I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness-- Jeremiah 3:3

Friday, November 19, 2010


Didto sa wa
Nasirhing bintana
Ang gitukod tang
Palasyo sa bunbon,
Mangamay nako
Sa nagtuya-tuya tang

Ang akong panan-aw
Nianang bintana,
Makita pa unta
Ang gakang-a nga
Sa atong palasyo
Sa bunbon.

Buot kong
Agdahon ka
Nga lalinon ta na lang
Kining atong
Lapos nianang
Bintana padung
Sa atong palasyo
Sa bunbon.

Matag lingi nako
Ning lantay,
Mangapyot ang mga
Ug pyait
Nga mipilit
Sa mga gingi
Ug giwang

Sa lantay tang

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kang Vincent

Asa na gani tong
Nagliyok-liyok nga
Mga silaw sa asul
Mong langit?

Mao ba kadtong
Mga silawa
Ang mga bulak
Nga imong gibilin--
Mga bulak nga
Hangtod karon
Wa malarag?

Hain na man diay
Tong mga nagyamiid
Sa imong mga bulak?--
Mga bulak nga
Kaluha sa bulok sa mga
Nangumbitay sa
Kalangitan sa
Imong kagabhion.

Kanus-a ko
Kaha mahibalag
Ang imong kagabhion
Nga way kalainan
Sa bag-ong

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


How can today be smothered with blackness when God himself wrapped today and even the coldest yesterdays around His finger? It's amazing to be seemingly ambivalent today despite the biggest answered prayer being slapped right into my unbelieving face. I feel numbed by the many smudges of tragedies on my sleeves lately. I could have jumped up and down in a couch as melodramatically as Tom Cruise did in Oprah. Yes, it would have been more fitting to publish to the nosy public I am the new Cinderella. The fates have noticed my humble cries finally. But there are no "fates." They are but mythological creatures created by the human culture who would rather prefer to be scared or to be swept away by myths and romances. In all these things, it is God.

It is God indeed, all the more it would be fitting to pick up a megaphone and use it while I do my testimony plus the unceasing tears of joy coupled with lots of amens and praise the Lords. But unexpectedly, I have stayed silent. My mouth is heavy with praise, that's what seems to be the nearest explanation I can offer. There's too much to say. But the fact that finally God answers my prayers is too overwhelming for someone who has stayed in a desert. It's water at last. Right here in front of me, so crystal clear, shouting at me. THIS IS IT! Much like the first time, when I saw my daughter's nostril flared and mouth flew wide open gasping for air for the first time outside her comfort zone after 9 months. Hah, such a moment. It felt like I was the one who was in need of more oxygen. Until now, breathing is a miracle. My God is indeed my father. He has made me wait. The waiting was real. It was rough and stormy while I sat still. It was long. But now, I have stopped waiting. And it feels like all the pain in the waiting days have seemed to disappear. All of a sudden it feels like pain and waiting never took place at all.

God indeed is wise. How could I ever miss that. At the most perfect time, He kept his promise.

I am a regular teacher again!

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Revisiting an old place not only brings healing, but it also tunes you to the right frequency so to speak. I bumped into this realization lately. It happened when I came to smell the busy air once again in what used to be the hub of Cebuano shoppers and business, perhaps the oldest there is in the Visayas-- Colon.

Right now, the business there is not as promising as during my college days. In those days, Colon was the place to be to the bored and to the shopping freaks alike. These days, it has become the home of "ukay-ukay" industry. Call it the sunset of Colon if you please. I call it the dump site of Pinoy salvation. It's not meant to ridicule the hopeless state of affairs of Filipinos nowadays. It's both a comfort and a fixation of sort. It's a salvation to those who could not wade through department store racks of brand new clothes. It becomes a fixation, sort of like an addiction really, for men and women who are hooked in the blinding twirl of fashion and market brand names at a very affordable price. And yes, I should count myself in in this addiction. What with finding crispy Giordano shirt for just a matter of less than two hundred box or a pair of Nike shoes for my Kiny for just 80 pesos. Ahh, Colon and all its perks ( and don't forget the snatching spree every now and then, which definitely adds color to its history, I suppose).

But a few days ago, I was there and found something else. Or should I say "someone." I saw what looked like a two-year-old girl. She was there, in tattered dress with her family in the same fashion state. I guess they have made the hallway of that establishment as their bed space for their nightly rest and the murky ditch nearby as their bath tub. I watched the mother for a full half-hour feeding and then bathing her girl, obviously the youngest of her four under the rain while having her dip her toes in the ditch once in a while. I heard the oldest boy said, "Ma, I thought baby has a fever. Why bathe her?" And that question brought me into a momentary trance where I saw series of deaths of two-year-olds in our place due to dengue just days ago. I'd say, it has become a deadly epidemic in my neighborhood these days. And that fear and anxiety that wracked me up that instant made me stop and want to grab that girl from her seemingly uncaring mother. But what could I do, instead of doing that or even moving on to dig for another rare find, I went home, slumped myself, tear-drenched beside my sleeping 23-month old daughter.

