Sunday, April 27, 2008


May ilang naghahain ng panukalang katahimikan ang tugon sa mga suliraning hinaharap ng Pilipinas sa ngayon. Bagkus igalang ang papel ng malayang talakayan sa isang demokrasya, dito pa nila piniling ibaling ang sisi sa kabiguang maiahon ang sambayanan sa balahong kinasadlakan nito.

Ang katahimikan ay isang kubling pagsang-ayon sa pamamaraan ng pamumuno. Ang pag-iingay at pagbatikos ay pahayag lamang ng hindi pagsang-ayon sa kasalukuyang kalakaran.

Kaakibat ng panukalang pananahimik, may ilang nagsasabing mainam daw na maging mistulang tupa si Juan dela Cruz- maamo, kapakipakinabang, at higit sa lahat, masunurin sa anumang kagustuhan ng kanyang pastol- kaya kahit na sinong tupa, madaling gatasan, madaling katayin.

Madaling pamunuan ang mga tupa; hindi mahirap maging pastol. Maliit din ang halagang kailangang iupa sa pastol. Kung mapaghinalaan siyang nagnakaw ng kahit isang basong gatas, madali rin siyang itiwalag ng kanyang panginoon.

Ang Pilipinas ay hindi lamang isang malaking damuhan kundi isang bansang isinilang sa kagitingan ng mga anak ng bayan. Si Juan dela Cruz ay hindi tupang gagatasan lamang at kakatayin paglaon kundi isang sambayanang kumakatawan sa tunay na panginoon ng sinumang naluklok sa hapag ng kapangyarihan.

Mahirap pamunuan ang isang bayang gaya ng Pilipinas; hindi madaling tugunan ang adhikain ng isang lahi. Malaki rin naman ang kailangang iupa sa sinumang mamumuno- hindi lamang salapi, kundi kapangyarihan. Hindi magiging madali kailanman ang manatili sa pamumuno, lalo na kung ang tiwalang pinanghahawakan ay ninakaw lamang sa natutulog na panginoon.

Ang sambayanang ninakawan ng tiwala, kaluluwa at pangarap, kailanman ay hindi matatahimik. Lalaging sumbat sa budhi ng pinuno ang kataksilan, kagahamanan, at panlilinlang na isinukli niya sambayanang kusang nahimbing upang malaya niyang mapasok ang pinto ng palasyo.

Ngayong namulagat na ang sambayanan sa alingasngas na likha ng katiwaliang isinulong ng panauhin sa palasyo, bakit kailangang manahimik? Nilimot na ba ang katotohanang ang sambayanan ang tunay at likas na panginoon ng sinumang naghahari-harian?


Democracy is characterized by the people’s power of choice. How would you like your steak- well done or medium rare? Would you like it with dinner rolls or with half a cup of rice?

In a pseudo-democracy such as ours, any government instrumentality will readily concede that we, the people, have rights to options, while effectively eliminating options that are detrimental to the survival of the current dispensation.

We always have the option to remain passive or to speak out against the excesses of government. The former assures mere survival; the latter gives life only of the kind that is best lived in the company of angels or demons.

We always have the option to remain in the Philippines or to go somewhere else. The former offers mere survival, if at all; the latter offers possibilities ranging from financial freedom to freedom from life itself, as in the case of those in some other nations’ death rows.

We always have the option to choose the name/s we would write in our ballots. Unfortunately, they also have the option to count or not to count.

We used to have options to eat our favorite dishes with either a loaf of bread or cupfuls of rice. Now, amidst government claims of unprecedented economic growth, our choices had been limited to either eating nothing or not eating at all.

We are born with the power to choose. They only took our choices away.


Thoughts parcelled for voyages
across unthinking seas
must go labeled with tags of passion.

Seas are known to be heartlessly cold,
worshipping only the pulse
of an uncaring moon.

Anchored hearts, like waves,
rise and fall
as slaves to love and hate.

When destiny calls from carefree shores,
parcelled thoughts end up
on frameless hearts that know
the hope of love
and the curse of hate.


Gutom na ang paminggalan
sa bigat ng lalamunan.
Uhaw na rin ang tapayan
sa lagaslas ng tagayan.
Ang kaldero't ang palayok-
nagtingalang parang hayok.
Ang mga mumong napispis-
nagkarera sa dalisdis.

At ako namang naiwang
kaluluwa'y inatasang
maglumangoy sa mantikang
sa kalan namin, nasayang.
At ako rin ang naiwang
magtatangis sa labangang
namulaklak ng hugasing
naghihimagsik sa dusing.

Pagkatapos ng sagana,
tapos na rin ang ligaya-
sa akin, walang natira
kundi dusa makapista.

Tengco: Muling Pagdalaw

Hindi lamang bagoong
ang imbak sa garapon.
May sidhi ring naipon.
May bukas ding natapon.

Hindi lamang pangarap
ang nilayon ng sikap.
Ang saliw ng halakhak,
nilamon din ng alak.

Pati uhog ng paslit,
pamusta rin sa tong-it,
maging kuto sa ulo-
sasapat nang panalo.

Madilim ang umaga
sa harap ng tarangka.
Malalim ang hininga
sa sawsawan ng mangga.

Sa aming kinagisnang
gubat sa kabihasnan,
‘sing ikli ng kalsada
ang takbo ng pasensya.

Sa kinagisnan naming
‘sang sulok na madilim,
‘sing kipot ng tanawin
ang lakad ng isipin.

