Click images below
to see hightlights
of my recent home-coming
and fun-filled vacation
to my home land:
We travel to open our eyes,
To the world
Different from our own . . .
in the temporary dwelling place
under a roof where many dwellers took shelter
to innhale the earth’s fresh breath, of whissling winds and singing lake.
to commune with the locals
to be part of her inhabitants
to belong to her community
to reside in her home
to feel safe
to become part of her family
to go back in time following the signals of the earth’s light house
to dock ashore
to anchor in her harbor
to find comfort in her warm embrace
to walk her streets
to taste her produce
to dine on her table
to shop in her market
to buy her products
to met up with young artists
to befriend her vendors
to ride on life’s carriage
to blend with the commuters
take a train ride around town
to be amused by performing artists, jugglers
to be child-like again
to find that quietude in spite of the turmoil
to find internal peace in the midst of the present and ancients wars battling in our heads
to be enriched by the heritage
to feel refreshed and renewed
to be reinvigorated body and soul
to thank the heavens for the graces
to seize the moment
to bless the day
to bathe in the earth’s fountains
to be reassured we are part of the streams of the universe
to be ready for our next trips
to sail forth
to embark in life’s new journey again
on and on.
The destination ever beaconing in the distance
We are part of heavens’ immense plans
each one of us is a special thread
that makes up the universe’s colorful tapestries.
. . . Their part of the world and mine are no different afterall,
We take shelter in the same roof
Under the same arched skies.
(Kenosha and Racine, Wisconsin, July 31 to August 2, 2009)
My eldest sister, Maritez, called me the previous day asking me to write a valedictory address for her second child, Gigi, who will be graduating Valedictorian from grade school. It was such a great moment for me. Suddenly I was a proud uncle, I believe she feels double the joy and pride I felt. Hearing my nephews’ and nieces’ accomplishments and achievements are always inspiring. It feels like I’m showered with so much positive energies, and I feel a certain feeling of high every time.
And then, I begun the composition of the speech in my mind that brought me back to the sweet memories of my early education from elementary days. It all became fresh again. All the elements came back, and I was there when it happened and the speech I wrote should have been the message I told my classmates back then, only I was not the valedictorian.
My Education: My Contribution To The Future
A Valedictory Address : Angelie Jamora Escrupulo
I arrive today to this moment, standing facing a new frontier. Before this moment pass me by, let me take each detail, each piece of memories, each body of thoughts, the knowledge, the wisdom, the important life’s lessons, all the gifts and blessings that this moment is giving me so I could take them with me to my travel to the future.
My dear classmates, are you taking the memories like me?
Do you still remember the first time we stepped to the grounds of this school, the Elementary School we will forever carry wherever the future takes us from here. Did you keep our shared laughters? The laughter forever sweet in our memories. Engrave them in your hearts, they are the laughter so pure we could always go back whenever we face the bitter taste of life that we are sure to stumble upon as we face the consequences of growing. Value the friendship we built here, they hold the purest elements of camaraderie and partnership that we need as we befriend the world.
Feel the comfort of the chairs where you are seated now, the floor where your feet are rested, breath the air, the scent of our dear school ~
If you could hold the hands of our classmates beside you, feel that gentle yet strong grip . . . .
(Note : Invite everybody at this point to hold hands and please allow some time for seatmates to enjoy the moment)
The memory of their grips will remind us that we will be forever safe wherever our futures would take us when we leave this grounds and get out of the gates of this campus that will forever hold the moments when we took our baby steps taking in the knowledge that helped form the young muscles of our minds so we would be ready.
Listen to the sounds of triumph that we all hear at this moment.
Capture all the elements that we could possibly get from here –
The scents of our notepads and erasers, of our bags, of the pencils and scented pens, when we were just learning to form the first letters, write our first words and draw our first flowers.
The many rains that showered us in our way to school and back home, and its sound as the rainfalls hit the roof of our classroom when we were just learning to count and pronounce our ABC’s
The sunlights that lit our faces, the sunshine that’s forever bright in our memories, and will forever remind us of the first exercise and dance steps we learn from our PE.