I watched her sleeping soundlessly unmindful of what was happening with the other kids like her. I watched her. I still am. And I am resolved to stay that way.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Silence can become my shield. It used to be my sword when the enemy is too much. The world is mean. While it is true that it is a privilege to exist, it is a war here--a war, bruises and all, I am bent to conquer and win. As of yet, the fog has not cleared. The sky up there has not hinted a win. And it hss taken a long time. IT IS a long crawl here. And I'm dying with anxiety and fear. The survival instinct of a frail human being is starting to get too itchy inside, it's hard to sit still. Needlessly, I'd say, Job and Hannah were incredible saints. How could they wait that long and trust the God who said He exists (regardless of time and distance) so tenaciously?

Of course, who am I to ask too many questions? Who am I to question God his ways? I don't see what he sees. But often I also use this kind of reasoning to him when I attempt to pull the string of that heaven door for him to listen to me or at least if words are too heavy, for him to feel the urgency of the tugs I manage to muster just for him to bend his ear towards me. I often hear myself say, "Lord, what am I to comprehend what you have in mind. Who am I to understand all these things I'm anxious about? I am the smallest of all worms. Listen to the cries of this worm who doesn't know much, who is not equipped of understanding what greatness it is that wraps your heart. I often forget how good you have been. I miss many times what you want me to hit. I am too slow and hard of hearing. Remind me again, O Father, of your great intention. I am the dullest student there is. This hardship I'm wallowing now is causing this system failure. Teach me again. Show me. Answer me. Rescue me. Hold out your hands before my marrows surrender to the mud."

I am surviving and trying to pull up my chin as the mean mud around is now right up to my neck. I am fighting the flow of mud now pulling my weight. But I am still here. I am holding on to the greater weight that's pushing me onward.

And what's giving me strength to write this after a month or so of solid silence is his promise in Isaiah 43:2. "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you." What a promise! What comfort!

Am I glad to have found solace in the God who reigns even in the solid quietness!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Ang mga tipaka

Nga imong gipamunit


Mao ako--

Ang abog

Nga imong gipamapha


Friday, July 30, 2010


Tana Dong,
Ibilin na
Nang karomata
Didto sa may Freedom Park.

Bayloan ko na lang
Nang dugay na nimong ginuyod
Ug pinutos nga trak
Gikan sa Toy Kingdom
Sa SM.

Ipatimbang ta
Ang tanan nimong
Pito na ka tuig.

Sad ang mikunsad
Nimong kalibutan
Sa aso
Nga imong gipabulhot
Sa sayo sa kadlawon
Didto sa mga nangamig nga
Sa Ermita.

Tigumon ko
Kining mga upos
Nga imo unyang isalibay.
Ilubong ko
Sa lapok sa
Aron ugma
Wa na kay balik-

Sunday, July 18, 2010


GOD is not a man that He should lie nor a Son of man that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and then not fulfill? - Num. 23 :19

Promises. I used to believe them. Each one of them. I tried building my nest of hopes around them. But as I grow a little older, I squirmed every time one starts to sweet-talk to me with promises. Actually, words are cheap to me unless I see "tangibilities." I became distrustful and cynical to people who are too good to be true, men for instance who are too princely. I'd rather kiss a real frog.

But of all the things that I put my whole 50-kilogram heavy self in without reservation, it is the Omnipotence's promise in Numbers to his people of old that quiets my usual anxious heart. It may have been written for more than two centuries ago, but the certainty of such a promise has never failed to bring every single child of his in a rested state of trust and waiting.

I, for instance, has more than once, made decisions that must have changed the track that I follow. But in all cases, he always manages to send me bits and pieces from his word that keeps me intact even in times of utter loss and helplessness. Some major changes in my life had caused some tremendous adjustments in terms of lifestyle and family outlook. As of late, I have learned to see things at its most basic and I count practically each drop of rain that I could muster and take it to its full use. With that, I have learned to appreciate the small things. I have managed to dream the almost impossible--to live the most simple, austere, and the plainest lifestyle there is. I count this as a tough challenge considering the one that I got used to was way too frivolous. Let's just say, what Shakespeare said, "Frailty, thy name is woman" spells the weakness I have with "woman's stuff" that I continue to wage war against.

