Mujahideen

Poetry by | May 3, 2016

Sa aking mapayapang silid, di ako pinatulog ng mga bangkay,
Hinila nila ako pabalik sa silya’t inutusang bigyan ng buhay
Ang mga titik, tumirik mga mata, nakatirik puting kandila,
Sinulat ko kanilang kwento, gamit kong tinta’y kanilang dugo.
Biglang buhos ang agos ng imahinasyon at gunita,
Di kayang makalimot sa karahasan ng kahapon. Nagmistulang musika
Ang kalansing ng mga basyo ng bala sa tuwing humahalik sa lupa.
Dambuhalang sigaw ng mga bomba, duweto ng mga baril at granada,
Mura ng mga sundalo sa moske, pintig ng mga takot na puso
Iyak ng kapatid na nawalan, hikbi ng naulilang anak,
Na pilit ginigising ang inang duguan sa inaakalang pagtulog.

Sa bawat higpit ng kapit sa baril at kalabit ng gatilyo, bitbit nila’y hibik at hindi galit,
Animo’y nagmamakaawa. Naisin mang ipakita’t iparinig ang totoong daing ng puso,
Ngunit nagsiliparan na ang mga bala sa gitna ng kagubatan,
Nasugatan na ang mga balat na kinalyo sa hirap ng buhay,
Bumuhos na ang dugo, umagos na ang mga luha,
Kaya ang pusong binalot ng tapang, lahing nagmula sa magigiting at mapangahas,
Alas! Bakit pa nga ba aatras? Dahas laban sa dahas.
Kung noo’y tinataas ang kamay na nakabukas ang mga palad,
Nakadaop sa batok habang ang lupa’y hinihila ang mga tuhod,
Di kalauna’y natuto na ring isara ang mga kamao at lumaban sa mga ahas.

Habang ang tugon ng karamihan
Di na daw baleng maging alipin basta’t pinapakain,
Walang pinagkaiba sa “di na baleng kitilin basta’t ililibing,”
Sa kariktan ng mundo’y nauhaw, nabulag ang mga duwag!
Handang isakripisyo mga prinsipyo kapalit ng kakapiranggot na habag.
Ibahin ang paninidigan nila. Bigkis sa sandata’y may simbuyo’t poot,
Kaya milagro kung maaninag kanila’y buto’t balat na tabas,
Pagkat magtataka kung pa’no napapasan ang mahahabang armas
Sandamakmak na bala, tig-iisang pusong laman ay pamilyang iniwan
Walang pagtiyak kung makakapiling pa nilang muli, makakasalo pa kaya
Sa noo’y pinaghahatiang kamote at tubig sa batis.

At nakabalagwit sa kanilang balikat ang anino ng nakaraan,
Mga kubong kumain ng bala, at dumura ng dugo.
Sa loob ay mga batang pinagkaitan. Dumi sa kanilang kuko,
Alikabok sa kanilang mga paa. Ngayo’y humalo sa dugo
Galing sa pusong sariwa na tumigil na sa pagtibok.

Nakita ang anak na lumipad dahil pinaulanan ng kanyon.
Nilapitan, tiningnan sabog niyang mukha di na maipinta.
Pinulot, kalong-kalong sa mga bisig – ngayon itatanong niyo pa ba
Kung bakit gano’n na lamang ang galit nila?

Mahigit apat na dekada ng pakikipagtunggali,
Di lang apatnapu’t apat na sawi ang dapat ipinagluksa,
Libo-libong mga batang walang kamalay-malay, mga kababaihang
Hangad lamang ang mapayapang pamumuhay,
Kung rebelde mang maituturing, sila’y mga rebeldeng ninakawan.
Ngayon ipagkakait niyo pa ba ang kapayapaang hinahangad nila?

