The Pluviophile

“Rain, tears, rain, tears, 
Melding in torrential fears: 
Chill of cloud; saddened eye-
In either way, a latent cry.

Rain, tears, rain, tears, 
Married under sceptic jeers: 
‘They’ll never last.’ Methinks not true, for
Either way, forever blue….”

Just awoke in the couch after almost ending a book (which was in its last page) the night that was. While it still rests down on my chest, I was supposed to leaf through that single folio of few phrases when our roof sounded like deafening drumbeats. Ambivalent, I suddenly thought of a) the Bad News, that this might be what our newly-equipped forecasters have divined yesterday and cautioned us to heed or b) the Good News, that classes will be (un)fortunately suspended for a day or two again.

Aroused to senses, it occurred to me that I can indulge myself to several things I dearly wanted which then resulted to me disremembering one of the might-be-climactic-moments of my reading.

And so, there I was, interrupted.

Like any other cold mornings in the little attic where I’m roomed in, I rose up and subsequently rushed by my time-turning window, fetal-positioned. Yes, it seemed to be the zoopraxiscope (the first movie projector) of my own film reels that takes me to different scenes of my existence.

rainy-day-windowThe gloomy clouds freed thumb-sized droplets of rain accompanied by fulminating roars of ferocious thunder. For most people I know bad weather turn their days as blunt and gloomy as experiencing the rotating blackouts here in our metro. Admittedly, I belonged to that number then. Heaven’s downpour unconsciously detaches me from what the world has to offer. It’s like I am widowed from being united with myself, my thoughts, feelings and whatsoever. I usually feel secluded and enjoined with the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary, especially when I’m close to drowning in the River of Styx five years ago (read my ‘Metanoia’ post). Both literally and figuratively, I fear of being drowned by it in my own emotions and certainly, it always leaves me diving into a puddle of tears. Feeling detached, it seems to immerse me in oblivion, pushing all the negativities I could relate with, the reason why I came to despise everything about it. I was a pessimist not until it unraveled a new fancy and changed many of my perspectives.

“Hey Sir, cheesecake later?” she invited as I’ve seen my phone blink with such message pinned on.

Without any doubt of accepting her call or even grabbin’ a bite that time, I sent my approval in no less than a sec. It was a definitive “Yes” on a lazy Sunday afternoon. In spite of having talked for only a few times since we’ve known each a week back, there was no way of faltering around.

Oh my God, is this the thing they called fate? Well, the next best thing to heaven for me is this rich dessert having a firm custard-like texture, made with cream cheese and topped with a jam-like blueberry mixture. I love to crave for cheesecakes since the day I first knew how to make one and now she’s also into this hunger? Such thoughts gradually circumventing at the back of my mind.

 ***

Prepped in a fancy dress outfit, she went inside the car after I offered her a hand. My insides were actually throbbing to the fact that I don’t actually know how to get there; I was just confident in pretending that I can get us through it. After a series of intellectually-guessed turns, Voila, hello cheesecake cafe!

stock-footage-two-lovers-holding-hands-and-kissing-under-umbrella-in-the-rainIt started to drizzle when we decided to get out and run inside. Before, it used to ruin my moments, but then again, without realizing what the reasons were, it’s as if the universe conspired to bring me to that fleeting moment. I could easily believe that it was the forever of the while. As the spoonful of sweets reached her mouth, I was painting a beautiful picture inside my head.  People say when you’re in a date (which we never realized we were on), it’s certain that one is into you if he or she cannot consume what has been prepared. And it did happen for BOTH of us. Well, you’re thinking what I’m thinking then.

Inching down the stairs outside, with the drizzling earlier becoming stronger, I paused for a moment, staring at her. “‘twas a hell uva crave. You know… this cheesecake thing,” I said finally.

“…which we both love,” and immediately whispered to myself. “Thanks!” I added.

She hugged me, but the umbrella I’m trying to open made it hard to hug her back. I could feel her on her tiptoes. Her arm leaned on my shoulder and then her mouth was right up against my ear and said, very clearly, “I. Will. Love.

Craving. Out. With. You.”

The rain started to pour a little more. That feeling where you want to paint a smile as much as you could, plus the rain which made you wanna snuggle the cool side of your pillow. That feeling where everything’s like a sequence of a movie, where you two did some takes and when it’s on its final, you see everything in slow-mo. The rain. The leaves dancing. The imaginary senti background music playing. Just Perfect.

 ***

From Rick Riordans’ series that were made to life in silver screens down to unleashing the childhood in us through Disney’s music, we both encountered the magical moments set up by the lambent rain.

“Well, it is better read than watched onscreen,” she concluded after seeing the demigods for real far from the imagination and the things we read (another commonality to note there).

We were striding one of the metro’s central business districts under the night rains on our way home. The rushing breeze scared her and while squeezing ourselves under the shade of a single umbrella and wrestling against the wind currents, she slid her right foot on a greasy path which consequentially made her bent on her back. I caught her with my left arm, and me losing my equilibrium as well, swiveled towards her facing the ground with our noses an inch apart from each other. For seconds I robbed a stare at her half-closed 20/70-visoned eyes, sparkling, as it reflected me who was caught ‘daydreaming’ in broad night light. And again, we were as though on cue on-cam, shooting the romantic scene of our forever amidst the pouring rain.

