Wednesday, September 16, 2009


BAMBANG, Nueva Vizcaya --- We’ve been robbed!

This was the collective outburst of the people of Almaguer after the winners for the 1996 Miss Bambang pageant was announced.

“My daughter is clearly the winner. This is an outrageous lutong macao!”, screamed a visibly agitated Baket Upris, mother of Miss Almaguer’s Sutsi who is the alleged victim of the cheating.

“Sutsi is the legitimate Miss Bambang and it will be written as such in all signages within Almaguer!” declared a defiant Kagawad Kit-to of Purok Singko where Sutsi and her family reside.

Pinakan da ti pangaldaw dagidiyay judge isu nga impangabak da diyay taga-Calaocan!” volunteered another Purok Singko resident.

The din went on for a week then simmered down as the emotions of a community spurned settled.

Back in CLSU as a junior Bachelor of Arts student, Sutsi went on with her “Almost…” spree by being crowned as the second runner-up of the Most Beautiful Face and Miss Night league pageants.

Sutsi was on her senior year and being geared for the Miss CLSU pageant when she had an “accident” and had to get married.

Her distraught brother who pinched pennies for her to get to college did not attend the wedding and banned Sutsi from their house in Almaguer.

Today, Sutsi is a mother of four kids. Her brother has forgiven her a long time ago.

And Almaguer has forgotten that almost Miss Bambang moment as the signages remained unpainted with her name.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Dear Ino,

You turned 38 today.

It’s amazing how time pass and suddenly realize we are no longer the innocent young boys whose one great joy was frolicking in Almaguer’s dacquel nga carayan. You are a father now as I am.

But those last few weeks have been frustrating for me and I guess you felt that. I was expecting you to be at that stage where rock stars mature and live the lessons they learned from their youthful brashness when all the world’s a stage. But some never did, like Kurt Cobain, and refused to move on opting instead to remain in that single frame of life’s fleeting journey.

It seemed to me that you are also determined to be that young angry rock star forever. I see you as recalcitrant, perhaps scared, of moving on.

Dear brother, heed Bob Dylan when he sang that the times are a changin’. We carry on with our lives but we have to adapt to the moving times too for us to be relevant. There are new roles to fit in and emerging responsibilities to carry on. The anchors that hold us through life’s tempests will fade away, like Mom and Dad, and we should learn to stand on our own.

At your age, perhaps you should take a moment of contemplation to discern the songs and the lyrics of its musical soul. The future that you planted through your kids is fast unfolding. You should teach them to swim in the dacquel nga carayan like we did when we were trying to decode the mysteries and goodness of our childhood. You do that and still be a rock star. The Eagles has proven that hell can be freezeth over and Nirvana can sing unplugged.

I have been grumpy with you and I apologize for that. It’s difficult being a big brother and having my own family to look at too. Mom and Dad’s shoes are too big for me to fill alone. We should walk in them together.

Please forgive me if I have been rough with you. Impertinence is a trait I have been trying to conquer for some time now. But whatever comes, the days of the eternal sun in Almaguer will shine on us forever.

Time passes, I remain…

FOOTNOTE: Sometime ago, several senior students from the Central Luzon State University staged a musicale titled “Sa Bawat Gubat” based on the life and times of the late poet Emannuel F. Lacaba as part of their requirements in Theater Arts. That theatrical experience inspired another musicale based on the stories spawned by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. It was titled “LAHAR” and Ino is one of its two main characters. The photo above shows Ino the Rock Star (right) with his big brother in the banauang that sources out from Almaguer’s dacquel nga carayan.