13
reaction(s)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Doon po sa damuhan


Misteryoso ang damuhan. May kung anong lihim itong kinukubli na sa bawat pagsayaw ng mahahaba’t maninipis nitong mga dahon, sa mahinhing ihip ng hangin ng tag-araw, tila nagbabadya, nagpapahiwatig ng kagustuhang magsiwalat, magkwento, awitin ang mga panaghoy na minsan nitong narinig, nasaksihan sa paulit-ulit na paglakad ng panahon. Natutuyo, nilulunod ng nakabibinging ulan at namamatay. Saka muling yayabong para hagkan ang nag-aalab na araw, dala-dala ang mga ala-alang larawan ng nakalipas.

Enero 25. Sa isang damuhan sa Barangay Inarawan sa Antipolo, ginahasa at pinaslang ang disis-sais anyos na si Abigail Arguelles. Kwento ng mag-asawang Mario at Pelisa, ilang oras silang naghintay sa tagpuan nila ng kanilang anak sa isang waiting shed. Maghahating-gabi na raw noon. Hindi dumating si Abigail.

“Nung pauwi na kami ng asawa ko galing doon sa kanto, nakita po namin ‘yung sandals ng anak ko. Misis ko ang nakakita kasi binunot niya ‘yung flashlight ng cellphone. Pagbukas niya, nakita namin siya sa tabi ng kalsada. ‘Yung misis ko nag-hysterical.”

Duguan, nakataas ang palda na siyang ginamit na pang-bigti, tadtad ng saksak at may busal ang bibig nang matagpuan ng mismong mga magulang ni Abigail ang kaniyang bangkay.

Nang balikan ang pinanggalingan ng krimen, hindi napigilan ni Mario na mapahagulgol matapos makita ang hindi pa rin nahugasang mga dugo sa damuhan. Nang maglibot sa paligid, bigla na lang nagsisigaw. Nakita pala nito ang I.D. ng anak na puno rin ng dugo. Ilang lakad pa ay ang kwintas naman nito. 

Hindi nag-iisa si Abigail. Sa Zamboanga-Sibugay nito lang Pebrero 13, sa isa ring madamong bahagi malapit lang sa kanilang bahay, hinalay rin ang isang anim na taong gulang na babae na itinago sa pangalang “Jenny.” Ginahasa si “Jenny” sa harap ng kaniyang pitong taong gulang na kapatid na lalaki at isa pang kalaro. Ang suspek, trese anyos lamang.

“Nag-iigib daw siya ng tubig. Sabi niya sa mga bata, sama kayo doon kuha tayo star apple. Sabi niya sa dalawa, hawakan ninyo si “Jenny.” Kung hindi kayo maghawak suntukin ko kayo. Tapos tinanggal na niya panty. Ni-rape na niya,” kwento ni Rosaly Clavejo, ang ina ni “Jenny.”

Ginahasa rin si “Jenny” ng kaniyang kalaro at pilit pang pinagahasa sa pitong taong gulang na kapatid ngunit marahas itong nag-protesta. Dahil menor de edad ang suspek at hindi pwedeng arestuhin, napilitang makipag-ayos si Rosaly sa halagang P500.00. Limandaang pisong kapalit ng winasak na kabataan ng anak.

Hindi na lumalabas ng bahay si “Jenny” matapos ang nangyari. Sa gabi, nag-iiyak sa gitna ng pagtulog at nilalagnat. Sa umaga, nakatanaw sa malayong damuhan. Tinatanaw ang mga nagtatagong maligno’ng minsan ay walang habas na dumaluhong sa kaniya.

Karahasan. Nakapangingilabot na mga kasaysayan. Paanong ang kapayapaan ng luntiang damuhan ay makapagkukubli pala ng mga mapapait na panitikan.

Sa Ilocos, nitong nakalipas na taon, tumayo ako sa isang napakalawak na kaparangang nalalatagan ng masinsing mga damo. Akin daw iyon sabi ng lola at mga tiyuhin ko. Wala na akong ibang naisip na salita para ilarawan ang kagandahan at kapayapaang bumabad sa ‘king mga mata. Nangarap akong mamahinga doon. Na kapag pagod na pagod na ako sa karera ng aking trabaho, kapag punong-puno na ang dibdib ko ng samu’t saring pait ng kabiguan at kataksilan, paparoon ako. Mauupo o hihiga sa panatag na damuhan, pakikinggan ang mga mahinhing awit ng ibon at kulisap hanggang sa dumapo iyong kapayapaan at paglayang kay tagal nang inaasam.

