Departure 1

I posted the following on my facebook account. Then I thought, hey, I should really put this on my blog. haha.  So here.


I just remembered. I boarded a Singapore Airlines plane on 22 October 1994 – the day after a powerful storm struck Manila. I walked around Ateneo and saw massive acacia trees with their roots pointing skyward, branches and leaves on all the roads. I was trying to say goodbye to whoever I might come across, but not many. Mostly maintenance workers. I said goodbye to Mang Jaime, the caretaker of Colayco Hall. I told him I was leaving for South Africa. He said “Aren’t there black people there?” 🙂


That was my first international flight. I was given shrimp. I remember nearly throwing up as our plane went through one of the last whipping arms of the typhoon that had struck Manila. Lucky me. My ass was being kicked on my way out.

The plane let us off at Singapore Airport. I was terrified to be so alone, and the possibility of missing the connecting flight to Johannesburg and Cape Town. So I went off in search of the next terminal and sat there for four hours. There were half a dozen other Filipinos milling around the spot. It was also their first flight out of the country, to work for at least two years on a contract. I wished them well. They were all headed for Johannesburg.

About matangmanok

Jim Pascual Agustin writes and translates poetry. Sometimes he tries his hand at essays and stories. His latest book is BLOODRED DRAGONFLIES, published by Deep South in South Africa. Check out the official blog page for Bloodred Dragonflies. In 2011 the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House in Manila released BAHA-BAHAGDANG KARUPUKAN (poems in Filipino) and ALIEN TO ANY SKIN (poems in English). The same publisher released his most recent poetry collections SOUND BEFORE WATER and KALMOT NG PUSA SA TAGILIRAN. In 2015 a new poetry collection in English, A THOUSAND EYES was released. His first collection of short stories in Filipino, SANGA SA BASANG LUPA, was released in 2016. UK publisher The Onslaught Press launches his poetry collection, WINGS OF SMOKE, worldwide in February 2017. San Anselmo Publications released HOW TO MAKE A SALAGUBANG HELICOPTER & OTHER POEMS in 2019 followed by CROCODILES IN BELFAST & OTHER POEMS in 2020 - both books can be purchased through their Facebook page. View all posts by matangmanok

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