“Somewhere there’s a place for us… a time, a place for us…”
It was the radio. The only sound to be heard in the house. It was dusk. She was sure it was dusk.
She gazed at a ceiling and long for a calling. For something to do. For something to enjoy. Well, the music radio’s nice — she thought. Then she heard a violent knock at a door. Though it would be strange and terrifying for a normal person, it wasn’t. She didn’t think twice, she emotionlessly turned the doorknob. Opened it without a smile, without a surprised face. All of a sudden, it was black and white as she saw the face of a man. It was a madman. He was carrying a gun. He pointed his pistol to her head. Shot.
And just like that, she was dead. The madman pointed the gun on his head. The last bullet ended his life. Two corpses in the threshold of an empty house. And there was then, the only sound.
Since time immemorial, we are tested by countless calamities; volcanic eruptions, devastating earthquakes and lahar flows, super typhoons, flash floods and landslides. Victoriously, we surmounted these ordeals and pains, beyond imagination of the human race.
William G. Bacani, The Resiliency of a Filipino
An excerpt of the piece we’ve performed back in middle school and it had always been stucked in me ever since. I can recall it word for word. “Resiliency” is a word the people of the Philippines claimed. The reason behind the usage is because, as the piece might suggest, we were always some target of any calamity—in fact, third of the most disaster-prone country after Tonga and Vanuatu.
Just today (12th of November 2020), Typhoon Ulysses hit the country destroying livestocks, houses and properties. Leaving all those who are severely pandemic-stricken and poverty-stricken in even more tribulation, much worse that it was not long ago that super typhoon Rolly harmed us.
I was greeted with countless pleas for rescue in Facebook while scrolling through my feed from Filipinos that saved themselves from drowning from an enormous flood by climbing up the rooftops. Water quickly rose even in areas that are not flood-prone, said the Mayor of Marikina—one of the most harmed city by Ulysses. Mayor Marcelino Teodoro (of Marikina) also admitted the lack of resources and the local government’s failure in attending all people in need of rescuing. I appreciate his courage to admit the mistake and accept liability, but I can’t help but feel somewhat frustrated as this irresponsibility in crucial time would mark people’s lives forever. This lapse can take away not just a life but a feasible hundreds of them.
Aside from typhoons that we get atleast 10 times a year, we are also one of the most vulnerable of the effects of global warming, and volcanic eruptions (that Batangas City and its neighbors gone through on January of the same year). And given that we’re still a developing country, twentieth of the poorest, with relatively poor disaster planning and recovery procedures, and with prevalent poverty cases—it’s hard for our people to recover from such events. Furthermore, the social and economic cost of natural disasters is increasing due to population growth, migration, unplanned urbanization, global climate change and decrease of overall environmental state.
But with or without the aid of anyone but themselves, the people seem to get to their feet again.
As G. Michael Hopf said, hard times create strong men. And that is exactly the case for our people. We were not born of some special gene whatsoever. I reckon we’ve been forced to go through horrible things and as part of human reaction, we try to survive. We then ornament with fancy words like “Resiliency.”
Nothing wrong with being resilient, of course. In fact, that is still the very trait I would choose to instill in me and my future offsprings. But I am disgusted as those in power overuse them to talk the Filipinos out of their reasonable wrath. Moreover, we romanticized it at some point. What’s wrong with that? We were basically normalizing suffering, when we can do better.
It’s not bad to suffer and then help ourselves out of the pit but it’s not bad either to demand more of good service which those in power vowed to its people. But not just that, I would encourage Filipinos to not just be a boulder showing off self-declared resiliency whilst not doing a thing to prevent its breaking down, dissolution, wearing away until it’s dust—until nothing to flaunt again. As we can do better than remain in a station we’ve been so resilient with that we refused to move, we better take a shot. Carve the rock slowly and slowly until we are something to be admired by the world, not just because we’ve been strong through hard times, but because we were strong enough to turn these adversities into progress.
As G. Michael Hopf said, strong men create good times. I yearn to have strong Filipinos to create good times for the next generation.
We will bounce back, arms stronger with vision and faith, that after darkness, after pains and sufferings, the Filipino survives, the Filipino is resilient...
