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Posts tagged pilipinas

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He closes his eyes
And travels
To random scenes
Yesterday -
The news he read
The horoscope of a
Colleague, the moment
He spoke out his mind
In a meeting, the bananas
He bought at the flea market
And the minute he
Contemplated on
Eminem’s wisdom.
He replays the scenes
Like they could be
Relived and rearranged.
He decides he would
Do the same if he had to
Go through the same
But the flashbacks
Keep on bouncing on
walls and ceilings
As if telling him
Something’s not right.
He opens his eyes
And knows sleep is failing him.
He feels like looking
For a needle in the vast
Ricefield of his childhood
In his room
That could only contain
A bed, a mirror
And a dusty electric fan
That whirs and whirs
In monotony
Like a soundtrack
Accompanying a fall
To bottomless pit.

Filed under poem poetry pilipinas philippines cebu city cebu

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A boy walks past
The aisle in a jeepney
And sits at the far end
Where boys his age were
Seated with their huge bags
And colored envelopes
In tow like school is a camp
And they are ready to
Take a test.
The boy awkwardly
Stares at the window
Not minding the busy
Street at rush hour.
I could see his eyeshhhhyy
Glow in a different
Light like it has
Seen so many things
That kids his age haven’t seen.
His oversized white uniform
Has a shade of rust
Like it has been handed down
Five times.
He has no bags or
Notebooks with him.
I realized
He slipped to the end of
The aisle
Because his shirt
Lacked two buttons
That bared his fragile bones.
He keeps his head low now
As if hiding
A face that knows too
Well poverty.
He is an unwilling portrait
Of poverty in a jeepney
That couldn’t boast
Of opulence.
And he didnt like it.

Filed under poem poetry cebu cebu city pilipinas philippines

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I didnt know how much toys meant for kids. Maybe I forgot how it felt now that I’m an adult. Maybe i had let the kid in me fade away in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Or maybe, I just wasn’t the kid who wanted toys around me all the time.

I didnt have a lot of toys as a kid. I also didnt wish to have a lot. I was content with the tirador, pitiw, cigarette wrappers for play money and games that don’t require alot except stones, climbing trees or dried hay. i had kites on summers made from sticks, plastic bags and a roll of thread stolen from my mom’s sewing box. I didnt have alot of the plastic toys, though I admit i get excited seeing perfectly lined-up toy cars on display on trips to the department stores with my mom. I like the smell of new toys but looking back, I never really felt the need for them such that it could trigger tantrums inside a store when mom refused to buy me one. I was content with what i had.

Today, we visited the Tinago Barangay Gymnasium, where evacuees from Samar and Leyte are temporarily sheltered, for a feeding program and toy distribution for kids. Today, i was reminded how kids see toys.

It’s HAPPINESS - that feeling a toy brings that I might have forgotten since I was a child. I felt it coming back. I remembered it a little. I felt happiness.

Children make up probably a third of the population at the site. For a moment, the children evacuees were relieved of the heat and the reality that what they call home today is a gymnasium teeming with people. For a moment, it must have felt like this gymnasium was a playground where the voices of kids playing rise above the lamentations of parents who worry what the future holds for them. The excitement on the kids’ faces were nostalgic. Not just because the smiles were pure and it felt good to help, but also because the reality of the conditions of child evacuees will leave a mark, if not a scar, on these children as they grow into adults.

It is touching. Almost heartbreaking. They are kids who have just learned that they had to compete with others for that toy car or stuffed teddy bear in a box hoping and praying that it wont be given away to someone else while they wait at the back of the line for their turn. They had to learn to fight for what they want but also to contain themselves to be fair as much as their parents ensure that they too get the food for them in long lines without having stepped on the next person’s foot.

The Cebuanos can only do so much for them. It scares me how they will proceed with their lives. It aches thinking they will be spending Christmas eve in a basketball court that could never feel anything near like home. Do they still have homes at all? Jobs to return to? How do they start picking up the pieces? How soon can they even start rebuilding their lives? When do they know it’s time to go back? Much more than the homes Yolanda destroyed, it is the dreams that they had for their kids, their families that were devastated most. But the innocent smiles on the kids’ faces I saw today seem to brush away the worry that despite the odds, they will face each day with optimism and that they will be okay. i don’t know how but i have a feeling they will be fine.

May the kindness that the Cebuanos have shown these children inspire them to spread the same kindness in their lifetime. May this kindness shine brighter - like a badge they proudly wear - than the scar that Yolanda left.

Deep in my heart, I wish them well. Thank you kids for reminding me that kindness reside in all of us and toys - no matter how old, small and inexpensive - is HAPPINESS.

Filed under happiness pilipinas philippines haiyan kids yolandaph bangonvisayas bangonpilipinas children toys love life christmas

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The men danced and sang in women’s clothes to say thank you as we left. It almost felt like a party, a small fiesta in a barangay where everyone in the community gathered to celebrate. In a way it was a celebration of survival, I pondered. One couldn’t help but smile at the strength of the Filipino heart as everyone waved their hands at us from the sidestreet with grateful smiles that are too infectious I still vividly remember them now.

