The Manang Code

I’d like to call this the Manang Code as these beliefs, piled up from years of reading Joshua Harris, Elizabeth Elliot and the whole lot of them writers encouraging ‘waiting for God’s best,’ are probably the reason why my status has not changed since birth.

So now, ladies in my church are all about ’emotional purity.’ A book of that title has been circulating and I have wanted to be able to read this specific literature to see what the fuss is about. From what I gather, emotional purity is a state wherein ladies keep a hold of their emotions in order to avoid impurity in all other aspects. We put a premium on physical chastity; but in order to keep yourself pure, ladies are told to start with their emotions.

Okay, women are prone to the swooning, lovey dovey representation of love and even though a woman is not directly the target of such maneuvers (ie movies where screen actors look at you and for some reason, their lines speak to you), she would feel flabbergasted all the same. And even for Christian ladies, a simple spark like this might (although not necessarily) lead to a real-life longing of having John-Lloyd-eyes ogling at her and mouthing the lines she so wants to hear. Meaning, if she does not grab a solid hold of her kilig neurons running wild, she might (although not necessarily) jump into the next pa-kilig scenario she just might find herself into; never mind that the guy making the moves is even worth two seconds of consideration.

So, Manang. It’s not too difficult to maintain a ‘friendly friends’ relationship with species of the male persuasion if and only if there are no swooney, lovey-dovey attachments into the friendship. The problem then begins when that boy in question suddenly acts differently around a girl, making her aware that well, she is desirable. The bigger problem is when these two people cross the threshold of friendship and denies at which plateau they are suddenly found. ‘We’re just friends,’ has already been sold by Sharon Cuneta and Richard Gomez in the 90s, please, spare me the drama.

Intro-blabbed sorry. Anyway, I have heard countless of times from sisters in the faith that they value emotional purity as much as physical purity, but really, how much of this fact is true when they carelessly ‘hug’ a brother in faith, when this brother has in fact shown special interest. I don’t geddit.

Thus, my manang manifesto. If you’re going to preach it, might as well practice it, eh?

1. Never carelessly throw around the words ‘I love you’ as if showing affection for a new cute puppy. Don’t say it unless you mean it.

Corollary: Occasions you mean it:

1.1 You’re bound for the altar.

1.2 You love someone the way you would love a member of your family.

1.3 You say it to a celebrity’s face; they don’t really take this seriously from a fan anyway.


1.1.1 Never confuse I love you with Thank you or some other expression of gratitude.


2. If you say you’re not entertaining suitors because ‘focusing on God’ is your main priority at this point, learn the art of saying no.

Example: You receive flowers. Gracefully say thank you and ask that this would be the last time your EP will be compromised.

If you’re asked for a group date, demand an expressly written consent from the Queen of Sheba.


3. If you’re not dating for any other reason, and you keep on saying you’re not dating, then don’t effing date.

Events that count as dates:

a. Dinner/Lunch/Coffee with just the two of you.

b. Movie viewing with just the two of you.

c. Strolling anywhere with just the two of you.

d. Get the picture already. Any activity that involves just the two of you must be, at all costs, avoided.


Questions for Understanding: But how do we get to know each other?

Answer: Uh, stalk? Duh, there are ways. Please be creative and not spoon-fed. Gradeschool? O kaya pasagutin mo ng slumbook.


4. Guys that test the water (take you out on considerable dates without specifying intentions) to know whether you’re the one should be blacklisted. Yes, even when he’s nakakakilig.


5. When you’re constantly plus one even when you’re uninvited to a gathering, wonder and ask out loud why he’s taking you. If you’re invited, go but not as his plus one. Have some dignity.


6. If the kilig gets the best of you, hang tightly onto God and do not let a brother sin against you and your emotional purity covenant by encouraging him or opening windows of opportunity. If a guy wants to be with you, he doesn’t need to beat around the bush.


7. Believe that you are worth pursuing and being told you’re pursued even when you don’t drop hints.


8. What’s the rush? (Well, unless October 2011 or December 2012 would really happen, then pfft, throw all your beliefs away)


And with these lines of thought, I believe every Manang will be successfully Manangs until the bone of their bone and the flesh of their flesh has woken up. Trust God for your love life. No, it’s not really appealing but I’d rather this than bend to instant gratification and miss out on something grander.


This is How I Remember My Childhood

We would wait for our parents to finish meeting at the BOT. We’d eat lunch with them; the usual menu was Wah-Sun chicken and vegetable mix (I have got to get me some of these very soon). That or something from Nitz.

I’d smell mimeographed paper at the office mixed with ipis-smells, listen to the filing cabinets bang here and there for they were never really easy to open or close. I’d watch Tita Norma put on her lipstick and won’t stop looking until the green stick turned pink/red on her lips. They called it magic and I’d believe.

