Leaving cemeteries as clean as we found it

Shouldn’t it be obvious enough, like it’s staring you in the face?

The news today is that the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority has collected stupendous amounts of garbage that accumulated over the November 1-2 weekend in the various cemeteries of the metropolis. Well, you buy flowers and candles, you bring them to the cemeteries, and you leave them there. What do you think will happen? That the dead will later rise and clean up after you?

IRAIA thoughts
IRAIA thoughts

I’m thankful we made the decision not to bring flowers and candles to the cemetery, but just ourselves, with our mindful presence, deep thoughts and memories.

If we had to offer flowers and candles, I’d rather that we offer them at home, or wherever we are staying, so that the flowers and candles are kept fresh as long as possible, and don’t go to waste in one universal implosion on the night of November 2.

And of course, if I had given more attention to it, like in past All Saints-All Souls days, I would have made an additional offering of wine, in copitas for easy gulps,  so that my dead ancestors and and I could sit down once more for an evening of relaxed reminiscing. Other gentle souls in the vicinity would have been welcome, and in the morning, we would have emptied a bottle or two.

We would have cleaned up afterwards, and not rely on MMDA to pick up our self-inflicted trash. Leaving cemeteries as clean as we found it — I’d have thought our ancestors taught us how it’s properly done, all these years. #

Manny Loste and the secret of survival

Manny Loste
Manny Loste, with wife Maureen and some friends going vegetarian at La Azotea in Baguio last December 2012.

To the last, his intellectual and political heart was as strong as a bull’s. But alas, his physical heart began to falter in recent years. Relatives, friends and comrades hoped and helped to stretch his shortened time. At 66, there was so much more to do; it was too soon to go.

Still, without warning last April 30, Manny Loste went ahead just the same, leaving the rest of us to comprehend his sudden loss and contemplate his unmeasured legacy. Suddenly, we all realized we lost a social science teacher, a veteran activist and political leader of the Left, a dedicated family man, and a friend to most everyone he closely worked with. Continue reading “Manny Loste and the secret of survival”

My father’s mustache, turntable, etc

Pio Astudillo Verzola
My father Pio A. Verzola in his early 20s. Some cousins insist I look like him. Possibly. Lol.

He came from an industrious family of craftsmen, tailors and musicians that made and sold men’s suits, musical instruments and other crafted goods. His father died young and his mother went to live with another man, leaving him and his brother in the care of bachelor uncles and spinster aunts.

[Quick clarification, which I’m inserting here after a first cousin, Dr. Eufemio Verzola of Festus, MO pointed it out: My father’s mother, whom we all fondly called Lola Uban, returned to care for her sons and daughter after a short while. She was a loving mother or mother-in-law and doting Lola to all of us up to the end of her days.]

Gifted with native intelligence, fair mestizo looks, and a quaintly provincial sense of humor, my father struggled with limited funds through college at the prestigious University of the Philippines in Los Baños. He excelled in math and literature, but had to settle for a two-year forest ranger course. Continue reading “My father’s mustache, turntable, etc”