Tuesday, November 28, 2006

dark horse

It grazes the field
like silenced steps
at the full of the moon
on a disregarded
ground that creates
small clouds of dirt.

It is among the herd
of common likes
representing a kind
of a cloven hoof mark
on the moistened soil,
on sharp streaks of grass.

It must have been
a thought that this horse
is as dark as its desires
but it is actually
as black as its

It halts in a moment,
then moves
all of a sudden
as if the mocking wind
had told the creature
to run away as fast as it could.

It is misunderstood
like an unwanted
browning leaf
trying to share
its color on the
lush sprawling greens.

It does not wait
for anyone to call
its attention for the
rest are brazenly foal
and the denouement,
it just won a race.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

into the blogosphere

It started with someone’s personal record of online websites he had visited—a mere list. It was boring.

Envisioned as an “online diary community” by Andrew Smales, a 29-year-old computer programmer in Toronto, Canada, he made his very own efficient and user-friendly software.

Then, a person in the name of John Barger, an American high school valedictorian who seriously specialized in math and science, first coined the term “weblog” (from the term “wee blog”). He made the first do-it-yourself “Pitas” blog tool in July 1999 after years of hardworking deliberations. At the moment, blog tool services are offered freely such as Live Journal, Word Press, Xanga, and Blogger of Pyra Labs, which is now under Google.

Blogging has now become a global phenomenon.

Truly, blogging is the hottest fad in cyberspace, presently taking the limelight over emails and chat rooms. Numerous innovations continually sprout each year from linking with other networking sites to CSS, with the sky as the limit. And to give some small samplings, here are some blogsite recommendations which you might find interesting.

Firstly, to treat the creative side of every artist, here’s a blog to satisfy their panache—Drawn! Yup, drawn! The site is for anybody who loves to draw. A multi-author blog purely devoted to paintings, various illustrations, and drawings, the blog aims to “inspire creativity by sharing links and resources [art].” Even if you’re not a Pablo Picasso or a Malang, you’ll surely enjoy checking or even contributing to those posted works.

For photography enthusiasts, Jake Verzosa’s blog, the Joyride, gives us a glimpse of a frustrated guitarist who now carries a camera. Featuring pictures of the miscellaneous category, this blog shows not only the stern-and-crisp side of photography, but also those simple scenes our inattentive eyes always manage to let pass.

Going for something less museum-y, there’s Jonas Diego’s The Blurb! He’s a close buddy of komiks genius Gerry Alanguilan (Wasted and the Elmer series), and he handles the Philippine Operations of Interactive Art Services. In his blog, there are some comic strip excerpts for all.

Nature lovers will become fascinated with this Greenpeace environmental blog. Check for the latest happenings onboard M/Y Esperanza as it goes around the world fighting pollution.

And for the literati group, a number of blogs can be enjoyed just like Dean Alfar’s Notes from the Peanut Gallery. A blog geared mostly for his literature rant-ons, occasional wandering thoughts, and tasks towards his “litcritters,” you’ll enjoy not only the posts but also its corresponding violent and colourful reactions.

Inside PCIJ gives you the heat. This blog explodes with the important issues from journalist killings to minimizing alcoholism among the youth, or tracing the roots of land reform in the Philippines, and the punching fists of Pacqiuao! Now you could know what gets into the head of a journalist!

If cooking is your flair, this distinctive Pinoy Cook blog offers a number of cooking tips, techniques, and sumptuous recipes that you can whip up. Handled by Connie Veneracion, she stated in her site that “this blog is about the meals I cook for the family.” She was greatly influenced by her grandmother and her father who cook delicious Chinese dishes.

If the tunes forming the soundtracks of our every day aren’t enough, amble onto cyberspace and take a visit to Kristine and Luis are Listening. You find just about everything from the latest music trends to upcoming concerts in the country.

Want something of the vintage kind?
Nostalgia Manila is the best place to stumble into posts ranging from the Bataan power plant, vintage Nora Aunor movie posters, Voltes 5 end credits, and even to the forgotten wonders of PLDT’s Rotary Phone!

Techthisout is for those gadget-loving, game-playing members of our generation. If you’re one of the techies, explore this blog.

