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Showing posts from February, 2014


Wrest in peace
UPON maturity, a banana herb—it is an herb, not a tree-- sprouts forth its heart pointing at the tent of skies, then, takes a bow at any point in the compass; a heart that bows to the east at the wee hours, as elders have it, yields the so-called ‘mutya ng saging.’ Mutya is a Tagalog word for pearl, gem, beloved, beauty, or maiden.
A flock of malignant beings stands guard to catch the ‘mutya ng saging’. Any intrepid soul who succeeds in seizing it attains, so elders say, prodigious strength and power—which malignant powers-that-be would rather keep. Thus, a power grab or agaw agimat entails a no-holds-barred tussle akin to a Jacob wrestling with a God-sent angel in the dead of night, prior to his date with fate glorious.
In a gesture similar to a bearer of prodigious power, progenitor of the serene defensive art aikido, O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba pays respect to the sun with deep obeisance to the east. Such rite of respect, akin to the Christian offering of hymns at dawn,…
A ransom of words
RANSOM demanded in utter urgency, ransom paid pronto—10 to 20 pages of a storybook, read aloud by their grandmother held hostage by such caprice. After such a tradeoff, sibling tykes Musa and Oyayi Delgado, respectively five and four years old, would willingly take 40 winks or welcome the sandman, whichever comes first. No weaning from such a read-me-a-story habit, elders indulge them.
The habit makes the children become acquainted with, yeah, acquire their first hoard of words.
As composition teacher Jose Sabangan—he taught in the late 1960s at the University of the East Secondary Training Department before moving to New York to teach English to Americans— said back then, “Take firm grasp, keep a new word each day. In a year, that’s 365 words at your command. Keep doing that over the years. In 10 years, you have a 3,650-strong army of words that can do your bidding to shape your life.”
As it turned out, a 3,650-strong vocabulary acquired in 10 years breaches a 3,00…


MOSTLY it is the so-called ‘gut’ feel—say, the German word for god is “gott”—or intuition that goes into sizing up a perfect match for a guardian and that child to be adopted. In candid honesty, Dr. Grace Macapagal admits to such a process in the choice of adoptive parents who would take as their own a foundling, an abandoned angel into the warmth of hearth, home, a family and future bright
“There is a method to it. What I know about that particular method is that it equates certain character traits to some numerical value and the outcome is what is known as intelligent matching,” she relates, and confesses that in her work as part of a government panel that matches children for adoption and their new parents, “we are not given to too intelligent matching.”
Indeed, parenting and child-rearing tasks demand so much of a heart full of love, thus, “what we actually do here is intuitive matching. Intuitive, not impulsive because there is a lot of preparation that goes into the whole pr…


NAMING nudges the named to come into being. And we have been too careless, too indifferent in naming names.
When God said ‘Let there be light,’ He had named the thing before it came to be—the naming, indeed, stands out as sure step to creation. Language will not be in accordance with the truth of things, as Confucius wrote, ‘if names are not correct.’
Islas de los ladrones was the not-too-savory name the nation was lashed with after natives of yore, likely the ancestors of the unscrupulous whether or not in government, filched provisions from Magellan’s fleet. It took a few more ages before the Spanish conquerors settled for a name that ascribes affinity to and dominion of their king over inhabitants of the archipelago.
After King Felipe II de Habsburg who once ruled Spain, Naples, Sicily, Portugal, England and Ireland, Philippines thus came to be.
Felipe literally translates to “love of horses.” Pump irony: the nation isn’t exactly enamored with nags, ponies, foals, stallions, studs…