Yng Tsina ampopa ing Rusya (China and Russia) (Chapter 6-9) (Part 2 of 3) ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- VI. Limited Physical Properties of my sculptures VII. My Mitsubishi Sedan VIII. Territorial Dispute IX. West Philippine Sea --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- VI. Limited Physical Properties of My Sculpture The main medium of my sculptures are, Metal cables, And wires, I use copper, Aluminum, Galvanized iron, And steel. And then- I apply paint, I give them life! I use automotive paint, They are not just for indoor, My sculptures are also resistant to - Both wet and cry seasons, They can be on out doors. Since I was acquainted with the World Wide Web, I always had this digital spider sense that- There's no such things as permanent. Whether I like it or not, All the sculptures that I made, I will just be counting a couple of decades, Centuries perhaps, All of them will be deformed, With faded metallic industrial colors. When they are not taken care of, With no restoration, Were crushed intentionally, By nature and humans alike, My mind starts to have a dark- and melancholic imagination. VII. My Mitsubishi Sedan I will be getting my sculpture now, I will use my old mechanical carriage sedan, She is a dusted gray Mitsubishi GLXI, 1997 G.L.X.I model, Grand Luxury eXtra (fuel-) Injection. She has a young mechanical pumping heart, She has a total flight of 93,000 kilometers- Unlike her younger 19-year old Mazda 3 2003 sister, I rode with her too, much faster than her older sister, With more intense robotic palpitations, Compared to her older Mitsubishi sister. Anything that is Japanese-made, We have no doubt, Are all mirrored-Japanese culture- They are slick in quality, Asian classy. Just like the Flotsam and Jetsam, All sorts of things- I purchase occasionally, At Japanese surplus stores nearby. For our Japanese friends- those are mere Solid Wastes. But to us Filipinos- those are not rubbish. For us Filipinos- Those are still worth the price. Compared to the New but cheap- Mass produced commercial goods. Almost all of them- Are Pirates and Copy Cats. Proliferating, A never-ending Trade battle worldwide. I am proud with my 25-year old Mitsubishi Sedan, Whenever We have a trip, Usually city drive, Short distance. I imagine that I too have a 25-year old heart, I daydream, While driving- That She is a Mitsubishi F2- A Japanese multi-role Jet Fighter. VIII. Territorial Dispute It is almost March, Good thing it reminded me that- I must retrieve my other sculpture now. I just had these introspective thoughts, Why do I have a couple of works based on battles and fight? There is nothing weird and not much sinister about it- My thoughts – Digitally Conclude. Online gamers with skirmish plots, Spectators that gamble at cockfights & at boxing matches, Films with Violence as the main ingredient. My sculptures- Mostly inspired by various Mythologies, Every mythology has its own war history. Odd curiosity plus normal Thanatos' drive, For which all of us have, I started feeding this drive 21 years ago, It was January 2001, When I start plunging and- Surfing in the World Wide Web, The year I started working- As a Public servant- In a Philippine Government. The mandate of our Agency deals with the country's Natural Resources, My odd curiosity, Unseparated by my Thanatos' drive, And as Maestro Ral Arrogante says, “Artists…. Are conscious in the Battle of Space”. IX. West Philippine Sea Of me- Being a disciple of the Arts & Sciences, I have regular mental flashbacks of my previous artworks, Other than sculptures, paintings and studies- I also did a series of Public Art Installation, Which pertains to our Maritime Territory, The Realm of “HABAGAT”. Our ancient North West Wind/ The South China Sea/ The West Philippine Sea/ And surely, “HABAGAT” will disagree, On the ridiculous 9 Dash Line. I did a series of outdoor Art installations, T'was all about the West Philippine Sea. I also did a Performance Art, I spray painted an Improvised Starred-Red flag- As part of our Band's performance. Letting out the curious Thanatos personality, Trans mutating them into visible matter- Satisfies me. This is how my system works, This is how I tell my standpoints, Of me- Being a disciple of the Arts & Sciences, Visually: I humbly say – For me, It is effective.