It lies in the majesty of Central Visayas, Philippines. Sprawling beaches, Chocolate hills, tarsier, ornamental old churches and various tourist spots. It has great potential for tourism, especially as the first eco-airport in the Philippines situates here, in the promise of development for the said industry. Bohol, blessed with its beautiful people which practically shaped its reputation, during her dark times when one seems to be lost in holes, have proved resilient and bold.
1900 and 2020, two different years. Century apart yet tells us one thing: that Bohol is bold even whilst stucked in dark holes. And no matter what, with the guidance of their leaders and the God they believe in—they will discover light at the end of each tunnels.
In 17 March 1900, American troops land Tagbilaran City in the goal of invading the province. It was one of the last major islands in the Philippines to be victim of invasion, as its small population; modest resources; lack of modern harbor; and poor location for potential bases, discouraged Americans to do so. However, when it finally happened, the people were quick to respond. Boholanos started a resistance movement—an organized effort to embattle the foreign invaders, arranged by the civil population who continually support the cause by sending cash, food supplies and through other means.
In response, the Americans resort to mass cruelty to bring the province into submission. They burned 20 of Bohol’s 35 towns, killed hundreds of Boholanos and destroyed their livestock. On December 1900, Bohol unfortunately surrendered. On the contrary, peace prevailed after the signing of treaty in the convent of Dimiao. But it was not long when the cholera epidemic crept the place, creating more darkness in holes, killing hundreds of Boholanos—that year alone.
Fast-forward to 2020, in truly the time of great turbulence. The Philippines reached the worst outbreak of Coronavirus disease or COVID-19 among Southeast Asian countries, with 226,000 positive COVID-19 cases and 3,597 deaths. Bohol’s cases climbed up to 167 with 53 considered as active cases, 107 recoveries and seven deaths as per reported by the Provincial Health Office (PHO). On September 1st, it reported 23 fresh new cases—so far, the highest one-day record since the pandemic.
It was the first province in the Philippines to carry out a total lockdown following the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) implemented in Luzon. Despite least number of cases thanks to its immediate response, Boholanos, especially the underprivileged residents, and particularly occupants of the Malingin and Guindacpan islands which remained under total lockdown due to a rise in cases, suffered from an economic breakdown and mass unemployment.
Thus, one need even the slightest source of light.—a flashlight. The “flashlight” comes in as charity and good leadership. Relief goods were sent to the each Boholano household by their local governments. Guindacpan Island also received relief goods from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Central Visayas. Rep. Erico Aristotle Augmentado did his part and donated gallons filled with five-liter mineral water to Guindacpan and Malingin. “Flashlight-bearers” come also as anonymous heroes, motivated by pure intentions to uplift the province, and to finally have her way out of the pit.
In its endeavor to find a way out of the economic downfall, Bohol is planning to reopen tourism by the last quarter of 2020. Unique Bohol Experience (UBE), an accreditation program for local tourism stakeholders will have the sewerage treatment plant, wastewater management, carrying capacity, ratio of renewable energy, and among others to be checked for further development of tourism—one of the main source of living for some of the Boholanos. Governor Yap of Bohol also said that the World Bank will fund the the province’s Water and Sanitation Project. The project would give comfort to both tourists and residents, and it will also avoid another possible cholera outbreak—which Bohol was victim a century ago, in and around the 1900.
Albeit held back by the pandemic, Bohol is in the road to finding the light, away from dark pits, and nearer to progression. With and by the strength and “bayanihan” of our Boholanos, a strong faith, and as polished through many decades of struggle, they will altogether get to illuminated ends of dark holes. Marching towards a Bohol-eautiful future.
Carry me Like you are my brother Love me like a mother Will you be there?
Ever wanted a song to hold you like the River Jordan?
“Will You Be There”; a hit from the 90s yet very timely today, is a must-heard song in times of turmoil. Endearing, calming and full of life. We are living through turbulence as we face the aftermath of a pandemic that resulted an economic instability, along with it is a bulk of other issues. For anyone at risk of damage of their mental health, this year is difficult more than ever.
According to the World Health Organization, this coronavirus pandemic can cause a drastic fallout in mental health. What can we do? To start with, we can have a sweet conversation with our family or through virtual communication, our friends. It’s nice to turn away from the darkness of the current events for a while and face an array of supportive individuals who will care, whom will serve as your light of the night. Along with that, a song so warm it will calm your heart which will be very beneficial as many of us is in panic and worse, showing symptoms of anxiety.
