THE WAY OF LIFE

THE WAY OF LIFE

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

Somebody asked me if I have a religion, and when I told him, I have none, he told me, so you do not have a way of life…because according to him, religion is a way of life. I did not want to embarrass him as we were in the company of his friends, so I just told him, we will talk later about this.

 

The poor guy is obviously ignorant as regards “the way of life” which is generic and does not apply only to religion, but in everything as to HOW a person lives his life, HOW he “carries” himself, or HOW he acts in a community, or better, as a citizen. It is about attitude, character, behavior, mannerism, health, ideology, and philosophy being followed.

 

There are people who follow the philosophy of Confucianism which is not a religion…and their life is based on that. Vegans are people who prefer vegetables than meat and fish…that is their healthy lifestyle – their way of life. Communists behave according to their political ideology…and that is their way of life.

 

Belonging to a certain religion is JUST ONE OF THE WAYS OF LIFE. Christians and Catholics should behave like Christ. Buddhists should live their life according to the teachings of Buddha. Muslims should live according to the teachings of Mohammad. Protestants should live according to the deviations from Catholicism….etc.

 

Finally, it does not necessarily mean that if a person has no religion, he is leading a bad life, because, as many thought, HE HAS NO WAY OF LIFE.  On the contrary, many people who do not belong to any religion, IN FACT, act and behave better than those who belong to one.

 

It is the ACT that should be considered in judging a person, and not the teachings that many of those who are religiously fanatic are taught BUT NOT PUT INTO PRACTICE, as expected of them.

 

 

 

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Mag-ingat sa Paggamit ng Salitang “Festival”

Mag-ingat sa Paggamit ng Salitang “Festival”

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

The word “festival” connotes pageantry, a showy presentation about a certain thing being promoted. If something is ATTACHED to it such as “rice”, for example, to come up with “Rice Festival”, dapat ay may maipakitang iba’t ibang uri ng “rice” – mga bagong ani na nasa tangkay, hindi pa nagiling o palay pa lang na bagong ani pero wala na sa tangkay, mga iba’t ibang variety ng bigas, mga iba’t ibang kakaning pang-meryenda gawa sa bigas na malagkit, o iba’t ibang uri ng pagluto nito gamit ang kawayan, palayok, o tela na ginagawa ng mga sundalo sa kabundukan.

 

If the festival is about egg, halimbawa pa rin…then, let it be called “Egg Festival”. But make sure that the egg is among the primary products of the place that is promoting it para hindi nakakahiya at lumabas lang na naggagaya sa iba pang lugar na MARAMING FESTIVAL. Kung “Egg Festival”, dapat ay may iba’t ibang uri ng itlog – manok, itik, pato, pugo, bugok, balut. At, iba’t ibang pagkaluto tulad ng torta, leche flan, sopas….o, pagpinta ng design sa shells. Pwede ring magpakita ng mga handicraft na ginamitan ng egg shells.

 

Sa kapistahan ng Our Lady of the Candles o Seῆora de la Candelaria ay napansin ko ang kasamang  nakasulat na announcement sa tarpaulin na, “Candela Festival” ….at ikinagulat ko. Kung ang ibig sabihin ng “candela” ay “kandila”….nasaan ang mga kandila?…iba’t ibang hugis o kulay man lang ng kandila? At isa pa, hindi produkto ng Tacurong ang kandila. Hindi na dapat gumamit pa ng “candela festival” para lang magkaroon ng impression na malaking event ang kapistahan ng Our Lady of the Candles. KUNG ANG “CANDELA” AY PINAIKLING “CANDELARIA”, ITO AY ISANG OUTRIGHT NA MISINFORMATION!

 

Hindi dahil ang patron ng Tacurong ay Birheng may hawak na kandila ay kailangan nang magkaroon ng “candela festival”…o “kandila festival” kung ito ang ibig tukuyin, dahil lalabas ito na pagta- “trying hard” o pagmamaang-maangan. Sa uulitin, hindi produkto ng Tacurong ang kandila, dahilan para ma-promote ito.  Okey na kasama sa pista ang singing contest, tiyangge, perya (Spanish –feria) na may mga palaro, ferris wheel, etc., at beauty contest dahil talaga din namang kasama ang mga nabanggit sa pagdaos ng pista mula pa noong panahon ng Kastila.

