Monday, July 25, 2005


V Toledo Posted by Picasa
● Venie N. Toledo

“To live is to be among men, and to be among men is to struggle.”

This is one of my favorite reminders, a quote from my homeland’s national hero—Jose Rizal, whose homeland is the Philippines.

In the maiden issue of The Weekly Inquirer Philippines was a flashback of my first four months in this honey-filled and greener side of the globe. According to the calendars, I have been here four years since I said “Goodbye, Philippines. America, here I come.” Time fleeted by and how?

When General Jaime Canatoy, the then Commanding General of the Civil Relations Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines—where I worked for a good 14 years—learned I was leaving the country, he asked me in all dismay, “What do you propose to do outside your country? You know we need you here.” That was a big compliment and it touched me deeply. In an attempt to discourage or dissuade me, he added, “You are not growing any younger, America is for the young ones.”

He knew me too well—zero sense of direction (meaning of places to go), no capability to drive and, therefore, dependent on others’ generosity. My repartee, “I can baby sit.” He burst into a big fit of laughter, “You, baby sit?”

My zero sense of direction, incapability to drive, and inability to get even a bus ride toyed with me. To the point of despondency, I was ready to give up. However, my niece, Angela, then weekending as a caregiver to a lady suffering from Alzheimer’s, convinced me to give a try with that kind of job by relieving her for a day. That first ‘baby-sitting’ experience went easy for me, there being no untoward incident and it made me feel good to earn my first 100 dollars.

Then, I prayed hard and once again, God guided me to my first and real big job. True enough, it came as an answer to a challenge. I needed to prove I can be capable of doing this. I shall, now, dwell on subsequent issues.


Statistics show that most migrant from my homeland are those who come from the field of the academe. Doctors, nurses, lawyers, engineers, teachers, journalists, accountants, and many more. These people had big dreams for their homeland when they braced themselves to make good of their chosen professions. Sadly, because of the situation now proliferating in that loved country of ours, these people had to do something for themselves and for their country. Thus, the so-called exodus of brains that be. But again, relocating and landing gainful jobs did not come easy. Certainly, there were those who hit it big. No doubt they serve as inspiration and encouragement for those left behind. Others, however, have to settle for lesser or “whatever”, so long as they earn the powerful green buck to share with their families back home.

The State of Philippine Education:

Its Impact on Political Stability and National Economy
by John Capindo Tacapan
Have you ever wondered why the Philippines is always in the quagmire of poverty, of partisan political bickering, of prevalent graft and corruption, and of other overwhelming and hair-raising scandals? Have you ever asked why these maladies seem to be eternally besetting our country? Before, in world history, the Philippines was known as the Pearl of the Orient; at present, it is ironically and pathetically known as the Troubled Paradise. What are the reasons why this Paradise is in trouble? Is there any Hope that her people may see even the faintest Light at the end of the tunnel? These are just some of the many questions that almost every Juan de la Cruz around the world asks.
The present political upheavals and economic conditions in the Philippines speak of the kind of attitude the Filipino people have. Filipinos are as diverse as the people in the whole wide world. They have different point of views and have different approaches in facing the most pressing national problems. Some deal with these problems prudently and diplomatically; others deal with these same problems the other way around. It is a fact. Whenever you see the news about the Philippines on the television and read them in the newspapers, you will be shocked by the magnitude of the daily turmoil that constantly rocks the cradle of the government. The media portray an unstable state and disgruntled populace. However, when you ask the people outside Metro Manila, they have a common comment that those daily dose of anti- and pro-government circuses are confined only in Manila. That is a consoling and comforting truth. At least, not all Filipinos are that gullible and narrow-minded to buy every piece of (mis)information fed to them by media outlets such as radios, TVs, and text messages. To make things worse, some publicity hungry personalities hurl allegations of various degrees and forms and destructive rumors against the administration. Fortunately, we still have highly sensible citizenry left in our beleaguered country and probably a very few ones (hopefully) in the Honorable Chambers of the government. On the other hand, the general public becomes the unwilling victims of economic instability caused by these constant doses of political bickering among the "(dis)honorables" and those who pretend to be "honorables." These shenanigans further crumple the distorted figure of our economy and confuse the citizenry. Every political group has its own version of good governance and the lack of it in the present system means taking the agenda in the streets in order to cure the ills of our nation. The ills we suffer have come upon us over several decades. For sure, they will not go away in days, weeks, or months, but they will go away. As what one of the US Presidents said; "For the first time in this century, for the first time in perhaps all history, man does not have to invent a system by which to live. We don't have to talk late into the night about which form of government is better. We don't have to wrest justice from the kings. We only have to summon it from ourselves. We must act on what we know.....In crucial things, unity; in important things, diversity; in all things, generosity."
But still the question lingers. What is the real cause of and the efficient solution to these problems?

There is only one efficient solution (which, unfortunately, is also one of the causes of) to these problems - EDUCATION. As what former US President Clinton said: "If we want to move our nation forward, the first battleground is the classroom; the battle must first be against the quagmire of ignorance and intellectual poverty which breed desperation and frustration." This is a strong and valid statement that holds true not only in the US but also all throughout the world. However, it is very ironic, to say the least, that in the Philippines, its state of education is a problem itself. As an allusion to the Holy Book (the BIBLE), we may ask, "How can a blind man guide another blind?" How can a defective educational system liberate its people from the shackles of ignorance and darkness of intellectual poverty? Does the education we give our students make them enthralled with material things and less appreciative of the nobility of work and sacrifice? Or are our students getting an education that will help them create a nation that is vibrant, robust, and alive and that will make every Filipino enjoy the fullness of freedom, dignity, and opportunity as his/her birthright? An affirmative answer to the last question is what we ideally expect our students get from their education. But are they getting that kind of learning? Probably yes, probably not. The following are the stark realities about the state of our education. If these scenarios could be serialized in a TV Reality Show, this could surely give the audience the chance to see the most absurd and the most aberrant show of the century.
Very recently, the DepEd administered the English proficiency test among the high school teachers and the results showed that only very few of our high school teachers in the Philippines have reached the advance proficiency level. Majority of these teachers are below proficient or far below proficient levels. How would you expect the teachers to teach technical or content specific subjects such as mathematics and science if they are not proficient in the language of the trade? How can these teachers teach critical thinking skills to their students if they themselves have difficulty in comprehending what they read in English? What is alarming, however, is that, the test results revealed that students performed even better than their teachers. The basic tenet in teaching is "You cannot teach what you do not have."
Adding insult to the injury are the "misplaced teachers." Misplaced teachers in this article refer to teachers who teach the subjects that they do not have the competencies to teach. It does not mean that the country lacks teachers. We have a great surplus of teachers every year. However, many of the currently employed teachers in the public schools teach the subjects they are not expert with or may have a very limited background about the subjects they are teaching. Yes, many of these teachers have master's degrees or are pursuing their master's degree but their master's degree is not related to the subjects they teach. Some of the teachers even have their doctorate degrees from institutions which are known as "diploma mills." One can just pay a good dissertation writer and get a doctorate degree or the "smooth-interpersonal relationship (SIR)" with professors or deans can be as effective as the cash can be. Don't get me wrong. Although this really happens, it would be presumptuous to make a sweeping generalization about the graduate schools in the Philippines. The country has many excellent and well-respected graduate schools whose professors could not be bought by all the wealth the world can offer. To those who obtained their master's or doctorate degrees by bribing the professors or by (ab)using personal connections within the school, how can you teach the values of honesty, integrity, and justice among your students when you are bereft of these same values that our country needed the most? Are you setting as good examples of role models for the students?
More often, some teachers who major in administration and supervision teach English, Math, or Science in their schools. These subjects are critical and could not just be taught by any mediocre person. What is the point, then, of getting units in the graduate school or of obtaining a master's or doctorate degree? Their major reasons are promotion and salary increase. I could still remember my students in the graduate school when I asked them to give me the reasons why they are in my class. They told me that they just wanted to be promoted and to have a higher salary. There is no problem when somebody wants to have a better and higher salary. That is just the consequence of the pressing economic and biological needs of the person. Nobody has the right to deprive any body of a good life. The problem, however, arises when selfish motives come into the scene. One time, one of my students in the graduate school tried to bribe me to give her a better grade because she was just there in order to maintain her position as a principal in her school. Upon hearing such self-gratifying response, I almost vomited right in front of her face, but out of delicadeza and respect to older people, I managed to control myself. I felt insulted and thought of the students who were entrusted in their hands.
Presently, the Department of Education has no specific policy on how to attract and retain the best and the most talented in the field. If there are indeed some policies, the local politicians (mayors and congressmen/women) still have the final say. Consequently, the sacred teaching positions are usually given to those who are politically affiliated with these political figures regardless of the level of their proficiency and competency rather than to those who are highly qualified to teach. It is now a common cliché in the Philippines when it comes to the hiring of teachers (and other government workers) that "it is whom you know, not what you know" that matters the most in getting a job in any government agencies. I can personally attest to this rotten and devilish system of hiring the teachers. I tried to apply before in the public schools but I was asked to report to certain congressman to ask for a recommendation. I found that suggestion so ridiculous if not hilarious since, logically speaking, the people who could best recommend me would be my professors and not those congressmen/women who had little or no knowledge about my teaching ability and competency - much more about the subject matter I would be teaching. It is sad, nevertheless, that this practice is still going on when it comes to hiring the teachers in public schools. Now, what do you expect from this kind of hiring process? As a result of that experience, I never had the chance to teach in a public school. It was a blessing in disguise though.
Another factor that greatly affects the Philippine educational system is the lack of continuous and consistent professional development among the teachers. Change is the only constant concept in this world. Many changes take place everyday and so does in the ever-changing world of teaching profession. Unfortunately, most of the teachers in the Philippines are not updated with the most current trends in their fields not because they do not want to be updated with but because of the lack of opportunity and logistics. And if there are opportunities, teachers themselves do not take these seriously. When teachers are sent to attend seminars or conferences in the major cities, their major agenda are shopping, visiting friends, sight seeing, and getting a certificate of attendance regardless of whether they really attended the whole sessions or not. After all, there is no accountability attached in attending such conferences. Besides, the content of speeches and presentations given by the lecturers has no relevance to the reality where teachers are currently teaching. Most of the supposedly "research-based" information was conducted in pilot schools which have the luxury of everything the ideal school must have contrary to the disheartening conditions of many schools around the country. Thus, it is not only a waste of opportunity but also a waste of the very limited financial resources. Unlike here in California, the teacher has to pass several examinations and has to comply with the required professional coursework in order to get a professional clear teaching credential and to renew such credential every five years. In the Philippines, you just need to pass the Licensure Examination for Teachers and that is the means to an end. Pursuing master's and doctorate degrees is an option. Whether one has these degrees or not, one can teach until s/he retires. So it is not unusual to see teachers with the same kind of lessons s/he taught forty years ago and test questions with your grandma's or grandpa's work of art drawn on those yellow-with-age pages. These teachers will usually prove their competencies through their forty years of tedious experience. Of course, there will always be two kinds of teachers: one with the same experience repeated forty times in forty years and the other who has one year of teaching experience but has used forty effective teaching strategies in that year.
An alarming reality is the exodus of professional teachers from the country due to government's neglect of their plight. Many of these teachers leave the country to either work as domestic managers or factory workers in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Canada, and many other countries. A number of extremely excellent teachers left the country and practice their profession in the US, Australia, and other Asian countries where they can earn their one-year salary in the Philippines in two weeks of teaching in the US. Teaching in the Philippines is literally a "thankless profession." How can you expect the community to give these teachers the respect they deserve when they live far below the poverty line? What kind of prestige they will get when you see these teachers selling popsicles (ice candies) and other knick-knacks instead of focusing on their job or enrolling in good universities for continuing education? In any profession, self-esteem is an important factor in performing the job. The higher the self-esteem, the better one feels about him/herself. The better one feels about him/herself, the better the performance will be. I hate to say it but I think these teachers are victims of abuse and neglect. As long as the plight of these teachers is neglected, we will have the difficulty to attract the best of our high school graduates to take education courses. We cannot stop as well the continuing exodus from the country of highly qualified teachers to seek greener pastures in other countries. As a result, there will be an eternal problem in the shortage of highly-qualified and competent teachers. As the saying goes, "mediocrity begets mediocrity."
Some teacher-training institutions do not meet the standards to be the abode of would-be molders of the future. Although the Philippines has a number of reputable teacher-training institutions such as the University of the Philippines, Philippine Normal University, and the West Visayas State University which are considered as bastions of excellent Education graduates as proven by the quality of their Education alumni and by the high performance of their education graduates in Teachers Licensure Examination, there are still some institutions that could hardly produce a good result of education graduates who can pass the licensure examination. What is sad is that these institutions do not have enough number of faculty members who have higher academic preparations than the simple bachelor's degree. Besides, most of their faculty members came from the same institution where they are teaching. As a result, there is a massive cloning of students through in-breeding of faculty members. You cannot see as many universities that have faculty members who were trained and educated from other institutions of higher learning both locally and abroad. Mindanao State University is worth mentioning when it comes to the diversity of educational trainings from the universities abroad among her faculty members. Many institutions still embrace the culture of exclusivity and its members abhor the idea that there are minorities in their places of work who have different educational training, philosophy, and point of views. Instead of being proud to have colleagues who have been trained and educated from other institutions of learning, in-bred teachers usually consider these "foreign" educated colleagues as threats to their professional security. Diversity of ideas, educational philosophies, and point of views are not openly welcomed. This leads to the development of the majority's (who are exclusively educated in that institution) myopic thinking. What kind of students do these teachers produce then? Your guess is as good as anybody else's.
Lack of funds for education and the is another factor that greatly affects the performance of both teachers and students. Education is only a priority when election is approaching. At present, many of the public schools in the Philippines lack highly qualified teachers who can teach a reasonable number of students inside the classroom. Class size is an essential aspect of effective teaching. But teachers usually teach in an overcrowded classroom with 60 or more students sharing 20 textbooks which are peppered with glaring errors both in content and in grammar. In other instances, many classes share only one textbook. This problem was never given serious consideration; thus, students absorb the same false information which becomes their schemata for life. You should not wonder, therefore, that many Filipinos thought that their aberrant ideas are absolute and perfect which they are proud of taking everything they were told or read to the asphalted jungle of metro Manila. What a pathetic sight! It is so sad to know that textbooks publishers are not held accountable for the false information they provide the students. It is obvious that these publishers do not have their social and moral conscience when they conduct their business. What these publishers DO NOT consider as their guiding principle is that "Every child deserves a good book." Another critical issue is the proficiency, authority, and competency of the authors to write the textbooks. In plain language, publishing erroneous textbooks is a profitable business at the expense of the million children who are figuratively known as the Hope of the fatherland. Is there a conspiracy between the DepEd and the publishers? We should protect the fragile resources of the Philippines - the youth. Teachers, on the other hand, faithfully follow what the books dictate. How can they teach critical thinking to the students when teachers themselves do not bother to check the accuracy and veracity of information and the conventions of English in textbooks? This would answer the question why the students and teachers did not perform well in English, Science, and Math assessments.
Inequity in education is another crucial issue that hounds the country. Ideally speaking, an acceptable teaching-learning condition must have a teacher to student ratio of 1:30. Each student must have a textbook and classrooms must have appropriate, relevant, and safe audio-visual aids. Teachers must be on their posts from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. What happens in many of the public schools is the opposite of what we normally expect. Besides the overcrowded classrooms and lack of functional textbooks, many schools hold their classes under the shade of trees or hi the hallways. This situation jeopardizes the safety of both the teachers and students. Some schools do not have updated visual aids. In fact, there are schools which have only one visual aid until today and that is the picture of former President Fidel Ramos. Do the students in this school know how many presidents the Philippines has after President Ramos? Does the DepEd expect the teachers to be resourceful all the time by spending their meager salary for the visual aids? Do teachers in the Philippines enjoy a tax ride-off when they spend their money for these materials? No! These teachers have their own families to feed and to send to schools and universities. But take a look at the conditions of the education officials and other politicians. The proverbial Matthew effect goes on and on. Those who are rich become richer and richer while those who are poor become poorer and poorer. The same thing happens with the education of our children in Philippine public school system. Those who are in the cities have more access in many things while those who are in the remote and far-flung areas have no access at all. Believe it or not, at this age of technological advancement, there are still some schools that do not have the electricity. Many students have not even seen either a light bulb or a cell phone. Neither had they seen a road or a bicycle. This issue of inequality must be addressed by the government should it want to sincerely invest to the education of the youth. After all, these youth will be the future leaders of the country. If they are not educated well, then we expect the same breed of inefficient and selfish leaders years from now. But we must not let history repeat itself. We need a radical and positive change now.
The Philippines is one of the few countries that have the shortest basic education. Most of the countries in Asia and in the western hemisphere have a minimum of 12 years of basic education while the Philippines has only 10 years. An attempt to add another two years of basic education was confronted with negative reaction and opposition as shown last year when there was an attempt to add a year of bridge program between the elementary and high school. When my mother asked me if it was okay to enroll my nephew in that one-year bridge program, I positively welcome that idea knowing that it would be beneficial not only to my nephew but also to the teachers as well. Recently, I heard that the said program is no longer implemented. It is understandable that many stakeholders were resistant to that change because of the time and money involved in implementing fully that program; but what is time and money invested wisely for our children's education?
To sum it up, many of the domestic political and economic problems in the Philippines can be traced from the kind of educational system the country has. These flaws are systemic but they are not impossible to overcome. In this present crisis, government is not the solution to this problem. As what the late President Ronald Reagan said: "From time to time, we have been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. But if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? All of us together, in and out of government, must bear the burden. The solution we seek must be equitable, with no one group singled out to pay a higher price."

