Day Zero

DISCLAIMER: Sad entry. Read at your own risk. For a sadder reading experience, play THIS while reading.

The sun shone brightly outside as I woke up to the hustling of things around their house in Laguna. I woke up to the sight of her dressed in her usual house clothes rummaging for things to put in her luggage inside the room where I spent the night. A few hours ago, just before I closed my eyes and decided to call it a day, we were seated on the same bed where I was lying carefully scanning over the “books” that each of us authored back in college for a project. We blithely exchanged smiles whenever we found anything hilarious written in those hard-bound books. Back in those days, things seem to be a lot simpler than it is right now.

For a relationship that has raced through really long, winding miles, saying “goodbye” would definitely top the list of the most heart-shattering events. Especially when a couple has been through almost everything that life could throw at them but still always ends up standing tall and proud together, side by side, holding each other’s hands tightly as they brace for the charges of everyday battles, there’s no doubt about it. Through ups and downs, moments of defeats and victories, and endless blissful memories, we have always been together. Eight years was a long run. However, in this world where “change” is the only thing that’s constant, some things need to comply.

Day Zero

I knew that this day would come. Everyday since she submitted her application for a school in Canada, I would always try to convince myself that the days of us being physically together now has an expiration date…and it’s not getting farther away. Like a wick. Or a time bomb. Or seeing yourself as a pirate’s captive slowly walking towards the far edge of a wooden panel that leads to nothing but the air above the surface of the sea. Hands tied, blindfolds on, forcefully prodded behind by a razor sharp cutlass. That, you’ll never know that you’re gone until you feel the dark cold sea engulf you all over. Every night for more than two months, she would always end the day with an SMS that states “T minus (days left)”. Sometimes I ask her not to do that. Even just a piece of a thought of it stings me.

Airport scenes are always the saddest. Whenever my father leaves the country for his job abroad, I would always see my mother turn red and eventually burst into tears as they bid goodbye to each other. It’s always been the same, like a two-hour sad movie put into loop. Now I understand what my mother’s crimsoning and tear-popping frenzy is all about. I have felt it myself. Honestly, the exact moments of farewell weren’t that sad. With the help of her family’s presence, I was able to successfully hold my tears back. But boy, the minute that she entered the terminal gradually disappearing from anywhere within my field of vision was really heartbreaking. It felt like a javelin piercing right through me in the chest, compromising my airway and immobilizing my heart. In that moment starts to enter the thoughts that I may not be able to see and hold her for a long span of time…that we wouldn’t be able to share special moments of our lives together for quite a long time. But you know what’s the most most painful part of the scene? It was when you realize that you were together just a few hours ago seated happily inside the car en route to the airport. A few hours later, you’re going home alone.

Goodbyes are never really meant when they are said. A real goodbye is when silence does all the talking. That moment when she turned her back to us as she approached the glass doors leading to the airport terminal, I realized how blessed I am to have someone who makes saying goodbye so damn hard. With my knapsack and a small sling bag, I rode a cab home. Quiet. Alone.

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Distance means so little when someone means so much.

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The Streets of Manila

Manila may be dirty and congested but in my opinion, its streets are picturesque. Every person and every scene tells different stories.

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Canon AE-1 Program x Fujifilm C200
Yashica Electro 35 GSN x Kodak Ultramax 400 (exp)
Manila, Philippines
2015

Fade

A few days ago, I dropped by my favorite photo lab located just a few kilometers from where I live. Panning on the direction of their glass cabinet just behind the woman operating the cash register, I was surprised to see a new variety of film rolls besides the usual C200’s and Neopans. The sight of new stacks of small green and yellow boxes, arranged meticulously forming a wide base to a pointed top like a pyramid, made me cast a gentle smirk as I approached their glass counter.

What if film manufacturers like Fujifilm and Kodak cease their production of fresh rolls anytime from now?

I had thoughts. Nothing lasts forever. One day, film manufacturers would actually cease their productions specially when sales start to significantly decline. A reason why I had to temporarily put down my digital SLR and shoot using my trusty ol’ film cameras for a while.

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Canon AE-1 Program x Fujifilm C200
Puerto Princesa City, Philippines; Manila, Philippines
January 2016