Talibatab chronicles NO. 06072019 01:57pm Chopsuey version NAMBER ZIRO DICE-DICE A CARROT… Ampopang sayoti… …CHINESE PECHAY, AMPOPANG SAMPAGANG “CAULIFLOWER”. ATIN YANG muring MARAKAL A PAYUNG-PAYUNGAn, ASNA KANYAMAN . Meng-gisa- Metipid mu… Siguru (?) king bawang… Ampopa king sibuyas. Mate la man ngan ding siping kung bale, Ala ku mang abawung megisang gule. Dapot manyaman, Malyari na. Map king ala kung paugtuan.. Kanan. Osimap.. Kayantabe ke I mang Miguel, Mamangan.. Ampopang miminum. Me-kumpletu ne ing kapitnang aldo
As a kid, I often dream of beautiful things that might happen to me when I grow up. I always thought, as long as I put everything I have on anything I do, I will definitely get it. Headstrong. Always. That is one thing I learned from a television show back in the 90s in the Philippines. It was called Hiraya Manawari. These were ancient Filipino words that are used to describe a feeling of hopefulness that something might come true. Back then, I really did not know what the title means until recently when some episodes resurfaced on Facebook. March 16, 2020 was a very memorable day for every Filipino in my country, specifically in the country's capital and nearby cities and provinces. It was when our President asked to cut office hours and have everyone reach home before 5 p.m. Public transportation will be cut. Police will be roving the areas to make sure that everyone will be in their homes at 5 o'clock. The Luzon Island will be put into a total lockdown for a few weeks. I really don't have a picture of how big of a deal this situation was. All I know was that there are around 140 people in the Philippines who were infected. I thought, well there are 109 million Filipinos right now and 140 is just a needle in a haystack. My colleague told me that the office will be closed at 2 in the afternoon, which was a bit of a late notice since I am already outside, waiting for a Jeepney. I just went to Starbucks, ordered a dark caramel frappuccino and chocolate cake, and sat on the corner. I was watching a Big Bang Theory episode where Raj sneezed, and Sheldon wanted him to explain his sneeze. I laughed because it was so relatable. if a person sneezed in front of me at that time, I would bathe in Purell. I was silently laughing in my corner when a barista approached me saying that the store will be closed at 3 p.m. I asked him why and he said that it was in the news. Everyone should be at home by 5 p.m. I still have 30 minutes to spare so I just finished the episode and went out. I was surprised to see the traffic jam right in front of me. I mean, I lived in this city half my life and this is the first time I saw this long line of cars at 3 p.m. I thought that would be the only surprise for the day. I walked to the grocery store to buy food good for at least two weeks. If the total lockdown will be placed, I must get supplies. When I entered the grocery store, it looked like a scene in an apocalypse. People are clamoring, most shelves were empty, and I saw the longest grocery line I have ever seen in my entire life. At this moment, I understood the gravity of it. I felt a bit scared. This virus is a threat. I grabbed my supplies and waited in line for almost an hour. When I went home, I told my family what I saw. They felt scared too. Days turned to weeks; weeks turned to months. We have been in our homes for almost three months when the government gradually opened some industries to operate to sustain the necessities and the economy. As a person who often travels, the quarantine took a toll on me. For weeks I longed for the life I had four months ago. I miss laughing with my friends, the random night drives, the mountains of Cordillera, the smiles of my students… As weird as it is, I also miss the things that made me annoyed four months ago: the traffic in the metro, the daily commute, the noise of my students in the class. I want to do a lot of things. Headstrong, as always, but I can't. I cannot go to my favorite writing spot. I cannot teach in the classroom. I cannot hang out with friends nor hug them because Zoom Meetings aren't always enough. This pandemic is real. It shook our world entirely. This was not a part of the beautiful things I have dreamed of when I was a kid, but I know it is not always rainbows and butterflies. Life is not always like the shows I had watched as a kid. This pandemic will be over. The global crisis will be solved. Our worries will be resolved. We will be back on track. Hiraya manawari.