The Author
John C. Tacapan is an English Language Arts teacher at Dominguez High School of Compton Unified School District, Compton, California. He had taught in the Philippines for seven years before he moved here in the US. He holds a California Professional Clear Single Subject (English) Teaching Credential; Cross-Cultural, Language, and Academic Development Certificate; and M.Ed (English) and BSEd (English) degrees from UP and WVSU, respectively. He is currently pursuing his continuing education at the UCLA. He has written poems published by the International Library of Poetry and has been included for two consecutive years (2004 and 2005 editions) in Who's Who Among America's Teachers.


C Lee Posted by Picasa
• Boots Obieta Lee

As a young girl growing up (in the Philippines), it was obvious early on that I had all the makings of a “Home Eco-Nanay”.

We lived in a huge compound with my grandparents and I had more than ample opportunities to observe up close how my grandmother manually ground cacao beans on that huge stone mill to make balls of tsokolate, or cross-bred red and yellow glowered bougainvillea cuttings into an orange-flowered new plant, or hand-crocheted dollies for the sala.

I was hooked.

I had no loftier ambition than to be a great homemaker.

I appointed myself as the household’s purchasing officer, accompanying the cook on her weekly marketing trips to the Central Market to learn all the secrets of price-haggling and finding the best buys.

I cooked and baked; I gardened and kept the house neat.

I crafted and sewed my own clothes. Oh I knew what I wanted to take up in college, all right.

My dad disagreed.

He said I was too brainy to settle for being simply a homemaker, even one with a degree. So I indulged him and enrolled in a business administration course as a freshman.

But my heart was not in it and I flunked Math 11 the first time around. After a heart-to-heart talk, I convinced him that all I wanted to be really, was a “home-eco-Nanay”. I got my heart’s desire and wound up with a BS Home Economics degree from the University of the Philippines in Diliman.

But how does one make a living with an H.E. degree?

Usually, one ended up being an H.E. teacher. I was okay with that, but fate intervened and I won a scholarship to study the Japanese language in Tokyo. Upon my return home, I was fortunate to land a job with Japan Airlines because of my ability to speak Nihonggo. I was luckier still when JAL transferred me a couple of years later to the in-flight catering department. At last, I was making good use of my H.E. and Nihonggo backgrounds. I thought I got my education’s worth for the next seventeen years with JAL.

After opting for early retirement, we relocated to California. After all those years of hungrily reading US women’s magazines and only dreaming about baking those scrumptious desserts with the expensive imported ingredients only Rustan’s Supermarkets sometimes carried, or longing to make over our sala into one of those picture-perfect magazine pages, I found myself here, in the US, the land of plenty, where everything I had only dreamt about of cooking and crafting was actually well within my reach. I was in “home-eco-Nanay’s” heaven!

I religiously bought those US women’s magazines, tearing off pages and pages of ideas, consequently amassing boxes and boxes of clippings to file. I now have positive proof of my husband’s great love for me as evidenced by his unending patience for my ever-growing pile of clippings to sort and keep. Someday, I keep telling myself, I will find the time to bake that Coca Cola cake, or plant that living wreath of succulents. Oh, haven’t I tried to perfect that puto recipe for the longest time?

Oh well, tomorrow is another day and next week, I will receive my latest issue of Martha Stewart Living in the mail. And, oh yes, I must not forget to borrow another book on water features for the garden from the Anaheim public library. And maybe, just maybe, between doing the second load of laundry and watching Iron Chef on satellite TV this weekend, I will find the time to write about how one can win the battle with those weeds in the garden.

(Ms. Lee works with a health care facility as a social services designee.)

Filipinisms Corner

(Editor’s Note: We began last week our explorations of what could be termed as “Filipinisms”—those things that refer to the idiosyncratic and the not-so in the Pinoy way of seeing and doing and “languaging” his experience. We get so many from the email and since there is no way we can track down who the real author is—if there is really one author for anything folkloric—we say we got this one again from the email. The email seems to have replaced our oral communicative abilities and so we celebrate the Pinoy fondness for “onli in da Philippines” this way. This is one way by which we can make these idiosyncrasies more permanent. Will the real author of this letter please speak up?)

Mahal kong Anak,

Medyo mabagal akong magsulat ngayon dahil alam kong mabagal ka ring magbasa. Nandito na kami sa Estados Unidos para bantayan ang bagong biling bahay ng kapatid mo. Pero hindi ko maibigay sa iyo ang address dahil dinala ng dating nakatira ang address para daw hindi na sila magpalit ng address.Maganda ang lugar na ito at malayo sa Manila.Dalawang beses lang umulan sa linggong ito, tatlong araw noong una at apat na araw noong pangalawa. Nakakainis lang ang mga paninda dito katulad nun nabili ko na shampoo dahil ayaw bumula.Nakasulat kasi "FOR DRY HAIR" kaya hindi ko binabasa ang buhok ko pag ginagamit ko. Mamaya ay ibabalik ko sa Walmart at magrereklamo ako. Noong isang araw naman ay hindi ako makapasok sa bahay dahil ayaw bumukas ng padlock. Nakasulat kasi ay "YALE", eh aba namalat na ako sa kasisigaw ay hindi pa
din bumubukas. Magrereklamo din ako sa nagbenta ng bahay, akala nila hindi ko alam na SIGAW ang tagalog ng "YALE", wise yata ito! Mayroon nga pala akong nabili na
magandang jacket at tiyak na magugustuhan mo. Ipinadala ko nasa iyo sa "Federal Express" medyo mahal daw dahil mabigat ang mga butones kaya ang ginawa ko ay tinanggal ko na lang ang mga butones at inilagay ko na lang sa bulsa ng jacket. Ikabit mo na lang pag dating diyan. Nagpadala rin ako ng tseke para sa mga nasalanta ng bagyo, hindi ko na pinirmahan dahil gusto ko na maging anonymous donor. Nakakahiya naman kung ipagkakalat ko pa.Ang kapatid mo palang si Jhun ay may trabaho na dito, mayroon siyang 500 na tao sa ilalim niya. Naggugupit siya ngayon ng damo sa memorial park,okey naman ang kita above minimum ang sahod.Nakapa nganak na rin pala ang ate baby mo, hindi ko pa alam kung babae o lalake kaya hindi ko pa masasabi na kung ikaw ay bagong uncle or auntie.Wala na akong masyadong balita. Sumulat ka na lang ng madalas.


p.s. Maglalagay sana ako ng pera, kaya lang ay naisara ko na ang envelope. Next time na lang....