The feel of our desk, the colors of our classroom, the taste of the hundred snacks we shared.
Memorize the faces that helped pave the way for us to arrive to this victory, that made our first triumphs possible :
Our parents ~ God’s angels that built our homes and sent us to school.
Our families that supported us so we learn the basic lessons of how it is to stand and to take steps in our first walk in our journeys with life.
Our classmates and friends, who made us feel for the first time that we belong outside our homes in the safety of their company.
Our dear Teachers, our second parents in school, who fed us with all the knowledge every step of the way, from kindergarten, to grade one, to grade six, and now that this journey is about to end, as we are about to take a leap to next stage. We fear not because we are ready, they prepared us for this, to face the many battles we will face as we step to the roads to our future. Remember their voices that equipped us with the weapons and armour, these are the voices that will remind us of the power of knowledge they ingrained our young minds.
Remember our dear Principal, who helped us build our backbones in education, wherever the paths of the academe will take us, we would always trace back our beginnings from here. We should always be grateful to our principal for designing and sending us the most basic and complete, yet non-complicated map so we would not get lost no matter how blurry the visibilities of the terrains in the forest, and deserts, and jungles, and ocean, and prairies, and mountains, and skyscrapers of the cities of whatever profession that we will fly in our pursuits for knowledge to make the difference and make our corners of the world a better place to live.
We hold in our minds that map and if we uphold what we have learned, we will be sure to reach our destinations safe.
Remember that our parents, our teachers, our principal are once like you and I, too. They have arrived to where they are right now, and we their children, their pupils and the knowledge that they nourished us are their contribution to the the future they only thought about when they were our age dreaming about this very moment where we are now. Our triumphs and our achievements are their victories, too.
Let us thank them with our prayers, may our little voices would reach God’s ears to bless them. Let us pay them tribute and pass on their kindness by becoming the best versions of ourselves that they wanted all of us to become, nothing less. Wherever our journeys will take us, we will always trace our roots in this grounds, we are always anchored in their arms, in their hearts. Like kites we are safe in our flights because our strings are in the safety of their caring hands.
Let me read to you a poem written by my uncle, let this poem be my message to everybody who once were children, too.
Child Once, Too
Let the child run free, uphills or down plains
Like a gazelle that gallops in prairies.
Let him swim in lakes, bathe in rains
And coquette like the mystical fairies.
Censor him not for he is free from stains
Trust not the filthy mind of the gentries.
Free the child from the restraining chains
And from the customs’ narrow boundaries.
Let him be for his generations’ gains ~
Allow the children to weave their stories.
And now, as we celebrate this milestones in our young life, let us celebrate this moment with grateful hearts. Our graduation today is our contribution to the future – from the seeds that we are now, will spring bright citizens of our country that will help sustain and make the difference. We will be taking different highways from this little road, we will explore the wide skies from this runway as we take off, we will reach distant shores as we leave this harbour of our elementary school as proud graduates ready to help build the future for the generations to come.
For our friends, until we meet again.
For our guest of honor, thank you for the inspiration, may our little victory will serve as an inspiration for you, too, that you could take and share the next time you are invited to speak for a graduation ceremony.
For our Teachers and Principal, this is not goodbye, this is just asking your permission, and for your blessings as we take off – please wish us well.
For our parents and family, we offer to you our first accomplishment of the many triumphs and honors we will bring home from now.
For my dear classmates, let us open our minds and our hearts for growth. The future promises unlimited possibilities that are in our hands and are for us to seize and to hold. Always take the bright routes to the future, when the roads are seem dark in some days, take refuge and find the guidance of the little lamp post of the memories from this moment and we will never get lost.
Let us thank God for this moment. Let us thank Him for all the people, the extension of His love, His angels that He sent to make sure all that we have now and our future will happen. It is written.
And when we reach our destinations please let us not forget to look back and send signals to our dear school, that we have reached our destinations and that we have arrived.
Waiting, I sit on the city’s park-bench
And observe the busy pedestrian
Like a parade, as time moves in a cinch.
