Remembering My First Teachers (A Daughter’s Memoirs) #MondayMemoirs #atozchallenge2017

Note: It was supposed to be a simple Facebook post about Teachers’ Day/Month, but their memories inspired me. The first is the English translation, followed by the original, which I admit is better. I realized it would be great to use it as my “M” word for the A to Z Challenge I was finishing since I’ve had “memoirs” in my head for a long while now.
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“Respect the teachers that awaken minds, for while we owe our lives to our parents, we owe our humanity to our teachers.” (Gregoria de Jesus) — Just my translation. Credits go to Project Saysay

I had teachers for parents. I never knew of anything else they did for work except be educators. Teaching had always been their profession long before I was born. My father only had to stop teaching when he suffered a mild stroke. It affected his brain, causing the short-term memory loss. He became more temperamental, yet he could be jolly and quite the joker as well. He became more expressive. He could be difficult, too, his maturity having somewhat returned to the level of a younger man’s. There came a point when it seemed I gained a teenage brother that I had to often reprimand for being annoying and difficult.

Despite that, my father still knew who was the parent and who was the child, especially when I had to be reminded that I was still the child. His brows would meet and he’d sternly say my name as a warning. That was the father I knew: just one look and my sister and I would sit and shut up.

My mother had to stop teaching much later due to her ailments — she decided to file for an early retirement. She had always been sickly even when I was little. I remember a time that I, being a child, unintentionally hurt her feelings. Having learned a big word, I said that she was just being a hypochondriac. This really hurt her feelings and I immediately felt bad and regretted it. I could not say sorry at all.

From then on, however, I did not look at her ailments as simply nothing. And it made me admire her more for despite everything that she was going through, my mother was still able to work hard and guide her students, including other people around her.

They taught and helped so many.

A lot of my father’s students got along well with him, some became his friends, and many learned how to plant/garden, build stuff (I only remember that the subject was called “Shop”), and be good at sports, particularly in volleyball.

I will never forget the almost-weekly volleyball games at our barangay school every Saturday or Sunday. He would simply dribble the ball on the still-newly cemented road and its sounds would echo. Soon, those who wanted to join would arrive one by one, be they current students or past students, whatever the age.

Meanwhile, my mother had so many children, those she helped not just in learning math (geometry, trigonometry) but in their personal lives. There were those who found the right path again through her after getting lost. We heard of these stories from the various former students who went to pay their last respects during her wake. She would sometimes give money to kids who had no allowance. Other times, she would visit the parents of kids with school problems or who were usually absent. On many Saturdays, too, she chose to be at the school to prepare various things for the days ahead.

They said she was strict, but she was also a joy and a dear friend. I knew that, I saw that, I felt that. And while I felt somewhat jealous of them, I didn’t harbor ill feelings because even then, I knew of how good a person she was.

…My apologies. I felt like sharing these memories with you since this is the time to pay tribute to our teachers. I would like to salute the two people who were my first teachers. They were not perfect, but they were the first to teach me what it means to be human. I have not yet surpassed or achieved what they did, but they will serve as my inspiration. Most of all, they are the reason that I’m alive and why I am here.

This also pays tribute to them whose leaving has been a real loss to those of us that they loved and that love them still.

A SALUTE TO ALL OUR BELOVED TEACHERS!!!

Now, the Facebook post:

Naging guro ang mga magulang ko. Lumaki akong walang ibang alam kundi guro sila. Ipinanganak ako na iyon na ang kanilang hanap-buhay.

Natigil lamang ang aking ama sa pagtuturo noong siya’y magka-mild stroke. Naapektuhan nito ang utak niya, na naging sanhi ng kanyang short-term memory loss. Naging mas madaling uminit ang ulo, pero mas masayahin at maloko rin. Mas ‘expressive’. Mas matigas din ang ulo, sapagka’t mistula siyang bumalik sa panahong siya’y binata o binatilyo. Dumating ang panahon na tila nagkaroon ako ng lalaking kapatid na madalas pagsabihan sa kakulitan at katigasan ng ulo.

Gayunpaman, alam pa rin niya kung sino ang magulang at sino ang anak, lalo na kapag nakakalimutan kong anak pa rin nga pala ako. Titingin siya ng nakakunot-noo at mariing sasabihin ang pangalan ko bilang babala. Ganoon ang dating ama na kilala ko: isang tingin pa lamang ay tumatahimik na ako at ang ate ko.

Ang aking ina naman ay tumigil dahilan sa kanyang mga sakit — nagpasya siyang mag-retiro nang mas maaga. Bata pa ako ay sakitin na siya. Naroong bilang bata, nasaktan ko ang damdamin niya. Minsan, palibhasa ay natuto ng isang salitang malalim, nasambit ko na ‘hypochondriac’ lang siya. Dinamdam niya ito nang labis at pagkatapos na pagkatapos ay pinagsisihan ko ito. Hindi ko nagawang humingi ng tawad.

Nguni’t mula noon, hindi ko na ipinagwalang-bahala ang kanyang mga karamdaman. Kaya’t ako’y napahanga rin niya sapagka’t bagama’t may mga karamdamang dinadala, nagawa pa rin niyang maging masipag at umalalay sa kanyang mga mag-aaral, pati na rin sa ibang tao sa paligid.

Marami silang naturuan at natulungan.

Marami sa mga mag-aaral ng aking ama ang kanyang naging kabiruan, mayroong ibang naging kaibigan, at marami ang natutong magtanim, bumuo ng mga bagay (“Shop” lang ang alam kong tawag sa asignaturang ‘yon noon), at maging magaling sa larangan ng palakasan, partikular na sa volleyball.

Di ko malilimutan ang halos linggo-linggong paglalaro nila ng volleyball sa paaralan ng barangay tuwing Sabado o Linggo. Patatalbugin lamang ang bola sa noo’y bago pa ring sementadong daan at aalingawngaw ang tunog nito. Maya-maya ay magsisidating ang nais makisali, mga kasalukuyang mag-aaral man o dating mag-aaral, anuman ang edad.

