Sunday, June 28, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
As soon as they arrived in Lubuagan, Guinnaban was baptized to Christianity by Fr. Belucci and named Benedict - after St. Benedict. To Guinnaban, the name symbolized hope and courage - and he liked the sound of it!
The abrupt change of environment though, had made him and his family uncomfortable. There were sad moments that they thought of going back to the simple life in the barrio. It was difficult for them to adjust to the ways of the progressively booming town. The good priest however, insisted that they stay on as he knew Benny was a brilliant boy who could pursue a much needed education for the sake of his people.
The following school year, Fr. Belucci enrolled him at the Parish secondary school.
On the very first day, Benny was already taunted by his classmates. “Hey, what’s your name?”
“Benedict” he would reply.
“Benedict? that's a fancy name, huh? Far from your ugly, Kalinga name.” then the group would roar with laughter.
“ Let’s see if you can live up to it, “ laughing, they would leave him speechless at the center of the school’s quadrangle.
They frequently picked on him and made fun of him. “Here’s the native,” they taunted and ridiculed him.
On the 5th day of school, Francis the most intelligent of the class, challenged him to a spelling contest. Benedict was reluctant to participate, as he was brought up by his parents believing that a truly brave man did not have to prove himself.
But the whole class jeered at him:" C'mon, you - from Taloctoc, let's see if you know something, " and they refused to allow him to leave the room.
Thinking that it would do no harm to anyone, he accepted the challenge and stayed. They unceremoniously pushed him beside Francis; he could see the beads of sweat mushrooming in Francis' excited face as he gleefully grinned at him.
Each of the students started yelling words for them to spell.
"pneumonia," one shouted.
"Use the chalk dumbo! Write " Francis snarled at him, "Let's see if your teeny weeny brain recognizes words."
Images from: All Free Clipart
There were two students assigned to both blackboards to check what they have written.
After each word, the uproar grew lesser and lesser as Benny had been able to spell the words correctly.
Unknown to them, since Benny's first day with Fr. Belucci, he was allowed to use the old priests' personal book collection. He devoured them like someone starving, and spent every free time savoring each page of the variety of books available for his perusal. He even started reading theology!
"And what is this all about?" a voice thundered from the doorway.
Everyone turned to meet Mrs. Garcia's unsmiling face. "What are you up to, now Francis?" her piercing stare made Francis wince.
"Err... we were just having a spelling contest," he was meek as a lamb in front of Mrs. Garcia.
The teacher took one long look at the board and said sternly, " the two of you, come to my office, right now." Her manner was succinct but there was a hint of pride in her tone.
Francis got most of the scolding as Mrs. Garcia was aware of his boisterous behavior at times.
"Let me finish what you started," her voice was gentler now and there was a twinkle in her eye.
"Spell liaison" , she motioned to Francis.
Francis stood at attention and proudly blurted out, " L - I - A - S - O - N" .
Mrs. Garcia - her face expressionless - nodded to Benny .
" L I A I S O N", Benny enunciated each word deliberately.
The teacher happily tapped the shoulder of Francis, " Now we have a new champion, Francis ," she strode towards Benny and intoned excitedly, " You are correct! I have high hopes we will win the championship this year. From now on, both of you should work together."
As days laboriously passed , it was evident that academically, Benny performed better than Francis - to the other one's obvious chagrin. In fact - he was the best in all categories - be it in Mathematics, English, Literature, or Music.
He had an eye and a heart for all extra-curricular and academic pursuits. He was the Grand Champion in the Math Quiz bee, the Spelling Bee and had won the Short Story Writing Contest sponsored by the English Society.
He then earned their respect and admiration. No one dared to taunt him anymore. Everyone wanted to be in his list of friends.
He graduated from St Theresa’s College as the Valedictorian of High School Class ‘ 76; with 6 medals: the gold, the leadership medal, the Insular Life gold, the Best in math, the Best in English, and was awarded "The Most Outstanding Graduate."
(TO BE CONTINUED)
GO BACK TO UMMA AYAM CHAPTERS
Sunday, June 21, 2009
The mournful chant reverberated through the small four walls of the hut…” Aieeeee”.
