THIS is the year when Pasged Productions released a short video about “the ‘mall-ification’ of our palengke,” someone narrates about meeting a friend during lunchtime, “sabagay, ito na lang ‘yung oras na libre  tayong dalawa: as usual, the I drinks “purong kape, the You, “kapeng may tatlong kutsara ng gatas at asukal.”
The video begins with a meeting, a convergence, pagkikita, tipanan — precisely the site where some divergences will be marked. After the difference in coffee preferences, swiftness as the condition of our times: the speed by which one types on one’s laptop, the sudden shifts in topics of conversation. “[ang] hindi ko maintindihan, pareho naman tayo ng balitang kababasa lang, pero magkaiba na agad tayo ng iniisip.”
C drinks from her coffee; I think it’s the sweetened one, eyes wander, cut to Exterior, looks like Session Road, the girl friends are wearing their face masks as they amble along, “babalik na uli tayo sa kanya-kanya nating buhay, pero sabi mo sasamahan mo muna kong maglakad pauwi sa bahay namin sa palengke…”
[Libre as in free as in free time. Libre as in costless as in walang bayd. Libre as in free as in malaya.]
An extension of momentary spaces: they lock arms, occupying the same space, the palengke threatened to be mall-ified; at the 01:31 mark, shots of piles of garbage, staples of the market. Someone is excited for the market to be renovated, “mas malawak, malinis, parang mall.” More parking lots so that car owners can freely park their cars on loan, their brand-new cars, their rented cars. More parking lots so that Baguio can breathe all the more graying flowers. Parking spaces at affordable prices: sa Baguio cityng lumalaya sa lawak, lumalaya sa linis.
[Libre as in free as in free time. Libre as in costless as in walang bayad. Libre as in free as in malaya.]
This is the year a new group called Pasged Production made some visual intervention on the subdued contests concerning the Baguio City Public Market. While the bureaucrats and the investors talk their lingo and negotiate their terms and prices in not-so-publicized sessions, Pasged Production uploads a visual commentary and stance on the underhanded maneuvers to privatize a heritage site, a public market.
This is also the year when Luchie Maranan published her translation of G. G. Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. We were still working together on an international NGO-funded project four years ago — how we look like flies under the aloof immensity of time — when Tita Luchie took on this translation stint. Maybe even earlier.
In between quarterly assessments and project implementation meetings, I could not see her, but I imagine her reading Marquez word for word, wondering how to wrest away from the source text its sense and sensibility and sensuousness to figuratively and literally translate it into her work.
Maybe later, in years not called 2022, the year Luchie Maranan published her translation of G. G. Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude — I would walk from Cabinet Hill to Mt. Cloud and get a copy, and walk from there to a place near Aguinaldo Museum, and have it signed by Tita Luchie.
From another Marquez work, Of Love and Other Demons: “In the taverns [Bernarda (Sierva Maria’s estranged mother)] experimented with cannabis from India, turpentine from Cyprus, peyote from Real de Catorce, and, at least once, opium from the Nao of China brought by Filipino traffickers” (47).
Pages later, on Marquis Ygnacio, Bernarda’s estranged husband, the father of Sierva Maria who would long to espy his estranged daughter when she was already believed to be possessed: “The perspiration streamed off his body, and he rocked at a snail’s pace in a chair from the Philippines, barely moving a palm fan back and forth as he leaned forward to ease his breathing” (55).
Sometimes in books, I see my country as a pack of bandits, drug traffickers, shipbuilders, fending off colonizers or foreigners, or wanting to be like them. In cities like Baguio, I sometimes see my country mired in social contradictions as Marxists would say, pregnant with opposites, as Marx would. More than a hundred years of subjugation, and post-colonization, translating demons gamit ang buhol-buhol nating dila.