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heights Tomo lvii Bilang 2 Karapatang-ari Š 2010 Reserbado ang karapatang-ari sa mga indibidwal na awtor ng mga akda sa isyung ito. Hindi maaaring ilathala, ipakopya, o ipamudmod sa anumang anyo ang mga akda nang walang pahintulot ng mga awtor. Hindi maaaring ibenta sa kahit anong paraaan at pagkakataon ang kopyang ito. Maaaring makipag-ugnayan sa: Heights, Publications Room, mvp 202 Ateneo de Manila University, p.o. Box 154 Manila ateneo.heights@ymail.com www.heights-ateneo.org Heights ang opisyal na pampanitikang publikasyon at organisasyon ng Pamantasang Ateneo de Manila. Dibuho sa pabalat: Jessica Amanda Bauza Disenyo at paglalapat: Gia Banaag, Sara Erasmo, Pepito Munsayac Go-Oco, Alfred Benedict Marasigan, Gaby Alegre


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Mula sa Punong Patnugot Nakalulula ang mundo kung minsan – sa bilis ng mga sandali, sa hindi mawaring lagay ng panahon, sa walang humpay na pagsasanga-sanga ng mga pagkakaibigan, sa lawak ng mga daan papunta’t pabalik, sa dami ng maaaring pagtaguan, sa lalim ng mga usapan at pinagmumuni-munihan, sa hindi lubos magagap na pag-usbong at pagpanaw ng buhay, sa walang katapusang paghabi ng kuwento’t paglikha ng salita. Gustuhin man lagumin ng isang tao ang lahat-lahat sa mundo, lasapin ang anumang karanasang binabato sa kanya ng buhay, hindi niya maaaring ikaila na hindi niya kayang gawin ito nang mag-isa. Kung kaya, madalas, tulad ng sa tulang Slowness ni La Viña, “What stays with us / is nothing personal.” Sa pamamagitan ng agham, sining at panitikan, nagagawang muli’t muling danasin ang mundo. Nagagawang hagkan at yakapin ito sa larangan ng kaalaman at pandama. Masususing napag-aaralan ang mga araw-araw na pangyayari. Nalalagom sa numero’t istadistika ang kalagayan ng mundo. Nahuhuli sa mga kuwento’t ugnayan ng mga salita at imahen ang kalagayan ng tao. Sa Textbook Statistics ni Kierulf, nagbubunga ng umaalingaw-ngaw na “We fall in love twice. Maybe more, if we’re lucky.” ang pagtatagpo ng agham at panitikan sa paglapat sa buhay. Sa mga tula ni Serrano, humuhulagpos mula sa panonood ng ilang pelikulang Pilipino (Making Scenes) at paglalakbay sa Old Manila (Short Walks) ang kasulukayang kalagayan ng bayan sa kanyang masugid na pakikisangkot sa kanyang mga karanasan sapagkat “…dismantlement leads to the new…” Sa panitikan, nabibigyan ang tao ng pagkakataong mabighani sa kanyang mga nalilikha araw-araw tulad ng Diyos noong ikapitong araw ng paglikha. Nagagawang balikan ang mga sakuna tulad ng

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Bagyong Ondoy. Nagagawang pagnilayan ang sariling pinagmulan, ang pinagmulan ng uniberso na masasalamin sa mga tula ni Kordero. Dala nito, hindi rin maiiwasang magbalik ang mga gunita, kaya nagagawang “…isa-isahin / ang mga sugat mula pagkabata…” (Sa Aking Katawan ni Popa). Bumabalik sa isipan ang malalamig na Disyembre ni Bagacina at nakatagpong mga Catherine sa mundo (Catherine Theory ni Martinez). Nagkakaroon ng puwang para sa pagsisisi tulad ng sa tula ni Lao na Cesar Patricio. Ngunit hindi simpleng paggunita ang hatid ng panitikan. Isa itong pag-alala na taliwas sa sinsabing paraan ng paggunita ng ating bayan sa mga katutubong diyos at mitolohiya ayon nga sa tula ni Co na Mebuyen na paggunita “as history, more memory than faith”. Ang panitikan ay paggunita na may siste tulad ng sa tulang Salome ni Kordero, may halong pagdududa’t pagtatanong tulad ng sa Ascención ni Casimiro, may katapatan at pagiging bukas sa nais ibunyag ng mga realidad ng lipunan tulad ng sa mga akda ni Go-Oco, Sangalang, at Lao. At naisasakatuparan ang pagsangkot at paggunita na ito sa iba’t ibang anyo ng panitikan, mapa-tradisyunal man ito o eksperimental tulad ng mga akda ni Cayanan, Cerda, Serrano. Kaya naman, isang tagumpay para sa Pamantasan ng Ateneo de Manila ang dami ng mga Atenistang nagsipagwagi sa mga patimpalak noong 2009. At nais ibahagi ng Heights sa komunidad ng mga mamambasa at manunulat ng Ateneo ang mga mapanuring paggunitang ito. Kabilang sa isyung ito ang mga akda ni Cayanan, Chikiamco, Serrano at Tantengco na nagwagi sa Palanca Awards, ang akda ni Kordero na nagwagi sa Maningning Miclat Prize at ang mga akda ni Co, Kierulf at Martinez na nagwagi ng Philippine Free Press. Tampok din sa isyu ang mga akda ni Casimiro, Caluya at Cellona na nagwagi sa Timpalak Tula ng Kagawaran Filipino. At hindi rin uusad ang panitikan kung hindi ito magiging mulat sa sarili nitong kalakasan at kahinaan na siyang papel ng kritisismo.

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Tampok sa isyung ito ang mapanuring sanaysay ni Rosales sa Pagaabang sa Kundiman na koleksiyon ng tula ni Edgar Samar. Matapos mabighani sa buhay, magpapatuloy ang pagpanaw at paglikha. Subalit, “…Aflame / but cast in shadow, making vivid only /how blind we still are, how we remain/ in grave need of candles.” (Collisions ni Yap). Walang katapusan ang kahilingang mamulat ang kamalayan. Walang katapusan ang kahilingang magsulat ng panitikan. Sa ganitong paraan lamang, wika nga sa tulang Little Things ni San Diego na kahit na “…other lovers will try again, / Make more children, build new things,” magiging tulad tayo ng munting ibon sa tula, na iiral at matatagpuan “everywhere all at once.” walther l. hontiveros February 2010

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Mga Nilalaman pepito munsayac go-oco 2 Nakaraan sasha martinez 3 The Catherine Theory ali sangalang 18 Big Time gian paolo simeon t. lao 20 for gina: who is learning about science in stockholm university 21 Cesar Patricio 23 In Context: Her Sunday Afternoon armida azada 24 Still, even then hermund rosales 25 Pag-aabang sa Kundiman: Ang Pagsagka ni Elias sa Katagang ÂŻalea iacta est ni Caesar mikael de lara co 36 Mebuyen rafael antonio c. san diego 38 The Little Things isabel yap 40 Collisions 41 A House cristina gratia tantengco 43 The Benefits of Selflessness calvin carlo b. cellona 47 Amiel nicko caluya 48 7 Minuto ng Kasalanan christine joy de sotto castor 50 Purgatory lvii 2

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anthony mark cayanan 54 Placelessness 56 Placelessness 60 But What I Really Want To Say Is emmanuel john bagacina 62 Disyembre tina del rosario 64 From the Earth joseph casimiro 74 Ascensión 75 Legion kristian sendon cordero 76 Abraham 78 Salome 79 Ang Uniberso Ayon sa Apoy 81 Ang Uniberso Ayon sa Hangin miguel enrico paala 83 Mukha ng Pag-ibig wyatt caraway curie l. ong 86 How was your weekend? paolo gariel v. chikiamco 88 Dear Mr. Supremo allan popa 94 Sa Aking Katawan marie la viña 95 Slowness 96 Letter to a Friend About to Embark on a Journey christoffer mitch cerda 97 Sulat Mula kay Dominico Pablo de Muñoz, Gobernador-Heneral ng Islas de San Gabriel, kay Haring Felipe III, Hari ng Castilla at Leon, Aragon, Sicilia at Granada, Ikalabing-anim ng Setyembre, 1610

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vincenz serrano 128 Short Walks 132 Making Scenes arkaye kierulf 136 Textbook Statistics

Ondoy vida cruz 142 Hydrophobia mike orlino 145 Pagkatapos ng Baha benilda santos 146 Ang Ulan 147 Putik camille patrice chua 149 Bayanihan dale liwanag 150 Lingap-Dahop

Sining vernon tony v. medrano 154 Ysmael! alexa cancio 155 Mokoro Ride karen mae n. pagaduan 156 Portside 157 MadisKARTe kyle terrenal 158 Wood Worn jose alejandro p. dolosa 159 Unicyclists alfred benedict marasigan 160 Mechanism of Conflict

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dale liwanag 161 Dispirited kristine ann a. caguiat 162 Dy Die Day natasha ringor 163 Bread monica esquivel 164 The Real Wolf camille patrice chua 165 Inevitable john alexis b. balaguer 166 Ambulophobia jan eli g. padilla 167 Re;Orientation alyza may t. taguilaso 168 Wallflower eusebio ehron kylo y. chua 169 Halik ng Sirena rommel joson 170 3rd World Snow

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pepito munsayac go-oco

Nakaraan Noong nakaraang buwan, nagsimulang maiwan ang plato at baso, nakatambak sa lababo. Nanuot ang alikabok sa walis tambo. Napuno ng lukot na papel ang dustpan. Nakaupo sa sofa tuwing umaga ang gusot naming pantalon at polo. Natuto kaming maghapunan sa labas, galing sa opisina. Pagkauwi, kami na ang nagbubukas ng ilaw. Noong nakaraang linggo, nasira ang sipit sa sampayan. Tinangay ng hangin ang pinatutuyo naming kumot.

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Third prize, Short story philippines free press literary awards 2009

sasha martinez

The Catherine Theory I. Michelle took her overnight bag, and put what she could inside it. Always, what was necessary: the toiletries she wasn’t allowed to leave no matter how frequently she went there, some underwear advertised as decadent, a change of clothes, a packet of mints. It was Friday night. In a couple of minutes, she would go out the door, and hail a taxi. In less than an hour, she would be at Jim’s house, where he would be waiting for her with a glass of wine, because it set the mood for what would happen the whole weekend. On Sunday morning, she’d be back in her apartment again, her overnight bag would hold what she was wearing now, the panties she had gone through, shampoo bottles that were lighter. On Sunday nights, Jim always had dinner with his girlfriend, whose name Michelle always seemed to forget. It didn’t bother her, that he had a girlfriend, it didn’t bother her now the way it did before. Things like that happened. She supposed she loved Jim, and perhaps Jim loved her back, but that wasn’t important, hadn’t been lately. Jim would always say, usually after they made love, “You’re beautiful, Shell,” and she supposed she was. She was pretty enough, with her long dark hair, her full lips, her light skin. Her sister Alice always said she’d give anything to look like Michelle, then she could be taken seriously. Seriousness, did she inspire this? Did it matter? Commitment, a voice in her head chided, and Michelle thought of how she’d never felt the urge to ask Jim, “Who’s more beautiful then, me or her?” She felt noble for this; it somehow made her seem admirable. She had no desire to know, beyond what she already knew: a girlfriend, Jim’s, who had him most of the week, and especially on special occasions.

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At least he wasn’t married. She never dallied with married men. Her mother would never forgive her if she did, if she somehow knew. Michelle’s father had had an affair. Beth claimed she’d known from the very start. “It’s those Catherines, up to no good again,” Beth had confided in Michelle one night (she was ten then), as they both waited for him to come home. Michelle asked her what she meant, but her mother had shaken her head, saying, “I don’t think you should know yet.” A moment later, Beth said, “You know, before I met your father, I had this boyfriend. I thought I was going to marry him. I was so in love.” She sighed, looked at her daughter. “He was so handsome, you know. I often thought of how our children would look like. If they’d have his eyes, or my chin, or something like that.” What Michelle thought of then was that possibility that she and Alice might have never existed. She asked her mother, “And then what happened?” thinking, for the first time in her life, how lucky she was to be alive. Beth smiled, her mouth arranged into a crooked line. “One day, I let myself in his house. He always left the key under the mat, the one where you wipe you shoes on before going inside? And so I let myself in, thinking I’d surprise him.” Beth saw how Michelle’s eyes had widened. “Oh, honey, no, I didn’t find him in bed with someone else, nothing like that!” But Michelle hadn’t been thinking about anything like that. She was amazed that someone would leave a house key for anyone to find. Terrible things could happen, she thought. And, with her mother’s tone, this story was well on its way to that. (Imagine that, Michelle thought still, someone left a house key for my mother to find.) “Anyway. I was going through the kitchen drawers, looking for a peeler. I was making dessert, see? I wanted to surprise him with homemade dinner, to show him I could cook. Remember, I was already planning how to be a wife to him.” Michelle nodded. “But you know what I found?” Beth asked, and in answer, Michelle shook her head. Her mother smiled, pleased to know her daughter was listening. “Pictures. I found pictures.” 4

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“Pictures,” Michelle echoed. “Yes, pictures. I can’t tell you what those pictures showed. Some of them were innocent enough, I guess, but the others, my god. I was looking at them, kept looking at them over and over, just standing in the kitchen. I’d all but forgotten about the peeler. Just standing there, alone in his apartment, looking at those photographs.” Beth sighed again. “And, Michelle, I thought about it. I thought, I couldn’t marry a man who still had pictures of some old girlfriend lying around in his kitchen!” No, Michelle thought, she supposed her mother couldn’t, shouldn’t. (Wouldn’t, she would think years later.) “One photo had a dedication scrawled on the back,” Beth said. “It sickened me, really. It said, ‘Sweetie, always thinking about you. Love, Cathryn.’ That’s what it said. And to think what that picture actually contained.” “Cathryn,” Michelle murmured. “Yes.” Beth looked at her daughter for a long time, then looked at the clock. “Of course, this has nothing to do with your father.” Beth sighed, rubbed the side of one hand against the corner of her right eye. “Nothing much, I suppose.” Later that night, when Michelle had returned to her bedroom to check on Alice, their father came home. From upstairs, she could hear her mother screaming, not an uncommon occurrence. She went to the door to close it, to let Alice sleep on, but when she heard Beth gasp, “Kathy!” and, not a heartbeat later, a jarring crash, Michelle tiptoed to the stairs, and peeked into the living room, where her parents were. Her mother was hurling wedding china toward her father, wedding china she’d taken out of the cabinet as Michelle said she’d be going up to her room. Michelle had left Beth as the older woman swiped the surfaces of the etched disks of glass, humming a tuneless song to herself. Beth hadn’t seemed to hear Michelle’s murmur of Good night. “It’s that secretary, isn’t it?” Beth shrieked. “You slept with her, and you came home to me, to your daughters, and you slept with her! Kathy!” And her voice had grown shriller, and shriller, that, Michelle saw, even her father was wincing. “Kathy, of all people, her!” lvii 2

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And Michelle saw how her father had stood as still as he could, knowing Beth would always miss her mark. The plates zoomed past him, hitting tables, counters, walls, the glass against the hard surfaces punctuating her mother’s words, each newly formed shard falling to the floor like cold, clear ice. Michelle looked back at her bedroom door, which was, thankfully, closed. “Aren’t you going to say something?” Beth screamed. And Michelle saw her father open his mouth, but she couldn’t hear what he said. Her mother was still screaming, chanting a name. *** Her parents separated eventually. Michelle had known something was wrong even before her father had come into the bedroom she and Alice shared, and talked to them about having to leave. “It’s not like we don’t love each other anymore,” her father said. Michelle nodded. Alice, five, asked, “Is mommy in bed because you want to leave?” And her father started to speak, but instead nodded. Michelle wanted to tell her sister, “I don’t think Dad really wants to leave,” but she had a feeling she didn’t know everything that was going on in her own home, and so she kept quiet. Besides, she had seen a curious sheen on her father’s eyes, and what suspiciously looked like dew clumping together the short spikes of his eyelashes; she didn’t think saying anything right now would help. And so, she kept quiet. Beth had refused to leave her bed for the past couple of days. As soon as their father had gone for work, Alice would scamper into the bedroom, and ask Beth what was wrong. Beth never answered her, and so Alice would call to Michelle (who had been skipping school to take care of Alice and the house), saying, “Shell, come talk to Mommy, please!” Michelle kept her own vigil. At lunchtime, she would walk into her parents’ bedroom, which was slowly starting to smell of sweat, and something rotten and curdled (in a fit of whimsy, Michelle imagined it to be her own mother, decomposing in the bed). The curtains were always drawn, 6

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and so it was always twilight no matter what the clocks said. “Let’s eat,” Michelle would say. “Come on, Mommy.” But Beth wouldn’t move. One day, Michelle on her vigil: she went to the bedroom, urged her mother to eat, knowing as she spoke that Beth wouldn’t. Her mother was all but a lump in the bed, her head bolstered by pillows peeking out of the blankets. Her thick hair was matted around her face, knots raised at her crown. Beth’s eyes were wide open, though the skin around them was pink and swollen. There were gray circles under her eyes, too much like bruises. “Come on, Mommy,” Michelle said, just as she prepared to leave. And then, there, in bed, her mother spoke. Her voice was strong, and it surprised Michelle, made her rush back to her mother’s side. “The Catherines of the world,” Beth said. “Michelle, remember? Watch out for the Catherines of the world.” Michelle was quiet, trying to remember all the Catherines she knew. She had two classmates of that name, though one of them spelled hers with a K. And did the Katrinas count? And the girl next door, her name was Caitlin, what about her? “The Catherines,” Beth said, her voice growing more vehement. “Ask me about the Catherines, Michelle. Ask me.” Michelle asked. “You know, my first boyfriend, his name was Warren, we were having a grand time, really, we were young. My first love, on all accounts, but you’re really too young to know what accounts exactly.” Michelle saw the smallest smile appear curve her mother’s lips, watched Beth shake her head. “It was my second year in high school. Around Christmas time. That day, I’d been walking around, thinking how lucky I was, that during the Christmas parties, I’d have someone to hold hands with, Warren. God, I was such a girl.” Beth fell silent for a few moments, so Michelle asked her to go on. “Good, you’re listening. Anyway. I saw them. There was this girl I never really liked, her name was Kate, just Kate, although she made everyone call her Katie. I called her Kate anyway, which is probably why she did what she did.” lvii 2

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“What did she do, Mommy?” “See, they sat beside each other in class, her and Warren. Teacher’s seating arrangements, because otherwise, I would have sat beside him. And then, during a boring lecture, I turned in my seat to see if Warren was looking at me, watching me. And there they were. There they were.” “Were they, um, kissing?” Beth laughed. The sound was gritty to Michelle’s ears. “God, no. Of course not. Warren had his hand up her sleeve. For a long time, just holding her shoulder.” Beth snorted. “Oh, heartbreak at fifteen, right in the middle of a Biology lecture. The worst kind of heartbreak there is.” Michelle nodded, although her mother was no longer looking at her. Her eyes were fixed on the curtains, and she was smiling a smile—that smile—that Michelle realized she didn’t like too much. “I asked him later on,” Beth continued. “I asked him what he’d been doing to that Kate girl. We were waiting for the school bus to pick us up, and there were just so many people around us, it was all I could do to stop myself from screaming at everyone to shut their mouths, because something really important in my life was about to happen.” Her mother looked at Michelle. “You ever get that, honey?” Michelle didn’t know. She just shrugged. “Anyway. He said Kate had asked him to fix her bra strap. Fix her bra strap. Can you imagine the audacity of that girl?” In her mind, Michelle repeated the word: audacity. She wasn’t sure what it meant exactly, but she was sure that it wasn’t anything nice. “There are more of them,” he mother went on. “Maybe when you’re older, I can tell you what they did, those Catherines.” Beth sighed. “Your sister. I can’t tell her this now, the girl’s only five. But when she’s older, tell her this, okay, honey? Tell your sister about the Catherines of the world. No daughter of mine shall go uninformed.” And Beth laughed, and Michelle tried at first to laugh with her, but then she was ten, she had resolved to be ten, and so she just smiled politely. A few weeks later, her father moved out of the house. He promised to call her, and Alice, whenever he could. He did call, frequently in fact, and 8

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sometimes, tiring of hearing her father’s voice, she would pass the phone to Alice, who’d always ask, “Where are you? Why aren’t you here? When are you coming back? Where are you?” There were afternoons when, coming home from school, Michelle would see Beth playing with Alice, crooning to her in a voice that made the fine hairs on her arms stand. Alice would have lipstick all over her, rouge garish on her young, plump cheeks. And sometimes, Michelle would find Alice alone in the kitchen, while her mother’s voice wafted out of one of the rooms in the now-big house. Michelle would always take Alice by the hand, and lead her to their bedroom.

II. Her father had left a college teaching position to go to Antipolo, where he farmed, until now. He always seemed happier, if not content, whenever he came down to have lunch with his daughters. “Are you taking care of yourself ?” he would always ask them, Michelle first, and then Alice. Michelle would notice the sunburned skin of her father’s nose, the scruffy beard. And Michelle would say, “Yes, Daddy.” The name of his new “wife” was Nora (that’s how he introduced her to the girls: “This is my new wife, girls: Nora.”). Apparently, Kathy the Department Secretary was nothing more than a fortunate mistake. Beth always shook her head when Nora’s name was mentioned, as if it was deeper betrayal that her former husband didn’t take up with the woman who’d originally wrecked their marriage. “But they’re not really married, you know,” Beth would tell Michelle. “There they are with their vegetables, living in sin.” And Beth laughed, the way someone would laugh when they heard a cruel joke. Michelle had told her once, “It’s because Nora’s not a Catherine, is it?” And Beth had screamed at her so suddenly, that for a couple of seconds, Michelle just sat still, staring at her own mother as she raged. She’d been thirteen when this happened.

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The girls had met Nora a couple of times during the early months of their father’s retreat into Antipolo, and then, later on, some summers were even spent in their modest house fronting a field of corn. She was a petite woman, her skin brown, her face lined with years of easy smiles and laughter. She had hugged Alice first, she was seven then, and when Alice had giggled, Nora had opened her arms to Michelle. Michelle tensed for a few moments, thinking about her mother back home, who was probably bent over her pedicure at that moment. Michelle allowed herself be hugged, to smile. Nora smelled like mangoes, picked at just the right time. “Oh,” Nora said to her husband, “she has your eyes!” Michelle liked her enough, what was not to like? Alice claimed she loved her. “I want to stay with them forever, and farm,” she would always say, after the visits. “You wouldn’t like it,” Michelle would always tell her, eyeing Alice’s pale skin, which easily turned red during summers, no matter how much sun block Michelle put on her. “Too much sun.” *** When Alice was thirteen, she had come running into the bedroom, where Michelle was reading a book. Alice was crying, her cheeks mottled pink, the skin around her eyes swollen and red. “Do you know what he did to me?” Alice wailed. Michelle assumed she was talking about Derek. Derek. She thought it a pretentious name for a thirteen-year-old boy. Since school started, her younger sister had gone on and on about how Derek, school heartthrob, had befriended her, leaving notes inside her books, walking her from school. Alice announced she was in love. She usually announced this during dinners, where Beth would smile widely, and give her a kiss on the cheek. And Michelle would look up from the book she was not allowed to read on the dinner table and make a face at her younger sister. “Do you know what he did to me?” Alice kept wailing, and wailing.

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It seemed Michelle was obliged to inquire. “What, Alice? What did he do to you?” Her sister stood in the center of the bedroom. “He asked if he could walk me home. He said he had something really important to tell me. I was so –” and she broke off to hiccup. “I was so excited. I thought he was going to ask me if he could be my boyfriend, and I was so excited, I couldn’t stop smiling at him. I’m such an idiot!” “You’re not an idiot.” Alice went on. “You know what he did? You know what it was that he was going to ask me? He asked if I could help him with my lab partner. My lab partner.” Alice’s voice was high-pitched as she mimicked, “‘I’ve had the biggest crush on her. Could you tell her that?’” And Alice crumpled to the floor, not crying anymore, though her face was twisted as she stared at her sister. Her voice, when she spoke, resumed its normal pitch, but the sound was rounder, more hollow. “My lab partner,” Alice said. “What’s her name?” “Does it matter?” “I guess not.” Michelle thought it was probably a ploy. She was eighteen now, and a lot of boys found her pretty, so she’d gone through a lot of ploys already. Some boys had done this very thing to her, pretend to have an interest in someone else, when it was really her they wanted to get close to. Sometimes she helped them out, and sometimes, her matchmaking skills outweighed any original intention those boys might have had. But she didn’t tell her sister all this. She probably wasn’t right. And she never liked Derek anyway, those few moments she’d met the boy. And so she told Alice, “So it’s what he didn’t do to you.” Alice glared at her. “You’re not helping!” Michelle shook her head. “No, I’m probably not.” *** There was a story Michelle kept repeating, even when not prodded, about her first disastrous love affair. An anecdote, something to amuse, enterlvii 2

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tain, though it started out as a signal for a need of sympathy. Or something like that. The story goes: she’d been a year out of college, working as a library assistant, in the university where her father used to work. She’d been dating the head librarian, Peter, for about six months, when she decided, one particularly slow day, to go to him in his office. On her way there, she thought of how surprised he’d be, how surprised and pleased—and yes, aroused—once she started taking her blouse off, letting him know that she had to have him, had to have him now, and yes, the door was already locked. The door to his office was open, and she peeked in, to make sure he was alone. She remembered how she’d taken care not to nudge the door, as it creaked. She remembered how her throat had constricted when she saw Peter with a girl, a girl. She remembered how suddenly cold the hallway was, and she’d wrapped her arms around herself, still watching Peter and this student, who couldn’t be less than two years younger than she was. Peter was leaning against his desk. In front of him was that girl. She was wearing a blue miniskirt, and she was inching the hem slowly up her thighs. Michelle could see the shadows at the backs of this girls’ knees, the taut muscles of her calves. And Michelle always ended this story by saying she tiptoed out of that hallway, did her work like an automaton. That she went back to his office at the end of the day, and told him she didn’t want to see him anymore, and that she hoped he enjoyed the rest of his life, particularly his job in the college library. And her last words to him were, “Bye now.” During Alice’s bridal shower, she’d told this story again, to a group of Alice’s friends, who’d all giggled at the beginning of her tales (office romance!), who eventually gnashed their teeth, and shook their fists at her unfortunate ex-boyfriend, and the anonymous college schoolgirl. After the well-wishing had abated (“Oh, you poor thing, he’ll have it coming to him”), and she could feel all the women in the room were thinking about old loves that didn’t work out (they always get that look in their faces, that they were daydreaming, but their eyebrows had come together, con12

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fused, unbelieving), Michelle excused herself and went to the kitchen, where she poured herself another glass of wine. She thought about that story then, and the more she thought about it—the door, the hallway, Peter against his desk, the blue miniskirt—she realized she no longer knew if the story was true. She’d told this story many times, originally to her friends from college, who all demanded why she and Peter hadn’t worked out, when Peter was “such a nice guy.” Perhaps she’d wanted to justify herself ? Or disprove that Peter wasn’t the nice guy he seemed to be (and actually was)? Did she actually see this? Did it even actually happen? Michelle couldn’t remember. What if, somehow, word got around—to Peter, to that college girl? Peter, a gentleman, would keep silent. He hadn’t even said a word when she broke up with him, not even a calm Michelle. And that college girl, would she say, “I never did that!” and deny everything, thinking she was the victim of deliberate slander? I never did that, she would probably say, and Michelle would think (only to herself, of course), “No, maybe you didn’t.” Michelle knew she had gone to his office. Knew that Peter was there, that the girl was there. She was sure about the miniskirt, more sure that it was blue. But the hem slowly, playfully, inching up? Was she sure about that? No, she wasn’t. She’d maintained a fiction for so long, she had forgotten what was real. Michelle went back to the party, where everyone had raised their glasses, wishing Alice, for the nth time that night, a happy marriage. Michelle raised her own glass, near empty now, and her lips moved, shaping over the other women’s words. She looked at Alice, who had a red lace thong pinned to her hair, like a tiara. Her little sister, pink with wine and party make-up, grinning at everyone in her room. So young, so in love. Michelle smiled, and when she spoke, the whole room listened to her, the girl of the broken heart, the one who’d walked into an office wanting to have sex, instead presented with a reason to end the relationship, blue miniskirts and all. lvii 2

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Michelle said, “Alice. Have I told you I’m happy for you? That I’m glad you’re getting married to a… to a decent enough guy? Because I am, you know. Happy for you.” “‘A decent enough guy.’” Alice shook her head, smiled a little. And then one of the women laughed—her laugh was a spurt of unintended glee shooting across the room—and everyone else, then Alice, then, finally, Michelle, joined in.

III. Michelle met Jim a couple of months ago, in a bookstore. (“Of all places,” her mother would say, if she knew about them. “Typical,” Alice would mutter.) She had noticed him as she came in: he was in the Classics section, squatting on the floor, browsing a low shelf. What she could see of him—neatly trimmed dark hair, dusted with gray, a checked polo shirt, the veins lightly threading his forearms, his wide palms—she liked, appreciated. She moved around the store for a couple of minutes, picking up books, pretending to read their blurbs, then setting them back down again. In the end, she made her way to the Classics section, where, sure enough, she found the man, still squatting on the floor, still browsing that low shelf. “Can I help you?” she asked, before she could stop herself. He looked up at her, but not before he ran his eyes up her legs, bared by a frilly skirt. “You’re not one of the clerks, are you?” He smiled, there was a lone dimple on his left cheek. “No. But I’m a librarian.” “A librarian.” And he raised both his eyebrows. Michelle decided she liked his eyes: they were warm, a dark brown, fringed with lashes not too thick as to make him look pretty. “Yes, a librarian,” she repeated. And then she smiled, realizing it was her first, for him. They had gone for coffee after that, to a café a couple of stores down the street. He talked about his having a girlfriend, and his voice was

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steady, matter-of fact. She caught him, though, darting glances at her when he thought she was studying her coffee mug. She talked about her being a librarian. She had helped him choose a Tolstoy back in the store. They met up a few more times during that month, bought more books that Michelle was sure he wouldn’t read. One Friday afternoon, a few days before her thirty-fifth birthday, and after two cups of coffee and a slice of cheesecake, Jim said, “Would you like to come to my apartment with me?” And Michelle said, “That would be nice.” *** Michelle stepped out of the taxi. She secured the strap of her bag over her shoulder, and went to the gate, let herself in. Before, she would have spent a couple of minutes just staring at the house, at what landscaping there was squeezed between the wall and the curb. But not tonight. Tonight, she was tired. Tonight, before coming here, Beth had called her, complaining about how her daughters never called anymore, and soon, the conversation veered towards her ex-husband, “that father of yours,” Beth asking her, “Does he still call you, Michelle? Is he so preoccupied with his corn that he can’t even check up on his daughters?” And Michelle could imagine her mother at the other end of the line, lounging on a sofa, a muted television in front of her. “Daddy called me last Wednesday.” And he had, to say that he was “inexplicably worried” about her, and that the children—his children with Nora—were looking for her and Alice. Michelle had told him everything was okay, Alice was as happy as ever, and how were the children, had they applied to any colleges? And then after Michelle had soothed her mother, Alice called, and Alice had called to tell Michelle that she was pregnant. “Well, I’m not really sure, you know. I mean, I missed my period, but you know I’ve always been as regular as the damned calendar. I haven’t told him. Oh, Shell, I might be a mom! You might be an aunt!” And Alice had giggled, and Milvii 2

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chelle shook her head, wished her might-be congratulations, and felt the beginnings of a headache. The headache was gone, thankfully, by the time she got to Jim’s house. She felt she would be making a mistake if she’d go to him less than healthy. Once, she had a fever, and she had called Jim to cancel plans. A less-thanpeak performance didn’t seem welcome. Besides, Michelle never thought to share anything, not even a headache. At the front door, she knocked. Jim hadn’t given her any key to his house, and it seemed, would never plan to. Which was well and good, Michelle supposed. God knew what she would (and could) do to his key. Besides, it wouldn’t be good if Jim’s girlfriend would decide to pay him a visit, unannounced, discovering there was a key waiting for her to use, under the welcome mat, or inside a potted plant. You never knew. Most betrayals were discovered by chance—few hunted for it deliberately—and if not by chance, then by, perhaps, a subconscious provocation: a sudden desire to look at a boy to see if he was staring at you, dinner made on a whim, walking home from school, a quickie in an office. It wouldn’t be good for any of them if Jim’s girlfriend would walk through the door, as Jim was making love to Michelle, on the bed they must have been making love in long before Michelle saw her boyfriend in a bookstore. The door opened, and Jim was there. He was wearing a plain white shirt, old jeans, and house slippers. She looked up at him, and at the same time, they said, “Hi.” He stepped closer, took her bag, and slung it over his shoulder. He said, “You okay, Shell?” Watching him, Michelle thought about the last conversation she had with Alice, the one about her might-be pregnancy. And Michelle remembered that, as she rubbed at the bridge of her nose to ward off a headache, Alice, miles away, had asked her, “Is everything okay?” Michelle thought then: Everybody should stop asking everyone else if everything was okay. And then she felt bad, she felt like one of those bitter, shriveled stepsisters in fairytales, and she gripped the phone tighter, and she said, “Alice? Alice. I’m happy for you. I’m really happy for you, you know that?” 16

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And now, Jim’s voice, seemingly from far away, asking her, “Hey, what’s wrong?” And then, Jim’s hand rubbing her nape, Jim’s other hand curling around her waist. There, in his doorway, he kissed Michelle, first on her forehead, and then on one cheek, and then finally, on her lips. Just a small kiss, a soft kiss, a fleeting one. When he drew his head back, she smiled at him, assuring him nothing was wrong. “My baby sister’s pregnant,” shared Michelle. “Isn’t that great?”