A Gonzalez Posted by Picasa

● Anang A. Gonzalez, Ph.D.

Cell phones are Convenient but They an be Expensive too

There is no question about the convenience of using cell phones. They are practically used by everyone these days. But are we ready to pay the price?
Cell phones emit microwave radiation equivalent to 0.6 to 3.0 watts that may affect the users. The industry had come out to say that they are safe. That the radiation emitted is low enough to cause damage to the users. And several studies, most of which were industry funded, backed up the claimed.
But wait, we need to see the other side of the coin. A number of independent studies showed just exactly the opposite of industry’s claim. We need to understand in science there are only few things that are settled completely, there is always a conflict. Up to this time, there is no hard evidence to prove that it is safe or unsafe. The responsibility lies on the hand of the scientific community to put all the evidences into perspective for the public. And there is a long wait to go yet.
The cell phone industry is still young. It can be too premature to conclude that the use of its product is safe.
While it is true the radiation is low, its effect may be cumulative. Even if you are using a cell phone that emits 0.6 watt of energy, for one hour a day, you can be exposed to radiation equivalent to twice the amount emitted by microwave oven in ten years!
Scientific studies on rats showed that exposure to low-level microwave radiation had caused short and long term memory loss. Although rat brains are very different from human brain and it is difficult to extrapolate from one to the other, radiation caused a change to the brain, and that same type of change also affect human in a different a way.
Research also showed that DNA in rat broke up and since DNA of rat and human is so similar, this will likely damage the DNA of human. DNA damage is serious and the cell may not be able to repair the breakage correctly. If this happens, mutation will occur and this can lead to cancer and in extreme cases, the cell may die.
Some more studies showed the negative effect of cell phones. Australian experiment on rats showed blood cancer twice as much as the control group. Virginia Commonwealth University discovered that cancer cells proliferate upon exposure to microwave radiation emitted by cell phones.
Accordingly, unpublished results of the research funded by Cellular Telecommunication Industry Association (CTIA) found that microwave radiation from mobile phones damage chromosomes of blood cells called lymphocytes after 24 hours of exposure and CTIA epidemiological study found a link between cell phones and neurocytoma, a rare type of brain cancer. The average use of cell phone in this study was less than 3 years.
A team of scientists funded by Telstra claimed that there is a link between cell phone use and cancer. They reported that there is two times more significant increase in B-cell lymphomas, growth that is implicated to roughly 85% of all cancers.
Swedish studies reported that brain tumors occurred more frequently on the side of the head where cell phone is used. And they said developing skull could be more vulnerable to radiation of the cell phones. In Britain, they recognize mobile phones tumor risks to young children and has put a limit on market to children ages 14 and below.
Scientists insist that a consensus is emerging that radiation from cell phones can directly damaged DNA by affecting its repair system. If the DNA repair mechanism does not work as well as it should, mutations in cells could accumulate with disastrous consequence. “Cells with unrepaired DNA damaged are likely to be far more aggressively cancerous. Further, they said cell phones do biological damage through heating effects that causes headaches, earaches, blurring vision, numbing, tingling and burning sensation and bad sleep.”
Researches by other scientists indicated that prolonged use of cellular phones had caused hot spots to develop in the brain, causing damage which could lead to Alzheimer’s disease or cancer. Additionally, it is claimed that emissions from cellular phones can disable a blood-brain-barrier and allow proteins and toxin to leak into the brain increasing the chance of developing other diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s.
Although evidences of potentially harmful effects have become more persuasive, more studies need to be conducted and same studies be replicated.
While there is still lack of hard information of damage to health, the approach should be precautionary. It might be wise to limit cell phone calls to necessary ones. Limited calls will reduce the time of exposure to radiation.
Finally, although health problem related to long-term use are thought to be unlikely some steps can be taken to limit the risks. The following are the steps suggested:
1. Use conventional telephone for long phone conversation.
2. Change to a cell phone that has its antenna outside the vehicle.
3. Use head seat and place the phone away from the body.
4. Find out how much energy is emitted from the cell phone.


Gladys Menor and her Leona Florentino

By: Atty. Alimbuyuguen
Fil-Am Courier, June 16-30, 2005

It was beyond Gladys Menor's fondest dreams to receive a great honor of being awarded the Iluko Literary Award—neither did she expect such rec¬ognition for doing something she con¬sidered as a recreational activity.
Menor, president of GUMIL Oahu, an association of Ilokano writers in Oahu, received the award from GUMIL Filipinas, the mother association of all GUMILs throughout the world, held at the annual convention of Iluko writers at Suso Beach, Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur, Philippines on April 22-24.
Such recognition is given to most deserving writers in the lluko language who had shown exemplary performance in the promotion, development and pre- seryatian of the cultural and literary heri- tage of the Ilokanos.
The writing of poems (daniw in Iluko) and essays (salaysay) by Menor first started as a hobby in order to while away her time while resting in the evenings after putting to sleep her two female wards in the care home she manages. But then this hobby developed her passion for writing and as a result, it ultimately made her a regular contributor to two Iluko national magazines: the Bannawag and Rimat
In year 2000, Menor was elected president of GUMIL Oahu. Because of her initiative and strong desire to promote the developmt of the cultural and literary heritage of the Ilokanos, she pushed for the holding of the lst International GUMIL Filipinas Convention of llukano Writers in Honolulu.
With the help of then Governor Ben Cayetano, Representative Jun Abinsay and the full support of the Philippine Consulate in Hawaii and the members of GUMIL Oahu, 35 delegate-writers from all over the world converged for three days in Honolulu to hone their writing skills. As a follow-up, group workshops for lluko writers and would-be writers were held in Maui and Oahu.
In order to further pursue the development of the Iluko language, an official publication of GUMIL Oahu was put in circulation and now copies out every four months with its members as contributing writers. To, ensure the continuing source of outside written materials, GUMIL Oahu had worked for the establishment of a sisterhood relationship with GUMIL Metro Manila, which to this day is subsisting.
In the meantime, an agreement was made between University of Hawaii Professor Precy Espiritu and GUMIL Oahu to support and coordinate with each other regarding the holding of classes in lluko language at the University of Ha¬waii. These organized classes in Iluko are the first in the world.
Through Menor's leadership, scholarship grants were given to deserving students enrolled in the Iluko classes at UH with the help of individual donors and the United Filipino Council of Hawaii headed by President Don A. Alvarez. The State of Hawaii has also agreed to add one more teaching item for the Iluko classes at UH in view of its growing enrollment this year.
The objective of GUMIL Oahu in the promotion, development and pre¬servation of the cultural and literary heri¬tage of the Ilokanos is not only focused on the writing skill aspect; it is likewise in pursuit of a program of implement¬ing a cultural dissemination and revival by sponsoring activities like drama pre¬sentations, folksongs, dances and show¬ casing the Bukanegan, a counterpart of Balagtasan.
As of this writing; three shows had already been successfully held at Waipahu and Kalihi and two more have been scheduled for Pearl City and Wahiawa, all in the island of Oahu. Whatever funds realized from these ac¬tivities will be given for the support of the Iluko classes at UH.
All of these are the basis for which a committee headed by Liwayway magazine editor-in-chief Rey D Auque in Manila had cited Menor. Leona Florentino, president of GUMIL Filipinas Dionisio S. Bulong, editor-in-chief of Bannawag magazine in Manila informed Menor of her award.
It could be said then that those who burnt the midnight oil, so to speak, ultimately reaped the fruits of their work and Gladys Menor is one of them.

Estetika ng Pakikidangadang ng Ilang Kabataang Makatang Ilokano

Ni: Abril Solis Agtarap

Pag-uugat, Pagsasakonteksto

Mayroong mayamang estetika ng pakikidangadang ang kurditang Iluko sa kabila ng maraming suliranin ang naturang kurditan. Ilan sa kontemporaryong haligi sa ganitong uri ng estetika ay sina Peter La Julian, Reynaldo A. Duque, Juan S. P. Hidalgo, Jr., at ang mga makatang kaanib ng kilusang lihim ayon sa makatang si Aurelio Agcaoili. Samantalang may masining na pagririenda ang artistikong lapit nina Julian, Duque, at Hidalgo, tahasan namang mapanghusga ang mga tulang katha ng mga rebolusyonaryo sa wikang Iluko. Ang pagkakaiba ang dalawang lapit, sa akin tingin, ay nakabatay sa rekisito ng odiens. Sa mga makata sa unang pangkat, literate ang recipient, nagbabasa, tagasubaybay ng Bannawag at tumatangkilik sa mga publikasyon ng GUMIL Filipinas. Sa kabilang dako, ang mga makatang rebolusyonaryo ay malay sa kapangyarihan ng tula bilang isang oral na kultura kung kaya’t lantad ang kanilang makapaglarong paggamit sa mga tunog. Ang resulta ay maiuugnay sa poetik praktis ng sinaunang mannarsarita, ng mga makata ng mga paraangan o ng mga magbubukanegan.

Para kay Laconsay, mayroong dalawang magkaugnay, kung hindi man magkasalikop, na pagpapakahulugan ng salitang dangadang: (1) digmaan at (2) pakikipaglaban. Kung susuriin, mayroong dimension ng pakikidigma na pakikipaglaban. Sa lebel na metaporikal, tila mahirap paghiwalayin ang dalawang konsepto sapagkat: (1) ang pakikipagdigma ay pakikipaglaban sa isang gera at (2) ang pakikipaglaban ay pakikipagtunggali sa kaaway, tao man ito o puwersa o sistema o idea. Sinasabi ni Laconsay na ang pakikipaglaro (literal) ay isang uri ng dangadang. Ganoon din ang pangangatwiran tulad ng debate, na sa kaso ng kurditang Iluko ay makikita sa bukanegan. Sa ganitong pagsasakonteksto, makikita na ang “estetika ng pakikipagdangadang” ay malinaw na isang partikular na estetika na ang tumbok ay ang mapanuring analisis ng makabuluhang karanasang pantao.

Para sa sanaysay na ito, ang “estetika ng pakikipagdangadang” ay yaong nakikisangkot na artistikong imahinasyon at sensibilidad ng mga kabataang manunulat sa wikang Iluko. Taglay ng ganitong estetika ang kawalan ng kasiyahan sa kasalukuyang kalakaran ng lipunan, sa kasalukuyang anyo at paraan ng konstruksyon ng realidad, at sa substans ng politikal na buhay ng ili, ng pagilian, at ng mga umili.

Layon ng papel na ito na suriin ang artistikong imahinasyon ng tatlong piling kabataang makatang Iluko at itakda ang lugal ng kanilang poetik praktis sa kasalukuyang kalagayan sa Amianan at sa bansa. Kanugnog ng ganitong layon ng isang pagtingin sa “estetika ng pakikipagdangadang” na isa itong istratehiya ng pakikisangkot kaugnay ng higit na malaking mithiin ang kaunlarang pangsambayanan. Ang ilan sa mga tula nina Roy V. Aragon, Pete B. Duldulao, at Daniel L Nisperos ay may taglay na ganitong artistikong imahinasyon. Ang tatlo ay pawang nagiging fellow sa tula sa UP Writers Workshop sa Baguio. Bilang mga nangungunang kabataang makatang Iluko, di man nila alam, sila ay nagtakda ng isang pamantayan at hulmahan na maaaring bansagan na “new writing.” Sa mga tula ng tatlo ay naroroon ang mga tiyak na pag-aanalisa, matapang, walang sinasanto, mapanuri.