There’s no more any fitting time to have a good melody to blast out to keep us going in our lives. One I would recommend would be from the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson. “Will You Be There” from the album Dangerous, is yet another Michael Jackson masterpiece, released on June 28, 1993.
The song is basically asking someone if she/he will care enough to be there “in the darkest hour, in deepest despair.” This line alone encapsulates our situation today. When times are tough, we all need someone to accompany, though not always physically but in heart and soul.
The song starts off with the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus singing a segment of Beethoven’s ninth symphony. In German lyrics written by Friedrich Schiller, it sung about seeking the Creator “beyond the starry canopy.” Then, it goes on with the angelic voice of MJ telling the listener (or whomever it is addressed) to hold him like the River Jordan, to carry him like he is his brother, love him like a mother, and essentially to be there in times of confusion.
Personally, I hold this song so dearly and I keep it stored in my heart. Though I have only heard the song later in life (in fact, just earlier today), it reminds me of a beloved friend I lost due to a sickness. She was one of my teammates as we are both athletes but in different fields. Her last message to me through Facebook Messenger was when she notified me that she will be coming on the ongoing medical inspection for the upcoming athletic season.
She wrote, “Mo anha ko.” Roughly translated, she said “I will be there,” to remind me that she will catch up. Even though it didn’t really directly said that she “will be there” for me at my darkest hour like in the song and as much as I would love if she did said that, the message still holds a sentimental value as her last text and it also summarizes our relationship as we always catch up with each other. Along with it is a desire to hear her say “Mo anha ko” from her once more, in assurance that she is somewhere present and will be there with me soon.
As I go on through the depths of the lyrics, I realized that it is not only addressed to a friend, a family or a lover. The prologue inspired from Beethoven’s symphony and particularly its corresponding lyrics, suggests that it could also be addressed to an All-Powerful and Creator, and as stated in the song, the One we should “seek beyond the starry canopy.”
"Are you falling down, millions? Do you sense the Creator, world? Look for him above the starry canopy, He must live above the stars"
On this unfortunate time, it’s also important to have faith, if you’re religious — to God or Allah, or to whichever you believe in. We need to have something to grasp when all seems to fall. We need the guidance of an All-Knowing to guide us with our choices when “everyone’s taking control.” This song will teach us to admit that “we’re only human,” and thus we cannot make it all ourselves. We need guidance, a source of light—whether faith on the One beyond the starry canopy or the stars itself—fellow human beings around us, who will give a glimpse of light in our darkest hours, to support us and help us “walk when not able.”
I very much endorse this peace of art from the legendary Michael Jackson because aside from its harmonious tune perfect to clear our mind from stressful thoughts, it would also be lovely if we altogether learn the lyrics, sing them and send them through voice messaging to the ones we really care about, to show and remind them that we will be there in their trials, tribulations, doubts and frustration. Especially in this time of fear, turbulence and violence, we should carry each other boldly, as this song encouraged.
It was a lethargic, moonless almost completely dark, cold night. The world was as if it is going through a slow motion film like when a bullet dodges into its protagonist. The wind was causing hallucination. It whirls with many different colors giving nausea. Her palms were cold and sweaty. The curtain swayed almost reaching her, and the wind that touched her cheeks, gone down through her spine. Chills. Her eyes were set on the ceiling, observing nothing. It turns to looked at now the almost unconcealed window which promises nothing but the silhouettes of the trees dancing. There is no more giving her more fear than her imagination.
The phantoms of her head that murders any child. Her body was no longer attached to the soul. It journeys where it longs to be, leaving the body in solitude. The clock was ticking, grabbing her attention. The sound for her was very disturbing. It destroys silence that she yearns. Anger tickles her feet, she stood up and grabbed a gun and thrown it off to the clock and it shattered. And after that, like a fragile piece of paper, she immediately fell into her bed, again. She closed her eyes. She lied down on her side. But there was again, ticking of the clock. She frowned. It echoes. One. Two. Three. Open. She opened her eyes, and with her were another pair of eyes.
The clock with her gun, shot her in the head. Passionately. Ending her sorrows.
