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Friday, July 09, 2010

Essays Written by Aklanons

The following essays (unedited) were first printed in Bueabod, the Literary Journal of Aklanon Literary Circle, facebook account. I am reprinting them here to have wider readerships.


Melchor Cichon Here we will post essays on any topic under or above the sun.
about 2 months ago · Delete Post.Mila S. DelaRosa


I was browsing a magazine about Great Rivers and Lakes. While flipping through the pages and each picture unfolded in my eyes, I was transported back to my childhood home in Lezo, Aklan.

At the back of our house is the Aklan River. This river has a special place in my heart. I spent hours sitting by its banks, watching the flowing water. Every year, after the flood, its course changes, and the banks steeped. But it is the same river that has been a part of my childhood memories.

Once, I saw a floating twig, which was carried on swiftly by the flow of the water. I wondered…when did this twig left the shore, found its way in the middle of the river, and let it be taken somewhere?

That was just one of the many ordinary (or so I thought) sights, while I sat on the bank and watched the river.
…and, four decades later, it struck me. I remembered the Hopi Indian poem that I once read (in part):

There is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid,
They will try to hold on to the shore.
They will feel like they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly.
Know the river has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore,
Push off into the middle of the river.
Keep your eyes open, and your heads above water.

At some points in my life, there is that fear. Fear of the unknown, that I just wanted to hold on, and be within my comfort zone. But life is never that way.

Not realizing, I made the Hopi Indian poem be a part of my quest for the real meaning of life and living: Leave the shore – don’t be afraid to be in the middle of the river – let the river take you in its course.

In life, there are things that we can control, and things that we can’t. But, whatever consequences prevail, we stepped out over and beyond the safety of the familiar, to make our choices.

Melchor Cichon
How I Became a Librarian


Melchor F. Cichon

While studying fisheries at the College of Fisheries, UP Diliman, Quezon City, I happened to see an announcement at the bulletin board at the Vinzons Hall. It said that the UP Main Library was in need of a Library Assistant.

I had no idea on what kind of work I would have since I did not have a background in librarianship. The only experience I had, if that could be called an experience, was my constant visit to the library.

When I had no class, I would frequent the library to read just anything. But I always looked for journals and magazines that featured poetry and short stories. I preferred literary criticisms.

When I approached the secretary, Beth, of the University Librarian, and told her that I was applying for the library assistant position, I was immediately accepted.
But I had to work for two months as an apprentice, without pay.

I accepted the offer. But I told her that I still had to continue my work at the Narra Residence Hall where I worked as a student assistant. I was allowed to continue my work at the residence hall.

At the residence hall, I had to work for three hours from 5:00 p.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Friday, without monetary compensation. But I could have free three meals a day, Monday to Sunday.

My work there was to give rice to the buying students. After supper, I would mop the floor, then I could eat my supper and go home to my boarding house at the White House located at the back of the UP College of Fisheries Building. Or I could first take my supper then mop the floor.

At the UP Main Library, I would shelve the returned books, or locate the requested books at the Stack Area. I therefore worked as a shelver and Pager.

I must have been very effective in this work because I always got a salary increase.

But later on when I started to question the policies of the University Library, especially when I became the Editor in Chief of the Moog ng Aklatan, the official organ of the UP Main Library employees, Miss Marita Dayrit, the University Librarian freezed me. I was even transferred to the Institute of Mass Communication so I would be far from my close friends at the UP Main Library. Later, I was transferred to the UP Manila in Padre Faura. I do not know if Miss Teresita Ledesma had a hand on this.
At that time she was the librarian in charge of the library at UP College Manila.
But I liked my works at these libraries because it gave me a chance to widen my knowledge in library works.

Immediately after I received my first salary at the UP Main Library, I told my supervisor at the UP Narra Residence Hall Cafeteria that I was resigning.
My supervisor at the UP Cafeteria offered me to live in their house, free of charge, But I turned it down. I did not know what kind of life I would have there. Anyway, I was already receiving a salary.\\
My salary? One hundred forty pesos a month! But then the jeepney fare then was only ten centavos, and my boarding house fee was only fifteen pesos a month. Coke or Pepsi cost only ten centavos.
I continued working at the UP Main Library.
In 1972, I got married.
At that time, I was assigned at the Technical Section of the UP Main Library.

At that time too, Ms. Teresita Ledesma, from Iloilo was already working at the UP in Iloilo (UPIC).
One time, she came to the UP Main Library. I talked to her on the possibility of transferring to UPIC. She must have talked with Ms. Dayrit. Later Ms. Dayrit asked me if I wanted to transfer to Iloilo. And I immediately said yes.

By then, Bing was teaching at Raja Soliman High School as a mathematics teacher. I requested that she be given an appointment at UPIC Library. My request was granted

Later the UPIC Library became UP College Iloilo Library. When the University of the Philippines in the Visayas was created, the UPCI Library automatically became the UPV University Library, headed by a university librarian. Ms. Ledesma became the first University Librarian of the UP in the Visayas Library, now the UP Visayas University Library.
And I became the first Aklanon College Librarian of the UP Visayas.


Mila S. DelaRosa

I first fell in love with poetry, years before I fell in love with the nursing profession.

My love affair with books and novels started when I was in grade school. I could never forget the very first book (a gift from my aunt, Sister Mary Ignatius, SPC) that I read: The Holy Bible. Then, every month, I looked forward to receive the issues of The Reader’s Digest.

During that time, because of my limited understanding of the English vocabulary, much more, the old vocabulary of the Bible, I always had a dictionary beside me.

All through the years, my love affair intensified, and the desire to write poetry blossomed during my high school years. Young as I was, without a formal introduction and education on how to compose a poem, I just sat down with a paper and a pencil, and wrote what I felt, using simple words that came to my mind, creating and playing with language. Believe me, it was a struggle to gather thoughts, ideas, and feelings, then laid them out into structured verse(s). Much more, too many papers had been crumpled and pencils sharpened.

