Friday, June 26, 2009

PLUMANG TANSAN 2

Dumalaw ka kagabi
tangan ang karayom na bumutas
sa ga-semento kong balatkayo.
Nilagnat ka sa nalanghap
habang nagdedeliryo
ang ‘sang semestreng
magiging bahagi na lamang ng nakaraan,
mula sa paglalaro mo ng pingpong
tuwing gabi
hanggang sa pagtulog mo
tuwing tanghali.
Gusto ko lagi kitang kasama
kaya’t pinagtitiyagaan kong hulihin
ang naiwan mong multo
isinisilid sa aking balahibo,
sa gayon araw-gabi kitang
maramdaman, mapanaginipan.
Sayang nga lang
at sa tingin lang kita puedeng mahalin,
baka kasi ‘pag niyakap kita
maglalaho ka ring tulad nila,
wala nang maglalaro ng pingpong
at hindi na sisikat ang araw
tuwing tanghali.
Hindi ko kaya ‘yun kaya’t
nagmamartsa na lamang ako
sa ‘yong dinaanan,
pinupulot at ibinubuhol
ang mga nalagas mong buhok
upang ipangsilo
ng mga buntong hininga
at sunog na pandesal.
Katulad kagabi
kumandong ka sa aking balatkayo.
Sana hindi na ako nagising.

(STP, Hulyo 1993)

Friday, June 19, 2009

ISANG TULANG NAUNANG PINAMAGATANG "THE LORDS OF THE PEE"

Malinamnam na ang tinimplang proposal
nagmamantika
sa isang kilong utak
at limang gabing puyat.

Mamaya, alas diyes y media
sa internet café na amoy medyas
ito'y tutungo sa mga panginoon at pinagpala
huhubog ng himala

nawa'y maging pera ang mga dahon at balat ng sigarilyo
katulad ng amoy ng limandaan at ‘sanlibong ninakaw sa bangko
habang tinatiyani ang mga nakatagong sinsilyo
pambayad sa kuryente’t telepono.

Mamaya, ipamamalita ng hiningang pasmado
sa mga nag-aabang sa munisipyo, sa kapitolyo,
sa mga opisina ng NGO.
Tuloy ang proyekto! Nakapulot kami ng pondo!

Ganito kaming gumawa ng milagro
habang kapulong ang mga nagkaonsehang PO
nakikisindi sa mga kampanyador na walang panigarilyo
at kinikikilan ng mga COng walang pangkrudo.

Ang matira, kasama ang pinagputahan noong isang linggo,
ay ipantutubos sa Red Horse at Emperador
bendetang pantaboy sa mga maligno
nang may mapagpulungan sa palasyo’t maipagmalaki sa publiko.

Kami ang mga putok sa buho
mga kailangang pumasok ng Biyernes at Sabado
mga kinalimutan at isinuga sa impiyerno
nakikidigma kahit na pasko, Linggo, at walang pondo

nagtatampo, naninibugho, malapit nang maghuramentado.

Friday, June 12, 2009

PANSOL

The first time is always the best and this is so true for so many things.

My first taste of Pansol in Calamba, Laguna was a left turn from the highway going to Los Banos in December of ’94. Mama Butch, our Ina ng Laging Saklolo, led us there: me, a kabagis who was nursing a shattered heart, and my brother the boxer.

The hot spring resort featured a large pool surrounded by newly built apartments for rent which I presume is the business class for patrons who can pay. We stayed in the pavilion, the economy class if you may, which allowed us a free table and chairs. I recalled those in the pool as mostly senior citizens and I thought most of them were either going to be afflicted, already afflicted, and have been afflicted of the diseases of the heart that come with old age. They converge on the spot where one can actually feel the hot spring water seeping from the rock. It smelled of sulfur and from time to time, the bathers would catch the water with bottles and drink it like a magic potion.

