May kakaibang hatak ang dapithapon sa aking kalooban. Para itong pagbabadya ng katapusan ng isang buong araw ng pakikibaka at pakikisalamuha. Panahon na para ipahinga ang pagal na isipan at katawan at harapin ang panibagong bukang-liwayway na may buo at bagong sigla.
Ang pagsabog ng samu’t saring kulay sa alapaap – pula, dilaw, lila, abo, luntian, asul, kahel, atbp. ay tila paghahabi ng Dakilang Lumikha ng kanyang obra maestra sa buong kapaligiran. Habang minamasid ang pag-iiba ng kulay ay magkahalong pagkamangha at pagpapatiwasay ng kalooban ang nadarama habang unti-unting binabalot ang araw ng gabi. Mamaya lamang at magsisilabasan na ang mga kumukutikutitap na mga tala at ang maliwanag na buwan.
Ang marahang hampas ng hanging-amihan habang nakatuon sa dapithapon ay dampi sa puso. Dahan-dahang lumalamig ang panahon. Oras na para magmuni-muni. Mag-iisip ng kung anu-anong bagay – ang mga nagawa, ang mga gagawin, mga tagumpay at kabiguan sa buhay, mga mahal sa buhay, at isang libu’t isang isipan ang namumutawi habang minamasdan ang paglubog ng araw. Kakaiba ito sa pagsalubong sa bukang-liwayway na tila nagsisilakbo sa init at may nakaatang na mabigat na gawain sa mga susunod na oras.
Ang hampas ng alon sa dalampasigan habang nakatingala sa langit ay tila oyayi na musika sa pandinig. Magkahalong lumbay, kapanatagan sa kalooban at pagpapasalamat sa Diyos sa kagandahan ng kalikasang nakaharap sa iyong paningin. Ang alon ay parang isang mapanghalina na gayumang humahatak sa iyo na samahan siya sa pag-indayog at paglutang sa karagatan bago tuluyang balutan ng kadiliman ang buong kapaligiran.
Habang tinitingnan ang dapithapon, patuloy akong namamangha sa kalawakan ng sansinukob at katiwasayan sa kalooban na dulot nito. Higit sa lahat, sa kadakilaan at kakayahan ng Diyos na makalikha ng kagandahan na tanging sa Kanyang makapangyarihang mga Kamay lamang maisasakatuparan.
Melchor is School Director of Davao Chong Hua High School. He finished his Master of Education from UP Diliman and is working towards his PhD in Education (Major in Educational Administration) at the same university. He has visited the whole Philippines from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi, and only recently moved to Davao.
Paul Randy Gumanao has been one of Dagmay’s most prolific contributors since 2009, when he was still a student at Ateneo de Davao University. Paul writes across different genres, from poetry to fiction to social commentary, and is as evocative in Bisaya as in English. He is, however, best known for his poetry, which is rich with concrete and lush imagery. (Read Paul’s past works on Dagmay.)
D: When I first met you, you were a BS Chem student at Ateneo. What have you been up to since you graduated?
PR: After my graduation in 2012 and after I got my license as a chemist, I had a brief stint as a chemistry instructor in one of the colleges in my hometown. I did not stay long in the institution because I wanted to explore opportunities outside my comfort zone. I landed another job in a third-party quality control laboratory in General Santos, where I was in-charge of the chemistry department. It was also during that time when I decided to pursue graduate studies, so I enrolled in the MS in Chemistry program at Ateneo while being employed at the same time.
D: The quality control lab sounds like a seriously technical job. What did you do there, specifically?
PR: The bulk of my job in the lab was analyzing toxins in products of the different fishing and canning companies in the region. At first, I relished the experience, but I eventually got bored as the procedures became very familiar and plainly mechanical as the days passed. Examining whole tunas weighing as heavy as 50 kilograms was a very taxing job for my 45-kilogram body!
This year, we are embarking on a small project to interview some standout contributors to Dagmay and young Mindanao writers of note. These conversations are meant to be informal, not critical, so we can get to know the writers behind the works and about their writing process. We are kicking off this series with an interview with Genevieve Mae Aquino, who has charmed us with her ekphrastic, cerebral, and exuberant poetry. (Read Genevieve’s past works on Dagmay.)
D: Thanks for agreeing to this interview. We’d like to start off with your very unique bio. At Dagmay, we have contributors from different professions far afield from literature, but yours certainly stands out because of you work in molecular biology. Can you tell us how you came into your specialization, where you studied, and what degrees you earned?
GM: Science was something that interested me as a child. When I got a scholarship to attend the Philippine Science High School campus in Davao (PSHS-SMC), my career path was pretty much set. I got my BSc in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from UP Diliman. My MSc in the same major field (with Genetics as minor) is from UP Los Baños. I also have a postgraduate diploma in Quantitative Genetics and Genome Analysis from the University of Edinburgh.
I currently work in UPLB as one of the core staff of the Philippine Genome Center – Program for Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Forestry. My field of specialization is bioinformatics, which is basically the use of computers to store, analyze, and visualize genetic information. (Editor’s note, March 2, 2018: after this interview was submitted for publication but before it went to press, Genevieve took on a new position with UPLB. She is now with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension.)