And right now, it's the most earth-shaking resolve I have to live with. Not only because we only get half of what we used to get as income in the house (that is only secondary) but I'd say, for a Christian woman to separate herself from the material world of deceit and lies, going back to the basic and getting the hang of it is an urgent must. After all, hasn't he promised, "... and all these things shall be added unto you"?

Saturday, July 17, 2010


I am a bicycle
Your rusty windows.
Stubborn vines
Now creep
And twine around
My unmoving wheels
Wheels that hold on
To your steadfast
Walls of bricks--
That refuse to
Despite the weight
Of my ruthless

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Tell me again,
What is it that we have?
We have
38 moons of laughs
And bumps,
Some tropical suns,
November monsoon winds
And a hint of coal-roasted
Tinabal or fried anchovies
Topped with crunchy
Visayan lines from your
Marshmallowed poetry.

Monday, July 12, 2010


If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up
! (Ecclesiastes 4:10)

I could be the dumbest one. It would take me eternity to process that a bomb has just been dropped right to my face. And there in that small coffee shop I broke down when I learned that the weeping lady in front of me is leaving the country in less than 12 hours to New Zealand.

It would have been a different story had it not been someone else. But Nimfa is the most unlikely but the dearest of friends that I found in my Cebu Normal University days--days when friends were few. There are only a handful of them. I call ourselves the inseparable threesome--Ben, Nimfa, and me. Ben and family left last year to migrate to Canada. And as expected Nimfa is off the shore now to fend for the family and do what she does best as a professional, teaching IELTS.

I knew eventually, she'll be gone, unreachable and quite far when proximity can be the only cure to some life's maladies. I became emotionally vulnerable when I began to think that I would be alone facing my own quirks and eccentricities not to mention my stupidities which multiply even as I grow older each day. I thank God for these bundle of gifts in people. They never cease to amaze me when I am as helpless as a dog. Friends have been a great cushion bag when tossed here and there. To me, they are a good picture of Christ. I hold on to life as I cleave to them. But now one of these people that I truly call my friends has to go and wade the cold waters of distance.

Such news sure broke a valid stronghold I have put my frail self secluded in. But I am all right. I made sure I will be. I am a grown-up woman. She would be back of course. And that would be a happy day. But I get a feeling that it would be a little odd not seeing her as up close as before and as often as my wont via the seven-peso jeepney fare.

In all these seeming losses, God must have allowed some lone travels in some cold valleys not for my marrows to get the chill but to get my unmoving feet to a corner I am meant to go alone.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


I want to sit by the pavement as Job did
When sores were plenty and
Nights were many.

I'd rather wear his flesh of scabs
With thorns and scorns
Darting here and there.

If I could wait as his heart did
Then into this quiet I will hum a lullaby and
Unto that valley of scattered remains

I will come home.

Friday, July 9, 2010


I cannot allow my little dainty self-worth be bludgeoned by the bulges that shout at me in the mirror every single day. My pathetic self cannot even flip through my long-time untouched deplorable closet. So three months back, I decided to give my frail little self some good spanking. I went back to watching my slowing metabolism and my eating unnecessary toxins (as if there are necessary ones). I had to lose the flabs or I would die in misery buying another set of plus-size "ukay-ukay," the price of which has by the way dramatically skyrocketed lately. Screw the cunning businessmen.

Along with the burgeoning curves comes the thinning of the usual carefree self-esteem. The euphemisms and annotations from friends and family do not make things better despite the right intentions. Losing the unwanted does not, as always, happen overnight: be it pesky people, discarded relationships, redundant tragedies, uninvited guests, unsolicited quips, or extra flesh. I don't trust the quick remedies. They don't work too well with many people contrary to what they promise in the ads. What works well for me is less food intake per meal and less money when I go out, so buying extra "yums" is out of the question.

Losing the extras after having a baby is an uphill climb really. But patience wins in the end. Eventually, once you're back in "the shape," you would know how thick with lies people are when they tell you, you are much better now than before with your trim bod and all when they are the same people who mouthed, "You still look fab. Never mind the fab. You are even better that way." Call it euphemism or a rewording. I call it an unnecessary lie. Well, people are very physical. You can't change that. You bump into a friend, and he would spill the usual, "You've gain weight" rather than "I'm glad we saw each other." That is that, as flat as you can get from every one.