Ang aking ina naman ay maraming naging anak, mga natulungan di lang sa pag-aaral ng matematika (geometry, trigonometry) kundi sa personal na buhay. May ilan na natutong bumalik mula sa lumihis na daan. Nalaman namin ito mula sa maraming dumalaw upang makiramay sa kanyang paglisan. Naroong bigyan niya ng perang baon ang mag-aaral niya. Naroong puntahan ang mga magulang ng ibang nagka-suliranin sa pag-aaral o kaya’y madalas lumiban sa klase. Naroong kahit Sabado ay pinili niyang pumasok upang gumawa ng mga dapat ihanda para sa mga susunod na araw.

Sabi nila, kahit siya ay naging istrikto, naging masayahin at kaibigan nila siya. Alam ko iyon, nakita ko, nadama ko. At kahit na may lihim akong tampo dala ng selos, di ko ito itinanim sa sarili ko sapagka’t noon pa man, batid ko ang kanyang kabutihan ng loob.

…Pasensya na. Naisip ko lang ibahagi ang mga ito sapagka’t ngayon ay panahon ng pagpupugay para sa mga guro. Nagpupugay din ako sa dalawang una kong naging mga guro. Bagama’t di perpekto, sila and unang nagturo sa akin ng pagpapakatao. Hindi ko pa nahihigitan o naaabot man lamang ang nagawa nila, pero sila ang magsisilbing inspirasyon ko. Higit sa lahat, sila ang dahilan ng aking pagiging tao at kung bakit ako naririto.

Ibinahagi ko na rin ito bilang pagpupugay sa kanila na ang paglisan ay tunay na kawalan sa aming kanilang minahal at sa kanila’y nagmamahal.

PAGPUPUGAY PARA SA LAHAT NG MAHAL NATING MGA GURO!!!

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Have you thanked your teachers yet?

M is for “Memoirs”

This piece serves as my Letter M post for the A to Z Challenge 2017.

For my previous posts, kindly visit my A to Z Challenge 2017 page.

Let Us All Rise! #WhatsupWednesday

Let today’s post be a celebration of the wonderful poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist Dr Maya Angelou. This is one my most favorite poems of all time (thanks, Google Doodle!). It reminds me of hope, courage, triumph over adversities, equality and the importance of self-acceptance. Maybe it’s timely, too, that I am reminded of it.

(NOTE: You might want to skip to 0:41)

Still I Rise

Happy 90th Birthday, Dr. Maya Angelou!

 

The PH #WhatsupWednesday

When I started my whole blogging journey from years ago, to promote the country–my country–had been one of my goals. Well, promote in my own way. I wanted people of other nationalities to see Filipinos in a positive light, not just always in the negative:

  • Yes, we are third-world, but we do have well-educated “Pinoys” (Filipinos).
  • No, we’re not terrorists just because we’re Pinoys, and what a few of us do, they do not necessarily define the Filipino.
  • Yes, we are Asians, but we’re not all Chinese, although there are “Chinoys” (Filipino-Chinese).
  • Yes, traffic does suck big time in the metro. (Sure, that’s not positive, but you can either choose to be positive or suffer a heart attack getting mad at traffic, right?)

Etcetera…

But it was a more personal blog, too, and I ended up pouring my heart out sometimes and showing too much of my opinionated side. Both were not really bad, plus such fell under my rights as a blogger and an individual, except I was not able to do more.

Now that I’m in WordPress, it has rekindled this urge to let others know what Pinoys are about. I have been slowly trying to do that, except my efforts are still lacking, IMO. So I am to amp the effort some more. And while I aim to promote the Philippines, I will not be so pretentious as to deny anything negative that is going to be brought up. I’d rather explain it clearly than lie or avoid any negative questions that may arise. I’d rather you hear the truth from me.

So in connection with this, I am going to post more Pinoy-related stuff here and all links can be found on my soon-to-be-added page called PH Box. I have already posted a few Pinoy-related stuff before (such as my recent explanation on why Pinoys are said to be good singers, in connection to David DiMuzio‘s vlog post) so the links to them will be there, too. There’ll be articles and blogs. I will be sharing videos, too, that I can find.

Vlogs from popular vloggers like Mikey Bustos (Pinoy) of PinoyBoy Channel and his #MabuhaySquad, Wil Dasovich (half-Pinoy) and the rest of the #VlogSquad, and Kyle “Kulas” Jennermann (Honorary Pinoy) of Becoming Filipino channel, and some others will be shared from time to time. Feel free to check out their vlogs now, if you want.

So for “opening salvo”, I am sharing this viral video called 8 Days in the Philippines. This is by Nuseir Yassin, a.k.a. Nas,  known for the videos he creates for Nas Daily, particularly his travel vlogs. Eight minutes seem long, but I promise you, you won’t regret watching it. It shows some of the good in this country, as well as some of the bad.

 

Now, just to let you know more of my people, here’s a kind of intro from comedian-vlogger (not to mention, Canadian Idol alumnus) Mikey Bustos, known for his parodies and wonderful efforts to show the Filipinos to the world. He does a Moana parody, so check it out! 😉

Any questions about the stuff you’ve seen here, like do we really all speak English? Just ask. I will answer honestly 🙂

Oh, and (not) sorry for the many links because we do have to give credit to people, correct? 😉

(Not My) Interview with Kathy Reichs #AskWednesday #atozchallenge2017

As I am typing this now, I just clicked on a subscription confirmation link sent to me through email. The link for what? Well, I just signed myself up for inclusion in author Kathy Reichs‘ mailing list, that’s what.

