Ode to the Philippines (A Re-write) #Philippines#independenceday#arawngkalayaan

Ode to the Philippines (A Re-write)
#Philippines#independenceday#arawngkalayaan

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Oh, my dearest Philippines, your rich and diverse heritage and culture

has made you the young yet dynamic country that you are today

Manila is your heart, where the iconic Luneta park is located

it’s a hyperactive city, vibrant and vivacious

with its high temperature and high humidity, we get disconnected

your walls are adorned, screaming for freedom and equality

by these colorful graffitis reflective of the youth’s jubilant spirit

as the hope of our motherland, says our national hero; the great Dr. Jose Rizal

I too was once like these youths, yearning for change, simply change

back in the 90’s; a young college student, I thought I was

going to be a lawyer defending the poor and the unfortunate

though a greater part of my youth screams of pen and paper

in Mendiola, I trudge the University belt with a screaming mind

for change, though looking back 25 years after

no slightest idea of how that change may change

and today’s headline reminds me of how we were taught

to write news story straightforward with no running around the bush

nor even a hint of personal grievances

it’s a different story now, as COVID 19 hits the headline

running over to three months

bringing our tally of infected patients to more than twenty thousand

and counting

our economy is in jeopardy, it hits rock bottom recently

our exports of agricultural products have halted

not even our over 200 species of mammals and world’s longest discontinuous coastline

could be a remedy to our dying economy

oh, my dearest Philippines, you survived a hundred years

of Spanish colonization

then followed by the Japanese invasion

not to mention the American occupation

you made it through many wars

great volcanic eruptions

and the greatest typhoons

COVID is just nothing but a speck of something

that will

make you greater, better and grander as ever

dear PH, we will rise again, we will be great again

and together we stand victorious amidst COVID 19.

P.S.

My beloved country, the Philippines is celebrating today its 122 Independence Day.
Independence Day or  Araw ng Kasarinlan also Araw ng Kalayaan. An annual national holiday in the Philippines observed on 12 June, commemorating the Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spain on 12 June 1898.

Ode to the Philippines

This is one that we’ve used before, but one test of a  good prompt is that you can come back to it! For this prompt, you will need to fill out, in five minutes or less, the following “Almanac Questionnaire.” Then, use your responses as to the basis for a poem.

Almanac Questionnaire

Weather:
Flora:
Architecture:
Customs:
Mammals/reptiles/fish:
Childhood dream:
Found on the Street:
Export:
Graffiti:
Lover:
Conspiracy:
Dress:
Hometown memory:
Notable person:
Outside your window, you find:
Today’s news headline:
Scrap from a letter:
Animal from a myth:
A story read to children at night:
You walk three minutes down an alley and you find:
You walk to the border and hear:
What you fear:
The picture on your city’s postcard:

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Oh, my dearest Philippines, your rich and diverse heritage and culture
has made you the young yet dynamic country that you are today
Manila is your heart, where the iconic Luneta park is located
it’s a hyperactive city, vibrant and vivacious
with its high temperature and high humidity, we get disconnected
your walls are adorned, screaming for freedom and equality
by these colorful graffitis reflective of the youth’s jubilant spirit
as the hope of our motherland, says our national hero; the great Dr. Jose Rizal
I too was once like these youths, yearning for change, simply change
back in the ’90s; a young college student, I thought I was
going to be a lawyer defending the poor and the unfortunate
though a greater part of my youth screams of pen and paper
in Mendiola, I trudge the University belt with a screaming mind
for change, though looking back 25 years after
no slightest idea of how that change may change
and today’s headline reminds me of how we were taught
to write news story straightforward with no running around the bush
nor even a hint of personal grievances
it’s a different story now, as COVID 19 hits the headline
running over to three months
bringing our tally of infected patients to seven thousand
and counting
our economy is in jeopardy, it hits rock bottom recently
our exports of agricultural products have halted
not even our over 200 species of mammals and world’s longest  discontinuous coastline
could be a remedy to our dying economy
oh, my dearest Philippines, you survived a hundred years
of Spanish colonization
then followed by the Japanese invasion
not to mention the American occupation
you made it through many wars
great volcanic eruptions
and the greatest typhoons
COVID is just nothing but a speck of something
that will
make you greater, better and grander as ever
dear PH, we will rise again, we will be great again
and together we stand victorious amidst COVID 19.

