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Showing posts from November, 2004

Aanhin pa ang kabayo kung patay na ang damuho

Aanhin pa ang kabayo
kung patay na ang damuho?

PULOT, darak, tubig saka grassolina - ganoon ang kailangan para maipasada ang one-horsepower kalesa.

Magbawas man ang damuho sa kalsada, mag-uunahan ang mga mahilig maghalaman sa deposito de caballo. Organikong abono na mahusay sa halaman ang tuyong dumi ng kabayo.

Hindi rin parusa sa bulsa ang mga sangkap para manatiling in good running condition ang kabayo. Susulak sa inggit ang mga hinayupak na oil multinationals: grassoline is crude as crude gets and is immune from such phenomena as OPEC production cuts, price backwardation or contango, manipulated landed costs and stiff excise taxes, mwa-ha-ha-haw!

Grassoline is nearly pure cellulose, a little lignin laced with lots of chlorophyll, vitamins A, B-complex and C, minerals and phytochemicals - nagtusak sa tabi-tabi ng mga ilog, parang, sapa at pilapil. Ibig lang sabihin: totally compliant sa Clean Air Act ang grassoline fuel for the one-horsepower kalesa. Now, that's state-of-the…

Living with a barren wall

The greater portion of walls in my current abode are bare. I like 'em walls to be that way -- chewed clean like bone, empty of nuances yet pregnant with possibilities.

I construe those walls as a reflecting mirror, as an "expression of the inmost self." Anyhow, one imparts generous portions of himself in his milieu, infects the very space he occupies with his sensibilities. I could do some carpentry, fix in a shelf, fill it with my books-- and the wall speaks volumes about me. Woodcraft and reading matter and all the bric-a-brac dumped there would proclaim of the human presence that redefined those confining walls with a few strokes, some choices of materials imbued there.

One could tack a nude centerfold (there's a Hokusai woodblock print of a woman vendor with bared breasts that I recently downloaded from the Internet) or any present-day icon (I'd like U2's Bono and his quote about singing, "All it takes is three! chords and the truth."), a post…

Seeing through a fight scene

Three minutes went into the awkward swap of fist blows between two FX van barkers at Cogeo village’s gate 2, a traffic-chokepoint in newly minted Antipolo City.

Neither appeared seriously hurt. Not a blood droplet drawn. No gash, visible bruise or snapped bone. Both were gushing with curses and taunts. They were about to have another go at it when a burly cop appeared, collared them both, dragged ‘em across the street intersection -- the fray had traffic choked in knots -- to a police outpost. Those blokes may be booked for public scandal, peace and order violation (say, POV was catch-all crime of political detainees in the Marcos years), traffic obstruction. Probably, even littering.

Puwit, my youngest son witnessed the scuffle. It broke out in front of the Cubao-bound FX van that we had hailed and were about to board. The barkers, a pair of scrawny-looking chaps in their late 20’s or early 30’s had fought over P10 -- pittance sum that a driver pays a barker to call for passengers.…

A dream of monsters

My kid started off the mat-covered ground we were sleeping on. It was two in the morning. It felt like the ground air was freezing. The kid peeled the blanket he had wrapped himself with, then, proceeded stoking remnants of last night’s bonfire with an armful of cogon sheaves. Wispy tendrils rose off the ashes; embers bloomed; fiery petals resembling a chrysanthemum’s swayed and swung at the chill.

Ganito pala dito, Papa. Lumalamig na todo,” he muttered, rubbing his hands together.

Oo. Parang ginaw sa Benguet ‘pag madaling araw. Kaya pala meron din ditong rono.”


Talahib-Cordillera. Narito rin sa Sierra Madre. Ginagamit sa La Trinidad na pantulos sa kamatis, sa sitsaro. Pati sa chrysanthemum.”

“Ibig sabihin: puwede dito tumubo ang chrysanthemum?” the kid yawned.

“May taniman nga ng Benguet pine si Chito Bertol sa kabilang bundok. Hindi kasi maselan ang pine tree. Kumakasa sa cogon. Tutubo kahit baog na’ng lupa. Pero bago tayo makapagpatubo ng chrysanthemum dito, dapat na …

Undead men working

TAXPAYERS can assert that capital punishment is taxes. As added assault and insult to his bled-dry pockets, the taxpayer has to bear the brunt of paying for every death convict’s penal board and lodging while our non-honorable senators are making up their minds whether heinous crimes have palpable existence or are mere figments of the imagination.

It is likely that the paltry P15 daily food expenditure (based on 1985 prices) per inmate had jumped to a more realistic P150 level. With over a thousand convicts on death row – including the much-awaited possibility of an ex-President getting dumped there for multiple counts of plunder -- that means taxpayers bleed over P150,000 each day -- or some P55 million per year to keep ‘em dead men walking with full stomachs.

As show of earnest sincerity, every anti-death penalty proponent can put his money where his mouth is. Taxpayers would readily appreciate the bleeding heart arguments for sparing death convicts if anti-death penalty group…

Sa puyo ng iglap na alimpuyo

TATLO nang balita ng kamatayan sa ilog at kauring daluyan ng tubig ang nasadsaran ng tingin nitong nagdaang dalawang buwan. Tiyak na may mga kasunod pang balita sa mga susunod na buwan. Maisasalpak sa Journal Online.

