My 11 most reassuring sounds

My 10 most reassuring sounds
My 11 most reassuring sounds. Most of them came at night like fairies, replacing my childhood fears with utmost wonder.

As a young kid, I had the usual childhood fears—of the dark, of weird sounds at night, of dying, of the deep unknown, and so on. Recalling those years, I got rid of many of these fears by age 10. By the time I was 17 (and freed from Marcos jails), I was truly and literally fearless—except for an irrational phobia or two that took me many years to fully defeat.

Recalling these stuff leads me to reflect on how I was able to overcome many of my childhood fears and even a few hardcore fears of my later years. It was certainly a complex tangle of situations and encounters, worthy of a book to be edited by a psychiatrist no less. But since it’s now past midnight going into a nice Sunday and I’m enjoying Neil Young’s “Rust Never Sleeps” album on my lonesome own, I’ll be content to inspect just one persistent pattern: memories of sounds that carried the message, “Fear not, everything’s alright.”

Yes, that’s my secret weapon, my secret shield, my armor of sounds—acquired since childhood and nurtured into adulthood with the help of family, comrades and friends. For this good fortune, I guess one way to thank the cosmic spirits is to share my 11 most reassuring sounds. Here they are: Continue reading “My 11 most reassuring sounds”

When Agham Road led elsewhere

JV in DeQuiros PDI column 001
To my utmost satisfaction, Conrad reprinted my letter in full a week later in his column. I had misplaced my copy of that issue. This morning, however, it reemerged, yellowed and brittle, from a closet of old files that I was cleaning out. Its contents might be of interest not just to the younger generation of PSHS scholars, but to student activists who, I hear, are still doing the same kind of mass work among the squatter colonies of North Triangle as we did 40 years ago.

I hear The Bourne Legacy is shooting a few sequences along Agham Road in the North Triangle area of Quezon City’s central district. I suppose some film scenes will utilize the communities’ slum-housing conditions, which represent perhaps one of the starkest contrasts between abject poverty and cosmopolitan glitz this side of Metro Manila.

Portions of this sprawling area have now been cleared of so-called squatter communities and replaced by sleek malls, carparks, and office buildings. But there remain urban poor pockets that continue to remind us of how this part of the city looked ten years ago.

Nay, twenty years ago. Nay, forty years ago, when the road now known as Agham (“Science”) Road was just a gravelly dirt track that led to God knows where.

Continue reading “When Agham Road led elsewhere”