BUSTOS, Bulacan – Local sanggunian alderman and farmer Gorgonio “Goniong” Mendoza reached for the grog bottle, poured himself a stiff shot, then, spilled out his plaint: “We begged for a tumbler. We were given a thimbleful as gesture of generosity, then, the entire swimming pool’s contents were diverted to Metro Manila.”
Thus describing the sharing scheme for the water generated from Angat Dam which provides 90 percent of Metro Manila’s water supply with the remainder irrigating farmlands in Tarlac and Bulacan towns and generating hydroelectric power for National Power Corporation, Mendoza rued about the impact of such sharing scheme on the lives of local farmers.
“The Angat-fed summer crop provides for a bumper rice harvest whose proceeds allow farmers’ families to pay for the schooling of two or three children in high school or college, aside from the extra money for cost of living. Before El Niño struck, a summer rice cropping yields about 120 to 140 cavans per hectare in Angat-fed towns,” Mendoza explained.
He added that local farming families usually till two to three hectares and with the Angat water sharing scheme in place, “all I could till from my three hectares is a hectare from whose yield my family will live on until the next harvest. That means, earning the next income several months after the rainy season when the El Niño has hopefully gone away.”
For some families, that unproductive lull means an extended belt-tightening period, a stop to their children’s schooling—never mind the food security since rice production shortfalls can be covered by importations from Thailand or Vietnam. (Such food importations somehow aggravate the monetary turmoil that the hoped-for post-December correction to the current P40 to the U.S. dollar would be wishful thinking. We’re trying to shut our eyes off the possibility of a dirt-bottom forex rate of P50:$1.
As Goniong was drowning his grog, the dirty old goat beside me sharing drinks with us on that table cackled in lecherous glee, asking me in conspiratorial whisper if my knees still can take the action with “sweet young things”—nubile college coeds in a nearby town willing to spread their legs apart for tuition money at P300-500 a throw.
I didn’t have the heart to tell him that if he had any of his daughters there plying flesh, I’d be willing and delighted to, and she won’t walk for days after I’m through.
Besides I had my mental energies focused on rain dancing (beats lambada, fox trot and tango combined) in time for the advent of December 31 when the entire Pinoy populace celebrates—unwittingly or nitwittingly, of course—a national fire festival through fireworks and fire crackers. And it takes total mustering of one’s will to defy mass consciousness, no matter how dunce crass such consciousness becomes as it tunes to the fire element plus cordite beginning December 31.
And it ain’t actually rain dancing that I do—just a moving meditation on the water element. Now, this sounds too arcane but my erstwhile Okinawan sensei (elder) in the ancient fighting arts told me the human spirit is made up of five component-principles corresponding to the five elements. The five elements are earthm air, water, fire, and the spark of divinity within (kami or kara), often attributed to wood. One can harness the qualities of these elements to bring inner harmony through deep meditation.
Further, outward harmonies are mere manifestations of inner imbalances in people that can somehow affect even climatic and environmental conditions, she explained. Maybe, my sensei was just pulling my leg or she was initiated into a higher understanding of the natural scheme of things.
For instance, she attributed the water element as seated in the human body’s gonad-and-guts region which can be whacked out with brainless sexual gratification and pigging bouts. In short, walang pinatutunguhang kalibugan at katakawan ang talagang sanhi daw ng malaganap na tagtuyot.
And it’s in the gonad-and-guts region where the inner harmony must flow in a continuing torrent to build up rain clouds and coax a downpour. With that working principle laid down pat, this oddball can go through the silly motions of dancing up a mild deluge, even a shower.
(In my on-and-off stint as close quarters combat instructor in the last 15 years, I once had awry experience when my two erstwhile wards focused—as I later found out—on the air element in the meditation exercises… and that brought shower-driven whirlwinds howling in their area for two days. The wind principle is seated in the cardiac-pulmonary region, leaves a neat uplifting feel when focused on and caressed with one’s energies. We had to do some corrective meditation after that.)
Oh, the dance motions are based on the lethal jujutsu technique called yama arashi or mountain storm woven into the water element movements from hung-gar (tiger-crane)—very fluid, languid-like and smooth but packing the wallop of a tsunami. The yama arashi part us a grappling-throwing move where the assailant’s neck can be unhinged even before he is thrown; hung gar’s water movement explodes two-fisted style with 180-degree turns of the upper torso and full stretching of the upper limbs.
While going through such nonsense, it’s best to concentrate energies on the body’s dan-tien or haraki region which is two fingers below the belly-button, breathing in slow and deep, then expelling air from the diaphragm with every stretching move, sounding out the expelled breath as “HEN!” and feeling a refreshing coldness all over.
The dance is begun on a kneeling position, the mind held still on the image of an iceberg for a minute, then, focusing on the image of a serene open sea before flowing into the explosion of a tidal wave with every move. The dance can be done for five or 15 minutes or until the inner wave of refreshing coolness hits all over.
It ain’t even a dance. It’s an inner communion or constant transformation to nurture integrity of the self.
(Nota bene: I wrote this in the early years of the 1990s, El Niño was a harsh reality then as now.)