usal: isang dalit*

(Talagang nakagigimbal  ang Maguindanao massacre na naganap  noong Nobyembre 23,  2009.  Kalunos-lunos ang sinapit  ng  limampu’t pitong taong walang awang  pinaslang.  Itong abang tula ay alay ko sa kanila at sa kanilang mga pamilya…)

 

Ang panaghoy ng damdamin

Mga buhay nang kitilin

Parang hayop ang kahambing.

Sila’y makabagong  Cain…

 

Panginoon, sana’y dinggin

Itong munting panalangin

Katarunga’y aming hiling

Salarin ay panagutin.

 

(Ang dalit ay isang katutubong anyo ng tula na binubuo ng walong pantig kada taludtod, apat na taludtod  kada  saknong at may isahang tugmaan.  Depinisyon mula sa http://www.english-to-tagalog.com/tula.html.)

 

Tr(H)aiku

((Ang haiku ay tula ng mga hapones na binubuo ng labingpitong pantig na nahahati sa tatlong taludtud. ang unang taludtud ay binubuo ng limang pantig, ang pangalawang taludtud naman ay binubuo ng pitong pantig at ang ikatlong taludtud ay binubuo di ng limang pantig gaya sa una. (Hango  sa WikiAnswers.com)     Nag-try lang ako  gumawa ng  haiku sa Filipino.    Subok  lang hehehe… )

i

Katakataka

Gumalaw  na mag-isa

Ang tumba-tumba

ii

Kababalaghan?

Marahil o  malamang

Guni-guni lang

iii

Kung ang computer

Tinopak, naging monster

I-off ang  power

iv

Ang kasintahan

Kapag ikaw’y iniwan

T’yak may dahilan

v

Mata’y tinakpan

Bata’y  kinilabutan

Sa romansahan

vi

Di kasi alam

Anong kahihinatnan

Pag nagganunan

vii

Labi sa pisngi

Nang halik ay dumampi

Kiliti’y huli

viii

Basag ang mukha

Si Cotto, surrender na

Pacquiao,   wagi ta

ix

H’wag na magtaka

Ginamit ay “wagi ta”

Ako’y may pusta

x

Labis ang tuwa

Pacquiao,  di alintana

Bugbog na tenga

xi

Madla  nagitla

Away Jinkee at Krista

Sad si Dionesia

xii

Grabeng intriga

Walang  kakwenta-kwenta

Sakit talaga

xiii

Mas  mabuti pa

Tayo ay magkaisa

Kasi pasko na

xiv

H’wag  magsiraan

Dapat nga  magtulungan

Ang buong bayan

xv

D’yos na Lumikha

Tunay na Hari Siya

Tayo’y Mahal N’ya

xvi

Natuwa ka ba

Dito sa munting tula?

Sana,  sana  nga.

durog

Bilang pakikiisa sa National  Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Week o DAPC Week,  hayaan niyong ilahad ko ang ilang kuwento mula sa aking sariling pagmamasid  at  kamulatan kung gaano kalala  ang  problema tungkol  dito. (Babala:  maselan ang ilang nilalaman ng inyong mababasa)

Noong  hayskul,  papunta kami ng aking kamag-aral at  ang aming guro  sa  kabilang bayan upang sumali sa  isang pakontes.   Noong sumakay kami  ng  dyip, nakahandusay sa lapag  ang isang  gusgusing babae, halos ka-edad ko lang  siya noon.  Hindi naiwasan ng  aming guro na magtanong, kung bakit nakagapos ang kamay at paa noong babae.  Sumagot ang isang payat  na  babae  na nakaupo sa  dulo, malapit sa drayber, ““Nag-drugs po  kasi ang  anak ko.  Pinilit ng barkada niya, hanggang sa malulong.  Ganyan na siya ngayon,  bayolente na at hindi makontrol.  Dadalhin namin siya sa <insert  name of town and mental  health facility> para patignan.”  Kinausap  ng aming guro yung babaeng nakagapos, “Alam mo ba kung bakit ka nagkaganyan?”  Tumingin ang babae sa  kanya, at mahinahong nagsabi, “Opo.  Nagdrugs po  ako.  Dyan,  dyan sa likod ng stage sa  <insert name of school>,  kasama ko sina <insert name of her friends/classmates>.  Dapat  kasama ko rin sila ngayon. Kalagan niyo  ako.” Nagpupumiglas na ang babae at pilit siyang pinahihinahon at pinatitigil ng ina at ng kanilang mga kasama.  Nagkatinginan na lang kami ng aking kamag-aral  at guro, dahil ang binanggit niyang paaralan ay ang aming paaralan na ikakatawan sa  pakontes. (Minsan lang naman ito nangyari at wala na akong  alam  na karagdagang kabulastugan at kababalaghan patungkol   sa  drugs sa aming hayskul noon.)

