The Sunbaked King

I Am The Sunbaked King

June 16, 2008 – September 22, 2009

Baked under the sun:
Out of embers and ashes
Came the dark-skinned king

(Click here to see my latest reincarnation.)


Filed under: Helios, Ra

Breaking the Silence

I’ve read every blog entry, I’ve gone through every Tweet, I’ve seen every Facebook status. My chest tightens at every reference to me; my heart goes into overdrive at the words with which you express your sentiments. You know how good you are with words. You can use them like a spread of soothing balm… or brandish them like deadly weapons. Weapons that could jab and sting and hurt. Your eloquence, once the source of appreciative awe, is now the source of melancholy. Over the past few weeks, what was once subtle releases of emotions have transformed into bolder declarations. The cross-references are quite hard to miss, and I am more feelingero than I am dense.

But I chose to remain silent.

My silence may have been misinterpreted as something that constitutes cessation. The operative word there is “misinterpreted.” The operative syllable there is “mis-“. You have declared, time and again, that the people worth keeping, those who are for keeps, are those who stay. You have stated, time and again, that it is time for you to move on, to become a stronger person, to be the one who’s won back this time around. I agree. But only when you are certain that those who left, really left. Only when you are sure that the person you’re saying goodbye to has severed his ties with you. Let me assure you, this is not the case. I chose to remain silent, but it did not mean that I had burned down months of friendship.

The reason for the silence is simple: I had to recover from the weight of the admission. The admission in itself wasn’t bad; nothing about the entire thing was. Like you said, it was getting difficult for you not to say anything, and it was unfair for the both of us to have the issue hanging over our heads like a ticking time bomb. Sooner or later, the whole thing would come out– neatly or explosively, depending on the situation, and you dealt with it neatly. But like with every thing in this world, there is a trade-off. Once the admission was made, the landscape has changed. We cannot move forward as though nothing occurred, na parang wala lang. That would be awkward and weird and highly restrictive. Only time could remove the innate awkwardness of the situation. That, AND a healthy dose of conversation, which we’ve never had the opportunity to have.

I apologize for not addressing this sooner, because my silence appears to have led you to a dark place. It was never my intention to depress you. It was never my intention to push you away. But I needed the time. I sincerely hope you understand.

I do not need to re-extend my friendship, because it was never lost in the first place. But for the sake of re-establishing the intelligent and mindbending conversations, the laughter over the likes of Miley Cyrus and Vanessa Hudgens, the long long trips to faraway places, and, generally, just the good times, let me now shake your hand and ask:


Starbucks is just five minutes away, and last I’ve seen, they’re still selling Kettle chips. It’s good to share these things with someone.

Filed under: Ra, Untamed, Utter Sadness

Circus Life

…Ateneans are the HARDEST to date — pero kapag nagustuhan ka nyan, sobrang worth all the hassle. 🙂

– Milan of Circus Life

(Never have read something so real and so fresh and so open and so eloquently written all at the same time. And not just because of the above-mentioned quote.)


Filed under: Being Blue, Vanity

The Wedding Before the Stars (II)

A boy, about age 9, wandered from table to table, picking flowers and clutching them like a prince in search for a bouquet for his princess. He looked dashing in his long-sleeved shirt, which he wore under a cotton vest. The sight was surreal. But like everything else that night, it was magical.

Outside the pavilion, a group of polo players galloped in their chestnut-colored horses, intent in their mission to score a goal. The neighs and the grunts seemed to amplify in the silence that came before the music. It was in this short-lived silence, amidst the background of sporting noise, that my eyes locked with yours. They only said one thing: You came through for me.

An array of five expansive white draperies hung from the ceiling of the pavilion, their ends meeting at the very center. A constellation of crystal stars and sparkling snowflakes descended from this point. When light struck them, they first glittered and shone, and then reflected the light at several directions. When the music began, the stars danced with the beat.

Melody made way for Motion, Motion made way for Marriage, and Marriage made way for Majesty.

Melody: a ballroom tune that had been played in weddings for decades, but whose lyrics now run a special rhythm in our hearts; Marriage: a union between two souls, the merging of which may be painful and tough, but all the more meaningful; Majesty: you and me, me and you, together this night, bound by a common cord: our love for each other.

My sister wasn’t the only person who got married that night. Underneath the crystal stars, I danced with you, and we were together.