Tula, protesta: Ang Protesta ay Tula

Sa labinlimang sample na aking napili bilang representatib ng obra nina Aragon, Duldulao at Nisperos (ginawa kong taglilima sila), may isang lumilitaw na constant: ang kinaruker ng isang sistemang panlipunan na ipinapahiwatig ng sistematisadong kaapihan ng marami. Ang bago sa ganitong artistik/ poetic na praktis sa kurditang Iluko ay ang kumitment ng sining sa pagpangalan ng karanasang api at aba at ang walang sinasantong na pagtatanong kung bakit hindi mabuti ang buhay.

Nakikita ang mapaghimagsik na tinig ni Duldulao ang palagiang imahen ng ili (“O ilik a baludda/ O bayang kong kinulong nila”), ng isang dilag na Luzviminda (“Agkaykaysata, Luzviminda/ Magkakaisa tayo, Luzviminda”), ng isang Luzvimindang walang wayawaya (“Sapsapulek ti wayawayam, Luzviminda/ Hinahanap ko ang iyong kalayaan, Luzviminda”), ng kasalanang kailangang matubos (“Ket ti basol nagsikog/ At ang kasalanan ay nagdalantao”), at ang magbubukid na naghahanap ng paglaya (“Kayumanggi a mannalon/ Kayumangging magbubukid”). Simple ang mga gamit na salita ni Duldulao, akma ito sa kahingian ng tulang binibigkas sa demonstrasyon ng mga magbubukid sa Department of Agrarian Reform, sa taripnong ng mga magbubukid sa dap-ayan kaya o sa lilim ng mga malalabay na puno sa duluhan ng mga pinitak o sa ordinaryong umpukan na pinaguusapan ang kaapihan. Sa estilo ni Duldulao, ang wika niya ay yaong ang sensibilidad ay hinubog ng nayon, ng karanasan sa malawakang pagkaapi at ng pagkamulat sa mga kasanhian. Naroon ang pagtunton sa kuwento ng kasaysayan bilang bukirin ng kanilang analisis. Dito niya isasakatuparan ang negosasyon tungkol sa kung papaano makakamtan ang katarungan.

Sa estilo, mapaglaro ang abstraktisadong wika ni Nisperos na tila ba nakatira rin siya sa “mundo ng mga idea.” Dahan-dahan ka niyang pakikitaan ng mga kongkretong larawan subalit dahan-dahan ka rin niyang inililipad sa isa pang lebel ng kamalayan. Tumutula man si Nisperos tungkol sa isang matandang babae (“Ay, kayatka a Buatan, Apo Baket/ Ay, ibig kitang tulungan sa iyong pagsusunog, Apo Baket”) o sa kanyang pag-anyaya sa kunwaring piging (“Maykan ta ibuyogta ti eppes a bulbol ti daniw”), naroon ang “estilong Nisperos”: madilim ang mundo, madilim ang kaapihan, kailangan ang bagong pangalan ng kalayaan at hindi sa kaaway, kailangang kumawala sa rehas ng kasaysayang inangkin ng panahon. Sabihin mang “madilim” ang mundo ni Nisperos (“panes”, “massayag”, “padaya dagiti sililisay”, “manto”), naroon ang pagtatangkang suriin ang kapangyarihan na naroroon sa “madilim” na kalagayan ng tao sa pag-aakalang darating din ang darudar (kabilugan ng buwan) kahit ito ay duguan. Hindi nawawala ang kanyang satirikal na puna tungkol sa panlipunang programa ng estado (“bambanti a reporma ti daga”) at tuloy-tuloy ang kanyang pagpapakita ng abang kalagayan ng taumbayan: magbubuntong hininga ang mga kaldero, iiyak ang dalikan samantalang ang bodega ng mga komersyante ng gutom ay nag-uumapaw.

Mapag-obserba si Aragon sa mga araw-araw na pangyayari. Hindi nakaligtas sa kanya ang tungkol sa mga fastfood chain na ang prangkisa ay binili pa sa ibang bansa (“Masmasdaaw ni Ambong/ Nagtataka si Ambong”), ang tungkol sa walang katapusang trahedya ng militarisasyon (“Ni ‘insin Unyor a taga-Marag/ Si ‘insing Unyor na taga-Marag”), ang desperasyon ng pagiging utak-kolonyal (“Snoopy, ti bida nga aso?/ Snoopy, ang bidang aso”), ang ibang kalagayan ng masa (“
Agkurkuranges a biag?/ Naghihikahos na buhay”), ang salamangkang kalayaan (“Hunio dose ni nawaya/ Hunyo dose ni malaya”). Ang istratehiyang tago na gamit ni Aragon ay ang kanyang palakuwentong poetik na imahinasyon. Sa Iluko: is-istoriaanaka—kinukuwentuhan ka lang tungkol sa kanyang mga “maliit” na tauhan: si Insang Unyor, si Snoopy, si Ambong, si mahirap na pinangakuan ng ginhawa at kalayaan. Subalit sa kanyang pagkukuwento, dinadala ka ni Aragon sa isang mundong kumukutikutitap sapagkat doon ang totoo ay hindi nagbabalatkayo, hindi iniimbento ng mga public relations specialists ng estado at ng mga kaalyadong institusyon. Ang totoo’y madugo, mabaho, nakakainis, nakakapagmulat, masakit, mapakla—sa madaling salita: malinaw na totoo. Agdadata a kinapudno: lantaran, walang itinatago, walang ikinukubli.

Sa labinlimang nabanggit na tula, nakikita ang pagtatagpo ng dalawang tinig, dalawa sapagkat nanggaling sa magkaibang karanasan: ang tinig ng tula at ang tinig ng protesta. Subalit sa pamamagitan ng integratib na pagtingin sa karanasan at pang-araw-araw na dulambuhay ng tao, hahamunin ng mga tulang ito ang ontolohikal na rekisito ng katarungan na paging partisano/ nakakiling sa taumbayang api. Kukutyain ng artistikong imahinasyon sa estetika ng pakikipagdangadang ang ipinapalaganap na totoo at kahulugan.

Protesta, Tula: Ang Tula ay Protesta

Papaano naisasalin sa metapora nina Aragon, Duldulao, at Nisperos ang kanilang estetika ng pakikipagdangadang?

Nakikipagtransak si Aragon sa kasaysayan.

Nakikipagdiskurso si Duldulao sa karanasang nayon at magbubukid at proletaryo.

Sumasakay si Nisperos sa metapisikal na sensibilidad ng mga intelektwal na may kumitment sa pakikipagtunggali.

Sa imahen ng “Snoopy” ni Aragon, babagtasin niya ang masalimuot na daan ng kolonyal na kasaysayan upang ipamukha na: “heto tayo, asong ulol noon, asong ulol pa rin ngayon.” Kakabit ang larawan sa kambas ng amerikanisadong gunita’t karanasan ang “puppy,” o dili kaya’y “tuta” at para sa mga nakakaalala ng mga ebanghelyo sa mga pader sa Mendiola o Liwasang Bonifacio o sa mga kongkretong tulay sa mga kanayunan, dumadagundong ang “Marcos, tuta ng Kano!” Alegorya ng kalagayang pambansa si “Snoopy” na alagang aso ng mag-asawang Kano na, pagbalik nila sa “the land of milk and honey” ay balik din si Snoopy sa kanyang pinanggalingang basurahan. Walang katubusang alegorya, walang malinaw na paglaya. Ang kanyang katubusang ay naroon sa kanyang panggugulantang na ang bansa ay tila isang “Snoopy.” Ididiin ito ni Aragon sa kanyang diagnosis: ang buhay ay walang-hanggang paghihikahos, walang-hanggang kasalatan sa pagkain ng mga makapangyarihan: fried chicken, roasted lamb, tempura, whole wheat bread. Gaya ni Nisperos, mangangarap si Aragon, mangangarap siya ng magandang buhay: pinong asin, kaning tamang pagkaluto (“nalinlinay nga inapuy”) at sariling bukid (“kabukbukodan a talon”). Nagtatagpo ang mga depinisyon nina Aragon, Duldulao, at Nisperos tungkol sa gin-awa: bukid para sa mga nagugutom, panaginip para sa mga nangangarap at hindi takot sa mga sundalong pumapatay ng magulang at pangarap (“Ni insin Unyor a taga-Marag”). Babatikusin ni Aragon ang kalayaan at sasabihin niya: tayo’y hibang, tayo’y mga paktoria ng mga ilusyon, tayo’y mga hilo, tayo’y pinagpapaniwala ng matagal.

Si Nisperos naman ay sulsol sa kanyaang pagpapaalala na: maghapong nangangarap na maluto ang dalikan (“nagmalem nga agsaraaw ti dalikan”), ang bigasan ay lagging simut (“ugaw a pagbagasan”), ang pagsusumpa ng langgam (“inilunod ti kuton”), ang gutom na mananayaw (“mannala a bisin”), at marami pang iba. Naroon ang dapat gawin, ang pagtubos sa buhay at sa kalayaan: “burakek latta no kua ti ulimek dagiti bingkol—babasagin ko ang katahimikan ng lupang tigang.” Para naman kay Duldulao, ang protesta ay tula, ang tula ay protesta kung ang metapora ay tahanan ng katapatan sa bayan, kung ang talinhaga mula sa mapait na karanasan ay logos/verbum/sao ng katubusan. Mangangako si Duldulao ng isang dangadang na ang namumuno ay mga kabataang kayumanggi (“kayumanggi nga agtutubo”) na inilipol sa traidor (“parmekena dagiti Hudas ti aglawlawta”) upang muli ang logos ay maging verbum ng kalayaan, ang sao ay maging sao ng salakan. Malinaw ang hitsura ng kaaway para kay Duldulao: “Kayumanggi a didiosen—kayumangging diyos-diyosan.” Sa bisa ng logos, sa bisa ng pakikipagtunggali, ang mga didiosen ay malilipol din, matatapos din ang kanilang kalabisan.


Nananatiling buhay ang butil ng pakikipagdangadang hanggat patuloy na umiiral ang mga opresyon, ang kawalan ng panlipunang katarungan. Ang mga tula nina Aragon, Duldulao, at Nisperos ay mga kongkretong patunay na ang estetika ng pakikipagdangadang ay isang makapang-yarihang estratehiya ng pagbasa sa realidad

Ano nga ba ang bago sa kanilang estetika?

Para sa akin, ang bago ay ang kanilang hindi pagtalikod sa sosyal na responsibilidad ng kanilang sining. Kanilang naisasagawa ito sa pamamagitan ng kanilang patuloy na paglikha ng realidad, ng totoo, ng kahulugan sa pamamagitan ng mga bagong metaporang kanilang kinakatha.



(Editor’s Note: In the face of all that is swirling and dizzying, we share with you some light moments to remind ourselves that we need to move on and go on despite the days of disquiet in the home country. Dr. Lilia Sevillano, now based in Auckland, New Zealand, forwarded these “Filipinisms” to the Inquirer editor. We cannot trace the original author but like all folklore, authorship gets to be the people eventually.)

These are the words that are so unique and loaded in meaning that they will never find a direct translation in the English language. Forget traditional dictionaries. Keep this.

Achuchu (a-chu-chu) ● This refers to the pointless insincerities being said during long, involved conversations about nothing at all.

