Days of our lives,
This we can only say.

We count the hours
Between hymns we remember
But want to hide
From the heart that sings.

We count the blue moons,
Each hand at a time,
And then the other,
And then the darkness.

We count the sorrows
We assign another name,
Something to keep them
Away from a sentence.

Exiles do not count
In those consonants
Of our cheap talks
About how war is won
In this struggle we call
Our language of sense.

We go the ways
Of angels, fallen in traffic.

Our prayers, sad as always,
Come in to proxy
What we cannot say in words.

It is phrases we cannot turn
Into as minutes, their length
Of time's endlessness
Our private grief.

Life goes on, we say.
We believe it is.

And the sun by the Diamond Head
Rises to a greeting of hope
Coming alive like the marongi leaves
After the first rains.

Waipahu, HI/Dec 2, 2010


There is so much to be said about the Ilokano struggle in Hawaii. There are the burning issues. There are the words that burn as well. It is the same struggle you have seen elsewhere: in Manila, in Laoag, in Los Angeles, and now in Honolulu. The issues go with you. They do not leave you alone.

In your homeland, the issues were about the many rights trampled upon by the powerful, from writing to students rights, to the rights of the poor like you, to the right to call it quits with a president who did not know how to preside over the affairs of a county and a people except to his own sense of country and to his own sense of people.

Which means that his country is his cabal of impostors and pretenders shanghaiing all that can be shanghaied from a country already shanghaied empty by others.

Which means that the people are simply this: his own people.

Which defines as his coterie of greedy relatives and friends and hangers-on, who would go berserk with him with irresponsibility, song, and wine.

The Honolulu struggle is a bit different. It is one marked by a complication—as if in a medical case where the patient needs all the suero you can find. The vital signs are giving away the clues.

Temperature check: no sweat, it is darn too cold or darn too warm, depending on who you talk to and who you deal with. Lydia Abajao has a term for this: quever, bibiangko.

Pulse check: too weak or too fast, depending on who are involved, like this talk we had at one fancy restaurant today, November 30, by King Street, a reverend who means so well, a young activist who means so well, and myself who is in between meaning so well and being mean. LOL would define the pulse of the moment.

To struggle for a people and with your own people is one hard task to do.

To follow the way to your self-promotion and self-aggrandizement is one easy thing to do. It is the easiest thing to do. Some of those who can write in English—and so well—has a name for this: PR work.

The first leads you to crucifixion. The second leads you to a false heaven.

One has to choose; you need to choose.

I write this reflection while I look out the window, and there, in the dark, with the bright lights of Makakilo, I see the outlines of a mountain promising social justice, the kinalinteg, to all who deserve it.

From my window sill the December rain drops, and the music it creates lilts like a morning song announcing the breaking of day.

It is 4 o’clock, and soon the freeway will be filled with people rushing to their ambition, some to their crucifixion, and the others to their false heaven.

Honolulu is paradise too, but not so.

Honolulu, HI/Dec 1, 2010


Dimtengka kadagiti nabara nga oras

Iti maar-arakattot a sardam, sa iti agnerbios

A bannawag iti ili a nagkamangan,

Adayo kadagiti amin a dangadang

Iti lagip a naggapuan, kas iti panagtalappuagaw

Ti nakisang itan a danum ti Padsan.

Adu a pakasaritaan: ti daniwmo iti presidente

Nga iti panagtabon ti kararuana ket piman

Ta maitantantan kadagiti arimukamok,

Kadagiti bisibis ti tudo nga iti angrag

Ti tiempo ket ti maidagel a panagkulay-ong.

Kadagiti talon a masaripatpatan dagitoy

Kalpasan ti panagpadara ti nakem

Iti madagdagullit a kompesar ti kalgaw

Iti agur-uray a kanalbuong ti gurruod

Wenno ti anak-ti-sal-it, agkimat tapno

Iti apagapaman ket ti daga nga iti agmatuon

Ket ti pammadso ti nabaybay-an a gimong.

Saan nga ili ti adda kadatayo ita.

Saan a pagilian nga iti kansion ket ditoy

A maarikap ti sonata ti linteg nga iti sirmata

Ket adda kadagiti maidasar nga un-unnoy

Ti konsierto dagiti dadaulo nga agmauyong.