I recently discovered a fascinating app called “SLOWLY.” Imitating the old-timey penpal tradition, it lets you communicate anyone from around the world —which matches your interests, or if you want to be more traditional, an option for “random match” would be as fascinating. As its name might suggest, it sends your letter SLOWLY, depends on how far your penpal is. This particular feature is indeed revolutionary in the modern communicating world. Not saying that the technological advancement that gives us convenience in the first place is a bad idea. The point is, we get to experience an amazing activity, enrooting patience and deep thoughts, that could have been lost in our world.
I’ve had a great experience especially that one time I had an amazing penpal called “m i d e l o.” Her real first name is Marybel, but the rest of her name remains a mystery as I lost contact with her.
I will be extracting the parts, of a certain topic that I enjoyed most. This is when we talked about our future jobs — and whether we should settle for big or not.
“…𝖕𝖊𝖔𝖕𝖑𝖊 𝖆𝖙 𝖒𝖞 𝖆𝖌𝖊 are super famous like Charli de Amelio and Millie Bobby Brown. It does discourage me sometimes. I know that everyone doesn’t have the same timeframe but I can’t help but become jealous of what they have achieved.”
“𝕴 𝖜𝖆𝖘 𝖊𝖓𝖛𝖎𝖔𝖚𝖘 of young celebrities, too. But I scratched that off. I realized I didn’t really want to be famous. I am just allured by their lifestyle. But overall, it can be exhausting. That to say, I want a simple one yet happy at times, a decent job where I may or may not be earning big as long as it would not rob me of quality time, and would definitely not slither my sanity away. I would be delighted of a job that I will be passionate of, or satisfied.
I’m always meditating at the thought of a deplorable future when I am prisoned to a livelihood I will not be motivated with in each day. The prospect of disappointment in not achieving my dreams had me to the lower grounds of wishing. That is why I am keeping my hopes low and practice satisfaction of the less. I must credit the book I read that inspired of this quite unconventional mentality, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.” I may have not finished it yet but I am so influenced of new raveling ideas, overflowing even yet at the first pages of the book. I am slowly applying it to my life, and I’m glad of it.”
“𝕴’𝖒 𝖉𝖊𝖋𝖎𝖓𝖎𝖙𝖊𝖑𝖞 𝖓𝖔𝖙 𝖘𝖚𝖗𝖊 what I want: whether to lead a recognised life or vice versa. I think I was greatly influenced by the fact that I will be easily be considered a “successful” person when a huge number of people know me. The thought of being forgotten once my soul leaves this world is devastating as I really have big dreams. I kind of want middle ground you know? To be recognised but not to the point I will be Beyonce. It’s like the way we still remember Isaac Newton. After numerous decades, they still remember what he contributed to mankind and is being respected for that. I keep my hopes low too but I can’t shake off the fact that I want to make a nark on this world so I won’t be forgotten. Maybe it will happen, maybe it will not. At least I tried right? That’s all that matters to me.”
“𝕿𝖍𝖆𝖙 𝖈𝖔𝖓𝖙𝖗𝖆𝖉𝖎𝖈𝖙𝖘 𝖙𝖔 Charles Bukowski’s reflection though, just on his epitaph, transcripted on his tomb — “Don’t try.” He’s surprisingly a remembered writer.
“Surprisingly” because he isn’t particularly someone we would assume to be successful, because you guessed it, he didn’t try. All he cared about was what to eat today and tomorrow. But he sure was open to opportunities — making every move that there is, while not “trying.” I suppose when he said “Don’t try,” it doesn’t really mean that you should be lazy and completely never do anything. He’s trying to eliminate the idea that we have to gain a certain something.
There’s nothing wrong with trying but the constant pressure to have something big on your life is. Because often when you can’t reach the crest of the vision for yourself, you’ll end up disappointed and find that life has no meaning. When in fact life has no meaning, in the first place. It’s a matter of perspective.
The way I explained it, it’s pretty entangled, I apologize. But here’s the point. Say Isaac Newton have made it through history, but did that really merit him happiness? He’s all dust and bones now and no matter how well we appreciate his legacy, he could never feel the satisfaction of knowing so because that just don’t matter for a dead man like him. You might have built meaning in your life but death comes in and changes everything.