Gayon nga marahil ang naramdaman ng Supremo, ang bayani na si Andres Bonifacio. Sakay ng isang duyan dahil sugatan sa katatapos lamang na engkwentro laban sa mga guardia civil, sinabihan nito ang mga tauhan na mamahinga sandali.

Doon sa damuhan, sa ilalim ng mayayabong na puno ng Katagalugan, kasabay ng pagsipol ng hanging lumulipad na tila 'di makitang saranggola, tahimik na minamasdan ang sumisilip-silip na silahis ng araw sa pagitan ng mga dahon. Marahil ay humahabi ng mga tula sa isip, nangangarap ng paglaya. Paglaya. Puro paglaya. Paglaya para sa mga kababayang ninakawan ng dangal. Paglaya para sa bayang paulit-ulit na ginagahasa ng mga sakim na dayuhan. Pero higit sa ano pa man, pinakamasakit na yata ang panggagahasa ng mismong kababayan. 


Lumalawig na ang hidwaan sa pagitan ng kagawaran ni Heneral Emilio Aguinaldo at Andres Bonifacio. Kaya naman ipinasiya ng Supremo na magtungo na sa Tejeros sa Cavite.

Pero hindi solusyon para sa ikapag-iisa ng nagkukumawalang bayan ang sumalubong sa kaniya doon kundi pangmamaliit, pangungutya at pangyuyurak sa kaniyang pagkamaralita. Hindi matanggap nilang mga Ilustrado, yaong mga nakapag-aral sa Europa at nagmula sa angkan ng mga buena familia, na isang dukha, isang maralitang ulila ang mamumuno sa kanila.

Kaya sa katanghalian ng araw, doon sa damuhan sa kabundukan ng Maragondon, bumagsak ang duguan at naghihingalong katawan ng Supremo. Binaril kasama ng kapatid na si Procopio sa utos ni Aguinaldo. 


Sa unti-unting pagbagal ng hininga at pagbulong ng puso, sa patuloy na pagdaloy ng nagngangalit na dugo, sa hinuha ko’y tumatakbo ang samu’t saring larawan sa isipan. Mga bayonetang naghuhumiyaw. Silid-aklata’ng nakapinid. Bahid ng dugo sa tabak. Panaghoy ng walang hanggang gabi. Katahimikan. Aling pag-ibig pa…

Ah karahasan. Ah kalayaan. Mahigit isang siglo na ang lumipas, umuulit-ulit lang ang mga kwento ng panggahasa, kataksilan at kabuktutan sa damuhan ng aking bayan. Patuloy na pang-aalipin. Patuloy na pagka-gapos.

Pero higit sa ano pa man, sa paulit-ulit na pagka-bihag, sa paulit-ulit na kabiguan, paulit-ulit din ang pagbangon. Ganito na nga siguro tayo. Patuloy na lumalaban. Patuloy na haharap sa kinabukasang walang katiyakan. Araw-araw na pagbangon. Araw-araw na pakikipagsapalaran, paghahanap at pakikipag-tagisan. Walang hanggang himagsikan na pag-ibig lang ang tanging sandata.

Pareho-pareho man ang mukha ng trahedya, kahirapan at kawalang-hustisya, sa pagtatapos ng araw, sa paglatag ng dilim at sa muling pagbangon ng araw, mababanaag pa rin ang luntiang mga ngiti sa masalimuot na damuhan. Mukha ng pag-asa. Mukhang hindi lumuluhod sa kapalaran. 

Nitong nakalipas na taon, buwan ng Hulyo, isang bagong silang na sanggol ang natagpuan sa isang damuhan sa General Santos City. Tila isang sirang galunggong na itinapon ng kung sino.