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ali sangalang

Big Time Nakatambay ako nu’n sa Starbucks – ngunit hindi para magkape. Sandali akong nagpatuyo ng kilikili matapos magmeriyenda ng maanghang na chicken balls at kikiam sa kariton sa tapat ng kapihan. Kunwaring nagbabasa ako ng magasin habang naka-de-kwatro. Nasul-yapan ko noon ang ang umiikli’t humahabang pila sa counter. Gumagaralgal ang blender at naramdaman kong gumaralgal din ang aking tiyan. Mukhang hindi nagkasundo ang pagkaing aking nilantakan – nangangalabog at nagpupumilit kumawala sa lugar na kanilang pinagsisiksikan. Hindi ko na hinayaang abutin pa ako nang panghihinayang kung kaya’t taas-noo na akong tumayo, lumingon sa kaliwa’t kanan, at naglakad patungo sa Men’s cr. “occupied,” ang sabi ng pinto kung kaya’t naghintay na muna ako at nag-ayos ng kuwelyo sa tapat ng salamin sa labas. Hindi nagtagal ay muli itong nangusap at dahan-dahang ibinulong ang “v,” “a,” “c,” “a,” “n,” at “t.” “vacant.” Kaya ganoon na lamang ang aking pagkagulat nang makita ko kung sino ang lumabas. Nalula ako. Si Asi Taulava – Oo, si asi taulava – ang taong-grabang six-foot-nine, 245-pound pba at National Team player na binansagang “The Rock” dahil 18

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sa tibay ng bumbunan sa pakikipagbanggaan sa hardcourt, pakikipagbunong-braso sa iba pang naglalakihang kalaro. Si pauliasi taulava – idolo ko at ng iba pang manlalaro’t manononood ng basketbol. Kung higante na siya sa tv – triplehin mo pa ang kanyang laki. Ang lakilaking lalaki. Big time talaga si Asi. Hindi agad-agad nawala ang pagkagitla ko. Mula sa dahan-dahang pagpihit ng doorknob, pagpasok sa loob ng cr, pagsara ng lock, pagsandal sa pinto, at pagbuntong-hininga. Pagbuntong-hininga.

Pagbuntong-hininga. Ano’t sa ikatlong beses kong paglanghap, may bumalot na kung anong amoy sa nanlalaking mga butas ng aking ilong. Bigla-biglang tinunaw ng maalingasaw na singaw ang katawan kong nanigas ng ilang saglit. Tumungo ako sa inidoro, binuksan ito, at sumilip. Wala na akong iba pang naisambit kundi isang napakalaking—“shit.”

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gian paolo simeon t. lao

for gina: who is learning about science in stockholm university instructions for gina: fold this up and head towards stockholm. and now that you are there, faithfully, unfold my heart into this letter and read. i imagine you on a footbridge, looking above the heads of those norse gods, their heavens raining flecks of snow on their hair. how does it feel to conquer something? i’ve read that the nights in stockholm are cold, frigid, and that the mornings, that sometimes there are no mornings. so maybe now you are better friends with the stars, too, with the milky way. didn’t we both theorize that the galaxy was a cold place? was – because we learned in school that everything in the night sky is in the past. and now that you don’t see the sun as much, are you catching up with the rest of the universe? because whenever i see the slide we used to sit on top of, i struggle thinking which of us is past, which of us is present – i am thinking now, still, blowing warm, cloudy smokes into space.

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Cesar Patricio Let me tell you about the first time I made somebody cry: On a rainy afternoon in my mother’s office I was playing with two completely random things – a telephone and a pair of scissors. There, I would sometimes become an operator. Or, I would become a barber, a barber or a tailor. Cesar Patricio was a salesman in my mother’s office who had to make a telephone call; a salesman who took away my temporary dream of becoming a telephone operator. The chaos that followed, I do not remember well – scissors and his necktie – his necktie with some kind of pattern, not argyle, not houndstooth, but a pattern. If days were to be remembered in pictures, that day would have been: Cesar Patricio holding his necktie in his cubicle. Cesar Patricio holding his necktie, looking at pictures of his family in his cubicle. Cesar Patricio holding his necktie, which was patterned, against his forehead. Cesar Patricio holding his necktie, shoulders slouching in his chair. Cesar Patricio holding his necktie, his hairline crawling upwards with grief. Because there is nothing else to remember but a pattern. So maybe that’s all I am trying to remember. Maybe the necktie I cut open was dressed in some pattern of loneliness, or some pattern of inheritance. All those filial misjudgments and fatherly insecurities may have gushed out in front of eyes too young. Maybe I am remembering because nobody else does. Maybe I am trying to remember the pattern because like all lvii 2

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broken things, the necktie must have been thrown into the dumpsters and burnt into air pollution like every other thing forgotten and all that’s left of it is its pattern dwelling in a couple bad memories. Maybe it’s because I imagine Cesar Patricio now. Long retired, wearing a necktie my mother gave him instead of an apology. He is also wearing a suit, pretending to be a salesman in the hospital before his son, a real salesman, sits down with him in his room to begin two hours of patronization. I imagine Cesar Patricio: the best-dressed man in the hospital, selling dental equipment to the neighboring lolas. I probably imagine Cesar Patricio, the salesman, better than he does himself. I imagine Cesar Patricio, smiling at me from his bed, claiming to have forgotten about the necktie. I imagine myself believing him – sat in a chair with a pair of scissors, searching his eyes for smallest hint of familiarity.

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In Context: Her Sunday Afternoon From across the street, a woman is sweeping (de walis ting-ting) the pavement (’yung papuntang kanal) and you wonder if it’s really possible to wade through water with a broom. From around her is the sound of a radio, on full volume. A love song (’yung kinanta ng Nexxus) is played, one (Superman ng Five for Fighting) after (You’re the Inspiration) another (Iris ng Goo Goo Dolls). The woman knows the words (ikinopya sa likod ng listahang pampalengke ang liriks) to all of them. On this side of the road is a man smoking (Fortune, ang bagong champion), wearing a wifebeater (sando). He looks towards the woman and calls her attention (PSHHHT!). She smiles (Bahala na, Linggo naman e).

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armida azada

Still, even then for I, upon seeing Willem Heda’s still-life ‘Nachtstisch’ at the Louvre There is a kind of radiance which captures the jaded eye When confronted by a bowl of fruit, a cheese board and a toppled Wine bottle on a canvas. Invisible flies flail their minute hands To perch on each lifeless morsel, each bit left over. Light permeates this table of a meal half-finished, With its unwashed utensils left to dry, Whet with a previous appetite to peel warm flesh From a rack of roasted game, and stewed tomatoes, And blush-bruised peppers, and sweetness at the end. It is sustenance partaken of, upon which eyes and mouths feast With the pleasure of company the night before, While the hearth, traces of its embers flickering, Wishes for water to extinguish itself, lest the fire speak out of place Replacing warmth with emptiness, a table without space.

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hermund rosales

Pag-aabang sa Kundiman: Ang Pagsagka ni Elias sa Katagang ¯alea iacta est ni Caesar Nangangahulugan ang ¯alea iacta est na the die is cast sa wikang Ingles. Ayon sa kasaysayan, ito ang katagang binigkas ni Julius Caesar nang pangunahan niya ang kaniyang hukbo sa pagtawid ng Ilog Rubicon. Sa landasing ito, binagtas ni Caesar ang lupalop kung saan hindi na siya itinalaga upang mapabilang pa. Malinaw na pagsuway sa kautusan ng Senado – ang institusyong nagkaloob sa kaniya ng kapangyarihang tinamasa – ang hakbangin ni Caesar. Pahiwatig ang katagang iyon ng pagpapasyang wala nang atrasan, ng puntong wala nang balikan. Sa aklat na Pag-aabang sa Kundiman, Isang Tulambuhay, ni Edgar Calabia Samar, maitutulad si Elias, na pangunahing personang hinabi sa koleksiyong ito ng tula, kay Caesar. Mula sa maliit na mundo ng lalawigan kung saan siya isinilang at sinasabing tunay na napabibilang, nagsuwail siya at nagtungong nag-iisa sa malawak subalit masalimuot na daigdig ng lungsod. Iba kay Ceasar, nagbalik si Elias sa kaniyang pinanggalingan sa panahong kaniyang napagtantong unti-unting kinikitil ang kaniyang buhay sa lungsod ng pangungulila sa bayan, pamilya, kasintahan at mga kaibigang nilisan. Kasama sa pag-uwi niyang iyon ang pagharap sa tinalikdang takot at katungkulan sa kaniyang bayan. Isa naman iyong pagatras nang nasa katwiran at pagbalik sa marapat na kapalaran. Sa pagsusuri pa lamang sa pabalat ng koleksiyon, maaari nang masipat ang nais ipahiwatig ng nilalaman nito. Puti ang nangingibabaw na kulay na maaaring nagpapahiwatig ng patlang na pag-aaninaw sa simula ng paglalakbay, pag-aabang o paghihintay. Sa pagtahak ng landasing walang katiyakan tulad ng ginawang pakikipagsapalaran ng persona, lvii 2

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patlang ang nasasalagimsim na kahahantungan. Wari blangkong papel ito na walang pinta, ibang kulay o tiyak na anyo man lamang ang nakalapat. Puti rin ang kulay na nagbibigay manipestasyon sa pag-iisa at malumbay na paghihintay. Sa pagsinsay ng landasin at paglayo sa mga taong mahalaga para sa indibidwal, nagiging alipin siya ng hilahil at pangungulila – sitwasyong ika nga’y walang kulay ang buhay. Kapansinpansin din naman sa pabalat ang mga kulay luntiang nagdulot bahid sa kaputiang nabanggit. Maaaring naglalarawan ito ng mga lumot na lumitaw sa loob ng maraming taong lumipas, sa pagtakas ng oras tungo sa bukas nitong hinaharap. Isa itong marka ng matagalang paghihintay, pag-aabang at paglalakbay ng persona sa tula. Lumot ito na tila bumalot sa naging batong puso ng persona upang maging paking lamang sa paghuhumiyaw sa hinaing ng kaniyang bayan at hindi magbigay pansin sa marahas na katotohanang hayag sa kaniyang lipunan. Lumot din itong bakas ng kaniyang mga tinahak na nagsilbing yabag sa kaniyang paglalakbay. Sa patuloy pang pag-aanalisa sa pabalat ng aklat, naroroon ang ipinagtambis na larawan. Sa itaas na larawan, ipinakikita ang isang babae. Gamit ang mga tula sa koleksiyon bilang batayan, maaaring mahinuhang si Maria Makiling ang nilalang na sukob ng kapagalan, kapanglawan, at pagtangis dulot ng naranas na kabiguan sa pag-ibig. Ayon sa tulang pinamagatang Huling Awit kay Mariang Makiling, nailahad ng persona ang kaniyang pakikidalamhati sa diwata at pananalig na masumpungan ito sapagkat magkatulad ang kanilang karanasan sa pag-ibig – ang paghihintay sa kawalang katiyakan. Ikaw na diwata ng bigong pag-ibig: tinutugis ako hanggang sa panaginip ng pait at panglaw sa ‘yong mga awit. Sa umaga’y hanap ka rito sa dibdib Isinusog pa sa tula ang mga linyang:

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Siyang naghihintay pala ang asawa sa bayan, o kaya’y may iba pang sinta Siya na naghatid lamang ng pag-asa sa iyo, ngunit di kaganapan. Hibang, hibang tayo’t kulong sa mga pag-asam. Gaya ng makatang nakikipagsayaw sa himbing na musa, tayo’y nabubuhay sa panahong lipas: ikaw, sa alamat; ako, sa salaysay ng ‘yong paghihirap. Gayundin naman, maaaring ang kaniyang ina ang babaeng nasa larawan na ayon sa tulang Kanto, naligaw ito sa pagliko sa maling gubat. Naligaw ang nanay noon. Pagliko sa maling gubat. Maling pagliko sa gubat. Niligawan daw ng engkanto. Maaaring sa pagkaligaw na iyon nang matagal na panahon, naiwang nababalot ng mga halamang baging ang kaniyang katinuan at pagkatao dahil na rin sa gansal na pangyayaring kaniyang naranasan sa maling gubat. Kung anuman iyon, maaaring nauugnay ito sa kadahilanang hindi maganda ang pakikitungo ng kaniyang ina kay Elias. Marahil tinutukoy ng kamatayang ikinagagalit ng kaniyang ina sa bawat gubat, na nailahad sa tulang Elias, ang pagkamatay niya bilang normal na tao nang maligaw sa kasukalan. Maiuugnay rin dito ang kaniyang pagkamuhi sa pangalang Elias sapagkat ang tauhang ito ang namatay sa gubat, sa lupain ng mga Ibarra sa Noli Me Tangere ni Rizal. Hindi gusto ng nanay ang pangalan ko Kahit ako. (Hindi ako iyon, hindi akin iyon.) Naririnig ko lang iyon sa kaniya kapag tumatawag. Galit. lvii 2

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Laging nakagugulat ang galit. Hindi ko alam kung nabasa ng Nanay ang Nobela noon. Basta’t galit siya sa gubat at sa kamatayan. At sa kamatayan sa gubat. … Gising na gising ako habang ipinaghehele. Hindi ang nanay ang umaawit ng uyayi. Sa huling paghinuha sa katauhan ng babae sa larawan, may posibilidad na si Ligaya rin ang babae. Maaaring sa paghaharaya ni Elias, matapos ang matagal na pagkakawalay kay Ligaya, dinagit na ang huli ng mga ibon at ipinadpad sa gubat – maiuugnay sa kilos ng isipang tuwinang naglalakbay sa mga lugar na pinamumugaran ng mga hindi malimotlimot na alaala. Ang mga haligi ng punong nakatayo sa kagubatang iyon ang sumisimbolo sa pagkulong na lamang ng persona kay Ligaya sa kaniyang isipan. Mapapansing tila rehas ang nabanggit na katawan ng mga puno, wari paglalagay kay Ligaya sa piitan ng mga kaisipang ayaw nang pahulagpusin pa bilang isa na lamang alaala. Naipahiwatig ito ng persona sa tulang Pagitan. Dumating ang aking pinangangambahan: Kaya ko nang balewalain ang layo mo. … Kasimbilis ng papalayong tren sa aking harapan, lagi’y nalilimot kong ikaw ang patutunguhan. Kasama sa pagpapakahulugan ng tila mga rehas na ito ang pagkabilanggo ng pagkatao ng persona sa pangalang Elias sa naturang nobela, na nagbigay-daan sa hindi magandang pakitungo sa kaniya ng ina. Nabanggit itong muli sa tulang Elias.

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Nakulong ako sa pangalan ng yumao. Si Lola ang nagpalaya sa akin: Ely Ipinahihiwatig naman ng pananda na Kalye Kundiman, isang kalye sa Maynila, ang nalimot at nabalewala nang kultura ng mga katutubo dahil na rin sa pagsasakolonya ng España na isinimbolo naman ng lugar na España sa tulang Pag-aabang sa Kundiman. Binigyang-imahen ng kundiman ang naunang kultura na ayon sa tula, ‘‘bagaman inaawit sa mga inapo gaya ng paraiso sa epiko, hindi naman nasilip maging ng kasaysayan.’’ Manipestasyon ito ng naglaho nang pagpapahalaga sa nakagisnan sanang kultura. Wari nakatambak na lamang ito sa banghay ng pagsasaalaala at nababaon na sa limot at pagkasilaw sa kolonyalismong Espanyol. Kapag kumisap ako’t sinabing ito’y – oo nga, Panaginip – magwawala ako, hanggang mawala gaya ng kundiman – na hindi totoong natagpuan ng mga sumakop. Gubat naman ang imaheng ipinakita sa itaas na larawan sapagkat ito ang pinili ng persona sa tulang Kundiman. Mag-isang maglalayag sa isla ng paghilom. Ambon. Alon. Daluyong. Panahon. Oo nga pala, hindi dagat kundi gubat ang pinili kong panahanan ngayon. Maaaring dahilan ng pagpiling iyon sa gubat ang pagsasaalang-alang sa mga alaalang nahuhugot mula rito. Kung babalikan ang mga tula sa aklat, maraming karanasan at pagmumuni-muni ang naganap sa kagubatan na naghulma sa kaniyang mga nararamdaman. Sa ibabang larawan naman ng pabalat ng aklat, makikita ang mapa ng paglalakbay ni Elias. Kapansin-pansin sa larawang ito ang dalawang bahagi ng mapa. Sa kaliwang hati, naroon ang nayon ng persona, kung lvii 2

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saan nakasulat ang mga pook na ipinangalan halos lahat sa mga santo. Sa paglalarawan, makikita ang layo-layong agwat ng mga bayan sa rural na lunan. Mahihinuha rito ang katahimikan at maaaring maging pagkabato ng indibidwal tulad ng naranasan ng persona kaya naman nagnais na hanapin at taluntunin ang sarili sa lungsod. Samantala, sa pagdako naman sa kanang hati ng mapa, agad na sasambulat ang pagbabago. Naroroon ang masalimuot na lungsod at ang sali-salimbay na mga kalye. Sumasalamin ang kaunlaran ng lungsod sa mga tulay, makabagong imprastraktura at teknolohiyang nakamit nito, na maaaring magpaliwanag sa magkakaugnay na lugar sa nasabing larawan. Subalit sa kabila ng hatid na kaunlaran ng teknolohiya at pagbabagong ito, naroroon ang pagdatal din ng kawalang katahimikan, ng kaguluhan tulad ng ipinahihiwatig ng waring buhul-buhol na pook sa urban. Mapapansin ding pangalan na ng mga kilalang tao at propesyonal ang ngalan ng mga lugar dito. Ayon nga sa tulang Alibugha, Paano nila napagkakasiya sa kanilang sisidlan Ang alaala ng lalawigan? Di magtatagal, matutuklasan nila ang init ng lungsod, ang ingay ng sasakyan at mga bangayan, ang dilim sa mga nilimot na lansangan, at maaaring may ilang bagaheng iiwan nila sa kung saan dahil di pala kailangan. Paglaon, makasasanayan ang piniling bagong buhay, lalong isisiksik ang sarili sa pagitan ng basura at dikit-dikit na bahay. Sa pagsusuri naman sa iba pang aspekto ng aklat, masasabing payak lamang ang ginawang paglalapat dito. Nagkakaroon ng pagbabago sa anyo ng letra (paglihis, madiin na pagkakalimbagt at pagbabago-bago ng agwat ng mga salita, linya at taludtod) upang mabigyang-diin ang ilang mga punto at ideyang nais ipahatid sa bawat tula. Bahagi ng nasabing epektibong paglalapat ang ginawang pagbura sa unang dalawang linya ng tulang Pag-aabang sa Kundiman. 30

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May mga bagay na hindi matatakasan Gaya ng kamatayan at ng sinilangang bayan. Sa pagpapakita nito, napalutang at napatingkad pang higit ang nais ipahiwatig sa bahaging ito ng may-akda. Napaiisip, nakapagbibigaydaan sa malalim na pagsusuri, at napatatanong ang sinumang makababasa nito kung bakit kailangang burahin ang mga linyang nasa itaas at maisama pa rin sa pagkakalimbag gayong binura na. Marahil isa iyong di-tuwirang pagpapahayag na hindi kailanman maiiwasan ang kamatayan at ang sinilangang bayan na kahit burahin sa isipan at alaala, pilit pa ring sisiksik at lalantad sa mga bagay na nakikita, gaya ng pahinang katatagpuan ng tula. Masasabi ring ito ang kauna-unahang nabuong nosyon sa isipan ng may-akda kaya naman mahalagang maipasama ito sa tunay na liriko ng tula. Pagdating naman sa laki ng aklat, masasabing naisaalang-alang ang kainaman sa pagbitbit nito bilang isang babasahin saanman maglakbay ang mambabasa. Maiuugnay rin ang laki ng aklat ukol sa paglalakbay na siyang binibigyang-buhay ng koleksiyon. Ayon sa akda ni Resil Mojares na pinamagatang Traveling Light, marapat na maglakbay dala ang magagaan na bagay. Iwan na umano ang mga bagay na makapagpapabigat sa atin sa daan at hahadlang upang makamtan ang ganap na kasiyahan sa paglalakbay. Ang bigat ng dalahin ang pumipigil sa mga manlalakbay na masuyod nang husto’t may kasiyahan ang kaniyang nilalakbay. Sa unang pagdulog sa pamagat na Pag-aabang sa Kundiman, Isang Tulambuhay, maaaring mawaring isa itong talambuhay na inilahad lamang gamit ang mga tula. Subalit hindi roon nagtatapos ang pagtingin. Lumikha ang makata ng karakter na nagngangalang Elias upang mailarawan hindi lamang ang kaniyang buhay, bagkus maging ang tunay na kalagayan sa rural at urban na pook, at maging sa bansa sa kabuuan. Sa pagtalakay rin niya sa kaniyang mga karanasan, naisiwalat kung anong uri ng lipunan ang maaaring galawan ng isang tao. Sa rural, naroon ang hindi maiwan-iwang mga paniniwala sa maligno, engkanto, diwata. Naroon ang payak na pamumuhay kung saan natatakot ang mga taong lvii 2

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tulad ni Elias na walang mangyayari sa kanila kung mananatili lamang doon. Dito pumapasok ang pagtunton nila sa sarili o ang paghahanap sa kanilang kaakuhan sa pamamagitan ng pagtungo sa lungsod. Sa kabilang banda naman, higit na madalas kaysa hindi, napagtatanto nila na balatkayo lamang ang nakabubulag na kislap at ningning ng mga nagtataasang gusali at makabagong imprastraktura sa lungsod. Sa masalimuot na mundo ng lungsod, masasabing walang puwang dito para sa mga taong di-tiyak ang patutunguhan. Kahaharapin lamang nila ang dustang kalagayang paiigtingin pa ng pangungulila at sa kalimitan, ng pag-iisa. Natalakay ang konsepto ng pag-aabang sa pamamagitan ng pagpapalutang, hindi man sa lantad na pamamaraan, sa konsepto ng mga tulang umiinog sa pag-antabay at paghihintay sa panahong makilala at matunton ang sarili, sa pagtanto kung ano ang nararapat na gawin at tunguhin sa buhay, at kung kailan darating o malilimot ng persona ang minamahal na si Ligaya. Tatlo naman ang maaaring pinatutukuyan ng kundiman sa pamagat. Una, maaaring pinakakahulugan nito ang awit ng pag-ibig. Nakalilikha’t nakapagpapahayag ang kundiman ng diwa ng pagkakalma o pagkahinahon sapagkat naririyan ang konseptong ipinatutugtog ito sa abot-tanaw ng pagmamahalan. Sa bawat sigalot, digmaan, at kaguluhan na naipahiwatig sa mga tula sa aklat gaya ng Pananalig sa Kamalig, naroroon ang pagnanasa at pag-aabang sa kundiman na kakatawan sa kapayapaan at katahimikan. Ikalawa, maaaring tumukoy ang kundiman sa Kalye Kundiman sa Maynila. Gaya ng unang nabanggit, representasyon ito ng isang kulturang nalimot na dahil sa labis na pagkaganyak sa kulturang hatid ng mga Kanluranin. Nalimot ito at naisantabi, marahil naiisip at minsanang naaawit subalit hindi ganap na nalilinang ng mga Filipino. Kaya naman nag-aabang ang persona sa pagdating ng kundiman o pagnanasang maibalik ang kundiman sapagkat manipestasyon ito ng pagkilalang muli sa sariling kultura. Ikatlo at panghuli, maaaring kombinasyon ng tatlong magkakahiwalay na salita ang kundiman (kung hindi man). Tutukoy naman ito sa paghihintay niya sa pagdating ng minamahal na si Ligaya. Nagpapahiwatig ito ng opsiyon ng persona sa kaniyang paghihintay. Kung makababalik si Ligaya sa takdang panahon, madadatnan siya nitong naghihintay pa rin sa kaniya at nagmamahal, kung hindi 32

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man (dadatal ang sandaling iyon), nalalaman din ni Elias ang pagdating ng oras na masasanay siyang wala si Ligaya sa piling at hindi na pipiliing maghintay pa. Sa pamamagitan ng paglalakbay at pag-uwi nakilalang higit ng persona ang kaniyang sarili kabilang na ang pagkilala sa kaniyang pagkatalo, kahinaan at kalakasan, maging ang kaniyang mga katungkulan. Sa mga tulang Kailangan at Alibugha, naisiwalat ang kaniyang pagtanggap sa mga naging kamalian at pagtanto sa buhay. Sabi ko noo’y di na ako malulungkot sa pagpatak ng dahon. Pinitas ko ang huling bulaklak. Sa wakas, tinatanggap ko ang pagkatalo. ‌ Sinuway ko ang tagubilin ng Makata: umuwi ako, Napagpasiyahang ito ang pinakamabisang gamot sa lungkot at takot. Na hindi sa simbahan nalalanggas ang kasalanan: sa sariling bayan ang bukal ng paghilom. Kapansin-pansin sa aklat ang mga bahaging may nakahiwalay na tula kung saan tinatalakay ang tungkol sa isinaisip, isinasaloob at karanasan ng isang tinatawag na Makata. Gaya ng sabi ni Rio Alma, waring siya ang huwarang manunulat ni Elias na nakatagpo niya sa lungsod. Batay sa pagpapakilala at pakikipag-usap ni Elias sa Makata sa mga tula, lumaki sa ibang lupain ang Makata at hinahanap ang Kawalan. Nadala si Elias sa mga katwiran ng Makata na nagsilbing daan upang tangkilikin niya ang mga paniniwala ng huli, dahilan upang magkaroon ng pag-aalinlangan si Elias sa pag-uwi sa kaniyang pinanggalingan. Gayumpaman, hindi maiaalis ang posibilidad na maaaring iisa lamang si Elias at ang Makata. Nananahan ang dalawang katauhang ito sa iisang katawan sa mga sandaling hindi pa niya nahahanap ang tunay na pagkakilanlan, at hindi pa natutunton ang nararapat na paninindigan. Nagkaroon ng dalawang paniniwala o pagkatao si Elias – siya bilang siya na matapos magnais hanapin ang sarili sa pamamagitan ng paglalakbay tungo lvii 2

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sa lungsod, nagnasang makauwi dulot ng paninibugho at pangungulila. Naroroon ang nabubuong simpatiya niya sa nilisang bayan subalit hindi lamang makausbong nang tuluyan sapagkat nasasagwilan ng isa pa niyang katwiran bilang ang Makata. Maaaring nahulma ang pagkatao niya bilang Makata sapagkat naroroon ang isa pa niyang paniniwalang nahubog dulot ng pagnanais na maging tahimik sa kabila ng ligalig at umibig sa kabila ng pagkawakawak ng lipunan bunsod ng digmaan at iba’t ibang kaguluhan. Nais niyang lumayo at silaban na lamang ang malulupit na alaala ukol sa kaniyang paligid. Ito ang masisilip sa pagpapakilala sa Makata bilang nilalang na buhat sa ibang lupain o siyang nalikhang atitud sa kagustuhan ng ibang lupain. Sa koleksiyong ito ng mga tula, naipakita ang pagnanais ng persona na mahanap ang sarili; matagpuan ang liwanag sa gitna ng dilim hatid ng nararanas na kaguluhan at mapagtanto ang kaniyang kaakuhan. Kagaya ng tulang ladinong May Bagyo ma’t may Rilim, naroon ang pagsasakatuparan sa mga naisin ng persona sa pamamagitan ng paglalakbay. Batid ng kapuwa persona na sa paglalakbay, susuungin nila ang panganib subalit hindi nila iindahin ang anumang balakid sa kanilang tatahaking landasin. Batay sa tulang Alibugha, nagkaroon si Elias ng isang pagmumunimuni na nagtulak sa kaniyang magpursigeng hanapin ang sarili sapagkat inakala niyang hindi siya nababagay sa nayon. Kaya naman pinanindigan niya ang nasabing pagmamatigas sa pamamagitan ng pagiging isang manlalakbay na nagnanais mamulat sa ibang mundo gaya ng persona sa May Bagyo ma’t may Rilim. Gayundin, nais ni Elias na malayo at talikdan ang kaniyang mga takot sa engkanto, tiyanak, mga pangyayari sa kaniyang bayan tulad ng pagsanib ng mga kaluluwa (nailahad sa tulang Misteryo ng Hapis) at iba pang pamahiin na nag-ugat pa sa sinaunang paniniwala ng mga Filipino. Sa ganitong aspekto, nahahawig ang panitikang ito ni Samar sa mga akdang nakapaloob sa Memoria dela Vida Christiana kung saan nabibilang ang tulang Salamat nang Walang Hangga na naglalayong iadya umano ang mga katutubo sa mga itunuturing ng mananakop na maka-demonyong gawain. Ang pagkamulat at hindi tuluyang pagkalinlang naman ni Elias sa pagkabighani at pagtatangi sa mga prinsipyo ng Makata at ang pamumukadkad ng kaniyang simpatiya para sa bayan ang 34

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nag-uugnay sa akdang ito sa mga akda ni Bonifacio at Jacinto; sa gayon makilatis at makilala ang liku-likong mga pangangatwirang sagwil sa pagtunton sa tunay na liwanag. Sa paglalagom ng pagsusuring ito, sinagka man ni Elias ang katagang ÂŻalea iacta est, naayunan naman niya ang katagang veni, vidi, vici (I came, I saw, I conquered) na isa ring katagang nasambit ni Caesar sa nasabing pagtatalipandas. Pumalaot si Elias at dumatal sa kalunsuran. Nakita niya ang ningning at ang pagkabalatkayo nito. Sa huli, nalupig niya ang pagkabulag na hatid ng nasabing ningning at napagtantong kailangan siya ng kaniyang bayang pinanggalingan.

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Third prize, Poetry philippines free press literary awards 2009

mikael de lara co

Mebuyen I live in a country without vineyards. We nail crosses to the trunks of coconut trees as we wait for the sap to ferment. At night the bats swoop down from their canopies as the many words for fear rest heavy on our tongues. Mangoes dangle from trees like tusks and one summer out of every century a vast predatory cloak of locusts covers the rice fields. Understand: we are easily scared in my country, and when strangers arrive, our villages echo with the sound of a thousand slippers slapping on dirt-roads. I live in a country where a prayer hides beneath every curse, and when one cannot find a word for what one feels, one sighs and lets the wind ache instead. Sometimes we are reminded of our embittered gods, but only as history, more memory than faith, and when they rap at our windows or peer from inside their bamboo thickets, we see only shadows and think of ghosts. I live in a country without angels or snow, without a word for guilt, and we are happy inside our churches until the rains come and the rivers swell and again we are reminded that, once, 36

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a goddess watered our country with milk from her breasts and the lands filled with trees like so many green, upturned hands.

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Finalist, Poetry philippines free press literary awards 2009

rafael antonio c. san diego

The Little Things They are waiting for less sadness, Those two lovers out there atop The mango tree, less cold, as they Cross their beaks and curl into Each other’s chests for warmth. It is raining and they can tell How their young are sick because Of how little they chirp, of how Still they lie at night, their small bodies Not ready to feed on bigger things. It must be strange to look at birds And wonder about their problems, Their small hearts incapable of slowing down, their wings adapted for absolute freedom, for that air, simple truth, sometimes too cold to thrive in. And I think of how my mother used to say I was a miracle, that I shouldn’t be here, shouldn’t be able to watch the passing of things and think about them as I look on 38

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into the wild membrane of reality, here around me where everything is growing ever larger as I think about my own life. Everything else grows larger, and then eventually weaker, until they crumble or just simply give up. And other lovers will try again, Make more children, build new things, And by then I will be as small as a bird, And everywhere all at once.

