Binibining Buntis Looks Out for Rain

Nonfiction by | August 20, 2016

For almost three months since my return in this barrio life, summer has never failed to remind me that it has not really left for the rainy season. In fact, even in the middle of July, and now the beginning of August, it still feels like the warm, sultry month of April when the peak of power outages in Davao city had been the rage.

It is warmer for a pregnant woman like me. Like rosary beads, I am counting the days looking out for the rain to come.

Heading for my sixth-month mark, I constantly find myself panting for breath. I pant when I change my clothes after a cold morning bath. I pant during the bumpy ride on the old-rusty tricycle on my way to the local college where I am currently teaching. I pant as I walk toward the wooden, rustic office to prepare for the day’s classes. I pant when I wave my hands in the air as I discuss grammar, communication, research, and all the other things which animate my hands to do their own bidding. As I catch for more air to fill my lungs, I could feel beads of sweat running down my nape toward the bottom of my spine. Little strings of salty liquid also line up the wide expanse of my forehead, not to mention the dewy accent on my cheeks. I tried not to laugh when a co-teacher commented how I got cute, chubby cheeks which seem to invite people to take a pinch on them. The warm weather is not making things easy as I carry my baby around the summer’s day in the middle of July.

Returning in Bislig City since I learned of my pregnancy has been a decisive moment for me. Or so I thought. I have known that in Bislig the second semester of every year always draws in the rain and cold season. So, I readily packed my books, clothes, and all to return back home excitedly imagining for the fresh cold morning to rush me into eagerness for my pregnancy to come to its full term.

Rain seems like the next best thing that could happen to me as my baby grows bigger and my waist expands more to accommodate him inside me. To say that being pregnant brings the temperature twice the normal degrees is an understatement. From the time of my arrival last May until now, I have never prayed for the rain to come as intently as I have been doing. It seems as if I am trying to bargain with God and all His Supremacy to bring in the rain. In one of those reveries, I have asked to whoever wants to listen to take me where the rain hides. Beating my arms for the cardboard fan to summon even a gust of wind, I said a silent prayer for the rain goddess to check on me. I could bear the panting that comes along with my every movement, but the dampness at the neckband of my blouse, my arm pits, the back of my knees, and even that region that joins my thighs and the nether world seems to be inundated with sea salt. The clammy feeling of my skin seems too oppressive to bear—imagine extending this sensation for a whole week or month with only a cardboard material to take on every class period.

At home, the rusty electric stand fan is whirring endlessly in my room. It only takes rest when I leave for school. Hence, at times when I am just lounging at home, the fan has to be in its steady operation at tab number 1. Oh yes, I do not really go that far as reaching tab number 3; the large bedroom I have shared with all of my siblings and even my nieces and nephews who have come and gone from the family residence is cooled with just the fan. An air conditioning unit would have been the quickest way to lower down the sweltering heat, but acquiring it would be another story.

On a typical weekend, I find myself staying under the shade of a neighbor’s yard just across our house. I would be looking for clouds—the fluffy cirrus clouds which are indications of a possible shower to come later in the day—forming in the blue and white canvas of the sky. The distant chirping of the birds would have made the afternoon a perfect vignette for memories to build on my pregnancy. Yet, my arms have been exerting effort to make my cardboard fan produce the gust of wind it could summon while beads of sweat begin to form on the bridge of my now expanding nose.

However, there were really times when the rain would come visit, albeit scantily. One July morning, a quick morning shower had sprinkled down a drizzle on the gray concrete; then at night, when the weather has been really warm like today, a steady pouring of rainwater can be heard drumming down the iron roofs outside our house. In fact, I could even imagine hearing the pellets of rain calmly beating those of my neighbors’ roofs. On July 19, a really cool morning greeted me and extended throughout the day when the local holiday (for the Mangagoy Fiesta celebration) also brought in the rain enough for the canal water to stream down the river and wash off almost a month-long dry season.

But the next day, the July summer sun warmed up everything.

August has just started, and tonight, it rained. It has been raining since eight in the evening. I could just wish that the cold season would finally start here in Bislig. I have been on the lookout for the rain to come, and this second day of August is a welcome treat. An afternoon sun is alright, but it would be better if more of this cool, rainy weather will fill the day and bring us to a more rested night.

With the Yuletide season drawing near, my baby is also coming to its term. What an exciting way to celebrate these life events but with nature beating its tunes with health and strength in the rain.

I feel my baby moving as I relish on the thought of cooler days and nights to come.


Teresa May A. Mundiz is in Bislig City to prepare for her pregnancy. She teaches English subjects in Saint Vincent de Paul Diocesan College. She counts the days when the rain will come to her hometown.

in the cabinet

Poetry by | September 6, 2015

I found your brown jacket in the cabinet
It smelled of mothballs, cockroaches, and grime
I remembered, you have not let me washed it
It was too dirty, you said. Then, you
Hung it in the cabinet despite the dirt
I took it off from where it was, checking
The pockets, maybe, for some letters you might
Have written before you
Left. Empty. I folded it
In my arms the way you would
Have me do with your jacket
And placed it back inside
But this time, I will also replace
your old clothes and
the feelings you
never tried to unfold.


