Thursday, April 05, 2007

Moving Out

For the past few years, my wife and I have been living in a decent enough apartment here in Los Baños. It has two bedrooms on the second floor and is quite spacious for a couple without kids. We pay around five thousand pesos every month to live in this modest level of luxury, which is quite cheap compared to apartment rates in Metro Manila.

We know every nook and cranny of this apartment. We remember every major battlefield in our epic war against ants. We can navigate through it in pitch darkness by sheer memory alone. In the advent of a zombie apocalypse, we know what weapons to pick up, what windows and doors to barricade, and (should things take a turn for the worse) how to make our escape.

And that is how a house turns into a home.

When my father-in-law-- a serial OFW who’d lived in other countries far longer than he’d lived in the Philippines-- announced that he’ll be leaving for Africa soon, one of the problems that came up was the house. Specifically: who’ll take care of it? My mother-in-law works in the States while my brother-in-law lives in Bulacan with his wife and kids. That leaves my wife and I, naturally.

It was a hard decision on our part. Okay, I’m lying. Consider:

OPTION 1: Pay five thousand pesos every month to continue living in a two-bedroom apartment along a noisy highway. With ants.

OPTION 2: Pay nothing and live in a quiet subdivision-- in a house with two-bedrooms, DSL connection, air conditioning in the master bedroom, a big lawn, a cozy nipa hut in the garden, an extra bathroom near said hut, a scooter, and cute chickens.

My father-in-law would’ve thrown his car into the deal but he knows neither his daughter nor I drive so I think he sold it. Or maybe he gave it away to one of his siblings, I don’t really know. Or care. It’s the chickens that sealed the deed for me. I like animals. I suspect I like animals more than I like people.

And so, some days ago, the missus and I started packing our things up in boxes. A strange thing, this ritual of moving out of an apartment one has gotten used to thinking of as home. For one thing, it continues to surprise me how much we’ve acquired in the past few years. Most of them aren’t really treasures but bits of junk with memories attached to them. We really should sell or give away a lot of these things.

Anyway, I was scrounging around in my office when I discovered a ginormous pile of scipts. This pile is the result of about three years’ worth of writing for Nginiiig! and Nginiiig! The Hidden Files. Deciding to sell it for scrap, I lugged everything in a big garbage bag and took it to the junkyard across the street. After the weighing was done, I went home with around seventy pesos in my hand. Seventy pesos. Three years and that is the actual, physical worth of my writing: merely the weight of the paper upon which my words were printed. That worked wonders on my pretensions as a writer.

I suppose I can argue that I’ve earned more than a million pesos from those scripts. Or that art is worth more than its monetary value. But really, who am I kidding? I’m a television writer. TV did to my art what Rohypnol did to the act of love. And I can barely see evidence of that million pesos.

Look, I’d love to stay and chat about this but I’ve got to unplug my computer now…


  1. Dude, this has got to be my favorite entry of yours. Now whose cock do I suck to write like you?

  2. Why, you suck MY COCK, bitch! My manly jism has powers of the literary sort.

  3. a million bucks? so there's money in writing for tv, after all :P

  4. Hello,
    I am Jerome Herrera. I am the owner of Pinoy Penster Community, a website for Amateur Filipino Writers. I was wondering if we could exchange links. This will give your blog a wonderful opportunity to be exposed to our hundreds of visitors everyday. If you are interested, please email me at Pinoy Penster Community is located at

  5. Hi Squid. Got your text about the Nginiiig! (how many "i"s are there officially? I keep forgetting) scripts when I was at PGH, so I forgot to reply. Read it to my dad.

    A ton of your old scripts may not be worth much when sold by the kilo, but at least you can get a chuckle or two out of a guy fresh out of the ICU.


  6. @cyberpunk:
    Yes there is, as long as a show lasts. Nginiiig! lasted almost three years. There's also Hidden Files (later, NPI) so I was working for two TV shows (1 of which I was the headwriter, meaning I get paid every episode, as opposed to contributing writers who get paid only for what they write). On the other hand, about 1.5 million pesos for three years isn't much. That's about 21K a month per show. If I was a contributing writer who's only got 1 show and who gets 1 episode a month, that figure won't make me a millionaire anytime soon.

    @jerome c. herrera:
    Still thinking about it.

    Three i's in Nginiiig! I've been reading your blog posts about your dad. Sorry about what happened. Also, I'm glad he's recovering quickly.

  7. What I'm really interested to know is when we can use your new house for a TMB celebraganza.

  8. Hmmm... that's a thought. Will contact you guys through the forums if I can arrange that.

  9. What are you talking about? I have been Nginiiig's Head Researcher and Head Psychic...lucky for you "Shaman with a Gun" that you have scraps to sells for 70bucks...i was left with all the "malignos" and "demons", remnants of the show! Anyone interested in buying them?! Most of the researchers don't even use paper to do their research on,some don't even know how to know what I mean you "son-of-cthulhu"!! Hehehe!

  10. Oh my fucking god, it's Ruel. How ya been, pare? Pa kiss, pare... in a totally manly way, of course. Welcome to my blog.