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isabel yap

Collisions We fumble in the dark, and question the meaning of our hands. Observe how we never seem to learn: these were the same walls we ran into yesterday. The landscape has memorized our bodies enough that it no longer has to shift to scar us. It only repeats the same touch, striking deeper each time until it hurts no more. And I know too well how accustomed you have become to our collisions, how I meet you: how we spin and crash like winged meteors with nowhere to land, how we burn trail, and thrash. How we injure each other, gridlocked, tangled. Aflame but cast in shadow, making vivid only how blind we still are, how we remain in grave need of candles.

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A House i. Red checkers and frosted glasses. Polka-dot placemats. Two english muffins spread with strawberry jam, one topped with an upside-down fly. An apple sliced into wedges, browning at the edges. ii. A forgotten faucet tap bends to the left. The basin never fills. Like bells chiming in an empty temple each drop rings loud against the tiles. iii. A golden mouth full of strings, ivory-black teeth, velvet red tongue. Dry chords swim in the notes of an ocean long dried out. Only the silence listens. iv. On one side of the bed the pillow is fluffed and propped upright, the sheets melting from wrinkled to white water, stilled. lvii 2

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v. Outside the white door with a golden knob and arched windows: a view of the porch. A bush of blue flowers. A welcome mat. An empty swing swishing back and forth in the buttery sunlight.

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First prize, Kabataan Essay 2009 don carlos palanca memorial awards for literature

cristina gratia tantengco

The Benefits of Selflessness Jose Rizal, the essential Filipino man and the father of perennially quoted sound bytes, once said, Ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan (The youth is the hope of the nation). He said this towards the end of the nineteenth century, at a time when the privileged youth were being sent away to Europe to be educated. He hoped that they would return and turn our country around. He died, of course, without seeing this happen. Two world wars, a dictator, countless yellow ribbons and a few edsa revolutions later – what do we have? The Philippines still relies heavily (too heavily, if I may be so bold) on the help of foreigners. President Gloria Arroyo never leaves out the “Yay! America!” portion of her sona. We send our brightest men and women to work in faraway lands. The very helicopters and planes set to guard our nation are malfunctioning hand-me-downs no longer fit to guard first world countries. And yet the government seems to be happy. At the end of the day, we remain as we were two century centuries ago: the third-world underlings of richer men. I say this neither to denigrate the accomplishments of the past generations – for surely their revolts and suffering were not in vain – nor to cast blame sweepingly upon yesterday’s youth. I say to you our nation is stagnant not because our people cannot change, but because change is hard to sustain. This is why Rizal turned to the youth as saviors of the nation and more importantly, this is where today’s youth come in. We are young enough to change. There is a part in Noli Me Tangere where Elias and Ibarra argue whether reform or revolt is the answer to the Philippines’ problems. Perhaps the answer is a compromise: I propose that we teenagers reform our revolutions. Sure, the change brought about by the revolts past was temporary, lvii 2

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but change occurred nonetheless. What is needed is a different kind of revolution. I propose an internal revolution – we must change our way of thinking. After all, globally competitive nations are made up of globally competitive individuals. We’ve always been told that success has a blueprint: that western ideas are and will always be better than local ones, that we must model whatever business or government principle we have on western ideas, that local products will always be inferior to those we import from other countries, and that whatever hope of success lies in migrating out and away from here. Well, the blueprint is wrong. We must stop believing in that formula, for it’s just another offshoot of colonial mentality. What we need is the revival of the Filipino First spirit. What is needed is a shift in the collective consciousness. We need to have faith in our country. We need to start buying Filipinomade products. But it’s bigger than that. More than buying local products and putting flags on our cars, we need to believe, to honestly feel within us, that the Philippines is worth saving. Only then can we swear ourselves to the cause of helping it. We need to be proud of our country. Watching Manny Pacquiao makes me happy. Sure, most of his airtime is spent beating up Mexicans, but there’s something endearing about the way he looks into the camera after reducing his opponent to a bloody pulp, saying, “Pilipinas – para sa ’yo ito!” When we are committed to our country, we do our jobs for the Philippines, not just for personal profit. By being better citizens, we build a better Philippines. At the same time, having a vision that extends beyond one’s self makes us better, more efficient people. Ironic, eh? Call it the benefit of selflessness. Selflessness is not passively beneficial. By that I mean that selflessness is not one of those things that, while nice, aren’t immediate needs. Selflessness is beneficial precisely because selfishness is detrimental. Just take a look at the social group/cultural phenomenon called Emo Kids. Emo kids are amusing. They seem to be everywhere nowadays, with their vision-obscuring bangs and their ever-tightening jeans which may or may not impair reproductive ability. Their blogs, decorated in black and with glittering skulls, decry the sad state of their lives. An Emo girl I 44

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know from school blogs that if only she could move to Prague and live as “a starving artist underground youth”, her life would be so much better. An Emo girl from Prague replies no; her country is a hellhole, too. It is interesting to note that all Emo Kids, regardless of nationality and location, reach at some point the conclusion that their city is, if not a hellhole, a “shithole”, a “dump”, and/or “the worst place on Earth” (All quotes verbatim, amusing, and coming from upper middleclass teenagers who apparently have no idea where Payatas is). They’re not so different, I believe, from a lot of Filipinos, who don’t exactly prance around in thick eyeliner and stare ponderously off-frame in pictures, but do have that sense of hopelessness and apathy in regards to our country. Many people choose not to vote in elections because they believe the system is corrupt anyway and their one vote does nothing. Many people don’t even register. Yet the same people complain endlessly about how messed up our country is. Some people would say you can’t blame them. Well you know what? I do. I blame them because they can do something. I blame them because people who do not vote have, quite literally, no choice in who runs the country, and thus have no right to complain . I blame them because society is a numbers game, and we are statistics. Either you do something to make this country better or you don’t, and in doing so make things worse. There is no gray area. Nut up or shut up. I’d like to think my generation can do more than whine. If the Philippines is such a “hellhole”, then the logical thing to do would be to try and fix things, not mope around, complain, and wish we were someplace else. Many of us hole up in our houses during the summer and spend hours in front of a computer. This means, among other things, that those who have become rather out of touch with reality can still be reached. We can organize ourselves. We can circulate writing memes – instead of “How do you feel about that new movie?” why not “How do you feel about our country?” It doesn’t have to be pages upon pages of righteous political outrage, but just a few words to show how you feel. The point is to start caring.

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Even better would be to ask, “What will you do to better our country?” How many times have we been told that actions speak louder than words? Think about it – if all the young bloggers in the Philippines would write one blog entry each, we could reach so many people. One blog entry out of the hundreds of pictures of what you wore today. One blog entry out of the many “My boyfriend doesn’t love me!!1!1” speeches. And if each one of us acted on what we promised we could do, then not only would we be proving our generation to actually be of some use, but we would be making an investment in our country. And that at the very least is a step in the right direction. Many people have stopped believing in promises, and it’s not surprising that they do, with all the oaths from politicians we hear every election that remain unfulfilled everyday. But I tell you today that the answer is not to stop making promises, but to start keeping them. And that is at the heart of the internal revolution – to care enough about the Philippines to honor it, and to believe in it enough to once more believe in ourselves. Gandhi once said that we must be the change we want to see in the world. We mustn’t think there’s nothing we can do. We mustn’t think our actions don’t affect the bigger picture. We can vote, we can write, and we can speak. So let’s stop thinking about ourselves. Let’s stop being Emo. We are the change, and we have work to do.

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Ikatlong gantimpala timapalak tula 2009

calvin carlo b. cellona

Amiel Balita ko’y may lagnat ka raw. Nagpawis ka na naman siguro’t Pinatuyo ’to sa sikat ng araw.

Sinundo kita.

Nang salubungin ako ng ’yong mukha, Bagsak na bagsak ang balikat mo’t Wala kang kasing putla. Tumawid kang kapiling ko. Ngumiti ka pa’t sinabing, “Yaya, ayos lang ako.” Ngunit naglaho ka sa ’king paningin, Nang humiyaw ang semento’t Humagusgos ang hangin.

Sinundo ka Niya.

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Ikalawang gantimpala timpalak tula 2009

nicko caluya

7 Minuto ng Kasalanan 11:53:00 Pinagmasdan ng artista ang kanyang larawan sa salaming pinaliligiran ng nakasisilaw na ilaw Habang sa lilang tuwalya siya’y nakabalabal, inaambisyon niyang makuha muli ang pinakaaasam na parangal 11:54:00 Nagpabili na naman ang maldita ng bagong kahon ng krayola mula sa mga magulang niyang nangingibang-bansa Habang siya’y nagkukulay ng berdeng bakulaw (ito raw ang kanyang 48

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kaklaseng kurimaw), humihikbi siya sa labis na pangungulila 11:55:00 Nanatiling nagdurugo ang sentido ng sanggano pagkatapos paluin ng bote ng gin ng kanyang karibal sa bar na nagmistulang karnibal Habang siya’y lumalagok pa rin ng Red Horse, nabubuwisit siya sapagkat nalaman niyang may lihim na kalaguyo ang syota niyang manloloko 11:56:00 Nagdadalawang-isip ang mayor kung siya’y babangon at magbabalak na dumalo sa deliberasyon ng emergency evacuation


Habang siya’y nakatulala sa kawalan, sa kama niyang mapusyaw na bughaw, ipinagpaliban na naman ang pulong sa proyektong hindi pa nasisimulan

Habang siya’y nagkakalat ng kahel na pasta, iniisip niyang bumira pa ng burger kahit busog na

11:57:00 Sinisingil ng hasyendera ang mga magsasaka may dagdag daw ang mga utang na hindi pa bayad

11:59:00 Sumasayaw ang haliparot sa entabladong maraming ilaw at enjoy na enjoy ang mga harot

Habang siya’y nag-aabot ng mga dilaw na resibo, iniimbak sa kanyang kaban ang mga manggang pili sa mga pinitas

Habang siya’y naghuhubad ng indigo niyang suot, umiindayog ang mga tsumatsansing sa malibog na tugtog

11:58:00 Nginangasab ng masiba ang isang platong ispageti sa restoran na naghahain ng eat-all-you-can

12:00:00 Nilamon na ng malamig na impiyernong itim ang mga kulay ng kasalanan

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christine joy de sotto castor

Purgatory She was so sorry, she said as she began. She didn’t know, she said, she just didn’t. And – I could tell you this – whatever happened during that moment, she would never forget. She said sorry again, repeating it over and over, a beat, so tender and wild, slowly forming at the base of my skull. Her voice was the sound of a dried paintbrush meeting a canvas after a long time, like the sound of her feet landing on those rusty brown leaves loitering in the parking lot. She said she was sorry, again and again, with that voice of hers – I regret giving her that voice: tentative, unsure, compliant – almost the sound of her grandmother’s ancient jewelry box. She’ll never grow to fit that voice – her convictions won’t allow her to. She apologized for not knowing that no one was home. And she apologized for not asking at all. Sorry, she said. She didn’t notice the door locked from the outside, the empty driveway. She was crying by then, a steady burst of misplaced tears and sputters. She said she was sorry that she didn’t know the room was upstairs – dark, musky, and empty, with some basketball player on a poster on the right wall, next to the broken guitar that wasn’t going to get fixed soon. She didn’t know that the door to that room with the caution sign was after the creaky wooden stairs, which had coins embedded on the third, fourth, and eighth step. She didn’t ask where anybody was, why it was so quiet or for how long they were going to be there, because she knew I’d come looking for her when the stars came out. She knew I would be worried. She was sorry – this time her voice breaking so hard, I could barely understand what she was saying – that she saw sadness in those eyes, a kind of desperation and nothingness she didn’t see in anyone else’s – even in mine, she added. She didn’t know, really, she was begging me to believe her. She didn’t. 50

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Then she said, in her calmest voice, that he was the only thing that didn’t make sense. Everything else did. Everything. She rolled the word across her mouth, between her cheeks, underneath her tongue, over and over, feeling every last syllable. Except him. She said again, she was so sorry, when she went upstairs, turned on the lights, and saw the great disorder of everything – she just wanted everything to make sense. She always had a thing for straight lines and color groups. She used to sharpen her Mongol No.2’s to a sharp tip, arranging them with the labels facing upwards. She always grouped her m&m’s by color before eating them one by one; browns, her favourite, I think, were always last. She apologized again, when she picked up this year’s blue and red Jaguars jersey, folded it, and put in the third drawer in the dresser across the window. Like how I trained her to, she added. I didn’t know what to think of that. Then, she said, she picked up a sock, the thick woolly kind, and looked for the pair, then she folded them next to the jersey. Next, she picked up the gray hangers scattered near the tv, the books that fell flat-faced on the wooden floor: Calculus by Stewart, Circuit Analysis by William Hayt, Electronic Devices and Circuit Theory by Robert Boylestad, and placed them alphabetically next to The Illiad by Homer on the table with the peeling green latex paint, next to the speakers. Then, she said she picked up the comforter, straightened it, smoothed it, and tucked it in the corners of the single bed, just so, in a way that looked nice. She picked up the pillow, the one just about to fall on the floor on the side near the broken guitar, and fluffed it until it seemed just right for his hair, which she said was always messy. Then she stopped saying anything. Then she said, in her doll-like voice, she was going to pick up the next pillow. Then the lights went off. Then, her voice trembled, and she sobbed, and she said she was so sorry. She said she didn’t think she could go on. I didn’t say anything. She asked if I was there. I automatically said I’m always here, honey. lvii 2

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She said, as her eyes adjusted to the sudden blackness, she heard him say, It’s okay, I’ll take care of you. Then Bob Marley began to play. It was so loud, the dim heavy hypnotic voice tugging at the walls, pressing them closer and closer together, making sure that nobody would get in, that she wouldn’t get out. She tried to clutch the pillow, the second pillow that she had been fluffing, to protect herself from him. Against what he was. Against what she didn’t know he was. She stepped back, back, until she was against the wall. She said she was so sorry, that she didn’t know, that she didn’t tell anyone. When she felt his fingers brush her right arm, and when she fell on the comforter that she had fixed just a while ago. She can’t continue, she said, she can’t say how much he weighed, or how her voice was locked in her throat, her hands clutching the pillow between them, or how the room smelled of wood, and of the morning fog from the rain that fell the night before. She said she was so sorry, that she can’t tell me how much he smelled of Listerine, and Gillete’s aftershave, of later how she felt his hand on her shoulder, then on her back, of how the walls just wouldn’t stop coming nearer and nearer, of how the whole world seemed silent and confusing except for Bob Marley’s Turn your lights down low, and pull your window curtains, Oh, let the moon come shining in, into our life. She was so sorry, she said, very very sorry, when her cellphone rang out of nowhere, my special ringtone, cutting through the room, when the curtains above the headboard brushed their heads, letting in the evening’s balmy air. She was sorry when he picked her up and carried her towards the door, and down the creaky stairs – like a newlywed bride and groom. She said this with disdain – she never believed in marriage. She told me, then, about how miserable she was later, when she lay for five hours in the clinic, missing her finals in Shakespearean Tragedies. She was helplessly attached to an IV, her whole body unable to find the will to live. And even later, when he wouldn’t pick up the phone after eight text messages and eighteen missed calls.

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When he eventually did, she was sorry when she heard him say that his ringtone was off, that he was in the middle of a class, and that he added, as if to make up for it, that he would be by her side forever, and that he loved her. She pleaded with me, telling me it wasn’t her fault when he didn’t end up by her side, because she realized it just didn’t make sense. She says this because she hates the smell of the clinic and all the things swimming in it; she never liked blood. She told me it wasn’t her fault when he couldn’t understand why; when he didn’t accept that they just didn’t make sense. It wasn’t her fault that he drank too much. Or that he lost his grip, or maybe stepped on the pedal too hard. It wasn’t her fault, either, when he ended up smashed against an mmda pink sign saying Walang Tawiran Nakamamatay along edsa, before Buendia Station, near Estrella Street. She said she was sorry. Then, she was quiet. She said she was sorry again. And, I didn’t know if I should say it wasn’t her fault.

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Third Prize, English Poetry 2009 don carlos palanca memorial awards for literature from Placelessness: Poems from a Series

anthony mark cayanan

Placelessness The bear went over the mountain To see what he could see

The greenery surprised him in its consistency. Blades of grass hooking inward the resistant air, moss on the dark bark the same dewy crud, ground as ground. What had he hoped for, really? Where stars are idle under awnings of trees, charmeuse skirts on low glow? The script of winds, on aged parchment? The wind with its face? Something, as long as it was else. Fatigue sheened over his grizzled forehead, his paws felt clammy, his fur in clumps, his vest— in this mode of narrative, 54

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animals always have vests —smelled sour. And so he turned back, bindle and shadow scraping along weed and sediment, his mind racing ahead to catch the ears of the village— in this mode of narrative, there is always a village —straining to hear his return, his mind twisting the path, busying with hyperbole, luminous, innocuous adjectives that stray not too far from truth, but may mean triumph, with humility to turn maybe into myth. In the human allegory, this is a moment of wisdom.

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Placelessness A spot on the map, the map in fickle shades of green. The place the pressure of a fingernail. The place not yet real, the place a set of letters on paper, the place a montage of all the movies seen, in which snowflakes are lit up from the inside and buildings are neo-gothic and pastel-eyed boys in scarves and muffs talk about Obama as they breathe onto their coffee cups. The place real but not really seen, an insecure backdrop from where you pick up the phone as you rub your arms so you can keep still for as long as your card will allow. ď ˘

You send me a Christmas card on which a little girl makes tracks on snow, and one little boy follows her, and both their tracks are shadow blue. Or maybe both of them are walking away, independent of each other, lives not worse or better, the place and proximity an accident of time. ď ˘

Time in relation to place, which is memory, which is nostalgia, which is the present not needing to be recorded, which is the present as it wants to be elsewhere. 56

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That place where the tomato soup is thick and creamy, and the garlic in it heady, where the customers are loud, and the TV set is always on the sports channel, and the players hustle on the basketball court, the commentator’s voice lost in the racket of cutlery, and we hold hands under the table for as long as it takes for the waitress to refill our glasses. 

I send you a letter with kisses all over it, words in place of a mouth, and more words, all of which express the same thing. 

The place where I turn to myself and decide, This is how I want to be, the made-up victory of the decision’s finality, the made-up finality, the happiness that attends it, and the place where the happiness gives way to— 

The sinister alley of a place, 

the dim-lit mirrored bedroom of a place, 

the last street to the next station of a place, 

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the terminal bathroom of a place, 

the repetitious disavowals.

I want to write a story, I want the points made clear to me, I want them written down and believable. I want to be eased into my own story, insist on it. A pier, the floor below mine, the back seat of a cab, an airport, a phone call, a place where I know you’re turning away, and I know this to be a fact. 

The place where the story must begin, where loss is eventually replaced, but the protagonist remains ignorant until the resolution presents itself: 

The years pressing an ear against the receiver, denying the truth of it. 

After it, the struggle, the self wanting to slip back into what is being concluded, to ease into the life lived, the tedium of it, the touch and growl of it, the siren call of it, the cool morning of it.  58

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This place, the other end of the line, from where I tell you, You must say it, and it is not knowledge or even admission I want, just a conversation, which ends something when it ends, which begins What now, the habits that have to be relinquished, the explanations that need to be given, all of them necessary and unsatisfactory. 

All these places opening up to spaces we think must be there: we grope for the walls as a prelude to our bodies, the available sounds in the dark an invitation to conspiracy, which we fall into, thigh and neck and torso, the comfort of it: they must still be there. Later, the night asking for more from us, the shape of which is 

for us. And the yes, here again the yes, the small yes, the story, which details to overlook 

and why not 

and how soon.

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But What I Really Want To Say Is I am showing you my life. It is afternoon as I write: The summer has given up its sticky heat in place of rain, premature but as gray as ever. I cannot see as far or as deeply as where you are, but when I tell you what I tell you, you must believe me. I am showing you my mother, the way she rearranges furniture you wouldn’t even think the wood’s been eaten into. When I tell you I forgive her her skittishness, I rely on what you know of the term. Similarly, you must understand that I choose not to speak of my father. Similarly, you must understand when I tell you several stories about my father, each annulling each. I do not intend to be true, only truthful. I am showing you how I have loved: not enough, or too much, the result of both being termination. But when I say there were days when my cheek pressed against someone’s sweaty back signified forever, I mean for the moment

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to be acknowledged, I mean there have been a few, and they have all felt the same. I am being sentimental: I know no way to speak of the self without amplification. I am showing you what the bruise on my thigh means. I am showing you the implication of a sigh, behind a sneer, and what the proper response should have been. I am showing you what should have been. I will show you shame, string it up and place it around your neck. Most of all, I am telling you what I want is for you to tell me It is mine, too. Not an epiphany, not a punch line, but a mirror, but a kiss, but in the air, perfume, effluvium.

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emmanuel john bagacina

Disyembre Minumulto ng hangin ang mga dahon sa labas at ako sa loob ng kuwarto habang nag-aaral. Kung bakit ako napatingin sa kisame kung saan makikita ang mga bituin na istiker, hindi ko alam. Marahil tinatawag mo ako kaya ko naisipang dumungaw sa bintana. Tumingala kayo, sabi sa balita, ika-10:30 ng gabi, makakakita ng mga bulalakaw. Pagkalipas ng isang oras, sumuko ako at kumuha ng isang basong tubig para sa nanunuyong lalamunan. Nakatingala ka rin ba kanina? – ang mga salitang nasa isip ko habang naglalakad pabalik sa kuwarto. Naririnig ko ang sariling sinasabi ito, at sinasabi ng sarili kong naririnig ko ito. Nang itanong ko ito sa aking ama, walang imik lamang siyang nanonood – magiging maulan bukas kaya magdala ng payong ang payo ng pagasa. Hindi na ako umaasang totoo palagi ang mga sinasabi sa balita. Nang lapitan ko ang alagang aso, lumuhod ako at ibinulong sa kanya: Nakatingala ka rin ba kanina? Marahil totoo, nakaaamoy ang aso ng takot, pati ng lungkot. Papatayin ko na ang ilaw.

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Ngunit muli akong bumangon. Itatanong ko muna ito sa larawan mo bago ako matulog.

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tina del rosario

From the Earth “Joseph!” The woman’s voice filtered over the cornfields, washed in yellow and orange light, the shadows streaming from the trees to sway gracefully across the sun-warmed ground, dipping into the stalks that swayed with the breeze. “Joseph, time to wash up, hear?” A boy, dressed in faded blue jeans and a shirt decorated with the logo of the Cardinals in the center, paused along the far left edge of the cornfields, head lifting at the sound of his name being called. Joseph brushed back a wisp of sun-bleached hair, leaving a smudge of dirt on his forehead, and peered behind him, at the house in the distance. Through the tops of the stalks, he could just barely make out her figure, dressed in a red-and-white checkered dress, standing on their back porch. She held a hand up to her face, shielding her eyes from the glare of the setting sun and scanned their farm, looking left and right. “Half an hour!” His mother finally called out, in exasperation, shaking her head. The screen door creaked as she opened it and walked into the kitchen. He waited a few minutes, cautiously, and when he’d made sure that his mother wasn’t going to go in search of him, he continued walking to the old barn at the edge of their property. Half an hour – what luck! He grinned to himself and whistled softly. His ma must be in a good mood today, maybe because Pa had announced, over a lunch of baked beans and sausages, that he had finally made the last payment on the old pickup. Well, whatever it was, it bought him thirty minutes – thirty whole minutes – before he had to go in.

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He walked briskly, hands shoved in his pockets, for a few more minutes until he reached his destination. He stopped, for a moment, to look up at the barn, red paint peeling off in some places to expose the rainblotched wood below, shingles missing from the roof, and the windows gaping black. It looked nice against the orange-and-dark-blue sky, Joseph thought. Like the picture of a barn and cows (given to them by their relations from the city) that hung above the couch, in their sitting room. Rustic, his aunt had called it, and he didn’t know exactly what it meant but it sounded nice, and he liked it. The barn wasn’t his destination, though, not today. The doors had been nailed shut over a year ago, by his Pa, after they’d found out that he used to go in, lie down on the stray bales of hay, letting the sweet, musty smell fill his nostrils and poke around the bits and pieces of rusty machinery that lay strewn about the floor. “What were you thinkin’, goin’ in there? What if it collapsed on you? What if you hurt yourself on the machine parts and things?” Pa’d clapped him sharply on the back of his head. “Just lookin’ for a place to stay, Pa,” he’d stammered. He’d been seven years old, and looking for a place of his own in two acres of land that seemed too crowded, with corn, animals, and the presence of his parents. “Well, wherever it is, it ain’t gonna be in there, alright?” “Yes, sir.” The corners of Joseph’s lips had drooped downwards, but he had obeyed his parents, and, for the next two weeks, had wandered around their farm disconsolately. The shadowy crevices between the cornfields seemed too sinister, and open, all at the same time, and the hollow underneath the porch was too near the house and too stifling. Their normal barn was too full of animal noises, with his pa walking in and out at all hours, and the hay there didn’t smell so sweet with the scent of dung filtering up from below. One day, he had wandered back to the barn with the thought of sneaking in, somehow, and he had been walking around its perimeter looking for a way in, when he had spotted the tractor haphazardly stationed against the back wall of the barn.

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The reddish-brown paint had faded to a muddy, dirty brown, and the tractor’s wheels were crusted with mud, edges lying flat against the ground. There were bits and pieces of machinery scattered around it, with the lever that either controlled the brakes or shifted gears (Joseph didn’t really know because, although he begged, his father would never let him drive the tractor) part of them. The rubber seats were torn in various places, with the stuffing coming through. Some weeds and other rogue plants had crept inches towards the tractor, clinging onto the wheels and pulling themselves up, rising from the earth – “creepers,” his mother always called them. His eyes had lit up the first time he saw the tractor – the tractor with its steering wheel and seats, the tractor with the buttons and things that could still be pushed and pulled though they didn’t work as they used to. He’d clambered up onto the seat, settled himself in – and had promptly forgotten about the barn. Joseph rested the worn toe of his sneaker on one of the rims of the tractor’s wheels, and grabbed the side, to steady himself, pulling himself up on the seat. He wiggled around for a few seconds, to get comfortable, and leaned forward, tucking his arms into the spaces of the steering wheel, resting his chin on the topmost part. What would it be today? He stayed still for a few minutes, the look of concentration on his face surprising to see in one so young. A few seconds later, he broke into a smile, and sat up straight, cupping his hands around the wheel. “So long, Pa! I’ll write to you, Ma!” Joseph said, deepening his voice, trying to give it a rougher edge. “I’ll take care of this brand-new car –“ He stopped suddenly and frowned. Something wasn’t quite right about it. He shook his head and started again. “So long, Pa! I’ll write to you, Ma!” he repeated, again in his newfound grown-up voice. He started making sputtering noises with his mouth, pursing his lips and blowing outwards, showering the wheel with a few drops of spit as he turned an imaginary key 66

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“I toldja it’d start,” he smiled and winked at the parents he envisioned standing in the background, teary-eyed and waving goodbye with two of Pa’s white pocket handkerchiefs. “See you, folks!” Joseph pictured driving off, making various sounds that he thought were appropriate to a man travelling on the road. In his mind, he passed the stadium the Cardinals usually played in, and drove through them, high-fiving his favorite ballplayers as he went in one entrance and out the other. He passed Elvis’ home, singing “Blue Suede Shoes” with a huge crowd that waved and pointed him out to each other. At the end of it all, he saw his parents sitting at home, turning on their black-and-white TV, with the picture flickering. His Pa whacked it on the side a few times, and fiddled with the antennae, and, magically, the picture cleared, and there he was, on a platform, in front of a cheering crowd, being congratulated by the President of the United States for being the first man to drive a tractor through the United States. “And, Joe – I can call you Joe, right?” the President said, shaking his hand, and grinning broadly. “I’d consider it a great favor if you stayed in the White House for a vacation.” The eight-year-old Joseph lay back in the rubber seat, wheel forgotten, and rested his head against the back rest, grinning broadly. The President! The Cardinals! He opened his eyes slowly, still smiling, and then sat up with a start – it was almost dark, and thus, almost time for dinner. Ma would kill him if he were late – and besides, the fields turned pitch black at night, and he didn’t want to be stuck there when the corn began to rustle with suspicious-sounding noises. He hopped down from the edge of the seat and ran as fast as he could towards the house, panting heavily. The kitchen shone with yellow light, and he could see the tiny windows gleaming in the distance. Joseph’s feet pounded the ground, raising little clouds of dust from the earth, that hovered in mid-air before falling back down, as he ran towards his family and dinner.

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That day, the tractor was just a tractor (that worked) that Joseph-the-man (Joe, to the President of the United States of America) drove through the country. Other times, it was a submarine deep within the depths of the ocean, and Joseph steered it amidst craggy underwater formations, careful not to disturb the coral reefs that were below (he learned about this from pictures Miss Petersen had shown his class at school). He cupped his hands around an imaginary periscope (was that what it was called?) and looked around him, spotting a stray shark or even, on horrible days, a giant squid winking at him and his crew! It could also be a space ship (like the one that Armstrong guy rode to the moon), and Joseph counted slowly, making his voice boom around his surroundings as best as it can. “Three, two, one!” he announced slowly, almost shouting. “Blastoff !” At that, he would lean back in his seat and grimace, the force of the shuttle taking off pinning him down. Then he would stand up and move around the tractor, pretending to be floating in space. Sometimes, it was an army truck – like the ones his cousin Vern, who was stationed in Vietnam, wrote about in his letters, and Joseph would bounce in the seat, rumbling through jungles and open plains, in search of the enemy. He’d brake, abruptly, and crouch down, pulling out an imaginary gun that he’d cock and point towards the enemy soldiers. “Bang,” he’d whisper softly, so they wouldn’t be alerted of his position, firing off a shot. “Take that! Bang, bang!” Space-ship, submarine, army truck, airplane, car – the tractor was many things to Joseph, a little boy whose closest friends lived miles away, and, yet, there were times when it was just the dilapidated old tractor abandoned behind the old barn. These were the times when Joseph lay stretched down across the seats, legs dangling over the edge, failing to reach the ground, and the dry, warm smell of the earth, of the plants, of their farm, the smell that wafted up from the earth, seemed very far away, and the clouds and the horizon of other farms, cities, countries seemed nearer.