Teresa “Maymay” Mundiz graduated with the degree in Creative Writing from UP Mindanao. She writes whenever the ‘urge’ comes.

Alkansya

Fiction by | July 26, 2015

Ang akong lola niuli guikan sa Sugbu dala uban niya ang imahe sa Sto. Niño ug gamay nga tigumanan sa sinsilyo may inukit nga imahe ni Buda. Matag adlaw ginsudlan niya ug sinsilyo ang gamay nga Buda ug nagaugbok ug kandila sa Niño tapos niya mangaliya. Ug kada adlaw siya nagalingkod sa may bintana, sa iyang tuyatuya nga lingkoranan, nag-ihap sa mga sakyanan nanglabay sa abogon nga dalan sa among barangay.
Usa ka bulan nilabay, ang akong lola nagahimo niini sa walay paglat-ang ug adlawpagsulod piso sa gamayng Buda, paghalad kandila ug pag-ampo, unya paglingkod sa may bintana aron pag-ihap sa nanglabayng mga sakyanan.

Ug usa niana ka adlaw nga nabatian ko siya nga nag-ampo ug akong naamgohan: ang akong lola nag-ihap sa mga adlaw nga ang akong amahan makauli sa among pinuy-anan guikan sa trabaho sa pagmina.


Si Teresa May A. Mundiz usa ka magtutudlo sa usa ka unibersidad diri sa Davao. Nagasulat sya kung itugot sa panahon, ug padayon sya sa iyang paglawig sa iyang mga damgu.

Louis Vuitton

Fiction by | May 24, 2015

My mother’s boss, Louie Vergara, called home looking for my mother. It was nine in the evening and my younger sister had just fallen asleep. My father who works night shift in one of the posh hotels in our city had left earlier in the evening.

So it was only me and Mother who were still up and awake in the house. I was zipping the back of her gown when the phone rang. Father usually calls home to check on us. But it would be much later.

Lately, Mother has been attending business meetings with her boss, she told me one time when I was putting away her make up kit, that I would often think she must be a very good employee.

Mother shooed me to pick up the phone.

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Lessons from the Field: The Sendong Experience

Nonfiction by | April 19, 2015

It has only just been three months, yet SURSECO-I has seemed to have moved on after the throes of tempestuous winds knocked down virtually all of its distribution line in its coverage area. All of the four decades as a distribution utility seems to have sprung back to life. Sendong left behind more than the broken and damaged poles and entwined service wires. There were uprooted Falcata trees in almost every road, and more houses fallen to the ground. Just along Brgy. Bigaan, Hinatuan, a once proud bungalow caved in, its posts unable to wrestle the harsh winds.

Even more, there were angry people shouting complains at SURSECO-I vehicles. Things had gone bleak. Perhaps it would have gone bleaker had the sun not shone—however just for a day. One by one, people went picking up parts of their lives strewn all over the road side.

On the 19th, a gust of wind rattled a few sitios of SURSECO-I. By evening, almost everyone had expected another round of Sendong. Yet, what came along was the first wave of the rescuers from one of the sister electric cooperatives.

It was Kuya Lando Ferrer, Shift Officer from the Agusan del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ANECO), who led the first of these rescuers. Yet the night trip almost lost these brave men.

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Hairdo 101

Fiction by | August 31, 2008

“Mom,” I say. “Could I cut my hair short? Like Sharon Cuneta’s shoulder length hair. Or maybe Maricel Soriano’s bob. Then I could make a quiff out of it, Mom. Quiff’s a hairstyle where the hair at the front is brushed backward and forward. And I want to try Papa’s hair gel. Please, Mom.

Or, why don’t I get a mohawk? It looks real cool. Pretty cooler than a bob. Please Mom? Do you know how mohawks are done? The head is shaved off on the sides then my remaining hair would stick out in the center. See that image, Mom? Isn’t it cool? Please? Then maybe I could dye my hair orange, or red, or pink. Yes. Pink. Like the artist Pink. I like Pink. Mom?

Or, what about an army cut? I would like that, Mom. Like Demi Moore. Remember? We watched that movie together. She looked so hip. I want that, Mom. Please?”

“Dear,” she says. “Don’t you know that your bangs emphasize your deep set brown eyes? You’re prettier with your hair long. And, surely, suitors will be coming one of these days when you keep it that way.

Now, comb your hair. I just bought you a head band.

Like Nora Aunor’s.”

Junior

Fiction by | January 20, 2008

Listen to me, Jun. To tie a box, you have to make sure that you have strong straw. Strong straws don’t break easily even if you pull it hard. And once you twined it around the box, the straw would hold your box in place. I told you that before. Remember?

Now, hold the end of this straw and shove it under the box as if you’re scraping. Follow my lead. Here. You shove it this way then pull the other end upward. Straws are puckered, so be careful not to split the thread. Don’t even try doing it. Then, bring together the ends of the straw and do a knot. Just a single knot, though. That’s good. Now, twist the straw and shove it again underneath. Pull it up. No. Do it carefully. You’re breaking the straw.

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