Noong ako ay nasa college, ang kuya ng aking kaklase ay nalulong  sa sari-saring  bisyo.  Lumobo din siya dahil napapalakas ang kain niya tuwing nakahithit ng marijuana, pati ang shabu tinira din niya kaya madalas  gising maski madaling-araw.   Isang gabi, hindi sila nagkaunawaan ng kanyang barkada at umuwi siyang lasing sa  kanila.  Halos mag-uumaga  na noong  sumugod sa bahay nila ang nakaalitang kabarkada.  Walang nagawa ang nanay ng kaklase ko nang biglang bumulaga ang kabarkada ng anak (na inaanak din niya sa binyag).   Pati nga mga aso nila, nagulat na lang at hindi rin nakakahol  (marahil ay dahil sa  kakilala na ng mga aso ang  bagong dating hehehe).   Pasigaw  na hinahanap si <insert name of the classmate’s elder  brother> ng <insert name of dabarkads>,  at tuloy-tuloy na pumasok sa loob ng bahay.   Nung makita si  <insert name of the classmate’s elder  brother> na natutulog sa sofa sa sala,  bigla itong kanyang sinuntok,  minumura, tinadyakan at sinakal.  Walang magawa ang  kuya ng kaklase ko, nakatulala siya habang pupungas-pungas, bagong gising na naalimpungatan sa mga suntok,  mura,  tadyak na tinamo.   Lumabas sa kuwarto ang tatay ng kaklase ko at sinuntok  ang kabarkada  ng anak,   plakda  ito at tinaboy papalabas.   Halos isang  taon ding ayaw lumabas ng bahay ang kuya ng kaklase ko, ayaw magpakita  sa tao,  minsan bumubulong nakikita daw ang demonyo at muli na naman daw siyang sasaktan at papatayin.  Hindi na siya tumira pa ng  droga.  Pati paninigarilyo at alak ay iniiwasan na rin niya.    Okay na siya ngayon,  nagtatrabaho na sa ibang bansa.  Nagbagong-buhay at may pamilya na rin siya.

Noon namang ako ay nag-uumpisa  ng magtrabaho,  yung aking step-lola sa tuhod ay namatay noong siya’y mga nasa edad 79.  Ayon sa ulat ng pulisya, mula  sa  kanilang pagsisiyasat, habang ang aking step-lola sa tuhod ay nagtatanim  (ng pechay yata o talong) sa kanilang  bukirin kasisikat pa lang ng  araw,  ay bigla siyang pinukpok sa  ulo gamit ang isang bato.   Noong matumba siya, pumaibabaw sa kanya ang salarin at  tsaka siya ginahasa.  Sumisigaw ng saklolo si <insert name of step-lola> at nagpupumiglas  habang  siya ay nilalapastangan.   Nang hindi matigil sa pagsigaw  at pagpupumiglas,  tinaga  at sinaksak siya ng itak na gamit sa pagtatanim.  Ang  salarin, tumakbo papauwi sa kanila, duguan at putikan,   kung saan na siya nahuli ng mga pulis.   Labimpitong-taon lamang ang salarin noong  magawa  niya ang krimen dahil  sa  droga.   Napa-rehab siya habang dinidinig ang naisampang kaso ng  pagpatay.   Ewan ko kung  anong  ang nangyari sa kanya bagaman napatawad  na rin siya ng pamilya.

Hindi na  lang  sa  mga  lungsod, kundi maging  sa  mga  kanayunan,  lumalaganap ang salot. Hindi kaila sa atin ang  epekto ng  droga  sa lipunan.  Maraming  karumal-dumal na  bagay ang nagagawa o nangyayari mula  sa  paggamit nito.  Kailangan na nga talagang  sugpuin ang talamak na  paggamit  ng  ipinagbabawal na  gamot.

Kampante ka ba  sa lugar na kinalalagyan mo o pinupuntahan ng pamilya  mo?  Masasabi mo bang ligtas ka sa mga  galamay ng droga??  Ang hamon,  hahayaan na lang  ba natin ito???  Sana may magawa  tayo  bago  pa  huli ang lahat…

Ka Omeng

Over-the-counter drugs could no longer lower the fever Ka  Omeng was suffering for three days straight.  It was getting unbearable for him and he badly needed medical attention.  He called his employer to ask for financial assistance, and the request was granted.  By Tuesday afternoon, Ka Omeng was confined in a nearby hospital.

Ka Omeng’s condition became better by Thursday afternoon and would be discharged by Friday morning.  But then,  Ka  Omeng’s   health came to a serious decline on Thursday night.  He had difficulty swallowing food, he had low appetite and at times, he was gasping for breath.  He also frequented the comfort room,  dragging along his dextrose stand; and he was hard up in letting his  urine out.

