(Kining sugilanon misakmit og unang ganti sa Carlos Palanca Awards karong tuiga)
“Kahilas ba nimo, uy!” sukmat ni Lukring nga nakabantay.
“Aw, angay lang! Kontra baya tag dula unya… irog didto bi, basig ikaw ang magdalag demal nako,” ni Duday samtang iyang gisiko ang higala.
“Hmph! Demalas sa imong bisong!” subli ni Lukring nga mitindog sa gilingkoran. Unya didto na sad kini magkikir-kikir kang Berning.
Sus, ang animal kalami kulamoson sa nawong, ay! Maypa wa nako pautanga, niya sa kaugalingon. Taudtaod, nangahilom silang upat, nanag-estudyo sa nahabiling mga baraha; kon unsay angay pang gungonan ug angay nang ilabay. Dugay-dugay gyod nga nagpulihay og saksak sila si Sidra, Duday ug Lotlot, hangtod na-hits ra gyod kini niya. Ang sunod nga nakadaog kay si Lotlot, mga tulo lang kadto ka pustada. Nakapamalikas si Sidra sa kalagot kay sayop ang iyang nalabay. Tungod sa kakulba-hinam, wa nila himatikdi ang paspas nga paglabay sa mga gutlo— untop nang alas onse. Si Duday sigeg ampo nga unta moundang na si Berning aron kini mapulihan kay pataka ra nig labay kang Lotlot og baraha.
Continue reading Bunok (Ikaduhang Bahin)
(Kining sugilanon misakmit og unang ganti sa Carlos Palanca Awards karong tuiga)
“Another secret of the universe: sometimes pain was like a storm that came out of nowhere. The clearest summer could end in a downpour; could end in lightning and thunder.”— Benjamin Alire Sáenz
GISUGAT sa madag-omong nawong ni Duday ang limbahong bidlisiw sa Adlaw sa sidlakan. Sige siyag pamalikas samtang iyang gipaypayan ang wa madukti nga mga sugnod sa batong sug-angan. Unsaon nga nasalibohan man kini sa kusog nga ulan niadtong milabayng gabii. Bisag gidabdaban na niyag patayng lukay ug karton, unya giyab-ag gas, wala gihapon kini mosiga. Nagluha-luha ang iyang mga mata sa kahapdos sa aso.
“Peste man ning mga kahoya, uy!”
Mibutho gikan sa kuwarto si Beboy, ang iyang kamagwangang anak, nga sigeg panghuy-ab samtang miadto sa panghugasan tupad lang sa ilang abohan.
“Maayong buntag, Nay,” ni Beboy nga mikuhag baso ug nanglimugmog.
“Boy, human nimo dinha, panguhag patayng palwa ug kawayan didto sa silong kay ganina ra kong galagot ining mga pesteng kahoy diri!” ni Duday sa tingog nga nagtangag og kaisog.
Miyango ang bata ug gikuha ang sinakoban nga sundang ubos sa abohan. Unya minaog dayon sa ilang balay. Samtang gapaabot kang Beboy, nakahukom siya nga haonon una ang kaldero. Unya, paggunit niya sa hawiranan, napaslot ang iyang kamot!
“Kolera! Yawa man ning kinabuhia, uy!” ni Duday nga gisawilik ang kamot. Sa kaitok, mikuha siyag sugnod ug gipuspos didto sa ubang mga kahoy. Unya, nagpangagot nga miadto sa binuksang bentana ug didto gipahungaw ang kapungot.
Continue reading Bunok (Unang Bahin)
Things were still not looking up for Judith. She just lost her job at the fish cracker factory earlier today. Your services are no longer required, they said. Well, that wasn’t exactly how they said it, but it sounded that way. And now, her son, Junjun, was nowhere to be found. Did she know where he was? No, she didn’t. But he’s old enough to take care of himself, anyway.
Today, she decided to just screw it and looked for the first thing she craved. Judith hailed a pedicab to the nearest sari- sari store.
The first few notes to Englebert Humperdinck’s “The Last Waltz” played inside her head. This was her ex-husband’s favorite song. That bastard. He used to listen to it all the time. The song rang in her ears until she realized that it was coming from the pedicab’s radio.
Judith bought three sticks of Marlboro reds. She inhaled the cigarette smoke, letting it creep into her lungs. It wasn’t her fault when Junjun’s father left them years ago. It wasn’t her fault that Junjun wasn’t able to attend high school when his father left. It wasn’t her fault that she didn’t have a job anymore.
Continue reading Performance
It was a Saturday and a payday. The sun was asleep that day and the dim clouds hinted rain, but I was up early for my Master’s and I had to beat the previous night of writing a thesis proposal and singing lullabies for my one-year old girl. My sleepy face invited a debate from my wife whether I should go to school or not. I won so I took a freezing bath and packed my bag. San Isidro was a one-hour drive from Mati City and the ride entailed enduring the meandering road that I had gotten used to.