As for me, I take that as a good signal to check the inches. It's good for my untouched closet, for my aging body, and frail self. Oh, and yeah, the genuine pleasant comments from onlookers can do wonders at times.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

where strange shapes and dreamy lights reside

It's confirmed. The hapless likelihood that age brings upon man has fallen on me. I am half blind. Well, not really half blind. That's just what I feel right now. What I used to observe from "40 something and up" people who couldn't read lines up close without a reading glass is now the predicament of my wretched self. And this tragedy has occurred to me a few days before I turned a year older. While others got it at half past forty, it came to me way too early.

It's one of the saddest development of my reading life. I couldn't imagine bidding adieu to my books in the shelf and what about the ones I have yet to enjoy of course. It's a dull existence, no doubt. And I hate eye glasses. But what can I complain about? I just borrowed these things that I usually call my own. This and many other things. I probably would have to trust this help they call eye glasses. The longer I delay wearing a pair of these spectacles the worse my eyes have become. It's a fuzzy world really. But while the eye glasses are yet to come I'll enjoy the mist around and probably write a line or two about the darker corner where strange shapes and lights reside.

Monday, July 5, 2010


How do you think would a mother of a 19-month-old feel upon hearing the loud thud of her tiny tot? Hah, all the shakes of Mt. Pinatubo erupting came to me that day when Shekinah descended from her hammock down to the bamboo bench and on to that downtrodden cement floor head first. I was more afraid of a possible damage in the neck and bone that could either send her crippled all her life or render her dreams useless when she grows up and sees herself strangely far from normal.

I was at the store tending to the customers when that happened. My brother-in-law who was near didn't know how it went. But I was doubly petrified and I remembered my helplessness when I prayed for her to come out from my womb safely. I made a solemn vow to Him up there that I would take care of this gift. At her age, she is helplessly exposed to all kinds of freak accidents. I'm back to praying that old prayer of safety and protection from the great father up there. I do not hold her tomorrows but I'm hoping a mother's resolute prayer would pay in the end.

Right now she only has a light scar in her upper lip and a few marks here and there in the head. I couldn't help but imagine the worst. The paranoia I have works like a parasitic worm that continues to consume me in the inside. But no matter what, I know my God is the greatest father who controls even the wind and weather.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


I just heard the usual litany, "It's so unfair!" the nth time today. For a reason or two, I might as well readily agree. I have had the same round of spewing a hundred times already. And maybe we could say the world is unfair. While others seem to savor the easy way in and out of mess, we see ourselves entangled in the web of so many proceedings and goings-on to see the day through. While others brave through the traffic rules by their so called wang-wangs, we wade through it all in the middle of the heat to get to offices or appointments. And how about facing a giant of a task as formidable as Goliath himself with your inexperienced bare little hands? Ah, the hassle of it all. And we mouth the usual, "It's all so unfair!"

But in the grander scheme of things, maybe things are not quite unfair really. Maybe someone up there who in his infinite and all-knowing self does see that everything goes well for him to rightly deserve the tag, "the God of order."

We can begin to ask, "Do we see the whole scenario to decide what one should or shouldn't get?" Maybe not entirely.

If I were Job for instance, I would cry out "foul." After living and maintaining a life above reproach (there is no record in the Scriptures of Job's wrongs concerning his character, hence, the description), of all breathing creatures,why should it be he losing practically everything except the loud-mouthed wife? At that moment, boils, sores, and all, Job must have asked the most valid question heaven's ears must have heard, "Why me? What did I do to deserve this?" Hah, a classic cliched question this is. But of course, the poor guy (quite wretched, I must say, at this point in his life, what with losing family and possessions in a jiffy) was not privy to God and Satan's "friendly" negotiations. Well, in the end, after many itchy sore days, God returned everything in good order, even "doubly" better. You know the story. I just don't know how the wife and her mouth turned out though.

You can take Joseph the dreamer who, in the beginning,we might quip, "he must have dreamed too much to earn the ire of his siblings." My sister does not mince words when she sees irregularities in offices and dealings with people. What with a teacher who hammers on her students the code of ethics and the essence of freedom--quite the dedicated Civics teacher that she is. But Joseph took it all. And yes, like Job, he had no idea what was going on. He went from a deep bloody pit, to the prison cell, and on to the King's favored right-hand seat. That too and the rest of the story, I presume had been read and told a thousand times.

So is life unfair? For now yes, it would seem that way. Yet in our finite wisdom, we can never outclass God's wisdom. One broadcaster aptly said, "We do not have all the information." We don't know the attachments and the "finer prints" of things that we must have missed or misread. Thus, we can't truly say life is unfair. There may just be people who used illegal and unfair tricks to get what they had to get and "can" what they wanted to "can." Worst of all, they seemed to have gone unscathed and unpunished. But nothing is really unfair. Job and Joseph had dosages of those stuff. Chances are, at crucial points in our not so perfect life, loathsome rotten mess will gravitate to us. We will be tempted to spew the same litany. But we can think of the Job-or-Joseph episode and hope the predicament will soon pass.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Teaching is invigorating.It never fails to bring back the color of youth to my dry skin cells. True, the nightly sores in the back and legs, even in the aging eyes are still there, not counting the usual sore throats after a month or two of going back to my first love--teaching, that is.

