Monday, 30 July 2012

"Reducing change into sentiments, turning dreams into whinings..."

"Reducing change into sentiments, turning dreams into whinings..."

LAST week's events provide countersentiments by some people in social media networks all over. That, in midst of the crisis these people rather tend to ridicule those who vent rage against the system rather than thinking what comes behind the rage people compelled to do so-such as the attempt to march towards Batasang Pamabasa a week ago.

In the perspective of these people ridiculing, they condemn the rage as "barbaric", "paid hack" and even "terroristic" especially after some people afford to break the windshield of a truck and even nearly destroyed a police car in midst of the beatings laid by riot policemen trying to control the scene that time; "barbaric" indeed but of what was "barbaric" compared to a "civilized" destruction of communities in Paranaque and in Quezon City? Such hatred vented by these "barbaric" ones clamoring social change in midst of a head of state doing his bragging rights and half-ended promises already knew what goes on that the system rather prefers keeping with the status quo using a new rhetoric to justify its antiquated action.

Sorry to say so, but true.

And as expected, with people tend to ridicule, acting hypocritical so to think of tend all to vent rage over activists or reducing ideas into figments of imaginations all for the sake of justifying their own individualism as a cornerstone of progress and patriotism.
But come to think regarding their über-individualistic idea, such as being "I am" as an embodiement of change, of reducing socially-tended ones into a self-encased "do and live" or any other sentiment, these are merely whinings and braggings worse than what they are assailing with such as those who vent rage against the system.

Obviously, in having a system that remained rotten, backward and dilapidated tends to impose something that is far from enlightening. To think that mankind should be going to school for work, work and buy, consume and die, this so-called life cycle what these people tend to vent isn't change at all, nor having big bucks does not affect social change other than the outside appearance of communities and perhaps people as money-carrying individuals taking pride of their "fulfilled destinies due to hard work yet enduring paying fees and dues, fines in order to survive in their communities."

And despite doing little ways all in pursuit of an idealistic change these are not enough no matter how thorough had been done to-working hard is indeed good, but come to think of it: working for a low pay that is more of a survival pay than of a living wage fit for their families, that despite saving it thoroughly only to meet its value far below due to the increasing prices of commodities such as food and utilities such as electricity, then deducted due to obligations such a taxes?
Such little ways are not enough no matter how successful nor making it a difference as other people tend to say so.
In an instance, those studying National Service Training Program in colleges and Citizenship Advancement Training in high schools include gardening, literacy training or cleaning of roads and even trying hard assisiting construction workers all for the sake of grades; most of them obviously are not committed to idealism such as supporting the masses in uplifting themselves and be end up "used" by traditional politicians acting as if benevolent pater/maternalists in their respectieve communities. Obviously, upliftment became a farce and illusion as the privileged treats serious matters as Public Relations policies that is, devoid of genuine social responsibility in a way people be obliged to pay direct and indirect taxes in the name of "National Development" that, frankly speaking, reducing their own hardships in favor of these obligatory expenses end up in the coffers of the few or in unnecessary projects.

Then in midst of the terrible crisis, of calls for social dismantlement of the old order, of fighting against the oligarchs, of wage increases and low prices, these trying hard intellectuals telling everyone that "change starts from ones self" without looking at the social realities nor thinking what kind of society Philippines or any other country is? Good to say so about people should work, save and be self sufficient acting as a pretext in changing the world but come to think that these people, like themselves also pay taxes even those who buy a piece of candy in a variety store are even taxed by the state for paying debts, modernizing military or any kind of braggable contributions such as roads, bridges, airports made on behalf of benevolent ones motivated by pater/maternalist tendencies.

Quite strange that these intellectuals guised as bringers of light acting like the Gods telling people without any idea what kind is their society and instead putting the heavily burdened individual that uses "rest" as its weapon (and be called thee as idleness) to shame. In America they had admired for instance, they tend to admire Kennedy's but their minds are more of Reagan's and Pat Robertson's whose obsession with faith negates the secular character of the State. Since these intellectuals admire Kennedy, how come Kennedy's progressivism and its welfare activities didn't serve as the basis of most traditional politicians whilst parroting "what do you do for your country"?

In fact, Kennedy also said this:

"[W]e stand today on the edge of a New Frontier -— the frontier of 1960s, the frontier of unknown opportunities and perils, the frontier of unfilled hopes and unfilled dreams. ... Beyond that frontier are uncharted areas of science and space, unsolved problems of peace and war, unconquered problems of ignorance and prejudice, unanswered questions of poverty and surplus..."

Followed by doing this:

1. The addition of a temporary thirteen-week supplement to jobless benefits,
2. The extension of aid to the children of unemployed workers,
3. The redevelopment of distressed areas,
4. An increase in Social Security payments and the encouragement of earlier retirement,
5. An increase in the minimum wage and an extension in coverage,
6. The provision of emergency relief to feed grain farmers, and
7. The financing of a comprehensive homebuilding and slum clearance program.

