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Mago lang

OUT-OF-THIS-THIRD-WORLD shrieks, wails, and screams smothered the surrounding air, thicker than tar-black smoke and vile as forked tongues of fire that lash-chewed at The Magus, a bookshop that once stood at a hotel-cum-restaurant (Aberdeen Court?) that has taken its place on Quezon Avenue in Quezon City, so an urban legend from the late 1960s goes.

The Magus sold tomes and paraphernalia on voodoo, the eldritch and arcane, occult know-how, witchcraft, dark and bright magick. No bookshop ever again dared set foot, claw or tentacle on the strange path trod by The Magus

A sneeze across the avenue where the building that housed the erstwhile national headquarters of the leftist youth organization Kabataang Makabayan, we hang out nights with fellow newsmen Wilfrido Nolledo, Jarius Bondoc and Julius Fortuna nursing beers and post-mortems on the state of the nation back in the 1980s… musings sparked by the grime-and-dirt figure of a derelict who came out of his niche-dwelling above the stygian stench of the sewers that ran at the armpits of Quezon Avenue.

The derelict served as a dark foreboding of sorts. If he’s seen repairing to his hidden lair toting a carry-all sack bursting with whatever pickings, the economy goes on an upswing. Weeks before the 1989 putsch, he was spotted with an empty sack, muffling howls… maybe incantations that sounded a tad hideous.

We haven’t seen him since. He must have moved. Or probably died in his moss and mildew haunt, stench of rotting corpse masked by a more overpowering sewer stink, his remains picked clean by sewer rats and vermin, bones swept and scattered by swirl of sewage… So he went.

Hindi kaya siya isang magulang… napawalay o humiwalay sa sariling tahanan?

Susulasok na sansang ng imburnal ang haka-haka, maikakawing sa isinusulong na panukalang batas ni
Sen. Manuel “Lito” Lapid… na magbibigay karapatan sa magulang upang hilingin sa hukuman na itaguyod, tustusan sila ng kanilang anak—“Maintenance of Parents Act of 2010.”

Pinabibilib na kami ni Sen. Lapid… sentido kumon lang talaga ang kailangan upang maturol at makapagbalangkas ng makabuluhang mungkahi na—baka-sakali—maisasabatas.

Mariin ang kurot sa puso’t ulirat ng panukala… uuntag at uuntog sa mga anak ng kanilang tungkulin sa magulang.

“Dangal ng mga anak ang kanilang magulang,” giit ni Haring Solomon, isinaad pa nga sa Mga Salawikain… idinambana pa sa Sampung Utos…

Pero natitibag na ‘yon, pilit kinakatkat ng mga kakatwang gawi sa makabagong pamumuhay-- na gumagasgas, kumakalag, nagpaparupok at tuluyang lumalagot… o tumutupok sa bigkis na nagbubuklod sa mga pami-pamilya…

Ay, may makulay na bahid ang mago
or magus—Melchor, Gaspar, Baltazar—sa katagang “magu lang.”

Sa isa sa mga huling taon ng dekada 1960, nilamon ng apoy ang
The Maguspumailanlang ang mga kahila-hilakbot na taghoy, hagulgol, daing, hibik at pagpapagibik habang ito’y tinutupok ng apoy.

Nakabadya ang mga kasunod pang lagim.


Keith said…
your writingis vivid. i enjoyed reading from your blog. sadly, i do not read filipino, so half of your thoughts remain obscure.

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