ii. tumutulak daw ako

pero hindi.
ayun siya
nakahiga at naliligo sa sariling dugo
ang kaawa-awa kong katawan
kanina’y payosi-yosi lang ako
at pumepetiks
sabi na nga ba’t
may masamang mangyayari
kanino ba ‘ko may atraso?
kay Marcelo,
na asawa ng kinakasama ko na si Carina?
kay Aling Lina,
na dalawang taon ko nang tinataguan
dahil ‘di ko mabaya-bayaran
ang dyes mil kong utang?
kay Angelo,
na kaibigan ko ngunit dahil sa
isang tampuhan sa inuman ay
di ko sinasadyang mabigwasan?
atraso lang naman ang nakikita kong dahilan
dahil Diyos ko,
kailanman ay ‘di ako nagtulak,
di ako nag-adik,
di ako nanggahasa o nanghalay man lang ng babae
at lalong lalo na’ng
‘di ako pumatay
“Pusher ako. ‘Wag tularan”
Ayan ang nakasulat sa kwadradong karton
na nakapatong sa aking walang buhay na katawan.
Marcelo, Aling Lina, Angelo, Carina…?
Sino pa ba?
Sila kaya?

Isa ako sa kanila
Na sinasaksak at pinaputukan ng paulit-ulit
hanggang mawalan ng hininga
Isa ako sa kanila
Silang walang malay na inagawan ng buhay
dahil sa purong muhi at personal na bersyon ng hustisya
Ito ba ang kabayaran sa ideyal na pagbabago?
Isa ako sa kanila
Gusto mo bang sumama?

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sumakay ako sa jeepney…

WARNING: Semi-rant post
Tuwing sumasakay ako ng jeep, parang lagi na lang ako nakakaencounter ng mga namamalimos of all sorts. Minsan, nandyan yung mga ‘naglilinis’ ng sapatos (pero di talaga linis, mapahid lang talaga), tapos manghihingi afterwards ng bayad after nilang ipahid yung maliliit na clothing. Tapos nandyan din yung mga may dala-dalang medical records, death certificates, nakakaawang pictures, at kung anu-ano pa na makapagpapatunay na may kamag-anak silang nasa ospital o di kaya namatayan. Noong una kong na-encounter yung ganung way ng pamamalimos, nasa bus ako, biyaheng Cubao, galing Philcoa. May dala-dalang medical records yung isang babae tas may pictures ng baby niya na may swollen things sa mukha habang nakatayo siya sa gitna ng bus at ‘shine-share’ yung mga adversities niya. Sobrang naawa talaga ako nun, kaya syempre nagdonate ako. Nag-rhetoric pa nga siya bago siya namalimos. Kabisado ko na yung rhetoric, kasi after ng incident na yun, may mga na-encounter na din ako na gayang-gaya ng ‘way’ niya ng pamamalimos. “Ah, magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat, ma’am, sir. Siguro nagtataka kayo kung bakit nakatayo ako dito sa inyong harapan ma’am, sir. Sana ‘wag naman kayo mailang sa ‘kin ma’am,sir, dahil di naman po masama ang intensiyon ko ma’am,sir, ‘di tulad ng iba dyan ma’am, sir. Sobrang nangangailangan lang po kasi kami ma’am, sir kaya napilitan po kaming manghingi dito sa harap niyo ma’am, sir. Yung lolo/tito/anak/asawa ko po kasi ma’am, sir, nasa ospital, ma’am sir. May *insert malalang sakit* siya ma’am, sir at malala na po ang kondisyon niya, ma’am, sir. Di na namin siya kayang pagamutin ma’am, sir kasi wala na po kaming perang pambayad ma’am, sir, kaya naman nakatayo ako ngayon sa inyong harapan ma’am sir, para sana po manghingi ng tulong ma’am, sir. Sana ‘di naman po ito labag sa inyong kalooban ma’am, sir. Maganda naman po ang intensiyon namin ma’am, sir. Pasensya na po dahil nangangailangan lang naman po kami ma’am, sir. Para lang po sa lolo/tito/anak/asawa ko po, ma’am, sir. Maraming, maraming salamat po, ma’am, sir. Ingat po kayo sa biyahe, at nawa’y pagpalain kayo ng Panginoon!” After nun, mamimigay sila ng white envelopes para lagyan namin.
Nung pangalawang ulit ko na na-encounter yung mga ganyang type ng pamamalimos, naawa ulit ako. Ewan ko ba kung di pa ko suspicious nun. ‘Edi siyempre, bigay, bigay. Sobrang nakakaawa kasi talaga yung mga pictures na pinapakita nila tas yung way nila ng pagsasalita sobrang nakakaiyak. Naka-encounter ulit ako ng ganung set-up ng pamamalimos, pa-SM North naman ako, tas ayun na. Dun na ko nagsuspestya. Parang di na genuine kasi paulit-ulit na. Madalas ko na silang nae-encounter ‘pag galing akong Cubao, papuntang Marikina, sa jeep. Pero usually nasa driver’s seat kasi ako, kaya di ako nahihingian. Dun na ko nakakuha ng sindikato vibes.