Such sentiment Kennedy said speaks the reality questioning such issues that made people clamor for real social change, come to think that these people who clamor also work hard for their needs yet facing greater challenges such as rising costs of commodities incompatible with their wages despite rising GNP and GDP rates; the gap between rich and poor remained very distant all despite the creation of skyscrapers and investors coming as well as a floating currency supported by remittances abroad.
Obviously, people worked hard and be complimented by aid to alleviate from serious problems such as poverty, housing, even agriculture especally productivity; that surpluses are ought to be distributed equally to everyone to support daily needs other than their daily acts that require sweat and muscle especially those who put peso by peso (for example) to pay for their low-cost housing.
Quite strange that since people are parroting Kennedy's they are acting more of his rivals who favor keeping with the status quo and trating clamor for social change as a mere, minor whining of a spoiled brat such as Reagan's aloofness to labor issues in midst of the massive strikes especially in the livestock industry.

In fact, the ones protesting aren't even say "free" for something. They worked hard, they need strong price controls and higher wages, better healthcare and affordable education all supported by subsidies, these aren't called "free" contrary to the so-called intellectuals condemning them as "free riders" and spoiled brats?

And come to think of it, labor issues such as strikes create an ire over these trying hard intellectuals who speak about their über-individualism as foundation of social change that obviously, not. Reagan's aloofness over these issues and even the use of National Guard to control strikers without any means to solve the crisis and justify "trickle down" economics doesn't create much sense to the extent of not to advance changes in favor of keeping the status quo.

Just like what Reagan said during the PATCO strike decades ago:

"They are in violation of the law and if they do not report for work within 48 hours they have forfeited their jobs and will be terminated."

Followed by arrests, beatings of course without solving the issue involving wages, prices, profit and hours of work.

That goes the same in regards to the Philippine experience of trying hard intellectuals who are too obsessed in their idealism yet too choosy in means to advance total social change. Cleaning streets, praying, studying hard and working for a survival pay isn't really change but maintainance of one's self rather than a contribution to a growing country. It's just that people tend to reinterpret it, if so then is prayer should be obligatory, then how about the atheists? If studying hard is mandatory, then how about the smart who takes less studying and more into booze and facebooking? Worse, those who are trying to survive in a very small minimum wage acting as a survival pay in midst of the rising costs of commodities are trying to save the remains only to face higher prices that every individual ought to work overnight only to remain numb on low pay and high prices.

Such idealism people tend to say and suggest is in fact, whinings in response to a bigger whining such as a call for the dismantlement of a rotting status quo same as trying hard to reduce calls for a major structural change into a mere sentiment of the dispossed majority,

...that they are willing to die advancing what they are fighting for, especially in midst of rising crisis and dilapidating social structures.

Friday, 20 July 2012

From Liening-fu to Blue Jeans: Revisiting Chinese post-war and post-Deng getups

From Liening-fu to Blue Jeans: 
Revisiting Chinese post-war to post-Deng getups

"Clothing is a kind of cultural language. It represents one's personal taste, social status as well as a person' s attitude towards himself or herself and life. Macroscopically speaking, it also reflects a nation's rise and decline together with a change of ideology. In the past six decades, China has undergone a dramatic transition and the clothes its people wore are a good way to display the dramatic changes."

These are the words stated in a writeup regarding China's contemporary culture and its fast-changing pace as a society. Quite strange at first to think how China, then a backward, agricultural nation described by many as a place full of pigtail-haired men and women in Cheongsams end up joining alongside ones largely described as epitomes of Modernity, that also in it affects way of life-especially those of clothing.

In fact, this writeup tackles on how Chinese clothing changes after the war, thinking that Chinese clothing isn't about Cheongsam or Hanfu. How about Liening-fu or the ever-recognized Zhongshan suit, known by most as the "Mao Coat"?

Anyways, here's the writeup this writer made out of brainstorming. Enjoy.


During the early days of China's  socialism, most attires and related getups were obiously copied from military attires especially after the popularity of the Zhongshan Suit that was worn during the Guomindang era. Women also tend to create female versions of such getups that inclulcate equality, as China tries to rebuild its image from the ashes of war.

The popularity of Zhongshan suit somehow tends to inculcate patriotism through clothing. That, since it was based from Military attires in Europe and in Japan, it was modified and made it entirely based from the aspirations and ideals of Chinese, all in a modern form that replaced Manchu-era getups. 

As the  four pockets were said to represent the Four Cardinal Principles cited in the classic Book of changes and understood by the Chinese as fundamental principles of conduct:

*a sense of shame.

While the five centre-front buttons were said to represent the five powers of the constitution of the Republic and the three cuff-buttons to symbolise the Three Principles of the People.