It was frustrating! I felt this over and over, up to the point of telling myself: “Maybe you are not good enough to be a poet. Maybe, not this time, maybe later”.
But, instead of giving up, I embraced the challenge. As one poet said: “Great poets don’t think in terms of a destination. It is always a journey”. This served as a driving force for me to try, and try, and try. Of course, I did not envision myself to be a great poet, but at least, just to learn the trade of poetry writing.

Just as any love affair, mine cooled down when I went to nursing school; then, when I practiced my profession; then, when I embraced a family life. But all those times that I focused on, and prioritized my professional growth and advancement, a portion of my heart was still being occupied by poetry, that, at any time, place, or opportunity, my desire to write poetry rekindled.

Several years ago, with the advent of technology, I stumbled into a website while surfing the internet: the Through this website, I came to know a brilliant man, whose knowledge in poetry and creative writing could not be questioned. He is the Aklanon Neruda or Rumi, but with a distinct touch of uniqueness that is simply his own. Mr. Melchor F. Cichon has his own way of bringing out the best in every person he mentors. He challenged me, inspired me, educated me, and never gave up on me, that my first love: Poetry, resurfaced after so many years of being in hibernation.

After all, there is a saying: “First Love Never Dies”. This is true, as mine didn’t.

( I made this as an Intro of my book: When I Fall In Love, a collection of Haiku, Luwa, Tongue Twisters, and Other Poems)

My First Love*
by Melchor F. Cichon

I was in Grade Three when I realized I was falling in love.

Thelma was our neighbor in Ubos, Sta. Cruz, Lezo, Aklan. To me she was very beautiful--fair in complexion, with long hair. And when she smiled, my heart would melt.

Our house was along the street. At times, Thelma and her mother would pass by our house when they would go to their ricefields in Eanas. When my elder brother, Nong Peping, would notice her, he would call me. "Tsong, she is now passing by." I knew who was the she Nong Peping was referring to. But instead of going towards the window to see her, I would just peep through our nepa thatched wall. I would be happy looking at her, but I did not like her to know that I had a feeling towards her.

*This is part of my autobiography


Mila S. Dela Rosa

It’s my day off from work, today.

In my mind, I have already lined up the things that I will do at home, and the errands I have to make. The first one on my list: to send money to the Philippines, for my daughter’s allowance. I left the house early.

My first stop was the remittance office. When I stepped inside, I could see that it is a busy morning. There were quite a few people in line, and all the clerks in the counter were attending to clients, to process their transactions. Balikbayan boxes occupied most of the floor space, up to near the area of the customer’s counter.

After about 10 minutes of waiting, and was done with my turn, I stepped back from the counter, and turned to leave. Unfortunately, I overlooked one big box, and hit my left foot. I was thrown off balance, and the next thing I knew, I was kneeling, both hands planted on the floor to hold me up. All eyes were simultaneously focused towards me, as one lady asked: “are you alright?” “I hope nothing’s broken”, I heard another man spoke as he came towards me, to help me up. “I’ve been telling them not to put those boxes there.” said one lady on the counter.

I could feel extreme tingling sensation on my left knee and pain on my right shoulder, but I managed to smile and gather my strength to lift myself up from the floor. “I’m ok”, I said. I tried to maintain my poise as I leave the office.

I’m positive, I will spend the days ahead nursing my painful shoulder and my left knee will show abrasions and maybe, a big bruise.

Inside my car, as I recollect the incident, and as I gather my composure, I came to ask myself: “What is more painful? A bruised knee, or a bruised ego?”


First Favorite Book
Ligaya Delgado Sublett

My earliest foray in education is a study in petulance, persistence, and precocity.

Apparently, in spite of being underage, I was so adamant in going to school that my much harrassed parents had no choice but to humor me. I was allowed (possibly under dire duress brought to bear by my imminently indulgent father) to attend kindergarten at the then Bay-Ang (Batan, Aklan, Philippines) Elementary School.

At that time, the school was chair-challenged and in order to attend, I had to provide my own chair. So my father had a chair especially built by a local artisan. A thwarted architect, Papa added his own modifications such as kamagong arms and a drawer with a door underneath for stowing personal paraphernalia. Needless to say, it was only slightly lighter than a banca, but not much.

Not officially matriculated, I did not warrant a textbook and none was offered to this spurious student. Contrarily, I then refused to go to school unless I had a book of my very own. My grandmother, Lola Imac, pacified me with some hefty tome from our meagre library. I didn't care that I could barely carry it, much less read it.

Everyday I was taken to school and picked up at the end of the each session. And so was my chair. My cousin, Manong Nardo, would lug the two-ton monstrosity on his back as I went to and fro pursuing higher education. I would huff and puff behind him, carrying my beloved book, all sanguine and self-important. Highly-entertained, neighbors would wink at each other and asked what I learned from my book that day. Within my family, it is still a mildly charming childhood memory. Thankfully, I didn't turn out to be a noted scholar or this would be in the realm of anecdotal ad nauseam.

However, it is spectacularly sobering to learn that fast-forward to today, our schools still need the most basic supplies and amenities. The earthshaking economics of education are excruciatingly evident in these two barrios of Batan.

About five years ago, I was a founding member of The Bay-Ang Magpag-Ong Association of America (BMAA). One of its aims is to help the barrio schools alleviate this existing sad situation as well as remedy other rudimentary rural realities. The current generation of school children could only benefit from BMAA's noteworthy noblesse oblige.

The charter members of BMAA are predominantly born and bred from both barrios. Whether they went on to College in Kalibo and Manila or post graduate abroad, they all share a commonality of roots and resolve.

It is only fitting that BMAA's alumni and diaspora shoulder and share some of the heavy lifting of the schools' burden. It will certainly lighten the load for any child in both barrios. It most definitely would have helped that long ago child even aided and abetted by her perseverance, porta-desk, and her favorite first book.

By sheer dint of destiny, for that child, this has a happy ending. Much later, that very same daughter of Dangkaean would be able to carry and read - albeit another version of her very first and favorite book - the Webster's Dictionary.