Nakalulungkot na kwento. Pero naisip ko, hindi mapipigilan ng kawalang-awa ng kaniyang mga magulang ang kaniyang paglaki. Posibleng namatay na sana siya doon pa lamang sa damuhan. Posibleng sa pagluwal pa lang sana sa kaniya ay binawian na agad ng buhay. Pero hindi.

Dahil dito, yayabong siya’t lalaki tulad ng karaniwang tao. Tatahakin ang madidilim at masusukal na eskinita ng buhay. Tatawa. Iiyak. Mabibigo. Magtatagumpay at lalaban. Iibig. Isang bagong nilalang na magpapatuloy ng pakikibaka dito sa damuhang lupain daw ng matatapang.

Misteryoso ang damuhan. May kung anong lihim itong kinukubli na sa bawat pagsayaw ng mahahaba’t maninipis nitong dahon, sa mahinhing ihip ng hangin ng tag-araw, tila nagbabadya, nagpapahiwatig ng kagustuhang magsiwalat, magkwento, awitin ang mga panaghoy na minsan nitong narinig at nasaksihan sa paulit-ulit na paglakad ng panahon. Natutuyo, nilulunod ng nakabibinging ulan at namamatay saka muling yayabong para hagkan ang nag-aalab na araw, dala-dala ang mga ala-alang larawan ng nakalipas.

_________
Ang “Doon po sa damuhan” ay isang uri ng malayang pamamahayag at piyesang lahok sa “Bagsik ng Panitik” ni Bino ng Damuhan.com. Lahat ng impormasyong nakalahad ay pawang lehitimo, kinuha sa mga ulat ng ABS-CBN News at ilang libro ng kasaysayan. Para sa eksaktong source ng mga impormasyon, makipag-ugnayan lamang sa may akda sa pamamagitan ng desoleboy@yahoo.com

__________
Apologies to readers of this blog who are not familiar with the Filipino language. I will be writing in the usual English entries after this. Thank you. 

6
reaction(s)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Con te partirò

2011, Laiya, Batangas

Last Holy Week, I was visited by a deep depression, so contagious I was shaking madly in two consecutive nights, cold sweats, fat tears oozing endlessly from my swollen eyes. In a distant chapel, I could hear the chanting of Christ’s passion by the elders of our barangay. I counted the hours. The ticking of the bedside clock was deafening. It felt like I was being pressed from everywhere, like I was being pushed inside some rubber tube. And then morning came. 

I left for a vacation, where the sea, sand and sun, I thought, could bring back the life in me. It helped. But the mind is stronger than nature. 

The depression worsened as I unpacked my stuffs when I arrived home. What terrible sadness. Such indescribable plague eating up every fiber of happiness in my body. I cried and cried without knowing why. I cried until I passed out and fall asleep. I stayed in my room with the curtains and windows wrapped around. Like they could protect me from the unknown torture. Like they could embrace me althroughout.

To be honest, there are few things running inside my mind during those torturous times. 

This is how it began.

It was Holy Monday. I was on my way home from work around 12:00 midnight. In a desserted place somewhere in Bulacan, I was inside a tricycle when I saw some obscure figure ahead. A man wearing a scarlet tunic was carrying a huge cross. His face was all covered. A rope was tied on his neck and he was being dragged by another guy in front. My eyes were fixed in the scene. The tricycle passed by them. I didn’t notice that althroughout this, Bjork was singing Human Behaviour from my iPod. My sleepless nights has begun. 

Then followed the jagged images; a series of high contrast scenes in swirling colors. I saw my family dying one by one, my friends, all the people dear to me. There's blood everywhere. One by one, they were lured in a trap of death. I don’t want them to leave. I gasped for breath, throat felt very dry and heart appeared constricted. I was still gasping for air and my head felt like it'll explode anytime soon.

I should die first, I thought. I couldn’t survive the idea of them dying ahead of me. It should be me leaving them. I don’t want them leaving me. I don’t. Or we could die altogether. And then the world will end as we know it, just like in Melancholia. That finally, I'll have peace. All of us. And I could be with them forever. 

