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

Friday, April 30, 2010


I turned to go
Leaving a letter
Underneath your door.
One summer has gone
But I am still there
In the folds of those papers
Your door.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Kiwaw ang imong
Unang hangop sa lapis
Hiwi ang mga badlis
Apan duha ang suwab
Sa imong mga kuris kuris.
Ang usa milapos
Sa papel
Ang ikaduha
Sa natrangkahan kong


May 1 is the beginning of my faith party. It's a party in some abyss where I commune with darkness and perhaps with a pinch of light. I can only do one thing there and that is waiting.

I was given options earning a bit this summer so heads are kept above water. But not even that was part of my agenda, hoping that is what God asks from someone like me doing the faith journey. The odds are countless and, to my estimate, are pretty rough. But some who had waited in the past have been rewarded. I had done some of the most gruesome waitings as well. And through all those, God kept his word.

I don't want any reward for reward's sake. I just need his hand guiding me and my family to where things are in accordance to his will, a place where we are fed by the greatness of his faithfulness.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Ahhh friends, they are a wonder. They are a blend of colors more varied than those of the rainbow.

At times they can be as pesky as the darkest color there is but you adore them anyway. At the most unexpected ways, they just amaze you even with secrets dark or playfully light, secrets they once chose to keep but tell you anyway five or ten years later.

The laughters that follow the pouring in of facts carefully hidden from you are usually unending. But the jolt that the surprise of those supposedly not-so-recent news stunned me and had me immobile for a few seconds while my psyche traveled back in time wanting to sink all those stuff in. Hearing those things gave me a slight pang within knowing things must have gone differently had the confusing messages in the past been well received. As I said, I love my friends dearly. I would have done anything in their favor and doing such will actually become an ultimate happiness in my end.

But some roads have to bend to a certain curve more strangely than expected. I call that the will of a higher being. No matter how things would have swerved interestingly, the life I am made to live right now are in no way comparable to what man can comprehend and prefer. The gifts and favors God have provided me with are beyond imagination.

The juicy bits and pieces that are sprawled before me courtesy of my darling of a friend in Nimfa are of another world meant to fly away in space and never to be grasped by mortal hands.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


One should see every inch of wonder that a child sees even in the most familiar ordinary passing of time.

It is just too bad that all these keenness and sensitivity in a child seem to fly away when one grows older and gets accustomed to the molds of this world--molds that are man-made that snuff out the child in us so early.

But while a mother can, I will shield my Shekinah with the greater Shekinah's grace up there. I will have her see nature and commune with its beauty so that when she grows up, she will keep returning to these wonders.

She, in her young days, embraces the wonder of nature, like water for instance. Two days ago, she was back to the BRIGHT pools, to her beloved swimming with a bunch of her cousins and aunts to frolick with under the friendlier heat of the sun. Ahh, these are the days that I want frozen, every bit of it. I would not in any way exchange these with a single day of pizzazz and glamor anywhere else.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


(courtesy of JBering's shot)

Kung ang tinuod nga katahom

sama sa imong kahabog,

bisan ang mga buling

sa akong kalimutaw

dili kanimu


Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I am one who gets all the jitters when they are not called for. Job interviews, stage performances, first-day teachings, name it.

Today, I just got off from a minor skin allergy. And then first thing this morning just an hour before the observed teaching demonstrations, my stomach squirmed and burped like an insane dog. It started with minor pains and weird sounds graduating to unbearable pinches in the stomach. I had to flee, get a tissue from a 500-meter-or-so department store then on to a decent restroom. And even when I finally bade adieu to such "stinkiness," some little pains remained.

A few minutes before my 9:45 lesson demonstration, I felt my chest thumping endlessly. My head swirled a bit. And then came my turn.

As always, the inevitable scary teaching demonstration came out well.It did, sweat and all.

Monday, April 19, 2010


It's liberating to say anything without the usual sugarcoating. At other times, euphemisms prove useful. And that's the unwritten rule: be nice and easy to everybody. This is the vicious pattern. But there are just people who need the truth slapped to their face. A lot of times these days, I have plucked courage to do just that, and as expected, it earned me no sweet friends. But who cares, there are no real friends in this cavernous hole I am in anyway, even if I try my hardest. For friendship in this world in general are somehow based on ulterior motives apart from plain connecting and commmuning.

