Easter Vigil 2010: “I Do!”

Something profoundly amusing caught me last night during the Easter Vigil. I was carrying 27-month old Hans as he held the lit Easter candle with his right hand. He was wide-eyed over the steady flames in rows and lines from the choir loft to the outflow on the wing sides of the church. It’s those dotted darkness that remains so endearing to me through all these years, the simple interplay of paradox that a linear mind is easily silenced: Creation out of chaos, or the pregnant silence from the tomb. Meanwhile, the talo catcher that Mommy had cut out from a DVD cover had it underneath faces of Alvin and the Chipmunks. Being a chipmunk fan himself, the creatures also became his distraction as he punctuated the surrounding silence with a murmur: “Daddy, munks.” Amusing enough to me already to laugh. But the more amusing part came during the renewal of baptismal vows, my most awaited part. Because every after “I do” of the congregation, Hans overheard it and duplicate with an almost eloquent “I do” for both the west and east sides of the ritual.

I was thrilled that moment, having at the back of my mind that if there is one sacrament that Christians must pay with contemplative attention equal to the Eucharist in this age of postmodern chaos – it is BAPTISM. This is our common heritage from the Holy Trinity, a gift always with the goad for me to claim as boldly as i can: “I am loved. I am loved by the Father. I am safe in the Father’s arms, even in death.” The Cross is telling. The Resurrection is telling. It’s only a matter of saying “I do believe” in words, silence, and deeds.

I need the fire to keep saying “I do”.

So i keep…


Uncle Jose: Thirsting a Man’s Presence

Grief is in the air. What with all the ghastly news of murders and massacres we intuitively associate with MEN. Let’s tweak the issue a little bit. Men-victims of domestic violence seem a silent statistic, isn’t it? My Uncle Jose’s death was a case in point. I was not in his funeral rite nor have visited his grave yet and so I have been wanting to honor him in a small way through this tribute, while keeping in mind also the silent men-victims of domestic violence. Do souls read blogs also?

You were a man of short stature, burly and big-hearted. You were a model of compassion but also a family icon of disciplined ambition. Your life’s vision was as sharp as the command of your eyes; the steps to your dream, as snappy as your gait.

How else will I remember you except with admiration. I admire you foremost for taking charge of your life, and for your heroic journey to break free from the bondage of inherited male complacency. Yes, at a young age, I noticed you joining those drinking spree but only to celebrate from your abundance over your favorite wild boar’s meat. You were the male disciplinarian, with my flighty father often at the hot seat of your brotherly rebuke. To anybody you can be as straightforward as a steady judge. But you can be concern as a loving confessor. You were quite an integrated man.

Why you married in your 40s was not within my childhood curiosity yet. Perhaps as a dreamer, you had more control of your sexual impulse than any of the men in the family. I suppose you had your mind set on the way out of the cycle of complacency, of the wayward trend of family resources wastage, of the alcoholic alter ego, of the demeaning pull of poverty, or of the mess of marriage. Your delayed marital decision did not speak it seems of a poor aesthetic judgment. Assuming it was your free choice, you settled with a bonny mestiza rural girl way younger than you. You must have been ingenious in so many ways in that remote hometown of your wife. Slowly, I witnessed your shift of status from a run-of-the-mill construction employee to a rattan-enriched busybody. You were coming home blithe and bestowed with extra esteem. As a teen, I had breathed in your aura of confidence. There could be no smarter and sleeker man in the family above you. There was jubilation every time you rejoined the family during Christmas or town fiesta. You were always generous of your blessings and this generosity alone commanded respect from among your family and friends. My most vivid of your generous and sensitive spirit was how you bought my class awards and test scores every yearend. I remember how I would doggedly keep those exams because they were potential financial incentive upon your visit.

How you managed your wealth-generating rattan business in that remote place is beyond my retelling. There were only patches of stories about your praiseworthy demeanor in your business dealings, with your trademark soft-voiced diplomacy among the native rattan gatherers and your big-time buyers. I only heard the high level of your likeability among those you work with, evidenced by your being catapulted into a political office. Indeed, your success was as huge as those shiploads of rattan you supplied for your clients. I salute you for breaking frontiers!

Ah, but success, often, is escorted by the serpentine seduction of Satan. It is self-defeating for those ego easily swelled by its seeming eternal surfeit.The most evil of all happened to you, in the middle of your life of service and success: the total betrayal of your wife and your right hand guy who, in an adulterous connivance had murdered you. It was a couple of grotesque photos I received back in college – your body sprawled and bathed with your own blood in your own domicile. I couldn’t believe it – how the perpetrators could swelter with those relentless stabs of anger, horror, vile, ingratitude…of demonic force to the abysmal degree. God, forgive them. Your death simply silenced me in a painful way and for years.

