The Roundball

Nonfiction by | July 19, 2021

About three years ago, on my first trip home from Davao City where I was studying, Isulan actually felt like home for the first time. Funnily enough, I took a picture of the Roundball as soon as I stepped out of the van, and that was also another first. The Roundball wasn’t a grand architectural feat or anything like that at allit’s just a roundaboutit looked rugged and unkempt. For something that has stood there for as long as I can remember, it’s anything but new. It did, however, remind me that I was home. Something inside me wanted to immortalize that moment. Perhaps it was the feeling of home, of warmth, that I wanted to carry back to college. Or maybe it was just an impulse.

I took a stroll on the empty highway—it was eight o’clock in the evening. The dust in the air stung my eyes and filled my lungs as I kept on looking and walking around streets and buildings that I would have overlooked if it had been any other moment than that. A couple of minutes later, I reached the old market, the palengke, and I noticed that a statue of a golden eagle has been erected in front of an old bakery, barbecue stalls with disco lights lined the pathway, street lights were no longer flickering, tarpaulins and colorful banners of politicians flitted by the warm evening wind. The moon seemed to project a vague film on the concrete, the stars hummed, and street dogs sang. Were all of these like this before? I didn’t know and I didn’t care. It was all too surreal.

Today, after being caged here for more than a year, it’s safe to say that I have again forgotten what that feeling is like, and my indifference has long been revived. Isulan, a town of ninety-thousand in the province of Sultan Kudarat, has become synonymous with indifference. It’s in the streets, the dusty wind, the people. Nobody cared about politics, nobody cared about the literary works that won a Palanca, and it seemed like nobody cared about the pandemic. A quick motorcycle ride to Kalawag 2 St. and dozens of people walking around with no face mask on is a recurring sight. All these people exuded an air of arrogance, and some just downright neglect. It’s impossible to know what these people cared about. Other than themselves, it’s already a stretch to assume that they cared about anything else. This would have been a good time for the presence of a police officer, but they didn’t care enough either about the people in the narrow streets; they only seemed to care about those on the highways, in the middle of the bustling economic center, those in the sentro.

There used to be only one milk tea shop in all of Isulan, and that was in the sentro. Now, there are more than a dozen in every street and corner. I always wondered if business owners in Isulan were just envious of other people’s businesses, or if they never had an original business idea all their lives. Lechon manok stalls too; every time I turn my head, I find one. God, nobody cared about originality in this place. And don’t get me started on banana cue vendors. Everything here seems the same, everyone just copies everyone else. The clothes they wear, the things they post all adhere to what is uso, or what’s trendingwhich milk tea shop has the most “aesthetic” interior design, making it the most uso at the moment. It makes me sick.

Early morning is probably my favorite time of the day, at least before classes started. I would usually ride my bike by then, which seemed to clear my head. Exercise did help my mental health to stabilize, but what I actually sought for was the sunrise. The sun always looked different whenever the landscape changed. My favorite route is on Kudanding—the farmland on the outskirts of Isulan. I remember the first time I dared to even ride there. The cemented road was narrow, various bushes and flowers paved the side, a bit farther ahead on the horizon rice paddy fields stretched for over a kilometer. Then I slowed down my pace, something inside me said to wait patiently for the sun to show its new story of light and brightness and hope. Faint yellow-orange strings of light broke through, slowly turning into a thick blanket smothering the field in its amber radiance, the morning dew crystallized into exquisite gems, and the mist retreated as it gave reverence to the almighty sun. I watched for a bit longer, still trying to balance myself on the bike. And then it was over. I made a U-turn and pedalled as fast as I can. I had to return home; the sun can burn if I basked in it for too long.

I know, however, that the sun would turn gray in my eyes eventually. So I try to restrict my bike rides there. Time is a thief, and the more time I spend enjoying something, the sooner I become indifferent. I barely know what I like anymore, and I feel lost. I feel lost in a place where I have lived my whole life, and yet that moment of just looking at the sunrise on a bike ride has made my indifference lift, even for just a moment. Maybe one of these days, the Roundball might make me feel something again, but I wouldn’t count on it.

_________________

David Madriaga is taking up BA English-Creative Writing in the University of the Philippines Mindanao.

