Showing posts with label philippines. Show all posts
Showing posts with label philippines. Show all posts

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Children


Children
need to see the Christ pained
on his death,

they need to see
pixilated, blurred scars on TV
turning into flesh cut out by lashes,

they need no guidance from adults,
they need to be left interpreting
a man whispering his moans
to his unseen father,

they need
to smell the blood dried on his nose
on his cheeks & eyelashes,

they need to hear the breath
last on his lungs as a spear soaked
in wine is struck on his rib,

they
need to look closely on the sun
interspersed on the crucifix
thus making out a silhouette
of a man - healer & teacher as
yearned by weeping bit players
- saving a world of dragged backs
equated with salvific yokes,

they
need to remind one and themselves
all they have seen on screen
as they throw pebbles on chalk lines
etched on sand, indeciphering yet,
impetuously loving yet.

Poem by: Aloy Polintan

Location: Sunken Cemetery, Camiguin Island, Philippines

Friday, April 14, 2017

New Baptism



During the sun's scorching gaze
Is baptism renewed most fit
When, hands clasped on each other
(a gesture of obligatory devotion)
I will soak my heels up my nape
Drops almost touching my earlobes
Bubbles will form, burst, regenerate
Ripples rival among themselves
Placid waves caress my ligaments
As the high priest rinses the spirit
As I close my eyes for orange panorama
The gentle rush of water subsides
A stagnant pool quiets the crowd
And now the baptizer is out of sight
Only cobblestones cradle me in their arms
In the void of direction, of ritual

Poetry by: Aloy Polintan

Location: Camiguin Island, Philippines

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Importance of the Hands that Toiled for Food


The city is as convoluted as the din, smoke, and stench emanating from every busy street and every nook and cranny too busy to care for the little things it is being survived by. The harvest too gilded for the hands, scorched and veined, that have toiled hard with sweat and tears, is, however, diluted to being inconsequential by the scatterbrains dwelling in rat holes. Food, for the oblivious, is a necessity more than it is a gift. That, that fact, kills a soul covered in comfortable porcelain flesh.

Image: Carcar City, Cebu, Philippines

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Monday, January 2, 2017

Spotlights


Underweight, emaciated, and flimsy, you had met the big, wild world like a glaring spotlight in the dead of the night when the tempest was at its strongest, you the young, poor deer, scared you had nowhere to run. Of course, you didn't have a pint of a memory of that. Of course, it was your mama and papa who did, who had felt joy when you had finally broken loose from an aching, soaked-in-wet womb; but the joy was undeservedly fleeting and replaced immediately with worry after worry. Reality bit them hard when they saw through your bones how fragile you were, a most delicate white porcelain that breathed off precious life.

It was a painstakingly agonizing moment that would last as long you live. They both had realized that. You're the eighth child in the already-big family -- five girls, three boys. Your papa would often lose count of his young children whose age was indistinguishable. By the looks of their faces, built, and height, the first four seemed to be born in the same year, quadruplets if you will.

Being the youngest child and son, you were supposed to have had perks being one, to be given special treatment just as any old mother would. But such wasn't the case in yours.  Old mama and old papa, at forty-eight and fifty-one, were either too busy to scavenge for food to be brought to the non-existent table, or to care for everybody's baths in absentia for a couple of days or long weeks. All they had in mind was to survive, for all of them to be alive and be intact and in one piece before everybody dozed off, even though their guts were burning.

Nevertheless, you would never know that, nor understand the heaps of struggles mounting on the every day inside your shanty of anything-goes and what-have-yous. All you ever cared for was sucking milk out of your mama's sickly, close-to-arid breasts until they bled. Your mama's bosom was profusely hurting, you should know that.

The time came when you could muster baby steps as gentle as that of a dying battery-powered walking toy. Old mama and old papa couldn't believe you're strong enough to stand and walk wherever, paths emblazoned only by a child-king. Indeed, you were a miracle baby, and they thanked dear God for that, crying and kneeling before child Jesus inside centuries-old Santo NiƱo church.

Then your family relocated to the fringes of downtown Cebu, living inside an abandoned building, which I thought was better and sturdy enough to weather the passing storm, standing on the shores facing Bohol sea.

That was three years ago when you were at the onset of your walking.

Precisely a month ago, I saw you. Surprising, it was not. You were playing with, I presume, your friends in the neighborhood. I had never seen nor met them before as long as I could remember. New kids on the block, I guess.

As I went in closer, I had noticed the afternoon light cast a shadow behind your new abode, the empty windows serving as spotlights beaming lights onto the ground. Interestingly, you and your friends stood under those circular lights, happy and playing some characters, as if some mighty actors on stage.

What a sight it was to me. I suddenly felt hopeful, glad you had found those rays of light adults would deem of as pieces of hope in this big, wild world. But I was sad at the same time. The world knows why.

I stopped and was silently watching how you kids delighted in the gleeful afternoon.

You had said hi as soon as you noticed me. I saw how you have grown all these years, those bones were fragile no more.

You waved me goodbye like an old friend as I left, smiling without you knowing my name.

Image: Cebu City, Philippines

Monday, October 3, 2016

Intramuros: The Walled City of Manila


His majesty on a high horse had built a fortress made of stones meeting water carpeted with a thousand water lilies and land paved with cobblestones and dust and soot.

So vast a city it was within. Intramuros, it was aptly called -- great and gold and literate and manned by the powers that be, Hispanic and ruling and alien.

The city safeguarded the high society of the altar, of silk, and of the written word.

Universities. Convents. Churches. Government seats. 

The citadel was the center of the inseparable state and church, kissing each other while lording over the poor Filipinos -- now Christened brown-skinned people, erstwhile Muslims. Slaves and second-class citizens of Las Islas Filipinas they were reckoned.

War after war, Intramuros had slowly lost its power, its luster became a wistful memory, and was finally reduced to rubble during the costly Battle of Manila.

The colonizers sailed back to their own land.

Their prized possession, the Pearl of the Orient Seas, was back to the hands of a people that had been aspiring for liberty never they had thought of as fruitless.

Freemen, they had become, brave and audacious Filipinos.


Images:
Intramuros, Manila, Philippines
  Bureau of the Treasury
  Fort San Pedro
  Gusaling Don Pepe Atienza (PLM Graduate School Building)
  Muralla
  Real Street
  Baluarte de San Diego Gardens
  Casa Manila Museum