Filed under: Fiction, Yes?, Utter Joy

The Breakup Before the Wedding (I)

I sat at the edge of the bed, staring at the closet in front of me. I saw a glimmer of white hanging among the long sleeves and the ties, the pants and the polo shirts, and that glimmer seemed more pointless than ever. Nothing made sense– no matter how much hard work was placed in choosing the perfect fabric, no matter how many hours were put into creating the intricate design, no matter how many times I had to return to get that right fit… it didn’t matter. This barong tagalog was only as good as the outfit that got paired with it, the one that you were supposed to wear tomorrow.

But I broke up with you, the night before the wedding.

My mind forced my eyes to veer away. The more I looked at it, the heavier it seemed to get. But it was all an illusion. Tears had began to well up in my eyes, doubling, tripling my vision. I did not want to break down, not yet, because this wasn’t final. This. Wasn’t. Final. After all, weren’t I the one who told you that this was not how I imagined my relationship with you to be? Weren’t I the one who told you that this was too much, that I couldn’t take your nonchalance anymore? Weren’t I the one who told you that I wasn’t getting the attention I deserved, when all I asked of you was just one day? I did all those things, so I could take it all back. I could take it all back.

But how could I, when it wasn’t my fault?

I felt something in my hand. In my state, I had forgotten all about the cellphone that I held, clenched tightly within my fist. I threw it aside, for the thing was a snake. If I looked at the last message I sent, it was bound to be poison. If I could listen to the last phone call I made, it was bound to have fangs. Now that the righteous anger has passed, now that reason has ceased to control my emotions, I realized… there wouldn’t be another text message, there wouldn’t be another call. Not from you to me. Not from me to you. I had cut you off from my life.

I had cut you off from my life the day before I wished to bind you.

That did it. The dam broke. I placed my face within my palms and cried openly into them. I staggered; my body shook with the weight of the burden you have placed upon me, of the decision I am now forced to face. But I have to be strong. Even without you, I would go to the wedding. The world does not revolve around me. Tomorrow’s going to be a joyous day, and this is something I would have to hide beneath a smiling face.

Tomorrow is my sister’s wedding, and I would be there for her. With or without you.

Filed under: Fiction, Yes?, Utter Sadness


What is it that compels us to Tweet? What drives us to state, in 140 characters or less, the minute happenings of the day, the smallest thoughts that cross our mind?

The Twitter phenomenon (or Plurk phenomenon, if you insist) can be considered as an interesting development in the realm of interpersonal relationships in particular, and poses as a more astounding leap when looked as a societal movement in general. What was once text messaging between people who know each other has been amplified to a bigger level. With Twitter, you can broadcast yourself to the world (that sounds like a YouTube slogan, but it fits), with almost no limits as to who can receive your updates, and no boundaries as to what your issues are going to be like. It’s like blogging in bite-sized, easy-to-digest pieces.

The wonderful thing about Twitter is that it allows you as much leeway as you want in expressing yourself, but at the same time provides you with enough protection so that you don’t put yourself out there as much. In other words, it’s a public avenue for people who wish to remain private. Consider celebrities like Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Ryan Seacrest, Ellen DeGeneres, and the American Idol lads. Why has Twitter become so popular with them? It’s because they can maintain their public image (update their fans with their latest gigs, the type of tea they like, or whether they think so-and-so is an ass) without letting the public come too close to them. There’s always that “Block” link, and there’s always the option of reading the Tweets at your own sweet leisurely time.

But of course those are celebrities. They are almost required to be forever present; it’s their job, after all. But what about us? What drives us to Tweet?

Could it be driven by a celebrity complex that we all innately have? With Twitter, you are the star of your own page. The limelight is on you. You can be criticized, but you are shielded by the physical distance and the barrier afforded by a computer screen. As long as the protections are in place, you, yes, you, can update your “fans” with whatever you think is relevant. Because you think you are relevant.

Could it be dictated by a need to reach out to people? As far as societal movements go, “no man is an island” is still pretty much applicable, and this may drive our need to express ourselves to both friends and virtual strangers. Which is probably why the quality of details don’t matter. You can broadcast your lunch, the little incident in the elevator, or what you overheard in a cafe, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that these details exist. There is a sense of security in knowing that there’s a probability that people know that you are out there, somewhere.


I have been Twitterless for the most part during the past few days because my mobile phone bill each month threatened to swallow me whole. Now, I Tweet nights when I get home, on my laptop. Which sort of defeats the entire purpose of Tweeting, because really, Tweets are meant to be on-the-go, or at the very least, sent on a regular basis.