A version of this essay first appeared in Bay-Ang Times, The Bay-Ang Magpag-Ong Association of America Newsletter. lds/July 2006

Melchor Cichon
Thank you very much Ligaya for this interesting essay.
I hope you share us some more of your well-written essays. If you have prose or poems, and other literary stuff, please share them to us.
As far I am concern, I am very happy to have her with us and I can proudly say that as a writer, she is the biggest discovery of the year.
Again, thank you for being with us.


Nong Peping
Melchor Cichon

When I was about nine years old, I wanted to go with my elder brother, Nong Peping, to Eanas, where our rice field was located.

On our way to Eanas, we passed through the earthen dike of a tilapia pond of Tay Lakoy, our neighbor. The dike was slippery because the rain had just stopped.

While I was walking on this dike, I slipped down. I dropped in the pond. Since I did not know how to swim, and Nong Peping was an expert swimmer, he jumped into the pond to save me. After a few minutes of struggling, Nong Peping brougth me to the higher part of the pond.

"Next time," Nong Peping said, watch your step. If I were not around, you could have died."

"Thank you, Nong."

That was the only word I could utter. I went back home, while my brother proceeded to our rice field.


Mila S. DelaRosa

A little girl, about 4-5 years old was standing a few paces in front of me. Her beautiful long blonde hair was blown by a gust of wind, sprawling all over her face.

She dipped her small hand into the pocket of her denim skirt, and out came a pink, round rubberized ribbon. She started to gather her hair, and clasped them with her tiny fingers. Holding the ribbon in her other hand, she started to slip it, and tied her hair several times, to tighten. Not completely satisfied with the result, she removed the ribbon off her hair, and started the task again, and again, and again…

I could not keep track how many times she tried to repeat the task, until finally, her hair was tied in a beautiful ponytail.

I could not see her face, but I surely could imagine a smile of satisfaction and a feeling of pride in her heart.

(Written: Jan. 10, 2006)



Melchor Cichon

I have a research entitled Aklanon Glosari sponsored by National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
And since I was going to Manila, I decided to visit the NCCA office in Intramuros, Manaila to see my contacts and to personally thank them for their help.
One day after I arrived Manila, I asked Bing, my wife, to accompany me to NCCA.
Unfortunately, Bing developed an allergy on her face after eating shrimps in one of the restaurants in Landmarks Makati. Because of that, she decided not to go with me. So it was decided that my son, Toto Mel, would accompany me instead.
From our residence, we took a jeep to the nearest LRT station in Pasay. After buying a token card, we waited for the train.
When we reached the waiting area, there were hundreds of passengers waiting.
One train arrived. It was full-packed. Some people were able to get inside.
But there were still hundreds of passengers waiting. Plus those who just arrived.
I composed a haiku in my mind:

LRT ride--
passengers are packed
like sand and gravel

So Toto and I were not able to ride on it.
After ten minutes, another train came in. Like before, hundreds of waiting passengers wanted to get inside the cars. My son was able to sneak in it. He pulled me in. My right foot was able to step inside the car but my left foot was still outside. Not only outside, it fell between the car and the gutter of the waiting area. I was afraid that if my shoe would fall down, I would not be able to proceed. After inching our bodies I was able to get inside the car.
So many passengers were packed inside. I could hardly move.
The trip was OK. After stopping from different stations, we dropped at the Main Station, near the Manila City Hall.
From there we walked toward the padyak waiting area.
And proceeded to Intramuros.
We paid forty pesos for that ten or so minutes ride!


Mila S. DelaRosa

My 8 years old “inaanak” (god-daughter) was already waiting for me when I arrived at the playground of St. Veronica’s Catholic School. It was their annual VIP/Grandparent’s Day.

She submitted my name as the special person whom she wanted to be with, to celebrate this occasion. When I received the RSVP card, I, of course confirmed. That was one month ago…

This morning, I was already at work, when my event calendar flashed an alarm. 20 minutes before the time. Today is the date…I forgot! I just finished with my morning staff meeting, and it’s a busy Monday. “Now, what will I do?” I have to be there. I managed to get permission from my Administrator to be away for at least 2 hours.

The school is about 10 minutes drive from my work. I kept looking at my dashboard clock while driving. “I can do this. I can pull this through.” I kept talking to myself repeatedly. My mind was divided between driving and the thought of her, waiting and wondering whether I will show up or not. Then, one mishap happened…I missed my exit. Dang! It would be about a half mile drive to my next exit back, and it was already 10:00 A.M., the time I was supposed to meet her. Now, I’m driving faster than my guardian angel can fly.

As soon as I parked in the school campus, I went to our meeting place. I saw her looking around with a worried facial expression. When I called her name: “Bianca!” her face suddenly lit up when she saw me, ran towards me, and gave me a hug.

Inside the church, while the service was underway, she handed me a small card with her picture (and her brother’s. Both of them are attending school there). I just stashed it in my purse. After the church service, we had our picture taken. I then took her back to her classroom, and drove back to work.

During my break time, I took out the card from my purse to have a good look at it. What caught my attention was the message:

Here’s a set of Angel wings,
I’m giving them to you.
I think that you have earned them,
With all the things you do.
You brighten up the days,
And always seem to care.
When someone needs a friend,
They can always find you there.
Angel wings are rare,
And given only to a few.
Reserved for Angels on earth,
Special people just like you.

I was touched…and, it made the rest of my day.

(Written: March 8, 20100)


A Certain Degree of Success
Melchor Cichon

Some people who have reached a certain degree of success, forgot their sense of respect.

Because of that I thought of this:

Be respectful
Especailly to your parents
Even if others are not
Even if others will not
Even if other cannot.

Why Do I Write in Aklanon?
Melchor F. Cichon
November 18, 2008
Revised: June 2010

Why do I write in Aklanon?

This is a simple question, but it took me time to compile my reasons why indeed do I write in Aklanon.

