Monthly Archives: August 2016

I am Johm: A Poem by My Only Son

My only son, who is now in Grade 6, just composed a poem to be submitted to his teacher tomorrow. I am amazed when I read it and feel the so-called mother’s pride. To document his output, here it is.


I am the only son and the second child of three

I wonder how we all got this far

I hear noises

I see myself as someone else

I want good things to happen

I am industrious and I do household chores


I pretend to stay calm

I feel inspired

I touch my heart

I worry for my parents

I cry when I can’t take it anymore

I am easily bored so I am a busy-body


I understand myself

I say “just do it” to motivate myself

I dream of cool things

I try things that are new sometimes

I hope for second chances

I am a happy child and a prayerful one

Mom, Her Girls & Pokemon

Pokemon maker
Controls the world
Sam astound, what?
Hmmn, at least
The players’ universe
Well, the “haves”
They make Pokemon
They sell, they earn

Then most “have-nots”
Buy and lose money
Play and lose time
“It’s a distraction!”
Kim rejoined
“Truly they make
Yet they don’t use”
It’s all for unproductivity

Weee, yet you planned
To install the apps
“That’s before, not now”
Good thing you kids
Asked Permission
Even in Apps installation
And you obeyed
Your mom’s decision


by Mary Ann F Daclan

“Development as Freedom” is a book authored by Amartya Sen, a Nobel Prize winner in Economics who had widely written about development.  Each of these two words carries devtasfreedom senloads of people’s needs, social realities, and individual hopes. I believe that people, regardless of whether considered as majority, minority, indigenous, in exclusion, “haves” or “have nots,” aspire for both development and freedom. In this literature, Sen regarded development as something non-existent in absence of freedom. I suspect that if we closely study these two phenomena, it will be like that baffling chicken-egg situation. There is development if there is freedom; yet, one attains freedom when there is development. Sen’s concluding remark, “Freedoms are not only the primary ends of development, they are also among its principal means” mirrors it. I adhere to the idea that each of these two words actively operate on a relative scale. Development needs definitely differs in third world countries compared to their better off counterparts.

Even those who are situated in first world countries seek to have development in aspects that they feel they still lack. To them, development boils down to excellence at everything. They may be dissatisfied with anything amiss excellence or perfection because they may be used to it. I feel that development at that level is something that cannot even be conceived by those who are at a disadvantage in many aspects in life – like us in the third world. My sister, in France, shared that while traversing in one of the six-lane roads, their car wheels just halted. From nowhere a police officer approached them and showed photos of their violation – expired wheels that needed replacements. The wheels still look sturdy and very functional, but there is specified number of years of maximum use. A technology the police used can detect it from somewhere invisible by motorists. Six lanes, pictured violation, techie car control, expired wheels are phenomena alien to us. To many of us in the Philippines, construction of a passable road in seemingly god-forsaken countryside is already development. And somehow, as we use the road in transporting our farm products, we rural dwellers experience freedom from difficulty in transportation and movements.

The topmost word that surfaces my mind from the book’sbraveheart-13 introduction is definitely unfreedom. There is too much of this in the Philippines. Aside from the infamous threats to safety and security outside or inside the homes, there is the chain of dire poverty and the quagmire of unemployment. Our fellow Filipinos gone awry beheaded our country’s foreign tourists. Aggressive assailants even commit their heinous acts inside the victims’ residences. And so we set up high fences and multiple locks on our doors. Even when we wanted to, we are prohibited from going to our city’s festive weekend night cafés in the public plaza. We are not to expose ourselves to danger. Despite the Public Administration degree of my younger brother, he could not land a job that is fit to his training. He got employed as Gaisano counter boy, food court cook, and Gibi shoes’ store man. Eventually, he had to go to Kuwait for an electrician job hiring. He got a certificate for this position from government training. When he arrived in Kuwait, however, he worked as one of the carpenters to one of Kuwait’s mushrooming building constructions.

It pains to see these harsh social realities unfolding each day before our eyes. Sen
wrote, “the unfreedom links closely to the lack of public facilities … health care or educational facilities, or of effective institutions for the maintenance of local peace and order.” Every day, as I passed by public schools towards my workplace, I can see children having classes under a tree or in a hallway for lack of classrooms. My youngest brother, who teaches secondary education, has to pay a thousand pesos one-way fare for a motor ride towards a school in a faraway boondock in our municipality.  And the terrains the motorcycle traversed become slippery and muddy in these rainy days. The hazard fee cannot suffice to the dangers he faces each trip. It worries my senior citizen parents that they cannot contact him for there is no cellular phone signal and no electricity in the area. Each of us can only hope for that day to come when unfreedom’s chains be untangled and development takes its rightful place.


Mother Feels Child’s Grief

bon.JPGStill this early
But sadness has swept
My feelings already
Last night we gave
Our girls their hair spa
I did oils’ scrubs
Their dad did shampoo
And hairdry

As Sam’s hair’s done
Whatever’s on her mind
Said she’s given care too
Before by ateBon
Our working student
Who had helped care
Her siblings and her
For three years alongside
Her studies at St.Lawrence

Dad said ateBon’s in heaven
Lagud Sam’s tears fell
At 9 years old it’s clear
She understood well
She’s not to see again
Her missed ateBon
Who succumbed to
Acute Hyperthyroidism

After she got her diploma
Bon decided to move on
Eager to flap her wingsbon1
Got work along Tibanga
As she dropped by
Before going home
For Christmas break
She’s extremely thin
Over-sweaty, dry skin

Then early next year
News of her gone
I chose not to tell
Our still young Sam
Yet older kids knew
And had their tears flow
Now Lagud Sam’s time
Had come to grieve