*people's livelihood. (or Socialism)

Such sentiment embodied in the Zhongshan suit, especially during the war brought popularity especially in the rebel-controlled areas, wherein most wore Zhongshan suits made from handspun cloth.

However, during those early times lies the influx of Soviet-made goods and technology also brought culture to the Chinese in pursuit of promoting pro-people modernization. Such influx of goods created copies of attires that, along with the Zhongshan suit were popular-especially to women.

One example was the Lenin suit (Leining-fu).

Named after V.I. Lenin, it features double lines of buttons, slanting pockets and a belt, more of a military trenchcoat worn by women.

To Chinese women, the said getup looked modest that others may tend to look at it as militaristic or fit for cold weather-since that said getup was obviously a trenchcoat being modified and named after V.I. Lenin.

However, it doesn't mean that the popularity of Soviet dresses in China are limited to military-inspired getups. The Bulaji for instance was popular and classy in its appearance as a dress especially after Chinese women arrived after studying in the Soviet Union. 

Bulaji or платье in Russian, meaning one-piece dress in English, was popular in China in the 1950s after a heroine in a legend from the Soviet Union called Katyusha, and Zoya, a national hero during World War II in the Soviet Union. One-piece dresses were also popular in the Soviet bloc as well as in America during those times. Yet China, in keeping with its idealistic intention such as Equality rather stresses unisex clothing despite the popularity of the Bulaji dress.

In fact, this writer thinks that since Bulaji became popular in mainland, Cheongsam remained popular outside of it, especially Hongkong and in Taiwan. Oftentimes, some designers in the Mainland were experimenting designs such as fusing bulaji and Cheongsam.

But the tide of following Soviet culture end negated after Mao's disillusionment as well as dispute with Khrushchev. It also laid the comeback for glorifying wartime frugality and intensified expressions of equality such as Unisex clothing.

Consciously or unconsciously, most chose to wear military uniforms, or Mao suits, in green, grey and blue. With the progress of women's roles in society and family, it seemed quite natural that more women wore men's suits at the time. As well as the youth, in preferring military versions of Zhongshan suits that was. with the upper and lower pockets were concealed with a flap and had no external button.

And to think that China, being a developing Socialist nation during those days, and intensified by popular fervor during the Cultural Revolution, the creation of Zhongshan and Lenin suits rather stresses functionality all in sympathy with the proletariat such as loose-fitting trouser suits, all lacking in ornamentation.

And in inculcating patriotic sentiment also includes the creation of dresses and suits out of "patriotic wool"- that is,  woven from leftover threads swept from workshop floors combined with a small amount of good wool. Others may tend to think of it as low quality and easy to break due to the fabric made out of leftover threads and remains of good quality wool and making it as "fit" for everyday clothing such as this suit.

And like its earlier decades, the most common colours were dark blue, grey or khaki. There were also a range of jacket and shirt styles, primarily distinguished by the detailing of the collar and pocket. Such clothing during those days stresses ideology and patriotic sentiment that nearly replaced traditional ones assailed as "feudal."

Except this:

This wedding outfit was made during the last decades of the Cultural Revolution. As most couples tend to wear unisex clothing, other than uniforms, this garment, although labeled bourgeois by many, was purchased and worn as a wedding dress by an actress. Quite deviant so to think of about wearing a red jacket inspired by cheongsam and making it adjusted to cope with the "modern times" despite being described as "bourgeois" and such. (Powerhouse Museum collection. 98/126/54. Photo by Sue Stafford.)

Even this:

Inspired by the Soviet-era Bulaji, the Jiang Qing dress was made by Jiang Qing, otherwise known as Madame Mao by the western media.

The youth, especially known as the Red Guards, preferred military-style Zhongshan suits no matter how baggy or unfit in its appearance yet stressing militant, revolutionary fervor.

Quite strange as others may see Chinese clothing during those times as different from what the foreigners think of. But those times China tend to modernise itself while stressing militant, revolutionary fervor that was, prevailing. The creation of unisex clothing served as its evidence how those times Mao's aspiration as important and making it realized by emphasising rural development as pretext to modernization as different from the Soviet point of view.

And coming to think that since Zhongshan (or Mao) and Lenin suits were popular, western media tend to reinterpret it too negative to think those times as different from the prevailing trend, that is from the west what Chinese or any other Socialist nations during those decades be assailed as decadent. Sorry to say so, but true.

But as the revolutionary fervor end by Deng Xiaoping's "reaction" (that others called it as modernization and opening to the west), lies a drastic change that, despite the prominancy of then-prevailing getups, also pave way for the popularity of getups people tend to call it as decadent.