18rainroom1-articleLarge

***

Indeed, to borrow what the alchemist had said to the boy, “Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time.”

“Crap that two-hour traffic! It’s past eight o’clock and we’re really late this time!” I yelled in rage after we went out of the car and scuttled hurriedly to the theatre complex.  Nikki, the one hosting the show, journeyed back the crowd to some special Disney memoirs, a sort of opening intro I guess, when we arrived in the scene. Thankfully, we made it just a little less in time.

ABS-CBN-Philharmonic_HiRes_01_FINAL-853x480

Left LSS (last song syndrome[d]), we left the hall filled with childlike bliss in our hearts as we strolled outside and looked for a place to dine in.

8394522635_fa859d835f_z1“The. Best. Night. Ever,” she clearly proclaimed in glee under the moonlit tree. Until, the same thing happened (like two meetings ago) from above. You know what I mean. Wink*

 Running soaked with hands held tight together, it’s as if it’s a can-you-feel-the-love-tonight-in-a-magic-carpet-ride heck of a feeling that very moment…worth cherishing, something I hoped would never last.

***

Sometimes, what we thought of a nightmare before will bring us an opposing blissful feeling today. This is how life plays its role on every phenomenon. A thing never holds and stays only as to what people destined it to be. It constantly changes, so as our feelings towards the simplest occurrences here on earth.

Just like the rain. It enthralls me now; it soothes the very roots of my being providing a kind of fantasy I’ve never imagined. The drops that hold the fondest of all memories. The pitter-patters that sound like music reverberate the voices of people oh so dear. One that could take you back to your yesteryears and unleash the child in you as you take a plunge under the heavy rain together with your co-cutie comrades. One that could bring you to your memorable dinner with the entire family sipping some creamy hot “champorado” (sort of a Filipino-style chocolate rice porridge). One that could relive your sweetest romance while taken aback, frozen nose-to-nose with the one you love.

I want to listen to the rain and take out a fragment from my memory lane. Whatever it brings, I just want to hear the same music and play the same zoopraxiscopic scene again and experience forever like how  it should supposed to be.

Now, I am back to the couch and flipping the last page I left unread:

“Rain, tears, rain, tears, 
Simple love with lacy cares, 
Their intercourse will ne’er refrain
From rain and tears and tears to rain.”

So was the Pluviophile – a lover of rain – which I have become.

It Will Never Tell

You may listen to the audio version here:

There were two hearts bridged by the conspiring world

You seem enthused, in a very surprising flash

For one, it started inconspicuously

Until you crossed both of your places and enjoyed the vast.

Time tested, you stood against the walls blocking

Bond-tested, you were glued despite the forces separating

Faith-tested, you pledged promises for that blissful “never ending”.

 

But where did it last?

Years are just a number.

Nothing it will tell.

Even if your gray hair starts to grow.

Even if they say forever seems to know

Until the time he/she tells you no.

Until the time you won’t let go.

You will miss it so.

It will never tell.

 

Dreams are both created

As if you were in a magic carpet ride

You enjoyed the seemingly fairy tale unfolding

Of moments precious and oh so bright.

You lose yourselves on your own emotions

You made a world of your own.

Thinking everything will be smooth-sailing

Thinking every little thing will be everything.

 

Then the bridge went shaking.

You never knew it will go trembling.

Flabbergasted, you found yourself

back to your own, solitary, busted land.

 

When you truly love someone, you give more than your best

When you truly love someone, you give more than strength

But both the bests and the strengths were decayed by the wind of time

But both the bests and the strengths are incapable to withstand the line.

 

Because there will always be eyes that will peep and scrutinize

There will always be ears that would hear and bring your fear

There will always be words, that are thrown and will stab you and smash you

into pieces until you are both broken.

 

You gave your all, but that person slowly falls

Falling not more and more into you

But falling out of what you used to do.

It will never tell.

When that person hurts you, or makes you cry

It will never tell.

When that person loses sight and tires to give it another try.

They must have actually loved you.

But standing to what they truly felt is as hard as crap.

 

Depressed, you will sob and burst every time of your waking

Depressed, it pains a lot to go on forgetting.

But it is neither burdening nor hurting yourself down to the garbage bin.

It is but showing and fighting for what you can do even if love really doesn’t win.

It pains a lot seeing the warmth’s grown cold

It pains a lot when what’s left with the fire is the poor old coal.

 

The more you try to forget someone you love

The more painful letting go will become.

Let time set its healing and rectify.

Let time mend that broken bridge and reconcile.

To conform with what the world decides

Or To seek what your heart truly desires

Or to just wait for the one who will give you new delight.

 

You can never tell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Triggered Ako

Bilang mag-aaral sa medisina, sanay na’kong maudyok upang ang isang kaso’y mabigyan ng solusyon.

Triggered ako. Bilang nakatayo dito sa entablado, ito’y napapanahon habang tayo’y nagpapakadalubhasa sa cardio o palapusuan. Triggered ako. Dahil kung puso lang ang pinag-uusapan, sangkatutak ang mga pusong ‘di natibok dahil sa mga walang pusong kumikitil sa lipunan. Sakit ay napupuna nila ngunit ang ika’y gustuhin, yakapin at mahalin ay binabalewala, sa halip pinandidirihan, iniiwasan, inaalipusta.

