One of the last things I did before quarantine

I attended a nude sketching session last March because I needed to. There simply wasn't enough nudity on the internet.

Plus, my drawing muscles have atrophied. It wasn't my first time doing a live sketch, but from the get-go this experience felt brand new. I could smell sweat.

The venue was on an uphill road. I came with a couple of friends and we didn't expect anything outside pencil pushing, but halfway through the session the model was invited to deliver a talk. He was blindfolded in his last pose, and his hands were tied to the back of a chair. The sketch session's organizer felt it was too meaningful to just let go. I nodded along, but to be honest I thought it was bondage kink.

J, our model, said he hadn't planned it. But he might have been thinking of the growing number of school kids who are now going around saying the former dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, was the best president EVERRRR.

For all the traumatizing oppression, immutable corruption, and staggering debt Filipinos are still suffering from because of the Marcos presidency — these kids were simply told NAH HE WAS GREAT!!!

J said he wanted to acknowledge his complicity in the miseducation of kids. He explained to us how that sort of thing might've been instrumental in the repetition of history we are experiencing now. I had to retrieve my jaw from the floor because this same model introduced himself as a worthless bum who wasn't entirely sure why he was showing us his body. He was a teacher, I would later find out. To this day, 7 months into quarantine, I still think about his willingness to lay bare his body and thoughts to total strangers.

This is why I love the local art community. It attracts thinkers and truth-tellers of all kinds. I pursued writing after I majored in illustration at university because I’ve always thought the two practices intersected somewhere. They’re both methods to explore the ways we see.