Isang dipa ang agwat
ng utak sa ulirat.
‘Sang dangkal ang panalat
sa buhay na nilagnat

Doon nga po sa amin
ang aso, walang ngipin,
walang kuko ang pusa,
may kwintas pati daga.

Doon din po sa amin
bawat gabing magsiping,
ang supling ay umagang
maghapon kung igapang.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


When your homeland becomes a mere vacation destination for you, there won’t be time for blogging, even reading newspapers and watching news. Times are spent just catching up on events that took place within the close-knit family circle since the last vacation. Talks on politics happen only when your aging father updates you on the latest government shenanigans.

Spending the first half of my month-long vacation in Cagayan de Oro, where my in-laws are based and where I own a modest home, there was very little talk of politics. There would have been none, if I could have helped it.

Driving from the airport in Lumbia to my home in Camaman-an, I noticed several billboards proclaiming “GMA Cares” (for what, I wondered). As I drove by SM City, I noticed a street sign larger than the average street signs. It identified the street as Macapagal Drive- ano bayan? I would have understood if I were driving along streets in Lubao, Pampanga. Pero nasa Mindanao ako.

We decided to swing by SM City’s food court for a quick lunch. After paying the bill, I was given several loose coins and a P200-note with Diosdado Macapagal smiling at me (Must Jun Magsaysay be a president before we can replace Kong Dadong’s portrait with that of Ramon Magsaysay?). Isa pang “ano bayan?”. What has Diosdado Macapagal done to deserve all these tributes. A Macapagal Street, a Macapagal Drive, a Macapagal Avenue, and a Macapagal note? Here’s a nation so grateful to a former president for things only his daughter knows. I dread the thought of having a town, a province, and, who knows, a country named Macapagal just because of a daughter’s hallucinations of grandeur.

While in Mindanao, I had the chance to visit other towns in Misamis Oriental. Jasaan (my mother-in-law’s place) is still a picture of serenity. Though, some stretches of coastline may appear unsafe due to UFOs (unidentified floating objects), there are still stretches that are enchantingly clean and invitingly beautiful. Salay (my father-in-law’s place) ranks second in my list of the sweetest tasting tuba sources. I reserve the number one spot for tuba from the town of Claveria. If it were not for the daily afternoon rains, I would have reserved a date for the beaches of Opol.

The last half of the vacation was spent with my folks in Cavite. Mornings are reserved for feasts of native delicacies (suman sa lihiya, sapin-sapin, bibingkang galapong, etc.) and a stockpile of tawilis. Early afternoons are for driving to the nearest SM or Robinson’s. Evenings were spent chatting with brothers and a brother-in-law over bottles of extra-strong beer.

Talks on political issues become inevitable with the radio tuned in to the AM band all through the mornings. These discussions were dull and memorable at the same time. They were dull because they were all between me and Tatay- there were no points of disagreement, as we have always shared the same viewpoints since I was seven, when PP1081 took effect. They were memorable because they were all between me and Tatay- they were moments of bonding between a father, who never failed to understand, and a son, who never failed to question. I admit that they were more memorable than dull knowing that nothing lasts forever. I know, Tatay won’t be there for me forever, or I may not be there for Tatay forever- so bond while there’s time.

I also had my own moments with my kids as we spent an afternoon in the farm picking vegetables and wild mushrooms, drinking coconut water straight from the coconut, transforming mango branches into instant chainless swings, taking pictures of several heads of cattle we own and riding on their backs after those photo ops, and plunging into an accidental bath courtesy of an unexpected afternoon rain.

The worst thing with vacations is that they don’t last as long as you want them to. After becoming so attached (or, is it reattached?) to folks back home, we had to detach. My sons had a difficult time saying goodbye to grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. The folks we left behind were just as teary-eyed as we stepped into the NAIA’s departure area.

Vacations start with anticipatory smiles. They end with eyes moist. And, when the tears are wiped dry, blogging begins again.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Bago MagSONA

Hours before the "President" delivers her seventh State of the Nation Address, Philippine broadsheets and their online editions are teeming with news items and editorial columns dedicated to the event.

Before every opinion maker comes up with his own analysis of the 2007 SONA, I ventured to look back at how the previous report card was delivered on 24 July 2006:

We now have the funds to stamp out terrorism and lawless violence. May pondo na tayo para labanan ang katiwalian.

Our reforms have earned us P1 billion from the U.S. Millennium Challenge Account for more investigators, prosecutors, and new technology to fight corruption. We are matching this with another billion from our fiscal savings.

Well, terrorism is still here- and the spin? Funds alone are not enough. I am quite expectant that the same sentence will find its way to this year's SONA. Just substitute funds with HSA.

May pondo na raw para labanan ang katiwalian. More investigators, prosecutors and new technology to fight corruption? We only managed to fight those who used to be above us in the rankings of Asia's most corrupt governments. Guess what? This is probably the only fight Aling Gloria won. Now, nobody else is above the Philippines in terms of corruption in Asia.

In the harshest possible terms I condemn political killings. We together stopped judicial executions with the abolition of the death penalty. We urge witnesses to come forward. Together we will stop extrajudicial executions

Between 26 June 2006, or two days after the 2006 SONA, and 17 July 2007, a full week before the 2007 SONA, 50 lives had already been lost extrajudicially. Who's responsible? Was it the usual suspect? Aling Gloria did not leave anything to speculation:

...And we will end the long oppression of barangays by rebel terrorists who kill without qualms, even their own. Sa mga lalawigang sakop ng 7th Division, nakikibaka sa kalaban si Jovito Palparan.

Ang tanong ko lang bago magSONA, buhay pa kaya si Jonas Burgos?