January 16, 2011

TBR: Mondomanila by Norman Wilwayco

One of the books I'm excited about is Norman Wilwayco's Mondomanila. This, I believe, is his first book which, like Gerilya, won the Grand Prize in the Palanca Awards. Here's the start of the novel, followed by my rough translation. The acerbic voice is unmistakable.

Anuman ang sabihin nila, wala akong pakialam. Alam ng Diyos o ng kung sino mang nakatataas sa atin na masyado nang mahaba ang nilakbay ko. Putang ina, kailangan kong magpahinga. Kailangan kong tumigil, humimpil.

Ilang buwan na 'ko dito sa Baguio. Hindi ko na siguro pagsasawaan ang lugar na 'to. Malamig, maraming puno, mura ang mga pagkain. O malamang, paglipas ng ilang buwan pa uli, biglang mangati ang mga talampakan ko at maghanap ng ibang lugar. Doon sa kung saan walang makikialam sa 'kin. Doon sa kung saan hindi ako susundan at uusigin ng mga bangungot at ng sarili kong anino.

Pero sa ngayon, kuntento ako rito sa buhay ko. May maliit na loteng kinatitirikan ng maliit na bahay, may mga tanim na gulay at marijuana, may buhay, may pera. Itong huli ang pinahahalagahan ko sa lahat. Puta, nabuhay ako ng puro paghihirap ang dinaanan ko. Ni pambili ng bagong brief, pinoproblema ko dati. Natatandaan ko noong elementary pa lang ako, kung wala siguro akong pantalon, nahubo na ang brief ko. Si ermat kasi dati, ni hindi ako maibili ng bago. Ang ginagamit ko noong nasa grade six ako, iyon pa ring brief ko noong grade one. Kaya tuloy sa sobrang lawlaw na't wala na talagang garter, kapag tumatakbo ko, lumililis. Nahuhubo ang magkabilang tagiliran. Kaya lang hindi talaga nahuhubo, sumasabit sa pundya ng suot kong pantalon.

* * *

Whatever they say, I don’t give a fuck. God, or whoever towers above us all, knows that I’ve travelled such a long way. Fuck, I need to stop. I need to rest, to relax.

I've been here in Baguio for many months now. I may never get tired of this place. The cold, the trees, the cheap food. And yet, months will pass by and I’ll likely go footloose and find another place. A place where no one will mind me. Where I won’t be pursued and hounded by nightmares and my own shadow.

Right now, I’m contented with this life. I got a small lot with a small house on it. I got a garden of vegetables and marijuana. I got life, money. That last one is what I value the most. Fuck, I suffered a lot in life. How to buy new briefs, the kind of problems one had. I still remember when I was in elementary, if I didn’t wear pants, I’m good as naked. Blame it on ermat, she couldn’t buy me briefs. What I wore when I was in grade six were the exact ones I had on when I was in grade one. Since they were pretty much worn out and with the garter totally undone, whenever I ran they slid down, exposing my thighs. The reason they didn’t go all the way was that they got caught in the crotch of my pants.

3 comments:

  1. Interesting Filipino writing Rise.But perhaps I will have to visit your country to lay a hand on these :)

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  2. Hi, Madhuri. There's a lot of great books here. Do come and you'll discover good books in good places. :p

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  3. tol gusto mo i-translate yung mondo?

    -nw

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