Ano (a-noh) ● The all-around, all-purpose word for everything.

(1) Pronoun in interrogation: Ano? (What?)

(2) Noun: Where is your ano? (Where is your father/mother/dead-uncle's-second-cousin?)

(3) Verb: Anuhin this. (Paint/kill/maim/castrate this.)

(4) Adjective: This is so ano. (This is so pretty/big/astounding.)

(5) Interjection: Ano?! (What the hell?!)

(6) Substitute for genitalia: Did you ano your ano?

***WARNING: The use of ‘ano’ is quite dangerous for the untrained ear, and must be put into the proper setting. "Honey, the ano is too long, we have to cut it," must be accompanied by the proper understanding of the context, as results may be critical to a couple's future.

Booba (boo-bah) ● A female blessed with larger than usual mammary glands, which can be used as weapons of mass destruction.

Checheboreche (che-che-boh-re-che) ● Same as achuchu.

***It is interesting to ponder on the reason why there are so many words in the Filipino language that beautifully describe meaningless chatter.

Epal (eh-pal) ● An individual who believes he is God.

Gigil (gee-gil) ● An uncontrollable desire to bite something.

Hipon (hee-pon) ● Literally "shrimp," whose body is eaten while its head is thrown away, this refers to a female whose body is to die for and whose face looks like it belongs to the dead.

Kikay (kee-kay) ● Refers to individuals who carry a brush, hand wash, moisturizer, lip-gloss and various other facial enhancements in a case (aptly called a kikay kit) inside her bag. Recent inspections of various backpacks have led to the conclusion it is not a purely female trait. This breed cannot resist checking themselves out on mirrors, glass windows, bread knives, sidewalk puddles and plastic-covered notebooks.

Kaekekan (ka-ek-e-kahn) ● Same as achuchu and chechebureche.

Kilig (keel-leg) ● A rush of excitement due to the actions, presence or even mention of he whom you see as the future father of your children.

Laglag-brip (lag-lag-brip) ● The female counterpart of laglag-panti.

Laglag-panti (lag-lag-pan-tee) ● A man so incredibly hot, so heart-stoppingly gorgeous and oozing with masculinity that female underwear (whether worn by males or females) falls to the ground without effort whatsoever.

Indyanero (in-jan-neh-ro) ● An individual who fails to appear at an appointment without prior warning. Not to be confused with individuals who appear according to Filipino time (approximately 10 minutes before the meeting is to end)

Japorms (jah-porms) ● Describes an individual dressed differently from the usual (typically involves clothes that have been laundered and pant legs of roughly the same length).

Lagot (lah-got) ● A prophesy of evil things to come.

Para (pah-rah) ● A term that informs the driver of a jeep to stop and pause (usually in the middle of the road) as the individual speaking intends to leave the vehicle. Dangerous for individuals as drivers seem to believe having one foot in the air is all that is necessary for descent.

Takusa (ta-kuh-sa) ● Derived from takot sa asawa (afraid of wife), this is a term used to describe the silent (very silent) minority of males married to feminine reincarnations of Hitler.

Torpe (tore-peh) ● A gentleman who is desperately attracted to a female yet by some strange compulsion is reduced to a frozen mound of stuttering male whenever that female is near.

Armed with this list and a smile, you will be sure to make the proper impression not just on your new relations, but on your loved one as well.

Now let's practice:

"Honey, when I first saw you, I made laglag brip, and was almost torpe. When I finally got the nerve to date you, I almost became indyanero, because I didn't think I had the right japorms. When you're around, I'm kilig, when you're not, I get gigil. You may think all this is achuchu, kaekekan, just checheboreche, but in truth, my love, I'm so ano with you."


Our days are heady as no other. Even from the point of view of Filipino migrants and immigrants in the United States and elsewhere, the narratives of the wanton destruction of our dreams have come close to perdition, with complex plots accountable to naked ambition, presidential intransigence, and plain pernicious perfidy on the part of the power holders.

In many ways, we still live blighted lives now. We have lived blighted lives long before. Today, the blight seems to assume a more evil form each day.

Because we see the workings of a depraved leadership of the elites who do not know how to use their heads in the honest pursuit of social justice.

Because we see this social drama with the whole country as the stage and with the poor people and the disadvantaged held hostage in order to account the false heroism of pretenders to the throne and to the power we delegated to the leaders.

Because in the accounting of what is best for the country, the small men and small women of the republic are never consulted by the big men and big women of the republic—those who have the luxury to talk about the abstractions that do not have anything to do with the pangs of hunger that we feel every minute.

Because in these last few days the political elites have been truly blackmailed by us—us, the common tao; us, the masses. And these political elites are the very people who have offered us liberty and freedom, justice and progress, democracy and fairness.

We accuse the political elites of a conspiracy to make us more and more marginalized in order for them to maintain their stronghold and stranglehold, two identical evils that have visited us these last few days.

We accuse them of being corrupt, their mindsets and consciousness corrupting and that they have continued to infect us with some social maladies that they have been afflicted.

The political elites plot to sow intrigue among our ranks in order to confuse us more systematically and in order for them to hide their contradictions by their shallow discourse on what is best for us all.

This blight has remained the same whether we are Filipinos holding out in the old, tired, and worn country.

This blight is the same whether we have opted, bravely or cowardly, to get out of our former country’s cauldron.

This blight has perniciously attacked our mind and has lodged there, making us numb and unable to see the difference between options, as if the battle to be won is one between evils, our choice reduced to the lesser one.

We cannot go on like this. We cannot continue to become impotent before others and equally impotent before the children of our land. We call for an exorcism from this blight. And now.

We call for a political purgation on the whole scale, from the presidency to the barangay tanod, from the national leaders to the local politicos who have evolved a fiefdom that assures them of their continued rule over us.

Now, we ask that our political leaders—elites or those pretenders—to bless our lives by their responsible actions. We cannot now remain divided, with attacks and counter-attacks that do not pay heed to our call for sobriety and sanity, prudence and patriotism, rationality and redemption.

It is high time that the political elites become organized. Or they end up the loser. The enlightened masses are what they are: enlightened. And they can be powerful.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Wayawaya (Kabanata 1)


Ni Nasudi Bagumbayan

Wayawaya. Kalayaan. Freedom. Kuwento ng limang henerasyon ng isang pamilya na testigo sa kasaysayan. Simula kay Ina Wayawaya noong huling bahagi ng ika-19 na siglo hanggang kay Wayawaya sa kasalukuyan, ang kuwento ng rebolusyon ay nananatiling di tapos na dula ng buhay ng mga Filipino. Mailap ang katubusang pangako nito. Laging lumalampas sa palad ng mga nangangarap ang kalayaan para sa inangbayan—ang buong-buong wayawaya para sa sambayanan.

Isasadula ng nobelang Wayawaya ang masalimuot na kuwento ng mga kababaihan sa pamilya Agtarap na nag-alay ng sarili para sa higit na malaking sanhi—ang wayawaya na nakabatay sa panlipunang katarungan.

Magsisimula ang kuwento sa kasalukuyan—sa People Power II—at magtatapos din sa kasalukuyan. Subalit pumapaloob ang kuwento sa iba’t ibang pook at panahon ng mga pangyayaring kinakasangkutan ng limang Wayawaya. Ang pagsasaksi ay sa kanilang puntodebista.

Limang Wayawaya ng limang henerasyon ng mga Agtarap—silang mga malay at mulat na tauhan sa di natatapos na kasaysayan ng pakikipagtunggali para sa pagkapantay-pantay, para sa kaunlaran, para sa kapayapaan.

Limang Wayawaya—limang pangarap. Limang Wayawaya—limang kuwento ng pakikibaka. Ng kaligtasan para sa sarili. Ng kaligtasan kasama ang kapwa.

Kabanata 1
Sa bayan ng aming isang libo’t isang walang katuparang panaginip lamang ito nangyari, sabi ni Bannuar Agtarap sa batam-batang gabi habang sinusunog ng mga nagsisiprotesta ang halimaw na kawangis ng Pangulo ng Republika.

Sa tagong pook ng aming di mabilang na bangungot lamang ito nagaganap, sabi niya, kausap ang isip na kanina pa’y nagtatanong kung saan nga ba patutungo ang kanilang protesta. Naalala niya ngayon ang kwento ng kanyang ina: “Sasakmalin ng apoy ang dilim sa pook na iyon ng protesta. Sa pagkakasunog ng dambuhalang halimaw, maghahari ang liwanag. Magbababantay ang lahat ng magdadangadang. Babantayan nila ang pagpupunla ng katarungan at kapayapaan sa puso ng lahat ng mamamayan. Ang Kappia ay magbabalik sa dati: pook ng kagalingan at buhay, lugal ng kagampan ng lahat ng mga panaginip.” Ang binabanggit ng kanyang ina ay isang pook ng hiraya: Kappia-payapa.

Anong pagkakatulad! sabi ni Bannuar Agtarap.

Dalawang buwan na nilang inaangkin ang lansangan, dalawang buwan na pagmamartsa mula sa Liwasang Bonifacio hanggang sa Mendiola upang paulit-ulit na isigaw ang niloloob ng maraming mamamayan: “Arestuhin! Arestuhin ang halimaw!”

Minsan nang napanaginipan ni Bannuar Agtarap ang eksenang ito at alam niya, sigurado siya ngayon, siguradong-sigurado siya, na niluluganan siya ng mga anito ng mga ninuno at sinasabi sa kanya ang ibig sabihin ng tatlong buhol sa lina na laging laman ng kanyang hiraya: isang buhol para kay Marcos, isang buhol para kay Aquino,
isang buhol para kay Ramos.

Naalala niya ang linas sa kuwento ni Hidalgo tungkol sa “Tatlong Lalaki at Isang Pangako.”

Nakikita niya ngayon ang matandang babae na nag-iingat ng linas:
“Sa takdang araw, isa-isa nating tatanggalin ang mga buhol at ikukuwento natin ang ating pakasaritaan. Isasalaysay natin ang kuwento ng ating pakikipagsapalaran.”

Nakikita ngayon ni Bannuar Agtarap ang apoy na nilikha ng matandang babae.

Kinuha ng matandang babae ang maliit na baga ng sinunog na pungdol ng madredekakaw.

Inilagay ng matandang babae ang baga sa kanyang kaliwang palad.

Itiniklop ang palad, marahang-marahan.

Ipinatong ang kanang palad sa kaliwang palad.

Itiniklop ang kanang palad, marahang-marahan.


Huminga ng malalim.


Ibinukas ang kanang palad, marahang-marahan.

Itinaas ang bukas na palad sa kalangitan, marahang-marahan.

Ibinukas ang kaliwang palad, marahang-marahan.

Itinaas ang bukas na palad, marahang-marahan.

Ihinagis ang baga sa pusod ng gabing madilim.

Naging apoy ang baga, gabundok na apoy.

Nagsayaw sa ere ang apoy, nakipag-ulayaw sa ligaw na hangin ng gabing iyon.

Kinain ng apoy ang karimlan.

Nagsalita ang matandang babaeng nag-iingat ng linas ng pagkasaritaan: “Arestuhin ang tatlong buhol!” sabi ng matandang babae. “Arestuhin ang kasaysayan!”

“Arestuhin! Arestuhin!” sigaw ng mga taong nakasaksi sa panununog sa halimaw.
Iwinagayway ni Bannuar Agtarap ang kanyang pulang bandila.

Kumawala sa kanya ang hiraya.

Kumalam ang kanyang sikmura.

Ngayon lang niya naalala na kagabi pa ang kanyang huling pagsubo ng kanin.

Naalala rin niya ang gabi-gabing pagpipiging na idinaraos ng Pangulo ng Republika para sa kanyang mga kamag-anak at kaibigan.

