Skip to main content


Showing posts from October, 2009

Katas ng Jeepney

Under the blinking sacred heart of Jesus, shoulder to shoulder and knee to knee, everybody sits placidly in the jeepney, former vehicle of war converted by Pinoy genius into a medium for mass transport, articulating function and frivolity the way only the Filipino can. Today’s dispatcher in the paradahan ng bayan is the artist Kawayan de Guia, who swears that riding the jeepney through the maze-like state of the nation eventually leads to an inexplicable sensation of being stuck in a bygone era.   And the music! Oh the music! The April Boys back to back with Curtis Mayfield, by turns wrenching and soothing the passengers’ collective broken hearts. Alaskado! There’s no getting off because up ahead is a sign that says no loading and unloading and around the corner is a fat cop with Ray-Bans just waiting for ‘small change’ to fall into his itching palms. The elusive Filipino psyche is out for a joy ride in these musical pieces, these gilded jeepney/paintings and jukebox/jeepneys resurr

Reading Lessons

The tips of Manang Cielo's slender fingers are cracked from all the work she does growing things. Wedged into the thin cracks of her fingertips there is always earth. Her home is surrounded by bamboo, pine trees, magnolia trees, and coffee planted by her parents and before them, her grandparents. Everything grows in wild profusion. There are always green shoots of one thing or another pushing through the perenially moist soil and, if you look closely, insects and worms of all colors and sizes bustle about everywhere. Plants and fallen leaves cover almost every inch of ground, except for in a wide circle swept daily around the old house, whose wooden floors are always shiny. Manang Cielo no longer bothers to go downtown. "There's no reason for me to go there," she says with disdain and a dismissive wave of her hand. "There" is just a ten-minute jeepney ride from where she lives on one of Baguio's hills. She says she sees enough of what's out "