Tillah: Badjao woman who works with dignity

Tillah: Badjao woman who works with dignity

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

On my way to the bus terminal of Tacurong city where I was to take a van for Davao, I saw a Badjao woman who was carefully covering the seat of a motorbike with a piece of corrugated cartoon, supposedly to protect it from the scorching heat of the sun and a sudden downpour. I talked to the woman and asked for her name which she gave as “Tillah”. She told me that she has four children who has the same “job” and that they are positioned in strategic corners of the city. By strategic, it means where motorbikes park. Even car owners concede to have the hood of their cars covered with a piece of cartoon.

 

The cartoons are the dismantled corrugated boxes that the Badjaos ask from store owners and had seen good old days as containers of milk, sachets of instant noodles, etc. The collection of dismantled boxes become precious belongings of these boat and stilt house-dwelling Filipinos. They are paid Php5 for their “service”. In the evening, the cartons become their sleeping mats that cover the cold pavement of a sidewalk where they could spend the night.

 

Further asked about her family, she told me that she is a widow with four children. Having no source of income in Zamboanga, except begging, they ventured inland, trying their luck in any town along the way, as they seek a “greener pasture”. They are lucky to have stayed longer in Tacurong because of the benevolence of the residents.

 

Hopefully, I would be able to meet the children of Tillah….perhaps, when I come back to the City of Goodwill.

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Song of Hope for Zamboanga

Song of Hope for Zamboanga

 

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

Zamboanga Hermosa! Beautiful Zamboanga!

Splendid and sweet, thanks to the blooms of Pasonanca

But look what they have done to the once blissful land

For days, gripped with fear, trampled by a heartless band.

Torrents of gunfire ripped the placid and lucid air

Smoke darkened pockets of modest now burning lairs

Homes to sundry assiduous  malong-clad populace

Which fate,  on them, painted a grief-stricken face.

 

Cramped in gyms, huddled in tents on flooded ground

Comfort from countrymen  these thousands quickly found

Food and clothes, water and sympathy poured in day by day –

Show of love, lightening up their lives that turned to grey.

Laden with letters from pupils, a teacher from Albay appeared

Though from distant province, not a sigh of weariness was heard

With a big smile, to the children, with measured gait she went

To give hugs, letters of love, and read stories – this heaven sent!

 

Filipinos, these Zamboangueños are, hence, strong in will and spirit

Pliant as the bamboo that they can bend to sway to avoid being hit –

Hit by misfortunes such as what has just befallen their sorry lot

But surely, they will again proudly stand, gently sway, just like that!

Home to Badjaos, Samals, Tausugs, Muslims and Christians

Zamboanaga’s splendor sparklingly shimmers under the searing sun

As they have survived the wars since Spaniards came years before

The crisis will just be a thing of the past as they live on…for sure!

 

 

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

 

Zamboanga Hermosa! Beautiful Zamboanga!

Splendid and sweet, thanks to the blooms of Pasonanca

But look what they have done to the once blissful land

For days, gripped with fear, trampled by a heartless band.

Torrents of gunfire ripped the placid and lucid air

Smoke darkened pockets of modest now burning lairs

Homes to sundry assiduous  malong-clad populace

Which fate,  on them, painted a grief-stricken face.

 

Cramped in gyms, huddled in tents on flooded ground

Comfort from countrymen  these thousands quickly found

Food and clothes, water and sympathy poured in day by day –

Show of love, lightening up their lives that turned to grey.

Laden with letters from pupils, a teacher from Albay appeared

Though from distant province, not a sigh of weariness was heard

With a big smile, to the children, with measured gait she went

To give hugs, letters of love, and read stories – this heaven sent!

 

Filipinos, these Zamboangueños are, hence, strong in will and spirit

Pliant as the bamboo that they can bend to sway to avoid being hit –

Hit by misfortunes such as what has just befallen their sorry lot

But surely, they will again proudly stand, gently sway, just like that!

Home to Badjaos, Samals, Tausugs, Yakans, Muslims and Christians

Zamboanaga’s splendor sparklingly shimmers under the searing sun

As they have survived the wars since Spaniards came years before

The crisis will just be a thing of the past as they live on…for sure!