When I started writing poetry, I wrote in English, then in Tagalog, then in Aklanon.
I wrote in English because I really wanted to improve my skills in English. It has been my problem on how to communicate effectively in English. Because of that I read books on English grammar like the one by Jean Edades, English for Filipinos. Together with a friend, we studied the English grammar, its preposition, and the actual writing in English. To try how effective my English was, I tried to write short letters to the editors of Manila Times, Sunday Times Magazine, the Philippine Collegian, and other national magazines. Some of my letters were published, of course with some editing.

Then I tried writing poetry in English.

But since I did not have any formal training on poetry writing I thought that the best way to write poetry was to translate Tagalog poems into English to see how poets write poems. So I translated the works of Teo Baylen, a poet laureate from Cavite.

Little by little, I learned some poetry writing techniques.

Then I tried writing in Tagalog as it was much easier for me to express myself in Tagalog than in English.

In the early 1980s, Dr. Deriada came to UP in Iloilo.

When he learned that I was writing poetry, he asked me to show him some of my “masterpieces”, and he told me I should learn some more. He invited me to attend creative writing workshops.

And I did.

It was also through his encouragement that I write more Aklanon poems because it would be much easier for me to convey my ideas if I write in Aklanon. I accepted his challenge.

Before that, of course I was already writing in Aklanon. In fact my poem, Inay, is the first Aklanon poem ever published in the Philippine Collegian. When I transferred to UP in Iloilo, now UPV, I wrote a poem in Aklanon. This was published in Pagbutlak. That was also the first Aklanon poem ever published in that school organ.

There are other reasons why I write in Aklanon.

Aklanon as a language is still developing like any other language. In fact it has no spelling standard. Although we have three dictionaries that provide Aklanon words, I noticed that there are some words that are spelled in a different way like: Unga and Onga; Kon and Kun; Tagipusuon and Tagipusoon. There are also some deviations like ingko or mingko, paris or kamana, pero or piru, etc.

But I usually consult the A Study of the Aklanon Dialect, vol 2, Dictionary by Vicente Salas Reyes et al., 1969, if I am not sure of the spelling.

As I continued writing poems in Aklanon, I noticed my Aklanon vocabulary has been expanding.

And I also enrich Aklanon language by incorporating words from other languages into my Aklanon works. Example, cocoon has no direct translation into Aklanon, except that it is a house of a worm. But the Tagalog has, so I used higad when I translated the haiku of Rogelio G. Mangahas. Another word which I used is ham-at, from ham-an it. Now this word is well-known especially when I published the book entitled: Ham-at Madueom Ro Gabii, Inay?

Later I realized that I was not only writing for myself. Some people have noticed my literary works especially Dr. Deriada. When I published my first book of poems, Ham-at Madueom Ro Gabii, he recommended me to Gawad Pampansang Alagad ni Balagtas.
In a way, not only Aklanons have been reading my literary works but also other people in the Philippines and abroad especially so when I set-up the website Aklanon Literature ( where I feature selected poems written by Aklanons. I heard that in De la Salle and in UP Diliman, Philippine literature students discuss some of my works in their classes. An undergraduate student from the University of Santo Thomas wrote me a letter saying that she was writing a term paper on my Aklanon poems. In 2010, a PhD UST student interviewed me for her dissertation. An MS student from Philippine Polytechnic University interviewed me for his master thesis.

Through my writings, I have gained some friends not only in my province but also outside. As a result, I gained some cooperation with other writers. And perhaps if not because of my Aklanon works, Prof. Tomas Talledo would not have invited me to attend a conference on why people write in their native tongues. The conference was held on May 9, 2008 at U.P. Visayas Iloilo City Campus. Or probably, I should not have been invited to attend as a fellow to a literary workshop in U.P. Visayas Cebu College, Cebu City, if I were not writing poems in Aklanon.

And perhaps through my example, some Aklanons have tried writing in Aklanon. Now we can see some Aklanon poems in the internet. One book, Haiku, Luwa and Other Poems by Aklanons was published in 2004 through my encouragement. In 2010, the book When I Fall in Love: Haiku, Luwa, Tongue Twisters, and Other Poems by Mila S. De la Rosa was published through my encouragement.

With the help of the internet, I was able to communicate with renowned haiku writers outside of the Philippines. I translated Basho’s haiku into Aklanon. This way these famous foreign writers will learn about Aklan and Aklan’s literature.

My other reason for writing in Aklanon is to prove that there is a distinct Aklanon literature, not a subgroup of Hiligaynon literature. For many years, some people have thought that there is only one literature in Western Visayas until we the present writers have advocated that Aklanon literature is not a subgroup of Hiligaynon literature, but parallel to it.

Still other reason why I write in Aklanon is to earn money, although very little by being asked to translate Aklanon poems, short stories and other works for their theses or researches.

Lastly, I write in Aklanon to expose the social and environmental cancers that ferment in our country, and hopefully will prick the consciousness of our leaders. To me poetry is a social responsibility.

All the poems that you are about to read were written for a contest, and fortunately, they won prizes. Ay, Saeamat is one of the poems in the collection that won a writing grant in poetry writing in Aklanon from the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Eva, Si Adan won third prize in the regional contest sponsored by Sentro ng Wika, UP in the Visayas and the NCCA, while Si Ambong, Ati won first prize in the same contest, professional written category

As you read my poems, you will notice that the incidents mentioned in the poems were based on Philippine history, current events and culture.

Ay, Saeamat cites the cycle of human life.: birth, marriage, and death. In each stage, Filipinos celebrate or honor it. In each celebration, Filipinos prepare foods for the visitors, either invited or not.

