" Martin is Really Just a Boy at Heart "
- DIRECT LINE by Boy Abunda 


Martin in his eternal boyhood is complex, painfully honest. He is large and
he contains multitudes. The pathos and joy that he breathes into his songs
come from his large heart that loves in wild abandon; the passion that
echoes in his poetry comes from the contradictions of the same heart. Martin
is the greatest balladeer of this generation because he is the most giving,
the most generous heart that gives it all until there's nothing left except

That day, our friend Ricky Lo broke the news about the annulment of his
marriage - Martin was devastated - not because he didn't expect it. For how
could he not have expected it; when it was filed, he didn't contest it. But
it was the boy Martin who was completely broken by an annulment that swayed
like a deadly pendulum right before his face. He felt that it should have
taken a little longer, so that he could have gotten used to how it was to be
separado. He needed more time so that the children would naturally
understand the separate courses Pops and he were taking. 

Pops perhaps should have called him when she learned about it. A grown-up
would probably realize that it would have been awkward for Pops to call and
say, "Hey, Marts! We're annulled!" Kris Aquino, on The Buzz, said so. But
the boy in Martin was longing for a little more kindness not necessarily
from Pops but from the whole universe around him.
He even needed kindness from himself. 

That morning he called me, Martin was a boy who needed a friend to listen to
him. He doesn't mind being spanked for as long as you let him cry. 

A boy doesn't always make sense. Just like Martin in his depressive moments.
But he's not always wrong either. And even when he is insanely disconnected,
I emphatize with him because he always speaks from his heart. He is so
goddamn honest - he'll go to hell or heaven - because he'll say what he

In ASAP, Pops extended her hand and said something about friendship and
asked Martin if he would watch her movie Gusto Ko Nang Lumigaya. The boy
Martin extended his hand, too, but could not say anything. He could not
conceal the pain in his face. He was in agony. On The Buzz that same day, he
said that an embrace or a hug would have been more meaningful (after all, he
said, they were not very ordinary friends having lived together for over a
decade and having been blessed with two boys). 

A grown-up would say that Pops was just being honest and it would have been
awkward and melodramatic to embrace or hug. But not to a boy like Martin. To
him, a thank you or goodbye is said with one's body and soul. There are no
middle emotions for children. Even if one is a child-king like Martin. Boys
are either happy or sad. They never calculate emotions. Even when they
commit grievous mistakes, they bring along everything. 

To Martin, it means so much that he didn't file for annulment. It means so
much to him that he admitted to having sinned against Pops and he did try to
correct his mistakes; a grown-up would say that the pain Pops had to suffer
was unbearably excruciating. That it was never easy - it was never easy to
forget, to forgive, that it needed time, a lifetime to heal. 

In a broken marriage/relationship, both parties are correct and both are
wrong in many respects. And the debate can go on and on until forever. 

Martin has committed many mistakes in his life. As a friend, I do not
condone Martin's sporadic madness. I tell him straight to his face when he's
wrong. And I also assure him when he's right. 

But whether he's right or wrong, I stand by him. 

For the past 18 years in his illustrious career as the premier pop artist of
this country, I learned that the only way to handle Martin is not to
understand him - because he is so multitudinous, it would be downright
imbecilic to even try to parse his puerile logic. You have to love him. You
have to understand him with your heart. 

Just like a child-king, you admire him, you revere him with your heart -
hoping to teach him a few tricks about life. But like most young royals,
admittedly, he is difficult to teach. 

But when Martin opens his mouth to sing, you kneel in sacred revelry.
And he reigns supreme!


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