17 October 2011

Shaped Poem

Fonzi Christ Web Developer

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Tripartite Crime

Brown Blood
The loud fire of the .45 mm caliber pistol woke the two brothers who were sleeping soundly in a small cabin in the woods. Terrorized by the shot, they jumped off the creaking bamboo floor through the rickety wood stairs and crept toward the ash- covered loams of the deforested hills.
“Ako ron bahala mig!” Tikboy gave out as he fired two more bullets to the fleeing brothers, who managed to have found refuge behind the thick carabao bean bushes, near the brook that stretches through Bugangan River. His accomplice shushed him but it was too late. The subjects have heard him; his rough and deep voice has reached their ears with extreme poignancy of terror and surprise. Tikboy, their meek and timid brother, had just tried to murder them!
The two brothers, Digong and Puloy, have completely fled from the assailants and reached their homes catching their breath. Their clothes were muddied; they smell like a carabao ascended from its favorite mud pool.
The next morning the rumor exploded in the barrio like an atomic bomb and it reached the hithermost barangays. It was known to the local folks that they were secretly and surprisingly attacked in the woods by the two assailants whose identities they vaguely characterized. The attack puzzled the prying people immensely. Their old bedridden father has recently passed away and they’re still wearing black clothes. Who would’ve mercilessly dared to cause the death of another member of their family?
“Sin-o gid man haw, Puloy?” Dadak asked with compelling inquisition in her voice. She had been recurringly asking her husband about the identity of the attackers but he refused to name names. He remained quiet and cold towards the subject every time it is brought up in the discussion.
“Puloy, who are those predators? Why were they hunting you? “Dadak was trembling. Her grip on his arm tightened and her voice grew raspy. “Please, tell me…”
“Si Agot ah,” finally he spoke. He disclosed the attacker’s name with careful euphemism as if he abhorred mentioning it. His head fell and his open hands caught it. His elbows stood on the table that’s made of coconut slabs. It was rough that when he lifted his elbows, the coarse texture printed exact figures on his brown skin.
“Why? Wha-how could he do that to his kindred, to his own brothers?” She was delirious. The confession terrified her so much. Her eyes widened, her mouth remained open. Her knees felt weak. She dropped her butt on the bamboo floor and leaned against the plywood wall.
“Do you remember the night before last night when Digong cursed him for being irreverent to Tatay on his wake? He smiled to that but he drank the freak off the whole night. You know it; he never immersed himself in tuba or Tanduay, never before. He must’ve felt humiliated in front of the mourners and gamblers.” Puloy spoke with unusual rate of speed in his voice. His arms made anticipating movements while he spoke; his mustache imitated the motion of his upper lip; his nose crinkled travestying a little child defiant of a sharp sting by a mosquito on his temple.
Dadak motioned to speak when four rapid knocks shook the door. She looked at her husband and the latter gestured her to open it. She hesitated for a while but when the visitor knocked again, she rose from the bamboo floor and went for it.
Ferdinand entered the room, Digong followed him. He’d just arrived from Cebu where he was assigned as a parish priest in one of the congregations there. An emblem of disbelief is marked on his cheerful face. Apparently, Digong has already told him of the assailant. Digong approached the table and pressed his hands unto it.
“We have to do something. I want vendetta. No! I just want vengeance, that’s all. If we’re gonna ignore what happened last night, we’ll eventually get killed. Let’s rob him the chance to do that. Let’s kill him before he can kill us!” Digong spoke with verbiage. Enmity has possessed him. He didn’t care what or who is the person he wanted to get himself avenged of. Brother or enemy – the idea is entirely the same for him. It’s barbaric but he knew he’d be a fool if he’d let Tikboy axe his head off when he sleeps again at the kaingin range.
“The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death, not anyone, not even your brother!” Ferdinand exclaimed poetically. As a servant of God, he knew he’s compelled to do a miracle in the midst of his warring siblings. He has to work hard to put out the flare-up that grew hotter in them.
“Are you mental? We’re gonna get killed sooner or later. The fact that we know he’s the attacker won’t keep him still. He’ll hunt us to death!” Digong has neither animosity nor resentment for Tikboy. He only despised the idea of his sooner demise. He has two little kids to raise. His wife can’t grow them both. He dreams of one day seeing his sons get decent jobs and marry them off with successful women. He wants to see his grandchildren gather beside his rocking chair as they listen to his monster stories similar to that of Amor. The thought of his death in the hands of Tikboy rippled the peaceful lake of his dreams.
