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Meet the Manobo-Tagabawa children of Sitio Tudaya in the village of Kapatagan in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur.

Theirs are smiles and faces oblivious of the bleak future awaiting their faith, culture and tradition--their lives--with the looming establishment of a hydroelectic plant in their village.

The problem with the hydroelectric plant of the local electric giant Hedcor, is that it will be put up right at the very place considered sacred by the villagers, the Tudaya waterfalls.

The waterfalls is what defines the faith, culture and tradition--the lives--of the Tagabawas.

Another unfortunate misplaced development.

(Note: This story coming out soon in the paper)

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Sorry. I'm down with fevers--literally and figuratively--one of them caused by a virus called Pacman. Oh well, the Pacman virus also downed one good--no, that's an understatement--hot Mexican yesterday.

The Pacman virus is known not for rhetoric and choreographed calisthenics. He punches the enemies right to their nose bridges, something that he unfortunately does not have. The Mexican victim's beautiful nose is bleeding now.

Mine is.

Surely, yours will. Why not with the Philippine's National (hero) pugilist's thank you message?

"Well, ah...I feel relaxing. On the first place, it's not hard to make my weight...well, the first ah...I did not speak I'm gonna knock him, maybe it's bonus of God. As of now, I will spend the family and celebrate the Filipino people...all I say thanks for the God and to all the people around the world for boxing. Thanks."--Manny Pacquiao




Now, this one here is the very reason why I opted to only write...


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And who says you can’t give what you don’t have?

Well, not for Benjamin Gabuni and his friends who are often misconstrued as wasted, if not lost, for their expressive fashion sense that exceeded and defied the elegance of the mediocre and the “normal”.

The tattoos and the piercing all over their young bodies perhaps are enough reason to scare the unaware and uncomprehending, but these are nothing to the hungry and homeless dwellers of Davao City’s Rizal Park.

Gabuni is part of the Food Not Bombs (FNB), a community of young men and women advocating for the equal access to food as a basic right of every individual. Almost every Saturday afternoon, the group distributes food to people, mostly children, who fight their way to survive in the rather complex urban life.

Since July in 2000, the group has been an attention grabber among the dwellers of the park. Always clad in black shirts and tattered pants, chains hanging from their waists, their presence ironically lights up the dwellers, children numbering to more than 50 break in a monotonous chorus “Pagkaon dili bomba…pagkaon dili bomba!” just by seeing them.

Pasalamat gyud kaayo ko kay naay nagahatag sa amo ug pagkaon. Bisan kan-on ug gulay lang, mabusog man kaayo ko maong dako gyud ni ug tabang (I am really thankful because they are giving us food. It’s just rice and vegetable but it eases my hunger),” said 10-year old Mikay Panilag.

But how can a bunch of most of the time penniless youth afford to fill, albeit temporarily, empty stomachs?

They ask. And what they receive, they give. Simple.

“Feeding the hungry can be done without us spending money but time and the dedication to lessen the problem of hunger especially among the youth. We have been doing this through the help of the countless individuals, market venders, who willingly spared us what they have,” Gabuni said.

The group often roams around the Ho Chi Min-like trail of the Bangkerohan Public Market asking for spare vegetables, fruits, and rice from the venders—food that most often are wasted. They will prepare what they have collected into meals and distribute them to the Rizal Park dwellers.

A global community, FNB started in Cambridge University, Massachusetts, USA in 1980 as a movement that aims to serve vegetarian food to the hungry. The movement, started by anti-nuclear activists, believes that no one would be hungry if the government and transnational corporations only spend much for food as much as they spend for war.

They also believe that vegan food is both non-violent and healthy.

“We encourage others to look into the issue of poverty and hunger as a problem so simple that can be explained and solved with not much technicality and politics,” Dindo, a member of FNB, said.

“This can be done when all of us commits to solving it. But of course, the problem of poverty and hunger is reflective of how the policy giving bodies—the authorities, prioritize arms over education and other basic social services such as health, shelter, clothing, and food,” Dindo added.

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It was during one of those instant out-of-town trips that I made with friends working for a rich foreign donor agency delusional about having the sole authority of restoring the broken strings of peace in Mindanao (the agency, not my friends), that I learned about this.

The Catholic Church has lost its sanity. I am not going to apologize to the sarado katoliko out there because witnessing how the church now acts no less than like a rabid, mouth-foaming dog doesn’t warrant an act of contrition.

With all of its lapses and pretenses in the past, the Catholic Church now again swallows itself in self-preservation (read: selfishness) after it striken out from its system the teachings which gave credence to the voice of the people, and I mean the poor people who are more than willing to shell out few coins for a second collection, the theology of liberation.

I am no expert on Catholic teachings but it is not so difficult to understand that when the Second Vatican Council allowed theology of liberation, it was thinking of the thousands of poor, oppressed, and marginalized Catholic Church followers.