It's not teachers' day today. And yet the returns I get from the look of education-hungry young students are incomparable to what any patronizing student could shower any teacher. Unlike what scores of friends would say, teaching does not age. Not me, that is. On the contrary, it adds years to my "past the midlife" boring existence. It is akin to taking a scarlet afternoon walk by a shore line stepping on but not minding the rough sands and broken shells along the way. On the contrary, playing with them with my toes could be fun.

I was full of energy the first day of class. After going around good-paying companies, here I am back in the arms of teaching.

I embraced the almost 50 something kids each class in an almost dilapidated school room in a "Prison Break-like" four-story school building. You are free to imagine the cells that Michael Scoffield and T-Bag were in. The noise and the number of roguish rascals of the prison cells and my class rooms are strikingly identical. Definitely, these didn't fail to send my entire physical self to bed feeling mangled up that first night. But nah, the joy of embracing the whole teaching career again after a good while is brimming from inside me going out spewing fireworks in all directions. I was practically smiling to everyone. And as expected, students who were used to the dour, stern teachers who either decide to put on Mr. Cooger's scary tactics or Arnold Schwarzenegger's old tricks to nail them immobile on their seats were surprised to see a smiling apparition in front of them. Hah, and I didn't understand why they were likewise smiling the whole time I was there. We were like mirrors of each other.

So they say, teachers are never well-compensated in this third-world country. As for me, I am already teeming with so much returns. I am practically simmering, wanting for more of this.


Asa man diay
Ang tubig-ulan?
Dili ba
Hagbay rang
Milalin ang

Namidpid ka
Pa man sa tampi
Sa imong nahubsang

Nakalimot ka
Ba nga didto
Sa kinatumyan,
Sa usa lang
Ka hangyo,
Ang mga linusok
Nga tubig

Sa daklit
Nimong pagtangla,
Ang tubig
Lapos sa
Kinabag-ang panganod
Padulong nimo
Sa pagbanlas
Sa nangligid nga tubig
Sa imong mga mata
Sa imong aping?

Monday, June 28, 2010


I have a stubborn affinity with the past. In times when I intend to rest my body for a pleasant lull, I just laze around or better yet recline in our dilapidated sofa and smother myself with pleasant thoughts in the past--people reachable only in the mind, events that can only be replayed in the head--gems I reserve in the back of my subconscious that would come in handy when the ride becomes rough.

At one point, I'd like to consider myself self-absorbed when I go back to those stuff of yesterday that boost my frail self. But in moments when you need the solace of the past and get some form of energy from it, you do all you can to reinvent yourself. While others do their parlor and mall routines, I do my thing I call "me time." And in moments like my birthday, I'd like to go back to one of these to add pizazz and fireworks in my usual quiet celebration. One of which that I pulled out from that subconscious shelf yesterday was an email I got in the recent past from Mr. Urias Almagro, one of the poets I so respect these days. Such surprising letter from him about my poem, "Sa Imong Barutong Papel" just fed me with the same high in the same intensity I got the second I read the email.

Hi Gina,

Gipadad-an ko ikaw ning email aron pagdayeg sa imong balak,
Sa Imong Barutong Papel.
Alang kanako, kining balaka maoy labing maanindot nga balak sa atong
pinulongang Binisaya hangtod karon. It is the best Visayan poem
I have read so far.It is just wonderful.The tone, the imagery -it
is very very well done. Congratulations. Kon papili-on ako og napulo
ka labing maanindot nga balak nga Binisaya, ang imong balak
maoy akong pili-ong numero uno.

Buot ko usab ikaw nga pasalamatan sa imong balak,
Sa Gakang-a Mong Pultahan, nga agig tubag sa akong balak, Unya.
Wa ko damha nga ang akong balak makatandog sa laing magbabalak
hangtod nga mosulat siya og laing balak mahitungod niini.
Giisip ko kining usa ka dakung komplimento. Nindot usab kaayo
ang maong balak. Daghan kaayong salamat.

Ako ikaw'ng sultihan nga usa ka sa labing sumosubang nga
magbabalak sa atong pinulongan karon. Akong panghinaoton
nga magmalampusan ka sa kanunay sa imong pagpamamalak.