Way into midnight, Ka Omeng was  tired and exhausted.   He was profusely perspiring while shivering in cold.   The attending doctors were alarmed but could not make the proper diagnosis.  Various symptoms were  going plenty and  Ka Omeng could not be stabilized.  At   about 4:00 a.m.  early Friday morning,  Ka Omeng told his wife,  “Steady ka  lang. Pahinga muna ako.” (Be steadfast.  I am just going to rest.)

Minutes  passed and Ka  Omeng was gone.   The hospital  was  right,  he was discharged that Friday morning.  The hospital  had to request  for  an autopsy to  determine the cause of death.  Ka Omeng had contracted leptospirosis.

Ka Omeng’s wake  lasted  a week and his remains was later interred at the Manila North Cemetery.

Two weeks after  the interment, Ka Omeng was replaced as office messenger by Derick,  a young lad from Tondo.  Derick  started work immediately after  his interview with Sir  Miguel Vasquez,  the office manager.  Derick  had to take  Ka Omeng’s  duties and responsibilities;  and he adapted well into his first job.

One Wednesday morning, Derick and Sir Miguel reported early for  work.  Derick  was  busy cleaning the office tables and furnitures when Sir Miguel  called him to his office.

“Give these documents to Taribong for his review and comments,”   Sir Miguel instructed Derick.

“Yes, sir.” Derick replied,  and then, proceeded  back to work.

About thirty minutes passed, Derick  was  reading the newspaper at his desk, on top of which were the documents to be given to Taribong.

When Sir  Miguel came out from his office,  he asked,  “Derick,  have you given the documents to Taribong?”

“Not yet, sir.” Derick answered.

In a booming voice, Sir Miguel further asked, “Why haven’t you given the documents to him yet?   He needs to study them and we have to discuss them this afternoon.”

Derick, in a surprised tone, said, “But sir,  Taribong has not arrived yet.”

Sir Miguel was near to getting angry, “No, I saw him with you this morning.    He also  entered the pantry area and I saw him walk into his cubicle.”

Derick  was  puzzled, “Eh, sir.    It’s   just the two of us here.”  He walked into Taribong’s cubicle, and remarked, “Look,  sir,  Taribong’s bag is not here. He really has not arrived  yet.”

Sir Miguel felt cold but sweat  trickled his face. “Sorry, Derick,  but I think I saw Taribong walking inside the office a while ago.  He was  clad  in long-sleeved, white barong.”

Derick shook his head, “No,  sir. I have not yet seen him today.”

When the two secretaries  arrived.   Derick told them about the incident.  The ladies were dumbfounded.   Lisa, the most senior office personnel,  suspected  that  Sir Miguel saw Ka  Omeng’s  ghost in the office,   because hwe was also wore long-sleeved  white barong when he was laid to rest.  Lisa  told  Sir   Miguel about her thoughts and suspicions and Sir  Miguel   told her,  he suspected the same thing,  too,  but he would not want to dwell  on it anymore.

Around noon,  Taribong  arrived in the office.  His officemates relayed to him  what transpired.    At one time or another,  they said they felt some cold air in Taribong’s  cubicle.   They pointed out that, although he not admit  or show it, Sir  Miguel was scared because he now kept the usually-locked-door to his office partially open.

The day’s  work  went smoothly; and the employees began to leave, Sir Miguel asked Taribong to stay awhile to talk about the documents given to him.  After  their discussion,   Taribong  excused himself but Sir Miguel  asked  Taribong to wait as he was already getting ready to go home.  There was  tension in Sir Miguel’s  voice.

Sir Miguel and Taribong rode the elevator at the fifth floor;  Taribong  pressed  the 7th floor button before pressing G button.   In Taribong’s  mind, this was the opportune time to talk about the incident (hehehehe).

Taribong then curiously asked,” Sir,  if you don’t mind me asking, what was it you saw this morning?”

Sir Miguel hesitated to talk and just glanced at Taribong.  They were only two in the elevator which was going up when they should be getting down.  The elevator  opened  at the 7th floor but no one got in.

As the elevator  door closed, Sir  Miguel  said,”  Let this be my last account of what happened.  I’m getting goosebumps again.   See,  I thought I saw you as the man in barong,   walking to and fro in the office,  but you haven’t   arrived yet.  It  was only Derick and I at the office then.  Lisa  said it may have been Ka Omeng,  and I agree with her.”

Taribong  only smiled.

Sir Miguel  continued,” I also remembered when my family visited Boracay.  Around midnight, my wife and I heard footsteps inside our hotel room.  We did not mind the sounds but early the next  morning,   we  found sand at  the foot of our bed.    There were no traces or tracks where the sand may have come from.”