Liriko amin dagitoy ti gasat a ditay inay-ayat.

Liriko dagiti dayyeng nga iti agsapa

Ket ti pait dagiti bigat nga iti komedor

Ket ditoy a mabalasa ti numero a naimbag.

Kas iti loteria dagiti tagainep, kas iti pinnusoy

Tapno kadagiti papaayat ti ginnasanggasat

Ket ti agtagitao koma a ragragsak.

Ita ket ti umuna a tudo iti arununos ti kalgaw

A panagawid ti mannaniw manipud

Panagtalawataw kadagiti antigo a sursurat.

Inkur-it dagitoy kadagiti pakasaritaan

Nga iti kannag a bulan ket ti isasangbay

Ti umuna unay a pammakawan.

Itapaya ti mannaniw ti nakaungap a dakulap

Tapno iti appupo ti mangted bang-ar a danum

Ket ti kari a di pananglipat

Kas iti panaglaing iti tian iti sarsaraaw

Ti adu a pananglanglangan.

(Naisurat, May 10, 2010, Marikina, Filipinas)


A grateful nation can never go wrong in much the same way that a grateful heart will always do what is right and fair.

But even as we celebrate this year’s Day of Thanksgiving—even as we reel away from this national trauma we call economic meltdown that seems to have no end in sight—we have a reason to sit back and think through what has happened to the communities of immigrants in this land, communities that are known for their diversity and difference and yet always on the lookout for what makes them in common.

The Day of Thanksgiving is rooted in the acknowledgement that there is something or someone that knows well than what we know.

The Day of Thanksgiving implicates as well the immigrant history of this country that at times, after the immigrants have settled down and stopped moving, have come to look at the other immigrants from a different lens.

No, this country, on the Day of Thanksgiving and beyond it, must take stock of its investment in movement—in migration—as this is what its energy for growth, creativity, ingenuity, community, and vision comes from.

Without this broader perspective, we lapse into forgetting and this whole idea about sacrifice and honor, as is the case of the sacrifice and honor of the veterans who had to fight a war in our name in order for us to have peace, will become hollow and shallow, empty and meaningless.

One lesson we need to underscore on the Day of Thanksgiving is to keep on with the spirit to insist what needs to be remembered.

Another lesson is to resist the idea that remembrance is a perfunctory act of recalling the past as if this past is a relic of what goodness the past had.

No, we cannot.

History must remain our guide in mapping the future for us all; the future that is well rooted in the past-as-present and in the present-as-future.

We fail to see the continuum of time, we fail to see how necessary is our role to guarantee that someone will remember, someone will make it sure that we all become “a member again” of this vibrant, dynamic, socially responsible community of immigrants.



What it means has been lost along the way.

The distractions are all over the place, the message has been distorted, and the messenger has been reduced to a God-of-last-resort.

When everything else fails, we come to the God-with-us, the Immanuel.

When the world crumbles down on us, we remember that we have forgotten: that there is the Creator from whom all goodness comes.

We live in a world mishmashed by the unnecessary, clouded by the accidents we do not need in order to put some substance to what makes sense because it matters most.

All over the place are the seductions of the temporary, the everyday.

All over the place are the enchantments of those that will come to pass and we forget, effectively.

In some sense, the recipient of the message is on the loose, unable to rein in himself, reining in what needs to be reined in but unsuccessfully at most.

The phantom that is the world—looming large and welcoming—is too huge to be dismissed, its offer of the deal too tempting to simply turn our back to.

Such is our lives these days.

The tentativeness is permanent, the permanence so tentative.

Not a whit do we care about the essentials without reducing our actions to essentialism.

Or even to a soap opera of the meaningless kind, produced by pop culture mindlessly, reinforced by commerce and profit and greed intentionally.

In all these, we have lost the meaning of Christmas.

In all these, Christmas has lost its sense to us.

We are here to fulfill a ritual, a ceremony of forgetting even as we troop to the vendo machines giving out all the gifts that we buy to substitute the loving that we cannot give.

We can call this the human condition, the current human condition, with all its flimsiness, its artifice, and its lack of substance.

We need to take stock of what we have got, like learning again the lessons on how to make our world more human and humane, more caring, more competent in dealing with the widespread apathy that has afflicted us.

