Ang gurong (di dapat) nagpasalamat

NAKAPUSTORA ako noong umagang ‘yon dahil Graduation Day sa aming pamantasan, at dadalo ako sa baccalaureate service. Sa bus na biyaheng Laoag-Batac, nakaupo ako sa pinakabandang likuran, sa isang mahabang silya kung saan pinagkakasya ang pitong tao.

Hindi pa umaandar ang bus, nag-aantay pa ng pasahero. Isa na lang ang kulang, lalarga na.  Ayos, umakyat sa bus ang isang school administrator. Ayan, puno na.

Habang papunta sa kanyang upuan si Ma’am, tumingin siya sa akin at ngumiti.  Ngumiti din ako at magalang na tumango at nagmutawi ng isang walang tunog na “Ma’am.” Sa may gitnang bahagi ng bus siya nakapuwesto.

Nasa kalagitnaan na ng biyahe papuntang Batac nang mangolekta ng pamasahe (bente pesos) ang konduktor. Nu’ng magbayad si Ma’am, tumingin siya uli sa akin at isinenyas na inilibre niya ako. Anlaki ng ngiti ko.  Nagpasalamat ako sa kanya. (Gumalaw ang  aking mga labi pero walang tunog na lumabas dahil dyahe sa maraming tao.)

Pagkalipas ng ilang sandali, lumingon uli si Ma’am para sabihing inilibre na niya ako. Aba, e mas nilakihan ko pa ang ngiti ko at mas in-exagerrate ko pa ang pagbigkas ng tenkyu. Balik tingin si Ma’am sa harap.

Ngunit tila hindi siya mapakali. Lumingon na naman siya upang ipaalam sa akin na ibinayad na niya ako. Sa pagkakataong ito e sinamahan ko na ng thumbs-up sign (dalawang hinlalaki) ang aking pasasalamat.

Sa ikaapat na beses na lumingon si Ma’am ay plano kong lagyan na ng boses ang aking pasasalamat. Medyo makapal kasi ang eyeglasses ng ale at duda ko e hindi niya ako nakikita nang maayos.

Eto na, lumingon muli si Ma’am at sumenyas.  Continue reading “Ang gurong (di dapat) nagpasalamat”

‘Babaeng bakla’

OK, I’m writing about her again, and at the risk of being suspected as a paid PR.  But what can I do?  I am a fan.

Besides, it’s enough that God knows how much I value my integrity as a writer.  Never have I asked nor accepted payment, monetary or otherwise, for anything I write in this space.  Without rendering judgment on those who engage in it, journalistic prostitution is not my cup of tea.  I am young, and, when you are young, you are always idealistic, unless of course you are a juvenile delinquent or a Sangguniang Kabataan official, whichever is worse.

The last time I met Imee Marcos was in May prior to the elections.  During a barangay tour in Laoag, she spoke at a lightning rally incidentally held in front of our house.  Posing for a souvenir photo with my parents, Imee noticed my mom’s garden and told us of her love of plants.  Gloria, our househelp, was not to be outdone.  She approached Imee to say “thank you.”  Luzviminda, Gloria’s daughter, finished college as a Scholar ni Imee.  “Kumusta na si Luz?,” asked the then gubernatorial candidate.  “Nakapagtrabaho na po siya, at may anak na,” Gloria replied.  “Ang tanda ko na pala, may mga anak na ang mga scholars ko,” Imee replied, sounding pensive.

That, dear karikna, was the last time, but I manage to keep track of Manang Imee.  I am lucky to know some Capitol insiders who attest to the remarkable work ethic of the lady whose age I mistakenly put at 58 in a previous column.  (She’s actually younger, a bit.)  Ferdinand and Imelda’s eldest child is said to work long hours and is meticulous on how things get done.  True to her campaign promise, the gobernadora is determined to create more jobs here in the province where, as with the rest of the country, unemployment and underemployment figures remain high.  I am very confident that Imee will deliver.  In fact, I tell my students in the university, especially those in the lower years, that they are luckier than their seniors because more jobs would have been generated in the province when they graduate.

