Thursday, January 26, 2006

Fortune and Cheating Heart

MEET PARALUMAN PERALTA of Dasmarinas Village, Makati City; age 24.

Well, not exactly her real name and locale. Neither is it her true age. She’s more commonly known as Puring who lives in Moriones in Tondo, Manila. She celebrated her 48th birthday last month.

She’s a grifter, and quite good at it. She preys upon unsuspecting men and swindles them not of money, but of their time and attention. Her base of operation: the Internet shop at the corner of J. Abad Santos Avenue and Batangas Street. Her mode of ensnaring: her blogsite at

Her entries illustrate a lonely life of a young socialite aboard a luxury yacht docked in the exotic island of Mustique in the Caribbean. It was supposedly her parent’s final attempt to separate her from as far away as possible from her lover in Manila — a good for nothing, two-bit Svengali. When readers asked where the lover is now, she would feign uncertainty; even speculating that he might have sold out his love for her by accepting a substantial amount of money from her father.

Intrigued by the opportunity to play the role of a knight in shining armor, four avid readers got hooked and have been corresponding with her consistently. Their ingenious suggestions on how to escape from her parents’ stifling grasp delighted her to no end. All of them eventually professed their respective deep concern and eventually, a love for her.

Puring was in heaven! She has never before experienced so much adoring attention. This was definitely much better than her favorite
telenovelas or her real life for that matter.

HER MARRIAGE TO HER HUSBAND, Juancho, a second cousin, was pre-arranged by their parents. She never experienced the thrill of courtship or true love. Upon graduation from college, she was married and that was that. Consummation of their marriage was a loveless, one-bam-thank you-mam sexual episode that is more prevalent among drunk johns and cheap whores at sleazy brothels in Ongpin.

Six months after the wedding, Juancho flew to Saudi Arabia to pursue a career in engineering. In the more than twenty years he has been there, he would only come home to attend the funerals of his parents or sibling. However, like a dedicated husband, he did provide for Puring a comfortable life. They have no children for obvious reasons.

ONE DAY, PURING BEGAN to experience an even more intoxicating effect from a well-written prose by a new reader. He was Manuel from Negros Occidental. Her heart would seemingly miss a beat every time she received an email from him. He would disclose in the most romantic manner how he would attempt to release her from such cruel incarceration.

Suffice to say, the other online suitors were immediately dumped in favor of this Manuel who seemed to personify Don Juan and Cyrano de Bergerac combined.

Subsequently, his email would get a bit bolder. In one, Manuel described how the summer sunset would cast a golden glow on their bare bodies — shimmering with tiny beads of sweat from the heat of their passion — as they make love right there on the secluded Mustique beach. Their climactic whimpering and groaning would shamelessly compete against the seagulls’ harsh cries as if awakening the moon to cast its silver light. Puring was deliriously enchanted. She would repeatedly read this passage with erotic excitement.

However, Manuel confessed financial constraint stood in the way of executing his plans. He was somewhat embarrassed when he wrote that his money was allocated to his lawyers who were helping him retrieve his family’s farmland in Bacolod back from the land grabber whose family was politically-connected to the administration.

And then suddenly, Manuel stopped communicating. Puring thought she would lose her mind. Could it be that Manuel was killed by a member of the land grabber’s private army as Manuel had often alluded to?

But then one day, out of the blue, Puring received an email from Manuel; profusely apologizing for his long absence. He reasoned that he has been traveling; asking some relatives to loan him some money to pay the final installment of the lawyer fees he owed, as well as for the costs of surveys and legal documentations.

Puring’s better judgment was overwhelmed by her growing longing for Manuel; so much so that she suggested loaning him the money. But Manuel refused. He told her that he would be traveling up north to visit an uncle with high hopes he would be the one to provide him with the necessary funds.

It was another two months of not receiving any word from Manuel. Puring was literally going batty -- intensified by a growing longing to hear from Manuel.

Finally, an email arrived from him. He claimed that his uncle wouldn’t have any cash until after the harvest. However, his uncle knew someone in Baguio who could be of assistance so, off to Baguio he went. Unfortunately, he, too, was strapped for cash. That was the reason for his inability to communicate sooner.

This time, Puring wouldn’t hear any more refusals from Manuel. She demanded the name of his bank and account number. Immediately the following morning, she went to her bank and filled out the necessary forms to transfer half a million pesos to Manuel’s account. Puring had recently received a gift of cash from her father from the sale of some prized real estate properties in Binondo; she justified it was her own money, not from her husband Juancho; hence, she could do whatever she wished with it.

Manuel was greatly appreciative of Puring’s generosity. He was finally convinced, he told her, that he would win his case, especially now that he had the much needed funding. Unfortunately, that was the last email he received from Manuel. And that was almost a year ago.

Nowadays, Puring spends her time sitting by the window; idly wondering what life could have been with someone she truly loves.


Magnificent Mustique
by Christina Valhouli, Forbes Magazine

Scams: Online and Offline
Protect yourself from clever Internet and other scams: Recent Internet ScamBusters issues

The foregoing story is purely a work of fiction. Any similarities between any characters herein and actual persons living or dead are purely coincidental.


posted by Señor Enrique at 7:41 AM


Blogger Sidney said...

You are not only a very good writer but you also understand human nature...
You should publish your short stories and become a paid prepared observer! :-)

January 27, 2006 6:41 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

good read . . . thanks!

January 28, 2006 9:25 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ditto milkphish.

January 28, 2006 8:25 PM  

Blogger bing said...

there are swindlers everywhere and even in the internet, there are emails of sorts that are spreading.

good read, i agree.

January 29, 2006 8:41 AM  

Blogger silentmode_v2 said...

karma. very nice read señor.

January 29, 2006 9:23 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is very good. The story is very relevant. Pwede sa Carlos Palanca ito.

Magaling ka. More....

January 29, 2006 9:32 PM  

Blogger niceheart said...

I agree with everybody. Have you considered submitting to publishers yet? :)

January 30, 2006 10:17 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Many thanks for the compliments everybody.

I’m still honing my skills in storytelling and gain much pleasure in sharing them with all of you through this blogsite. I write more for the sheer pleasure of it, but I’m sure the universe will reward my efforts by making sure I don’t ever run out of stories to tell :)

Again, many thanks!

January 30, 2006 7:10 PM  

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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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