As according to one article:

Such reaction made after the Cultural Revolution, as evidenced by the massive influx of foreign-made goods again affected attitudes in clothing. Again, quite nice at first as a new wave of designs became popular other than Soviet-era ones old people tend to enjoy with; this time wearing blue jeans, Pierre Cardin-inspired suits  rather than khaki or olive green trousers.

To think that during those decades, even during Hua Guofeng's (pre-Deng) some Chinese designers step-by-step trying to modernize Chinese clothing by putting some western taste in it, as according to one article regarding the picture shown:

In fact, the popularity of those getups challenged the prevailing ones that most called for spiritual rejuvenation. Quite strange though that in midst of the changing times, China tries to keep its image as different from the Soviet Union or any other Socialist country those times; yet most Chinese opted to accept and create something that would possibly challenge the west in terms of culture and perhaps in creating goods for export other than toothpaste or softdrinks.

Obviously, the influx of foreign good also became a setback for old companies in returning to China. Lever Bros. for instance returned as Unilever, others followed suit yet the current system imposed controls and regulation that perhaps made in pursuit of keeping firm over foreign businesses despite open doors.

Once, during the fad of Pierre Cardin-inspired getups such as coats, entitled as "Fantastic Garb",  with its flared trousers featured, these items during those early decades of "opening to the world" were looked down upon from the high plane of ethics and politics, with wearers of flares were regarded as hooligans. During those times it was not unusual to see teachers take a pair of scissors to students’ bell-bottomed pants out of "morality", to think that some elders in the Communist Party Politburo called for Spiritual Rejuvenation to counter those fads including those of Clothing.

Well, despite the trends during those times old people, especially those in the countryside tend to cling to their ways and to their suits as expected.

And come to think that most garments are produced by large state-run corporations and joint-venture companies established with overseas capital, such institutions follow demands that is popular with Government agencies have played an active role in developing China's fashion industry whether it is in a form of suit and trousers or dress, as long as the clothing as proudly made in China with others tend to scorn it with. 

After all China tries to develop and modernize, this time deviant from its former principles despite flying the red flag.


In assessment, quite nice to see those attires China tried to create upon especially during its early formative days. Yes, it stresses militancy and trying to fulfill its very own idealism such as equality through clothing. And also being an artist who made this writeup, those getups were fit for the weather such as a cold one as different from a weather in southeast Asia that is, tropical and swarthy.

For sure there are some who tends to look at this article with scorn and assail this writer in writing about Chinese clothing or rather say all about China in midst of the standoff in Spratlys or any other crap gunpowder-minded people tackle upon these days, in fact to those who are narrow-minded such sentiment isn't patriotic but chauvinistic in the way being spoken to; not noticing that being chauvinistic are also being assailed too.

But on the other hand, this writer also drew some that is partially inspired from those getups.
Sorry to say so but true.


Saturday, 14 July 2012

"Viva Maita!"

"Viva Maita!"

Sorry for the title, but everyone should deserve Maita Gomez and her legacy "Long live."

As most people those born in the 1950s and 1960s, remember Ka Maita as the fashion model and beauty queen turned revolutionary. That once known for her "Twiggy" hairstyle, Ka Maita simply gave up the crown and the sash for the Keffiyeh and the bullet belt breaking the norm that women being limited to such nonsensical descriptions as "for the home", "plaything" and "beauty."

To others, it was strange to see a Beauty Queen becoming an Amazona. Why did she chose to become a warrior if there are charity groups that perhaps her cause be compatible with?

Like Vilma Espin de Castro, Ka Maita was even from a prominent family, of course her cause was contradictory to her background but she chose serving the people and joining hand in hand in breaking the mountains that block the sunlight of thine future and of aspiration.

That despite the insect bites, the pain, Ka Maita rather endure it and be described by many as sacrifice and devotion. What is beauty anyway if it is not for the people the way Ka Maita and others like Jennifer Carino or Lorena Barros did? Right or Wrong, she chose National Liberation and the Emancipation of her people. Comparing to today's description of beauty queens or any other celebrities won in a contest such as Pinoy Big Brother as if a search for becoming an artist or a model.

But Ka Maita outdid it all as a person. But then she chose a path that was different from the usual one. Like Gabriela Silang or Teresa Magbanua, she chose a rugged path that is a product of everyone be described as idealism; that in seeing the problems of the people and of knowing the basic problem be resorted to a solution what paper reforms or charity failed to succeed.

Sorry to say so, but to make the story short she chose what the system described it badly nowadays: "terrorism."

Yes, to the system and others be dubbed her actions and others as "terrorism" and she as a "terrorist." A "terrorist" that people rather get concerned for she as "beautiful" yet Ka Maita endured the pain after torture in pursuit of making her telling the names of her comrades in the struggle. But for the ones aligned with the cause, she is an examplar what Danny Fabella used as a title of his song: "Rosas ng Digma" (Rose of War).

