O Biyaheng Kaysarap!

 
Iniluwal si Toto sa isang bayang lutak o putik ang pinanggalingan,
simpleng pook malayo sa kabihasnan.
Tila nabuhay sa mundo ng alamat,
Hinulma sa mga makasaysayang simbahan
subali’t nakasanayang sumalo ng binabatong
paratang na sila’y kampon daw ng mga aswang.

Tama nga nama’t laman aming kinakain,
Lamang-loob, lamang-dagat pati lamang-gulay
ay laging pinagsasaluhan matapos ihain,
sapagka’t likas-yaman doon ay sagana’t labis
kahit sa bakuran ay pupuwede mong pitasin
anumang prutas o dahong iyong nais.

Bukang–liwayaway noon nung ako’y binalot pa
ng ibos o suman ng pagmamahal ng aking pamilya
Gaya ng tinda nuon ni Aling Maria pagbangon ko sa umaga.
Takot sa mundo, mahiyain at di umiimik
sapagka’t kina nanay at tatay ay laging nakadikit.
Kagat-kagat lagi ang bukayo, kalamay, bandi, baye-baye at latik
pawang mga kakaning sintamis
ng pagkabata kong walang halong pait.

Nung unti-unting pinukaw ang aking kamalayan
Natutuhan kong makihalubilo‘t mag-isang mamalengke sa tindahan
Pahó o hilaw na mangga’y aking kadalasang natikman
Kasabay ang mga kalarong naging karamay at minsan ding naging kalaban.

Ah, ito pala ang mundo. Malayo sa kinamulatan ko.
Malayo sa pagkapiit sa balay at paghihigpit ng pamilya ko.

Pagsapit ng tanghali sa aking paglalakbay
Kahit sikat ni haring araw ay ‘di nagpatinag
Kaming magbabarkada’y nagpakalunod ng sabay
sa mainit na sabaw o kaldo ni Karen at Mang Ted
saka sisigaw ng “Kampai!”
Maming nagbibigkis sa aming samahan
Miswang sinahugan ng malalasang sahog at laman
Ka-partner ang walang kamatayang putong
bumubusog sa aming kalamnan.
Dito lang sa aming bayan matitikman
Yaring batchoy na sintamis-anghang ng buhay mag-aaral.
Minsan iindahin mo gaano man katindi ang paso ng pigapit
Makapasa lang para masabi mong
ang buhay ay wari batchoy, namit!

Dapit-hapon na’t lumipat ako sa siyudad,
bigla ko na lang namiss ang kakanin, ang mangga, ang lahat
Bumalik ulit si Toto na seryoso’t di na magawang kumindat.
Kasabay ng bagong mundong ginagalawan,
ay mga bagong putahe na naman ang natikman.

Minulat sa malawak na mundo ng kabihasnan,
sinuyod ko ang landas patungo sa ‘king pangarap.
Balutin man ng maruming usok, nilanghap
Kahit mgkagalos man sa byahe, lumagapak.
Napagtanto kong ganyan kahirap sa kalungsuran,
Biko’t suman wala nang nilalako
kundi mga pagsubok na lamang
sintigas pa ng pinasugbo’t biscocho.
Matigas na marupok, matamis na maganit.
Pinagdaanan ko’y halu-halong saya, hirap at pait,
Hanggang sa maihurno ang pinakaaasam:
mga gintong galletas na sa leeg ko’y isinabit.

Malugod. Masaya. Abot-langit ang tuwa.
At sakripisyo kong mawalay sa bayang mahal ay
sa wakas tila naging gantimpalang piaya.
Ngayong gabi na’t nasa himpapawid na ako
ng totoong pakikipagsapalaran sa buhay,
hinding-hindi mawawala sa puso ko
ang bakas ng mga mumunting pangarap
na aking ibinuno kaakibat ang mga kakaning
ninamnam ko mula sa aking paglalakbay.
Mga lasang sumabay sa agos ng aking paglalayag
Mga sabor na nagpatingkad sa aking pamumuhay.

