My dear, little ones…

My dear, little ones…

by Apolinario Villalobos

 

It pains me to see how the world

Crumbles under the weight of greed

How life buckles with the pain of despair

I am so sad that what will be left for all of you

Will be a world shrouded with the bleak sorrow.

 

Gone will all the birds that fly

Grass and flowers in the meadows

Fish in the oceans, rivers, and creeks

The butterflies and bees that seek nectar

And, so will the wind…stilled by the dire war.

 

All those are due to man’s greed

So ravenous are his appalling desires

But let’s not lose hope…pray, pray, pray

As the kindly Lord, to us, may again take pity

That tomorrow’s world, be blessed with His mercy!

 

 

Photo Opportunity: Insult that adds pain to injury

Photo Opportunity: Insult that adds pain to injury

By Apolinario Villalobos

Photo opportunity or “photo-ops” refers to the taking of pictures of an activity, person or group with their consent. Politicians and those in the show business, or just anybody who want to draw attention delight in this kind of opportunity which has given birth to “selfies”. Relief institutions need this to show their benefactors where their donations went. In facebook, we are amused by black and white photos taken during our youthful days, also of important events in our life, such as nuptial, baptism, and just plain family bonding.

Not all photo opportunities are delightful. Some can be insulting that can add pain to injury. This happens during the aftermath of a disaster or calamity. It is alright to record the ruins and other effects of the catastrophe. But to delay the distribution of relief goods until the arrival of the president, or the highest official of the locality, or the secretary of the government relief agency or foreign dignitaries who “must” be part of the “photo-op”, is not. It is disheartening to learn that disaster victims who hiked over hills and trekked kilometers of distance to reach a designated relief distribution area, and who missed meals in the process, are made to wait under the searing heat of the sun until the VIPs have arrived. Suffering people who are in need of immediate assistance are also victims of this opportunistic act, as their faces contorted by agony are shamelessly splashed on the pages of dailies, magazines, and TV screens.

My friends who live in a depressed area told me how they were “invaded and made fools” by students researching on poverty, disease, corruption, and their photos taken as evidence of the government’s neglect. They were promised help by the “sympathetic” researchers who, after a couple of days were never heard again. The following year, two NGOs came to do similar interviews highlighted by photo-ops. Just like the students, they were never heard again. Still, the following year, another group came and distributed condoms and family planning pills, complete with photo taking. Couples with many children were promised relief goods and financial assistance which never materialized. What hurt my friends was what the opportunistic groups did – make promises that were never kept. All they could have done was just mentioned their purpose as my friends were willing to cooperate, anyway.

The poverty and neglect suffered by the oppressed are painful enough to bear. Taking their photos and making a fool of them with never kept promises, just add insult to the injury that may need much time to heal.

Life’s Sorrows and Joys, Pleasures and Pains

Life’s Sorrows and Joys,
Pleasures and Pains
By Apolinario Villalobos

Life is not a bed of roses, so they say…
And it is not always pleasure that we feel
But pain that can be like death, as well…
Life is also specked with sadness and sorrow
But beyond them, is always a bright tomorrow.
The pain of birth that convulses a mother
Becomes a joy, with her babe’s cry like no other.
There is sorrow for those who cry for food
But joy with thought, they’re more loved by the Lord.
The world wallows in pains of greed and abuse
But there is always hope that in life hereafter –
Man’s face will shine with joy… forever!

Palaging Nasa Huli ang Pagsisisi

Palaging Nasa Huli ang Pagsisisi
Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Sa Ingles ay may mga kasabihang, “no pain, no glory” at “no guts, no glory”. Sa literal na katumbas, ang ibig sabihin ay, “kung walang pasakit, walang tagumpay”, at “kung walang lakas ng loob, walang matatamong tagumpay”. Kailangang maging handa tayo sa anumang pasakit na idudulot ng pagkabigo at kailangang mayroon tayong tapang sa pagharap sa anumang pagsubok upang tayo ay magtagumpay. Kung mabigo man, may kasabihan pa rin sa Ingles na, “at least, we tried”, kaya hindi tayo dapat magsisi. Subalit kung wala talaga tayong ginawa dahil sa pag-alinlangan at nakita nating okey naman pala kung tumuloy tayo…diyan papasok ang pagsisisi.

Ang tagumpay ay hinahanap dahil inaasam, hindi hinihintay na baka dumating sa ating buhay. Kaya kung tayo ay lalampa-lampa, gigising na lamang tayo isang umaga at magugulat dahil nalaman nating napag-iwanan na pala tayo ng panahon, na nakanganga, samantalang ang ibang nagsikap ay milya-milya na ang narating. Magsisi man tayo…huli na.

Sa isang banda naman, dahil sa sobrang desperasyon ng iba kung minsan, nakakagawa sila ng mga bagay na pinagsisisihan nila, bandang huli. Halimbawa ay ang pagbitiw sa trabaho nang wala sa panahon, dahil gusto nilang magpasarap agad sa buhay, nainggit kasi sa mga kaibigan nilang ganoon ang ginawa. Nang halos maubos na ang pera, saka sila magsisisi, at kung maghanap man uli ng trabaho, wala na silang mapasukan.

Yong ibang mga nagretiro naman, dahil sa laki ng hawak na separation pay, hindi nila alam kung paano ito gagastusin. Pero dahil nakitang nagpa-renovate ang mga kapitbahay ng bahay, nakigaya…nagpadagdag ng mga kuwarto para sa mga anak daw. Subalit, nang nakapagtrabaho na ang mga anak, nagsi-alisan sa bahay, iniwan na silang mag-asawa dahil ang gusto ay sa condo tumira. Sa laki ng ginastos sa renovation, halos wala nang natira sa separation pay. Silang mag-asawa naman ay naiwang kakalog-kalog sa bahay. Mahirap nang ibenta ang bahay dahil lumaki ang halaga, gawa ng mga renovation. Naramdaman nila ang pagsisisi nang magsimula na silang magpa-admit sa ospital dahil sa maya’t mayang pag-atake ng mga sakit nila.

