We’re an ANGEL-trust me.

SA TOWN:
I was walking down the busy street of Pueblo yesterday when suddenly an old woman grabbed my right arm. I thought she wants something but then realized that she held me accidentally to support herself from falling since the elevated pavement made it harder for her to climb up.
I smiled at her grateful face for my help. Then she said something UNEXPECTED:
“Bueno ya lang ya pwede yo agara anghel”
(Good thing I can hold on an angel)
I smiled wider before crossing the pedestrian line. 

This I learned:
Sometimes we tend to forget our worth that we missed the chance of keeping the price we deserve. That’s why sometimes God make ways to remind us that our mere presence ALONE is enough to save an old woman from cracking her bones.

ZAMBOANGA SIEGE: THE GLIMPSE BEHIND the SCENES

The sun shed its tears as it slowly rises up the horizon lining the sea of Zamboanga City, marking September 9 of year 2013 the first day of Stand Off. The rebels went against the Zamboanga Government to seek difference in the way of governing the city. Every civilian ran from one place to another seeking safety as one of the first priorities to preserve life. Others took the bus to travel to the nearest neighboring provinces and some stayed for good (or no choice at all). Some unfortunate civilians were trapped between gunshots, lost their houses, love ones, and hope.

We peered into the lives of the victims of this academe, Western Mindanao State University as my school, as they shared their stories on how they jumped, ran, hid and fought the haunting fear all throughout the crisis the city suffered. The following are just some of the testimonies that marked the history of their existence and will be reminded that this is not just a nightmare-this is REALITY.

Jenevie Iyang, 20, CET

Nang andun na kami sa boundary ng Talon-Talon sakay ang Pichu-Pichu na minamaneho ng tatay ko, biglang pinaputukan ang dalawang jeep na sinusundan namin. Nag-U turn agad ang tatay ko at sa Tumaganalang kami nag-stay. Namatay ata ang driver at ilang pasahero sa jeep.”

[English Translation: When we were in Talon-Talon’s boundary (one of the most affected barangays in Zamboanga City during the siege) riding in Pichu-Pichu (a kind of four-wheel vehicle) that my father was driving, suddenly the jeep that we were following was rained by bullets. My father stirred the wheel to U-turn and headed to Tumaga (a safer barangay, west part of Talon-Talon) instead where we stayed. I’m not sure but I guess the driver in that jeep died and also the some of the passengers.]

Cris Osabel, 19, CET

Andun lang kami halos mga lalaki sa Sta. Catalina habang binabantayan ang aming bahay. Matutulog kami sa umaga habang bantay sarado naman sa gabi. May dalawang MNLF kaming hinabol tapos napatay ng mga sundalo.”

[English Translation: Almost all of us men stayed in Sta. Catalina (one of the most affected barangays wherein the exchanging of fires happened aside from Sta. Barbara) to guard our belongings. We sleep at morning and are very vigilant at night. We chased two MNLF (the rebels) and were killed by the military.]

C.A.

Kel no choice ya gad but to jump na alto bakod de General (hospital) para pwede lang eskapa na Lustre, since we can’t pass na main street kay talya el mga MNLF.”

[English Translation: I didn’t have a choice but to jump over the very high fence of General Hospital so that I can escape from Lustre (a street) since we can’t pass by the main street because the MNLFs were positioned over there.]

A.H.

“Every time may nasusunog sa ‘Ground Zero’, panay tawag ko sa kaibigan ko na isa sa mga ‘miron’ na nakatambay malapit doon tinatanong kung nasunog na bahay namin. Pero sa huli nasunog parin.”

[English Translation: Every time a fire occurs at Ground Zero (an affected place); I always call for my friend that was positioned in that area to ask if our house was burned already. In the end, it was still burned.

Y.C.

“Happy ako kasi safe kami lahat, at the same time malungkot kasi hinde na namin alam kung saan kami titira. Nagtratrabaho din ako sa Grandstand, mag-waliswalis para makatulong sa mama ko”

[English Translation: I’m happy because we (family) were safe but sad at the same time because we don’t have any idea where to live anymore. I’m working at the Grandstand (the evacuation area where it used to be the city’s sport center), sweeping (garbage) so I could help my mother.]