Although this might be a matter of opinion, the timing was just right. The moment I got this was when I needed some good reason in believing what I do. And these are moments I'd like to savor delightful surprises like today for instance, when poetry becomes one of my only solace.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Once in a while I get to bump into students in the past years. Some find me in the net and blogs. They get to say thank you at the most unexpected time in my life. Times when teaching has taken the back seat. Times when I thought I got nothing worth coming back to, notes of gratitude and mushy gestures come flowing in. And you know most of them are sincere because they take pains in finding their literature teacher to say what they have been wanting to say, now that most of them are teachers as well.

It does feel good. An affirmation or two that you have given plain justice to what purpose you are to serve in any corner you are dumped into does wonders. I don't necessarily hope for them. But it brought the mush down home.Thirteen years in the service could have been enough to say not anymore. In those thirteen years, I buried my face to semestral class records, test papers, and lectures; took all the chalk dusts and let out zillions of litanies from Old English literature to nostalgic Afro-Asian modern literary creations which until now ring afresh in my head (and continue to still give me the itch to do a lecture or two which I could not to my toddler, at least not just yet). I even took the beatings the usual young teacher gets and more--all those students who would do stunts to send their English teacher to Timbuktu and yes, how could I miss all those unthinkable stunts that work mates perform to get me shaken up. It took a while though to get used to the not so pretty things in a classroom existence. Indeed it took years before the zing became a stubborn itch. Ah, what a "high" it is to teach.

But if there is one woman that deserves what I get right now, it's not me. Definitely not me. It's my Sunday School teacher who happens to find bliss in teaching elementary public school children. There is no one that I have known thus far who is as meticulous and as creative as she was and is in her classes. Her classroom is always a wonder. Her students remember her fondly. Parents look for her to take care of their kids even if their kids are already past her grade level.

Needless to say, because of teacher Myrna Villalon, I look at the teaching profession as a noble woman's job. I am dazed by what magic tricks a teacher can do with her chalk and pen as her magic wands.There is no ifs and buts. When one chooses to be a teacher, he plunges his heart and soul into it. Sleepless nights are to be the routine. And in a topsy-turvy schedule a teacher has to juggle, it amazes me how Mrs. Villalon is able to keep her family well-taken care of. All her kids are straight A students in top universities and are all in one faith. Ah, such is a feat I sure hope I could duplicate. Aside from the charm in her smiles and the warmth of a mother that people find in her, she does have the gravitas and grit only a godly woman has. I don't know what special strategy she uses in her class and with people everyday, but it works for her in tremendous ways I can't explain. All I know is that her steadfastness in the church ministry is unparalleled.

You don't find her charms in her words though. She is as blunt as a thunder when she rebukes. There had been days that I get to have the bitterest reprimands from her. Her words were not too easy to the chest. But taking them in like they come from a parent were worth it.

She remains my teacher regardless of time and distance. At times when the frail girl in me does not see much reason to see more years in teaching, I think of her and the other professors who spend their lives to see boys and girls become men and women of integrity.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


My only luxury at the moment is coming home to my toddler with my equally tired pumpkin. It is not much but it works wonders to my tired bones and aging head. Gone are those days when the soul looks for shelter in the noise and clutters of city entertainment junctures to find relief after a young mind is barraged with the harsh demands to keep up with the pace.

I did try to put up with the pace. But I was glad I was able to rebel from all those molds. They are still there. In fact people measure your worth if you fit right in. It still makes me sad for often stuff at work gets to use the same measure. But I am finding home in the little books my daughter asks me to read with her and in the arms of my husband who may not say much--All these and my father's grace are more than enough to get by.


Government offices are cluttered not only with papers and backlogs, but also with all kinds of office mates that are a lump of different cultures, desires, motives, anxieties who are saddled with unthinkable hang-ups in life. It is a tough world. When one has nothing but a frail ego and a questionable support group to come home to after the routinary 8-5, chances are he would get the deadly working world virus and the lethal infection goes on and on from the newly infected to the next unsuspecting newcomer whose only aim is to survive the decent way possible.

This could prove why it's healthy to refrain from attaching oneself to the walls and edifices that we often submit our future in. It is, as I observed after more than a dozen years of working, neuron-healthy to choose to move on after one has served a good number of years and not call his office his second home. While hopping from one company to another company could likewise be unreasonable, one has to know when to let go and when to stick his butt on an institution.

Of course, if I were to choose, I would rid myself of the hassle of moving from one edifice to another for that, too, at certain points, is quite stressful.

But there are relationships that are quite damaging in the end, like it or not--connections that should stop at one crucial point and need not continue. One you need to give up to keep the little self intact. To keep another room open for a healthier bond that need not sap the energy one's soul has to sustain.

