Tumula Ka

Pag-ibig, pag-ibig! Pag-ibig na kay sakit
Sa sobrang sakit ay tila umuukit
Ng malaking puwang tuwing tayo’y nasasaktan
O ‘di kaya, kapag iba na ang dahilan ng kaniyang kasiyahan.

Kung ano-ano ang iyong mga gagawin
Para lamang siya’y limutin
Magpapakasubsob sa pag-aaral o trabaho
Pati pagtula’y susubukin mo.

Pero sandali lamang kababayan
Bakit parang iisa na lang ata ang dahilan
Kung bakit ka biglang nagiging makata
Sugat ng pag-ibig lang ba ang iyong makinarya?

Tumula ka tungkol sa pagsasaka
Sa pagbibilad sa araw ng iyong Tiya Erika
Ang kahirapan ng kondisyon sa kanayunan
Ng mga magsasakang nagpapakain sa bayan.

Tumula ka tungkol sa iyong paborito
Sa mainit at masarap na mangkok ng bilo-bilo
Na ginagawa mong pamatid init
Sa mga panahong nagwawala ang langit.

Tumula ka tungkol sa matayog na bundok na iyong naakyat
Para mayaya at masubukan ng lahat
At pakiramdaman ang lamig sa bubong ng daigdig
Na kailanma’y hindi basta-basta madadaig.

Tumula ka tungkol sa problema ng bayan
Mabagal na daloy ng trapiko’t mga kabi-kabilang patayan
Magbakasakali ika’y marinig ng ilang nagmamasid
Ng mga naka-barong na nagtatago sa kanilang silid.

Sa huli’y tumula ka lang hanggang kaya mo
Isa itong obra na unti-unting naglalaho
Maging instrumento ka upang hindi maging bakya
Ang tulang halos binubuo na lamang ng mga lumuluha.

 

 

Isang Araw Sa Maynila

Mula Pasig, sumakay ako ng isang UV Express papunta sa minsang tinuring na tapat na lungsod sa Hari ng Espanya, ang Maynila. Makaraan ang halos isang oras na nakaupo sa napaka-init na sasakyan, binaba ako nito sa isa sa mga itinuturing na pusod ng Maynila, ang Quiapo. Pinangalan raw ito sa maliliit na halamang “cuyapo” o water cabbages na matatagpuan sa Ilog Pasig nang maabutan ng mga Espanyol. Sa kasawiang palad, matapos ang apat na siglo, ngayo’y tadtad na ng pesteng water lily ang ilog na siyang laging suki ng sisi kapag nagbabaha sa Kamaynilaan. Kawawang halaman.

Agad akong nagtungo sa simbahan kung saan matatagpuan ang “Itim na Poong Nazareno” na minsang sinalin ni Nick Joaquin sa Ingles bilang “Dark Lord of Quiapo“. Siksikan at mahalumigmig ang lugar na nagsisilbing mga senyales na maraming deboto ang simbahan. Marami sa kanila’y di pa naliligo pero wala silang pakialam. Maaambunan naman sila ng grasya ng Maykapal. Bigla akong may naramdamang kakaiba at tumingin ako sa relo ko. Oras na para umalis.

Naghanap ako ng isang dyip biyahe pa-Luneta. May sisilipin ako sa aming unibersidad na itiuturing naming “bantayog ng lahing minamahal”. Sumakay ako at nanahimik.

Maya’t maya ay tumigil ang dyip malapit sa underpass ilang dipa lang ang layo mula sa munisipyo. Nag-abang ng pasahero ang tsuper pero isang batang nasa sampung taong gulang ang sumabit sa dyip. Pumasok siya at nanghingi ng limos sa mga pasaherong walang pakialam sa kaniya. Sa tapat ko’y umiling ang isang bilugang babae. Pero hindi umiling ang instincts ng bata. Agad niyang hinablot ang kwintas ng babae sabay takbo.

Nagulat ang lahat pero mas nagulat kami sa sinigaw ng babae. “Aaah! Fake yan, fake!” Tumawa siya nang malakas. Umiling ako. Di ba’t lagpas na ko ng Mandaluyong?

Submitted to the Katigbak section of Rogue Magazine Philippines.

Umuulan, Umulan

Sabi ko kanina huwag sanang bubuhos
Itong ulan na tinuturing kong isang unos
‘Pagkat sa bawat patak nito’y nalalagay sa alanganin
Libro kong dala, oras ng pag-uwi kaya’t pagkawala nito ang aking samo’t dalangin.

