Which Is It?

Today, it rained.  Rained yesterday, too.  And on the drive back from Dumaguete.

By the time we were in the mountains, it was full dark.  Joel refuses to drive through the mountains at night, but for Samuel it was no problem.  Self doesn’t remember when she decided to ask Samuel whether he believed in aswang.  Perhaps it was right after Binalbagan (Saw dense gray smoke issuing from the sugar central, even at 8 p.m.  Samuel said that the centrals run 24 hours a day, during milling season.  The men work in shifts).  Anyhoo, Samuel’s answer was most surprising:  Yes, he did believe in aswang.  In fact, in the town where he grew up, there were several.  Some fly and some walk, and one particularly bold aswang had even tried to eat his cousin.

At that very moment, we were driving through a deserted stretch of highway, only darkened fields on either side, and no more trucks, either in front or behind.  Self felt prickles all up and down her arms.

Samuel then went on to say that some people he knew had managed to take a picture of a kapre.  He was a gigantic, very hairy man, and there was a clear smell of cigar smoke around him.

To which self could only respond:  OMG!!!

She quickly decided to change the subject.

(Drivers are such an endless reservoir of fascinating stories, dear blog readers.  From Joel self learned about fish, since his father owned a punong.  One other driver, Archie, told self stories of his childhood in another sugar milling town, La Carlota)

So, yesterday, self was back to using Joel (She’ll keep switching drivers from now on, since it’s always nice to have different kinds of stories —  in fact, she might be up for trying a third driver, when she next visits Bacolod).  She and Zack asked Joel if the new Derek Ramsay (Oh, take self’s word for it, this guy is quite a dreamboat!  More dreamy than Channing Tatum, even!  Though Zack strenuously disagrees), “Corazon:  Ang Unang Aswang” was any good, and Joel replied in the firm affirmative, citing an interview in which Ramsay had said it was so much nicer to kiss with Erich (Mother’s name was probably Elena or something starting with an “E,” and the “rich” was added because everyone hopes to be rich, at least they do here in the Philippines) Gonzales.

So, since it was showing in Robinson’s, and we just so happened to be in front of Robinson’s that very moment, we told Joel to drop us off, and we then sat through two hours of


And since self makes it a point to watch Filipino movies every time she visits home, that means she has seen a mountain of Filipino movies.

How bad was this movie?  It was so bad that it made self:

  • Forget periodically that the period was 1946.
  • Forget that Mark Gil used to be a good actor.
  • Forget that Erich Gonzales is a babe.
  • Forget that Derek Ramsay can act.
  • Forget what an aswang is.
  • Forget self’s all-time execrable movie of the past decade, Skyline.

Zack laughed from the first to the last frame, and self had to keep saying SHH!  (to no avail), for everyone else in the theater was completely silent, no doubt watching with rapt attention as the character played by Ms. Gonzales (Corazon, which stands for “heart”) developed the most awful eyebags and wild, Kabuki-like hair.  She also developed twitches, as if she were Edward Scissorhands.

Anyhoo, Zack remarked at one point, “I think I’m going to punch Joel.”  And since Zack is much taller and broad in the shoulder than Joel, she actually did fear for her driver’s life.

And now, to the ostensible reason for this post, which is:  an e-mail rejection self received today.

The rejection was from Agni, and the text in its entirety was this:

Dear MV:

Thank you for sending xxxxx.  Your work received careful consideration here.

We’ve decided this manuscript isn’t right for us, but we wish you luck placing it elsewhere.

Kind regards,

The Editors

P.S.  Without submissions like yours, we’d lose the sense of discovery that keeps Agni fresh.  Please click here for a discounted subscription rate offered as a thank-you to our submitters.

Now, what do dear blog readers think of the above?  Is it a standard (impersonally polite) rejection?  Or is it an encouraging rejection?

In other words, are the words “received careful consideration here” indicative of the fact that the story actually made it through the first round?  But perhaps they word all their rejections the same way, to make one think that one’s story has some saving qualities?

Now, self, are you going to obssess about this all day?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

2 thoughts on “Which Is It?

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