As I move on to another world, I am getting myself harnessed as early as now, especially now, when I'm beginning to see people with quirky stares in the middle of hurried hushed conversations. People who may not return the sincerity of my smiles.


(Kang Nyor Mel, Ury, ug uban pa)

Inig kayab sa mga gangis
Magisi ang mga tabil.
Ang teatrong
Ang mga bulok
Nga midayan-midayan
Sa entabladong biniyaan.
Unya mutabon ang gadag-om
Nga telon.

Muabot man ugaling
Ang mga bag-ong tingog
Aron mupasundayag
Sa tungtunganan
Sa mga banggiitan,
Sa gihapon
Ang luna
Sa mukaylab
Nga mga gangis

Bisan kanus-a
Dili gyud

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Tell me, Johnny,
Where does your solitude reside?
Is it nestled in the breeze
That frequents in the corners
Where your strings
Whipped the air
For the undead?
Or does it lie in
The hollows and in-betweens
Of the unsung pieces
That lay breathing
Underneath your casket
Somewhere in the wild?

Where can I flee
To catch its limbs?
Will it send me
The hush that froze
The day when they snuffed out
Your tune?
Can it snatch me from
This tumult that gapes
And grows mutely
In the random dins
Here below?

Just where is home, Johnny?
Where is solitude?
Did you banish it
Into the world
That stood there
And watch you go
Into the night?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


While I was clearing the cabinets and closets,I found the dusty doll my CNU literature class gave me on my last days in the university, the day I decided which battle was worth the while. Had I known I would not see them graduate, I would have left the birthday gift, the only one that I accepted from students, in those walls. But it was meant to be taken home. At the time, I didn't understand why I had to. I'm not comfortable getting presents from students. Seeing Shekinah oogles with delight seeing it might be one of the many reasons why.

But all right, I admit, no matter how I hide this little part of me, it is bound to show. I am mushy, sentimental poor grown-up girl who never got a real doll when I was small. It was always a makeshift doll or a downtown plastic creation bought at Colon streets where they abound. But so what, on that day, finally, right on my 36th birthday, I got a real expensive doll, way too pretty for my rough aging hands.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


While it is true we sometimes put on variety of masks every day, it is likewise quite true that we need to put down these masks one by one at the end of the day, when you're all by yourself together with your pillow, muted by the heaviness of the returns you get from putting on those masks on a daily basis.

I manage, yes I definitely can, in a week or so to be resilient in the midst of difficult times such as these. I just need my pillow, my husband,and my prayers, then I'll be all brand new the next day. But tonight, if the enemy knows what to hit, I would definitely be knocked out for a good while. The day is father's day, yes. But along with rejoicing that I have a man beside me who is more than a good father to my toddler, there is also a quiet pang inside, one that bites, and by the damage it makes, some good sense in me might be consumed gradually. I have been through this before. But these days, it has been raining thorns.

Let all the pourings come, be they in different dark colors, I can face them. But when a mother sees her toddler awfully sick, having a hard time breathing, that's another battlefield she's gotta learn to face.

Right now, I am a front liner in this raging war. And I cannot in any way try to put on another mask to show I am strong, that everything is all right. In fact, I am tired trying to be strong. A mother can only ask it is her finding a hard time where in the world all the air went or what's keeping her air stream tightly shut.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Giunsa mo man
Paghangyo ang
Gipakunsad ba
Nimo si
Nyor Gabriel
Arun tagdon
Ang nabuni mong

Kapila na kaha
Maghitak ang
Salog sa imong
Mga pangaliyupo
Dihang ikaw
Unya muhapa
Aron samokon
Ang langit
Sa imong mga

Giam-aman mo sab
Kaha ang
Nangluod nga
Nianang kapunawpunawan
Aron matultolan
Sa iyang hayag
Ang dalan padulong
Sa nagkang-a
Mong pultahan
Sama sa pagtukas
Sa nasawpan
kong taguangkan?


Truth be told: I would have jumped up and down if I were a guy and was given the societal go signal to flirt with the women specie. That's what I thought. At least before today.

The waiting takes so many aching sleepless nights. And in those hapless nights, you entertain a lot of options that would go ways you do not initially plan. Worst, sometimes you plunge in the momentary certainties to grasp what solid wall you could see instead of waiting on what seem to be a fuzzy possibility. Getting the yes of a prospect girlfriend is a mountain climb. What more if it were God's yes.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Years may not be quite enough to teach us to let go of things that do not lie in our hands. We still reach out grasping for things that do not dangle in our fingers anymore. For instance, I worry about how in heaven can we get the next can of milk for our toddler in the next few weeks when promise of work is nil. I could go to a pawnshop and kiss good luck to my jewelry or cellular phone or go to a friend and borrow some cash. But even then these would still amount to another money problem a few months from now.