Pero tumigil na
Tumigil na ang kalangitang lumuluha
At sana di na muling masambit pa
Mga katagang “ayan na naman ang ulan” sa gabing ito ng pagdiriwang at pagsasaya.

Ayan Na Ang Ulan!

Ayan na, ayan na, ayan na!
Magbabalik na ang tag-ulan
Paalam sa mala-impyernong init na nagmumula
Sa naglalagablab na araw at kalangitan.

Ayan na, ayan na, ayan na!
Lalabas na ang musmos na kabataan
Magtatampisaw at magsasaya
Sa biyayang dulot ng langit at ulan.

Ayan na, ayan na, ayan na!
Magbubunyi na sila lolo at tiyo sa lalawigan
Magtatanim na ng palay ang buong banwa
Upang mapakain ang Pilipinong sambayanan.

Ayan na, ayan na, ayan na!
Huhugot na si ate’t iiyak sa may labasan
Upang ang mga luha’y ‘di mahalata
Mula sa damdamin niyang nasaktan, pusong nasugatan.

Ayan na, ayan na, ayan na!
Matatapos na ang bakasyon ng karamihan
Mas malalang trapik ang susubok ng iyong pasensya
Sabayan mo pa ng matinding buhos mula sa kalangitan.

Ayan na, ayan na, ayan na!
Lulubog na naman ang Kamaynilaan
Dahil sa baradong estero at sobrang basura
Ng libu-libong nagsisiksikan sa lupain daw ng kaunlaran.

Ayan na, ayan na, ayan na!
Naririto na muli ang tag-ulan
Isang taon na nga pala
Simula ng ako’y iyong nilisan at ipagpalit sa aking kaibigan.

This poem was included in the first release of the Alpas Journal on June 30, 2017.

The “Big One” of 1863

Earthquakes have been rocking the Philippines for the last few months. This should be expected given that our country is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. However, frequent reminders from Philvocs for the “Big One” combined with fake news providing “earthquake forecasts” has been causing some panic for the populace. To make matters worse, a clueless politician a month ago suspended a mining exploration company fearing that their operations might be causing the earthquakes originating from their province. This basically exposes the truth that we still have a lot to learn – not just science but also history.

Why history? History tells us that our country has been ravaged by very strong earthquakes in the past, with the 1976 Moro Gulf earthquake being the deadliest of all. We also had the 2013 Bohol earthquake, 2010 Mindanao earthquake, the 1990 Luzon earthquake, and the 1880 Luzon earthquake. Strongest recorded magnitudes have been around 8.2 to 8.0 in the moment magnitude scale. However, no earthquakes seemed to be the most impactful than the “big one” of 1863. It did not just kille and injured people but also shook the foundations of society in Imperial Manila. How come?

It was a hot Wednesday evening of June 3, 1863. A foreign correspondent specifically mentioned that the temperature was around 32 degrees Celsius. Parishioners were attending mass in some churches. The sick were recovering in the military hospital. The fish vendors in Divisoria were still selling their goods. Governor-General Ramon de Echague seemed to be having some quality time with his family in Palacio del Gobernador. Archbishop Gregorio Meliton Martinez and the whole Catholic community were preparing for the Feast of Corpus Christi. No one had the slightest idea of an upcoming tragedy that would affect the whole capital and its vicinity.

 

Enter the Big One

At exactly 7:20 pm, an Intensity X earthquake shook Manila. Strong vibrations followed by oscillatory movements were felt in Manila, Morong (now province of Rizal), Laguna, and Cavite. The land shook from north to south then east to west for almost a minute. It was followed by a two-meter high tsunami that hit from southeast to northwest. Fire incidents were also everywhere.

By the time the trembling stopped, time stood still. Most of the remarkable edifices that defined colonial Manila were torn down. These include the Royal Audiencia, the Intendencia, the Council of Administration, and the Customs office. The seat of power, the Palacio del Gobernador, collapsed as well with Governor-General Echague and his family barely making it alive. The Military Hospital was destroyed too and the sick were killed by the debris. Two men and 40 horses died in the Meisic Barracks.

