The Pandesal Seller

I am inspired to write this musing after reading Brother Jun-G’s entry Negosyong Pandesal. To make sense of this post, I encourage you to read first Negosyong Pandesal:

i sense a simple man,
who got used since childhood
with his almost empty hands,
open those while the rest were asleep.
it was economic – the pandesal-selling,
but breaking the dawn with his voice
is analogous to the Psalmist’s desire “to awake the dawn,”
so that pandesal-selling became an opening up
of the spirit to the approaching light.

the discipline of waking up early,
the doggedness to sell,
in other words – the nascent, growing singlemindedness,
the focus on purpose with those globular pandesal,
i assume this is where being singlehearted begins,
and it is a long journey from the mind to the heart,
counting all the detours and the crossroads.

it really makes me wonder,
why the only thing he seems to need to do
is to come back into full circle with pandesal?
i suspect it is less the desire for profit
than the remembrance of those dawn moments,
hard-wired in his brain,
when his spirit braved the dark alleys,
while silently soaring against the darkness of poverty,
or apathy,
or a little more convenience from an extended sleep.

The pandesal, to me becomes sacramental,
nudging him mysteriously to open up
to his light within,
and the sun’s,
and God’s,
while filling up those empty spaces of one’s stomach.
Eucharistic, i assume, in his “pandesal way”.
no wonder the conversation ended,
only to begin,
in the more open,
more silent,
Greater Eucharist.

18 thoughts on “The Pandesal Seller

    • Alvin, your idea appears simplistic but actually theologically profound. Christian faith is filled with symbolisms and the host is only one. Symbols almost effortlessly arise out of lived experience and at may mangilan-ngilan na mga creative liturgies, daring ones, na gumagamit ng tinapay for their liturgy. No, this isn’t a bad idea after all, even rice could be a potent symbol for our Eucharist…

  1. “I suspect it is less the desire for profit
    than the remembrance of those dawn moments… when his spirit braved the dark alleys,
    while silently soaring against the darkness of poverty… or a little more convenience from an extended sleep.”

    Ang ganda ng mga linyang ito kapatid… And indeed the pandesal vendor has come full circle…

    (How I wish I could expound more, but you have said it all…and besides, my inkwell seems to need a refill these past days…😉 )

    • I can sense it kapatid. Pahinga ka lang, and if possible, make resting, as routine as possible like eating. Why not, instead of delaying it for a grander more expensive trips. Sensya na – may pagka-rebelde talaga ako mag-isip hehe…

  2. “The pandesal, to me becomes sacramental,
    nudging him mysteriously to open up
    to his light within,
    and the sun’s,
    and God’s,
    while filling up those empty spaces of one’s stomach.”

    nothing more crucial than to aknowledge that we (human beings) don’t live on bread alone but on every experience of God’s love ang light– His word becomes flesh in us.

    A million thanks for this. matutuwa dito si Kuya Cesar… at ang may imbento ng pandesal… at ang Maylikha ng lahat ng bagay sa mundo…

  3. I read bro. Jun-g’s post and having read your own post, I can’t help but comment…your insights are inspiring as well. I know we all can resonate with Kuya Cesar’s story. What struck most of us, I believe, was the fact that he came in full circle…I appreciated how you captured this. You are right, it is not just about the profit but the sentimental value it stood for him. Thus we can call it sacramental…the pandesal points to a larger reality…it points to his experience of God. His pandesal story is a witness and a testimony to God’s providence and love. And nakakatuwa lang because like the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves, this pandesal story served as a parable to all of us. I think in this case, Jun-G was the little boy who offered the three loaves and 2 fishes to Jesus, by sharing to us Kuya Cesar’s story.

    • Hi Renee, first thank you for dropping by. I just visited your site and it’s full of insights. Can i add you up to my link?

      Your comment makes me pause for a while. It is very interesting – how you see Jun-G being the little boy who offered 3 loaves and 2 fishes. I like to stay for a while with this image that we can turn into a couple of questions – who points us to the Great Eucharist? and, have we become pointers, guides like the little boy, towards the Great Sharing of the most profound Bread humanity has been offered ever?

      • dFish, thanks for dropping by. Sure, the pleasure is mine. As I have shared with a friend before, the consolation for us writers (bloggers) is to know that what we share is source of inspiration and hope to others as well. Again, the buck does not stop with us. it has to point to a far greater reality.

        Hope it is ok if I link your site as well in my sites.

  4. i like the analogy…or better….i love the analogy…
    …the eucharistic meal was an everyday business, with annual recurrence during the time of jesus….
    …..pandesal is an everyday affair…no one does not die in the philippines without even biting a pandesal….
    ….it is our symbol of existential reality….as the eucharist is for the christians….
    …i am not sure if im getting sense here..
    …i do understand perfectly the image…but words are scarce as i typed this comment…
    …maybe it is part of the whole mystery within me and beyond….
    salamat…

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