Sunday, 28 October 2007


I spoke in four masses today. I got more inspired and affirmed seeing hope becoming real and concrete through the simple acts of solidarity that my adoptive parish takes. We got the whole parish together to sponsor some aboriginal people from Darwin for the World Youth Day program in sydney next year.
My parish creatively raised funds for them through the Melbourne Cup Sweep. It is through a raffle draw that depends on the winner of the great horse racing event in Melbourne next week.
So far, the parish already raised 1,000 AUD not counting the last mass.
Indeed, humanity is too good and generous after all...

Saturday, 27 October 2007

making sense

barely half-filled backpacks lugged anywhere
toting thoughts and abstract plans...
i go by the hour, i take the train.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Awes and wanders: by the 'spires'

by the 'spires'

i didn't appreciate much of the architectural grandeur that you showed while walking past by at you. it was when i shivered at the blow of the wind that i forced myself to seek for sun... you are no ordinary structure just like the rest of the people i listened to...
but i still seek for the warmth and the soul that you can certainly offer. please don't allow the hardening of more hearts and the concreting of more goals. it is okay if we slip and get disturbed by pebbles along the way... just make us feel alive, breathing, struggling...
by then, you won't become another ordinary skyline feature and a landmark to behold...

awes and wanders

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Celebrating our Rice (Ryan's photo reflections)

Will I be able to feed my children?

Poetry for the people...

A reply to the many worries people take when it comes to rice questions...

Tadiyandi is just around, uncompromising with its faith in the local culture... We won't let up our passion to be Filipino...

We hold on to our indigenous rices too dearly...

RICE FEAST! (Farmers from all over the province)

Alternative leaders of this island, please be true to your promise to the farmers. You feed us tonight but that promise can even feed the unseen children of the future...

And the consumers...



Young People for Development and not for GMO

(Photo credits: Ryan Macalandag)

Rice Reflections


October 17, 2007 the Bohol Initiators for Sustainable Agiculture and Development (BISAD) supported by the Young People for Development (YPD) organized a cultural night in to commemorate the world food day celebration and to strongly say NO TO GMO RICE!
PHOTO CREDITS: Ryan Macalandag.

No matter how much I call you, you fill up my senses, give me energy.

My creative ancestors wrapped you up in coco palm. The seafaring Boholano blended their need for rice and the way to keep it fresh for a long time.

The drought is over, the last harvest insures a good supply of food for the next month. I can't contain my joy. It is truly appropriate that we pay tribute to the rice.

you might not know of the different rices existing in our province. If you open us up, be surprised at the different varieties that you can discover. Please take the pain to educate your peers about the loss of the many indigenous rice at the onset of the hybrids...

Keep GMO off our province, we have so much of varieties to keep.

It takes pain to bring rice to our tables but we know how to balance our life. we find solace in the music that we play and the community that be belong to...

Sir, please keep us in mind when you think of investments and development. If you can't see past us, just keep the rice in mind...

Please share what happened in your next meeting with the Chamber of Commerce.


Hunger is equated to rice...

In Bohol, we specially cook rice on a 'woven' coco palm to complete the barbecue fare. Boholanoes as seafaring people 'invented' the hanging rice or puso to make it more handy for the travelers and for it to last longer...

When am hungry, that means I crave for rice. Friend, the one hanging on top is not for aesthetic value. It is done to pay tribute to the rice that is on our tables, filling us up to satisfaction when needed. The one hanging is not meant for you to suffer with pangs of hunger, to salivate at the thought of having it without the means to buy the RICE...

The longest rice was hung at the City Plaze to commemorate the World Food Day Celebration. The rice was cooked by the farmers. They prepared 2 sacks of organic rice for the activity. The rices are of different varieties.

I can't describe my happiness. It has been months that I suffered from the drought. We don't have to take rice every meal--- a rationalization I say to myself or my family. But, we can have puso in some special occasions...

The Bohol Chamber of Commerce, Inc. President signing to make Bohol's rice untainted of GMO (Genetically Modified Organism)

Sir, please keep us in mind. We know that we have to uphold our freedom to choose, to be assured of good health and freedom in the way we live our life. But we are just ordinary farmers. In that signature, can you insure that our voices are heard, loud and clear?

I have lived in the city for so long. I miss the ricefields and its smell during harvest time...

My child, will you be able to appreciate the craft and the effort involved in planting our staple food? Will I be able to feed you enough? What would you be?

My boy, we have been here for so long. We tilled the rice from the time we knew how to ride the water buffalo... Don't worry much. Find a balance! We survived finding solace in our music and tending to our field in the daytime...

PROMISE TO US that you share to your little boy the pride in farming and the respect in the rice. Promise to us that you continue the struggle

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Accounting Saturday

(September 29, 2007)

Traffic and the unbecoming thought of coming in late made me jump out of bed on time. As I showered, I have to tell myself that Manila is one place where one must add an average of two hours of travel time in order to keep appointments. It was excitement that pushed me to make it an effort to be on time despite the tempting look of my bed and the balmy morning that greeted me.

Yes, we were just on time. I enveloped myself with all the hugs and greetings I got. People were surprised to see me. I really come from afar. It was a joy to be there. It was another reunion that I have to attend.

I met the people of the “first generation”. There was Jun that I tag Mr. Courage and Faith. He battled with his kidney problem for three years. The haemodialysis kept him going twice weekly. There was Grace whom I thought already left the country to advance her career but was all along in the neighbouring province of Cebu. The South Luzon group was also there. Their sense of community disarmed me.

Friends from the World Youth Day era were also there. I was surprised to find that some of them still gladly keep in touch with each other. Such friendship nurtured and cherished! Actually, the first generation and the world youth day group seemingly interspersed with each other.

I would have stuck myself to that group were it not for my Kolkata experience. I was blessed to join the team who went to the pilgrimage of trust last year. It renewed my ties with the newer blood of TaizĂ© permanents and youth volunteers of the Philippines. We gladly described our selves as ‘old but new’… Only three from the group of durglets were unable to come and cherish the first year anniversary of our journey to India.

Bro. Aloi’s reflection on the life of Bro. Roger entitled “Trust in God, Peace of Heart and Inner Combat” was the focal point of prayer and sharing. Interestingly, he opened a side of Bro. Roger that we didn’t experience and that was his anxiousness. What amazed me was his ability to channel that supposed paralysis to creativity. The ‘inner struggle/combat’ was very much alive just like any ordinary person but he was able to go beyond all of those.

We capped our day by sharing the itineraries of our journey. It was beautifully done. Listening to other’s paths made me feel convinced that life doesn’t run out of people who make sure that other’s lives will become beautiful.

An uneasy afternoon

I was late for the funeral mass. I just got back from so many errands (although others will call it work.) But we were on time for the funeral procession for the cemetery. We were added to the pile of cars that came for the funeral. We were an attendance, a statistic.

What unfolded at the cemetery was a drama. The cries and the moans were not the ordinary sorrows of loss and guilt. Everybody knows that it was more than that. Perhaps others cried thinking that they could have cared or have gotten more involved. Others just realized the consequence of the decisions that they have made. Others cried out of shame or apathy of the situation.

I also shed a tear. It was a tear of helplessness. We buried a beautiful soul whose only mistake was to hope. She hoped for a rosy future and a solid family. She begged for love and attention. She worked so hard at becoming perfectly best. To our humane standards, she was unable to cope. Her health failed. Perhaps, she died of consumption.

Her death is a reminder that life offers no guarantees. The choices we make will always continue to disturb us. The subsequent actions does not guaranty any result.