Guinnaban - 9 at that time - was cowering in the eerie shadows. He was staring at the wrinkled woman wailing for the gaunt, pale corpse laid on the long table. The head of the corpse was at a grotesque angle, almost totally severed from his body.
“ Uma nangwa kansika anna?” ( Who have done this to you?) the woman wailed even louder.
“Aiieeeeee”….. everyone joined in and the hut became a cacophony of mournful cries.
The barrio captain motioned to the elders for a conference and they filed outside, their faces grim and murderous. Outside, a heated and frenzied debate took place.
Finally, the barrio captain raised his arm and shouted amidst the din, “ Intakkon no, umma uwayon yo, ittod tako kanida de kingwada.”( Then what are we waiting for? Let’s avenge his death.)
And so a full blown “tribal war” had began.
Guinnaban, grew amidst these bloody chaos caused by two warring tribes, who both fought for domination over the municipality. He accepted it as a way of life: the constant refuge in the deep forest even in the stillness of the night when the “enemy” had come to attack and the code of silence even when all he wanted was to protest at the top of his voice at the injustice of it all - these had become routine occurrences for him. And at age 10, he had stood as a sentinel on one of the night watches.
The “enemy” did not select their victims. Women and children were not spared by their avenging spears and bolos. Men had their heads always severed from their bodies, as a symbol of victory. The victor would bring home the grotesque, bloody head and would proudly display it like a trophy in their barrio. The warriors would dance gleefully around it till the wee hours of dawn. Head-hunting was normal and considered a warrior's noble deed.
It is for this reason that women and children did not dare venture outside their barrio’s perimeter unless escorted by warriors.
He was 12, when a Belgian, missionary priest , Fr. Carl Belucci, visited their far flung barrio. Everyone was wary of him. What did this white haired man with a long aquiline nose want with them? He was not the enemy surely but might he be a spy? No one wanted to welcome Fr. Belucci and his companions to their nipa huts.
Guinnaban could not explain what prompted him to approach the priest, “ You are not here to help us, are you?” he queried, his big round eyes - probing and curious.
“I am here not only to help, “ the priest said in his soft, mellow voice.
Guinnaban believed him. At his age, he had a keen perception of people. He can perceive just by looking at people's eyes, whether they were sincere or not; and he knew, the priest was his salvation.
From then on, Guinnaban served as the altar boy in each Holy Mass the priest celebrated. He began to listen to Fr. Belucci and learned that there is salvation for everyone, even for his enemies.
The elders however, were too far gone to forgive and forget whatever the sins of the past were, and continued with their thirst for vengeance. Some younger men, pleaded with the elders to forge a peace pact with the other tribe to end the senseless war.
They started proceedings but it seemed that their efforts were futile, there was still no vestige of reconciliation.
It was at this time that Fr. Belucci was called back to the parish church in town as it was becoming increasingly dangerous for him to stay on, in the barrio.
“Do you want to come with me?” Fr. Belucci asked Guinnaban, two days before his scheduled departure.
“You can continue serving as an altar boy and can go to school simultaneously.”
“But what about ina and ama?” Guinnaban wanted to go, but feared for the safety of his parents.
“They can come with you.” The old priest patted his head.
So on that gloomy, Monday morning, Guinnaban and his parents got what little was left of their belongings and joined Fr. Belucci in his 5 hr-trek to town.
(TO BE CONTINUED)
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
And this is one of those instances in which I was so taken by the talent of this young man - LORENZO BERNARDINO a.k.a. ZORLONE - that I decided to blog about it!
To confirm my personal judgment, even the writing community at Helium.com has recognized his talent with his very first article entitled Writing for the Love of Writing , and had ranked him highly. His "Signs Your Wife is Cheating on You" is ranked 1 by Helium writers, and to think he isn't married yet. Need I say more?
This poem was written by him - impromptu.
Oh, I forgot to mention that he is a practising medical doctor, specializing in internal medicine. Isn't that amazing? A superb combination : A doctor-cum-poet!
Read his Cinquain and be the judge.