Photo Credit: https://www.soxph.com/2017/08/hamungaya-festival.html

Reasons To Stay

Nonfiction by | July 19, 2021

  1. In Dapitan, underneath Rizal’s tarnished skin is history being rewritten.

 

  1. The only thing I learned in school is that Dapitan City is just a place where Jose Rizal was exiled. Everything was centered around him: the city’s history, its progress, historical sites. But the weird thing is, when I was growing up there, no one ever mentioned his name at all.

 

  1. Well, that’s aside from the school named after him, where my grandfather used to teach law subjects. And the huge shrine by the shore, where his silhouette would loom as the sun goes down, reminding the city of his presence. But other than that, it’s as if he never even existed.

 

  1. It is a family tradition of ours to be “exiled” in Dapitan; each grandchild of Papa and Mama would spend an entire summer with them, away from the rest of the world. It is my turn now, and I was half-excited, half-dreading to stay there without my phone, my parents, and my cousins.

 

  1. It is a twelve-hour ride to the city, from Davao, by land. I slept throughout the entire trip, hogging the backseat all to myself while my uncle and aunt argued about where we would stop to eat merienda.

 

  1. I remember the different routes we have taken on the way to Dapitan, back when I was still in grade school. One time we stayed in Cagayan de Oro since it was getting dark, and my dad was too sleepy to keep driving. Another time we rode a ferry from Dumaguete, and that took roughly two hours, but I felt like vomiting the entire time. There was also a time where we rode a plane from Manila, but we landed in Dipolog because Dapitan doesn’t have an airport. Each visit to the place is different, but all seemingly familiar.

 

  1. Sunlight spills through the jalousies, and the roosters outside start to trumpet, as if to say welcome home. I slither to the side of my bed, eyes still crusty from last night’s twelve-hour drive, and my feet feel the dusty, creaking wooden floor, in search of my slippers.

 

The first thing I smell is the sweet scent of marang. The second, Mama’s warm, bitter cocoa sikwate. I drag my feet downstairs and see my 70-year-old grandmother, who looks just like my mom, but with short hair and a shorter fuse. “No good morning, Rapachung?” She says.

“Good morning, Mama,” I say sheepishly. I give her a peck on her wrinkled cheeks. “Where’s Papa?”

 

“He’s in Potol, playing tennis.” The usual morning routine. We share the same time zone, but my bedtime is my grandfather’s call time in Potol, where he plays tennis with the rest of the retired court judges. See you in court is a joke as old as they are.

 

  1. My mother and her siblings grew up here, in this two-storey house that they say is haunted, with a garden so huge they called it the “hundred acre woods,” and when we were little we would go Easter egg hunting there with all my cousins.

 

Now that it’s just the three of us in the house, the garden really does feel like a hundred acres.

 

  1. Potol is just a bike ride away. On sunny afternoons, the entire street is teeming with food vendors, henna tattoos, and DIY braces––Libre Taod, as the sign says. Free installation. Their only tennis court is filled with children bouncing back and forth.

 

Today is a good morning, indeed. Peace and quiet, save for the sound of tennis shoes kissing the concrete, and racquets lobbing the tiny neon ball.

 

I wave at Papa, and he waves his racquet and smiles. All gums and no teeth.

 

  1. In Dapitan, we have about a million relatives in our clan. This person is a relative of that person who is a distant cousin of the other person. Everyone in the clan calls each other geng, the same way Davaoeños call each other bai.

 

Well, everyone except for Papa, because we always call him “Justice.”

 

“Geng, asa ta mangaon?” or “Musta naman ka, ‘geng?” Everything starts or ends with geng. I’ve always wondered where the name came from, so one day I asked my aunt. She said it began with Palangga, which means ‘beloved’ in Binisaya, then it was shortened to langga, then shortened further to gang, until it finally ended up as geng. The term of endearment for literally everyone–an all-encompassing, all-purpose name that is commonly used in our family reunions and gatherings, where there are so many people it is impossible to remember each of their names. The next thing I knew, I was calling everyone Geng as well.

