Night

Words on a blackboard

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The streets squeeze frantically in my room
Under my door, the city lights mimic a dance with flames
The voices become shouts as if they climb a ladder to be better heard by gods
The eyes let all the stars within and mumble wishes for all their dreams
People swinging on the notes of an inner song, swerve from their ways
And all the steps pursue the rhythm of their beating hearts regaining faith
As they grope for their vanished souls, they know…
The night reigns their world.

Insecurities climb the walls to plunge into drowsy minds
The windows mirror all the wounded prides
The moon brings shadows and forgotten ghosts to tangle the already weakened thoughts
The horns signal the unexpected that walks around the well planned lives
Time, the thief that no one had a chance to catch, juggles with moments back and forth
It calls the past…

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My Encounter with a “Retired” Priest

My Encounter with a “Retired” Priest
By Apolinario Villalobos

First of all, I am not in favor of using the secular term “retired” to the priests who are advancing in age and who need to rest due to ailment. The ailing and aging priests are handicapped but they should not be considered as retired. The word is most inappropriate for them because of their spiritual vow which is supposed to be for their lifetime. The priests should not be treated like ordinary employees who retire at age 60 or 65.

I met a religious guy in Divisoria while I was taking my lunch in a sidewalk carinderia. He was neatly garbed in a black polo shirt and denim, but his age showed on his furrowed face. He was stuttering which as I learned later was due to a mild heart attack. I came to know about his real identity when he was addressed by the owner of the carinderia as “Father”. I got curious, so I broke the ice by admiring his bracelet made of cat’s eye beads. I was also glad that he accepted the coffee that I offered.

Like me, I found out that he has friends, too, living in Baseco compound. That noon, I found out that he walked all the way from the said place to Divisoria which for a guy his age, could be taxing. In all honesty, he admitted that he was a “retired” priest. He stopped saying Mass because of his stutter. In my ignorance, I asked him if “retired” priests with handicap like him are not allowed to co-celebrate a Mass, by just sitting on the side of the altar but still garbed in appropriate garment for the Mass. He said, he was not offered such invitation, yet. I asked such question because I witnessed Masses, especially, those intended for well-known personalities, with plenty of co-celebrators who just stand behind the celebrating priest. So, I thought, why is it not possible for a handicapped one to just sit on the side? All he told me was, it’s difficult to be retired, especially, if it is against one’s will.

My new-found friend is now living with his nephew who assists him in his continuing advocacy of reaching out to the children of financially-handicapped families. Some weekends, his nephew would be with him to distribute goodies that he would collect for weeks. When I asked him for future plans, he replied that for as long as his two feet can still carry him to wherever he wanted to be, he will never get tired of reaching out to his “children”.

Advocacies similar to what the priest practices are not difficult to develop in the heart of any person who is willing to share. All one needs is a resolute compassion. It can be done and the priest has proved it.

Ang Bibliya

Ang Bibliya
Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Dahil nadikit sa imahe ng relihiyong Kristiyano ang Bibliya, ang mga hindi naniniwala sa Diyos ay umiiwas dito. Tingin kasi nila dito ay animo nagbabagang kuwadradong bakal na umuusok sa sobrang init. Sa Bibliya nakasaad kung paanong nagsimula ang unang relihiyon ng tao sa disyerto ng Israel. Ganoon pa man, hindi dapat pangilagan ang Bibliya ng isang taong hindi Hudyo o Kristiyano, dahil kinapapalooban din ito ng interesanteng mga kuwento noong unang panahon, kahit pa sabihin ng iba na ang mga ito ay “alamat”. Sa isang banda, dahil sa mga tuluy-tuloy na pananaliksik na naging matagumpay, napatunayang ang mga sinasabing “alamat” ay may katotohanan pala.

Hindi ako pantas pagdating sa Bibliya at pag-aaral nito. Ang binabahagi ko ay batay lamang sa aking mga karanasan sa pagbasa nito at kung paano kong nagawang makakuha ng kasiyahan mula sa mga pahina nito. Ang sikreto ko ay pagturing sa Lumang Tipan na parang “National Geographic Magazine” dahil puno ito ng kasaysayan. Ang Bagong Tipan naman ay itinuturing kong “Reader’s Digest”, dahil sa mga makabago nitong kuwento ng buhay.

May mga kuwento sa mga pahina ng Lumang Tipan na ang pahiwatig ay hawig sa mga pangyayaring may kinalaman sa extra- terrestrial phenomena…pumunta lamang sa mga pahina tungkol kay Ezequiel. May mga pangyayari ding hindi nalalayo sa mga nangyayari sa kasalukuyan sa Gitnang Silangan, kaya parang nagpapatunay na umuulit ang kasaysayan.

Sa Bagong Tipan din nakapaloob ang mga kuwento na hawig sa mga nangyayari sa kasalukuyan tulad ng kaguluhan dahil sa corruption, paglutang ng ilang tao upang labanan ito pati na ang pagka-ipokrito ng ilan na ang turing sa mga sarili ay bukod-tanging mapupunta sa langit dahil literal na sumusunod sila sa “utos” nd Diyos.

Upang hindi umiskiyerda ang isip sa pagbasa ng Bibliya, laktawan ang hindi masyadong maunawaan. Iwasan ding magkaroon ng “missionary complex”, isang ugaling namumuo sa isang nagmamarunong sa mga Salita ng Diyos, kahit lilimang pahina ng Bibliya pa lamang ang nabasa. Buksan din ang isip sa mga diskusyon tungkol sa Bibliya, dahil may kasabihang “two heads are better than one”, eh di, lalo na kung marami ang nagbabahaginan ng kaalaman.

Itanim sa isip ang katotohanang may Diyos kahit hindi Siya nakikita, at siya ang gumawa ng lahat ng bagay sa sanlibutan…at pati na sa sanlibutan. Kahit pa sabihin ng iba na ang mga “extra terrestials” na nakita ng mga tao noong kapanahunan ng Bibliya ang unang mga “misyonaryo”, at inakala nilang Diyos, dapat itanim sa isip na may gumawa pa rin sa mga “extra terrestials” na ito, kaya talagang may Nag-iisang makapangyarihan sa lahat.

Hindi dapat pagtalunan ng mga tao na nagkakaiba ang pananampalataya ang kaalaman nila sa Bibliya. Dapat igalang ang paniniwala sa Diyos na ang batayan ay Bibliya. Kahit pa sabihing nagkakaiba ng bahagya ang iba’t ibang bersiyon ng Bibliya, ang laman ng mga ito ay tungkol pa rin sa Diyos. Upang maiwasan ang pagtatalo tungkol sa kaalaman sa Bibliya, dapat isaisip na lang na ang mga mensahe ng Bibliya ay tungkol sa pagmamahal sa Diyos at kapwa-tao.

Ang Bibliya ay Aklat ng Buhay…Salita ng Diyos, kaya pati ang ibang nilalaman ng Koran ng relihiyong Islam ay galing dito. Ang ibig sabihin, kung ang mga Muslim ay nagbibigay galang sa Bibliya na nagpapahiwatig ng kanilang paniniwala dito, bakit hindi kayang gawin ng mismong mga Kristiyano? At, ang pinakamahalaga ay ang uulitin kong paalala na hindi dapat pagtalunan ang “kaalaman” tungkol sa Bibliya…upang sa ganoong paraan man lang ay mabibigyan ito ng respeto!

The Beauty of Life….for Adoracion Paragas-Sanque

Life is beautiful…we should love life and each other…

The Beauty of Life
(for Adoracion Paragas -Sanque)
By Apolinario Villalobos

The magnificence of creation is such
That all we need to do is open our eyes
Though the extent of our perception ends
Where the earth meets the sky –
It still oozes with awe-inspiring sights.
In loving God, we love life…
Gratitude is what to Him we show
For everything He blessed us with
There’s nothing else that we can do.
Even the whiff of the wild grass
Undulating in the wind’s caress
And the buzzing of the busy bees
That fills the air with lively drone
Lightens up, even a heavy stone.
Light feeling, ecstasy, happiness –
They grip us tight, though tenderly
As we delight in the beauty of life
That God made for all of us to see!

