February 13, 2020

When s/he was born, Roda, who is Rodel Añosa in dull “legal” documents, her mother became very seriously ill. Roda, whose umbilical cord was not yet cut from the placenta, was then taken to the hospital in Mainland Masbate, a good three hours from her village in Guiwan...

February 6, 2020

How do I write about a town and its forgetfulness? I could write about a town and how it forgets its marker and poet. 


After writing about the town of Pili (see Bicol Mail issue dated January 30, 2020), I was not planning to write about Baao. There was an intention alr...

January 30, 2020

That simplistic (meaning “flawed”) report from GMA-7’s Drew Arellano about Gainza (which I wrote in this column dated January 17, 2020) has prodded me to look at other towns very close to Naga.


The point of my critique, for those who have not read my column, is that to...

January 23, 2020

There is a very interesting story narrated by John Dvorak, a geophysicist, when he was part of a team that was tasked with the setting up of instruments to monitor volcanic activities in Indonesia. 


After clearing the surveying gear with the customs in Jakarta, he went...

January 17, 2020

Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone
-Oscar Wilde


The charm of Gainza, a town in Camarines Sur, is how, it has retained its social distance despite its being near Naga City. The town is just some 6.5 kilometers from the city.Drive f...

January 9, 2020

It was a brief friendship. But what wise men and women say is true: In brevity, there is the soul of wit. Sylvia proved to be the soul we were looking.

 
The whole thing started with a simple letter saying she was reading me and she liked what she was reading. She would...

January 3, 2020

Every year the world ends but we are not told about it. What we are assured is that it is born again.


Each year on the day that we consider the last in our calendar or our own sense of time and date, we run around trying to do things that are not allowed before we all...

December 27, 2019

History is never always the better judge. This was the lesson inside the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI). 


It was the eve of Christmas: a friend, Kristian Sendon Cordero, poet and filmmaker, and I were in Lagonoy, Camarines Sur. He asked me to come along for his f...

December 20, 2019

The photo would have misled me: it was a tad purplish. But the caption was like a revenge for all the iniquities my mind suffered as another language dictated how that “thing” should be pronounced. I looked again and even from afar I knew it was that concoction of all...

December 13, 2019

Read this paragraph:


One of the most severe effects of poverty in the ____________ is that poor children enter school with this readiness gap, and it grows as they get older. Children feel alienated from society; suffer insecurities because of their socioeconomic statu...

December 6, 2019

“I will give you this but promise me you will write me a book about them. 


It was Kristian (Cordero) talking. I looked at his “this” and it was a thick, large book; I checked his “them” and they were “saints.” One hundred of them.


I looked at Kristian again. He was ser...

November 28, 2019

The night before he left for Manila, and then for Bangkok, Kristian and I were talking about translating a poem. It was his poem. “An old one,” he said, perhaps to excuse in advance about the old form and old theme. It reeks of the scent of that old book called “Bible....

November 21, 2019

My foray into popular history brought me once more into the world of newspapers. Once more, I am convinced that histories indeed are some of the amusing arbiters of memory. It was the 1930s and the issues of the year for politicians was independence. The age was inhabi...

November 14, 2019

Why did Magellan circumnavigate the world? Who cares really. We were not the beneficiary of this accomplishment. It was Spain and, later Europe that would rake in the privileges of knowing the way to our islands and the resources. Many books have already been written a...

November 7, 2019

There are historians and historians as there are history and histories.


In the National Library, there is an odd and gripping collection of stories about provinces, towns and villages. It is called “Historical Data (Philippines).” The data were collated following an Ex...

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