Nariyan si Matmat, pinipili ang gabing tila napapagod na ang mga bituin sa pagningning. Gabi na pansamantalang tumigil ang mundo sa pag-inog nito dahil sinubukang maglaslas nang walang preno.

Si Cheche, lumalaklak ng alak at ang tanging pulutan ay ang pang-aalipusta ng pamilyang tumalikod sa kanya.

Si TinTin, pilit bumabangon sapag-asang mamuhay muli nang normal. Normal na buhay na ipinagkait sa kanya dahil sa istigmang ikinabit sa yaong may sakit na nakakahawa, nakakaawa. Nakakaawa.

Si Buboy, na suminghot ng kapiranggot na mistulang asin, na pumupuno sa matagal nang kumakalam na sikmura. Nalulong. Tinokhang. Niratrat. Deadsna.

Sino dito naglalaro sa kalsada noong mga bata pa? Langit Lupa! Langit. Lupa. Impiyerno. Patay. Buhay. Patay na nabuhay na lang sa alaala. Buhay na pilit pinapatay ng mapanghusgang lipunang ating ginagalawan.

Sila ang mga pasyenteng nais kong madinig. Chief complaint: Gutom sa pagtanggap. Nagpapanggap, dahil ang sarili nilang halaga’y di na mahagilap. May TB ka! Nakakahawa ka! Adik ka! Alak pa! Hala, awat na. Nakakapagod na.

Minsan, may mga tanong na di basta-basta nasasagot ng ‘Oo’ o ‘Hindi’.

May mga pakiramdam silang ikinukubli, subali’t meron palang masakit.

Dahil mahirap magkasakit. At mas mahirap ang maging sakit sa mga mata ng taong mapanghusga na sinasabing ikaw ang sakit. Ang sakit. Ang sakit mamatay…sa bayang walang pakialam sa’yo.

Kailangan din nating tuklasin ang nakaraan, dahil ito ang siyang bumubuo sa kasalukuyan.

ROS. Review of systems man, isang sakit lang iyan pero ang sakit ng kalingkingan ay dama ng buong katawan.

Kapag PE na o susuriing pisikal, dalawang doctor ang hinuhubog ng lipunan. Isang nakikita ang signos sa panlabas na kaanyuan, at yaong nasisilip nang malinaw ang hindi makita ng bulag na mata, bagkus nadarama.

Sa’ting lipunan, ipararamdam nila sayo na wala kang halaga. Ipararamdam nila sayo na wala kang kwenta dahil bulag ang mundong ginagalawan mona. Kunwari nakapiring pero bukas naman ang mga palad sa panghuhusga.

Tapusin mo na ang gabi na sa anino sila’y kumukubli.

Tapusin mo na ang gabi na sila’y nalulong at nakapiit.

Tayong lahat ay pwedeng maging doktor sa mga taong tinalikuran tulad nila.

At kung bibigyan man ng impresyon ang kanilang dinarama, ang totoong dahilan ay iisa- Sila’y binabalewala.

Presensiya- ang pinakamabisang panlanggas sa sugat ng mga pinabayaan.

Buksan ang iyong puso yakapin sila nang buo.

Maging bukas ka, maging bukas ka.

 

More than Just Two Degrees

Heal the worldmake it a better place,

for you and for me and the entire human race…”

So goes the song popularized by all-time favorite icon Michael Jackson. It may sound cliché to some, but hey, every lyric implies something; echoes of plea seem to reverberate from someone who’s in dire need of help amidst adversity.

Ages ago, she was once robed with elegantly dazzling features of greenery. Dense was her hair with lush emeralds falling perfectly, with color symbolizing the sign of hope. Her eyes were glinting like crystal-clear waters which aren’t perturbed by the plates beneath the ocean floor. As she exhales, her breath whispers fresh, thin air of oxygen soothing every living creature. With her rounded face eternal as the heavens above, her children’s nothing more to ask than to live in that serene and peaceful motherly arms of hers embracing them.

With the tides of fleeting time however, everything turned out differently. There she is on one nook left alone, singing the lyrics above, but only few cares. Gone are the days where she beams that tranquil aura. Nowadays, you’ll see her poised with ferocious glare of madness, of anger. She’s always drowning herself in the oceans of fear and uncertainty. This time, her every breath surges with thick fuming gases of bitterness, of frustrations. Devastated.

The glinting rays of the sun seeped through my seemingly half-burnt skin from the community medicine immersion we were in. It was a far-flung coastal barangay devoid of fast connections from the cyberspace perfect to recollect with oneself. Echoes of serenity from the calming waves of the sea lightens my weary soul every morning while the melodious rustling of leaves lull me to sleep at night. For one month I was immersed in a foreign land with unknown people and the routine of spending moments by the shore offer me refuge.

And there goes one humid afternoon. Seeing the vast horizons, I settled on the fine beach sand while leaning behind the “bangka” or a small fishing boat for a little time to introspect. The fresh breeze of the sea rejuvenates my inner recesses and seeing the clean, cerulean waters makes me ponder:

Does the calmness I see from above reflect what lurks underneath?