To add tension, I included this line: “Maski salin eon lang.” in the last line of the first stanza. To heighten the tension, I included the following lines that reflect the common incidents during Martial Law time:

Pirme eon lang abi nga linaga nga kamote
Ro ginapamahaw namon ni Nanay
Ay ginkangay abi si Tatay
Ni Hepe M sa Kampo K
Ay kuno nagpakaon si Tatay it limang katawo
Nga may bitbit nga sako
Ag sang dag-on eon imaw
Nga owa kauli.
Ag hasta makaron ra’y Tatay
Nga sanggutan
Hay owa eon

The second poem, Eva si Adan talks about man’s wrong perceptions about women’s capability and power. These can be seen in these lines:

Pero owa madumdumi't mga eaki
Nga maski si Mark Anthony
Hapatiyog-tiyog ni Cleopatra
Maski sa guwa it kama.
Owa nanda madumdumi nga si Gabriela gali
Ro nagpahaba't daean ni Diego Silang.
Ag sa Edsa kon owa ring kaeambong
Maghigot it rosas sa punta't armalite ni Freddie
Hay basi owa si Cory makasindi't kandila
Sa ermita't Malakanyang.

I wrote Si Ambong, Ati primarily for a contest. This poem won first prize in the written professional category. This poem exposes how lowlanders ostracize the Ati in Iloilo City, and in other provinces in Panay, and the neglect being done by our government toward the Atis.. The persona hopes that the Ati will be given equal opportunity in education and other benefits being availed of by the lowlanders. Ambong in Kinaray-a is beautiful.

The first few lines portray the sad plight of Ati in Iloilo City:

Si Ambong, Ati—maitum.
Kueong ra buhok, gision ra eambong, ga siki.
Gakung-kong, kung-kong ka maeupsi nga eapsag
Gapakalimos sa Jaro Cathedral, sa J.M. Basa Street
Ay gintabog eon ra pamilya sa eugta nga anay ginaayaman nanda’t haeo.
Si Ambong, Ati, maitum, indi kantigo magbasa, indi kantigo magsueat
Maski ka anang ngaean ay sa andang barangay owa’t eskuylahan.
Si Ambong, Ati, ginasinggit-singgitan, ginadela-delaan
It mga unga kun imaw mag-agi sa daean ay maitum.
Ginapahadlok it mga nanay sa andang gatangis nga mga unga.
O sa mga unga nga indi magtueog.
Kon fiesta, ginataw-an si Ambong it salin nga suea
Ginasueod sa plastic o sa bag-ong bukas nga lata.
Kun bukon ngani, ginabagsakan it gate.
Agod makayupyop it sigarilyo, gapamueot si Ambong it upos sa kalye.
Agod makasamit it hamburger o juice sa pakite,
Ginapaeapitan ni Ambong ro nagakaon maski sin-o nga anang maagyan.
Pag-abot it gabii, maeugad si Ambong sa sidewalk o sa waiting shed
Kahulid ka anang maeupsing eabsag—
Mayad eang kun may karton nga banig ag owa’t baha o uean --
Agod magbaskug euman ra tuhod sa pagpakalimos pagka-aga.

Ay, Saeamat

Ay, saeamat
Ay may bunyag eon man
Sa among barangay—
Makasamit eon man ako’t
Sutanghon ag litson
Maski salin eon lang.

Pirme eon lang abi nga galunggong ag dayok
Ro suea namon ni Nanay.

Ay, saeamat
Ay may eubong eon man
Sa among barangay—
Makasamit eon man ako’t
Libreng siopao
May Coke o Pepsi pang pangtulak.

Pirme eon lang abi nga linaga nga kamote
Ro ginapamahaw namon ni Nanay
Ay ginkangay abi si Tatay
Ni Hepe M sa Kampo K
Ay kuno nagpakaon si Tatay it limang katawo
Nga may bitbit nga sako
Ag sang dag-on eon imaw
Nga owa kauli.
Ag hasta makaron ra’y Tatay
Nga sanggutan
Hay owa eon

Eva, Si Adan

Bangud ginabot ka eang kuno sa gusok ni Adan
Agud may anang hampang-hampangan,
Maistorya-istoryahan ag mapautwas-utwasan
Sa oras nga anang kinahangean
Hay abu eon nga ngaean
Ro andang ginsueat sa imong daean:
Salome, Magdalena, Maria Clara, Bagyo Esyang.
Bangud mahuyang kuno ring dughan,
Maski ro bagyo nga makaeuka't butong
Ag makapaeunod it barko
Hay ginapapangaean man gihapon kimo.
Pero owa madumdumi't mga eaki
Nga maski si Mark Anthony
Hapatiyog-tiyog ni Cleopatra
Maski sa guwa it kama.
Owa nanda madumdumi nga si Gabriela gali
Ro nagpahaba't daean ni Diego Silang.
Ag sa Edsa kon owa ring kaeambong
Maghigot it rosas sa punta't armalite ni Freddie
Hay basi owa si Cory makasindi't kandila
Sa ermita't Malakanyang.
Mayad gid sanda magpalitik kon paano
Ka eang mapasunod-sunod sa andang ikog.
Owa gid sanda gapalitik kon paano mo magamit
Tanan ring utok, eawas ag hueag
Para kita tanan makatakas sa linaw it utang.
Owa ka gid kuno't kalibutan
Sa pagdumaea't gobyerno o simbahan.
Mayad ka eang kuno maghibi-hibi, magkiri-kiri
Kon magumon ring hilo sa imong saeag-utan.
Kon abu ring hasayran ag kon maghambae ka't
Kontra sa sueondan nga anda man nga hinimuan
Isaea ka ka amasona ag dapat eang nga isilda.
O kon bukon ngani myembro ka't grupo ni Brainda.
Eva, tupong gid eang kamo ni Adan
Sa tanan nga lugar, sa tanan nga butang.
Kon ham-at imo imaw nga ginapagustuhan?
O gusto mo gid eang nga ipadumdom
Nga kon ham-at makapalingkod imaw it leon
Hay ikaw ro anang kaibahan.

