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Mangkono


MADALING makatagpo ng mangkono, kasi’y napakaraming umuusbong na bakawan sa disyerto’t siksikan ang mga birhen sa mga bahay-putahan.

Pinakamatigas daw na kahoy sa bansa ang mangkono, Xanthostemon verdugonianus or Philippine ironwood… aabot sa apat na araw ang paglagare sa punong may bulas na 36” sa tindi ng tigas… masusumpungan sa pulo ng Dinagat sa Surigao, Homonhon sa Samar, Babatngon sa Leyte at sa mga dawag ng Palawan… nakapagsinop na rin ng mga binhi ang isang non-government organization sa Barangay Mascap, Rodriguez sa lalawigang Rizal… at maglilipat nga ng ilang punla sa paligid ng San Beda sa Mendiola… dead smack in the asphalt and concrete wilderness.

Cabinetry o paglikha ng muwebles ang libangan ng katotong pangulo ng bangko—na nagpahanap sa inyong imbing lingkod ng mangkono… kahit ilang piraso lang ang unti-unting tapusin, bawat isa’y ituturing na heirloom piece… pamanang kagamitan.

Ilang taon din kasing totoka ang Mangkokolum sa isang pulo na karatig ng Mindoro Occidental… mangangasiwa sa isang permaculture agro-forestry project… I’d be left mostly alone to my own vices, devising, devices… pero walang dapat ikabahala ang mga nangangamba na hindi na nila matutunghayan ang pitak na ito… hindi na ito panahon ni Henry David Thoreau na magmumukmok at magmumuni sa Walden Pond… unang yugto ito ng siglo ng global interconnectivity…

Magpapanayam pa nga—sa unang linggo ng Pebrero-- sa isang pulutong ng kabataan ukol sa jungle survival… aba’y halos 90% na lang ang nalalabi sa mga dating kagubatan sa bansa… wala nang matatawag na virgin forest—ginahasa nang lahat… so I’m stumped at the idea of jungle survival since our jungles are in their death throes and people who get lost in such wrecked parts of the geography shouldn’t be there, and have no business being there… unless they’re doing permaculture or reforestation.

Sinadya kamakailan ang lunan na lalatagan ng proyekto… matitindigan kahit kapirasong dampa… nagliliwaliw sa paligid ang lawak ng lupa, masuyong halihaw ng hangin, marikit na liyab sa magdamag ng mga bituin… may malapit na sasalukan ng tubig… if there’s a minutiae of chance to get such a project off the ground and soaring, that wee part is the spark of fire that sets everything in the part into a blaze… that wee part is me who won’t wait for things to happen… I happen to things… Homo doctvs is se semper divitias habet… a wise man will make more opportunities even if such cannot be found.

Napansin ng mga kasamahan na pinakamagaan, pinakamaliit ang bitbit kong dalahin nang magtungo kami doon… sa anumang paglalakbay, kailangang pinakamagaan ang dalahin… Omnia mea mecum porto… sabi nga’y taglay ko kung ano lang ako… napakagaan talagang magkipkip ng tala-talaksang kaalaman sa sariling laman…

Hahango lang po ng dagdag pang kaalaman mula sa masuyong pakikipag-ugnayan sa lupa… aba’y sakdal sa tibay at tatag ang mangkono dahil sa kakaibang kakayahan nitong humitit sa lahat-lahat ng metal mula dibdib ng lupa…

Ah, metal mettle won’t come to those ensconced in comfort zones…

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