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etched in time

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The pen has fallen
the last page remains unwritten.

Neither one of us expected that it would be sooner than soon. Both of us knew that you were sick. Complicated diabetes, you said. But you always had your way of lightening grave matters and your sense of humor was an unfathomable abyss.

You were writing a book then. The real world of a jester. You said it's unfinished, but unfolding nicely and then....
For whom the bell tolls.

You once read that to us, years and years passed. Now the bells' tolling for you. I won't be there, you know. But I will pray for you.
Thank you, dear and trusted friend
for everything.

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the tri-sikad

so-called for
how it looks - it has three wheels;
and how it works - it is foot-pedalled.
(To pedal in our dialect is sikad).

This is common in the province
where life is not a rat race
and traditions are remembered and repeated
as they evolve in time.

I find travelling by tri-sikad interesting
as it enables me to:
- savor the view of the countryside
- relax as the gentle breeze beats on my face
- recognize a red, black or blue ant that crosses my way
- greet unhurriedly a cousin or friend on the road
- watch amused at the face of the kids
as I smile and wave hello.

The tri-sikad goes slow
a reflection of the life here in the province.
Even its people don't age fast
as they take life in stride
laughing off life's worries
living one day at a time.

The tri-sikad drivers I've met
were simple, honest people
who would patiently wait
as I drop or pick up something
en-route to the house of a friend.

If I don't know how to get to a place
I just give them the name
and they'd bring me there

If it is beyond their bounds
I'd have to make a square deal
and settle with a price
that is no longer the regular fare.

If weather permits
it's a door-to-door delivery
for the tri-sikad driver has a code to himself:
deliver the package
in fit shape
or he'll lose face.

If you'll give a tip
to the weather-beaten man,
you'll be making his day
under this heat of the sun.

It is not really easy
to pedal around
and be drenched by the rain
burned by the sun
all these and more
just to earn a living
for his family and all.

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i'm home

When the kids come running to you
and your dog, too
you know you are home.

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Once again I find myself in this kitchen,
cooking rice for the day's meal.
I don't mind staying here
as yaya (nanny) has provided a table and chair
and has kept the place clean.

Idly, I watched the fire die down.
I know I have to keep it burning as the water has yet to boil
or else the rice will spoil.
I took a paper for burning
and saw it slowly devoured by fire.
Fire has transformed it into its own.
No longer the paper I once held in my hands
But a fire now among fires.
This made me wonder
if there is anything
that is not transformed by fire.
They say it's plastic.
I say, "Maybe."
They say it's bricks, granite, diamond...
But all these have also been transformed by fire.
Are we not also transformed by fire?
Call it deadlines, crisis, rifts...
Those that cause turmoil within us
that make us cringe and struggle
Like the paper that writhed and cringed
as fire consumed it to its core.
The paper nourished the fire
as it helped keep it burning.
It has served another purpose
as it adapted to a new environ.
Like the paper that consumed
the all-consuming element of of its environ,
we, too, consume
the all-consuming elements in our environ
as these strongly influence us:
the philosophies, attitudes, beliefs;
culture and traditions.
We do not totally become
as we adapt what for us is applicable
and set aside what for us is not.
But still we change
only to adapt ourselves to a new environ
and nourish those around us
as we nourish ourselves in turn.
What happens to the paper?
As it turned to ash among embers,
come cleaning time
it's thrown in the garden
and becomes the 'transforming fire'
as it nourishes others
and help them live on.

Like the rest of us,
wherever we are,
we continue to transform
and be transformed
as we are consumed by our fires
and become a fire for others in turn.

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solitary life

Even if we work as a team,
there are times when we feel we are working alone
as we focus on the task
that is especially given to us
and each is on his/her own.

It makes me think of what a mother once said.
She has nine children, same as ours
and not one is left especially on working hours.

I realize that even as we live with so many
we have this solitary life.
We make decisions,
we do our share of work

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i'm ok

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Fresh flowers have a magical way of lifting up the human spirit.

When the father of a very good friend was confined in the hospital, my sister who works as a doctor there advised me to bring flowers when I go to visit. I asked why. She confided that flowers seem to have a magical effect on most of her patients as they responded positively to these, often enabling a speedy recovery.
I told her that flowers have pollen and they might not be good for people who are sick. She said, yes. But still she continues to notice how a room with flowers changes the otherwise dreary atmosphere of a hospital room, mysteriously lifting up the spirit of the melancholic or ailing person.

No wonder flowers are used for special occasions like birthdays, valentine's day, anniversaries, and most rites as they do not just show how we appreciate the person, or reveal how we try to beautify the room, but I guess it's more on hoping that something positive will come out of the occasion.

Just don't overdo it. The room might look like a funeral parlor. Or otherwise make the person feel that he/she should open a flower shop.

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holding on

When we sense we are threatened, we instinctively hold on to something or someone that will make us feel secure.

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Time seems too slow when we wait
Sometimes, we do not really know what we are expecting when we wait
I often tell myself that I will not wait anymore
But still, I end up waiting
Just waiting
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a dream

My country is undeniably a third world country, surviving in the midst of warring political factions, corruption and exploitation.
In spite of this, I still hope for a better tomorrow as I ponder on how Europe survived its own dark years.
It must have been due to the vigilance of its people to minimize corruption (as it never seems to be totally eradicated).
As long as there will be people who will clamor for justice and peace...
as long as there will be those who will choose to naturally respond to their inner stirrings of compassion, prudence and truth...
as long as there will be those who will remain faithful to their nature as HUMAN PERSONS...
there is still hope for a better tomorrow...
for a dream of a new heaven and a new earth to truly exist.

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It's almost lunch time here and there's a storm outside.
I am confined in this office, seeking protection, comfort in this warm, dry office. The canteen is two buildings away from where I am. I don't like to go out and get wet. For now, this office is my comfort zone.
I am thinking of lunch, especially the lunch fare (seen in the picture) served to us some months ago by Fr. Epoy who loved to feed us with loads of food.
Dreaming... savoring... hmm... I hear my stomach growling. Hehehe.
For the vegetarians, this may not be palatable for you. But for my stomach which can take anything and everything (LOL!), this is really good.

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vauxhall 1960's

This was a time when vauxhall was worth PHP 12,000; when peso:dollar rate was PHP 3:USD 1; when we did not think of global economic crisis yet but just dreamed and lived life to its fullest. I was but a tyke then and papa just bought a new car.
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Hometown of my mom.
Second hometown of my childhood.

We used to play along this beach.
We still do.
Even helping the fishermen pull their nets
was a game for us, too.

We thrilled ourselves on playing tag
with waves that lap on the shore.
Or simply stood still
waiting for the waters
to gently submerge our feet
in its fine sandy floor.

I lost a cousin in those waves.
He was never found.
We still remember him especially on stormy nights
when the waves explode like canonballs
furiously hitting on the shore.

Too many good memories of Tolosa.
Not so good memories, too.
But she always leaves a place for me
to find myself,
linger a while
then move on.

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two couples

Honestly, I am amazed at how these two couples are gifted each with 9 children.
Justina & Enrique has 9 children: 7 boys and 2 girls.
Simeon & Rosita also has 9 children: 7 girls and 2 boys.

Rosita and Justina are sisters.

Rosita is my mom.

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