Ang Tsinelas

Ang Tsinelas

 

By Apolinario B Villalobos

 

Maraming klase nito, saan man, ating nakikita

Kung mahal dahil imported, suot ito ng may kaya

Nguni’t kung goma, gawa sa Pinas, ito’y pandukha

Kaya sa katagalan, natanim sa ating isip ‘tong paniwala.

 

Pansapin sa paa, pang-proteksiyon ito wika nga

Kaya sa paggamit nito, bigay ay talagang ginhawa

Sa pagbago ng panahon, gamit para dito ay iba-iba na

Maliban sa balat, merong goma, tela at merong ding abaka.

 

Para sa mga kapos, kayamanan ito kung ituring nila

Pag-iipunan pa ng matagal dahil sa konti nilang kita

Kaya kung nagkaroon na nito, ang kanilang ginagawa

Nililinis na mabuti, halos itabi sa kanila sa oras ng pahinga.

 

Para sa nakakariwasa sa buhay, tsinelas ay balewala

Subali’t para sa mga poor, katumbas nito ay ginhawa

Para sa mga poor na mga bata, okey na ito pang-eskwela

Lalo na kung ang lalakarin sa pagpasok ay kung ilang milya.

 

Para sa mayaman, ang tsinelas ay may gamit din pala

Pero dapat ay yong klaseng mamahalin, ‘di basta-basta

Dahil ito pala ang dapat ay suot-suot upang madispley nila

Mga makukulay nilang kuko sa paa na inayos ng manikurista!

 

 

 

 

Ang Kapangyarihan ng Pera

Ang Kapangyarihan ng Pera

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Nababalita na naman ang tungkol sa kapabayaan ng mga tauhan ng New Bilibid Prison dahil sa paglabas-pasok ng malalaking taong nakabilanggo sa maximum security pa mandin. Ang ginawang dahilan na wari ay naabuso na ay ang pagpapa-ospital. Ang mga bilanggo ay nalamang gumagamit pa ng cell phone at may mga bisitang wala sa listahan ng mga dapat bumisita.

 

Noon pang nabisto ang paglabas-masok ng dating gobernador ng Batangas na si Leviste ay napuna na ang kaluwagang ito ng National Bilibid Prison. Nang pumunta nga ang isang senador ay naghanap ng operating manual at wala yata silang naipakita, ibig sabihin walang sinusunod na standard na mga patakaran, kaya kung may paglabag, sila ay nagtuturuan.

 

Subali’t may operating manual man o wala, may isang malakas na dahilan na nagpapaluwag ng pamamalakad ng bilangguan. Ito ay ang kapangyarihan ng pera. Nalaman kasi na pinapagamit ng ilang prison guards ang kanilang cell phone sa mga bilanggo kapalit ng malaking halaga. Kaya pala daw, maski nasa loob na ang isang drug lord, nakakapag-utos pa ito sa kanyang mga tauhan na nasa labas ng bilangguan.

 

Sa isang interview, sinabi ng isang taga-DOJ na ililipat na ang bilangguan sa isang lugar sa Nueva Ecija. Aba, eh di, lalong masaya para sa mga mabibigat na mga bilanggo dahil malayo na sila sa mga mata ng mga taong nagbabantay sa kanila. Maluwag na nilang magagawa ang gusto nila. Baka magsunud-sunuran pa ang pagtakas nila.

 

Ang korapsyon sa pamamalakad ng mga bilangguan ay bahagi lamang ng korapsyon sa kabuuhan na nakikita sa pamahalaan ng Pilipinas. At, siyempre ang pinakaugat ay pera. Kaya hangga’t may mga taga-pamahalaang patuloy na magpapatalo sa kapangyarihan ng pera, ang korapsyon ay hindi mawawala sa ating bansa. Sa bandang huli, ang mga Pilipino ang kawawa, lalo na yong naghihirap na.

Adela.. the Old Lady Barker of Divisoria

Adela

…The Old Lady Dispatcher of Divisoria

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

 

She is 64 years old but looks like she is only 50. She shouts destinations of jeepneys amidst the din of noise in the corner of Ilaya and Recto Streets of Divisoria (a bustling business district of Manila), as early as six in the morning. She does it until noon when she gives herself a respite while sipping a glass of buko (young coconut) juice. By this time, she would have earned about Php80 out of which she buys 1 serving of rice and half serving of vegetables that come with free soup – her lunch for the day. For each jeepney that she has filled with passengers the driver gives her 10 pesos. She resumes her job at 2pm and continues enticing passengers to take certain jeepneys until 6pm. Her afternoon routine earns her a lesser amount between Php40 and Php60.