Si Ambong, Ati

Si Ambong, Ati—maitum.
Kueong ra buhok, gision ra eambong, ga siki.
Gakung-kong, kung-kong ka maeupsi nga eapsag
Gapakalimos sa Jaro Cathedral, sa J.M. Basa Street
Ay gintabog eon ra pamilya sa eugta nga anay ginaayaman nanda’t haeo.
Si Ambong, Ati, maitum, indi kantigo magbasa, indi kantigo magsueat
Maski ka anang ngaean ay sa andang barangay owa’t eskuylahan.
Si Ambong, Ati, ginasinggit-singgitan, ginadela-delaan
It mga unga kun imaw mag-agi sa daean ay maitum.
Ginapahadlok it mga nanay sa andang gatangis nga mga unga.
O sa mga unga nga indi magtueog.
Kon fiesta, ginataw-an si Ambong it salin nga suea
Ginasueod sa plastic o sa bag-ong bukas nga lata.
Kun bukon ngani, ginabagsakan it gate.
Agod makayupyop it sigarilyo, gapamueot si Ambong it upos sa kalye.
Agod makasamit it hamburger o juice sa pakite,
Ginapaeapitan ni Ambong ro nagakaon maski sin-o nga anang maagyan.
Pag-abot it gabii, maeugad si Ambong sa sidewalk o sa waiting shed
Kahulid ka anang maeupsing eabsag—
Mayad eang kun may karton nga banig ag owa’t baha o uean --
Agod magbaskug euman ra tuhod sa pagpakalimos pagka-aga.
Si Ambong, Ati—maitum. Ra ele-ele, ra hibi, ra pangamuyo
Indi mabatian, indi mabatyagan it gobyerno sa siyudad it tawo.
Ra singgit it tabang hay singgit sa Pluto.
Si Ambong, Ati-- maitum, indi makit-an it atong gobyerno.
Kon Dinagyang, sa selebrasyon etsa pwera si Ambong.
Eutay kuno imaw sa mga bisitang dumueo-ong.
Si Ambong, maitum, ginatabog it blue guard
Bag-o pa man imaw maka-eapak sa gate it Atrium ag SM Shoemart
Kunta may Gloria nga magbatak kay Ambong sa libtong it kaimueon
Agod sa ulihi ro gobyerno may buwes nga masukot kay Ambong;
Agod sa ulihi makabakae man imaw it Levis o barong
Agod sa ulihi makaeskuyla man sa U.P. ra mga inapo;
Agod sa ulihi owa kana’t magtamay, owa’t magtabog
Kon imaw mag-agto sa SM City ag sa Atrium.
Si Ambong, Ati--Maitum. Apo ni Maniwantiwan.
Ag Filipino. Pares kimo, pares kakon.
Kon ham-at owa imaw sa listahan it mga Filipino nga dapat buligan?
Kon ham-at indi imaw makasueod sa atong ugsaran?
Kon ham-at indi naton imaw maagbayan?
Kon ham-at indi imaw makadungan katon magkaon sa restauran?
Siyudad man baea ra’t tawo, indi baea, banwa? Indi baea, banwa?


City of Smiles, Sugar and Masskara
Nynn Arwena G. Tamayo

I decide to explore the City of Smiles today, at least an hour of it before I go to my audit work at the City Hall of Justice. I also wanted to catch the early morning sun as it has been ages ago since I had a really good sun bath. The flowers –yellow morning glories by the roadside are half awake and so is the city.

The City: now a bustling metropolis is a beautiful blending of the old and the new, majestic buildings of modern and baroque architecture, vestiges of our gloried past. And modern day ghettos that spill on the outskirts like the ugly jagged edges of a rusting tin can.

I walk the long stretch of concrete road to the main highway, taking all the good, the bad and the ugly, savoring the mixed flavors of the city on an early morning. A woman in her fifties sits alone on the bench fronting her humble dwelling, absently dips her pan de salin her beverage, a mother mulling over the next meal. Across the street, by a young mango tree an old woman hides from the sun with her abanico.

Two young laborers scurry past me unsmiling with their worn knapsacks, a saw peeking out. They stare at me strangely as I smile maybe trying to figure out why my steps were so unhurried. My eyes feast on the city as it yawns and springs to its feet this morning; reluctant to meet the sun.

A young father kicks his sikad (padyak), obviously a fruit vendor, his little daughter sitting among the watermelons like a princess, throwing questions he answers back with curt words and impatient grunts.

I look around to appreciate a half open bakeshop, the sweet aroma of baking bread drifting out the street, a couturier’s boutique with its dressed up mannequins, an ammo store, a branch of the oldest department store still closed.

The common folk are friendly and eager to please, patiently answering questions, excitedly giving directions. Talking to strangers is a pleasure.
I ride a passenger jeep to my destination and pass by a long queue at the PRC. My driver curses “Why can’t they ever come up with a system not to keep people waiting! That’s why the Philippines will never get out of this rut!” I give him my nod of approval with a smile. He is appeased, and almost forgets to unload me in front of the Hall of Justice. Our laughter fills the gap that connects new found friends and allies.

The guard says I cannot enter as it was only 7:45. So I turn around and walk in the courtyard under a canopy of old trees and spot Café a Corte at the farthest end, an open snack bar where I sit and write this memoir.

By eight o’clock, I stand halted by the scene that greets me at the hall’s entrance. Old prisoners in deep yellow shirts handcuffed to each other, their graying hair and gaunt features bearing witness to the loneliness of prison life hurriedly edge their way to the hearing room as two younger ones also handcuffed the same way follow behind.

The men take it in stride, maybe already numb to the curious sometimes disdainful looks people throw at them.My heart melts. On the benches outside the court, their women, shabbily dressed wait anxiously as the wheels of justice grind ever so slowly.

Melchor Cichon
I hope to see more of this, Weng.

Nynn Arwena G. Tamayo
Sure Nong, Mel. This wandering Jew is a hopeless "wonderer", too. Maybe this is a journal, not an essay? Can we have a journal post as well?

Thank you always for your inspiration!



