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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Beyond Forgetting

This is one of my favorite poems back in high school and it was one of the pieces we memorized in our speech class for our final practical exam. Too bad, this was not assigned to me. I did Mark Anthony's Speech for the funeral of Julius Caesar though.

I could still remember some lines:

"Friends, Romans, lend me your ears! I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them"

It was funny that I did well during the practical exam. But when I did a demo in another class, I forgot one line to the consternation of my speech class teacher.

Beyond Forgetting
by: Rolando A. Carbonell

For a moment I thought I could forget you.
For a moment I thought I could still the restlessness in my heart.
I thought the past could no longer haunt me—nor hurt me.
How wrong I was!
For the past, no matter how distant, is as much a part of me as life itself.
And you are part of that life.
You are so much a part of me—of my dreams, my early hopes, my youth and my ambitions—that in all my tasks I can’t help remembering you.
Many little delights and things remind me of you.
Yes, I came.
And would my pride mock my real feelings?
Would the love song, the sweet and lovely smile on your face, be lost among the deepening shadows?
I have wanted to be alone.
I thought I could make myself forget you in silence and in song...
And yet I remembered.
For who could forget the memory of the once lovely, the once happy world such as ours?
I came because the song that I kept through the years is waiting to be sung.
I cannot sing it without you.
The song when sung alone will lose the essence of its tune, because you and I had been one.
I have wanted this misery to end, because it is part of my restlessness.
Can’t you understand?
Can’t you divine the depth and the tenderness of my feelings towards you?
Yes, can’t you see how I suffer in this even darkness without you?
You went away because you mistook my silence for indifference.
But silence, my dear, is the language of my heart.
How could I essay the intensity of my love when silence speaks a more eloquent tone?
But, perhaps, you didn’t understand...
Remember, I came because the gnawing loneliness is there and
will not be lost until the music is sung, until the poem is heard, until the silence is understood....until you come to me again.
For you alone can blend the music and memory into one consuming ecstasy.
You alone...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I am a "B" Traveler!

I found this really cool site which was part of an email to me by a friend. You can rate yourself bly clicking teh areas where you have visited. And I found out that I have a "B" rating. Not bad!

And this is the map that shows my travels around the Philippines:

You can access this at or at the main website of Joji Alcantara at

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Walang Hanggang Paalam

IN THE YAHOOGROUP of my SD (Social Development Workers Formation Program) batch, Datu Ferdie Uko asked about the theme song of our batch. If my memory serves me right, I suggested that our batch song (which we actually sang during our completion ceremonies), should be Walang Hanggang Paalam by Joey Ayala.

I rummaged though my music collection and took out two Joey Ayala albums in tape records (yes, hindi pa uso ang CD that time, ca1992-93). I knew there were three albums but I only found 2. I have Ang Panganay ng Umaga and Awit ng Tanod-Lupa. But "Walang Hanggang Paalam" is not included in these two albums. I even remember that Bayang Barrios was the one who sang it. It must have been in one tape which was stolen by the kleptomaniac boarder of my cousin. (Darn!).

Searching the internet for the lyrics of the song was not that difficult though. I am glad that Joey Ayala has also invaded the technology mainstream to promote his artistry and his alternative music. So I am sharing this again to my SD batchmates, especially for my CIPYML babies with whom I have also shared my romanticism about development work when I was like them--young, idealist, and romantic.

Note: Click the title to bring you to Joey Ayala site and listen to the song.

or watch YouTube

Walang Hanggang Paalam
Words and music by Joey Ayala

di ba tayo’y narito upang maging malaya
at upang palayain ang iba
ako’y walang hinihiling
Ika’y tila ganoon din
sadya’y bigyang-laya ang isa’t-isa

ang pag-ibig natin ay walang hanggang paalam
at habang magkalayo papalapit pa rin ang puso
kahit na magkahiwalay tayo ay magkasama
sa magkabilang dulo ng mundo

ang bawat simula ay siya ring katapusan
may patutunguhan ba ang ating pagsinta
sa biglang tingin kita’y walang kinabukasan
subalit di-malupig ang pag-asa

ang pag-ibig natin ay walang hanggang paalam
at habang magkalayo papalapit pa rin ang puso
kahit na magkahiwalay tayo ay magkasama
sa magkabilang dulo ng mundo

ang pag-ibig natin ay walang hanggang paalam
at habang magkalayo papalapit pa rin ang puso
kahit na magkahiwalay tayo ay magkasama
sa magkabilang dulo ng mundo
sa magkabilang dulo ng mundo

Post script: It has been 15 years since we graduated from the program. Many of us are still in development work and some are into the corporate world. I don't know what's eating Ferdie (my namesake) why he asked about our batch song? I guess I know now. It always feels good to reminisce the old days when you are young and carefree and dreaming to change the world.

We have grown a bit (I hope, wiser! I think!), no longer carefree but more calculating and careful. Did we change the world? I would say we did our best to contribute to some planned change in our personal capacities. Sometimes, it is nice to go back and have romance with development work because the struggle and change process continues.

And as the song goes:

ang pag-ibig natin ay walang hanggang paalam
at habang magkalayo papalapit pa rin ang puso
kahit na magkahiwalay tayo ay magkasama
sa magkabilang dulo ng mundo

ang bawat simula ay siya ring katapusan
may patutunguhan ba ang ating pagsinta
sa biglang tingin kita’y walang kinabukasan
subalit di-malupig ang pag-asa

Vintage Photo Credits: Nica's album


Population Education 101

LAST MONDAY, I caught "The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human" on Star Movies.