 

She whiles her remaining time for the day observing the arrival of wholesalers of vegetables who come from as far as Baguio (summer capital of the Philippines) in the north and Batangas, a prime province south of Manila. At this time, kids who are waiting for a chance to be hired as porters huddle around her. With her earning during that day, she treats them to cheap bread and buko juice. For the night, she sleeps in a pushcart whose owner lets her use it while he and his wife sell re-bundled vegetables along the former railroad track. The pushcart is parked on the sidewalk of a side street. A portion of Recto bursts into a hectic, though, gay nocturnal life when wholesalers begin to unpack their loads of vegetables at 7PM which lasts until 7AM, the following day.

 

She wakes up at about 3AM, go to a pay toilet and bathroom where she answers the call of nature and does a quick bath. I found out that she leaves her backpack in the care of the owner of the toilet facility. The backpack that contains several t-shirts, shorts, two denim pants, six pieces of underwear, and a towel are all she has. That is her daily routine. She practically leads a Spartan life.

 

I saw all these because I spent one whole day with her in Ilaya and one night on the sidewalk beside the pushcart where she slept. To prepare myself for this I brought with me a dismantled corrugated carton that served as my mat to protect me from the cold of the pavement and a malong to serve as my blanket.

 

She told me that she is from Cebu (a prime city in central Philippines) and added that she is doubling her effort to save for her fare back home. She left the comfort of a cousin’s shack in Tondo (an old district of Manila) after finding out that her lover is a drug pusher in the area. Her cousin is a manicurist who plies her job in Luneta (Rizal Park).

 

She came to Manila to try her luck despite her age. She was a laundrywoman back in Cebu. Unfortunately, her daughter and son who have their own families seem not interested in taking care of her. She was able to send her two children through high school by doing laundry. Later, they practically drifted away from her when they found jobs. She has maintained patrons for her laundry service but earnings became meager when these patrons later paid her less than what she previously charged them. She had no choice, afraid that she might lose them. She thought her cousin in Tondo would be able to help her, so with a few pesos left after purchasing her boat fare for Manila, she packed up her meager possessions and took the risk.

 

Finally, she confided that she was apprehensive as to what would happen to her when she sets her feet again on the soil of Cebu. She did not regret coming to Manila, though. Philosophically she told me that life in Manila for people like her is no different from the one lived somewhere else. Her last statement lingers in my mind until now. She has no plan of contacting her children when she arrives in Cebu. She said that she would rather live alone than be hurt by their rejection. She has no regrets in working hard for her children so that they can go through even just high school. In doing this, she is practically left with no savings for her own future needs. Foremost in her mind that time was her being their mother and that she has an obligation to raise them up properly, the best way she could.

 

By the way, her name is Adela. She denied my request for her photo. To show my respect and appreciation for the opportunity she gave me, I did not attempt to take even a single stolen shot while she was doing her job or while she was taking the most needed rest in the pushcart. As an added show of appreciation, I treated her to a simple breakfast sold by ambulant sidewalk peddlers.

 

I wished her the best of luck when we parted ways after our breakfast. On my way to the corner of Ilaya and Recto streets for a jeepney ride, I thought of my mother who skipped meals while selling dried fish together with my father, until the business flopped. While my father offered his service as porter in the market, my mother tried her luck selling second hand clothes which flopped again. When my father died of cancer, my mother left us in town and lived in the farm of my cousin and opened a small store, aside from occasionally planting and harvesting rice and corn. She showed us the dignity in hard work. Just like Adela, my mother did not complain a bit. She persistently did her best to earn a living for our sake until she died of cancer.

 

 

Lord…Help Us!

Lord…Help Us!

(a prayer of hope and remorse)

(inspired by Glace Tecson Lapuz-Fernandez)

 

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

With all the turmoil that beset our country

That left us at the verge of losing our sanity

Lost in the murky depth of confusion, we pray

We beseech you Lord, please touch us today.

 

 

From the plagues of diseases, killings… spare us

From the spate of corruption, Oh Lord, save us

For the biting and ever crippling pain of poverty –

that we endure, give us vigor, so that alive we’ll stay.