Sa simula ay maliit lamang ang apoy na ibinubuga ng halimaw na kawangis ng Pangulo ng Republika.

Higante ang halimaw, nagsasa-Godzilla ang anyo: malalaki ang mga mata, may dugo sa kanyang mukha at katawan, nakalawit ang dila, akmang mangangain, maninira, maghahasik ng lagim. Lumalampas ang kanyang sukat sa arkiladong trak ng mga kasama.
Nang di maglaon ay nagluluwa ng mga malalaking apoy ang dambuhalang hayop, tila apoy sa impierno ng mga kaluluwang walang katubusan. Tulad ngayon sa impiernong alay ng Pangulo ng Republika para sa mga maliliit na mamamayang pinangakuan ng bukang-liwayway pagkatapos ng mahabang karimlan.

Noon ay minahal siya ng taumbayan, pinalakpakan ang salamangkang taglay ng kanyang mga salita. May tula sa kanyang mga pangako: magandang bukas, maalwang buhay, pagkapantay-pantay. Ilang guro kaya ng Unibersidad ang naniwala sa kanya, tumulong sa paghabi niya ng mga mahika upang maniwala ang masa?

Pulam-pula ang apoy na iniluluwa ng halimaw, pula ng dugo ng lahat ng nagbuwis ng buhay sa ngalan ng bayan, pula ng mga hinagpis ng lahat na naulila: mga asawang nabalo na wala sa oras, mga anak na inagawan ng ama at ina, mga magulang na pinagkaitan ng pagkakataon na ilibing ang mga bangkay ng mga anak na magpahangga ngayon ay kabilang sa libo-libong nawawala.

Pulam-pula ang apoy na ibinubuga ng halimaw, tila nagsasabi ng: “Huwag ninyo akong subukan! Huwag ninyo akong subukan!”

Sa anumang anggulong tingnan ay kawangis na kawangis ng Pangulo ng Republika ang halimaw: ang kanyang tindig, ang kanyang asta, ang kanyang pagbabadya ng panganib.
Sa kanyang kinatatayuan sa gilid ng entabladong trak na nakabalandra sa mga barbed wire ng Mendiola, nakikita ni Bannuar Agtarap ang lahat ng nagaganap. Enero noon, Enero ng simula ng maraming tag-araw. Subalit tila may kung anong hanging ligaw ang dumampi sa pisngi ni Bannuar Agtarap.

May taglay na darang ang hanging ligaw at gumapang ang darang sa kanyang dibdib, gumapang sa kanyang leeg, bumaba sa kanyang hita. Nakikita niya ngayon si Pepe Samson, ang bastardong anak ni Antonio Samson na iskolar ng pakasaritaan ng mga Ilokanong nakidangadang. Sa isang raling kanilang itinanghal laban sa panunupil ni Marcos, ang unang buhol sa linas ng kasaysayan, pinagbabaril sila ng militar. Sa takot, tumakbo si Pepe Samson, sumuksok sa burak ng estero at doon, doon sa kanyang pinagkukublihan, doon niya nasaksihan ang pagbaril ng mga militar sa kanyang kaibigan. Walang kaluluwang itinumba si Toto, binutas ang dibdib, tiniyak na di na mabubuhay.
May tila di maipaliwanag na damdaming umangkin sa kanya sa paglaro ng kanyang gunita. Dama niya pa rin ang hanging ligaw, sa pagsalat nito sa kanyang kalamnan. Ako si Bannuar Agtarap, sabi niya, ikapito sa kaputotan ng mga Agtarap, ikapitong salinlahing saksi ng lahat ng pagsinta at pasakit, pagmamahal at pagtataksil, pagbubuo at pagwawasak.

Ako si Bannuar Agtarap, sabi niya.

Supling ako ng mga ligaw ding pangarap tulad ng ligaw na pangarap ng ligaw na hangin sa aking hita.

Nilaro ng ligaw na hangin ang kanyang pulang bandila na nag-aanunsiyo ng kanyang kilusang kinabibilangan: Tignay.

Tignay ito ng kanyang di nakilalang Tatang.

Tignay ito ng kanyang di nakilalang Nanang.

Tignay ng mga sumusunod pa sa kanila.

Ang ngayon—ngayon sa araw na ito ng pagtutuos, Tignay na ring kanya.
Dito, dito sila unang nagkatitigan, naghati ng tinapay, naghabi ng pangarap para sa sarili at para sa sambayanan.

Ngayon ay igigiit ni Bannuar Agtarap ang isang tuod na kabatiran: Supling siya ng mga protesta, karugtong ng mga pangungulila, kagampan ng mga panaginip, daniw ng paglaya. Siya, siya rin ang wayawaya ng mga magulang na nangawala, inanod ng rumaragasang tubig-baha. O inilibing ng daluyong, isang libong daluyong na bumisita sa kanilang Tingnay, sinubukan ang tatag ng bawat kasapi, inalam kung sino ang tapat at kung sino ang traidor. Ay, isa-isang nagsilantad noon ang mga karasaen, ang mga ahas na kumakanta, matindi ang kamandag kapag kumakanta.

Ipinarada ang pugot na ulo ng kanyang Tatang sa isang nayon sa Kordilyera.
Itinusok ang ulo sa isang kawayan saka iprinusisyong parang tropeo ng kaaway na mandirigma na di naman mandirigma.

Ililibing mo ang bangkay ng iyong Tatang kapag nakita mo, bilin noon ng kanyang Nanang. Ililibing mo sa Kappia, sa nayon ng kanyang kadkadua. Sa isang matandang nara inilibing ang kanyang bahay-bata. Doon, doon mo rin ililibing ang kanyang bangkay.

Naiisip niya ngayon si Wayawaya.

Pagkatapos magsalita si Wayawaya ay nawala siya sa kanyang paningin.

May mga mata ang mga kaaway kahit dito sa Mendiola ng pagkilos at paglaya. Nag-iingat si Wayawaya. Kailangan niyang mag-ingat.

Matagal nang minamanmanan ng mga kaaway si Wayawaya.

Binansagan na siya ng kaaway na komunista, nanggugulo, amasona, aktibista.

Nang umakyat si Wayawaya sa entabladong trak na ibinalagbag ng mga kasama sa dalawang hanay ng barbed wire ng Mendiola, nakadama si Bannuar ng pagmamayabang. May kung anong damdaming di niya alam ang pangalanang ibig kumawala. Kasabay ng damdaming ‘yon ang takot, ang isa ring walang pangalang takot. Naisip niya: hanggang saan ang dulo ng pakikibaka?

Sa kanyang kinaroroonan sa harap ng entabladong trak, nakita ni Bannuar ang liksi ng pag-akyat ni Wayawaya, liksi ng musang—katawagan sa Ilokos sa pusang ligaw, sa Ilokos ng kanilang ugat at gunita, siya at si Wayawaya. Liksi ng mga nagdapat, ng mga naghahanap ng lupang pangako kahit sa lupang pangakong narating na subalit nadatnan doon ang hikahos at gawat at kawalan ng katarungan. May alerto sa ganoong liksi, malay sa bawat panganib na dulot ng tao at hayop sa kapalaluan.

Pagkasampa ni Wayawaya sa entabladong trak, napangiti si Bannuar sa alaala sa isang eksena ng Orapronobis. Pagkatapos daw maipagtagumpay ang rebolusyon, ang mga babae ay hindi na taumbahay lamang. Nasa paktoria na sila.

Magiging malaya ang mga asawang babae.

Magiging malaya ang mga ina.

Magiging malaya ang mga anak na babae.

Magiging malaya ang mga kapatid na babae.

Magiging kasama ng mga babae ang mga lalaki sa tuloy-tuloy na pagpapalago ng kabuhayan ng pagilian, kasa-kasama sila sa tahanan at kaparangan, sa pagawaan at sa bukid, sa paggiliw at pag-irog.

Magiging iba ang saklaw ng pakikibaka, sesentro ito sa relasyon, sa depinisyon ng bagong buhay, sa pagtitiyak ng hustisya para sa lahat.

Dumagundong ang tinig ni Wayawaya sa lahat ng sulok ng Mendiola. Buo ang tinig na iyon, nagbubukal sa isip at puso at kaluluwa, tumatagos sa kalamnan. “Mga kasama,” sabi niya, “isang maalab at mapanghimagsik na pagbati mula sa hanay ng mga mag-aaral sa buong kapuluan.”

Parang kagabi rin itong hapon na ito, sabi ni Bannuar Agtarap sa sarili. Isang nahihiyang mangingibig ang batang buwan kagabi. Naging saksi ang buwan sa kanilang paghahanda ng kakailanganin sa mahabang martsa ngayon mula Welcome Rotunda hanggang Malakaniang. Ang iba ay sa Ayala Avenue pa manggagaling, sa sentro ng puhunan.

Pasilip-silip ang buwan sa mga malalabay na sanga ng akasya na tumatanod sa sulok na iyon ng Bulwagang Lean Alejandro. Paminsan-minsa ay maglalaro ang mga anino ng mga sanga sa mga puting kartolinang sinusulatan nila ng “Arestuhin ang Pangulo! Arestuhin ang nakikipagkumpare!” at “Pangulong panggulo! Suwitik! Magbitiw!”
“Juice mo,” alok ni Bannuar kay Wayawaya.

Kinuha ni Wayawaya ang inumin.

Nagkantahan ang iba pang kasama sa bulwagan, nanunukso, nang-aasar. “Huling-huli! Huling-huli!” Maya-maya pa’y nagkagulo na sa bulwagan. Nag-indakan ang mga nagpoproduksyon ng mga karatula, kinukumpasan ang kanilang kanta. May sinasadyang harot sa kanilang pag-indak.

Pumagitna ang isang lalaking tibak, patpatin, puno ng tagihawat ang mukha. Ginawa niyang mikropono ang ginagamit na paint brush. “Sa ‘yo umibig ng tapat, sa ‘yo lamang mahal.” Tonong Pangako Sa ‘Yo, ala-Angelo ang pagpapakyut, may pakiusap sa mukha, may landi sa kanyang tinig.

Dinampot ni Bannuar ang nakalapag na Pinoy Times na nag-aanunsiyo ng pagiging lover boy for all seasons ng Pangulo ng Republika. Mabilis nitong nilamukos ang diyaryo, binilog. Ibinato sa patpating tibak. “Tado! Konyo!”

Umilag lamang ang tibak. “I love you, baby, this I promise you!” Ibang kanta ang inimbento.

Muling dumagundong ang tinig ni Wayawaya, umapaw sa Mendiola, lampas sa mga barbed wire at sa pulutong ng mga pulis at sundalong nagmamatyag sa lahat ng pangyayari. “Papayag ba tayo na salaulain tayo ng Pangulo ng mga kroni, mga kababayan?

“Papayagan ba natin ang Pangulo na itulak tayo sa burak ng karalitaan?

“Papayag ba tayo na takutin tayo ng sanggano sa Malakaniang?

“Pupulutin daw tayo sa kangkungan, mga kababayan!”

Tumigil si Wayawaya. Sa pamamagitan ng kanyang kanang palad ay pinahid ang pawis sa kanyang nuo. Tiningnan ang hanay ng mga nagrarali na ngayon ay dagat na ng tubaw, plakard, at bandila ng protesta.

Ipinako ni Wayawaya ang kanyang tingin sa mga pulang bandila ng mga kasama, mga kabataang mulat sa lahat ng nangyayari, inangkin ng mga anito ng mga ninuno, sinasapian ni Ina Wayawaya tuwi-tuwina.

Pinagsayaw ni Bannuar ang kanyang pulang bandila. Sayaw din ‘yon ng kanyang puso. Kagabi, sabi sa kanya ni Wayawaya: “Basbasan ka ng aking pagmamahal na pagmamahal ko rin sa bayan.”