July Rain Talibatab Chronicles #07092020 1:19am It's one o nine in the morning, 'em still awake- as usual. I just finished 2 sketches and 3 watercolor paintings, I love the silence.. 'tis good for art-making. I can hear the droplets of rain through my window. But there is no rain. I guess it's just the fog of July - yeah., the climate did really change - No continous monsoon rain or any storm. The typical Rainy July. .. I really miss the rain.. "really miss the breeze of July. This is the new normal. Less rain for us in the Philippines. This is the new climate for us. There is no storm or monsoon rain in the tropics.
Sitting in this old, rusty, forgotten bench next to a dented garbage can, I feel nothing amidst the coldness of the night. Even from the other side of the bench I could hear the silent sob of the little girl's heart. In her dirty white dress and her silky black hair, she was crying. I was always a lover of darkness. And this small, yet quiet children's park opens itself as my only refuge. I feel “lost” whenever there is a crowd of people – I'm invisible and hollow, even from myself. That's why I only come here when the moon fully blooms, when everyone else is gone, when I can only feel my own presence. I guess you could call it my home, for this is the only place where I could feel that in the numbing coldness of the night, I'm warm… I'm alive. But I guess, I won't have it all for myself tonight. My lonely sojourn was disturbed by an uncanny child. She was sitting there, head bent down, making small yet heavy sobs. She was wearing a white dress with splatters of mud all over. Her thick hair covered her face. From the looks of it, she could be five or six. This is the first time someone was here other than me during this time of the night, let alone a child. Suddenly, she started to murmur. “Mama…Mama...” I realized I should do something. She was only a child, after all. “A-a-are you lost?” I hesitantly asked. There was no response from her. I slowly moved myself over to get closer. “Little girl, you have been crying for a long time now. And I just –” as I made contact to her skin, she suddenly removed her hands from her face and wrapped it her against her body. It looked like she felt a sudden jolt of winter. I was startled, of course. But I decided to ask her still. “Is something wro—” She then looked at me with her blood-shot eyes glaring directly into mine. I couldn't move an inch. It's as if her vision passes through me— like she sees my soul but goes even beyond it. I couldn't move an inch. Her face made an expression of confusion, fear, and panic all at once. She then let out a tantrum that sent chills to my spine. I covered my ears to not hear the disturbing screech. She continued to shriek for a few minutes before finally halting. I thought I startled her. In an attempt to ease her tension, I got up and caught myself a firefly flying alone near a dying bush. I trapped it between my palms and walked back. I then released it and let it fly near her. I saw how she smiled a little bit as she caught a glimpse of the small blinking light. But it quickly turned into a dismal frown as the firefly shortly fell to its death in the untrimmed grass. I accidentally killed it with my own hands. I panicked when my plan failed miserably. So to distract her attention, I had the idea to ask her questions people normally ask a child in an effort that she'll perhaps speak. “What's your name?” She then put her hands on her heart, and her head violently shook from one direction to another as if she was looking for something. Her breathing became shorter and shorter. She started to cry more intensely. Suddenly, I heard a loud voice shouting from the distance. “Invidia! Invidia!” said a woman running fanatically towards us. With tears in her eyes, she grabbed the child and hugged her tightly in her shoulders. “I have been looking everywhere for you. Are you safe? Are you alright?” she shouted with great relief. “Mama, I'm scared.” said the child as her tears soaked her mother's shoulder wet. “Hush, hush now. Mama is here. It's okay, it's okay. I promise I will never leave you again.” whispered the mother while she caressed her child. “Someone is here with me.” “Honey, who is here with you? Is he the one who kept you safe?” “I think he's sitting in the bench right now.” I saw how her mother's eyes enlarge with ridiculous fear. She hastily grabbed her daughter, carried her, and ran. I could only see from afar the horrified face of the child as she refused to look my way. Seeing how their silhouette gradually became smaller, my hands agonizingly crippled my clothes as I put them above my heart. “I will never leave you again.” Those words felt like a thousand hands tearing my soul apart. As a gust of wind blew against the small park, I then saw myself dragged up away from the ground and over the world stolen from me, all with eyes full of hatred. I have almost forgotten that this night is a special night – it's already fifteen years since my mother forcibly took me out of her womb, covered me in newspaper, and left me to rot in the dented garbage can next to that old, rusty, forgotten bench. I already died even before being alive. A harrowing shout was then made as I return into the nothingness which I belong.