Sa tibagan sa ilog ng Biak na Bato, San Miguel de Mayumo sa Bulakan—siyam ang nalunod na mga paslit. Hindi matiyak ang dahilan kung paano sabayang nalunod ang ganoon kadami. Mapapapalatak.

Ganoon ding bilang ang nalunod sa isa pang balita—mga Boy Scouts nasawi sa isang bayang pampangin sa Pangasinan.

Sa pinakahuling ulat: natagpuan ang naaagnas nang bangkay ng isang Prana Escalante sa isang ilog sa Bundok Halcon ng Mindoro. Talaksan ang naiwang galos sa hubad na katawan. Naligo marahil. Sinakmal ng iglap na ragasa ng baha. Tiyak na humampas sa mga matalim na batuhan.

Sa ganoon ding paraan nasawi ang anak ng kaibigang pintor sa paanan ng Bundok Apo sa Davao—tila layak na itinalyang ang katawan sa kisap-matang halihaw ng iglap na baha sa binabaybay na ilog. Lasog ang katawa…

Walk the talk on idiot-cation, oops, I mean kids' education

It takes only a pound per square inch -- one PSI -- of force to snap the rib cage, poke a way into a man's heart.

It’s so disheartening to see that your average grade school child these days has to tote a bag bursting to its seams with books and things that can weigh over 13 pounds. That’s probably more than a tenth of the average school kid's body mass. I could be wrong. Any academic can rave and rant to render this whit of probability into something moot and, well, academic: the school bag-generated force can add up to two or three PSI which clamps down on the shoulder blade and collar bone.

That causes childish discomforts -- bruises, cramped muscles, sprains, even bone dislocations. Academics can always construe this as dutiful obedience to an admonition of Christ’s: “Whatever ye do to these children, ye do it unto me.” So, off to Golgotha these kids go on schooldays cheerfully lugging their crosses, I mean, burdens. Well-meaning parents can ease their kids’ penitensi…

Post-prandial reflections from a plate of snipes

THE PLATE held five or six snipes, halved and oozing with a melange of grease and burnt soya-colored gravy.

In Tagalog-speaking areas, we call these birds as kanduro. Enterprising farm-based traders (mostly from Bulacan and Pampanga) net ‘em by sackfuls, peddle a dozen-per-string of snipes in plush neighborhoods in the metropolis. Steep price to pay for a lean gaggle of birds that takes hours to dress, marinate, and cook.

It was a late breakfast treat from the Upsilonian brod and Shell training farm manager. He wanted my taste buds to bring home a fond memory of a local Bicol delicacy, concocted by a carinderia off the Legazpi airport.

So I dug in, divining the marinade’s ingredients with the first few morsels chewed -- dark soy sauce, kalamansi, sugar, Seven-Up or Sprite, and garlic. No hint of gaminess with the flavor a quaint closer to a combo of quails and bacon’s than free-range chicken’s.

The Upsilonian insisted that I finish the job. Instead, I let out a bellyful of complain…

Chewing it up, spitting it out in Mount Makiling

On the third day of the fast, while hewing a leg-sized log on a rock shelf above the stream where my three children and I have encamped for the Holy Week, a battalion of lulumbo wasps -- each no smaller than a pinkie finger -- came out of the rotted bole, swarmed as massing thunderhead, then buzz-bombed like a storm at surprised me with venom, concentrating their attacks upon my head.

Nowhere to turn to except a three-meter drop on the stream bed strewn with pebbles and boulders, I hacked at a nearby bush, wielded it and swatted and swiped and flung and swung while beating a not-so-hasty retreat -- a three-meter drop can be ruinous to one’s health -- with a headful of pain. I couldn’t scream off the wash of pain.

So those wasps either picked or pickled my brains with venom and made a swell-headed oaf out of me for unwittingly doing a demolition job on their abode -- but how was I to know? I am supposed to rid inner impurities, keep a clear head during a misogi harai -- a spiritual c…

When in Negros, the order is sutukil

BACOLOD CITY -- The order for repast hereabouts sounds too near to the military than the alimentary -- “sutukil.”

Such an order spells out the staple culinary delights enjoyed by Negrenses: sugba (broiled seafood), tula (fish-based soured soup), and kilaw (raw seafood or fishmeat morsels wallowing in palm vinegar, julienned ginger, hot pepper shreds and shallot slivers livened up at times with coconut cream).

An assortment of fish species and shoal dwelling critters, say crabs, lobsters and bivalves like diwal and scallops caught off the waters or mudflats girding Negros island provide ample rounds of “ammunition” for sutukil recipes.

Unlike continental cuisine, Negrense yummies rely on scant condiments to conduct a symphony of flavors in their cookery. Sugba is a theme on simplicity -- seafood fresh off the brine tossed onto the grill, dished out half-done to retain broad hints of saline sweetness, to be rounded out with a dipping sauce of sinamak (nipa palm vinegar, chopped …