Si San Francisco at ang Mabuting Samaritano

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-04 ng Oktubre 2021
Photo from FB/Be Like Francis, 2019.
Ngayong ating ginugunita
dakila nating pintakasi
San Francisco ng Assisi
huwaran ng kaisahan
sa kapwa at sangnilikha
nang kanyang tularan
Panginoong Hesus sa kabutihan
 Mabuting Samaritano sa nangangailangan. 

Sa buhay ni San Francisco
ating mababanaagan
paano niyang pinakisamahan 
mga may sakit at nahihirapan
maging sarili niya kanyang tinalikuran
iniwan kayamanan, karangyaan
at karangalan upang ituring
kanyang pinsan ang kamatayan.

Malinaw kay San Francisco
 "brother sun" at "sister moon"
ang tanong ay hindi kung
"sino ang aking kapwa?"
kungdi "ako ba ay nakikipag-kapwa?"
dahil tayong lahat ay iisa
at magkakaugnay sa Diyos ating Ama 
sa pamamagitan ni Kristo na ating Kuya.
Kaya sana bago natin dasalin
kanyang panalangin na maging
daan ng kapayapaan
pabasbasan ating mga alagang
hayop at halaman,
ating munang tingnan at suriin
kaisahan natin sa Krus ni Hesus 
na siyang nagligtas at nagpalaya sa atin!
San Francisco ng Assisi,
Ipanalangin mo kami.
Larawan mula sa zazzle.com.

Paano pumunta sa langit?

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-13 ng Setyembre 2021
Larawan kuha ng may-akda, La Niña Maria sa Pambansang Dambana ng Fatima, Valenzuela, 07 Setyembre 2021.
Bisperas ng kaarawan
ng Mahal na Birheng Maria
matapos manalangin
bumati si Andrei ng
"Happy birthday, Mama Mary!"
sabay sabi sa kanyang mommy:
"Bibili ko sana siya ng cake
pero paano ako mapupunta
sa langit?"
Tunay ang sinabi
ng Panginoon noong dati:
mula sa mga labi ng bata
nahahabi karunungang
walang pagkukunwari;
pawang katotohanan 
kay dali nilang bitiwan
nakakatuwa dahil puno ng karunungan
tila bugtong na palaisipan.
Madali namang malaman
kasagutan sa kanilang mga tanong
ngunit bakit nga ba ganoon
sa pagkakaroon ng gulang ng taon,
kamusmusan nati'y
nawawala, napapalitan
ng pagmamaang-maangan
kunwa'y hindi alam
pangunahing kaalaman sa buhay.
Katulad ng paano nga ba
pumunta sa langit?
Hindi natin masambit
gayong palagi nating
nilulungating masapit
dahil mayroong pagsusulit
at baka tayo sumabit
kaya hangga't maari
sa kasalukuyang buhay kumakapit.
Paano nga ba pumunta
sa langit?
Hindi ka naman mamatay
daglit
Ngunit ang turo ni Hesus
palagi niyang sambit,
limutin ang sarili, pasanin ating krus 
kada araw at sa Kanya'y sumunod -
 papuntang langit!
Larawan mula sa Google.

“Banal na Aso, Santong Kabayo” by Yano (1994)

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Music by Fr. Nick F. Lalog II, 29 August 2021
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It is the last Sunday of August, the month we celebrate our National Language as we offer an Original Pilipino Music (OPM) that perfectly fits our gospel today about sincerity of our heart against all forms of hypocrisy, Yano’s “Banal na Aso, Santong Kabayo” (Holy Dog, Saintly Horse).

Released in 1994, Banal na Aso, Santong Kabayo is a cut from the band’s first album simply titled “Yano”. The band is composed of Dong Abay on vocals and Eric Gancio in guitar.

Many think Yano is from the word “Probinsiyano” or one coming from the province (probinsiya) or rural area; but, according to the band’s founder Abay in one account, yano means “simple” in their old Tagalog spoken in Quezon province.