 

Ang kapistahan sa February 2 ay pagbubunyi sa Birheng Maria at kung mayroon mang mahalagang dapat gawin ay ang pagdasal ng rosary sa mga barangay…palipat-palipat ng imahen niya sa mga barangay na pagrorosaryuhan at ang pinaka-bisperas ng pista ay para sa pagbalik  nito sa simbahan. Para naman sa prusisyon, dapat ay i-encourage ang mga dadalo na magdala ng imahen ni Birhen Maria na nilalagay sa altar ng bahay upang maisali sa okasyon pagkatapos basbasan ng pari sa simbahan.

 

ANG BIRHENG MARIA NA MAY HAWAK NA KANDILA  AT BATANG HESUS,  AY TANYAG NA SA BUONG MUNDO KAYA HINDI NA KAILANGAN PANG GAMITAN NG KUNG ANU-ANO PA UPANG MAGKAROON NG ANYONG “FESTIVAL” ANG SAGRADONG OKASYON PARA SA KANYA.

 

KUNG ANG LAYUNIN NAMAN AY PARA MAKAHATAK NG MGA TURISTA, HAYAAN ANG MGA ITONG HUMUSGA KUNG KARAPAT-DAPAT BANG BALIK-BALIKAN….HUWAG MAGING “TRYING HARD”.  HIGIT SA LAHAT, DAPAT ALALAHANING DINADAOS ANG PISTA BILANG PAGPAPAKITA NG MGA TACURONGNON NG MASIDHING PANANAMPALATAYA NILA SA BIRHENG MARIA DAHIL SA KADAKILAAN NITO….AT HINDI DAHIL SA KUNG ANU-ANO PA.

 

The Propagation of Catholicism in Tacurong and How it Became the Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria Parish

The Propagation of Catholicism in Tacurong

And How It Became the Nuestra Seῆora de La Candelaria Parish

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

Before Tacurong became a parish, the Mass held at the makeshift chapel was celebrated by priests from Marbel (today, Koronadal City) and Cotabato City. The propagation of Catholcism in the struggling town whose political development began as a sitio of Buluan, was hastened by the opening of the Notre Dame campus for boys by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) and girls by the Dominican (OP) nuns. The church stood between the mentioned campuses. The priests’ convent doubled as office and quarters for the Director of the Notre Dame for boys and the parish priest. On the other side of the church was the convent of the Dominican nuns. The Mass for the boys and girls was celebrated separately. Much later, when the Oblates of Notre Dame (OND) arrived, a convent for them was built beside the stage of the the Boys’ department.

 

The Nuestra Seῆora de la Candelaria became the patroness of Tacurong upon the recommendation of Mrs. Josefina Lechonsito who was enthralled and impressed by the Virgin’s image at Jaro, Iloilo. Mrs. Josefina Lechonsito was among the pioneer and well-loved teachers of the Notre Dame Boys’ and later, the College Department. Her suggestion was considered and soon as if on cue, prominent families, such as the Montillas, Lapuzes, Tulios, Velascos, Talmadges, French, Jarrels, Garcias, Espinosas, Lechonsitos,  and many others pitched in their resources for the establishment of the parish foundation and the transformation of the church into what it is today.  The bell was donated by Don Vicente and Doῆa Salud Garcia, Don Juan Garcia and his wife, Mrs. Maria Montilla, and Mrs. And Mrs. Roberto Tulio. The four massive posts for the bell tower were donated by Mr. Menandro Lapuz. A little later, other families joined the enthusiastic movement that led to the formation of civic and religious organizations.

 

The Knights of Columbus, Jaycees, Cursillo-Samaria, Legion of Mary were organized, as well as, their counterparts for the youth and students such as Student Catholic Action (SCA), CHIRO, The Encounterers’, and Columbian Squires. To ensure the consistency of the effort, senior high school students of the Notre Dame Girls Department were required to conduct catechism at the Tacurong Pilot Elementary School. The catechism was conducted even during school breaks and to encourage the attendance of the children, free cookies were given them, as provided by the Garcias who owned the first bakery in Tacurong. Much later, the PREX was also organized and whose effort was felt even in other parts of the province. Today, church groups are organized for specific purposes such as those for the family and youth, in accordance with the Vatican’s direction.