The emancipation of this sector was basically behind the inception of the theology of liberation.

The basic tenet of this teaching is anchored on the awareness of the problems that confronted the society that somehow shrouded the relevance of the traditional theology concerned only with religious dogmas and concepts.

It then gave birth to the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs). In the Bisayan-speaking regions, BECs are called Gagmayng Kristohanong Katilingban (GKK). These communities are, of course, small Christian communities seeking for social justice, equal rights and wealth, freedom from oppression, among others. Their issues include agrarian reform, human rights, feminism, children’s rights, environmental protection and many more.

Controversial as it is now, theology of liberation was rejected by the Vatican, the most prominent critics of them all now heads the entire Catholic Church—the Prada-adoring and Gucci-obsessed Pope Benedict XVI.

Pope Benedict XVI opposed the theology of liberation because of the nature of the teaching: the concepts of Marxism. The Pope and his band regarded theology of liberation as “incitement to violence and hate and the exaltation of class struggle.”

This reminds me of our very own Davao Archbishop Fernando Capalla who was approached by the coalition Mamamayan Ayaw sa Aerial Spraying (Maas) for support.

Without batting an eyelash, Cupalla, err…Capalla, whatever, declined to give his support for the banning of aerial spraying of chemicals in Davao City scared that he might offend Lapanday, a large banana plantation company here.

To paraphrase him, Cupalla, err…Capalla, whatever, said: “I cannot support you because, you know, Lapanday has just donated a two-hectare land for our parish in Mandug (name of a village).”

Wasn’t Cupalla, err…Capalla, whatever, who did practically nothing during the “Hello Garci” controversy while he was the head of what is supposed to be the powerful and influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)?

If ever I will get the chance to have an encounter with Cupalla, err…Capalla, whatever, I will not only kiss his ring…I will lick his ringed-finger and shove it in his ass.

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These days, a lot of things are really dramatically getting, sort of forcibly crawling into my system—slowly eating me up and wearing me down.

As I am writing this, Athan is throwing invectives at me, literally cursing me for screwing his blog. Two days ago, he was so high spirited as he texted me about the completion of his blog. Few minutes ago, I was singing praises for the wonderful layout. I envied the whole look. Few seconds next, something went amiss.

Problem came when he could not make a single link. He tortured me with questioned about links and comments. Question I know were so simple but I simply could not fucking answer.

I suggested for him to shift to beta. He did. Well, I did the changing for him. And the screwing happened.

As of this writing I am not saying a word to him. He’s beside me, trying to exhume and resuscitate the busted layout.

Invectives still are flying all over the room. And I am on mum-mode.

Saturday afternoon, before I went to play badminton with some new friends, I talked to Lovella, my cousin, over the phone. It was a lengthy conversation that drove me into the pit of unspeakable depression.

Everything about the conversation still makes me feel sick. I hate my mother. I hope she burns in hell.

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I was carped by the sisters when I posted THE picture. I mean, the picture that showed the real me. This was the very reason why I chose to delete the “exhibits”.

Needless to say, the abhorred the make-upless me.

Lyka said:

Magpakababae ka na lang ateh! Ching!


Ekra said:

Mas traidor-knob! Pa-mhin pa ngayon ang drama mo gagah! Bumalik ka na lang sa pagiging girlinda carter mo. In fairness, pangit ka palang lalake. :)
Uy, tampo sia. Lab ka pa rin namin bananas in spite of. Ching!

Kaya pala mahilig ka sa saging. May resemblance ka with......



But I am not easily piqued. Hindi ako magtatampo. Magpapakamatay ako.

Ching!

Now back to my girl-mode. If I know, napaniwala ko ang magkakapatid na mujer jokens.

Yon lang!

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Uunahan ko na si Mandaya Moore: ang bayot sa bukid sa pagsisiwalat kung sino si bananas...


Si bananas. Ang lapis, yosi at sindi.

Kasama na syempre ang shades na hiram lang at hanggang ngayon ay di ko pa isinasauli dahil nais ko itong angkinin. Ang nag-iisa kong bench cap. Ang paborito kong orange shirt. Ang kwentas kong mula sa bukidnon na kinatutuluan ng laway ng marami.

At yang nasa balikat ko? Bigay yan ni Zaynab, ang aking kaibigan. Sabi nya mula daw yan sa India. Paki ko, basta sobrang paborito ko ito.

At higit sa lahat, ang aking tattoo sa kamay. Hayun...

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When you are running out of better things to do, sometimes you end up doing the bestest...

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Because everything I see today is obscured by an imagined concrete haze, I am posting nothing but this...



In their lonesome
They were being murdered
By the lonely river

Their flesh ripped off by the hungry silence
Blood draining down the loose sands


They opened their mouths
Screamed


No one was there to listen

But the sky
Which opened in tears
And dyed a floating canvass to red
Signalled that the end was drawing near

A process so painful and slow


And at the other side
The darkness grinned