Yano’s music is a fusion of western and ethnic Filipino but what set them apart from the other bands of the 90’s was their deep social and political themes. Unlike some bands who were just cute, Yano had depth and meaning in their songs that were poetic and even eclectic expressed in casual Filipino. One can notice right away the conviction when Abay sings even if the melody may sound light and easy like Kumusta Na, even playful (Esem)or sometimes mischievous (Tsinelas and Senti).

Banal na Aso, Santong Kabayo is “spiritual” in a sense; it opens with a man laughing sarcastically with “Hihihihihi…” to introduce some vignettes of daily hypocrisies among us:

Kaharap ko sa jeep ang isang ale
Nagrorosaryo, mata n'ya'y nakapikit
Pumara sa may kumbento
"Sa babaan lang po", sabi ng tsuper, "kase may nanghuhuli"
Mura pa rin nang mura ang ale

Banal na aso, santong kabayo
Natatawa ako, hi-hi-hi-hi
Banal na aso, santong kabayo
Natatawa ako, hi-hi-hi-hi
Sa 'yo

Like today’s gospel, Banal na Aso, Santong Kabayo is timely during this pandemic when even if we have all the soaps and alcohol to wash our hands and all the prayers to recite to stop COVID-19, the virus will persist for as long as we have no regard for the dignity of every person. Washing of hands means washing of one’s heart, of cleansing ourselves of our sins and self-centeredness and other impurities (https://lordmychef.com/2021/08/28/two-hands-and-a-heart-in-between/).

May the music of Yano help you in examining your heart today.

Have blessed week ahead!

*We have no intentions of infringing on the copyrights of this music except to share its beauty and listening pleasure.

From YouTube.com.

Aral ng lumot sa panahon ng pandemya

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-25 ng Agosto 2021
Larawan kuha ng may-akda sa Tam-Awan, Baguio City, 2018.
Minsan isang umagang kay panglaw
sikat at busilak ng araw aking tinatanaw
ako ay gininaw sa malagim na katotohanan
hindi pa rin papanaw 
at patuloy pang hahataw 
pananalasa nitong pandemya;
Kahit mayroon nang bakuna
dumarami pa rin mga nahahawa
isang paalala maaring lumala pa
bago humupa at tuluyang mawala na.
Noon din ay aking namataan 
mga tumutubong halaman 
sa kapaligiran tila nagsasabi
huwag susuko
magpatuloy sa paglago
ano man ang panahon
tagtuyot o pag-ulan
manatiling luntian
maski mga dahon lamang
saka na mga bulaklak at bunga.
Larawan kuha ng may-akda, Malagos Gardens, Davao City, Agosto 2017.
Pinakamahalaga
manatiling buhay at umunlad
sa gitna ng karahasan
aral ng mga halaman
sa ati'y kay lalim at
napakayaman sa
kahulugan na maari nating
tularan at gamiting aral
na gagabay sa ating buhay
ngayong panahon ng pandemya.
Sa lahat ng halaman
na lubos kong kinagigiliwan
bukod sa hindi ko kailangang
mga ito ay alagaan 
ay ang mga lumot
sa sumusulpot 
maski sa mga sulok-sulok 
na kahit malimot
tutubo at lalago, kakapal
parang alpombra sa mga paa!
Hindi gaanong naabot
ng liwanag itong lumot
ngunit kay lamig sa paningin
kay gandang tanawin
kung ating susuriin
nagsasabi sa atin
ng himig ng lilim at dilim
tinig na mahalumigmig;
hindi man masikatan ng araw
mayroon din busilak sa kadiliman!
Paalala sa atin ng mga lumot
ngayon ang panahon ay masalimuot
katotohanan at kagandahan
nitong ating buhay
bumubukal saan man malagay;
Maykapal sa ati'y hindi humihiwalay
pahalagahan at pangalagaan
lahat ng ating taglay
dahil walang kapantay ating buhay, 
mas makulay sa ano mang halaman
lalo't higit sa lumot
huwag sanang iyan ay malimot.
Larawan kuha ng may-akda, Agosto 2019.