“When we meet love, we kill love,” wagered theologian Brendan Lovett on the innocent death of Jesus. Perhaps, you loved enough to be hated; you loved enough at your life’s expense. I believe you did. You died as a good man, father, uncle and friend but not the kind of death you deserve. Do I have the calming answer to your fate? I can only hope you now are enlisted in the League of the Nailed Innocents.

I apologize for this long overdue tribute; grief at that time was a word foreign to me. Over the years, I am learning its art and necessity. Please know I miss your big man’s heart for the world. May your peaceful spirit joining Great Spirit intercede for us – men who are still trying to break from the small and big bondages of this world.

Alyansa Mamuyangay (Sinurigao Post)

Ini na, nagsugod na sab an kabibo sa baryo. Ako lamang ini binisay-on kay basin molaong an ako cockfight mga ig-agaw na way kana kay ininglis, dili masabtan nan ila mga klasmits sa buyangan. Motoo kaw na dili hisabtan na inin ako mga ig-agaw mga nagpaka-gradwet man iton na kolehiyo?

Hamok an ako pangutana nan paghidungog ko nan ini. Sin-o may una nakahuna-huna nan ini? Politiko ba kaha o mga ordinaryo na mamuyangay samtang naghigop-higop nan sabaw nan nilat-an na bihag na may pahilis na Emperador? Butang ta politiko an nagpalujo nan ini, dili man siguro lisud imajinon na aja gadjud magpa-pansin para ibigin kintahay nan mga mamuyangay. Kon ini na ideya gikan mismo sa kuno ubos pero nagkanat an kwarta na hut-ong nan ato katilingban, posible pa na katuohan an ila reklamo na tagaan sab sila nan bentaha sa Kongreso. Pwede sab na aja na ini sakji nan mga politiko kay hibayo na man kita, hapit na an eleksyon.

Nahikatawa ako sa pangutana ni Arnold Clavio sa ila promotor na an ngayan si Nid Anima (way kataw-anay nan ngayan): “Uman badja, dili pa igo na adto kamo magpatabang sa mga Kongresista na mamuyangay sab?” Hahaha. Ya pay labot an mga gobernador sanan mayor sa pangutana.

Balitaw, lain-lain man siguro an ato reaksyon: an iban, aja taas an kilay (kon may kilay pa ayang ayang man); an iban magpibuhakhak rakan bahala pungag; an iban, aja kayot sa uyo sanan buhok bisan nipis na; an iban, amo ra lamang gihapon, hamok an pangutana. An iban sab – “utot nila, umay dako kon maghagudhod tanan list-party sa Malakanyang” (klaro gadjud na way panhimangkaagan kay imbes Kongreso, adto man idasok sa Malakanyang). Kon jaoy nangalipay nan ini, wayay lain kondili an mga mamuyangay mismo.

Pero an ngayan na “mamuyangay” lain-lain badja an kategorya. Amo ra gud nan “manginumay” – jaoy grabe ka palabayong, jaoy moinum ra lamang kaisa sa isa ka semana, jaoy modimdim ra lamang nan isa ka pilsen pag-uli nan bayay gikan sa tarbaho, jaoy moinum ra kon may okasyon parehas nan kasal, bunyag, lubong sanan kasal, bunyag lubong (tagtudjo ko ini). An pinaka-grabe – jaon modayag pa nan sanggutan bisan bayong na karadjaw. Nan kuman kay inin lain-lain na klase nan “manginumay” kay lain-lain man sab an mga interes pampersonal, an tarbaho, an mga ranggo sa katilingban, an tag-gikanan na pamilya, an mga koneksyon. Kon pananglitan adja sab sila mag-organize nan Alyansa nan Palabayong, an pangutana – kanin-o man interes an gusto protektahan o kaha dugangan pa – an kan manager nan bangko na Bouchard ra an imnon, o kan iyo na sige ra inom kay nagpinuluho pagpangita nan tarbaho?

Dili ako kon mamuyangay pero hibayo sab gamay nan inin buyang. Parehas sa mga manginumay – jaoy adik nan buyang na magdukag an alima kon dili makagunot nan manok, kwartahan, mga opisyales nan gobyerno, mga young professionals pero estambay, mga igo ra mag-atiman nan manok kay swerte an alima pirmi daug, tig-timpla nan hilo para sa tari, mga sindikato. Kuman, kanin-o man interes an protektahan pa o kaha dugangan pa sanan uno man ini na mga interes? Kamo ra kay paigo sa idjo tubag. Ajaw lamang ako palat-a nan bihag kay kahas iton nan gasul hahaha.


