Sunday, August 26, 2007


Current guilty pleasure: 4 in the Morning (Gwen Stefani)

Many thanks to Chong Ardivilla for inviting me to speak before his Philippine Arts class at UP Manila. It was a fun session, though time was short. Chong, a comics fan himself, was the guy who gave Zaturnnah her first full-page feature, during the time he was working for the Manila Standard (I don't know if he knows Ms. Fernandez; I didn't ask).

It's been sometime since I've been in the Padre Faura area. It was only during that UP Manila visit that I had a clear sense of location about the place. At the corner of Faura would be the Philippine General Hospital, with the Supreme Court across it. A short walk towards Robinsons Place would reveal the gate of the Department of Justice. Along the sidewalk, street vendors plied their trade, unmindful that they were taking up half of the pedestrian space. The star businessman at the time was an elderly man who would carve plastic softdrink bottles into plants, using nothing but scissors and a burner. Around five people surrounded him as he effortlessly wove his magic, with one of them being the patient customer who already had one plant in a plastic bag, while waiting for her second plant to take shape.

I've been spending a lot of my time alone lately. I don't know if it's a good or a bad thing, nor do I know if it's a subconscious need to do so. I do have a regular coffee buddy on Sunday evenings, and a number of semi-regulars every month, but it's been a while since I've been part of a bigger group.

I guess I've always been partial to smaller groups. Smaller groups mean everyone gets a fair share of airtime, everyone gets equally involved, and the topics slide effortlessly from one to the next. It becomes a relaxed, comfortable, yet dynamic experience. Bigger groups tend to have splinters, and eventually that one big group would soon become two or three smaller groups talking about different things. Sometimes you'd realize that the other splinter group has a more juicy subject going. By the time you're finished with your conversation, the other group has moved on to something else.

Also, bigger groups tend to exercise more self-censorship, especially if it wants to prevent splintering. The topic has to be of general interest, something that everyone can relate to. Not that I'd avoid a large group, though, especially when I know most of the people. I just like the intimacy of smaller groups.

Still, when I'm alone, I prefer to hang out in a public place. Bookstores and cafes are tops. Unfortunately, I've been spending as much money as I've been spending time. Nasty habit.


tin said...

Hi sir,

This is Tin Mandigma from Read Or Die. Sorry about this. I'd like to ask if you got my invitation/email re: the writers panel in the Manila Book Fair, which we hope you'll attend. The event is on September 2. I sent the email a week ago to your yahoo address. Thanks very much and sorry for the bother.

Rachelle said...


Join ka sa Hierarchy Group ko! Anyone's long as you can deal with it! Heeheehee! :-D

O, sagutin mo ang jugets na ito na nag-i-invite! ;-)

decorator said...

nasty... nasty... haay... sarap gumastos... shet!

ten e. said...

On smaller group preference: super agree. i can only handle a maximum of three personalities at a time - work or socials! And i keep only a few bunch, which is maybe why i usually end up on occassional solo trips to - yes, bookstores, cafes. sometimes hang out too long at ace hardware and find stuff i never thought i needed!
oh well, when you're 30-ish and "maturing", single or married, i guess it's still healthy to choose to spend time alone.

Carver said...

tin... did you get my email?

rache... Ay, intimidating masyado ang Hierarchy Group mo. :)

deco... sarap sarap gumastos! :)

ten e... Ako naman, I think I've always preferred the smaller group, even when I was in grade school. I guess it's because I didn't really fit in, kaya kakaunti lang ang mga naging close ko.

Chong said...


Salamat talaga for the class. Sorry, ngangayon lang ako nakapag-lurk sa blog mo. The class enjoyed it! and there were students who complained how come I didn't announce it university-wide. Oh well, we can't please everybody now can we? And no, I don't know Malu Fernandez! Thank God!!!!


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