Ano’t anuman ang mangyayari,
ang puso ko’y mananatili pa ring
nakahugpong sa lupa kong sinilangan.
Laging babalikan, tatanawin at titikman
ang mga lasap na sa Iloilo ko lang mahahanap.
Lutong Ilonggo. Lasang Pilipino.
O biyahe ngang kaysarap!

Ang tulang ito ay lahok sa:

sa pakikipagtulungan ng

Maraming salamat din sa mga sumusunod:

*Ang mga larawang nakapaskil ay hindi inaangkin ng may-akda.

Papuri sa sinumang nagmamay-ari nito!

Maraming Salamat!

Advertisements

By Every Leaf of It

Amidst the bustles of our own lives today, we often fail to realize that time indeed is fleeting very swiftly. And during these times passed, moments were slowly drifting away until they were gone and carried afar, leaving only the footprints of the good old past.

But did you ever realize that we could still go back to the moments we dream not to last?

I got three of them to date.  The first one I have appeared yet in a black-and-white tone inside out with every page seeming to be like a cumulo-nimbus cloud, just plain and very simple. Four years after, I’ve come to receive a new one: more improved than the first. Now wrapped with a colorful, silky print cover (though the insides still appear in shades of gray), I already loved flipping over its pages containing a lot of vivid graphics and photos that would content to amuse one who sees it at least. But here comes the beast of them all. Lately, I have claimed this 3-kilogram, huge book which now comes in volumes and hardbound covers, far from the one I used to have then. Marveled by its eye catching cover embossed with colorful themes and designs, I could say that this may already reveal how the world turns into a fast-pacing planet, how times bring us to the zenith of our dreams, and how memories are safely kept and sealed even after ages.

The Yearbook. It may come either in a portfolio-type design or housed in a box like a collector’s item novel series. It may be as small as the almanac or burden you by its humungous size like a centuries-old dictionary. It may shine as the rainbows or just gleam as simple as a pearl but more than how it looks aesthetically, this little thing is worth a lifetime of your existence.

Image

Funny how this simple stuff captures our inner hearts and turns us into somebody as schmaltzy as those we only see in television soaps and dramas.

ImageWho could ever forget the ones who bullied you when you were a naughty kid? I bet you even tried to put some ‘X’ marks or evil horns to the Mojo Jojo’s of your class before.  As you browse along, you would even stop at some point, glare into a photo and smile your heart out when you will see your first crush during your primary years as if you’re feeling back again that puppy-love-feeling you get before. You even sort out your play friends from the losers you tagged. Flipping on, by every pic you pass through, you also remember a word or a thing that reminds you of them like the one who first said “I like you”, the one who stole a kiss from you on the cheek, the one who gave you roses picked from the school’s backyard up to remembering those who were hailed as cheaters, eaters, nerds, KJ’s (killjoys), and a lot more.  By scanning through the yearbook, we could always relive back the kid in us and remember how we once believed in ‘Ever Afters’ and ‘Neverlands’, in castles and wonderlands, in a life that is very fast and light where everything just pass by so smoothly. Yearbook served as the wishing wells of our miniature dreams like flying around the world and the moon, riding space shuttles and fun lands for a day, or just being stuck in a toy kingdom, all go while holding infinity in our very palms.

Unfolding the next chapter of our journey, it is the same yearbook as well that made each and every one of us see ourselves which we never knew existed.

Who could remember the first time he danced the girl he laid his eyes upon? Or who has ever obliviously left her glass slippers during the midnight ball while savoring the moment with her King of Hearts? You get to think a lot of memories again while you skim through every page of this yearbook.

ImageReminiscent, you journeyed back in time again and see yourself jamming with your buddies on one nook where you strum those strings and sing your dreams out together with the group. The bell rings for recess and you rush now to the cafeteria to grab a bite, stay then on the benches under the shades of the trees which have been your leaning refuge when you need somebody to listen to you. You started digging out what more can yourself do when you juggled your academics while being into sports try-outs, or glee clubs or into scholastic quiz bowls (whatta geek!). The quadrangle or the football grounds served as your asylum when you received an “F’, broke up with an ex or simply just had a fight with somebody. You break the rules, you fail, you once went astray, you stumble, you’re scolded, but then again remembering all these events, you remain happy as you see  your old pals’ pics as if flashing back such mementos.