“Pusuan” – higit pa sa “magustuhan”

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-19 ng Agosto 2021
Larawan kuha ni Bb. Jo Villafuerte sa Atok, Benguet, Setyembre 2019.
Ano nga ba ang pagkakaiba ng 
gusto kita at mahal kita?

Ayon kay Buddha:
kapag gusto mo ang bulaklak, 
ito ay iyong pinipitas.

Nguni't kapag mahal mo ang bulaklak,
ito ay iyong dinidiligan araw-araw.

Sino man aniya ang makaunawa nito
ay nakauunawa rin ng buhay.
(Hango sa "The Language Nerds", 28 Hulyo 2021.)
Kuha ni Bb. Jo Villafuerte sa Atok, Benguet, Setyembre 2019.
Sa lahat ng bahagi
ng ating katawan,
pinakamahiwaga
ang puso natin;
mahirap unawain
na tila may sariling
gawi at pag-iisip
nakahiwalay sa atin.
Kapirasong laman
ngunit kapangyarihan
kayang panaigan
maging katuwiran;
mahirap mapakinggan,
 maunawaan nilalaman
gayong tibok at pintig
naroon lang sa dibdib.
Mahirap unawain
 saloobin at damdamin
nitong yaring puso natin
kungdi sisikapin
ng isa pang puso rin
pasukin at damhin
nilalaman at nilalayon
na adhikain.
Higit pa sa mga kuwit
at sari-saring guhit
emoji at giphy ang pusuan
na ang kahulugan higit pa
sa pagkilala at pagkaakit
kungdi mahalin at kalingain
pamumukod-tangi
ng kapwa natin.

“Ale, Nasa Langit Na Ba Ako?” by Bodjie Dasig (+)

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Music by Fr. Nick F. Lalog II, 15 August 2021
Photo by Mr. Vigie Ongleo, 05 August 2021, Singapore.

We continue this Sunday our Original Pilipino Music (OPM) featuring the genius and warmth of the late Bodjie Dasig in his playful yet meaningful early hit from the 1980’s called “Ale, Nasa Langit Na Ba Ako?” (Ma’am, Am I In Heaven?).

We find it perfectly matched with our celebration today of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary that teaches us at the close of her life here on earth, Mary was taken body and soul to the glory of heaven (https://lordmychef.com/2021/08/14/mary-mirror-of-gods-greatness/). The same glory awaits us all in the end of time if we try to imitate the Blessed Virgin Mary in her faith, charity and unity with Christ Jesus her Son.

It is a very timely celebration giving us hope and inspiration in persevering in faith and charity as we enter our second week of lockdown with COVID-19 infections reaching record levels since the start of this pandemic last year.

And that is why we find Ale, Nasa Langit Na Ba Ako? so perfect on this cloudy and gloomy Sunday to uplift our sagging spirits, reminding us how after all the pains and darkness of life, there awaits us the glory of heaven which starts here on earth.

We were in college in the early 80’s when this song was first played on the airwaves in some select radio stations only.

Written by the late Bodjie Dasig (+2018) who also wrote the popular Sana Dalawa ang Puso Ko (I Wish I Have Two Hearts), Ale narrates the experience of a man who saw a pretty woman while driving in Cubao, causing him to get into an accident that he ended in a hospital. Upon waking up, he saw his nurse so lovely that he thought he was already in heaven!

When he was discharged from the hospital, he asked the nurse to marry him but unfortunately, she turned out to be happily married. The man was so dismayed that he did not notice the flight of stairs and fell, banging his head on the floor that he ended up being confined in the hospital again.

When he woke up in his new hospital room, he saw another lovely nurse but this time before asking if he was in heaven, he first asked if the nurse is married.

We do not know whatever happened to the man in the song but Ale tells us the common notion how a beautiful woman can always signify heaven and bliss in life. Of course, such beauty refers to more than the physical features of a woman for true beauty lies deep within the heart, mind and soul of anyone.

