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To Manila, With Love.

So many things I wanted to say but I’m left with words no better than the one I’m saying right now. This was supposed to be a letter for Manila, but Manila will not have anything to say in return.

I walked around aimlessly; I had no purpose much less a destination. What am I here for? An escape maybe, or like how nomads stay away from their homes, because they couldn’t find what they thought they needed there. Maybe I found myself lost and without a purpose. I distracted myself away from the idea and thought about what is going on around me, I tried to appreciate the beauty of things but I could not. I hated everything, the rain that causes flood, the traffic and the pollution. I wanted to strangle Manila by the neck and hope it looks at me helplessly as it withers away. But I couldn’t even wish that. It was just an errant thought and I realized maybe the problem wasn’t with Manila and it was with me, something’s wrong with me and I wanted it fixed. I did what any sane person would do and I went to the Hospital.


“Help me please my heart is bleeding.” She laughed at my misery and said “It’s supposed to.” Nonetheless, I pleaded “Will you give me drugs? Morphine? I’ll take even a tab of Valium. Please” and the Nurse said, “You know it won’t help you”. But I need something to take the pain away. And I’m lost– I can’t think. How am I supposed to live if I can’t even think? She said “Maybe you are not supposed to think, living and thinking don’t always go together and you find yourself when you take the path directed by your heart”.

If there was a cure for heartbreak, it would be no better than the feeling of having it in the first place. And how weak I was to try and insulate myself from the pain. Many have died in pursuit of knowledge, trying to overcome struggles much less than what I have now. What has become of me? I don’t know, and I can’t remember the last time that I felt like I mattered. Manila does the same, apparently letting the Home of the 2nd Philippine President lay in forgotten ruins.

Granted- It wasn't a highlight for Philippine Politics

Left distraught with so many questions. What if Escolta was still where the nouveau rich go? Would things have changed if The Battle of Manila didn’t happen? Or if it still has a government that matches up to Arsenio Lacson’s administration? The problem is that Manila’s Golden Age has happened and is now over. We’re all left with the burden of re-establishing it again and to do that we have to realize that Manila, no matter how hopeless things may seem now, is still worth saving.

If I was going to get any better I needed to live. I had to start soon and I knew I could be okay if I went to the prettiest place I could think of

I entered into portal, away from the bustling streets. I was separated from everything I hated and I came to realize what was there all along. I had nothing but pure love for Manila, and until now I still do.

This is the resting place of the Filipino’s true pride. Jose Rizal, A hero in the truest sense. But I haven’t met him since he never showed up for Coffee when I went to his house in Laguna. Along with him The Gomburza also rested there amidst the high trees and the beautiful scenery punctuated by a chapel in the center.

Rizal-- Was a Lagunense (Hails from Laguna).

Places like these in Manila are by far few therefore cherished. There wasn’t a shortage of couples I could gun down mercilessly at whim but this was a sacred place where I needed to be at peace with myself and today being a Sunday I paid a visit to the chapel at the center.

There was a thought that played in my head for a while. While here in this solemn place, in the center of Manila, I wanted to maybe get married here. A ceremonial passing to be spent with the quiet remains of heroes and the only thing that could separate me from my groom is death. The chapel is small enough for an intimate occasion with no one but the closest can lay witness to the affair.

But I pushed the thought away after I measured that the short aisle is only enough for the song You Suffer by Napalm Death, while my groom away at about 20 paces awaits his psychotic bride. So instead I wished, that I could love myself enough that I could push myself to become more than what I ever thought I could be.

And to have someone love me, maybe 5.

I walked on and saw more sights filled with beauty, coupled with sadness. What happens to me and Manila after I realized my anger was misdirected and futile. I’m still left without a purpose, and now without anyone to reaffirm that my existence is more than a mere biological statistic.

I am now devoid of anger, loneliness and desolation. I felt empty because these were the only things making me go on. I have nothing now. Apart from missing Manila. All that I’ve got is the memories of a Golden Age slowly being eaten by rust. I left the portal and walked on to reality, back to the dirt, grime and bitterness that came with being a functioning human being. But I wasn’t facing life with an empty stomach.

What I ate was hardly filling, savoury or satisfying. But it was purely white and it was warm. I needed it. I’m in Malate and my thoughts are interrupted by *HONK* and I was walking towards the bay when *HOOOOOONK*. I scratched my nose subconsciously, wondering if this was a sig*HOOOONK*nal. It was very annoying *HOOOOONK* (Dammit, stop scratching your nose) After all this was still not a place I’d like to be caught in and I should feel bit scared but I didn’t, and thought at the time fear was better than having no emotion at all.

Not unusual to be feel like robots in this city’s frenetic lifestyle but I wasn’t going to suck it up. I have hope at least that maybe someday it’s going to get better.

Manila is a city filled with churches, yet the same could not be said about faith. But it won’t stop me from going to one, I am in all honesty not an active Church- goer. I even hung outside eating ice cream before I went inside, and when I finally did the whole Church is singing Our Lord’s Prayer, I heard the loudest voice around and saw a faithful aged lady alone in a corner.

She was holding no one’s hands and her belongings are in a bag on the floor, I went next to her and held her hand, because her hand was no dirtier than mine. When we let go I left something in her palm. She smiled at me and I moved towards the back, hers was a faith stronger than mine. And when it was time to kneel, she knelt on the floor. Meanwhile I said a prayer and left the Church.

I look back and think about everything. Was I still sad? Hell fucking yes, and I still feel empty. There are days when I feel worse and there are days when I feel music was made to accompany my plans for suicide, Even if I know that Manila holds no love for nobody, and it will be left as the song that ended too soon, I have hope left in me because Manila still has the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen.

For now I find a bit of solace in the philosopher, Kurt Vonnegut’s words. “The purpose of life, is to love whoever is around to be loved” Until I find my own happiness, and someone that will be the inspiration for the mantra which I could live by. My path to Manila I hope hasn’t ended. But if it did, I leave in good thoughts knowing I did everything I could to make it better. Yet I know I’m still waiting for a heroic chance to prove myself and the great lengths I shall go for, just to be able to stay.

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To Manila, With Love is a metaphorical ode to the forgotten city, a great one that used to boast the title, Pearl of the Orient Seas.

Thank you for reading my post. This is my 2nd entry to the Pinoy Travel Bloggers Blog Carnival with the theme: Manila in Focus Hosted by Angel Juarez of Lakwatsero.com

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