Photo credit: mattplask

San Nicolas Academy of Mainit: Alma Mater


Dili marmol. Dili sab kon carpeted an corridors. Wayay kaugalingon gym, way aircon na audio-visual room. Hangtud kuman, waya kapintali na kahoy ra gihapon an nagtindog sa tunga nan lungsod. Bisan an ngayan, nag-anam na kaukang an pintal. Kon kusog an uyan, mabasa gamay an sayog. Kon maglunop an danaw, makakita kaw nan hinayhay nan mga namakwit. Unoy ikapasigarbo? Daku-dako na ground, suod sa simbahan sanan grotto nan Mahal na Birhen. Kasagaran sa estudyante, bagtason ra (mas gana magbagtas sa una kon iban an crush). Sa ato pa, menos an polusyon na nahiambag sa global warming. Dimodo kay gamay ra an populasyon, magkilay-anay gadjud gikan sa First Year hangtud Fourth Year.

Kay regular iskedyul man an pag-rosaryo, an iban an tinuod aja ra kapugos mag-ampo. Kay waya may school guard, dali ra sab an pagsibat. Kay suod ra sab sa tiyangge, kon tabo didto maghagudhod. Dimodo kay Katoliko na eskuylahan, dili mawaya an retreat sanan recollection, sanan an tinuwaway. Pagkahuman, bugoy ra man gihapon pwera ra lamang sa mga nilugdang gadjud an pamalandong ni Brother.

Kahayag sa kayag pero kon maduyom, kay ya may suga (jaon na siguro kuman), an ganahan magpadugyom, jadto ubos sa landong sa mga bitoon – naghinunghungay, nag-ginitikay. Amo ini an eskuylahan na ako tag-gradwitan, lakip na an mga kabuang. Kahoy na eskuylahan, puthaw na panglantaw. Ako isa ka alumnus, ya pay nahimo gawas sa pagtudlo kaniadto. Naningkamot ra lamang na magbinut-an. Hibayo ako, an iban didjo, sige taya nan lotto – ma UP graduate man o MSU. An iban sab, jadto, sige pala nan snow nan ila grahe sa laing nasud. Amo man lamang, may kwarta o waya, engineer o fulltime nanay, blogger o labasera, molingi man gadjud sa SNA na may pahiyom sanan pasalamat, bisan hamok na utang na papel an waya pa intawon kabayari.

Wayay nay kasipugay. Nakahuman o waya, gunit lamang sa mga pangandoy daya paninguha. Kondili, ipasa iton sa sunod na henerasyon. Kon nahisukamod kaw, hala, bangon. Sa mga SNA Graduates of 2009 – CONGRATS! Bugsay sa danaw nan idjo pangandoy. Kon kapujon, taghoy-taghoy lamang panagsa. Pagawas nidjo sa kahoy na eskuylahan – bato, puthaw, aluminum, marmol, carpet an idjo gid-an, hawiran, ingkuran. Dream big. God is big. More noble if you can dream for God. Pero ladjo-ladjo na ini na biyahe sanan way tayaay sa lotto. Pakapin ra lamang – hinaut na an seremonyas dili sa simbahan parehas sa amo sa una kay an simbahan, para man intawon sa tanan maninimba. Amo ra. Happy Graduation, SNA!


Photo credit: Lumon Zimm nan Pidjanga Blogspot

Uman, Moato Kaw Sa Grade 5?


Kon nakadumdom kamo, an ato asaynment mahitungod sa pangatnig (bagan nahimo na ini na virtual classroom na ya raba gajuy nagpa-enroll pa. “Hmm, dajawa lamang Mr. Mozol inin imo pag-maestro-maestro,” kon si Maam Noemi Mondano pa an pasultihon). An tinuod class, hamok na gadjud an ako tanhikalimtan sa Filipino Subject. Ugsa man, kon mo-intra ako sa Kakasa Ka Ba Sa Grade 5, ini na subject siguro an magduhoy sa ako nan kalabasa. Na kay kon motan-aw ako nan ini na game show kada Sabado kay bagan aja man ako mag-review nan Filipino. Nahikatawa ako isa ka beses kay an jati na Janno, tag-unahan ako nan ato asaynment. An ija pangutana bahin sa pangatnig. Adto na, taghungit na gadjud an answer. Gusto ako motaas nan ako alima pero nagpanagana sab kay dili ako kon sure sa ako answer. Sanan isa pa, bagan tala kintahay ako na masintaas nan alima.