Anyways, her youthful legacy is worthy of praise. She became a model, a beauty queen, a rebel, a detainee, a forefront in legal struggles that made Ka Maita as Ka Maita. She may've been dead, but to everyone who remembered her legacy she's not dead, but living in the hearts of those who willing to join in the struggle.

...including those whose beauty others tend to describe as worth dying for, like the golden-brown haired short skirted ones studying in Morayta for example.

For now, here's a song from Sara Gonzales. 

"Dolphy is not dead."

"Dolphy is not dead."

The whole nation grieved as Rodolfo Vera Quizon, known by many as "Dolphy", died days ago.

At first, most people dismissed it as a rumor like earlier rumors stated, only to be confirmed by the hospital management as well as his common partner that perhaps paved way to an era in the Comedy scene this writer rather say as "Post-Dolphy" Comedy.

Quite sad indeed as people passed over his casket and staring at the sleeping appearance of a man known for his humorous antics, song, dance moves, and contributions in all spheres such as theatre, radio, movie and television, these people think that despite his complications he still wanted to endure and continue acting, dancing and joking making a legacy of him youthful in the eyes and hearts of everyone.

Yes, youthful that in his decade-long contribution to Philippine art, especially in Cinema and Television, no one could ever forget him and instead cherish with most opted to go to Quiapo, Manila and buy pirated DVDs featuring his movies that made him recognized by many.

Anyways, as according to Roby Alampay:

"Nothing else follows. There will not be any other Comedy King to Live Long in our hearts as Rodolfo Quizon Sr."

For sure most comedians tend to keep the title of "Comedy King" and not to create successors despite numerous attempts by the media entities choosing which comedian be deserved as Dolphy's successor. In fact, sorry to say so, that in this post-Dolphy comedy most are becoming "Corny" than "Comedic" the way people gone tired after watching Pick-up lines and stuff in the TV.

And as the people continue grieving over their beloved idol, the present administration of President Noynoy Aquino III this time presses for the citation of "National Artist" be given to the late actor, this writer perhaps made him think they unveil themselves being compelled by many in making him one alongside Fernando Poe Jr. and Manuel Conde. Yes, he may be buried in the Heroes graveyard, his name be remembered in History books but come to think of at first they are reluctant then this time acting hypocritically after being moved by the clamor of many.

Obviously, this writer rather say that they give citations to the dead, crying over spilled milk so to say as President Aquino had pressed it over; also coming to think about a quote "of what is the grass if the horse's been dead?" in regards to the issue.

But still, regardless of the cries, of the revisits, of the proclamations and hypocritical stuff involving the late actor, even the trying hard moves that most deemed as "Corny", this writer rather say that he is not dead.
That he is with everyone, that with his movies and other legacies attributed to him showed a sense that is worthy to be described as youthful and continuing.

After all, he loves his craft very much; and that craft isn't a work being paid but a devotion that made everyone praised him not as an actor but as a person.

And again,  to make this story short:

Dolphy is not dead, he's alive and youthful in everyone's hearts.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

"Over a Glass of Halili"

"Over a Glass of Halili"

(Second part of 'The day I left my heart at Botica Boie)


It was a year later when I left the haberdashery to work as a writer.

Focused rather on making writeups instead of my earlier work as an artist, I simply pressed myself hard working for a hard earned money such as 15 to 20 pesos, whose most of it are end up for basic needs and the rest to save.

However, despite working hard and trying to live well, the past keeps on revisiting me over, especially the girl I tried to forget, and somehow it includes drinking bottles of Halili at night, especially while writing, sketching, even both that made me inspired or something; after all, Halili was quite cheap than the prominent San Miguel, with the latter being served during formal occasions of the day.

I was walking at the sidewalk at Avenida when Gia sought and called me:
At first, I tend not to listen her voice, but as I looked back, simply gave way and approached her:
"If I'm not mistaken, are you Gia?"
She smiled at me and asked:
"Yes I am! How are you?"
"I'm fine. How about you?"
"Same." Gia said. "Where are you going?"
Gia seemed to be alone at that time, perhaps she's waiting for someone, and I asked:
"Seems that you are waiting for someone other than me."
"Not really." Gia said. "I just sought and called you."
"Oh I you'll go home other than this?"
"Not yet."
And perhaps, it made me rather not to go home straight and instead wanting to talk with her at La Botica Boie.

While at Boie, I ordered sundaes for me and Gia, and while waiting, Gia then asked me:
"So still working at Crystal Arcade?"
"No. I am working as a writer."
"Oh I see." Gia said. "So where do you work already?"
"In DMHM. Monday Herald."
"Nice." Gia said. "At least you worked already as a writer."
With a smile.