The human condition is this: indifferent to the sufferings of the world, indifferent to the situations of others that have been reduced to wretchedness, indifferent to the impossibility of announcing what can be redeemed, indifferent to what can make us remember so that once again we can become more human, we can become more humane, we can become again the image of the created being that can rightly sport the qualification “God-with-us.”

We have forgotten this “us,” this us that is “God-with-us.”

A redeemer has been given unto us, and that redeemer is placed somewhere, like a reserved tire, like a spare part of the mechanical life that we have learned to lead and live.

The God-with-us is not needed, let that stay in the nook, in that dark corner somewhere.

The God-with-us is needed now, make the call.

It is that: transactional, business-like, negotiable, instrumental.

It is in this light that we reiterate that Christmas is not a passing season.

That Christmas is not an invention of human history.

That Christmas is not a product of human imagination with all the ugly connotations of that imagination.

Christmas is what it is: a commitment to the human community.

It is a commitment to the redemption of all peoples.

FAO/Dec 2010/Editorial


"Bettors use dreams, prayers to hit lotto jackpot of P535M,"
Inquirer, November 19, 2010

Padalisannak, apo, iti grasia,
itedmo kadi iti panunot a di agtalna.
Ta adu ta adu ti rigat ti agsagsabaga
nga iti pagtayaan iti lotto makipilpila.

Lawag, 1

Que podemos hacer con nuestras bocas
si han puesto dinamita en nuestro dientes?

Ronald Bonilla, 'La Luz Entera'

(Ania pamay-antayo kadagiti bibigtayo
No inikkandat' dinamita iti baet dagiti ngipentayo?)

Kastakami iti ili, iti lawag kadagiti sipnget
Nga iti barukongmi ti akimbagi.
Dimin kukua dagitoy, idi pay,
Sipud ti rugi ti ari a nagkari
Kadagiti tupig nga iti surnadan
Ket ti kararag kadagiti natay
Saan a kadakami a sibibiag
Manipud iti estoria ni Limahong
Agingga iti pannakaustel dagiti kangkong!

Agsublisubli dagiti sumilasu
Ti kakaen, ti isu met laeng a balikas
Ti nasudi koma a gagem kadagiti bawang,
Nga uray iti agkuriteb nga aldaw
Ket ti kasta unay a banglo ti masisi
Nga inuraga nga ar-arapaapen.

Umay dagiti kumaw kadakami
Iti baet dagiti sagpaminsan a sakmol.

Umay dagiti mannibrong iti panagpidut
Kadagiti maregmeg. Kontraenmi koma
Ti panagbayanggudaw ti ugaw
Ngem ania ngarud ti kapay-an
Dagiti kamarinmo nga iti tagainep
Ket agnagan dagitoy iti ubbaw?

Ket ita, iti kada bigat, ket dagitoy a dinamita
Kadagiti bibig, ngiwat, isip, nakem!
Agtaraykami koma iti katedral dagiti kaasi,
Kararag, pammakawan.

Ngem adda dagiti basol
Kadagiti abaga ti kamino real: sadiay nga agpakita
Ti ari a bangkay iti engkanto ti inna ipapanaw.

Marunaw ti isperma a tao iti raya ti aldaw
Tapno kadagiti dung-aw, sadiay nga agbiag
Manen ken manen, agmattider kadagiti saibbek
Tapno mangiwaragawag iti lawag, bugbugtong
Kas iti kari, nasudi kas iti kari, mangisalakan
Kas iti kari, ket iti sipnget, sadiay, sadiay
Nga agari.

Subliantayo dagiti lagip kadagiti ubbing.
Awan kadakuada ti bannatiran nga agkingkingking.

Iti latok ket ti dinamita a nagdaliasat
Manipud kadagiti angin, sa ita adda iti kada subo
Nga iti kinirog nga innapuy ket maibislibislin.

Oktubre 9, 2010
Hon, HI

Agbirbirok ni Ilokano iti Ilina



Recited at the Narvacan International Banquet, October 8, 2010,

Empress Restaurant, Honolulu, Hawaii

Agbirbirok ni Ilokano iti ilina.