Balitaw, sa ijo tan-aw, makasisipog ba ini na mas hibayo pa kita kon uno an definite and indefinite articles kaysa sa iba’t-ibang uri ng pantukoy? An ako duda no, dili ra kita mga Bisaya an bagan way panhimangkaagan sa Filipino Grammar, pati siguro mga Tagalog. Sin-o may basulon na kon may English teachers, may Filipino teachers man sab. Parehas ra an sweldo. Parehas may mga loans. Parehas an uniform. Inday lamang kon parehas maligo kada adlaw? Di, patas ra. An problema sa ako tan-aw, kay waya may ato mabasahan mahitungod sa panghalip o pang-abay sa Inquirer o bin Bulgar. Sa una, uso an komiks sama pananglit nan Wakasan sanan Happy pero molaong baja an manunuyat: “at doon siya nagbigti (pandiwa)”? Di ra ba gadjud. An Liwayway buhi pa pero sin-o pa may sinbasa para mahibayo pa gadjud unoy pangngalang pambalana? I-load rakan sa cell an ipalit nan Liwayway. Na kuman kay mas libog na man hinoon kay aja man isagol-sagol: “Wer u na? Dito na me.” (An kinuga, wrong spelling pa man gani badja an “dito”. Correct spelling daw is d2. Na hala, kon amoy ijo ikalipay.)

Filipino Teacher 1: Unoy lamang kapasingdan nan ato tagtudlo?
Filipino Teacher 2: Umay dako sab. Total magdawat ra man ako nan sweldo.
1 & 2: Ah, mag-loan kita, maradjaw pa (grabe, dungan man gadjud).

Ya pa kita maghisgot nan “chorva” grammar ho. Na-nay, unoy lamang kaugmaon ni pangatnig? Write a 200-word essay, mga chuvachiens!


Photo credit: mjecker

Mabayong Kuman Pasko

Sugod ngaj-an, hamok na sab mangabayong. Bisan uno ka purdoy, pag-abot manger1sa inom, bisan unhon makainom man gihapon. Kon way motangway, pila ray pag-amot-amot. Na kay kon jaoy seaman na barkada kay hagbay ra man an lima ka case na tangway. Paagi man sab ini nan pagbanyas nan pila ka buyan na kamingaw sa barko. Basta sugod ngaj-an, hamok an mag overtime pag-inom: an iban aja na apasa, an iban mangujit na, an iban magsindigwa na, an iban manggawas na an ininglis, an iban magminaro na (jabhan gamay), an iban magpasumangil na mangihi pero di na mobalik, an iban arang na kapuya an wayong, an iban mangilog na nan mike, an iban magpihisajaw na.

Kuman na Pasko, hinaut unta na mangabayong kita tanan sa wayay puas na pagpakatawo nan Ginoo sa ato kinabuhi kada adlaw. Maradjaw na Pasko didjo hurot, hilabina na sa ako mga lumon sa gawas, lakip na sab an binendisyonan na lidgid na may latik, budbod na tinambiran, biko, maja, sayongsong sanan espasol.


Photo credit: Richard-o

Class Bibo


Ako kintahay si Maam Alegre.

Maam Alegre: Okey class, pass your assignment. Sikalaong kamo na nahikalimot ako ho.

Ronald: Aw, jaon bajay asaynmint?

Vivian: Maam o, si Luzvimindo, sinpanguhit.

Maam Alegre: Diin man kaw kuhita?

Vivian: Sa ilok. Kaina sa labot.

Maam Alegre: Joven, ingkod raw. Amo ra man kaw nan superbaysor. I said pass your assignment.

Joven: Waya Maam, tagpuyot ko ra an ako bolpen.

Junno: Maam may I go out. Mangihi ra.

Maam Alegre: Sige ra lamang kaw ‘maam may i go out, maam may i go out’. Naj-an na.

(Juno sa hunahuna: “Uno man baja ‘sir may i go out na sab?’. Dili sii kaihion.)

Eugene: Kadugay sab magbagting.

Maam Alegre: Uno gani an assignment? (Aheem)

Margie: (Taas an tuo na alima) Maam – kon unoy maradjaw – may pencil case o waya?

Maam Alegre: Very good. Hala pass na. Margie, dali anay, kopyaha anay ini sa blackboard , page 33-37. Class, copy!

Vivian: Maam o, si Luzvimindo!

Maam Alegre: Joven, unoy sin panaw-panaw! Ingkod! Hay, ma-high blood ako dijo!

After 37 minutes.

Margie: Maam, ya nay chalk!

Mga bugoy: Yehey!

Maam Alegre: Na hala, continue tomorrow. Next assignment – ano ang pangatnig at magbigay ng mga halimbawa.

(Waya na, pati pangatnig, naamong na sa blog.)

To Maam Alegre, salamat sa mga kabibo!


Photo credit: Vanman McDez