Kathy Reichs is really the reason I restarted my Maya story (although I still have to work more on that). Or maybe the more appropriate word is “cause”, not “reason”. You see, my story had been sitting around for years because several things discouraged me and I did not know how to proceed. I could, but the mere thought that it would probably just look like another Filipino story due to elements very similar to many others’ works discouraged me. I wanted something different.

Then I met BONES. If you’re not familiar with it, it was one of those earlier forensic science TV shows. Kathy created and produced the show. It ran for 12 seasons, but recently ended for good, sadly (yet, who really knows?). Now, I’ve always loved sci-fi and other science-related shows, plus I’m a sucker for adventure and detective stories. So. when those interests collided, BOOM! Bones got me so hooked!

It took me a while to learn that the show was based on a novel written by an author named Kathy Reichs. Google did its thing and I learned that Author Kathy is actually Doctor Kathy, forensic anthropologist extraordinaire. Of course, I was so impressed. I mean, since she knew her stuff, then surely, the science in her book (and the shows) was more real than fictional. And that’s when it hit me. I realized what I wanted for Maya.

It was not going to be just a fantasy-paranormal thing. I was going to add more mystery and throw in forensic science as well! I mean, currently, in the local setting, no one has done anything like that yet. If someone comes up with one in the future, remember, I thought of it first. If it’s very similar to my idea, s/he and I will need to talk.

It’s science-meets-paranormal and they don’t have to overshadow each other. Kathy caused me to do a kind of story overhaul to fit my idea. I was going to make a better version of Maya. I went back to previous drafts, totally changed several parts, and continued. I changed scenes, added characters, improved characterization, began doing research (I need to be credible after all). Well, the story is far from done, but I am working on it. I have Kathy to thank for it…

Now that that little background story is over, I am sharing an early interview with her that I found online. In fact, it’s posted on her own website. It talks about why and how she started writing, her main character Dr. Temperance Brennan, and what she thought of the show.

Kathy Reichs Interview

“I just thought the time was right for a strong female heroine and for forensic science…I started ‘Dejá Dead’ in 1994. I had made full professor at the university so I was free to do whatever I wanted to do and I had just worked on a serial murder case which had some pretty intriguing elements to it, so I thought I would give it a shot. I thought it might bring my science to a wider audience.”

I was part of that wider audience, thankfully. If my request to receive the entire Brennan book series in my Dream Crate isn’t proof enough that I’m a fan, I don’t know how else to show it.

Has any writer/author ever influenced a story you wrote?

 

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This post hits two birds with one stone. It’s a post for #AskWednesday, and it’s a post for the A to Z Challenge. Yes, April is gone, but as promised, I am going to finish the challenge, starting with this letter I skipped:

K is for “Kathy Reichs”

This piece serves as my Letter K post for the A to Z Challenge 2017. I am currently catching up with other A to Z participants. I owe them that, first of all. Second, I do want to connect.

For my previous 2017 challenge-related posts, kindly visit my A to Z Challenge 2017 page.

Wishes and Songs Part II #TuesdayTunes

I am excited to share this next set of performers!

But first, remember I promised I would explain Filipino music last time? Then, I will explain. Let me start by sharing someone’s thoughts regarding our musicality and how we are, in general, as a nation of singing addicts, all from a non-Filipino’s point of view  😉

David DiMuzio is a music artist in his own right and has lived in this country, so he knows what he’s talking about when he discusses Why FILIPINOS Are The BEST SINGERS In The World.

For the record, I don’t think that we are the best singers in the world simply because there are no statistics to prove that. I don’t think there’s been any study done to see who’s best, and if there was, I’d say that’s a stupid waste of money that could’ve been used for more relevant endeavors.

That said, I do believe that it seems we do have quite talented artists over here even though–*GASP!!!*–not everyone can sing well. Just to give you my humble estimate, 90% of us sing, so there’s the 10% who don’t or can’t. The 90% comprises these:

  • 40% good singers who can, at least, carry a decent tune
  • 30% really good singers qualified to join local amateur singing contests
  • 15% exceptionally great singers qualified to join much bigger competitions and, perhaps, be recording artists
  • 5% most fortunately blessed singers that soon become legends for their amazingly distinct talents

I agree with all of what David DiMuzio said. Although regarding that part about almost all households having karaoke,…Well, I suppose, if he is referring to owning a player, DVDs of sing-along songs and, hopefully, a mic, that’s possible enough even for poor families. But the actual karaoke, what we now call as videoke (not hard to guess why), is now a modern jukebox that is usually rented for 24 hours for parties and during occasions. Anyone, especially guests, can hang around and take turns belting out songs that can be heard kilometers away.

Anyway, David’s right, we love the ’70s and ’80s music. To add, we love and patronize even older songs because our parents and their parents did, too. Children from all walks of life grow up listening to music their parents also grew up listening to, so those are what are usually played at home and, often, on the radio…

Alright, ’nuff said about that. Let’s go to the artists already!

This trio, I already introduced in Part 1 of this two-part series. However, they’re so good, I decided to first share another one of their “jam sessions” on the Wish bus. This is a vid featuring Kyla, Yeng Constantino, and KZ Tandingan. Unfortunately, I could not find an original video so I’m sharing a reaction video instead. I do promise you, you can hear them clearly (jump to 0:40, if you need to). And thanks to Terrence Jr. for this!

Some of the Wish bus videos of artists I am featuring are reaction videos. That’s because the original performance videos are already missing (it’s a long story, but something Wish FM addicts know of). Don’t worry, I have chosen reaction vids where you can hear the artists clearly, and the reactors have done the least reactions during the presentations (based on my search, anyway)…

Now, this artist was one of the most requested artists to appear on the Wish bus and was their first-ever Artist of the Month. I honestly think the appearance was only made possible as she was/is endorsing a popular company’s new service. Who cares, though? It seems everyone who heard and saw that quite recent performance–on the radio, right outside the bus, through watching YouTube–loved her song. Dubbed as Asia’s Songbird, Regine Velasquez-Alcasid brought the house down when she did a cover of her past cover of the song  Araw-Gabi (Day and Night).

