The Day I Fell In Love With ‘Manila’

I rose from the dead and traveled the lonely road.  No more turning backs now…for today, I am bound to find out what awaits me in the land full of promises and hope. img_20371

Today, I will seek refuge to my dreams and allow fate take charge of what was left of me.  I so much loath the land I came from and half convinced that I am ready for another raucous journey.img_20311

I walked through dirt and found her. img_19911


There she is.  Lovely and full of life.



The famous ‘she’.  The muse of the entire universe.  The scorned child of the unknown.  A real bully at the core of the thousand islands.



Then she smiled at me.  And from then on, that was the most cruel smile I have ever seen that will linger in my memory for the hell I care; a smile from a hypnotic bitch casting a spell to my tormented soul.  And from what I heard, they all call her “Manila”.  Enticing as she sounds, she beckoned me to follow her.



Let’s play, were the last words she uttered.



I refused, of course.  I had to.

For a brief spell, our eyes met and I was able to stare at that lovely face -the face of the bitch that reveals nothing but brutal coldness and selfish whims.  I felt at that moment that I can no longer tolerate her exotic charm.  This madness must be stopped.  But wait.  Am I being harangued and bitched by this witch for a brief spell?



Within a split second, I felt a surge of paralyzing fear.  I was hoping that she would play another cynical scheme on me; that another episodic abuse from one of her sporadic games she mastered will be played on me.

But I was wrong.



Instead, she just stood there motionless with a face revealing nothing.  She made me watch.  She made me see.  She made me feel.  Even without lifting that playful tongue.



And then I stood there, virtually nonexistent in front of this condemned damsel.  Seduction was the trick.  But falling for the trick is called “sin”.  Once cornered, it then becomes addictive.  And nobody dares to leave.



Because her spell lingers on the skin no matter where you are and you will always find your feet turning around and running back to her.  What was with her that keeps me wanting for more?



I could have turn around and leave.  I have my own life to begin with.  I have my own Manila left at home, waiting for my return.  Equally beautiful, equally enticing, equally productive, and equally popular.  But there is something with this “Manila” that made me wants to stay and start a new beginning.



And there I was.  Captivated by her lethargic charm I could not afford to recover.



I don’t belong to her.  I know that.  She was a haven built for the most hardened incorrigibles.  Only the scrupulous few who mastered the uncanny game of life can tolerate her.  Only those who are insensitive to social pretensions can kiss her torridly.



She sleeps every night with homicidal felons and corporate whoremongers alike.  But not my kind.

Damn!  Not my kind!  Do you hear that?  You envious rumormonger, do you hear that?! 



Why her?!  Oh good heavens why her?!  She is a career criminal and I am the willing victim.



Slowly, she drew that little cat’s grin with all the beguiling charm present.  And it’s officially over for me.


I entered the city in full spirit but dismayed the moment I set my feet on her land.  Dirty.  Polluted.  Savaged.  Abused.  Haven of the social outcasts.  Cursed.




Then I realized I had enough.  I am not destined to be with her.  The dirty ‘she’.  The cursed ‘she’.  The beautiful and mysterious ‘she’.  At the back of my mind, I wonder how many hapless lost vagrants fell at the palm of her curse.  Damn, this is just not my cup of tea.



I turned my back and said ‘no’I cannot go with you.  I am bound to live a quiet and peaceful life.  Instead, she just stood there and stared at me, saying nothing.  But her silence is deafening it makes me want to scream.

You haven’t seen the real me, she protested.  Just stay.



But I turned my back and started walking…walking…away from her.  But each step grew heavy and heavier.  I could not stop thinking about the hypnotic bitch standing and staring behind me.



But at the back of my head, I was hoping she would say the damn last word and try to stop me.  I wanted her to beg.  To plea.  To make me stay for the last time.  I want to know if she feels the same way for me.  But I heard nothing.  No, not from her.  Not from that beautiful silent bitch.

And I hate her from the core of my bone.



So I turned my back and met those pair of beautiful eyes.  And from that brief spell, I could not stop cursing myself.  Idiot!  You moron, don’t look at her.  You sonnofabitch don’t fall for her!



But there it goes; I lost the game she alone had mastered.  I found myself walking back towards her.  And at that instance, I could not think of anything as I grabbed her and held her in my arms.  I felt her in my embrace and could not let her go.  The touch of her skin lingers to my senses.  She is a damn certified witch who casts the most terrifying spell on me.



And for the first time of my denying existence, I finally understood the disheveled mess she is into.



She made me see the beauty behind the dirty roads she traveled.  She made me appreciate the dangerous life she takes.  She thought me how to laugh at the pathetic story of hers and how blessed I am at the sanctuary of my room.  She thought me the things that I refused to see in the first place.  She made me believe in convictions I denied ever existed.




And yet, despite the horrifying tales of the million unknown, the sun of the east sets to her feet to remind everyone that her happiness is hers and hers alone, no man can steal.



This world is indeed dirty, cursed and abused.



But this dirty, cursed and abused world does not necessarily mean that life has to be one too.



And I am officially in love with Manila.  My “Manila”.




PHOTO CREDIT:   Bea C. O’Malley

Joan Barayuga



One thought on “The Day I Fell In Love With ‘Manila’

  1. naaalala ko rito ang likaw at sukal ng ilang lugar sa kahabaan ng kalookan

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