If there’s one thing I realized with this exercise in Twitter reduction, it’s this: I don’t really miss it. Whatever symptoms of withdrawal I feared I may encounter with my conscious decision to disconnect from the Twitterverse did not happen. There were no misty eyes, no shortage of breath, no tempting pull to whip out my phone and blast the world with my updates.

I guess not all phenomena are intended for everyone. I guess relevancy and security can be taken somewhere else. And I guess there’s really no need to ask myself each time:

What are you doing?

Filed under: Mindlifting, Them

Popoy and Basha’s Breakup Formula

There are certain questions in life that we ought to have instruction manuals for. Not everyone has an innate ability to solve their problems without outside help. Even philosophers have stumbled; even great minds have succumbed to disheartening results. If only life were quantifiable, then we would have all the answers we need, sooner or later. If everything could be reduced to x‘s and y‘s, then the world would be a simpler place to live in. (Well… especially for those who love math.)

Take, for instance, this question: How long after a breakup should one person wait before entering into another relationship?

Note the important phrasing. The question specifically refers to “entering into another relationship,” and not necessarily “recovering from previous relationship.” (Kudos to my friend MakMak for spotting the difference.) Of course, it is unwise to enter into another relationship without recovering from your previous one, but those are issues of relationship ethics and do not fall under the scope of this discussion. What does fall in-scope is the fact that there’s a difference; the two aren’t necessarily equivalents of each other.

Given the Very Important Problem, we had to have a starting point. And this is where Popoy and Basha come in. Remember the movie, One More Chance? Most of the scenes in that movie were close-ups of John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo***, but it did leave me with something to ponder on: the three-month rule.

Basha (Bea Alonzo) and Mark (Derek Ramsey) enter Bellini’s. Mark introduces himself, but Popoy goes berserk.

Popoy: Hindi mo ba alam ang 3-month rule, Basha? Bakit hindi mo sinunod? Bakit?

Popoy and Basha were together for 5 years before they decided to call it quits. So let us consider that as our starting point: when the Period Together is 60 months, the Considerate Required Period of Singlehood (CRPS) is 3 months.


But one point is not enough to establish any trend. What do we do with it? Is 3 months a fixed CRPS? That doesn’t seem to be a fair length of time for couples who met and broke up within 3 months. Why be single for a period longer than the time you and your ex were together? In order for the formula to be equitable, the CRPS should move in some fashion with the months the ex-couple were together.

It could be linear…


…but that would be boring. The formula should be both elegant and exciting. While the linear equation is elegant, it is not exciting. Relationships should be both. Or at least the formula for break-ups should be both.

You know what would be both elegant and exciting? Polynomials. Yes, polynomials. With the right formulation, the polynomial form is sexy and scientific at the same time. To avoid complications (and lest we appear too eager), let us settle with a second-degree polynomial equation. However, in order for us to create the perfect polynomial solution to our Very Important Problem, we need to establish another point. Two points are not enough to create a unique second-degree polynomial equation.

For the purposes of this discussion, let us call this point, Justifiable Point. Justifiable Point is located at 50 Months of Togetherness, and 2 Months CRPS:


And a simple trending line in Excel will lead to this fantastic formula:

Considerate Required Period of Singlehood (CRPS) = [Months Together * (Months Together – 10)]/1000


Let’s see how this formula works. Consider A and B, a couple that had been together for 10 years before they decided to go their own ways. This means that they were together for 10 x 12 = 120 months. The CRPS for both of them would be [120 * (120 – 10)]/1000, which, through some simple computations, equates to 13.2 months. In other words, they are free to date whomever they want after a little over a year. It’s that simple!

Here are some other important milestone figures:


Of course, the detail that immediately pops to the eye are the negative CRPS for couples who have been together for only 10 months or less. We wanted to have an elegant solution, and it seems that negative Periods of Singlehood are not that very elegant. But wait. If we analyze it further, the weird solution may actually have a point somewhere. Could it be science’s way of telling us that such relationships should have lasted longer than it did (say, beyond 10 months), because otherwise it would have reflected poorly on both parties? Or could it be science’s way of telling us that such relationships are a waste of time and you should actually just move on? I’m an optimist so I think the former explanation is better, but whatever rocks your boat.

Another important result is this: it would take around 10 years of being together in order to merit a CRPS of at least 1 year; around 3 years in order to merit a month. Easier said than done, especially for those grieving, but science dictates that we keep our feelings together and move on before understandable grief turns into exaggerated wallowing. It’s just not healthy anymore.