I have chosen a few. And they have stayed. These people in this cubbyhole are not much of a friend to me. I have tried to be as Christian and as Gina as I can get. But this crowd lumped in this white-washed walls remain far from the periphery of people I call my friends.

I was plunged to a past world worse than this where people measure their worth by other's acceptance. I rebelled against that. And that did not sell. And I make no effort to sweeten the effect it made on people. It often gets me into trouble, others life-defining, but I still detest it. I ran the risk of a lot of grinding with people because I simply refuse to conform to molds, especially ones that are preposterous and unnecessary. And after ten years in that world, I can only say I only have two or three that I can call friends.

I am leaving this small world soon. And I decide, there are no friends here. At some point, this world better learn to appreciate individuality. But of course I know it never will. It sticks to molds.

The world sticks to patterns.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


I thank God that some men listen and that they can promise to sacrifice their pride for what really matters.

It almost felt like a wrestling bout yesterday. Not with physical might though, but more of emotions and pulling heaven to listen to me. What happened in the past can't come back haunting me again. It was hell. It was downright pandemonic.

Thank God, that my husband chooses to give up his pride. But most of all, the man upstairs does listen.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Every wife has a burden that drags her to the pits once in a while. It is called the husband baggage. Every woman in the house gets this aching awareness and she only has prayer as her place of refuge. Whatever this little safe house gives her is enough to keep her wading through this slimy drag and out of it eventually.

Mine is no easy job. It often bleeds. Other wives may nurture some wounds due to their philandering men or vicious activities that rob them and their children of their men. As for me, it's about my man's principles, ultimately it is his habit of harboring resentment of some invincible people that rob him of us.

He seems to echo what Edmund in Count of Monte Cristo says, "I have lost everything, would you also rob me of my hate?"

As for now, I let him be. Gradually, my faith is shaken. I'm afraid of my daughter who is still developing her love for the church. And yet, I only have prayer and Him upstairs, hoping these are enough to keep us above water.

Friday, April 16, 2010


The sun is up. It's 12:45 high noon and the BRIGHT Academy pool is swirling with Shekinah's glee over the water strewn with balls of red, blue, purple, yellow, and orange. This is her first swimming pool experience. She swims with so much glow and giggles while I swim at the sight in awe and bliss.

This is the day that the Lord has made.

(Left photo shows her first try with a swimwear, ready for the pool plunge)

Thursday, April 15, 2010


On to the first step of my trek to the public school teaching.

It couldn't have been nerve-wracking. It's not the seasoned panel interviewers that roasted me, it's more of the surprise to see my former students as one of the interviewees like I was. Cool, but not quite cool really.

For one, I don't want the hassles of answering pesky questions why I left my former promising job. I do not feel comfortable sharing much of my life to others in such a manner. I feel each story is meant for a certain audience. And mine, at least the latest story unfolding, is not for their casual consumption.

Besides, I know it surprised them to see their college teacher joining the fray to the public high school teaching--not exactly what they thought of me. I probably must have lingered on fixing what I really want. In fact my journey for them is perhaps a bit backward.

But no matter what, wherever the tug pulls, it is time. Tomorrow is not for me.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Sa laing mga kamot

Nga andam

Mupandong nako,

Mupasilong ko,



Sa pagkagiw

Sa mga


Sa miaging


Tuesday, April 13, 2010


It's an upside-down summer. And there is no helmet or harness in sight to keep me from getting the bumps as I tumble over a cliff. Or better yet a tarpauline to keep me from zonking out. Yes, I choose to tumble not for the thrill of it but for letting go of things that keep me boxed in. Old stuff like doubts, classic fear, and sleazy, lazy comfort zones.

Death-defying, this is all there is to it in this leap called nothing.

But it is time.