Tayo’y namumuhay sa mundo ng kabalintunaan.
Mga taong sumisigaw, sila ang hindi napapakinggan,
Kailangan ng kaguluhan upang makamit ang kapayapaan
Si Fatima na nakatakip ang mukha, sumunod sa utos ng Panginoon,
sa Pransya siya’y hinuli’t pinagpiyansa,
Habang si Anna’ng nakahubad, nagbibigay-aliw ay binabayaran pa?
Ang mga taong nakabarong, mga kagalang-galang sa paningin,
Pangalan ma’y santo, nais naman ng kaguluhan.
At sino pa yung piligro’y di na bago sa kanila, mahahabang riple
Nakasabit sa dingding, mga mata’y susubok-subok sa dilim
Mga aparato ng bomba’y nakasilid sa pinaglumaang karton,
Kung sino pa ang mga terorista sa paningin ng iba,
Sila pa ngayon ang nagtitimon para sa katahimikan ng madla.

Tunaw na ang kandila. Sa dalawang pahinang naisulat,
Tila kumawala ang sapi na nagtulak sa aking idibuho ang mga gunita
Gamit ang mga palambang titik na nagkapit-kapit upang mabuo ang isang obra.
Dumungaw ako sa bintana’t nasilayan pitong talang makinang,
Sa pagtingala’y tila nga’y malayo pa ang dulo, napaisip ako.
Noo’y abot-tanaw lang.
Ngayo’y malabo na naman.


Nassefh graduated from the University of the Philippines Mindanao with a degree in BA English, major in Creative Writing. He has performed “Mujahideen” in several events, including Young Davao Writers’ LitOrgy and the recent Kumbira 2016 with the Davao Writers Guild.

Interloping The Real And Surreal In Creating Fiction

Nonfiction by | April 24, 2016

The title of my talk seems awesome but I will avoid any heavy literary term and speak to you from the heart; and since you are young writers seeking to create masterpieces through your fiction or poetry, I will share with you my earliest attempt at short-story writing. Strangely enough, these attemps have become my most anthologized stories – “The Chieftest Mourner” and “Love in the Cornhusks”.

Soon after the war, my mother put me on a rice truck over dark mountains from Bacolod where my father was a retired judge to Silliman University in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental.

Silliman was a close-knit scholarly community with huge shady trees lining its avenues and the park with an ampitheatre where we held the first Shakespeare plays – in 1946 “The Taming of the Shrew” where I was Kate the Shrew; and in 1948 ”As You Like it” where I transform from Lady Rosalind to the page Ganymede in the Forest of Arden. Reuben Canoy played the princely Orlando.

Continue reading Interloping The Real And Surreal In Creating Fiction

Emptiness

Poetry by | April 24, 2016

Emptiness
is catfish
in the rain
squiggling
and giggling
and mud-faced
like toddlers
from small schools
off for home
while the rain
pitter-patters
and then fills
dry creek beds.


John Oliver Ladaga is currently taking up BA English in UP Mindanao.

The Birds Are Dying

Poetry by | April 24, 2016

One
by one,
the feathers fall
onto mud,
onto Earth,
until nothing remains
but the ghosts
of the wings
they were forced
to abandon.
These flightless birds—
they were regal once,
high-flying,
and exuberant,
chests red
and beaming and proud,
now they’re all so
meek and
gray—sky-before-rain gray—
all left choking on chalk dust.
They can only dream of
the stars
and envy the flight and the flicker
and the flame,
their bodies, bare and pale,
wince from the heat
as if moths
are braver than them.
The wind
is stifled by a
contemporary lullaby,
and now too quiet,
too far gone
to carry
the ones full of empty
promises.
Sometimes
I hear the songs turn
into a requiem.
The birds are dying
and the sky is narrow
without its travelers.


Ivan Khenard Acero is an architecture student at UP Mindanao.

Kumbira! Literary Readings, Art, and Dance Exhibit at MTS, April 23, 2016

Events | April 21, 2016

kumbiraThe Davao Writers Guild, together with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, invites you to Kumbira, an evening of literary readings, art, and dance, to be held at Matina Town Square Taboan on April 23, 2016 (Saturday) from 6:00PM to 8:00PM. Entrance is free (though the beer and the pulutan are not).

Babae Gali Ka

Poetry by | April 17, 2016

Abi ko lakin-on ka
Kay naga hampang ka
Sa mga sip-onon
Nga mga laki na bata
Sagwa gamay balay ta.