That to say, you should enjoy what you have now, every bit of it. No matter how great the fingerprint you’ve left in this world, this gift we call life gives you something even greater but it rather comes in little details. This “great thing” is called “love.” Sounds cheesy but hear me out. The love for your family, your friends, your people, or if you’re religious, your God.
The love for little things like the smell of mother’s cooking each morning, the fragrance of something that brings you back to a memory, smiles of those you love, hanging out with friends, binge-watching your favorite shows or rereading a favorite book.
The warm feeling of an idle summer’s day, the cold breeze of the beach at night, a sunset, a sunrise, a hug, fluffy clouds on a mountain, cozy blankets, the moon and the stars, a sunset, rainy days, Christmas eve, a walk at a park, and more sunsets, so on. Indulging to these seems unproductive but you’ll find it’s what matters most in life. Loving is living. But I’m not saying that to narrow your path or stop you from dreaming big. Go on with that but take it slowly from time to time, so you shall never ignore the little flowers along the way. To sum it up: Dream big, pleased with less. Until then, I am proud of you.”
Long story short, I really enjoyed our letters. Beyond what I’ve written here, we discussed hobbies or things we enjoy. I wished I asked for her social media accounts yet I may not have, I will cherish the friendship we’ve created though it was of short span. Wherever she may be, I hope the best in life for her.
I do poetry onstage. I absorb emotions from my piece and fire away. I look like a madman over there but I usually don’t mind, I just do my thing. Post-embarrassment is inevitable though, and there would be some mocks and laughs short after. Moreover, insidious self-criticism takes over after a week of reminiscing the very moment, and it’s going to tear me up.
Embarrassment gradually pays-off though, as I win something out of them sometimes—after acquiring improvement slowly but effectively over time.
And significantly, after I decided to take this certain “pill” before and after every performances.
See, I learned that the only thing that held me back from an amazing show is myself. I lay at the fact that someone watched my every move and every progress, and essentially every fail. I am coward as I fear, what I call MCD—mocks, criticism and disapproval. But, ladies and gents, this is the very pill we should take.
I can’t help but put these onstage experiences to offstage, a subject of comparison to real life endeavor towards ambition and how we are being held back because we are missing something—we forgot to take these pills.
If we are cowards at their mocks, criticism and disapproval, then we’ll never make it. Be brave enough to take MCD, and never avoid them. They’re hard-to-swallow pills but it guarantees you a lifetime source of strength by putting pressure on your coal ’til you are diamond. Eventually, you will become invulnerable of MCD after taking the right MCD dosage—immune to them.
They would have side effects though: slight diminish of confidence and a self-doubting phase. But it would be important in “measurement of determination” on something you really desire. It’s not only a lifetime source of strength but it is a test of strength. The thing is, if you are really passionate on the goal, you don’t mind the side effects of MCD. If it bothers you more not doing the task for a goal than being crushed by MCD, then it’s an indicator that your dream is worth fighting for. You’re on the right track. You’re on the right dream. If so, you take more of these pills and when you take more, you will become more and more insusceptible, until you’re just unstoppable.
I feel the need to reiterate in the minds of our teenagers that our parents, too, were once like us. And even possibly still, like us — children with childish tendencies. If we perceive them as little kids trapped in adult’s body while keeping it all up together in fulfilling their roles, I think we would appreciate their effort more than we do now. We have to instill in us understanding, as much as we the young ones demand it from them. I’m sure, silently, they too want it from us.
Take it from my father — a sturdy man with soft child heart.
My papa was always a tough guy. I was never bullied back then at grade school for the same reason. Some of his friends would call him “General” as in a commander in the army, not because he’s in the army but because he’s tough. He would walk the streets of the city and recognize the rogues and miscreants as he himself can mingle with these types. But don’t get that wrong, my father is a law-abiding citizen and devotedly, a follower of God, a minister of the Church. The only thing that had him on the pitiful side was his childhood trauma.
He was regarded as the black sheep of the family. He would call himself, in Tagalog, “Hari ng Sablay” (literally translates to King of Failure, referring to people who are considered dumb and clumsy) as he thinks he doesn’t get things right, and that led him to considerable amount of troubles. At an early age, he was quite severely beaten up by his parents for this exact reason. A lot more than they did to the rest of his siblings. But he doesn’t hate his parents for this, it was pretty much the normal thing back then, a tradition of disciplining problematic kids. It did correct his wrong ways but we can’t deny the bad effects from that course of action. Thus he vowed to never do that to his future children, to break the cycle. He would rather talk them out from their mischievous ways.
