Posted in The Critic: Exploring Philippine Literature

Exploring Philippine Literature: One Night in Purgatory by Carlo Vergara

It was said that everyone has feelings locked up… and that alcohol just opens those dreadful doors.

Alcohol. Exes. Long-kept and unspoken questions. Black tittle-tattles. Realizations. And on rare occasions (who am I kidding) Sex. These are all the cliche ingredients of heartbreak after-stories for the hardcore inamoratas and inamoratos (and those in between) out there. The minds of these tormented beings are just too jumbled, exhausted and beaten up that even gravity would be considered a negative and repugnant force. Love, as analyzed and described in my previous readings, is heaven and hell– mind it being heaven– and of course, your brain would be dehydrated of cerebrospinal fluid if you lose your so-called paradise. As your heart beats in a melancholy rhythm, you find it arduous to even eat and sleep– two gems of the millenium, or for college students, at least. After which, you start to reminisce bits and pieces of your golden moments of fun and laughter, all the way cursing your brain for doing such as you play The Script albums in your iPhone.

But this is but a mere (annoying and deadly) finger-post of your entire love life, and if you are unable to resist such tsunamis, you’d, logically, die. But heartbreaks are not all about these– it has a good side that could barely be seen– like a needle in a haystack.

Think about it. This Graphic Novel told me that there is more to heartbreak than just pain and suicidal thoughts. Having a shattered heart is like having your eyes freed from possible illusions and “Salamancas.” Love is, at times, deceiving, and I say that heartbreak is the cure to such deception. It is in possession of shattering hearts that you realize things that you never knew you thought of because your brain is somehow convening with your hearts deafening beats.

With heartbreak comes letting go, realizations and new beginnings. You venture into arguments that make you feel like you did the right thing.

This is, of course, for some cases. In this tale, however, this philosophy can be applied. People have long been dubbing heartbreak as a negative phenomenon, but it is because of the myriads of heartbreaks that Casey was able to realize that there are more to men that having that extra limb.

So it’s just the package, right? The only thing that’s stopping you from having a boyfriend is the extra limb? There are more to girls than not having dicks…

I guess I loved you in that way. So what if you were flat-chested and had a dick? It was like having a relationship with any girl. Except the sex, of course. It all seemed to fall into place. You made me feel needed whoever I was.

These are the lines that my mind danced upon as I read the novel. I can’t help but say that these lines that appear so camouflaged and typical in the story are actually the nobel-prize definition of LOVE. Relationships are not all about sex and the “hoity-toity” (kilig) sensation– there is a deeper and more worthwhile underlying feel to it– it is the feeling of being needed, being someone, and feeling belonged and protected. This, is what I would like to call Mature love– love that has reached self-actualization, according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

But let’s stray off the parameters of love for now (because I’m having a migraine) and tackle the other matter of the novel: GAYS.

Try telling that to the rest of the world! You’re marked for life. I’ll be your darkest secret for the rest of your life.

I don’t actually know whether Casey is gay or bisexual, but the truth of the matter is that part of being bisexual is being gay, logically. Since he has the hots for both sexes, we could validly call him a Bisexual. I, in all honesty, have nothing against the queer population– I actually find them to be great friends. However, I admittedly didn’t feel my “muscles and bones melting” after seeing Casey and Deio kiss– not the kind that Peeta-Katniss, Tobias-Beatrice, Sherlock-Irene, bring to my poor paralyzed soul.

But I hope you understand, because I don’t.

But fudge cakes, if someone’s gay, then be gay. There may be ignorant and judgemental people in the society but you can’t actually afford to walk through life with a mask, right? That’d be exhausting, emotionally and mentally. As what Elsa famously said, and I melodiously quote, “Let it go.” I need not mention all the other “Express yourself and who says you’re not perfect” twaddles here– they simply are written in the Milky-way’s archive of everything.

I think I feel a vein popping out now. This is all I have to say for I am squeezed into a dry pulp.

I would also like to point out that Graphic Novels are more fun to read because you can really *ehem* see everything. But there, however would be a limit to what an author can write.

Nonetheless, this Novel is still good.

P.S. I am listening to The Script as I write this. It really helps.


Posted in The Critic: Exploring Philippine Literature

Exploring Philippine Literature: Wasted by Gerry Alanguilan

Love is a sugar-coated monster topped with heavenly whipped cream, sprinkles, chocolate chips and cherries. It is a notorious concoction of the sourest and most bitter things in the galaxy and is the most paradoxical feeling known to mankind.


