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Thursday, August 9, 2012

When Disaster/Calamity Strikes

"Water, water, and there, water...overflowing with grandeur...but then, when unleashing its power...there's imminent danger, disaster...people come together...helping one peacetime and in war...

There goes my short verse I just scribbled on my notebook today. My thoughts this early morning is on the floods in Metro Manila, Philippines. There's that nostalgic memory so unforgettable, for me, each time I hear flooding or days of torrential rainfalls in Manila where I happened to live there for a year, particularly in Paco district, in early 1970s. I used to work for a distant relative who engaged in handicraft business that, when there's a tourist ship arriving, the family had to build a temporary or makeshift store in the pier where we sold handicraft items/products such as woodcarvings from Baguio City, loom-woven cotton "abel" and placemats from the Ilocos Region, shirts, as souvenirs for tourists. But when we have a foul weather, like if it rains for two-three consecutive days, especially in Manila, that's a different story. (More details later.) The picture of the area submerged, flooded, the streets...all water, is so vivid, in my mind. Still fresh and raw! OMG, Manila is sinking! It's terrible to remember such a scenario! (BTW, thanks to YouTube and the uploaders of the videos I embedded here with my blog post. No copyright infringement intended.)

Well, now, today I recall: I wrote an Ilokano poem, "No Sumangbay ti Didigra" (When Disaster or Calamity Strikes), and published it in, in 03/06/2005. My inspiration, then, was that disastrous and devastating 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami in Banda Aceh, Indonesia and Thailand, in South Asia (26 Dec. 2004). First off, why did I mention about this? Well, my friends, I would be branded as ignorant and insensitive if I say I didn't know anything about the recent flooding (August 7-8) in Metro Manila, and other  low-lying areas in Luzon, Ilocos Region, Philippines, where I was born. The fact is, I've learned about the torrential rainfalls and the monsoon rains since Sunday, August 05, and Monday, August 06. I also watched TV news and video clips from YouTube. It saddens me to learn about the disaster. I prayed and continue to pray for our fellow "kababayan" who were affected/devastated by this catastrophe. May God bless and protect them from harm and future disaster/calamity. May they always find hope and comfort and strength to continue living their lives. May their struggle and sacrifice be rewarded with a better, decent life, Lord.

This morning, I had to news-update myself about the flooding in the Philippines by reading, online, one of the leading newspapers there, Manila Bulletin. I read about the outpouring of support and prayers from Philippine and international celebrities, and from leaders around the world who sent messages of hope and support to President Noynoy Aquino.

I am relieved to know that flooding is and continues to recede in some areas in Metro Manila. I pray that our good and loving God will help and guide our "kababayan," our fellow Filipinos, especially those who were displaced or evacuated from the disaster, and those who have been rescuing and giving assistance and support. I pray for the leadership of President Noynoy and all his cabinet members who have been trying to assist in the rescue and clean-up efforts. May the good Lord bless them with a caring heart, always!

For those of you willing to learn something about Ilokano, here's the text of my poem, No Sumangbay ti Didigra below. For my readers (who happen to visit or come across my blog), especially those from other countries like Russia, Germany, France, Bulgaria, United Kingdom, Turkey, etc., I'd like to give you a hint or tip on how to read my Ilokano poem/s. Remember that the Philippines was colonized by Spain for over 300 years and as such the Spanish influence is inevitable in our language, culture, etc. For our letters of the alphabet, especially our vowels a, e, i, o, u, they are pronounced the Spanish/Latin/Japanese way. Get it? Compared to English or American English or British English, there's a difference in the pronunciation of our vowels. In English, we learned about short a, long a; short e, long e; short i, long i, etc. That's just a simple Ilokano 101 lesson, from me. Okay, folks, ready? Let's go...(Let me see if I can translate it for you in English. I'll try my best, ok.)

No Sumangbay ti Didigra                              When Disaster/Calamity Strikes

No sumangbay ti didgra                                 When disaster strikes
Awan a pulos pilpilienna                                Nothing gets on her way
Ket madadael dagiti sanikua                          And property are destroyed
Nga inurnong ditoy Daga.                              Everything accumulated on Earth.

Maungaw dagiti pinarsua                               Lives are lost
Lakay, baket wenno maladaga                       Men and women, even the young
Ket matda dagiti dadduma                             But others are spared
Nga agrigrigat, agsagsagaba.                        To suffer and struggle.

Mangruginto manen  dagiti natda                  Those left behind start again
Nga agputar panagbiagda                              To live their lives anew
Iti baet ti leddaang-pannakaulilada                Amidst the sorrow and pain
Rumusingdanto manen ken rummangpayada.They will survive and succeed.

Iti panaglabas dagiti kanito                            As time passes by          
Ken dagiti nabalitokan a tiempo                    And golden moments, too
Dagiti nabati agkaykaysada nga agrag-o       Those left behind unite in joy
Ken agyaman baro a biagda manipud Ngato.And give thanks for their new life from 

                                            (c) 2012 by chris a. quilpa

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