 

  1. I squeeze my way through the Plaza. People are leaving the halls of St. James the Greater, waving croton leaves, locally known as parpagayo, to the sound of drums and trumpets and church bells. They look like pompoms, only green and red, and veiny.

 

I still wonder if people really kissed the statue on the altar after the mass had ended, because the mere thought of it is gross.

 

Viva Señor Santiago! Someone shouts.

Viva! We yell back.

 

“Sleep early, Rapachung,” Mama says, unfolding her hand fan on one hand and patting her forehead with a hanky on the other. “You were sleeping again at Mass.”

 

In my defense, I had no idea we would go to Mass every single morning. Every single morning for an entire week, then the week after that, then the week after that. It is an absolute nightmare—no wonder they call this an exile.

 

  1. One thing I missed in this place: the public beach. No, not Dakak’s expensive, imported white sands, but the only one in the city that is open to the public. The first beach I went to that had black sand. No one really knows the name of the beach, but my relatives call the place “Boulevard.” Its origins were probably buried deep in the sand, but when people from the city say “Maligo ta sa Boulevard,” this is where they would go.

 

On my bike, I watch people melt under the heat of April, with cold beer and sunblock, their feet buried in the soft, black sand as I ride the stretch of the shoreline.

 

  1. Another thing I have missed in this place: Tita Marooch and her chicken lollipops. She is my mom’s distant cousin, but in Dapitan she is her bestest friend. Basically she cooks chicken wings shaped into lollipops, crispy with a little spicy kick. For me it was “the best in the whole entire world,” as I said when I was six. A decade later, my slogan still stands.

 

“Rapachung! You just biked going here? That’s quite far!” Tita Marooch is holding a glass tray of freshly cooked chicken. No time for talking, I gobble up the entire tray.

 

  1. When she was young, my mom had the nickname Peruka, which means “doll-eyed” in Subanen. Nanay gave her that name, and it stuck to her as she grew older. When she visits Dapitan, people call her Peruka the same way people call me Rapachung. The name feels warm, like the feeling of holding a steamy hot cup of Mama’s sikwate with both hands.

 

Nanay is Mama’s sibling. In Dapitan, they call her by her Subanen name, which means “Princess.” And when we visited their house in Piñan, I asked if I had a Subanen name, too.

 

She places a hand on my shoulder. “Miyaka,” she says. “Little one.”

 

  1. In a few hours my uncle and aunt would stop by our house and pick me up and send me back to Davao. I squeeze the memories into a duffel bag.
  2. I watch the wipers move back and forth, sweeping the tears pelting the windshield. I watch the city behind me getting smaller and smaller until it is nothing but a memory.

Raphael Luis J. Salise is taking up creative writing in UP Mindanao. He has been a fellow to the Davao Writers Workshop.

My dad said he wanted a second chance

Poetry by | July 12, 2021

It was a kiss on my burden.
I played the fool on this nectar settling on his lips
as he promised to get rid of the cigarette between his fingers.

Each year I wrote letters and birthday cards I can never send,
the address missing on the envelope.
The ink’s slowly fading
but the letters remain at the back of my bookshelf.

I learned cells replace themselves every seven years,
only found out about it on the eighth year he’d been gone.

I’ve read it takes four years to forget,
to heal from a loved one’s passing,
but each passing year
it feels the same for me.

I still sleep in the clothes he used to wear—
the plaster to my scars,
the concealer to my make-up routine—
but I’d wake up and realize

the warmth I will never feel again,

the light I lost.


Laurie D. Valdez is a 2nd year creative writing student of the University of the Philippines Mindanao. She is from Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.

The Games I Play

Nonfiction by | July 12, 2021

The noon sun hangs high overhead, glaring into the canopy of my F4U Corsair as it hurtles along at 425 kilometers per hour. The noise of its R-2800 Double Wasp engine, a guttural howl, fills my ears as I cast my eyes around, trying to pick out the tiniest speck against the deep, dark blue of the sky.

I’m not alone. To my portside wing is an eclectic mix of aircraft, some of them American like mine. Others are British. Strangely enough, one or two Japanese planes–a Mitsubishi A7M Reppu perhaps–are on my side as well.