Some images conjure up memories
Bringing pain back that feels like heart pinch.
Reminding me of sad journal entries.
Some happy thoughts, too, unreel in my mind
As strangers traverse the concrete walk ways.
Evoking flashbacks like films in rewind.
People swarm the makeshift stalls of flowers
Picking colorful blooms in varied kinds.
Their petal droppings are lovely litters.
But I doubt it would be conspicuous
To the eyes of a city street sweeper
Whose life a routine and contenuous.
A grain of sweat trickles on my forehead.
My body reaction is congruous
To summer heat ~ it shines like precious bead.
The sounds of busy traffic in the street
Subdue the past’s bells ringing in my head.
Years go on, but things hasn’t changed a bit.
And then, I feel light pats on my shoulder.
I see your face, my waiting is over.
When was the last time you paid attention to the details of life? ~ Jeques
The dusts had finally settled
From the stage arena
Where the battle was fought.
One genuine soul is left,
And remained standing,
Triumphant with her gift
Claiming the throne
The smoke across the skies
Had finally desolved
To the thin air
The once fierce bolts
From different directions,
And the dazzling colors of fireworks
flaring in the evening skies
are now gone.
And in the clearest
Of midnight blue
Of the arched heaven
A new born modern-day warrior
Victorious in tears
The once dark horizon
With her inner brilliance.
Will always look up
To be inspired,
To dream ~
And wish upon her
That my dreams,
Will come true.
One would only feel, fully, how it is to miss home when he is away. I now understand. Since I left my country, it is also when I felt that profound longing for anything Filipino. So I always try to re-connect in anything I could, to be bathed by waves of nostalgia, to get a temporary relief of the aching longing for the warmth of home.
Entertainment has the easiest access, but I didn’t expect it to flood me with overwhelming sense of home, I’m just an ordinary soul after all, a spectator in the ground silently admiring the stars; I’m just an audience, a fan. I only have the mega star, Sharon Cuneta , to admire since I was 6 years old, for she gave my life positive influences with her lasting stellar quality that continue to shine as she age.
And then, came this brilliant soul dressed in worn clothes, crooning me with her ethereal voice that’s undoubtedly from heaven drawing my eyes to her flickering light from the distance, beaconing my ears to take heed of God’s love sealed in her voice that transports me home. I obliged to her calling, I became a close follower, I became a fan. And placed me to the company of the many filipinos who shared our admiration for her – she introduced me to many filipinos from home and abroad and our interactions brought me closer to home in the many months we fought with her in her battles. All these ease my homesickness. The kindred souls I’ve met, with her singing voice as our soundtrack in the moments we shared watching her from the distance, became my extended family and I never felt alone again.
On the first week that she was threatened to be expelled in the academy, I was in the church that sunday afternoon begging God to give her a chance for at least another week to share her haunting voice, her gift, her heart – God must have been laughing in heaven, for in the first place, it is His hands that took me among his gathered people to be used as instrument in putting Laarnie Losala in a place He planned her to be.
My prayers was granted more than I asked for when Laarnie was declared winner in the recently concluded Pinoy Dream Academy Season 2. I thought my life with her would end there, but NO! I am haunted by her voice, I am drawn back by people in this group that accepted me like a family. Dlight, is one of them. So, when she prod me to write, I obliged and this is it. Laarnie’s gift had rolled and multiplied showering us with inspirations – let the poets compose poems, let the writers write, let the artists create and let us all dance to the tune that God’s hands direct us!
Let us celebrate His gifts!
(click this YouTube video clip to listen to her sing. credits to the owner of the video stars01)
I have seen you before,
In countless encounters,
Crossing my path
As I walk
To the many directions
That this life
Is taking me.
But I’m not really sure about you.
You’re just a dream
Appearing to me
Now and then
In a trance,
Like a hazed mirage
Flirting with my imagination
As I travel on:
In the deserts,
And steep cliffs,
And autumn leaves-strewn sidewalks,
And snow-carpeted pavements,
And cobblestone alleys,
And floral-scented streets,
And verdant meadows
Of my life’s journey.
