Monday, February 02, 2009


It is both comforting and painful to accept that there is a very slim chance that I will write for the Philippine Collegian again. I say there's still a chance, though very slim, and that shows how hopelessly optimistic I can be even with the bleakest of prospects. Newsbreak: I still toy with the idea that Joey and I might go out together again.

What was it that Jesse (Ethan Hawke) said in Before Sunset? "We all look at the world through our own tiny, little keyhole"?

Still, it's quite comforting to know that I no longer foster illusions of superhuman strength. I have tried juggling work, school, and writing news for the Collegian last year, and it was a horror better experienced once.

I still groan at the idea though that work, Kule, and studies all make up a lethal combination. I am someone who's always impatient to get all things done at once, or at least, try doing them all at once. (When I was a kid, I shuttled back and forth between Tom Sawyer and Mills & Boons.)

I still marvel at how Kule manages to publish weekly and, at the same time, come up with well-written, relevant articles. I do not brag, the credit is to those at the helm of this paper. Until now, I am amazed that they put up with me for almost two years. Working with some of the most talented and principled students in Diliman, you are left with no other choice but to be at least good at what you're supposed to do, because everyone else is brilliant at what they're doing.

I feel that I have disappointed them in one way or another. During my stint, I was eager to learn, and for some time, they thought they might even groom me for news editorship. Then I quit school and worked at a call center. I said it's a temporary thing, until I saved enough money. Did I already say I am too optimistic (read: naive) for my own good?

I miss the weekly Friday-to-Sunday presswork, the thrill of writing about something important, of something urgent. I miss walking from building to building in the hot afternoon sun, interviewing Academic oval vendors, janitors, professors, university officials, fratmen, athletes, student leaders, congressmen sometimes.

I miss Budget Cat, the resident feline we named after UP's perennial woe, who lives in our office. She has a very healthy sex life that some writers secretly envy.

I miss Mang Romy, the senile octogenarian who's livesd in Vinzons Hall since the 80s, I think. He claims he is a former UP student and that he used to date Susan Roces, among other women. Every year, the current Editor-in-Chief's greatest fear is that he would have to attend Mang Romy's funeral.

I miss the grafitti on the office toilet walls and the engraved names of the staff on the "conference" table. I miss the ancient rusty refrigerator which made me realize I am immune from tetanus.

But most of all, I miss the people. I miss Melane, a Batanguenya born in Italia. It is a running joke that she has shook the hands of the Pope. Nakadaupang palad na niya ang Papa. I miss the usually fierce Jerrie who sobbed once because a probationary news writer preferred to have his draft edited by Melane, because he thought Signiora Melania is, uh, nicer. Mas matututo po kasi ako sa kaniya eh.

I miss the news staff: Alliage, who is now news editor, whose motto in life is to not eat on time. Mamaya na lang ako kakain, bilang magugutom din naman ako mamaya; and Tony, the perpetual closet gay who sounds like the puppet voice of a ventriloquist.

I could go on and on. I find nostalgia vastly entertaining. It only makes me sad that these are things and people that I may never see again, if and only if I ever find myself in Room 401 of Vinzons Hall again. I can console myself though of one thing: that though I failed my friends in Kule, they will be able to find new people who would take over, who would bury Mang Romy, who would take care of Budget Cat's litter, who would lobby for a new refrigerator.

But most of all, I am confident that they would be able to find people who would stand for what they believe in, who will not bow down to repression, and who will continue the Philippine Collegian's long tradition of serving the students and the marginalized.

These new people will be better than I was. They will be stronger to ignore the difficulty of going to school on an empty stomach. They will be able to resist the lure of a tempting five-digit salary. They will be able to go back if they strayed too far. I almost feel as if I no longer want or need to write again.

***Download issues of the Philippine Collegian here.


jamie da vinci! said...

don't feel too bad, VG. me thinks your gift for words will be well used elsewhere (in writing superb letters, for one, hehehehe). we all have our own callings in life, we just have to wait and listen.

Victor Gregor said...

thanks. i only hope the waiting wont be long enough.

theCHAOSPILOT said...

i equally love jerrie and melane's writings, honestly. and up to this time, i am still looking for a copy of jerrie's haraya ng paglaya at pagpapalaya.

pagbutihin ang pagpiglas.

OT: paki-hello na lang ako kay glen. ;)

Victor Gregor said...

@theCHAOSPILOT: back issues of kule in pdf format can be downloaded at the link above. or perhaps you want the real thing? hehe.

theCHAOSPILOT said...

@victor, hindi ako taga-kule. *asa naman ako* siguro next time. ha!

don't worry, may consistent supply ako ng kule. ;)

Victor Gregor said...

@theCHAOSpilot: yun naman pala eh. sayang nga lang, di ako nakakuha nung huling spoof. medyo hindi ko na kasi nakakausap sila jerrie, bilang may mga totoong trabaho na rin sila. kaya ayun.