Newlyweds Jesson and Rosemarie
For your two hearts to beat for each other
Wrapped in magic the mind can’t decipher
Knots now tied no one must put asunder
Set your marriage goal to beyond forever
That is achievable with God at the center
With humility kneel and ask for it in prayer
Nothing is impossible to God we surrender
Wisdom and experience as witnesses
Tell us that in our human relationships
A lot of work in fact a marriage requires
Yours may only need light adjustments
1 April 2014 you became sweethearts
26 December 2017 you got engaged
Yet in high school you were classmates
Aside from growing up as kababayans
Take note of the your wedding homily
To each other “palihug” you must say
When you wrong “pasaylo” must be ready
Whatever circumstance trust is on the way
We your godparents are a text or call away
Rest assured you are in our prayers daily
For your success, joys and a soon baby
In all of your life’s journey, be happy
To God be the Glory
Even insured by Mariah Carey
How often have I neglected thee
No doubt like a goat on priority
But maybe due to your versatility
Coupled with your dependability
Always in place like the infantry
Oh not that late for the so sorry
In the countryside way back when
Demands for thy use overwhelms
Wandered expanse under coconut trees
Submerged for hours in muddy ricefields
For seedling pulls or catch mudfishes
Walked miles to locate a lost carabao
Climbed gooseberry trees by the riverside
Followed wishes and commands
Of purposely driven bosses
On dancefloor until music ends
Trekked valleys cum boondocks
Crossed series of shallow rivers
Visited unknown random houses
Soaked by the rain not the pants
One day wirings just gone berserk
Sporadic red patches surfaced
The bosses had to step on the brake
Erythema nodosum was suggested
Bedrest should be to slow the tribe
Hypersentivity vasculitis is the D x
Twelve days of pred antihist as T x
The human mortal knows nothing
Each tic toc may bring in anything
Could be life’s likes or not in the least
Either brings out the worst or the best
May be beyond mind’s understanding
Who can fathom the Supreme Being
Let each chime well lived as grace
My eldest child, I call her bb#1, is now on her 9th grade at a science school. This level may truly be trying as there are only very few on Recognition List every time the school’s Quarter Recognition is held. While grades 7, 8 and 10 may have almost 20 on the list, Grade 9 only has less than 10. At one time, I noticed only six names on the list. I observed this when I graced each of the quarter recognition of bb#1 in her 7th and 8th grade. Eight times in all.
To be recognized as one of the names on a Director’s List, a junior high school student at this science school must have a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 1.5. Our bb#1 hit it all in her grades 7 and 8. But not yet at her 9th grade so far. Two quarters have passed already. So, what is her GPA then? It’s a little over 1.6 but not beyond 1.7. O-ha! If this is in a college level, then bb#1 would surely be a cum laude, which require a GPA of 1.75 or better. The 1.5 would be a magna cum laude. Wow. So even if bb#1 is not called to the stage for a certificate giving, yey, she is still that intelligent kid!
Her laggard performance zeroes in on Filipino-based subjects – Filipino and Social Science. Like a buy1-take1 thing because Soc Scie is on Filipino language. This has always been like this since the first grade. Well, our national hero who is a polyglot, Dr Jose P Rizal, even wrote that Tagalog is a very difficult language! And, even if it is referred to as Filipino, the actual use is 90 percent, if not a hundred percent Tagalog. We Visayan speaking folks in the country have hard tongues speaking hard vowels. Hence, it is very difficult for us to shift to the soft Tagalog. Well, anyway, good thing the school subjects are mostly English based, so bb#1 could easily get a flat 1 in Mathematics =)
Recognition is not just for the academics. The school may be is focused on science and mathematics, but there is wide embrace towards alternative learning activities (ALA) such as the arts, dance, media (broadcasting), agriculture (gardening) and even cookery. Of the many ALA choices, bb#1 chose Dance since the 7th grade up to the present 9th grade. She just love to dance! Few days ago, we skimmed the city stores for a loose-fitting camouflage pants for her dance attire in the incoming ALA Culmination. We found one – a branded ukay at two hundred pesos. We also bought a fitting black top from Gaisano Mall. Kim chose two pieces. I could only agree as we seldom buy brand new clothes for them anyway.
Other contests that the school participate in aside from math and science include the arts. Since bb#1 beats the ALA-arts contestant in poster-making at school, she (from ALA-Dance) is to represent the school in a Poster Making Contest at the national level. It will be held at UP Los Baños. She already has the airplane ticket for tomorrow’s flight after the ALA Culmination. Hopefully, she will enjoy her trip and be able to draw what she wants to interpret of the theme during the contest and be happy with her output. Winning would be a bonus!