Somewhere, the hot water meet a stream of cold spring water creating a perfect lukewarm temperature who younger people like me seemed to prefer having clustered on that part of the pool. Near where the water spills out, a busy line of masseuses were giving a good rub to some of the bathers, including us, for P100 an hour. The familiar smell of Safeguard soap hanged in the air.

Beside the resort is a restaurant of the turo-turo and carinderia type. Nothing fancy except for the displayed photos of showbiz stars who supposedly ate there, the most prominent of which is Bembol Roco. The specialty of the house is kanduling sinigang sa miso. I can still hear the angels sing whenever I recall the perfect sourness of that heavenly soup thick with the yellow grits of miso and the red juice of ripe tomatoes wrapped with a certain tanginess of the half-cooked mustasa leaf garnish and kanduli so fresh they were almost alive.

I was never able to find that place and food again. There are just too many left turns today, too many resorts, and too many ahentes hawking private pools that even stopping to pee in Pansol has become a challenge. It rained all day the last time I was there. The hot water was piped into the pool from somewhere and there were no masseuse. I comforted myself with a plate of pansit bihon and imagined the cascading rain as that glorious broth of kanduling sinigang sa miso from long ago…


Profile: Church of Sta. Rosa, Laguna

Finally, THAT church of Sta. Rosa de Lima. Three years ago, I stumbled into a cake-pink church in the middle of busy shopping district that I later learned to be the Pacita Complex. I thought it was the colonial church I read in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. I posted photos of it in flickr and was told I got the wrong church. So I came back determined not to miss this one as that lost Pansol resort and kanduling sinigang sa miso.

Sta. Rosa was established by the Dominicans as an independent parish in 1792. It took 16 years to build the church from 1796 until 1812. The image of the patron saint enthroned in the church was a gift from the ambassador of Peru to the Philippines who brought the image in 1999. The church had been renovated several times.

Friday, June 05, 2009

MAPANDAN

Suman undressed to its bareness and embraced by the thickness of a seductive sugary brown dip.

Thin golden pancakes still wriggling from the pan smothered with melting margarine and a shower of white sugar.

Pansit bihon scooped from a tin batya of army camouflage color and drowned in a bowl of hot oily goto soup where it will be blessed with a drop of patis, a shake of pepper, a squeeze of calamansi, and washed down with a warm bottle of Pop Cola.

Small round pieces of hopia with an onion-like aftertaste from the neighborhood store.

Yes, my childhood recollection of Mapandan is good food.

And nearby San Fabian where we built a hundred mini castles from the dark sand of the beach, where the hot sun fried our skins that have been marinated tender in the foamy brine of the sea, and where the bathing multitude shouted abuse at colliding human excrement.

San Fabian owned us. It was our weekend haunt. Our only surviving family photo was taken there in a place called the Japanese Garden.


Wife’s last two birthdays were spent getting sunburned with the kids and riding short boat rides there. But me, I have mellowed from the sea to the comfort of a rented shed where I get a high watching the greatest fights of the great Manny Pacquiao, then switching to concert videos of the Queen, Scorpions, and ABBA in between sips of Spanish brandy and bites of grilled Bonuan bangus.

And every going home, we pass by Mapandan hoping to find the suman, the pancakes, and the pansit that now seemed to exist only in my memories…




PHOTOS EXPLAINED:

(1) A sabadista picnic in a place called Japanese Garden somewhere along San Fabian. That’s me in the center with the white shirt and a green hat. Mom is the lady with the red pants on my right while Dad is the serious looking guy with the curly hair behind me.

(2) This year on our way home from San Fabian, we passed by Mapandan where I showed wife and the kids the places I walked through as a 3rd and 4th grader in the sabadista school where my Mom was a teacher. This photo was taken in the town plaza with Mapandan’s St. Joseph’s Church in the background.

(3) The closest representation of Mapandan’s pansit bihon in goto soup is a hot bowl of sotanghon na may sabaw at Pepita’s Carinderia in the public market of the Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija.