Macky Magbanua Torrechilla is a 21-year-old native of Hamtic, Antique. He developed his love for reading when he was still a kid, and the writing eventually followed. His first attempts on writing were for the annual newsletter for their high school. He went to the University of the Philippines Visayas and took up Bachelor of Arts (Literature), thinking it was a writing course. He finds sensual and sexual literature interesting, intriguing and, sometimes, humorous. He is aware of the broad spectrum of Gay literature. But he wants to create his own space in that universe and he knows he can only do that if he writes about gays through the perspective that he knows. There are a lot of narratives by and about gays where he comes from. And when he said he wants to be the voice to tell their stories, he meant it. Thus, his Merla Diaries series.
Where I'm From
Where I come from, they call me Mac-mac. Some call me Macky, but my mother calls me Macoy. When I won a gay pageant in the town back in 2017, it was easier for people to remember my name and recognize me. Now, my name is etched in almost every person’s mind in our small town because of the waving tarpaulins posted after I won the pageant. The barangays in my hometown are either coastal or in the mountains. But I was raised in neither. I grew up in the Poblacion, where people wake up early in the morning, not really to tend to their children’s breakfast or sweep the littered rubbish in front of their houses, but to bring their mugs of coffee in a small, make-shift shed and make comments on the lives of their neighbors. By 5:30 in the morning, when the dusk has just greeted the earthlings, all the tiangge would lift open their wide lids and newly-woken up people still rubbing their eyes would already start buying Kopiko or Nescafe Creamy White.
But where I really came from was missing for 19 years. The person who bore me for nine long months had been absent while I was growing up. I was months-old when she left me to my grandmother’s care. She went to Manila and after two years of constantly writing and answering letters of my Nanay, my grandma, my mother just disappeared from the family. No response. We were left with no traces to follow for 19 years.
So, a part of me came from the palda of my Nanay which I wore as an eight-year old kid, from her old red lipstick that I curiously put on, and from the set of books she bought me when I was nine, which was the very first ones I had. Now I have lots and lots of books, and Nanay saw how it compiled in my room through the years. Mama only got to see the pile when she decided to come home June of last year.
I came from the every ten-peso coin my uncle gives me as balon to school during my elementary days, and the every 50-peso bill he hands me during high school. If I am to calculate the money my uncle provided me from elementary to high school, perhaps that is the amount of the medals I received during graduation. But no. The looks on Nanay and Tito’s faces when I went on stage to receive the award was priceless. So now, I don’t bother counting the money I hand to them that comes from my salary.
I come from many different places and I continue to travel like a nomad, maybe because I like the idea of being a magical gypsy. But definitely, I came from the womb of my mother who never had a father for me and I inherited a surname that is widely spread. I came from the blood of Sumakwel and Alayon who settled in our place and bartered with Marikudo and Maniwantiwan. I came from a nurturing childhood filled with liberation. And I came from Hamtic, a quiet town in Antique, which gave me my first crown and a voice to stand up as a brave queer.