The earthquake didn’t spare the faithful as well. Seven singers and service boys, nine priests, and some parishioners of the Manila Cathedral were enveloped in ruins. The Churches of Santa Isabel, Santo Domingo, San Juan de Dios, San Francisco, Binondo, and Santa Cruz were destroyed. The upper portion of the Antipolo Tower injured three people. Bell towers and churches were also destroyed in the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Cavite, Laguna and Morong. In Intramuros, only the San Agustin Church remained serviceable.

In Divisoria, the whole upper part of the fish section fell and buried about 40 persons. In Quiapo, only a few homes remained habitable. Twenty three died and two were injured. A part of the prison of Santa Cruz lied in ruins, killing 35 and injuring 32 people. Buildings called “possesiones” were demolished in Tondo and buried 23 persons. San Miguel suffered the least casualties with 10 injured Chinese.

The earthquake also caused great destruction on the port of Cavite. The province’s barracks was destroyed too and the telegraph tower fell. The great stone bridge connecting two banks of Pasig was closed. Masonry buildings in Pasig, Tambo, and Navotas were also affected and considered uninhabitable.

It was also reported that ground opened in many places were gases escaped. A fissure, which emitted sand and water, also opened in Talavera River in Nueva Ecija. In Sangley point, a crater emitting sand and water appeared as well. The water of the Pasig River turned dark and noisome. Some aftershocks were reported by 11:30 pm and 3:00 am, the following day. Then, on June 9, another earthquake hit Manila and most of the tottering buildings were finally brought to the ground.

Later in 1910, Assistant Director of the Manila Weather Bureau, Rev. Miguel Saderra Maso, S.J., estimated that 400 died and 2,000 were injured in the earthquake. Forty-seven public buildings were in ruins and 25 were badly damaged. Five hundred private houses were destroyed and 531 were left unstable.

 

Shaking the Nation’s Society

The legacy of the “big one” of 1863 did not just end on the lives it took and the buildings it tore down. It also brought changes in the society – both for the good and for the bad. We can say that it became a turning point in Philippine history and its significance should not be undermined due to two reasons.

First, the center of power was moved outside the walls of Intramuros. Due to the destruction of the Palacio del Gobernador, Governor-General Echague refurbished his temporary summer residence and made Malacañang the official residence of the leader of the archipelago. Almost all of his Spanish successors and American governor-generals resided in the Palace. Afterwards, all Philippine presidents starting from Manuel L. Quezon lived in the luxurious mansion.

Second, it ushered a new era of the secularization movement and Philippine nationalism. One of the seven priests killed in the Manila Cathedral was its leader, Father Pedro Pablo Pelaez. His renowned student, Father Jose Apolonio Burgos, continued their cause by writing and debating with contemporaries for the rights of native clergy. Eventually, in 1872, Fathers Burgos, Mariano Gomes and Jacinto Zamora were executed which became an inspiration to then future leaders like Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio and Marcelo del Pilar.

Rarely does a natural calamity affect a society. This makes the “big one” of 1863 an event that must be remembered by Filipinos. As for our preparations for the upcoming “big one,” let us hope and do necessary preparations so that not much lives will be taken similar to the tragedy of 1863. After all, we have much knowledge now about the world compared to the mid-19th century – provided that everyone knows this thing.

This article was included in the first release of the Alpas Journal on June 30, 2017.

Ang Malungkot na Pagsalubong ni Plaridel sa taong 1890

Puno nang sabik at sayang inabangan ng buong mundo ang pagpasok ng taong 2017. Sa Pilipinas, nagsama-sama ang mga pamilya’t nagtagayan ang magkakatropa. Hindi pa rin nawala ang mga paputok at pailaw na naging bahagi na ng kulturang Pilipino. Sa kabila nito, tuloy pa rin ang pagdurusa at pagdadalamhati ng ating mga kababayang kumakayod sa ibang bansa para sa ikagaganda ng kanilang mga buhay at ikauunlad ng kanilang mga pamilya. Mas lalong dakila ang pagsasakripisyo ng iilang nalayo sa pamilya para sa paglilingkod sa bayan.

Itinuturing na isa sa triyumbirado ng Kilusang Propaganda ang Bulakenyong si Marcelo H. del Pilar na mas kilala sa kaniyang nom de plume na “Plaridel”. Kilala siya sa pagsulat ng “Dasalan at Tocsohan”, “Caiigat Cayo”, “La Soberania Monacal en Filipinas” at “Sagot ng Espanya sa Hibik ng Pilipinas”. Siya rin ang ikalawang patnugot ng “La Solidaridad” matapos palitan si Graciano Lopez-Jaena. Umalis siya ng bansa noong Oktubre 1888 at iniwan ang asawang si Marciana (o “Tsanay”) at dalawang anak na sila Sofia (na noo’y siyam na taong gulang) at Anita (na isang taon at apat na buwan pa lamang).