“This is only one filial problem rooted from a petty misunderstanding and melancholy. This can be solved without anyone of you gets killed. Let’s summon your brother here so each one of you can express each other’s grudge and settle everything at once for Christ’s sake.” Ferdinand was determined to resuscitate Digong’s vanishing fear of God. It seemed the only way that could retract him from pursuing his wicked scheme.
Digong gazed at Ferdinand, then to Puloy. Dadak muttered prayers imploring for the Creator’s providence. Silence fell unto the room. Nobody dared to move for a while. Puloy gave out a deep sigh and groomed the grey of his hair with his gnarled fingers.
“Let’s sort this out tomorrow at the burial, in front of Tatay.” Puloy broke the silence. Ferdinand rose from the long bamboo bench and walked past the door he opened and closed with force. Dadak went to the kitchen to fill the thermos with hot water for the mourners at her in-laws’ house five meters away from theirs. The two brothers were left in the room. Digong hammered the table with his fist. He stood erect and placed hands in his pockets.
“We can’t get away with this without retaliation. Tomorrow is the burial. After the burial, its hunting time,” said Digong with suppressed violence. He was expecting a response from his brother.
“Gong -” a frightened plea set in his clumsy words, “I-can’t-I’m-ugh. This isn’t right,” he said at last. But in his subconscious mind, a reverse question formed: what if Tikboy is so intent to finish them off?
“If you don’t have the spine to do this then lemme do it myself! I don’t want the retard ruin my dreams just like that. If Tatay were alive, he would’ve axed him off. You know how fierce he was in dealing matters like this.” He was no longer compelled by probity. He’d made up his mind. To murder his younger brother is his new desideratum.
The burial of their father took place the next day. The whole family gathered at the church and greeted each other as if there were no tension and resentment in their midst. They looked like one big united family gathered to bid last goodbye to their father. Ferdinand believed that the warring brothers are finally in good terms. It was emotional relief seeing his brothers joined together in sorrow for the loss of the great pillar of the family. They spoke with good riddance and eventually trusted his flair for causing reconciliation in them.
The night arrived so early. It was very calm except for the stray dogs sabotaging its serenity from time to time. The little kid’s have gone to their homes and the grown-ups have stopped playing card games. The deafening silence created a rather eerie feeling.
Didong trode on the grassy path that leads to Puloy’s background. Trussed across his hips was a cold blade locked in its sheath. Puloy waited on the backyard patiently. He resisted the urge to slap with his open hand the mosquito that stung his neck. Digong found him there crouching behind the Hibiscus bushes. His small knapsack carried a sling and a bundle of poisoned darts. Together they took the path that leads to the beach where Tikboy’s hut was built.
Tikboy heard the dogs bark as if upright walking creatures are ambushing them with twigs and stones. He reached for his nylon pouch and took out his gun. He positioned his forefinger on the trigger and crouched beside a sturdy wall near the unlocked window. He waited for the rustle of dried mahogany leaves nearby. The moon came out of the dark clouds, reflecting a faint light upon the beach. The cod sea breeze gently moved his unruly hair and fanned the sweat on his forehead. Suddenly he caught a glimpse of silhouettes of men juxtaposed among the coconut trees near the high way. He fired a bullet to them and jumped out of the hut. He crawled towards the rudder of a boat when suddenly he felt a sharp, pointed metal punctured the muscle beneath his shoulder blade. He reached for it as he continued crawling. It was a dart!
His eyes searched for his enemies but they’re nowhere to be seen. He got up on his knees and ran towards the thick mahogany trees without looking back or looking ahead. His head became heavy and his eyes were blurred with thick and indistinct figures. He groped for a trunk when suddenly a cold, thin blade penetrated the bare flesh of his left limb. The stab maimed his arm totally. He couldn’t see things anymore clearly so he fired his gun at a random direction. Another blade cut across his belly, then his thighs and his face at last. For a moment the wounds scathed his muscle tissues. Another stroke sliced his right shoulder and the world was gone.
Puloy saw his brother fall flat on the rocky earth, motionless. His blood flowed out from his wounds. The blood seemed brown and thick under the moonlight. Digong stood aside at the dead body. He was paralyzed with horror and fear. The foliage rustled and several rushing steps approached them. Puloy bolted and dragged him toward the legume fields, crushing the peanuts in dark yellow bloom. The moon lurked again behind the nimbuses. The dogs howled as if giving a long, loud, mournful cry. From a distance, a shrill wail of a woman can be heard against the splashes of the sea waves. The lightning knifed the dark sky and a roaring thunder drowned out the sorrowful cries.