There’s also a blog for us who are interested in learning more about our very own country, the Filipino Librarian. This blog which is produced by a Filipino for the Filipinos, is as entertaining as it is informative.

And fittingly enough, we end with something close to home. Go to the blog para sa mga bisdak! Bisaya Bloggers is another networking site which also focuses on events, tourist attractions, and anything about the Visayas and Mindanao regions.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

here's to you word nerd!

Our Filipino language with all its intricacies may have a very rich and deep cultural value within our nationalistic identity, yet it is hard to deny that English is certainly one of the richest in over 3,000 world languages.

Upon receiving my writing task for the week, Fate lightened my task when I stumbled upon a book that was gathering dust in an unheeded corner of my house—a little tattered yellowing book entitled “Oddities: In words, pictures, and figures.”

Some may say, “Huh! I am totally good in English since I can speak this and write that.” But actually a few of us can only manage to master only even a fraction of the mysteries the English language possesses. Geoffrey Chaucer, one of the greatest English poets whose masterpiece, The Canterbury Tales, is considered a landmark on the development of the English literature, had only employed an amazing 8000 different words in all of his writings! And 200 years later, William Shakespeare had a astounding written vocabulary of 30,000 words! Who can match that?

Limited as we may be, I offer for our enjoyment a few games made by brilliant minds starting from the Greek poet Sotades of the 3rd century BC, to the writer of Alice in Wonderland Lewis Carroll, and so on.
AnagramsAnagrams are transpositions of the letters of a word or phrase to form a new word or phrase, or at its simplest form, a phrase or name that can be rearranged to form another. To add more of a kick to this word play, most anagram addicts require a sterner rule: “to explain or describe the word from which it is made.”

An example is the phrase “voices rant on,” which is an exact anagram of the word “conversation.” Also, “steaminess” is just a result of reshuffling the words “seen as mist.” Anagrams even played a critical role in The Da Vinci Code.

Antigrams, on the other hand, are simply the counterparts of anagrams. If the anagrams get into their synonymous meanings, antigrams get into their antonyms. They are anagrams in which the letters of a word are reorganized to form a word or phrase to mean the opposite of the original. “Evangelists,” for instance, can satirically be reformed into “evil’s agents.”
DoubletsThese doublets were quite a hit before. Even before crossword puzzles and the crazy Sudokus in the pages of newspapers and magazines, there were doublets! Lewis Caroll is also well renowned for his exceptional skill in composing these outrageous mind-bogglers.

The procedure is just to take two related words of the same length, such as ‘grass’ and ‘green,’ and to transform the first into the second by a series of one-letter changes, each of which must strictly form another word. Proper names are exempted and all words must appear in a standard dictionary. Victory is declared to the person who takes the fewest number of words to make the change.

And here’s one solution in proving that GRASS are really GREEN: GRASS, CRASS, CRESS, TRESS, TREES, FREES, FREED, GREED, GREEN.

This is the most exceptional, if not exhausting, word play among the rest. The aim is to produce the longest sentence in which it could be read the same backwards as they do forwards. Sounds challenging though, it could excrete all your analytical juices and sharpen your mind skills. If you want to make your world side-reversed, then you may delve into this activity.

Since a few in this century have been contemplating onto these palindromes, the idea is now slightly left to experts and diehard lovers of palindromes. Palindromic sentences have a long and distinguished history. It is said to be that the poet Sotades invented the palindromes, and in his honour, palindromes are sometimes called as “Sotadics.” And also, John Taylor is believed to be the first creator of an English palindrome. His famous masterpiece, which was acceptable by the spelling standards of his time, is: “Lewd did I live & evil I did dwel.” Reading the sentence from the left and from the right, you still get the same message. That is how palindromes work.

Tongue Twisters
And the most famous of them all, tongue twisters! Experts are still currently probing as to where and when these tongue twisters originated. A number of these tongue twisters are pretty sensible but mostly absurd, and what the rhymes are actually about is quite unclear.

Here are some examples to get your tongue looping around:

A bloke’s back brake-block broke
A dozen double damask dinner napkins
Stop chop shops selling chopped shop chops
A truly rural frugal ruler’s mural

And here are some more oddities to finish the day:

1) A reasonably common word which contains all vowels, each used once, and in their correct alphabetical order?

