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My Headcanon

My headcanon for the Philippines is a mixture of random and serious ideas. It’s often hard to sort through my head, especially when I’m distracted, so I thought to put some of them down here. Please note that this is my headcanon, so this is what I believe.

[Which you should already know, considering the fact that the Philippines has yet to emerge in canon. Also, Intramuros probably wouldn’t even exist in it.]

I may make future editions and update, but this covers a few facts on Juan, the Republic of the Philippines, and my own original character, Salazar, the walled city of Intramuros.

Juan

  1.  His full name is simply Juan dela Cruz. He does not have a second or middle name.
  2. He loves travelling – the novelty of it, anyway – but he doesn’t like staying abroad for too long (two or three weeks being the maximum). While other countries may have their amazing sights and places, he’d still rather stay home.
  3. His confidence is easily shattered when among (not in) the other countries. Many countries intimidate him with their technology, advancement, and stability; it’s no secret that he’s envious at times.
  4. Though Juan considers America a close friend, he doesn’t actually like him as much as everyone thinks he does.
  5. He has three small woodcarvings in his house – one was his clumsy first attempt at xylography, the other was his last, it was almost perfect. One of them was stolen from Salazar from very long before the revolution.
  6. A bottle of San Miguel beer is his solution for terrible days; always with a bag of Lapid’s chicharon and a small saucer of vinegar. Watching a telenovela or a Korean drama is optional, but highly recommended.
  7. He speaks every dialects in the Philippines, though some more fluently than others.
  8. Every Friday night, he goes to a karaoke bar, chosen randomly by whatever city he would happen to be at the time. He leaves past midnight, having sung himself hoarse with a large group of his people.
  9. There are other personifications in the archipelago. One of them is Mindanao, who’s been rather hostile as of late. The rest are only cities. They are unaware of the existence of the other cities, only of Juan. None of them look too much like him.
  10. For him – though he will admit that he’s greatly biased – Jollibee is better than McDo and KFC.
  11. The Filipino accent emerges randomly when he speaks English, though it may be more prominent when he’s upset or excited.
  12. Juan was originally a small island – he wasn’t actually part of Luzon when he was ‘born’. It’s just that when he was finally branded with Filipinas, he was naturally drawn to Manila, where Spain had set up camp.
  13. He has terrible memory. Or rather, a very selective one. After a while, the little details begin to morph into something else in his head; sometimes, the things he believes are true just aren’t.
  14. He woke for the first time when the Negritos came over – it was cold, and he found himself lying on the ground. It was very disorienting, being tossed into a body he didn’t know how to use.
  15. Instead of the usual blanks that nations prefer, Juan is actually listed as a citizen of the Philippines. He renews his driver’s license and his passport whenever needed, he pays his bills, and he has terrible ID photos.

Salazar

  1. His full name is Salazar Fernandez dela Cruz. Only three other people know this.
  2. The feather on his hat was from an ostrich. He dyed it red himself, though he will never admit what he used to do such.
  3. There was a time that he considered himself the Pearl of the Orient, not Juan.
  4. The most serious injury he has ever had was inflicted by America in World War II. Salazar was never really the same afterwards, and it wasn’t all too long later that he began to age.
  5. His xylography was discontinued after his house had been burned down, though he did start it up again once the twenty-first century hit.
  6. He took frequent trips to Europe while the Philippines was still Spain’s colony, particularly to Spain, France, England, Germany, Italy, and Belgium. He’s never told Juan about them.
  7. He stays in just in Intramuros now; Juan pays his bills for him, though it isn’t much, considering he’s almost never home. He stays in the older areas of his city, opting to sit down and look at everything.
  8. The guardia civil recognize him and let him do whatever he wants.
  9. Being mute used to be miserable for him. He’s tried time and time again to speak, but has only been met with failure. However, he’s resigned himself to his fate; he has nothing more to say and makes do with his lack of voice.
  10. Of all the dialects in the Philippines, he only spoke Tagalog, though he picked up a few words from others when he inspected certain areas of the country for Spain. His English was excellent, and he could speak all three Romance languages, especially Spanish. He also picked up a little German while in Europe.
  11. He and Jose Rizal knew each other. Perhaps not well, but they have socialized and have engaged in fencing matches. Salazar has even received a couple of cards with bullet holes from him.
  12. He knows what happened to Maysapan and Tondo; Juan doesn’t.
  13. His memory is excellent, crystal clear. He is always watching, always waiting. He stores any information into his head for future use; though the practice has been dwindling as of late.
  14. When he first woke, he was floating in a river, water hyacinths clinging and tangling into his limbs. He still thinks that it was just a dream.