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“You serious, Pa?” Joseph’s eyes nearly bugged out of his head. “You’ll let me drive the tractor?” He stared across the table at his Pa, a thirteen-yearold boy big for his age, already taller than his Ma, and starting to gain some muscle on his lanky frame. His Pa looked up from reading the Farmer’s Almanac and laughed. “Sure, Joe,” he said. “Bout time you learned, anyhow, you’re almost fourteen years old.” “Can we go now? Please?” Joseph hadn’t felt this excited since he was a kid on his first trip to the city. “Go on and get changed then,” his Pa said, chuckling. “I’m gonna finish my coffee, and then I’ll see you out by the barn okay?” Joseph rushed up the stairs, taking them two at a time, and his footsteps pounded the floorboards and resounded through the entire house. The door slammed behind him just as his Ma entered the kitchen, carrying a dishcloth. She frowned up at the ceiling, black hair falling across her eyes. “What’s wrong with him?” “Nothing,” her husband said, picking up his mug and downing the last of the coffee. He set it down on his emptied plate with a clatter, and carried it to the sink. “I told him I’d teach him how to drive the tractor today.” “You sure he’s big enough for that?” “The boy’s almost man-sized, isn’t he? Besides, I could sure use the help.” “All right then,” she said, brow still furrowed. “If you think so.” He approached her and gave her a quick kiss on the lips. “Don’t worry,” he said, walking out the door. He turned and looked back with a smile. “If he’s anything like his Pa, he’ll catch on quick.” Joseph would remember that day for a long time, would remember how it felt like to clamber up and settle himself in the well-worn rubber seats, to feel the tractor moving under his control. “Easy does it,” his Pa had cautioned, climbing up beside him. “Now, start it.” lvii 2

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Joseph had put his hand on the key and had turned it slowly, relishing the feel of the engine rumbling to life under his hand. The whole machine vibrated under them, and he’d grinned. His Pa hadn’t let him go fast, in the beginning, and he’d moved slowly, turning in circles around the edge of the cornfields, keeping a safe distance between it and them. Eventually, his Pa’d let him up the speed (which was still pretty slow, for something that actually moved), and he’d almost lost control, running into the fields, knocking over the first few stalks. Then, thankfully, the engine had stalled, and he’d turned to his father, a sheepish grin on his face. Pa’d looked at him, seriously, and then, had burst into laughter. “Sorry, Pa,” he’d muttered. “Son,” his father had said, clapping a hand on his back, after his laughing fit was done. “The first time I drove a tractor, I crashed it into a tree and wrecked it. Believe me, a few stalks of corn is nothing.” Joseph had looked up, as if unable to believe what his father was saying, and had smiled, slowly, upon seeing the look on his father’s face. “When you’re sixteen, I’ll teach you to drive the pick-up,” his father said. “’Cept this can’t happen again alright?” And so, Joseph learned what it was like to sit in a tractor that worked, that actually moved. That didn’t stop him from visiting his tractor, however, throughout those years. Sometimes, he’d bring his schoolbooks there, and study as long as there was still light in the sky. When he finished, he’d set the books and papers aside, and lean back, dreaming about graduating from school with good grades, about going off to college in the city – maybe even hours away in places like New York! Once, when his friends Albert and Kevin had visited him, they’d brought a copy of a girlie magazine, a Playboy that had belonged to Kevin’s uncle, and they’d stayed there huddled over the pages, exclaiming in fascination over the women in those pages, arms and legs akimbo. “Look at the size of those,” Albert had exclaimed in awe, over one particular blonde who was wearing nothing but a cowboy hat. “Man oh man,” Kevin had agreed, letting out a low, breathy whistle. 70

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Joseph had said nothing, just shifted in his seat, adjusting the crotch of his jeans to make himself more comfortable. Later on, before his friends left for the day, he’d asked Kevin for permission to tear off a page, and that had been the page he’d torn off. The blonde woman was now covered in creases and wrinkles, torn a little around the ages, folded and shoved into a cranny in the tractor’s body, where it would be safe from rain. There were times, when, looking around furtively to make sure his parents were far from sight, Joseph would pull the page out, smooth it out and sit on the side facing the wall of the barn, back to the cornfields, toes braced against the hard-packed dirt, and dream of what it would be like to kiss and touch a girl like that. The farm remained largely unchanged throughout the years, the cornfields waving the same way in the breeze, the house still painted white, with brown eaves, the barn a brick-red, and the dilapidated barn perched on the edge of the property, with the broken-down tractor still hidden in its shadows. The late afternoon bathed the farm in golden light, and all was quiet, excerpt for the stalks whispering, grazing against each other with the movement of the wind through the fields. In the distance, a motor rumbled, disturbing the silence, the noise growing steadily louder with each passing minute, and a pick-up truck, faded blue, pulled in from the dirt road and came to a stop in front of the house. The door swung open, and Joseph stepped out. He’d grown into a pleasant-looking boy of eighteen, still lanky, but with more muscle on his frame from helping his father work around the farm. His hair was still messy – and girls from town professed to love the way it fell across his forehead. The little boy he had been was gone, reappearing for a few seconds only when he smiled or laughed. Joseph started whistling as he walked around to the back of the truck, reaching in to shoulder the sack of feed that Pa had asked him to buy from the store in town. That had been the price to pay for his being allowed to catch a show at the cinema with Lizzie.

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Lizzie. As he walked towards the barn, he smiled as he thought of the way she had greeted him earlier, ponytail swinging and brown eyes sparkling at him through the fringe of hair that covered her forehead. He’d caught her scent as they sat down in the darkened cinemas, and she smelled good, like soap. Halfway through the movie, she’d shivered, and he had put his arm around her, drawing her closer to him, with no qualms. They’d gone to the diner, afterwards, to meet their friends, and Joseph had treated her to a banana split with some of the money he’d saved from doing odd jobs at the farm across the way. Of everything that’d happened that day, Joseph wouldn’t forget the way she had tugged at the bottom of her sweater to keep it from riding up before she rose to her toes and kissed him on the cheek, on their street, in full view of her parents (if they had chosen to look out of the windows at the time). Lizzie had walked towards the door, throwing him a shy smile as she looked back. He’d gotten in the car hearing her call out, “Bye, Joey!” and seeing her wave to him in the rear-view mirror, as he had driven off, raising his hand in salute to her farewell. Lizzie was the only one who called him Joey, and he smiled as he recalled the way his name had sounded on her tongue. Joseph dropped the sack of feed on the floor of the barn with a thump, and the noise startled the cow, who let out a low moo and stared at him with sad, reproachful eyes. He slapped her quickly on her frank. “Quit it, Bess,” he said, grinning. “I’m a happy man today.” He walked out of the barn, quickly, and called across the yard, “I’m home, Ma. Just gonna go for a quick walk alright?” He saw the curtains in the kitchen flutter, and his mother’s voice called out in acknowledgement from the kitchen. “All right, Joe. Your Pa’ll be home soon. Half an hour!” “Yes, Ma,” he shouted, walking away briskly. His worn-out sneakers, faded and spattered with paint and mud, knew the way well, tracing the path to the dilapidated barn. Joseph’s stride had changed, since the first time he’d discovered the tractor, ten years ago.

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This time, he knew where he was going, and, in no time at all, he reached the tractor. The elements hadn’t been good to it, over the years, and it now looked more run-down than ever. The seats were no longer as comfortable, the stuffing having been pulled out by childish fingers and blown away by the wind. The paint had worn off in many places, leaving only the rusty metal of the frame left, Joseph sat down on the seat, with no trouble, no longer needing to pull himself up. He moved around, settling himself as best as he could, and lay back on the opposite seat, placing his hands behind his head and looking up at the sky. Clouds drifted lazily across the patch of sky visible to him. He closed his eyes and thought about what had happened that day, reliving the feel of her lips, slightly plump and soft, against his cheek. He recalled the look on Kevin’s and Albert’s faces when he’d walked in the diner moments after Lizzie, and the way they had clapped for him, silently, when Lizzie had been engaged in conversation with her friends. He smiled, closed his eyes and dreamed. About asking Lizzie to the big dance, the dance that was coming up in two months’ time. About kissing her for the first time. About the day his father would start paying him wages, about being able to take Lizzie out more often, about being able to save up and eventually, maybe buy a pick-up truck of his own one day. About graduating from high school, and going to the college he had applied to in the closest city, and going home on weekends to help his dad with work. He dreamed, the tractor cushioning him as best as it could, but the small space could no longer contain his frame, and his legs hung over the edges, feet resting firmly on the ground. Above him, the clouds continued to move, and the late-afternoon breeze ruffled through his hair, making the cornfields whisper, in the distance, while the shadows lengthened, and the smell of rich, loamy dirt, of the weeds and creepers, of the corn, of dreams, wafted up from the earth.

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Unang gantimpala timpalak tula 2009

joseph casimiro

Ascensi贸n Matapos Dumampot ng bato si Pedro Inilahad sa mga kasama at nagwika Ako ang haligi Walang umimik

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Legion Patuloy na maririnig ang walang humpay na panaghoy ng sinaniban. Ang bigkas ng mesias, “Ano ang iyong pangalan?� Mula sa libis maririnig ang dagundong na waring yabag ng diyos na nagbabalik. Sabay-sabay silang dumagsa. Sabay-sabay silang dumagsa silang di na muling mapag-iisa.

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kristian sendon cordero

Abraham Nang mangako ang Diyos ng panibagong tipan marahil labis kang nabighani sa kalawakan ng Pleyades at Orion. Lubos na ikinagalak ang pagbibinyag, ang takda— ‘Magkakaroon ka ng maraming supling. Bilangin ang mga bituin.’ Ilang gabi akong makikipagtalik?, tahimik mong bulong. ‘Ikaw, ang magiging simula ng bagong pagpupunla at pagpapala.’ Sinasagot ang tanong at duda ng magkakasunod na pangako: Paano kung maglihi maliban sa trigo? Hindi kaya nagsasalita lamang ang kamelyo? ‘Ama ka ng liping pinili at mananahan magpakailanman ang iyong lahi.’ Masisiyahan ka ba lagi sa kaloob kong kordero? Abraham, ano ang hindi natupad sa kasunduan at nililipol ngayon ng isa ang isa? Lahat, sa ngalan ng buwan o ng sabsaban sa Belen, o kaya ng banal na tala ni David. Walang karunungan ang sinumang Solomon sa nagaganap na digmaan ng muhon. Binabalot ng iba’t ibang watawat na may mga bituin, araw, puno ng kedar ang mga bangkay ng iyong mga anak. May bomba sa puso. At nanunuot ang dugo sa lino: mantsa ng halo-halong relihiyon. Habang sinusungkit ng mga heneral ang mga estrelya. May kanyon at kamera sa bawat anggolo at tagpo. May napipintong pagguho sa bawat sulok. Namamaluktot ng kumot ang mga ulila’t balo.

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Iniisip kita ngayon, sa isang liblib na lugar sa Gitnang Silangan, nakaupo, habang nagkukulay kornalina ang paligid, banayad ang ihip ng hangin. Napansin mo ang mga buhanging kumapit sa’yong hapong talampakan, marahan mong hinahawakan ito— sinasalat ang mga pinong butil, payak na elemento ng disyerto. Hanggang sa marinig mo ang masuyong tinig ng iyong asawa. Inaalok ka sa pagkain ng isang bagong luto—umuusok pa ang laman. Tumatawag siya sa una’t kaisa-isa mong pangalan na wala pang lulan ng anumang uri ng pinakikibagayang tipan.

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Salome Matapos ang kanyang sayaw tiningnan ng propeta ang dalaga. Manipis ang telang nakabenda sa kanyang dibdib. Nagkasalubong ang kanilang tingin. Lumapit ang dalaga sa hari. May ibinulong: ulo ng propeta ang nais niyang kapalit. Napatingin ang hari sa telang nakabenda sa dibdib ng dalaga. Tinawag ng hari ang punong kawal at ipinag-utos ang agad na pagpugot. Napatingin ang kawal sa telang nakabenda sa dibdib ng dalaga. Sa akto ng pagpugot, nagkasalubong ang tingin ng propeta, kawal at hari sa manipis na telang nakabenda sa dibdib ng dalaga.

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2009 maningning miclat prize for filipino poetry

Ang Uniberso Ayon sa Apoy Idinilat ang mata at asintadang tinitigan ang tubig na dumadampi sa balat— namumuong kristal at nangangamoy ligaw na dalandan ang panahon. Binaybay ng kanyang mata ang daloy. Patuloy ang pagtimba ng tubig ng walang malay na ispektakulo. May ningas na nakakapaso sa kamay at dahan-dahan gumapang ito patungo sa loob ng bulsa, iyon lamang ang kanyang maaring gawin sa ganitong pambihirang eksena. Maaaring pagtaksilan siya ng liwanag sapagkat dito rin siya mahuhuli. Mata laban sa mata: Ito ang magiging ebidensya. O malamang papasukin siya ng tinitingnan at alukin na inumin ang natitirang tubig sa timba. Isang pagpikit o pagtalikod sa siwang ang maaring magligtas sa kanya. Magkakalaman ang parusa sa kanya sa iba’t ibang anyo: Impyerno, karsel, o ang paulit-ulit na pagdulog sa butas. Ngunit sadyang matabil ang apoy, nagliliyab ito

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na parang piping bagong gumaling at tuluyan na nakapagsalita. Ipagkakalat nito ang kanyang kapanganakan sa katawan at sasabihing ang pagdulog sa kanya ay isang uri ng pagsamba. Katulad ng labi sa labi, ari sa ari, mata sa butas, tubig sa laman at anumang uri ng pagdampi, maging ligawtingin ay isang pagtawag sa kanyang kadakilaan. Ang bintang, ebidensya at parusa ay iisa. Saksi itong walang sinusunod na lohika.

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2009 maningning miclat prize for filipino poetry

Ang Uniberso Ayon sa Hangin Tinangka kong pigilin ang paghinga at ikulong ang hangin: nagpasyang manahimik sa isang sulok, katabi ang inulilang gulok samantalang pinagmamasdan ang ulang lulan ang lungkot. Napupuno ng tubig ang mundo. Laman ng tubig ang hangin. Humihinga ang lupa sa tuwing bitin itong didiligin ng langit. Nakabitin ang lahat sa hangin. Sa mga madaling araw na tila natutulog din ang hangin bigla na lamang mararamdaman kong nalulunod ako hindi dahil sa tubig kundi sa labis na hangin sa mundo. Sinasakal ako ng hangin sa bawat pagpalakpak at hinahamak sa mga walang lutong na paghalakhak, na madalas kong gawin sa harapan ng inaagnas na krus sa patyo. Kinukurot ako ng hangin mula sa bentilador na dumadampi sa aking balat at pilit na itinataboy ang amoy ng dating kasiping na iniwanan ako minsan. Sumakay siya sa bus na pinaandar ng hangin. Mahangin ang taong iyan. Sinong makakaunawa sa ganitong babala kong noon pa man tinangka ko nang gawing kaibigan ang hangin— Na kasama ko sa mga pagpapalipad ng saranggola na palagi nitong sinisira at mga bangkang papel na hindi niya inanod hanggang sa tuluyan itong pasukin ng tubig,

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Na kasama ko itong naglaro saka ang apoy hanggang sa mag-away sila at naiwan akong saksi habang lumilipad ang mga alipato na mistulang mga liham na hindi dumating dahil inilagaw ng hangin ang kartero. Hinuhuli ko pa rin ang hangin paminsan-minsan, pinapapasok sa loob ng mga lobong kumupas na ang kulay at inaabangan sa tuwing may mga mabubuwal na bata o matandang hinimatay. May balitang may madalas na ibulong ang hangin sa mga taong hindi na muling nagigising: nakakapanindig balahibo, may nagsabing marahas ang pagtakas ng hangin mula sa katawan, dumadaan ito sa bawat butas ng balat, na parang laging mahuhuli sa biyahe samantalang siya naman ang sasakyan at ang magmamaneho. Walang makakapaamo sa hangin na katulad ng libog ng mga kuneho. Kanina, narinig ko ang hangin, matimyas at payapa nitong inawit: Hindi mo ako kayang bihagin, masdan ang mga dahong bumibitaw sa puno, ganyan na ganyan ang kaya kong gawin.

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miguel enrico paala

Mukha ng Pag-ibig Dinidiligan ng galuhang mga hamog ang kagigising na mga damo sa kagubatan. Dahan-dahang bumubukadkad ang mga halamang damo upang salubungin ang sariwang simoy ng hanging dagat at ang sumisikat na araw. Binihisan ng sinag ang buong kagubatan at lahat ng mga naaalimpungatang mga nilalang ng kalupaan. Siya ay nakaupo sa lilim ng isang matandang puno ng saging, tahimik na sinusuklay ng kaniyang mga sakong ang mahamog niyang balahibo. *** Bagong ligo si Me-Ann. Nakatapis siyang humakbang palabas sa banyo at umakyat sa kaniyang kuwarto. Magulung-magulo ang kaniyang kuwarto. Aakalain mong dinaanan ng isang higanteng ipu-ipo ang maliit na kahong tinutulugan niya at ang tanging nakaligtas lang dito ay ang suot niyang tapis. Umupo siya sa harap ng salamin at dinukot ang isang gusut-gusot na puting tuwalya sa ilalim ng upuan. Mabagal niyang idinampi ang tuwalya sa kaniyang namamasang mahabang buhok at pinagmasdan niya sa salamin ang kaniyang magandang mukha. *** Humigop siya ng tubig sa lawa-lawaan. Nasilayan niya ang kaniyang sarili at siya’y napamasid. Mahabang nguso, malagong nangingitim na buhok kasama ang isang hibla ng nangingintab na ginto, mahabang nguso, lumuluwang mata, mahabang nguso, at mabalahibong mukha. Hindi niya kailanmang inisip na darating ang araw na ito. Ilang minuto na lamang ay ikakasal na siya.

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*** Nagsuot siya ng puting kamisetang Bench at ng maong na Levi’s. Inilabas niya sa kaniyang kuwarto ang dalawang maletang bumubulwak sa kagamitan. Sa may mesa sa harap ng salamin, ibinaba niya ang liham niya kay Bong at ang singsing na may nakaukit na mga sumpa at pangako. Natuluan ng luha ni Me-Ann ang liham. Marahang pinunasan ito ng kaniyang makikinis na mga daliri. *** Ipinatong niya sa kaniyang ulo ang korona ng mga samu’t saring dahon, patpat at bulaklak. Sinuklay niya ang kaniyang balahibo sa katawan gamit ang napulot niyang sanga ng puno. Nagpatuyo siya sa ilalim ng sinag ng araw. Ikinampay niya ang kaniyang buntot para matuyo. Nagsimula na siyang maglakad papunta sa puno ng mangga kung saan una niyang nasilayaan ang kaniyang irog. *** Sinarado niya ang gate ng kanilang bahay. May naghihintay nang taksi para sa kaniya. Tinulungan sya ng tsuper na isilid ang mga maleta sa likod ng taksi. Pinagmasdan niya nang huling sandali ang kaniyang naging tahanan. At sumakay na lang siya sa taksi. “Sa terminal po ng bus sa may Cubao.” *** Nakita niya kung gaano kaganda si Luisa, ang diwata ng kagubatan. Suotsuot niya ang puting roba at koronang tadtad ng diyamante. Maputla pa siya sa sinag ng buwan. Hinawakan nila ang isa’t isa at sumumpa sa ilalim ng puno ng mangga na magmamahalan magpakailanpaman.

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*** Bumaba si Me-Ann sa taksi. Binuklat niya kaagad ang kaniyang payong dahil nagsimula nang umulan. Nagtaka siya kung bakit umuulan habang umaaraw. Bago sumakay sa bus na papuntang Albay, binulong niya sa sarili, “Kaya kong magsimula muli.� *** Hinalikan ng tikbalang ang diwata sa maputla nitong labi. Ikinasal sila. At habang bumubuhos ang ulan, lumiliwanag naman ang kalangitan.

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wyatt caraway curie l. ong

How was your weekend? Our unmanicured hands tremble as we open and close the cream-colored gates in unison, a performance practiced and perfected for your inspection, of course, ate, and your approval. What you don’t see to your left is Rosing coyly sending Norbing a wink full of promises – but he sees, and sputters even as he pulls away from the house taking you with him for the entire day, not to return, ever, or so we hope – this is our Saturday. We drop the locks in place and giggle uncontrollably. Here and now the race begins; up the stairs, and later down. We wonder if you know that Rosing and I quarrel over Karla’s bikini and her best push-up bra and try on all of your jewelry until we settle, as we do every week, on the diamonds because everyone knows they are our best friends, too. Then we head down to the pool where we will dip our unshaven legs and watch the downy hairs wave hello to the waters you believe only you can touch. We pretend that we are home once more, back in Silay, what would Chuchi say to us now, with sand between our toes instead 86

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of household grime, wearing the diamonds we have convinced ourselves to be ours? Later Rosing and I help ourselves to the ice cream we know Johnson Ericson won’t miss; I’ll be thinking of that when next he tries to teach me the formula of the trapezoid, when next I have to wake him at six a.m. As a perfect capper we watch Fight Club on the dvd player you don’t even bother to hide race down once more at five and like clockwork you come knocking at our door. Rosing disappears to the backyard with Norbing while I carry your shopping bags upstairs Jimmy Choos this week, and mine for the taking next. You and Karla walk on ahead, she clutching her newest purse and you so frigid, lovely in the ten-stud pearls I owned for myself last week.

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Third Prize, Short Story for Children 2009 don carlos palanca memorial awards for literature

paolo gariel v. chikiamco

Dear Mr. Supremo Dear Mr. Supremo, My name is Kiko, and I’m a hero, just like you. I haven’t slain a dragon, or led a rebellion, or rescued a Princess, so it was quite a surprise to me when I found out. I think I surprised a lot of other people too… except for Mom.

# But wait, I need to tell you the story first. Sorry, I guess sometimes even heroes get excited, right? I should ask Mrs. Arsenio. Mrs. Arsenio is the history teacher at our school. She teaches us all about flags, and dates, and names. She mentions your name a lot. She says you’re a hero. She must really like you. I know she really likes me. I like her too – when she doesn’t give us too much homework.

# Last week Mrs. Arsenio told our class that the school was having a contest: each class would perform a play about “Our Favorite Hero.” Even before she could finish telling us about the contest, I could already hear my classmates talking about which hero to choose: some wanted to be super-heroes, flying around with capes; others wanted to be video game characters, with spiky hair and big swords. There were so many choices that many of my classmates had a hard time making their decision. Not me. “It has to be about the Supremo. It has to be!” The other members of my barkada nodded their heads. Yes, I have a barkada, just like you did Mr. Supremo… friends who are at my side no matter what. When I’m with them, I feel like I can do anything, no matter how hard. I wonder if your friends made you feel that way too. “Hey, that’s a great idea!” Chito said.

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Chito was the happy one. He laughed more often than he talked – unless he was talking about food, or his dog, Mojo. Mojo was the only thing Chito loved more than a serving of chicken adobo with three cups of rice. I liked Mojo too, because he was the smartest dog I knew – but I didn’t have him do my math homework like Chito sometimes did. Pepe on the other hand, was better at homework than me. In fact, Pepe could do almost everything better than me – well except he’s really bad at hide and seek. Of the three of us, he was the one who got the highest grades, even in P.E. Pepe says this is because his father is a mad scientist, and his mother is an angel. I’m not sure Pepe always tells the truth, but he’s very good at convincing people that he is, so the three of us agreed that he should be the one to convince our classmates that you, Mr. Supremo, were the only choice for our favorite hero. “Leave it to me!” Pepe said, thumping his chest. As soon as Mrs. Arsenio left the room, Pepe pulled himself atop the big teacher’s table and spread out his arms. “Guys, guys… come on. It’s not about who is the strongest, or who saved his world the most number of times. This is about our favorite hero. It has to be someone who has done something for us!” When put that way, it took very little time for the class to decide that you were the hero they wanted, Mr. Supremo. I felt very happy that the class agreed with my idea so quickly. “Now all we need is a script,” said Pepe. “And we all know who the history expert is here right?” That was my cue. “I can have it ready by tomorrow!” Everybody cheered, and I felt they were cheering for me. That made me feel really, really good.

# That night, I worked really hard to finish a script for the play. I took out all my old books about Philippine history, about the Katipunan, about you. I poured out my heart into writing all the lines, especially your lines Mr. Supremo. I tried to think about what I would say if I were you, what it would feel like to be you, to be a hero. It must have felt great to be a leader,

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to have so many people following you, looking up to you, cheering your name. I wanted to be a hero too. I stayed up all night to finish the script.

# When I woke up the next day I wasn’t feeling very well. I couldn’t remember what time I fell asleep, but I remember wondering why the moon seemed so bright. When my Mom woke me I felt like my room was spinning slowly, like the mobile on top of the bed of my baby sister. My Mom felt my forehead and told me to go back to sleep, but I told her I needed to go to school and give my script to the class. I told her I was the Supremo. I told her I needed to be a hero. She smiled at me and said: “I’ll take care of it. You can be a hero tomorrow.” So I gave her my script and then fell asleep.

# The next day I forced myself to come to school, worried that my classmates would not be able to start practicing without me. Pepe and Chito were really happy to see me, and they told me that everyone had liked my script so much that they had already cast the roles and started practicing. In fact, they were going to practice again that afternoon. Throughout the day I could barely contain my excitement: I couldn’t wait to show them how well I could deliver my lines! If they thought my writing was good, wait until they saw my acting! I hoped that Pepe and Chito had gotten good roles too.

# When classes ended, we pushed the tables and chairs to the sides of the room, making a clear area in the center where we could practice. Mrs. Arsenio gave out copies of my script to Pepe, Chito and a few of my other classmates. “Okay let’s start with the lead actors first. Mr. Supremo, will you go first?” “Of course ma’am,” Pepe said, taking a step forward and raising one hand. “My fellow countrymen… What greater love is there than-”

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I didn’t hear the rest of the line. I couldn’t believe it. Pepe was the Supremo! I went to Mrs. Arsenio and pulled on her sleeve. “Uhm, ma’am…” “Oh Kiko,” she said, smiling. “Your script was wonderful!” “But who am I going to be?” I asked her. “Don’t worry dear, we all agreed you shouldn’t have to do too much since you made the script. See, here’s the cast list.” I took the sheet of paper from her, and my eyes ran down the list of names: Pepe was you, Mr. Supremo; Chito was Emilio Jacinto; Nelson was Gregorio del Pilar… I read the names of all the heroes and didn’t find my name – not until I reached the very bottom. Katipunero # 2 – Kiko. Katipunero # 1 was Mojo, Chito’s dog.

# I am ashamed to admit that I didn’t behave very heroically after that, Mr. Supremo. I skipped practices whenever I could. Why would I need to go? All I had was one line: “You can do it, Mr. Supremo!” I didn’t speak to Chito much, and I avoided Pepe completely. Why would they want to hang out with me anymore anyway? They were the heroes now.

# On the day of the presentation my Mom made me an extra big breakfast. She told me that she would bring my Dad and my baby sister to school later, so they could watch my play. After I finished eating, she handed me my costume, complete with a red kerchief. “I’ll bet you’ll look like quite the little hero in that outfit.” I didn’t have the heart to tell her I wasn’t the hero anymore. I was just Katipunero #2.

# As soon as classes ended that afternoon, everyone changed quickly then rushed to the auditorium to get ready for the presentation – everyone ex-

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cept me. I moved slowly, like every bone in my body weighed as much as a bus or a truck. When I had just finished tying my kerchief, Mrs. Arsenio opened the door. “Kiko, have you seen Pepe?” I shook my head. “Isn’t he with everyone else?” “No one has seen him since the bell rang.” Mrs. Arsenio answered. “Well, I’ll keep looking. You should be on your way to the auditorium too… It’s almost time.”

# I found Pepe sitting on the stairs leading up to the roof. It was his favorite place in the whole school and it’s where he always went when he wanted to hide – which is why we always caught him. He was hugging his knees and sniffling, trying not to cry. “What’s wrong?” “I don’t think I can be the Supremo anymore,” he said. Pepe told me that his Mom and Dad were going to come. He told me that his Mom was an actress and his Dad was a director. He was afraid that he was going to perform badly in front of them. He was so nervous that he could hardly remember his lines. “I even lost my kerchief on the way here,” he said, sniffling. “I’m no good.” I knew that I could be the Supremo. I was not nervous. I knew the lines. I had my kerchief. I would be a great Supremo. But then, Pepe would still think he was no good. Would you have left your friend feeling sad, I wondered? I didn’t think you would. I untied my red kerchief and put it around Pepe’s neck. “You can do it, Mr. Supremo,” I told him. Pepe smiled at me through his tears. He was still smiling when we arrived at the auditorium.

# Do you know what happened next Mr. Supremo? Our play won the grand prize! The audience gave us a standing ovation. Everyone did great… even

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Mojo. The judges gave Pepe the award for Best Actor, and his parents went up on stage to receive the award with him. I’ve never seen him so happy. But then came something that was a complete surprise. The judges said they were giving a Best Script award – and they were giving it to me! Everyone stood and clapped as I received my trophy. My Mom and Dad hugged me, and I think my baby sister smiled. “Look Mom!” I said, as my classmates chanted my name. “I’m a hero now!” “Oh Kiko,” she laughed. “You always were.” I think I cried just a bit. But I think heroes should be allowed to cry every now and then. Right, Mr. Supremo? Your number one fan, Kiko (the hero).

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allan popa

Sa Aking Katawan Pwede kong isa-isahin Ang mga sugat mula pagkabata Kahit gumaling na Sa aking katawan Mula paa paitaas Sa tuhod, sa balikat, sa ulo (Katulad sa kanta) Ang bawat isa may istorya Ang hapdi, ang hapdi Na akala ko hindi matatapos Pero natapos din Sino ang humipan? Ang sakit sa loob Hapdi na walang sugat Hapdi na tila hindi matatapos Sa lalim ng paghinga

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Finalist, Poetry philippines free press literary awards 2009

marie la vi単a

Slowness Some days must remind us of elephants and their patient motion over the earth, which values slowness, time so constant it becomes unnoticeable as air. An hour slips into the next, leaving creases on our skin, impressions more subtle than scars after the tooth marks of the forgotten violence have disappeared. What stays with us is nothing personal. Elephants know their bones will not remember the way the light beckons in certain seasons, negotiating journeys across forests, toward cliffs reluctantly splitting sky. This gentle sky and its familiar hovering, oblivious to us, our fragile bodies lit by the flicker of the mind, possibly imagining elephants wandering the earth, which in centuries to come will hold our bones, voiceless through the unfolding ages.

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Letter to a Friend About to Embark on a Journey Dear friend, I give you this halo as a gift. When I found it at the pawnshop beside the candle wax and wings, I thought of you immediately. Now your angel-suit will be complete. Now your hair will glow on nights without moon. People in airplanes will gaze down from incredible altitudes at the radiance of your hair. They will gesture emphatically at the earth but you will not see them until you learn to levitate, and you will learn. Sadly, the halo doesn’t come with instructions or a note from the previous owner, which might have been helpful. But here’s a tip: try dipping it in lemon juice or leaving it out in the sun all day to soak up the light. Give this light an opening in your skull, if you can. And if you can, you must. My friend, may your wings and feet never gather dust. From now on, may the irises of passersby gleam at the sight of you, souvenir of brightness, in all countries through which you will travel. May they call you ‘juggernaut’ and invent new names with which to speak of you in the dark.

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christoffer mitch cerda

Sulat Mula kay Dominico Pablo de Muñoz, Gobernador-Heneral ng Islas de San Gabriel, kay Haring Felipe III, Hari ng Castilla at Leon, Aragon, Sicilia at Granada, Ikalabinganim ng Setyembre, 16101 Isang taos-pusong pagbati sa inyo, Felipe III, Dakilang Hari ng Castilla at Leon, Aragon, Sicilia at Granada at Matapat na Alagad ng Simbahang Katolika. Sumusulat ako sa inyo upang ilarawan nang higit na malalim ang mga lupaing sumasailalim na sa inyong pamamahala ayon sa dakilang gawain na iniatas ninyo sa amin na sakupin ang mga lupaing ito sa ngalan ng inyong Korona at sa Ngalan at Kadakilaan ng ating Panginoong Jesucristo, sa Nag-iisa at Walang-hanggang Diyos Ama, Anak at

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Para mabalikan ang simula, ang dokumentong ito ni Gobernador-Heneral Dominico Pablo de Muñoz (1560 – 1621) ang binabalikan ng mga historyador. Pero hindi ang mga pangyayaring iyon ng higit tatlong daang taon ang binabalikan ko kapag binabasa ko ang sulat na ito. Si Allie at ang una naming pagkakakilala ang binabalikan ko. Matagal na siyang may sakit sa dugo noon at nakilala ko siya sa ospital nang minsang kino-cover ko ang pagbaril sa Mayor ng Hiblahan. Nasa operating room na si Mayor at dahil wala na akong mapapala pa sa pagtanga roon, dinala ako ng mga paa ko sa hardin kung saan naroroon si Allie. Nakaupo siya sa isang bangko’t nagbabasa ng isang libro’t nagsusulat sa kanyang notebook. Binabasa niya ang unang tomo na nilathala nina Diana Watson at Gregory Matthews ng mga salin nila sa Ingles ng mga dokumentong Kastila tungkol sa kasaysayan ng San Gabriel. Nilapitan ko siya nang ibinaba niya ang libro at nagsimulang magsulat sa kanyang notebook. Hiniram ko ang libro mula sa kanya at tumango lamang siya sa akin. Umupo ako sa tabi niya at nagbasa. Maraming mga marka’t tala sa sulat na iyon ni Gobernador-Heneral Muñoz. Pero hindi naman ako interesado sa libro na iyon kundi sa isinusulat niya sa notebook.

