A Much Closer Thing to Home




Today’s Prompt: City Planners


It has been almost eight years since we last lived in the City of Antipolo, in Rizal. For three years, Antipolo served as a second home for us. Despite being a highly urbanized city as it is now, it still retained its rural feels – something which you rarely experience in Metro Manila.

Back when I stayed in Antipolo, I had the best of both worlds – welcoming neighbors who are always there to help you out, people who would not hesitate to invite you over into their homes, especially during the Pilgrimage month and the city Festival (which is on the 8th of December), the thrills of the events during the Summer, and the poignant memories that Christmas brings when people flock the Antipolo Cathedral early in the morning to hear the Misa de Gallo; but not only that, I saw how it gradually transformed itself into a bustling city filled with vendors, establishments, and even a mall, near the heart of the city.

Somehow, I realized that three years of stay in the city was not enough, and I keep on looking back to the things that made me fall inlove with the city in the first place. Here in the metro, you barely see the ‘rural’ essence that most people have back in Rizal. Probably we could try to see in more often here in Manila? Well, I hope we do.



And I Judged

Does it ever make sense to judge a book by its cover — literally or metaphorically? Tell us about a time you did, and whether that was a good decision or not.

Today’s Daily Prompt: Binding Judgement

It was a start of a new academic year – my Junior Year in College. The corridors are filled with a lot of new faces, but of course, its the familiar ones that you’re always looking forward all summer to see back in school with you. There were lots of stories to tell, vacation spots to describe, expectations for the new instructors in class. Of course, in a few days time, this will all be fine and we can settle it once and for all.

Its the same classroom again. We had all our major subjects in 204. In groups, we entered the room to wait for our first class that morning. And as our neighboring classrooms started to fill up with students, me and my classmates had our share of a surprise that day.

A new classmate. A transferee from a state university, with the same degree program as we are. He was a rather tall guy – had fair skin, chinky eyes, rather messy hair, and big glasses. Pretty much your average nerd. He had this long black umbrella and this big backpack (which you don’t see much during Day 1). Our instructor came and introduced this student. We smiled at him, told that he should feel more comfortable around us.

Or at least that was what I promised.

Weeks passed during that term, and somehow he became distant than usual. We ‘assumed’ that he was just like that, and in a way, attributed him to being tardy. And one day, he just dropped out.

My classmates and I found out about it – as well as him going through counselling, with how he felt he was ‘bullied’. We never saw him after Finals, as he never enrolled in class the next semester. No one ever talked about him after that, probably because nobody cared.

But it wasn’t like that for me. Because I was a transferee too. I know how it feels like, being alienated. That you’re the new guy. That you need to make a good impression – and that’s the hard part, since everyone, everything, is new to you. They may see snippets of who you are, but reading only chapters in story isn’t finishing the whole book.

And I vowed never to do it again.