Below me, squadrons of attack aircraft arrayed in broad Vs roar towards their objectives, wing pylons laden with munitions, barreling through dark puffballs of flak and weaving through the streams of red and green tracers that rise to greet them.

Up ahead, I see the enemy. Tiny dots for now, and if I squint, I can make out the tiniest profile of their wings. One of them maneuvers, and streamers of white vapor peel off its wingtips.

I angle upwards, the engine roaring as I gain altitude. Some of my wingmen do the same, hoping to avoid flying head-on into the engagement and instead attack from above and behind.

The dots grow closer, details more defined. I begin to make out the sleek profiles of German Bf-109s with their square wings and Soviet Yakolevs with their tapered, almost triangular wings.

Approaching head-on was a mistake.

It might be strange to say that gaming is what got me into writing, but it did.
I’d always been a voracious reader. Over the years, my father had accumulated a veritable library of books and by the time I was born, the living room of my childhood home was lined with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves groaning under the weight of hundreds of books. I grew up with my own encyclopedia set. I stayed up all night to consume novels like Peter F. Hamilton’s Pandora’s Star, or the various anthologies of science fiction and fantasy I could pull from any one of the shelves.

But I was merely content with reading until I played my first computer game.
I was enthralled by the alternate history of a world where Albert Einstein invented time travel to assassinate Adolf Hitler, where the Soviet Union rose to challenge the Allies, and where a madman named Yuri created mind control to establish a secret base on the moon.

I spent time drawing tanks and stickmen duking it out amidst electrical storms and aerial bombardment instead of paying attention in class and taking down notes. I’d made my first friend that way too, and by December of that first year in elementary school, I had an idea on what to gift him for the Christmas party.
One of my teachers saw that I liked to draw and suggested that I make a comic for my friend. I labored for days over the comic, crafting a story where the Soviets had captured a weather control device and were planning to use it to level our hometown. It wasn’t the best, but in writing it, I’d gained an understanding.

I hope it’s still with my friend. It’s been a while since we last talked.
Fast forward to 2007. I’d found myself experimenting with a game called Battleships Forever. It was a small game, and one available for free. It wasn’t graphically spectacular, nor did its story delve deep. But the best thing about it was its gameplay. At its most basic level, players were assigned a fleet of ships to command and a variety of scenarios to test their strategies. It wouldn’t have been groundbreaking were it not for another feature: players could assemble starships, have them fight in a variety of battle modes, and share them over the internet.

The community was centered around that aspect of the game. Members pushed themselves and each other to innovate, to improve their skills as shipbuilders and artists–and when it became part of the forum’s culture to give background information and backstories to their creations–as writers.

Storytelling became part of the game as members formed alliances and rivalries, weaving their nations’ backstories together. We argued over inconsistencies, brainstormed plot and technical details, and sat at our keyboards with bated breath as we awaited responses to our roleplaying.

By the time the Battleships Forever community began to dissipate, I’d come away with a new appreciation for writing. I’d realized writing isn’t just part of a game; it could be the game. Stringing together parts to form a ship, executing a perfect maneuver to put myself in the perfect position to take out an enemy in a dogfight is just as mentally stimulating as putting words together to create sentences and whole paragraphs to illustrate a new world.

Nothing gets my blood running like flying by the seat of my pants, weaving through a hail of tracers or frantically ordering troops around as well-laid plans are put to rest by the first contact with an opponent. That same rush of adrenaline manifests in the revision process as holes are poked in my manuscript, as new opportunities are created and flaws are exposed.

There’s a sense of freedom, of limitless possibility hidden behind the intimidation of starting anew. It rings when I gaze over a landscape and see a city waiting to be born, sounding clearer and brighter as I lay down road networks and zoning, plan the routes of utilities, and finally see the first settlers move in.

I feel it too when I stare at a blank page, just waiting for my words–whatever they may be–to fill it up, waiting to be read, to be critiqued. To be challenged.

Tracers flash between my compatriots and the enemy. A Spitfire tumbles to the earth, smoke pouring from its engine. A 109 explodes into a pall of flame and smoke, its debris fluttering in the wind.