Ilang araw matapos ang Bagong Taon ng 1890, sumulat ang nangungulilang si Plaridel sa kaniyang asawang si “Tsanay” sa kaniyang kalagayan sa pagsalubong niya sa taong iyon.

Madrid, Ika-6 ng Enero, 1890.

Tsanay:

“Pagkalooban nawa kayo ng Diyos nang magandang bagong taon. Ako’y nagkasakit dine ng lagnat at sakit ng ulo at ubo at hindi ako lamang kundi ang lahat halos na kasamahan ko sa bahay at ang buong Madrid halos; nguni’t awa ng Dios ay gumagaling ako agad. Matindi ang lamig ng mga nagdaang araw dine, datapwa’t humusay-husay ang panahon buhat ng magkaroon ng nevada (snow) at ulan. Salamat na lamang at nakapalad ako ng bahay na tirahan: ang bahay na ito ay ‘di lubhang malamig; di kainakailangang magpasok ng apoy, paris sa ibang bahay. Sa ibang bahay ay para kang na sa loob ng nevera (refrigerator), kaya’t naglalagay sa chimenea o sa brasero ng apoy, datapua’t ang init nito’y nakasasakit ng ulo, at bukod sa nakasasakit ng ulo ay may panganib ka pang kung mapatungo sa isang pitak ng bahay na walang apoy at malamig ay biglang masusubhan ng matinding lamig ang matinding init na sinagap mo ay isang pinagbubuhatan ito ng pulmonia, sakit na madaling pumatay. Ang bahay naming ay malayo sa panganib na ito, sapagka’t di nagkakailangang painitin sa apoy: sukat na ang estera ng sahig at manumit ng makapal at hindi na nararamdaman ang lamig.”

Ipinagpatuloy ni Plaridel ang sulat sa pagsasalaysay ng kaniyang pagbisita sa isang asawa ng empleyado ng Ministro nagngangalang Donya Cleotilde. Inalok rin siya ng ilang kaibigan sa Barcelona na lumipat muna roon at ipagpaliban muna ang pagtatrabaho ngunit nanghinayang siya sa oras at umasang malalaban niya ang lamig.

Tulad ng iba niyang liham kay Tsanay, tinapos niya ito nang may pag-aalala at pangungulila.

“Gabi-gabi ang parati kong panaginip ay kayo nila Sofia at Anita: napapanimdim kong baka mga sagasaan ito ng karromata sa paglipat-lipat sa kabilang bakuran: huwag ninyong pababayaang paroon sila na walang kasama. Harap na kayo riyan sa pagtatag-init, pagka i-ingatan sila sa bulutong. Hindi na malalaon at kaypala’y magkikita na tayo: kundi magkakaroon ng kapansanan at may mapapag-iwan ako nitong Soli, ay magsasalo na tayo sa paskong darating: kahimanawari ay huwag magkaka-sakuna!”

“Kumusta sa kanilang lahat at ihalik mo ako kay Sofia at kay Anita. Kay Sofia ay muli’t muli ang bilin ko na huwag sana niyang kayayamutan si Anita: at si Anita naman ay huwag lalaban kay Sofia.”

Sa kasawiang palad, hindi na nagkaroon si Plaridel ng pagkakataong makasalo sa Pasko at Bagong Taon ang kaniyang mag-iina. Ilang beses siyang umasang muli siyang makakabalik ng bansa ngunit binawian siya ng buhay noong ika-4 ng Hulyo, taong 1896 sa Barcelona, Espanya dahil sa tuberkulosis. Naibalik sa Pilipinas noong taong 1920 ang mga labi ni Marcelo H. Del Pilar, isang dakilang amang sinakripisyo ang kaniyang kasiyahan at pamilya para sa kalayaan at kabutihan ng kaniyang minamahal na bayang Pilipinas.

Batis:

Pambansang Kominsyon Pangkasaysayan ng Pilipinas. Epistolario Plaridel, Tomo II., 1958. pp. 38-40.

