Monthly Archives: December 2006
By Beverly Irene M. Navarra
SHE’S a lot thinner than the bent old woman faltering in her steps in that advertisement against osteoporosis, and worse: At 89, Visitacion “Bising” Babang doesn’t even have a cane to support her as she scoops out her meal from the streets, her arms reaching out for alms.
When she called out at jeepney driver stopping near her to spare her a peso coin, he didn’t even glance at her. “Mo-uli na ko,” she told me, catching her breath. Obviously hungry, she bought three candies for herself.
A widow, Lola Bising says she has a shack in barangay Oprra that she shares with her seven children and their families. When asked why she’s on the streets, she answered. “Wala man ko magsuroy-suroy, nangita man ko’g kwarta para pang-kaon.” I accompanied her to her house nestled at a riverside.
From the main road, it took almost a kilometer to reach her place. Amazing, indeed, that Lola Bising could still walk this far in spite of her weak knees. Alay, her fortysomething daughter, explains that her mother would always find time to beg, particularly in the Capitol area, even if they’ve been dissuading her.
When asked why they can’t stop Lola Bising from going to the streets, Kisses, one of her grandchildren, answered that she’s hardheaded at times. Obviously annoyed at my inquiries about Lola Bising, he sounded miffed about her. Wait till you get old yourself, thus I wanted to tell him.
By Hope S. Yu
laughter is a word you must grow into
hold while it collects the rising gurgles
laugh, they say, and the world laughs
By Fr. Flor Lagura, SVD
In the Service of the Word
AS THE Amtrak “Sunset Limited” express train snaked its way through the plains of Texas and climbed the hills and mountains of Arizona and California, the one thing that impressed the eyes of the passengers were the trees and lights set up in cities and towns in preparation for Christmas.
All the while when bitter accusations and counter-accusations are being hurled against each other by the two warring camps in the ongoing cultural war over the meaning and center of Christmas, the people here, as in many other parts of our world, prepare in their own way for the season of joy and giving.
Caroling gets cooler with the Christmas Serenade featuring the UV Chorale at the main mall of Banilad Town Centre.
In the Yuletide Light
Poets of Bathalad (Bathalan-ong Halad sa Dagang), a group of Cebuano creative writers, celebrate Christmas by waxing lyrical about the mystery of giving or “Talinghaga sa Gasa,” the theme of the monthly poetry reading dubbed Bantawan sa Bathalad at Kahayag Café, 9 pm.
By Manny Camara Gumban
HAVING lived in the city practically all my life, I have always considered Carmen, 42 kilometers up north, as my hometown. I never grew up there except to spend what seemed to be endless summers during school breaks.
Perhaps, living in the city has more advantages and comforts than being far from civilization. We get to see the latest movies, bar-hop and listen to live bands, gyrate to disco music or chill it out in the malls. But being trapped in never-ending traffic, pollution, sky-scraping edifices, or blinded by billboards, we just don’t realize how many times we have been missing the glory of a full moon!
Now back to the countryside. Would you allow me to share with you my “third home?”
By the sea between Toledo City and Balamban, the sleepy barangay of Talavera is another one of those quiet villages that dot Cebu’s western coast. We see the usual basketball court, the stage for local beauty contests, plaza, barangay hall, church, ricefields, fishermen drying their nets, children playing, folks just letting time pass by.
For almost five years, this barrio has become my other town. Everytime I go there to visit, I see an invisible red carpet rolled out to welcome me. I am a ninong in three weddings; a godfather in seven baptisms; and a Kuya to many including those older than me (maybe because I have more gray hairs.)
By Darwin John Moises and Michelle Mendez-Palmares
Michelle: If two weeks back we talked about the dilemma of divulging our feelings for another person, especially if that person is a friend, this time around we’ll talk on whether or not one should disclose to a friend that his or her partner and/or significant other is fooling around and cheating on him or her. Women have little or no compunction in telling their women friends that their boyfriends or husbands are cheating on them. Why? Because when women get together and talk, top topics include their boyfriends or husband; their grievances about them (how he again forgot their monthsary or anniversary) and other women, especially those who prey on the boyfriends or husbands of another. Men, on the other hand, don’t want to rat on their buddies. They don’t want to complicate things, so they’re pretty tight-lipped about these matters; you have to pry information like that almost literally out of their mouths. When men get together, they down bottles of beer, talk about sports (wow pare, did you see Manny Pacquiao’s mean left hook?), talk about women they’re not really serious with (wow pare, did you see her _______? (insert body part they’re partial to) but not talk about their serious relationships, or about their wives (for those who are married).