For many a hundred times, quiet miracles have come from nowhere to answer God's children's pleas of many kinds. The Scriptures has been explicit about it. What the psalmist said echoed what David testified, "I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor his children begging bread." And yet here I am still ramming my head off to our empty atm and wallets worrying, staying up late at night clambered by this monster called worry. We lay there wondering where to get the next day's food.
But as Harold Sala quipped, "Let God do the night shift," so why would we?

Friday, June 11, 2010


It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)

Tough call. But I guess, this does not only apply to the Christians under the temptation of getting enslaved by sin once again. It's about freedom as well from what once engulfed us relentlessly some three centuries back. As mushy as it could get, this still gives me the goosebumps. Freedom does.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


It's tremendous what anxiety can do to the waiting psyche. It becomes the most solid stress the brain can't afford to entertain.

That said, I had to brave the odds of uncertainty and had to go to the office of the institution I desired and prayed with fervor so to speak for months now. I went there to hear it from the executive about my chances in the company since I am ranked number one, knowing that even the highest rank could still be jobless if no institution needs the service of an incoming instructor.

I'm glad I did it. Although, there wasn't much of a promise that day, I got the information that I desperately need. It all boils down to the waiting and the will of the great man upstairs.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


This pleasure of putting life and lines down on paper is a bizarre thing to do. It gives the itch and the growing pains all at the same time.

Sometimes, you can't say to your head or to your pen that today I will write a better poem. Sometimes the touch is not there at the moment. Not even if you bang your head or dance to Bryan Adams' mushy beats. The waiting aches at times. And it gives you some room to grow even more or sometimes, it gives you some blank days or even blank years until it comes again in torrents.

But in this attempt called art, the truth should come off as a breeze, as though one has never heard of it but one that people could hold on to when plain words are short of the oomph.

But the hullabaloo is not about the oomph itself, but it is about dishing out the pathos in truths without the schmaltz.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Rain. Yes, it is still about the rain, not just the thunder. Being ranked number one would not amount to anything much unless bread is found on the table.

Ah, the honor, got me so overwhelmed. God has been so super sweet and kind to someone like me. But I still think of the rain. I am happy of the thunder. But the rain has yet to wet this earth, this cracking earth. The wilting days should be over.

Monday, June 7, 2010


It's June all right. But rain is a broken promise. Just like a commencement of a brave new world has no backbone so to speak. So where's the new world of a promising job? My most solid answer, I HAVE NO INKLING YET.

It's June all right. And all I could see is a splinter of a few unsure loose jobs, tutorials here and there. The bleaker the future looks now, the more nostalgic I get of the things I used to take for granted. Well, if anything, I will need enough gall to go back to zero and trust the hand that put me up there before.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Inig kilomkilom

Samtang gahudyaka ang mga gangis

Ubos sa bugasong langit

Pahiton ko ang akong wait

Sa pagpaabot

Sa gipasalig mong


Friday, June 4, 2010


Kanang imong mga pahiyom

Tulunggon sa akong

Matag Gabii

Nga gaduda kung

Mubalik pa

Ang kadlawon.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Ahh, how does one snatch these smiles again when not long time ago these have been her rampart when the rustles of the once sane world have gone away for good? It must have been true what they say, good times never last long. They stay for a while but they go leaving you wanting for more.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


I don't remember how things worked out well for me as a tiny tot long time ago. Things were simpler then. I still see vivid images of Lolo Matthew and Lola Saring more than I remember how my Mama was like in those tender years. I guess I know why. And right now, I understand the circumstance she was in. In some of her bitter moments then, I felt unwanted as a baby. How can I dump all the blame to her weary chest, when everything that made her whole had seemed to made her world crumble to nothingness. I couldn't grasp the complex world that got me in the middle of a crossfire. But I grew up and at 9 long before I knew the hand that actually rocked my crib, I found refuge in a small, almost dilapidated church, nearby. The crossfire was bearable finally.

My Mama grew up in Sunday School classes way back in Mindanao days. I knew the Lord came with her all the way to Cebu when she fled like a scared young girl. She had me when her world was about to rise to its peak. She fled from it all. She had me. She almost wanted me off her belly. But she had me. The Lord rocked my cradle there. Best of all, He rocked my weeping mother to this day. And gave her a better life.

So how can I, in these difficult times we are in, ever doubt how things would work out in this scary world? The heart gets scared no doubt, but I hold on to the hand that rocks our cradle.