A little background: Regine first made waves when she won first in Ang Bagong Kampeon (The New Champion) at 14. She is best known as a “belter” who can reach such crazy high notes. (I personally am more in love with the lower registers she’s shown here).  She soon became the standard for high belters and many from the younger generation have been idolizing her then and now, trying to follow in her footsteps…Given this background info, you can now guess why she was most requested and why there was such a big crowd outside the bus, as can be seen from her Wish video.

Meanwhile, here’s someone whose talents I highly respect and appreciate. She’s showbiz royalty and I’m happy she is not just riding on her famous parents’ popularity (the mom is an actress-singer, the dad was called the Comedy King of the film and TV industry). This is Zia Quizon whose voice I have loved ever since I first heard her sing on TV.  She’s got a not-so-usual voice quality that you could definitely love.

For the bus, she sang Creep, Crazy, and The Scientist, all YouTube hits, and I could easily just share any of their originals. BUT, it is her version of Hotline Bling, a song which original version I totally hated, that I love most, and it was the most-viewed of her numbers, I believe. Watch and listen to her sing below. I have also posted a reactors’ video because Zia’s vids of this keep getting taken out of YouTube. So in case it doesn’t work anymore, check out the reactors’ vid (jump to 0:52 if you want). Thanks to HugknucklesTV!

Next is another non-belter. In fact, Sue Ramirez is more of an actress than a singer. She does have a nice, sweet singing voice that she likes to share once in a while. For instance, here, she sings popular TV drama Dolce Amore‘s theme song Your Love, which is a ’90s band Alamid original.

I like Sue, but I’m not crazy about this version of the song, so I was surprised to find out that foreign reactors were so smitten by her that her rendition became viral in no time. I did not expect that at all. I think it’s the charm that worked like magic, based on various reactions I’ve seen and on the number of reactors suddenly crushing on her. I leave it to you to decide.

She did sing, at least, another song that you might like more: Ako sa ‘Yo.

Another young artist has made it in our list of special singers worthy of mention. She is Sassa Dagdag of The Voice Philippines – Kids Edition season 2. Sassa has got this distinctly husky singing voice that makes her stand out. Her various song renditions, especially of If I were a Boy and Halo, were/are others’ easy favorites. Mine, though, is her interpretation of La Vie en Rose. For me, that was a really awesome performance, the most impressive of her renditions.

The Wish bus performance got taken down, though, so I am again sharing a reactors’ video. The vid is clear, the sounds are also, the reactors kept the comments to a minimum, enough for us to enjoy viewing (jump to 1:02). Thanks to MGN: The Echo!

Last, we’ve got a girl group, the 4th Impact. They are actually sisters and we have kind of seen their “transformation”, starting from years ago when certain TV shows first featured/introduced these then-very simple lasses. They grew up joining singing and dance contests to be able to help their family. In fact, up to now, these much-more stylish girls still keep joining–sometimes winning–in various talent competitions abroad. Most notable of their successes are winning twice in the World Championship of Performing Arts (2006, 2013) in separate categories, and bagging the fifth place in The X Factor UK (2015).

The group has had several name-changes until they settled with “4th Impact”. Basing on this performance, however, I believe that they can always change the name, but no one can ever deny their talent.

I thought that to corroborate David’s observation of how our singing artists hone their skills through competitions, here is an example of how great they can already be even before they officially become celebrities.

Below is a number performed the recent Wish Music Awards that featured finalists of the contest Tawag ng Tanghalan, a segment of the variety show It’s Showtime. For some reason, there’s only one guy here, Noven Belleza, who happens to be the eventual champion. It could be because of the genre. All the other guys had their separate number.

I have two personal faves. First is Gidget Dela Llana who was a part of the first set of semi-finalists (I was able to kind of follow some of them then). I was happy with her song choices on the daily rounds and she gave them justice wonderfully. Even when others seemed to be belting out higher notes, she was able to prove herself as a worthy competitor.

My second fave is Eumee Capile (I honestly could not find yet a relevant page to link to) whom I admit having not watched until her Wish performance (hey, I was at work, alright?). So much power!!!…

That’s it, folks! There are so many to share, but I concentrated specifically only on several. And if this set now screams of Girl Power, it’s unintentional. I chose only from what/who went viral and what I personally liked. Honestly, so far, only a few male Wish artists have sent me fangirl-ing. They do deserve to be given the chance, so I think I’ll do that in the future.

Before I really go, I leave you with this Wish Awards medley number from Zia, Sassa, and KZ. there was the original video that was better, of course, but you know what happened. Thanks, at least, for fans like Dannie Buenaventura…ENJOY!!!

 

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Did you enjoy these? You did?!!! Good. Which did you enjoy most, though? Who did you like best? Let us know at the bottom, please! I loooove feedback (as long as it’s wholesome)!!!

Beast-mode Poetry #atozchallenge2017

I owe much of my love for poetry to a certain TV series and actor Ron Perlman. Seriously.

In 1987, the series Beauty and the Beast (BATB) starring Ron and Linda Hamilton started airing. However, it did not immediately reach our shores, so to speak. Exactly when I saw it, I do not remember, although my guess would be in 1989. But its impact on me has lived with me since then.

It was a beautiful show and much of what made it beautiful to me, at least, was the premise of a “beast” with a golden voice always waxing poetic. He was a well-read creature always reading such lovely poems! And that voice!

Yes, that voice is forever embedded in my memory. That’s especially because when I reached college, someone introduced me to BATB’s Of Love and Hope official soundtrack. OF COURSE, I just had to borrow and listen to it. I did until I decided to have my own copy. Oh, bliss!!!