Here's what he says:
My attempt at cinquain:
Frustrated feelings unfold
Overwhelmingly delightful expression unfulfilled
Every sip invites
Satisfaction of another company
A Blank Verse he composed in high school.
And my hands are stiff, this body is adrift
Alone I felt and deep inside I cried
Such pleasure it was when I have found you
Lovely, sweet, unforgettable and true
All those treasured times I know we all had
I never did want to say our goodbyes
I don’t want to leave these friends in my arms
For we are destined to be together
If we separate, there will be no peace
But our hearts will remain in troubled grief.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Mabuhay to all the top picks! - Justin, Zorlone, Jennifer, Deeptesh, WebbieLady, and Roy, Ferox , Izzy: you're all winners for me. Keep writing, guys!
About Poetry and Writing
Jena Isle – “Poets and Poems” - Are poets defined by their poems?
Dragon Blogger – “Chance Encounter” - Random word poem about falling in love with a girl who works at a register.
Zorlone – “War Cry” - "To me this is like a tale of the redirection of energy. From one source to another, energy does not go away it is only redirected. That is energy from the electricity of nature, to energy from the electricity of human souls." - Straberry Girl
Jennifer M Scott – “Broken Cacophony” - A journey into the surreal complete with an original picture drawn by me.
Zorlone – “Goodbye” - "Saying goodbye is the hardest thing to do..." - Snow (This is a poetry challenge by Jenn Scott)
Deeptesh Sen – “Angel of the Dark” - Surreal love and fear....and some soft magic!
Webbielady – “Her Garden Has Something” - Her garden is her passion. She did not ask for any return but one day something unexpected came up and she could not believe it!
Brought to you by PlotDog Press with the Serial Suspense Screenplay "Intervention"
(WOOF participants should re-post all the links above by next Monday. The following links may be excluded as long as you include all the above links.)
Presenting the finest of the writer’s blogs by the bloggers who write them. Highlighting the top posts as chosen by the June 12, 2009 WOOF Contest participants. Want in to join the next WOOF? The next contest ends June 19. Submit a link to your best writing post of the last 3 weeks using the form on this page. Participants, repost the winning link list within a week and you’re all set.
Other WOOF Contestants for 06/12/09
Deeptesh Sen – “Boatman and some love songs” - The divine, a girl and a boatman.......the air of surreal tunes.
Roy – “numbed” - a heart turned cold... frozen... numbed... because of a broken trust
Roy – “One-words – Death” - an attempt to sound poetic using only one word per line
Dragon Blogger – “Reflections from on High” – Random word poem about our place in the universe.
Zorlone – “A poet's meal: Oven baked” - "...writing something is like cooking something and then sharing it to your readers. Also, creations do start from dreams which are fueled by inspiration." - Lucrecio Emerito
Dragon Blogger – “Unfinished Book” - A poem challenge to use the words Verbum Me Vocat inspired this poem.
Jennifer M Scott – “Verbum me Vocat” - A poem about writing verbum me vocat means word calls me.
Jennifer M Scott – “cold heat” - A somber poem.
Jennifer M Scott – “When the Lights Go Out” - Hoping for the power to go out because of a thunderstorm.
Jennifer M Scott – “May” - A poem about may in acrostic.
Ferox – “The She-Demon's Anatomy part 2” - Part 2 of an encounter with a she-demon in a fantasy story.
About Poetry and Writing
Izzy Daniels – “How to avoid messing up your post schedule” - This is a post on ideas to prevent messing up your writing schedule.
Izzy Daniels – “How flame can actually benifit you if you use it right” - Most people get hacked off when some flames on their article, but what if you could use the strong critisism to better yourself and you blog? In this post I give you the reasons why keeping flame is actually good for you.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
It was a summer in 1960. Tinang was busy fixing the breakfast table for her children when she announced that she would go to the city to visit the kids’ father. Some of the smaller kids were not really paying attention to the announcement, as they were very eager to take or even fight for their share of the meal.
