Thursday, January 12, 2006


I dug this one out of the archives. This happened not so long ago, when i was in college at UP Diliman...hey, that was just one millennium ago! LOL. This was originally published in the newsletter of our org, Ecosoc. I made some edits to freshen it up a little, i.e. "remastered" version)

It was a very windy Saturday morning when Mike-mike and i decided to act less cannibalistic and become...ahem, more culturally enlightened. So, we took a leisurely stroll along Roxas Blvd. and entered the Metropolitan Museum of Manila. Actually, our Humanities class was being required by our teacher to attend an exhibit of paintings of the late National Artist Vicente Manansala, which was why we went there in the first place.

Inside the museum, we searched in vain for our classmates and teacher. Turns out they were in a small theater-like room, watching a betamax feature. Mike-mike and i sat down and began to watch one of the most absurd works of art (if you could even call it that) ever invented.

The TV screen showed an empty auditorium, much like our Econ Audi, with a white balloon rising above the back of each seat, giving the impression of an audience comprised of airheads (very weak pun intended). Then suddenly, four swarthy men garbed in American Indian attire, with war paint streaked on their faces, appeared on the scene, each one riding a wooden horse (like the ones you see on a carousel) and shouting indecipherable curses.

Following them was a MAN wearing a wedding gown, with a bouquet of flowers and thorns resting on his head. Henceforth dubbed as 'El Loco', this travestite pulls out an icepick and starts stabbing the balloons one by one ala Sharon Stone. We had to undergo the excruciatingly lengthy ordeal of watching him (her?) pop every balloon in sight. Not that there was a dull moment watching him.

At times he staggered about, moaning as though his case of diarrhea was no longer controllable; and then he would suddenly come alive, zapping balloons in rapid succession, all the while keeping up what seemed to be a hideous Indian war chant.

"What on earth is he doing?" Mike-mike whispers.

"Actually, that auditorium is inside a mental hospital, and they're having their annual mini-Olympics. See, this is the balloon-popping event..." My voice trails off as Mike-mike finds my witty reply unwitty, and flashes me one of her trademark pouts.

Mercifully, after more chanting and gnashing of teeth, El Loco finishes off the balloons. But he is only getting warmed up. In the next scene, he is atop a stage where he moans and groans without ceasing. Then he drinks water from a wooden bowl, gargles like a rhino,
and spits the water back to the bowl, only to drink from it again, this time gulping down the contents.

After which he takes a scissor and starts cutting his shoulder-length hair. This mishmash method of barberity results in uneven bangs and shiny bald patches. And then he dips his face into a bowl of flour! Not at all satisfied with this bit of make-up, he stands up, lifts a whole jar of flour over his head, and pours it on himself! This outrageous sight elicited maniacal laughter from yours truly, in contrast to Mike-mike, who had already dozed off by now.

But El Loco was not quite finished yet. He grabs two bushels of wheat (ala
walis tingting) and waves them vigorously, as though he was fending off an imaginary swarm of bees. At that moment, i wouldn't have been surprised if he started pounding his chest like King Kong, or if he started pouring maple syrup on his toes before licking them, or . . .whatever, the list is endless.

Fortunately, at this point, our teacher motioned for us to leave the room. Outside, our whole class erupted into gales of teary-eyed laughter over the whole thing.

We all left soon afterwards, totally forgetting about Manansala and his paintings.

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