As you step further on higher grounds and enter the portals of the university, everything went to a whole new world. There was a drastic change, a paradigm shift so to speak. You never sailed the seas anymore, now you surf with the ocean waves instead.


ImageImmersed into a more mature environment, you have learned to deal with things independently. Remember the times when library’s your favorite rendezvous? You learned to love spending time with it now which you seldom did before. By every word that comes out your mouth, by every step you’re gone, you are slowly becoming cautious. You started burning midnight candles as you drown yourself in pools of books, of theses, of researches. Did you remember those moments when you seemed to be on the verge of yielding? Hanging at the edge of the cliff? But you surpassed them all and never succumbed? All these were bits of the past which molded you to what you are now: a professional, a man/woman of valiance, of experience, of inspiration.

Inching my way to reading the epilogue and closing this book, I gradually felt the nostalgia again. The past has already been unraveled as if I went into the Neverland.  With these kinds of emotion that rewinded my voyage to becoming the person I am today, I realized a lot of things: from frowns and laughters to foibles and triumphs to scorns and love, all these helped in baking this special cookie almost into perfection.  Majestic, more than any tale foretold!

I never thought this simple little thing could touch my inner recesses. Memories indeed never go weary, never go into oblivion, as long as you have something that could strike a chord back to them. If only I could stay by every leaf of it, I would choose to. But hey, I just can’t. Time’s ephemeral and so does life.

Unearth back your stories too.

Just as what Coca-cola ad shouts out, open (Coke) your yearbook, open happiness.

 And make your stories live and bring magic to you once more.

Image

Credits to Laila for the photos. Thanks for the favor!

 

Ironed Woman: a La Bonita

Bago pumasok, kahit nuon pa man, naging ugali ko na talagang titigan muna ang tubig sa dram o tabo bago ito ibuhos sa nilalamig kong katawan. Ay hindi ‘yun ang nais kong talakayin ngayon. Gusto kong sabihing nasanay talaga akong pagsilbihan ng kung sino-sino nang yayabels na dumaan samin kung kaya’t nung nakarating na ng kolehiyo eh napilitang magplantsa si Toto ng kanyang mga damit. At di lang yun, tuwing bago aalis ko pa ginagawa ang pagpapatuwid sa mga nagkalukot-lukot na tinupi kong uniporme’t pantalon. Oo tamad na kung tamad, inaamin ko.

Pero teka, naranasan niyo na bang mapaso? Marahil dahil sa kapabayaan o sa kakapilit mong dumilat ang iyong mga mata kasi nga tinatamad ka pa? Iilang Esprit at Hollister na ba ang napagtagumpayan mong abuhin? Eh yung ikaw ang pinaso, try naten?

Loko, ibang usapan na ata iyan!

Sa totoo lang ginagalang ko sila. Musmos pa lamang ay sila na ang aking naging kalaro, kakuntyaba sa kung anu-anong pinapalusot ko kina ermats kapag may nagawang di kanais-nais o pumuslit ng bahay para pumunta sa plaza. Pasalamat ako’t ni butil ng pawis ay di natuyo sa aking likuran, malalaking galos sa tuhod ay di ko kinailangang ininda, ulan ma’y di nakaligtas dahil sandata nilang payong ay laging handang isangga. Sus, bagsak na ako siguro kung di dahil sa kanilang pagtulong at paghahatid ng aking mga pradyek sa eskwelahan tuwing si Toto’y lipong dahil sa kinagabihang pagsasalamangka sa mga chapter-chapter na aralin sa aklat. Sa maniwala ka man o hindi, marahil ay hindi ako magiging sin-antipatiko, magalang, mapagsumikap at kyut na nilalang ngayon kung hindi dahil sa kanilang walang-sawang pagpapangaral sa akin nung nakaraan (op! wala ng side comments).

