Monday, November 30, 2009

If Not the Spark, the Fire that Spread: Bonifacio

“… A single spark can start a spectral fire…”
- Quarantined, (defunct) At the Drive-In -

There has been a remark given on an entry of mine about Andres Bonifacio in commemoration of his birth last year which I have failed to follow up. And as Bonifacio Day comes again today, I cannot possibly leave it out again.

The remark concerns my statement on Bonifacio being the necessary spark for the revolution that came to be known as the Philippine Revolution. A fellow blogger said that this is not the case, for Jose Rizal rightfully holds the title. Well then, I would agree with it for the following reasons which I have tried to figure out (but do not think that it has taken me a year to do this).

If I remember my history classes well, Bonifacio have already been exposed to some of the relevant books on liberal ideas, among them about the French Revolution. But I believe that Jose Rizal’s novels further opened the minds of the people at the time about their dire situations under the Spanish rule to such an extent that even his name was used as a password within KKK, the organization that Bonifacio founded for the ‘armed’ struggle against the Spaniards. Bonifacio could have the idea of forming KKK eventually but without the moving influence of Rizal (and his works) KKK would have emerged at a much later point in our history. And that would have changed the entire revolution story!

Thus in many ways Rizal was a central and vital figure in hastening the commencement and spread of the revolution and for this he rightfully owns the title necessary spark. The reason why I have ‘awarded’ the name before to Bonifacio was that I saw that Bonifacio had the courage to push through with the armed fights, despite many misgivings and objections to it, one well known was the interview of Dr. Pio Valenzuela with Jose Rizal in which Rizal refused to agree with the idea of an armed struggle.

It seems to me now that Bonifacio assumed the fire that spread the moment Rizal gave off the necessary spark. Even if he intended it to happen, Rizal himself contributed to the revolution.

Nevertheless, any issue about this should not cloud the celebration of the day, the day we remember the birth of the great plebeian Andres Bonifacio!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Second San Pablo Comics Festival

The Second San Pablo Comics Festival is a celebration of Philippine comics where one can buy independently produced Filipino comic books (as well as imported ones) and meet the people who create them! There will be a comics art exhibit, art contest, writer and artist signings, comic book sales, mini-tutorials, mini-seminars, panel discussions, and many more! San Pablo too far away? Think of it as a vacation! Think of it as getting away from it all! Think of it as decentralizing Manila and spreading the comics love to the provinces! Plus, you'll get an AWESOME view! See you there!


Monday, November 9, 2009

KAPWA Lives on Beyond 20

I cannot really recall now how many times I have attempted, even in thought, to use Viole(n)t Mugs as my stage for easing myself of the frustrations that have come with my stay in our organization. But for equal number of times, I have held myself back. It seems apparent to me now that even somewhere in the realms of my unconsciousness, I was retaliating with the sad unfolding of events in our org in the past few years and to write openly about, for me, meant the formative stages of surrender. It was not be the case.

November the 7th marked the 20th anniversary of KAPWA sa UPLB and despite the misgivings within the resident group, we nevertheless braved the meeting with our equally brave hearts (indeed, as we saw later on) and come face to face with the pillars of the organization.

There was a mass in celebration of our anniversary, two outreach activities in San Pablo, and a series of big eats I have not encountered in my six years in the organization.

I personally thought that my brief talk with Kuya Atoy constituted the ‘meeting’ and ‘update’ that I was expecting to do and have. But it turned out that our big meeting was yet to come. A staunch pessimist, I sat in front of the other alumni with my heart pounding, totally devoid of an idea of what lies ahead for the residents. But most of the time, things do not turn out the way we expect it. They have been very accommodating and openly offered all the forms of assistance they could say at the time. It is beyond the role of this blog to contain every details of the meeting. It would be enough to say that alas, to the resident’s pride, we could walk in the university with heads help up high that we can possibly continue the legacy that these people have started and have actually experienced.

And to a large extent, I am not sorry that I have extended my stay in the university for a few semesters. The rising of the organization from its short stint of dormancy is well within our reach. And I am overjoyed that I am here, right in the middle of the action, to witness this historical part of the organization’s existence.