During the necrological service for Angelo Castro Jr., it felt different. It was such a sad moment yet there’s a moment of strange peace when I saw people hug each other, exchange stories and dine again together after a long stretch of time. I cried after Mitch Valdez’s talk. I cried after Ma’am Charo thanked the family of ACJ for sharing him with us. But most notably, there was something in June Keithley’s words that afternoon. I found it ironic since more than the people giving eulogy that should somehow offer comfort for her, it was her words, actually, that gave it away. 

After the program, the guests dined together. I left my colleagues and joined Edward, a dear friend since college, in his table. All of a sudden, I heard the choir sing Con Te Partiro. It was a moment of bliss and of memories. I found myself confiding to him of my inexplicable depression. It ended right there and then. 

One day, when this is all over, I shall leave all of you. But I will be with you forever. I will go with you anywhere. We shall depart together. And death will be nothing for us but a mere memory.
_________
"Con te partiró (With you I will leave)" by Francesco Sartori (music) and Lucio Quarantotto (words) 
4
reaction(s)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Two Aprils apart

Circa 2009. DB and friends soaking under the glistening waves of Puka Beach in Boracay

Here is Boracay. With its fine white sand caressing every sinew and crevice, daring the half-asleep senses as it dances in the midst of the night naked, tempting. There’s not much difference. Same bunch of sun worshippers under the veil of punching heat, crocodile tooth sold by some native, banging hotels in their shrieking glamour, Jonah’s lustful vanilla and mango fruit shake – the endless cabal of sweet midsummer high noon dreams. 

Three years ago I made a pact along the coastline of Puka Beach, the one found at the northern tip of Boracay. In its magnificent afternoon, as the quiet air of salt sashays to the gentle whisper of waves, I dared said: “I will return to you, and when I do, I’ll have another hand in me, walking with me, admiring with me the beauty and peace that you are.” 

There’s something in it, although I could not pin point which exactly. Could be the excruciating choice of words that underscored such naivety. Or the much cheesiness and craze put. Or both. I just got out from college that time. You should’ve seen how my eyes blinked and sparkled like everything would just melt away on my command. 

In the span of time after that little scene, I’ve been everywhere I never imagined. Thought I could hung the moon, but no. All I had were blurring tears as I watched the night sky bleed into agonizing defeat. 

There came a time when all I want is to burn down the entire province of Tarlac. Even Cavite, not minding the fact that once I used to shake hands with its former governor Ayong Maliksi and once its sturdy vice Johnvic Remulla. All the people in it, with dear ones most notably from Imus. 

In Ilocos I watched the rituals of the dead, ran naked along its wild rivers and jumped high enough to reach the billowing skies of Pagudpud. Thought I could hide from there, away from the past that attempted the defining of my person. I couldn’t. 

Years after, I stand within the same precipice. In the same coastline where the sun meets the horizon, I found my hands still empty, face over the warm weather. I wonder if I really believed my own words then. I wonder if I really believed that upon return to such beautiful island, I will have that special person who will walk with me along the smashing waves and calm of my life. 

It would’ve been a sad tale. Every grain of Boracay’s sand could tell you that. Yet in those jagged peaks of mountains far at the edges of such imploring sea, the strobe lights crisscrossing the night sky and the temporary dragon tattoo in my arms, I found this inexplicable amount of comfort. There is happiness in them that I see. 

I remember what Neil Gaiman thought about mirrors in his collection called “Smokes and Mirrors.” He said mirrors are amazing things. That they appear to tell the truth. That when you set a mirror correctly, it will lie so convincingly that a things will just appear or disappear in command. I think of that promise I made then to be like of a mirror. It was amazing, yes, but it only appeared to tell the truth. 

There was a truth I once believed that upon meeting that special person I so long for, there will be far greater pleasure of the beauty set before my eyes. Now, I’ve come to run wild along the sharp edges of the island half-naked, laughing, dancing, swearing and cursing. There are sand castles, bonfires and torches of fire and bongos banging wildly in familiar Jamaican beat. There are no words spoken. Sounds are everywhere but there’s a certain quiet that lurks. And then within the rhapsodic air of the island, I heard a promise that was made, one that I shall keep and ponder about until the time when once again the blinding ball of sun returns in its glorious summer skies.  
 

Copyright © 2010 Désolé Boy | Blogger Templates by Splashy Templates | Free PSD Design by Amuki