From there I tread the path and submerged myself to the inviting thought. As I inched my way farther to the deep, I feel abrasive pains under my feet. The rock bottom is literally encompassed with spiny rocks which caused me little cuts in the toes. Striding beyond the passing currents, plastic trashes swam midway the crest and troughs on their way back to the shore. I suddenly have withdrawn from it and went back to the nook I was on.

Sometimes, we are obsessed to the wonders of everything we see above or the ground. Deceptively they may look as fine but deep down under, it says otherwise. With the fast-pacing world today, it seems that majority has already neglected a pearl which is imperative to our responsibility as stewards of creation: tending our nature’s wonders, our sanctuary.Yes, the woman I’m referring to above is no ordinary woman; she is but Mother Earth whom in her arms nestled the very life of every living creature and humankind.

It is sad to note that we human beings, the major species who benefit the most, are the ones who destroy the environment. Global climate change altered the way we live and connect with nature which posed hazardousthreats in the generations to come. Apathetic, humans generated the highest cause of inflicting irreversible damage on the sustainability of our ecosystems.

So the Earth’s average warming of global temperatures has increased about two degrees according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Two degrees may be negligible at first thought, but contrary to what we know, small changes in temperature correspond to massive, perilous changes in our environment. In almost two degrees, global sea level has risen to up to 8 inches, Arctic Ocean is likely to become ice-free as glaciers have shrunk,there are more occurrences of drought seasons and changes in precipitation patterns and so to note affecting the usual habitat of living creatures.Two degrees but with its constant rise in decades, chiefly due to human culture that bring about greenhouse gases, life may be halted.

 

Afloat the Water’s Ferocity

In the Philippines, an average of 20 typhoons visit us yearly (with super ones resulting to massive flashfloods) considering our archipelagic doctrine where Pacific Ocean bound us. It was June 2008, I was still starting to adapt living independently in the metro when typhoon named “Frank” hit us intently, as though punishing me personally. Two nights and three days I’ve lived alone in my dorm- no water, no electricity neither pennies to buy candles or ample food for survival. Phone lines were also disabled; I had no batteries to connect with my parents back home in the province. I starved, felt hopeless, but all I’ve got to do was sleep in order not to feel anything. As “Frank” gradually ceased, I struggled to travel home. Unfortunately, in the middle of my journey, I was stuck in a bridge where vehicles can’t pass through due to the waist-level-high flash floods. With persistence to go home, I hurdled the angry flood on foot, swam against the currents while snapping elbows together with other folks who also wanted to cross. We’re stuck to no-chance-of-coming-back not to mention seeing two people who’re crossing the currents being taken away by flood to death.The next time I see myself was already at home. “I survived.”

 

Haiyan

Wayback November 2013, different stories also surfaced the globe when Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, devastated portions of Southeast Asia and predominantlyhit the central Philippines and caused early demise of over 6,000 lives and displaced over four million people. As a result of typhoon environmentally, oil spills became afloat from knocked down barges, mangroves and other natural resources were destroyed, and residents were asked to evacuate affected areas as benzene levels in the air had reached maximum amounts, not to mention the looting and violent incidents that had happened by the side. During Haiyan’s aftermath thatspurted us with strong, storm surges and towering-high flashfloods, it turned the once peaceful provinces of hope into a sepulcher of depression, where corpses scattered and decayed everywhere in the streets seeming to reverberate their stories and a call for everyone to heed and change.

These and other hurricanes in all parts of the world are signifying cyphers that continue to keep afloat for us to take preventive actions in the years to come. Reforestation or a simple tree planting routine may help rebuild the wounds of the earth and prevent more of these calamities to strike harmfully.

 

Through the Fire

Currently, I am taking up a joint degree of medicine and a master in public administration major in health emergency and disaster at a state university in the province where its human development index (HDI) is at par with India’s and where the active stratovolcanoMayon, renowned for its ‘perfect cone’ shape resides. For the past 500 years, this alone has already erupted 47 times not to mention the other 500 active volcanoes in our planet that cause some 50 ruptures in a year. Early this January, I witnessed one of its phreatic eruptions that propelled a grayish steam and ash plume while holding classes in school – it was dangerous as it was majestic. Early nightfall seem to occur in broad daylight as darkness engulfed the atmosphere due to ashfall. The month-long rumbling every night that caused me sleepless nights and anxiety was disheartening, making me realize that indeed we, humans must take immediate action in order to save our planet.

FireTogether with Mayon that sparked interest in worldwide media were the powerful quake that caused avalanche and hit the Gulf of Alaska in the early morning, the relatively shallow magnitude quake of Indonesia’s Java in the afternoon, not to mention the sudden eruption of Mount Kasatsu-Shirane in Japan. This is because what is stretching along the pacific coastlines is the Ring of Fire, where the Pacific plate is grinding against other plates that form the Earth’s crust. Though unlike other Earth’s elements disaster abovementioned, volcanic spurts may purely be naturally-mediated more than human activity-caused, however we are already called upon by Mother Earth to awaken and learn how to take care of her precious gems. Let us not wait for more unrests to come to life before we begin to ponder and move.

