Stars born at random And then I became Son of my father Brother of my sister Master of this pet In this part of this planet With this personality This class This race

Stars were born at random

As I sat, I saw a Maria Cafra perched on the thick cable wire behind the guyabano trees. Large drops of water hang on the wire like tiny translucent banderitas. The bird shook off the water from its body, making its feather stand. It did this steadily without moving its feet, and I was amazed to see the wire unmoved. Once satisfied, it sat straight and took a quick shit. Then it flew off.

It was my last day in Pangasinan after ten days of stay. I told myself I might just be a kumukurit after all. Two book projects were on top of my mind: a high fantasy novel written purely in Pangasinan (an idea that has haunted me for more than three years now) and, most recently, a photo book about walking in Pangasinan.

The prospect of writing these books excited me. Perhaps, I told myself, I should just write them all at once, leaving one to do the other only to return to it again—a sort of productive procrastination.

I am beginning to feel even more enamored with the idea of getting to know Pangasinan on a more intimate level even if the thought of returning to where I came from still frightens me. I am grateful for everything that was given to me, but that doesn’t mean I am happy about all of them and that I think they fit me perfectly. I don’t know of any other noble reason for leaving home than to find the things that could complete us—those that represent who we truly are. Home is not always found in the geographic space the universe has thrown us into.

That said, writing a book about Pangasinan will require me to return and stay there for a long time—to walk trails that traverse political boundaries and truly understand Caboloan as intimately as possible.

While finishing my translations of the foreword of a friend’s book launching early next year, I discovered that the Tagalog word pabaon does not have an equivalent in English. The closest is accouterment, but it is not even close to what pabaon means. I am beginning to love translation more than editing.

As I was about to go for a walk in the evening, my father and uncle arrived with some tupig. Vince, I want to watch Quezon’s Game, my uncle said, so I immediately reached for my phone, connected my Apple TV account to the TV, rented the movie, and watched the film with him and Papa. It was a good film—highly educational and underrated. My respect for Quezon grew just a little bit.

After watching, I had dinner, then I took a 30-minute walk to watch the night sky for the last time while I was there.