Where Will We Be, Without You Now? (Ode to Taal)

You bear witness to a lover’s promise
over the moonlight
in an early evening delight
as they made their vow
of eternal and faithful love
oh, how happy you seemed to be
as you show off your great character
and magnificent stature,
so picturesque, so attractive
you smile as lovers smile
over the complexities of love as you
you were the elegant backdrop
in every wedding proposals,
as the groom to be,
kneel before his beloved
longing for her hand
to seal their love eternally
you scream your silent hurray
as she says yes to the plea
you were there on their wedding day
on the baptism of their first child
on the first birthday
and even on a weekend family getaway
you were their safe haven
but time has changed
now you voiced your wrath away
over humanity’s indiscretion
and poor judgment
as you take on the final “I do”
while raging and smoldering
and yet then again, you never failed
to mesmerize,  to amaze us
for yours is a true beauty
amidst being scary

Where will we be, without you now?

(Photos from Shutterstock.com)

Taal Volcano is a complex volcano located on Luzon island in the Philippines, in the province of Batangas. Taal is the second most active volcano in the Philippines, with 34 recorded historical eruptions, all of which were concentrated on Volcano Island, near the middle of Taal Lake. It has become one of the most iconic and picturesque views in the Philippines with people putting Taal on their “must visit” list. Tourists have also flooded over the years adding more income to the local tourism industry.
And because of its magnificent view, it has become a favorite spot for wedding proposals, pre-nuptial photo shoots, and even weddings itself. It is said to be a very romantic and quiet place ideal for a weekend getaway.
But the world was shocked when it erupted, unnoticed last Sunday, January 12, 2020. Evacuations have been immediately made and ashfalls have reached even as far as Metro Manila.
The air has reached its dangerous level warning that people were obliged to wear masks. Classes and works have been suspended and everyone where advised to stay at home especially those who are prone to lung problems such as asthma.

Photographs of the mesmerizing Taal Volcano have been flooding the internet these days. A true beauty despite its raging character.

In a tragedy like this, we are supposed to help the victims.  But how is it that the most basic need to survive effects of volcanic eruption such as a simple face mask is sold in a ridiculous amount? Yes, face masks have been said to be sold ten times higher than its regular price or before the Taal Volcano eruption incident. This is a very sad truth. However, it is also worthy to note that individuals are handing out face masks for free.

To all the victims, our prayers and thoughts are with you …keep safe Philippines.

This is in response to the Friday fun prompt of Kate https://aroused.blog/2020/01/11/friday-fun-safety/

Ode to my Country

Land of the rising sun
Pearl of the orient sea
Where have all these gone?
Oh, dear, we cannot see.

Yours is an uphill battle
Of centuries colonization
But you stood as you struggle
Winning was a confirmation.

You are now being mocked
As an old lady can’t hardly step up
But you continue the long walk
Back to where they will look you up

Land of the rising sun pearl of the orient sea, you will again be.

 

 
Written for Helene of Willow Poetry. What Do You See Challenge https://helenevaillant.com/2019/05/14/what-do-you-see-may-14-2019/

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One Summer (David Baldacci)

One Summer

A moment to care…

a day to share…

laughter to spare…

a memory together…

a father, whishing…

A love to celebrate…

a lifetime to partake…

a forever to accumulate…

a recollection to constellate…

a wife, hoping…..

A longing unclear…

a loathing untrue…

a grieving grudge…

a loving sentiment…..

a daughter, missing…

A bid to hold…

a devotion to mold…

a fondness so cold…

a passion so bold…

a son, loving…

A point to reconnect…

a venue to reconcile…

a spot to relieve…

a place to regain…..

a summer, a second chance…

 

That is basically what the book is all about.  A story of a husband, a wife, a son and a daughter; and that one summer, a second chance in life and love for all of them…

I am a book shopper. I go for the traditional book buying. I love books, the smell of it…the texture …as I gently flip each page while reading. For some time. I have been ignoring this book.. (David, my apology)..well you know.. human as we are..we have our favorites …and we only want to dwell around our comfort zone. Sadly though, I thought the works of David are actually outside my comfort zone. Last month after the super Typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines, I was left with nothing to do (since we don’t have electricity..) so I grab a copy of his book from the bookstore (well because I have finished reading the books published and written by those within my comfort zone..) So my mission….read it… to “pass the time ” (again, my apology David)…

I was surprised to see myself not wanting to put down the book. I wanted to finish it…I wanted to savor each word written…

And well..thanks Heaven…i grab a copy of this..this is one of the most well-written novels I’ve ever read…Why?

 

1. It is visually beautiful

Although books (novels) don’t provide pictures, others will do but very minimal; David was able to create vivid pictures of the scenery in his book, Even if the places in which we will take you were all hypothetically created, still he can bring you exactly to that point.

 

2. Real – Life insights (reality in fantasy)

This novel actually carries an element of “make-believe”….however, insights were all true- to life or real-life…Something that was not made out of the blue. The wife (Lizzie) for instance believing in heaven when she was a little girl, was presented in such a way that even if you don’t believe in the concept of Heaven, you will somehow reconsider it.