She did win First Place on Editorial Cartooning contest sponsored by the Rotary Club of Cagayan de Oro Premier in 2016. She has a knack for the arts. She got it from her dad who gifted me in 2001 his work – a framed charcoal sketch of Jesus Christ face. It was a gift that I prefer over flowers and chocolates noh, so he’s able to catch my attention =) Below are the photos I took at SM Uptown in Cagayan de Oro City when it schowcased the winning entries of the contest.
There is this woman who fell in love with a guy out of her own cultural group. An out-group that is looked down by most of her in-group. Call it the hierarchy of ethnocentrism (that feeling of superiority over other groups). Her in-group truly exhibits ethnocentrism amongst all other groups with no qualms at all. They are proud of it. They show it. People know it. People are aware of it. People can even feel it.
Now the guy lets his intent of marrying the woman, let’s call her Apeace, fly out to the direction where Apeace’s parents are. The intent reached the parents through Apeace herself. As expected, the parents verbally pronounced total rejection and dislike towards the guy. And with the continuous discouragements from the guy’s friends, the guy, let’s call him MD, lost all courage and inspiration to go meet Apeace’s parents. Unfortunately, MD lacks immediate family circle to back him up. He allegedly grew up without parents, only distant relatives. That makes matters worse because, in the traditional Philippine marriage preparations, the road to marital bliss largely involves the parents. The guy’s parents to meet and form alliance with the girl’s. Definitely, the guy’s parents strengthen and increase the guy’s chances to win the girl’s yes to a marriage.
But, with the predicament they are in, what should be done with the growing baby bump of Apeace. Yes, those who want to have a child and tried various ways fail. And, yes, there are those who simply got swayed for a night and then boom! The pregnancy is totally, completely a taboo in both of their in-group and out-group! The conservative Philippines ranks farther from these sub-groups when it comes to taboos. They are placed in the extreme scheme of things in society, be it for life or for death. Something that reason does not understand the reason at all.
In all of the few months of agony as to what to do, misfortune befall the innocent fetus! Apeace had miscarriage as she claimed it was. The bedraggled sweethearts had to attend to the whole expulsion process in the next city where the walls may lack ears and the windows may lack eyes. They may have felt relieved after all, only them would know. So they were freed from the doom of impossible marriage. They could continue to live separate lives in separate ways.
A year passed and Apeace found herself in a new web akin to a maximum security prison. I cannot blame you if you’d say Apeace seems to have not learned a lesson after all. She herself thought the same. It’s the same guy, MD, so she claimed. The problem this time – MD is not taking any responsibility whatsoever. Hala. He does not even believe it. Apeace said, again, it happened only once. And MD asked, why are you not safe at that time? Tada. You may wonder, how do I know all these. The horse mouth said it all. We had a tutorial on a course that I teach and now she takes over while I am still on study leave. That’s why. We had our first tutorial when she said she missed her regular menstrual flow. She suspected it. So I suggested she took the preg test to confirm her nightmare. When we met at a gathering a month later, she hushed to me and confirmed it.
Time flies so fast indeed for us who are super busy but even to those who would not like time to move. Time can not be stopped at all. So the months progressed and the bump grew as well. She hid it through loose clothing. She was grateful of the new classes schedule wherein workmates do not necessarily meet in a week. So the workmate-mothers do not see her and she is free from their wise and experienced vision. So, she’s able to carry the charade for five months. But, the sixth month is different. The bump would show to the world! How long can she hide it. She said one of her students, the slightly autistic one, who remarked in class, that Apeace is fatter now and looked like another faculty in another department who is proudly pregnant! Hala.
While we had our tutorial, a fraction of our time is on limbo discussion about her complicated situation. She will surely be killed by her family, she said, if ever she’s found in such predicament. MD also would blame Apeace’s parents. So, what’s the plan? To go on a training in another city where she may successfully deliver without her clan knowing about it. Hopefully the workmates who’d go with her can assist her. So, is there Plan B? Nada. She has no idea what to do in case the training application gets disapproved. Yay. Two more workmates from her in-group had to know of her situation to supplement to her excuses of how she is not being able to do tasks expected of her.
One evening post-Valentine, one of the two workmates, let’s call her Lisa, called me seeking advice which hospital she would bring Apeace who appeared to be collapsing judging from her tone through the phone. We both agreed of the government-owned hospital to avoid high expense. We both concur that our sisters-in-law emerged from the hospital well and good, after their gynecological cases of births and the like. I told Lisa to just explain to Apeace well and make her understand so her psyche is properly set and at peace with the hospital. So off they went.
Lisa kept on updating me. The challenge of a super secret is that the ones who knew carry the burden of the world. In this case, only three knew, so far. Well, I later learned that the immediate family of Lisa and Olie (let’s call the other workmate this) knew too. While me, I’m all alone with the secret. I cannot burden any family member with it. No reason for them to know anyway. While the other two need to tell to be able to go. The update contents specified the doctor’s findings: the fetus is dead inside and it had to be evacuated out for Apeace safety. Boom.
