Once There Lived A Man Named Prince Charming
CHRISTOPER ANDAYA CORDERO, A.B.
This is the exact account of how I happened to be Prince Charming.
I was told that my umbilical cord was wrapped all over my body when I was born. Superstitions suggested that it wasn’t a good omen at all. In contrast to what they implied, I successfully established a good perspective and believed more in the power of my thoughts, feelings and actions (not in those hearsays).
My mother is from Orani, Bataan and her real name is Maria Melinda whose local version is Inda and to a certain deeper context became Tagala, a nickname given by residents who encounter women from the Tagalog Region. She is as good in business as being a housewife and a super mother. On the other hand, my father is from Aroroy, Masbate and his real name is Nilo whose local version is Milong. He is a carpenter, driver, electrician, and blue-collar job worker in one.
Our civil registrar murdered (that’s figuratively meant) our names. Mine missed ‘h’ in its last syllable that it became ‘per’. Tagala’s third son missed his ‘h’ in the first syllable. The ‘I’ in the second syllable of Tagala’s second daughter’s name was also omitted. But I think all of these alterations purposively gave our names uniqueness and not just double but triple meanings. Mama would jokingly blame this to Papa’s regional accent or unlikely pronunciation of our names.
My siblings are a good bunch. Maria Christine, fondly called as Kike (supposedly Kaye), is the eldest—the family’s bread winner, a good provider. She is a college professor and reviewer. Tagala’s first son is the achiever with whom I went to school: Christian. He’s one year my senior but we graduated with flying colors together; he the valedictorian, I the salutatorian both in elementary and high school. At present, he’s physically challenged because he fell from a coconut tree and was rushed to Philippine General Hospital for a critical backbone operation before we graduated. I’m Tagala’s second son. I have a Mongolian-looking brother, two years my junior (the most serious and diligent), whom we call Sangko or more fondly Mongo and who has a Russian name Cristov. Krizza is the jolliest, whom we call Ruring because she’s a semblance of our grandma. Maria Kryzelle Cindy is perhaps the most studious and brilliant. And, of course, Kate Fatima Crissandra is the youngest; her birth story is rooted deep in my heart. I guarded her when she was as tiny as an eight-lb. soda bottle in an incubator. She was so fragile that I had to gather all the positive powers within me and talk to her in her sound sleep. I convinced her to fight for the bright future waiting ahead of her and I’m glad she listened. She’s a bundle of joy by the time I’m writing this.
We lived in the suburbs of my dad’s hometown. I was raised together with our pigs and chickens. We have a sari-sari store which Mama single-handedly runs for decades now. I would treasure how reluctantly I asked for pails and pails of feeds for our livestock using the then-famous mini kariton and how Mama insisted and scolded me whenever I wouldn’t move a bone. That maybe was the reason why my siblings would tell me I was fortunate enough not to experience tough things that they did: doing the buy-and-sell of ice candy, ice buko and even bags of ice (usually inside thermo boxes) that required tiring walks back and forth (even if the sun has set already), picking sacks and sacks of kangkong with both your toes dipped in slime and mud, stirring cauldrons and pans of viands and delicacies like the biko, camote and banana cue, tobog-tobog, ginataan, kalingking and many others (some of them with unlikely names), and many a task causing wear and tear. But, always, at the back of my mind, I would tell them they were more fortunate for the memoirs left by those cherished experiences would remain worth-digging in the recesses of their hearts. Their wounds in the legs are constant reminders of their struggle as children. Indeed, I am so much indebted to them because whenever I recount how stubborn a child I was and how more determined a child they were, I find inspiration in scribbling something down—be it a piece of poetry or a passage.
Our house was a bungalow with a hundred doors and a thousand windows (Mama would exaggerate). Really, I feel now that that haven really had those magic “accessories” for in those coarse floors, unlikely walls and cascading roofs where my literary stirrings began. My mother can identify the age of furniture and equipment at home through mine. I would love to see the fridge, the red sofa, the katre and the narra round table again and again. One thing’s for sure: they inspire lofty thoughts.