Like any young woman after the World War II, Tinang married early. She and her husband lived a very simple life; toiling by day and procreating at night. They both worked in their farm then, in a small town near the southern tip of Cebu. Only corn grew on the rocky soil. But they also lived near the sea. The sea produce was plentiful, and kids learned to fish at a very young age. So it was both farming and fishing that let them survive.
With the absence of any information about family planning, she gave birth almost every year. At 40, she had already given birth thirteen times, including twins. Sadly, only nine survived. The youngest is about half a year old. Thus, the increasing need of the growing family forced the husband to look for a job elsewhere.
The husband worked at a foundry in Cebu City, 120 kilometers away from his family. Tinang schedules a usual monthly visit getting the allotment from her husband, and budget the scanty amount to feed the large family.
Life in the province was hard for such a big family. Even having a rice meal was a luxury they cannot afford. The kids were forced to help. Since the eldest died right after birth, Nina, the second child, carried the responsibility of taking care of her siblings when the parents were away. At a tender age of 15, she was only able to reach grade 2, having to quit school every time her mother gave birth.
Boning was next in line. Like Nina, he was also responsible for taking care of the other siblings. He was also allowed to go with the uncles when they went fishing. School had no appeal to him. He declared he’d rather plant corn or catch fish than go to school.
Tinang then gave the usual instructions to the elder kids. They nodded, afraid to speak up. They knew that any sign of disobedience would result to a harsh beating. She then picked up the baby crawling on the dining table and gave him to Nina.
After everyone finished breakfast, Biboy, the third child, raised his hand. “I’ll go with you, Ma!” All the other kids looked at him. Then they turned their gaze toward their mother. He was barely ten, confident, and considered to be the smartest of the siblings. He was the only kid who loved school, even escaping from work just to attend classes.
Many days he heard him talk about the city. Mostly repeating the descriptions he heard from his father, and emphasizing his determination to work and live there someday. He boasted that he’d finish college so that when he grew up he won’t be fishing or farming. Nobody encouraged him to dream beyond their simple living, he was just an ambitious kid.
“No, no you can’t. You better stay here. Catch fish and plant corn” Tinang said with an angry look at the young boy.
“Ma, please” Biboy begged. But she just ignored him. She had to take the 9 AM trip to be able to reach the city by afternoon. With rough roads and the dilapidated buses, the trip will take at least 6 hours.
“Ma, please let me come with you” Biboy pleaded again. The other kids just watched him. They knew that he’d be punished soon. They’ve seen it happened a lot of times. Boning and Nina did not attempt to stop their younger brother too. They knew he was a persistent brat. They even wished he’d be spanked right then and there.
“Now go away! I’m in a hurry”.
Unnoticed, Biboy took her mother's slippers and ran outside. Though they walk barefooted in and around the house, he knew that she can’t go to the city without her only slippers. It was one of her only decent possessions.
Then she began to look for it. All the other kids were pointing at Biboy as the culprit. She screamed at the top of her lungs. “Biboy!” Any minute longer, she would surely miss the bus.
From afar, Biboy pleaded. “Ma, please.”
“I said you stay here. Don’t be stubborn, or I’ll spank you till I see blood. Now, where are my slippers?” Tinang shouted.
“Would you bring me to the city if I find your slippers?” Biboy let out a naughty grin.
But Tinang got more angrier. She chased Biboy with a broomstick. But he was too quick. They ran around the house, then to the corn fields. The bus passed by with the familiar honk. It was the only bus to the city that day, and she was too far to signal it to stop. Her fury continued after missing her bus. She was cursing and shouting. Biboy froze upon seeing her mother turning redder. At last, she caught up with the kid and then beat him almost to death.
The wails of the little boy echoed in the hills. Nosy neighbors got curious too. But they had become used to it. Biboy saw his dream vanished. Perhaps, he thought, it could wait another day. He only wanted to see the city but he got bruises instead. Blood was flowing in his legs and arms. The mother was still unrelenting and unforgiving. She dragged the limping child back to the house.
Almost an hour later, neighbors had gathered around to discuss the bad news: The bus Tinang missed careened into a cliff a few kilometers away from their house, leaving more than half of the passengers - dead.