The countless bamboos we saw along the way bowed down to the strength of the storm, but the people of Northern Cebu were only shaken- never a sight of hopelessness. Instead, they have shown amazing resilience in the eye of a storm. There was little trace on their faces of being beaten down a week ago by the world’s strongest typhoon that left them on their knees, except that when i looked around us, signs of devastation were everywhere. They are slowly getting back on their feet and moving on against a landscape that I could only describe as sadness - endless horizons almost devoid of green, leaves strewn on the ground withering into the color of earth, roofless homes, lifeless and bare trees stretching for miles, kids along the highways carrying help signs and running behind vans asking for water and food. Waking up this morning, I wonder how they make a relief ops feel like a fiesta when at night, they’d have to go back to their destroyed homes, probably with just a candle, and sleep the cold night away knowing tomorrow will be the same. The storm had probably destroyed their livelihood. I was humbled, that along with the thousands in this city, I can still ride on a jeepney to work and get paid on payday.

I realized that it is the Filipino trait of being infinitely hopeful despite the odds that makes us dust ourselves off in no time and muster a smile again. After all, we’re the happiest people on earth despite the high incidence of poverty. For most, maybe the exception of courrupt politicians, money never really mattered too much when we measure happiness.

As our truck veered away from the endless scenes of devastation and retraced the road back to the city, i had no doubt Northern Cebuanos will rebuild their towns fast enough with everyone’s help. They will rise again and the memory of Yolanda would seem too far away as leaves start to grow on trees and grasses of green cover the endless plains and birds start singing songs that hope never ran out this side of the country, this side of the world.

Bangon Northern Cebu!

Filed under haiyan yolanda yolandaph bangon pilipinas pilipinas cebu cebu city philippines typhoon hope anderson cooper typhoon haiyan tindog tacloban daanbantayan

3 notes &


They are the
Thoughts I
Keep in my
Glass jar tightly
Closed to the lid.
I pay them visits
In sleep
Watching through
The clear glass
The desires and secrets
I keep,
The fears I dread
The lust I suppress
The hopes I forget
When I’m doing my laundry
And removing stubborn stains
Or when I run the miles
Racing aimlessly
With the road that never
Runs out.

Sometimes, it’s my dreams
That pay me a visit.
And it would be me
Watching from the
Glass jar -
My dreams blurring
With the walls in my room
The dust that gathered on
My television,
The sheets that need
The smoke that i puff
From a cigarette forming
Dragons and unicorns.
It’s an apparition
Not so different from reality
Like a really good imitation
Of life.
It’s terrifying.
Sometimes beautiful.
At times almost
Surreal, a deja vu.

I hold my glass jar in
Little did I know
There are days
I am in it in
My waking.

Filed under poem poetry dream dreams cebu cebu city pilipinas philippines writing sleep

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We stare into
The night like it is
A long lost friend that
We almost forgot.
It comforts us
In this dark room
In our nakedness
Like it is all the
Clothes we need.
We stare
At each other
And i can see all of
You glisten
The contours
Of your arms I can
Tread in blindfold
Like the avenues
And crossroads
I travel each day
In this city.
We stare at each other
And light becomes us.
That look that second guesses.
That curve on the lip
That is almost a smile.
The mystery of not
Knowing the valleys
In your mind.
It’s the kind
Of stare that melt.

Filed under love poem poetry pilipinas philippines write writing scribbles thoughts you

2 notes &


He arrives gliding
On a rainbow
Like troubles are
Pigeon sh*t melting in
Puddles of mud after
The rain,
Like the promise
Of sun kissing his skin
Had glossed his eyes
Of pots of gold and an
Endless field of dancing
Dandelions during summer.

He peeks at a kaleidoscope
And sees two hearts make
Love like copulating
Is not dirty; nor extraordinary;
Nor strange as it is common.
They kiss like they were
Two lips sore of each
Other’s bites and
Start to wither
Until they flake in their dying
Without bleeding
Like a leaf on its deathbed
Sucked dry off its chlorophyll.

For a moment he stops.
The kaleidoscope is a
Nightmare. A tragedy.
It is a bottomless pit
- Of wounds and scars.
Of confusion and guilt
Of miseries and mysteries-
Where love pirouettes
Like ballerinas but
Sells itself like a whore.
Where tired hearts
Are pimps in dirty alleys
Underneath rainbows.

He looks away
With a look that paints
His thought in a frame.
Rainbows are intangible,
Abstract science
Of H2Os and sunlight
And couldn’t be more.
There are no
Rainbow glides to bliss.
In the reflection on
His eyes, he watches
The night slowly spreads
Its legs wide open
Waiting to be f*cked.

It was him.