The British and Japanese planes are maneuverable, but flimsy. They can’t afford to get hit. So, they try not to. Engines scream, airframes creak and shudder, pilots black out as they duck and weave through a hailstorm of fire.

Movements begin to slow, maneuvers straightening out as pilots struggle to disengage, to recover lost airspeed and energy.

Energy. Potential energy. My wingmates and I have a lot of it, having taken positions several hundred meters above the furball. It’s time to convert. My wingmates nose down, beginning their own attack.

I see it, a pair of Bf-109s trailing smoke, one behind the other.

I pull my control to the right and the plane tips over, nosing downwards while I pull back on the throttle. Four-hundred-twenty-five kilometers per hour. Four-three-zero. Four-five-zero. Five-zero-zero.

A peregrine falcon, when it dives to make an attack on its prey, can reach an excess of 300 kilometers an hour. It attacks from above and behind, giving its target very little chance to escape.

I’ve left it choking on my exhaust. I plummet at six hundred kilometers per hour. My wingtips begin to flutter, a sign they’re about to break off. I’m close to overspeeding. But a reduction on the throttle balances it out.

If I do this right, I can take both out with one pass. I change the angle of descent, losing some airspeed while my altimeter’s downward tick slows. But now I’m behind the rear 109, and with a pull of the trigger, the F4U-4B’s four M3 20mm autocannons lash out, red tracers lancing through the air and into the German fighter’s tail and wing, blowing both apart.

But I’ve misjudged my angle, and the tracers flashing by his cockpit alerts the second German to my presence. He puts his plane on its wingtip and turns around while I flash past. To turn would be risky, sacrificing most of my speed to engage him. But it’s a risk I’m willing to take.

I flip upside-down, then pull back on the control, pulling the plane into a half loop, almost halving my speed even as I meet him just as he completes his own turn. I fire, he fires. Red and green tracers flash past each other. My plane shudders as its starboard wing is torn off in a hail of shrapnel, but I’m gratified to see his 109 disintegrate into its component parts.

Grinning, I reach for the keyboard and type “GG EZ.”

The reply: “F**k u!”


Bien Carlos Manzares is a couch potato with his head in future worlds. In the present world, he is a creative writing student of UP Mindanao.

Boys Can Wear Pink

Poetry by | July 5, 2021

Boys can wear pink
With socks up to the thighs
Wear anything you want,
It should be no surprise

Boys can bake cakes
And do garden work, too
Be feminine, be affectionate
Whatever suits you!

Boys can show weakness
Machismo is a myth
Go and cry when you want to
These emotions exist

Boys can like boys
And hold hands with them, too
You can choose your own gender
There’s more than just two!

Boys can do this
And boys can do that
The norms cannot dictate
How boys should really act

So the next time someone asks,
“What’s with that outfit, Paul?”
Just say “Boys can wear pink,
There’s no problem at all!”


Raphael Luis Salise is an incoming 4th year student of the BA English-Creative Writing program of UP Mindanao. He has been a fellow to the Davao Writers Workshop.

Sonny 2 Needs a Heart

Fiction by | July 5, 2021

SV2 – Log 1

 Today I started building Sonny 2.

I decided to call it Sonny because Tatay’s name is Sonny. It is 2 because Tatay is 1. Nanay told me that it’s inappropriate to name a toy after my father, and I don’t know how to tell her that it is not a toy.

Anyway, I didn’t sleep much last night thinking of what it should look like. I kept drawing and drawing until the bumps on my fingers started to look like little mountains.

I would like to write more but as I said, my hand hurts and if I continue, this will be unreadable.

Here’s what Sonny 2 looks like: he has a wig to protect his head from bumps, his body is an oven, tv, and washing machine to help Mama, and he has rocket boots to carry me and help me see Papa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SV2 – Log 2

            Tatay called us today, so I was again inspired to work on Sonny 2. I thought of Tatay’s voice a lot. He sounded big and strong. He could reach the moon and crush it in his palm like a nut. Sonny 2 will be the same.

            I thought of how to build Sonny 2’s arms and legs. I have to go to Manong Alonso’s motor repair shop to see if he has the materials I need. If not, I will have to find some wood and rebars and pipes and old bowls (for the shoulders and kneecaps) myself.