In her life of faith, charity, and communion in her Son Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary is undoubtedly a woman of great beauty mirroring the greatness and goodness of God that she became the first to be assumed into heaven body and soul among humankind.

May we continue to persevere in life’s challenges to share God’s loving presence in this world filled with pains and sufferings, trials and difficulties.

We hope this song brings you some smiles and good vibes!

*We have no intentions of infringing on the copyrights of this song except to share its beauty and joy with others.

From YouTube.

My screen this quarantine

Quiet Storm by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, 17 August 2021
Image from Pinterest.

We are almost done with the first week of our third lockdown with nine more days before it is either extended or modified depending on what jumbled letter combinations come out from the magic roulette in the Palace. Either way, hail to all couch potatoes for longer weeks in front of that magic screen!

Thanks for the gift of Netflix in keeping our sanity in this pandemic. And more thanks again Netflix in streaming more television shows lately especially coming from the Philippines.

Forget My Amanda that should have been called My Cars or My Abs or My Hair

One series you should not miss before the end of this Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) is Bagman starring Arjo Atayde.

First released in 2019 as an original series in iWantTFC, Bagman is so unique as a Filipino series because of its fast-paced tempo of less than 30 minutes per episode without the usual Pinoy director’s penchance for intense close up shots on faces of the characters with nothing expected to happen at all.

Everything in the production is superb, especially cinematography and musical scoring as well location sets that are characteristically the hallmarks of every ABS-CBN film undertaking. In fact, Bagman is one perfect reason that ABS-CBN should get back its franchise to operate for helping elevate television and film in the country.

Unlike other socio-political movies where we already know how low and evil is politics in the country, Bagman challenges us for a more personal response in ending this vicious circle of corruption and decadence in our culture and life as a nation.

Kudos to its creators Philip Kind, Lino Cayetano and Shugo Praico who directed the two-season series we hope would still have a final sequel. Their great attention to details with subliminal meanings on the roles and manners of different characters make the viewers “experience” – not just watch – the series done in first-person storytelling with narrations by Atayde himself as a former barber becoming a bagman of the governor. Each episode opens with a disclaimer that it is a work of fiction based on realities we have heard and read.

At its best, Bagman can be described as “totoong-totoo” – very true with its great storyline with characters played out so well by every actor like a thespian, beginning with Atayde and his co-stars that included the resurrected former sex-goddess Ms. Rosanna Roces and former Bagets Ms. Yayo Aguida.

From Twitter.

Personally striking for me as a former smoker and police reporter is Atayde puffing his cigarettes clipped between his middle and ring finger.

So classic, tsong!

They must really have a superb study for Atayde and even everyone, like Mr. Joel Saracho who played a supporting role in a few episodes as a former cobbler turned “assistant” of the evil congressman played by Romnick Sarmenta. A writer himself and a veteran to many great productions on stage and the movies, Saracho brought his usual finesse in the few scenes he was included with great impact.

Bagman teems with many scenes focused on marginalized people forced to make that desperate “kapit sa patalim” due to poverty and exploitation by crooks who come from both the rich and poor alike. Here lies the beauty of the series in teaching everyone without pontificating the need to always choose the right path in life, to be careful of getting stuck into a situation one can no longer get out and cost one’s life or loved ones, or both.

One unforgettable scene for me is that episode focused on Atayde’s father-in-law played by Rolando Inocencio as a Political Science professor telling his class the story how three congressmen died and were held at the gates of heaven by St. Peter for interview. The first two were sent to hell for their sins but the third lawmaker made into heaven after “bribing” St. Peter!

The whole class burst into laughter while Inocencio lamented in a very fatherly manner how deeply ingrained is corruption among us Filipinos until the bell rang and his class dismissed. In a later episode, Inocencio would ask their hostage-taker (Karl Medina) claiming to be his former student how did the third congressman get into heaven to check if he was indeed in his class at the university.