Nae-encounter ko din yung mga ‘Badjao.’ ‘Di ko sure kung Badjao nga sila or gimmick na naman ‘yun, pero baka may katotohanan naman dun, kasi nakadamit Badjao sila, unless, costume lang nila yun. Usually may dala-dala silang tambol AT 1-3 years old na bata. Ganito yung set-up usually, tatlo silang tao, usually, 2 adults, isang sanggol: may 20 or 30 something na lalaki/babae na uupo sa dulo ng jeep (sa may istribo) tapos siya yung magtatambol, may 20 or 30 something na babae na may bitbit-bitbit na baby na mamimigay ng sobre sa loob. Kapag nakakakita ako ng ganitong set-up, sobrang naiinis ako sa mga magulang nung mga bata, pati na dun sa mga nagdadala sa kanila. For awa effect ba ‘yun? Para mapilitan kaming magbigay ng donasyon out of awa, ganun? O wala lang magbabantay sa bata kaya kailangan nilang bitbitin sa kung saan man lupalop sila mapunta? Kumukulo talaga dugo ko ‘pag nakikita ko yung ganun, kasi nakakaawa yung mga bata. Kung di puro alikabok, at putik yung katawan at mukha, lawlaw na lawlaw naman yung damit.Tapos yung iba, pawisan na at tumutulo pa yung uhog sa ilong, di man lang mapunasan ng nanay nila o ng tita nila, o kung sino mang kasama nilang nanglilimos. Minsan pa, ang pangit ng pagkakabitbit sa mga bata, parang maghihingalo na sakal yung hawak nila. Kapag umaandar pa yung jeep, hala, lakad pa rin across the jeep habang bitbit yung baby, parang hindi sila natatakot na maumpog yung baby sa bakal anytime. Ganito na ba kahirap ang Pilipinas? Ganito na ba kahirap makahanap ng trabaho dito na they just opt to beg? O ganoon lang sila katamad maghanap ng trabaho kaya iaasa na lang nila sa ibang tao sa pamamagitan ng pamamalimos? Sana naman gumawa sila ng ibang magandang diskarte na di nage-exploit sa resources ng ibang tao. Yung ibang tao diyan, nagtitiyaga kahit di masyadong malaki yung kinikita nila sa mga legal na trabaho nila, pero sila aasa na lang? Ang unfair at nakakainis. Nakakainis kasi mostly sa kanila, honestly, tamad lang at sinukuan na ang paghahanap ng legal at disenteng trabaho. Naiinis din ako sa government dahil hindi nila nahahandle effectively yung mga namamalimos dito sa EDSA. Di ko lang alam sa ibang lugar. Akala ko ba bawal na yung namamalimos sa Pilipinas? Di namin ramdam na bawal.

Yung mga binibigyan ko lang ng limos, yung mga matatanda na talaga ee. Tas usually, pagkain yung binibigay ko sa kanila. Yun talaga yung naaawa pa ko, kasi naiinis ako sa mga anak nila o sa mga pamangkin nila na di man lang sila kinupkop. Pero minsa, may bad vibes din ako sa kanila ee, kasi what if, simula pa talaga nung bata-bata pa sila, namamalimos na sila? Tas nung nagkaedad na sila, ayun, namamalimos pa rin. Ewan ko na. Ang hirap na magtiwala. Puso’t intuition na lang talaga kung gusto mong bigyan ng limos ang isang tao. Madalas kasi tama ang vibes ko sa mga tao ee. Tumigil na talaga ako sa pagbibigay ng limos altogether dahil sa isang incident na nawitness ko, except dun sa nakikita kong matanda sa may tapat ng Isettan sa Cubao from time to time. Binibigyan ko siya ng mga baon kong tinapay na di ko nakakain. Mahirap na kasi magbigay na pera lalo na kung di ko naman alam kung saan napupunta yung mga binibigay ko, tsaka di ko pa pera yung binibigay ko. Pera yun talaga nila mama. Mamaya yung naiipon palang pera ng mga namamalimos napupunta lang pala sa sindikato lord at di naman pala talaga nila nagagamit na pangkain.
Di ko pa pala nasusulat kung ano talaga point ko kung bakit ako biglang napasulat ng ganto. Dahil kasi ito sa isang event na nawitness ko months ago, tulad ng nabanggit ko earlier. Ito talaga yung dahilan kung bakit tinigil ko na yung pagbibigay ng limos except nga dun sa matanda sa Isettan. February ata ito nangyari? Nakasakay ako ng jeep galing Marikina papuntang Cubao, nasa bandang Gateway na ko. As usual, traffic. Nasa dulo ako ng jeep. Gustong gusto ko dun sa dulo pumewsto o kaya sa driver’s seat kasi madami akong na-oobserve na tao. Tapos ‘eto, may napansin ako batang pulubi na nakasuot ng oversized t-shirt, tapos puro alikabok yung mukha niya. Kakababa niya lang sa jeep na malapit sa amin. May bitbit-bitbit siya na Fudgee Bar. Inassume ko na binigay yun sa kanya ng isang pasahero na nilimusan niya. Ngumiti pa ko nun. Iniisip ko pa, “Wow, ang bait naman ng nagbigay nun sa kanya.” Inaabangan kong buksan niya yun at kainin eh. Sinundan ko siya ng tingin, tapos, bes, hala, nagulat ako, tinapon niya lang sa kalsada yung Fudgee Bar na binigay sa kanya. Tapos kumaripas na siya ng takbo. Umandar na yung jeep na sinasakyan ko. Ako naman tulala at badtrip pa rin dun sa namalimos.Kung ayaw naman niya dun sa pagkain, pwede naman niya yung yung i-share sa kaibigan niya diba, o sa kapatid niya? Napakalaking turning point ng event na yun sa ‘kin. Alam ko naman na ‘di ko dapat i-generalize yung mga namamalimos dahil lang sa ginawa ng batang ‘yun. Malay ko naman, ‘di ba? Baka yung iba napapakinabangan naman talaga yung kahit pagkain na binibigay sa kanila. Di ko talaga matanto kung bakit niya yun nagawang matapon. Yun naman dapat talaga yung point ng pamamalimos nila ‘di ba? To eat and survive. So ano na lang point ng batang ‘yun? Tas eto pa, yung iba pang namamalimos, kapag hindi mo binigayan, susungitan ka, iirapan ka kapag ‘di mo pinansin o ‘pag di mo binigyan. Nag-iba talaga tingin ko sa kanila. Dati, kapag may namamalimos sa jeep, proud pa ko na ngabibigay ko kasi feeling ko ang bait bait ko. Dati, naiinis pa ko sa ibang pasahero na di man lang pinapansin yung mga namamalimos pati yung sobre na di nila mahawakan. But now, I clearly see where they are coming from. Tbh, mostly kasi sa mga namamalimos di deserve yung mga binibigay sa kanila, kasi di din naman nila nagagamit para bumili ng pagkain, damit, gatas, gamot. Nakakalungkot kung isisipin kung san talaga napupunta yung mga nalilimos nila.
Kung akin naman siguro yung pera na baon ko, magbibigay pa rin ako ng kahit P5. At least, di masyadong kawalan. E kaso kasi, hindi akin ee. Pera ni mama yun kaya mas maingat ako sa pagprotekta sa pinaghihirapan niya. Sana lang talaga paigtingin pa ng gobyerno yung mga batas nila patungkol sa mga namamalimos, kasi gawa sila nang gawa ng batas, hindi naman nasusunod, dahil mahina pa yung pagpapakalat ng mga kautusan kung anong dapat gawin sa mga namamalimos dito sa EDSA. Yung mga bata, sana ilagay nila sa DSWD o sa kahit saan pang lugar na ligtas sila at di sila pinagkakakitaan.