I'll sorta-kinda be using this as a bit of reference for my future fiction in this verse.

If you happened to have stumbled onto this and have any questions for me (or the characters, if you'd like), then feel free to ask in a comment in this post, or even in a message.

Of One and Many Things

I. Of Reading

The first time I picked up a book with the sole intent of reading it was a fairly long time ago. I remember it was the ninth Nancy Drew book, The Sign of the Twisted Candles. Even if you paid me an obscene amount of money, I wouldn't be able to tell you what it was about. Honestly, as I look back on it now, I've come to think that the Nancy Drew series was fairly shallow; no overall plot, not much depth to even Nancy herself.

But that is neither here nor there. The point is that I picked that book up. After that, another. And after that, fifty more. I finished the original Nancy Drew volumes in a relatively short time.

Alas, my love for her did not last. Soon, Nancy's life was not the only one I visited in my mind and in my dreams. I soon began reading along with Meggie, crawling with Coraline, flying through Alagaesia on Saphira's back, and proclaiming my love for a certain Mr. Potter.

But Nancy Drew was my first, and I'm forever thankful to her.

 

II. Of Experiencing

If there's anything I seek in this world, then it's experience. So far, I believe I'm doing a pretty good job at it, too.

I cannot really take all the credit; my mother seeks the same thing, I would think. It's because of my mother that I have been able to experience what others can only dream of. I've been to the Beijing Olympics and even got incredible seats to certain events. I've ridden a coach around Europe. I've ridden on the back of an elephant. I've travelled to so many different places in the world, and yet, there are still so many places that I plan to go.

I've stood in front of a crowd and delivered a speech. I've stood in a crowd and yelled myself hoarse at concerts. I've bought a whole library of books. I've made friends.

When I look back on things I've done, I see both good and bad things. Contrary to popular belief, I tend to discard the bad.

In the end, I always end up feeling lucky.
 

III. Of Achieving

Lady Luck has almost always smiled in my direction. And believe me, she's gorgeous.

I cannot easily brush off that I rely on my own abilities too. I'm fairly good at math, and when I'm genuinely interested in something, the knowledge just sticks. I'll admit I can't draw or sketch very well, but art has never been a weak point for me.

I've won places in competitions. Quiz bees, art contests, writing contests. Sometimes to the point that many would shove me into them even when I just wanted to rest. I have shiny little medals that don't really mean much. I've gotten good grades, regardless of my breakdowns.

While this is all good, I often wonder what will happen once Lady Luck grows tired of me and turns away.
 

IV. Of Feeling

Feeling something and feeling something are two completely different things.

In the end, beauty is not the only thing that lies with the beholder.

Triumph. I win. I may boast of it or remain silent, a picture of modesty. Congratulations. That's what a fellow contestant will probably tell me. Though she may look happy for me, she wonders how it would feel to be on the other side. Maybe sometime later, I'll wonder the same.

Sorrow. Someone's died.  I mourn, though I will never be able to share the same pain and grief that the one closest to him feels. In the end, I'd never be able to imagine it.

It's a constant, shifting tide I'm carried in; not only me, but all, regardless of who they are, when they were born, and where they come from. We are all wayward's passengers: we feel what we feel. Emotions may be put into its grand colors and archetypes, but one will never feel exactly the same as the other.

 

V. Of Writing

It's what I do best, and sometimes, it's not good enough.

It's all that's left for me, and because of that, I begin to suspect that despite my achievements and my luck, I am destined to fail.

