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Ay-ayyatenka, ading!

BARELY above a whisper, a snake’s hiss is expelled off the diaphragm nearly draining the lungs of its air intake… done 18 to 36 times in the course of a day the regimen toughens the air passages, bronchioles, lungs including, that in turn chucks melancholy and motley feelings of sadness that can touch off pulmonary tuberculosis and other consumptive diseases.

Such a sound heals, nurtures, strengthens.

Lulan ng sasakyan mula Ampasit, La Trinidad sa lalawigang Benguet hanggang kahabaan ng lansangang tumatagos sa Tarlac, ipupukol na tila punlang palay ang tibok ng dibdib sa bawat madaanang dilag sa daan—ay-ayyatenka, ading! I love you, lady!

Duh, that wasn’t meant to waylay every lay along the way.

Nearly every lass or Iluko-speaking maiden who heard such a thundered profession of tenderness broke into a grin, or paused to roar with laughter… what a loud, unheard-of way to nudge feel-good oxytocin and estrogen hormones between a woman’s ears… maybe, bliss between lissome thighs, too.

Pati nga nadaanang kalabaw, sumang-ayon din sa ipinagtapat—“oo-nga, oo-nga!”

May naiwang hapdi sa dibdib ang kamatayan ng isang pasyenteng dilag sa dinalaw na
Quezon Institute pavilion… walang dumadalaw na kaibigan, kakilala, kaanak… unti-unting kumupas ang taglay niyang kagandahan, nahumpak ang pisngi, naluoy na tila dahong tayantang sa liyab ng araw, yanig ang kabuuan kapag tinatambol ng ubo ang dibdib…

Walang maipapaliwanag na dahilan upang sumalakay at kubkubin ang kanyang katawan ng
Tubercle bacillus o mga kauring mikrobyo na sanhi ng tisis… pero nakalukob at nakakulob sa kanya ang lungkot… and it was such overpowering sadness that allowed the disease to claim her.

It was too late for me to stake a claim on her, infect her with cheery contagion; maybe whacked-out laughter as I proffer lust for life… the disease had her in a death grip.

Tulad sa naging paglalakbay mula Benguet hanggang Tarlac, nadaanan ko lang din siyang nakaratay, ni hindi napansin…ni hindi nakapaglagak ng galak o alak ng halakhak… maraming gawain at gagawin ang humihingi ng pansin… at payat ang sukling pambulsa sa mga gawain ng isang non-government organization na kinabilangan ko noon…

“Maestro” na ang tawag sa akin ngayon ng mga bata… dahil yata madali akong makahuli sa kanilang kiliti o ‘yung sanhi daw ng kuliti… o dahil kahit paano, naibabahagi sa kanila ang ilang aralin ukol sa masining na pagsupil ng hininga
qigong.

It’s not too often that I leave them in stitches, gasping, rolling in laughter… if the silly gags fail, there’s the regimen meant to toughen lungs—that can be plied and shared.

Barely above a whisper, a snake’s hiss is expelled off the diaphragm nearly draining the lungs of its air intake… done 18 to 36 times in the course of a day the regimen toughens the air passages, bronchioles, lungs including, that in turn chucks melancholy and motley feelings of sadness that can touch off pulmonary tuberculosis and other consumptive diseases.

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