Quite strange to have a chitchat with the person whom I tried to forget, that after a years of trying to forget Gia by drinking glasses, bottles of Halili it made me rather entice to recall and see her back. Then Gia, as she looked at me, then asked:
"Is there anything wrong?"
"Nothing. I am just amazed that you're with me again."
"Why?" Gia said.
"In fact, upon hearing that you're with another man years before, I felt getting 'discouraged'."
"Why discouraged?" Gia asked.
Then as the bartender offered the sundaes, Dr. Boie, this time retired as a pharmacist, sought us two and called me over:
"Dr. Boie! How are you?"
"So is this the girl whom you said to me years ago?"
"Quite beautiful isn't she?"
"Ya Right."
"Enjoy your sundaes then." Dr. Boie said. "And always look after her."
Gia simply smiled as I and the doctor talking, as we enjoyed eating the sweet, vanilla-chocolate sundae. Obviously, it made me happy again to see Gia being with me in the same place where I met her.


It brought a degree of good feeling as I and Gia enjoyed each other's company as friends, also to think that through her it made me revisit my past hobby as an artist-drawing variety of sketches that even Gia herself looked and said:
"I never forget your drawing skill Paul."
"Why should I forgot your sketch that end up a dress?"
I simply smiled at her upon hearing her words about the dress I had designed for her years before.

But then,
Despite the feeling, I still felt being pessimistic to think will Gia ever accept being with me despite the smiles and joys both of us had? Quite strange.

It was approaching sunset as Gia and I were reminiscing our pasts and perhaps to convey something what my heart speaks over her.
"So Gia, still seeking for a right guy after getting separated?"
"Yes." Gia said. "Why?"
"Well, just asking."
Gia simply nod at me then asked:
"Quite strange isn't it? Like my former boyfriend whom we had an on and off relationship eight times? Then that guy that made me tired seeing him jealous over something I enjoy with?"
"Like music?"
"Yes." Gia said. "Music."

And as the sun sets, I looked at her and convey the truth shrouded by my shyness.
"In fact Gia, I tried not to see you back and instead focus on my work after you had a man to be with. To think that you have a guy that seemed close to you better than I as a friend."
"How come?" Gia said.
"Gia, I'm sorry to tell, but I admire you so much. But then I rather ought to keep it thinking that it is too much of me aside from getting inspired being with you."
"Why?" Gia said. "Is there anything wrong?"
"I am shy, thinking that you'll never like me other than as a friend."
Gia seemed to be quite thinking on what I am trying to convey, and said:
"How and why did you say do?"
"I...I want you. I like you, I love you! These are the words my heart simply tries to convey over you Gia, after getting inspired, of making designs, sketches in the past, all of those things are made after yours yet I am shrouded by shyness that blocs my willingness to love and be with you."
Gia smiled at me, but then said:
"Paul, thanks for the compliment but, I have no time for that."
I simply nod down, and asked:
"But will still be friends?"
Gia simply nod then smiled at me.
Then she stood from the bench and walked away leaving myself sitting in the bench as the sun sets over Manila bay.

Obviously, I really knew that Gia would have a less, or  never had an interest on me other than as a friend. And to think that since she's single again, how come she didn't accept me? Least that she's truthful enough to say no and thanking me after those words as a compliment.

That again, in the desk of my home drinking bottles of Halili, San Miguel or any other liquor even Corona's Black Cat, in order to forget my inspiration again and again. So sick and tired of my half-time sketches of girls that is based on her appearance, some of it were been put into the trash just to forget, but still, my heart still conveys with her no matter what I tried to move on.

The next day,
I was at Echague when my boss called me over to take pictures and make articles about a newly-built ice cream factory, and it seemed quite nice so see another soda fountain in Manila aside from Boie's, as well as tasted newly made Balintawak ice cream fresh from the churn and freezer. That made the factory owner, Don Andres sought me and asked:
"Are you the designer of clothes from the Crystal arcade?"
"Yes. Is there anything sir?"
"Um...nothing." Don Antonio said. "I just thinking that we need you as an artist for advertisements featuring our Ice Cream. I will give you a good pay if you are willing to do so."
Don Antonio simply smiled and said:
"It's up to you."
"Well, how about my work at the newspaper?"
"Don't worry." Don Antonio said. "I'll tell it to your boss that you are also working part time in my company's advertising department."
And I simply nod, and I asked:
"By the way sir, how do you know that I am once designing clothes and apparel at the Crystal arcade? At Lardizabal's?"
"Ricardo Lardizabal is my friend." Don Antonio said. "And I had seen some of your designs for quite some time. I just like you to be in the advertising department as possible. Don't worry, you'll still have time for the newspaper you're working."
"Ok. I accept your request sir."
Then we shook hands as an agreement. And Don Antonio said:
"By the way, will I see your article as well as the pictures in the paper tomorrow?"
"Yes sir. I will."
"Good." Don Antonio said. "make sure that I and this factory will be featured ha!"
Along with a smile.

Well, the said factory, as well as the owner had end up featured in the papers as promised.

