By the time Jheric got to the car, it was too late. The blue Toyota Corolla had already backed out of its space. Its window rolled down a notch and Vhong’s hand reached out for the coins. Then the car was on its way out of the supermarket parking lot.
“Hey! That was my customer! You know it was!” Jheric shouted.
“Ha! Early bird and all that, runt!” Vhong said. He jangled the coins in his hand.
“It’s mine! It’s mine!”
Vhong held Jheric back at arm’s length. Jheric flailed but his hands barely even reached Vhong’s shoulder. A small crowd of boys had gathered around them. “Go, Jheric! Give him what for!” They laughed. Vhong pushed Jheric. Jheric fell on his butt.
Continue reading Watch-your-car
Kahirap namang kadiskurso ang mga kasama. Sinabi nang hindi pesante at hindi ptb ang uring kinabibilangan ko. Aba, nagsitawa lang sila. Ang lolo ko lang ang uring magsasaka, gentle peasant stock iyon, mind you, pero ang nanay ko, pagkatapos iwanan ang lasenggerong tatay ko at umuwi sa nilakihang baryo na pinagsanglaan ng bahay, lote, at sakahan ng lolo at lola ko, magsasakang manggagawa po, talaga. Ako at ang mga kapatid at pinsan ko, lumpen na magsasaka. Nagnanakaw kami ng tubo, bayabas, singkamas, nangka, pakwan, tinaliang manok, at ligaw na pato; nag-iihaw ng dalag, hito, palaka, aso, at nakikipagbakbakan sa mga anak ng sanggano sa baryo. (Nung nagsilakihan, meron naging sundalo, pulis, CHDF; merong naging titser, madre, weytres, prosti, maid sa HK; merong naging holdaper, inte, at traysikel drayber. Pero di ko na iyon ipinaalam sa mga kasama.) Kahit anong paliwanag ko, ayaw maniwala ng mga kasama. Sa urban poor communities raw matatagpuan ang mga lumpen, hindi sa farming villages. Maiiling sila na matatawa. Iba na raw talaga ang nakapag-aral ng Literatura, nakakaimbento ng sariling mga kategorya.
Continue reading Usaping Uring-Pinanggalingan
My little brother returned home two days ago from Diliman for the vacation. Now, he sits beside me while I navigate the channels to check what television networks have in store for the summer.
Not a minute passes that David says, “I don’t like that they call our generation the Generation Y.”
I turn to look at David. Only eighteen years of age, a year younger than I, and having to spend two of those years in that university, and look now what he thinks the world is doing to him.
“It’s a slap to our face that we are named so because we have a predecessor that was labeled Generation X. It’s that structuralism thing. You are named this because you are after that. Blah…blah…blah…”
Continue reading Boob Tube Monologue
(Excerpted from the book Diary of the War: WWII Memoirs of Lt. Col. Anastacio Campo by Maria Virginia Yap Morales, published by Ateneo de Manila University Press, Quezon City, 2006)
Grandfather is remembered as the provincial commander Capt. Anastacio Campo (provincial inspector) of Davao, his last assignment before he retired after twenty-four years of military service in December 1939. He was farming when Davao was bombed by the Japanese forces. He promptly joined the United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) which was organized by Pres, Franklin Delano Roosevelt in July 1941. At that time, the Philippines was in a transition period called the Philippine Commonwealth under U.S. rule. Grandfather was promoted to major during the war. He finally retired thereafter, in July 1948, with an upgraded rank of lieutenant colonel.
After the war, Grandfather lost the strength of both of his legs and walked with the aid of a cane. But he always stood tall and lean, with a straight back owing to his military training. He had deep-set and attentive eyes, a tall nose, and a calm manner. He was fondly called “Tacio” by my Grandmother Remedios whom he called “Meding.” All of us grandchildren called him “Lolo Tacio.”
Continue reading War Diary
Madaling araw kung dumalaw ang kalungkutan
Sumasabay siya sa marahas na haplit ng hangin
at ragasa ng ulan
Katabi mo siya sa iyong paggising.
Hahagilapin ang mga lumang larawan,
Bubuksan ang baul at babasahing muli
ang mga lumang liham,
Dadampian ng malamyos na halik
ang mga alaalang naiwan.
Madaling araw kung dumalaw ang kalungkutan
Mapipilitan kang magtimpla ng kape’t
Almusalin ang agam-agam.
Wala na ang dating lamig.
Naglaho na ang gubat.
Subalit may naiwan pa ring halina
at kulay ang kalikasan:
Sinusuyod ng makapal na hamog ang hita’t dibdib ng kabundukan
Habang banayad na naglalakbay ang puti-abuhing ulap
sa ibabaw ng amoy-pinipig na palayan.
Sa pagitan ng maalikabok at pakiwalkiwal na daan
Nagpapaligsahan sa pag-aagaw ng pansin
ang mga ligaw na sanplawer
sa malawak na plantasyon ng tubo, saging at pinya
At sa makikisig na kabayong sa kaburula’y
Waring mga tanod ng Bathala sa lupa.
(Para kay Teng)
Kung nanakawan ka’t nagising
Na wala na ang iyong pitaka, relos o singsing
o dili kaya’y ang nakasabit na pantalong mamahalin,
Saan ibubunton ang hinaing?
Sa aso bang di man lang tumahol at nanggising,
sa bombilya bang antukin
o sa bakod na kay daling lundagin?
Sino ang sisisihin?
Ay! Sana’y di na ako nagising
at ngayo’y parang torong sumisingasing
Ay! Ayaw ko nang muli pang malasing!
“So how’s everything?”
If only one could establish a pattern from its movements, he could perhaps assume that it is perfecting a complicated terpsichorean sequence. “Mmm… Okay.”
“Well, I will just tell the guys you’re coming home during the sem break. Perhaps you will have news to tell by then.”
The black fish in the bowl moved to the right wagging its tail as if calling attention to its translucence. “What? Ah, yah, sure…bye.”
It hurled upwards. Its mouth formed a small “o” while meeting these brownish crumbs its owner, the eldest son of the landlady, was sprinkling into the bowl.
Continue reading The Black Moor
With warm sugar
Competing for my
I pinched the topmost
Piece with the fork
In my hand
Some juice squirting
Continue reading Minatamis
Narrated by Patrocinio Lemente , 48 years old, Bangaga, Davao Oriental
Awon adlaw na ako yakadto sang suba dapit sang kawakatan. Yamunit ako ng daro-daro mga alas dos ng dum da. Pagpamunit ko ng daro-daro sang isa isa ka oras yatinga ako yawa ing kanak mga timaan. Doon tungod ng kyahuna-hunaan ing Ginoo. Yanguros ako tapos kalit ko kit-an ing agta. Mga siete ing kataas, mahaba ing buhok, bagas na mapuwa ing mata, tapos yagahinukot. Pagtanaw ko sang awog iyan ing baroto, yusakay dayon ako wa da ako lingi, yudiretso lang ako pagtabok sang awog. Gikan sidto di da ako mag-kadto sang suba.
Continue reading Yang Agta / The Giant