 

The early activities that involved seminars for the recruits of the SAMARIA and CURSILLO were alternately held at vacant rooms of the Boys and Girls Department. When enough fund was collected, a SAMARIA HOUSE was built at the back of the church. It was later used by Theology students of the College department for some of their activities. The other activities of the groups were held at Tamontaka in Cotabato City. During seminars, the “working committee” was always led by Mrs. Dominga Espaῆa who did the budgeting for the food and Mrs. Bonoc Cajandig who led the prayer before meals and taking care of the utensils.

 

The Girls Department of Notre Dame had their own organist during their Mass while the Boys Department had Ms. Tan, a pretty teacher as its own. When the Training Department (Elementary) was opened, separate Masses were also held for the pupils and their singing was conducted by Ernesto Cajandig. On the other hand, convent assistants, Agustin Carvajal, Romeo Balinas, Noel Niervo, and two other colleagues, as well as, members of the Knights of the Altar assisted the parish priest or his assistant in celebrating the Mass in the barrios. They were driven on the hardy jeep by a certain de los Reyes who also tinkered with the noisy generator every time it conked down. Agustin Carvajal also served as the soloist of the parish choir during the time, providing accompaniment with his guitar if the organist was not around.

 

During the fiesta for the patroness, “live” personification of the Virgin Mary enlivened the procession. Among those who played the role of the Virgin Mary were a certain Mojado, one of the pretty Tarrosa sisters who are known for their long hair, Concepcion Betita (Cainglet). The Notre Dame band with its few instruments provided the solemn processional hymns.

 

The feast for the patroness is held every February 2 and Tacurongnons are wishing that it should be consistently held without much fanfare and less expenses that would definitely come from their pockets. For the procession, simply decorated float for the image of patroness should be enough, with the CHURCH ACTIVITIES REVOLVING around her, and the feast not taking several days to celebrate to maintain solemnity that veils her.

 

IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT WHAT IS BEING CELEBRATED, IS THE GLORY OF THE RECOGNITION GIVEN TO THE PATRONESS AS THE BEARER OF THE CANDLE THAT SYMBOLIZES THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD AND THOSE WHO ARE SEEKING THE PATH THAT LEADS TO SALVATION…NOT ANY DELICACY, FLOWER, BIRD, MUSIC, ETC. IF SOME SECTORS WOULD LIKE TO RIDE ON THE POPULARITY OF THE PATRONESS, THEY SHOULD DO THEIR CELEBRATION OUTSIDE THE CHURCH PREMISES, SO AS NOT TO TAINT THE RELIGIOSITY OF THE FEAST.

 

Ang Kapistahan ng Imahen ng Patron Saint

Ang Kapistahan ng Imahen ng Patron Saint

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Suggestions kung ano SANA ang mangyari sa isang kapistahan ng patron ng isang barangay, bayan, o lunsod:

 

  • Hindi dapat haluan ng kung ano pang activities para CONCENTRATED LANG SA PATRON ANG LAHAT NG ACTIVITIES.

 

  • Kung pista ng isang maliit na bayan na may mga barangay, at least two weeks bago ang kapistahan, SANA ang imahe ng santo ay “pabisitahin” sa lahat ng barangay at hayaang mamalagi ng overnight man lang upang madasalan ng mga thanksgiving prayers, lalo na ng novena at rosary.

 

  • Pagkatapos ng “barangay visitation” ng santo ay ibalik sa simbahan para sa pagbisita naman sa kanya ng lahat ng mga deboto.

 

  • Sa araw ng prusisyon, SANA ay isang “float” lang ang gamitin, na ang nakasakay ay ang patron saint lang at ilang aalalay na tunay na deboto…hindi ang mga pumapapel na mga religious kuno.

 

  • Bago ang pagsapit ng araw ng prusisyon, SANA ay mag-announce ang parish priest ng pag-imbita sa mga deboto na magdala ng sarili nilang patron sa simbahan na bebendisyunan ng pari pagkatapos ng misa sa araw ng prusisyon.

