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Ikaw

ikaw ay isang bukas na talinhaga
ng isang nakangiting umaga
hinamugan ng laksang
pag-aaruga – ikaw –
luntiang tanawin sa durungawan
ng nag-iisa
at nakapanikluhod
sa pagdaloy sa batisan
ng pagsinta.
ikaw ang talinhaga ng natatangi,
ang nag-iisa
sa hardin ng bulaklak
na kaydami – ikaw –
ang matimyas na indak
ng malambot na tangkay sa sigwa
ng lahat ng umaga.
ikaw ang talinhaga
ng umagang nakangiti sa unos
ang hardin at bulaklak na puspos
ng kalinga at pagsinta.
ikaw ang talinhaga
sa aking nakangiting umaga.
ikaw.

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 Mahirap makipagpatintero sa mga umuulang firebombs,
lubhang mas mahirap na ngayong maghanap ng
pagkain—may pera ka man o wala, ang lahat ay inirarasyon
sa dulo ng desperadong digma.
______________________________________

Isa na ito sa pinakamalungkot na pilikulang mapapanood mo: paghihirap, kawalang pag-asa at kamatayan sa gitna ng isang patalong digma. Idagdag pa na ang mga pangunahing tauhan ay magkapatid na batang inulila ng giyera, mga batang ang bulnerabilidad ay tahasang pinalubha ng kawalang katiyakan. Ang isa sa pangunahing tauhan ay hindi mo makikitang nakikipaglaro sa iba pang bata sa kanilang komunidad, bagkus ay makikita mong nakikipagpatintero sa mga umuulang firebombs na inilalaglag ng mga eroplanong pandigma ng Amerika.  Mabilisang susunugin at gagawing abo ng mga firebombs ang mga tahanang aabutan nito, dahan-dahan namang tatakasan ng pag-asa upang magpatuloy sa buhay ang mga pangunahing tauhan.

Walang pag-aalinlangan ang tema nito: lubhang malupit ang giyera at dumudurog ng dignidad, tumutupok ng pag-asa at ng pumapatid ng buhay. Direkta, tapat, at hindi pinaligoy ng aksyon o pinalabnaw ng drama, ang Grave of the Fireflies ay isang emosyonal na paglalakbay pabalik sa dako ng patapos na Ikalawang Digmaang Pandaigdig sa bansang Hapon. Isang pelikulang lubusang nagpakita ng miserableng pamumuhay ng mga sibilyang Hapon sa kanilang bansa noon. Isang seryosong presentasyon ng kalunos-lunos na kalagayang hindi mo kakalimutang kamuhian ang digmaan at ang mga responsible dito.

Oo nga pala, ito ay isang produksyong anime.

Gawa ng Studio Ghibli noong 1988 na idinerihe ni Isao takahata, ang pilikulang ito ay isa sa pinakaimportanteng anime sa kasaysayan na may malakas na temang anti-digma. Ang pelikulang anime na Barefoot Gen, tungkol sa halimaw na epekto ng bomba-atomika sa Hiroshima, ay may katulad na tema. Gayunman hindi ito tungkol sa litaw na tapang at lubhang-litaw na positibong katiyakan ng pananaig sa gitna ng pagkawasak at kawalang pag-asa tulad ng mensahe ng Barefoot Gen; tungkol ito sa dahan-dahang pagkaupos ng pag-asa at tuluyang pagkagupo ng paghahangad na mabuhay.

Ang bidang magkapatid na bata ay itataboy ng pagkatupok ng kanilang bayan—bunga ng atake ng mga eroplanong pandigma ng Amerika na naglaglag ng mga firebombs—upang maglakbay patungo sa lalo pang kalbaryo at kawalang-katiyakan. Ang kanilang ina ay tutupukin ng mga bomba; gayundin ang bawat tahanan na pawang mga gawa sa kahoy. Isang malinaw na pagtutulad ito sa bulnerabilidad ng buhay-sibilyan sa isang patalong digma—tila isang tahanang kahoy (na dominanteng arkitekturang hapon noon) na walang laban sa rumaragasang higanteng apoy. Dalawa na lamang sila ngayon sa buhay: isang binatilyo na mangangalaga ng apat taong gulang na kapatid na babae.