Fishing With Father
Melchor Cichon

When my father was still alive, I would go fishing with him either in Maeara or in Aklan River. Maeara is man-made lake in Sta. Cruz, Lezo, Aklan. This lake has never gone dry, even until today. A lot of puyo, pantat, gurami ag haeoan are found here. The Aklan River is a nice place to fish especially during summer. There was a lot of fish, and small crabs. Before we went fishing, I would look for earthworms as our bait. I would go near our kitchen where the soil was always wet. Then I would dig the soil, later the earhtworms would be wriggling. I would pick them with my fingers and put them in an open can with a little soil in it. But big earthworms could be found in soil where it is not wet, but just moisten. I would also bring my own fishing rod with hook and line. But my father was a good fisherman. By five-thirty in the afternoon, my father must have caught about a kilo of puyo or other freshwater fishes, while I would be happy catching small crabs, called kalampay. When we reached home, my mother or my elder sister Ramona would prepare them for our vian for supper, especially pinayukang puyo. I like to eat pinayukan nga puyo. My father would always set aside some puyo for his sumsuman sa tuba.


Nynn Arwena G. Tamayo
Beautiful post Nong Mel. So many memories of this beloved Akean River.I'll post one memoir on Father's Day tonight. Meantime, I'm very happy that we decided to revive Bueabud. Thank you Nong Mel for being here.


Melchor Cichon Journals are personal essays.
But you can create one if you wish.


(May 2010)
Nynn Arwena G. Tamayo

I thought of Escalante as a sleepy rural town nestled amidst rolling hills deep in the heart of sugar cane country that is Negros Occidental. Except for Kris Aquino’s equally famous husband James Yap and Lolita Carbon of the now defunct Asin singing group, one memory that sends shivers to my spine is the infamous Escalante massacre of sugar farm workers some ten years back. If I hadn’t known Lolita and James, I would think of it as a veritable broiling pot of rowdy sakadas and rough sugar farm folks waving glimmering espadings; ably toppling down seemingly endless cane fields like mighty soldiers on foot in battles of old.

But what sweet surprise! Escalante caught me awed by this beautiful fountain that springs to life tonight, like magic; suddenly vanishing all qualms about this rustic piece of earth of deep ravines and lush vegetation. Lording the entrance of the town plaza like a majestic queen, the waters play and cavort like graceful dancers performing some old ritual, the scene made more surreal by glaring neon lights.

Before us, spurts of mist spring up to some twenty feet and fall in a vast spray of silver droplets – creating a dream-like semblance of a bright humongous Christmas tree. At both sides, water leaps in giant curves like ballerinas in a grand performance.
The majestic fountain obviously cool and delight Escalante folks after a day of hard toil, mesmerize their kids and send them off to dreamland, weave a fairy tale ambiance for their hopeless romantics and yes, excite and titillate the poet’s pen.

At the background, James Yap hopefuls fill the open basketball court with their yells and the sound of eager running feet. I seem to hear Lolita Carbon’s warm soothing voice in a haunting country song of her beloved Escalante as I dine with friends at James’ Place just across the town plaza. The pancit canton guisado was among the best that I ever had in my entire eating life and the pork barbecue bites were as delicious. Never mind if it was served a little late.

I was intrigued at how the originator of this wonderful attraction has meticulously and thoughtfully conjured this idea – the enormous circular pool, the neon lights, the dancing waters. It was as if he wanted travellers like me to remember only this fountain, and the beauty that is Escalante.

The morning after found me looking for last night’s magic as our vehicle headed further north for the next stop. Surely the magic was gone, for as the originator of this majestic fountain would have wanted it, I left Escalante bringing it home.

about 2 weeks ago · Mark as Irrelevant · Report · Delete Post.Melchor Cichon
My Lolo Empoy and the Ghost

When my grandfather, Lolo Empoy, was still alive, he used to visit our house every night to drink tuba. My Lolo was staying in his eangbon in our ricefield.

My father was also a tuba gatherer when he was still young. but when he started working, Tatay hired a contract tuba gatherer.

When everybody was already drowsy, my Lolo would gather us children and told us stories.

One of the stories that he liked to tell us was the multo, ghost. He would tell us that during the nights, just after the shower, he would see ghost in our ricefields bouncing up and down.

"Really, Lo, you could see ghost?" I would ask him.

"Yes! Would you like to see one? Come with me tonight to my eangbon, and we will get one."

"But Lo, I am afraid. Could you just catch one for me, then early in the morning tomorrow, I will see you." I said.

"No, you must catch it yourself!

" Thank you, Lo, " I said.

That night I could not sleep thinking whether Lolo Empoy was really telling us the truth. What would happen to me if I catch one ghost myself.

about a week ago · Delete Post.Nynn Arwena G. Tamayo Amusing! I'm learning to write something light like this. Keep it up Manong Mel. You're really very prolific.
about a week ago · Mark as Irrelevant · Report · Delete Post.Nynn Arwena G. Tamayo TIME TO ME...

I have long waited for this moment to write about TIME.

Time to me is a resource (which should be) as free, as limitless and as available as water, wind and sun.

What could have entered man’s mind when he tinkered with Time? Making a lot of fuss by dividing it into seconds, minutes, hours, days and months and years? Breaking eternity into parts?

I wonder…

Ages and ages ago, there were only the seasons to reckon with. Time was winter, spring, summer and fall. Time was the crowing of the rooster at early dawn and the whirring of the cicadas at nightfall.

Time was sowing and reaping, birthing, growing, living, and dying. It was a cycle beyond the control of man and believably so because Time is Eternity, is Life itself.

Sometimes, I am inclined to believe that we are more of a slave of the clock, than a slave of time....


Nynn Arwena G. Tamayo

I have always been fascinated by gates. Yes, gates!

In my travels, my eyes would always linger at each gate along the way. Each one amuses me in some special manner, stirring feelings of melancholy, excitement, sometimes derision, and wonder.

Every gate for me evokes a character of its own. Inviting, disarming, rejecting, annoying, welcoming, intimidating.

I shiver at the sight of steel gates with arrows pointing upwards as if to spite heaven or pointing towards me; as if to say I am not welcome here.

