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What I Found When I Googled My Name

Do you ever do that? Do you try to google your name sometimes?

Well, I did last night. It was not surprising what I saw at first. Of course, it listed links to my social media profiles like Facebook as well as to some blog posts that I have written on my other blogs (I maintain more than one for both my sanity and to widen my writing and blogging network).  It also showed links to some of my Cebuano poetry (balak) attempts published online as well as a few links of articles I wrote for some publications. But there were 4 results that surprised me 🙂

  • News article of a poetry anthology launching last May.  My poems were surprisingly part of this anthology. I remember that the women’s writers’ group in Cebu, WILA, was working on an anthology about a year or two ago and I had a vague memory of submitting some of my poems in English as well as some balak via email (I’m based in Butuan City, Mindanao but lived for many years in Cebu where I first connected with WILA) . But when the launching took place, I did not get a clear word that my work was included. So now, I am excitedly waiting  to get my own copy of the book 🙂 UPDATE as of February 2016: I already received a copy of the book. If you are interested to purchase a copy, copies are sold through WILA. You may leave a comment below this post if you need more information about getting one. 
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WILA book launching for the poetry anthology, FemiNest. Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale and NCCA’s Hope Sabanpan-Yu in photo. Photo: Arni Aclao/Sunstar

  • Instagram link leading to a poster of my poem. I also found and clicked on an instagram link and was again pleasantly surprised that one of my poems was chosen and made its way to Colon, the oldest street in the Philippines during the Cebu Literary Fest this year. I think they got hold of my poem Kagabhion from the Kabisdak Cebuano poetry website. I also found the same photo on another site, sixmoment.com. This is the photo they took of the poster which displayed my poem:
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Photo from sixmoment.com

  • One of my latest poems appearing in SunStar Superbalita. I had been asked since 2014 by the paper’s Literary Editor to submit some of my poems and apparently he was pleased with my poem, Kwarenta, to have it published in January 2015. Some of my poems have been published there many years back but it was only in 2014 when I resumed sending my poems there. I haven’t seen the hard copy yet of that issue and it was quite difficult to access this link by itself but still this put a smile on my face.  UPDATE  as of February 2016: I learned that 8 of my Cebuano poems were actually published in the last 2 years and I received payment for them, too. Well, it does pay (literally)  to do some searching 🙂
  • A  Tumbler entry featuring a translation of my Cebuano love poem. You can click here to see the balak, Mga Balud, and then click here for the translation as seen in Tumbler. I do not know yet the identity of the translator but I hope to connect with this person some time.

A surprise feels good every now and then. Having found 4 through Google was really more than enough for a day. I’m feeling grateful about it. And I can’t help but look skyward to shout out my praise to the Giver of words 🙂

Home Alone with Flavia

It was just Flavia and me.

I must have been 5 or 6 years old when my days meant just Flavia and me at home for the whole day. Flavia was our household help. She must have been in her late teens then. She was light-skinned, about 4’11 in height and she had curly hair. She was from my father’s hometown, Valencia.

I was the youngest for nine years among four children until my younger brother was born. The 3rd child, my older sister, was older than me for almost five years. And so by the time they were all off to school and my late parents were off to work, I was home alone with Flavia. (This was during the early ’70s and not all kids were going to pre-school as it is common today).

My routine for the day then was wake up a bit past 7 am. Get off my bed and call for Flavia. There was no one else to call,  after all. Everyone had left for work or school. Flavia would usually be doing some laundry work this time at the back of our house. She would answer me and add that my breakfast is at the dining table.

Indeed it was there. My breakfast was already placed on my own plate (a plastic one with its own cup; aqua blue in color with clusters of grapes as the design on both plate and cup). I would usually have no appetite to eat but I would manage two spoonfuls of rice. Perhaps my lack of appetite then was due to just me sitting alone at the dining table. Some people and some studies would say,after all, that we eat more when we are in the company of others.

Just two spoonfuls for me and then I would call out to Flavia that I was through with breakfast. But she does not take my word for it. She would ask how many spoonfuls I have eaten. And then somehow convince me to eat at least three spoonfuls more. You need more spoonfuls of rice to grow, she would say. And I would obey.

We had yellow cosmos flowers in our front yard.

Cosmos flower

Shortly after this eating routine, Flavia would be busy cleaning my parents’ bedroom. In those days, my bed was still within their room as well. While she fixes the beds and sweeps the floor,  I would volunteer to dust and arrange my parents’ dresser.  I would create stories in my head as I do the arranging. The characters would be the perfume bottles, the hairbrush and combs, my Mom’s hairspray. Sometimes, I would be too happy with the story in my head and I would share it with Flavia.

After this cleaning time, I would be coloring books with crayons. During some days when I do not want to do some coloring, I would go to the kitchen where Flavia was and beg her to tell me a story. Any story. Sometimes she would oblige, sometimes she would just turn on the radio where her favorite radio soap is playing and ask me to listen while she continues to do house chores (radio soap was quite popular in the country in the ’70s).

During lunch time, Flavia would sometimes watch me eat. The same negotiation is repeated to convince me to eat more than two spoonfuls. Nap time is shortly after lunch and then I would wake up and go outside and play by myself in our front yard. Sometimes, I would pick santan and cosmos flowers and put them inside a plastic vase in our porch. Sometimes I would pick guavas from a couple of guava trees.  And sometimes, I would just run on the yard and circle around the house with our family dog, Whitey, seemingly happy to follow me.

By late afternoon, my siblings would be home.

Looking back now, I think I would have appreciated having a playmate during that time of my childhood. But I guess as a young child, you don’t know much about what you are really missing. You just accept and take what is there. But I sure am thankful that Flavia was there. She kept me company. She was kind and gentle to an inquisitive, at times pesky child who was often alone in her own world.

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Photo: samuiblue/freedigitalphotos.net

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