There are more untold tales out there- some may be worse, others may be traumatic. We learned a lot of things and realized many lessons at the end of the chaos. All throughout the trek, we have lost but we gained as well. This is life-expect the unexpected, believe the impossible.

Zamboanga City may have faced unfortunate turn outs of events but still the citizens chose to continue living. Today, many homeless civilians live along the Cawa-Cawa Boulevard and are suffering the inconvenience of the aftermath of the siege. They are waiting for help to come. The government is doing their best as well for the relocation but it’s not yet enough. As a student, we call for assistance that these innocent families will have their lives back for it was never their faults to be caught in between two different groups fighting different principles through different ways.

But at the end of the day, the scorching sun, the howling wind, the hopeless tragedy, the aching failure; we are still here-STRONGER THAN YESTERDAY and that’s the true spirit of a Zamboangueño, of a bona fide Filipino.

(This article was published in the Digest Magazine 2013, written and distributed by The University Digeststaff, the official student publication of Western Mindanao State University, Zamboanga City)

Into the Land of PROMISE (Mindanao)

Ever wished to wake up one day with a gift certificate on your side with all the bold letters flashing on it: TRIP TO THE BEST TOURIST SPOTS IN MINDANAO? This is your day! Pack up your bags and let’s see the beauty behind the big island in Southern Philippines!

First stop, the Sohoton Lagoon, Siargao Island.

Ooh, island! Now this is more like it! Beaches, warm white sands, perfect sun… it just goes on! But what made this topped all other islands is that it offers the high surfing-perfect waves that just turns on that adrenaline. In fact, it was hailed the “Surfing Capital of the Philippines”! Plus, the non-stinging jellyfishes are a big yes to swim with and the Sohoton Cave (ooh the cave) is an addition to the adventurous stay in this tear-drop shaped island. A must-see island getaway to start the tour right, yes?

Alright, time to throw that two-piece bikini and micro mini shorts and let’s get out of this sun. Needs some shade? Second on the list, the People’s Park!

Located in the heart of Davao City, and known to be the most expensive park in the country-just P72 Million for construction cost if ‘expensive’ means money-this park brings you to the mini forest of Asia. A large collection of different trees all over the continent, Durian dome, hundreds of pigeons you can feed, more than life size sculptures by the best local artists and “waling-waling” decorated walls that are lighted during night, are just few of the things to enjoy during the visit. We are actually one of the thousand visitors every day in this haven because aside from the Sunken Garden, children’s playground, well-maintained surroundings and monkey bars, the entrance is actually FREE! Who hates free anyway?

So much for sun, caves, jellyfishes and tress now huh? Who created them all anyway?-God. Time to praise the Creator and Tamayong Prayer Mountain is one of the best places for that.

Still in Davao City (yes, there’s so much to present and we just don’t leave this place without recharging our faith), Tamayong Prayer Mountain is located at the foothills of Mount Apo. The cool wind relaxes the mind; the garden soothes the senses as the big convention halls keep the atmosphere of peace. Tourists make it a point to drop by for perhaps they could run into big personalities and the President of the Philippines while praying. So if you think you’re having a hard time finding your soul, this is the best place to look for them. Not that your soul is in here but at least this paradise draws them closer.

Still into travelling? Of course, of course! Guess where will be the next stop? Our very own Paseo del Mar!

Just because you’re almost every night banging your head from the beat coming from Distrito, calling the ‘rice man’ for extra scoop of rice in Mano Mano, or indulging your guilty pleasure treat of Knickerbocker, Paseo del Mar is not just any walking-slash-dating-slash-jamming place with your love ones. It actually ranked 20 out of 492 attractions in Mindanao according to Trip Advisor site! Now that’s something! Planning to check and appreciate the park-beside-the-sea more tonight? Surely the dancing fountain will again splash the sprays of water beautified by the different shades of color as the fire shoots through the warm air, completing the “ooh’s and ahh’s” of the visitors sitting on the grass around the center of attraction.

There are like hundreds of breath-taking places to spoil our free time and enjoy every moment of our being and we are blessed to find them here in Mindanao. As much as the Medias and other reviews see this place as home of terrorists in the country, truth be told, there’s magnificence behind the dark wall blocking their impressions.