Apr. 7th, 2011

I'm in a slump. This has to be one of the worst cases of writer's block I've ever experienced.

I can't write. As a result, I resort to watching pointless videos on YouTube all day. It's been a constant routine for the past two weeks: wake up at 9:30 (or maybe 10), pick up a book, read it til lunch, shove food down my throat, turn on the computer, and be stupid until it's time to go back to sleep.

My God, I even composed a poem about my muse, which decided totake a vacation the same time as I did.

Departure
O Muse, where have you  faded?
Has your gentle susurrus muted
to an ineffable silence?
Has the pool of clear thought
and merciful vision dried
into this rueful earth?

Return to me, and
I shall cherish you;
bring back the crisp
silence of an old manor,
the silence of a voice,
and the golden fires
in a girl's heart.

----------------------------------------
The worst of that is tha tit's a terrible poem, and it isn't even new.

The well has dried.

God save me.

A Loser on a Throne

Welcome to the kingdom of Bathroom. It is located through the cluttered valleys of Bedroomland and conveniently located beside the waterfalls of Shower and the lake of Sink.

The kingdom of Bathroom is ruled over by a ridiculous loser, whose castle is located on a hill with shaped much like a toilet, its blue porcelain losing its shine, and it is called the "Throne".

I am this ridiculous loser, who is sitting on the Throne -- not doing business, mind you! -- for no particular reason, typing this down.

Right now.

Yeah.



So that's all i wanted to say today,.

Hell Week pt. 3

Apparently, Hell has only just begun.

I feel awfully tired, but that just comes with studying for exams, so it's cool. I feel kind of disappointed, though. The tests weren't as difficult as I thought they would be.

I mean, Biology was a bust. We were given 90 minutes to answer the whole thing, and I managed to get it done with 50 minutes left. I was banging my head repeatedly upon my desk waiting for the damn time to run out. Meh. It was almost the same thing for Literature, which I shouldn't have even studied for: it was mostly just analysis and texts we recently read.

Gah, even Filipino kind of let me down. I was imagining the blood loss I'd undergo, but I had a relatively fine time answering. God, I even answered the essay question for the first time ever because of all the time we had left.

The only subject that was remotely difficult was Math, and that was only because it was time-consuming. But at least it kept me busy until only fifteen minutes were left on the clock.

Ah well. I hear Junior year is going to be a blast.

And I'm quite sure it will be, considering that I was appointed Literary editor. I just had an editors' meeting this afternoon (which caused me to miss the us, thus delaying my lunch to around three o'clock), and I'll have to come around to school on Tuesday and Wednesday next week for some work on the school paper. The damn admin just told us that our issue was way too long but still required us to add in seven more articles.

What the fuck.

I'm only glad that I haven't been roped into the articles; truth be told, I have no idea what I'm needed for. Our moderator only told me that I had to write everyday and look for at least 10 writing excercises by next week.

Well, all I have left to say is
 
SUMMER'S HEEEEEEERE!

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Hell Week pt. 2

This week certainly has been hell, but not just for me. Japan has my condolences. I truly hope that things will be back to normal soon.

Ignorance is bliss, and I will feign it for the rest of this post.

NATs and the Gallery Walk was this week, along with many presentations that required me to save my groupmates' butts; culminating activities begin to suck after a while.

I had my investigatory paper defense. Did pretty well, considering that our group had the best topic in class. Presentation was individual, so I have no idea what will happen to my two groupmates that barely read the research.

A reporting on breast cancer in Health. Kind of awkward.

I had to do an extemporaneous speech on China's military power relative to that of the USA. It was OK, but I've definitely done better in my speeches.

Gallery Walk was pretty damn fun, if stressful. I was part of Set Design, so I was running around destroying bulletin boards in classrooms and setting upon people with my stapler of doom. My class did pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. We were assigned to do the Epicof Gilgamesh, and our three actors did decent jobs.

Honestly, I do hope we get into the Top Three.