Dala ang kaunting lakas ng loob at paghahangad na makasama muli ang sundalong ama na kasapi ng Japanese navy, tutulak ang dalawa upang makitira sa kamag-anak sa kabilang bayan. Subalit ang digma ay walang katapusang malupit na inog ng pagkawasak kapwa pisikal at pampamilya; walang maasahang matibay na sandigang pamilya sa pang-araw-araw na buhay ng pakikipagbuno upang manatiling buhay. Kalaunan ay lalayasan ng dalawa ang kamag-anak pagkat hindi makakasundo sa usapin ng pagkain. Mahirap makipagpatintero sa mga umuulang firebombs, lubhang mas mahirap na ngayong maghanap ng pagkain—may pera ka man o wala, ang lahat ay inirarasyon sa dulo ng desperadong digma.

Hindi magpapagupo sa kawalang-katiyakan, titira ang dalawang bata sa isang bomb shelter sa gilid ng bundok. Sa isa sa piling tagpo ng pilikula, maiisipang manghuli ng alitaptap ng dalawang bata upang pakawalan at magsilbing ilaw sa kanilang bagong tahanan. Sureal at madyikal, kaaya-aya ang maraming alitaptap na patay-sindi sa kadiliman ng kanilang tahanan. May pag-asa bang makakita ng liwanag ng kaligtasan ang dalawang nagmamartya sa madilim na daan ng tiyak na kapahamakan?

Ang pilikulang ito ay pinalakas hindi lamang ng solidong kwento ng katotohanan, kundi lalo pa ng mahusay na animasyon. Ang mga maliliit na detalyeng mahusay na ipinakita ng ekspresyon ng dalawang bata ay kamangha-mangha ang epekto. Dalawang pares ng mga matang nakatawa at isang maluwang na ngiti na iniilawan sa dilim ng mga patay-sinding alitaptap, iisipin mong biktima din ng inosenteng edad ang dalawa. Mga walang muwang na paslit sa paligid ng laksang kapahamakang walang babalang dumadamba sa iba’t-ibang anyo . Nakamamangha din ang mayamang simbolismo ng pilikula. Ang mga alitaptap na mamamatay kinaumagahan ay tumutukoy sa maramihan at walang-habas na pagkitil ng isang digma. Ililibing naman ng batang babae—habang iniisip niya na sariling ina ang inililibing—ang mga alitaptap sa isang gawang-hukay sa harap ng bomb shelter, pagtutulad sa maramihang paglilibing ng mga biktima ng firebombs, gayundin ng minsanang pagkalunod ng maraming sundalo sa isang lumulubog na barkong pandigma ng Hapon. May ligaya nga sa aandap-andap na liwanag ng pag-asa, subalit tulad ng mga alitaptap sa bomb shelter na hindi inabutan ng umaga, ang hukay ay isang katiyakang lakbay.

Tuluyang papatiran ng pag-asa ang nakatatandang lalaki sa balitang isinuko na ng kanilang mga lider ang digmaan at lusaw na ang japanese navy, malabong may nakaligtas. Babawian naman ng buhay ang batang babae bunga ng gutom at pagtatae. Ang nakatatandang lalaki naman ay ipinakita nang namatay sa umpisa at ang kabuuan ng pilikula ay ikinuwento ng kaniyang “multo.” Lahat sila ay pawang mga alitaptap na inihatid ng digma sa libingan.

Ganap din naipakita ng pilikulang ito sa katangian ng isang digmaang pinaglabanan ng mga makapangyarihang bansa: ang walang kahihiyang paggamit ng mga naghaharing uri sa bansang Hapon sa kanyang sibilyan upang laruin at itulak ang isang digmang agresyon sa pangalan at glorya ng monarkiyang Hapon, gayundin ang walang-habas na atake at pamamaslang ng bansang Amerika sa mga sibilyan upang ipanalo ang digmaan.

“She never woke up again,” ang kuya patungkol sa pagkamatay ng nakababatang kapatid na babae.

Mananatiling gising ang mga aral at ala-ala ng ganitong uri ng digma.