She was silent upon hearing the news. She could not believe she missed the trip to limbo.
Biboy stopped crying too. He also heard it all.
Tinang looked at his bloodied boy for a minute. Tears of regret began flowing from her eyes. She moved towards him, hugged him tight, and thanked him for saving her life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ceblogger authors three "Potent" and "Notable" blogs namely:
"The poems and stories here are written for the entertainment and satisfaction of the author. A fully edited text is not guaranteed. Errors and mistakes in grammar and spelling may be everywhere. However, if you enjoy reading the stories, the author will appreciate it more if you leave a comment. If you find the stories way, way below your taste and standard, you may not visit again."
I like the poignant feeling this short poem evokes: untitled poem from a hopeless romantic.
And he has two- sentence stories too , like "Reunited" .
He has many more creative posts in his writing blog, so don't forgo this chance to be entertained by his witty and ingenious posts .
He says this about himself:
"Ceblogger is N.F. Trapa, a Certified Public Accountant, currently based in Cebu, Philippines.
He was born on a night in November 1975, to a loving couple who, despite struggling their way to get college degrees, were still able to raise their only son (and three daughters) and sent him to schools like UP and USC. "
Ceblogger.Com are his sports and random topics blogs where he writes about his passion for sports and other non-creative topics.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Looking from the inside of my comfortable hotel room, I could sense the North American winter cold. I gazed at a few snowflakes stacked in the window pane and tried to imagine a million different kinds.
I couldn’t quite place where the west meets the east. Except perhaps that I do know that it is daytime, I couldn’t see where the sun was.
I decidedly went out the balcony to enjoy the skyline and lit a cigar. On the roof of the next building I saw a lone bird sitting on top of what looked like a mechanized chimney. I thought it was a bit funny because most birds do hang out together. I guess this one’s a loner.
Being a night owl myself, I hate the desert heat but I do welcome the winter cold. But not the winter freeze. So my coming here in Vancouver on perhaps the coldest time of the year was both a relief and a curse.
Before I even came here, I asked some friends what the city was like. One said it was indeed a highly urbanized city but cold. Adding that the city itself has more than just the “weather kind” of cold, but that it also had that coldness that is devoid of the warmth that you expect from breathing humans.
Of course, I decided to venture on my own. A little hesitant at first, I provided myself with my typical “we’ll see” defensive attitude. What I had found would weaken my entire array of defense mechanisms. I found something odd and surreal; I had rediscovered the winter mist.
On top of that building contemplating the last of my cigar, I saw her. Slowly at first… then a sudden flash. Without me knowing it, she had wrapped herself into my whole being…. into my consciousness… all the way into places within me that I never realized existed. I was totally powerless.
Making love on the balcony where I first gazed upon her enigmatic soul, I was the Romeo and she my Juliet. The whole of Vancouver stopped dead in its tracks. Time stood still like an old scratched photograph. There was just that moment, captured forever, carefully etched in the canvass of my soul. There was nothing else. It was just me and my winter mist.
I walked around the city and embraced whatever the mist had to offer. The big city was like in suspended animation. The streets were filled of people rushing to the converging point where the Chinese New Year parade was about to commence. What was odd was the fact that despite the hundreds of people and cars up and about, I could hear no sound. Not a single one.
I was like a spectator watching an old reel of silent movie. I was warped into a different dimension, my own twilight zone, sucked into a personal black hole and transported to an entirely different new world. It was eerie and strange and yet for some reason, it felt more than just good. There is not a word yet invented that could really fully explain it. If Einstein could come out of his grave he would describe it as metaphysical. I would call it as it is, magical. I became the tin man who fell in love with Dorothy.
I never thought that at my age, I will still discover something magnificently wonderful. But I did. I thought I felt all the things I man could ever feel, but this… as surprising as it was, is something new. And it made me ecstatically dizzy.
Just like my love affair with the moon, the winter mist is quite extra-ordinary. I guess I can honestly say… she was unparalleled. Her distinct smell fills my entire senses. In my vision, her shadows seem so refined. Her echoes whisper ever so softly in my ears. The cold and haze of her essence gives me warmth that could last a lifetime of winter.