Yes, Imee is a hard worker, but not the nerdy type. Giselle Sanchez, in her Manila Bulletin column Gossip Girl, wrote about Miss Marcos’s lighter side in an article titled, “A birthday tribute to the original ‘babaeng bakla’.”  Sanchez attended the Princeton-educated governor’s birthday celebration here in the province last week.

“You know the saying that there’s a thin line between genius and insanity? Imee is a genius but once she cracks her witty one-liners, you are going to go insane,” the comedienne revealed.  She then went on to share what she considered as “the top 10 unforgettable quotes of Miss Imee Marcos,” to wit: Continue reading “‘Babaeng bakla’”

“Damaso” guy hails Laoag’s Rafales

WHILE I CONSIDER myself tech savvy, there are still times when my jaws drop marveling at how technology spreads information like wildfire.  This, dear folks, is one of those times.

Last week in my newspaper column, I wrote about Jesus “Lakay Susing” Rafales, a fellow Ilocano who blew his whistle and led a classy walkout at the St. William’s Cathedral in Laoag after a priest read a politically charged pastoral letter during the mass.  This happened almost two and a half decades before Carlos Celdran, a famous tour guide, did a theatrical protest at the Manila Cathedral over the issue of reproductive health.

At a rapid pace, the article, which I also posted in this blog, made the rounds in social networking sites Facebook and twitter.  Shortly after, Celdran himself read the story, and shared it as well to his tens of thousands of followers in cyberspace.

“I’m reading about a man who came before me named Rafales.  Read about him.  Cool cat,” Celdran twitted.  Then after, he left the following comment: Continue reading ““Damaso” guy hails Laoag’s Rafales”

Before Celdran, there was Rafales

AND THE present pales in comparison to the past.

Carlos Celdran, a well-known tourist guide, made news recently when he walked into the Manila Cathedral in the middle of a Mass and shouted, “Down with Padre Damaso!”  in protest of the church’s arrogant blocking of the Reproductive Health Bill.

There were mixed reviews of Celdran’s theatrics.  A few said  it went overboard, that it was tasteless, even “bastos,” but most were appreciative, thrilled, even blown away by his act.  Many felt that Celdran did what they would themselves do if only they can muster the same amount of courage.  “His stunt was not only brilliant, it was one of the most classy protest we have seen in many years,” said one fan.

I agree, Celdran did well.  Few people know, however, that two and a half decades before the Manila Cathedral incident, something like it happened at the St. William’s Cathedral in Laoag, and it was even more meaningful and classier. Continue reading “Before Celdran, there was Rafales”

Studies for our book cover

Here are nine studies finely crafted by fabulous Ianree B. Raquel for our book cover.

Would appreciate your inputs, folks.  Let’s please choose one.

What happened after?

“NOBODY reads your column anyway!,” an obviously agitated someone left this comment on my blog.  I thanked him profusely because he could not have reacted that way had he not read any of my articles.  If it were true that nobody else cares about this column aside from him, then he is my one and only reader.  I could not thank him enough.  At least, it’s “meron” instead of “wala.”

Over time though, you realize that there could be more than just one reader.  My uncle Gerry, a church guy, would always castigate me whenever I write unkindly about the Catholic Church hierarchy.  So there, I’ve got two.

Truth to tell, writing is a joy in itself.  It is just a bonus when you figure that some people, aside from your supportive family, actually read your work.  I have come across some folks, in person and through the web, who say they read Riknakem, and I’d know they really do when they begin to tell me stories they remember from my writings.  When you often cannibalize your life in essays, it could get awkward when people know so much about you, but then suddenly you feel happy, not at all due to cheap fame, but because you realize that, you are not, after all, alone.

But the bigger bonus, dear karikna, bigger than what MWSS people receive, is when Continue reading “What happened after?”