2) A word which contains the letters “tchphr” grouped together in the middle?

3) A word with more than 15 letters in which the only vowel is E?

4) A word which contains three pairs of identical letters, each pair coming directly after the one before?

5) The shortest common word to use each of the five vowels only once?

Let's see if you can answer these.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

falling short

There are some stories that are not worth spending your time reading with and there are some that battle your malleable perceptions -- open that closed mind of yours. And here's one particular story that everyone ought to read for you to understand why I usually say:

"There's no such thing as F, we are just together."

Thanks Anna.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

the two people they could have met in heaven

Three pairs. Six entrance tickets.

Lights glimmer amidst the backdrop of numerous multicolored wheering contraptions, a thousand clothes that wait in vain before it encounters the thousand-and-one hand, and a night that is filled with ubiquitous hourly chit-chats.

And there it is, busily spinning around with its post-metallic skeleton looking as aged as the looks of the handler’s smile and as fragile as the wallet of the nearby gambler.

The 3.2 megapixel camera is ready.

We had a holistic day last Saturday, November 18 2006. For the linguistic capabilities part, I became an instant quizmaster for a certain inter-high school competition in the morning of which I had given out science and tech questions and elaborately mouthed the perfect spelling words (a lot failed in this category)! The good deed of the day? We cleaned the tWS office! For sports, most of the tWS staffers went for a Kickball game that lasted for about an hour with our clothes looking like it was newly washed. For a cool memory enhancer, we reminisced high school IQ tests of which I fairly won over Dodong Jan Jan (ha ha). There’s only one thing that didn’t live up to what we had planned: we failed to watch a movie at night that we longed for a long time ago.

In order to cover up the unexpected and disappointing turn of events that night and to stretch our high spirits, we went to the all time Pinoy favorite, the Perya. Upon nearing the entrance, our smiles were so wide that I think I could have felt mine reaching both tips of my ears.

I was so glad that when I had entered the enclosed colorful niche within and the moment I had seen the first ride, my mindset was to get on it as soon as possible; no more decision-decisions, no more turning back. And when everyone agreed, we all went into the Ferris Wheel -- the one that had open carriages.

Dirg and Cloudy went together as the first pair (who obviously were the most excited in the group), I was left with Marianne since she had no partner too because the last two persons were now paired way before the idea of perya struck us; they are Dodong Jan Jan and Donna.

We seated snuggly into our open-air compartment – I even wriggled my toes in front of me and felt the cold 8:45 evening wind as the gears began to turn. I was happy. We were happy. But we never knew that this innocent ride could be sinister after a few minutes:

The wheel turned slowly.
I croaked merrily.
The whole ride stopped.
Our compartment was at the topmost part.
I grabbed my camera.
I looked for angles that encompass the whole joyous night.
I found the perfect angle.
I purposely held the camera behind us.
The whole carriage swung forward.
We nearly fell –
a near death experience.

In a matter of millimeters, our lives could have ended earlier than expected. Being a picture freak, I could not resist the clicking and flashing of the camera especially that we were at the top among the rest – the view was just superbly picturesque. But then the whole enthusiasm faltered in an instant when the pull of gravity was in front of us that made us to unpredictably lunged forward, sweated coldly, and spoke immediate words of wisdom. It is a good thing that our natural instincts got ahead of our numbed thinking very fast; we instantaneously sit upright in our seats frigid making the whole compartment stayed on its right balance. Phew.
Mar, I am sorry.

If it couldn’t have happened that way, well surely I daresay there will be two people the heavens would welcome openly. Yeah heaven, not the other way around. And one more news,
Dodong Jan Jan was also awestruck and mute for seconds after the ride, not because he was mesmerized but because his heart clogged his throat.

For short, that was close.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

under red blood skies

When freedom comes at the cost of life, and life at the cost of freedom, what is there left to do?

World War II ushered in one of the darkest moments in Silliman’s history. Death came with screams from blazing red planes in flashes of light and fire. Darkness loomed over
Silliman University, with the Japanese rifle taking full reign, casting gloom and fear over the American-inhabited city beside the sea.