Ito ay isa din sa mga tema ng pilikula, ang pag-igpaw mula
sa takot at paniiil upang magrehistro ng paglaban
at pagnanais na mangibabaw: pag-igpaw sa
patyarkal na kultura upang igiit ang pantay na karapatan
bilang babaeng nakapiit sa kaayusan ng pamilya at ng lipunan…
__________________________________ 

Gamit ang pamalo—sa halip na baril, ang tipikal na armas sa pulitikal na pamamaslang—winakasan ng mga bayarang maton ng rehimen ang buhay ng tatlong magkakakapatid na Mirabal. Ang pagsasarang ito ng pilikulang “In the Time of the Butterflies,” adaptasyon ng nobelang sinulat ni Julia alvarez na may katulad na pamagat, ay alam na ng lahat ng sinumang pamilyar sa kontemporaryong kasaysayan ng Latin America—isang simbolikong pagsasalarawan ng pagtrato ng patyarkal na lipunan sa mga kababaihan: mahina, hindi palaban at madaling igupo.


Ang nasabing pilikulang idinerihe ni Mariano Barroso ay mahusay na presentasyon ng buhay nina Minerva, Mate, Dede at Patria (Salma Hayek, Mia Maestro, Pilar Padilla at Lumi Cavasoz, ayon sa pagkakasunod), ang magkakapatid na Mirabal ng Dominican Republic na nagmulat, nag-organisa at nag-armas laban sa diktaduryang Trujillo sa kanilang bansa. Kilala sila sa kolektibong alyas na “butterflies” sa loob ng kanilang rebolusyonaryong kilusan. Kalakhang halaw sa tunay na buhay bagaman piksyunalisado, mahusay na naisalarawan ng pilikula ang drama ng pamilyang sinubok ng pulitikal na paniniil ng diktaturya. Ito ang diktaturya ni Rafael Trujillo (Edward James Olmos) na naghari sa kanilang bansa noong 1930-61 sa isa sa pinakamadahas at pinakamapaniil na diktadurya sa kasaysayan ng daigdig.

PAGKONTROL
Dahas at suporta ng US ang naging salalayan ng paghahari ni Trujillo sa kanilang bansa. Ang pagpapatakbo niya ng tila pribadong korporasyon sa ekonomiya ay sinuhayan niya ng madugong pagpawi sa anumang porma ng oposisyon. Tinatayang mahigit 30,000 tao ang pinatay ng diktaturya, kabilang na dito ang lahing afro, sa kanyang kampanya upang manatili sa kapangyarihan at upang paputiin ang populasyon ng kanilang bansa.

PAG-IGPAW
Isang litaw na tema ng pilikula ang habulang tila pusa at daga nina Trujillo at Minerva. Sinampal ni Minerva sa gitna ng isang pormal na pampublikong pagdiriwang ang diktador na dagliang tinugunan ng pagpiit at pagtoryur sa kanilang ama na siyang ikakamatay nito; ang patakarang panlalaki lamang ang paaralan at propesyong abogasya ay mapapangibabawan ni Minerva resulta ng panalo niya sa isang larong dice laban kay Trujillo; magagawa namang dalawin ng diktador (na ipinakitang may pagnanasang sekswal kay Minerva sa simula ng pilikula) si Minerva sa kanilang tahanan—matapos itong mabilanggo bunga ng pagkahuli sa kanya—sa binaggit na “ultimong insulto sa huli at sa kanilang pamilya.”

Mahusay na naipakita ng pilikula ang palaban at hindi pala-sukong karakter ni Minerva. Gayunpaman may mga litaw na takot siya na masundan ang pagkamatay ng kanilang ama bunga ng ginagawa niyang paglaban sa diktadurya kung kaya pipigilan niyang masama sa kanilang kilusan si Patria, ang isa sa kanyang mga kapatid. Ito ay isa din sa mga tema ng pilikula, ang pag-igpaw mula sa takot at paniiil upang magrehistro ng paglaban at pagnanais na mangibabaw: pag-igpaw sa patyarkal na kultura upang igiit ang pantay na karapatan bilang babaeng nakapiit sa kaayusan ng pamilya at ng lipunan; pag-igpaw sa takot para sa kaligtasan ng pamilya upang sama-samang lumaban sa diktadurya; pag-igpaw mula sa pagdadalamhati upang magpatuloy sa paglaban; pag-igpaw sa absolutong pasistang paggogobyerno upang magtayo ng demokratikong pamahalaan.