 

Anvil’s Grand Christmas Sale: A Bookworm’s Paradise

As early as October 19, Anvil Publishing, a publishing house that had been existing since February 1990, announced a Christmas sale that was set to happen from October 25 to December 10. They also added that books will be sold as low as 5 pesos! Netizens had different reactions: some questioned its legitimacy but most were excited especially the bookworms like me. Here’s a guide for you if you want to find some goodies.

The Location

The Anvil Warehouse is located at No. 25 Brixton Street, Brgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig City. However, the entrance is located along West Capitol Drive, in front of Bo Jungle Fitness. Here’s the site map posted on their Facebook page.

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How to Go There

Many are asking specific instructions on how to go to that place. Here’s some guide for you.

From Manila (Taft Avenue) to Kapitolyo

  1. Ride any jeepney or LRT going to EDSA.
  2. Ride a bus or MRT going to Shaw Boulevard.
    • If you rode a bus, alight at the bus stop in Shaw. Landmark: a McDonalds fastfood chainFare: Around 10-20 pesos
    • If you rode an MRT, alight on Shaw Boulevard Station. Fare: 20 Pesos
  3. Find the nearest jeepney terminal going to Pasig. Landmark: Chowking. 
  4. Let the driver know that you are going to Kapitolyo. Alight once you saw CaltexFare: 7 pesos

From Manila (Quiapo) to Kapitolyo

  1. Ride a Pasig-Quiapo jeepney to Kapitolyo. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Pasig San Joaquin or Pasig Palengke Fare: Approximately 18 to 20 pesos
  2. Alight at Pasig Kapitolyo. Landmark: Caltex

From North EDSA to Kapitolyo

  1. Ride a bus or MRT going to EDSA.
    • If you rode a bus, alight on the bus stop in Starmall. Fare: Approximately 25 pesos
    • If you rode an MRT, alight on Shaw Boulevard Station. Fare: 20 pesos
  2. Find the nearest jeepney terminal going to Pasig. Landmark: Cebuana Lhuillier
  3. Let the driver know that you are going to Kapitolyo. Alight once you saw CaltexFare: 7 pesos

From Kapitolyo to the Warehouse

  1. From Caltex, walk in the right side of West Capitol Drive. On the first right turn, you’ll see a queue of green tricycles.
  2. Ride on the tricycle and tell the driver that you’re going to the Anvil Warehouse on West Capitol Drive. Fare: 21 pesos

 

Inside”Paradise”

The guard will ask you to deposit your bagpack in exchange of a number. Walk straight to “heaven” and begin your search!  Here’s some tips:

  • Most reference books for Chemistry, Nursing, Accounting can be found on the first row.
  • As of my last visit last October 28, there is only one Ambeth Ocampo book available: the old version of Bones of Contention. You can buy it for 10 pesos.
  • Nick Joaquin’s Reportage series (Reportage on Lovers, Reportage on Crime, Reportage on Politics, Reportage on the Marcoses) are hard to come by. Each sold at 5 pesos.
  • Jessica Zafra’s Twisted series are not placed in the same place. Good luck completing that.
  • Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga is hard to complete. Each sold for 50 pesos.
  • Some classic literary novels are there too. Some Shakespeare, Emily Brontë are sold for 20 pesos.
  • For Dan Brown, I was able to find only one book – Angels and Demons. Sold at 20 pesos.
  • Vikas Swarup’s Q & A, the basis of the movie Slumdog Millionaire, is priced at 20 pesos.
  • Some “rare” Filipiniana books are in there too like Jaime Laya’s Letras y Figuras sold for 10 pesos.
  • Selyo is available at 80 pesos.
  • Claude Haberer’s Between Tiger and Dragon (hardbound) is available at 50 pesos.
  • For those who want to level up their cooking game, there are books such as Warm Bread for 300 pesos and Larousse for 500 pesos. You can also find some cookbooks from Nora Daza and Gene Gonzales.
  • If you have a title in mind, don’t hesitate to ask.
  • Don’t bring some children in there. It’s a warehouse and it’s hot inside.
  • Bring some water and a handful of patience.

The Aftermath

 

I was able to grab a lot of interesting Filipiniana- themed books in a span of three different days. I enjoyed the sale and I saved a lot of money. Now, if only time is for sale at 5 pesos a day, then I’ll grab as many as I can to be able to read all these book. Alas.

Anyway, just go there as early as you can. It’s highly recommended.

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