Closed, half-closed, half-open; slightly open, slightly closed gates.

They create in me a myriad of emotions which come on so naturally, am myself is surprised at how they affect me to some degree.

I pondered on the significance of gates one day and realized that it must be a very important fixture of any place or home as the pearly gates of Heaven and the gates of Hell.

So much so that when my husband was planning to have ours, I stood my ground in telling him. I want it to be a gate like no other.

True enough, our gate became a conversation piece by itself. Neighbors pause and give a closer look, tempted to have a feel of the intricate ironwork, their fingers tracing a graceful loop here and there.

What a beautiful gate! They would exclaim and marvel at its unique design. That would start us off to a warmer tête-à-tête, sending both of us off the road with a smile and a lighter heart. Maybe that is what neighbors are for!

I have often wondered that for the discerning soul, the world offers many miracles to discover and find joy and amusement in. Joy is truly born of wonder, I may say.


Mila S. Dela Rosa

We think they lost it. We presume, they are on that stage where lucid memory and cognition have left them. We may wonder, even question: what kind of life are they living? Are they living, or just existing?

We call them Residents, not Patients. The reason being: this place is where they stay for the rest of their remaining lives. They live in a skilled nursing care facility, their Home.

They do some unexpected things, and say some unexpected comments, although in the most part, they are confused and disoriented. The common questions that they will ask repeatedly are: “Where is my room?” or “What time is lunch (although lunch has just been served)?” or “When is my daughter/son coming (although they just left)?” One thinks that she owns the apartment (her room) and she is renting a space to two other tenants (her roommates), and she needs to collect their monthly rental dues.

You will be amazed, because in a least expected moment, they will show sense of orientation either to time, place, or person. One resident approached me, asking where her nurse is, and when I asked her why, she answered: “because I want to turn in my hearing aid. I want her to keep it before I go to bed.” Bingo time is the most awaited event of the day, and most of them could still play it right!

They also enjoy each other’s company, talking about special occasions, like the monthly Candle Light Dinner. I can’t help but over-hear an excited group talking about it. “Candle Light Dinner is tonight.” One resident commented. “I know. We have Elvis as the entertainer.” Said another. “Do you know why we have candle light dinner?” asked another. The group answered in chorus: “No. Why?” Her answer made me laugh: “So we will not see what we are eating, left-over food.”

Every day, for the past 18 years, I am in the midst of this so called “geriatric” population. Yes, it was a choice, not a force of need for a job. And, all these years, I love and enjoy doing it. There hasn’t been a single boring day at work, and each night when I go to bed, I look forward to wake up the next day, prepare to go to work, and be with them.

April 30, 2010


Angelo Ancheta just stumbled into this page. i'll try to share a short essay (but i have to finish it first). enjoyed reading these essays.


Crystal I. Prado

I grew up knowing that I had to live up to the family's standard. My mother always tells me, just like any other parent i suppose, education is the only legacy they could leave us.

Lola Azon, my great grandma, emphasized the value of good education. She is no professional, but she was the best farmer i know. She says, it doesn't matter what you do, so long as you're the best in what you're doing. She finished only the 6th grade and volunteered to help her father, Lolo Acoy, to send her siblings to school. One became a doctor, Dr. Ciriaco Icamina, Lola Letty Icamina -Jaeger, a nurse, Lola Josefina Icamina-de la Cruz and Lilia Icamina-Yeban, teachers and Lolo Pedro Icamina, a lawyer then an RTC judge later on.And my lola Azon, a farmer.

She was married to my Lolo Alo (Paolo Igharas) and they had four sons, one of whom is my Lolo Ome (Romeo), my nanay's father. The others are Lolo Roy, a medical technologist then based in Ontario Canada, now in Florida; Lolo Eddie, an electrical engineer who lives in Tennesse for around forty years or so, and the youngest is Lolo Allan, an entrepreneur based in Makati.

Amongst the siblings, Lolo Ome's family was the one left in our hometown. My other lolo and cousins would always send lola greeting cards, letters and pictures from all over the world. It was there that I've seen places, snow, people and a lot more for the first time.

Uncle Ryan graduated magna cum laude. Uncle Raymond (or is it his brother? or both of them?) graduated with honors from Harvard University with a degree in mathematics? (was it physics?) And some other cousins and uncles, others I haven't personally met yet, brought honors to the family. They were doctors, lawyers, engineers, mathematicians, accountants, etc. from the best schools in the country and the world.

All my life, I was told how great they are, how smart, how...They raised the bar so high it was hard for me to measure up...Only to realize that we are family, not competitors. but boy, it took years before i realized that. I didn't even know i was up for a competition...a competition which made me feel like a second class citizen.

Now, I know better. I know that i am fortunate to be a part of a family that values excellence and hard work. A family that is proud of each other's achievements. A family that loves me unceasingly and unconditionally. A family that I can always go home to and be home with.

And my Lola Azon? She may have left earlier but she will always be special to me. Everything I know, I learned it first from her. Thank you lola, it has always been and will always be my honor and privilege to be a part of your family...your greatest legacy.

written: 01/19/2010

Crystal I. Prado

Little did i know that summer has a lot in store for me.

New relationships which i will keep for life, new learnings which i will use for a lifetime, new discoveries which will amaze me forever and a new me everytime i want to.

Summer was unreasonably fun. I did things which I thought I can't. I experienced being with people in ways which I thought I won't. I rediscovered myself and I came to know who I am, what I stand for and what I can be.

In truth, it wasn't about summer. not at all. It was about me. In the pursuit of my purpose, I realized that my purpose is what I say it is.

I had become a deliberate creator of my circumstances and refused to be their slave. God gave me this gift (life) and in return, I acknowledge that it's my responsibility. This is my life. I call the shots. not anyone, not anything. I choose. I am responsible.

written: 07/04/2010

Melchor Cichon
Thanks Crystal for the contribution. I hope to see more of your works. Please contribute poems or short stories too.