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Espiritu Santo na Lumikha sa Lahat at sa Simbahan Niyang itinatag dito sa Lupa at sa Kaluwalhatian ng Birheng Maria. Nais ko pong ipakita’t ilarawan ang lupaing ito, kasama na rin ng mga munting kasaysayan kung paano ito nasakop, upang sa gayo’y inyong higit na mapangasiwaan ang malayong lupaing ito nang may karampatang kaalaman sa pinagdaanan at pangangailangan nito.2 Maging gabay po sana ang sulat na ito tungo

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Kaya ibinaba ko na rin kaagad ang libro at tinanong siya kung alam ba niyang anak ng isang Kastilang mandaragat at isang Italyana at namatay ang ama niya bago pa man niya nakilala? Tumigil siya sa pagsusulat at ngumiti at sinabi, “Ayos din ang mga pick-up line mo.” Nagtawanan kami at sinabi niyang alam na niya ang detalyeng iyon. Inamin ko sa kanya na interesado akong malaman kung ano ang isinusulat niya sa kanyang notebook at ipinakita naman siya sa akin. Ang una kong nabasang pangungusap doon ang Sa aking nakitang mga disenyo sa katawan ng ilan sa kanila, nakita ko ang larawan sa likod ng isang bangkay ng isang buwang nilalamon ng isang buwaya habang tinutuka ng mga agila ang mga mata nito. Itinuro ko iyong pangungusap itinanong kung saan galing iyon. “Konting salin ng sulat ni Muñoz,” sagot niya. “Mayroon talagang ganoon noon?” tanong ko sa kanya. “Siguro,” sagot niya, “pero siyempre wala nang larawang makikita ngayon kasi naagnas na ang katawan. Mga salita na lang niya ang natitira.” Hindi ko alam kung bakit pero napangiti ako sa sinabi niyang iyon at inusisa pa siya kung bakit niya isinasalin ang sulat ni Gobernador-Heneral Muñoz. At ipinaliwanag niya sa akin ang proyekto niyang isalin ang mga mahahalagang dokumentong Kastila patungkol sa kasaysayan ng San Gabriel. At buong buhay niyang ipinaliwanag ang mga detalye ng kanyang proyekto na hindi ko agad namalayang may sakit siyang kanser hanggang dumating ang isang nars para dalhin na ulit siya sa kanyang kuwarto. Mula noo’y sinimulan ko siyang tulungan sa kanyang ginagawang proyekto at hinimok ko siyang idagdag na rin ang ibang mga dokumento pagkatapos ng kolonisasyon ng mga Kastila hanggang sa kontemporanyong panahon. Kaya’t kapag may oras ako, dinadalaw ko siya sa kanyang bahay sa Hiblahan o kaya sa Catalina State Hospital mula nang dalhin siya sa Catalina para sa kanyang pagpapagamot. Isinaayos ni Gobernador-Heneral Muñoz ang kanyang mga tala tungkol sa iba’t ibang mahahalagang lugar sa isang alpabetikong pagkakasunod-sunod imbes na isang kronolohikal na pagkakasunod-sunod ng mga pangyayari. Nagtaka ako dito at tinanong ko iyon kay Allie. Baka daw may itinatago si Muñoz dahil maraming hindi sinabi sa kanyang salaysay. Kung ano man, minabuti namin na gumawa ng isang gabay para sa mambabasa para kung gusto niyang ilatag ang mga pangyayari sa tama nitong pagkakasunod-sunod bagaman hindi ito sakto dahil maraming mga pangyayari sa iba’t ibang mga panahon ang nasa loob ng pagsasalaysay ni Muñoz tungkol sa isang lagar. Kung ano man ito ang isang alternatibong pagkakasunod-sunod na ginawa namin ni Allie:

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sa ikauunlad ng bagong Kolonyang inyong pinaghaharian, sa tulong ng Diyos Ama, Anak at Espiritu Santo. Bukod pa po rito, nais ko ring ibahagi ang mahahalagang pangyayari sa lupaing itong aking inilalarawan nang sa gayo’y magkaroon kayo ng isang matapat at tunay na salaysay tungkol sa nangyari dito at hindi sumalalay sa mga kasinungalingang maaaring naging malaganap diyan, lalo na tungkol kay Kapitan Sevilla, ang yumao’t dakilang conquistador ng lupaing ito at matapat na alagad ng Korona’t Krus.3 Naniniwala po akong, bagaman Diyos lamang ang Punong Tagapaghatol, hindi mababang gawain ang pagtatanghal sa Katotohanan na pala-palaging pinapanigan ng Diyos.

*** la nuevo ciudad de catalina Mula sa mga abo ng Maitacai, pinasimulan ni Kapitan Sevilla, na tinatapos ko ngayon, at sa tulong ni Datu Tanao,4 ang pagtatayo ng Bagong

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(1) La Orilla del Mar de San Gabriel, (2) El Rio de San Gabriel, (3) Fuerza de San Miguel Arcangel, (4) La Viejo Ciudad de Maitacai, (5) La Nuevo Ciudad de Catalina, (6) El Monte San Pedro, (7) El Bosque de Maicauaian, (8) La Laguna de Inmaculada Concepcion y El Monte San Jose. Antonio Bernardo de Sevilla y Borja (1549 – 1599), ang unang Gobernador-Heneral ng San Gabriel. Hindi namin alam kung ano ang tinutukoy ni Gobernador-Heneral Muñoz na mga kasinungalingan at pinagdebatihan namin ito ni Allie. Hinuha ko na baka may isa pang dokumentong nagsasalaysay ng isang alternatibong pangyayari o kaya’y pananaw. Pero wala kaming natagpuang ibang dokumento na sumusuporta sa haka ko. Hinuha naman ni Allie na baka maraming tsismis ang umiikot sa pangalan ni Kapitan Sevilla nang mga panahong iyon at baka dahil napakatindi o malisyoso ng mga tsismis kaya napilitan si Gobernador-Heneral Muñoz na ipagtanggol ang kanyang pinakamamahal na Kapitan. Sa ganoong hinuha, naisip ko rin naman na baka si Gobernador-Heneral Muñoz ang pinagtsitsismisan at isinasangkot lang niya si Kapitan Sevilla sa kanyang pagtatanggol sa sarili. Nagkibit ng balikat si Allie at sinabing posible din iyon. Pero dahil wala nga kamig matibay na ebidensiya, nananatili lamang na haka-haka ang lahat. Datu Tanao (1574? – 1633). Siya ang pinakamakapngyarihang datu sa buong Maitacai at sa buong San Gabriel at siya ang ninuno ng makapangyarihang pamilya Tanao sa San Gabriel at pinakakontrobersiyal na tao sa kasaysayan ng San Gabriel. Hindi naman ikinakahiya o kaya’t ipinagmamalaki ng mga kasa-

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Bayan ng Catalina. Sa pagsang-ayon ni Datu Tanao, pinalitan namin ang pangalan ng Maitacai upang ipahiwatig ang malaking pagbabagong kakaharapin ng bayan, na sa muli naming pagtatayo’t pagpapaunlad ng bayan na ito, hindi lamang ang dating kadakilaan nito ang aming aabutin ngunit higit-higit pa roon. Naging mabagal sa simula ang pagkukumpuni at pagtatayo ng bagong mga gusali dahil nagbabadya pa rin ang paglusob ni Datu Salam5 sa amin. Kailangang hatiin sa iba’t ibang trabaho ang aming mga sundalo’t mandirigma. May mga inatasang magkumpuni ng iba’t ibang mga kailangang kumpunihin, may mga inatasang panatilihin ang kaayusan sa loob ng bayan habang may inatasan namang magbantay sa mga kalabang nagbabanta mula sa mga kakahuyan. Minabuti na lamang namin ang pagbibigay karampatang oras ng pahinga ang mga tauhan at sundalo upang hindi lubos na mapagod ang lahat.6

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lukuyang mag-anak na mga Tanao ang katayuan ng kanilang ninuno sa kasaysayan. “Sanay na ako kapag pinag-uusapan siya sa esk’wela at hindi maganda ang lumalabas,” sabi sa akin noon ni Jericho Tanao, dating blockmate noong kolehiyo. Tinanong ko kung ano ang tingin niya at ng kamag-anak niya sa kanilang ninuno at sinabi niya, “Iniisip lang namin na ginawa niya ang mga ginawa niya para manatiling buhay at matiwasay ang kanyang buhay. Nakakita siya ng oportunidad at kinuha niya iyon.” Tinanong ko naman si Allie kung ano ang tingin niya kay Datu Tanao atang sinabi lang niya sa akin, “Di ko alam. Patay na siya at nangyari na ang nangyari. May magagawa pa ba ako?” Datu Salam (? – 1596), pinaniniwalaang pinakaimpluwensiyal na datu sa buong San Gabriel sunod sa ama ni Datu Tanao. Tuwing iniisip ko kung ano ang hitsura ni Datu Salam, iniisip ko ang isang matangkad at matipunong lalaki at sinabi ko ito minsan kay Allie. Dinadalaw ko siya noon sa Catalina State Hospital dahil nasa gitna siya ng chemo niya. Nang inilarawan ko ang ideya ko kung ano ba ang hitsura ni Datu Salam para sa akin, inilarawan naman niya ang kanya. Bansot daw ang kanyang naiisip na tangkad ni Datu Salam at matabain nang kaunti. “Parang si Joe Pesci?” sabi ko at tuwa nang malakas. Napangiti siya at sinabi, “Oo. Parang ganoon na nga.” Ayon sa relacion na isinulat ni Padre Carlo de Hidalgo noong 1630, isang paraan upang mabawasan ang mga sundalong nakabantay sa Maitacai laban sa mga mandirigma ni Datu Salam ay pagpupugot ng ulo ng mga labi ng mga mandirigma ni Datu Salam na napatay sa labanan at tutuhugin sa mga patpat na kawayan. Itutuhog naman sa palibot ng Maitacai ang mga patpat na may ulo bilang panakot sa mga kalaban at maging sa mga taong nag-iisip na mag-aklas.

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Pinakauna naming inayos ang nawasak na moog na pumapalibot sa bayan dahil nagkaroon ng mga siwang sa moog dulot ng mga labanan na kinailangan naming punuan. Nang maayos na namin ito’y unti-unti naming itinayo ang mga bahay at gusaling nawasak at dahil ninais naming magsimulang muli, imbes na panatilihin ang dating pabilog na kaayusan ng bayan, ipinataw ni Kapitan Sevilla ang isang kuwadradong paglalatag ng mga kalye at bahay ayon na rin sa kaayusang isinasagawa sa mga bayan sa Sibilisadong Europa. At dito sa gitna ng bayan itinayo namin ang bagong plasa at Simbahan ni San Juan Bautista. Mahalaga na maglaan ng ilang mga pangungusap tungkol sa simbahang ito dahil ito ang pinakamalaki at pangunahin sa mga simbahang itinayo namin dito. Unang-una, si Datu Tanao, ang dating pinuno ng Bayan ng Maitacai at ngayo’y isa nang cabeza sa ating pamahalaan, ang nagmistulang patron ng pagpapatayo ng Simbahan ni San Juan Bautista. Mayroon siyang antas na datu at ito ang pinakamataas na antas sa kanilang lipunan. Gamit ang kanyang kayamana’t impluwensiya, mabilis ang pagpapatayo ng simbahan. At bagaman gawa lamang sa kahoy, mahirap mailarawan ang kakaibang ganda ng simbahang ito. Subalit hindi doon nagtatapos ang kagila-gilalas na pananampalatayang ipinamamalas ni Datu Tanao dahil binanggit niya sa akin kamakailan ang mga plano niya upang muling itayo at gawin mula sa bato ang Simbahan ni San Juan Bautista at buong puso kong hinikayat ang kanyang mga plano bagaman ipinaliwanag ko sa kanya na, sa ngayon, malayo sa mga plano ng ating pamahalaan ang mga planong ganoon.7 Huli naming muling itayo ang daungan. Lalo

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Pangdebatihan namin ni Allie kung ang mga Kastila ba o ang mga katutubo ang nag-utos at naghikayat ng gawaing iyon. Para sa akin, ang mga Kastila ang nagpautos noon dahil hindi kapani-paniwala na gagawin iyon ng mga tagaMaitacai sa kanilang kababayan nang ganoon-ganoon na lang. Ayon naman kay Allie, hindi naman talaga gawain iyon ng mga propesyunal na mga sundalo at marami na ring naitala sa iba pang mga dokumento tungkol sa parehong gawain na ito na ginawa ng mga iba pang mga katutubo. Isa ito sa mga bagay na hindi namin mapagkasunduan pero ganoon lang talaga pagsasakasaysayan, maraming hindi pagkakasundo. Noong taong 1660 nang matuloy ang planong gawing bato ang Simbahan ni San Juan Bautista. Naisagawa ito dahil noong 1659, nasunog ang lumang sim-

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naming pinalaki ang daungan upang tumanggap ng higit na maraming mga bangka at makadaong ang ating mga galleon at inaasahan kong magiging mahalagang sentro ng kalakal sa buong San Gabriel. Kaya’t hindi po naging mabilis ang pagtatayo ng Bagong Bayan ng Catalina subalit naging biglaan para sa amin ang pagkasira ng Lumang Bayan ng Maitacai dahil tila po napakabilis ng mga pangyayaring kinasangkutan namin. Isang linggo pagkatapos magpabinyag ni Datu Tanao, bigla siyang nagpakita sa amin sa Fuerza de San Miguel Arcangel nang madaling araw kasama ang dalawandaang mandirigma, nakasakay silang lahat sa mga bangka nila. Inakala naming pumunta siya upang atakihin ang aming kuta ngunit, pagkatapos makipagpulong kay Kapitan Sevilla, nalaman kong humihingi siya ng tulong mula sa amin. Pinatalsik siya, kasama ang pamilya ng mga mandirigmang tapat na sumusunod sa kanya, mula sa Maitacai. Lumala ang hidwaang namagitan sa kanila ni Datu Salam at sa iba pang mga datu ng Maitacai. Higit na marami ang kumampi kay Datu Salam sa hanay ng mga datu at napatalsik si Datu Tanao bilang pangunahing datu ng Maitacai. Agad na inihanda ni Kapitan Sevilla ang aming mga sundalo para sa isang labanan. Isinama din niya ang aming galleong Hilario upang magamit namin ang aming mga kanyon laban kay Datu Salam. Kasama ang sandaan at limampung sundalo namin, sakay ng Hilario, at ng dalawandaang mandirigma ni Datu Tanao, sakay sa kanilang apat na bangkang pandigma na tinatawag nilang virai [sic], agad kaming nagtungo sa Maitacai. Sa gitna ng ilog, sinalubong kami ng pitong bangkang pandigma sa ilalim ni Datu Salam at agad naming pinaputukan ang mga bangkang iyon ng aming kanyon. Agad naming napalubog ang dalawa bahang gawa sa kahoy. Pinamunuan ang pagtatayo ng simbahang bato sa ilalim ni Alfredo Tanao, apo ni Datu Tanao. Ngunit mawawasak ang simbahang itong ginawa ni Alfredo Tanao dahil sa isang lindol noong 1721 at sa taong din iyon itinayo ang Katedral ni San Juan Bautista na nakatayo pa rin hanggang ngayon. Interesado akong malaman kung ano nga ba ang hitsura’t disenyo ng unang Simbahan ni San Juan Bautista. Pero hindi detalyado ang pagsasalaysay ni Gobernador-Heneral Muñoz. At naunawaan ni Allie ang pagkadismaya ko dahil di tulad ng mga tatô sa katawan ng mga babaylan, walang salita ang naiiwan.

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sa mga bangkang pandigma habang malala ang pagkasira ng apat. Pagkatapos magpaputok, agad na nagsagwan ang mga bangkang pandigma ni Datu Tanao sa mga bangkang pandigmang nalumpo ng aming mga kanyon upang hulihin o patayin ang mga nakaligtas sa aming mga putok. Kaya’t napuno ng dugo ng mga kalaban ang tubig ng Ilog San Gabriel at nagpalutang-lutang ang mga bangkay nila sa tubig na pinagsaluhan ng mga hayop ng ilog lalo na ng mga buwaya. At isa sa mga bangkang pandigma ang nakatakas sa amin at nakabalik sa Maitacai upang ibalita ang pagkatalo ng kanilang eskuwadron. Sa may Maitacai, sa kabilang pampang kami nagtayo ng kampo at naghanda para sa laban. Agad na nagpadala ng mga tagapagsalita sina Kapitan Sevilla at Datu Salam sa Maitacai at hiniling nilang sumuko si Datu Salam at ibalik ang Maitacai sa pamamahala ni Datu Tanao. Naging matagal ang usapan at negosasyon ngunit naging matigas si Datu Salam, na hiniling ang pag-alis namin at hindi na magbalik sa San Gabriel at sa kabila ng aming pag-alis ay hindi pa rin makukuha ni Datu Tanao ang dati niyang kalagayan ng bilang mataas na datu ng Maitacai at tanging ang pagpapatawad lamang kay Datu Tanao sa kanyang mga pagkakamali ang gagawin ni Datu Salam. Ngunit naging malinaw ang huling salita ni Kapitan Sevilla, kapag hindi pa rin sila sumuko at maibalik sa pamumuno ni Datu Tanao ang Maitacai pagdating ng tanghaling-tapat, sisimulan na namin ang pagpapaputok at paglusob sa bayan. Habang naghihintay ng pagtatapos ng mga negosasyon, nagdiwang kami ng isang misa para sa ikabubuti ng napipintong labanan. Sa ganitong paraa’y mapapatatag ang loob ng inyong mga sundalo dahil pagpapamalas ng pananampalataya ang bawat labanan at iyon ang unang labanan kung kailan maaaring ipamalas ng inyong mga sundalo ang kanilang katatagan bilang mga alagad ng inyong Korona at tagapagtanggol ng Nag-iisa at Tunay na Pananampalataya. Pagkatapos ng misa, nagpatay ng mga hayop ang mga mandirigmang indio at nagsayaw at kumanta ng mga awit nilang pandigma at dahil mga baguhan sa Tunay na Pananampalataya, pinagbigyan namin ang mga mandirigmang ito sa kanilang ritwal. Bagaman sinabi ng mga prayle ang kanilang pagkasuklam sa ginawang pagwiwisik ng dugo ng mga mandirigma sa lupa sa lvii 2

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paanan ng Krus, ipinaliwanag na lamang ni Kapitan Sevilla na isa iyong indiong pagpapamalas ng kanilang pananampalataya at kung ano mang masamang kanilang ginawa’y kailangang itama sa darating na panahon kapag naging matatag na ang pamamayani ng inyong Kapangyarihan.8 Dumating at lumipas ang tanghaling-tapat subalit hindi pa rin sumusuko si Datu Salam kaya’t walang nagawa si Kapitan Sevilla kundi utusan ang Hilario na paputukan ang Maitacai. At kung gaano katagal ang pakikipag-usap at negosasyon noong umaga’y naging mabilis pagkatalo ni Datu Salam. Walang nagawa ang mga moog na kahoy ng Maitacai sa sunod-sunod na pagputok ng mga kanyon. May mga sariling kanyon man ang Maitacai, higit na maliit at mahihina ang mga ito kung ihahambing sa mga kanyon namin. Hindi abot ng mga kanyon ng Maitacai ang layong kayang ipaputok ng aming mga kanyon kaya’t magpaputok man sila nang magpaputok, hindi nila kami naabot. Kaya’t naging madali ang pagbawi namin sa Maitacai. Wala sa mga sundalo namin ang namatay habang iilan lamang ang namatay o nasugatan sa hanay ng mga mandirigma ni Datu Tanao. Sa hanay naman ng mga mandirigma ni Datu Salam, limampu mula sa kabuuang tatlondaan ang namatay sa mga bolangkanyon o kaya’y sa kamay ng mga sundalo’t mandirigma sa aming panig.

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Tinatalakay dito ang ritwal ng padugo at noong taong 1639, isinabatas ang pagbabawal ng ritwal na ito. Parurusahan ng latigo ang sinomang mahuhuling lumabag sa batas. Pagdating ng 1910, ginawang pagkakakulong ng anim na buwan hanggang isang taon ang parusa. Noong taong 1956 ang huling kaso kung kailan may naparusahan dito. Kilala ang kasong ito bilang San Gabriel v. Dimagiba na umabot pa hanggang Korte Suprema. Inabsuwelto si Teodoro Dimagiba dahil sumang-ayon ang Korte Suprema na ang pagdugo ay sakop ng karapatan ng malayang pagpili’t pagpapakita ng pananampalataya. Pero kahit na nagwagi si Teodoro Dimagiba sa kasong iyon, hindi naman talaga ganoong karami ang gumagawa ng ritwal na ito sa paglipas ng mga taon. Isinabit lang ng mga abogado ang freedom of religion sa kaso para mapawalang-sala ang kanilang kliyente. Ayon sa transkripsiyon ng paglilitis, ginawa ni Teodoro ang padugo dahil may sakit ang kanyang anaak at nais niyang palakasin ang kapangyarihan ng kanyang mga dasal. At naisip kong gawin din ang ginawa ni Teodoro para palakasin ang kahilingan kong gumaling si Allie. Pero hindi naman kasi siguradong makikinig ang Diyos sa mga dasal, may alay man ito o wala.

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Pagkatapos ng kalahating oras ng pagpapaputok ng kanyon, nagtagal lamang ng kalahating minuto ang labanan. Ngunit sa kasamaang palad, nakatakas si Datu Salam at marami pa sa kanyang mga mandirigma at agtungo sila sa kasukalan ng gubat na hindi malayo sa bayan. Marami ang bumabatikos kay Kapitan Sevilla sa kanyang mga pamamaraan at desisyon upang mabawi ang Maitacai. Sinasabi nila na marami ang nasawi bukod pa sa mga mandirigma ni Datu Salam nang paputikan namin ang Maitacai gamit ng mga kanyon,9 na halos nawasak ang buong bayan dahil sa mga kanyon, na sa gitna ng kaguluhan, kasiraan at kasawian, hindi man lamang namin napatay o nahuli si Datu Salam. Subalit hindi nauunawaan ng mga bumabatikos na iniisip rin lamang ni Kapitan Sevilla ang higit na mahabang plano’t gawain namin sa lupaing ito. Sa aking pagkakakilala kay Kapitan Sevilla, isang tahimik at maunawain siyang tao at hindi siya uhaw sa dugo at kung maaari’t iiwasan niya ang isang laban. Hindi nila nauunawaan na kung hindi namin agad nabawi ang Maitacai, hindi magiging maganda ang pagtingin ni Datu Tanao sa amin at mawawalan siya ng pagtitiwala, hindi lamang kay Kapitan Sevilla kundi pati na rin sa Kapangyarihan ninyo. Hindi nila nauunawaan na kung hindi namin ginamit ang mga kanyon at pinalibutan lamang ang bayan at hintaying magutom at mauhaw si Datu Salam at ang kanyang mga mandirigma, baka mainip si Datu Tanao kasama ng kanyang mga alagad. Hindi nila nauunawaan na kung hindi namin ginamit ang mga kanyon at agad na lusubin ang Maitacai gamit ang aming mga sundalo at mandirigma ni Datu Tanao, baka marami sa aming hanay ang mamatay. Hindi iyon magandang makita ni Datu Tanao at hindi rin iyon maganda 9

Noong 1988, isang libingan na kinalalagyan ng mga kalansay na pinaniniwalaang nanggaling sa dalawandaang katao ang natagpuan nang simula ang pagtatayo ng isang fly-over sa lumang bahagi ng Lungsod ng Catalina. Noong una, walang bungo ang karamihan ng mga kalansay pero natagpuan din nang palawakin ang hukay. Nakabukod sa isang tabi ang mga bungo, magkakasama. At ayon sa carbon dating na ginawa sa mga buto, pasok ang tanda ng mga buto sa panahon nang simula ng pananakop ng mga Kastila sa San Gabriel. Tinanong ko si Allie kung iniisip ba niya ang kahihinatnan ng kanyang mga buto at sinabi niya sa akin, “Hindi. Kasi magpapa-cremate ako.” Hindi ko alam kung tatawa ba ako o mandidiri sa sinabi niyang iyon.

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kung sakaling hindi lamang si Datu Salam ang magpasyang lumaban sa amin. Kukulangin kami ng mga sundalo’t mandirigmang maaari lumaban kung kailanganin namin sila. Wala pong kaduda-duda at walang kaparis, sa aking pananaw, ang mga kakayahan ni Kapitan Sevilla pagdating sa sining ng pakikipagdigma. At kung ano man po ang mga pagkawasak na nangyari sa Maitacai ay amin nang muling naitayo sa Catalina. At ngayon po, tulad ng ginagawa namin sa Fuerza de San Miguel Arcangel, inilalatag na po namin ang pundasyon ng isang batong moog na magtatanggol sa Catalina sakaling hindi maging sapat ang San Miguel bilang isang tanggulan. Gayundin, patuloy ang paglaki’t pagdami ng mga mamamayan ng Catalina sa patuloy na paglaganap ng inyong pamamahala at ang pagkalat ng Salita ng Diyos. Patuloy rin po ang pagdami ng mga mangangalakal galing sa iba’t ibang lugar, lalo na po mula Tsina, na dumadaong sa daungan ng Catalina. Sa katunayan nga po’y nag-uumapaw na po ang mga tao at hindi na sila magkasya sa loob ng mga moog ng Catalina. At malinaw po na patuloy ang paglago ng bago’t muling binuhay na bayan na ito at nawa’y sa ilalim ng inyong masusing pamumuno, patuloy itong lalago’t maging tanda ng Kadakilaan ng ating Kaharian sa ilalim ng inyong pamamahala.

la laguna de inmaculada concepcion y el monte san jose Ang Bundok San Jose ang pangalawang pinakamataas na bundok sa San Gabriel at matatagpuan sa tuktok nito ang isang lawang pinangalanan naming Inmaculada Concepcion. Pinaniniwalaan po naming isa itong dating bulkang nahihimlay dahil ilang bahagi ng lawa’y kumukulo sa init at nag-uusok naman ang ilang bahagi ng bundok. Pinaniniwalaang may kakayahang manggamot ang mga tubig ng lawa kaya’t bagaman napakalayo’t napakatarik ng daan patungo sa lawa, marami ang pumupunta dito upang maligo sa maligamgam nitong tubig. Nagsimulang kumalat sa mga indio ang paniniwalang ang Birheng Maria ang dulot ng mahiwagang kapangyarihan ng tubig ng lawa. At nakatutuwa makita ang sigla ng mga indio sa kanilang pagtanggap sa Pinakabanal at Natatanging Salita ng Diyos. Ngunit hindi ko po masasabing naghihimala nga po ang tubig ng lawang ito dahil sa Kabanal-banalang Ina ni Jesucristong 106

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Diyos Anak. Ngunit maaari nga pong hindi naiiba ang tubig ng lawang ito sa mga mapanggamot na paliguang matatagpuan sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng Europa.10 Bagaman naipinta ko po’y isang napakagandang larawan ng Bundok San Jose at Lawa ng Inmaculada Concepcion, hindi po ito ganoon sa simula dahil sa bundok na ito at sa pampang ng lawa nagtayo ng kuta si Datu Salam at ang naging huling balwarte niya sa mga lupaing ito. Natalo na namin noon si Apo Alapaap at wala na siya ibang lugar na maaaring matakbuhan pa. Subalit tulad ng isang mabangis na hayop na sulok at wala ibang matakbuhan, hindi naging madali ang pagkuha namin sa bundok at matalo si Datu Salam. Inabot kami ng anim na buwan ng pakikipaglaban sa kasukalan ng gubat ng bundok upang lubos na mapalibutan ang lawa’t kampo ni Datu Salam na matatagpuan sa tuktok ng bundok. Sa sandaling iyon pa lamang naging malinaw ang aming napipintong pagkapanalo subalit nanatili pa rin ang kabaitan at pagmamagandang-loob ni Kapitan Sevilla at ipinaalam niya kay Datu Salam na hahayaan niyang mabuhay ang matapang na dattu [sic] at ang kanyang mga mandirigma kung susuko sila’t tatanggapin ang inyong Nakatataas na Kapangyarihan at sumampalataya sa Nag-iisang Katotohanan ng Salita ng Diyos. Subalit

10 Bukod pa sa mga dalampasigan ng San Gabriel, ang mga hot spring resort sa Lawa Concepcion ang pangalawang tagapag-akit ng mga turista sa San Gabriel. Noong 1982, naging kilala ang lawa sa buong mundo nang magamot ang isang bulag na nagngangalang Hilda Lapus at sinabi niya na bago niya muling nabawi ang kanyang paningin, nakita niya ang imahen ng Birheng Maria. Hindi kinikilala ng Simbahang Katolika ang himala ngunit ginagamit iyon ng marami sa mga paliguan sa kanilang mga patalastas. Kung ano man, kinulit ko si Allie na pumunta kami sa isang resort sa Bayan ng Concepcion. “Malay natin, baka makaranas ka ng milagro,” sabi ko. Nag-alangan siya dahil mababawasan ang oras namin para gawin ang proyekto. Pero sumang-ayon din siya at nagbiyahe kami pabundok. Nasa remission ang kanser niya noong mga panahong iyon at malakas-lakas pa siya para magawa ang paglalakbay. Nakamura kami sa isang resort kasi kakilala ko ang may-ari. Para talagang bakasyon kami noon at hindi namin inisip ang proyekto ni Allie. Tatlong araw iyon ng paliligo sa maiinit na tubig at paggagala sa mga gubat ng bundok. Isang buwan pagkatapos noon, umatake muli ang kanser ni Allie at kinailangan siyang magpaospital sa Catalina.

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naging matigas ang ulo ni Datu Salam at tulad ng pagtanggi niyang hindi isuko ang Maitacai, tinanggihan niya ulit kami kaya’t napilitan si Kapitan Sevilla na iutos ang pagsalakay sa kuta ni Datu Salam. Marahil dahil kamatayan lamang ang kanilang makakamit sa pagdating ng pagkatalo, naging magilas at matapang ang mga mandirigma ni Datu Salam sa pagtatanggol ng kanilang kuta at inabot ng buong araw at buong lakas ng aming sandatahan, na binubuo ng sandaa’t salawampung sundalo at tatlongdaa’t limampung indiong suporta laban sa dalawandaang mandirigma ni Datu Salam. At naging madugo ang labanan dahil namatay ang tatlumpu’t limang sundalo’t limampung indiong suporta. At bagaman nakakuha din kami ng maraming sugatan, hindi naging sapat ang tapang sa hanay ng mga mandirigma ni Datu Salam upang wasakin ang aming tapang. At sa katapusan ng lahat, halos lahat sa mga kalaban namatay, nasugpo silang lahat ng higit naming makapangyarihang mga sandata at sa talino sa pakikipagdigma ni Kapitan Sevilla.11 Nahuli naming buhay si Datu Salam at ilan sa kanyang mga mandirigma. At sa mga sandaling iyon na ganap na ang aming pagkapanalo, nagpakita pa rin si Kapitan Sevilla ng pagkaawa’t kabutihang-loob kay Datu Salam at binigyan pa ulit niya ng isa pang pagkakataon ang datu na tanggapin ang inyong Kapangyarihan at ang Salita ng Diyos. At tulad ng ginawa ni Datu Salam sa unang dalawang pagkakataon, tinanggihan niya sa pangatlo’t huling pagkakataon na ito ang alok ni Kapitan Sevilla 11 Isang bantayog, na tinatawag na Puntod ng mga Walang Pangalang Mandirigma, ang itinayo noong 1975, noong panahon ng Martial Law, na kumikilala sa daan-daang mandirigma’t sundalong namatay noong mga panahong iyon. Dinaanan namin ni Allie ang Bantayog nang magbakasyon kami noon sa Concepcion. Tunay na kamangha-mangha ang Bantayog na iyon. Binubuo ng dalawandaang rebulto na kumakatawan sa bawat mandirigmang namatay at nakalatag sila na pa-spiral sa isang malawag na lote at sa gitna ng spiral matatagpuan ang rebultong rendisyon ni Datu Salam. Natatangi ang disenyo ng bawat rebulto tulad ng pagkakagawa sa mga sundalong terracota ng unang emperador ng Tsina. “Kataka-taka,” sabi ni Allie, “kasi kasabay na ipinagpupugay ng bantayog na ito ang tapang ng ating mga ninuno laban sa mga kolonisador at ang rehimeng diktador na sinusuportahan ng Amerika.” At buong ngiti niyang sinabi iyon na para bang natutuwa siya sa sarili niyang kabatira. Pero mali ang pagkakaakala ko dahil sinabi niya, “Pero maganda.”

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at wala nang nagawa si Kapitan kundi patayin si Datu Salam dahil kung hahayaan naming siyang mabuhay, marami pang uri ng gulo ang maaari pa niyang magawa laban sa amin. At ang natitirang mga mandirigma nama’y ikinulong namin, hinayaang mabuhay ni Kapitan Sevilla bilang pagpapakita ng kanyang Kristiyanong pagpapahalaga sa pagpapatawad at kawanggawa.12 At doon natapos ang pag-aalsa ni Datu Salam at ang natatangi na lamang na hadlang sa inyong paghahari sa mga lupaing ito ang mga bayang pinamamayanan ng mga Tagagulor [sic] na namamalagi sa kabilang dako ng mga Bundok San Pedro at San Jose at naniniwala ako na pasasakop namin sila saloob ng susunod na dekada.13

12 Isa sa mga mandirigmang iyong ipinakulong ni Kapitan Sevilla ang makakatakas, Si Apo Sakdal (? – 1620), at pinamunuan niya ang mga paganong tulisan laban sa mga Kastila hanggang mahuli siya’t bitayin sa sala ng pag-aaklas. Napakamot talaga ako ng ulo nang gawin ito ni Kapitan Sevilla. Kung nagawa niyang patayin si Datu Salam, bakit hindi niya iyon nagawa sa mga natitirang alagad ni Datu Salam. Ayon kay Allie, inaakala ni Kapitan Sevilla na magkakaroon ng utang na loob ang mga alagad ni Datu Salam sa kanya pero hindi utang na loob ang naramdaman ng mga mandirigmang iyon kundi hiya. At hiya ang nag-udyok kay Apo Sakdal na muling mag-alsa. “Dahil ang hiya ang pinakamabigat na damdamin sa lahat lalong-lalo na sa isang mandirigma,” wika nga ni Allie. At napaisip ako, hiya kaya o utang na loob ang nararamdaman niya sa pagtulong ko sa kanya sa proyekto niya? 13 Ngunit hindi nila nasakop ang mga Tagagulod sa loob ng isang dekada dahil inabot isla ng limang dekada para magawa iyon. Gayundin, kahit pa matapos ang pananakop ng mga Kastila sa buong San Gabriel, marami ang tumakas sa mga gubat at kabundukan upang makatakas sa mga Kastila at naging mga tulisang hindi kinikilala ang kapangyarihan ng mga mananakop. Kaya’t napakayabang ang dating para sa akin ng pangungusap na ito ni Gobernador-Heneral Muñoz. Dahil noong kalagitnaan ng ika-18 siglo, dumami ang hanay ng mga tulisan at nagkaroon ng malawakang pag-aalsa sa pamumuni Diego Dimajuli (1740? – 1779). Isang bayan ang pinangalanang Dimajuli. Pero hindi sang-ayon si Allie sa akin kung may mayabang ba ang sinabing iyon ni GobernadorHeneral Muñoz. “Hindi naman kasi niya alam kung ano ang mangyayari pagkalipas ng isa’t kalahating siglo,” sabi niya, “kung ano man, alam lang natin na tanga siya.”

