I Take The Weather Personally, Teddy

"Do you feel as useful as the letter g in the word laughter?"
- from a local radio station

"The lighthouse has made me a better person."
- Mang Ruben, Lighthouse keeper at Burgos, Ilocos Norte
PAGASA says this is not the hottest climate the Philippines has experienced. But this is the hottest I have experienced.

A fragment of "Owning the Maze":

My sister took the window seat. She always did. I strained to see the view outside. There were buildings, the highway, billboards. We were still in Manila. As the view changed into trees, mountains, streams, and the sky became wider, I knew we were near to something to what now I would call, digression.

In childhood, that digression was clearly a place: Baguio and its horses, Vigan and its pink sand. Until I grew and figured that all I had been wanting, all I was waiting for at that long trip, straining, looking at the window, was a moment of amazement.

A bit older, I thought that the place had little to do with that feeling of magnificence, but whom was I fooling?

The place itself shapes the very episodes important to my stories, although it doesn't have to be as far as I used to imagine.

Precisely because of its noise, mess, crime and indulgences, I have learned to love Manila. I walk along Roxas Boulevard with all consciousness that I am the next target for a pickpocket. I feel the same whenever my mother and I would go to Divisoria and Baclaran to shop for Christmas gifts, bargain clothes and chocolates.

Perhaps it is because I was born and raised in the city that I feel this fondness for this crowded, polluted and often pretentious place.

And then there's the heat.

Of all the problems we already have, there's the heat to boot.

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