The movie appeared like a Discovery or National Geographic documentary on the mating practices of some species of animals. This time, the focus is on how an alien observes how human beings would measure up in this human behavior. The story narrates in a funny, anthropological and sociological jargon (or even alien lingo), the process of sexual attraction, love, single life, dating, mating or copulation process, the dreaded introduction of their mates to the parents and siblings who must approve of their relationship, fear of parenthood and the perpetuation of human species.

And these are my favorite lines:
Narration while the male and female human species are watching sunset: " 
"most say that this is the most beautiful aspect of the human mating ritual... other than the copulation..."

And this really made me guffaw; Not exact the words but sounds like this:  

"Humans must be prepared for marriage when the male and female species say sweet things, and they promise to stick with each other until they are old and yucky."

The movie was really hilarious! Those who are married, or who are about to get married would surely identify with the story.

Definitely, it was also a breather from the usual plot of romantic comedy--educational and fun--which reminds me of my Population Education class back in high school.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Bob Ong, foccacia bread, and an eyeball

AFTER CARRYING my heavy 17 inches monitor to the shop where I had it repaired, my arms trembled and I felt so weak and tired. I realized I haven't had my breakfast at 11:30 AM. I was starved.

So I looked I for a restaurant inside SM Fairview where I will not wait in a long queue. I was lucky enough to find this fancy small restaurant which specializes in spaghetti -- called the Spaghetti factory. I am a spaghetti lover so I gave in to this craving. I ordered a combo meal of spaghetti bolognese, fried pork chop and chicken, Caesar’s salad, foccacia bread and lemonade.

There were only two of us who were dining in the place. The other one was a man who is between late 20s and early 30s, and was apparently waiting for someone (probably a date because I heard him talking in his phone and said "Where are you now?"). While waiting for my food, I brought out Bob Ong's "Ang Paboritong Libro ni Hudas" and read some pages. The book never failed to make me smile at the anecdotes, that I looked weird smiling by myself. Then the person, who the guy is waiting for finally arrived and turned out to be a pretty lady around his age. I thought it was interesting. Seeing the two made me think they seem to be a nice and good-looking couple. And I am not sure if it was Ina Raymundo but they look alike. I know Ina is very much married (as I have learned from the showbiz talk shows a few months back, lolz!). It could not be her. Anyway, when my food was served, I practically rammed the food in my mouth. In between chewing, I also had fun eavesdropping.

The guy was asking the lady how she was until it came to the point when he asked about her views on relationship. So this is becoming more interesting, I thought. But because the food was really great I lost track of their conversation. The spaghetti bolognese has ample meaty sauce (I love saucy spaghetti), and the foccacia bread was so tasty. I guess I even caught the attention of the pretty lady when I called the waitress whom I asked if a loaf of foccacia bread was on sale(was she interested in the foccacia bread too?). I checked the menu some details of the foccacia bread says: plain and original, baked with herbs, rosemary and extra virgin oil. So the herbs explains the different tang. It tastes like the sweet monay, but with a more full dough and an extra kick because of the herbs, perhaps. Unfortunately, they were not selling a loaf for take out.

Finally, I gorged in all my food. Then I eavesdropped again. Did the guy nail the date? I don't think so. I heard the lady loud and clear. She said something like "I don't think I can marry. My friends were asking me when would I get married, but I told them I am happy the way I am at this point in my life." And worse, the lady said "I could not imagine myself married." The guy must have been flabbergasted and felt this as a blow to his ego. Why not? He is good looking, and seems to have a stable job and financially independent. He seems to be very self-confident because while speaking with someone in his mobile phone, he exudes that confidence and quick wit.

On the other hand, I also root for the lady. The guy was full of bravado and seems a bit show-off. He spoke with someone in his phone twice and discussed about some details of a business transaction as if he was broadcasting it to the people present. This left the lady tinkering over her phone or nibbling a piece of a pizza the guy ordered for them. I thought that if it was the first date, would a guy make a call and talk so loud? Can't he make the call later? Anyway it was lunch time and, at least to my standards, it was not a life and death situation. I never heard his phone ringing. He was the one calling the other party. This is not to mention that he ordered a pizza even before his date has arrived, and that he kept on egging the poor lady help him finish it.

Poor etiquette. Bad manners. Bad date. Good laugh. Good food. Good day!

Friday, June 1, 2007

In the eyes of the child

YESTERDAY, I WAS invited to be the resource person of a seminar on Strengthening Parent-Child Relationship. This is part of of the community organizing process of the Alay Buhay Foundation, Inc. in Barangay Pintung Bukawe in San Mateo Rizal. Despite its short distance from Metro Manila, the place is still typically poor barangay, with very few economic activities, and it is apparent that the community has been neglected. As part of the organizing process, Alay-Buhay wants to involve the whole family so that their social development interventions would become more effective.

I have not done direct community training for a long time and I thought that working with them would ground me again in the realities of poor communities.

Both parents and children attended the seminar. They all participated in the activities I have designed and introduced. What interests me more is when I asked them to write the top 10 family stresses as they experienced and observed them. It is interesting to note that they do have a noteworthy analysis of their family life.

Parents write their discussion outputs during the workshop.

The youth group present the top 10 family stresses.

They also role played what they think is most stressful for them. In this scene, they mimic their fathers during a drinking session, sans the Ginebra.

The girl (supposedly wife) enters the scene and picks up a fight with her drunkard husband (third from left).

The problems are typical that they seem to have been ingrained in their daily life. But these kids are hopeful though that they can change their lives for the better. God Bless them!

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