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el bosque de maicauaian Isa po, Kamahalan, ang kawayan sa mga pangunahing halaman dito sa San Gabriel. Masagana sa kawayan ang lupaing ito at ginagamit ng mga indio rito bilang kasangkapan ng kanilang mga kagamitan at mga tahanan. Ngunit kamangha-mangha po nang makatagpo kami ng isang gubat ng kawayan at hanggang ngayon po’y hindi po namin nasusukat nang sakto dahil sa lawak nito’t kasukalan. Naging tagpuan din ang gubat na ito ng isang labanan sa pagitan namin at ni Datu Salam. Sa aming pagtugis kay Datu Salam, pinamumunuan ko noon ang isang pulutong na binibuo ng limampung sundalo’t pitumpong indiong suporta habang binabantayan ni Kapitan Sevilla ang Catalina, sinuong namin ang gubat ng kawayan at hindi namin inaasahang naghihintay na tambangan kami ng mga mandirigma ni Datu Salam. Dahil sa kapal ng kawayan, hindi namin makita nang mabuti ang kalaban habang pinauulanan kami ng mga pana’t sibat. Ngunit hindi naging problema para sa mga baril namin ang mga kawayan at madaling tumatagos ang ilan sa mga bala namin. At kung wala man kaming matamaang mandirigma, nakasusugat ang mga tumatalsik na kawayang naluray ng aming mga bala. Kaya’t bagaman marami sa aming hanay ang nasugatan at namatay, marami rin sa mga tumambang sa amin ang nasugatan at namatay. Hindi naging mabuti ang epekto ng labanang iyon sa kalooban ng mga sundalo namin lalong-lalo na sa mga sundalong indio dahil pinaniniwalaan nilang banal na lugar ang gubat na iyon ng mga kawayan at ang hindi mabuting kinahinatnan ng labanang iyon ay dulot ng hindi pagsang-ayon ng mga espiritong nagbabantay sa gubat. Isa itong masamang pamahiing dapat pigilan at tanggalin mula sa alaala ng mga tao.14 14 Mayroong isang mito tungkol sa simula ng mga tao sa San Gabriel. Ikinuwento ko ito kay Allie noong malapit na siyang operahan. Pagkatapos daw na likhain nina Bathalam, Kagalitan at Kaugatan ang mundo, nanatiling walang kaayusan ang lahat pagkatapos malikha ang langit, lupa at karagatan. Tinangka nina Bathalam, Kagalitan at Kaugatan ng mga nilalang na mamamahala sa mundo. Kumuha sila ng kawayan at nilagyan ang loob nito ng lupa at tubig. Isinalang nila sa isang apoy, ang apoy ng buhay, ang kawayang may lupa at tubig at habang niluluto ang kawayan, hinihipan ni Bathalam ang apoy. Masyadong mahina ang apoy kaya’t sa una nilang pagtatangka’y nalikha ang mga diwata ng

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Sa ngayon po’y sinisimulan ko ang pagpuputol sa malaking bahagi ng gubat na ito upang mapakinabangan sa higit na mayamang uri ng ani.

la viejo ciudad de maitacai Bagaman hindi na mamumukhaan ang Lumang Bayan ng Maitacai sa Bagong Bayan ng Catalina, mahalaga po para sa akin na maglaan ng ilang mga talata tungkol dito upang lubos ninyong maunawaan ang Kadakilaan ng mga mamamayan nito at ng Bagong Bayan ng Catalina. Ito ang pangunahi’t pinakamalaking bayan matatagpuan sa mga pampang ng Ilong San Gabriel. Dito nanggaling ang mga mangangalakal na nakipagkalakal sa amin habang tinatapos namin ang Fuerza de San Miguel. Nang matapos na namin ang pagtatayo ng kuta, nagpatawag si Kapitan Sevilla ng isang pagpupulong kasama kaming mga opisyal niya. Iniatas niya ang pagsasaayos ng isang delegasyong maglalakbay patungo sa bayang iyong nasa taas ng Ilog. Pinamunuan ni Kapitan Sevilla ang delegasyong iyon at isinama niya ako at limampung iba pang sundalo. Sa pagbukangliwayway, sakay ng aming mga bangka, nagsagwan kami pataas ng Ilog. Hindi pa dumarating ng tanghali’y nakarating kami sa Bayan ng Maitacai. Sa pagdating namin sa San Gabriel, isa iyong bayang binubuo ng higit limandaang pamilya’t higit na anim na raang bahay at gusaling gawa sa kahoy. Pinalilibutan ang bayan ng moog na kahoy at may mga siwang ang mga moog na pinaglalagyan ng mga maliliit na kanyong tinatawag ng mga indio na lantique [sic]. Mayroon ding isang malaking daungan ng mga bangka ang Maitacai na kayang pagdaungan ng sandaang maliliit na bangka at sa daungan nakabukas ang pasukan ng moog na kahoy.15 kagubatan at langit. Sa ikalawang pagtatangka, napalakas naman ang apoy at nalikha ang mga diwata ng karagatan. Sa ikatlong pagtatangka, naging tama lamang ang kanilang apoy at nalikha ang mga tao. Nang maikuwento ko na ito, napangiti siya at sinabi, “Mayroon kayang mito tungkol sa simula ng kanser?” Hanggang noon, hindi ko pa rin talaga nauunawaan ang pagkakaroon niya ng sense of humor sa harap ng kamatayan. 15 Pinagdebatihan namin ni Allie kung bakit hindi nasa dalampasigan at nasa taas ng ilog ang Maitacai. Hinuha ni Allie na baka umiiwas ang mga tagaMaitacai sa mga paglusob mula sa dagat tulad noong nangyari sa Fuerza de

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Hindi kami dumiretso sa daungan ng Bayan ng Maitacai. Bumaba kami sa pampang sa di kalayuan ng bayan at doon nagtayo ng maliit na kampo. Pagkatapos, nagpadala kami ng sampung delegado upang ipaalam sa pamunuan ng bayan ang aming pakay. Kami ni Kapitan Sevilla, ako, isang tagasalin at pito pang sundalo ang naging tatlong delegado. Iniutos ni Kapitan Sevilla na maging handa ang mga sundalo namin sakaling hindi maging maganda ang kahahantungan ng aming pakikiharap sa mga indio. Bagaman marami ang nagsasabi ngayong isang kahibangan at nagpapamalas ng kakitiran ng isipan ng aking Kapitan na harapin ang mga indio dahil iniwan niya ang kanyang mga tauhan at walang pag-iisip na sinuong ang kawalang-kasiguraduhan ng pakikipagkilala sa namamahala ng Bayan ng Maitacai. Subalit bilang pagtatanggol, naniniwala akong ayon sa kanyang karanasan malawak na karanasan bilang isang sundalo’t pinuno ang pinagbatayan ng desisyon niyang pamunuan ang delegasyon. Kailangang personal niyang kaharap ang isang pinuno ng kahit na anong lugar upang ipakitang tapat at malinis ang iyong intensiyon at, gayundin, ipakita kung sino nga ba talaga ang namumuno’t dapat kausapin sa aming hanay bilang tunay na tagapagsalita ninyo at

San Miguel Arcangel. Hinuha ko naman na baka nagkaroon ng isang malaking tsunami noong unang panahon at nangyari sa Maitacai tulad nang nangyari sa Thailand, Aceh, Timog India at sa iba pang mga isla sa Indian Ocean. Wala nga lang na tandang arkeolohikal para patunayan ang aming mga teorya. At napapaisip ako ngayon sa halaga ng mga bagay-bagay na naririyan at maaaring mahawakan at makita kumpara sa mga nawawala’t naglalaho na. At naaalala ko ang pagkadismaya ko sa kawalan at kakulangan ng paglalarawan sa mga unang simbahang tinibag o kaya’y winasak ng panahon at ang pagkamangha ko sa mga salita ni Gobernador-Heneral Muñoz tungkol sa tatô sa katawan ng isang bangkay. Ano nga ba talaga ang natitira? Bakit may mga misteryo pa rin na mahirap maunawaan o malaman? At kapag may tanong ka’t hindi malaman ang sagot, nawawala ba ang pagnanasang alamin ang sagot? At naiisip ko ang pagkamatay ni Allie, na tulad ba ng maraming mga bagay, maglalaho lang ba siya nang ganoon-ganoon lang? Pero naaalala ko rin ang sagot niya sa tanong tungkol sa kahihinatnan ng kanyang mga buto, ang pabirong sagot niya sa tanong ko at napapaisip ako kung tunay nga bang naglalaho ang mga tunay na mahahalaga para sa atin, para sa akin.

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isa po itong pagpapamalas ng kanyang kakayahan bilang isang pinuno at isang diplomatiko. Nang papalapit na kami sa bayan, isang pulutong ng dalawampu’t limang mandirigma, nakalabas at hawak nila ang kanilang mga espadang tinatawag na quiri [sic] sa isang kamay habang sa kabila nama’y hawak nila ang kanilang pananggalang na tinatawag na callasan [sic], ang lumabas mula sa bayan at sinalubong kami. Puno ng mga disenyo ang kanilang mga braso’t binti kahawig ng mga pintados sa Islas Filipinas. Pansindak sa amin ang paglabas ng dalawampu’t limang mandirigmang iyon at inaasahan na iyon ni Kapitan Sevilla kaya’t nang biglaang inihanda ng mga kasama naming sundalo ang kanilang baril, agad na inutusan ni Kapitan Sevilla ang mga sundalong panatilihing kipkip ang kanilang mga baril. Kasama ng mga mandirigma ang tagapagsalita ni Datu Tanao at tinanong kung sino kami. Nagpakilala si Kapitan Sevilla bilang pinuno namin at tagapagsalita ninyo, ng Dakilang Hari ng Castilla, at nais naming makausap ang kanilang pinuno. At bilang tanda ng aming malinis na intensiyon, ipinakita ni Kapitan Sevilla ang dala naming regalo, isang kuwintas na gintong pinalamutian ng mga brilyante at isang sako ng paminta at isang sako ng yerba, para sa kanilang pinuno. At sinabi ng tagapagsalita ni Datu Tanao na aayusin niyang makipagkita kami sa kanilang pinuno gayong nagdadala kami ng regalo’t nagbibigay-galang sa kanilang pinuno. Nang makapasok kami sa loob ng mga moog, doon ko malapitang napagmasdan ang Maitacai. Unang sumalubong sa amin ang tindero’t mangangalakal ma lumabas mula sa kanilang mga bahay na malapit sa daunga’t tarangkahan ng moog at bitbit nila ang kanilang mga tinda at tinangka nilang makipagkalakal sa amin ngunit hinarangan sila ng mga mandirigmang nakapalibot at nagbabantay sa amin. Nagpatuloy kami paloob ng bayan at napansin ko habang naglalakad ang pabilog ang pagkakaayos ng mga bahay at gusali, na kung paanong nasa gitna ng bayan matatagpuan ang mga malalaking bahay ng pamilya ng mga datu at ang mga lugar-sambahan habang pinalilibutan ang mga ito ng bahay ng mga higit na nakabababang pamilya. Gayundin, nakatayo sa pinataas na lupa ang mga malalaking bahay at mga lugar-sambahan. Pinatigil kami ng lvii 2

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tagapagsalita ni Datu Tanao at hindi kami agad pinapanhik sa pinataas na lupang iyon. Nauna ang tagapagsalita patungo sa tahanan ni Datu Tanao habang iniwan niya kami sa paanan ng pinataas na lupa sa ilalim ng pagbabantay ng mga mandirigma. Bumalik siya’t sinamahan kami papunta sa tahanan ni Datu Tanao. Isang dosenang mandirigma ang nakabantay sa tahanang iyon. Hiniling ng tagapagsalita na magsama si Kapitan Sevilla ng dalawa mula sa amin upang makipagharap sa kanilang pinuno. Isinama ako ni Kapitan Sevilla at ang aming tagasalin sa loob, ako ang nagbitbit ng sako ng paminta, ang tagasalin ang may dala ng sako ng yerba at si Kapitan Sevilla ang may hawak ng kuwintas. Madilim-dilim sa loob ng tahanan ng pinuno ng Bayan ng Maitacai ngunit sa pagkakahawi ng telang nagsisilbing pinto ng tahanan at sa mga telang nagtatakip sa mga bintana, agad naming nakita si Datu Tanao, na nakaupo sa sahig at nakaupo sa tapat ng isang mababang mesa. Namangha ako sa kabataan ni Datu Tanao at hindi ako makapaniwala na ang isang tulad niya’y pinamumunuan ang isang bayan tulad ng Maitacai.16 Inilagay namin ang aming dalang regalo sa mesa at kinuha ito ng tagapagsalita ni Datu Tanao upang suriin. Pagkatapos suriin, inaabot ng tagapagsalita kay Datu Tanao ang inihandog naming kuwintas at pinagmasdan ito ni Datu Tanao nang mabuti at mababakas sa mukha niya ang pagkamangha. Nagpakilala si Kapitan Sevilla at agad na ipinaalam ang aming kahilingan mula kay Datu Tanao, na kilalanin ang Banal na Paghahari ninyo, na ibinibigay ng Kasunduan ng Torrevillas sa inyo, Kamahalan, at ang pagpapabinyag at pagtanggap sa Salita at Kabanalan 16 Pinaniniwalaang hindi pa lumalampas ng edad ng dalawampu si Datu Tanao noong unang dumating ang mga Kastila. Namana niya ang ranggo ng datu mula sa kanyang ama at bagaman baguhan sa hanay ng mga datu, nananitiling malakas ang impluwensiya niya marahil dahil sa pangalan ng kanyang ama sa hanay ng mga datu. Kapag iniisip ko naman ang hitsura ni Datu Tanao, isang payat na tao ang nakikita ko sa mata ng aking isipan. At tulad ng pagkakaiba ng iniisip naming hitsura ni Datu Salam, iba ang iniisip ni Allie na hitsura. Iniisip niyang pogi si Datu Tanao, matangkad, matangos ang ilong at matipuno. “At bakit naman?” tanong ko. “Kasi ang mga pogi ang hindi dapat agad paniwalaan,” sagot niya. “A, kaya pala hindi mo pa rin ako pinagkakatiwalaan,” sabi ko. At tumawa lang siya sa sinabi ko.

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ng kaisa-isang Diyos. Ngumiti si Datu Tanao at tinanong, “At ano naman ang makukuha naming kapalit sa pagkilala ng inyong Hari at Diyos?” At sinabi ni Kapitan Sevilla na bukod sa kayamanang maaari niya makamit sa pakikipagkalakal sa amin, “kakapiranggot lamang ang inihahandog naming kayaman ngayon sa inyo ang maaari ninyong makuha,” sabi ni Kapitan, na pagkilala ng aming Hari sa kanyang natatanging kapangyarihan dito sa bayan at mga lupaing ito ang makukuha niya at kasama noon ang proteksiyon ng aming sandatahan. Pinag-isipang mabuti ni Datu Tanao aming alok, at mataimtim niyang pinagmasdan ang aming handog na mga regalo habang nag-iisip. Ngumiti siya at sinabing tinatanggap niya ang aming kahilingan kung mangangako si Kapitan Sevilla na tutulungan siya at ang kanyang bayan laban sa mga kalaban nilang indio na tinatawag niyang mga Tagagulor [sic]. Nangako si Kapitan Sevilla sa hiling ni Datu Tanao at pinagtibay nila ang kanilang kasunduan sa ritwal ng pacto de sangre na kahawig sa mga pacto de sangre na matatagpuan Islas Filipinas ngunit hinahaluan ng gatas ng kambing ang kanilang pinagsamang dugo bago nila iyon inumin. Kasama ng pacto de sangre, lumagda sina Datu Tanao at Kapitan Sevilla ng isang kasunduang dinala ko at isang permanenteng tanda ng pagkakasunduan. Pagkatapos ng ritwal, nagulat na lamang kami nang biglang pumasok ang isang pang datu, si Datu Salam, at pinagsisigawan niya si Datu Tanao. Ayon sa aming tagasalin, nagagalit daw si Datu Salam dahil walang tinawag na pagpupulong si Datu Tanao kasama ang iba pang mga datu upang makipagharap sa amin at kung ano mang kasunduang ginawa ni Datu Tanao ay hindi sumasalamin sa kagustuhan ng lahat.17 17 Ayon sa relacion na isinulat ni Padre Hidalgo, isang Kapulungan ng mga Datu ang namumuno sa bawat bayan sa sinaunang lipunan ng San Gabriel. Pumipili ang mga datu ng isa sa kanila bilang pinuno bagaman madali siyang matatanggal sakaling mapagpasyahan ng mga kasamahan niyang datu ang kanyang kakulangan bilang pinuno. Kaya’t hindi lubos ang kapangyarihan ng Punong Datu at pala-palagi niyang kinakailangan ang pagsang-ayon o payo ng kanyang mga kapwa datu. Natuwa ako dito dahil mayroon na ring konsepto ng demokrasya noon. Pero nilnaw sa akin ni Allie na hindi naman talaga ang lahat ng mamamayan ang nagpapasya para sa buong bayan at naiiwan ang kakayahang ito sa piling hanay ng mga taong may kapangyarihang ekonomikal at

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Nang titigan niya kami’y nanlilisik ang kanyang mga mata at tuluyan siyang umalis. Nagpaumanhin si Datu Tanao sa kabastusang ipinakita ni Datu Salam at bago kami umalis, binigyan kami ni Datu Tanao ng isang espadang pinanday ng kanilang pinakamagaling na panday at ng sedang kulay pula at isa nama’y kulay dilaw. Mababatid naman po ninyo, Kamahalan, na walang ginawang masama si Kapitan Sevilla sa aming pakikipagharap kay Datu Tanao upang sabihing siya ang may dahilan ng pagkawasak ng Bayan ng Maitacai at kung ano man ang namamagitan kina Datu Tanao at Datu Salam, nasa pagitan lamang nila iyon at wala nang pagkakasangkot si Kapitan Sevilla. Sa kabuuan ng aming pakikipag-usap kay Datu Tanao, ipinamalas ni Kapitan ang kanyang kakayahang makipag-usap at madali niyang nakumbinsi si Datu Tanao sa aming mga hiling. Nakalulungkot lamag isipin na ang isang kapuri-puring gawin na paglalatag ng inyong Kapangyarihan sa lupaing ito binahiran ng pambabastos ni Datu Salam at ngayo’y binabahiran ng kasinungalingan ng mga mapag-imbot.

la orilla del mar de san gabriel Bagaman may sariling pangalan ang mga indio sa lupaing ito, minarapat na naming maglaan ng bagong pangalan ang mga lugar sa buong kapuluan, sa ilalim ng Kapangyarihan ng Korona at ng Simbahang Katolika. San Gabriel ang ipinangalan namin sa dalampasigang una naming inapakan, at ganoon na rin sa buong kapuluan, bilang pagpupugay sa kanya at sa kanyang araw ng kapistahan. Hindi masukat ang lugod na aming naramdaman nang una naming lakarin ang mga buhangin ng dalampasigang iyon. Maputi ang buhangin doon at pinong-pino subalit nakausli sa ilang bahagi nito ang maiitim at matutulis na batong bulkan kaya’t tinawag ang ng mga indio ang dalampasigan na Ytimnavuto [sic]. Malawak at malayo ang dalampasigang iyon. Kahit na nakababa na mula kaming lahat politikal. “Wala naman talagang malaking pinagkaiba sa nangyayari ngayon,” panapos niya. “Kaya paulit-ulit lang ang mga pangyayari sa kasaysayan?” tanong ko. “Hindi,” sagot niya, “Maraming pangyayari. May mga sandaling magkakahawig pero iba sila sa isa’t isa. Pero sa pagkarami-raming nangyayari, wala naman talaga binago ang mga pangyayaring iyon.”

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na dalawandaang sundalo tila napakaunti pa rin namin para masakop ang dalampasigan. Kaya’t hindi ko malayong isiping maaaring magamit ang buhangin ng dalampasigang ito, sa kapinuhan nito’t dami, upang makagawa ng magagandang kristal at salamin. At hindi po ako magtataka kung magiging kilala ang aangkating buhangin ng lupaing ito at ang mga salaming malilikha nito, at di malayong palalamutian ng mga kristal at salaming gawa sa buhangin ng San Gabriel ang mga palasyo’t simbahan ng inyong Dakilang Kaharian.18 Buong tapang na nilusong ni Kapitan Sevilla ang dagat sa aming pagbaba mula sa bangka at pag-ahon mula sa tubig. Siya ang nasa uluhan naming lahat. Buong tikas niyang tinanaw ang magkabilang dulo ng dalampasigan, tila siya isang agilang mainam na pinagmamasdan ang kanyang lupaing pinagngangasuhan. Ibang-iba ang Kapitan Sevilla na iyon sa Kapitan Sevilla na inamin sa akin, sa kaligitnaan ng aming paglalakbay mula Islas Filipinas patungong Islas de San Gabriel, ang kanyang agamagam sa pamumuno ng ekspedisyong iyon. Hindi ko inisip noon kung makapagbibigay ba ng lakas ng loob ang sasabihin ko ngunit sinabi ko sa kanya ang aking buong pusong pagtitiwala sa kanyang mga kakayahan, na hindi dapat niyang pagdudahan ang sarili niya dahil naniniwala

18 Magiging kilala nga ang San Gabriel para sa salamin at kristal ngunit hindi ito mangyayari sa pamamahala ni Gobernador-Heneral Muñoz. Sa dulong bahagi na ng pamamahala ng mga Espanyol sa San Gabriel unang itatayo ang pagawaan ng salamin at kristal. Naging malagong industriya sa San Gabriel ang paggawa ng salamin at kristal mula noong itayo ang mga pagawaan ng salamin hanggang sa mga dekada ng 1930. Ngunit nagpanukala ang Pamahalaan ng San Gabriel na itigil ito upang mapanatili kagandahan ng mga dalampasigan. Sa mga panahong ipinanukala ito, lumalago na ang turismo sa San Gabriel habang naghihingalo na ang industriya ng salamin at kristal. Tanging isang museo sa Catalina tungkol sa dating industriya na itong naging mahalaga sa kasaysayan ng San Gabriel. Bagaman may pailan-ilan pang mga pagawaan ng salamin sa San Gabriel, nakakalungkot ang maglakad sa mga pasilyo ng museo na iyon na nagtatanghal ng kamatayan ng isang industriya. At sinabi ko nga iyon kay Allie habang binibisita namin ang Museo Kristal, na ang museo, tulad ng pagkakasabi ng mga naunang historyador, ang libingan ng maraming bagay. “Nagdadrama ka na naman,” sabi niya nang nakangiti. Sa loob-loob ko, mukhang sumang-ayon siya sa sinabi ko.

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akong kaya niyang tapatan kung hindi ma’y lampasan ang katapangan, kagitingan, at katalinuhang kanyang naipamalas noon sa Islas Filipinas bilang isang sundalo. Kamahalan, kung tunay ngang isang sakim na tao si Kapitan Sevilla, makasarili’t kayamanan lamang ang iniisip, magkakaroon kaya siya ng pag-aagam-agam na mararamdaman sa kanyang kakayahan upang paglingkuran nang tapat at masigasig ang Korona at Simbahan?

el rio de san gabriel Ang Ilog San Gabriel ang pinakamalaking ilog sa lupaing ito. Ito ang nagsisilbing daanan ng mga indiong nakatira sa pampang ng ilog tungo sa karagatan. Ito ang nag-uugnay sa mga bayan doon upang makipagkalakal sa mga mangangalakal na Sangley. Pagkatapos magpahinga’t magdaos ng isang misa, pinagpasyahan ni Kapitan Sevilla, sa payo na rin ng iba pang pinagkakatiwalaan niyang mga opisyal, na muling sakyan ang aming mga bangka’t baybayin ang dalampasigan upang makapaghanap ng isang higit na mainam na lugar na mapagtatayuan ng kampo. Nagpatuloy kaming magsagwan patungong Silangan habang sumusunod sa amin ang Hilario’t Buenaflor. At sa aming pagsasagwan, umabot kami sa bibig ng malaking Ilog San Gabriel. Tinawag ng mga indio ang ilog na Saua [sic], hindi lamang dahil sa laki’t hubog nito ngunit dahil na rin sa dami ng sawang matatagpuan sa tubig nito.19 At sa mga unang buwan namin sa pananakop ng lupaing ito, hindi iilang sawa ang kinain namin upang mapanatiling malakas at 19 Pinalitan ang pangalan noong 1741 bilang pagkilala sa pagkakatagpo ni Kapitan Sevilla sa bukal na pinanggagalingan ng ilog. At pagdating naman ng Enero 23, 1950, pinangalanan naman itong Ilog Alfredo Garido, ang unang pangulo ng Republika ng San Gabriel. Pero pareho lang naman ang ilog. Iisa lang ang ilog na ito. Isang ilog na maraming pangalan at imbes na magpabinyag ka sa ilog, ang ilog ang binibinyagan. At kakatuwa larawan ang nakita ko sa isang artsibo na nagpapakita ng unveiling ng plaka na nagpapakita ng bagong pangalan noong Enero 23, 1950. Nasa ospital na noon si Allie nang makita ko ang larawan at ikuwento ko sa kanya iyon at sumang-ayon ako sa kanya, na oo marami ngang nangyayari pero hindi naman talaga nagbabago ang lahat.

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malusog ang aming katawan at magawa namin ang iniatas ninyo at ng Simbahan sa amin dahil, batay na rin sa karanasan namin sa pakikipagdigma sa ngalan ng Korona’t Simbahan, kailangang panatilihin ang lakas ng katawan upang magawa ang iniaatas ng kalooban. Subalit hindi lamang po sawa, Kamahalan, ang matatagpuan sa Ilog na ito. Puno rin po ito ng iba’t ibang uri ng isda at sa mga pampang nito’y matatagpuan ang iba’t ibang uri ng hayop at mga ibong nanggaling sa ibang lupain upang pansamantalang magpahinga sa islang ito at mga buwaya’t bayawak na paminsan-minsa’y nagpapaaraw sa mga buhangin ng ilog at dalampasigan.20 Sinasamba ng mga indio ang mga buwaya bilang mga alagad ng kanilang mga diyus-diyusan kaya’t inaalayan sila ng mga namamangka ng alay na karne kapag mayroon silang nakakasalubong na mga buwaya. Sa mga linggo habang itinatayo namin ang Fuerza de San Miguel Arcangel, noon ang una naming kakikipag-ugnayan sa mga indio ng lupaing ito. Noong una’y mga paisa-isang mga bangka ang nagsasagwan galing sa kalooban ng ilog ngunit hindi nagpatuloy nang makita kaming nagtatrabaho sa bibig ng ilog at magbabalik sila mula sa kanilang pinanggalingan. Sa utos ni Kapitan Sevilla, hindi na namin lubos na inusisa pa ang mga indiong iyong nakasakay ng bangka. Sa kuro ni Kapitan Sevilla, kung hindi pa sila handang makipag-usap sa ami’y hindi namin dapat sila pilitin. Nanggaling ang kurong ito mula sa kanyang taon ng paglilingkod bilang sundalo sa Islas Filipinas at malay na malay siya sa mga kapangahasang nagawa doon dahil sa kainipan at pagmamadali ng mga namumuno. At hindi nga nagtagal, lumapit na rin ang 20 Sa ngayon, wala nang mga sawa’t buwaya na matatagpuan sa Ilog Garido. Dati’y may tatlong uri ng sawa at isang uri ng buwaya ang matatagpuan dito sa San Gabriel. Nangyari sa kanila ang nangyari sa mga dodo dahil sa matinding pangangaso at, di kalaunan, sa polusyon ng ilog. Noong ika-17 siglo, naging kilala ang San Gabriel sa ginawa nitong mga sapatos at kagamitan mula sa balat ng mga sawa at buwaya. Isang uri na lamang ng sawa, ang crocodylus gabrielus, na bahagi ngayon sa nanganganib na mawalang mga hayop, ang matatagpuan sa mga maliliit na sapa sa kagubatan at kabundukan at sa mga zoo. Tulad din kaya ang mga zoo ng mga museo na laman ng bagay na patay na o mamamatay na?

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isang bangka’t nagtangkang makipagkalakal sa amin. Dahil may kasama kaming mga indiong galing Luzon, na hindi malayong kapamilya’t kakalakal ng mga indio dito sa Islas de San Gabriel, naging madali ang aming unang pakikipag-usap at pakikipagkalakal. At hindi nagtagal, ang paisaisang bangka’y naging dose-dosena araw-araw. At lahat sila’y nanggaling mula sa ilog at nahinuha naming mayroon isang malaking komunidad na matatagpuan doon dahil sa dami ng mga bangka’t mangangalakal na araw-araw na nakipagkalakal sa amin. Nakakuha kami, bukod pa sa mga prutas at pagkain, ng mga damit na gawa sa seda, porselana, mga pasong gawa sa putik at bakal. Sa tubig din ng ilog na ito namin unang bininyagan ang mga unang Kristiyanong indio ng lupaing ito. Isa sa mga unang nabinyagan si Datu Tanao, kasama ng higit kalahati ng mga mamamayan ng Maitacai na sumusunod sa kanya. At dahil matatagpuan ang karamihan ng mga indio sa pampang ng ilog, naging madali ang aming pananakop lalo na nang matalo namin si Datu Salam. Hindi lumaban o tinanggihan ng lahat ng mga bayan sa pampang ng ilog at aming hiling na pagpailalim sa inyong Kapangyarihan at kusa nilang tinanggap ang Salita ng Diyos.21

la fuerza de san miguel arcangel Sa pampang ng bibig ng Ilog San Gabriel, kung saan naghahalo ang sariwang tubig ng ilog at ang maalat na tubig ng dagat, kami po’y dito nagtayo ng kuta na ipinangalan namin kay San Miguel Arcangel upang, tulad ng Dakilang Arcangel, buong tapat naming maipagtatanggol at maipaglalaban ang Walang Hanggang Kapangyarihan ng Korona at ang Walang Hanggang Katotohanan ng Salita ng Diyos mula sa Kasamaan at Kasinungalingan. 21 Ayon kay Padre Hidalgo, nang matalo si Datu Salam sa Maitacai, pinuntahan niya ang bawat bayan sa pampang ng Ilog Garido upang humingi ng tulong. Pero maliban sa pailan-ilang mandirigma at sa Bayan ng Naynay, walang bayan ang lubos na nagbigay ng tulong kay Datu Salam. Ganoon ba kadaling mawalan ng tiwala sa isang tao, tanong ko kay Allie. “Hindi,” sagot niya, “Mas makapangyarihan lang ang baril.”