“Clouds By Day and Fire By Night: The Silliman Story” by Drs. Paul Lauby, Proceso Udarbe, and Jennifer Lauby, recounts the significant events that have conditioned this university into what we know today. From there we learn that upon arrival, the Japanese brought Silliman and Dumaguete into great degradation. And it is this suffering of innocent people that terribly fanned the flames of passionate faith and action.

People escaped to the hills and various barrios, such as Malabo several kilometres away from the city. The students and faculty hid in the most unthinkable areas, and they suffered from scarcity of food, shelter, medicines, and other basic necessities. Some even resorted to dwell in caves. But the Sillimanian commitment to care and to educate was never undermined, and they made a mission field out of the mountains and barrios.
There was even a time when Japanese troops found a barrio and burned it to the last nipa hut. But, fortunately, a spy aided the Silliman refugees to flee.
Mountain treks encompassed dangerous terrains towards the sea, seeking help from clandestine American submarines and ships waiting for them at shore. Though not everyone was saved from the Japanese atrocities, there were those who survived until the aliens finally fled—living on to tell their story.

Life seemed to only go uphill from there. But years later, the sky was yet again beset with horror and strife. On September 21, 1972, the whole country was declared under Martial Law.

Manila certainly had most of the publicity during the Marcos’ regime, with all the rambles and trend of unexplainable deaths. But Visayas and Mindanao suffered just as well under the Marcos manipulations, with Dumaguete’s renowned Silliman University given special attention in the Visayas region.

In the year 1972, four universities across the Philippines were closed, including
Silliman University and University of the Philippines. The Weekly Sillimanian and the student government were forcibly closed as ordered. Dr. Nichol Elman was actually the last SG president before the body was closed.

On January 15, 1972, the Movement for a Democratic Philippines (MDP) led other affiliates like Kabataang Makabayan (KM), among others, to protest. Even women groups like Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan (MAKIBAKA) called on all progressive women to join forces with the national movement in altering the cruel and unfair system the Philippines had.

Even the idea of a Silliman Cultural Center (which we now know as the Claire Isabel McGil Luce Auditorium) faced some controversies. One can imagine how, in those years, an innocent construction plan was regarded as a “treasonous act against national democracy.”

Even if Sillimanians were also hailed among the world’s most outstanding artists and performers, the university paper at that time linked Marcos, as well as the Silliman Cultural Center, to American imperialism, domestic feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism, stating, “It is a project that will only become symbols of senseless extravagance in the midst of widespread poverty.”

Amidst the string of adversities, these ages of confusion and antagonism have shaped in the Silliman student’s mind the skills of responsible civic duty and loyalty. It is in times of war and conflict that the human spirit is at its worst, or at its finest. And those times have prompted us to adapt and live our lives not with fear, but with a Godly resolve to face and conquer them.
In a world that hates evil more than it loves good, a Sillimanian offers hope under blood red skies.

Monday, November 13, 2006

fish of men

Lain on any places, these fish
with eyes wide open
seeing the vastness
of its surroundings, wating for their advent.

Once swimming in their abode
under the waters of uncertain bleakness,
currently displayed juxtaposed
for every men to savor their deaths.

-written last January 26, 2006 inspired by a triptych of pen & ink illustrations
entitled "At the Market" made by someone

Friday, November 03, 2006

small works

Grasps on Greens

Yup, a small work indeed. And it is literal, this is small – and not the kind of small that is extremely minute – about 15 inches by 10 inches. Before I have enrolled for the coming semester, my knots had once again loosened all by itself and made me grab a pencil, a paper, and ink last week. Probably an effect of too much procrastinating on matters equivalent of a candy with a free toy earring at the nearest sari-sari store, my hands busied on something arty – I guess.

And here are some works that I had made before, hmmm way back in August 2005. Don't get fooled, the illustrations are not the same.

Triptych: Wine & Entertainers

- the artwork, Triptych: Wine & Entertainers, was one of the many pieces
exhibited at the SU Main Library last March 2006,
organized by the Silliman Guild of Artist (Silgarians).


enroll now, school later!