Day #2: Something I Feel Strongly About

I don’t even know where to start here. I want to rant about a lot of things from gender inequality, women, rape, patriarchy, social hierarchy, STS, terrorism, Trump, extrajudicial killings, Death Penalty, china, Lumads, Philippine massacres, farmers, racism, sexism, anti-intellectualism, to no work, no pay, etc. etc. But I don’t want to summarize all my views about these topics now, in this post. I just feel strongly about these aforementioned topics that each issue deserves at least one post at a time.

Since it’s all over the local news today and this week, I’ll just talk about the victory of the Philippines against China over the disputed South China Sea, or more appropriately, the West Philippine Sea. I’m obviously no expert on this so I’m just going to chatter about this on a very superficial level. According to an international tribunal’s verdict, China’s claims to most of the waterway had no legal basis. The Philippines is victorious! At last, our country takes back what is rightfully ours! Our fishermen can claim back their stolen livelihood…or not. Did we actually win this battle? On paper, yes, but China is incredibly stubborn. Apparently, China’s foreign ministry considered the decision “null and void” and carried on insisting that their historical rights for claiming sovereignty is valid, although the tribunal has already rejected it. I found this very cringe-worthy. Right after the decision came out, our Filipino fishermen were consequently extremely happy about the ‘good’ news, but then there’s this follow-up: China does not give a fuck about the evenhanded verdict.

I can’t understand why China would not let our fishermen to cross their our seas, even before the decision came out. Yes, they have a historical ‘claim’, but so has the Philippines. Do they even have the right to shove away our fishermen? Do they even have a right to injure and kill our fishermen just to blatantly flaunt that that territory is ‘theirs’? I don’t think so. But they have military power that the Philippines doesn’t have, that’s why we cower in fear.

I just feel so sad for the Filipino fishermen and their families along the West Philippine Sea whose only source of income is fishing, and I’m pissed off at the Chinese people who’s got something to do with that false and greedy claim. I think sharing the territory is quite possible, but since these Chinese people are so power and resource-hungry, of course they won’t let that happen. They’ll kill and injure every fishermen who cross ‘their boundaries’ first, before that happens. I doubt that they would even surrender their claim. They’re that hungry. But, our fishermen our hungrier, thus we really have to win this fight.

It’s a shame that all I can do now is just cry and rant about it. Most of us can’t do something about it, really, but along our doubts and babbles are high hopes. I’m really hoping that our newly elected Pres. Rodrigo Duterte can also lead his people to carry out a just change about this issue, for the sake of the Filipino fishermen and their families who are the most gravely affected by this dispute.

Innang

I wrote this entry on my journal last 09/13/15 months after my grandmother died. I miss her so much already.

09/13/15

I just remembered writing earlier that if I don’t write on a daily basis, bad things will happen, and I swear it to the moon. Apparently, I failed. Did bad things happen? Maybe they did happen, but maybe I was too optimistic to notice.

I also remembered mentioning that I’ll write about my grandmother. So, I’ll write it now. The main thing I remember though, was the feeling of sadness.

The ghost of her sweet face, though wrinkled with golden age, was graced with dimples and crowned with a silver mass of hair that cascades down her shoulders. Her memory still lingers around our house. She comes here, every December, to spend Christmas with us, and sometimes, New Year too. She occassionally sits on this long, wooden chair inside our house, while smoking tabacco, and staring far away, with a misty look in her eyes. Most of time that she spent here, she seemed to be perpetually happy.

I remember her quiet laugh whenever we try to make a fool of ourselves. I remember the feel of touching her flimsy, fragile skin and its distinct smell of fresh flowers, which always reminds of Abra. We love her so much. But, underneath the veneer of pure liveliness and optimism, we knew that she was tired. Her voice sounded gentler, and softer than usual. And she couldn’t go outside. I remember telling her things like, “Innang. Labas kami. Sama ka?” or “Innang, may *something, something* sa ganito, gusto mo makita?” She had refused, every single time, because she was simply tired. I knew she would refuse, but I kept on asking anyway, maybe because there’s still that part of me that wished that she was still strong enough to stroll away and do wacky things with us in Farmers, Gateway, Alimall, Rizal Park, ICCS, just like what we used to do when my siblings and I were still so much younger.

Whenever she leaves us every year, she would always tell me in this soft, crisp voice that I would always keep in my heart, “Hay, nakkong. Sa susunod na taon na naman, pupunta na naman ako dito.” I always believed her.

I’m very thankful that I had hugged her the tightest the last time she went here. Her last words to me were, “Mag-aral ka nang mabuti nakkong. Wag na kayong mag-away lagi ng mama mo… Sa susunod na Paskwa na naman ha? Sumunod, baka iba na naman kasama ko, hindi na si Carina.” I just nodded. I remembered trying to hold back tears as I wrap my hands around her. I always hold back tears whenever she leaves, because I knew that we would be waiting again for a year for her to come back and visit us. Little did we know that there would be no need to wait. She was never coming back. She was never going to visit us for Christmas or New Year again.