The solution is complete*. Quod erat demonstrandum. ♺

* If you feel offended, please do not take this post seriously.
*** If you feel offended, it might comfort you to know that I cried several times while watching that movie.

Filed under: Eros, Geekery

I Am Not Who You Think I Am

I am human.

I am flawed.

You cannot impose an identity on me, because the boy that you think you know, you really don’t know very well. What you have in your mind is an Ideal. That Ideal is not me; I am Imperfection.

Cease to pin traits that I do not have. I am neither as intelligent, nor as responsible, nor as happy, nor as nurturing, nor as good-natured as the person you have envisioned me to be. First impressions, while characteristically positive, do not last and shouldn’t. Facades, while innately appealing, must be ignored.

This is for you who voted me vice-president back in second grade. This is for you who elected me group leader in the fourth. This is for you who persuaded me to join trivia contests. This is for you who coached me in math. This is for you who paid me for calculus tutorials. This is for you who fed me when I was hungry. This is for you who lent me money when I had none. This is for you who gave me gifts to show you care. This is for you who trusted. This is for you who loved.

Do not consider this a pity party. I am not fishing for compliments, I am not looking for sympathy. I am simply stating the truth. And the truth is this: I am not who you think I am. It is unwise to think otherwise.

Expectations can only lead to sadness.

Filed under: Ra, Them, Untamed, Utter Sadness

The Sunbaked King

The realm of fiction is vast, and the reach of fantasy is wide. When everything else has left us– our virginity, our sanity, our pride– only the imagination remains. Even our faith can waver in the face of compelling evidence, or in the aftermath of a tragic end. Even our love can turn to hate upon the sight of a tremendous betrayal; or worse, turn to indifference after the fiery waves of vengeance have died down. But imagination, yes, that construct of the human mind, remains resilient, indomitable, indestructible, no matter what.

It fills the spaces of a lonely heart. It keeps him awake at night, preoccupied with thoughts of a happy ending. In a world that is just and fair to all (and therefore just as fantastical), he sleeps beside a loving warmth, their fingers intertwined in matrimony. Sunshine enters the windows in steady ethereal lines, lightly kissing them both before they bestow the same blessing on each other. They smile and read each other’s minds: he’ll have coffee; the other’ll have toast. Today is going to be a good day, and everything is going to be all right.

He sees this vividly as he hugs his pillow and stares at the ceiling. The warmth of his blanket will do for now, but– a smile drifts across his face– there is hope.

Imagination feeds the seeking soul. The emptiness of an existence so bleak is filled with the desire to escape, to see a promised end that has been created, nurtured, and etched in his human mind. While the quest may seem futile, he will not falter. His thoughts shall guide him. In a world that is both merciful and forgiving (and therefore just as fictional), he reaches the end of his journey with bruises on his back and cuts in his hands, but this pain does not last. Across the godforsaken landscape, someone comes to him with water. When the water touches his lips, he is immediately refreshed.

In his dreams, he has reached his destination, and he has found his heart’s desire.

On June 16, 2008, this lonely heart saw that there was hope; this seeking soul found his heart’s desire. What was once known as The Dark-Skinned King found solace in a new heaven. On June 16, 2008, The Sunbaked King was born.

Baked under the sun:
Out of embers and ashes
Came the dark-skinned King.

Filed under: Helios, Mindlifting, Ra

A Return to Form

Hiatus over. I’m back. One note about the exam before we bury it in our memories until results day: never go back to your textbooks after a test to check if you got the answers right. You will always end up disappointed, because you will always find that you answered more questions incorrectly than correctly.


Writing is true therapy. In the one month that I’ve gone AWOL on all virtual outlets (save for Twitter, but that barely counts as a conducive medium to write prose or poetry), writing is the one thing that I missed the most. There’s something liberating in the pit-pat of keys as my fingers move across the keyboard, something fascinating about watching the words form on the screen. While writing itself may not relieve me of this utter sadness, while blogging may not be the perfect solution to end a vicious cycle of doubt and regret, it does its freaking best to help. As thought flows from the mind to the spine to the arms to the fingers to the keyboard to the screen, a little bit more of my self is extracted, released, piece by piece. The process empties me. The process sets me free.

In two days’ time, my blog, The Sunbaked King, will celebrate its anniversary. Created out of a desire to impress, nurtured out of a need to write. In these bleak and dreary times, this is one outlet I’m glad to have regained.

This is a timely return to the blogging form. I’m happy to be back.

Filed under: Helios, Mindlifting, Ra, Utter Sadness