The Manong in Hulios

Dearest Diary,

How are you and your digital pages today? I hope this message finds you well and prancing around in that imaginary world of mine. I on the other hand wish I could hide in it from time to time. Speaking of which, that reminds of a time I tried to imagine having multiple personalities. This was a time when I was in my Sybil phase–a book I read about the life of a woman who was diagnosed with DID. Imagine a person with 16 different personalities each taking over in response to a stimuli.

Disorder aside, I feel that it might be nice to have personalities that you can tap into to for comfort. They would push you aside so you can hide and they would deal with reality. Then again, it is not something someone can simply subject themselves into or would want to have. So back then I decided to define and, thenceforth, come up with a set of life personas to best define the contradictions that overwhelm me inside.


The son, nephew, and cousin. Childish and ignorant. Disobedient and stubborn. Adventurous and rebellious.


Undefined youth. Lost and misunderstood. Battered and broken.


The ponderer. Curious, skeptical and unsatisfied. A cynic and pessimist.

The following three, Diary, are the odd ones. With the last being the one whom I fear most among my life personas.

The Kid

Innocent. An altruist and a Pollyanna. Someone who believes that goodness should be innate and not expected.


She is more of a ghostly voice than a life persona. She helps me understand how women think however futile the attempt. She kept me in line around women; To show respect that every woman deserves and behave like a gentleman. However, she fails every time my sister is around.


Cold and distant. Sadistic and unyielding. The kid’s polar opposite–producing inhumane thoughts and ideas.

O Diary, among the six, Jack scares me inexplicably. Maybe because he is a part of me as much as the others and his presence has steadily grown into a loud deafening white noise over the years. So loud that everything around turns silent and all you hear and see is him blocking everyone out.

It was not until Manong came into the picture to help balance and control all six. Funnily, he was born by accident when a fellow student branded me as one for hanging around Zennials and Gen Zs. In the Philippines,

Manong (Mah-noh-ng) is an Ilokano term principally given to the first-born male in a Filipino nuclear family. However, it can also be used to title an older brother, older male cousin, or older male relative in an extended family.

Wikipedia contributors. “Manong.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 26 Apr. 2018. Web. 13 Nov. 2019.

But going back…


The eldest. Calm and reserved. Tired and old. Which makes him the most patient and objective of the personas.

So you see, Diary. I feel inside me is this one person seated on a chair under a ceiling lamp inside a very dark room surrounded by all seven. Eyes shadowed by their brows. Staring right at me; making me wonder if they were indeed looking. But you can hear them. It starts out muted then into a slur of whispers until they all break into a shout that turns into a deafening white noise.

I wonder… would you one day be number eight, Diary?

Oddly yours,



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