The National Achievement Test for Second Year was on Thursday. It was actually a lot easier than I expected, but the Araling Panlipunan part of it really weirded me out. I had no idea what Uzbekistan's main natural resource was, and I was stunned by Charice Pempengco's sudden appearance in a question. Lea Salonga and Manny Pacquiao I understand, but Charice? Are you kidding me?

Oh, and I forgot to mention that it was just announced that I'm going to be the next literary editor of my school's newspaper. I'm happy, but I've got a lot to do. Big shoes to fill. I'll only be a Junior next year, and it's supposed to be the heaviest year of them all.

I wonder when the worrying will finally end; it merely shifts its focus from one thing to another. I was so worried about the NATs and my school's Gallery Walk the other day. When the Gallery Walk was finally over and I got home, I discover that Japan's been covered in a wall of flood and destruction.

This isn't pleasant.

Next week will be the last one of the year. Periodicals. I hope I can scrape some good grades out of it.

Ah well, I'll go off to study in that Coffee Bean in Ayala Triangle later.

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Hell Week pt. 1

Fridays are glorious. Especially after a rather tiresome week.

School is getting more and more hectic as we approach the end of another school year. There's lots to do: clearance, long tests, assignments, rushed lessons, etc. It doesn't really help that my back and my ass hurt.

The year's gone by fast, and I sorta wish I'd learned to appreciate it as it went. I spent the first quarter unaware of most of my classmates' names; embarassing, I know. Second quarter was spent being alienated, and the third was spent really pissed off. As for the fourth, I'm still trying to figure it out. I think it's something you look back upon.

Anyway, Hell Week, a glorious event that occurs every so often, has come; this time, in a trio. I've got two weeks of school left, and they will be very busy.

This week, however, wasn't Hell until today, though I suppose I can include it in Hell Week, considering that I spent the week pretty stressed. Monday to Wednesday was pretty routine; but yesterday, I had to give an extemporaneous speech for Communication Arts. I'm not the best at speaking in public, but apparently, my classmates loved it (I'll probably end up posting what I spoke about eventually).

What's quite relieving about it is because a certain teacher came into the room during that period. See, this teacher used to be the debate society president of La Salle, which my cousin (who can easily fit the role of brother, considering that we live together) is part of. Apparently, they're buds and see each other from time to time.

My cousin let slip that I was a second year at school and could speak perfect English. And because of him, this teacher has been trying to get me to join my school's debate society (through my Communication Arts teacher). Of course, I politely declined (I've got my hands tied with just my club), but I've been nudged about it by my cousin and other teachers.

But isn't it funny that this teacher and I have never actually met formally? I've only seen him in the hallways, and he's probably only heard a mention of me. It's rather convenient, and I'd like to keep myself anonymous to him. Petty amusement, but it's all in good fun.

Going back to after I gave my speech; right when I stepped off the platform and sat back down, this teacher comes into the room to look out for any possible new members.

Pfft. I have evaded you once again, Sir.

Today was pretty tiring; I had two long tests, Filipino and Biology, and a reporting about the Qin Dynasty in Social Studies. Unfortunately, I had to wing the reporting because the part I researched on didn't need to be explained to the class; so my groupmates decided to tell me what to say one minute before the actual presentation.

Thank God I actually read the report.

The Biology test was pretty damn easy. I seriously shouldn't have studied. It's Filipino that killed me.

Filipino. Nuff said.

I'm thinking back to that quiz bee post that I made, and man, it's got nothing on the shit flying around now. I guess I was just feeling angry at the time. But I'm looking at this week, and I'm going "fuuuuuck".

Well, this concludes Hell Week (Day?) I. Two more to go.

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Nuns Can Be Pretty Awesome

God, my ass hurts.

I spent most of the afternoon sitting somewhere; in a classroom, in a theatre, and in a damn bus that waited for a little pre-schooler for nearly an hour before deciding to leave her behind at school.

(Hey, I don't feel sorry for her.)

A lot of realizations were chanced upon as my butt was glued to a seat; particularly the one that I sat on in our school's very expensive, very chic theatre, where we would be having a talk on drug abuse.