Inig hunas unya

Manginhas ra
Gihapon ko
Unya magtiniil
Pasagdi lang
Kung mutyabaw
Kung matunok na
Sa mga nagtikangkang
Nga tipaka sa mga
Kinhason nga
Hagbay rang
Gibiyaan sa mga umang
O kaha masamad
Sa mga sisi
Nga nagpangamay,

Ampay man
Ang init-init
Ug halang halang
Nga sinabawang
Kinhason pakapinag
Kagumkom nga pahiyom
Sa akong tupad.

Monday, April 12, 2010


It's moronic to continue loving someone who continues to hate himself and anyone who reaches out to him. It's completely absurd to keep taking the "I'm sorries" each time their toxins get into you.

But what can I say, isn't love that stupid anyway? It doesn't do the math. It gives but it does not wait for reciprocations. So, why would I expect some?

Sunday, April 11, 2010


I have smooched up a few already. I don't mean boyfriends, I mean friends of five or more years and perhaps a few elders I have looked up to in years. Sharing such intimate gestures with these people mean much to me. I don't really do that much in public. I am not that demonstrative to people. People in proximity know when I get cheesy to them only in my writings and notes to them. Unlike my husband, I am not that much of a tactile person. While he reaches out to me, holds my hands in jeepneys, pinches my arm, even kisses me in public, I usually cringe at such open expression of emotion to other people. Through the years though, my husband and some of my caring friends have shown me it is alright. At times, I have to lie to myself, forcing my psyche to sink in with the idea that it's all right to get into the mush in the open.

I can take that form of lies but one thing, sucking up. It gives me worse than goosebumpbs seeing people licking superiors' boots to keep up with the tide. For some people, it comes as though it is nature's way of getting out of a mire alive. I think they have missed the value of integrity, of getting there at your OWN expense.

In a different working world I am in where I thought brilliant young minds infest, I see some classic forms of sucking up. I see students fall into that crap to get by or buy grades. I was caught flabbergasted. But I can understand why students do that to teachers. It's survival tactic all right. But what is sickening, although not new to me, is when teachers do that to students for some merit, material or not, like approval, sympathy, and more indescribable favors.

I can say that in such statuses that students in this international school has, it is quite tempting to plunge into this means of staying above water. It is indeed lonely to be honest in a miry fix. Sometimes, temptations like this is hard to resist especially when students tail you around like crazy rhinoceros trying to do some surviving on their own as well.

In moments like this, I just snap my eyes and ears shot when money becomes the bait. I can't stay awake on extended nights and carry the guilt. I want to walk light during my waking moments and be proud I stood strong and well.


Mindless of the sun's soft bisque

Foolishly tying to blister the earth,

The earth's skin

Is still seared by

Cements of apathy

Piled up by your

Ceaseless lies.



Ning suoka

Nga andam

Mupandong nako,

Mupasilong ko,



Sa pagkagiw

Sa imong mga


Thursday, April 8, 2010


Today, some dark foreboding is up this summer.

News of deaths of people known to me clog my consciousness. If it's not cancer, some have gone through freak accidents. I guess, everyone indeed is transient, no matter how definite plans are made. But despite this old truth, it is still earth-shaking to lose someone and worse, to see them go without the slightest warning--like my dog who I didn't even have time to say goodbye to.

The first days of my summer have started off in a mournful note. I am praying I get the best of news this year by far not only to equalize this dark sense of reality I am already yanked into but also to give my tear-drenched prayer some hint of light. It's tough to have no back-up plans but I have that tug in the heart that someone has--the man upstairs has.

For a while, it took me a long stuggle to finally let go of these doubts and all these "what-ifs." But in the end, it is faith in the one who is in control of the universe who actually sees things through whether man would like to take the credit to himself or not.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Horsing around is what many young people resort to these days when boredom sets in. But these students' idea of fun ticks me off.

They have become cunning, calculating, and sneaky. Despite their young years, their scheming ways are beyond my sense of what is right and what is wrong. I can't seem to understand the dirty plots these rich brats pull off just to have fun.

To probably achieve unity, everyone in class will have to resort to lying and acting to make things happen even to the point of conjuring the devils to connive with them. And for a while, they continue to succeed. And even if I know what is up, the whole thing is hopeless. The stress I've gone through is enough to let go. But when the right time comes, some confrontation will clog their air streams--either from me or from the man upstairs.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Ang imong mga agik-ik
Maoy bag-ong mga balak
Nga ampay
Nakong balik-balikan,
Unya tipigan.