 

  • Sa prusisyon, SANA ay kanya-kanyang bitbit ang mga deboto ng imahe ng patron nila na pwede namang isakay sa tricycle o kariton o topdown na sasakyan na may mga dekorasyon. Magandang magbitbit ng simbolo ng santo ang mga deboto, tulad halimbawa ng kay San Pedro Calungsod ay dahon ng palmer, ang kay San Isidro Labrador ay isang bungkos ng palay, ang sa Our Lady of the Candles ay kandila, etc.

 

  • Nasa pinakahuling bahagi ng prusisyon ang nag-iisang “float” na ang lulan o nakasakay ay ang imahe ng patron ng bayan.

 

  • Kung may mga produktong pwedeng isabay sa pista, SANA dapat ang tawag ay “EXHIBIT” lang, HINDI “FESTIVAL”. Halimbawa ay kung may isang barangay na gustong mag-exhibit ng giant yellow corn na produkto nito, okey lang. Kung may isang organization na gustong mag-exhibit ng kanilang handicraft, okey lang. Kung may gustong mag-exhibit ng giant bibingka na niluto niya, okey lang….etc. Kung may mga magulang na gustong mag-exhibit ng magandang anak nila na pang-beauty contest, okey lang….araw-araw, paistambayin sa loob ng booth nila na palaging nakangiti for photo opportunities.

 

  • Ang mga booth ay pwedeng ilagay sa isang bahagi ng bayan na ire-request sa mayor.

 

  • Hindi SANA pahirapan ng mga kung anu-anong kaek-ekan tulad ng contribution ang mga deboto para lang magamit sa pagpagawa ng mga floats na pang-contest bilang bahagi ng prusisyon. Nakatatawang isipin kung anong pa-contest ang gagawin para sa kapistahan ng isang patron….MAGPAPABONGGAHAN BA NG DAMIT NG PATRON?…MAGPAPADAMIHAN BA NG BULAKLAK SA SASAKYAN NITO NA ITATAPON LANG SA BASURAHAN PAGKATAPOS BILHIN NG KUNG ILANG LIBONG PISO NAGALING SA BULSA NG MGA NAGHIHIRAP NA MGA DEBOTO NA HALOS HINDI MAKABILI NG ISANG KILONG TUYONG DILIS?

 

Sana ay matakot sa Diyos ang mga taong ang iniisip para sa kapistahan ng isang patron saint na DAPAT ay payak o simple pero ginagawang parang pista ng mga pagano.

Understanding the Muslim Filipinos

Understanding the Muslim Filipinos

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

Christian Filipinos should not abhor their brother Muslims in view of the turmoil in Marawi perpetrated by the terroristic Maute Group. A terroristic group or any group with an intention of sowing destruction may arise from among the Christians, too. Unfortunately, many Christian Filipinos have yet to understand their brother Muslims beyond their porkless diet. By culture and religion, there are differences between the two, but they emanated from the same Malayan race, and by geography, they both belong to Asia.

 

Centuries before the Spanish arrival, Islam was well-entrenched in strategic islands of the archipelago, having been introduced in Sulu by Sharif Makdum, a Muslim missionary from Malacca. The first mosque which he built could still be found at Tubig-Indagan, on the island of Simunul. He died in Sibutu where a simple shrine was built in his honor. Makdum was followed by Raha Baginda who arrived in Sulu in 1390, and in 1450, Abu Bkr arrived from Johore who married Princess Paramisuli, daughter of Raha Baginda. Their marriage marked the founding of the Sulu Sultanate.

 

In Mindanao, the first Muslim leader to arrive was Sharif Kabungsuwan, who reached Cotabato (today, part of Maguindanao province) in 1475. He converted the natives into Islam and married the local princess, Putri Tuῆina. Eventually, he became the first Sultan of Maguindanao and his wife, the first Sultana.

 

At the time of the Spanish arrival, many parts of the archipelago were inhabited by Muslims, such as Batangas, Pampanga, Mindoro, Catanduanes and part of what is today, Metro Manila, particularly those along the Pasig River. When Legazpi arrived in 1571, the recognized Muslim “king” of Manila by the natives was Raha Sulayman, while in Tondo, it was Lakan Dula.