 

When the Air strikes a Blow

As future physician, I am aware that lung and respiratory diseases have been consistent in the top five causes of morbidity in the world for years. However, in several nations even to ours, more coal-fired power plants are set to build amidst the fact that coal is becoming obsolete and poses significant harmful effects on public health. Despite the Paris Agreement, the first global climate treaty that seeks to address climate change by cutting carbon emissions, our country is unfaltering in its designs to continuously rely on coal for energy.

AirFor the record, burning coal is the biggest single source of carbon dioxide emissions from human activity. Moreover, the World Health Organization recently estimated that one in nine deaths in 2012 were attributable to diseases caused by carcinogens and other poisons in polluted air. Isn’t this alarming? Inhaling polluted air regularly increases one’s risk of contracting cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, which could lead to paralysis or death.Maybe one or two may not experience the effects for now, but are we going to wait for our bodies to bag down?

 

Air pollution and stratospheric ozone depletion causing enhanced ultra-violet radiation at the earth’s surface, are causing widespread injury to both human and animal populations, forests and crops. Carbon loading is the culprit and reducing carbon footprints is the key. Halting the cause could minimize the risks, a simple walk or cut-down with our day-to-day vehicle use may be a micro-effort but soon its greater effects would bring forth remedy to our sick environment. Let us not wait for the day to come when even fresh oxygen can only be available sold in bottles as we have with our waters nowadays.

 

The Fangs of the Earth

Earth.png

Going back to where I was during my lone-time connection with nature in the community I was in for a month, one neglected problem of the world today that I’ve also seen there continues to be about garbage. Indiscriminate and improper disposal of trashes seem to have created another planet which ravages and slowly degrades the vitality of life and creation.Dumping of toxic, nuclear, and biomedical waste and environmental disasters of enormous scale have begun to cut deep scars into the Earth’s ecosystem, degrade a large portion of its vegetated surface and disrupt its delicate ecological balance.

It was October 2013 when a 7.2 magnitude earthquake shook the Central Philippines again and turned it into muddy, fractured pieces of terrain ruining the region where my family exactly resides. That deadliest earthquake equivalent to 32 Hiroshima bombs engulfed two hundreds of Filipino’s loved ones. In just minutes of tectonic tremble and 72 aftershocks, simple dreams were broken into hopeless pieces of despair and tragedy. The earthquake activity in the Himalayas in 2015 Nepal earthquake also took close to 9,000 lives. Rethink. Embrace a greener lifestyle. Recycling is the simplest solution that unleashes our creativity to set purpose on things that we often consider as trash.

We are fast approaching many of the earth’s limits; its ability to provide for growing numbers of people, to provide food and energy, and to absorb wastes and destructive effluent. Current human culturedamages the environment beyond repair. We only have a little time remaining before we still have the chance to avert the threats we now confront.Putting awareness into action is of highly essential value in this time and age. Environmentally, what we have done may be reversed by beginning to bring these damages under control through focusing on the preventive aspect in order to restore and protect the integrity of the earth’s ecosystems. If we are not to act on now, we could be dangerously trapped in twists of environmental unrest and decline which would hardly make us realize this millennium’s sustainable development goals leading to worldwide environmental collapse. We may be the cause of these catastrophes that are happening, but in our very hands lie the cure to alleviate, if not end, the earth’s suffering after all.

MarambaIn two degrees, we suffer the toll of our own wrongdoings. In more than two degrees, we could barely see the beauty of Mother Earth. But more than just two degrees, let’s not wait for “Sorrys” to be late before more of these catastrophes come and hit our lives- it’s best to start from simple things and undo our old ways before we will unable to sustain life as we know it: Recycle. Plant trees. Conserve water. Respect her.

 

(Chosen as Finalist, World Youth Essay Competition 2018)

#KEVinspires: UNDAS

At huhuni muli ang batingaw ng kapilya.

Dadagsa ang mga sepulturero,

aagos ang alon ng mga taong

bibisita sa mga yumaong minamahal.

Pero heto, heto ako’t walang yumaong minamahal

kundi minamahal na wari’y yumao na.

 

Kandila’y sinindihan. Pumunta ako sa sementeryo bitbit ay mga alaala ng nakaraang taon. Umaalab muli ang init nitong pakiramdam habang samyo ng diwa ko ang iyong mga ngiting tila tumunaw sa iladong puso ko. Masasayang araw man at masasakit. Magaganda at mapapait. Hindi alintana ang ‘di mahulugang karayom na madlang nakakabangga ko sa himlayang ito sapagkat ika’y hinaharaya ng isip kong makapiling ng husto. Hanggang sa akala ko’y panaginip lang. Akala ko isang multo lang na nagpaparamdam. Pero hindi, ikaw talaga iyon, ang natanaw ng mga mata kong nabulag nang makitang may hawal-hawak na iba ang mga kamay mo.

 

Biko, suman at malalagkit. Kapag nagluto rin ba ako, maaasahan bang pagtingin mo ay muling manumbalik?