(The characters and events in this story are fictitious. Any similarity is coincidental and not intended by the writer.)
Fonzi Christ Web Developer

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24 May 2011

Culminating the World Literature course

         Our course is Literatures of the World. Apparently, we were expecting to read the works of Rabindranath Tagore, Edgar Allan Poe, Hans Christian Andersen and more representative literatures from Filipino authors. On the other hand, we were given this rare moviegoer chance to watch films based on literature books like Les Miserables, Odyssey, and King Arthur. It was an awesome experience to effortlessly understand the stories without having to read a 500-page book. However, it is always of more advantage to have read the book first before you watch its film version. It is because the big screen version usually deviates from the original story. What you savor in the film is the artistic interpretation of the scriptwriter, not of the original author. For example, in the original Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, the hero Jean Valjean has escaped prison several times. In the film written by Rafael Yglesias, Valjean escaped from parole once and he is transformed into a good man. In the movie Odyssey, Odysseus was given two options in crossing the territory of Scylla and Charybdis. In the film, it seems that Odysseus didn’t know they have to get past the monster Scylla and the deadly whirlpool Charybdis. All of his men got killed and he was left alone, brought by the waves to the island of Calypso. These are the examples of the deviations of the movies based on literature books.

          Since our course is literature, it is expected that we will be familiarized of its two main divisions namely, poetry and prose. Prose is the most artistic type and it is our favorite since we don’t have to deal with difficult imagery and symbols used in poetry. Novels give us the chance to have a page-turning experience reading them. Drama also provides us with an exhilarating experience especially because it is intended to be performed on stage. Just because we dealt with these forms of literature, we were tasked to culminate our learning in a one-day activity. The activity involved presentations of drama, oration, storytelling, character impersonation, verse choir, and choral singing. Our group did the choral singing category. We were having a hard time thinking where does choral singing belong to in literature. But since we are going to sing, we presume our category belongs to poetry since a song is a form of Lyric Poetry. The hardest part is, we have to perform it on stage and we are not real good singers! Our group selected the provincial theme song “Antique Banwa nga Hamili” as our piece because we are all familiar of it. In the first place, we don’t have a trainer to teach us how to sing it properly in chorus. Our success in the presentation is dependent upon ourselves. We started practicing our piece two weeks before the culmination. It wasn’t a rigid practice but more of a happy-go-lucky assignment we just need to get past until it’s done. Unlike other groups, we didn’t stay overnight just practicing. We trained ourselves anytime we are free and convenient. In other words, we didn’t give it our full preparation. It’s just fair that we didn’t hit the top spot in this category. Actually, we didn’t plan much about everything like our costume. On the day of the presentation, we even admitted two neophyte “singers” who weren’t with us since the first and the last day of our practice. We didn’t work hard for it so we didn’t expect to win. But then the most important thing is that we know it is not a competition. It was not the other groups that we had competed but it is ourselves. Our greatest foe in this arena is our own ability. It was fun and we cherish this memorable experience; and we give it a good riddance as we face our next endeavors.
Fonzi Christ Web Developer