And for that I was cursed…. with the longing of her presence. Now I yearn for her to come back… fill me again with her gaze… and quite hopefully… stay.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
BURAOT has two blogs that I'm familiar with I Am Buraot and Anak ni Kulapo.
Upon browsing; however, I found also the following blogs. Let me copy an excerpt from his blog.
Start of excerpt:
Literary Ekek is now mostly Buraot’s raves and reviews. From blogger friends along the way, to must-read books and movies and dvd’s to gizmos.
The Antisocial is where Buraot tries to combine politics, critical thought, and common sense.
Anak ni Kulapo is his wacky crazy blog. This site is totally in Tagalog, so if you don’t understand the language, I would not recommend it. Really.
Ibangon Ang Bayan is also using his mother tongue, but here Buraot lashes out at the traditional politicians and the rampant corruption that had been going on for decades in his native land, the Philippines.
End of excerpt.
His description of himself is also so captivating and fascinating, I would not want to mar it with my own; so let me present another excerpt from his "About me" page:
"The author is the quintessential skeptic but a not-yet-so-hopeless pessimist. Impatient most of the time, hence the name, he yearns to discover the magnanimity of the universe and the infinite folly of human stupidity.
Despite being born from Catholic parents and was raised and educated by Franciscan and Dominican friars, he now considers himself Agnostic.
And while he took up Psychology, Philosophy and Law, he is now trying to dwell into Astronomy and Astrophysics.
He is a jack of all trades master of none, a little bit of an OCD with matching eclectically-charged mood swings. So after his usually high energy OCD boost, his body would always end up half-dead and his brain half-empty."He was born in Naujan, and grew up in the streets of . This reminds me of one superb blogger from Oriental Mindoro too - Jan Geronimo.
It is an honor to have him here with us, and the chance to feature one of his many unusual, poignant articles; we can call the book an anthology of sorts.
Need I say more? Let's give a warm welcome to one of our prestigious contributors to the book - Buraot!
Photo 2 by Hans Vink
Photo 1 by :mrMark:
Thursday, June 4, 2009
I once read a post stating that writers - specifically poets - do not really know the syntax and correct form of what they compose. The post also mentioned that poets should conform to these “rules”.
Well, I beg to disagree. To me, poetry is a creative form of writing. The “breadth” of ingenuity should only be limited by the poet’s imagination based on his own experiences and exposure in life. He is entitled to express himself the way he wants to, and in any form he desires. He has the freedom to create his magnum opus – that’ s why it is called a creative venture in the first place.
The written word should not however, encroach on anybody’s freedom and must not inflict harm to anyone. “There are three things you can never get back: lost opportunities, lost time and spoken words.”
Emotional wounds are more difficult to cure than physical wounds. This should be a vital consideration in the quest for that sublime work of art.
On a different note, the bond of trust should be kept and respected, no matter what the circumstances are. Now I'm starting to digress...
Back to poems! Allow me to mention two traditional types of poetry with an example for each.
Like the Haiku, this originated from Japan. It is composed of five lines. Lines 2, 4 & 5 are made up of seven (7) syllables, while lines 1 and 3 have five (5) syllables each. Here is my example:
Like a star, you shine,
Amidst the poets of time.
Lost in fame among new friends;
the old, forgotten and gone.
The ZaniLa Rhyme
This type of poetry has no required length as long as it is composed of 4 lines for every stanza. Lines 1, 3 & 4 are composed of nine (9) syllables each, while line 2 – of seven (7).
The second and fourth lines, rhyme with each other, while lines 1 and 2 don’t; however, there’s a re-arrangement of words in each of the 3rd lines. There is also an internal rhyming in this 3rd line. Here is my example:
The Cloud of Success
There you are, within my sight – afloat,
a mist, a soft miasma.
Glinting in a golden hue – rising,
a glorious vestige of a blue aura.
The mist grew tangible and formed,
a self-confident man.
Rising in a golden hue-glinting;
Fulfilled, successful in such short span.
Go forth, and search for your Holy Grail
a fervent wish I offer;
a golden hue, glinting and rising;
The challenges, for sure you’ll conquer!