Hindi man sila propesyonal kagaya ng mga nasa tuktok ng trianggulo, subali’t mas propesyunal pa sila kung humubog at mag-alaga ng isang kapwang di nila kaano-ano. Isang patunay na mahalagang tulong sila sa ikagagaan at ikabubuti ng pamumuhay.

Bunsod ng naglilipanang Juan Tamad ngayon sa daigdig (sige na nga, exempted ka na dun), at dahil sa nasasadlak na kalagayan ng bansa sa kasalukuyan, talamak na ang napipilitang pumasok sa ganitong propesyon, ang pagiging kasambahay sa pami-pamilyang Pinoy na umaasang maiaaahon nila ang kanilang mga minamahal sa kumunoy ng kawalang-pag-asa.

Image
Bonita Baran, after being allegedly maltreated and ironed on face by her employers
(Credits to http://www.abs-cbnnews.com for the photo.)

Bonita. Maganda, maanyag, marilag, gwapa- hindi ba’t ito ang mga unang mawari natin sa tuwing maririnig ang salitang ito? Hango nga kasi naman ito sa salitang Espanyol na ibig sabihin ay kariktan. Pero hinde, kapag siya’y iyong makikilala ay masasalamin mo ang kalunos-lunos na karanasan, animo’y sinagasaan ng kung anuman ang balat, walang makita, bulag, desproporsyon ang mukha. Akala ko nga sa pelikula ko lang nakikita si Iron Man eh, sa totoong buhay pala’y may “Ironed Woman” din.

Kagabi lamang ay napanuod ko ang Patrol ng Pilipino, isang dokumentaryo ni ABS-CBN reporter Jenny Reyes na tumalakay sa kahalaya’t di makataong pagtrato ng isang pamilyang Marzan sa Bonitang ito. Kaya naman saludo ako sa kung anuman ang naisipang ikasa na batas ng kongreso na tinaguriang Kasambahay Bill or House Bill 6144. Layon nitong protektahan at bigyan ng kaukulang karapatan ang mga napapanahong bayaning ito para tratuhin silang katulad ng isang ordinaryong empleyado.

Tama nga naman. Kung hayop nga ay may tuntuning nagproprotekta sa kanilang kaayusan, pagkakaitan pa ba naman itong mga katuwang natin sa bahay?

Madalas may ilang sumusunod pa rin sa bulong ng demonyo bagkus nagagawa nilang maltratuhin ang kanilang kapwa tao. Minsan, ang sobrang pag-aaruga ay napapalitan ng pag-aabusong hindi na makatarungan. Palagi, hindi tayo nakakaiwas sa mga ganitong temptasyon kaya’t nagmumukha tayong ignorante sa kung ano na ang tama sa kamalian.

Hindi sila alipin na basta basta mo na lang kuruting animo’y surot. Hindi sila busabos na pupuwede mong plantsahin ang kanilang mukha at ipagawa kung anuman ang iyong nais. Hindi sila punching bag na kahit anong oras ay masusuntok mo kapag ika’y nag-aapoy sa galit. Hindi sila tanga na puwede mong batukan. At lalong mas hindi sila mga askal na pakainin mo lamang ng mga tira tirang botcha o mas masaklap pa’y ipis na kasing dumi ng budhi nitong walang-awang panginoon.

Silang nagdidildil ng asin para lamang mabuhay ay maaari nang  maghain ng espesyal na kainan sa lamesa dahil sa minimum wage na ipapataw sa kanila kapag maaprubahan ang batas na ‘to. May bago na silang pag-asang masasandalan magkasakit man o mawawalan ng tirahan dahil ang mga benepisyong SSS, Philhealth, Employees Compensation Commission at Pag-Ibig Fund ay kanila nang matatanggap.

Kaya sa mga ipis ng lipunang siyang nagpepeste sa ating mga kababayan, maghunos dili na kayo’t ang inyong mga galaw ay limitado na. Iwaksi na ang kahayupan at nawa’y plantsahin niyo na ang bawat gusot, ang bawat lukot sa inyong pagkatao. Tutunan niyong maging alipin hindi ni Satanas kundi ng kung anuman ang tamang bulong ng itaas.