Recovering from a traumatizing discovery last week (which is founding out that our backyard’s resident weeds are taller than me), and as if everything that I would be discovering is upgrading its intensity by the minute, I pack my things up, go back to Dum Dum, and settle things that are as important as my toothbrush.

About two hours of sitting in vain in a fastcraft may have sterilized my mind for a big pile of dirt that I am going to plunge on the following hour. Upon reaching the pristine(?) and beautiful(?) pier of Dum Dum, hah, energy level is at its highest peak – zooms towards the boarding house then zooms back in the campus. I should have been the perfect endorser of Lipovitan when I receive the most terrifying subject grade in my course-major’s life! Bogs. My energy plummeted down to the nth point. Looking at the bright side, at the least I did not fail.

But the fact remains that it is below sea-level in my personal criteria, I stay as jolly as Jollibee at lunch time.

Before even hearing more morbid news, I warm myself up by taking a peek on my past test papers pasted in my shriveled notebook while munching a piece of beef steak that should make me happy. Yeah, that Big Bee kept on reminding us “Bee Happy” so they should have put on a Happy Potion on that meal to make their adage more empathetic and believable – but nothing happens; same mood and worse, same grade.

If I could just roar (okay, okay… croak) in someone’s face for the root of this bad fate, I did it right after receiving those silly numbers! But as always, humility pulls me down that voids me from doing more stupid actions. Then forcing myself to be more optimistic, I let out a sigh and breathe deeply, “I’m enrolled.”

Today I am only thinking of the perfect date of going back in Dum Dum since I will be going home later. Hmmm…. I don’t know! Let time kill itself – I have more important dealings than thinking of when should I be entering a classroom. Hah, till here. Let us enjoy the remaining days of our break; enroll now, school later, and go to the beach!

the pain in campaign

Poof! I was back into reality after a six hour sleep. I was irritated by the fact that in these days where words spoken are not enough to persuade the woolliest-headed guy in town and where God-given looks has measly influence to the cold blooded lady on the last row of seat, I was once again back into my responsibility of living up to my position – doing the best as I can do; showing the “little ones” what is done, how it is done, and why should it be done. And I think I did the whole thing poorly.

I must warn you, sentences ahead are directly proven by my very pessimistic self as objectively compulsive; it brings blood from your insides gushing out your nose. Now that you are in this part, do the thinking fast and decide!

Glossy brochures, biased posters, pastel colored flyers that rival the Teletubbies, bookmarks that are thought to be stickers, and a thick stash of application forms, we were all set to campaign. Minus the cheesy oratorical speeches that harmonized upbeat song numbers along gyrating sexy ladies on a caravan, we went from this school to that school like we had just simply strolled in a mall.

Little do most people know that given the task to discuss something that I have just recently been in part of, I openly say I was not that effective in throwing out testimonies in front of a crowd – the crowd. Yeah, the crowd might only have numbered from 30 to 80 but they were still plenty (there’s no point knowing what crowd it is). I may have lurked in some corners that only a few have tread on and that made my Experience Level abruptly upgraded to a certain height, but I admit I have this feeling that always irked my tongue to shrink in shame whenever the Need of Boast comes. Was it just a result of humility or I really had a problem with myself?

Ever since, I can never escape the pain in the essence of campaign. If I may suggest, all dictionary-makers-council or whatever they are called should re-spell that silly word Campaign into Campain! Remove the “G” and let the fresh references go on printing and distribute them worldwide as soon as possible!

Tradition? Yeah, yeah… we were all excited to continue this tradition and blurb out anything we wanted to say (but still with precautionary standards). There were even no thoughts of switching on to my Tremendously Bastard Mode at that moment for everyone’s safety, but there were times I didn’t speak what I already had in mind in the previous case. It was either I hate to deliver my “piece” or the “piece” did not want to be delivered. Looking back into these dates, October 23 until October 27, it seemed that we had a long long activity – nonstop. But what was indeed indelible in those days were the time spent out of nothing: laughing hard till our faces got hurt, sharing of stories randomly, and planning what should happen after the break. Well, those were good indeed; at the least it suppressed the pain.