Ron really did justice to the poems. I fell in love with the poems. I hardly even remember the music, in fact, I often skipped the music to get to the poems! They were made more beautiful by his deep and romantic voice, romantic in the more sentimental way. I cannot read/recite any of those poems without being on “beast-mode” and reading them his way.

So if anyone ever notices why I watch some movies because Ron’s in it, it’s because I have somehow made him a friend.

If you miss the show and the poems, or would like to know what I am talking about, I have taken the liberty of finding videos for you where Vincent recites Cummings, Frost, Rilke and others. I tried to post them in an order based on what I most love, but there were those I could not decide on. So let’s just say they are in random order.

But first, the most popular audio from the show. This was the show’s theme song, The First Time I Loved Forever (sung by Liza Angelle). In-between parts are readings of excerpts from e. e. cummingssomewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond. The whole poem follows the video. BTW, the list is not complete as I could not find vids of the others.

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look will easily unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron (George Gordon Byron)

Acquainted with the Night by Robert Frost

Longing by Matthew Arnold

I Arise from Dreams of Thee by Percy Bysshe Shelley

This is the Creature by Rainier Maria Rilke

You, Darkness by Rainier Maria Rilke

That’s it. For sure, you loved them! I am virtually hugging Ron right now :>

And now, as bonus, we have here e. e. cummings actually doing a reading of his poem 🙂

HAPPY POETRY MONTH!!!

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Love poetry? Let us know what you thought of this! Which is your favorite BATB poem? Just drop a comment or two below.

P is for “Poetry”

This piece serves as my Letter P post for the A to Z Challenge 2017.

I am creating a page for my A to Z Challenge 2017 posts. Meanwhile, to check for my past posts, kindly check out As Lovely as a Tree. Not for any other reason except that’s where I last listed down my post titles.

 

The Haiku #atozchallenge2017

Haiku. A descriptive form of poetry originating from Japan and previously known as hokku. I believe that anyone who has ever been in school may already have an idea of what haiku is. If not,

“Often focusing on images from nature, haiku emphasizes simplicity, intensity, and directness of expression. Haiku began in thirteenth-century Japan as the opening phrase of renga, an oral poem, generally 100 stanzas long, which was also composed syllabically. The much shorter haiku broke away from renga in the sixteenth-century,…” (Haiku: Poetic Form)

Initially, one would think that haiku isn’t so hard, after all, it’s just short, right? Not really. For one, there are meters to consider. To come up with just a decent poem, one would need to be well aware of the rules of writing it: the allowed length (traditionally with three lines) and the number of syllables required (traditionally 17) . Because haiku is short, you would need great inspiration and a certain amount of skill to create powerful haiku verses. Simplicity is beauty, and not everyone has such skills to do it properly.

Matsuo Basho mastered the art in the 17th century and wrote this classic piece:

It is said that there are no real specific rules in haiku, especially nowadays. However, the structure remains the same. I share these points from YourDictionary.com in verbatim:

  • Only three lines, totaling 17 syllables throughout
  • The first line is only 5 syllables
  • The second line is 7 syllables
  • The third line is 5 syllables like the first
  • Punctuation and capitalization rules are up to the poet, and need not follow rigid rules used in structuring sentences
  • Haiku does not have to rhyme, in fact many times it does not rhyme at all
  • Some haiku can include the repetition of words or sounds

According to poet Ezra Pound, who promoted the modernist aesthetic in poetry, “The image itself is speech. The image is the word beyond formulated language.” See here:

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

For more samples, I have found these for you, haiku poets (some of whom I’m, at least, Facebook buddies with) and their masterpieces, in alphabetical order:

morning mist
texturing the canvas
of a dream

(Angelo B. Ancheta)

The sea darkens;
the voices of the wild ducks
are faintly white.

(Matsuo Basho)

dead widow’s bamboo bell
each chime numbs
the mind

(John Tiong Chunghoo)

The wind
Undecided
Rolls a cigarette of air

(Paul Eluard)

The low yellow
moon above the
Quiet lamplit house.

(Jack Kerouac)

we make things happen
we mirror lights and light stars
in stellar lagoons

(from the ‘We’ Haikus, Ute Margaret Saine)

In the coolness
of the empty sixth-month sky…
the cuckoo’s cry.

(Masaoki Shiki)

soft rain
a frog leaps from
one leaf to another 

(Santiago Villafania)

this moon
watching her dance
on the
shoreline as if
the stars exist

(Robert D. Wilson)

I wish I could share my own samples, but I don’t think they qualify as haikus. How about you share to us your own haikus instead? By the way,

HAPPY POETRY MONTH!!!

 

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I have not been feeling well for days, frankly. Forgive me if I seem slacking on the letters, I promise I’m not. Do please keep visiting 🙂

H is for “Haiku”

This piece serves as my Letter H post for the A to Z Challenge 2017.

If you’re interested:

A for Alibata – How to Spell the Ancient Filipino Way

B for Block – “How do you personally deal with writer’s block?”

C for Contents – Contents with all the Feels

D for Dialogue – Why Dialogue is Important

E for Edit – Mark Your Words!

F for Fictional Characters – “Which fictional character that you created is your favorite, and why?”

G for Grammar – GRRR-rammar!!!

How to Spell the Ancient Filipino Way #atozchallenge2017

The written language is most important in writing.Without it, we’d all be like cavemen drawing stories, probably even opinions, on walls, tree trunks, leaves…I imagine there would be much more confusion in this already-confused world.

Of course, there would be the spoken  language, probably mostly grunts coupled with hand gestures. We’d probably be fighting over and over due to sound and gesture misinterpretations. I mean, cave paintings are now art, but isn’t art subject to various interpretations? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, in a manner of speaking.

So, without the written language, we’d be so far from the civilized world of today…Well, almost civilized. (Some people do seem to even openly and unabashedly show or express their Neanderthal tendencies.)