The Builders people would play with my hair and help me do my school projects. I had straight hair then. I was horrible at sewing and making paper bags but they were always ready to help me. I didn’t know that Tita Bet, Tita Ning, and Tita Len were Tita Vilma’s sisters. In my eyes, they were the real-life equivalent of Aiko, Carmina, and Gelli.

Even then I’d laugh at the antics of Kuya Nate, Kuya Mike, and Tito Ricky because they were Tropang Trumpo in the flesh. When TGIS was all the rage, I swore the tv barkada would not die down and got royally ticked at Kuya Mike for saying he felt that way with Bagets and got disappointed.

Ate Bubut played the organ then and rehearsed with Ian for piano basics.

While waiting for the BOT meeting to finish, I’d join my Ates and Kuyas at the Bridge to play killer killer or listen to Ate Ivy rant about her crush at that time, wanting to keep him in a bottle. At that time, I felt like they were ages older than I am and I tried so hard to like what they liked and wear what they wore. I remember pledging that Ate Riz was the big sister I never had and so I’d do all I could to help my brother woo her. Haha, Kuya Sam had a mean crush on Ate Riz. And so Kuya SR and Kuya Nikos were best friends. They were lego buddies. They swore to be buried in lego caskets and drawn by lego carriages.

They’d spread a banig in the computer room and make all sorts of buildings and battle ships and break piggy banks to acquire new stocks. And then we’d all go to Gift Gate and marvel at the things found there. And my Ates would buy Azitsorog bracelets and I would, too because they had.

Ate Mae would buy sampaloc and I’d beg her to get me one, too and she would just stare at me and say, ‘Bakit?’

Sunday school with Tita Vilma was a breakthrough. Mostly because the Board has finally found someone who could handle the bunch most Sunday School teachers gave up on (or so they say). We’d sing verses and action songs and memorize the books of the Bible. We’d recite Psalm 23, have our parents sign our notebooks that we had indeed prepared a memory verse to share to class. We’d have Bible drills (I love Bible drills!) and Bible quizzes and do projects for the Ten Commandments, Ten Plagues, Jacob’s Encounter, and Psalm 23. Ate Riz always turned in the best projects (I think her mom did it for her though, haha) and was consistently Top 1. I always got second place, and that was pretty awesome because I was supposedly salingkit lang, ha!

Kuya Nikos had a notebook of poems. It was always a blue notebook and he’d use a black pen. His poems were weird. And they rhymed. He also has new fans almost every week and he’d write on the spine. I can’t recall what he wrote there; I am assuming they are names of the girls he liked.

Ate Ivy had a major crush on Kuya Joseph Agot. Like major! She’s the classic bully but she’s your best ally when you’re on the same team. She would really protect me from anyone and would rally other kids to join our side. I don’t know why but she reminds me of pink glitter. Oh, there was one time, she did my make up using only red lipstick. I can’t remember how I looked like afterwards.

Ate Normi was the pretty girl who had long hair who joins us periodically and she’s girly and boyish at the same time. She wore dresses and climbed out windows. She laughs out loud. And she has crazy antics every time she comes back. Like that ‘aiwa japan’ sign she taught us for our team cheer.

My brother was very pogi. I hated him because I thought my parents loved him more than me. He was spokening dollars, from Ateneo, he’s really gwapo and tisoy, did well in class, and comes up with brilliant Sunday School projects. He’d buy Ate Riz gifts and ask me to choose for him. I get scolded when Ate Riz does not like the present. He had a bad temper but he always got my back when I needed a big brother to defend me. Like Kuya Nix, he wrote stories, too.

Ate Rhiza, like I said, is the big sister I never had. Mostly because I wanted her parents to adopt me. Hehehe. When Ate Riz wore boots with jumpers, I’d wear boots with jumpers. If she liked basketball, I’d be a basketball fangirl. When she got braces, I would beg my parents to get me braces as well. When she reads Sweet Valley, I’d collect those books, too.

Ate Mae, was neither girly nor boyish. She was just Ate Mae. I often thought of her as wise beyond her age because she was never frilly as some schoolgirls wont to be. And she was the Treasurer at that time and I really felt bad when I had nothing to add in the treasury. She had that effect on me.

I remember the Versozas when Ninang Jet and Tito Boyet would visit us in our house in Pasig. And then it would be years until we see them again. Kuya Jasper was Kuya SR’s kumpareng putik and that’s all I recall of them. Fresh and I would play Barbies and have them committed to a teledrama-like storyline. The next time I would see them is ten years later when we’re semi-grown up and older.

So many, many years later, I would remember each scene in precise detail and color because the years after that are forgettable. I left SBC and regretted every minute of it. There was even a time I stopped going to church altogether because I missed my Joy Club friends so much. If I were going to write my history as an earthling, these would be the memories from my childhood worth keeping. The next stage would happen years later and that would be another story– with new characters and new events.