Sa yaong mga may kapangyarihan, nawa’y ipasa na ang tuntuning ito.

Iilang Bonita pa ba ang aantayin niyong ipapanganak taliwas sa tunay na kahulugan ng nasabing pangalan? Iilan pa ang gusto niyong magdusa? Iilang Bonita pa ang hinihintay niyong maging ‘Ironed Woman’, ipisin at bulagin sa kadiliman?

The Pains, the Cross and the Four Rings

Pain has been life’s greatest motivator.  We learn when it strikes; we grow better as we strive to fight.

This has been the gist of the homily taken from the Gospel yesterday when I heard Mass.  Part of life is pain and nobody could escape from the fangs of it. Created imperfect, we are entitled to surpass whatever obstacles put in front our paths.  And to this we shall always be true to ourselves and deal with it boldly and in accordance to the doctrines of the Church.

Let me share with you a funny thought the priest has cracked yesterday:

Do you have fiancé or a partner in life at this point of your life? Well, if you do, do you also know the four rings that are given upon entering life’s various stages towards becoming one with each other?

ImageFor lovers and soon-to-be-blessed ones, this known ring a man first gives to his fiancé is the one which often comes in various surprise packages. Traditionally, one hands it over to the one he loves and put it onto her finger while kneeling down. As ages evolve, it can already be seen upon munching on some cupcakes, piloting a remote-controlled helicopter with it hanging from its wings, or holding a party letting the whole world know that you are fated to be tied sooner or later. It’s the engagement ring that goes in a lot of these planned proposals. Symbolizing the knot that would bind you together, it stands essential especially to realize that she has already accepted you to be her ‘The One’. Conventionally, the woman’s ring is presented as a betrothal gift by a man to his prospective spouse while he proposes marriage or directly after she accepts his marriage proposal. It represents a formal agreement to future marriage.

ImageChurch bells ring and the heavens’ gates open when this next ring, which I guess everybody knows, are given as vows of love by the bride and the groom. Wikepedia defines wedding ring or wedding band as a metal ring indicating that the wearer is married. Depending on the local culture, it is worn on the base of the right or the left ring finger. The custom of wearing such a ring has spread widely beyond its origin in Europe. Historically, the wedding ring was rather connected to the exchange of valuables at the moment of the wedding. It is a relic of the times when marriage was a contract between families, not individual lovers. But after all, eternal love and devotion reflect the deeper meaning of having this ring worn in one’s finger.

Wedding’s done, and what do you think is the next ring?

ImageThe priest has stimulated our minds during this query. Until then we realized that indeed the third ring is the one which serves as one of the important elements to a responsible family life- suffering. In connection with the homily’s theme, it stands true that this ring is a living testament on how strong couples hold on especially during difficult times and tragedy. Suffering is painful, but without the fourth ring, you couldn’t move on and bring back that peaceful life you dream for the family. Flowering or helping each one understand and recognize his/her follies shall help this process of getting up from the muddy stream of sufferings. Both comes hand in hand to make the love grow fonder and blossom towards reaching its fullest beauty.

These four rings just then remind us of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (Triumph of the Cross) last September 14 which many tend to forget.  It is one of the twelve great feasts in the yearly Church cycle commemorating two historical events: first, the finding of the Life-giving Cross in the year 326, and second, its recovery from Persia in 628.

ImageMore than what history tells, this takes us back to what Jesus has done for us. He, who supposed to be God, accepted the mockery thrown by the people centuries past. He, who supposed to be God, let Himself endure the painful scourge and thorns crowned to Him. He, who supposed to be God, offered His very self to be crucified and died for our sins which He never deserves at all. Pain is thus inescapable. No one is exempted to experience suffering as it is also the one imperative in honing us to be like Jesus’ disciples.

Band aids. Antispetics. Anesthesias. No pain killers shall excuse you in feeling the wound. Yes, pain hurts, pain impinges, but it can heal every sin Man has ever committed.

Click here to read the whole Gospel during this day (September 16, 2012):

http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/sep16.htm