HAMBALOS
Binanggit sa pilikula na naging huling hambalos sa rehimen ang pagkakapaslang sa tatlo sa apat na Mirabal; si Trujillo ay papaslangin anim na buwan matapos ang pagkitil sa magkakapatid. Sa mga aklat ng kasaysayan sinasabing ang pagkawala ng interes ng US kay Trujillo ang naging dahilan kung kaya ito ay pinaslang mismo ng mga ahente ng CIA. Lubhang naging “mabigat” na umanong dalhin para sa US si Trujillo bunga ng lumulubhang krisis sa ekonomiya Dominican na may katumbas na paglalim ng diskontento ng mamamayan; gayundin ang mga aktibidad ni Trujillo sa labas ng bansa gaya ng aktwal na pag-ekport nito ng pasistang atake laban sa mga kinikilala nitong kaaway niya. May mga boses ng oposisyon at lider-rebolusyonaryo na nakabase ng labas ng Dominican Republic ang inabutan pa din ng pamamaslang; ang pangulo ng Venezuela noon, isa sa kanyang mahigpit na kritiko, ay tinangka niyang ipapatay.

INSPIRASYON
Hindi naman matatawaran ang inspirasyon na inihandog ng magkakatid na Butterflies sa kanilang mamamayan. Ang pag-ipaw nila mula sa takot at kaayusang patyarkal at aktwal na pag-aarmas upang lumahok sa paghubog ng isang malaya at demokratikong bansa ay aalingawngaw sa mga kasunod na henerasyon at hanggang sa kasalukuyan. Magiging sunod-sunod at mabilisan ang palitan ng rehimen matapos paslangin si Trujillo; magiging lubhang mapagbantay naman ang mamamayang Dominican sa kanilang bagong-tamong demokrasya. Ang November 25, ang araw ng pagkakapaslang sa magkakapatid, ang kikilalanin ng maraming bansang latino bilang International Day Against Violence Towards Women.

“You’re going to fight everyone’s fight, aren’t you?” ang kanyang ina kay Minerva.

Ang paglaban para sa kalayaan at paghahangad ng batayang dignidad bilang tao ay laban hindi lamang ng iisa, kundi ng lahat.

The dried leaves of September

 

And the lasts of the dried leaves
bid farewell
to its branches
as the vicious windstorm teases
with it; impish,
unforgiving,
torturing every inch of its existence–
overwhelming
every ounce of its being.
It is humming
a burning melody
of slow death as the leaves finally
surrendered to gravity.
There, the tree and its huge branches,
standing idly;
once a picture of passionate vows locked
in perpetuity
is now reduced to a wretched swathe
of uncertainty.
I had cried long enough.

Ancestral house ni Heneral Francisco Macabulos, ang natatanging Tarlakenyong heneral ng rebolusyong Pilipino 1896. Nakakalungkot tignan, mukhang napapabayaan na. Mga dalawampung hakbang mula dito ay ang munisipyo ng pamahalaang lokal ng La Paz, Tarlac.

Kuha habang nagdya-jogging, Pebrero 6, 2012 gamit ang iPhone.

His desired place at the mythical pound for pound ranking has remained to be an elusive dream as fans labelled him “one-dimensional” and “limited” and critics questioned his capacity to deal with awkward fighters. Maussa was a tough nut to crack, Urango was a southpaw who keeps coming forward and Collazo was a slick and clever lefty.
______________________________________________

 

*My most fave among my boxing articles so far. enjoy ^^,

Published in April 29, 2009 @ boxing capital dot com
Part 2 of 3 In The Pacquiao vs. Hatton Series by Erik Sarmiento Dela Cruz

He got inside behind a quick jab – a very educated left jab that hitherto remained surprisingly underrated – and roughed up his more experienced opponent who happened to be the most feared complete fighter in the division. The first round was a very disrespectful Ricky Hatton (45-1, 32 KOs) showing no fear, let alone respect, in bringing the fight to a man many considered to be one of the all-time brightest in the division. If anything, it was a sign that Kostya Tszyu (31-2, 25 KOs) was in for a very tough fight.

