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ORATORY/ORATION SPEECH

The contents of this speech emanate from actual events in Philippine history. The author/blogger does not have any grudge or hatred against any mentioned nation, race or cultural community. The author/blogger composed this piece for a friend’s high school son, who will be competing in a national oratory contest.

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A NEW DAY FOR A WEEPING NATION

In his daring speech, former President Carlos Romulo once proclaimed, “I am a Filipino.”

A four-word statement that embodies our past, personifies our present and epitomizes the future.

A declaration of hope. An avowal of faith. An affirmation of a celebrated tomorrow.

Today, in behalf of my fellow youth, I stand before you to repeat the words that stirred our nationalism—To enflame once again that dying candlewick of loyalty to our nation.

To fuel again the fading faith that within years not too remote from this day, a new generation of patriots will emerge from the pearl of the Orient to carve our lineage in the archives of mankind.

I am a Filipino.

These words should have new meaning for all of us today.

Tracing the richness of our history through the manifolds of foreign conquerors who tilled, cultivated and exploited our land against our approval, to the blinding promises of globalization, the claws of modern technology, the mayhem of Martial Law, the historic era of Edsa Revolt and presently, the threats of government turmoil brought about by self-greed and corruption, I beg my fellow youth to lend me their ears.

I may be a child but from my own fair share of library visits, I dug the elaborated records of our humble beginnings. We fought our way from oppression to liberty. We perspired blood to regain our freedom. We upheld our right to love and live.

Shortly after Spanish regime and Japanese occupation, we sought to establish a culture that we can claim as fully ours. However, the Americans came to our rescue in the guise of education and Commonwealth to employ true colors of colonialism. Until now, we savor hamburgers better than our very own adobo.

In the light of globalized and modernized world, where United Nations agrees that they will stand next to another, cultural boundaries can no longer be defined. We lost grip of our traditions, imitating customs of foreign start.

We now iPad and Google our way to learning— forgetting completely that not too long ago, our fountain of knowledge largely stemmed from conventional books and hardbound manuscripts.

In these present times, we kill to survive—butchering animals and consuming thousands of trees to accommodate our needs. We forget that the more we neglect our Mother Earth just so we can give in to our desires, we rob future generations of their right to see the luxury that we now get to exploit from our dear nature.

While we earn education on our sleeves, we grow indifferently towards our brethren.

We no longer care. We only think of ourselves.

For us, to succeed means to go on our own. We do not remember that from a not so distant past, “Bayanihan” was a concept that our race was once known for.

While we gain determination to read, we lose appetite to learn. We forget to help our country for own sake. Our working force continues to take flight to greener pastures, leaving a huge dry portion of brain drain on our own soil.

Love of country now lies miles behind love of self.

Gusty typhoons must have blown away in vain the lessons of Martial Law and Edsa Revolution.

The leaders that we select and elect to the government take away money that are supposed to ensure our brightest future. Our leaders choose the dark path of greediness, money and power— stealing our dreams, shattering our hopes and ruining the happy life that we all ought to have.

With all these events simultaneously happening before our very eyes, I already imagine a different picture of our beloved Philippines. That although it is 100-million strong, it is also 1000-million limp.

Orphaned. Astray. No nursing arm to go home to. Literally struggling to keep up with the world’s pace— alone.

This is not the Philippines that the youth of today is supposed to inculcate in their minds!

This is not the tale that we trailed for hundreds of years!

This is not the pursuit that our ancestors, venerated and unsung heroes alike, had headed to for centuries!

In this country, where the environment is blessed with green and abundance, no one deserves to live in poverty. No one deserves to work in another terrain just so his or her family can eat three full meals a day.

In this State, where promises of justice lie in wait, the laws of the land must see its people standing on equal footing and breathing on similar vein. No one should be detained in the comfort of an air-conditioned room with cable TV while others are imprisoned in hog’s cage.

In this nation, where each person is gifted with talent and intelligence, equal education and employment opportunities must be given to all. No discrimination, no selective recognition, no unequal protection.

In this land, where visions of democracy sit on top of all our political affairs, rights and responsibilities must meet on common end so that nobody will ever cross the line in its people’s expense.

I maybe a child but I take this chance to address my very own state of the nation.

The problems that we face today do not the mark the end. Rather, they signify another beginning.

What our nation bears and wrestles in this pressing time is a battle onward a new dawn. A new start that is enough to plead every citizen to help in continuing to fight and emerge triumphant of. A new unfolding of history that is worth of being retold generation through generation.

Let our voices traverse all boundaries of the Earth, proclaiming that this race will not vanish without a fight! Filipinos will live on. Filipinos will survive.

And yes, I am a child.

I am Filipino.

Truly, I am proud I am.