            I don’t really know where Tatay is. He says that’s the point. He’s a seafarer, after all. His trips last about a year usually, but sometimes it’s more.  He could be anywhere in the world right now. Whenever I ask him, he answers with a different place. He was in France. He was in England. He was in America. He was in some other places I don’t remember.       

Sonny 2’s new target completion time: When Tatay comes home.

 

SV2 – Log 3

            I went to Manong Alonso’s place today. He said he couldn’t give me any of the materials I needed for free. The prices were too much! I tried to negotiate and he said that the best he could do was around 500 pesos. I’ve never even seen that much money!

I asked Nanay if she could help me with the money but she said that we didn’t have any because school is about to start. I told her that I didn’t need to go to school this year and she got really really mad. I said I was sorry. I didn’t know how important Grade 5 was to her and I felt bad.

Tomorrow, I will rummage through the neighbors’ garbage to see if there’s anything I can use.

SV2 – Log 4

            My cousin Biboy visited me today. I showed him my plans for Sonny 2, and he said it was impossible to make. I punched him in the stomach and I cried because he cried.

            During dinner time, I thought of Sonny 2’s head. I thought of how he could think. How smart should Sonny 2 be? Surely not as smart as me. Sonny 2 is tall, so it might hurt if he bumps into the branches of trees.

            Note 1: Make Sonny 2’s head as hard as can be.

            Note 2: Don’t punch Biboy again because he is your friend and he was really hurt.

 

SV2 – Log 5

            Today is my birthday and Nanay cooked me spaghetti when she came home from work. She sells vegetables and fruits at the market. I invited Biboy because  he already forgave me for punching him the other day. Friends may fight with each other, but in the end, they will share a bowl of spaghetti.

            Today I worked on Sonny 2’s stomach. My biggest problem was this: I knew how inconvenient it would be if he had to pee, but I wanted him to still be able to eat delicious things.

            I spent the rest of the day thinking of what to do.

            Note: Teach Sonny 2 how to cook so that Nanay wouldn’t have to work as much.

 

SV2 – Log 6

            It is Tatay’s birthday today. I borrowed Nanay’s phone to call him. I was sad that I didn’t have any gifts for him so I showed him my drawings of Sonny 2. He laughed so much. I think he really liked it. He said that he can’t wait to come home to play with Sonny 2 and me.

            Here’s another problem: Sonny 2 needed a heart. With it, Sonny 2 can move wherever he likes. He can love whoever he wants. Tatay once bought me a book called The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the Tin Man also needed a heart. I thought of making a silk-and-sawdust heart, but I didn’t want to lie to Sonny 2. He needed a real heart.

            Note: Find a heart for Sonny 2.

 

SV2 – Log 7

            Note: Find a heart for Sonny 2.

 

SV2 – Log 8

            It’s been a month since I worked on Sonny 2. I didn’t know where to find a heart. I was afraid that I was wasting my time.

 

SV2 – Log 9

            Today Tatay called again and said he won’t be able to come home this year. Nanay said that Tatay had to work so that I could go to school. That’s okay. I haven’t found a heart for Sonny 2 yet, anyway.

            That’s okay.

 

SV2 – Log 10

            Last night I dreamt that I was Sonny 2’s heart.

            It was hot inside his chest but it wasn’t hot enough so that I would burn. I was so happy that Sonny 2 could finally move. We went to France. We went to England. We went to some other places I don’t remember. I met Tatay and he rode Sonny 2’s back. I was so glad to see him be able to rest.

            When I woke up, I cried because it wasn’t true at all.

            Still, I will continue working on Sonny 2 until Tatay comes home. I asked Biboy and Nanay to help me and they agreed. Friends and mothers are great like that.

            Note: I am Sonny 2’s heart.

***

Ivan Khenard Acero studies creative writing in the University of the Philippines Mindanao. He has been a fellow to the Davao Writers Workshop and the Amelia Lapeña Bonifacio Writers Workshop. An animated version of this story can be viewed here.