So! The trip is over, but the fun will be kept. There’s more to offer and we encourage you to discover them on your own. Where’s the element of surprise anyway? But most of all, let’s be inspired to enrich the cultures and traditions in Mindanao for this day will be the yesterday of tomorrow. And we surely want a good tomorrow from a good yesterday, don’t we?

Lynette May V. Pamunag

(This article was published in Digest Magazine exclusively written and distributed by The University Digest Staff, the official student publication of Western Mindanao State University, Zamboanga City)

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY Mamang!

Everyone’s posting the HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY already but I see no picture with my Mamang and wondered why. Oh! She’s in our heart 
She may not be inside our home to cook our favorite dish, decorate the house with newly tailored curtains, give the plants their respective ground (like what?-every month?), or light our safe haven with her warm light; but she’ll always be part of us.
To the greatest Mamang in the world that NO ONE can replace, we LOVE you always. Years without you made us who we are today. We may not know what it would be like with you around (and wish we could have experienced it instead), but I know God have bigger plans for us to go on without you. 
New amazing people were added in our lives and we are blessed. Shadz was the best of them all so far and I know you’ll meet him one of these days. You could have been a great Lola anyway. The hottest actually  But still, in time. 
Image

One day.

That day when I will look at that picture and think that it’s nothing but a frozen memory of someone I used to know; and not to feel that painful hollow feeling as a reminder of being BLINDED by so-called curiosity.Image

Why Oh Why

When it rains, it pours

White pain shutters, blinding reality

The hearth’s fresh and red

Still more woods to encourage the fire

Why oh why do they enter

The world of wounds,

Of refreshing scars, of mixed emotions

Go round and round the cycle

Going back and forth, up and down

Dizziness blackened the senses

Confused, shocked, bewildered

 

The mystery of LOVE, they wonder

What it gives, what it takes

Noting nothing they own

Just as selfless as they can be

Why oh why it seemed unfair

The black and white, just grey

Don’t give a damn on what was said

Keeps on jumping without a doubt

Ready to be fed by whatsoever

As long as satisfaction will be met

 

They walk alone in two

At the end of the tunnel, there’s just you

It’s cold and painful

Scratching, cracking the happiness

Why oh why do they bleed

Yet seizes the moment to shed more

Aware of the rubbish at the start, at the end

The ache being rubbed again and again

Is it curiosity that stains the pure mind?

Or the journey of life and not the end?

His

His voice tickled the silence

Racking her heart, her soul, her life…

As he murmurs his sweetness

She sways in rhythm, in melody, in peace

The art of his notes lingered

As it touches the bells of her bliss

Sound clings, music escapes

From the darkness of her still, silent thoughts

 

His distance forgotten

His voice, her strength

Her dark hours, her frosted tears

Wiped by his cheerful charm

As she tried to see if he’s worth it

His goodness scares her off

Backing away from the edge of uncertainty

His love, his life, better off with someone else

 

Lullabies scratched her little memory

His blurred image smiles, her heart aches

The beauty of his calm yet springing tone

Sprouts green life from her dry old twigs

But she tiptoes from the cycle of mistake

As his naivety walks down the alley of lies

Maybe difficult, maybe not, he’ll be gone

Her mind took over-for the better, or for the worse

Why I still believe in MAGIC

Because it’s the only thing that casts a spell to the rest of the impossible things that I’m losing hope to.

On my 21st birthday (today), I thought I’m closing the possibility of magic yet I was wrong. Through ups and downs, I was taught to hold into something that’s not even there to exist physically. That’s faith. Image

I dedicate this post to the success of my 21 years of existence in this world. Throughout these years, I was exposed to many pains that could drag me down but at the end of the day, I still believe that things happen for some reasons. All I have to do is to seek for that reason or merely wait for it when the right time will come.

I may not have my dearest family beside me this very day but they live in my heart and that’s enough for me to keep going.

Thank you Daily Post for making this prompt that like the rest of the people in the world, we still have the reason to believe even if it’s so unreasonable to do so sometimes 🙂