 

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Finding Light In Shadow

It is hard to understand why there has to be goodbyes. Oftentimes, we keep finding ourselves in situations where we have to let people, things, beliefs and relationships go, without exactly knowing why we have to do so. We are trapped in circumstances wondering why it has to be that way. Sometimes what is worse than goodbye is when these people who were once in our lives just drift away without explanation or closure, consideration, or care.

I am actually inspired by how we, as individuals, are able to withstand the painstaking process of bidding and accepting farewells. I want to dig deep within the dimness and at the same time, unravel the light that hides behind every parting and leaving through a collection of my writings.

I also want to make readers realize the underlying issues regarding adieus. Why we are allowed to grow so attached? Why we get used to other people and their smells, the sound of their voice, the color of their sweaters and the texture of their hair? Why we need to acclimate ourselves to places and time only to have them taken away, uprooted, extricated from our lives leaving an empty path of emotional wreckage behind? Why we have to be left in an endless search for new things to fill up time, space, and void until we can no longer recognize the truth from a dream?

The conception of my written output relatively takes the long journey. The travel I usually traverse is dark and gloomy. I am trapped, not knowing where to go. As time passes, of course through the help of key people, I gradually find the light that will guide my way outside the dark and be able to compose a literary piece.

The short stories, poems and narratives that I write are sometimes motivated by the experiences shared by my peers, family and friends. Having been subjected to numerous goodbyes myself, most of which are unexpected and excruciating, I incorporate their experiences to my own understanding of the process of coming and parting, loving and hurting, at the same time.

I take pride of my pieces, which are all fruit of my hard work. I hope that through writing, I can cast away darkness and bring light to my readers’ lives.

 Please watch this video. 😥

 

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See related stories in the following links:

The Long Farewell

Farewell Stranger

 

Red Taste

It was one mid-October night. Nature pervaded the senses with the pungent texture of the newly tilled soil at the foot of the mountain.

Manolo and Elena were immediately revived from slumber by successive gun fires. The horrifying sound was very near from where their nipa hut stood. Together with the deafening noise they heard outside were the flashing of lights and howling of people who cried for help. Two choppers appeared in the southeast, roaring and dropping a few flash bombs. A shower of light illuminated the whole area. Then high powered guns began raking at the place again.

Awakened, Manolo rushed through the window to determine what was happening in the vicinity. Bullets were raining and their neighbors were already soaking wet with their own blood. Some carabaos and cows were startled and vaulted over the men’s bodies.

In front of the house facing theirs, Mang Ambo, the jueteng cobrador, was shot from behind with an armalite, as he was among those who were trapped in the encounter. Scenario like this always occurred in the region, only that this was the bloodiest of them all. The bullet came out of Mang Ambo’s temple. His forehead oozed with blood. His left eyeball almost hang from its socket because of the gunshot’s impact. Manolo trembled but he tried to regain his composure. He rushed through the secret pit located under their cabinet. He secretly excavated that pit years ago. He hid something in it. A handgun.

Manolo concealed the gun under his sweatshirt. He did not want his wife to see it because the only device Elena knew he could use was a plough. Then he crawled under the bed where his wife was hiding to avoid the ricocheting cartridges ramming the place. Elena was trembling as she cried so Manolo embraced his wife to pacify her.

“We’re going to die,” Elena wept.

Manolo held his wife tighter, and then he said, “No mahal, we’re not going to die. I’m here. I won’t leave you.”

As more bullets smashed into the area, the couple’s senses started to become immune of the disturbance. The roaring of ammunitions took two more hours. Then, silence.

From the place where they hid themselves, the couple came out. Manolo walked ahead of Elena while they gripped each other’s hands. There, they saw that most of the nearby houses were burnt. Many of their neighbors bathed in their own blood.

“Oh my God,” cried Elena upon seeing carnage.

The couple was ready to run off the place for fear that the encounter would start again when Elena saw Aling Puring, a close friend of her deceased mother, lying on the ground. Impulse checked in so she tried if the old lady was still breathing.

“Aling Puring,” whispered Elena while pressing the palm of the woman as she tried to get some pulsation.

“Mahal, hurry. They might catch us here. We need to hide again,” shouted Manolo as he pulled Elena from where she knelt.

Elena was about to stand up when she felt a cock of a pistol. As if she already surrendered her life, she closed her eyes and waited for the shooter to pull the trigger. But there was no bang. Instead, she heard more footsteps coming her way.

When people rushing towards the couple’s direction finally assembled in a common ground, they were commanded by those armed with weaponry to bend their heads. Then the people in the neighborhood who managed to survive in the encounter were hand cuffed—about twelve of them. Elena thought they would be handcuffed too but they were not. Perplexed, she looked at her husband to ask what was going on but Manolo intentionally did not look back at her.

In the middle of the night, Elena together with the eleven other captives, were commanded by their captors to follow pathways that were unfamiliar to their senses. No matter how scared they felt, they obeyed what they were told. They feared that if they defy their captors, their lives would not be spared.

