talas, men

(original note circa Jun 2014)

I was taking a jeepney ride home, staring at nothing and everything at the same time: car bumper barely hitting car bumper, smoke-belching buses pretending to be F1 racecars, the grimy underside of an overpass, fences with “Bawal Tumawid Dito”, people selling cigarettes, candy, and softdrinks by the roadside, when I happened to see something peculiarly thought-provoking written at the backside of a taxi cab:

Jumar, Jerome, Jeremie, Jeremiah

At any other moment, it would have been banal, like every other random sight one sees while on a ride home, the-journey-is-more-important-than-the-destination quotes be damned. At that time, though, it sounded like a spell, some sacred mantra not unlike those inscribed on anting-antings, incantations to keep evil or mischievous spirits away. Having them, apparently, be the names of the driver’s four children was icing on top of this delicious cake of alliteration.

Then it hit me: maybe the Filipino is not so much forced to be creative as he is inspired to be. His is an environment where every day is an exercise in puns, visual design, and so on, stretching the imagination.

In such an environment, can one honestly do any less than create?

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