In those many instances
It was this morning
That I saw your very soul
When I sit
To watch you closely
In the eyes
And you glanced back
To meet my soul.
In our too brief commune,
The busy streets
Rolled to a halt,
The clock stopped,
Time freezed ~
There was only
You and me
In an ackward state :
In the small forest
Of weeds and grasses and herbs
That grow their way
In a pavement’s
On my knees
Wanting to touch you
And make a tangible memory
Of this rare encounter ~
But I don’t want to scare you.
I content myself
Recording in my heart
Everything that this chance,
Offers us to have
And to hold.
I didn’t even gave in
To the thoughts
Of taking you pictures.
You gallop away
To the bushes
In a man-made garden
Of the city park,
From my sight
By taking the colors
In the place
We both inhabit ~
In a parallel universe ~
Albeit in separate spheres:
You and I
But not quite.
I didn’t attempt
To run after you.
You are free,
Yes, you are.
But In my heart,
You are always home.
I don’t know,
I am not sure,
If there would be
In my paths ahead
Of another encounter
With you ~
Would there be
Of weeds and grasses and herbs
Growing in this city
Pavements’ widening crevices?
Would there be
When time would freeze,
And there would only be
You and me
Meeting in the eyes,
As our souls commune
In the parallel universe
But for now,
I content myself
To our intangible
As I continue
Your presence ~
In the lush bushes
Now and then,
In my imagination,
In my heart.
(A poem written about my brief encounter with an untamed rabbit, in the most unusual place in the City. Chicago, 2008)
Yes, I gave him a name and his name is Ethan.
I was called once to priesthood when I was in highschool, but I was expelled from the seminary after a year. Many are called, they said, but only a few are chosen; I was not. It was my first taste of rejection, and it was how my story with Ethan started.
I would like to tell you about my first bonsai tree, Ethan. I mentioned the seminary because I planted Ethan the summer after I was kicked out. I was 13 years old with wings broken. Nobody really cared to listen to my side of the story especially my father. My mother, as always, was there to console me ~ in silence. I was left alone in the corner to leak my own wound to heal. At that lowest point of my life, for a reason that I’m just beginning to understand now, God sent me Ethan to care. I always had some loner tendencies as a kid. That summer and years after that I became withdrawn, misunderstood. Gone was the child full of life, I fell down so low I never thought I could ever rise again.
I found Ethan still a seedling just starting to grow wild under the coconut tree in our backyard. He is a rare specie from the Balete(Rubber tree) family often found only in the forests. He must be a seed from those trees brought here by birds’ droppings. My natural liking for plants instantly draw me to his 5 verdant leaves. I replanted him and his first home was an empty tin can of milk.
Quietly, I spent my summer wondering where to go, reaching the end of my road, while I watch Ethan grow new leaves. To him, I was a broken guardian; and him a soothing green that healed my broken soul.
What now with my broken wings?
I wonder now if I could fly again.
Will the winds of time save me from falling?
Tell me, where will I go from here?
What now with my wounded spirit?
I wonder now if I could rise from here.
Is there a pill that can mend this pain,
Would I ever have the courage to fight again?
My highschool years was a mess. I lost interest in everything. Like a seedling uprooted, I drifted with the uncertain currents of my young life. I slept my way through highschool, I was in section F of our batch, a picture of defeat at 15. Looking back now, I feel I only did one thing right those years ~ I planted Ethan.
God always have his way to pull our strings and bring us back to shores when we lost our ways in the ocean. He did and he put me in a nursing school. The least I thought I would become for a profession, but the course served me double purpose: I got a degree while I nursed my heart’s scars through college. Ethan grew into a maniature tree with dense leaves and 2 main branches by now. We practically grew up together. I trimmed his roots and leaves year after year, trained his trunk to lean to the direction it would look best, molding him into a lovely tree in a pot that he had become. While I became a nurse.
