The owls did it again.

I did not mention this the other day because I seem to remember that I published a post about the local bird of the night predicting (accurately) the departure of life from the body.

Since I changed my sleeping hours, later than usual, I began to hear the noises of midnight and the early morning. Startling and spooky, the owls hooted as if they were talking with one another, keeping track of the invisible to the human naked eye and providing hints of what would come to pass.

Yes, depending on their location and distance from my position, I could take a wild guess where the dead would be located. (It’s a discouraging prospect but it is what it is.)

True enough, or should I say bewildering, the owls maintained their percentage of accuracy to a high level. Supernatural? I could not put a word to describe it. Fantastic, perhaps?

“Did you hear them, too?” my kumpare asked the next day. “I was pissing outside when I thought they were just overhead. I had to hurry up to go inside and hide.”

“You’re exaggerating,” I remarked nervously. “As always.”

“He’s dead,” my kumpare mentioned the name of our neighbor. “The next day after the owls hooted.”

Right there and then, I began to keep a more open mind. I did not know what to say, nor would I want to confirm what my kumpare surmised, I only wished the birds would leave and move far away from our locality.

However, that would be easier to hope for than realized.

When I told my godsons that the aswang was not real, I was simply excluding them from the anxieties and fears of adults. Children should be exempted, while still young, from the ugliness and obscenities of this world and beyond.

Believe it or not, there are unnatural phenomena occurring hereabouts. People could not explain them other than joke around and pretend they were folk tales of old, handed down through generations with embellishments as years went by.

Right now, I could hear the dogs howling one after another. Should I be frightened?

No. I am sure.




Being young during the 80s was unbelievable!

Look back and discover what we had back then.



New Year passed by while I was sound asleep. It was the first time that happened to me, at least as an adult. My marathon viewing of Games of Thrones exacted a toll on my wakefulness. I did not even hear the loud fireworks most merrymakers exploded at midnight. I was somewhere else, in the dreamworld to be exact.

Hours later, I found out that the first day of 2015 was no different from the last day of 2014. I woke up as usual, almost the same minute of the same hour every morning (due mainly to a changed sleeping habit) and back to my unfinished field work. It would seem nothing changed a bit in our part of the world.

Yet,  things changed elsewhere, events we were no aware of, occurrences that might or might not have any bearing to our simple lives. Unless it is Armageddon happening in a global scale, we would have not known of it. We would continue to exist the only way we know: subsist on a daily basis.

This seeming ignorance of information outside our locality is the main reason why I want to stay connected, be online everyday. In an important way, I could impart to others, those who are interested, vital facts that are not necessarily reported on local news. Yes, I could withheld the same information and keep it to myself but that’s not the genuine use of received information: it is dissemination.

It’s unfortunate that I missed several important news the past days I was off the Net. More unfortunate still was what actually reached us were the terrible and horrible events that claimed lives because of the continuing conflicts in the world.

People elsewhere should try to negotiate for peace. They will absolutely love it like we do.



There are world issues we faithfully believe in, at times to the point we appear fanatically obsessed.

To protect the environment is one of them.

If we do not succeed in our cause, I am absolutely sure that Nature will fight back and punish us all in the end.



We eat. We feed our minds.

I’ve always wondered why bad news generate more interest than good ones. It’s rather surprising that in general we all want the positive sides of life to reign in our world. Yet, we see more of the negative, often sensationalized, bled dry of inside information and analyses till we are all consumed by all the ill effects to our minds.

I am not an exception to this generalization. In fact, when I watch the newscast I could not help but be glued to my seat, oblivious of what’s happening around just to hear every word reported about an event. I am not glad to listen to accounts of accidents, natural calamities, political or social turmoils leading to deaths, or any other unfortunate incidents. I simply want to know the information.

Like eating, we feed ourselves to feel satiated physically and contented emotionally that we are not hungry. Could it be true that we fill our brains with information to be mentally active and emotionally contented that we are not ignorant about what’s happening around us?

Like eating healthy, we choose foods that benefit our bodies.. Mentally, we acquire positive thoughts, meaningful knowledge and good news.

On the other hand, more often than not we eat junk food, too. We know they are bad for our health but since they taste good, we still continue to consume them. We also have other vices that negatively affect our bodies but still we readily give in to their promised pleasures.

So, in some way bad news, which are not probably good for our mental health, continue to be included in our daily fare. We absorb every bit of details, tune in to updates and follow them up till the end. Subliminally, our negative emotions are aroused, our sense of fair play skewed and our logical thinking set aside.

We eat what we are. But we sometimes think what we are not.



Before the year ended, another godson, my constant chess opponent, presented me with an alternative to television. He loaned me the CD-ROM version of the HBO series Game of Thrones, all four seasons for my viewing pleasure.