The Caesarian section was done. Problem – the dead baby. Lisa called me about it because the hospital will give it to her. Lisa cannot accept it, and her family (sisters and in-laws) forbid her to take it lest she be the one to be accused of having bore it after all in an in-group so obsessed with taboos and where clan feuds abound. Definitely I cannot take responsibility for a dead body too. When my sister died over ten years ago, I even did not do any paper works. My spiritual brothers did it for me. It’s faster for them as they were barangay officials then. They took care of everything from death certificate to permits to bury to a grave where to bury. And am I to go through all that! No way. It is something that can not be hidden in my in-group too. Aside from the paperworks, there has to be a wake, a 9-day prayer, a burial, and 40th day prayer. I do not have words to say to anyone who am I burying. I rest my case.
Lisa had to be there all by herself as the only support Apeace could ever get. Wow, what a heroic act she did amidst rebuff from her family. She was told to get out of the maze, bringing Apeace to the hospital is enough. But, Lisa stayed through the night up to the following day when the operation was done. She even called for Apeace sister with the information that Apeace is in the hospital for an operation of some sort, as concocted by Apeace herself. Lisa went out to the city to claim the cash sent by a guy from afar. Alas, the name of the guy as reflected on the receipt does not match that of MD. The provision comes from another guy. Who is this guy now. Ambot. So the story ends here for now because Lisa and I, we do not know what happened to the dead baby now and we do not want to know too. If Apeace fears death to be inflicted upon her by her kins, what more for us?
Yes, you read it as A-ya-na. She is the unica hija of a couple dear to us. Her parents have been there when we celebrated our 11th year wedding anniversary at the Bishop’s House with Rev Ubaldo L Millan or Fr Doodz as the officiating priest. They stood as our new godparents then. The rite was simple and attended only by our children and Fr Doodz’ close friends Zeny and Nitz, also our religious community sisters. Anyway, Aiana’s parents have become close to us in our community.
Aiana already graduated college last year at a prestigious university in a neighboring city. But she chose to dedicate her first year thereafter graduation into serving the religious community in that city. She did ask and obtain her parents’ permission to do so. Her parents are also into mission so they understand each other when it comes to the language of service and mission.
I witnessed how Aiana carries herself amidst people from various walks of life across sexes and ages. She is confident owing to the training her parents had given her. She was trained to be independent and asked to decide at an early age. Her mother even shared to us that they allowed Aiana to go to and from the city central school by herself when she was still in second grade. A small, morena little girl walked by herself across a city road where vehicles of various kinds traverse. In that road are hitherto jeepneys, private cars, single motorcyles, tricycles (or trisikad), and even the Spanish-inspired horse carriages (tartanilya).
Aiana talks like adults do, with tinge of respect at the adults when needed. She can organize events among the youths well. The youth listen to her. Imagine a Miss Minchin minus the bad side. I heard her once instructed the Young Adults (YAs) who were set to go camping in the next city on a summer break. She told them, in the presence of the sending off parents, “Your goal is to meet new friends, not to look for a crush. Make friends. You may appreciate someone’s looks, but you are not there to find yourself a girlfriend or a boyfriend. You are still too young for that. So refrain from sending out ‘regards’ to whoever. You are also there to know more about the Lord.”
In her stay in the other city, she got closer with many brothers and sisters and their families there. Just last month, one of the sisters died at an earl age of 44. A beautiful sister who smiles at you like you were smiled at by an angel. A fresh beauty whose face has a ready smile and exudes of kindness. That face doesn’t seem to know how to depict anger, so I thought. That sister has three children. The youngest one is a special child. The thought of a special child being orphaned by her mom at a very young age thugs at any mother’s heart. It did to mine. That sister’s family is well off. Her wake and funeral was even overflowing with flowers and food. The food included meals and snacks by caterers for days.
Now I wonder, of all wonders, why does my mind keeps on imagining Aiana as the future step-mother of the mother-orphaned children? The thought flashed on my mind days after sister beauty died. I ignored the thought as maybe my mind’s coping mechanism trying to assuage the care of the children left behind. Maybe because when sister beauty’s death shocked my brain, I did try to browse through her fb page. And I saw her posted poses with her kids. I saw in a number of photos Aiana as one of the family friends, aside from being community brethren. My mind seemed to tell me, Aiana may be a good source of comfort for the kids. But does she need to be the step-mom, my mind? Hahayz mind.
I wrote this now to remember this thought later. I’d like to have a record at how my mind sometimes conjure weird thoughts, although, possible ones too. Well, only God knows.