Sinagot niya si Wayawaya: “Basbasan ka rin ng aking pag-ibig. Para sa iyo, para sa bayan.” Nginitian sila ng totorpeng batam-batang buwan, nginisian sila ng mga anino ng mga malalabay na sanga ng akasya na tumatanod sa kanila.

Iwinagayway ni Bannuar ang kanyang bandila, pinasayaw ng maraming ulit sa mga ulo ng mga kasamang pawisan at asar na sa pag-aalipusta sa kanila ng Kalihim ng Prensa.

Mga disidente raw sila, di kumikilala sa awtoridad.

Ningas kogon lang ‘yang parali-rali na ‘yan, dagdag ng kalihim. Umaapoy sa simula, naglalagablab kunwari, naghahatid ng kunwaring pangamba. Ngunit sa kalaunan ay kusang napupuksa ito, nawawalan ng init, namamatay pagkaraan ng pakitang-taong lakas sa kanilang hanay.

“Walang kakayahan daw ang ating hanay, mga kasama,” tudyo ni Wayawaya. Kumakapit na ngayon sa kanyang katawan ang kanyang basa nang pulang t-shirt na nagpapahayag ng sariling layon: “Serve the people.” Nakatali ang kanyang buhok subalit ilang hibla ang tumatakip sa kanyang nuo at kanang mata. May ligaw na liksi ang kanyang pagkilos. Liksi ito ng nakababatid ng maraming kuwento ng kaapihan at pagdarahahop.

“Titigil ba tayo sa ating ipinaglalaban, mga kasama?

“Tatanggapin na lamang ba natin ang husga ng mga panginoong tumitiyak na mananatili tayo sa ating abang kalagayan?”

Palubog na noon ang araw at ang simsim ng gabi’y nagsisimula nang gumapang sa mga sulok-sulok ng Malakaniang at sa mga eskinitang nakapalibot dito. Matatayog ang mga gusaling naging saksi na ng daang-daang protesta sa sentro ng kapangyarihan.

Marami sa mga gusaling ito ang pagmamay-ari ng mga nakinabang sa dating kaayusan: mga madreng nagkamal ng salapi sa kanilang pagtuturo sa mga anak ng mga mayayaman, mga mongheng namuhunan ng bendita at basbas sa mga patay at buhay at naging imbestor ng mga malalaking kompanya sa loob at labas ng bansa, mga pribadong mamamayang nagmamay-ari ng mga frangkisa ng mga pagkaing inaasam-asam ng mga mahihirap.

Sa papakanlong na araw, ang anino ng halimaw ay umaabot sa ulo ni Bannuar.

Kagabi nila pininturahan ang halimaw, tinuhog ng alambre ang dilang nakalaylay, at sinubukan ang pagbuga nito ng apoy mula sa tubo ng gas na panluto na pinadaan sa ilalim ng trak, pinalusot sa katawan nito at pinalawit sa bunganga. May takot na taglay ang dambuhalang hayop. Sa namamaalam na araw ay lalong tumingkad ang kulay dugong mata nito na siya ring kulay ng kanyang lawit na dila, buntot, katawan.

May galit sa kanyang tindig sa inupahang trak: nakaamba ang dibdib at mga paa, tila nakahandang magsabog ng kaguluhan tulad ng mga ginawa ng mga halimaw sa pelikulang galing sa Estados Unidos. Tinangkilik ng marami ang pelikula ng mga halimaw, pinalakpakan habang ang mga militar ay napapraning sa mga komunista at sa mga nag-ooperasyong pinta sa lansangan ng Kamaynilaan, habang ang Simbahan ay panay ang papuri sa mga vigilante na ang pakay ay sumunod sa programa ng kapayapaang inimport noon ng babaeng pangulo sa Timog Amerika, habang ang pamahalaan naman ay panay ang pagpopropaganda tungkol sa tungkulin nito sa demokrasya.

Ilang hakbang mula sa entabladong trak na ihinambalang ng mga kasama ay ang hele-helera ng mga pulis na may tangang mga kalasag at batuta, nagmamatyag sa nagaganap, nakikinig sa bawat katagang binibitiwan ni Wayawaya.
Sa likod ng mga pulis ay mga militar na may dalang armas.
Sa may unahan ng mga pulis patungong Malakaniang, sa entrada ng San Beda ng mga mongheng nagpapahayag na ng pagbawi sa suporta sa pamahalaan ay ang apat na service bus ng militar.

Sa pagitan ng entabaladong trak na kinatatayuan ngayon ni Wayawaya at ng mga pulis at militar ay ang dalawang hanay ng mga nirolyong barbed wire na pagkatapos ng pagdiriwang ng sentenaryo ng paglaya mula sa mga Kastila ay tila mga aliping nagsibalik sa Mendiola, sa bunganga mismo ng maburak na sapa na tutuloy sa Ilog Pasig.

Burak sa burak, burak sa kuwento, pagsuyo sa pakikibaka, pagkamatay sa pakikipagtunggali—lahat ng mga ito ay akin nang nasaksihan at akin pang nasasaksihan.

Lahat ng mga ito ay aking isasalaysay.

Kung bibigyan ninyo ako ng tinig.

Kung bibigyan ninyo ako ng pagkakataon.

Bilang patunay ng aking katapatan, lalagdaan ko ang aking salaysay, ilalagda ko ang dugo ng lahat ng mga ninuno, ilalagda ko ang lahat ng lumbay ng angkang aking pinagmulan.

Ako ang matandang kaluluwa ng matandang babae ng pakasaritaan ng mahabang paglalakbay.

Ako yaong babaeng may tangang-tangang linas na tuwi-tuwina’y binubuhol-buhol.

Nagpasalin-salin ako sa mga babae ng pitong salinlahi mula nang isakrifisyo ang buhay ni Padre Kuse, ang pari ng aming mga ninuno, aming tagabasbas, aming tagapagtanggol.

Hindi nila pinatawad si Padre Kuse.

Nakita ko ang kanyang inang sa kanyang pagtangis.

Narinig ko ang kanyang inang sa kanyang pagsasabi ng sumpa: “Gagapang kayong lahat! Gagapang sa lupa tulad ng mga ahas! Mabibiyak ang lupa, mahahati. At kayong lahat na nagkasala, lalamunin kayo ng lupa!”

Tinugis kaming lahat, kaming magkakamag-anak.

Umalis kami sa ili ng aming ugat at gunita.

Naglakbay kami sa mga kaparangan at kagubatan, sa mga linang na walang nagmamay-ari.
Hinanap namin ang Kappia sa mga dilim at liwanag na dumating at pumanaw, sa mga araw at buwan at bituing bumibisita at tumatanod sa aming paglalakbay.


Walang Kappia sa aming pinupuntahan kahit pulit-ulit ko itong napapanaginipan.
Kampay idi akong isang baglan, babaeng manggagamot, babaeng pari ng mga ninuno, tagapamagitan ng mga anito.

Kampay idi akong isang tagabasa ng mga kahulugan ng mga hangin at tubig at dahon.
Nasa hiraya ko ang Kappia: pook ng aming mga mithiin, kabuuan ng mga buhol-buhol ng linas ng aming pakasaritaan.

Sa aking hiraya ay ang lugal na laan sa amin—ang Kappia.

Nasa pagitan ng mga higanteng bundok ang Kappia.

May laot sa kanluran.

Ang mga lambak nito ay binabagtas ng tatlong malalaking ilog na nag-aanod ng lahat ng dumi sa mga gubat na nagiging pataba ng mga linang.

Isang araw, ninakaw sa akin ang hiraya ng Kappia.

Ang unang nagnakaw ay mga puti, matatangos ang ilong, umaasul ang mga mata.

Hindi ko mawari ang kanilang wika. Banyaga sa akin lahat ng kanilang senyas.

Di naglaon, pinalitan ng mga mestiso ang mga magnanakaw.

Ang mga asta’y sa mga puti rin. Pinilit ding nakawin ang aming pangalan.

Hindi namin ibinigay.

Itinago namin ang aming pangalan sa aming daniw, dallot, dallang, burtia.

Itinago namin sa aming mga panaginip at sa mga panaginip ng aming mga supling.

Itinago namin sa aming mga awit.

Di naglaon, nakipagkumplot ang mga mestiso sa ilang kayumanggi at muling ninakaw ang hiraya ng aming Kappia.

Alam ng mga kayumanggi ang aming daniw, dallot, dallang, burtia.

Alam ng mga kayumanggi ang aming panaginip at ang mga panaginip ng aming mga supling.

Alam ng mga kayumaggi ang aming awit.

Walang puknat ang kanilang pagnanakaw sa aming hiraya.

Isang araw, hinablot nila ang tubig.

Isang araw, ipinuslit ang gubat, ang buong gubat. Walang itinira.

Isang araw, inangkin nila ang mga parang at linang.

Sa lahat ng pagnanakaw, ito ang di napapalampas ng mga anito ng mga ninuno: ang pag-aangkin sa lupa.

Lupa ang nag-aangkin sa tao. Sa lupa bumabalik ang lahat.

Makatarungan ang mga anito, mga sanhi sila ng lahat ng buhay.

Nagpasya ang mga anitong gawin akong anito ng lahat ng paggunita ng pakasaritaan. Buhol ako ng linas: pitong buhol ng pitong salinlahing pakikibaka.

Ako si Ina Wayawaya, espiritu at aniwaas at kararua at karkarma ng lahat.

Ako ang laon—sa simula, sa wakas. Wakas ng mga simula. Simula ng mga wakas.

Kuwento ko ang kuwentong ito, dallot at dalidallang ng lahat ng panahon.

Ang kay Bannuar at Wayawaya ang bago kong tinig, bago kong laman.

Hindi namamatay ang baglan—at ako ang baglan ng kasaysayan ng mga lupaing ito na pinapalibutan ng mga tubig at karagatan at pag-asa at pag-asam at pangarap.

Sa aking sinapupunan ipinaglilihi ang lahat ng galit at pagtubos, lahat ng pakikidangadang at paglaya.

Pitong ulit na akong isinilang sa pitong salinlahi ng mga Agtarap.

Pitong buhol ng linas ng pananagumpay pagkatapos ng mahabang gabi ng pakikipagtunggali.

Anito rin ako ng lahat ng may buhay. Ako ang hininga ng lahat ng mga nagrarali ngayon. Ako ang kanilang bawat hininga. Lalagdaan ko ang aking pahayag na ito ng aking dugo bilang patutuo sa aking salaysay.

Masusunog ang halimaw.

Magtatapos ang maliligayang araw ng halimaw.

At mangabubuhay na mag-uli ang lahat ng mga nag-alay ng buhay para sa bayan: si Padre Ili na tatang ni Bannuar, si Padre Kuse na aking nuno, ang limang Wayawaya sa pitong salin ng mga Wayawaya sa linas ng kasaysayan ng bayang ito.

Silang lahat—kasama ang mga nangawala, kasama ang mga walang pangalang martir ng paglaya—silang lahat ay mangabubuhay na mag-uli.

Magkukuwento sila ukol sa kanilang paglalakbay.


Tuesday, June 14, 2005


● Anang A. Gonzalez, Ph.D.

The Tsunamis of Our Lives

The purpose of this column, according to the Inquirer Editorial request for me to write one, is to bring to our readers some science and technology updates in an everyday language. I will try to do just that. And for this first issue, we are going to have a discussion of the tsunamis that recently hit many countries. I remember that the Philippines had a share of a tsunami in the past.

Tsunamis are among the most terrifying and complex physical phenomena. Although they occur infrequently, the damage they cause to life and property is enormous. Take the case of the worst and the deadliest tsunamis recorded in the history of the world—the tsunami that hit many Asian countries on December 26, 2004. Estimates tell of 200,000 lives lost and hundreds of millions of dollars of property damaged especially in the coastal communities of four countries that include Sumatra, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and India.

