Chasing Waterfalls: Casaroro and Pulangbato

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Hello readers. It’s been a while; 2016’s come and gone (thank God) and I’m back with a vengeance.

I survived the Christmas break, and I managed to squeeze some travel plans in between the parties and the ditzy soirees.

Yesterday I visited Valencia for the first time. Valencia’s a small town, a short 20 minutes’ ride from Dumaguete. And it has two of the most amazing waterfalls I’ve seen, namely Casaroro and Pulangbato (literally Red Rock)

Getting to Casaroro was a bit of a challenge. You have to go down a steep flight of stairs. We had to traverse some rocks and streams (and we had to deal with some pretty strong currents too) to get there, but boy was it magical.

Pulangbato was smaller in comparison, but it was just as serene.

Here are some photos from the trek.

Continue reading “Chasing Waterfalls: Casaroro and Pulangbato”

Are You Cheating On Me? (Poetry)

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“I tried to change
Closed my mouth more
Tried to be soft, prettier
Less… awake
Fasted for 60 days
Wore white
Abstained from mirrors
Abstained from sex
Slowly did not speak another word
And that time my hair grew past my ankles
I slept on a mat on the floor
I swallowed a sword
I levitated
Into the basement
Confessed my sins
And was baptized in a river
Got on my knees and said, “Amen”
And said, “I mean”
I whipped my own back
And asked for dominion at your feet
I threw myself into a volcano
I drank the blood and drank the wine
I sat alone in begged and bent at the waist for God
I crossed myself and thought
I saw the devil
I grew thickened skin on my feet
I bathed in bleach
And plugged my menses with the pages from the holy book
But still inside me coiled deep was the need to know
Are you cheating on me?”

–Denial, Lemonade (Beyoncé)

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Photography by Teegee Villanueva. 

Confessions (Poetry)

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the cross lingers

high above the confessional

it looms, leering

 

And beneath it, the cavity

where the voice of the consecrated profligate speaks

with an urgency not immediately divine;

the man speaks with the urgency of a shrew

 

what is your name, priest?

what are your sins

have you confessed them to the Lord

professed servility to the word?

Did you consume a rosary

plug your arteries, with pages from the Holy Book

apologized to the angels

offered a sacrifice, crucified a child

 

You are made of the same flesh

infested by the same wiles, marked by the same sins

who are you to judge?

–Poetry and photography by Teegee Villanueva

Elizabeth, Mississippi (Poetry)

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a cigarette

in between my lips

in hers, the hollow afterglow

a whimper, a song, a sigh of great relief

Billy Idol plays on the radio

 

Elizabeth lays in bed

her head heavy, bowed down

her body entangled over mine

she emerges from her second baptism,

distraught and yearning for a river

She rises swiftly from the precipice

and dons her favorite yellow dress,

 

She thanks me for my kindness

I thank her for her service

I call my wife on the telephone

I tell her everything’s alright.

–Poetry by Teegee Villanueva, photography by Teegee Villanueva

The Bored (Photography)

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I sit at cafes, observing the goings-on of the bored. There’s a woman outside, eating madeleines on the fly; she’s distracted by something on her little magic box; totally unaware of the world. When did people become so mindless, when did a cigarette become a means to escape, a means to forget, to pass time when time drawls on listlessly. I thought smoking was glamorous, something only the really rich enjoyed between gossip and cups of cafe au lait.

Continue reading “The Bored (Photography)”

For Peter, My Ghost (Poetry)

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Peter old friend

we are only human

we are made of dust

from Adam’s soil: ashes

creatures of chance

unable to cope

unable to see

blind to the world

and the bridges put forth before us,

we are damned

to suffer, one way or another

to rest everlasting, to end.

But we are glorious

even when we come undone

and the world will always remember

the songs we wrote

for Alice, for Emma

for women we do not even know

–Words by Teegee Villanueva

Full Moon (Poetry)

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Unravel: as they come

Horses

Drums

A funeral march

 

A coffin, a hammer

A nail and a kiss

A sip from a poisoned chalice

 

Why,

Do I put myself through this?

I am trapped and isolated

Four white walls enclose me,

Vibrating with an ever quickening pulse;

The floors catch my menses

And the tear that refuses to fall

 

I am tired, black death

I am a specter without a name

Floating amongst the living:

Listless among the dead

***

Painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat, words by Teegee Villanueva

 

First Night

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I stare at my reflection

in the mirror that you gave me

I cannot forget when you were last inside me

stuck, immobile–

your love was a curse .

 

And I cannot forget the first night

we spent together–you and me, in the room

in the space we called our home

when you said goodnight

when I gave good head and meant it–

but your youth always alarmed me.

 

You remind me of my father, a liar

lies all lies, until the angels took his life

his tongue, an instrument

to please a missus who wasn’t his wife;

like my father, you broke my heart

and like my father, I forgave you

but like my mother, I will always remember

the lie you said in September.

–Anthony, 2016