A year ago, the Philippines faced a devastating terrorist attack in the Islamic City of Marawi, Lanao del Sur. This attack came to be known as the “Marawi Siege”. It went on for months ending in November 2017 when President Duterte announced the city's liberation. Days after the siege begun on May 2017, in a volunteers' group chat of our NGO, we were asked if we're available to join a peace mission in an evacuation center located in Lanao del Sur. The slots were filled immediately and although I fiercely wanted to join the said mission I didn't have the opportunity. Nevertheless, I did what I could to support the team. Yet, even now, as Marawi begins to build its city, there is still a piece of me that wishes to have been part of that peace mission, to have been able to bring joy and support to the children of Marawi while the siege is ongoing. Weeks turned into months and Marawi City was liberated from the terrorist group but it left part of the city, near Lanao lake, completely obliterated. Back in Manila on March 2018, I was asked by my friends if I'm available to join a month-long peace mission in Mindanao; I had mixed feeling about it. I felt like this maybe a blessing since I've already wanted to resign from my job, but, this may also be a test, to see if I am brave enough to resign from my job without another work lined up when I get back from Mindanao. Add in the fact that volunteering is my passion and the feeling that I'm wasting away in the office helped me reached my decision. Turns out, I did have the guts to resign without another job lined up and the trip really was a blessing. The peace mission was a blessing due to a number of reasons. First, I was able to live in Mindanao for a month and immersed in their culture and lifestyle. Second, I was able to see the battle ground or what we like to call “Ground Zero” in Marawi City from afar. “Ground Zero” is still prohibited to civilians because the armed forces is presently in the process of clearing out the areas of undetonated bombs and IEDs. Lastly, I was able to act as a support to the children of Marawi, at least for those in the group I facilitated in. The peace mission we conducted in Mindanao was in the conflict areas of Maguindanao and Marawi City. We taught the children and their parents peace education. In Marawi, I was given the chance to act as lead facilitator for one of the 10 groups. Together with me is a member of the “Hijab Troopers”, they are women soldiers who wears white hijab. Our group was composed of 3 boys and 4 girls, all coming from 4 different schools. Despite being strangers, our group was able to form a bond like that of a family. I was their big sister who helped them with their activities such as writing and drawing. But, there was 1 kid who was extremely shy. He would not answer my questions (that were spoken in Filipino) and at first I thought that he could only understand Maranao so I asked the other kids to translate for him, but he still wouldn't participate in our activities. In that case, I told him that it was alright if he doesn't share his thoughts but if he wants to share then his new friends can translate for him. During the 2nd day, as I was observing all my kids, I felt elated on the fact that everyone is bonding, they maybe strangers yesterday but now, they've accepted each other as friends. I also found out that the shy kid can understand and speak Filipino well but he adamantly refuses to share his answers in the group. Accordingly, after an activity where everyone had to share their drawings, I went to him and asked him to share his drawings to me, he started telling me the reason behind his drawings and I felt like I was going to cry at that moment because finally, I was able to get through his walls even if it was just a little. Indeed, those 3-days were the best but they were also the most exhausting. Handling 7 kids is draining emotionally and physically. It made me really appreciate the kindergarten and elementary school teachers all over the world for their limitless patience and energy in handling hundreds of kids in their career life. On our last day in Marawi City, we visited an area near Lanao Lake where “Ground Zero” can be observed. The only word that came to mind when I saw it was destroyed. The battle ground area was completely and utterly destroyed. The whole area was colored gray by ashes. Mosques that were once magnificent now had huge gaping holes in them and houses that were home to thousands of Maranaos were reduced to piles of rocks. As I watch the scene before me, I felt anger and the thirst to find out the answer to my questions, “why? Why do this? What did it accomplish?” And as our group continues to hear the stories of the Marawi Siege, one person shouted “look, there's a rainbow” and as we all turn to gaze at the breathtaking beauty of the rainbow, I said to myself “how ironic.”