 

Sa pagsapit ng araw ng mga kaluluwa, sumalangit pala ang “tayong” pilit kong pinaniniwalaang buhay pa. Sumakabilang-buhay na pala ang yaong mga yakap, halik at mga alaalang sa kamalayan ko’y sariwa pa. Ikaw at yaring mga patay ay walang pinagkaiba –Nanlamig.Pero sana naman tulad nila, ako’y iyong dalawin kahit saglit.

 

Kaya pala. Kaya pala napadpad ako sa pantiyong ito kahit wala namang minamahal na yumao. Bitbit ang paborito mong bulaklak na lila at pulang rosas, iaaalay ko na lang ito sa damdaming nawala at alam kong unti-unti nang maagnas.

 

Ilang Halloween Party na ang dinaluhan ko mapaniwala ko lang ang sarili kong mayroong multo, kesa sa paikot-ikot at walang katotohanang bulalas mo. Maskara? Hindi ko na kailangan pang magkubli, magkunwari, sapagka’t sanay nman na akong ngumiti kahit pa ito’y masakit. Kahit pa dati’y ako lang naman ‘tong lubos na umiirog sa isang katulad mo. Dahil mabuti pa ang mga lapida sa harap ko, punumpuno ng tatak at label. Ngayon ko lang napagtanto, kahit anong pagsusuyo ko, kahit na ika’y masaya sa piling at nakikita ko, hinding-hindi ka kumikibo sa tuwing “Mahal kita.” ang bukambibig ko.

 

Kandila’y akin na lang sisindihan. Magsisilbing gumigiyang tanglaw sa pusong namatay, naagnas. Yumao man ang dati’y matabil kong nararamdaman Hinding hindi mapaparam ang diwang may “ikaw” na minahal. Minamahal at patuloy na mamahalin. Kahit pa ang ibig sabihin nito’y habambuhay na pagkapiring .

 

Sa paghuni muli ng batingaw ng kapilya, patuloy paring Iinog ang mundo, kahit pa ma’y wala ka na sa piling ko. At Sa kabila ng undas nitong pusong dinadanas Titirik parin ang kandilang magbibigay tanglaw Sa puntod nitong pag-ibig na ngayo’y napaparam.

 

Isang Sachet Ka Lang

            Isinilid sa isang maliit na pakete. Pasa-pasang ibinahagi sa mga nag-aabang. Dali-dali siyang kumubli sa maliit na eskinita, nag-iinit. Sabik na sininghot ang kapiranggot na mistulang asing nagpupuno sa matagal nang kumakalam na sikmura.

            Pantawid gutom daw iyon.

            Mula sa murang edad na labindalawang taon, matutunghayan ang mala-teleseryeng buhay ng pamilya ni Juan, isang kelot na itinakwil ng anim niyang mga kapatid sa Tondo,  ulila sa ina habang labas-masok at kasalukuyan namang nakapiit sa selda ang kanyang ama. Siyam na taong kahalintulad ng eksenang iyon ang naging kasanayan niya hanggang sa pabaliktad na uminog ang mundo nito noong mala-bakal na kamao na ang namuno sa bansang yari isang taon ang nakalipas.

          Sanay na silang magpamilyang mamaluktot sa sobrang iksing kumot na pinagsasaluhan nila sa ilang taong pananatili sa mundong ibabaw. At habang siya ay lumalaki, lumalawak na rin ang saklaw ng nakakasalamuha nitong mga tropa kung maituturing sa lipunan.

Si Mary Jane

          Kapag hindi lulong ang kaisipan nito sa kinahuhumalingan, maayos naman si Juan- may matayog na mithiin at madalas nagkukuwento siya ng marami niyang pangarap na nais maabot. Hanggang sa nakilala niya si MJ, ang pinakaabot-kamay niyang tropa. Doon siya nagsimulang nahumaling, love at first sight ika nga. Bata pa siya noon nang natuklasan niya ito sa Recto kung saan talamak ang pag-usbong nito lalo na sa mga nag-aaral na kabataan at mga batang lansangan. Tunay na sa kahit kakarampot na baryang meron ka eh mahuhumaling ka na sa Mary Jane na iyon. Madalas maririnig mong magkayayaan silang mag-tsungke. ‘Yun nga lang nakakaawa si Juan at ang mga katulad nito dahil bilang isang teenager dati, nawawaldas ang kanilang baon sa walang-kabuluhang bagay. Lumiliban siya sa klase at makikita mo na lang na ga-baga na ang kaniyang mga mata animo’y nagsunog ng kilay para sa kinabukasang pagsusulit. Hindi mo na siya makakausap nang matino na tila’y mabagal ang salpok ng mga selula nito sa utak. Bukod sa napapabayaan nito ang pag-aaral dahil sa makupad itong kumilos, siya rin ay malilimutin, natutuyuan ng labi at lalamunan. Maaawa ka sa bubungad sayo sa murang edad.