“I have a lot of work,” I said plainly. “I’ll probably watch it later if I still possess the energy to open my eyes.”

“I have a lot of questions, Ninong,” he confided. “I am sure you could answer them when you’re finished with all the episodes.”

“You understand English, don’t you? What’s the matter?”

“Yes, but I have trouble following the dialogues.”

“I see.”  Nuances could be tricky.

I could tell that he was very interested. His enthusiasm showed on his boyish face.

“I will check it out during my break.”

Frankly, I was as ignorant as my neighbors about the series. Even though I was online most of the time I was not too keen to preview even the short clips on YouTube. I was more of a music video enthusiast.

I went back to the house to take a quick peek.

After screening the first episode of season one, I was glad I was spared watching the spoilers online. I felt a sense of heightened suspense, not knowing what would come next as the story unfolded. It was riveting.

Instantly, I decided to stop my field work. I had ten hours on my hands: everything went on hold. 🙂

I was not surprised why the series earned a large following. It possessed all the drama and mystique of a great legend.

I have not read the books yet. I am aware that most adaptations somewhat veered away from the original, with the author’s blessings, of course. Still, the core of the story was intact.

Like my godson, I have questions, certain matters that needed straightening out. For starters, in the first episode, how did one of the rangers escape the White Walker? My guess: cowardice could be the answer.

I am hooked so I am waiting for the fifth season installments. 🙂



It’s hours before the DAY but it would seem the celebrations this year lack the traditional cheer we are accustomed to enjoy in the past. I am not really surprised for the austerity most people observed: their practicality won over their former happy-go-lucky behavior.

Sure, they will celebrate Christmas but not the way they used to. Belt-tightening is the primary reason people resorted to the downplayed holiday.

The loud fireworks are gone, either they became too expensive or too dangerous for all concerned. The flickering lights that once adorned every house, are less of a sight to behold because too few homes have them. Even the elaborate decorations which every family took weeks to assemble are conspicuously absent.

Years before, carolers often met each other on the road, eager to outdo one another with their singing prowess and flair in serenading households. Today, they need to send envelopes first to their prospects, veering away from tradition of surprising their hosts with angelic renditions of Christmas songs. On the extreme, families ignore them altogether, considering their annual practice as obsolete.

I am not sure what will Christmas be next year. But I am afraid, more and more people will consider it as an ordinary birthday celebration.

However, we can still look forward to the silver lining, so to speak. We can celebrate Christmas in our hearts everyday. That means we have 365 days of peace and kindness instead of just one.

Not a bad idea, eh? 😀



Fair is fair.

Goodnight everyone.

Be well.


Pronounced (2)

From the Collection of Short Stories titled, Love Is All Around (Copyright)

Condensed Version

– 0 –


Within the next half hour, she was greeted more or less with similar felicitations accompanied with respectful smiles. Only one creature looked at her with disdain: she surmised that the old man was probably a loyal supporter of the former president or an ardent follower of another Christian sect.

Sister Cristina remained in the present. There was no use pretending that the past could be resurrected to put an end to the current malaise in society in general.

“Will you be going back to the church?” asked a deep male voice from behind.

The disruption to her thoughts belonged to a young priest who frequently led her around, the daily trip to the bench included.

“Ah, Father Jess,” she gushed, grateful that his constant attention to her had not diminished. “You’re too kind.”

“I saw you from up there,” he pointed to the higher ground where the church entrance was located. “Perhaps, you waited long for me to fetch you.”

The young disciple of God was born to serve, Sister Cristina firmly believed. He hid no false pretenses with the way he cared for her.

“Can I stay a little longer?” she asked, her plea understandable.

“Of course, Sister.” Father Jess would always accede to her wishes. “I’ll come back after half an hour. Will that be all right?”

“That would be great, Father.” she nodded, smiling like a small girl.

The priest tapped her shoulder gently before turning back. The small gesture was enough to brighten her day.

Again, she tried to remember the past. Unfortunately, distractions began to build up. Her vivid reflections were diluted by the growing noise of traffic fifty feet from where she sat. Another solemn day was no more, replaced by the ordinary.

Her immaculate attire was a magnet to dust and dirt, slowly accumulating in the air as minutes passed by. She should have accepted the priest’s offer earlier so she could safely escape the noxious particles from exhausts of motor transports. The smoggy air began to bother her breathing.

The empty space near her was on the verge of being occupied by a smartly-dressed man in his early forties. The new arrival would thwart her wish to remain the sole occupant of her favorite bench.

“Mind if I seat here, Sister?” the man asked, already adjusting his pants to prepare for a comfortable seating.

“No, I don’t mind at all,” she replied, inching a bit toward the edge on her side.

“It’s nice to sit here,” he mused, taking a long deep breath, unafraid of the air pollution he just inhaled.