Abi ko lakin-on ka
Kay ginasaka mo lubi o mangga
Sugo sa mga salawayon
Nga solterito,‭ ‬bata-bata
Ang panimuot nila.

Kagab-i,‭ ‬gipangita ta ka
Kay ang kalibutan dulom na
Nakit-an ta ka sa internitan
Upod sa laki mo nga barkada
Daw nalipay siya sa iya nakita
Pero ikaw daw sa wala ya.

Gi-bira ta ka pag-gwa
Palayo sa daw gisilaban na talan-awon
Kay nahadlok ako nga
Mahig-kuan ang putli nga huna-huna
Sa inosente pa nga bata.

Pero,‭ ‬ambot,‭ ‬ngaa
Sa mga nag-labay nga panahon
Nakibot ako sa akon nakita
Naka-sakay ka sa gihingadlan mo na kuya
Nagtingala ako kay hugot ang kapyot mo sa iya.

Tan-awa ang natabo sa imo bala
Sa nag-agi nga mga bulan
Halos nanimaho kana sa angso sa imo bata
Daw halos wala ka gipakaon sang imo bana
Nga naga hulat lang sa tunghol sa iyang ina.

Kung namati ka sa akon bala
Indi ka tani magka-agum sang kapobrehon
Tani naka-human ka sa imo pag-eskwela
Kag may trabaho sa opisina
O kon maka larga ka sa Amerika.

Pero ang tanan natabo na
Gali babae ka,‭ ‬dali lang nakuha sa mga tikal niya.


Charlie A.‭ ‬Dayon is a professor at Gabriel Taborin College of Davao Foundation,‭ ‬Inc.,‭ ‬run by the religious Brothers of the Holy Family.

Manobo Folktales

Folklore by | April 17, 2016

Editor’s Note: Continuing this month’s series on Mindanao folklore,‭ ‬we present this week‭ “‬Manobo Folktales‭” compiled by‭ ‬Cebella T.‭ ‬Guintaos and published in Tambara Vol.‭ ‬XVII in December‭ ‬2000.‭ ‬This article was retrieved and encoded as part of a document digitization project of Ateneo de Davao University.

Serpents‭ ‬/‭ ‬Ka Uled‭

There was an old couple who had no children.‭ ‬They possessed the power of foretelling the future,‭ ‬so their followers believed them.‭ ‬That time there was a famine.‭ ‬All of them experienced starvation and many of them died.‭ ‬The famine became so severe with the burning of forests.‭ ‬All people and animals suffered from hunger.‭ ‬Many also suffered from different kinds of illness.

While the famine intensified,‭ ‬the spirit entered into the old woman.

The spirit through this woman said that something fearful was about to come.‭ ‬It would look frightening but this would help them in many ways.‭ ‬That time really came as told by the old woman,‭ ‬and the people were shaken when they heard a sound.

The old woman saw them,‭ ‬and so she warned them to stop and not to go away.‭ ‬Then that frightful thing approached them.

The old man also looked at it and he saw a big animal with horns and ears.‭ ‬It looked as though it was panting and wet.

The old man touched the old woman,‭ ‬and he pointed to that frightful thing.‭ ‬The old woman also looked at it,‭ ‬and she said that they would just wait for it.

Then she told the people that they should just watch it for God was with them.

When that big frightful thing finally arrived,‭ ‬it was seen as a big serpent.

That was what the old folks called before as‭ “‬Tendayag.‭” ‬It looked fearful but it could help the people.

When it got near them,‭ ‬they saw the different types of fish jumping alive around the scales of the serpent’s body.

The old woman said,‭ “‬You get near it,‭ ‬and you pick up some fish.‭”

They picked up plenty because their baskets were filled.‭ ‬The serpent continued crawling until it reached the place of Kituved.

Some people followed the serpent.‭ ‬When it reached Kituved,‭ ‬it raised its head to find out if somebody would answer if it would shout.

The people projected that the answer might come somewhere from the Merepangi waterfall,‭ ‬and the serpent went there.‭ ‬It lowered its body,‭ ‬and it really showed how big it was because the earth eroded.‭ ‬That is why that mountain is called‭ “‬Kimenembag‭” ‬or eroded.