One afternoon, a month later, a relative called Mama that Innang had a stroke. Since that day, Mama was sleepless. Every night, she would call our relatives at the province before sleeping. I doubt that she even slept during those hard time. She would cry most nights while talking with our relatives on the phone. It broke my heart every time I hear their conversations. It was hard for me, but the baggage was a million times heavier for Mama. We would always ask her, “Oh, musta na daw si Innang?” She would answer, “Hindi pa din daw siya makapagsalita pero dumidilat na daw. Magdasal kayo, mga anak ha?”

Mama finally went back to Abra, and then after a week or two, she had called to tell us that Innang’s already gone. I remember hiding under the covers to cry.

All of us immediately followed her to Abra upon receiving the news. Mama’s eyes were bloodshot but she welcomed us with a familiar longing that only a mother can give. At the funeral, we met relatives whom we haven’t seen for a long, long, time and also those whom we haven’t seen yet.

It was a kind of a reunion, but unlike the usual kind, we meet not to celebrate, but to grieve. The last night of the funeral was the most heart-breaking. There was a slideshow flashing our pictures with her. I had cried for what seemed like an eternity. I just can’t believe that I would never see her again. She died too soon. I wished that she could at least witness my college graduation. I wanted her to be there, because she’s one of the best people who inspires me to work harder for my dreams, and my diploma would be a gift to her. I have so much plans for the future, but it’s sad that she wouldn’t be there anymore.

7/13/2016

Hi Innang!

Sobrang miss na kita. Miss ka na naming lahat, at sigurado akong mas namimiss ka na ni mama. Ayos ba diyan sa heaven? Alam kong at peace ka na diyan at hindi ka na balisa, di tulad nung mga nararamdaman mo nung last days mo dito. Alam mo po, ang lungkot namin nung unang Paskong wala ka, pero siyempre, pinilit pa rin naming magpakasaya. Iba talaga yung Pasko pag nandito ka ee. Mas magaan yung atmosphere, mas masaya. Yung tipong, kahit may naghahabulan na ng kutsilyo sa labas, pag nandito ka kasama sa bahay, alam naming magiging OK lang ang lahat. Namimiss ko na yung paghagikhik mo kapag nag-aasaran kami ng mga kapatid ko. Namimiss ko na rin yung itsura mo kapag pinagsasabihan mo si JP haha. Kahit kasi pinagsasabihan mo na siya, di ka pa rin mukhang galit ee. Ang cute, cute mo, Innang.Namimiss ko na ring walisin yung mga naglalagas na parang kaliskis galing sa balat mo tuwing nagkakamot ka habang nakaupo ka dun sa mahabang kahoy na upuan na paborito mong lugar sa bahay. Yung tabako mo rin namimiss ko na haha. Naalala ko nakabalot pa yun sa dalawang supot ee, tapos ang daming laman. Naalala ko nung bata ako tinitignan kitang gumawa ng tabako, tapos parang nainggit ako nun, tas tinanong kita kung puwede mo kong turuan gumawa haha. Siyempre tinuruan mo ko. Pero nung tinanong kita kung pano hithitin yun, siyempre di ka na pumayag. Ilan taon na ba ako nun? 4? haha. Namimiss ko nang hawakan yung balat mo kasi ang lambot lambot. Naalala mo pa ba nung bata pa kami, tapos mga 3 yrs old nun si Macmac tas nag-away yata kami tapos ayun, nag-iiiyak siya kaya pinapatahan mo siya. Tapos habang pinapatahan mo siya, bigla ka na lang niyang kinagat sa braso, tas nagdugo? Grabe, sobrang kaba ko nun, kasi pakiramdam ko nun ako yung puno’t dulo ng lahat, kasi ako naman talaga yung pasimuno nun kaya nag-iiyak nang ganun si Macmac. Tapos nung kinagat ka niya, mas lalo ko siyang inasar nun. Asong ulol ata yung inaasar ko sa kaniya nun? Ewan ko na haha. Tapos biglang humina yung pag-iyak niya kasi si Mama sobrang nag-aalala kasi nagdudugo na talaga yung braso mo. Buti nga maliit lang yung sugat nun ee. Buti na lang OK ka. May naiwan ka pa lang jacket dito, ‘nang. yung kulay Violet? Kapag malamig, yun talaga yung sinusuot ko ee. Mas naalala kita kapag sinusuot ko iyon. Iniiwasan ko nga yung suotin lately, kasi kapag nasa bus ako, kapag naaalala kong sayo pala yun, bigla na lang akong maluluha. Buti nga may salamin ako, kaya di masyadong halata kaya walang nakakapansin. Pinaka-astig na memory ko sa ‘yo, yung nagpunta tayo sa Q.C Circle. 13 palang ata ako nun o, 14? Basta, sobrang wala pa kong muwang nun haha. Medyo malakas ka pa kasi nun ee, nakakalakad-lakad ka pa nang matagal tapos hindi ka pa madaling mapagod. Game ka nga rin makipag-picture nun samin ee. Natutuwa pa rin talaga ako hanggang ngayon dun sa wacky pics natin hehe. Buti na lang nasalba sa laptop. Naalala ko pa, pinaka-favorite mo talagang palabas sa TV yung Wowowee. Laging mo ngang inaabangan yun ee, tapos tawa kayo nang tawa nina Papa habang nanonood kayo. Na-cancel yung Wowowee kaya Eat Bulaga na yung pinapanood ni Papa, so nung bumalik ka dito ulit para mag-Christmas vacation, edi hinahanap-hanap mo pa rin yung Wowowee. Sobrang lungkot mo nun nung sinabi namin nina Papa na nacancel na nga yung Wowowee. Pero nae-entertain ka pa rin naman sa Eat Bulaga hahaha. Sobrang tawang-tawa tayo habang nanonood. Pinakacute ko naman na memory mo ay yung nandito kayo nina Uncle Paul, Anti Marivic, Ate Carina, at syempre, ang super cute na si Ayen. Yun na rin yung last tayo magkita, so malungkot din pag naalala ko pero yun yung pinakacute na memory na naiisip ko lagi. Nakakatuwa kasi kayong pagmasdan nina Ayen habang naglalaro. ‘Ba-i’ pa nga tawag ni Ayen sayo ee. Panggalatok ata yun o Pangasinan? Naiiyak din ako minsan pag naalala ko yung Ba-i kasi nung burol mo, naalala ko pa, bitbit-bitbit ni Uncle Paul si Ayen sa harap ng kabaong mo, tapos sinasabi ni Ayen, “Ayan si Ba-i? Wala na Ba-i? Tulog ba si Ba-i?” Tapos pag ilalayo na Uncle Paul si Ayen, sasabihin niya, “Babay, Ba-I. Babay, Ba-I.” Ang cute niyo pag naghaharutan kayo ni Ayen kasi sobrang wagas ng hagikhik niya pag ikaw kasama. Babalik nga sana kayo dito nung Pasko 2015 ee, kaso wala, ‘nang, ganyan ka. Iniwan mo na kami. Alam mo ba, nung nakita ko sa Facebook feed ko yung mga kakilala kong 4th year na nagsablay na at finally graduate na, ikaw yung isa mga naalala ko. Kasi lagi mong sinasabi sa ‘kin, mag-aral akong mabuti, para gumaang-gaang naman yung buhay natin, tas masuklian ko yung sobrang pagkayod ni mama para mapaaral lang kaming magkakapatid. Iniisip ko pa dati, pag grumaduate ako at nagkatrabaho at nakaipon na, bibili ako agad ng bahay at lupa, tapos kayo kayo, ikaw, Innang, Mama, Papa, yung mga kapatid ko yung titira dun. At dami kong pangarap nun para sa atin, na pwede pa namang mangyari kaso nakakalungkot na wala ka na sa larawan na pinlano ko. 3 years pa Innang, at sana di naman ako tumagal ng more than 4 years sa UP, dahil atat na atat na akong tulungan si Mama. Balak ko nga pag 3rd year, hahanap na ako agad ng trabaho kasi pwede naman daw yun basta makapasa sa Career Service Eligibility Examination. Tulungan mo ko ‘nang ah? Humihingi ako ng guidance mo, with the Lord, para ma-achieve ko goals ko para samin. ‘Para satin’ dapat ee, kung nandito ka pa. Sana mabasa mo ‘to somehow. Inspiration pa rin kita hanggang ngayon, at hinding-hindi ka mawawala sa puso’t- isip ko. Kapag nakaupo ako dito sa may wooden chair na paborito mong upuan, ramdam na ramdam ko yung presence mo. Pakiramdam ko tinitignan mo lang ako, naggagabay. Ako bahala kay Mama, ‘nang. Onting tiis na lang, di na siya maghihirap. Mahal na mahal kita Innang. Mahal na mahal ka namin. Sana mas nasabi ko ‘to nang mas maganda nung buhay ka pa. Pero sana naramdaman mo yun sa mga yakap ko. Mahal na mahal na kita, Innang ko, sagad. :* -Angel