Your giggles
Are poetry
I crave
To return to
And read
And again.


By gina mantua-panes
(Alang kang Jona B. Bering sa iyang graduation)

Unsa to?
Molakaw na ka?
Sama ning pa’d sa kabuntagon nga daklit
Sa akong aping
Ug dayon mugikan kay ngitngit na sad?
O kaha ingun ba sa tambutso
Nga way kaikog muluwa
Sa iyang mga hang-ups
Ning gi-jobosan kong mga aping
Ug unya musutoy lang dayon palayo?
O gani ikaw ba kadtong
Akong tisoy nga uyab kaniadto
Nga dihang nahurot
Ang siopao sa among sarisari store
Kay kunu wa na katultol
Asa ang amoa?

Nya, unsa man?
Mulakaw na gyud ka?
Wa pa gani ko
Mahuman ug ihap
Kung pila sa mga linya
sa imong mga balak
Ang mitadlas
Sa nataran ning
Cebu Normal University.
Magpaanod pa gani ko
Sa modernong hagtik
Sa imong mga tinagik.
Buot ko pa ganing
Masinati pag-usab
Ang maghubog-hubog
Sa bino sa panulat ug arte.
Pinaagi sa tabas
Sa imong mga linya
O kaha sa dahunog
Sa imong mga pulso.

Ayaw sa uy
Puyu sa.
Pasigaa pa ang suga.

Pero kung mulakaw na gyud ka
Kay naa o,
Nagpangamay na
Ang imong damgo
Nuntan ko lang
Ang imong tingog
Basin pa diay
Matawo ko pag-usab
Ug mubalik didto
Diin hangol pa ko
Sa bunal ug liti
Sa mga linya ug garay

Ubanan ko na lang kaha
Ning Cebu Normal University
dinhi sa suok
Sa Jones Avenue
Maghinuktok, magmukmok
Maghulat kanus-a mahubog
Ikaw bay makasaksi
Sa unang uha sa bag-ong nahimugso
Nga balak
Dinhi sa alimuot ug abogon
Apan nadan-agan nga ang suga.
Lalim ba!


Tahi-tahion ni Inday
Sa iyang nagsingabot
Nga mga katuigan
Ang nagsiwil
Ug nangatastas
Nga mga adlaw
Ni Iya Ising

Ang mga rinetasong higayon
Sa suok nga gipadaplin
Sa nagkuray nga mga kamot,
Tingali nabugnawan
Sa pagtukaw
Sa matag gabii ug kadlawon.

Ukayon, hagpaton
Ang mga butones sa iyang daang daster
Nga maoy gilampin-lampin
Sa masusong mga adlaw ni Inday
Mga butones nga nangatangtang
Sa kagabok
Sa katuigan ni Iya Ising

Pulawan ni inday
Matag gabii
Mutindak sa makina
Hangtod mahuman
Ug masul-ob ang bestidang
Wa matiwas ni Iya Ising.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Days ago, I started to become someone I didn't dream of becoming. Blame it on the idealism embedded in me by the old world. Ah, the old world with its unnecessary fallacies and fantasies that sugarcoat life.

As for me, I have started to mutate. The genes have nothing to do with it lest cloning might have already made this existence easier than normal. I have never ever dreamed of getting rich as filthy as celebrities and millionaires are. But I finally woke up to the mean reality that I need to get rich at whatever cost to stop all these stressful situations I keep finding myself intertwined with. That's right, minus the "get all I can and can all I can get" schemes. It's more of I'm dead tired of finding ways to survive in a world where cash controls everything even the health of my baby. The meds and the vitamins I need to procure for Shekinah are way beyond my earnings would allow.

I am likewise fully aware of the need to budget what meager earning we get which I am not very good at. But looking at all these from a vantage, budgeting still would not work. We would still be living barely above water. Thus, I plan to do what any basal animal instinct would have pushed anyone to do--surviving. And being rich is the only way to get there soon. As to how, I have no inkling. Recently, I have been praying for that day to come when I would finally hold business and earn more than enough.