 

I’d rather have Lovedoves with you

            Habang nagbibinata, hindi rin maiwasang makihalubilo ni Juan sa iba’t-ibang madla kasabay ng pagtuklas nito sa sarili at marami pang kakayahan. Lalo na nung minsang nasa legal na edad na siya, madalas siyang ginagabi sa mga bar at natutong mag-party magdamag. Doon, nakilala niya si Lovedoves– ang medyo elitistang pumalit kay MJ. Ngunit sa minsang pagsasalubong sa isang pagtitipon sa lungsod, mapapansin ang sobra niyang pagkabalisa na parang nanlalabo ang paningin sinabayan pa ng nanggigigil na mga ngipin nitong hindi sinisino kung kanino at paano pipigilin ang pagkamatabil. Nakakapanibago kung pa’no iyon nahibang sa daloy ng mga salita at parirala na tila daluyong na nanalasa sa pag-uusap. Ubod ng galak, siya’y walang dudang nasa rurok nga ng ecstasy na tinatawag. Tagaktak rin ang pawis niya habang may ka-table na tatlong magagandang dilag halatang umaapoy sa kalibugan. Nakapanlulumo. Unti-unting nalalayo ang kabataang ito sa mga naipunla niyang mga pangarap para sa sarili at sa natitirang pamilya.

 

Coke Rocks!

            Nakilala niya rin si Coke, isang matalik at yayamaning lodi niya na minsa’y nagdala sa kanya sa bukambibig niyang kalangitan. Malinaw nga naman dahil halata ang panlalaki ng balintataw nito habang karamay niya ito tuwing gabi pagkatapos maibaba ng magarang kotse sa eskinita. Sa unang oras, kapag mapadaan ka sa tinutuluyan nitong barung-barong, mauulinigan mo ang sandaling ingay at kagalakan nitong tila wala nang bukas, subali’t sa pangalawa’t sumunod na pagsaglit mo ay matatagpuan mo na siyang animo’y sanggol na nakahandusay sa tabi, nalulumbay.  Rocks ang minsang bulalas ni Juan na palayaw nito kung kaya’t bunsod ng pagkahumaling ay pati kalamnan nababato’t sinusumpong na rin sa walang kadahilanan. Naku, huwag na huwag ka ring magbiro at nakakasindak ang pagalit nitong disposisyon habang nasa sistema ng kaibigan. Sobrang bihirang tagpo lang iyon pero mukhang hindi maganda ang naidudulot nito sa kanya.

Ice, ice baby

            Nasubukan na ni Juan mahumaling, malulong, at maadik sa iba’t ibang pamamaraan at nakasalamuha sa lipunang kinagagalawan. At sa pag-unlad nito habang lumalaon, mistulang natagpuan na rin niya ang kanyang The One – abot-kaya, lipana at madaling angkinin – Shabs daw iyon, Ice kung minsan ito’y tawagin. Masaya siyang nalulunod at lumilipad sa pinaniniwalaan niyang Cloud 9 kung saan siya ang supremo ng kaharian at malaya niyang nagagawa ang mga dati’y naiisip niya lamang gawin. ‘Sintulin ng kumakaripas na kabayo ang tibok ng kanyang puso na siyang ‘sinlakas din ng presyon ng dugo niya ang kumpiyansa niya sa sarili upang gawin ang mga bagay-bagay. Walang pagtitimpi. Mainipin. Minsa’y walang gana kumain sapagka’t hindi nito alintana ang tadyak ng kanyang mga bitukang natatakam. Pinakatanyag itong mala-kristal na puting Ice na ‘to sa lahat na nasubukan na niya sapagkat nabibigyan ito ng pagkakataong makaalpas sa reyalidad. High na high sa pakiramdam ang dulot kapag nalulugmok ng suliranin. Binubusog hindi lamang sikmura kundi’y pati damdamin. Subali’t ang kalabisan ay humantong din sa karahasang nagpipiring sa kanya ngayon ng dilim.

 

Larong nakamamatay

             Langit, lupa, impiyerno.

             Im-im-impiyerno…

            Saksak puso, tulo ang dugo..

            Patay. Buhay. Ang dating tunog-dahas na larong Pilipinong ito ay literal nang nagiging laro ng kasalukuyang henerasyon. Larong nagbabaga kapag napag-uusapan sa telebisyon at pahayagan. Larong naghahatid ng pangamba at takot sa bawat Juan na nagiging saksi ng araw-araw na karahasan. Dati’y simpleng laro na ngayo’y tumambad na katotohanang sumasalamin sa laban ng gobyerno kontra droga. Patay… marami. Buhay…nagwawakas.

           Dumami ang negosyo ng punerarya. Tumaba ang mga isda sa Manila Bay. Ga-truck na bangkay ang naihahatid sa morgue. Hindi lang nakinig si Totoy, nagpagabi, napagkamala’t humandusay na sa tabi.

           Maraming batang Juan ang namulat sa ganitong lantarang sitwasyon. Iisang gramo ng mga kemikal na ito ang puno’t dulo ng karumal-dumal na kalagayan ng bansa sa kasalukuyan. Iisang sachet na sanhi ng tunggalian ng pamahalaan laban sa simbahan laban sa mga kapulisan laban sa natatanging karapatang pantaong natitira sa bawat mamamayan.

            Krimen ang siyang pangunahing dahilan kung bakit mariing sinusugpo ng pamahalaan ang mga durugista sa bansa subali’t marahas na krimen din ang siyang naging bunga ng layuning ito. Hindi ba dapat alinsunod sa ‘ting batas mas pagtuunan ng pansin ang naangkop na proseso sa mga nahuling lulong, bagkus ang rehabilitasyon ng mga ito? Animo’y naging karit ni kamatayan ang batuta’t baril na dapat ay magliligtas at mag-iiwan sana ng kapayapaan sa kabansaan. Wari’y “isang sachet ka lang!” ang eksena sa tagpo ng mga tagasunod ni FPJ sa kasalukuyan.