Medina would not give any reply at all to Inocencio who would again lament how every student of his would surely know the answer because he tells the same story in every class he handled. For me as a priest, the scenes that followed reverberated with voices, asking us teachers and educators what have we really done in forming the minds of the young in our schools and parishes when corruption is even getting worst?

Bagman is a timely reminder for us in this time of pandemic of rectifying the excesses of our “old normal way of life” that is so unfair and unjust that many clamor to bring back in the face of the “new normal” that is still far from what is just and true.

One downside for me with Bagman is the excessive use of foul language, one of the worst “new normal” introduced to our society four years before COVID-19 came. The series could have been more effective and compelling minus those p*@#&^_!

See it for yourself. Enjoy and reflect the series.

More power to the people behind Bagman!

From Esquire Philippines.

“Pag Tumatagal Lalong Tumitibay” by Wadab (1979)

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Music by Fr. Nick F. Lalog II, 08 August 2021
Photo by author, Sonnen Berg Mountain View, Davao City, 2018.

We are on the first week of our fourth lockdown in Metro Manila since this pandemic began last year. All we need at this time are good vibes to uplift the sagging spirits of our suffering people, those who have lost loved ones as well as have lost their jobs or livelihood as a result of COVID-19 and its quarantine.

Since we are also celebrating the whole of August as “Buwan ng Wika” (Month of Filipino National Language), we have chosen an Original Pilipino Music (OPM) from 1979 by a group of five gentlemen from down south calling themselves “Wadab”, the inverted name of Davao City.

Long before today’s generation had this lodi (for idol) expressions, our generation have long been speaking backwards like jeproks to refer to spoiled brats from Quezon City’s middle class living in different subdivisions called “Project” like Project 7 (spent my early childhood there), Project 2, Project 6. Invert the word “project”, make it hip by adding an “s”, you get jeproks. It was the coolest thing at that time!

Going back to Wadab’s 1979 hit called “Pag Tumatagal Lalong Tumitibay”, the song speaks about the love of a man to his beloved, telling her how his love has grown stronger and deeper for her through time, assuring her of his undying love and fidelity.

Wadab’s song is very interesting for many reasons. Our readers in the US and other English speaking countries can easily relate because like some of the OPM songs of the 70’s, the lyrics is a mixture of Tagalog or Filipino language mixed with English expressions called “Taglish” (from Tagalog + English).

Melody and music are very soothing as they were patterned after the American Philly soul sounds of the Stylistics among others.

We thought of this lovely song for this Sunday because in essence, it is what Jesus is telling us in the gospel today, his being the bread from heaven, the bread of life giving life and nourishment to all believers. It is not enough that we know Jesus in our head; we need to believe in him to experience and share the love he has for us (https://lordmychef.com/2021/08/07/knowing-believing-loving-jesus/).

Imagine Jesus serenading you with this song, assuring you of his loving presence especially in this time of trials. Try to reflect also on our depth of love for Jesus through our family and friends.

Has our love gone stronger through the years despite our failures and sins?

Before listening to our featured music this Sunday, try reflecting on these beautiful words by St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) from one of his homilies about love:

"Love is fully sufficient to itself;
when it enters the heart,
it absorbs all other feelings.
The soul who loves,
loves and knows nothing more."


A blessed week ahead of you. Stay safe always.

*We have no intentions of infringing into the copyrights of this song and video except to share its beauty with others. Thank you.

From Youtube.

