Culturally Powered as Juan

Half a century of oppression had passed. Bloody battles and colonization left the land. For several years of freedom he was robed in blue as royal as the peaceful sea. His lips are tainted by scarlet red marks of patriotism and valor. He is that ‘three stars and a sun’. He is Juan- born out of cultural blessing and diversity.

You know, culture has been an influential tool in making us cognizant of what happened on our past. Substantially, it drives us to realize the essence of our present generation. It is but a solid reminder that we have to abide, to retain and respect however diverse circumstances seem.

juanIt is Juan dela Cruz, the national epitome of the Philippines often used to represent the Filipino, anyone of us. He thought of every simple thing as insigne of his race, of his long-treasured and well-cultivated culture. From among the nations of the world, he considers himself weak who barely has any riches to take pride in.

This is Juan. And this is me. Yet feeble as we are, I never realized that this pauperism otherwise revealed the mighty powers we possess.

One of our treasured strengths is language & music. Geographically, we’re sundered by seven thousand islands in eighty-seven tongues. At first it may seem perplexing to converse diversely, but we are one people when we sing. The Kundimans from the North answers the reverberating strums of lutes from South. Young men croon their girls by the window at the rice fields. Under the coconut trees, Visayans are there singing their self-made songs. Through this, we share in harmony the mutual language of music. Let this be an inspiration for the world to unify amidst diversities. We sing and speak different notes and languages but let those alien speeches be our linking chains to form camaraderie, to tighten hand grasps in times of adversity. Let neither blood nor race discriminate those we strangely understand. Let those unfathomable defy the odds to know and acknowledge one another. This is one unique Filipino trait: we battle not through bombs or guns but we scuffle through voices and pens instead.

Faith draws us closer to our gods. This is our other armor, our Faith. Juan honors not only one god but plenty of them. Although Christianity conquered the majority, there are still those natives who kneel to their Bathalas, the Muslims who abstain and fast for several days, the Baptists preaching their bibles along the way, the atheists of no belief and so forth. I believe the world is not as far as having this religious disparity but just like Juan, nations must also come to realize oneness even different deities are revered. Let our varied faiths move ONE mountain then, for we are one people when we pray.

tumblr_m5359rUKik1rw3ua9o1_500Now what make us also unique from the rest- our native values. And these again are our valuable powers. I can always remember those huts walking down the streets to transfer for a new place during calamities. This is cooperative endeavor or “bayanihan” which makes me appreciate family and brotherhood. Those simple gestures of doing “mano” or taking the hand of an elder towards your forehead, those kisses to parents whenever you go out or arrive home respectively, those taking off of slippers when entering another else’s home- such petty things that depict a sign of utmost respect to authorities make me proud of where I’ve grown, hoping that the world too may appreciate and see RESPECT as every culture’s value.

To become the vanguard of peace to this world, let every nation recognize, learn and respect another’s culture. We all have different practices, but a better future is more achieved if these differences are accepted to drive a CULTURAL WORTH.

For Juan who’s standing for us Filipinos, these are the bonds that hold us together. And as long as there remains in these islands one native to sing a self-made song, one priest to stand at the altar, and one hand to give the elderly respect, the world will no more be living with withered culture. We are one. All nations too must radiate these powers as Juan.

Jose Rizal

(This essay is another endeavor to make the Philippines known and reach the world by far just in time as well of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal’s birthday.)

A Humbling Letter to Thy Feast

ImageDerailed by a plethora of vanishing mementos in our lives, never did I loose my grip to my faith that I will always return back to where I was. Nostalgic is the feeling when you’re almost hanging on an edge of a cliff or walking in solitude in the midst of the bright night lights of the metro walks. More often, I stumbled from the path I’m treading waiting for somebody to pull me up and save me from perilous disputes. Yet you were there.

You brought me back the things I thought were mislaid.

You counseled my path when I’ve gone astray.

You searched for me when I was lost in space.

Misplaced was my every possession for quite a while. Drenched in sweaty fears of bleak and hopeless temperament, I hold on to Thy faith that someday everything lost will come back around, at the right time I suppose.  For whatever missing puzzle will always reach its completion. For whatever emptiness in our lives will soon has its own substantial filling.

Oftentimes, our paths meet intertwined crossroads that we don’t know where to confidently disembark in the end. Cognizant of the usual bustles of everyday, we still tend to go astray and consequently land to unplumbed places, farther from the real world where we should suppose to be grounded. But in these times, you were there. Embraced by your genuine love for us, you escorted me to the safe haven where I could grow back again.

Adrift, there’s also comes a point where we are drifting by the seas, out from the shorelines of our quest to greatness. We sailed to reach the horizons of our dreams yet those waves taunted us to lose ourselves in the midst. Trembling, we often see the other world far from what we know that has innately existed in us. But you emerge in front of our sight, to have and to hold, to save us from being lost.

There is perhaps no more loved and admired saint in the Catholic Church than you, Saint Anthony of Padua. Happy Feast Day to you! And may you’ll continue to counsel us and bring back everything we have lost.

You brought me back the things I thought were mislaid.

You counseled my path when I’ve gone astray.

You searched for me when I was lost in space.

Wiping Out

Tainted by a surfeit of scorching slashes and irrepressible abrasive disposition, you wiped away those glinting pearls scuttling down from the feeble porthole-to-thy-soul. When that smoothly-woven fabric kisses thy cheeks, you engender such feeling of comfort like an infant gently caressed by his nursing mother. I snuffled to regain strength and flee from being enslaved by my current emotion.

Surreptitious of the unfortunate events that had happened; your embrace beguiles me to put back the vitality that was vanished for quite a while. Each strand of your being stitches the missing pieces of the stimulating puzzle I created. Each fiber dries up my lonesome tears and draws me back to the usual blissful stance I portray. Those living centuries past forestalled the concept that wrapping you as a present is taboo which will make someone weep in dreadful awe. But no. Cynically, I am opposing to what they believe and say.

For you alone can console my drooping spirit.
For you alone can install that beaming smile from my lips.
For in you alone I can shed and sob and then recuperate in the end.

Fetal-position can hardly cripple me; I can salvage all energies lost upon your softest touch. More often than not, you were the rope that saved me from drowning onto the cavernous craters of melancholic sea. You absorb all glumness gushing through my weary days. Something unfathomable as though binds us together as one, I believe. Nostalgia would conquer the scenes not having you every single sec of the day. I’ll long to that feeling of you stroking the inner recesses of my depressed core. Because in you I find the serenity I appeal, appeased from all the ennui and worries life bestows.

pochet_process_blue_WLTJBP73For just this morning, just like every day, I have realized your worth in me. As the sun’s heat never failed to seep through my skin and again trigger my glands to secrete relentlessly, I searched for you that might dry me up in comfort. But I got lost… lost in finding you.

Inconspicuously, there are little things which we have forgotten to put much value in our lives. There are those that were left trashed after ages of exploit, there are also those that were taken and used for granted in any way. You know, aside from being valuable to time and timepieces, I also won’t ever feel secured going outside the world without this simply hemmed square of thin fabric with me (or in my pocket). This plain piece of cloth signifies companionship whenever I am being secluded. An ever ready buddy that definitely placates when in need. My emotion-saver. My shock absorber. My sorrow-wiper. It is but the hanky panky.