During the middle rounds, Tszyu tried to test Hatton’s forward express by allowing him to get inside. The plan was to go counter-punching and time him with his debilitating right hand. Tszyu has had many successes in doing that in his career. His was a career built upon terrorizing the junior welterweight division with his mid-range jabs and rights. Surprisingly, Hatton just walked through all of them and came back swinging aggressively in his smothering style. At the end of round eleven, Hatton proved most of the critics wrong by being able to convince the guy who was ranked so highly in the pound for pound list to remain seated on his stool.

Technically brilliant, strong on the weight, very powerful, vastly experienced and tactically astute, Tszyu was supposed to win but Hatton’s high octane forward express and never ending work rate proved to be better than anything else inside the ropes that night. It was a career defining moment for Manchester’s finest. He just beat a great fighter and he beat him convincingly and brilliantly.

If the brilliance he displayed on the Tszyu fight was to be the yardstick, he was supposed to be seen as a brilliant fighter. A guy who performed like that couldn’t be a mere second rate fighter. It was not the same as Trevor Berbick (49-11-1, 33 KOs) beating an aged Muhammad Ali (56-5, 37 KOs). It was, yes, a pleasing story of passing of the torch from a legendary champion to a new kid in the ring. But Ali was a fighter who was not even a shadow of his best years in the squared ring that night and that didn’t help Berbick to look good in that fight. Tszyu was a still a force to reckoned with and Hatton bested him, big time.

It was more of a Manny Pacquiao (48-3-2, 36 KOs) trashing a favored Marco Antonio Barrera (65-7, 43 KOs) in terms of skills, power and brilliance of the fight. But Pacquiao went on to become a great fighter, greater than what Barrera could ever be, leaving Hatton’s career that still longs for recognition and respect to pale in comparison. Pacquiao has almost proven to the world that beating a great champion is synonymous to being a great champion. But there’s also the story Antonio Tarver (27-5, 19 KOs) beating Roy Jones Jr. (53-5, 39 KOs) in a very strong fashion. The world of boxing is too harsh to just give away the label “great” fighter by simply beating a fighter who sports that adjective.

The thing is, Pacquiao has overcome a long list of formidable fights post Barrera to chart his own legendary career while Hatton has been, well, in not-so flattering performances. Maybe it was the lack of intensity and the vintage violence associated in a swarming style in his immediate fights post Tszyu. Or perhaps it was his much-storied penchant for the beer and the foods in between bouts that infringed on his capacity to deliver.

He did score some good wins in his next fights after Tszyu. But those wins didn’t help him at all in his bid for recognition and respect among the stateside fans, precisely the reason he came to America. On the contrary, those wins have merely put a dent on his legacy, with his ungodly fondness for clinching getting highlighted in some of those fights. The fans have seen enough of John Ruiz (43-8-1, 29 KOs) to make Hatton their new household icon.

The very limited and inexperienced Juan Urango (21-1-1, 16 KOs) hurt him in the sixth and he resorted to clinching on the last half of the game. He looked sloppy against Carlos Maussa (20-5, 18 KOs), having been unable to establish control on the first four rounds of the fight. Luiz Collazo (29-4, 14 KOs) wobbled him in the last two rounds and he looked ready to go at those crucial rounds of the game. The crime is, Collazo, though a bigger man at welterweight, was never considered to be a big puncher.

If you were the brilliant guy who just violently unseated a light welter legend three fights before, looking ordinary against average fighters like Maussa, Urango and Collazo is a capital offense. It’s unforgivable. His desired place at the mythical pound for pound ranking has remained to be an elusive dream as fans labelled him “one-dimensional” and “limited” and critics questioned his capacity to deal with awkward fighters. Maussa was a tough nut to crack, Urango was a southpaw who keeps coming forward and Collazo was a slick and clever lefty.