Truly, this problematic kid grown up to be a kind father of two. A teacher of profession and dispenser of wisdom for us. Before me and my brother came into the world, it was not like this. That problematic kid became a troublesome teenager as he made bonds with male city dwellers of his age. But when the responsibilty of being a father came to him, he asked his God to shape him into a good one. He broke his ties to pretty much everything that consist the rest of him — friendships with particular people, his troublesome ways, smoke addiction, his bad temper — all of it, just for us.
But recently, things gotten into shambles. He felt that everything is dragging him down once more to the pits of those old bad ways. The years of persistent transformation, from a tough man to a man almost always seen at Church, he feels it gotten into waste as the turn of events that led to worldly opinions of people around us discourage him. He feels that being bad is a lot easier than being good, it was all so simple with those old ways. He opened up to me and directly said that he’s giving up. He can’t fake good anymore. He says he was born to be bad, and it’s easier that way.
I was irritated. He is being irrational and childish. Why give up now? Why would you let a single event strip you from the thing you’ve been relentlessly creating for yourself and us? Why would you let the judgement of people that don’t even matter in the first place prevent you from living a good life?
But I repressed the anger for a moment and meditated. My father had always been a good communicator and because of that I know every essential bits of him. I learned he has a damage in mental health over the years of emotional oppression. That’s also why a good communication between a parent and child is really important. In addition, I realized from hearing his woes that the mental well-being of men should be regarded as an urgent issue in need of effective respondence, as it’s true and fragile, contrary to how tough they appear on the outside as the stigma of not being masculine enough presses the life of them. So I tried to put things into perspective. And hey, Papa is still the kid who cried when beaten up for buying candies. Papa is still the man who cried in the corner alone, when he thought no one in his family understood him.
My Papa is vulnerable, and so is the rest of the fathers in the world. Sometimes, we have to understand them. We have to talk to them and offer our affection and sympathy by simply being all ears to their woes. I decided to find a picture of them being a kid, in their innocent days — to remind me that they were indeed children somehow pressured to be adults. And as much as we want our parents to be mature, we have to be selfless for a while. Every time they acted like this, think of the time when you just can’t function well and the chaos just won’t let you handle things easily. Much as they are our guides, they need guidance too. Within our power, we should guide them back on track. This parent-child relationship is God’s blessing, and responsibility that both had to attend to. This bond is made to hold each other in happiness and in sadness, for better and for worse.
“I have come here to die. I die a Queen, but I would rather die the wife of Culpeper. Life is very beautiful.”
– Catherine Howard, The Tudors Season 2: Bottom of the Pot
Imagine a girl on a late afternoon By the lake, with the good company of Music and forest birds Mysterious habitants and enchantment Sat on the grass, as she watches the golden shine Contrasts by dark colors, tranquil waters Calming windy pleasure and symphony It shall be a moment away before It’s the end of the day And beginning of night Where morning creatures shall bow for the Last curtain call
And when the wind caresses her young face She shall be reminded of freedom Before her heartbeat beats fast And her senses come again
She is painfully conscious once more Sat at the coldest floor imaginable Gloomy darkness of night infested Dreary, stormy ocean waters, windy and confused A symphony of plead and prayers Wailing, crying in despair The crows and the vultures Mysterious habitants and enchantment Practicing and perfecting doom In the tower, head laid The manner fate ends, unroyal
The light of day is restricted by walls Looking out the window, anxious and sorrowed She cherished the sound of the pound Of her chest, before it is perpetual silence
She walks through a dark aisle Lady and Queen of England King’s fifth; Catherine Howard Enthralled him and turned the heads Of her people and gentlemen Which pulled strings of her little figure Delinquent, naive, promiscuous
As she goes, there is courage And gracefulness, convincing enough But she wanted to scream She screamed for mercy, to no avail Spirits shall remain to haunt Imagine a woman, before the ocean of people Full of pity, lamentations, curious mostly It shall be a moment away before It’s the end of the day And beginning of night Where she shall bow for the Last curtain call.