He was able to combine reality and fantasy without having to sacrifice one.

 

3. He makes you feel better.

The story evolves in a husband’s struggle to fight for his life with his loving wife beside him. Unfortunately for some twisted fate, his wife died of a car – accident while on her way buying for his medicines.

The idea alone of having to lose someone is unbearable much more losing someone who you have been worried upon when you die yourself.  The point is, despite its totally heartbreaking twists of events, he always makes sure you feel better just after a particularly heartbreaking moment. You don’t need to wait for the last page to have a sigh of relief. And then of course at the end of the story, it makes you feel a lot better. It makes you appreciate life even more. It makes you wanna celebrate Christmas every day. It makes you wanna take care of your loved ones even more. It makes you wanna fall in love again. It makes you wanna learn music (if you’re not a fan of music). It makes you wanna go to the beach (even if you are not a fan of the water). It makes you wanna do things for the first time. And above all, it makes you believe in the “Power of Love”…even more

Contrary to some really sad novels when you can’t seem to get over with the emotional impact of the story; this one is different. Other sentimental novels make you feel so sad for even sometimes; this one makes you smile as you flip through the last page.

Next Mission…Book shopping. Absolute Power, Wish you Well… Total Control….all by David Baldacci

Typhoon Yolanda …TEN Amazing Things Yolanda Taught Me

Typhoon Yolanda …Looking at the Bright Side

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terrifyingly alarming…

ghastly devastating…

tremendously disgusting…

on November 8, you struck.

trees bustling…

waters splashing…

winds roaring…

on November 8, you terrified.

child crying…

mother weeping…

father mourning…

  on November 8, you shocked.

Yolanda…

Haiyan…

Typhoon…

on November 8, you were named.

 

We all heard of the devastating effects of the recent typhoon Yolanda…we all mourned…we all wept…we all cried…and at some point, some probably have begun to doubt…

On a personal note I never thought that I would be able to discover great things…things that have been left unrecognized….but believe me…I wanna thank Yolanda…

I am counting down the TEN Amazing things Yolanda taught me.

 

1. The Silence of the Night

I realized for the first time how beautiful and peaceful the night is…no fancy lights, no blinding lamp posts..no expensive chandeliers. Not having an electric power to light up the night made me see its real beauty … it’s just me, the dark sky, few stars, meteors maybe, Oh how beautiful darkness could be.

Since it was total darkness, our neighborhood was so quiet..no kids, screaming…no wives, yelling at their husbands for coming home late…no old ladies gossiping in the middle of the night…no late-night outdoor activities… it’s just me, my own voice, my kids’ whispering, my dogs barking, oh how beautiful the silence of the night could be.

 

2. The Sweet Scent of the Evening Dew

I never open any of the windows in my house on a regular evening; but since we don’t have electricity to power up our airconditioning unit, I was forced to open a window to allow fresh air to come in..and my oh my… I realized that the evening dew has a sweet scent actually. Yes, I learned for the first time that the fresh evening air is sweeter as it gently blew around …it gently caresses me, as it slowly lulls me to sleep..unlike our fancy airconditioning unit, it is completely silent, thus, allowing me to have a really goodnight sleep.

3. The Quiet Dinner

Dinner at home is sometimes outrageously chaotic. there’s the television, the phone, the noisy neighbors’ karaoke moment, the cars honking…but after the typhoon, we had a completely quiet dinner…me, my beautiful daughters..on our balcony overlooking the dark sky…

 

4. The Presence of a Loved One

My children call me “superwoman”…well as the title suggests, it makes me do everything and anything under the sun from cooking down to gardening and even washing our car; does some occasional electrical troubleshooting and plumbing, Who would think I needed someone to help me around the house?…. Honestly, during the typhoon, I suddenly felt the need to have somebody beside me to help and assist me with all of the chaos going on. My helpers went home. Making me and my four girls all alone bravely facing typhoon Yolanda and its mighty power. It was at that point when I realized how important it is to have your husband beside you especially at times like this…my oh my…it made me a little crazy for a while…

 

5. The Gift of Having a Mom

Who never scorned our moms for intentionally spying on us when we were young? for making our teenage life miserable by setting up ridiculously impossible rules? for the “I am your mom, thus I am right” golden home rule?…. I’m pretty sure we all did. But you know what.. in the middle of Yolanda’s attack, I have suddenly wished I was a teenage girl again, securely hugging my mom…a mom’s gesture that no matter what, they will protect us…whether literally or figuratively. As a mom myself now, I am the one hugging my daughters especially my youngest who was crying so hard during the typhoon. Just as my mom did to me when I was a kid, I too am now assuring my daughters that no matter what I will protect them. My embrace was enough to pacify my youngest daughter. As soon as my daughters were settled and assured that I will never allow anything bad to happen to them, I stole a moment and sent a message to my mom and said “I wish you’re here beside me”…