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Infidelity: A Quest for Novelty

This is another paper that I did for our Eng 11 class. I kind of enjoyed doing this, although it was very stressful, because I had to cram this whole thing.

What personal and societal challenges should one take in dealing with a monotonous and decidedly unexciting marriage? “What did that mean, to be together? What did it mean to enter into a bond with another person?” (Oates 65). Anton Chekhov’s “The
Lady with the Dog” and Joyce Carol Oates’ “The Lady with the Pet Dog” explore and exemplify how two married individuals’ yearnings for self reinvention and novelty, consequently catapulted them into obscure territories of infidelity.

Chekhov points out very early in his story that his main character, Dmitri Dmitrich Gurov, is someone who is used to being unfaithful with his wife and their marriage, as emphasized by: “He had begun being unfaithful to her long ago – had been
unfaithful to her often” (52). This unfaithfulness attests Gurov’s dissatisfaction with their marriage, eventually pulling him to cheat, to escape displeasure by finding missing pleasure through the company of other women. His stay at Yalta also
indicates his attempts of temporary escapes. The author hints that he goes there to find women in that he “had begun to take an interest in new arrivals” (51).He yearns so much for excitement in that place as he dreams of “tales of easy conquests, of
trips to the mountains and the tempting thought of a swift, fleeting love affair… took possession of him” (Chekhov 52). He later becomes acquainted with Anna Sergeyevna, “the lady with the dog” (Chekhov 52) and develops an affair with her. The “swift, fleeting love affair” however, does not turn out as how it is meant to be. Something brief grows into something deeper, as Gurov follows Anna to her hometown, even after they have parted and made promises to never see each other again. Anna, who is also married, and Gurov, figure out what to do with their relationship, for they “loved each other like people very close… like husband and wife… They could not understand why he had a wife and she, a husband, and it was as though they were a pair of birds of passage, caught and forced to live in different cages” (Chekhov 62).

Oates’ Anna also encounters the same problem. She also feels like she is trapped in her marriage, as if her relationship is in stagnant seas: “For years now, they had not been comfortable together; in their intimacy… they struggled gently as if the paces of this dance were too rigorous for them” (Oates 64). She moreover confessed to her lover that “she lived with her husband lovelessly, the two of them polite strangers, sharing a bed, lying side by side in the night in that bed, bodies out of which souls had fled” (Oates 75). This suggests that she and her husband were, once upon a time, happy and in love, but as time passes, the loving “souls had fled,” the love they once shared has already left them. Anna, in turn, attempts to find this lost love that eluded their marriage and finds it with an unnamed stranger, thinking that “this man was her savior, that he had come to her at a time in her life when it demanded completion… a permanent fixing of all that was troubled, shifting, and deadly” (Oates 65). She feels that her “completion” depends on the arrival of this special person. Even though she is evidently elated with this discovery, she is chased by shame, the same way Chekhov’s Anna is. In parallel with Gurov’s ultimate certainty or otherwise, about Anna Sergeyevna and their relationship , Oates’ Anna claims that the unnamed lover, “this man, whom she loved above any other person in the world, above… her own life, was her truest lover, her destiny” (Oates 75).

