Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas Nostalgia

Do yesteryears make you feel homesick even when you're home? I damn miss the kind of Christmas season we used to celebrate a decade and half ago...

When songs of sleigh bells began to fill the air, I was one of those excited kids who used to join a group of carolers in the neighborhood because I wanted to have more friends. Caroling that time wasn't about money. It was about friends making merriment with friends. After caroling brigades, I recall going home happily, sleeping right away, not even caring to count the coins I got from the night's fun.

Then, I remember my parents helping me out hang a stocking on our door days before the 25th. How a nice boy patiently waited for the big morning after the Christmas evening when that white dude called Santa Clause had secretly inserted goodies in the stocking. I have no regrets over the discovery later about such "foolishness" as others call it. For me, it is not the gifts inside the stocking that counts; its the spirit.

And who can still recall those indigenous cannons made of big bamboo and operated by the big boys of the time? We used to compete for the loudest explosion by group and laughed at the softest fart when it did not work. It is truly a way safer and merrier thing than the latest crackers today. I just wish somebody can bring back in town that sort of happy noise.

On this very 1st day of December, let a then nice boy and now nostalgic man bring good tidings to your hearts. Merry Christmas, everyone! Hohohoho!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Uncle Bonie's Day

We surely know why it will be a national holiday tomorrow as we celebrate the 149th birth anniversary of the light that guided the revolution - Andres Bonifacio.

Among the hometown men in our history, my sympathy goes to the supreme katipunero. I think that he was too robbed of life, being born in a humble family and died in an unfair circumstance.

A difficult early life sparked Bonifacio the courage to face the tall odds of life. He was the eldest of six broods of a poor couple named Santiago Bonifacio and  Catalina de Castro.

When he turned fourteen years old, he was orphaned and had to take his younger siblings under his wings. To make both ends meet, he had to sacrifice his schooling.

Yet even if Bonifacio stopped going to school, he continued reading novels about ideals of freedom. He had read a great deal and had a library but was destroyed at the time his house burned down.

Bonifacio's cry: "Bring out your cedulas and tear them to pieces to symbolize our determination to take up arms!" signified the Filipino outbreak of uprising against the long colonial occupation.

One early morning midst the revolution, an another group of Filipino soldiers brought Bonifacio and his brother to the mountains. One of the soldiers opened the sealed letter from the Filipino general, which secretly ordered to kill the two men. Using bayonets and bolos, the soldiers dug a shallow grave, covered the two dead bodies with weeds, and hurriedly left to escape.

Anyone who knows our history will understand why Bonifacio is remembered on his birthday, November 30, rather than the date of his death, May 10. Unlike Rizal who was executed by the enemy, Bonifacio was executed by fellow countrymen.

Oh, poor Uncle Bonie! Tomorrow will be that day 149 years ago when you came into this vale of tears! They betrayed you but you proved that even a plebeian can make a big difference and give his motherland the gift of heroism!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Teacher for Real

These injustices all started since I graduated from college and until now.

Yesterday I dropped by the MSU High School Library to check on some thesis format before I submitted my edited manuscript to my adviser for the routing process. As I approached the Dissertation Section, I put on the table the clipped pile of papers. The librarian aide noticed me.

Librarian: Is that thesis?
Me: Yes. But for routing process yet.
Librarian: What year are you in college?
Me: Huh? I'm studying in the Graduate School!

When I was just a fresh graduate from college, it was okay for me that people who do not know me personally often mistook me as a hapless student. I just let situation like this slip away. As a matter of fact, I consider it as a blessing in disguise because I actually benefit from it.

For instance, riding a jeep as a part of my daily rut during my first teaching career, the conductor would not think that I am a professional teacher even in my honorable uniform. When I give a twenty pesos bill, the conductor would take only the price of a student fare – a stratagem that I have enjoyed. I mean, who would not? In these days of overpricing fares, I don’t feel guilty and I consider myself one lucky dog.

But what I cannot take is when, four years forward, people still think that I am a student - even on my best teacher attire! This noble profession which I struggled to attain for years was simply denied from me by situations where justice is nowhere in the world.

One weekend of a hell last year, my parents visited me in the city. We went to some relatives whom I've never known for the many years of my existence in this cruel world. When I was introduced, the old lady said that she think I looked younger. Of course, my liver inflated for such a compliment. But not until she damn added that she would think that I’m only a high school student, not even a respectable teacher! Well, what else can I do? My other relatives were in an amused chorus of laughter! I felt my smile faded into a raw one.

Despite such and among other injustices of the unkind fate to me, I still convinced myself that I am a true blue teacher for myself no matter what they think. Hello, do they want to get slapped with my PRC identification card as an evidence to the court? Yet, ladies and gentlemen, I didn't know the worst was yet to come.

My former boardmate abroad asked me if I happened to hang around a burger station which her aunt owns. Curious to know, I set out one time to feed my darn hungry stomach to the burger station which my former boardmate described. I broke off from the crowd and asked this middle aged lady. She looked with a surprise to me. She cheerily confirmed and told me that she is my former boardmate’s aunt. And so we chatted. “In what grade are you?” she asked. “I mean, in what year are you in high school?” she rephrased. That time, I wanted to throw a curse in the wind, but I prevented myself from washing my linen in the public.

People always mistook me as a student - name whatever level. Sometimes it is a flattery to my back but oftentimes it is a blow to my ego. I do not know exactly why people do. Maybe because I do not care enough to look a professional teacher or maybe because my personality does not evoke an authority of a stereotypical teacher. Whatever, only I myself can know the damn truth.

Estudyante ka dong? Nope! I am a teacher for real!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November Wind

You were there those solitary times
Hugged me in your most tender arms
Beyond the dimmest light of hope
You were there to help me cope...

And I know you are right here
When the lilies move, fir trees sway
Without a wistful call for love and care
You are here to give an answer...

Just as you merge across the bay
With the red-winged robin's longing echo
In the absence of profound consolation
You were there to lend affection...

Now, your touch feels different
Yet I just love it you are here
Come on, November Wind, dance with me
Your cool cadences before you flee....