Two Thousand and MINE

IT’S FIVE DAYS before the New Year, but, given the consuming revelry that goes with the holidays, chances are the reign of the Earth Ox would have dawned by the time you read this. I honestly hope, dear karikna, that you are holding this newspaper with all of your ten fingers intact and unbandaged.

When we were in high school, our teachers in English would greet us “Happy New Year” by requiring us to write formal compositions on topics like “How I spent My Christmas vacation” and “My New Year’s Resolutions”. (At siyempre, hindi pahuhuli ang mga guro sa Filipino. Sila man ay nagtatakda din ng mga komposisyon sa mga nabanggit na paksa.) With all due respect to Mrs. Editha Agdeppa and Gng. Rosita Felipe—my language teachers in high school, I never enjoyed writing those pieces. For one, I found them corny. Also, I thought the teacher had no business peering into my personal life and all the way into my inner psyche.

As fate would have it, however, I myself would become a teacher who loves to read his students’ self-reflexive essays. Also, as a mushy columnist, I have no qualms about sharing my stream of consciousness to the public. And yes, as you may have observed, I am occasionally corny, too. Oh, how things change.

Change, as the cliché goes, is constant. Sometimes predictable, many times not. If economic technocrats are to be believed, we will feel the full brunt of the global financial crisis this 2009. As today is difficult enough, it is both frightening and depressing to imagine what other plagues await us in the dim, dim tomorrow. More pain and suffering for Pinoys… Now, that’s predictable.

It should console us though that times of great struggle intensify man’s search for meaning, which should explain the marked increase in church attendance these days. I am sure Bishop Sergio Utleg is happy with this development, although I am not sure if the cash registers, er, collection bags, are smiling as well, given the impoverished parishioners’ perishing purses. (Huh, the underlined words make a good tongue-twister!)

In my case, karikna, I don’t resort to the religious opium. I spend part of my holidays thinking of what I still want to do. Note that this is not goal-setting, as I am never inclined to be hard on myself. A free spirit, my future is not carefully laid out, planned, and organized. This is not sweet lemoning either. Simply, what I do is just a dreamy inventory of reasons. For, as my favorite philosopher and soulmate Friedrich Nietzsche puts it, “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how”.

So go my “why” lists, in random order:

Continue reading “Two Thousand and MINE”

Most Meaningful Christmas Greeting

My Uncle Erning, an Iglesia ni Cristo diakono, visited our home today. Conscious about being sensitive to the religious beliefs of others, I would usually say ‘Happy Holidays’–a greeting more safe. (For those who don’t know yet, INCs don’t celebrate Christmas.)

But when I kissed Uncle Erning’s hand, he smiled at me and greeted me with a voice most joyful and sincere: Merry Christmas, Anak.

So there. The warmest Christmas greeting I received came from a man who does not even believe in Christmas. Most INC members I know are very fiery in the expression of their beliefs. But there he was, my Uncle Erning, realizing that it was not about himself, but about our family’s happiness.

He greeted me… and it was not cliché.

Christmas accomplished.

What is happiness for you?


(These opinions were solicited through a survey board we posted outside our office.)

It is like a broadcast network where every data packet received matters – cmpcsi
It is when your fans ask for your autograph, then they hug and kiss you on your cheeks. -SG
Simply fulfilling your mission here on earth even when you experience ups and downs. -SG
When you forgive someone who hurt you. -Alessandra
When you reach self-actualization –xjoii 🙂
Food is my happiness -:)
No mangabak ti jueteng, aglalo no lima a limit -rayven
It is when other people are happy because of you -Erika Castro
Tong-its —?
When you reach success. Success is when you reach your highest potential with God in your heart. -Ryhenroke
Happiness is when you found your true love -Giselle
It is when you go to sleep, and still wish to wake up the next morning -abes 🙂
It is when my ex-boyfriend still cries for me -eigram
Ti ragsak ket imas, and vice versa
-gobilam
Happiness is like peeing in your pants. Everybody can see it, but only you can feel the warmth. -Cmsc
My Happyness is wrong spelling
-Bianca
Happiness is a matter, because it occupies space and it has weight in your heart and mind -lhairhobesboy
Which do you prefer? A very happy pig or a very lonely man? -crossbred pigman
Happiness is to be experienced, not to be intellectualized
-kaloy
It is the absence of loneliness and anger
-pilo
It is when I know I have loved and I am loved.
-eroschelle
It is brought about by vitamins. More energy mas happy.
-x
Happiness is being contented. It doesn’t mean everything is perfect. It just means you have learned to look past imperfections.
-anonymous
Ragsak kadi no nakaawatka iti regalo ken kwarta ngem… napukawmo daytoy kalpasan laeng ti maysa nga aldaw?
-drama boy
Happiness is having “uno” in all subjects -asa
Hapee is a toothpaste brand —Icalla

Feel free to add to the list..

“Heben” by bhonj

Rusngiit nga uray la gumigis
Arutittit nga sumaplit arigem palsiit
Ngem no talyawem iti aglawlawmo ikit
Awan sabali no di ni Johnny, inka masirit.

