Monday, December 12, 2005


As they say, one’s anger can breathe life to a not so innocuous murmuring, and with the help of others with similar sentiments, turn it into a full-blown gossip. Regrettably, whosoever is the target of such rumor is doomed with a double whammy: correcting the wrong said and in so doing accuse the culprits of outright lying.

For a man well-known as reserved, though affable, the last thing Tito Romy would want to do is to publicly engage in a verbal battle against these women — the self-proclaimed social historians of the neighborhood. Besides, there is some truth in what they’re talking about -- that he has been enjoying a sort of afternoon trysts with the local beautician, while his wife, Tita Nely, was abroad.

It all started with his having patronized the neighborhood unisex salon. On his second haircut, he received a complimentary massage on the head, nape and shoulder areas. And by the fourth haircut, there was a more private full body massage session behind the floral curtains. Had Tito Romy been more discreet, the neighborhood historians wouldn’t have noticed the ensuing twice a week haircuts.

When Tita Nely came home last week, the neighborhood historians seethed with jealousy upon seeing the balikbayan boxes being unloaded from the rented Toyota FX. They hatched a plan. Soon thereafter, Tita Nely was hearing insinuations of Tito Romy’s obsession for full service grooming by Chinita at the salon down the block.

Unable to contain her curiosity, one afternoon, Tita Nely walked over to the salon to get her nails done and perhaps, catch a glimpse of this infamous Chinita. Immediately upon laying her eyes on this “other woman,” Tita Nely stormed out of the salon and immediately sought her husband.

“Don’t you dare pull a Bill Clinton on me, you sick perverted animal!” she screamed at Tito Romy.

“But it’s true … that was all that happened. It was nothing. It wasn’t even sex,” he pleaded.

“Besides, she’s not even … ah, entirely … you know, a real woman … so, it doesn’t count.” he stammered.

Tried as she might, Tita Nely was too embarrassed and horrified by her discovery of her husband’s sexual proclivities that she could only break down and cry in disgust.

What was anticipated to be a joyous Christmas holiday has now become a gloomy reunion, especially for the couple’s only child, 12-year-old Jonathan. Since the couple’s quarrelling, all he has been doing after school and right after dinner is hang out in the arcade in Dapitan Street; coming home usually around 10:00 p.m. every night.

Jonathan was practically raised single-handedly by his father when Tita Nely went abroad to work eight years ago. Sadly, Jonathan tends to side with his father; blaming his mother’s absence for having caused the entire problem. Oddly enough, during the last two times she vacationed in Manila, Tita Nely had already noticed Jonathan’s growing aloofness. And despite all the wonderful clothes, high-priced sneakers and toys, Jonathan is evidently fonder of his father, Tito Romy.

The other day, Tita Nely evaluated their savings and investments made possible by her earnings as a nurse in Riyadh. Tito Romy, she admits, has done an exceptional job of raising Jonathan, as well as managing their finances. It hasn’t been easy for everyone — she was working abroad and perpetually homesick; Tito Romy was struggling to be a perfect Mr. Mom; and Jonathan was growing up without his mother. Tita Nely was soon becoming more understanding of her husband’s predicament. She thought of letting him slide this time.

She also realized that since they had put aside a sizeable saving, she’d return to Riyadh for only a year just to fulfill her contract, and then return home for good to start a small business with Tito Romy. Besides, she had already missed out enough of her son’s growing up years. She wants to establish a much better relationship with him before he enters adulthood. And the best way to do so, she decided, is by being there for him.

Tomorrow, she will pledge to God her forgiveness of Tito Romy and then after church, take everyone to SM Megamall. Over lunch, she plans to discuss with Tito Romy and Jonathan about this new plan that might benefit the entire family.
It’ll be a wonderful Christmas for everyone after all!

Perhaps, the neighborhood historians had done more good than harm on this one after all.


Mr. Moms
Dedicated to Single Fathers Everywhere

Men as Mothers

The Mr. Mom Myth
By Greg Downs


posted by Señor Enrique at 6:10 AM


Blogger Sidney said...

I fear that I don’t qualify at all to comment on your entries and as such I don’t claim to be right or wrong. My opinions originate from my roots, from the values transmitted by my parents, by my education, by my nationality, by my experiences in my own little world, etc. My opinion can only be of interest if you consider it as “a highlighting of one tiny shade of grey” between black and white.

Being married to a Filipina, having a huge family in law, expat Filipino friends in Belgium and Pinoy friends here helps me to recognize some of the issues that you are talking about in your blog.

I should also add that I am a pessimist and that I am not a great believer in the altruistic nature of human beings.

Your story of Tito Romy is alas a very true to life narration. But I fear that most of those stories don’t have happy endings.

In those eight years abroad, working as a nurse,Tita Nely wasn’t able to save any money. Most of her money was send to Tito Romy and her extended family in the Philippines. After a year abroad, Tita Nely’s family (=Tito Romy, her parents, her brother and sisters, her nieces and nephews, etc.) all started to depend solely on the hard currency she was sending home. Most of her family considered her lucky and didn’t understand her homesickness, her hard life as a third world emigrant in a cold and far away country. Her hard earned money was spent for buying the latest fashions, TV’s, video games, the latest cell phones, etc. Tita Nely didn’t realise at first that much of her money disappeared in Tito Romy’s extra-marital affairs and his almost permanent drinking sessions with his male buddies. The more Tita Nely worked, the more money her family expected in the Philippines. Of course she got angry; of course she told them she would stop sending them money but the family pressure was too big. Her destiny was to be a “cash cow”. After a lifetime of sacrifice she would return, as an old woman, to the Philippines with no savings at all…

I recently met a Pinoy man during a “drinking session” with barkada’s. He was boasting the good life. Three daughters, a “girl” and a wife (nurse in Ireland). His friends were considering him VERY LUCKY… (Napakaganda ng suwerte niya sa buhay!)