OK-OK

Poetry by | June 28, 2021

Okay ra na. Mawala ra ning
pandemya. Basta mag-ampo ta
kanunay kang Lord. Ayaw nag pangutana
kon kanus-a kutob ta magluklok
sa panimalay. Okay ra lagi na.
Agwanta lang mintras nayagaw pa
ang mga halangdon nga maka-porsento
sa atong buwis. Aynag palag parehas
sa mga tawo nga nagbagutbot sa gobyerno.
Okay ra na, basta ayaw paminawa
ang kasaba diha sa balita. Pek News na
kon puros negatibo! Hunahunaa nga buhi pa ka.
Pagbantay-bantay na lang anang birus
ug pasagdiha ang mga dinakpan ug gihikawan.
Okay ra na. Pasalamat lang ni Lord
nga naa pa kay ikagasto. Pag-Tiktok nalang
kaysa mabulabog sa mga nag-aligutgot ngadto
sa nag-manyanita. Maypa magdagkot kag dolomite
unya ihithit kini sa pinunit nga tambutso.
Pakapini dayon og kerosene para mental health.
Okay ra na. Pagpuyo lang diha kaysa malakip ka
sa statistiko sa nagkasakang mga kaso sa nagsakit
ug nangapanaw. Kon duna kay angay pasanginlan,
kadto nangaipit sa kapit-os kay sigeg gawas-gawas,
labi na tong gapatagad sa ilang plakard.
Okay ra na. Sala bitaw nga matawo og kabus
matod pa ni Santo Bo Chanezs. Iya-iya lang ta
sa pagpaningkamot. Sa sigeg bagutbot,
ingnan pa lang salot, terorista o komyunista.
Okay ra na. Pati ang hinungdan nga naabtan
tag pandemya—gumikan sa Amô nga gatila
ug gatsupa sa dragon sa Tsina—malubong ra
gihapon sa kalimot. Okay ra gyod na, basta
tumani lang ang yawyaw sa Amô sa Palasyo
susama sa atong pagbinut-an kang Tatay God.
Tan-awa imong mga idol nga silang Mocha,
Maharlika, BanatBy, Badoy, Thinking Pinoy
ug Sasot. Nagpahayahay sa ilang lawak.
Gabulatik sa kamaayo ni Tatay Amô,
daw gatsupa sa iyahang lagay diha
sa mikropono nga ilang gisibya-sibya.
Ilaron ra ka anang mga doktor ug iskolar
sa nasod. Aynag palag ni Amô, Baboy,
ug Tiki sa Palasyo. Magpatoo lang
sama nilang Senado Sotsot, Gago, Boto
ug uban pang sipsip sama ni Sekretaryo
Kiki da Turd. Okay ra na, basta pagluhod
diha sa inyoha ug pag-ampo. Ma-okay ra lagi ta.
Timan-i gani, inig hanaw sa pandemya,
mag-party-party ta sama sa manyanita
ni Tubol Desinas, ang berdugong butakal.
Apan sa higayon nga mangamustahay ta
sa usag-usa aykog pangutan-i
kon tawo pa gihapon ta.

***
Lolot  S. Pana-ad is a freelance SEO writer based on Mindanao.

Sa Mata ng Manlalakbay

Poetry by | June 28, 2021

Kinukumutan ng mga ulap ang kabundukan
Gumagalaw na sa parang ang magsasaka
Matatayog ang mga punong sumasaludo sa pagsikat ng araw
Dahan-dahang minumulat ng kalikasan ang pusong dayuhan sa ganda ng lupang tinubuan

Sa isang poso, masayang naliligo ang mga mama
Tanging saplot ay mga korto,
mga ulo’y nababalot sa bula

Sa mga kabundukan, matagal ng nakatago
ang mga gintong aral
Pilit inuungkat ng diwa ang maririkit na alaala

Hayaan na munang ang damdamin ay maglakbay
Hayaan na munang sukatin ng mga mata ang haba ng bughaw na langit
Hayaan na munang sukatin ng musika ang layo ng iyong destinasyon

Minsan lang dalawin ng tula ang iyong diwa
Huwag ibulong sa hangin ang mga salita
Iukit sa pahina ang mga dasal
Habang ikaw ay patungo
sa may dakong walang kasiguraduhan.


Rhealyn Callao Pojas is a writer based in Davao City.