Kadagiti sabangan a maikawa,

Kadagiti pul-oy nga iti rabii ket agpagungga:

Agbirbirok ni Ilokano iti ilina,

Kas idi punangay dagiti sariugma

Agbirbirok ni Ilokano iti ilina:

Iti sampaga dagiti sabong ditoy,

Ti mabibi a panagukrad dagiti petalo,

Ti masmasnaayan nga ayat

Ti ungkay ti agngangabit a karayo

Kadagiti busel ti rosal, rosas, kayanga

Ken iti daytoy a kadaratan nga iti apagapaman

Ket awanda: awan ti wayawaya

Awan ti gulib nga iti agsipnget

Ket sumiruksirok kadagiti maturog

A barsanga tapno iti ridep, sadiay,

Agadda sadiay ti panagpasag

Nga iti tingrag ket ti agungar a pakada.

The Ilokano is in search of a homeland

He searches and searches and in these islands

As in the islands where he comes from

He looks at every nook and cranny

There in the corner of fear and acres and acres

Of misery, he looks and looks around

And surprise meets him on the streets,

Mean and demeaning,

And in the hills are the stories that are not his,

This Ilokano who have come,

This Ilokano in search of a land

This Ilokano in searc of a homeland.

Once he had the ili.

And in the generations,

Iti genesis dagiti adu a rugi,

Iti pagapuan dagiti adu a punganay

Nga iti palad ket ti tarumpingay,

Agbirbirok ni Ilokano iti ilina.

Ditoy, ditoy, over here in Hawaii,

He has yet to find that: find the history

He can come home too, his life in the fields

Buried deep in words whose meanings

He does not know.

Show me your hands, kunada.

Kitaenta ti paladmo, they say.

And there, in the calluses are the fears

And there, in the burned skin are the dreams

He buries deep in the earth, this brown earth

This read earth, and he comes full circle

In his glorious sadnesses as he traces the blades

Of leaves, the cane he grows, makes tall, erect

Against the golden sun and whistling wind

Agtangkayag dagitoy a mula tapno sumarut

Iti langit, karitenna amin a bendision

Tapno kadagiti madagullit a basbas

Ket ti panagbirok iti agas ti bannog.

Agbirbirok ni Ilokano iti ilina.

Kadagiti ili a dina kukua.

Kadagiti pagbabakalan nga idi punganay

Ket isuna: sakbay ti amin, sakbay ti Filipinas,

Ket ti nasionna, ti purok iti puso a puso

Ti nagkauna a padaya a sadiay,

Kadagiti aweng ti duogan a gimbal

Ket ti daldallot kadagiti duayya.

Ditoy ita, over here, in this land,

Are the strangers that we are coming

To roost in the spaces that we are:

Agbirbirok ni Ilokano iti Ilina

Kadagiti baet dagiti leddaang ti iyaadayo

Kadagiti agpang dagiti agpakada a karayo

Agbirbirok ni Ilokano iti ilina.

The Ilokano is looking for a homeland

In this strange country of our ancient loves,

Strange as strange can be, estranghero

Kas kadagiti dalluyon, natalna kas met

A natakneng, nga iti danum ti baybay

Ket ti ararawtayo iti agmalem

Tapno dagiti kalio kadagiti ramay

Dagiti dara kadagiti ribo a panagibtur

Ket ti salakan nga iti maudi nga aldaw

Ket ti pannakasubbot a maur-or.

Contemporary English-Ilokano Dictionary

A contemporary English-Ilokano Dictionary written by Aurelio Solver Agcaoili will be launched at the the 5th Nakem International Conference to be held on Dec. 16-18, 2010 in Caoayan, Ilocos Norte, a resort town close to the famed world heritage city of Vigan.

The dictionary, following a pre-category approach, is in support of the effort to intellectualize the Ilokano language and make it responsive to the changes of a globalized world without losing sight of the requisites of indigenousness.

Agcaoili is currently the program coordinator for Ilokano at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is one of the founding officers of 170+ Talaytayan MLE, an advocacy group dedicated to cultural democracy and linguistic justice in education.

For orders, email the author at:

Kararag/Prayer at UPAA Aug 28/10

O most merciful Divinity of all creation, send forth your spirit to this community gathered here tonight in your name.

Let it be that this spirit becomes our light and guide as we celebrate your gift of life.

Make all those gathered here the vessel of your endless love so that we will be able to share that same love with generosity and social commitment to others.