The literary genius in me was unleashed at home. Whenever I’m in the backyard tasked to sweep endless arrays of foliage and grime, I mimic sounds that I hear from radio drama series while doing the chore. I draw on the surface of grains of rice in a bilao whenever I am told to pick the littlest peebles and throw them away. At times, I spend the whole day finishing my “mental” stories. If my siblings would be asked to describe how I behaved when I happened to be alone in “the vastest yard in the world for me”, the word would be WEIRD. I played with the hantik, the damang, the duron and any other insect and set wars. Canals would be canyons and toys become a fleet in the bleak waters. My imagination worked at an early age. I would write scripts and imagine characters doing the film in my mind. If I would be asked as to what I enjoyed most when I was younger, I would answer DAYDREAMING.
While other boys were busy with tops, cards and rubber bonds, I buried myself in pen and paper—books, books and nothing but books. The bibliophile side of me was developed when I entered high school. I loved the smell of books. Not the stingy, ill- fated mini paperbacks. Classics: their age lingered in the pages.
Literary lust built up inside of me as I wrote on my journal for four years as a partial requirement in the Christian Living subject. Thanks to my former teacher Sir Ronnie! I also started to draw on sheets of paper mannequins lining up in sequence—judging them through their physiques, clothing, accessories, etc. I imagined them to be women in pageants and men in fashion shows. This may justify my eye or passion for fashion. I would never deny that talent even if it the passion is associated with bad connotations or impressions regarding gender preference.
Senior year approached and my first literary orgasm materialized: “The Meadow in Its Vendure”, a typical boy- meets- girl novelette with third parties involved. I had neatly wrote it in a notebook page by page. I only stopped when I reached the last page. I had my next with “Homerun”, a PMS (pre-marital sex) affair story written during my freshman year at Bicol University. Then a poem was written: “Memoirs of A Sita” which won in a contest hosted by the so-called E-lite (English Literate) Society in our college. My first short story that won in a competition is entitled “Angels and Weapons”; it was all about guardian angels and how they come and go in different forms and at different times. Another story that I wrote is “A Letter to the Virgin”; it was about marriage, parenthood and the like.
I have had drafts of potential novel/ettes before: “The River Is Still Flowing”, “Mangers and Demons” and the one I liked best: “Medina, Cross the Rubicon”—a story about a Moslem girl who married a Christian and had struggles with her faith because of motherhood.
I knew more of how beautiful and delicate literature was when I “majored” on it in college. I went deeper than somebody else’s dig. I appreciated the connotation of “kalakaga”, “sarumsum” and my own coined Bicolano word “burubudo”. I plan to publish a book of poems written in the Bicolano dialect and entitle it with the same. My Creative Writing classes made me appreciate Masbateño poetry when I was a senior in college. It felt rewarding seeing three of my poems in a compilation—“Kalapakapa” by our professor, Mr. Eduardo Uy.
Currently, I’m working on the first novel that I wish to publish: “The Ever After.” It’s Prince Charming’s story—how ordinary he was yet how extraordinarily he was required to see things. Also, I’m developing “In the Name of the Father and of the Son”—a story about priesthood, sinfulness and all.
I’m more than excited to reach my climax in writing—my ticket to Hollywood, Screen writing, Palanca or even Nobel Prize. One of my dreams is to write scripts for TV and be a certified screen WRITER. I’m also into directing indie films, given that I have financial resources and I have the team.
I also want to travel and carve names on white-sand beaches for I appreciate nature above all. And moreover, I am a frustrated photographer. I promised myself to save for a professional cam. Presently, I teach English and literature subjects in college.
I believe that there is the Prince Charming in every man. He has just to unleash it. I’m still on the process of discovering mine; maybe, I’ll get done when I’ll meet my own Cinderella. I believe that I got the Prince Charming in me and that attracts all the ions of the universe to conspire for me and make me fulfilled as a man with ABCs on top of his mind– a Romeo and Juliet going on in his mind. I won’t cease to philosophize, philosophize and philosophize. After all, it takes a lifetime.
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