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Category Archives: Poetry

The 70th anniversary of the Battle of Manila

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We will always remember
What we shouldn’t forget
What made our hearts asunder
From the rubbles of regret.

My Filipiniana wedding! (part 3)

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¡Mi familia maravillosa!

Exactly a year ago today, our dreams finally came true — a wedding that was 14 years in the making!

Our wedding rings on my wife’s Filipiniana bouquet composed of sampaguita, gumamela, ylang-ylang, pandacaqui, camia, and champaca flowers. The bouquet was designed by renowned florist Serge Igonia, a native San Pedrense.

Right after our wedding at the San Pedro Apóstol Parish Church, San Pedro Tunasán, La Laguna.

If there is one most important thing that we learned on that beautiful Friday the 13th wedding, it is this: the weddings of today are focused on the couples, but traditional weddings are focused on the wedding itself, that it is a covenant between God and the newly weds, thus emphasizing that a wedding is not merely a ritualistic union but a holy sacrament. A wedding is not your usual earthly event.

But wedding receptions? Oh, yeah! That’s the newly wed couple’s preferable moment to shine! :D

Jardín de San Pedro is located along Calle Luna, just a stone’s throw away from the church.

Yeyette and I agreed to have our wedding reception held at our adoptive hometown, and at a place just near the church so as not to tire our guests. Jardín de San Pedro was the obvious choice. Aside from being very near the church, we really dig its name because it’s very Filipino. We have already been to the place when Krystal’s elementary graduation rites were held in 2012. I immediately had a liking for it because of the natural ambiance and the “Filipino feel” of the place. And yes, as its name connotes, it is really filled with sampaguita flowering plants. It is unmistakably a clear nod to San Pedro Tunasán’s title as the country’s sampaguita capital. That first visit to Jardín de San Pedro provided a positive impression upon me which further spurred my dreams of pursuing that belated wedding which I have been planning on my mind for years.

When we first consulted the Legaspi Family, the owners of the venue, the menu offering they showed to us were not to our liking because not Filipino. All meals were “International” (pot roast beef with gravy, caesar salad, penne bolognese, etc.) and “Chinese” (shrimp with quail eggs, crispy canton noodles with crab meat sauce, corn and kani soup, etc.). The packages were completely out of sync to our Mozarabic Rite wedding. But we’re glad that the Legaspis could think out of the box. Although unavailable, they opted to customize their wedding packages for us! So on our next meeting, we were delighted to see an updated menu of theirs which since then included a buffet that is completely Filipino.

We also planned on other stuff: the decors, the sound system, and everything else. We requested the theme to be as Filipino as possible. What I had in mind was not to have the usual wedding reception which people today are accustomed to. I had in mind of reviving, at least for a day, the nearly forgotten “<em>tertulia filipina</em>”.

Tertulia literally means a social gathering. But in the Filipino sense, it was not just a social gathering where people eat and discuss. At a time when there was still no television, radio, or Internet, Filipinos celebrated arts and culture during such gatherings. In a tertulia filipina, there is much poetry reading, music, and dancing. So again, as in our church wedding where the focus was on our union as a covenant, I decided to put the focus on the event itself instead of us bride and groom. The event was the “<em>bida</em>”, not exactly us. We took the opportunity to introduce to our friends and relatives how “partying” was like during the Spanish and early US period.

We are Filipinos. We’re not US citizens. We’re not Chinese. Neither are Japanese, Indians. etc. So why celebrate with that kind of theme?

A revival of cultural pieties is what we did. And we hope we got the message through.

And yes, we had no wedding planners. I planned all this (Yeyette and our dear college friend Michael Lim had a small role, hehe!). Who knows? I could be your next wedding planner — so long the theme is Filipiniana. :D

Sampaguita buds all over the tables. We’re not called the sampaguita capital for nothing. :-)

Our modest two-layered wedding cake crowned with santán flowers.

Classic sorbetes to welcome our guests. It was a bestseller!

My mother-in-law checking out the vintage decorations.

Our dear college buddy, Michael Vincent U. Lim, hosted our tertulia filipina wedding reception.

Mayor Lourdes Catáquiz graciously welcomes our guests, most of whom are from out of town.

With the wedding sponsors. L-R: Former Mayor Calixto Catáquiz, the groom, the bride, Señor Guillermo Gómez, and Señora Josefina Láus de Alas

My best buddy Arnaldo Arnáiz delivering his heartwarming brindis.

L-R: Former Mayor Calex and his wife, incumbent Mayor Lourdes Catáquiz, the groom, the bride, and Señor Gómez.