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23 May 2011

Nice Meeting You, Rizal

            Like anyone of us, he too is not perfect. He is vulnerable and emotional. He fell in love and got hurt. But unlike any other heroes the world has known for their bravery and courage, he is the gentlest and noblest. He didn’t die in the battlefield like El Cid Campeador of Spain. He didn’t win over an assault in a city like Agamemnon of Greece. He doesn’t possess invulnerability like Siegfried of Germany. He is not a mythical hero but he is not a looser. He didn’t fight his enemies by sword; he attacked them with his plume and ink.
            I should be ashamed of myself to confess that I don’t know him that much. This guy has six names and I only know him by the name he was known to the world – José Rizal. I am envious of others who kept a memory of the names of all the women he’d loved before. With great humility, I admit I only know two of them: Leonor Rivera and Josephine Bracken, the faces whom I associate with Mickey Feriols and Chin Chin Gutierrez. I don’t know how or when he was born except that I know he died on December 30 because it’s a national holiday. I have no idea how many courses he took in Ateneo and UST except that I know he took medicine that’s why they call him Dr. José Rizal. All I know is that José Rizal is the Philippine national hero and he died because the Spaniards executed him for his attempts to overturn the Catholic Church and liberate the Filipinos from the Spanish dominion. Nevertheless, I’d like to comfort myself to the belief that in order to appreciate what José Rizal has done for the country, someone need not to know everything about him including the petty things like how he comb his hair or does he wear undergarments or does his fart smell bad as well. I believe these things are beyond our concern to delve into. The purpose of the subject is to make us realize his noble deeds and instill in our minds how José Rizal selflessly devoted his life for the love of his country and his fellowmen. Rizal or PI 100 is not an autobiography, it is philosophy and history.

Fonzi Christ Web Developer

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17 April 2011

Acceptance Gives Hope

Recently, I have been reading literature which I reckoned a flickering light to my gloomy days in the boarding house. I read a lot now because I am lonely and I need something to arouse my imagination in the midst of my solitary moments. Unknowingly, I gained more than what I immediately wanted to have. Last Friday, I have read a narrative that has really moved me to feel something deep in my heart. It made me aware that life is, afterall, not fair and therefore we seek something - a sign - that will enable us to heighten our relationship with the Creator despite the appalling inequality.  Let me share this literature that suddenly triggered me to ponder about its timeless relevance to man..

Breakfast at McDonald's

I am a mother of three (ages 14, 12, 3) and have recently completed my college degree. The last class I had to take was Sociology.
The teacher was absolutely inspiring with the qualities that I wish every human being had been graced with. Her last project of the term was called, ‘Smile.’ The class was asked to go out and smile at three people and document their reactions. I am a very friendly person and always smile at everyone and say hello anyway. So, I thought this would be a piece of cake, literally.
Soon after we were assigned the project, my husband, youngest son, and I went out to McDonald’s one crisp March morning. It was just our way of sharing special playtime with our son.
We were standing in line, waiting to be served, when all of a sudden everyone around us began to back away, and then even my husband did.I did not move an inch…. an overwhelming feeling of panic welled up inside of me as I turned to see why they had moved.
As I turned around I smelled a horrible ‘dirty body’ smell, and there standing behind me were two poor homeless men.As I looked down at the short gentleman, close to me, he was ‘smiling’. His beautiful sky blue eyes were full of God’s Light as he searched for acceptance. He said, ‘Good day’ as he counted the few coins he had been clutching.
The second man fumbled with his hands as he stood behind his friend. I realized the second man was mentally challenged and the blue-eyed gentleman was his salvation. I held my tears as I stood there with them.
The young lady at the counter asked him what they wanted. He said, ‘Coffee is all Miss’ because that was all they could afford. (If they wanted to sit in the restaurant and warm up, they had to buy something. He just wanted to be warm).
Then I really felt it – the compulsion was so great I almost reached out and embraced the little man with the blue eyes. That is when I noticed all eyes in the restaurant were set on me, judging my every action.
I smiled and asked the young lady behind the counter to give me two more breakfast meals on a separate tray.I then walked around the corner to the table that the men had chosen as a resting spot. I put the tray on the table and laid my hand on the blue-eyed gentleman’s cold hand. He looked up at me, with tears in his eyes, and said, ‘Thank you.’
I leaned over, began to pat his hand and said, ‘I did not do this for you.. God is here working through me to give you hope.’
I started to cry as I walked away to join my husband and son. When I sat down my husband smiled at me and said, ‘That is why God gave you to me, Honey, to give me hope..’. We held hands for a moment and at that time, we knew that only because of the Grace that we had been given were we able to give.
We are not church goers, but we are believers… That day showed me the pure Light of God’s sweet love.
I returned to college, on the last evening of class, with this story in hand. I turned in ‘my project’ and the instructor read it.Then she looked up at me and said, ‘Can I share this?’ I slowly nodded as she got the attention of the class.
She began to read and that is when I knew that we as human beings and being part of God share this need to heal people and to be healed. In my own way I had touched the people at McDonald’s, my son, the instructor, and every soul that shared the classroom on the last night I spent as a college student.
I graduated with one of the biggest lessons I would ever learn : Unconditional Acceptance.