 

The Spaniards used the word “Moros” to refer to the fierce inhabitants who resisted their intrusion. The word is derived from the “Moors” who were their primary adversaries in Spain. It was the “fierceness” albeit, intended for the Spanish intruders, that unfortunately, had a negative impression in the mind of Filipino Christians. But, thanks to the later generations of Muslim Filipinos, for today, the reference which has been shortened to “Moro” connotes respectability. Contrary to what many non-Muslims believe, “Mohammedanism” is not a religion because Muhammad, himself, did not claim to have founded a religion. The counterpart of the Bible in Islam is the Koran or Qu’ran.

 

The Five Pillars of the Islamic Faith are: the profession of Faith; praying five times a day facing Mecca; giving alms called “zakah” to the poor; fasting during the month of Ramadan; and pilgrimage to Mecca. Polygamy is allowed, hence, a Muslim may have 4 wives for as long as he can afford to support them and divorce is also permitted.

 

Pigs are considered unclean, hence, pork is detested by Muslims. Alcoholic drinks are also not allowed. It is for this reason that prior to the arrival of Christians in Mindanao, vinegar was concocted from banana. When migrants from the Visayas and Luzon came, tuba (coconut wine) and basi (sugarcane wine) were introduced but only the Christian settlers imbibed them.

 

Many Biblical personages are also mentioned in Koran, the most popular of which are Jesus, Abraham and the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is interesting to note that during Christmastime, some Muslim stalls in Quiapo display Christmas lanterns and Christmas trees. They also practice gift giving to live up with the season.

 

Finally, in the Philippines, politics laced with greed ruined the good relationship between the Christians and Muslims to some extent…

Wrong Information from Textbooks that Filipino Students are Forced to Learn

Wrong Information from Textbooks

That Filipino Students are Forced to Learn

by Apolinario Villalobos

 

As I gain years in life that slowly push me towards the threshold of my destiny, I cannot help but think about the things that I was “force-fed” as a knowledge-hungry pupil in elementary and a trying student in high school and college. I am now beginning to think that they could be wrong, such as:

  • Reference by Spanish historians to early inhabitants of the archipelago as indolent and have no regard for the future….

 

The original lines of this contention were written by historians who were members of Spanish expeditions to the “spicery” in the East, referring to the archipelago that later became known as Philippines, as well as, Moluccas. These European historians did not give consideration to the fact that the early inhabitants of the islands during the time subsisted on roots (sweet potato, yam, etc.), domesticated vegetables and animals, and which were abundantly available all year round. There was no need to dry vegetables the way they were doing in Europe due to winter. It should be noted that the main reason why Europeans were dead-set on conquering the “spice islands” of the East, was their need for the sought-after spices to preserve their food. Fresh water and marine fishes were likewise readily available anytime of the year. Unfortunately, such impression stuck even up to the American regime.

 

  • The impression of Lapu-lapu as being the first “nationalistic Filipino” who fought foreign intruders….

 

Just like the rest of the early inhabitants of the archipelago, Lapu-lapu was also an “immigrant”. When the Spaniards came, there was no “united Philippines”, yet. Even what is now Manila was ruled by several chieftains. There was also no clear evidence, if Magellan died in the hands of Lapu-lapu, or that, Lapu-lapu was at the battle site which was in knee-deep of water, or just on the shore watching the scene and shouting instructions.

 

  • The Spaniards came to spread Christianity….

 

Although, there were friars on board the galleons, those calling the shots were the leaders of the expeditions, such as, breaking of twigs, throwing of rocks and other symbolic acts of conquest, and the making of declaration of conquest in the name of the King or Queen of Spain. In meeting with the chieftains of the islands, the leaders of the conquerors, made clear their intention of making the villages as vassals of Spain. Only when the chiefs conceded that “baptism” into the new faith was made. In other words, the cross was made as an excuse for the conquest.

 

  • Ruy Lopez de Villalobos named the archipelago, “Philippines” in honor of the Spanish king, King Philip II….

 

During the time of the Villalobos expedition, the archipelago was known as the “Islas del Poniente (Sunset Islands). On February 2, 1543, his fleet reached the current town of Baganga, east of Mindanao and named it, “Caesaria Caroli” in honor of Emperor Charles V. They moved farther on and reached Sarangani Bay, named “Antonia” in honor of Antonio de Mendoza, Viceroy of Mexico. Finally, they reached Leyte which during the time was known as “Tendaya”, but which Villalobos named, “Felipina” in honor of the crown prince of Spain, future king who was destined to succeed Charles V. Clearly, the name that Villalobos gave did not refer to the whole archipelago but only to a particular island.