Wasted is, by far, the most outrageous heartbreak story required by this subject. The end was, admittedly “awwww-able” yet there was just some part of me saying that something was not right with killing a bunch of innocent citizens, thus in the end, I still sort of disliked Eric. Looking under the skin of this (rather gory and weirdly drawn) graphic novel, it simply tells a tale of a man who has gotten out of his mind because of the excruciating betrayal of his beau. I am confined in the thought on whether I favor Jenny or Eric, but my inner sensei instructs me not to favor both entirely. There is something about the former’s decision that irks me– it’s the insensitivity of her resolve. As for the latter, it’s just his being mentally and emotionally unstable. This I shall expound on and mind I mention that for this summary reaction, my criticism approach will center on character analysis and stitching the pieces together at the end.

I’m sorry Eric. I never meant for this to happen. Bill and I just… we fell in love. The fault is not with you, Eric. It’s with me. I’m really sorry. You ought to meet Bill. You’ll like him. He’s very nice. Oh, and do you know what he gave me last night?

“What he gave me last night”– let’s be straightforward about this. Jenny was breaking up with Eric and mentions that he’d “like” Bill and that he gave her something last night. If I were in Eric’s shoes, I would have punched her. I’m kidding but it’s true. Those were “truths” better left untold– need he know they had sex the night before? Jenny impersonates the type of lover who goes in a Library just to sniff the books and look nerdy– the insincerity of your purpose. She was uncertain of her feelings for Eric and yet chose to play the game. Jenny treated Eric like a character in a dating simulation without bearing in mind that Eric was human, still, and that he had feelings. I’d say his psychotic killing spree is 70% Jenny being the insensitive woman she is and 30% his emotional and mental instability. I mean– a gun won’t fire unless you pull the trigger. Jenny was Eric’s daily dose of sanity, and the former refuses any more doses causing poor Eric to go berserk.

Yet, at the end of the day, we have no right to choose for Jenny– all we can do is to judge her choice and all I can say is: since the story didn’t entirely describe Bill, I cannot determine whether what she did was right for herself. I, however, can say that what she did was quite tactless. I have no idea, however, if it was needed tactlessness or just a plain slap on the face.


I hate life! I… I hate love and I hate you because you’re happy, and I’m not.

Eric is the kind of guy who thinks right but acts wrong– the angsty type who tends to say a myriad of things at the peak of his emotions– things that may not be entirely true. He, as I mentioned many times before this, is mentally and emotionally unstable and abnormally sensitive. The monster within him was awakened that he found “peace” in killing citizens who touch his rope of patience. If Jenny’s sin was insensitivity, Eric’s is on losing control of his emotions and thoughts. During his killing spree, he seemed tamed in his world of the sour and bitter side of love that it fueled his bloodthirst even more– he was so enclosed in his thoughts that no good thought about love could penetrate. It basically illustrates the monster love has the power to yield there for dubbing LOVE a powerful and dangerous thing because it can hold all your emotions in one hand and crush it anytime.

But deep in the core of LOVE, there exists this sparkle of hope that, if found and cultivated, could bring about change and new life. Unfortunately, the moment Eric realized this, he was paralyzed by the weight of his sins, eventually succumbing to his death. I swear– what he did was even worse that suicide. He should have killed his Ex first then kill himself and not steal the souls away from innocent humans. Or, he could move on and find new love like all the other cliché literature.


Love doesn’t stop when the other one stops loving! Love can’t be passed around from one person to another, like some damned cheap whore! When you love someone then that’s it! You just can’t pass that on to someone else! Love means loyalty!

I need not explain how amazing love is because that is what I have been doing in my previous reaction emails. I, however, will center on the necessities of love.

There is actually some truth to this dialogue if we set the parameters on what “love” refers to here. In a gist, it basically means that loyalty is a powerful element in romance. Love is a creature that would turn into a beast if it sees betrayal. It is as sensitive as glass; it needs transparency like glass and it can be a majestic piece of art depending on how it is blown to perfection.

Sticking with it through thick and thin! Having no one else, loving no one else.

The greatest love stories that ever lived are the ones that have conquered the mountains on their paths. This is a rather cliché axiom that I need not entirely expound on but, au fond, this philosophy holds true for the novel. Jenny and Eric would have made things work, but Jenny was just overpowered by her “developing crush” that she bred a bloodthirsty beast. I mean, most betrayals start with– “justs.” Ugh. I don’t know.

At the peak of my jumbled thoughts stands the realization that what Eric did was still wrong because even if you felt like your romantic tale was perfect and eternal– you should never expect. Just hope– for there will always be unseen circumstances. “If you love someone, let her go,” should apply here because if it was, a group of fictional citizens would have still been alive. He would have moved on the right way, like all the other male protagonists in cliché love movies and whatnot.

Love is overrated.

This, by far, is the story which I found writing a reaction to the most DIFFICULT thing to do.

There is a part of this novel that I don’t understand– like something is telling me that Eric was partly right by wanting a loyal romance (which is what all romances crave for) and the other saying that Jenny did the right thing for the reason that Eric was crazy and that she would have had a better future with Bill. Practicality.

But still, I ask myself: What if Jenny read it before all the mayhem happened? Would they have stayed together?