Bamboo shoots

bamboo grove
Poems like this are like a bamboo grove, planted and nurtured by half-forgotten old folk, relentlessly tossed by the wind and rain, their foliage shed in the worst seasons of drought. But hopefully they’ll endure, for children to discover the ancient nooks and crannies where they will play and build their own dreams.

BAMBOO SHOOTS

Many years have carved these slopes.
It was around this time in March when
North Wind tarried on, defying summer thirst,
and a thousand shoots of green rejoiced.
They’d passed the test, and cried for joy, and raced uphill.
And we, who nurtured them, were about to shout
our wildest greetings when the thought struck us: Continue reading “Bamboo shoots”

How I transcended my frat leanings

When Marcos declared martial law in September 1972, I was a student in UP Diliman taking up B.S. Chemical Engineering. When UP classes reopened around October or November (after a few weeks’ suspension due to the initial uncertainties of martial law), I decided to also go back to my studies while at the same time doing clandestine work with other comrades inside the university as underground ND activists. All my subjects as a freshman were still limited to the general arts and sciences at the Palma Hall (the famous “AS”). And that’s where this story about my short dalliance with frats is supposed to begin. Continue reading “How I transcended my frat leanings”

The lowly banga

Two weeks ago, we prepared and feasted on a dish that I had never tasted since maybe 30 years ago. It was ordinary paksiw na bangus, but cooked as it should be: in a clay pot, called banga in many Philippine languages. I didn’t know if it was just my imagination, but my taste buds told me it was a lot different when food is cooked in a banga, set over wood fire.

Writing about pots, at first I thought, would be one of the dullest chores I ever did. But since I had started this streak of writing about fireplaces anyway, I might as well continue with its logical extension: to write about the endangered craft of native pottery. I don’t think I’ve succeeded. Continue reading “The lowly banga”