Sunday, January 30, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Those sketches, I did while having a retreat at Villa Consuelo somewhere in Novaliches sometime in April of 1992. The retreat house was being ran by Augustinian Nuns (Order of St. Augustine) and our Retreat Master was the former Rector of the University of Sto. Tomas, the Rev. Fr. Norberto M. Castillo, OP, Ph.D.
One of the "mantra" (if that word is acceptable to my mentor) he gave us during the two-day retreat was this: A man who bears no hope has condemned himself as hopeless man. And a hopeless man is no man at all.
Monday, January 24, 2011
- Annual Reports/United States. War Dept, Volume 3, 1920. Page 40 mentioned Balete, Capiz as one of those municipalities organized effective January 1, 1920. The Executive Order was signed by Gov. Gen. Harrison on December 31, 1919. By that time, the Philippines has 881 municipalities and 279 municipal districts. Sadly, this publication is not available in the Philippines.
- Annual Report of the United States Philippine Commission (1900-1916), Volume 6, 1906. Page 204 thereon states that the Jimeno (Altavas)-Balete-Banga road was not yet done and that the best means of transportation from Capiz to Calivo was by water through Lagatik
- Report of the Governor General of the Philippine Islands. 1931. Finally, it is reported in this documents that the Banga-Balete-Jimeno road is now complete. It is being regarded as a second class road approximately 60.9 kms and is now open to vehicular traffic.
- Curas de Almas, Volume 1, 2, 3 and 4 by Regalado Trota Jose. The UST Publishing House released it in 2008 as part of the 400 year anniversary of its foundation. It accounts the rich local history of the parishes in the archipelago during the Spanish period. Herein, it affirms that Fr. Diego Albao was parish priest of Balete from 1857-1860.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Ah, there it again on the pylon wire passing across my place.
Birds are symbol of freedom, of journey, of vision, of dream, of meaning. Their presence in this garden is a welcome treat to my curious mind. Questions? Yes, there are dozens of them stored in my head. Answers? Oh no, I doubt not a single one. Just more questions puffed up if I brave myself giving even a single answer. Opinions? That, I can assure you that I have lots of it.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
"Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends." (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Book Four, Chapter One)Those who have read the end of Tolkien's Trilogy (The Lord of the Rings) will surely appreciate the wisdom of Gandalf. Those who have seen the Return of the King will gladly applaud him for voting down the proposal of Frodo of killing Gollum right away. But for us who lack the facility of seeing our road's end, we can only surmise the future. For a while, we will debate on whether we reimpose death penalty or not.
Monday, January 17, 2011
Love is gentle, love is quiet
Like any distant star;
In loving by which we approximate the nature of love, we do not coerce those we love—as much as possible we give room for freedom to grow and respect each other’s independence, i.e., each other’s time of searching.
In loving, the lover is like the distant star, manifesting his presence and yet quietly, not trying to obstruct or block the path of the beloved. He stands besides quietly assuring her of his gentle presence and constant attention.
Love is beauty, love is music
Soothing as night winds are.
Lovers are enchanted by the wonders of creation. One who is in loved would often quips that everything seems beautiful and that “ life has music, rhythm and rhyme” –which actually is. Somehow, love enables man and woman to see reality as God sees it. As even in times of trouble, loves comes like night winds, soothing our weary mind and aching heart.
Love is patient and unselfish,
Divine, true, neutral, fair—
A lover waits forever. He seeks for reason to understand the shortcomings of his beloved. In this way, he is becoming fair and neutral. His loving her pushes him to open up himself and encourages him to focus not on himself but on his beloved. In this way, he becomes truer to himself, to his nature as Son of God—son of a God whose nature is Love.
Love is ageless and immortal,
Lost love is just somewhere…
True love endures forever and survives all the trials and tests of time. No wonder why many a lover sings, “I’ll be loving you forever…” One who truly love could never say, “I’m falling out of love…” The truth of the matter is, he has just lost his love somewhere…but that maybe someday, somehow, somewhere he’ll find it behind “those close doors” of his life.
