time? I have to make money tonight. Pedong, is waiting for me in our rented room.” Ligaya continues musing.
Just like her, Pedong also comes from Mindanao, but they met here in Cebu City. He is unable to find a decent job because he even does not have an elementary education. It seems like he has lost the desire to lead a normal life already and is doing any shady odd jobs that he can find. Pedong is also very lazy and is always fired from the construction jobs that he manage to find sometimes.
“ I wonder if that good for nothing guy has eaten already? He will beat me up again when I come home tonight bringing no money or even just some food. I don’t know why but even if he does these things to me, I still can not muster the guts to leave him. Is this real love? A Pinoy lover is really a special breed. Ligaya thinks to herself while swaying her hips.
“You are a sexy dancer, Babe”
The American whispers to her ears and his words are drowned by the noise of the sound system at the disco house. Ligaya does not bother to ask anymore what Tim is saying and she embraces the whole dance floor cooing the song.
“I’m a viiiiiirgin, and my heart beats.”
After the pair finished their show, they found their way back to their seats. Tim is filled with lust and sweat. He stands up to go to the toilet. Ligaya leans happily in her chair, crossing her legs, that are unable to stop dancing together with the booming bass of the music. In a flash, Jo Ann comes to her.
“You whore! Why are you taking my boyfriend away from me? You have no manners. And to think that we are both Filipinas. Did you sniff shabu* tonight? Where is that Tim?” Jo Ann challenges Ligaya.
Ligaya’s dandruff jumps off her hair since she did not expect something like this to destroy her night.
“What do you mean Tim is your boyfriend? I am seeing Tim since a year. You are talking absolutely nonsense!” Ligaya answers Jo Ann.
At this point, Jo Ann lost her self control completely and she grabs the bottle of Red Horse on the table. She throws the bottle at her nemesis. It is good that Ligaya is able to quickly dock her head. The bottle breaks into small pieces at the dirty floor that is made of concrete. Ligaya’s temper also exploded and she pulls at Jo Ann’s long and flowing hair.
The disco house is now thrown in disarray. The two women engage in intense hair pulling and scratching. It is good that Ligaya’s hair is short so that Jo Ann has problems pulling at her curls. Nobody in the disco house intervenes to stop the women from fighting. The security guard, sleeping soundly at his station near the entrance, finally wakes up and separates the two Amazons.
Tim, the person that the two women are fighting about, seems to disappear together with the water that is used to flush the toilet. Quicker than a lightning, he disappears from the scene. Calming down, Ligaya searches for Tim’s face among the crowd that ogles at them. When she notices that Tim is nowhere to be found, she also leaves in a hurry. She hails the taxi that is parked by the road outside.
“Hey! Where are you going you bitch?”, Jo Ann’s shrieking voice follows Ligaya outside the disco.
Ligaya ignores Jo Ann and goes inside the taxi.
“Noy*, have you seen an American who just left the disco?” she asks the bored looking driver.
“No, Day*, I just arrived now. His wife must have picked him up already. Where do you want me to take you?” the driver replies.
“Just take me to Camputhaw”, Ligaya makes herself comfortable at the back seat of the taxi.
At Gorordo Avenue, near the corner that turns to barangay* Camputhaw, Ligaya disembarks. She is lucky that the taxi driver accepted her money without complaining, since it was not enough to pay the amount registered on the taxi meter. The driver just nods at her knowingly.
“Still low season huh? When the high season comes, don’t forget to give me a tip” the driver tells Ligaya.
In the quiet of the street, Ligaya stands up near the lamp post to examine her arms scratched by Jo Ann. And like a giant fire fly in the forest, the light from the lamp post hovers above her and flickers on and off.
It is only at this time that Ligaya feels the pain in her body. The long and bloody scratch on her arm starts to throb. Her sexy blouse does not glow anymore. It is already stained by her red blood and covered by the dust that decorated the disco house. Her head feels very heavy. It feels as though each strand of Ligaya’s hair is about to fall off but she tries not to mind the pain.
“It’s fine if I am unlucky tonight, Ligaya soothes herself. When high season comes next month, I am sure Uwe, Peter and Ulli will arrive. And what is the name of that
Austrian whose arm pits smelt so bad? For sure I can buy shabu for Pedong by then and can provide him with all what he needs.”
“Sus! I hope they will not arrive at the same time so that I can go out with each of them.” Ligaya continues thinking to herself while she follows the muddy path.
At this instance, heavy rain starts to fall. Ligaya runs to Pedong who is waiting for her at their crampy, rented room. To think that It has already been four months and they haven’t paid the rent yet.
*casa – Filipino slang for a house where prostitutes are illegally kept and displayed to customers.
*shabu – A kind of amphethamine. In the mid-80s, methamphetamine was introduced into the fringe circle of use in the Philippines. In less than two decades, it has broken out of the urban subcultures and gained access into the urban and rural communities with devastating impact.
*Noy – Short for Manoy, term used to address older male Filipinos
*Day – Short for Inday, term used to address younger female Filipinos
*Barangay – Barrio, the second smallest unit in a Philippine locality
by Maria Victoria Beltran
Painting " Ligaya" is by the author as well
Translated from Cebuano to English
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Kay si kinsa man diay
ang lain nakong nailhan
Asa pa man ko
moani og humay
mopunit sa mumho?
nga makit-an sa lumoy
Ug niining gitay-an
Kinsa may nagpuyo
Dinhi ning kahiladman
sulod niining kapin
sa kwarenta ka tuig?
Ug kon ugaling
makasulat ko kabahin
sa uban--sa politiko,
pananglitan-- ug makahibalo
sa uban pang mga matang
sa tanan nakong nabasahan
ug sa akong pagpasiyo sulod
sa inyong mga museo.
Friday, December 26, 2008
A year has already passed but it seems like only yesterday.
MARIA VICTORIA BELTRAN
Translated by Jad Conde
Edited by Cora Almerino
Thursday, October 9, 2008
The flow of the river ceases
the wave stops in the middle of the sea
the falling leaf freezes in mid-air
the eagle's song is silent.
While my finger
that is on my laptop waiting
for my command, stops to think.
We are all wishing
for the visit of the fickle
muse of emptiness.
I lift my heart
so that I can hear the bell
I close my eyes
So I can see the glory
I offer gold
together with a prayer.
But there is nothing I can write
Only a poem
that sheds tears.
*Poem is translated from Cebuano " SA DIHANG NANGLUOD ANG MUSA"
Picture is from Pagbalik/Homecoming movie stills
When dusk slowly creeps
you stop moping about
then you put on the crown
that you stole from the whale
and when the boastful
and noisy thunder sleeps
you dig on my sand
and collect shells from the sea
and when i climb the tree
of the ghost free coconut
you pull on my skirt
to lay bare my butt
watch out with your bite
you, smart crab
for later I will boil you
and I will suck your spirit too.
Poem is translated from Cebuano " BATOK SA BANGIITANG KASAG"