A thirty-eight-year-old can dream, can't she?


Nine months and then he's gone. My Bendon died at 11:00 this morning.

I could not believe my brother when he texted me today that my Bendon is really gone. It's not that I didn't expect it. I know he would go soon. It's just too overwhelming to finally swim in the mean truth that my only dog is gone for good.

I hate pneumonia. That's what killed Bendon. But most of all, I hate poverty. It stopped me from taking him to his doctor. When I was supposed to bring him to the clinic, I didn't even have 150 pesos, a normal vet's fee. I died every minute I saw him become emaciated. I hated it everytime he gagged with cough and colds. For a time, I wished he wouldn't suffer too much and too long. But now, that his suffering is over, I feel this void that stings gradually.

I wouldn't be seeing him wagging his tail when we come or see him open-mouthed while I munch our favorite snacks together, corn curls called Alibaba. I have no one to share this useless snacks I am about to eat. Today, this will taste like rubber. Today, Bendon has come to leave his sick body to be with God.

Yes, I really hope in my heart that what they say, "All dogs go to heaven" is true. That in the grander scheme of things, among the stuff that the Bible is silent about, what I hear people say that dogs really do go to heaven regardless of whose house they guard, is actually a part of God's plan.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Yesterday, Shekinah, for the first time, said something so distinct that I would have jumped up and down if not for my weight.

She pointed to a photograph of hers and uttered her own name for the first time. I heard it, not once but twice she said it. It was too simple for an ordinary onlooker. But for me, my one-year-old has had graduated from all those senseless babbles.

She just practically talks now minus a few consonants here and there. And yes, she could still say her usual favorite words "daddy,","hi", "bye", "miyk" and of course, "mommy" among all others when the man in the house is nowhere near.


The Easter dawn's sky was overcast. And yet that love of that man who once hung on that cross, that literally saved me from all this sullen world's tragedies remains warm and fresh every morning. Actually, minus the busy hassles of the day's routine, every day is an Easter day. It never ceases to amaze me how the world fails to see the gift of each morning. This doesn't exempt me of course.

There are days that really suck. And there are worse days that I just plainly suck. But God remains faithful. His mornings, with or without this Easter pleasant summer shower, are always new. What a quick message to tell me He never grows weary attending to each little "me" that we usually expand to big ME thinking God should treat us better.

Ahh Lord, forgive our audacity. Forgive me for missing out on a lot of things coming from you in all those mornings when I rushed through all those silly routines.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Ikaw, gasang gililok, gikulit

Ikaw, sa akong kalibutan nihingpit

Apan sa imong paggikan

Napukan, nalangkat ang tanan.

Friday, April 2, 2010


Manghugyaw ang mga tulunggon
Nga ginama sa iyang puangod

Ang mamala mubangon
Sa pagsugat sa bag-ong bisibis.

Mukatap ang kabugnaw sa aping sa nangliking mamala
Mahumod hangtod ang iyang kintibuk-an.

Ug unya ang banag-banag natong duha mutumaw
Inig alim sa samad sa yutang atong gisapnay.

Kay mugitib pa ba diay ang adlaw
Kung ang kangiob makababag?

Mudimili ba ang katig-a sa mamala
Kung manghupaw na ang kawanangan sa iyang pasaylo?

Thursday, April 1, 2010


(kang Nanay Moling)

Matod mo
Mutikang ka na palayo

Sa lapyahan nga akong naandan
Sa daplin diin ako mutultol

Sa mga pukot nga imong ginama
Mga pukot nga akong sumbanan

Matod mo lawom ang lawod
Nga latason

Nan, unsaon ko pagsawm
Kung sa imong pagikan

Mahanaw na usab ang pukot
Nga akong gitamdan?

Mamidpid na ba lang kaha ko
Dinhi sa nangitngitang suba

Hangtod ipamulong mo
Nga imong ibilin ang imong mga bukton

Sa pagsapnay kanako
Kung ako musugat na nianang dakong bul-og?