            Sa anumang kalakaran, gawain o panunutunan, ang pamuhatan ang ugat at nagsusuplay sa lahat ng puno; at tanging ang pagputol sa mga pinagmulang ito ang mas mahalagang dapat sugpuin, gawan ng paraan. Sa halip na tumbukin ang mga nasa ibaba, maaaring bigwasan ng malakas ang malalaking drug lord at protektor sa bansa na may ugnay sa pandaigdigang mga sindikato ng droga nang maputol ang siyang ugat.  Kapag ang ga-drum maski pakete lang na inaangkat at dumaan sa Kawanihan ng Adwana ay napupuksa kaagad, malabong may maipupuslit pa na mga bawal na gamot na talamak na lalaganap sa lipunan. Pero kung ito’y napapabayaan at tila pinalalampas dahil naging kaugalian na, isang sachet ka lang.

 

Krusada ni Juan

         Hindi lamang ang estado ang may hawak ng armas, may kakayahan na rin pati mga bihilante at tulisan na magtakda kung ano ang batas. Iilang kinabukasan na ang nasira’t tuluyang naging takipsilim. Maraming pamilya ang nawasak at nawalan ng supling. Mahigit-kumulang pitong libong mga pangarap ang kinitil bunsod ng masigasig na brigadang ito. Kaysa magpaligsahan sa dami ng naitutumba, dapat tulungang magbagong-buhay at abutan ng tulong para makaambag sa lipunan ang mahihirap na mga Pilipino na nabiktima ng paggamit ng droga.

            Si Juan ay simbolo lamang ng mga biktima ng ipinagbabawal na gamot na nawala sa sanlibutan sa ‘di pa itinatakdang oras: Si Tapang na niratrat ng 23 na bala dahil sa mistaken identity, ang matandang Zarragosa na walang pagtitimping binaril sa mukha habang siya’y natutulog lamang, si Jennelyn na nagmistulang Pieta sa Pasay habang yakap-yakap ang napagkamalang tulak na asawa’t pinatay, ang binatilyong binaril dahil nanlaban daw na si Kian Loyd at ang butihing batang si Carl Angelo na napagbintangan, pinaghinalaang nanlaban din kaya pinaslang. Sila’y yaong mga walang pakundangang pinagkaitan ng kanilang karapatang mabuhay at hinatulan ng mga diyos-diyosan ng lipunan sa pamamaraang alam lamang ay kanilang kapangyarihan.

           Tandaan, walang tsapa o lisensya sa pagpatay ang lumalagi sa ating batas. Maisip sana ng mga nasa kataas-taasan na ang sistemang shoot-to-kill ay maaaring hindi ang perpektong paraan ng pagpuksa sa labang ito, sa halip ay nagpapakita lamang ng abuso sa kapangyarihan. Nakasaad sa Saligang Batas Artikulo III, Sek. 14 (2) na sa lahat ng kriminal na pag-uusig, ang akusado ay itinuturing na walang-sala hanggang hindi napapatunayan na nagkasala nang higit pa sa makatuwirang pagdududa- ito ay nararapat lamang na sundin, pagtibayin.

            Hindi maikakailang maraming naging epekto ang krusadang ito ng ating gobyerno, may maganda at mayroon ding hindi kaaya-ayang bunga. Dito umusbong ang ilang lagda na naglalayong ibalik ang hatol ng kamatayan sa mga mabigat na nagkasala pati na rin ang pagpapababa ng edad  ng mga mahahatulan ng krimen. Naipasaayos rin at nabigyang–pansin  ang mga kanlungang pang-rehabilitasyon ng mga kababayan nating nahuling positibo at lulong sa droga kahit ito’y kulang na kulang pa. Sa kabilang banda, nadumihan naman ang imahe ng Pilipinas sa mga dayuhang bansa dahilan upang mag-alsabalutan sa pamumuhunan na siyang nagpabagal ng takbo ng ekonomiya natin ngayon.

          Lahat ay may kanya-kanyang opinyon at solusyong napagtatanto hinggil sa usaping ito. Nagkakatalo–talo man, huwag sanang maisawalang-bahala ng mga kinauukulan ang mga karapatang naapakan bunsod ng pagmamalabis at abuso sa kapangyarihan. Sa ngayon, marami pa ang patuloy na tinutukso at mabibiktima nina MJ, Lovedoves, Coke at Ice lalo na sa mabilis na pagbabago ng siyensya at henerasyong ito at hangga’t hindi pa natutuldukan ang laro ng pagtutugis, iisang gramo ma’y magaan bagama’t tone-tonelada pa rin ang bigat na pasanin ng mga pamilyang naiwan ng mga biktima.

         Patay- lalong dumadami. Buhay- patuloy na nagwawakas. Matutumbasan ba ng isang sachet ang buhay na naparam? #

Ang sanaysay na ito na may temang “Sachet” ay opisyal na lahok  ngayong taon sa:

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