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Ang kutang ito ang nagsisilbi, mula noon hanggang ngayon, bilang pangunahin naming tanggulan at pagtatahanan ng kapangyarihang sandatahan ng aming misyon.22 Lahat kami’y tumulong sa pagputol at pagtayo ng mga moog at mga bahay na bumubuo sa kuta. Isang malago’t masukal na gubat ang matatagpuang bumabaybay sa mga buhangin ng dalampasigan. Maging si Kapitan Sevilla’y nanguna sa gawaing ito ng pagtatayo ng kuta at hindi iilang malalaking puno ang kanyang sariling mga kamay. At dahil sa kanyang masugid na pamumuno, ang trabaho ng pagtatayo kuta’y natapos sa loob lamang ng ilang linggo sa halip na ilang buwan. Sa ngayon, nakapaghanda na po ako ng mga pangunahing plano upang lubos pang patatagin ang kuta upang higit nitong magampanan ang mga pangangailangan ng aming gawain dito sa lupaing ito. Namulat kami sa katotohanang hindi sapat ang mga malalaking kahoy upang maipaglaban ang Kapangyarihan ng Korona’t Simbahan sa lupaing ito nang lumusob ang isang pulutong ng mga tulisan.23 Bagaman nagwagi kami dahil sa tapang ng inyong mga sundalo’t talino ng mga Kapitan, maaari pang pag-ibayuhin ang lakas ng sandatahan natin sa pagpapaayos ng Fuerza de San Miguel Arcangel. Sinimulan na namin ang paglalatag, gamit ang mga itim na batong-bulkan na matatagpuang nakakalat sa dalampasigan, ang isang pundasyong inaasahan kong magiging isang 22 Isa na ngayong pangunahing puntahang historikal ang Fuerza de San Miguel Arcangel. Mayroon itong museo at mga tanghalang pinagdarausan ng mga dula at konsiyerto bukod sa lumang libingan ng mga sundalo. Tinangka namin ni Allie na makapunta dito sa lahat ng pagkakataon lalo na sa mga artsibo ng Tanao Museum. At oras-oras ang iginugol namin sa mga araw na iyon ng paglilibot sa buong museo at pagbabasa ng mga dokumento na pwede na kaming magtrabaho doon bilang mga tour guide. 23 Tinutukoy dito ni Gobernador-Heneral Muñoz ang paglusob ni Kanlas, isang datu mula sa kabilang bahagi ng San Gabriel na hindi pa nasasakop noong 1605. Muntik nang makuha ni Kanlas ang Fuerza de San Miguel dahil naging surpresa ang pagsalakay. Pero nakarating agad ang tulong mula sa Catalina at naitaboy ang kanyang puwersa at namatay si Kanlas sa labanan. At naisip ko kung naitaboy ni Kanlas ang mga Kastila, paano na kaya ang San Gabriel ngayon? “Ano ba,” sabi ni Allie sa akin nang sabihin ko ito sa kanya, “Naniniwala ka pa rin ba nagbabago ang lahat dahil sa maliliit na mga bagay at pangyayari?”

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matatag na Batong Moog. Hinding-hindi ko po mamaliitin ang halaga ng kutang ito sa kapakanan ng aming gawain sa mga lupaing ito. Ang kuta ang nagsisilbing unang tanggulan bago makarating ang kalaban sa iba pang mga bayang nakahimlay sa pampang ng Ilog San Gabriel, lalonglalo na ang Bagong Bayan ng Catalina.

el monte san pedro Ang Bundok San Pedro, na ipinangalan namin sa pinakaunang Santo Papa ng Simbahang Katolika, ang pangalawang pinakamataas na bundok sa buong San Gabriel. At kamakailan po’y nakatagpo kami ng isang malaking deposito ng ginto sa loob ng isa sa mga maraming kuweba ng bundok at nakahanda na ang isang plano upang magtatayo ng isang minahan doon. Sa isang kuweba naman sa ibang bahagi ng bundok ay matatagpuan ang bukal na pinanggagalingan ng Ilog San Gabriel. Si Kapitan Sevilla mismo ang nakatagpo sa bukal na ito. Isinagawa niya ang paghahanap ng pinanggagalingan ng tubig ng Ilog San Gabriel pagkatapos talunin si Datu Salam lubusang mapalaganap ang inyong Kapangyarihan sa kabuuan ng lupaing ito. Nang humantong kami sa isang kuwebang pinanggagalingan ng tubig, pinamunuan ni Kapitan Sevilla ang pagpasok dito at doon niya natagpuan ang pinanggagalingang bukal ng ilog. Ngunit sa kasamaang palad, dinapuan si Kapitan Sevilla ng isang kamangha-mangha at hindi maipaliwanag na sakit pagkatapos naming makabalik sa Catalina mula sa Bundok San Pedro. Ilang araw siyang nahimlay, isang nag-aapoy na lagnat ang bumalot sa kanya at nahirapan siya sa paghinga. At sa ikalimang araw ng kanyang pagkasakit, binawian ng buhay ang aking dakilang Kapitan, noong ikadalawampu ng Agosto ng taong isanlibo limandaan at siyamnapu’t siyam.24 Pala-palagi akong 24 Pinaniniwalaang namatay si Kapitan Sevilla sa isang impeksiyon sa baga na marahil ay dulot ng isang bacteria o fungus na kanyang nalanghap sa loob ng Kuweba ni Santo Domingo. Inilibing si Kapitan Sevilla sa libingan ng Fuerza de San Miguel Arcangel. Noong 1669, inilipat ang kanyang labi, kasama ng mga labi ng iba pang mahahalagang opisyal na inilibing sa San Miguel sa batong Simbahan ni San Juan Bautista. Ngunit noong 1721, pagkatapos wasakin ng lin-

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nasa tabi niya noong nakahimlay siya’t naghihingalo at bago siya tuluyang mabawian ng buhay, ipinangako ko sa kanyang gagawin kong lahat upang mapatupad ang kanyang sinimulan. Ngunit bukod sa pagkakaroon ng masaganag likas na yaman ng bundok, mahalagang banggitin na ang Bundok San Pedro, bago pa man tanggapin ng mga indio ang Salita ng Nag-iisang Diyos, ang pinakabanal na lugar para sa kanilang paganong paniniwala. At isang bayan ang nabuo sa San Pedro at binubuo ito mga taong banal na tinatawag na vavailon [sic] at sila ang namamahala sa lahat ng ritwal ng kanilang paganong paniniwala para sa iba’t ibang bayang matatagpuan sa ibaba ng bundok at sa tabi ng Ilog San Gabriel.25 Isa ang bayan na iyon sa bundok ang hindi tumanggap sa inyong Kapangyarihan at sa Salita ng Diyos nang buong malay at puso di tulad ng ibang mga bayang aming nasakop sa ilalim ng pangalan ninyo at sa ngalan ni Jesucristo dahil sa bayang ito tumakbo si Datu Salam upang humingi ng tulong mula kay Apo Alapaap, isang babae at ang pinakamataas na taong banal sa kabuuan ng San Gabriel.26

dol ang San Juan Bautista, nalamang nawawala sa sa kanyang sarkopigo labi ni Kapitan Sevilla. Hindi muling nabawi ang katawan niya maliban sa kanyang kanang kamay na natagpuan sa tindahan ng isang mangangalakal na naniniwalang, dahil nasa kanyang pag-aari ang kamay, binabantayan ng kaluluwa ni Kapitan Sevilla ang kanyang negosyo at magdudulot iyon ng suwerte. Mabuti na lang at hindi na nga pinoproblema ni Allie ang nangyari kay Kapitan Sevilla dahil naikalat na namin ang kanyang buhangin sa dagat. 25 Naynay ang pinaniniwalaang pangalan ng bayan na ito. Bagaman may sariling mga datu at pinuno ang bawat bayan ng sinaunang San Gabriel, iisa lamang ang panteon ng mga diyos ang kanilang pinaniniwalaan. At nagsisilbi ang Naynay bilang pangunahing bayan ng kanilang paniniwala. Taon-taon, tuwing tag-araw, nagsasagawa ng isang peregrinasyon ang mga mamamayan ng mga bayan ng San Gabriel patungong Naynay upang ipagdiwang ang pagkalikha sa mundo at upang pagbibigay-galang sa kanilang mga ninuno. Pero katakatakang hindi binanggit ni Gobernador-Heneral Muñoz ang pangalan ng bayan gayong binanggit ito sa relacion ni Padre Hidalgo. “Gusto lang kasi niyang limutin natin ang bayan na iyon,” sabi ni Allie, “Para siya ang may huling salita.” At ang huling salita ang pinakamahalaga sa lahat ng mga salita. 26 Ang punong babaylan ng Naynay, na maaaring maging lalaki o babae, ang nagsisilbing nagapamagitan ng mortal at materyal na mundo sa mundo ng mga diyos at ng mga kaluluwa. Maaaring pumunta si Datu Salam kay Apo Alapaap

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Pinaniniwalaang sinasapian siya ng kanilang mga diyus-diyusan at nagiging tagapagsalita ng kanilang mga ninuno at sinasabi ding sandaang taong gulang na siya kahit na may katawan at hitsura ng isang babaing dalawampung taong gulang. Kamangha-mangha ang mga sabi-sabing ito at malinaw po na isa itong masamang paniniwala dahil malinaw na sinasapian sila ng demonyo at hindi kabanal-banal ang kanilang mga paniniwala. Kaya’t mabuti na rin pong nasugpo na rin namin siya kasama ng kanyang mga kampon na puno ng kasinungalingan at kasamaan. Subalit nakipagpulong pa kami noon sa kanyang tahanan sa ilalim ng pinaniniwalaan nilang pinakamatanda’t pinakabanal na puno ng kanilang relihiyon at doon sa tahanang iyon, na sinasabing pinaggaganapan ng iba’t ibang kahindik-hindik na ritwal ng kanilang kasuklam-suklam na paniniwala, pinagbigyan ni Kapitan Sevilla si Apo Alapaap, tulad ng pagbibigay niya nang maraming pagkakataon si Datu Salam, na hahayaan silang mabuhay kung iwawaksi nila ang kanilang paganong mga paniniwala at tanggapin ang Tunay at Nag-iisang Katotohanan ng Salita ng Diyos at Kabanal-banalang Kapangyarihan ng Santo Papa sa ating mga kaluluwa. At sa likod ng tabing na pumapalibot sa kanya upang tanging ang anino lamang niya ang aming nakikita dahil walang pangkaraniwang tao ang maaaring makasilay sa kanyang mukha, mariin at malinaw na tinanggihan ni Apo Alapaap ang alok ni Kapitan Sevilla at agad kaming umalis upang maghanda agad sa pakikipaglaban. At nagkaroon ng isang napakamadugong labanan, isa na sa pinakamadugo sa maikling panahon namin dito sa San Gabriel, dahil bagaman mga nagsisilbing mga banal na tao ng kanilang mga lupain, naging mabangis ang pakikipaglaban nila sa amin, higit na mabangis sa labanang naganap sa pampang ng Lawa ng Inmaculada Concepcion. At tunay na kasindak-sindak ang mga alagad ni Apo Alapaap dahil, tulad ng iba pang mga indio, puno sila ng mga larawan sa katawan ngunit, ditulad ng ibang mga pangkaraniwang indiong mandirigma, pinaniniwa(? – 1594) upang humingi ng pagbabasbas mula sa mga diyos at mga ninuno laban sa mga Kastila. Pero higit na makapangyarihan talaga ang mga baril kaysa sa mga anito.

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laang may kakaibang kapangyarihan ang mga larawang iyon. Sinasabing iba at natatangi sa bawat pari ang bawat larawan sa kanilang katawan dahil galing daw sa mga panaginip ng bawat pari ang mga larawan, at hindi lamang iyon mga pangkaraniwang panaginip dahil mga panaginip iyong dumadapo sa kanila tuwing nakikipag-ugnay sa kanilang mga diyus-diyusan kaya’t walang isang katawan ang may kaparehong latag ng mga larawan. Sa aking nakitang mga disenyo sa katawan ng ilan sa kanila, nakita ko ang larawan sa likod ng isang bangkay ng isang buwang nilalamon ng isang buwaya habang tinutuka ng mga agila ang mga mata nito. Sa isa nama’y nakapalibot sa bawat braso ang isang bayawak na may walong paa habang mayroong larawan ng isang pusa sa dibdib nito na tinatangkang kainin ang sarili nitong buntot. Matinding sakit daw ang pinagdadaanan ng mga pari upang mailagay ang mga larawangpanaginip nila at ang iba pa nga’y dinapuan ng matinding sakit dahil sa pagpapapinta ng mga larawan sa kanilang katawan kaya’t hindi katakataka na kahit pinagbabaril namin sila o kaya’y masugatan ng mga sibat at pana, hindi sila sumusuko’t bumabangon nang sugatan at lulusubin pa rin ang aming hanay. Maging si Apo Alapaap ay nagpakita ng isang kakaibang kabangi-san dahil ayon sa ilang nakasaksi, habang nasa gitna ng labanan, sinapian siya ng kanilang diyos ng digma at siya mismo ang namuno sa kanyang mga alagad at nanguna sa pagsugod sa aming hanay.27 Humina ang loob ng mga indiong sumusuporta sa amin nang masaksihan nila ang kabangisan ng mga kalabang may katawang puno ng mga pambihirang larawan dahil iniuugnay nila ang kanilang kabangisan sa mga larawang iyon, mga larawang iniuugnay nila sa kanilang kabanalan. Ngunit nangibabaw pa rin kami sa dulo ng lahat, salamat na lamang sa tapang at pamumuno ni Kapitan Sevilla. Dalawampu’t dalawang sundalo at limampung indiong suporta mula sa apat na raang kabuang dami ng aming sandatahan ang namatay sa labanan. Walang natira ni isa sa mga 27 Si Kagalitan, ang diyos ng paghihiganti at hustisya, ang marahil na diyos na tinutukoy niya dito. Siya rin ang diyos ng tubig. Si Bathalam ang diyos ng langit habang si Kaugatan ang diyos ng lupa. Tinanong ko kay Allie kung bakit kahit na alam namin ang kanilang pangalan, hindi namin sila sinasamba? “Hindi na mahalaga iyon,” sagot niya, “Basta alam natin iyon.”

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kampon ni Apo Alapaap na pinaniniwalaan naming humihigit nang kaunti sa sandaan at limampu. Gayundin, sugatan ngunit buhay naming nahuli si Apo Alapaap. At dahil sinasapian siya ng mala-demonyong diyus-diyusan ang babaeng iyon, minarapat naming itali siya sa ibabaw ng isang siga at sunugin siya upang maputol na sa kanya ang kasuklamsuklam na paniniwalang iyon. Ngunit nanatiling mabangis si Apo Alapaap sa mga sandaling iyong nasusunog siya sa apoy. Buong lakas niyang isinumpa si Kapitan Sevilla, na mamamatay siyang puno ng sakit dahil hinahayaan niyang lamunin siya ng sawa. Hindi na namin inunawa kung ano ang ibig sabihin ng mga salita niya dahil, bilang pinuno ng isang kasuklam-suklam na paniniwala, pawang kasinungalingan lamang ng demonyo ang kanyang sinasabi. Sa ngayon, bagaman nagpabinyag na marami sa mga indio dito sa Salita ng Diyos, nananatili ang kanilang paniniwalang isang banal na bundok ang San Pedro. Kaya’t hindi pa rin matuloy-tuloy ang plano naming minahan dahil sa inaaalala namin ang pagiging maselan ng mga indio na bastusin ang kanilang banal na mga lugar.28 Kinausap na namin ang mga prayle namin upang itama ang mga maling mga paniniwala nila, sa gayo’y lubos na naming mapamahalaan nang mabuti hindi lamang ang Bundok San Pedro kundi pati na rin ang buong San Gabriel. *** Dito po nagtatapos ang aking salaysay at paglalarawan ng mahahalagang lugar dito sa San Gabriel na inyong na ngayong nasasakupan. Nawa’y makatulong ang aking sulat sa inyong pamamahala at maging gabay ang Espiritu Santo sa inyong mga desisyon. Nagpapaumanhin ako sa kahabaan ng aking sulat ngunit higit na mabuti na rin na alam ninyo ang 28 Noong 1721 nang simulan at bukas ang isang minahan sa San Pedro. Sa taong ding iyon, naganap ang pinakanakasasalantang lindol na nagwasak sa Simbahan ni San Juan Bautista at sumalanta sa buong Catalina. Isinisi ng mga tagaSan Gabriel ang lindol sa pagbubukas ng minahan, na isang tanda ng pambabastos sa pinakabanal niyang bundok. Kung may maisisisi lang sa lahat ng mga pagkamatay at pagkawala.

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kabuuan ng inyong lupain at ang mga tunay na pangyayari dito. Bago ko tapusin ang aking sulat, nagpapasalamat ako sa inyong ipinadalang salapi para sa iba’t ibang gawaing aming isinasagawa dito upang higit na mabuting mapag-unlad ang San Gabriel.29 Tunay na pinagpala kayo at ang buo ninyong Kaharian ng Kanyang biyaya’t kapangyarihan. At dito ko na po tatapusin ang sulat ko, inyong tapat at abang tagapaglingkod na humahalik sa inyong paa’t kamay, sa Ngalan at Kadakilaan ng ating Panginoong Jesucristo, sa Nag-iisa at Walang-hanggang Diyos Ama, Anak at Espiritu Santo at sa Kaluwalhatian ng Birheng Maria, sa Bayan ng Catalina, sa taong isanlibo anim na raan at sampu sa ikalabing-anim ng Setyembre. Matapat na naglilingkod sa inyo, Dominico Pablo de Muñoz30

29 Inilaan ang perang ito sa pagpapatatag ng depensa ng Fuerza de San Miguel, sa pagpapaganda ng Simbahan ni San Juan Bautista. Natawa ako nang nabasa ko ito at nagtaka si Allie. “Nagmamalimos lang pala ang ungas!” sigaw ko. At natawa rin si Allie. Kung sa akin o sa pamamalimos ni Gobernador-Heneral Muñoz, hindi ko na alam. 30 Inemail agad sa akin ni Allie ang salin niya ito nang matapos niya salin niya. At agad akong pumuntang Hiblahan para mapag-usapan namin ang mga payo ko tungkol sa kanyang balarila at iba pang mga komento. At tuwang-tuwa kami dahil ito ang unang hakbang sa pagbuo ng kanyang proyekto. Nagsimula na ang lahat sa kanya at tinatapos ko na ngayon.

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First Prize, English Poetry 2009 don carlos palanca memorial awards for literature from The Collapse of What Separates Us

vincenz serrano

Short Walks To walk through a city is to cut it into parts: like a wound or a landscape the city opens, then like a scab or a room it closes. My scholar and I move in a pace so slow it is like postponement. When we walk through a city we hurt it, my scholar says: we make it aware of how much it is against itself. Our shadows are the bruises of buildings, our slowness keeps the wound from healing, our being together means we are prone to surprise: this church, clouds, that house, chance, this sweat, glance, that touch. Show your face, dear city, then hide, says my scholar. How you reveal yourself is inseparable from how you conceal: it is a gesture called history. My scholar loves a street that leads to a point along a riverbank, ends where another street begins, ages along with its buildings, becomes blind corner, betrays its old name for a new one. In the ache of opposites, the city knows it is alive: crowd and solitude, old and new, beauty and decay, feeling and fact, silence and noise, grasp and emptiness. Make sense of this with me, says my scholar: if we talk to the city, how the city responds is a clue to how we shall be together. I disagreed with my scholar’s way of thinking. I wanted to take things apart. In the city there is a steel church whose parts were made in another country and then sent here on separate ships. I thought to do the opposite: pry things apart, set the parts adrift, observe how dismantlement leads to the new: a dialogue between buttress and transept, nave and steeple. The streets which my scholar loved made sense to me, but only after going through a method akin to derangement: arriving at the unknown after a long period of poison, suffering, disorder. Melt the steel of the steeple and create money. Take in water from the river and make thirst. Put two people side by side and produce silence. My scholar believed that separate things, even if they were in pain, comprised a whole; I believed that the distance between particulars, the 128

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space between statues and plazas, the blank between noise and sublimity, a gap between a river and the knowledge of itself, had to be maintained by force: the parts would cohere only when they could overcome the force that kept them separate. But this would entail so much violence that when the parts merged they would no longer be recognizable. In other words: ugliness. In other words: the new. On the day we parted, my scholar said: in another time, walking was slow incision, people walked led by tortoises. Umbrellas, boots, liquor, curl of shopkeeper’s moustache, history of objects on display: the slowness made shapes and sounds and stories clear. I cannot describe my talent for causing a swiftly-ruined thing, but for penance I took walks, without tortoises but pilgrim-slow: hence these words that follow, hence silences, hence the blanks that link you and me, hence crowds, hence clues, hence a kind of motion that opens shut things, as when one is in a room collapsing into the size of departure, one sees bodies approaching each other—which one is me, which one is you—like lips of a wound that never close into a kiss. R. Hidalgo Cliché to say crowds reside in a loner cliché to say in you there are multitudes cliché to say a crowd is an image of loneliness look at that woman going down the underpass who will she be once she emerges on the other side like an aphorism about to fall in love with gossip. Anloague For years he built houses made of wood and thatch and when stone and tile became fashionable he swam down the river and was never seen again.

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Quiapo There are two statues. The head of the first is true. Its torso and limbs are copies. The torso and limbs of the second are true. Its head is a copy. If I tell you which one goes out every year to be touched by crowds you would see how much of you inhabits me. Truth copy limb crowd twin touch copy torso. Bilibid Viejo Hands tied, eyes blindfolded, feet bound. Passersby talk about where they had gone. Listening is the only way you can travel from now on Estero Cegado I was open. In consequence, moments were taken from me without my knowing. I was unkind. Nevertheless, desire looked at me from head to foot. I was occupied. In the meantime, from inside buildings voices spoke into mirrors. I did not know how to love without ruining the other. In another city, shadows teach light how to shine by refusing to cast themselves on surfaces. In the absence of shadows light burns more brightly, out of horror.

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Hormiga Perhaps smallness perhaps longing perhaps the linking of streets perhaps laughter perhaps satiation perhaps a way of entering another wherein compassion was indistinguishable from violence perhaps pausing perhaps a glance perhaps breathing perhaps another. Ongpin A walk is a form of tenderness not slow enough to mean let’s be still, not fast enough to mean let’s flee. San Sebastian There was little time left before parting. We stayed there the longest. It has withstood war and earthquake for it knows how it began: in pieces, complete only in the mind, then in fragments coming in—pillar, steeple, buttress, altar—parts of a lack longing for the opposite of upheaval, one by one arriving from far away.

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First Prize, English Poetry 2009 don carlos palanca memorial awards for literature from The Collapse of What Separates Us

Making Scenes She and her husband once lived in Sagada, a mountain town half a day away from Manila. The town was so remote not even cellphone signals could reach it. One day, two friends visited. After dinner, they would choose a film and reconstruct it entirely from memory. The husband would describe the opening scene. She would comment on music, then on the transition to the next few scenes. One friend would talk about cinematography. The other friend and the husband would recreate dialogue. Often, they would contest each other: at this point, the camera shows the entire room, not a close up of the lovers’ faces. The mise-en-scene is cramped; the relationship is stifling. That may be so, but silence makes the room seem larger. Why is footage of a housing shortage riot included when most of the action happens in corridors, rooms, kitchens. It was like putting together a cut up map of a city where there is so much rain, and using that map to go through a city where there is so much sunlight. Distance makes artifice possible. Someone may mention details—wet empty streets, lampposts—when, in fact, it may have been otherwise. Someone may tilt the angle of her telling too sharply. Someone may impute melancholy when there was none: rain fell as a man and a woman, who may or may not have been lovers, were having noodles in an alley, talking. When she told me this, we were in Manila: it was a sunny day and she sounded happy. Now, she, her husband, and I are elsewhere. It rains all the time. Memories fade like towns in a map folded so many times that their names vanish into the creases. In my room I write them scenes I can remember. Edges of details seem to fit, but the image formed seems inaccurate, as when four people in a room talk about a scene’s angle of light and roughness of noise, while outside, the night is as dark and still as 132

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a grand perhaps. Nobody contests me. I produce ghosts to make solitude bearable. Remembering starts with shortage, then ends in perplexity. Memories emerge from, then disappear into, the folds of artifice: long take, depth of field, dissolve. Ora Pro Nobis After the child was shot, the man carried her in his arms. The crowd in the background did not leer and gawk like extras in a spectacle. No music, only ambient sound. The camera focused on the man carrying the child. Silence was a character imposing itself on the scene. It was as silent as watching a cloud taken apart by wind coming from this direction, then that. John en Marsha sa Amerika When the policeman chanced upon John, he had already taken a leak. “Hey fellow,” he said, “that’s against the law.” John said, “No, it’s against the wall.” Reverse consonance, by then, had fallen out of fashion, but the policeman was amused and let John go. Passersby kept to themselves and walked along, though if this had not been a comedy, they would gather—at a distance but within earshot— waiting for an arrest to be made. Batang West Side In a dream, water jars fell one by one from a balcony. A woman walked across the foreground, taking several minutes to cross from end to end. Her dress trailed behind, her shadow was beside her. Water splashed on the pathway. Pieces of jar scattered on the ground, like severed ears straining to hear her shadow’s faint footsteps.

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Batch ’81 “Did Martial Law help or harm the country,” the master asked the initiate strapped to the electric chair. The batch was ordered to watch as the master hit the switch. Little did the batch know that this was a test: should they obey the master and watch their friend get shocked, or should they disobey and get expelled. The wide angle shot took everything: the master’s face, the batch’s hesitation, the initiate’s voice, help help help. Look at one of them pressing against the frame as if he wanted to break through to another life. Darna Narda ate the stone, shouted “Darna!” and became Darna. She could defeat the villain who had snakes instead of hair. She could run fast and rescue people in distress. She could fly: watch her image (close up) superimposed on a view of the city (panorama). An anagram is a sign of distress: a riot rearranges crowds, an incantation rearranges names, a villain rearranges lives. Maynila sa Kuko ng Liwanag The man from the province failed to find his lover—Ligaya Paraiso— in the city. In despair he killed the Chinese man who he thought held her captive. A mob chased him down the street. He was unfamiliar with the city. He ran into a dead end. The crowd caught up with him. As he was being lynched, the camera focused on his face. A close up holds in captivity the range of possible expressions. After a few moments, her image appeared—her name, translated, means “Happy Paradise”—then his face and her image faded into black.

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Bayaning Third World The name of the national hero was everywhere: matchboxes, streets, funeral parlors. His statue was in every plaza. His books were in all the libraries. “I am just as how you want me to be,” he said to the filmmakers who wanted to make his biopic. The mise-en-scene conflated past and present: near the hero were dungeons and prison bars, near the filmmakers were cameras and computers. “But you cannot know me even if you tried.” The hero lit a cigarette. The smoke moved from one side of the scene to the other: from there and then, to here and now.

These poems previously appeared in Kritika Kultura 14 (www.ateneo.edu/kritikakultura/)

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arkaye kierulf

First Prize, Poetry philippines free press literary awards 2009

Textbook Statistics On average, 5 people are born every second and 1.78 die. So we’re ahead by 3.22, which is good, I think. The average person will spend two weeks in his life waiting for the traffic light to change. Pubescent girls wait two to four years for the tender lumps under their nipples to grow. So the average adult has over 1,460 dreams a year, laughs 15 times a day. Children, 385 more times. So the average adult mates 2,580 times with five different people but falls in love only twice in his life – possibly with the same person. Seventy-nine long years for each of us, awakened to love in our twenties, so more or less thirty years to love our two lovers each. And if, in a lifetime, one walks a total of 13,640 miles by increments, Where are you headed, traveler? is a valid philosophical question to pose to a man, I think, along with Why does the blood in your veins travel endlessly? on account of those red cells flowing night and day

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through the traffic of the blood vessels, which if laid out in a straight line would be over 90,000 miles long. The great Nile River in Egypt is 4,180 miles long. The great circle of the earth’s equator is 24,903 miles. Dividing this green earth among all of us gives a hundred square feet of living space to each, but our brains take only one square foot of it, along with the 29 bones of the skull, so if you look outside your window with your mind only, why do you hear the housefly hum middle octave, key of F? If you listen to the cat on the rug by the fire with the 32 muscles in your ear, you will hear 100 different vocal sounds. Listen to the dog wishing for your love: 10 different sounds. If you think your loneliness is beyond calculation, think of the mole digging a tunnel underground ninety-eight miles long to China in one single night. If you think beauty escapes you or your entire genealogical tree, consider the slug with its four uneven noses, or the chameleon shifting colors under an arbitrary light. Think of the deepest point in the deepest ocean, the Marianas Trench in the Pacific,

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do you think anyone’s sadness can be deeper? In 1681, the last dodo bird died. In the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth suffered from a fear of roses. Anne Boleyn had six fingers. People fall in love twice. The human heart beats 3 billion times – only – in a lifetime. If you attempt to count all the stars in the galaxy, one every second, it’ll take 3 thousand years, if you’re lucky. As owls are the only birds that can see the color blue the ocean is bluish, along with the sky and the eyes of that boy who died alone by that little unnamed river in your dreams one blue night of the war of one of your lives. (Do you remember which one?) Duration of World War 1: four years, 3 months, 14 days. Duration of an equatorial sunset: 128 seconds, 142 tops. A neuron’s impulse takes 1/1000 of a second, a morning commute from Prospect Expressway to the Brooklyn Bridge, about 90 minutes, forty-five without traffic. Time it takes for a flower to wilt after it’s cut from the stem: five days. Time left our sun before it runs out of light: five billion years. Hence the number of happy citizens under the red glow of that sun: maybe 50% of us, 60% on the good days, tops.

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Number who are sad: maybe 70% on the good days – especially on the good days. (The first emotion’s more intense, I think, when caught up with the second.) So children grow faster in the summer, their bright blue bodies expanding. The ocean, after all, is blue which is why the sky now outside your window is bluish expanding with the white of something beautiful, like clouds. Fact: The world is a beautiful place – once in a while. Another fact: We fall in love twice. Maybe more, if we’re lucky.

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vida cruz

Hydrophobia Always, the water dreams begin with her falling in feet first, followed shortly by a blast of cold pain upon cutting past the surface. The impact never fails to steal the breath from her lungs—any recollection of taking in enough air before hitting the water is lost to her. She flails until she realizes that no amount of kicking will allow her to burst free from her watery hell; and those are the precise moments when she just knows she cannot remember how to breathe. She never does know the reason for her being there: she could have lost her balance, been pushed in, thrown in—perhaps she finally lost her senses and decided to jump in. Whatever the reason, did it really matter when a deep, endless, mocking blue promised to crush her lungs, shrivel her skin, squeeze her eyes sightless? She almost came to thinking that even while dreaming; she suspects there will be nothing but the dauntingly vast blue greeting her upon waking. Each time she breaks off from her slumbering, her skin feels afire, the trails of her sweat icy. The way she sucks in the air each time, it’s as if she’s held her breath for an indiscriminate amount of time underwater. She never screams, never sends anyone running into her room; she isn’t given to such things. Besides, thinking of it this way often gives her the extra jolt she needs in order to dismiss such dreams as—well, dreams. Nothing more.

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Still, the dreams eat at the cornerstones of her certainty every minute of the day, germinating in the dark recesses of her delicate frame of mind—regardless of whether she admits to their existence or not. They are present when she commits the different names of muscles and their functions to memory; they are present when she saturates her palate with her favorite tastes (aromatic fried garlic, tangy soy sauce, liberally spiced sun-dried tomatoes, and other similar earthy flavors); they are present when she uses what little leisure time she has to go club hopping with her med school friends at Tomas Morato; they are present when she ponders the reasons that brought about the closure-bereft breakup with her last boyfriend. This is why on the bleak morning of September 26, as she looked beyond the car’s window and espied a mutt barely keeping its head above the water, the horrible sinking weight of déjà vu nestled in her chest. When the rain seeped into all the little crevices and the resulting water rose inch by oh-so-slow inch around the driver’s seat of her father’s Fortuner (the one he’d been so apprehensive of letting her drive when the school year commenced), she was relatively unsurprised. Later on, after the adrenaline drains from her veins, she will find herself crouching atop the roof of the said car, dragging her sopping hair from her eyes and neck and surveying the watery rage threatening to ingest all traces of the city’s sins. She will also wonder briefly at the coincidence of her parking at a place where the hospital’s many annexes will impede her progress down the river-roads. After mulling over the bit of good luck left to her in such a situation, she shifts ever so slightly in order to relieve her pinpricked limbs— and discovers that this is a near-fatal mistake. If she had not gripped the edges of the roof, she would have plunged face-first into the murk. As her surroundings lurch upward, she glimpses people on the balconies of the fifth floor of Saint-Something-Or-Other’s building, as well as a few more hovering on the ledge of the main building’s second floor; their screams reach her ears. lvii 2

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For several moments, only floodwater fills her vision. Another fraction of a millimeter would have brought the tip of her nose in contact with the surface. Then she blinks hard, hauls her torso back up to the limited safety of the drifting Fortuner, and reflects on the events of the previous few seconds. But what strikes her most is not her harrowing close call; it is that the water is— “Brown,” she intones as she sits on her heels. “It’s brown.” And just like that, the words trigger an uncontrollable urge—ascending, unstoppable, from deep in her gut: a reaction, a feeling, as powerful as the makeshift mud-tide the sky is vomiting, causing her to double over and clutch her middle— She begins to laugh. A distant splash heralds someone jumping off the ledge. That person swims toward her, climbs the precariously slippery sides of the car to sit next to her. Grabs her shoulders, yells at her to get a grip even, shaking her until her head lolls. That someone could be her ex-boyfriend, so familiar is his voice. In a different time, different place, different situation, she might care, maybe say something that could carry significant weight. The people on the ledge call out to them, crying for help to ears too far to hear them. But she does not know any of this, not consciously at least; it’s difficult to tell over the laughter in her ears and the film of liquid over her eyes. As the world drowns around her, she laughs and laughs and laughs, quite unable to stop. Oh, God. Why am I here? She’ll choke on her tears first before the flood gets to her.


mike orlino

Pagkatapos ng Baha Binabanlawan ng isang deboto ang nasagip na santong rebulto. Mula sa umaagos na tubig sa alulod, tila hinuhugasan niya ang karumihan nitong nagsaputik. Binihisan ng mga naisalbang damit ng anak. Tila kinakausap niya ito at tinatanong. Ngunit estatwa lamang itong nakatitig sa kawalan. Hindi marinig ang boses ng nawalan.