In our discussion, we will use these references:;;; and

Tsunami is a series of large waves of extremely long length and period. They are generated by violent and impulsive undersea disturbance or activity near the coast or in the ocean.

The word tsunami comes from two Japanese words, ‘tsu’ meaning harbor and ‘nami’ meaning wave. Tsunami is often times called tidal wave or seismic wave, because of earthquake, although it has nothing to do with tide. Or it can be generated by non-seismic disturbances. The term tsunami has been adopted internationally to cover all forms of impulsive wave generation.

A tsunami is different from the normal ocean waves. Normal ocean waves are caused by wind disturbance on the sea surface. Water movement is limited to the upper part of the ocean or it may go down to about 150 meters at most.

A tsunami moves the water all the way to the ocean floor. The size of the ocean waves depends on the disturbance of the wind creating them. The distance between the waves ranges from a couple of feet to perhaps a thousand feet. The speed they travel across the ocean ranges from a few miles an hour to sixty miles an hour in some instances.

Tsunami waves result from other physical disturbances. The strength of the disturbance causing the tsunami is the primary factor influencing the size and strength of the waves. The height of the waves generated may be very small, usually less than a few feet. The distance between successive waves is much larger than the normal wave and may be hundreds of miles apart. The tsunami waves can travel at speed of 500 to 1000 kilometers per hour.

A tsunami occurs when large volume of water is being displaced. The water displacement is caused by sudden movement of the ocean due to earthquakes, landslide on the sea floor, major volcanic eruption, large meteorite impacts or man-made explosions.

Large earthquakes at the sea floor cause most tsunamis when large slabs of rocks are forced to move past each other suddenly displacing the water, and generating tsunami waves.

Major volcanic eruptions, although relatively infrequent, can also cause impulsive disturbances that can displace a great volume of water and generate extremely destructive tsunami waves.

The tsunami waves initiated by volcanic eruption may occur when an underwater volcano erupts. The hot lava may heat the surrounding water quickly and explosively; or the massive flows of volcanic debris such as ash can travel down the side of volcano and into the ocean, pushing water outwards; or the top of an underwater volcano may collapse downwards, so that the overlying water also drops.

Tsunami waves can also be generated by the displacement of water resulting from underwater landslide, rock falls and icefalls. Such events may be caused from the instability and sudden failure of submarine slope, which are sometimes triggered by the ground motions of the strong earthquakes. Major earthquakes are suspected to cause many underwater landslides. Although meteorites burn as they reach the earth, there is indication that large meteorites hit the earth in the distant past.

Since evidence of the fall of meteorites exists, we could conclude that they had also fallen in the ocean and seas of the earth, particularly since four-fifths of our planet is covered by water. The fall of meteorites in the earth’s ocean has the potential of generating tsunamis of cataclysmic proportions. Tsunami waves can also be generated from very large nuclear explosions.

Once a tsunami has been generated, its energy is distributed throughout the water column regardless of the ocean’s depth. The waves will travel outward on the surface of the ocean in all directions away from the source. Its speed depends upon the depth of the water. In deep oceans, tsunami waves can travel at a speed of 500 to 1000 kilometers per hour. Near a shore, however, a tsunami slows down to just a few tens of kilometers per hour. The height of the tsunami also depends upon the water depth. A tsunami that is just a meter in height in the deep ocean can grow to tens of meters at the shoreline.

Tsunamis have periods that may range from just few minutes to as much as an hour or more. At the shore, a tsunami can have a wide variety of expressions depending on the size and period of the waves, the shape of the coastline, the state of the tide, and other factors. In some cases, a tsunami may only induce a relatively benign flooding of low-lying coastal areas, coming on shore similar to a rapidly rising tide. In other cases, it can come on shore forming a vertical wall of turbulent water that can be very destructive. In most cases, there is also a drawdown of sea level preceding high water level of the tsunami waves that results in a receding of the shoreline.

All oceans have tsunamis. However, this phenomenon is mainly restricted to the Pacific basin, an area surrounded by volcanic islands, mountain chains and subduction zones, earning the nickname the “the ring of fire” as it is the most geologically active area on the planet. The amount of activity in this region makes it much more susceptible to submarine faulting and subsequent tsunami events, whereas the Indian and Atlantic oceans are far less geologically active, with some exceptions, and therefore, the occurrence of tsunami is rare.

The destruction from tsunamis is the direct result of three factors: inundation, wave impact on structures, and erosion. Strong tsunami-induced currents have led to the erosion of foundations and the collapse of bridges and seawalls. Floatation and drag forces have moved houses and overturned railroad cars. Tsunami associated wave forces have demolished frame buildings and other structures. The resultant floating debris can cause considerable damage, including boats and cars; these can become dangerous projectiles and may crash into buildings, piers and other vehicles.

Surge actions caused by even weak tsunamis have damaged ships and port facilities. Fires resulting from oil spills or combustion from damaged ships in ports, or from ruptured coastal oil storage and refinery facilities, can cause damage greater than those inflicted directly by the tsunami. Other secondary damage can result from sewage and chemical pollution following destruction.

In many ways, tsunamis are part of our lives especially those who live near seas and oceans. There is no way to control them except to understand them and then predict the time when they come to strike the shorelines and communities so we can have some sense of control over their power over us. What we can do is prevent the destruction tsunamis wreak.

The whole language of tsunamis is a cosmic language of relationships and inter-relationships. And when we get to understand this language, perhaps we can do something to prevent the chaos and crisis tsunamis bring.

DATELINE Los Angeles

● Rodante H. Rubio

Me and my country

A famous leader once said, “Let the hundred flowers bloom and thousands of ideas contend.” These words always reverberate in my ears every time the itch to write beckons. Ideas, more than the greatest army in the world, move the world and effect changes. And what better way can an idea be expressed than in writing where that idea is brought to the marketplace for discussion, refining, correcting and then is judged by history alone for its validity for improving the life of mankind. With this as a premise, I am re-polishing my little pen-pushing ability for whatever it maybe worth. There was an interregnum of sort in my writing career for which reason the pen is a bit rusty. The last time I ever saw my name on print as a writer was with the Tribune USA. Candidly, ambivalence has taken the better of me since I left the Philippines. By choice, I shied away from the glare that comes as a psychic and social reward for writing until I was introduced to Ariel Agcaoili by Salve Esperanza, a long-lost friend. Ariel, this paper’s editor in chief, was with the University of the Philippines for a long time as a professor of writing and cultural studies. Salve was involved in writing in her younger years. In my case, I had had the chance to get involved in what could be called “committed journalism” when I was still in the home country.

Writing was what hit the three of us—and it is writing that has welded us to pursue one grand dream of putting up a paper that would serve as an outlet for the disparate and yet discursive voices of the immigrant communities of the United States. There is much untapped power in these voices and we thought that we could not afford to let them go to waste without them being heard.

We hit it right off—the three of us. We could have been the trinity, albeit not holy. A triumvirate of some sort, we shared ourselves, our ideas, our aspirations, our disappointments, and our own courage that has yet to be christened. It took us a while to move on from idea to reality, from dream to something, just something that is in the concrete. The idea of The Weekly Inquirer Philippines did not come into a full view until Ariel Agcaoili, working in his own discreet way, managed to put together what could now be termed as a core group of civic-minded immigrants like us who believed in that same dream that the three were trying to pursue. From then on, that core group and our own triumvirate became the engine for the dream to roll on. And the pursuit of this dream is its reward as we now inaugurate The Weekly Inquirer Philippines.

And we keep on with this pursuit—and as we watch the dream’s realization unfold before us—we sit back for a while and reflect on what we want to do in this newspaper. To give the readers the relevant information is a given. But to adopt a stance in which this paper could serve as a venue for discourse and dialogue would assure us that we really mean business with our duty to write. Early on, this intent was clear to us—as clear as the cloudless skies in Southern California, in Honolulu, or in New Jersey and New York during the summer months.

So today, we open the pages of The Weekly Inquirer Philippines for a dialogue and discourse. We may call this positioning critical journalism—and we have an open heart for that. Very open to discourse—this is what we are going to do at the Inquirer. And always—with no exceptions—we are guided by the vision that immigrant life would be better if the disparate voices are heard—and the good points in these voices recognized. We intend to clarify and not to blur. We intend to straighten things out and not to obstruct dialogue to come about. We intend to write fairly and without fear; we intend to be truthful and not to hide the truth.


As we open the pages of The Weekly Inquirer Philippines to the Filipino Americans, the other immigrant Americans, and the American public in general, we continue the journey hoping somehow that somewhere we can find the solace that every Filipinos have been longing for away from our beloved homeland. The homeland is both beautiful and bountiful—but was so forsaken, in a way, not because she lacks the natural resources and glory but because of the self-serving agenda of many of her present-day leaders.

It boggles the imagination and the mind to think that about 75,000 Filipinos succeed in getting tourist visas to the United States each year. Some are able to stay put in the country as holders of working visas or even as immigrants eventually. What bothers us is that most of those who come here to stay are skilled professionals such as doctors, nurses, system analysts, and now—the teachers. This is an exodus of another kind—the exodus of brains and manpower and competence. And to think that many of these professionals’ education has been subsidized by the Filipino taxpayers—this phenomenon is, at the very least, a bundle of contradictions. Call it a betrayal in some sort of way—a betrayal against the very people who deserve to be served by these skilled professionals.

Washington Sycip, a noted businessman, reflecting on this condition, says: “We, a poor country, actually subsidize wealthy countries when our doctors, engineers, and software people mostly from upper income groups permanently settle abroad. It is the remittances of our overseas workers from the bottom group of our society that have helped our foreign exchange problem.”

A scholar and educationist from the University of the Philippines, Luisa Doronila, found out in a study that pupils in the grades would want to leave the country if given the chance. Or that this is their common preference. This is a handwriting on the wall—this dream of leaving the homeland even from among the ranks of the young. When this is not checked, this will certainly open up the floodgates for another exodus that is beyond redemption.

While we try to be optimists despite the odds, we cannot also deny one fact: that the homeland continues to degenerate and retrogress. While her neighboring countries continue to grow by leaps and bounds, the homeland has been left behind. She has been overtaken by the erstwhile war-ravaged and war-torn countries such as Vietnam, Korea, and Cambodia.

The headlines of newspapers from Manila speak of increasing unemployment, unabated crime, and unchecked corruption. There seems to be no solution in sight and the politicians have continued to play political poker with the rich and the poorest of the poor. Sycip added: “it is difficult to have legislation that favors the bottom group when elected officials are dependent on campaign funds from the rich.”

What aggravates this situation is the whole scale corruption in the country. Some studies speak of the country as the 11th most corrupt in the world. Some accounts reveal that about 20-30% of the country’s budget goes into the pocket of corrupt politicians and their allies. A World Bank report reinforces this social malady: “Our analysis so far reveals a broad consensus in government, non-government, and international circles that corruption in the public and private sectors in the Philippines is pervasive and deep-rooted, touching even the judiciary and media.”

There is this current effort on the part of the present administration to address some of the crucial issues wreaking havoc on our national life. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has done some housecleaning—but she has to do more. A more serious and definitive housecleaning is in order. And now.

While there is much that we immigrants in the United States can complain about, our obligation does not end in remitting our dollars to our relatives in the Philippines. We need to take it upon ourselves to forge a common vision to effect change in our native land. We have helped in toppling a rapacious dictatorship. We have given our share in restoring the democratic institutions that are the hallmark of our social life. Our numbers are more than sufficient—more than two million warm bodies with the fire and the passion for reaching out to the motherland and to our people.

Perhaps what we need to do is sit down. And together draw up that dream of a motherland finally redeemed.

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