And the heart that love abandons
Nurses a tender scar
Softly stabbing, and yet sweetly
Soothing as night winds are.
It hurts to have loved and to see your beloved departs from you. Separation, break up, divorce, death—these are painful processes by which a loving heart is being “softly stabbed.” Yet despite this stabbing, a loving heart will likewise be “sweetly soothed” as time goes by. As a famed adage goes, time heals all wounds. It is not time really. It is the love we bear in our hearts that heals our wound.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
In my pad, vines hang about forming a natural decoration among its corners and spaces. Even then, the green seems monotonous until the day you come along with your aura of freshness. Your eyes are stars and your lips are red roses. Your ethereal presence brings light into the shadowy corners of my life beckoning me to come out and dance with the glory of all creations.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
The frenzy is on the streets of Kalibo again. And Balete is invited to join the revelry. The organizers have decided that for this year's Higante Parade, the theme delves on the fantastic and the mythical. Now, such theme is definitive of my town.
We have long wanted to portray it as the Enchanting Balete and not as some dreadful, creepy town people feared about. Patrick (SB Patrick Lachica) has constructed a gargantuan elfin lady to symbolize the reinvention. She's not a white lady (the one often associated with Balete Drive and some other place where bad spirits reside). She's a Taglugar, an elemental who serves as guardian of our forest (much like Maria Makiling). Thus, the loggers and those who chose to exploit our environment for selfish motives are forewarned:"Pagpanabi-tabi, basi hipamaskan ka." Our standard would be, "Enchanting Balete" for henceforth even as we continue to rally our town, "Hala Bira, Balete!"
And may I offer this poem to her who has enchanted this restless heart:
Ro Gugma hay Kau-i
Nagapakahangawa sa tawong umaeagi;
Naga panabi-tabi ro tawong umaeagi;
Ikaw hay Engkantadang haeandon
Ro imong gugma hay Kau-iOn Thursday, January 13, 2011, we will flood the streets of Kalibo with magical water from the Jal-o and those lasses covered with soot, we will enchant with our merriment, "Hala Bira, Balete!"
Sieilungan ku matalinhagang kamatuoran,
Guinapamantaw sa maeayo,
Haeandumon nga maadtunan,
Panamgo ku tawong umaeagi;
Balaan para sa tawong umaeagi,
Ro Kau-i nga gugma,
Ro Gugma nga kau-i.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Mamugon ako, mamugonSa baeay it manggaranonAlas Dos ako pakan-on ay, ayOrasyon ako pauli-on.Pag-abot ko man sa baeayDayon pangayu it humayGinturo ako ni Tatay ay, aySa eusong una rong paeay.Alinon mo rong paeayEawas ko karon ginabudlayKon buhi kunta si Nanay ay, ayMakaon ako mapahuway.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
(The following was originally written for the Jal-O Agrarian Reform Community Development Plan which was issued on December 2003 although I wrote the article on May 30, 2003. I have it updated in view of the recent development on local history)
The Municipality of Balete was approximately established in the year 1804 when it was ceded out of the Pueblo of Batang (now Batan). Earlier, it was part of the visitas of the Curate of Batang. By that time, historians referred to it not as Balete but as Jalo or the village near the river Jal-o.
The name “Jal-o” is derived from the Aklanon word, “Jae-o,” a variation of the word, “Hae-o.” Both mean “big pestle.” The river is named as such for two apparent reasons of which our forebears used to tell us. For a reason, the river is called Hae-o for the fact that viewed from a higher elevation, portion of it winding between the mouths of Panarga and Murao Creeks—tributaries of Jae-o—forms as natural dam, thus creating a semblance of a huge pestle lying across the deep crevice bounding the hills of the barangays of Oquendo on the western portion and Guanko on the eastern side. Another theory that came to us tells of the three waterfalls (from the Aeatubang Creeks and the river source) pouring volumes of waters in rhythmic intervals into the basin of the river as if there were three giants pounding their pestles in the silvery rocky mortar. An earthquake in the earlier time had altered the course of waters flowing from the Aeatubang creeks where the waterfalls would only occur during heavy rainfall. Yet, as the story goes, it was due to that fact that the river was eventually called Jae-o.