Even though both stories share very similar premises, themes, plots, and characters, they are manipulated by the author in distinctive manners. The similar plot, although different in structure, and “Anna” might primarily imply the possibility that both stories are connected, however, the settings of both stories prove otherwise. Chekhov’s is set on Russia, in Yalta, while Oates’ is set on United States, particularly in Nantucket and New York. The protagonists’ genders (one from a masculine
perspective, and the other, feminine) introduce the readers into distinctive moods and tones which the authors want to highlight. Chekhov’s Gurov appears to be laid­back, condescending, even dismissive, particularly with his wife and women. The very little information that Chekhov presented about Gurov’s wife insinuates that she plays an unimportant role in his life. Chekhov only tells the readers how Gurov “considered her unintelligent, narrow and inelegant” (52). The author also exposes most of Gurov’s thoughts, that attests how generally cynical and condescending his disposition is. About Anna, he thinks dismissively, “’There’s something pathetic about her anyway’” (Chekhov 53). He also admits that he used to call women “the
lower race” (Chekhov 52). The earlier part of Chekhov’s story offers a slightly relaxed, tensionless tone. Gurov’s nonchalant and virile disposition act as a tone driver. He primarily exudes an almost guiltless attitude towards infidelity. The tension just appears near the conclusion when Gurov realizes that “only now when his head was grey he had fallen properly, really in love – for the first time in his life” (Chekhov 62) and then both of them gradually think about how they can handle their secret relationship. Oates’ Anna, on the other hand, exudes feminine, dissenting feelings of hope and doubt, love and shame throughout the story. Unlike Gurov, Anna still has a direct physical connection with her husband – kissing, embracing, and love­making, shameful though it might be for her. Also, unlike Gurov’s wife, Anna’s marital partner evidently still cares for her, asking affirming questions such as, “Did I hurt you?” (Oates 52). She is notably religious about her lover, hailing him as her “savior”. Anna consistently thinks of her infidelity as something shameful, especially whenever she is with her husband, and doubtful: “He doesn’t love me, nothing will come of it” (Oates 72).

The two authors both speak of two worlds in their stories. In Oates’ it is “to be here and not there, to be one person and not another, a certain man’s wife and not the wife of another man” (66) while in Chekhov’s, “he had two lives: one, open, seen, and known by all… and another life running its course in secret” (61). Both are referring to the main characters’ two worlds: a) the public, legal life with their marital partners and b) the private life with their secret lovers. Both main characters similarly experience life in monotony and dissatisfaction, with Gurov thinking that “There is left a life… curtailed, worthless and trivial” (Chekhov 58) and Anna believing that “her life demanded completion” (Oates 65).

Shame and uncertainty are hovering feelings in both stories. To Oates’ Anna: “There was no future” and to Anna’s lover: “This is impossible” (66). Chekhov’s Sergeyevna tells Gurov that, “They could only meet in secret, hiding themselves from people,
like thieves” (62). Both stories also show that the two women (Oates’ Anna and Anna Sergeyevna) are more palpably worried about the social repercussions which may inevitably amount from infidelity, than the two men (Gurov and the stranger). The
two men’s nonchalant attitude towards it seems to suggest that they deem infidelity as something natural and inevitable to happen. This might also suggest that in both places and both time frames present in the story, societies are quicker to point fingers to women, likelier to impose shame and fault upon them, than they are to men.

Chekhov utilizes his story’s plot in a linear structure, while Oates’ does hers in a cyclical fashion. Chekhov’s strategy highlights realism, showcasing an open ending, wherein the conflict is just beginning to unveil itself. It reflects everyday reality, in which, practically, not everything ends with a closure. Chekhov ends “The Lady with the Dog” with: “They had still a long, long road before them, and that the most complicated part of it was only just beginning” (62). Oates’ cyclical plot structure, on the other hand, is effective in presenting Anna’s personal battles. Oates introduces the readers first to her marriage, her relationship with her husband –her life six months after she and lover decide to part ways, with consistent mentions of someone whom she is not allowed to be with. Oates then delves into the middle, in which she narrates Anna’s relationship with her secret lover. By primarily warning her readers that Anna indeed did something in the past that made her feel very shameful, the readers are able to empathize with her and understand what she is clearly feeling and where it is coming from at the middle of the story.

Even though the story is set in different time frames and different countries, different places, it is evident that in both stories, the main characters hide in secrecy, managing to create another world, a world that is private, known only by the two people participating in the secret relationship. The need to create another world, illustrates that the characters are fearsome of the legal and social repercussions that shall amount from an illegal relationship. This reflects that Russian and American societies, at those time frames, both frown upon infidelity. The characters’ secret dives into infidelity prove to be problematic, because of legal and societal consequences and conventions, but these dives, nonetheless, fulfill their yearnings for reinvention, and novelty.

Works Cited

Chekhov, Anton. “The Lady with the Dog.” Trans. Constance Garnett. Efictions. Ed. Joseph F. Trimmer, C. Wade Jennings, and Annette Patterson. Forth Worth: Harcourt College, 2001. 51­62. Print.

Oates, Joyce Carol. “The Lady with the Pet Dog.” Efictions. Ed. Joseph F. Trimmer, C. Wade Jennings, and Annette Patterson.
Fort Worth: Harcourt College, 2001. 63­76. Print.

The Status of Original Pilipino Music (OPM) in the 21st Century Youth Subculture

I wrote this paper for our Soc Sci 1 and Eng 10 classes. I ended up enjoying writing this.

I. Introduction

Music and society have always been intimately related. Music holds a strong, essential, and definitive role in reflecting and shaping the culture of every society, every country. It unifies groups of people and moves them to common action and helps them express common emotions. Some songs become anthems for particular generations, as Eraserhead’s Ligaya became for many in the 1990’s. In times of national crisis, songs seem especially appropriate, such as ASIN’s “Masdan Mo ang
Kapaligiran” or Francis M.’s “Tayo’y mga Pinoy”. Music expresses widely-shared values, experiences and emotions, that helps define a group’s identity and solidarity. It also serves as a forum for public debate about manners, morals, politics,
policies, and social change. Musicians and their audiences are social actors. While they reflect the world around them, they also interpret and change it. Some are most valuable for telling us what concerned people, how they saw issues, and how they
expressed their hopes, ideals, anger, and frustrations. It facilitates communication which goes beyond words, enables meanings to be shared, and promotes the development and maintenance of individual, group, cultural, and national identities.
Through Original Pilipino Music (OPM), the diversity, uniqueness, and richness of the Filipino culture, as well as the distinctive values and sentiments of the Filipino people are clearly expressed, exposed, and reflected at its most honest and rawest form.