It was sad to leave him home when it was time for me to go to find my place in the real world after college. But I had to do what I needed to do. And for the first time he was out of my life. I have risen and had moved on from my previous defeat. I never saw him for 5 long years. When I went home, we already moved to a new house in the city and then I remembered Ethan.
It was a sad reunion for us. He lost his beautiful form the last time I saw him. My mother cut one of his main branches the previous year not knowing what to do with his uncontrolled growth. He was like an old friend with over grown mustache and beard unrecognizable when I saw him during my home-coming. He has a scar in the heart of his trunk from the branch that was cut off. I bleed inside seeing this friend who was once there for me to soothe my pain with his green silence.
I started trimming, grooming, molding him again making the best out of the one branch that was left. His cecatrix added beauty to his new form. 3 years after he surprised me with abundant fruits in his branches to show me that he is a full grown tree now. He inspired me to grow more bonsai trees and he became a big brother to all of them. I was home for 8 years spending every day moments with him sitted in that quiet side of our garden with the pond under.
When I moved to Chicago in 2006, he’s one thing in my life back home that’s hard to let go. He is part of our conversations over the phone whenever I call home. I made sure my nephews and nieces are taking care of him. I left him to their care for I know it is time for him to touch their young life like he did to me.
During my home-coming, I always have a blast reunioniting with family. But in my solitude, I have a silent reunion with Ethan. I spend quiet moments in the garden with him towering over me when I’m sitted ~ God, how he has grown sturdy like a seasoned tree. I took shelter in his canopy of green leaves, I felt the cool breeze of his breath in the wind ~ he has grown to become the guardian of my once broken soul.
It is when the seed is almost destroyed that it is about to grow. I understand that better now with Ethan. I went through the lowest point in my life and manage to rise like a seed. Yes, our cicatrix add beauty to our forms.
Ethan and I ~ time healed our wounds and left us marks adding beauty to our forms ~ we stand firm and sturdy.
I still don’t know what love means the first time I saw you many months of June ago. From above, behind the glass window, I watched your every move below. I studied your every detail storing the moment in my memory which I kept all these years inside my heart. It would be a surprise for you to know that I still remember the clothes, the shoes you were wearing and the person you were with that day when my concealed tales of you started and endured many years. I opted to stay behind that glass window, I’m better off this way, you will never know my secrets for I will continue to watch you from afar and admire your every detail from the distance. In silence.
Something happened inside me that day. I fear losing the magical feeling so I kept it to myself ~ Somehow I have triumphed for the feeling always remains. Returning to memories, feeling that feeling again, reminiscing, opening the glass window of my heart, I still get a blush and my heart still beats faster everytime. It grows with me, it evolves as I go on, surviving the seasons, re-surfacing, re-emerging from my highs and lows in love. My safe place, my refuge and everytime I fall, I run back behind that glass window to watch my photographs of thoughts and I would feel better. The feeling endured many years of triumphs and defeats, of joys and sorrows. You are my true bliss, only I celebrate you alone. You are with me wherever I go, I have pronounced my vow to you in silence, I have kept that promise.
The world ’tis vast, ‘
tis graced with too many faces.
Many wouldn’t last and some few just leave some traces.
You are the face that I longed for and missed.
‘Tis your cheeks, your lips that I dreamt
To plant my first
The sun will continue to rise and set, the days would continue to bring forth the cycles of the seasons that would grow new sprig of life, of hope and I will continue to believe, returning to memories celebrating my love behind the glass window.
Wherever time would take us in the face of the planet the sun would continue to shine upon us, at night the moon would keep the mystery of my secrets as I whisper my wishes upon the stars behind the glass window hoping one day my feeling would become transparent to you and you would see what’s inside this heart.
If forever means falling in love to the same person over and over again, then I must have found forever.
For Writers Island prompt this week: “The Return”
Behind The Glass Window is part of my “Love Stories (Well, Almost)” collection.
I love you my precious child, my bliss. You carry the sweetest juice of my veins. My costliest joys come from you. You deserve the fullness of my affection. The brightest and the loveliest of all the fruits I bear in my womb and grew on my branches season after season.