What happened to his career? Where’s the forward express now going?He has all the tools to take the boxing world by storm. Name it and he has all it: non-stop violent aggression marked by a very high work rate; a tenacious forward game plan marked by his capacity to absorb heavy blows; and a desire for an all out action. He has beaten good world class opponents and good regional draws before Tszyu. And he beat them all convincingly as not one was a close call. He proved he can overcome crisis against Jonathan Thaxton (34-9, 19 KOs) and Eamon Magee (27-6, 18 KOs); he showed he can be comfortable fighting at a distance against Ben Tackie (29-11-1, 17 KOs); he displayed how his work rate and pressure fighting style can devastate a fellow pressure fighter against Ray Oliveira (47-11-2, 22 KOs); and he exhibited how he can mix up all the good things he got to overwhelm a legend against Tszyu.

He was supposed to be next big star when he beat Tszyu. But his immediate performances after The Thunder have frankly been disappointing. The respect and recognition he longed have seemed to fizzle out as the mythical pound for pound ranking won’t still have his name.

Hatton’s career was in desperate need of a jumpstart to gain the reverence of the greater fans when Jose Luis Castillo (57-9-1, 49 KOs) came in his radar. Castillo was a great lightweight champion and a very marketable name having endured brutal wars with Diego Corrales (40-5, 33 KOs) (RIP). Castillo’s a durable fighter who, like Hatton himself, loves to come forward and he was ageing. The perfect liver shot that knocked Castillo out at the fourth stanza was a perfect shot to enliven his seemingly regressing career and steer it back to where it was going after Tszyu. The next step was to take on the greats and keep away from average fighters, at least at the moment. He’s now 43-0 with 30 KOs to waste some precious fighting time dealing with average fighters and “expose” himself further by performing miserably against them. He can’t afford to commit the same mistake again.

The momentum that was wasted after Tszyu can be picked up now after Castillo and disproved all the issues about his legitimacy as a pound for pound elite. Floyd Mayweather (39-0, 25 KOs) was, however, destined to fail him. But fighting is an irony. While he looked bad even by winning as against Maussa, Urango and Collazo, he looked a little good in his failed effort to trounce Mayweather at welterweight. The first five rounds were reminiscent of the brilliance and ferocity he displayed against Tszyu. Too bad there is such a thing as a one division wonder in boxing.

The Malignaggi fight was a brilliant way to get the respect and recognition he yearned for so long. This was a fight he needed to get his career to the path taken by the legends. Paulie Malignaggi (26-2, 5 KOs) was a speedster with more than average boxing skills. He doesn’t have much pop in his hands, yes, but dominating him all throughout the fight was never an easy task. And Hatton accomplished it with flying colors. The Malignaggi fight has taken his name within the lower top ten of the pound for pound list. The respect and recognition is now knocking on his door.

Castillo, Mayweather and Malignaggi, the impetus for a great career is now there. The question however is how deep the light welterweight division is to provide him quality fights? If the Collazo fight was any indication, he doesn’t have any business dealing with the welters. A point that was validated to him further by Mayweather flat on his back. By the looks of it, Hatton is doomed to be a second rater relative to the current pound for elites. He would always be there, within the radar and at a very striking distance, but the absence of quality fights would forever seclude him from the top five.

That is why perhaps the Juan Lazcano (37-5-1, 27 KOs) fight, which was obviously a one step back in his career, is forgivable. Lazcano was there to lose and Hatton needed a morale booster after suffering the first KO loss of his career. There’s no better the light welterweight can offer to him. The division can no longer help him advance his career to that greatness he aspires for so long.

Good thing that the Filipino pound for pound king has decided to visit him on his turf and give him a shot at that respect and recognition he has longed for his whole career. A Pacquiao win can certainly take his career to new heights. Trouble, however, is that Pacquiao is everything awkward that he hated in style. Maussa was a tough nut to crack, Urango was a southpaw who keeps coming forward and Collazo was a slick and clever lefty. Pacquiao is all of them, plus the speed, reflex and possibly, the welter power of Mayweather.

wala lang

“I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the race,
I have kept the faith.”

– 2 Timothy 4:7