Diverse styles were created by different poets and were then adapted formally. During the recent years; however, poets had dared to venture outside the confines of these structured poems and the free verse was born.
This goes without saying that, even if I don’t consider myself a genuine, gifted poet; no one can stop me from creating my own style!
I will name this type of poem as – ‘The Jenanian Verse”. Any violent reaction?
The Jenanian Verse
Basically, it would consist of 15 lines of free verse .
There would be 5 lines for each stanza.
Each line would be composed of 10 syllables.
The last line of each stanza would be a one - line summary of the first four lines.
All the 5th lines would be rhyming.
So here goes…
From a Mother to a Son
You tethered badly unsure of yourself ,
grasping for balance, on your baby toes.
It was a joy to grab your hand and hold
You upright, towards your goal and bright dreams
The murky, swirling waves of self-doubt gone.
You crave for my presence in all you did.
You asked, “Mother , is this okay with you?”
The treasured words, “I love you” ever there .
a day had never passed without your hi’s.
Your world, I was a part , just like a fawn.
But now you’ve sprouted wings and can stand straight.
You no longer need a firm, guiding hand.
But how delightful it would be for me,
If you just ask sincerely, “How are you?”
I miss you son, I hope you’ll visit anon.
Now, shoot me or sue me!
Kudos to all our gifted poets, Zorlone, Roy, Luke, Jim, Francis, Ken, Fiendish, Justin, and Joanne.
And yes, poems are universal! Wanna try your hand?
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
|Hot in Singapore||4|
|Up All Night - The non-clan clan||4|
|Self Improvement Ramblings||2|
|Ollie Mckay's Chic Boutique||1|
|Work At Home||1|
|Life After Work||1|
Monday, June 1, 2009
They said the sunset in Manila Bay was one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world.
Nimia thought so too, and she wanted then to witness it.
Even in the early stages of our relationship, she already told me that, and I had promised to take her there.
We lived in the province, although it was just a 2 to 3- hour travel to Manila, I was not really familiar with the area, and I wouldn’t have dared taken her to a place where we might get disoriented and lost in the dangeours, sprawling metropolis.
We got married several years earlier and got blessed with 3 kids; we were contented and happy.
However, every time Nem - as what I called her- saw a picture or a show which featured Manila Bay she remembered her dream of witnessing this popular tourist attraction.
Yes, I hadn’t fulfilled my promise yet at that time. Not even after our 5 years of relationship as sweethearts, or after ten years of married life; not even when I was assigned to work in Manila.
I didn’t know why I was not really comfortable traveling around the city, much less take her with me.
I lost my job - a banker with a position of an assistant manager who was supposed to be secured with his career. I found myself caught in the middle of my immediate superior’s unprofessional practices. I was asked to resign, even if I didn’t have anything to do with it. Two words rang in my ear – “command responsibility.”
I was even told to be thankful that I got my clearance, complete with separation pay… which is just enough to pay for my housing loan. So I left the bank without a cent to my name.
I was talented. I could easily get a job, especially since I had a clearance and a certification.
I was wrong. I couldn’t get myself hired. They said I was overqualified. This made me realize that my credentials suddenly became my liabilities. Either that, or they just didn’t find a decent word for overage.
Okay, I still had something to be thankful for - my wife was still employed. She taught at a secondary school in the city.
But fate wasn’t through with us yet.
You see, even before we got married, Nem has already been diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome - an ailment that affected her kidneys, as well as her immune system. She was actually advised not to get married nor have children.
But being the strong-spirited woman that she was, she fought to live a normal life. Even if she cried in pain every now and then, even if we were constant, annual residents at the hospital, she endured this agonizing condition, stoically. For more than 10 years, she went through the days like a brave warrior , never flinching with the increasing torment that grew day by day.
That very same year that I lost my job … she got worst.
Medicines were not able to support her anymore. We had two options – kidney transplant or dialysis.
I still didn’t understand the process of dialysis then, but I knew that a kidney transplant was an expensive medical procedure which we couldn’t afford. Her personal family problem had made it even more complicated - it was difficult to find a suitable donor.