 

  • The reference to the Filipinos again as “lazy” during the actual Spanish occupation of the populated islands…

 

When the Spaniards occupied the populated islands of the archipelago, the inhabitants were taxed heavily based on their produce. The natives decided to “take it easy” in working on their land as a major slice of their harvest went to the Spaniards. Aside from the demanded big share from the natives’ harvests, they were also made to render forced labor to build churches. The massive churches in the towns of Luzon and Visayas are evidences of this cruelty.

 

Today, the topsy-turvy educational system of the Philippines is such that even the K-12 which is not an assurance of job after finishing the so-called “senior high school” has been implemented post-haste without the necessary preparations. The current errors in the workbooks have compounded the existing ones that are needed to be rectified. The many pages of textbooks that have been transformed into “workbooks” are never without errors, yet, erring publishers are not penalized….”how much” is the reason…I just don’t know.

 

 

 

Si Tiya Iskang Madasalin

Si Tiya Iskang Madasalin

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Sa aming bayan, nakalakhan ko na si Tiya Iska na madasalin.  Ang apelyido niya ay Peñalosa. Maliit siyang babae, may lampas balikat na buhok at maliit ang boses. Bago pumutok ang araw ay makikita siyang naglalakad ng halos isang kilometro papunta sa simbahan, may belo ang ulo. Dahil debuto siya ng Mahal na Birhen, ang kanyang puting damit ay nasisinturunan ng sutlang kulay asul na mapusyaw.

 

Sa misa ay nangingibabaw ang kanyang boses sa pagkanta. At kung oras na ng komunyon, siya ang unang tatayo at halos takbuhin ang harap ng altar upang unang mabigyan ng ostiya. Kung may prusisyon naman, siya ay palaging nasa unahan ng karo ng imahe ng Mahal na Birhen. Namumuno din siya sa mga nobena at pagdasal ng rosaryo. Tuwing Flores de Mayo naman, tumutulong siya sa pagturo sa mga bata ng dasal at kantang pangsimbahan. Nanghihingi din ng tinapay sa mga panaderya upang maipamigay sa mga bata.

 

Ang hindi ko maintindihan ay kung bakit siya nililibak noon, sa kabila ng kanyang mga ginagawa. Wala naman siyang ginagawang pagpapa-istaring. Ang nakikita ko sa kanya ay ang kaseryusuhan niya sa pagsamba sa Diyos, lalo na sa pagtupad sa kanyang debosyon sa Mahal na Birhen.  Isang beses ko lang siyang nakausap, at noon ay nang inalalayan ko siya papunta sa kumbento dahil nahilo. Pauwi na ako nang hapong yon galing sa klase at nakita ko siyang nakasandal sa puno ng kaimito dahil nahilo. Hindi pala nakakain ng tanghalian.

 

Nasa high school ako noong masubaybayan ko ang ilang yugto ng buhay ni Tiya Iska. At naalala ko siya sa panahon ngayon na kailangan ang pagbabalik-loob ng tao sa Diyos. May mga pagpipilian ang mga tao: magbalik-Islam, magpaakay tungo sa iba’t ibang sekta ng Kristiyanismo o magbagong-loob bilang Katoliko.

 

Kung wawariin, hindi dapat ibatay sa kinaanibang grupo o simbahan ang kabanalan o pagkamaka-Diyos ng isang tao. Maging bukal lang sa kalooban ang pagsamba at pagdasal tulad ng ginawa ni Tiya Iska, palagay ko ay maaari na. Dapat walang pagkukunwari ang pananampalataya, tulad din ng ginawa niya.

 

Alam kong marami pang Tiya Iska ang makikita sa iba’t ibang panig ng mundo. Sila ang salamin natin sa buhay pagdating sa mga bagay na ispiritwal. Iwasan natin ang magng bulag sa katotohanan, bagkus ay dapat maging mapagpakumbaba sa pagtanggap ng ating mga kakulangan upang mapunan natin kung ano man ang mga ito.