A Sense of History and Identity

An uncivilized society with no history, that’s exactly how the country’s Spanish conquerors made the natives, our land’s indigenous people and my ancestors, believe they had. After all, we all used to be made up of tribes that practiced pagan beliefs. For around 400 years, they called us ‘indios’, their colonial and discriminatory racial term for us. The conquistadors made us believe our forefathers were illiterate prior to their arrival. The better to reign over us, right?

“The colonial masters required the native Filipinos to swear allegiance to the Spanish monarch, where before they only had village chieftains called ‘datus;’ to worship a new God, where before they worshipped a whole pantheon of supernatural deities and divinities; to speak a new language, where before they had (and still have) a Babel of tongues; and to alter their work habits, where before they worked within the framework of a subsistence economy.” (Encyclopedia of Southeast Asia: Philippines)

Illiterate with no social identity, though? That was the biggest lie Spain gave us. Before they came barging in, we already had our own ancient writing system, the baybayin, also and more popularly known as alibata.

The Baybayin/Alibata

What is baybayin?

“Baybayin is a pre-Spanish Philippine writing system. It is a member of the Brahmic family and is recorded as being in use in the 16th century. It continued to be used during the Spanish colonization of the Philippines up until the late 19th Century.” (Mandirigma.org)

Pre-Spanish era, we were not yet Filipinos. I say this for the simple reason that Filipinas–the Philippines–was named after Spain’s ruler Haring (King) Felipe once they conquered us. The whole truth was, we were an already-learned people with our own history, as proven by our writing.

“History is impossible without the written word as one would lack context in which to interpret physical evidence from the ancient past. Writing records the lives of a people and so is the first necessary step in the written history of a culture or civilization.” (Ancient.eu, on Writing)

This is our ancient writing system, the Baybayin. Here you see when to make the characters sound with an “e/i” or an “o/u”, all depend on where you put the marks or dots. The cross has a different purpose and was not part of the original system

The Baybayin Advocacy

Back in 2008, when I used to simply call it ‘alibata’, I wrote about it in my old and now defunct first official blog. I said (with some edits here),

Alibata is slowly being re-introduced to Filipinos. A decade or so ago, some began sporting alibata characters, the Philippines’ ancient alphabet, especially as tattoos. Most popular of these is the ‘pa’ character to represent the letter P, to symbolize being ‘Pinoy’, slang word for ‘Filipino’ or ‘Pilipino’. Once in a while, I encounter people wearing shirts bearing some of the characters. In the ’90s, GMA (Channel) 7 came up with the action show titled Pintados. In our ancient times, ‘pintados’ were the tribesmen-warriors called so because they had their bodies painted all over. No, tattooed all over. Anyway, this show took a lot of liberty using alibata characters, but without educating the audience on what they meant…

I think I’ll call myself an Alibata advocate. I’ve been trying to practice it this year and I plan to use it in other things…(I do follow what I’ll call ‘Neo-Alibata‘, though. Old and ‘new’ must meet somewhere.)

It was used in many parts of the country back then, especially in Visayas and Mindanao, so it’s not necessarily Tagalog, our most widely used dialect originating from Luzon. The Spaniards came and forced people to become Christians and the ancient letters began disappearing. The style I’m using isn’t exactly the original. I’m following some changes especially when I’m not writing in Filipino. There are letters in the English alphabet that we don’t have.”

The “Ka” character on a Philippine flag

What I meant by “the style I’m using” was that I was/is following the altered version created by a Spaniard that adds the cross sign to indicate that a character is to be read as a simple consonant–“pa” is simply read as “p”.  Meanwhile, our writing system did not have any R-sound so one of the usual things done, which I follow, was/is to use the “da” or the “la” character instead. I am very partial to the second one because I find it prettier, to be honest. The Mandirigma Research Organization‘s site should be able to tell you much more, so I recommend that you refer to it.

Another popular character, the “Ka”, is another fave of mine. It was used in one of the flags of the Philippine Revolution, by the revolutionary group called Katipunan. Now I know what that image on the flag symbolized.

Check out how I did my name (Jennifer Federizo Enriquez) and my alias (Li’l Dove Feather) respectively using a generator I just found.

Nice, eh? When I wrote the post mentioned above, I actually offered to write readers’ names for them if they requested it in the comments. It was a total hit, I tell you. That second image you see on this post is my handwriting in ali–oops–I mean, baybayin! 

“The term Baybay literally means ‘to spell’ in Tagalog…Some have attributed it the name Alibata, but this name is incorrect. (The term “Alibata” was coined by Paul Rodriguez Verzosa after the arrangement of letters of the Arabic alphabet  alif, ba, ta (alibata), “f” having been eliminated for euphony’s sake.” )…no evidence of the baybayin was ever found in that part of the Philippines and it has absolutely no relationship to the Arabic language. Furthermore, no ancient script native to Southeast Asia followed the Arabic arrangement of letters,…its absence from all historical records indicates that it is a totally modern creation.” (Mandirigma.org)

Like I said, I aim to be a baybayin advocate. In fact, in the story I am working on, the alibata/baybayin is mentioned.

“…It was proof that unlike what the Spaniards claimed, Filipinos were not an uncivilized race before they arrived and conquered. It was only what they made everyone believe.

Maya had scoffed at that in a conversation saying, ‘Ha! I was learning my A-Ba-Ka-Da loooooong before I met any of them. My father taught me that and his father taught him, and so on. If I had my way, I’d put learning alibata in the grade school curricula.’ She would, too, knowing her. In fact, her journal notebook was filled with things always written in alibata, one way to keep most people away, ironically.” (MAYA [CHAPTER 2: DEAD AIR, Scene 4])

The point made regarding including the writing system in the school curricula is definitely my opinion. And time may come that I shall write a whole story in our beloved baybayin. I can’t wait for other Filipinos to do the same (although there are those who have been incorporating it in their comic books). After all, according to the Mandirigma site, Baybayin was noted by the Spanish priest Pedro Chirino in 1604 and Antonio de Morga in 1609 to be known by most, and was generally used for personal writings, poetry, etc.”