The doctor said she needed to be implanted an AV fistula to prepare her for the dialysis, while we considered other options.
Because of this, she had to leave her job.
It was fortunate that Nem was a friendly and sociable person. With both of us jobless, my family and her friends had to extend a helping hand to sustain her dialysis sessions.
We were practically living on their support – alms, if you may consider them. But as much as they wanted to help us, they could only give so much, because they too had their own lives, with problems to manage as well.
There were times Nem missed dialysis sessions because we weren’t able to find money to pay for it. And these only made her condition worse.
Finally, I had to put up our house for sale; it took almost two years before we were able to finalize a deal with a buyer.
My kids who used to study in a private school were transferred to public schools.
In between, I was able to find small jobs, which paid nickels compared to what I was earning from the bank.
Unfortunately, I had to quit each job – not because of the meager remuneration - but because of my intermittent absences.
Any of these three scenario usually happened: I had resigned, or I was not promoted to a regular status, or I was cut off from service, read: terminated.
I couldn’t help it, I was absent because I couldn’t leave Nem at home.
There were times she cried in anguish, and I knew it had to be really painful for she had a high threshold for pain.
I was very happy when our house was finally sold. She would never have to miss a dialysis session again.
But Nem talked to me.
She realized the hopelessness of her condition; that no matter how many dialysis sessions she had, no matter how often they were, they wouldn’t really be able to heal her. These expensive treatment procedures were just prolonging her life… as well as her pain.
She told me not to spend all the money on her. She would be gone anyway. She was a strong woman.
I knew too, that the money would soon be gone, drained like water in the sink.
I didn’t intend to spend it all for her dialysis.
I intended to use it to make her remaining time with us happy and memorable. That was why I never left her side. I took her to the movies; we ate out, and then we went window-shopping at the mall… I did everything to allow our family to have a happy time bonding with her.
And then , I remembered my promise.
So I set a date to fulfill it. Nem agreed. She really wanted to see the sunset in Manila Bay.
I rented an air-conditioned van so that she would be comfortable during the travel. We left home early, and I took her to different places in Manila, with the three kids in tow.
At 4:00 PM, we were already at the bay walk, walking to and fro, watching the bay while waiting for the sun to set.
Suddenly, my son Edgar had a crazy idea. He asked me take his picture while ‘touching’ the sun. I didn’t quite get it, until he explained it to me. So I asked him to pose, while I looked for the right angle.
Nem was laughing at us while I was taking the picture.
When we saw that the picture came out splendidly in the digicam, we were ecstatic. The two kids followed suit… and I did too.
I asked Nem to pose, but she was too shy because people were looking at us. How can they not look at us? We were deliriously happy as evidenced by our strident, glorious laughter.
The sun was almost ready to set. It was a cloudy day actually, so the sunset was not as striking as we expected it to be.
But Nem didn’t care less. She was just happy to be there… watching the sun set.
I whispered to her, “Finally, I was able to fulfill my promise to you.”
She just smiled and said, “ Thank you.”
That was the first and last time we saw together the sunset at Manila Bay… because eventually, she too would have her own sun, set upon her.
I will never forget that day, May 19, 2007…
It was the day I fulfilled my promise to her… it was the day we touched the sun!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Roy dela Cruz needs no elaborate introduction as everyone knows that he is now a nominee for the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs for 2009 with his blog - The Struggling Blogger .
I always call him the "indomitable" blogger because of his resilience, dedication and "courage" in writing and blogging.
He writes his articles without fear of censorship.
He maintains 13 active blogs, namely:
- Be Inspired Now!
- Etsetera! Etsetera!
- Kapampangan Blog
- Letters To Mama
- Money OnLine
- more than just copy-paste
- Roysville dot Com
- Short Stories Blog
- Subukan Taya Ing Kapampangan!
- Sugar Coated World
- The Gospel Of Roy
- The House Of Puroy
- The House Of Puroy Enterprises
- The Struggling Blogger dot Com
If you want to know more about him, visit his variety of blogs, and enjoy!