Kabayatan iti nagkaado a sagubanitna
Agsusukot, agtutupatop, agsasanga
Maalananto payla’t aggarakgak, agkatawa
Uray na la itangad-tangad, natnag gayam pustiso na.

Arak ti maysa nga inna pangliwliwa
Pammigat, pangngaldaw,pangrabii isu’t danumna
No kastigarem, pampaimas pangan kunaen na kenka
“Ket di mo paylang ilabay”, inka isungbat, ay sultakennaka.

Intunno makaadon, isaganam da bagin
Di mapugsatan ti sao, karyarenna amin
Dayta ni Johnny, katatao na’t managbabain
Ngem no makainom, Diyos ko, mangibabain.

Kiwar ditoy, pinggit dita, dayta’t inna iyul-ulo
Nalaing nga umanunsyo, uray pinagbulan ti baket a kubbo
Ipustananto pay amin a di mangan-ano
Ngem no naatap ni gasat, agtinnagton a tuyo tay adobo.

Awan la’t di awan, tila adda paylang inda masangsango
Siam ti nagsasaruno, adda pay ubba nga agsussuso
Di payen mapunas a buteg, agkaraiwara nga isbo
Ngem no simmangbay da rabiin, dayta manen Apo, otso-otso.

Kastoy ti kasasaad iti kaaduan a Pilipino
Nakakatkatawa a kunaem ngem isu’t pudno
Narway unay inda panagsarak ti rag-o
Sadanto laeng mautob iti nasayaat,
dimmagadanton ken dimmapo.

ARIEL “Bhonj_” AGNGARAYNGAY, is a native of Solsona, Ilocos Norte and a third-year Civil Engineering Student in MMSU.

Happiness is Man-made

(The following is Professor Rizal Javier’s take on happiness. Javier is an important figure in the local philosophy scene.)


HAPPINESS, according to one of the world’s greatest philosophers by the name of Aristotle, is a state of mind wherein one is at peace.

I agree with Aristotle and from him I think and believe that in order for man to be happy, man himself must find happiness first within himself and afterwards radiate it to others.

People very often, if not always, blame their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on this world are the people who get up, think and look for the circumstances they want in order to be happy and if they can’t find them, they have to make them. Do not wait for and expect anyone or anything to give you happiness. Create it. Make it. Simply do it. How?

Make yourself so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. Speak of health, happiness, and prosperity to every person that you meet. Have all your friends become aware of the special qualities within them.

Look at the sunny side, although aware of the dark side, of everything and let your optimism or hopefulness work to make your dreams come true. Think, work for, and expect only the best. Be enthusiastic about the success of others as you do about your own. Cast into oblivion past mistakes and go on towards a greater future.

Always wear a cheerful countenance at all times, as a smile radiates warmth and love. Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time left to criticize others. And, finally, be too wise for worry, too tolerant for anger, and too courageous for fear.

I end this piece with a line from an old English prayer: Take time to laugh—it is the music of the soul.

Let us be happy.

Enay didit mhaaaaayyy weeeyyh: Sedate that Videoke Monster

LET ME BEGIN by saying that I love my neighbors and I love singing.

I love my neighbors not only because the bible mandates it but because I really have fantastic kapitbahayan. At age five, I, with little help from my childhood buddy Dondon, burned our house by playing with fire (literally, I assure you). Our neighbors were quick to help, and our house still stands to this day.

I love singing. Being Filipino—kin to great singers like Lea Salonga, Charisse Pempengco, and, uh-oh, Manny Pacquiao—this needs no explanation. My favorites are Tayong Dalawa and Pangako by Rey Valera, songs by APO, and, when I am sober no more, Lead Me Lord.

No celebration is complete without a videoke machine. In a party where there are friends, food, and alcohol, the revelry is sparked by the magic of a microphone. Well, it’s a bonus that there’s a bit of sexiness, too. (You know, those bikini-clad videoke models who give you a sinful stare.)

A blogger-friend blurts out, however, “Whoever invented the videoke machine must be crucified”, complaining of losing sleep because of the unbearably annoying noise the monster creates. “It has made the world a less peaceful place,” he adds, and I can’t help but agree. Continue reading “Enay didit mhaaaaayyy weeeyyh: Sedate that Videoke Monster”

Embracing Humanity



WHENEVER Christmas time comes, newspapers are abound with preachy editorials lamenting that the true meaning of Christmas seems to have been forgotten. Capitalists are usually vilified for poisoning our minds with the gospel of commercialism. Even Santa Claus gets his share of flak.

But what is the true meaning of Christmas? And who dictates what it should be?

To a child, Christmas means having new toys; to a student, it means a long respite from the pressures of school; to an employee, bonuses; to the child of an OFW, missing a loved one; to a lover in despair, cold nights made even colder by the low temperature in December; and, to a security guard on duty, just another day at work. The list goes ad infinitum.