 

From the greed of others, our rights they trample

From them who delight at our sufferings and trouble

From them who squash our honor, suck our blood

Spare us, Oh Lord…don’t leave us helpless and sad.

 

From the painful lashes that Mother Nature gives us

And bring us down, crawling in pain…Lord help us

We know, we erred…with regrets, we bow and pray

Oh, Lord…shower us with compassion…have mercy!

 

Lord…Help us!

 

(The inspiration to write the prayer, came when I viewed the disgusted feeling of Glace which she expressed in three words, “Lord, help us”…as a comment to the photo of contrasting houses of opportunists and the downtrodden posted by Bing Paragas Calbone.)

Kung Meron Ka Na…Share naman sa Iba

Kung Meron Ka Na

…Share naman sa Iba

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Hindi maiwasan na ang nakakakita ng pagtulong natin sa ating kapwa ay nakakapagbitaw ng hindi magandang salita, tulad na lang ng “bakit mo binigyan ng pera yon?…ang laki ng katawan, eh”, di kaya ay, “drama lang iyan, nagdala pa ng bata”, o di kaya ay, “may kaya ang pamilya niyan…” at kung anu-ano pa. Totoong may mga Badjao tayong nakikitang nanghihingi ng pera, ma-babae o lalaki, may dalang bata man o wala. Dahil malalaki ang katawan nila, yong ibang nilalapitan nila, atubiling magbigay ng maski piso. Pero, natanong na ba natin ang ating sarili kung sila ba ay tinulungan ng gobyerno upang makuha man lang na street sweeper? May mga nakausap ako sa kanila at iisa ang sagot…ayaw silang pagkatiwalaan dahil wala silang pinag-aralan!

 

May mga ahensiya nga ng gobyerno, subali’t naghihintay sila na lapitan pa ng nangangailangan. Ang Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) ay may kagawaran na ang layunin ay para sa mga taong tulad ng mga Badjao, subali’t hanggang sa pagpapauwi lang ng mga ito ang ginagawa nila, kaya bumabalik din dahil talagang gutom ang inaabot nila sa kanilang probinsiya. Bakit hindi ipunin ang mga Badjao at turuan ng mga bagay na maaari nilang pagkitaan? May mga nakausap akong mga Badjao sa Baclaran na may sarili nang de-padyak na traysikel, pinag-ipunan daw nila. Ibig sabihin hindi sila tamad, hindi lang nabigyan ng pagkakataon.

 

Tungkol naman sa punang “may kaya ang pamilya ng isang palaboy kaya hindi dapat bigyan ng tulong”, ang takbo ng isip ng mga taong ganito ang puna, ay palagay ko saliwa, dahil hindi man lang nila inaalam muna kung ano ang dahilan kung bakit naging palaboy ang isang miyembro ng may kayang pamilya. At sa pagkakataong humihingi ng pera ang palaboy, ang dahilan ay gutom na kanyang nararamdam sa oras na yon.

 

Ang sinasabi ng gobyerno ay huwag bigyan ng pera ang mga pulubi dahil masasanay daw. Bakit, hindi nila punahin ang mga opisyal na nagnanakaw sa gobyerno?…na ang ninanakaw ay para dapat sa mga taong nangangailangan? Sabagay, sa isang banda, tama yong mga maiingay sa gobyerno at nagkukunwaring malinis…kaya nga siguro naglipana ang mga magnanakaw sa kanilang hanay ay sinanay nilang magnakaw!

 

Ang mga hindi hindi magandang pangyayari sa ating paligid tulad ng panlalamang na lalong nagpapalubog ng iba sa kahirapan ay isang mabigat na dahilan kung bakit kailangan nating makibahagi kung ano mang sa tingin natin ay kalabisan na ng ating pangangailangan. Kung hindi na tayo lalayo sa Pilipinas na ang pangkalahatang dami ng tao sa ngayon ay halos 100million na, at halimbawa na lang na 70 porsiyento nila ay nangangailangan, siguro naman ang natitirang 30 porsiyento na may kaya sa buhay ay hindi magiging dukha kung lahat sila ay makikibahagi ng kahi’t na anong pandugtong-buhay. Ang problema, sa 30 porsiyento na nabanggit na may kaya, hindi pa umaabot sa 5 porsiyento ang nag-aabot ng kamay na may lamang isang dakot na bigas man lang!…o mga daliring may nakaipit na limang piso man lang!