Our literary world has suffered for centuries and it’s time to bring back pride for what we can do and continue our history!…But for now, you can bet that the writing system will figure more in my story’s chapters to come. We always start somewhere.

Meanwhile, here are samples I personally made:

If you found this blog’s landing page, this surely welcomed you

If memory serves me right, this was my first attempt at doing baybayin. I mixed images and using a mouse with an unsteady hand, I tried to write down my alias, Li’l Dove. Though the “B” didn’t look that right, I think it was okay because the effect I was going for was a “smokey” effect

For my then blog, I made this for fun. The girl was supposed to be me, only with better hair and with earrings (well, only one visible) when I am not the type to often wear them. I spelled out “kopi kat” in baybayin and added a personal logo I created

 

These were just some of the many names I spelled out in baybayin, as requested. I have deleted the others

My own personal logo, in various renditions. It honestly does not strictly follow the writing system’s spelling rules. I’ve just stylized my logo. The above character, yet another one of my favorites, says “G” (meaning me, Gi); the one below says “pi” because no matter what happens, I’m proud to be Pinoy!

 

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I hope you enjoyed that one and learned a thing or two! Come back on Monday for the next A to Z post! Maybe I’ll have something nice again for you again 😉

By the way, all rights reserved to me, J.Gi Federizo, except for images and quotes that are linked to the right sources. I had original sources in 2008 as well, but the links are gone, and Mandirigma.org shares enough and proper information already, so my thanks to the whole research organization.

Also, DISCLAIMER: This post does not aim to spread hate against Spain or any other country. We are not accountable for whatever bad deeds our forebears did during their time.

A is for “Alibata”, otherwise known as “Baybayin”.

This piece serves as my Letter A post for the A to Z Challenge 2017.

Wishes and Songs Part 1 #TuesdayTunes

Welcome back to #TuesdayTunes! Woo-hoo!!! Been a long while since the last one, methinks. For today, I am sharing a very good set of songs and singers. While on hiatus from The Walking Dead vids, I discovered many reaction videos that are particularly about performances done while on the Wish bus. Yep, that’s right, the wish bus! And I’ve become obsessed!

What am I talking about? I’ve heard about this bus before, but it is only now that I’m discovering these videos. It’s really rather simple. There’s this bus that on given days, goes around the metro or parks in one place. What’s so special? This bus serves as the station for Wish 107.5 FM where various singing artists perform live, for real, in real time, like a mini-concert, and everyone around the bus can hear them! Guess what? Too many of their vids have gone really viral, like full-blown viral.

Can I just say “Really nice concept, Wish peeps”?

Of course, it features local artists, although I won’t discount the possibility that should foreign acts visit here, maybe some wouldn’t be too unavailable for such a thing. (UPDATE: They have been featuring foreign artists.)

Alright, guys, though these are all local artists, I encourage you to at least check them all out. I’ve put together a great collection of awesome performances with different flavors. A lot of them have more than one great performance, but I chose either my faves or what YouTube viewers and reactors loved most. You’re free to click stop and move on to the next ones, but before you do, please give each performance a chance first. You’re bound to be surprised.

BTW, this is the first of a two-parter and I promise to explain more about Filipino music next time (and links to be added while you read/watch, sorry…)

ENJOY!!!

Let’s start with the youngest — 14-year-old Darren Espanto with Chandelier, so yeah, you know what you’re in for. His I Believe rendition won for him the Best Wishclusive Performance by a Young Artist award in the recent Wish Awards, but the first is somehow his staple song (my opinion), so I’m sharing that one. If you don’t like this style, at least lend him an ear. He’s a Filipino who grew up in Canada and was already doing front acts in concerts before he joined The Voice Philippines – Kids Edition and won second place (he should have been first, but I’ll keep my mouth shut).

Alright, has he got your heart pounding? Let’s slow things down a bit with Bugoy Drilon, a former canteen janitor. A lot of our artists nowadays are products of singing competitions on TV. This guy won second place in the second season of Pinoy Dream Academy (PDA). Why second-placers often make it bigger than the first-placers, I have no idea. Anyway, he’s supposed to be a balladeer (he’s got a few hits), but when he joined the We Love OPM contest last year, I think that’s when they discovered his other hidden talent in singing. He showcases that here.

Nice, eh?

How about a little surprise? Nah, I’m kidding…It’s a BIG surprise! Just let Marcelito Pomoy show you the surprise 😉

Marcelito won in the 2011 Pilipinas Got Talent (PGT) contest. I think it’s not hard to guess why. Like many of our artists, he was also dirt-poor with a colorful background before finding fame.

Now we go to a real girl. By now, you can guess she was part of a singing competition also, he he. Well, not my intention. It just happens these vids feature them. Anyway, this is Morissette Amon, or simply Morissette, and if you check this vid out, you’ll understand why she won most of the awards in the Wish Awards.

We have her here singing solo a song originally sang by a group and, my goodness, she’s awesome! I mean I knew that when I saw her in The Voice Philippines (TVoP) in 2013, in fact, I was rooting for her, but she didn’t make it all the way to the top. So when I saw this the other day, can I just say I fell for her? And she looks so pretty here, too. Anyway, listen and find out why many YouTube reactors from around the world found her awesome, too…

Squeezed in BONUS –> Here’s a “duet” from the Wish Awards:

Up next is Klarisse De Guzman (sadly, I can’t find a good enough bio of hers for now) singing a classic with a lot of class. Her vids didn’t get that many hits/votes, but I think she earned a place here. She won second-place in the same TVoP season where Morissette was in and they had the same coach.