Pagsusumakit patungong langit

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-05 ng Agosto 2021
Larawan kuha ni G. Vigie Ongleo sa Singapore, 03 Agosto 2021.
Akin nang kinalakhan
kasabihan ng matatanda,
"Kapag may tiyaga,
may nilaga!'
Ngunit sa aking pagtanda
ako ay namangha sapagkat
mayroon pang higit sa pagtitiyaga,
isang dakilang biyaya:  ang pagsusumakit. 
Sa wikang Inggles,
"persistence" kung isasalin
ang salitang pagtitiyaga
na kung saan nagsisikap
ang sino man upang matamo
 kanyang inaasam na tagumpay
kaya buong lakas at panahon
 doon nakatuon upang maging kampeon.
Ngunit higit pa sa pagtitiyaga ang pagsusumakit:
sa wikang Inggles ay perseverance
na kung saan sino man ay laan masaktan
at mahirapan upang mapanatili
 at mapangalagaan sumpa 
at pangakong binitiwan (komitment),
di lamang sa mithiing inaasam
na ibig makamtan kaya pinagtitiyagaan.
Sa pagsusumakit, 
hindi nakakaakit tagumpay
na makakamit kungdi higit 
sa lahat ay hindi maipagkait ang
nararapat at naayong tugon sa 
bawat pagkakataon kung kayat
ano man kahantungan ng bawat punyagi
kabutihan at kaganapan ang mapanatili.
Hindi pansamantala
ang pagsusumakit di tulad
ng pagtitiyaga at pagsisikap
na kadalasan ang layunin 
ay bagay at gamit na makakamit;
bawat pagsusumakit saan man
at kanino man ay paglapit 
at pagkamit na rin ng langit!
Sinabi ni Jesus sa mga tao:
"Ngunit pagsumakitan ninyo ng higit
sa lahat ang pagharian kayo ng Diyos
at mamuhay nang ayon sa kanyang
kalooban, at ipagkakaloob niya
ang lahat ng kailangan ninyo."
(Mateo 6:33)

Kung narito ka Panginoon…

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-29 ng Hulyo 2021
“Ang Pagbuhay kay Lazaro”, isang painting ni Duccio de Buoninsegna noong 1311. Larawan mula sa commons.wikimedia.org
Sinabi ni Marta kay Jesus,
"Panginoon, kung narito kayo
hindi sana namatay
ang aking kapatid." (Juan 11:21)
Maraming pagkakataon, Panginoon
ganyan din aming sinasabi
kapag kami ay sakbibi ng dalamhati,
tulad ni Santa Marta sa pagpanaw
ng kapatid nilang si San Lazaro:
Kung narito ka, Panginoon.....
...hindi sana nagkaroon ng pandemic,
...hindi sana kami nagipit,
...hindi sana kami nagkasakit,
...hindi sana kami nagkamali,
...hindi sana kami kinakapos,
...hindi sana kami nagugutom,
...hindi sana kami naghikahos,
...hindi sana kami nalinlang,
...hindi sana kami nasaktan,
...hindi sana kami nawalan,
...hindi sana kami nagkahiwalay,
...hindi sana kami napaalis,
...hindi sana kami natalo,
...hindi sana kami napahiya,
...hindi sana kami sumuko,
...hindi sana kami napatigil sa pag-aaral,
...hindi sana kami naulila,
...hindi sana kami naligaw,
...hindi sana kami nabigo,
...hindi sana kami nagkaganito.
 
Tiyak na marami pa kaming
masasambit na sana ay hindi
nangyari kung narito ka,
Panginoong Jesu-Kristo
katulad ni Santa Marta nang
pumanaw kapatid niya at
kaibigan ninyo na si San Lazaro;
ngunit hayaan din ninyo na aming
mapagtanto kalooban at layon ninyo
kaya kayo naparito upang kami 
ang maging kapanatilihan mo
at sumaklolo sa mga nasa peligro.
Itulot po ninyo, Panginoon
aming tularan bunsong kapatid 
nina Santa Marta at San Lazaro,
si Santa Maria ng Betanya:
manatili sa iyong paanan, 
magnilay at madalisay ang buhay 
sa pananalangin upang sa pagdamay
namin sa mga nahihirapan at nabibigatan
ikaw bilang Buhay at Muling Pagkabuhay
ay kanilang panaligan sa aming 
pagkakapatiran at pagtutulungan
maramdaman nila, narito ka, Panginoon!
Icon ni Jesus dumalaw sa magkakapatid na San Lazaro, Santa Maria, at Santa Marta sa kanilang tahanan sa Betanya. Larawan mula sa http://www.crossroadsinitiative.com.