Tuesday, February 20, 2007


pen and ink on paper
11" x 17"
Maya, a small brown bird of the Lonchura species (L. malacca, L. punctulata and L. leucogastra) are commonly found and scattered all over the country. Mostly seen in fields and wide open spaces. Every now and then, flocks of these small birds are found in the city.

I remember her coming to school each day ranting about how the streets are filled with smoke and grime from buses and cars passing along the route she takes. She'd take shots at the politicians for making a mess out of her hair. "Hay naku Dan, ang aking hair. Pwede nang taniman ng kamote sa kapal ng alikabok sa EDSA!" (You can plant sweet potatoes on my hair with the dust it gathers from the street!)

One day, I spot her standing in the middle of the bushes and grass along the road leading to the college of fine arts. With her eyes closed, chin up and making inward circular motions of her hands like she's summoning some hidden power up to her face, I slowly approached her. A twig snapped under my foot and she opened one eye to look at me.

"What are you doing?!", I exclaimed. "Are you into some new age technique you picked up from your rep friends or something?"

"Oxygen", was her short reply. "I'm filling my lungs with oxygen from the plant life around me. Subukan mong baybayin ang EDSA araw-araw at ganito rin ang gagawin mo." ( Try traveling through the streets everyday and you'll be doing the same thing as I am.)


Maya died on March 1997 at 26 years of age. Bitten by her dog on a Sunday and died on a Thursday.

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