Alright, enough of the high-note divas and divos! We have here another artist, a diva in her own right. Oh, she’s very special! She won first place in The X Factor Philippines in 2012 (Note: Filipinos really love music! Singers tend to win this contest when it’s supposed to be for every kind of talent…Well, singers and dancers, actually, ’cause we love to dance, too!).

This is Soul Supreme KZ Tandingan.

Anyway, I decided to post two vids here of her ’cause I couldn’t help it. I don’t know which one’s better! There’s a third with her, R’n’B Princess Kyla and songwriter Pop Rock Princess Yeng Constantino (she won first place in the first of the only two seasons of PDA).

Kyla’s the one with the sweet voice and she rapped, too, to my surprise. Yeng is more into alternative, so don’t expect her to go all-diva like the others. She writes wonderful songs, one of which is my favorite that I have shared here before called Hawak-Kamay. They sang another song but it’s been taken down. I’ll be sharing it in Part 2 of this post.

And now, last in this first list and definitely not the least, is music icon Gary Valenciano. Some foreigners will most probably get bored with his style because it is the Filipino style of writing and singing sentimental songs. But he actually sings dance songs also and is not called Mr. Pure Energy for nothing. A lot of us grew up listening to and idolizing him. With this vid, however, you won’t get bored AT ALL, as some reactors found out later and what made them apologize for some negative comments on his other videos that they first saw.

Oh, you will love this, I promise! (BTW, thanks to Lukas MD’Gams.)

 

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Did you enjoy these? You did?!!! Good, ’cause I’ve got more next time.Which did you enjoy most, though? Who did you like best?

Stay tuned for next time!!!

“What was the strangest thing you found cleaning out your parents’ house after they died?” (post-)#AskWednesday

Until I read Debbie The Doglady’s post, I could have forgotten this. I had planned on posting this sometime ago but never had the right time or chance to do so. I did think of sharing it for Valentine’s, but I also felt it would have been kind of a sad reminder for some who are still grieving for our parents, so I didn’t.

I was doing some legit research one day, I don’t remember what about, but as most researches went, I stumbled on something else. I found this question posted on Quora:

“What was the strangest thing you found cleaning out your parents’ house after they died?”

My parents on New Year's Eve 2011

My parents on New Year’s Eve 2011

I could have answered, but I wasn’t planning on joining Quora. Also, I didn’t think I had any answer to that. I still don’t.

My father had a mild stroke when I was 20 and since then, he was unable to go to work, work being a teacher in elementary Math, Physical Education, and Gardening & Shop (I have no idea what those subjects were called then exactly and I think they have new names now). So maybe, whatever secrets he could have hidden, if there were any at all, my mother had long ago gotten rid of them. I know of one I found when I was young, but that doesn’t count because he was still so alive back then. So when he died in May 2012, I didn’t find any strange thing that belonged to him.

Meanwhile, my mother, who was a Geometry and Trigonometry teacher, had nothing physical to hide either, not to my knowledge, nothing strange that I found, at least. There were several secrets about her personal experiences that I found out after she died in July 2012, some things she did not tell me because she knew I would get mad that she let people do that to her, but they were nothing near strange.

I think the reason that I still haven’t found anything “strange”, surprising or shocking is because I have lived in our family’s house all my life (well, except when I was/am gone the whole week working). Non-Filipinos may go, “What???” and think “Adult and still living in her parent’s house?” Let me tell you now that Filipinos are family-oriented and living with one’s parents doesn’t necessarily make him/her dependent and useless. It is common in our culture, especially the extended family culture…

My parents were teachers and most things that I find that belonged to them are clothes, personal effects that I mostly knew anyway, various school-related stuff like books for lesson plans, IDs, lovely notes from students (especially for my mother, whose hoarding tendencies I happen to have inherited). I’m just thinking maybe I’m better off not knowing anything in case it happens to be something I’ll regret finding out.

Now that I have answered the question, I am sharing to you some of the worthy answers I found on Quora. I’d rather share the nice ones because I’d rather that we remember our parents fondly. Click on them to get to the actual pages if you want to.

quora1Click on the image so you get to be redirected to the link he gave and see what he’s talking about.

quora3This is something that I would have liked to have found. I wish I could learn more about my parents, their experiences, their thoughts, their worries, their dreams…This only emphasizes how important it is to not wait and get to know your parents more while they’re still alive, because time will come that they won’t be able to tell you anything anymore. Except for their lesson plans, my parents did not seem to have inclinations towards creative writing, which is most probably why there are no journals for me to visit in the first place.

quora4Again, one of the things I regret is emphasized here. I regret to not having video-recorded my parents (I tried, but my low-tech phone wasn’t much help,…I could have found a way and borrowed, but didn’t. Sadly.). I did not even record their voices! Now all my sister and I have of them are like the Jim Croce song: ‘Photographs and Memories’. It would have been better to see and hear them alive and talking and laughing once in a while when we’re missing them…

quora5Finding such bills would have been awesome, I gotta admit 🙂 Anyway, my father had quite a sense of humor, too, which I would not have known had he not gotten sick. It seemed he went back to his former and younger self and in the next years of his life, I got to know more of how he was as a younger man. I’m sure he was like that to his friends before the mild stroke, but at home, he was stricter. So the “change” was somehow drastic.

quora2Alright, I couldn’t help it. This one’s kind of sad in the end. Still, the mother thought of buying gifts for her children…

quora6

Make sure you click on this to see the whole of it…This reminds me of my parents, especially my mother whom her students adored. I found similar letters and cards given to her, but I really was not surprised. I had known since I was little that she was getting such expressions of appreciation from her beloved students.

 

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I hope you liked what I shared.  How about you, “What was the strangest thing you found cleaning out your parents’ house after they died?” Again, the comments section is for your perusal 🙂

**NOTE: I thought I’d add this since I mentioned the song. It has always made me sad even before losing my parents, but now it means so much more to me. I actually just teared up having listened to it. It’s a lover’s love song, but it can very well be a song for a loved one who has gone on before you.