Mga Produktong Siguradong Magiging Mabili sa Kasalukuyang Panahon

Mga Produktong Siguradong Magiging Mabili
Sa Kasalukuyang Panahon
Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Sa panahon ngayon, siguradong magiging mabili ang mga sumusunod na produkto kung lalagyan ng letrato ng mga opisyal ng gobyerno na ampaw ang pamumuno, o nakalbo dahil sa sobrang dunong sa pagmadyik ng budget ng bayan, o mga kapit-tuko sa pwesto sa kabila ng panawagang bumaba na sila dahil wala namang alam sa pagpapatakbo ng ahensiya, o mga kongresista na sipsip sa pangulo dahil sa maya’t mayang bonus, at mga senador na nagdudunung-dungan:

1. Toilet paper, upang maidampi sila kung saan sila nararapat.
2. Diaper, upang maitapal sila doon sa singawan ng sama ng loob.
3. Arenola o ihian, upang malunod sila sa katas ng sama ng loob.
4. Upuan – sofa, stool, at bangko, upang madanasan nilang suminghap sa hirap.
5. Basahan, dahil pareho lang sila nito na sa kalaunang gamit ay nanlilimahid.
6. Pingpong racket set, upang mapagpasa-pasahan ang nararamdamang ngitngit.
7. Sangkalan o chopping board, upang matadtad sila kahit papaano.
8. Dart board, upang mapuntirya nang tuluyan ang may sala.
9. Tsinelas at sapatos, upang maikaskas sa lupa ang kanilang mukha (mas okey kung may alipunga ang magsusuot!)
10. Sapin o cover ng kabayo sa plantsa, upang maipadama sa kanila ang init ng impyerno.
11. Kainan ng aso, swak sila ni Bantay, kasi mahilig din lang silang humimod ng amo.
12. Punasan ng paa para sa pinto o door mat, karapat-dapat lang…no questions asked.
13. Gomang proteksiyon na apakan sa banyo, upang malunod sila sa tubig na may libag.
14. Malalaking kandila, upang matuwa ang tao sa unti-unti nilang pagka-agnas.
15. Mga balat na gwantes o gloves ng baseball o softball, pati na bat o pamalo, dahil…yon na nga – dapat lang silang ihagis at paluin!
16. Mag wheels ng kotse, upang masagasaan man lang nang paulit-ulit.
17. Brief at panty, upang mailagay sila sa dapat kalagyan – mga sipsip!
18. Basketball ball at volleyball ball, upang pagsawaan silang mai-untog sa sahig na semento at mapalo ng nagngangalit na kamao.
19. Palanggana, upang malunod sa malibag na pinaglabhang tubig.
20. Lagayan ng basura o basurahan….kung saan sila angkop na angkop dahil sa baho nila!

PAHABOL: HINDI KO NILALAHAT ANG MGA SENADOR AT KONGRESISTA, PATI NA MGA OPISYAL NG PAMAHALAAN, DAHIL MAYROON PA RIN NAMANG MATITINO…YON NGA LANG, MANGILAN-NGILAN LANG.

Truth Cannot be Forced on Others

Truth Cannot be Forced on Others
By Apolinario Villalobos

Yes, truth cannot be forced on others. What is true for one guy is not necessarily true for the other who does not think the same way as the former. And, this is how trouble develops among the peoples of the world who precisely do not think in the same way. When one firmly holds on to his principles and beliefs, differences are developed, and they create gaps in the relationship with others who think otherwise.

One sensitive area that easily breeds differences is religion. In this arena of differing beliefs, some groups even go to the extent of killing to assert their religion. One particular group, the Islamic, even makes use of a traditional belief, such as jihad, to purportedly save souls. In the past, those who constitute the leadership of the Catholic Church even resort to torture to force the truth into the minds of the supposedly unbelievers.

Another area is ideology in which the major players are communists and adherents of democracy. Pages of history in many countries that became victim to this struggle show gruesome results of the efforts exerted by both parties. This struggle continues until today, although got mellowed by co-operation for the sake of progress hinged on interdependent economies of the world.

Truth can only become what it should be if the targeted recipient will open his mind as a gesture of acceptance. Unfortunately, it does not always happen. While others can go to the extent of killing to force the truth he believes in, the latter on the other hand, would rather die than have his own truth be overruled by the one being forced into him.

The world practically floats on all kinds of “truths” as each earthling believes he is right. HOWEVER, this general belief does not give the “true and righteous” result, as shown by pockets of war that pockmark the earth. At the end, I can then say, that TRUTH IS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT!…that’s as far as I am concerned.