Being a worker at Don Antonio's ice cream factory's advertising department made me again revisit my past as an artist. As Don Antionio called my boss at the Herald and the latter agreed to his request, working part time at the factory designing posters and advertisements quite enjoying.

But then,
Despite enjoying, it seems that my works convey something other than the ice cream I am promoting. Yes, the oak brown hair, skin kissed by the sun, kissable lips, the slim appearance and joyful mood promoting Mango, Chocolate, Tutti Frutti and Balintawak ice cream is none other than the one I am trying to forget with.

Don Antonio seemed to be gladden to see a girl what I had drawn promoting an ice cream of his, then said:
"Seems that you are really fit for advertising and design Mr. Guevarra?"
I simply nod and said "yes" to him.
"But why did you work at the Herald?" Don Antonio asked.
"I also love to write sir."
"Oh I see." Don Antonio said. "And come to think of it, of all the people why this beautiful girl?"
"Well sir, perhaps I'll create another one other than her's."
"No need." Don Antonio said. "But if you want to create another, then so may it be."
Then he left away leaving me working.

Quite strange for me creating Gia as a poster girl for Don Antonio's Ice Cream despite forgetting. Oftentimes I simply forget emotion and treating the matter as purely work-related. Meanwhile, people from all walks of life are looking at the posters I had designed featuring the maiden what I had drawn, even Gia's friends think of it "how come Gia been featured in a poster promoting Tutti Frutti Ice Cream? Who's the artist who knows Gia's appearance and physique?"

Such talent and artistry costs sorrow and emotion as expected in that advertising job despite having good salary, I opted to resign but then I couldn't for Don Antonio, like Sir Ricardo treated me as if his son.

At home, it seems that despite trying to forget her and move on, my heart still conveys and inspire for long; yes, quite admitting though that after the day we had met in Botica Boie as well as the joys of being together as friends compels me to make a poem that would make the girl whom I met years past recall the past days as a friend and confidant in regards to her problems. Quite strange though to think how am I, trying to forget Gia made a singable poem out of her?

I remember the time when I was young
I met a girl that seemed pretty
Her oak-brown hair
Her olive green eyes
Skin kissed by the sun and quite merry
I felt so admired and I don't know why
Quite shy as I asked her name
And she told me that "Gia is her name"
Then she left in the midst of night

Oh Gia, моей любви
until death, you are part of me
Oh Gia, my work of art
For you are the girl I love

I tried not to cry yet tears flow from my eyes
Silent yet felt the pain and sorrow
And looking at night the stars shining bright
Thinking a coming tomorrow
Someday if I met Gia, I'll let my sketchbook bring
And draw her and thus worth remembring
And thus I realize, the beauty that mermerize
Whilst my heart will forver sing:

And as I see you dance, I feel the rage inside
and yet I don't know what comes happening
Perhaps it came from my barren mind
Des'prate as loneone for years nothing
As the music plays, your moves fills the space
Giving life like the tales of old days
And it ends with a kiss, that gives tender bliss
That no one may never miss

Whether it is the past, or it is today
She held the key to my 'lone heart
Whether she's in paint, in sketch or in clay
She is a one of a kind art
And thus I thank god like no lover done
For my prayers fulfilled as she come
Just like from the start, Till death to us part
I swore to you in my life you've been

And to think that I was weeping when I made those words, recalling the day I met her and befriended, I still don't get how come she didn't accept me despite those days we enjoyed each other's company; strange to think of since I or her done nothing wrong. I even took a glass of Halili Beer trying to think as if nothing happened that time.

An hour later, I was walking in the sidewalk when I sought Sofia, one of Gia's close friends and
approached her. At first, we greeted each other "hi", "how are you" with replies of "fine and "ok." Then I passed the letter to her with a request:
"Sofie, will you give this to your friend, Gia?"
Then Sofia asked:
"Why me?"
" fact, that paper I have gave to you is a poem made for her. I ought not to give it to her directly for I know she'll think something wrong over me."
"Why?" Sofia said. "Tell me, are you in love with her?"
"Yes. I am, I like her and I love her so much, that she inspires me a lot once; and although she turned me down and I trying myself to move on by forgetting, drinking beer and focusing on work, still feeling something that made me close no matter what it is."
"Oh I see." Sofia said. "Anyways, I remember she told me about you being a gentleman, a singer and a friend. She's often shy to think about you most."
I simply nod on what Sofia said to me, then she asked:
"By the way Paul, are you still working at Lardizabal's?
"Not anymore, I am a writer working in Herald, I am also in the advertising department of Don Antonio's ice cream factory in Echague."
"And speaking of that Ice Cream," Sofia asked. "Are you the one who designed those posters promoting it?"
"Yes I am. Why?"
Sofia smiled at me and said:
"Seems that you are really inspired by Gia."
"I don't know why am I really inspired by her's despite trying to forget her."
"Being inspired by her's is a gift to you." Sofia said. "She may not convey feelings to you fully, but I know as her friend she likes you most. And I know that she still likes the drawings you have made including the poster  as well."
"Oh I see...quite strange to think about being inspired by Gia is a gift to me."
Sofia then smiled. "Anyways, I'll give that letter of yours to her later, I promise."
Then we both parted and left away, with I going straight home and Sofia gone to Gia's.