Unlike most rivers, Jae-o starts relatively on a lower ground and flow downhill, under the pull of the Earth’s gravity from its source somewhere in between the hilly portion of upper Oquendo, northwest of the Tulayon Forest of Ganzon, Jamindan, around six statute miles north of Mt. Naconlong in the Barangay of Mali-ao, Libacao. It flows through minor rapids—the Kipot, being the biggest—and is joined by several (eighteen at least) tributary creeks from Binitinan, Oquendo through the barangays of Guanko, Cortes, Morales and the Poblacion and meanders into the bends along other tributary creeks and brooks of Calizo and Aranas and the other barangays of the neighboring town of Batan where its estuaries lie meeting those waters flowing out of the Callojan and Tinago Rivers in the delta at Tinagong Dagat (Batan Bay).
Image of yesterday’s Jae-o was that of an active socio-economic highway, and yet at the same time of pristine life-giving water. Today, several legislative interventions have to be exerted to salvage what is left of the once ecologically balanced Jae-o River, the latest and so far the most prominent are the Senate Bill 2309 and House Bill 4907, proposing to make it a protected natural treasure.
Monday, January 3, 2011
Antonio and Joy (not their real names)just bought an amplifier as a Christmas present for themselves. They are my neighbors. Theirs is a real big family of twelve and I suppose the amplifier is necessary for them to hear each other.
Antonio operates the agricultural machineries of his landlord during planting and harvest season. In the long interval, he takes on some odd jobs in the neighborhood. He's a good and responsible father when he's sober, which is rare. His better half is an ambulant vendor. She sells fish which she takes on consignment from her fisherman brother down the Jal-o River. Those she hawks around early in the morning and hurries home around 10 to prepare lunch for her family.
When Balete was identified as one of the first three municipalities in Aklan (this was later raised to 4 with Buruanga joining Balete, Libacao and Madalag) to implement the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program--popularly known as 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyan Pilipino Program during the Arroyo administration) the household of Antonio and Joy was among those 842 "fortunate" families to have been listed as beneficiaries.(The beneficiaries surged to about 1,785 during the P-Noy administration or about 0.06% of the Baleten-on population) Last December, they were informed that the DSWD Regional Office through the Landbank will be paying over-the-counter each household the amount of Php. 10K representing the 9 nine months backlog. That was the good news. By December 31, the Balete Public Market was crowed by these beneficiaries that each stall holder therein was beaming like the Cheshire cat.
The decision of my neighbors in buying the amplifier is way beyond my comprehension. Just recently, the couple underwent a seminar on Barangay Level Training of Married Couples of Reproductive Ages on Responsible Parenting and Natural Family Planning at the Kabuhian Center. The speakers reminded them how to prioritize their needs and wants and taught them how to manage their resources. But perhaps, Antonio was distracted by the charting on Billings-Ovulation Method that he failed to grasp the meaning of being responsible. Besides, what can you effect about by just having a day seminar on people who have been through a lot all these years.
What I heard of is that having received the money, Antonio requested his wife to hand him Php. 2,500. Then he went to Kalibo to purchase the device. Upon reaching home and with the device now installed to his player, he complained to his wife of the dismal quality of his amplifier. What followed then was a typical argument among husband and wife over the use of money that sadly turned violent considering the insobriety usual of Antonio.
Today, the amplifier is kept by Joy who was nursing some bruises on her chin and shoulders. Antonio is staying at the Police station "to while the time", humming to himself the line, "Regrets, I have a few/but then again/too few to mention" from Paul Anka's My Way.