MANILA, Philippines -- Higaonon farmers who embarked on a long march on Oct. 10 from the land they are claiming in Sumilao, Bukidnon, began their “tour” of Metro Manila Tuesday to seek help from the government as well as cause-oriented groups.
Looking exhausted, the farmers -- down to 55 from their original number of 63 -- passed through Baclaran in Parañaque City. They arrived in Metro Manila on Monday and have marched some 1,700 kilometers.
PDI, Dec 5/07
It must have been the anito
Getting in your spirit, breathing fire
Into your eyes and lips and face.
So you can see the land, and decide the fate
Of timeless trees, vagabond birds, restless rivers.
They hold the rage of your stories,
That you know well even as they keep the secrets
Of listless loves you offer to the Lord the Moon
As it glows in fullness in the night
Its face, sad and tranquil, sanctifying
Your journey with the light lilt of a lullaby,
The only one you need at this time
In this dark hour of your country
That has turned into a relic of words.
This hike is not light on your feet.
So you can taste the sweat of morning
As it slants into day as feet negotiates
The cement of cold cities,
The roads without names long stretches
Of dreamless sleep
As you think of the home you left behind,
The palm fronds sorrowing so in your absence,
Unable to bear the possibilities of missing forever
The touch of you hardened hand, patient flesh on moist soil
In an alliance of sowing and harvesting.
And then this weeping we hardly know why.
The rituals of your daily lives are rare now
So you can welcome a first goodbye
Said in earnest by the furrows on the field
Or a hole dug to let the robust seed in
And there, in the dark pit of expectant hope,
A gift of grace grows, sprouts into an evening
Of rushed rest so you can lie down
With your deliverer's desire, daring
To create poems out of your earthman's passion
For freedom on reed mats as in the boundless skies.
A Solver Agcaoili
Hon, HI Dec 5/07