December 12, 2005 11:52 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Well then, Sidney, if you consider yourself not qualified at all to post your comments on my entries, then neither am I qualified to write a fictionalized story. We both lose because at the end, our blogs become staid.

I believe what makes blogging incredibly dynamic is the ability to trade thoughts; the more diversified, the more interesting. And the story posted expands whenever the readers post their comments; hence a collaborative effort.

Your picture of the little girl inspired my entry yesterday, and my entry today inspired you to write a different version of Tita Nely and Tito Romy. In fact, yours is more "true to life than mine." But isn't that what it's all about? Make us think?

And if you are a pessimist and a non-believer in the altruistic nature of human beings so be it. But the fool that I am believe we all come from "good" and my creative musings allow me to follow the yellow brick road to a happy ending however naive, pollyanish, or far from reality they may seem. But that doesn't mean we ought to refrain from this creative activity -- just because we are of different minds. I think it makes a more animated and colorful blog by having varied thoughts/comments.

So, the next time I post another entry that is way off from what is more commonly witnessed (which I'm sure I will), by all means post your comments anyway. Who knows? Some of the "culprits" may chance upon our exchanges and thereby made to realize their shortcomings.

BTW, Rene Magritte, whose works perpetually haunt me was from Beligium, right????

December 12, 2005 2:00 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, Enrique, the three kids you claim to be mentoring is also fiction. You tell good bs. Fictionalized, if you want to call it that.

btw. Your reply to Sidneys comments reminds me of a journalist who fictionalized news reports to make them more exciting to read. I'm sure you know who I'm referring to. Whatever happened to that talented fellow. LOL

December 12, 2005 4:13 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

The fictionalized story I was referring to Noel, is Tito Romy and Tita Nely. That is the basis of my discussion with Sidney.

I pointed out his picture of the little girl to illustrate how it inspired me to post my blog on fear.

The ones I mentor are true and in fact, I did mention only to point out my personal efforts to contribute whatever I can to the solution.

And the excitement I was referring to comes in when exchanges amongst readers and author take place -- sort of giving the post an added dimension. Check out his version and notice how true to life and therefore even more exciting compared to my fiction.

Incidentally, Noel, show me another blog site that regularly speaks of possible ways to help eradicate personal lack and sugar addiction -- both topics that unsettle a lot of people -- and I'll gladly defer and won't write another word about it on this site, but I will instead frequently visit those sites wherein I would post my comments/thoughts.

December 12, 2005 5:37 PM  

Blogger Sidney said...

When I say I don’t qualify to comment, it doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy reading your blog or that I don’t like the exchange of ideas. I just say that it is only my opinion among many others.
The story of Tita Nely and Tito Romy is a very nice story (and not so fictional!). The beauty is that we can end the story as we want it. Tito Romy can be killed by his jealous wife or we can let her go back to Riyadh and marry an Arab prince. The real beauty is that all those endings can happen in real life!
Speaking of Magritte’s surrealism!

December 12, 2005 7:48 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Ah, thank you Sidney, for the clarification. Come to think of it, I'm beginning to like your versions better; more dramatic, but since it's Christmas ... :)

I had just posted another Filipino-Belgian connection: the San Sebastian Church.

Magritte is my favorite contemporary artist. I have a calendar that features his works which I bought at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)in NYC years ago that to this day I treasure.

December 12, 2005 8:07 PM  

Blogger niceheart said...

Just to let you know, Senor Enrique, that I enjoy reading your posts, fiction or non-fiction.

And I also enjoy reading your comments, Sidney. Coming from a different culture, your observations are like a breath of fresh air. At the same time, you have a good understanding of the Filipino behaviour because you live among them.

Nice work, guys.

December 12, 2005 11:05 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thank you very much, niceheart! So glad to hear that our banters here do not offend anyone.

I am very much honored that Sidney feels comfortable enough to post his say here and does so at length. Sidney, much like Noel, to me, are artists at heart like most other visitors, including you Niceheart.

By artist I don't necessarily mean someone with credentials from a bona fide art school or conservatory. What I mean by artist is someone compelled by his soul to express something that lies within. It could be playing a guitar, preparing a fine dish, caring for a child or elderly parent, or chasing a vision from a dream and struggling to project it through oil and canvas or a camera or with a pen and paper.

And as an artist, one tends to see or observe things with certain depth. And oftentimes, other than what his art or medium reveals, the rest he would keep to his own self until he connects with "kindred spirits" who may not necessarily agree with him 100%, but would at least allow him to speak his mind without prejudice. I should also point out that chasing and struggling a vision from a dream can be so exasperating at times that an artist may speak his mind in a way that another may find rather jolting. But it's all part of the "creative process" and no offense ought to be taken.

Incidentally, blogs provide the venues where such kindred spirits would sometimes meet, create, and collaborate. Personally, this is as close as I can get to SOHO, my Avalon.

I had started writing a piece weeks ago about this particular thought; I should go back to it and finish it. See what you inspired me to do, Niceheart? :)

December 13, 2005 8:16 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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