Thursday, March 28, 2013


We spent our childhood living near churches and schools.

After that, we finally settled for good in a house uprooted to Abagatan from Sonsona, in a place where Lakay Burik cleared his lost lands, away from them churches and schools.

From that place, college took us one by one and we started drifting away.

I got married and stayed in my great paternal grandmother's province of Nueva Ecija.

The old folks died one after the other.

Che's husband moved his family to his father's home province of Pangasinan.

Serwet stayed in the the old house in Almaguer, now concrete and galvanized, before leaving for Hong Kong to work there with his wife.

The last time the three of us were together was when an uncle died ages ago although Facebook and occasional phone calls kept us in touch.

So when Serwet came home for a 1 week vacation, we decided to get sunburned for a day.

We were almost all there.

We snacked on Jollibee spaghetti and lunched on Mang Inasal chicken.

The kids danced with the artificial waves, burned their butts down the slide, zipped down the line, and even sang "Luha" for me. 

Then we went our own ways: me to our house near the church and school in Bacal 2, Che to their residence in Pozzorubio which is actually a church, and Serwet to the old place in Almaguer where a Mormon church was almost built.

Sunburn never felt so good.

Mom and Dad must be smiling down on their grand kids...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

THE IDES OF MARCH (-2, +3, -21)

Julius Caesar has been warned of the Ides of March.

Former revolutionary Ray Ibanil was not when it came to him two days early this year through a fatal heart attack. 

It came from the blazing guns of the enemy to poet-warrior Eman Lacaba three days later in 1976 in Davao del Norte.

It came to NGO figure Joey Gloria, who was born four days after the Ides, three weeks early in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya.

It is in their lasting memory that I offer the following offerings...   

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


"Patay na lang ang walang remedyo".

With that in mind, we took the plunge.

And as we free fall, our fortunes changed.

Sudenly, funds become available.

Guests begged off, but made it after all.

Despite last-minute cancellations, attendance was okey. 

It's the vegetarian Bolognese served for snack, perhaps.

But The Vegan, she left her veggies on the plate.

Adaption and mitigation, it must be.

Or it's the Parmesan cheese, I suppose...

Sunday, March 10, 2013


RETREAT (Wikipedia): [a] a religious or spiritual term for time taken to reflect or meditate; [b] a withdrawal of military forces; [c] a place of refuge for those in the survivalist movement; [d] military signal for the end of day; [e] to treat again.

The Bugle Call

The bugle sounded as taps faded with the day. The commander-in-chief is calling his troops. So we pulled ourselves and forced our way. We were exhausted. We wanted to cocoon ourselves in our grief for a while. But we are his soldiers. And we obey his orders. So we go...


Punta de Fabian turned not to be the boot camp we dreaded. The ridge where it was perched offers a breathtaking view of Laguna de Bay which extracted the sad sighs in us. Its remoteness allowed us to contemplate and come to terms with our grief. It was our unintended refuge...


And so we move on. We must. A familiar face now sits at the empty chair. In our grief, we were reminded of our mortality and realized that we are no Benjamin Buttons. Most of us are in fact middle aged. Perhaps it is time to slow down a bit, smell the flowers along the way, and make each day count more than usual...  


Ed Dela Torre's tireless facilitation can indeed stir tired souls. Bit it was not the workshop who released the angst. It was more of the brief dips in the pool, the cautious nightly beers and strings of stories, and the rare moment of all being together. But for me, therapy is reshooting the grandeur of Tanay' church and and the old stones of that old church on top of a hill in Baras. And perhaps some desirable pansit from Licab... 

CREDITS: Top photo courtesy of Gio Paolo Espital.