Much of OPM have been influenced by the colonial legacies of Spain, Western rock n’ roll, hip-hop music and pop music from the United States, the Austronesian population and Indo-Malayan Gamelan music. It is a mixture of European, American and Indigenous sounds.

OPM originally referred only to Philippine pop songs and ballads, which appealed very much to the Philippine mass, right after the collapse of its predecessor, the Manila Sound, in the 1970’s. OPM is referred to now as any music composed and performed by a Filipino artist. It became hugely popular with the peak of the Metro Manila Music Festival or Metropop in 1972.

Artists such as Ryan Cayabyab, ASIN, Rico J. Puno, Joey Albert, Pilita Corrales, Basil Valdez, Claire dela Fuente, Rey Valera, Imelda Papin and Freddie Aguilar dominated the 70’s OPM scene, delineating the decade’s music with their powerful tunes and melodies, and lyrics with recurring themes of social, political, and familial struggles and of the pains and gains of hopeless romantic affairs.

In the midst of 1980s and 1990s, OPM was even more lifted by solo artists like Regine Velasquez, Sharon Cuneta, Jose Marie Chan, and Vina Morales who built their music career with their sweeping voices on ballads about unconditional love and heartbreak.

Also in the 90s, bands like the APO Hiking Society, Eraserheads,and Rivermaya found haven and developed a fan group following with their appealing and generally widely-accepted lyricism and their experimental, sometimes upbeat, sometimes melancholic, stadium rock tunes.

Meanwhile, band s like Side A, Introvoys, The Teeth, Yano and True Faith glorifies the maudlin, sentimental facet of OPM pop and reflects the Filipino people’s fondness to romanticism.

From its kickoff, OPM has been centered in Manila, where the city’s dominant, core languages are mostly Tagalog and English. Ilokano, Visayan, Bikolano, and Kapmpangan and other ethnolinguistic groups have not been recognized as OPM despite their palpable music production in their respective native languages. Multiculturalism advocates, and federalists often associate this discrepancy to the Tagalog-centric cultural hegemony of Manila.

The Visayan, who created a subgenre of Philippine Rock they hailed as Bisrock, have the biggest collection of modern music in their native language, with great collaboration and contribution from Visayan bands Phylum and Missing Philemon.
Regardless of the growing uproar for non-Tagalog, and non-English music, the apparent greater representation of other Philippine languages, the local Philippine Industry, which is centered in Manila, is unforthcoming in venturing investments
to other locations. Some of their major reasons include the language barrier, small market size, and socio-cultural emphasis away from regionalism in the Philippines.

In the present decade, artists and bands such as Yeng Constantino, Gloc-9, Hale, Up Dharma Down, Parokya ni Edgar and Callalily are still boldly persistent in creating experimental songs that explores a myriad of subgenres. Gradually, through the years, OPM has evolved, and has been experimented with myriad of genre-styles by many fleeting Filipino artists who each left their marks in the OPM history.

Filipinos had palpably supported OPM since the prelude of the Metropop culture. However, noticeably, after decades of the proliferation of music from prominent Filipino artists who made distinctive marks in the Filipino music scene, the
Philippines’ music industry gradually seemed to merely settle with the production of auto-tune, second-rate songs and revivals or covers of both foreign and English songs from the past.

Youth Subculture and Musical Preferences

Some consumers in the music industry are coming from the youth subculture. They are one of the essential demographics targeted by record producers, because they already have the capability to buy individual records or album, either through
online or physical means. The youth subculture also has the powerful capacity to expound a fan group following, being the primary users of social media platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Therefore, this subculture is very
effective in disseminating music.

The youth subculture is a youth-based subculture with distinct styles, behaviors, and interests. Socioeconomic class, gender, conformity, morality, and ethnicity can be important in relation to youth subcultures. Youth subcultures have a certain
devotion attached for clothing, music, and other visible affections by members of the subculture, because these mark them a nuance of identity and distinction.

Music is the preeminent fountainhead of liberation in the youth subculture, and most music is easily accessible now through the evolution of the internet and mainstream media. However, is the Philippine media doing its role in promoting Philippine
music to the Philippine youth subculture?

OPM and the Philippine Media

The 21st Century has indeed been tough for Philippine Music Industry. From the record high estimated P2.7 billion in industry CD sales in 1999, physical sales went down to P699 million in 2010 according to data provided by the Philippine Association
of the Recording Industry (PARI).

Production of albums today is clearly difficult considering the steep competition from online music sites like Spotify and iTunes. Physical albums are competing against the invisible and invincible. Artists, especially, endure the negative repercussions of these paradigm-shifting innovations.

Because of piracy, the music industry lost an estimate of more than a billion last year. Artists are not properly compensated for their work, and the industry loses profit which may lead to the closure of more record companies. According to PARI, 8 of
the 43 affiliated with the PARI, closed shops in 2001 because of the rampant operations of piracy in the Philippines.

Another challenging issue for the Philippine Music Industry is the lack of commercialization of music by the Philippine media (TV, radio, newspaper, etc.). Mainstream media dictates taste and excellent dissemination, however, most music
companies in the mainstream media choose to produce mostly remakes of old tunes, perhaps, believing that it is the fastest way of reaching a wider audience, assuming that the listeners only consume the familiar and comfortable.

In line with this, the researcher decided to conduct a survey participated by the youth subculture, which may show the current status of OPM in the 21st Century Philippine youth subculture.