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benilda santos

Ang Ulan dambuhala na sa una walang hugis sa kalaunan naghuhugis-dila dinidikitan ng lupa upang maging putik kung saan kumakapit ang katawang tao na siyang naghugis-insekto kagyat na nilululon at nalilibing sa lalamunan ng estero’t imburnal

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Putik Kinulapol ng putik na malapot at malagkit ang buong paligid. Makapal na kurtina at alpombra na nilakaran ng malalapad na paa ng kamatayan. Pagkaibis ng tubig, tiim-bagang na hinarap ang paglilinis. Pianong paliliguan at pagkaraan sa bawat teklado palilitawin dating kaputian. Kotseng pinatanda ng nagtutong na putik pinagtulungang ibangon sa pagkatiwarik. Mga damit na mukha nang kanal sadyang doon na ibinalik saka kagat-labing ipinagtatapon ang mga aklat na kay tagal hinulugan sa credit card. Hindi na nilingon ang laptop na wari balaraw na nakatarak sa tagiliran ng inidorong apaw sa burak. Putik sa lahat ng dako. Putik sa gabi. Putik sa umaga. Putik sa anit at singit. “Gusto ko nang mamatay,� palahaw ng ama na nag-iisa sa gitna ng palanas. “Bakit kaming walang-wala na ang iyo pang sinaid?� Binuhay ko ang makina ng Innova na pitong ulit kong inilangoy sa baha. Dahan-dahan kong pinalakad ang sasakyan. Sa pag-ahon ko sa mababang lugar pagka- U-turn sa Katipunan patungong Tandang Sora doon sa harap ng Petron na gitata at nanlulumo lvii 2

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nasalubong ko ang aleng nagtitinda ng mga lobo: iyong korteng Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Robin, Sponge Bob, Dora, mga Dalmatians, mga aso, at ibon, at bibe, at mga kopya nilang lahat ad ifinitum. Nayanig ako sa pag-atake ng sari-saring kulay ng pag-asa. At doon, sa saliw ng lagaslas ng tubig-baha, yumuko ako, itinabi ang sasakyan, at umiyak nang marahan.

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camille patrice chua

Bayanihan

Watercolor, sign pen, and digital

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dale liwanag

Lingap-Dahop Photography

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Mula sa Katuwang na Patnugot ng Sining Hindi malayo sa panulaan ang sining – pareho itong may mga patakaran na kumikilala at tumatanggap sa mga limitasyong nakaayon sa uri ng media na ginagamit sa paglikha. Ngunit kung susuriin nang mabuti, hindi tumitigil ang pagsisikap sa paghahanap ng mga makabagong paraan ng paglikha sa mga nabanggit na larangan. Mula sa mga bagay na luma at karaniwan lamang, ang mga alagad ng panulaan at sining ay lumilikha muli ng bago. Gamit ang talas ng paningin at ng iba pang pandama, mahalaga para sa manlilikha na malaman kung alin sa kaniyang paligid ang kailangang panghawakan, at kung alin din ang kailangang bitawan – lubos itong kailangan upang hindi maging bihag ang manlilikha sa kaniyang nais ilarawan. Sa tomong ito, nagsisilbing pagpapatibay ang Art Gallery sa kakayahang ito: ang disiplina sa paghinahon at pagkawala, sa pagpili kung alin ang dapat ipakita at kailangang itago. Nagsisilbing bato-balani ang Ysmael! ni Medrano hindi lang dahil sa sinserong ngiting nakabakas sa mukha ng matanda sa larawan, kundi dahil na rin sa mga linya sa kaniyang mukha na tila nagkukuwento. Gayon din sa mga piyesa nina Cancio at Pagaduan, kung saan ang pagpili ng lugar bilang sentral na imahen ay mahalaga upang magtulak sa nagmamasid na bumuo ng sarili niyang kuwento tungkol sa mga tauhang makikita sa larawan. Hayag din sa koleksiyong ito ang pagpapanibagong-likha sa tema. Ang The Real Wolf ni Esquivel ay hinahamon ang batong panlulok ng isang sinaunang pabula, habang sa Wallflower ni Taguilaso, pinaglalaruan ang sitwasyon o kalagayan ng mga taong mapanarili o introverts. Ang likha naman ni Marasigan na Mechanisms of Conflict ay tila kinakatwa ang mga puwersang

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naninigurado sa balanse ng mga bagay sa mundong ito sa pamamagitan ng pagtatago sa katauhan ng ahente ng balanseng ito. Mga subok na pamamaraan naman ang pinili ng mga naturang manlilikha sa kanilang mga sining – gamit ang talas at gaspang ng mga alambre, ibinahagi ni Liwanag ang damdamin ng pagkawala sa kaniyang Dispirited. Habang sa Halik ng Sirena ni Chua, na kamakailan lamang ay ginantimpalaan sa Ika-42 Shell National Students Arts Competition, nag-uumapaw ang senswalidad dahil sa paglalarawan niya sa paksa gamit ang estilong nagbibigay ng ilusyon ng tubig – nililinlang ang mga mata sa imahen ng mga walang awang sirena na kilala natin mula sa mga sina-unang mito. Ang komiks para sa tomong ito, ang 3rd World Snow ni Joson, ay mapaglarong ibinibigkis ang mabigat na temang nakatali sa kasaysayan at ang simpleng paghiling ng kaginhawaan samantalang pambata ang paraan ng naratibo. Liban sa mga kuwentong ibinabahagi ng mga obrang ito, ang mga kuwentong piniling hindi ibahagi sa mga piyesa ay umaakit din sa tagapagmasid. Mga lihim: ang mukha ng lalaki sa Ambulophobia ni Balaguer at ang dahilan ng paglipad ng mga ibon sa Dy Die Day ni Caguiat. Ang di-mabilang na mga interpretasyon at pagpapahayag na maaaring mahugot mula sa mga piyesang ito – kung anu-ano ang mga maaaring nangyari at maari pang mangyari – ang humihikayat sa mga tagapagmasid upang makisangkot sa mga larawang nabanggit. Naniniwala ako na humuhulagpos sa nakasanayang kahulugan ng pagpapakita ang mga likhang-sining na matatagpuan sa mga susunod na pahina. Hindi lamang nagpapakita ang mga obrang ito sa ating mga mata. Sa kanilang pagpapakita, nagkakaroon ng paglalaro sa ating haraya – sa kung ano ang posibleng itsura ng mga aspeto ng imaheng ikinubli ng manlilikhang-sining. Mula rito, nagkakaroon ng posibilidad ang kahulugan. alyza may t. taguilaso Enero 2010

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vernon tony v. medrano

Ysmael! Photography

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alexa cancio

Mokoro Ride Photography

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karen mae n. pagaduan

Portside Photography

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MadisKARTe Photography

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kyle terrenal

Wood Worn Photography

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jose alejandro p. dolosa

Unicyclists Photography

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alfred benedict marasigan

Mechanism of Conflict Digital

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dale liwanag

Dispirited Wire Sculpture

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kristine ann a. caguiat

Dy Die Day Mixed Media

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natasha ringor

Bread Digital

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monica esquivel

The Real Wolf Colored Pencils and Digital

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Watercolor, black and red ballpoint pen, correction pen

Inevitable

camille patrice chua


john alexis b. balaguer

Ambulophobia Photomanipulation

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jan eli g. padilla

Re;Orientation Photography

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alyza may t. taguilaso

Wallflower

Acrylic, inks, and watercolor

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2nd Honorable Mention, Sculpture Division 42nd shell national students arts competition

eusebio ehron kylo y. chua

Halik ng Sirena Sculpture (cast marble)

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rommel joson

3rd World Snow

Watercolor

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Armida Azada Mida met her husband at the infamous 23rd Ateneo Junior Summer Seminar in 1990. Like many of their AJSS classmates, both chose to attend the university down the ‘dark end.’ Mida taught American Literature and Freshman English at the UP Department of English & Comparative Literature; later, she traded her frenetic life in the academe for a quiet existence on Lantau Island, part-eco-chic haven and part-kitsch capital. When the need to squawk, growl and ‘saw the air’ beckons, Mida can be heard on Cartoon Network and The National Geographic Channel, or flubbing Shakespeare at the Kwai Tsing in Kowloon. In February, she’ll be dropping hedonistic Hong Kong for a meagre situation as a PhD student somewhere north of Wimbledon.

Emmanuel John Bagacina III BS Electronics and Communications Engineering Inaalay ang kanyang tula sa mga mahilig tumingala. para kina Makis at Cathy, at sa kantang Spaceman ng The Killers, kay Abi na mahal na mahal ang bilog na buwan, kay Justin, JR, Kevin, JC, AJ, Jeremy, Chris, TJ – mga adik sa rockband kaya ako ginagabi ng uwi paminsan-minsan, kay Mike na nagpakilala sa akin sa mundo ng tula, sa mahal kong Bagwisan, at sa lahat ng ece boys na umaasang magka-gf na. dahil baka magtampo sila sa akin: Lemuel, Amor, Vivien (decreasing height from left to right)

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John Alexis B. Balaguer II AB Communication “In a world which really is topsy-turvy, the true is a moment of the false.” – Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle

Kristine Ann A. Caguiat IV BFA Information Design dead’s nice like a dance where you danced simple hours and you take all your prickly-clothes off and squeeze-into-largeness without one word and you lie still as anything in largeness and this largeness begins to give you the dance all over again e.e. cummings

Nicko Reginio Caluya I BS Computer Science “And I always live like this keeping a comfortable distance, and up until now I have sworn to myself that I’m content with loneliness because none of it was ever worth the risk. You are the only exception...

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And I’m on my way to believing.” Para sa III-Feynman 2007-2008, sa ating konsepto ng kasalanan Para sa mga kapwa Munscians, sa muling pagbangon Para sa Block N at mga kasama sa tanghalian, sa tuwi-tuwinang kasiyahan Para sa mga angkan ng Caluya at Reginio, sa pag-alala(y) Para sa Heights, lalo na sa Bagwisan, sa pagbabalik ng aking hilig sa tula, at Para sa oras, sa gitna ng lungkot at ligaya.

Alexa Cancio I BS Management – Honors I spent my first day in Botswana, Africa exploring the magnificence of the Okavango Delta in a mokoro (boat). It was the perfect end to a 17-hour journey to Jacana Camp, our first stop for our safari trip. The world fell silent, and the absence of city life allowed all the sounds of nature to come together. As I watched the sun paint its rays on the surface of the Okavango Delta, the world just seemed to make more sense. It was simply one of the most life-changing experience, just being able to be in a real, picturesque moment. It was amazing to encounter the world in its most natural and peaceful form. But capturing it in a photograph brought experience to a whole new level for me, because it is my way of sharing Mother Nature’s splendor with you and the rest of the world.

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Joseph Casimiro II AB European Studies Si JC Casimiro ay kasaping tagapagtatag ng Spindle. Bahagi ng lipong Labindalawang Pares ng Mata ang kaniyang tulang Ascensión. Walang hanggang pasasalamat ang alay niya kay Allan Popa.

Christine Joy de Sotto Castor II BS Management Engineering Hello. As for my write-up, there are a lot of things that I want to say or, should I write, write about. But, I do think they have limits to these things, so this will just be quick – I promise I won’t elaborate, and then elaborate further. So, here goes... Firstly, I just want to say that *cut line*

Mark Anthony Cayanan English Department Mark Anthony Cayanan’s ‘Placelessness’ poems have been described by Conchitina Cruz as belonging to a “formally elastic collection,” “where the essayistic stance is evident in the excessively self-aware, opinionated, digressive, fractured persona who, in studying the egotistical self, makes strong arguments against the reliability of sincerity.”

Christoffer Mitch Cerda MA Literature (Filipino), BFA Creative Writing ’06 Kagawaran ng Filipino Naging miyembro ng choir noong high school.

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Paolo V. Chikiamco AB Philosophy, 2002 Paolo Chikiamco is a speculative fiction writer, the editor/publisher of Rocket Kapre Books (rocketkapre.com) and Usok (rocketkapre.com/usok), as well as the editor of the Metakritiko section of the Philippine Online Chronicles (thepoc.net). After graduating with a degree in Philosophy from the Ateneo de Manila, he went on to become a lawyer at a top Makati firm, only to realize that, while truth is often stranger than fiction, it’s not quite as creatively fulfilling (or grammatically correct). His stories have been published in the Digest of Philippine Genre Stories, The Farthest Shore, A Time for Dragons, and Philippine Speculative Fiction V.

Camille Patrice Chua II BS Communications and Technology Management Hitler didn’t get accepted to art school. Look what happened.

Eusebio Ehron Kylo Y. Chua IV BFA Information Design This cast silhouette, contoured in the shape of the Philippine archipelago, is a resounding story about our country’s journey into independence. The piece is entitled Halik ng Sirena or Courtship of the Siren. Apart from its shape, timeless characters are made to be the subject of opinions on the marbled composition. Drawing from folklore, the personas of Malakas and Maganda form the area of Luzon, channeling down into the mid part of the Visayas region where three foreign bodies rise. These elegant sirens represent the modes of our past, from the Spanish, to the American to the Japanese regimes, 186

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all of which have been landmarks in the people?s journey into a nation. The entire body of work and all its subject forms are clad in a cadmium white glaze, following the imperialistic mentality of past generations. This white coat is also symbolic of the opposite theme. White is the color of the unwritten, the un-illustrated and the uncolored. The Filipino people are of this genre as well; despite colonial wavering, we stand together as a nation of culture and identity waiting to be written again. The new generations of Filipinos are blank slates with silhouettes of great novelty and history.

Mikael de Lara Co BS Environmental Science 2003 Mikael de Lara Co is the recipient of numerous literary awards, including back-to-back Palancas for Poetry in English (1st place in 2007) and in Filipino (1st place in 2008). Most recently he received the Maningning Miclat Award for Poetry in English. He is co-translator (along with Sasha Martinez) of Edgar Samar’s “Walong Diwata ng Pagkahulog”, which was long-listed for the 2009 Man Asian Literary Prize. He would like to thank Waps San Diego for the first line of “Mebuyen”. Mondays are (were?) a lot better when lived with abandon.

Kristian Sendon Cordero Si Kristian Sendon Cordero ay nakapaglathala na ng tatlong aklat ng mga tula sa dalawang wika sa Bikol at Filipino. Muling ilalathala ng Ateneo de Naga University Press ang kanyang koleksyong Pusuanon: Mga Bersong Bikol (Finalist, 27th National Book Awards) na may salin sa Ingles nina Marne L. Kilates at Frank V. Penones Jr. ngayong taon. Nagwagi na siya Madrigal-Gonzales Best First Book Award, NCCA Writers’ Prize, at sa Maningning Miclat Poetry Prize para sa tula sa Filipino. Kasalukuyang lvii 2

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nag-aaral ng MA Panitikan sa Ateneo.

Vida Cruz I BFA Creative Writing For Ninang, who deserves the best dedication in the world, without whose love and tutelage I would not be a writer today, and without whose presence makes my life a little less sunny; and for Sec Walk Tambay, because if you fine people did not rally around me in every way and for every purpose, I would have less things to write about and the story would not have been born and bred into what it is.

Jose Alejandro Dolosa III BFA Information Design How could it hurt you when it looks so good?

Monica Esquivel I BFA Information Design “From this story one learns that children, Especially young lasses, Pretty, courteous and well-bred, Do very wrong to listen to strangers, And it is not an unheard thing If the Wolf is thereby provided with his dinner. I say Wolf, for all wolves Are not of the same sort; There is one kind with an amenable disposition Neither noisy, nor hateful, nor angry, But tame, obliging and gentle, 188

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Following the young maids In the streets, even into their homes. Alas! Who does not know that these gentle wolves Are of all such creatures the most dangerous!” – from Charles Perrault’s version of “Little Red Riding Hood” For all those who believe that Little Red Riding Hood is far from innocent.

Tina del Rosario III BFA Creative Writing For the PoonPoons, the Pokaritas, the Corls and Koya Corls, the Katipfriends, the various other people to whom I’ve assigned nicknames (Poopsie, Cawisa, Pokerie and Megbee, among others), the Heightsters (especially the EB and the English staff ) and the tallest boy in the whole wide world.

Pepito Munsayac Go-Oco III BS Computer Science I saw Saint Baudolino who spoke to me and said sonofawhore youre going to Hell because the unicorn story goes like this everybody knows that to hunt a unicorn you have to put a girl whose still a virgin at the foot of a tree and the animal smells the virgin smell and comes and puts his head in her lap so I took Bergolio’s Nena who had come with her father to buy my fathers cow and I said to her come into the woods with me and we’ll hunt the unicorn then I put her under the Tree because I was sure she was a virgin and I said to her sit still like this and spread your legs to make room for the animal’s head and she asked spread like this and I said there right there and I touched her and she began making some noises like a nanny goat dropping a kid and I lost my head and had something lvii 2

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like a napocalips and afterwards she wasnt pure like a lily any more and she said o my god now how will we make the unicorn come and just then I heard a voice from Heaven said that the unicorn qui tollis peccata mundis was me and I started jumping around the bushes and crying hip heee frr frr because I was happier than a real unicorn because I had put my horn in the virgin’s lap and this was why Saint Baudolino had called me son et setera but then he forgave me and I caught site of him other times but only if there is plenty of fog or if it isnt bright like to scorch everything. – Baudolino, Umberto Eco, trans. William Weaver

Rommel Joson BS Management ‘99 Rommel loves smelling books and drawing portraits during meetings in the guise of taking notes. After graduating from Business Management at the Ateneo and working in advertising as an Account Executive for 3 years, he realized that he’d rather be making art. He studied again and graduated in 2006 from the UP College of Fine Arts as college valedictorian. He was recently featured in Rogue Magazine’s list of Top 16 Illustrators in the Philippines. His sketchblog can be found at rommelj.wordpress.com.

Arkaye Kierulf BS Chemistry 2009 Arkaye Kierulf works for the Philippine Institute of Pure and Applied Chemistry.

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Marie La Vina IV AB Philosophy Marie La Viña graduated from the Philippine High School for the Arts in 2004 and was a fellow for poetry in the Dumaguete and UP National Writers Workshops. She won third place for poetry at the 2008 Palanca awards. Her work has appeared in Philippines Free Press, Story Philippines, Heights, Dark Blue Southern Seas and Crowns and Oranges: Works by Young Philippine Poets.

Gian Paolo Simeon T. Lao IV BS Communications and Technology Management Para kay Mang Pat. Para sa pamilya ko: Daddy, Mommy at Liam. Para sa barkada at girlfriend: Fabia, David, Ton, Duane, Rob, Lamar, Jazz, Ian, Peter, Jonah, Harvey, Gia, Aya, Maika, at Chantal. Para sa mga organizers, panelists at fellows ng 9th ANWW: Come all over my face. At para sa Nexxus: “I’ll never go far away from you.”

Dale Liwanag I BS Management Engineering Thank you to those who are reading this. At least you care enough to know who I am. And thanks to Thea Gloria. lvii 2

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Alfred Benedict Marasigan I BFA Information Design I thank the Almighty God for His Everlasting Love, Mom and Dad, for their faith, love, and support, and my few true friends for the laughter. Jean, nothing was wasted because you understood. Keep moving forward. – Walt Disney

Sasha Martinez V BFA Creative Writing Sasha Martinez is twenty, and hails from Cavite. She was a fellow for Fiction to the 46th National Writers Workshop in Dumaguete, and to the 14th Ateneo-Heights Writers Workshop. Her work has been published in Fudge, Heights, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippines Free Press, and Philippines Graphic. Her short fiction has been awarded the Philippines Free Press Literary Awards, the Philippines Graphic Nick Joaquin Literary Awards for Fiction, and the Loyola School Awards for the Arts, for the Creative Writing-Fiction category.

She was also supposed to have graduated last March, but had decided the recession wouldn’t welcome her too kindly, not to mention she was quite resolutely held back by something that rhymes with strepression.

Vernon Tony V. Medrano IV BS Psychology SMILE :) 192

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Wyatt Caraway Curie L. Ong IV BS Management For my family, and for Walt, Marie and Mau.

Michael Rey Salazar Orlino III BS Electronics and Communications Engineering Lubos akong nagpapasalamat sa pamilya ko para sa palagiang suporta. Ganoon din sa Bagwisan. Salamat din kina EJ, Cat, Kaye at Makis, pati kay Carlo at Nestee. Thank you din kay Jaja, Tita Jing at Tita Judith at sa IVCF Ateneo lalo na kay Ate Yan. Higit sa lahat sa Panginoon na may sagot kahit sa mga bagay na hindi ko maisip itanong.

Miguel Enrico Paala I BS Management Engineering Duyan Ako, isang nilalang na hindi maabot-abot ang mga tala, isang nilalang na hindi maiangat-angat ang paa sa kalupaan. Sino nga ba ako para ipasan mo at isakay sa iyong balikat upang ilipad sa langit at mahalikan ang mga bituin?

Jan Eli G. Padilla II BS Electronics and Communications Engineering Sinabi ni Van Gogh na, “Art is a Lie used to tell the truth.� Ibang klase pala akong Sinungaling.

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Karen Mae N. Pagaduan BS Development Communication Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do – especially in other people’s minds. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road. – William Least Heat Moon

Allan Popa Kagawaran ng Filipino Si Allan Popa ay awtor ng walong aklat ng mga tula kabilang na ang Libot ng Durungawan (High Chair, 2009) at Basta (Ateneo Press, 2009). Isa siya sa mga kasaping tagapagtatag ng High Chair. Nagtuturo siya sa Kagawaran ng Filipino ng Ateneo de Manila University at kasalukuyang nag-aaral ng pagtula sa Washington University in Saint Louis.

Natasha Ringor II BFA Information Design Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. – Oscar Wilde

Hermund M. Rosales V BS Chemistry with Materials Science Engineering (www.matanglawin.org – website kung saan maari ring mabasa ang nailathalang akda niya) 194

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Pinangambahan ni Utoy na sa kinuha niyang kurso, kasama nang malulusaw sa mga solusyong kaniyang tinitimpla sa Kapnayan ang kaniyang gana sa pagsusulat. Inakalang masasapawan na ng mga sukat at numero sa Inhinyero ang pagkiling niya sa teksto. Hindi naganap ang mga pagkamaaring iyon. Ang pagsusulat ang siya pa ring naging katalista sa paghulma ng kaniyang pag-iisip at naging mainam na panukat sa buhay. Ang pag-akda ang kaniyang naging malawak na laboratoryo ng pag-eeksperimento. Maraming salamat po sa tuwinang mga tumutulong at gumagabay kahit na isa ‘kong pasaway: Sir Ian Ken, Mam Lolit, Sir Jerry, Mam Jema, Doc V, Elvis, Block MM1, OAA, at sa mga kaibigan ko sa Matanglawin. Sa inay, sa tatay, at sa aking mga kapatid, kayo ang pinag-ugatan ng aking pagkatuto. At kay Victoria Camille na magpasahanggang ngayon nakapagtitiis pa bilang katuwang sa buhay, hayaan mo’t mamamatay rin ako, este, makababawi rin ako.

Ali Sangalang Interdisciplinary Studies ’09 I know write?

Benilda S. Santos Kagawaran ng Malikhaing Pagsulat Kasalukuyang Direktor ng Fine Arts Program. Naging tagapangulo ng Kagawaran ng Filipino sa loob ng limang taon at gumanap na Dekano ng Paaralan ng Humanidades sa loob ng dalawang taon. Patuloy siyang nagtuturo ng Filipino at paminsan-minsang nakatutula.

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Alyza May T. Taguilaso IV BS Biology – A (Medical Track) I see it is with you as with the birches: I am not to speak to you in the personal way. Much has passed between us. Or was it always only on the one side? I am at fault, at fault, I asked you to be human – I am no needier than other people. But the absence of all feeling, of the least concern for me – I might as well go on addressing the birches, as in my former life: let them do their worst, let them bury me with the Romantics, their pointed yellow leaves falling and covering me. – Matins, by Louise Glück Para kina Reiko, Waki, Trina, Lexy, at Bear. Para kina Cara, Fla, at Yana. Sa lahat ng friends sa Bio kahit hindi ako mahlig tumambay sa benches. Block L2. Ma’am Trinket at lahat ng mababait na tao sa Dept, at sa mga technicians – malaking tulong kayo sa Thesis!Sparta. Sa lahat ng mga (bago, luma, at nakapaninibagong) kaibigan ko sa pubroom; alam niyo na kung sino kayo – maraming salamat sa lahat. At sa Art Staff – Just be Friends. There is a phallic symbol, always. For my family and my pets – love and poppy seed loaves for all of you. For my personal wallflower as of now (malas talagang ikaw ‘ung gusto ko) mamansin ka, bwiset. You complete frustrate me. And for everyone who believes that it’s not just about getting published. 196

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Vincenz Serrano Department of English Vincenz Serrano is a PhD student in Creative Writing and English and American Studies at the University of Manchester. At the moment, he is writing poems and working on a study of Nick Joaquin’s Almanac for Manileños.

Cristina Gratia Tantengco II AB Communication Arts We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. – Oscar Wilde I’d like to thank my grandma, who never said I was too young to read, think and say whatever I wanted.

Kyle Terrenal III BFA Information Design “If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug around a camera.” –Lewis Hine This completely encompasses what my view on photography is about. It isn’t all about taking sharp and beautiful photos. This form of expression must be able to keep an essential part of history that will never be repeated, a story that can be read over and over and over again, in just a few moments.

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Isabel Yap II BS Management “Praise the odd, serendipitous world.” – Story, Stephen Dunn Thank you to Wy and Marie, for believing I had an ear; Necca, for indulging my poking and Hammy-spinning; and Aton, always the first and last to read. For all mellishes, my blockmates, and my family.

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Pasasalamat Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, SJ at ang Office of the President Dr. Ma. Assunta Cuyegkeng at ang Office of the Vice President for the Loyola Schools G. Rene San Andres at ang Office of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs G. Eduardo Jose E. Calasanz at ang Office of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs G. Chris Castillo at G. Morny de Guzman at ang Office of Student Activities Bb. Marie Joy Salita at ang Office of Administrative Services Bb. Leonora Wijangco at ang Central Accounting Office Bb. Christina Barzabal at ang Purchasing Office Bb. Consolacion Concepcion at ang Ateneo Placement Office Dr. Ma. Luz Vilches at ang Office of the Dean, School of Humanities Dr. Jerry Respeto at ang Kagawaran ng Filipino Dr. Lulu Reyes at ang English Department

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Dr. Benilda Santos, Mr. Xander Soriano, at ang Fine Arts Program Bb. Christine Bellen at ang Ateneo Institute of Literary Arts and Practices (AILAP) G. Rodolfo Allayban at ang University Archives Hermund Rosales at ang Matanglawin Raymond Ang at ang The Guidon Jose Miguel Zaballero at ang Council of Organizations of the Ateneo Sa MUSMOS at ACIL Sa Haranya ng UA&P at ang Thomasian Writers Guild (TWG) ng UST Sa mga naging panelists ng 15th Ateneo Heights Writers Workshop Kay Douglas Candano Ang MVP Maintenance and Security Personnel At sa lahat ng mga tumatangkilik sa mga proyekto ng Heights, sa mga patuloy na nagpapasa ng kanilang mga likhang-sining at nakikiisa sa paghubog ng pambansang panitikan!


9th Ateneo National Writers’ Workshop october 19-22, 2009 sacred heart novitiate, novaliches, quezon city

Christine Bellen Alvin B. Yapan Jema Pamintuan Gary Devilles Kristine Romero Michael M. Coroza Carlota Francisco Edgar Calabia Samar Yol Jamendang Mitch Cerda

panelists Carlo Arejola Mark Anthony Cayanan Mikael Co Kristian S. Cordero Michael M. Coroza Darryll Delgado Allan Derain Dr. Eli R. Guieb Alwynn Javier Dr. Benilda Santos Alvin B. Yapan Marco AV. Lopez

AILAP Director Acting AILAP Director Associate AILAP Director Literary Studies Desk Head Associate Literary Studies Desk Head Translation Desk Head Associate Translation Desk Head Creative Writing Desk Head Associate Creative Writing Desk Head, Workshop Director Workshop Coordinator

fellows Anne Carly Abad – Quezon City Patrick Noah R. Bautista – Bacoor, Cavite Joselito D. Delos Reyes – Lucban, Quezon Gian-Paolo Simeon T. Lao – Pasig City Mark Benedict F. Lim – Pasay City Patricia Angela F. Magno – Quezon City Marco Antonio R. Rodas – Atimonan, Quezon Jenette Ethel N. Vizcocho – Manila City


Patnugutan Punong Patnugot Katuwang na Patnugot

Patnugot sa Ingles Katuwang na Patnugotsa Ingles Patnugot sa Filipino Katuwang na Patnugot sa Filipino Patnugot sa Sining Katuwang na Patnugot ng Sining

Patnugot ng Disenyo Pangkalahatang Kalihim Tagapangasiwa ng Kalakal

Mga Tagapamagitan

Walther Neil L. Hontiveros Wyatt Caraway Curie L. Ong

Victoria Isabel Yap Christina del Rosario Emmanuel John Bagacina Joseph Garcia Casimiro Maurice Y. Wong Alyza May T. Taguilaso

Gisela Banaag Rachel Valencerina Marra Selene Erica Sarmiento

Mr. Edgar Samar Mr. Lawrence Ypil Mr. Wilford Almoro


Mga tumulong sa pagbuo ng isyung ito Ingles Kyra Camille Ballesteros, Nica Bengzon, Deirdre Camba, Tonibelle Chan, Jasmine T. Cruz, Gian Dapul, Miggy Francisco, Jonathan Gonzales, Marie La Vina, Gian Paolo Simeon T. Lao, Miguel Llona, Petra Magno, DC Mostrales, Katherine Ong, Hannah Perdigon, Anna Katerina Rara, Chris V. Reyes, April Sescon, James Soriano, Miguel Sulangi, Cedric Tan, Gianna Villavicencio Filipino Rachel Marra, Mike Orlino, Jan Patrick Calupitan, Joven Angelo Flordelis, Jose Fernando Go-Oco, Chester Valdellon, Nicko Caluya, Paolo Miguel Tiausas, Miles Domingo, Miguel Castriciones, Jan Kevin Galicia, Geneva Guyano, Ramon Damasing, Lorenz Revillas. Sining Alexis Balaguer, Jessica Amanda Bauza, Alessa Margarita Benipayo, Justine Cabrera, Eusebio Kylo Chua, Regina Marie David, Monica Esquivel, Nicole Maguyon, Alfred Benedict Marasigan, Aziel Mendoza, Miguel Mercado, Isabelle Ocier, Jan Eli Padilla, Mary Frances Ra単ises, Ria Rigoroso, Natasha Ringor, Erica Sarmiento, Jose Luigi Gabriel Torres, Raissa Villanueva, Denise Yap Disenyo Sara Erasmo, Pepito Munsayac Go-Oco, Jessica Amanda Bauza, Alfred Benedict Marasigan, Gaby Alegre


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orks in w n e t it Wr Poetry ories t Short s Essays criticism lays Literary plays/screenp t One-ac rt: Visual A rawings D ulations ip n a s m g o in Paint aphs & phot r Photog says medium s Photoe t in any other r e and s Visual a r u o c , e ion, nam t u ib r t ail.com m con g r u @ o o : y in m to Send umber o: heights.filip lish@gmail.co n e n o h g filipin cellp ts.en works in english: heigh gmail.com works in s: art.heights@ k art wor o.org. hts@ymail.com e n e t a ig ts t heigh gh ateneo.he a s u it ou Vis t us thr 202. c a t n o C by MVP or drop



(2010) Vol. 57, No. 2