While Christmas is mainly a Christian event, it is an occasion that transcends the bounds of religion. It is humanity at large that we celebrate, the same humanity that Christ embraced in the lowly manger in Bethlehem and, later on, in the cross at Golgotha. How is it to be human? How is it to be not only in December, but at any given time? Only when Christmas has permeated our daily lives, be it in March, June, or September, have we experienced it at all.

Only when we have befriended love, joy, compassion, and also sorrow, anxiety, and suffering—and other emotions that characterize our existence have we unwrapped the present of all presents.

And only when we have gotten to terms with the reality that no two persons are exactly alike can we achieve the oft-spoken-but-perennially-elusive world peace.

To many, Christmas is about giving and receiving. But happier are those who appreciate what is already there, and which cannot be taken away—the chance to be human. To celebrate Christmas as an occasion is to be occasionally human.

Finally, an honest-to-goodness night market

THE LAOAG CITY NIGHT MARKET IS A BEAUTY TO BEHOLD. Anyone who has a clear pair of eyes and who has entered the city via the Laoag Padsan Bridge on a Wednesday or Friday night would attest to this. Well-lighted and symmetrically arranged, white tents flashing the trademark “sunshine city” logo seem like fairies welcoming you to newfound paradise.

Located at the sunset boulevard right across city hall and below the four-lane Padsan Bridge, Laoag’s is one of only two night markets that I take my hats off to, the other being the Marikina Night Market, which, incidentally, is also set up in the city’s riverbanks-cum-park.

It took a long journey before the night market finally found home. It started in 2002 in downtown Bonifacio Street, which was crowded and suffocating. On account of issues legal, it was later transferred at the vicinity of the city public market. Plagued by garbage problems and cold public response, everybody thought the night market had (almost) died.

But leave it to Mayor Michael Farinas and her tourism-genius-of-a-wife Chevylle to pull a magical string. They transformed, in the words of fellow writer Cristina Arzadon, “what was formerly a dark and decaying section of the Padsan river dike to a well-lighted boulevard complete with shaded structures for those spending time gazing at the majestic view of the Laoag bridge at night”. This now is home to the night market.

The existence of places like these where you can buy wallet-friendly commodities is a welcome respite for consumers like me who are already battered heavily by the global economic crunch. From clothes to house ware to fashion accessories, toys, trinkets, coloring books and more, the night market offers dirt-cheap joys.

Transcending the material, it is also heartwarming to see families, friends, and lovers celebrate the joys of togetherness while enjoying the scene. Cheerful Smiles. Friendly Embraces. Holding hands. Locked arms. The night market is certainly not just a market at night.

While there, don’t miss Gina’s Goto, atbp., a real gustatory delight. Always served hot, Gina’s goto is a mouth-watering antithesis to the December breeze. Their vegetarian pansit, matched with pickled kangkong stalks, is also a certified hit not only to our Muslim brethren, but to anyone who craves for something tasty, sans the guilt.

I was tempted to write about the night market in the middle of this year but thought to give it some time, given Filipinos’ ningas cogon attitude. I wanted to wait and see whether this beauty does not fade faster than I can say “Merry Christmas”.

Guess what? The night market is even more robust than when it reopened five months ago. With police and security personnel quietly looking after peace and order, and with both vendors and buyers maintaining the cleanliness that Laoag is so well-known for, the promise of paradise is kept.

Ayanmo, Paskua? –by Mickle Cris Peralta

Ayanmo, Paskua? –by Mickle Cris Peralta
Ayandan dagiti tagtagari
Rimrimat ti silaw a di mapundi
Aglalo no matungpal dagiti karkari
A mangted ragsak kadagiti umili

Ayandan dagiti agkerkerol
A maragsakan ken makaayat uray laeng no binting
Iti bulsada ket agkiling-kiling
Urnungenda nga pagay-ayam ti tatsing

Agawid ngata ni tata wenno ni nana ita a paskua?
Tapnon maarakupdakami a pamilyana
Umayda iparikna ti nagpaiduma a dungngoda
Uray nakagalutda iti ubra sadiay adayo a daga

Adtoyen ti panagkasangay
Tay naibaon nga umay mangtarabay
O pada a tattao, ikurimedtay pay lang ni liday
Umaykan paskua, ay, umaykan ala

Sagidem daytoy puso a maul-ulila.

Paskua Manen–by Marceos Ibasan

Ti rabii ket atiddogen
Pul-oy ti angin nalamiisen
Narimat dagiti naraniag a bituen
Sinyales dagitoy, paskua manen!..

Marnekka a maturog
Wen ta appayaunayen ti busbussog
Ngem no agriingka iti bigat
Gapu’t lamiis, agkursing ti lalat

Disyembre ket diak pulos isukat
a bulan daytoy a napnuan gasat,
Ngamin ni Apo Jesus ket nayanak
Isu a rumbeng nga inta’y agrambak..

Ngarud, panawen ti panagkaykaysa,
Panag-iinnayat, pinagkakadua,..
Lipatentayon iti gurang-gura,
Ngamin daytoy ti pudno a paskua..