“Are you expecting someone?” Sister Cristina queried, noticing him glancing at his watch several times.

“She is late,” he confessed. “We’re supposed to meet inside the church.”

Ah, waiting, sighed Sister Cristina. It was a chore many  people disliked.

“Why did you come out? She might be there now?”

“It’s her turn to wait then,” he commented, his tone irritated.

Sister Cristina smiled. The man obviously hated tardiness.

“You know, waiting means you care,” she said. “Anticipation is a part of loving.”

He turned to her, studying her face for any hint of jest. Her enigmatic words were genuine: it touched a nerve inside him.

“I’m sure you are saying that to appease me. She’s been doing this to me ever since.”

“And yet, you anticipate her arrival every time?”

Sister Cristina watched him closely. He needed the guidance like everyone else.

“So, I always wait.”


“But, why always me?” he asked, confused why equality was not an issue. “She has never waited for me.”

“You’re missing my point,” Sister Cristina emphasized. “You’re talking about time. What I am talking about is Love.”

He frowned, showing his dissatisfaction. But slowly his face brightened up when he finally understood the nun’s perspective.

“I think you’re right, Sister. Thank you for enlightening me.”

He immediately stood up and waved his goodbye.

Sister Cristina looked up to the cloudless sky, reciting her firm devotion.

“I will wait as long as it takes when the time comes to join my God in heaven.”

T H E  E N D


Pronounced (1)

From the Collection of Short Stories titled, Love Is All Around (Copyright)

Condensed Version

– 0 –

Nearly six in the morning, the sun’s streaks of yellow rays passed through the almost oval green leaves of a ten-year old Narra tree, creating moving splotches of changing patterns on the pavement. The gentle breeze from the west kept the air cold.

Local birds that normally populated the trees were still nowhere in sight. Perhaps, they, too, needed warmth that they hid themselves in several buildings nearby.

A small but well-kept park was carved out from a military camp that faced the former Highway 54. Renamed decades later as EDSA,  it was the world-renowned site where the so-called People Power Revolution took place in the mid 1980s. It was a fitting memorial to the struggles and triumphs of the common people.

Nearby, a towering metal statue of the Virgin Mary stood in front of the church built to signify the important contribution of the Church to achieve an almost bloodless change of power. The word miracle was often cited to describe the events during those turbulent times.

An elderly nun in an all-white habit sat on a marble bench: she was bathed with sunshine. The daily routine, which she never missed, gave her the opportunity to observe the surroundings before the chaos of traffic took over during the morning rush hour. Nothing could be so refreshing than to breathe the clean air before pollution from exhausts of motor vehicles poisoned it later.

She turned her upper body slowly and glanced at the huge statue. More often than not, it always triggered her reminiscence of the past, most especially those memories that reminded her how it all came about.

Sister Cristina was there when it happened. She was a middle-aged noviciate back then, locking arms with fellow religious workers and ordinary citizens, waiting for the government military regiments to break through their ranks. Bodily harm was a serious concern but she disregarded the mortal threat. Only their deaths could sever the human chain they formed.

It was touch and go at first, their pleading voices softened the resolve of loyalist forces dedicated to follow the current president. With food, water and flowers offered, the status quo was achieved. Peace was observed: violence prevented.

She believed that their contribution was instrumental in avoiding an armed confrontation between opposing armies, the rebels inside the camp while their counterparts held to a halt further away.

They were filled with hope that someday what they fought for would engender true change. All the lofty promises were given, bandied to the crowd, proclaimed to the world press.

But even before the celebration of victory was finished, history repeated itself. Only the collars were changed: political animals repainted their stripes, turncoats all over the place. They were all different and yet all too similar: personal interest reigned supreme.

Sister Cristina sighed deeply. Where were the years that passed by. Her devotion never wavered but her once energetic body began to wither with age.

People strolled by, reminding her that sooner the park would be populated by souls from all walks of life. The market atmosphere would take over and it would transform the early morning serenity of the place into a busy congregation of crowds.

“Good morning, Sister,” greeted a mother of three, cradling a newly-born baby, asleep in her left arm. Two small children held on to the hem of her skirt, unwilling to let her go for fear of getting lost.

“Good morning, too.” Sister Cristina blessed them with the sign of the cross. She, however, did not rise up to approach the children because her frail body lacked the will to move like she used to do when she was younger.

An exchange of pleasantries ensued for more than ten minutes. It could have been longer except the children hurriedly tugged at their mother’s skirt, signaling her to finish off the conversation.

“I guess, we’ll be on our way, Sister.” She sounded apologetic for the interruption.

“Children,” Sister Cristina smiled, her lined face filled with understanding. “They prefer happy places. Not boring companies.”

– o –

(to be concluded)