Musical prodigy Satcheil Amamangpang and young church historian Jesson Allerite perform several Filipino folk songs in Spanish. They were also part of the four-man choir during our wedding.

L-R: my sister Jennifer Alas, my dad Josefino Alas, my cousin Cuya Ángelo Joseph Carcallas, my maternal grandmother Norma Soriano, my daughter Krystal, my cousin Paolo Raphael Balicao, my cousin Jam Alas, Jennifer’s fiancé Chock de Guzmán, and dad’s cousin Uncle Joel Évora.

L-R: Yeyette’s sister Kathleen Diezon, my father-in-law Jaime Perey, Tita V-Beth Atienza, my mother-in-law Teresa Perey, Tita V-Beth’s friend Liez de León, and Kathleen’s daughter Krishna. The two gentlemen behind my mother-in-law are Yeyette’s stylists.

Jardín de San Pedro customized a Filipino meal upon our request. The package included: menudo, pancít cantón guisado, oven baked chicken lemon grass, rellenong bañgús, Jardín de San Pedro beef steak Tagalog, steamed rice, leche flan, buco pandán, and sago & gulaman.

Poet-musician Joms Púnay delivers his Tagalog verses “Sa Bus” and Bituín“.

Flamenco dancer and indie actress Jameela Pérez reads her Spanish poem “En Mis Ojos Hasta Que Me Levanto“.

Pinay Poet Imee Rabang delivers her English poem “Every Night”.

Veteran flamenco dancers Kenneth Gaerlán and Valerie Devulder wow the audience with their moves.

My cousin Josh Alas (right) and his instructor Leo Laher (left) performing Johann Pachelbel’s famous “Canon in D major”.

Joms backs up the violinists with his guitar strums.

Joms Púnay on guitars, Roxanne Guivencán on vocals, and Bernard Cadawas on the cajón. This nameless band from Paeté performed several acoustic performances, among them the Chavacano hit song “¿Por que?.”

Dancing with my wonderful bride to this tune!

Kenneth and Jam in a powerful performance!

You get to hear my cousin Jam over at Magic 89.9, but she doesn’t sing there like what she did here! And it’s damn high-pitched I thought I’d never get to use my ears again afterwards! On this photo, me and her brother Josh troll her without her knowledge!

Yeyette’s friend Arlene Umali serenaded us with her a cappella rendition of “Gaano Co Icáo Camahál”, one of our favorite Tagalog love songs.

Closing remarks, acknowledgments, and a bit of long overdue drama. :-)

¡Gracias, gracias, muchísimas gracias!

1) Please CLICK HERE to view all of our photos!
2) Please CLICK HERE to read part 2.
3) Please CLICK HERE to read part 1.

¡Enaltecer la familia para la gloria más alta de Dios!

Hope (An paglaum)

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Here is a timely poem about hope written by a Lineyte-Samarnón writer. The poem, translated into English, was published in the book LINEYTE-SAMARNON POEMS: A Collection (published by the Divine Word University Publications in Tacloban City, Leyte in 1974). It should be remember that both Leyte and Sámar Oriental were super typhoon Yolanda’s most hardest hit provinces.

HOPE
Nicolás C. Camintoy

          More bitter than bile
the life that is mine
my heart almost breaks
of hope it is almost dry.

O bitter is the life
of a poor man like me
no friend gives me a glance
not one comes near.

In the midst of my misery
a pall often comes upon my soul
my dream of deliverance
seems to sink — it quietens!

As the storm of life almost crushes
my breast
in God the Merciful I place my hope
as the tree of strong pith
the wind cannot break, nor the storm
uproot.

Please click here for the original Leyte-Samarnón original.

My Tagalog translation of Lope de Vega’s “Varios Efectos del Amor

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This is my Tagalog translation of Lope de Vega’s “Varios Efectos del Amor” which I read in last Friday’s LIRIKO Musika+Salaysay, a cultural program that was held in Kape Kesada, Paeté, La Laguna.

Photography by Ronald A. Yu.