Much love and compassion is sent to each and every person who may read this and learn how to……


 What is special about this story is its spiritual value and most especially its relevance to me. Reading along, it enabled me to gain rational thinking about my sexuality and the sense of belongingness I feel, the gift of acceptance I receive or the amount of disdain that I get from other people. The story is short but comprehensive, simple but artistic. Aware that the writer is real and her experience is exquisitely genuine, it really made me understand its message deeply. Its universality is apparent that it applies mostly to people regardless of age, race, culture and creed. Its impact is more or less enduring that it can stand through the test of time. Her story is a reflection of human nature, unique and rare. Its value is equal to that of a novel. Whoever wrote this story, I am so grateful that she was glad to share it to other people. It made me experience something and entirely touched my human heart.
Fonzi Christ Web Developer

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01 March 2011

Teacher's Role in Classroom Management

Curious about how a teacher handles her class, I came to observe a Physics class of roughly 40 students; a mixture of two sections in third year. The classroom set up is so high school. When I looked up at the ceiling I saw Chinese lanterns hang loosely; more of it filled up the square ceiling. The walls are pinned of colorful cartolinas painted with maxims from famous world philosophers. It’s funny that I found mobile numbers scribbled on them which I suspected written by the students wanting to have textmates. The walls at the back of the room are filled up of huge pictures of Philippine Presidents with their names in bold characters; the ones you get to see on a daily basis and will make you memorize them unconsciously.
The class started with the checking of the students’ attendance, after which, the teacher recalls the last meeting’s topic. Then the students took hold of their assignments while the teacher wrote the problems on the board about finding velocity. To my calculation, only one third of the students in the classroom seem to be paying close attention. Some students had their time poking their seatmates, some really enjoyed throwing crumpled papers upon their classmates and few went in and out of the classroom without even noticing my presence at the back.
Apparently, the teacher has established a very low affective filter in the classroom. The students barely showed respect or fear to the teacher. The teacher’s voice seemed to be drowning in the noise created by the blabbing students. I can share empathy to her as a teacher dealing with a huge number of students in a classroom. I understand that having more than 40students in your class is pretty hard to manage. So her attention is focused alone on the students who actively participate in the discussion. The students are pretty hard to get their attention and have them participate in a lesson.
There should be some necessary things to be re-considered. The classroom set up is inappropriate. The teacher remains positioned in front overlooking some students at the back. There should be a particular seating assignment so the students will not have the freedom to choose any seat that they feel comfortable watching the playground. The teacher should not maintain a low voice throughout the discussion because it shows small passion to teach. The teacher might introduce an exciting strategy in presenting her lesson. I have observed that the students are lively and joyful in playing around the classroom during the class. Perhaps they might enjoy a game in the classroom as facilitated by the teacher. The teacher can start the lesson with a little competition that might entice the students to participate. A plain discussion seems to be boring for them but group work and each assigned a specific activity might pull them together to work on their own. I believe in this scenario that teaching doesn’t mean the teacher has always to do the talking. Rather as a teacher, she can facilitate the class to discover things on their own.
Fonzi Christ Web Developer

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