Day by day you trod on narrow footways In rarely visited countryside places, Where your footsteps were lighted By shadows…
Author Archives: DON J. PAGUSARA
A bad sign meets Haribon as he tarries in his flight back to the mountains of the Big Isle, after his series of consultations with the bagani warriors of Mandalangan in the northern regions of Mindasilang. He cannot easily believe that Abukay and Perikoy are the ones who meet him on his way and as though a shadow of anxiety inextricably resides in their countenance.
The Tres Sawahes lick the mouth fluids that trickle down their jaws to savor the satisfaction they feel for having reached a consensus. Their tails twine as an expression of contentment. They seem to envision the future scenario they want for the world they belong to. And above all, they relish the thought of commendation and applause by their Big Boss Bakunawa.
Haribon soars to extra heights in the sky to avoid being detected he is observing the activities below. Hovering above the Lake he can clearly see what goes on in the ground. There seems to be a grand joint martial exercises involving mobilizations of long columns of dogs and snakes, including scorpions, centipedes, wasps and bees. Even big red ants are made to participate in this rare show of force of biting animals and stinging insects exhibiting their respective skills in fighting maneuvers.
Haribon sweeps down beneath the thick clumps of clouds and glides towards Pantaron mountain. He then alights on the high branch of his wonted Lawaan Tree abode towering atop a cliff that drops steeply down a great river, the source of the waters of practically the entire plains and valleys of the Big Isle.
From the topmost branch of the tallest lawaan in Pantaron, the king eagle Haribon observes everything that happens in the plains and valleys below, as though by his eyesight he measures the entire breadth and length of the Big Island. He even notices the goings-on beneath the roofs and canopies of the forest – the big and small creatures crawling on the ground. Nothing escapes from his keen and sharp eyes.
The literary virtue of the balitaw in ancient times manifests mostly in the arena of courtship wherein the boy and the girl engage in verbal joust rendered in song. The boy, of course shows his skill in versified lines of the song his romantic intentions to which the girl answers with matching skill her inquests into the real intentions of the suitor. And a musical debate ensues. If the boy is able to subdue the defenses of the girl by his superior arguments in verse narrative, then he wins the heart of the girl.
Let us render celebratory tribute to our mother tongue through a prideful exhibition of its virtues in poetry and songs. It is in poetry and songs the rare charm of a language manifests in the excellent use of its distinct idioms. The balitaw is one such literary genre which has journeyed through the ages and survived across the tyrannical terrain of our colonial experience. Its precious virtues are here shown to glorious verbal sculpture in the Cebuano tradition as both a song and as a poetic construct.
I hear you cry, Marawi! Across the mountainslopes, hills and plains, The winds, heavy with the moist of tears, On their wings the bundles of your grief,
Reached me at the threshold of my heart And perturbed my conscious communion With the hours of the Ramadan.
More and more sectors, groups and individuals—and oh, a considerable number of the lawmakers in Congress!—have expressed their calls to President Duterte to resume the scuttled Peace Talks. They lament the squandered chance of this nation’s lifetime!