It seemed to be both sad and reminiscing that time as I walked straight home after talking to Gia's friend, sad that on the same day we've met in Botica Boie it all end up nothing and useless despite the joys both of us ever had and shared; disregarding Sofia's comments and thinking that Gia had moved on and trying to forget me most of the time, not to mention that other boys may fall for her because she's beautiful and nice, but I also think that she may also recall the times both of us became happy with each other as closed ones instead of in a relationship that others may ought to think of. Yes, we're not each other, and I know that she had cast doubts over me if I ever tried to tell her "love" again.

And at home, I simply sought the sketches and the drawings I had ever made; some are portraits of her's as well as others from my work in the advertising department and my earlier job at Lardizabal's, as well as drinking Halili to sleep.

Meanwhile, at Silver Dollar, Sofia sought Gia sitting as if waiting for someone, she then approached her, greeted each other "hi" and "hello" as friends, then Sofia asked:
"So are you waiting for someone?"
"No." Gia said. "Just been finished sipping coffee."
"Oh I see." Sofia replied. "By the way, a friend of yours gave something to you."
Gia asked:
"Who is he?"
"Do you remember Paul? The one whom he made you a dress years before?"
"I do remember him."
"He made that letter to you." Sofia said. "And perhaps he tries to convey something that is meant for you."
Then Gia opened the letter and read the poem that tells what I myself failed to convey.

Gia wept upon reading those words I had made for her, then she asked:
"What I have done?"
"I don't know." Sofia said. "In fact, he was hurt earlier during the day you have a boyfriend, followed by the day you turned down his offer, in fact, he tries to forget yet instead giving him depression as I see of him."
Gia simply nod on what Sofia said to her, and replied:
"It's really my fault Sofia. In fact, Paul is such a good guy, yet I don't understand why I didn't accept him; yes, I am shy to convey my feelings but yes, I am willing to speak the truth that I failed to convey by denying him!"
So you will go to his house and see him back?
And Gia replied:
"I will! I will tell the truth as I see him!"
And she left Sofia as she ran away straight to my home at San Miguel.

And as she entered my home (the door was simply left open), Gia was shocked, then saddened to see me depressed, drunk, and sad as I, lying in my chair with papers, bottles scattered on the floor with teary eyes. She  then approached, trying to dampen my sadness over, and said:
"I'm so sorry sorry."
Upon hearing her voice, I ought not to speak by nodding; then with my right hand pointing at the corner, letting Gia see a portrait of her's I had done for a month after being desperate for her love.
Then Gia said:
"Is it really me? It looks so beautiful, how come you had painted this yet left hidden?"
"I'm sorry."
"Why Sorry?" Gia asked.
And I, saddened and depressed, replied:
"I have nothing to say, I can't speak further over this kind of work; in fact, I am still shy to convey my feelings, to say I love you, that I know you ought not to accept me despite showing something that pleases you. I tried to forget in fact, I know that you have another man to be with that is better than me while this person speaking tries to forget with beer, wine, song, anything to compliment my sadness; yes, I am nothing! You have everything that made me I a victim of emotion!"
Gia then slapped at my face as I vent my feelings over her. But this person, numb, replied shoutingly:
"Slap me Gia! Make me awake! How can it be the person whom made me inspire do this to me? Make me awake! Try to convey what comes from me! Slap me, awake my soul!"

But Gia, saddened over what I hath said, didn't slap my face, and instead ran away outside crying in the middle of the rain. Her cries made me realize that despite being inspired by her's, became a desperate one, that made me open my eyes, trying to stand up and ran just to hug her through the back in the middle of the rain, trying to lighten up away from sadness as feeling the warm embrace of the maiden that made me inspire.

Then she, weeping, looked back and said:
"Paul...why should I slap you again? Yes, I know all of your works mean something, I love you!"
"Love me?"
"Yes, I love you." Gia said. "This person, with long brown hair, skin kissed by the sun loves you!"
I fell silent on what that maiden said to me.
"You have nothing to say?" Gia asked. "Those words are your words Paul, your poem, your song, I am."
"My words? Song? Poem?"
"Yes." Gia said. "And I'll hold you, close to my heart."
I wept upon hearing those words especially to an heartbroken man like me, then she hugged me back and gave a kiss, a kiss that made me numb, closing my eyes and feel the love that comes not from me nor her's, but both of us.