"Are you all talked out?" Dr. Edith "Mom" Tiempo would gently ask us after a lengthy dissection of our pieces during the National Writers Workshop. In a way, that became one of the catchphrases of our batch of fellows. A similar sentiment comes to mind as I make this realization:
I am all Manila'ed out.
As I write this, I'm sitting in the comfort of my old chair, clacking away on my old keyboard, in my old familiar living room in Dumaguete. Yes, I'm back. And for all the pleasures, stimulations, and temptations that Manila had to offer, it's good to be home.
For most of the six weeks, my calendar was full. Granted, the software engineering class took up most of my time, but there were the weeknights and weekends to take advantage of: meeting up with old friends, making new connections, participating in conferences and conventions, browsing in bookstores and toy shops, movies, eating out, even a day trip to Calamba and Tagaytay. Perhaps at the top of my list would be the weekend movie marathons with Science Fiction Philippines and Battlestar Galactica Philippines.
All of which would be very alluring enticements to move back to Manila. In all honesty, I was sorely tempted, and a return would have been just a resume away.
But...Manila isn't home.
Nowhere was it more apparent than in my last days. All of a sudden, Manila didn't seem as exciting. In fact, it seemed a bit wearying. Manila had grown tired of me, and I had grown tired of Manila. Like a torrid fling gone cold, Manila and I found each other too tired and too sterile. And all too readily, the old faults come to fore: the smells, the noise, the rudeness, the busy, hurried life. Even old friends seem a bit distant as each goes off to his or her own more pressing concerns.
And that's when I realized I was all Manila'ed out.
So now I'm back home. It's rustic, it's simple, it's backward, even. But this is where I've already set down my roots, and this, I think, is where I'll stay.
And Manila? I'll return from time to time, and we can rekindle our acquaintance. Still she beckons like a mistress, but I already know from past experience that we'll tire of each other soon enough.
A nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.