IBÁ’T-IBÁNG EFECTO NG PAG-IBIG
Pepe Alas

Pagcaualán ng malay, mapañgahas, magalit,
magaspáng, banayad, malayà, mailáp,
pagcagana ng loób, sucat macamatáy, patáy, buháy,
tapát, sucab, duág, masiglá,

Capág di mahanap ang náis, ualáng catahimican;
Nagmúmuqhang masayá, maluncót, mapagpacúmbabâ, mapágmataas,
nagagalit, matapang, palatanan,
nasísiyahan, nasásactan, naguiguing cahiná-hinalà,

Ang pagtalicod sa malinao na pagcacámalî,
uminóm ng lason na tila ba’y minatamís na alac,
ang pagcalimot sa paquinabang, at pagcaguilio sa pinsalà —

Ang maniuala na ang calañgitan ay maaaring pagcásiahin sa infierno,
Ang pag-alay ng buhay at cáloloa sa isáng malíng acalà,
Itó ang pag-ibig; ang sínumang nacalasáp nitó, alám ang sinasabi có.
.

Copyright © 2013
José Mario Alas
Manila, Philippines
All rights reserved.

Pardon my usage of “archaic” Tagalog. I am against useless and deliberate revisionism of languages and orthography.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

God Created Physics

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GOD CREATED PHYSICS
Pepe Alas

(For Laiza)

God created physics
He created trees
He created memories
Before we could say “please”

God made love and physics
Before the universe
And out of this black hearse
A scented sparkling verse

God made love with physics
Eschewed the universe
Before we could say “please”
He benighted trees

09/10/2010

Copyright © 2010
José Mario Alas
Manila, Philippines
All rights reserved.

In The Garden

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Photo from ALAS FILIPINAS (Tanauan, Batangas).

IN THE GARDEN
José Mario Alas

Christ never cried in the Garden:
Instead, he sang songs in praise
Of sleep to sweet to ignore
And the blood that flowed
From his brow divine
Was too salty for everyone
To implore.

Circa 2002

Copyright © 2011
José Mario Alas
Manila, Philippines
All rights reserved.

May God forgive the “Fish King” of Mactán

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Carlos Calao (whose relatives today now spell their last name as Kalaw) was a Chinese Mestizo from Binondo. He published the below Spanish poem in 1614. It’s fortunate that I still found a copy of it. The poem was written in praise of Fernando Magallanes (Ferdinand Magellan in English) for having brought the Christian religion to these islands. Cali Pulaco, popularly and erroneously known as Lapu-lapu, was pictured as the real villain (“por orden de Satán“) in that legendary battle.

Actually, Magallanes was hailed by Filipinos as a hero for centuries, even after Spain had left the Philippines. A monument was even erected in Mactán island in his honor. But when our country was invaded and colonized by the US WASPs, they imposed upon us many questionable “heroes”, among them Cali Pulaco/Lapu-lapu, systematically brainwashing the Filipino mind to hate their Spanish past, killing the Filipino identity in the process.

For good or bad, Magallanes et al. brought to these heathen islands the concept of Christianity. So we better salute and thank him for introducing to us the Christmas season which is just around the corner. =)

To read the full and real story behind the battle of Mactán, click here. I wrote that indignant article more than three years ago for JB Lazarte‘s techno-humor blog SKIRMISHER (a history blogpost published in a techie blog — ang layo, ¿no?).

Without further adieu, here is Carlos Calao: poet, Filipino…

A monument of Magallanes in Punta Arenas, Chile. Although Magellan has a couple of monuments here in our country (with some places named after him), he is still looked upon with scorn for having "invaded the Philippines". A classic case of historical stupidity among Filipinos today.

QUE DIOS LE PERDONE
Carlos Calao

Que Dios le perdone al salvaje,
Al pagano de Mactán
Que no entendió la palabra
De Dios en el Capitán
Magallanes, a quién muerte
Dió por orden de Satán,
El enemigo de Cristo,
El ponsoñoso alacrán.

A dos cientos cobardes
Cali Pulaco mandó
Que se le tire arena
En los ojos a traición
Y que con pedradas y palos
Se le cayera el toisón:
¡Un hombre contra dos cientos
Salvajes sin corazón!

El Capitán Magallanes
Los invitó a servir
Al verdadero Dios servir nuestro;
Mas, aquel régulo vil
Llamado Cali Pulaco
No quiso ver ni sentir
La dádiva de la Fe
Y nos lo hizo morir.

Mas, no fue en vano la muerte
Del noble Conquistador.
El Niño Jesús que se entrona
En Cebú es hoy la flor
Que a su martirio perfuma.
Nadie recuerda al traidor
Que a Magallanes dió muerte.
Tal vez, otro vil traidor.

I dare say that the true hero of Mactán was not your vile Fish King. For having resisted Christianity and a possible early Filipinization, he unwittingly became the enemy of Christ, the poisonous scorpion.

To Magallanes: a respectful salute and boundless admiration!

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