My fellow residents before may have some things to say about our moves as residents now but they cannot possible tone down the sweeping movements that has been fueled by the anniversary celebration (and the reflections and the renewal of commitments that went with it). Some can babble all they can, projecting an image of concern and scorn with the way we are handling the group, but these cannot possibly tear apart the larger goals by the organization. An alumnus has said years back that petty scuffles (among members) may arise but it should not defeat the collective affection and commitment that we all have for KAPWA.

To all the alumni who generously provided us with literal food and food for thought, we extend our thanks in behalf of the residents. Your vital assistance in this critical part of the organization’s life in the university will never be laid to waste. Your stories have surely given us solid inspiration to fuel us to move forward.

To the residents, old and new, who still have the affection and came to us for the celebrations, we all know that we are now officially part of that pivotal place in our history. Time and opportunity is wide; let us move things now!

Lastly, I have searched within me and was placed at ease that at I can say honestly that it was not at all vindication of some personal desires for the org. No one, not even the most successful of all the members, can possibly tower over the organization. KAPWA is formed to unite, not to divide. And at least on this note, I am putting my dreams and aspirations for the further development of the org in the collective ones that have been shared by the past batches and members.

Long Live KAPWA sa UPLB!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Santi Onslaught Experience

Finding yourself in a rural area inevitable gives you the experience of getting almost limitless peace of mind you could amass, given the relatively small number of people and vehicles that could break through your repose. Little noise. Lots of fresh air. With a good supply of food and other necessities, it is for me, one ‘panalo’ experience.

But then, the seeming geographical detachment from vital needs such as newspapers (for in our case, we don’t have a television in our house-hideout, he-he) and internet (we are working on the laptop purchase issue, my personal computer being glued to my ‘ancestral’ house) places us at the mercy of totally unknown events that could possibly come to us. And that is exactly what happened when Santi came.

We did not even know there was a storm coming. Not even the fact that we were placed at Public Storm Signal Number 2. Not even the storms’ name. Thanks to some of my partner’s colleagues, we were informed at least a few hours before the predicted landfall of the storm in our province, and into our new little rural abode.

Lights went out at 10. Fluctuated for a few minutes then electricity died out totally. We were now in the midst of a raging storm with a single cellphone light to accompany us (my cellphone have died out days before; I did not bring any charger, nyay) and a single candle stick in reserve.

What word could fit in the attacks of that storm?

I could not help but go outside, to the immense worry of my intimate, and witness and feel the effects. There were those seeming strong trees just outside our gate and fence – mangga, santol, narra – and other ‘lesser’ trees such bananas, papayas, and other bushes all bowing down to the winds brought by Santi. Swayed they go, left to right, the wind whistling in seeming glee. I was dead worried that our roof might tear at any moment, leaving the brittle (ply)wood ceiling prey to the deadly winds. At the same time, I was wishing that my sister has promptly protected my books that are shelved near a weak window.

Saturday came and finally all was clear. And I mean literally. The mighty santol tree on the ground at the side of our house that has been a subject of our horror stories was finally chopped off. It was already being cut into smaller pieces by the time I personally saw it. Partner saw it first. The papaya trees that cover the perimeter of our ground were either fell down or in slanting positions. Good thing no house was substantially destroyed during that rage; the village gossipmongers are now deprived of at least one topic to feast upon.

Finally, mud, trapped flood waters, fallen leaves and branches greeted us as we ply through the streets. Santi may have wreaked havoc, gave us a nightlong experience of hell, but at least all was over by the next day. One thing I only noticed as we talked to neighbors later, that events such as storms give God a free entry to the minds and hearts of the believing (and in some good cases, of the non-believing) people. Either they finally reject the concept of his existence, or withdraw their beliefs, or throw themselves again at the feet of an Almighty Something. Whatever. Human will always be a curious creature.

CHANCE READER! I invite you to place in here a short note if ever you had any experience during Santi’s visit that is worth mentioning (whether it is good or bad).