My classes proceeded with lectures and hasty reports prepared by my preoccupied classmates. For fairness’ sake, I hoped they also struggled on the way to school.
I could not go back home without buying groceries and pasalubong for my six-year old girl so I had to join the rush at the supermarket. I went out of the market still alive, gladly. I carefully tied my box of groceries to the back of my motorcycle and headed home. While I was on the way, I was so mindful of my load that I checked it with my left hand from time to time. I was worrying that the knot was loose. I tied the box with the interior of a motorcycle wheel cut into a strip, a sort of a rubber tie, which got tighter while I travelled. At the time, it had grown a bit short.
I was worried that my load would unravel by the time I reached the road construction at Badas. The repair had been taking forever. The government seemed to have a lot of money to spend. The sky was also growing dark, like cellophane filled with water and would burst any time.
Continue reading The Rain
Subo palandungon, wala damha sa akong higala nga kalit mawala ang iyang kauban sa balay nga iyang igsoon,iyang bilas og duha pa ka tuig nga bata nga si Ronron. Tungod kay mag- unsa man sila sa syudad og walay diploma og grado, hinoon makakaon man sila, kay pareho man naay trabaho ang igsoon sa akong higala.
Nanguli sila sa ilang yutang natawhan; ang nahitabo, nag-inusara na ang akong higala sa iyang balay. Nagpoyo si Joseph sa tiil sa Mt. Talomo; mogawas siya sa iyang balay arun motrabaho, Samtang gi- ilog na ang kangitngit sa adlaw, og sugaton siya sa mga sitsit sa langgam, timailhan nga nagsugod na ang lumba sa kinabuhi, og sa likod sa Mt. Talomo, ang baga nga gabon maoy telon sa dakong entablado. Matag buntag sayo, mao kana ang programa sa kinabuhi ni Joseph.
Continue reading Itik Nga Walay Balahibo
At the age of four, my father would take me to my kindergarten classroom.
Upon entering the classroom, the door would shut behind me leaving him outside. I cried– afraid of the fact that I am alone and too weak to face the world all by myself – I screamed, and pleaded to everyone to let him stay with me. I slapped the door wishing I could knock it down with my little hands– wishing that I could make my way out and see him.
Struggling to calm me down and shut me out, the teacher just desperately repeated these words, “Stop crying. Your father will be back soon. But, he won’t come back if you keep on crying.”
Continue reading Kindergarten Classroom
On the 25th Sunday, the 3rd month of the year, the breaking of the breeze comforted the whole season. The sun was so brilliant engulfed throughout the day, while the chirping of the birds sounded melodiously. They flew here and there, catching each other like lovers missed from hugs and kisses. They were played by the wind blows, swaying their wings against the air, chasing until they found their refuge and rested. Under the monstrous tree they were on, there was a nipa hat, a native, beautifully designed by hands. It was made up of good Nara, a lumber where drawn on it, the lines of the old ways. It was surrounded by the grassy ground but viable to anybody who would like to rest from a journey. But one could ask: was there anybody around that small house? If there was, then who would that someone be?
At 3:00 o clock on that same day, I was on my way home. I walked cautiously as my feet were forceless stepping on the ground. In a far away distance, I saw an old wrinkled woman similarly exhausted as I was, as if losing her breaths. She was panting while her eyes focused to mine. I did not hesitate to come over her to ask where she might be coming from. She dropped down her sungkod without answering my question. The woman collapsed. So, I looked somewhere else but nobody could have been there.
Continue reading Time
Lola Myrna is a soft-spoken 70-year-old woman who lives with her toddler grandson, Jimboy. She has ash-gray hair, and she keeps mostly to herself.
Lola is well-known in their neighborhood for adoring only two things in this world: her garden and her only grandson.
Her garden is simple but well-kept. It complements the two-bedroom bungalow that sits on it, like a pretty porcelain figurine on a birthday cake. Adjacent to it are two Guava trees and a Calamansi tree which provide shade against the afternoon sunlight when Lola is having a siesta.
Lola used to give her grandson a bath with leaves from the Calamansi tree whenever he had fever. She plucked several leaves and mixed them with the hot bath water. It smelled really good, and she believed it made him feel better.
Beside the Calamansi tree, there are also rows of Santan shrubs on garden, and its red and yellow flowers are in contrast to the greenery.
Like most quiet summer afternoons, today Lola is enjoying her siesta under the shade of the Guava trees while Jimboy is idly playing around near her. She rests on a Rattan rocking chair that creaks every now and then, and beside her sits a glass of Calamansi juice that sweats furiously.
Continue reading Jimboy