Taribong was  about to alight at the ground level when Sir Miguel  requested him to hold some documents and to accompany him  to the basement  parking.  Taribong’s smile grew  even wider.

After Sir Miguel  got to his car,  Taribong’s smile was  fixed in his face  as he walked back to the elevator.  Did Ka Omeng really visit the office?

(Ka Omeng, thank you for sharing your faith, your views,  your dreams,  your life.    May you rest in peace.  -Taribong)

A Strange But True Ghost Story

Countless ghost stories have been told and retold especially when All Souls’ Day nears.  Whether true or not, they don’t fail to scare, horrify, amaze and/or amuse a willing, curious audience.  Their growing popularity has gone mainstream as books, comics and magazines of this genre now line a shelf or two in bookstores and magazine stands.

People close to me have their own ghost stories to tell.  Similarly, I, too, have personal accounts of similar ghost experiences.  Most often, I keep them to myself, especially those which I think have significant impact to me, symbolic or otherwise.

One of the most vivid ghost experiences I can remember happened about a year ago and was captured on my cellphone video camera.  That was when I went to San Jose, Occidental Mindoro on a work-related trip.

Immediately after I arrived from Manila, I attended to my work and was finished by late afternoon.  Then, I was brought by my hostess lady host/client to the hotel resort where I was billeted.  My host/client left and said she’d be back with her company members at dinnertime.

I then brought my things to my assigned room at the second floor of the  hotel.  As my work was about done, I went downstairs and went to the cottages near the beach.  The hotel security and personnel were at the lobby area and there was activity in the kitchen area of the hotel.

There was still light coming from the sun which was about to set.  I was all alone at the cottage, and there was no people at the beach. It was before dusk and I decided to take a panoramic view of the beach. I panned my cellphone camera on video mode from right to left when suddenly my cellphone went off.  My cellphone rarely malfunctioned; I waited for a while and then turned it on.  I was not able to save the video clip and so, I repeated the video-ing process to record the sight for another try.  I was able to save the second video clip I took.

I did not bother to review the recorded video clip as the lady host/client arrived.  With her are one male friend, a female member of her company and her child.  We had dinner of freshly cooked seafoods:  sinigang na isda (di ko alam ang pangalan, pero super sarap), fried squid rings, large prawns super sarap din heheehe, and assorted inihaw.  After dinner, we had drinking spree and some videoke (limited to plain listening and cheering on my part as I am no-good singer).

The fun was called off before twelve midnight as I excused myself to rest my already tired body.  I declined going for nightlife tour and some extra-curricular activities hehehehe. There was an eerie presence in the room but I shunned all thoughts of it as I need to have my rest.

I was roused from sleep very early the next morning.  I went to the beach for a stroll and/or for some jogging.  As I was walking past the cottage area, I brought out my cellphone and scanned the video I took the other day.  To my surprise, at about two seconds before the end of the video clip, there was a shadow profile of a man standing right next to me when I panned the camera to my left.   The contour of the head, eyes, nose and lips were very prominent but very dark.  I was all alone at the time, and I had goosebumps all over.

I still proceeded to the beach, after all, it was already morning and the sun was about to come out.  At the beach, I looked back at the cottage, past through of which was the hotel, then I started to stroll past them southward, and guess what  I discovered?  Several meters past the hotel resort, where the image of a man’s face was recorded on my cellphone, was a cemetery: tomb after tomb, crosses one after another!

I immediately went back to my hotel room and prepared my things for the flight home.  Then, I went back to the cottage at the beach to wait for the lady host/client.

As soon as they arrived, I told them about what I had captured on my cellphone camera and showed it to them.  They could not believe what i had recorded and they too had goosebumps hehehehe.   The lady host/client hesitated at first but later tod me that that was nothing compared to what she had experienced from her previous house which she had then recently sold, the house which they originally wanted me to stay (ngyeh!), the house where her husband  had died in from bone cancer, the house where she heard frequent thumping of feet and sounds of heavy steps inside the house in the dead of night, where doors would close for no reason at all, where sounds of anguish and moans of pain would be heard even at daytime and its source could not be located, etc.  Surely even the thought of what she related to me would have kept me awake all night and even my dead-drunk body would have turned sober until the next day.  (Would I then call myself lucky being billeted in the hotel?)

When I got  to Manila, I showed the video clip to my friends and officemates, and they had similar reactions.  Some were very vocal of their own experiences, others just kept mum and not share their own scary stuff.

But then, I forgot all about the video clip when I gave my cellphone to my niece, who then deleted all gallery images and video clips.  How I wished I had that copy of the video clip preserved for posterity’s sake.  Now, only those who had seen the video clip could confirm this story to be true.  At least, if they still remember.