I felt incredibly stupid sitting there. They started flashing things on the screen that I never knew before: stuff like how bad the national drug situation is. I mean, I knew there were a lot of druggies were up and about, but apparently, the polive found a 795 kilo stash of drugs in Subic. Not to mention the druglords they found partying with their own market right beside a city hall. I'm not even talking about the couriers in and out of the country.

What a nightmare.

So, what did I learn?

For starters, the police aren't always as incompetent as they seem on television. The two officers that spoke in front of us were actually very efficient, and gave hard facts and sound reasoning; good enough to make me overlook that they weren't fluent in English, which often distracts me (if you don't speak the language well, don't speak it at all, man). It was a big plus that one of them was very charismatic and made a lot of jokes (all of which weren't about drugs, surprisingly).

Second: damn, our principal is bad-ass. I mean, she's a nun and all that, but she's been arranging a lot of awesome talks and symposiums with pretty good speakers for us.

The other week, a nice forensic pathologist came over to talk to us about Forensic Evidence; how CSI sucks and all that. The doctora was very straightforward about her opinions on the government and how the police worked; she was bordering on ranting, when she started showing us pictures of cases on newspapers -- civillians carrying bodies with no gloves, police officers posing for the camera, crowds around crime scenes, and even a lady police officer trying on a fake Louis Vuitton bag during a raid.

And now, we've had this drug talk with some awesome officers.

Looking back on it now, I realize I've never appreciated our principal much before; I've spent most of my time criticizing the administration of the school and its terrible Student Council. I only ever noticed that Sister was really strict; I often joined the Red Sea parting for her whenever she came around the hallways.

Sister is really awesome.

Still terrified of her, though.

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San, sa, na, naa~

The week hasn't been so bad after all. The quiz bee went pretty well; we got 2nd place despite all those mistakes that my partner and I kept on making. I mean, when it started, we were pretty serious, but when the wrong answers started coming... well, a lot of people thought we took some drugs beforehand which is true in my case, because of all the medicine and vitamin c I had taken that morning because we were laughing so much.

It was alright, actually.

I've been tempting misfortune a lot this week, though. There was a math long test I didn't study for (but got 32/40 for anyway), and a time where I actually took a nap that led to my waking at 9 PM... with another long test the next day. There was also me not doing my homework, but managing to finish it right before the period...

God, I feel like such a teenager.

Anyway, I've been watching a lot of foreign language films lately, and let me tell you something: I'm seriously weirded out.

Sophomore year basically means that nearly everything we'll be studying has something to do with Asia (particularly in our Social Studies, Literature, Music, and Dance subjects).

For Social Studies, we watched a film called Asoka, based on the king of the same name from Ancient India. It started out OK, but there were many sequences that could actually be compared to music videos; most were a bit pointless and bordered on, well, insane.

My favorite sequence -- yes, I actually enjoyed some of them (because of the laughing fits they coaxed out of me) -- began with Kaurwaki, a princess supposedly hiding because people were trying to kill her, dancing alone on top of a hill where anyone could see her. Went something like:

San, sa, na, naa~ San, sa, na
Djare, djare, djare, djare pawan


I fail at any type of spelling by ear.

Kaurwaki somehow ended up by a waterfall and did some form of pole dancing. Later in the movie, she jumped into said waterfall, where it is revealed that she can't swim. WTF.

All in all, Asoka was basically Bollywood, which I can't really judge because of the cultural differences. I suppose it just isn't my cup of tea.

Also for Social Studies, we began watching Hero, which has got Jet Li in it, so obviously, the action scenes were pretty kick-ass (pun intended). The production was majorly epic; the sets and locations were gorgeous and the props were so damn realistic. Cinematography has gotta be one of the best I've seen in any movie. While I've only seen just the beginning of the movie, it's got a pretty decent plot so far.

However, that didn't stop the fact that many of the characters were knowledgeable in the martial arts and could fly.

Meh, that's Chinese film for you. It's unique, and they definitely don't do things halfway.

/my lola watches Chinese opera. I probably grew a resistance to the weirdness of it.