 

6. The Joy of Sharing

The morning after the storm, some street children volunteered to help me clean – up. Of course, I considered paying them. But when I saw them working so hard, I thought of giving them out some snacks. It was then that I realized, what would happen to the frozen food stock up in my fridge? Yes..you guessed it right… I cook everything and give it to them. My daughters were amazed to see the joy in each street kids’ eyes when they began eating the food. One boy even said that he didn’t know hotdogs could be that delicious and it has in fact cheese in it. Well…It was really a wonderful moment, seeing them eating with gusto.

The Typhoon destroyed my helper’s house. Leaving them with no food to eat and no dry pillows and blankets. They were brought to a safer place in their barangay, however, food became the main concern. So I volunteered to cook dinner for their whole family and ask them to pick it up. You could only imagine how thankful they were. Honestly, I would say we should give decent food to these typhoon victims; someday when we can afford that much then maybe we could give much too. I actually salute those individuals who would really go out of their way and provide meals for the victims. I actually saw in a local show that “Crocs” (the brand) has given away new (as in new) pairs of slippers and clothing..imagine.I also saw some families giving away new toys and clothes. I would like to commend Kris Aquino for saying (in her TV show) “biktima na nga ng kalamidad bigyan naman natin ng dignidad”. (“they have been victims of the calamity, so might as well give them dignity..” probably giving away descent clothing and food supplies; let’s face it when something like this happens we are bound to give away some things that aren’t useful in our homes; my apology if I have mixed up the words she used in her statement but nevertheless that’s the point)…Actually, that’s true. If we only have the means to share the best of what we have then we should; instead of sharing the least of what we have. Sometimes the trouble with giving out old clothes is that we literally give out the really old ones.

 

7. The Taste of Fresh Food

Having a generator at home doesn’t mean I do the usual keeping of foods in our fridge. After the typhoon, I would ask my helper to go to the market and buy fresh vegetables and meat and fish on a per cook basis only. Meaning for over a week we were able to eat freshly cooked foods; not the ones that have been frozen for sometimes over a week. and my oh my….it tasted better..really…

 

8. The Ice – Cold Shower

With the advent of technology, I already have forgotten how cool it is to take a really cold shower..(if you could read between the lines, yes, we have a heater at home)…but since we were only using the generator after the typhoon, we were also forced to put off the heater. At first, it was terrible…but as you get used to it, you will feel the wonders of the ice-cold droplets of water slowly covering your body giving you chills inside….my oh my…it was relaxing…

 

9. The Simple-Trivial Conversations

Not having electric power means, not having unlimited TV and computer time too. So as a consequence, we were all forced to do petty talks at home; discussing even the most trivial issues of the day. At first, it was kind of awkward, but you know, it was a moment when I noticed how fast the kids have grown…I get to discover new things from them. ..

 

10. The Power of Prayers

Yes, I guess we all witnessed how miracles happened because of prayers. My daughters, having all studied in a catholic school run by the FMA sisters, have lived up the daily life of prayer. But I must honestly say that my prayer life could be on a fifty-fifty basis. I’m not good at it. It was only when my children went to school that I would go to mass regularly because they would ask me to. During the typhoon, I have witnessed how my daughters have embodied life of prayer. They prayed the rosary even if I did not ask them to. And even my youngest who I did not expect to seriously pray; prayed the hardest. And I must say, the best prayers are the ones said by the young children…they say it with genuine intentions and with pure, honest hearts..ahhhhh why did I not enroll in a school like theirs when I was in High School?

P.S.

You see, even if Yolanda has caused us so much trouble, so many heartaches… so many pains; she has also taught us valuable lessons in life..lessons that we would only notice…if somehow, we try to look at the brighter side. Yes, it destroyed our homes and communities; but it builds bridges and gaps between and among us. (Imagine the help coming over from around the world?)…Yes, it killed some of our love ones; but it gives us a new life, a life filled with hope- a hope that one day soon we will see for ourselves the reason why we are alive, well, we know we could have died too but look at you and me now, we are still alive!…and most importantly, Yolanda did not take away our “time”…even if we seemed to have lost everything, even maybe losing hope…but we still have the “time”…time to rebuild what has been destroyed; time to rekindle what has been put off; time to recognize what was once neglected; time to reconnect the links that we have forgotten; time to heal the wounds in our hearts and time to share….share our stories to others…I just did .. Tell me yours too..