Even when you were just about to bloom out of the bud I conceived from a leaf I shed in october, I knew by maternal instinct, that your fate would be different. You attracted a bizarre mob of insects: bees, bugs, ants, butterflies. They all feasted on your sweet nectar. The wind stole you kisses morning and night, and along carried your fragrance too distant. Perhaps, your spirit had reached faraway lands and shores even as a tyke. You were destined to travel, you will go places.
I cling to you the longest. You mellow in my nourishement. I wanted to embrace you forever, but I know, I could not. The hardest of all my tasks is knowing that I have to let you go when I’m done with my duty with you. I fear that that day, I dread the thought. I stayed awake day and night to guard you. I loath the winds for they might snatch you out of my grip. I curse the insects for they are taking too much of you. I resent their carelessand harsh advances. Because I know, being your mother, that you would live a life far more than all that.
But you are already sturdy as the tree that you would become early on. I am relieve from all my anxieties as you surpass, surviving your initial tribulations. I am proud watching you metamorphose into a tiny precious fruit. I cherished our moments together.
We danced and flirted with the winds. At night, we counted and wished upon every stars. We revered the beauty of wild flowers and sniff their exotic perfumes that permeate the gardens and the fields. I welcome the birds that serenade you on my branches. I nourish you with crystal clear water of springs that my roots sip from the nearby streams. I catch and gathered the dew in my leaves to bathe you in the morning. We are cleansed by the cool ppristine showers of the rain. The sun keeps us warmth and dry. I ask the sun to smile at you, but at noon, I leaned over a canopy of my leaves to shield you from the scorching heat of midday rays.
We marvel at the gifts of every sunrise. The sunset blesses us with tranquility and peace. On quiet moonlit nights, I rock you on my cradle to sleep. I watch you close in you slumber, as I sung you lullabies. My soul feels glad at your existence, my heart leaps. I caress your face tenderly with my leaves. One touch, and I felt bliss.
You’re more than everything I asked for,
More than anything I need.
You are my son, my beloved.
Her lullaby fades as she kiss her angel goodnight. She closes her eyes wanting to freeze the moment, but then she, too, falls into a deep blissful sleep.
You breathe me life, so I may live,
You’re the reason that I exist.
You are my mother,
My life, to you I am indebted.
To my mother and all the mothers of writers island and the world.
Happy Mothers Day!
For Writers Island prompt: “Fantasy”
It is summer morning,
Armed with note pads, a pen
And a mind ready for take off,
I fasten my seatbelt
In a corner
underneath the bower of trees
At our home’s secret garden.
The dainty sunshine lights my face,
And the spider webs
On the twigs in front of me.
There’s really nothing in my head to write,
So I opened the windows of my mind
And the door of my heart
To weave glossy web of thoughts
To invite and capture
Lavish summer inspirations.
I listen to the rustling sounds
Of leaves as the winds blow
Through the garden’s green roofs ~
Their reflections move on the pads
Like mystic shadows tracing my writings,
Flirting with my thoughts.
Scents of ilang-ilang flowers wafting in the air.
Enticing incessant winged bystanders ~
Bees, butterflies, grasshoppers ~
They signal summer!
Random summer thoughts swarm my mind,
So I open the draperies of my heart
And tie the curtains apart
To welcome showers of summer inspirations
Bathing my fiery soul with cool emotions.
The birds’ repertoire are unusually merry.
They seem to rejoice with my company,
Or perhaps ’tis my heart I’m hearing
In tune with the beats of summer.
Outrageous blooms of bougainvilleas
Against the white wooden verandas
Festive contrasting colors
Treat the eyes with priceless raptures
Make one crave for summer flavors ~
Buko juice, fruit shake, iced cola
Water melon, pineapple, mangoes, papaya
Garnished with flowers of gumamela.
‘Tis the season for lavish summer fiesta!
The writers island invites us to write on the prompt this week: “Outrageous,” I thought of using the word in a more positive note. Please visit http://writersisland.wordpress.com to be inspired.