(Excuse the expletives. Couldnt find any better words that could express my thought as sharp and as potent as them. Hopefully no one takes offense. I wont apologize. Haha.. )

Filed under poem poetry pilipinas philippines love disillusioned heartbreak

4 notes &

Pretty Afternoon

It’s a pretty afternoon.
The red sky
Blends with the
Cityscape in my head
Like there are no borders
Or margins
Or lines
That separate thought
From reality.
I am in the moment
Like existing is feeling
The fibers of your body
Jumping of joy with
The trees that sway
In the silent
Music of the afternoon

It is a pretty afternoon.
The dust of the day settles
With the dead cells that
Has left us like parting
Has always been painless.
We embrace moments of
Beauty like this because
No one knows when
The monsters will be
Out of their dungeon.

It is a pretty pretty

Filed under poem poetry cebu cebu city pilipinas philippines

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Went on a trail run yesterday and it was the longest, hardest and most tiring run I’ve had yet. It was also the most rewarding.

I’ve always wanted to check out the roads leading to the Guadalupe mountains. I only mustered the courage to finally take on the challenge yesterday. I had no idea where the trails led but the villagers were kind enough to give directions. It was more or less 25K and very challenging - uphill and downhill. It’s also a trail that isnt very popular in Cebu - the more popular one being the Busay route. There were friendly bikers I met on the way and I thought they felt sorry that I was running and havent made halfway yet.

But it was all worth it. The view was amazing. I was told that the elevation in Pamutan is higher than Busay. It’s a new reason I should run more. I didnt feel tired at all the whole time. I learned alot about what I’m capable of and that I really shouldnt underestimate what I can do with my body.

Another trail next week, I hope. Woot woot!

Filed under cebu cebu city pilipinas philippines running trail running trail mountain run training

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So I really just have to write about this because I find it extremely repulsive and unnecessary that anyone who believes in a god, whoever his or her god is, associates religion to the recent earthquake that hit this side of the country an reduced well-loved churches to smithereens. The association is not even slightly tangential if you are truly a believer.

For one, I believe that my God is not a hateful God and would not allow His people to suffer an earthquake just to prove a point. In fact, I believe mine is a merciful God. If indeed He would punish sinners, there are probably too many more sinners in a city than a small town where people have more time to repent for their sins or to commune with nature, themselves, and probably with their God. Then we’d ask why not an all mighty god just strike a megalopolis and make a grand statement and spare sparsely populated towns? But really? Do you really think your God will do that? Doesn’t that idea churn your stomach if you’re living in a city?

I have heard and read from others that of all, why churches came tumbling down. First, it weren’t just churches. There were roads turned into jigsaw puzzles, bridges that fell, buildings and houses flattened to the ground, trees uprooted and multiple government projects bared for their lousy sub-standard construction. Second, the churches were a gem to Bohol - they were popular attractions that could easily get the attention of the media who by the way feed our interest. Third and most importantly, they were churches built 200-300 years ago. Certainly the men and women who laid their hands on building the church from bricks of corals and shells and egg whites to stick them together did not envision a church that could last forever. They probably didnt even consider earthquakes when they built their places of worship. Even the Titanic that was thought to be unsinkable sank. These churches withstood the worst of weather conditions and probably countless earthquakes for centuries. These churches served their parishioners well. If they succumbed to the earthquake, can we be just a little bit thankful that they lasted long enough for this generation to see. But we don’t and won’t. We put extra meanings, conspiracy theories and made-up tales because humans as we are we feed on stories - the likes of Super Balita headlines. We refuse to accept that a 200-year old edifice was too old to withstand a 7.2 quake that has been likened to 32 Hiroshima bombs. We like to bet on chances, coincidences and throw out of the window the facts. Tectonic movements are just too… technical that putting religious undertones make it sound easier to explain an earthquake.

And then I read a tweet that implied that hey, maybe we have placed so much emphasis on the tourism value of the churches than our faith. Though I’m personally of the opinion that many cling to their faith only during tragedies( and I am no exception), I do not believe that my God would destroy a house built in His honor to put these churches back to strictly religious use. I believe my God is way too intelligent to be predictable. We can interpret an earthquake a million other ways, philosophize about it in Socratic fashion but let’s keep religion away from it. Have we not any respect for those lives that were taken who were probably more than a believer than we are?

Earthquakes happen. It’s been here before us. The plates of the earth will continue to move. The rivers will flow to the sea while some othera run dry. Typhoons will continue to hit this side of the world. Volcanoes will go in a deep sleep and wake up again. Vehicle accidents will happen in the streets. Your favorite politicians will continue to steal from you. Your mother won’t stop being a mother to you. You will fall off the stairs and bruise yourself. But they have nothing to do with religion. No matter your belief, you will continue to breathe and have the right to live just like anyone else.

So keep religion away from the conversation because it is not helping. It is not only immature, it is offensive.

Filed under earthquake philippines cebu cebu city manila pray for cebu pray for visayas pilipinas