They already hiked for almost four hours yet huge trees and inclined terrains still surrounded them. Crickets were chirping all over the place. Mosquitoes were biting them so hard. They had also crossed plenty of streams, most of which were only knee deep. They were all catching their breath.

“My knees are already trembling,” complained Elena.

“Don’t give up just now, Mahal. We are already close,” Manolo, told her. “And Mahal, whatever it is that you will find out, always remember that I love you so much. We will go back home soon. I promise,” Manolo held Elena’s hand tightly.

Elena did not answer back. She wrinkled her brows. She was puzzled. She was even more baffled when one of the captors, who walked ahead of them, turned his head to the couple’s direction when he heard what Manolo said. A faint smile arched on his face.

In two more hours of hiking, it was almost daylight. While Manolo thought they were already near the captors’ base, a sharp bombardment coming from above shattered the stillness of the night. A chopper. The enemies had pursued them. Then somebody shouted, “Take cover!”

Some of them immediately rushed into the nearby scrubs and some lay on the ditches of the uneven ground. An explosion flashed in front of the men hiding behind the bushes and their bodies were tossed just like the tree sapling into the sky. Manolo instructed Elena to lie prostrate on the slope of a gully, not daring to lift their heads to the blazing air. They kept their mouths open so that the blasts wouldn’t crack their eardrums. Around them, men shrieked and moaned. Some were twisting on the ground, crying for help. Some of the rebels, dead or unconscious, were still clasping their guns.

The attack lasted only five minutes but it slain almost two-thirds of the total number of the men who hiked. Along the timbered place, flames and smoke were rising from crushed carts and disabled mountain guns. Only two carts of the captors’ food supplies and two baggages of armaments were salvaged.

Two of the rebels helped somebody to his feet and walked him toward a group of hammock bearers who were bringing the wounded back to their camp. Right in front of Elena and Manolo, a skinny boy, about fifteen years old, walked while carrying one end of the hammock, on which a man lie with his face bandaged.

After a few more hours, when the group was assured that nobody was pursuing them anymore, they continued to trek until the captors, together with their captives, finally reached their destination. They arrived at the base when the sun was already rising. They might have survived but one third of the captors’ team was lost during the encounter. All of them could no longer stand on their feet. Elena’s legs were swollen and one of her slippers had a broken sole so Manolo had to accompany her.

Elena noticed as they entered the camp that there were so many troops moving back and forth the front of the base. She thought that as soon as it was nighttime, the passageways would turn hectic, raucous and jammed with artillery pieces, carts drawn by animals, rebel porters carrying supplies of food and ammunition, and lines of stretchers with the wounded. Elena had these speculations drifting in her mind when the captors brought their hostages inside a wooden hut, which was surrounded by guards.

Having walked all night, Manolo helped Elena slouched on the bamboo floor to rest her feet. He sat beside her. She closed her eyes temporarily as she felt nauseated. While taking a rest, she heard some voices speaking from a distance. She slowly opened her eyes. She tried looking beyond the window to see who were talking, but the view was blurred by leaves hanging by the pane. All she can see was a shade of green concealing what was outside.

Frustrated with what she saw, Elena looked around the house instead. Then she remembered Manolo. He was no longer by her side. Heart hastening, she tried to figure out where he was. She looked all over the place. Beside her were their women neighbors. Across the unlocked door at the reverse side of the house were the male hostages. Manolo was nowhere in sight.

At about seven o’clock in the morning, their captors brought them a hearty meal—rice, stewed fish and some fried camote. Elena could barely eat. She was worried about Manolo but she could not do anything.

Right after their meal, the detainees were asked to listen to a meeting called upon by the leader of the organization that captured them. As they waited for the speaker, Aling Simang, who was seated right beside Elena, saw Manolo approaching their way. He was accompanied by two guards. Elena did not notice her husband coming because she was preoccupied in speculating who the rebels’ head was, so Aling Simang tapped Elena on her lap and told her, “Elena, there’s Manolo.”

The wife hoped that Manolo would be sitting next to her but she was wrong. Manolo was carried by his lookouts on the opposite side of the group where the male captives were assembled. Elena was about to rush where Manolo was, when a loud, coarse voice reverberated.

“I’m sorry you were caught in the middle of a fight you should have not gotten into. They were pursuing us so we had no choice but to hostage you.” Ka Nilo said.

Ka Nilo had something else to say when somebody disrupted his litany. “As soon as ceasefire will be communicated, you will be brought home.”

Elena was stunned upon witnessing who talked. Although still baffled, she caught Manolo taking a glance at her. She looked back and stared at him. He smiled. Then, she realized that they would no longer return to their barrio and that this was the home he pertained.

 

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Photo Credits to Bulatlat.com

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ATTENTION: THIS LITERARY PIECE IS COVERED BY INT’L INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAWS.

 This short story is an excerpt in the thesis presented to the College of Arts and Sciences, University of the Philippines in Los Baños, April 2008.

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