Today, we watched Dreams by Akira Kurosawa; it was actually pretty OK, though I found myself going "what the fuck?!" once or twice because of how abrupt and crack-filled this supposedly serious series was. There were ghost ladies wearing pink and tinkerbell shoes, pointless dancing and rituals, freakishly slow ghosts, tubas and French horns in a funeral procession of a town that claimed to live a "natural" way of life.

I know that there might be some cultural differences here, but. Just. Ach.

Might be just me.

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Butter Over Too Much Bread

I'm stretched.

This is second year, supposedly the easiest of all the ones in high school, and I feel like I'm about to be sick.

Correction: I am already sick. School not only caused this, but made it worse.

I had two long tests yesterday, one of which was Filipino. I absolutely detest Florante at Laura; and it's not because it's in a language I can barely grasp.

(Embarassing, considering I live in the country said language originated from.)

I won't go into details. All I will say is that the long test went terribly.

Of course, I was already sick at that point. Combined with the horrible heat wave common to the country, I was ready to faint. I had been (and still am) working hard for my club (which I love and am willing to give nearly anything for, so I can't really complain), and studying for that long test. But despite the rest day given for the feast day of our school's namesake the previous day, I remained ill.

But of course, that nightmare of a long test wasn't enough. Not by a long shot.

After said long test, I was called to the biology lecture room with my investigatory paper groupmates to discover that our experiment was chosen to represent the class in an exhibit, meaning that we would have to set something up in the weekend so that people from outside the damn school could critique it.

More work. Hurray.

The worst thing about the past few weeks was actually upon me by that point.

As usual, my class chose me to represent it in a competition: this time, a quiz bee. It's very flattering and a delicious stroke to my ego, but it's also very tiring. Their choosing me also makes me question just how close the class claims to be.

We claim to be united. I've never fully agreed with the statement, but I always kept my mouth shut and was content to let them live in their delusions. Because let's face it: someone has to be the contrabida. When you say one thing out of turn, you're done for.

However, the instance in which I  was chosen for this quiz bee makes me wonder if they actually know who I am really. It makes me wonder if they're aware that I don't want to do it. I may be laughing about it sooner or later, but it's always there, like the smell of a dead rat after its been caught in a trap.

Of course, I wasn't surprised. I'm the default choice, considering that my grades are fairly high in general and I've just about won every contest I've entered this year (the one against the seniors doesn't count). But forcing me into a competition that combined both science and math? Are they kidding me?

Science, I'm willing to accept. I enjoy it and find it fascinating. But mathematics?

The protests when I'm voted into a competition are customary, expected; they are even half-hearted, oftentimes. However, when I heard that I was chosen for this one, they were very real, and I was fighting to get out of it with my all.

Needless to say, I failed.

The only plus I get in this is the fact that the essay contest my classmates were trying to bully me into is actually happening at the same time, thus making me uneligible for candidacy in representing.

Quiz bee is the day after tomorrow. Exhibit for club is on the same day. I have long tests on that same week, and I have severeal outputs I'll need to complete very soon.

Tomorrow, I'm going to study for a quiz bee I know I'm not going to win, considering that the experimental class (that the school administration claims to not be an experimental class) is in their element. There's no chance, no hope left in Hell that we're going to win; I can feel it.

Despite that, I'm going to study. I'm going to join that fucking quiz bee, and I'm going to fucking do my best.

It's always too bad that whenever we don't win, save from a couple of people, my class never appreciates me. My class never realizes that the things I do are always for them; the fact that I'm doing my best is not only for myself, but so that our section isn't looked down upon as a bunch of delinquents, as we truly are.

I'm not perfect. I suck at Filipino and I work at a snail's pace in math. The only subjects I can truly say with utter confidence that I'm good at, without trying, are Communication Arts and Literature.

After this competition, I'm done. I really am.

Why should I work so hard for people who will never give anything back to me but empty smiles and knives embedded onto my back? They'll stay with me for now, whileI still have my winning streak, but there's no chance they'll even talk to me once the year is over and Junior year will give us bigger problems.

I'm tired, and I deserve a fucking break.