II. Description of the Sample

30 students from universities and a high school in Quezon City and Manila City participated in this research survey. 24 students are from University of the Philippines, Diliman (UPD); 3 students are from Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP); 1 is from National Teachers’ College (NTC); 1 is from St. Paul’s University, Quezon City (SPUQC); 1 is from Quirino High School (QHS). 60% of the respondents are female and 40% are male. The respondents’ average age is 17 years old.

III. Summary of Resultssummary
IV. Discussion of Results and Conclusion

From the data gathered, it can be suggested that more teenagers can hear less OPM and more foreign music (English, K-Pop, J- Pop, etc.) from our local FM or AM radio stations. This shows that local radio stations today do not play enough OPM or
Philippine music.

The data also shows that most teenagers don’t listen more to OPM artists neither in Spotify nor YouTube. There’s a great probability that the respondents listen more to foreign artists.

The frequency of teenagers who buy albums or individual records either online or through physical music stores is considerably low. The low frequency may mean ambiguously: a) the respondents or participants may not also buy albums or
individual records by foreign artists either. They are likely listening through streaming platforms like Spotify or through YouTube or they are apt to participate in file sharing/torrent downloading/online piracy, or b) they are more apt to buying
foreign individual records or albums.

Moreover, most respondents conceive that the Philippine media is not effectively glorifying OPM. This shows that teenagers are not satisfied with the efforts of the Philippine media in showcasing OPM.

When inquired if OPM nowadays appeal very much to them, most of the respondents responded with a “no”. This may mean that foreign music appeal more to them than OPM or this might also mean that today’s music (foreign or OPM) in general, do not
appeal to them at all.

In the concluding question, when asked if they like today’s OPM, the answer is generally “no”. Most teenagers or members of the Philippine youth subculture surveyed generally are not in favor of today’s mainstream OPM.

V. Personal Evaluation

I chose to carry out this survey after reading an article online titled, “The life and death of OPM” written by Philippine Star’s cultural critic, Don Jaucian. In the article, he criticizes the status of today’s OPM, claiming that OPM’s death can be gleaned when “yesteryear’s hits” are “sung to death by variety show singers,” while newer acts “struggle to get their original material released.” Consequently, this article resulted into heated discussions in various social media, and blogging platforms. On one hand, many bloggers and critics disagree, including Carlo Casas, saying that, “I’ve been a part of the music scene since 2002, among my friends from the industry, none of them think OPM is close to being dead.” He added, “You have the Internet. You all have what all of your heroes of your teen angst years didn’t: The world at your fingertips. Share your music on social media. You have things like Soundcloud, Facebook and Twitter.” Critic Rain Contreras also added, “You don’t go to enough gigs of bands you don’t know. I’ve been witness to three decades worth of Pinoy music.” On the other hand, bloggers like Leloy Claudio agreed with Jaucian and contradicted the argument of Casas, saying that, “Take the argument to its logical conclusion: if you don’t make it, poor padawan, it’s nobody’s fault but yours. Don’t criticize “the man” for making it tough on poor musicians. Rock was never about complaining anyway. Stay happy. Surf the net. And if you lack support, it’s because you didn’t tweet enough. Try saying the same thing to novelists, painters, and other artists who don’t receive enough support in the Philippines. It’s in this way that Casas and Jaucian’s other critics conjure away the power of media conglomerates and distribution networks, while patronizing younger artists. It’s not like social media isn’t awash with music from young musicians who put out their work for free, or promos for gigs where you pay P150 for entrance, a beer, and five bands. The Casas musicological theorem of “internet + hard work = magic bullet to success” is fiction.”

This debate really piqued my curiosity, because I want to know if OPM’s indeed, “dead.” I found the opportunity to get immediate answers through this research survey project.

Although my personal answers to the questions I made would be mostly ‘No”, I was still hoping and even expecting that the respondents’ answers would be mostly “Yes”, because I assumed that perhaps most young people today still find OPM appealing.

Summarizing the survey was a slightly depressing task, after discovering that most young people I surveyed do not find OPM appealing and favorable over foreign music. On one hand, the young people I surveyed do not necessarily represent the whole youth subculture. It was just a small facet of it.

Is OPM, therefore, dead? It is not. Just like Casas said, there are still many rising music groups, bands, and solo artists out there, waiting to be unveiled and to be given the opportunity to showcase their talents.

One of the questions in the survey is “Do you think the Philippine media is effectively glorifying OPM?” I included this question because I want to find validation with my perception of the Philippine mainstream media, because, like the majority of the respondents’ answers, I don’t also think that the Philippine media is effectively glorifying OPM. I might not agree with Jaucian’s blunt statement “OPM is dead,” but I agree with him that “yesteryear’s hits” are “sung to death by variety show singers,” while newer acts “struggle to get their original material released.” The mainstream media is a very powerful tool to disseminate culture. Whatever the mainstream media produces, many people would unquestionably jump and ride along with it. The sad truth is that, most producers in the Philippines nowadays are afraid to take risk. Most of them would offer labels to famous actors, not musicians, because they think that popular handsome actors would sell more. Unbeknownst to them, this is actually affecting the music culture. They should mainstream the obscure but talented artists. Another structural factor that affects the arts is government investment. In 1950s France, a disdain for American film and a desire to promote cultural production outside Paris led the government to invest in directors like Godard and Truffaut who would constitute the French New Wave. (This was a common pattern in the social democratic milieu of postwar Europe.) In 1970s Philippines, the Marcos dictatorship also poured money into the arts. Imelda Marcos spent a lot of money on pop festivals. The government now, should do the same, not just in music, but also in all arts in the Philippines, because these are in great need of a strong foundation. They are scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Music and arts in general are very important facets of a country, because it reflects a lot about the Filipino people and the Filipino culture. I want to hear a foreigner hear a Filipino song, and then exclaim, “Hey, I love that! That’s a Filipino song!” instead of “Hey, I love that, that sounds Western!”

The industry may now be too far away from its glory days like in the 60’s or 90’s, but it is not dead. It just needs the unified support of the Filipino people.