It left the area and moved towards Merepengi.

When it arrived,‭ ‬it crawled under the waterfall.‭ ‬The foaming bubbles made it obvious that the two had finally met.‭ ‬Blood and rotten leaves of trees floated in the water.

Not long after,‭ ‬one came out and then the other one followed.‭ ‬They came out and talked to each other as serpents.

“We will take off our serpent’s cloak because we are both humans.‭” “‬Yes,‭” ‬said the other one.

And they turned into human beings.‭ ‬Now,‭ ‬they faced each other and each held a weapon.‭ ‬As they faced each other,‭ ‬they stared at each.

One said,‭ “‬Are you Menelism‭?”

“Why,‭ ‬are you Bete-ey‭?”

They both answered,‭ “‬Yes‭!”

“Since you are Menelism,‭ ‬you go back to heaven‭; ‬while I will stay here on earth,‭” ‬said Bete-ey who was his brother,‭ “‬for I will help and teach righteousness to the people.‭”
Continue reading Manobo Folktales

Subanon Folktales

Folklore by | April 10, 2016

Editor’s Note: These folk tales are reprinted, with permission, from the article “Subanun Folklore” written by Dr. Gaudiosa M. Ochotorena and published in Tambara Vol. XVII in December 2000. The Subanun are an ethnic group based in Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte. They are descendants of the first wave of Eurasian immigrants from what is now Indonesia. This article was retrieved and encoded as part of a document digitization project of Ateneo de Davao University.

Legend of the First Crocodile / Ag Teriponan Neg Mona Buwaya

Many years ago in the village of Gayan, Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte, there lived a widow. She was a weaver named Logoloqan. She had only one son.

One day, Logoloqan took a bath in the river. After her bath, she was surprised to see a fish scale on her feet. She continued taking a bath everyday since she always felt very warm. She was surprised to note that every time she took a bath, another fish scale grew on her body.

Finally, when she had so many scales all over, she told her son that she could no longer stay in their house. She requested her son to build a fence by the bank of the river where she could live. With tears in his eyes and sadness in his heart, the poor boy obeyed his mother. So by the river bank Logoloqan lived by herself.

There she again requested her son to tell the Timuway and his followers not to throw any dead animal into the river. At this, the Timuway got angry and asked one of his slaves to throw a dead fowl over her fence instead. Logoloqan caught the dead animal in her mouth and broke out of her fence. She bade good-bye to her son and swam away into the river. There she wandered and became the first crocodile.

Continue reading Subanon Folktales

Invitation to Art of Poetry MOOC Meetup

Events by | April 8, 2016

Ateneo de Davao is hosting the Art of Poetry MOOC Meetup, to be held this Monday, April 11, 2016 at the Miguel Pro Study Center (Ateneo Community Center), from 3:30PM to 5:30PM. We would like to invite poets, whether aspiring or published, to this informal get-together.

You can sign up via the Facebook event page.

A brief background: Art of Poetry is a free six-week online course conducted from Boston University. Course consists of video lectures, online discussions, and reading assignments Ateneo will host three face-to-face meetups to coincide with this event.

You won’t need to have signed up for the course to join the meetup, although we hope the meetup will encourage you to join course.

Over Unwashed Dishes

Nonfiction by | April 3, 2016

My mom sells home-cooked meals at Davao City Hall. She has been doing this ever since she had my eldest brother. This is the way our family has survived for almost 40 years now.

Mother taught my father how to cook and prepare the dishes in our menu. Every ten or eleven in the morning, they go off to sell the food. Our house would be left in a messy havoc. You see, the whole house is the kitchen. It would be my job to clean up. During the summer or if we had no classes, father would always remind me: “Panghugas ha? Bantay lang ka wala pa ka nahuman pagablik nako.” What a reminder as they took off on our Kawasaki motorcycle, the metal basket on the rear!

I hate washing dishes. When I was younger and lazier, I preferred to watch TV or play outside than wash two very large planggana full of the dishes, pots, and utensils they used that morning? Even now, I could waste my time cleaning when I could be doing more interesting things.

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