Madaling maramdaman ang ugali ng mga anak kung walang interes sa mga ginagawa ng mga magulang nila para sa kanila. Halimbawa ay ang binanggit kung pag-alis nila sa ancestral house nang makapagtrabaho na. Ang masakit ay ang pagsabihan nila ang kanilang magulang na ibenta na lamang ang bahay na pinaghirapan nilang ipundar, subalit wala namang babanggiting plano pagkatapos, tulad halimbawa ng pag-imbita upang tumira sa kanilang condo. Para na rin nilang sinabihan ang mga magulang nila ng, “bahala na kayo sa buhay nyo”. Sa pagkakataong ito, walang magawa ang mga magulang kundi maghinagpis dahil ang pera na sana ay inilaan nila sa kanilang pagtanda, ay nauwi sa wala! Hindi na sila appreciated, nawalan pa sila ng sana ay pambili ng maintenance na gamot at pampa-ospital.

Iba naman ang kaso ng mga kaibigan kong mag-asawa na nakatira sa isang exclusive subdivision. Nang pareho silang magretiro, itinodo nila ang pagbiyahe kung saan-saan. Noong pumirmi na sa bahay, sa umpisa ay masaya silang nagsi-share ng mga karanasan nila sa ibang bansa. Nang kalaunan, napansin kung malungkot na sila at palaging nagsisinghalan kung mag-usap, lalo na pagdating sa mga gastusin sa loob ng bahay. May isa pa kasi silang pinapaaral sa kolehiyo. Noong minsang napadaan ako at kinausap ko ang kumpare ko sa labas ng gate, nilapitan siya ng kumare ko at humingi ng pamalengke. Ang sagot sa kanya ng kumpare ko, “gamitin mo yong itinabi mong gamit nang mga tiket ng eroplano…litse ka!…aga-aga, eh, nambubuwisit!”. Sagot naman ng kumare ko, “litse ka ring matanda kang panot!…gusto mong biyahe nang biyahe, ngayon, maninisi ka!”. Ganoon sila kasaya kapag nag-uusap…with feelings!

Sa sinabi ng kumare ko, naalala ko tuloy ang isang taong panot din na walang konsiyensiya kahit marami nang naperhuwisyo dahil sa mga desisyon na akala niya ay da best, dahil akala niya ay bright siya! Pinuno siya ng isang bansa……at lahat ng ginawa ay puro bulilyaso. Magsisi man siya ngayon dahil sa mga maling desisyon niya, ay huli na!

(Note: Exception sa title ang hindi ko pagsisisi dahil sa pag-type ng huling paragraph. May kasabihan naman kasi sa Ingles na, “for every rule, there’s an exception”. Kaya itinuring kong exception yong panot na binanggit ko sa last paragraph! Gusto ko pa ring ipaliwanag na ang ibang panot basta hindi nangmumulestiya at nang-aapi, ay hindi ko tinutukoy….exception din sila….dahil ang pagkapanot ay tanda ng pagkamatalino!)

Life and Writing

Life and Writing
By Apolinario Villalobos

Life and writing are similar on the aspects of their inception, mid-activities, and culmination.

There is pain felt as the womb pulsates, while the new life therein tries to manifest itself to the world. There is pain, too, in the head of the writer that throbs with effort as he struggles on how to start a sentence.

Relief is felt by the mother when the bundle of new life finally makes it out to enjoy its firs whiff of air. Relief is felt, too, by the writer as the first word comes out of his head to trigger the avalanche of more words that shall comprise a literary expression.

As the child grows enjoying life, he or she is guided by the parents, institutions and established norms so that he or she becomes a virtuous member of the society. On the other hand, as the writer progresses, set norms and ethics, as well as, his own style guide him to ensure that the outcome of his effort becomes satisfactory.

In life, it is difficult to “call it quits”, especially, as one enjoys life no end. But the onset cannot be prevented, as sometimes, it is unexpected – caused by an accident. Normally, though, it should come with old age or disease.

The writer, meanwhile, has to allow a ‘twist” to conclude what he is doing. Or, gracefully allow the avalanche of words to be exhausted, naturally, and spell the end.

As with living… writing can also be difficult.

Painful Ironies of Life

Painful Ironies of Life
By Celso Dapo

What cruel irony do Circumstances play,
On land and people, before Thanksgiving Day?
When men claiming Honor can feast sans shame
Having sold the Nation’s Soul, like it was just a game.
I grit my teeth at the undeserved defeat,
Compelled to take the hurt and strain in pain.
In shame the head perched flaccid and downbeat,
Because I cannot dare to express disdain.
Looking to other shores where Pilgrims landed,
Envying enlightened folks engulfed in pride redeemed.
How lucky for America to have Barrack Obama.
While we, still the Indio –
…can only have Arroyo!

Life’s Sorrows and Joys, Pleasures and Pains

Life’s Sorrows and Joys,
Pleasures and Pains
By Apolinario Villalobos

Life is not a bed of roses, so they say…
And it is not always pleasure that we feel
But pain that can be like death, as well…
Life is also specked with sadness and sorrow
But beyond them, is always a bright tomorrow.
The pain of birth that convulses a mother
Becomes a joy, with her babe’s cry like no other.
There is sorrow for those who cry for food
But joy with thought, they’re more loved by the Lord.
The world wallows in pains of greed and abuse
But there is always hope that in life hereafter –
Man’s face will shine with joy and forever!