And bless the food we are about to receive, the food we gathered from the earth. Let those who produced and prepared them be nourished as well even as we pray that each morsel nourish our body, mind, and spirit.

We ask this in the name of all the ancestors whose good deeds we honor today

All will say, Amen.

Prayer at UPAAH, Hale Koa Hotel, August 28, 2010

Observer Editorial, Sept 2010



We are headed to the primary elections that will eventually lead us to another, more final one in the next two months. The finality of the one that comes after the primary is that we will be deciding whom to put to office from a list of those we have selected.

While this process is clear, the procedure in keeping with what the phrase ‘the right to vote’ means, the results might not necessarily translate to what we need at this time.

What we need in this time of widespread recession and the loss of hope resulting from this widespread recession are competent leaders who concretely understand where we are and who know how to lead us get out of this mess that has become our lot in the last two years or so.

What we need are leaders who can tell us how to draw up a vision again, one of the future, a vision that includes as a marker the continuing increase of the number of middles class Americans and not the slide of this number to a level that reveals a deep divide between those who have so much and the majority that has so little.

We need leaders who are not only good with words—we need the words that can heal our wounded hearts and minds at this time—but also leaders who are also good with how these words are translated into action, leaders therefore who can tell us exactly where do we begin to start walking again in order to pursue the Promised Land, a pursuit that is not empty but with substance.

This is the reason why the right to vote comes always with a correlative: the duty to vote.

In this duty to vote is the responsibility in our hands—the responsibility to assure us that the leaders we elect in the primaries are also the same leaders that will lead us to the light, to hope, and to a new vision for us all.

In the older times, voting was called—we still refer to it sometimes—suffrage.

Suffrage is prayer, petition, and request. It carries with it the weight of ritual and ceremony—and the weight of faith.

It behooves on us then to think again: that even as we take part in the primaries and in the November elections, we are taking part as well in the social ritual for prayer, for petition, for request, and thus, it is necessary that we do the right thing.

Our duty is to educate ourselves to the demands of the choices that we will have to make. These choices are a prelude to the kind of a future our children and we are headed.

Certainly, our prayer is to not falter.

Certainly, our prayer is for this ritual of the elections to come together with our educated, discriminating choices.

We cannot fail—we ought not to fail in these elections.

For one thing, we can no longer afford the cost of widespread recession and hopelessness.


Sept 2010

Agrubrubuat ti rikna, o ayat

Agrubrubuat ti rikna, o ayat.
Mapan daytoy iti adayo
Kadagiti ginget ti maulit-ulit
A panaglangan nga awanka met.
Addaka kadi kadagiti rabii
Nga addata kadagiti alingasaw
Ti aldaw, iti pantok ti bantay
Kas iti pantok ti nabara nga ayat
A nalimed a para kaniak
A nalimed a para kenka.
Mabalud ti dila, wen,
Ngem ania ngarud, dimo ammo
Ti palabra ti rugso kadagitoy
Nga ima a mail-iliw unay iti tengnged
Kas iti barukong, isuda nga agikut
Iti inanama nga iti sardam
Ket ti ladingitko birbirokennaka.
Addaak iti adayo, iti labes
Dagiti mangliwengliweng a taaw
Tapno ditoy makigubalak iti rigat
Kas iti daytoy a mail-ila a rikna
Nga iti managridridam nga oras
Ket kankanayon nga agrubrubbuat.
Subliak a kanayon ti ladawam
Iti kaawan dagiti ragsak kadagiti kalsada
Iti agmalem a panangaw-awagko kenka
A dagiti balikas ket inuumel a kararag.


Feature Story: Amefil Agbayani, PhD

Dr. Amefil Agbayani, Amerikana a Filipina—


ni Aurelio Solver Agcaoili

Maysa kadagiti maipagpanpannakkel ti komunidad nga Ilokano iti Hawaii partikular dagiti adda iti makunkuna a higher education a kas kaniak, ket daytoy Amerikana a Filipina—wenno Filipina nga Amerikana a nangirusuat sipud pay idi dekada seisenta kadagiti aramid a mangitandudo ti kina-Filipino ken ti panagrespeto ken pangakseptar iti dibersidad dagiti tattao iti daytoy nga estado.

Amerikna a Filipina: kasta ti naganna. Inted kenkuana dagiti dadakkelna, da Adeudato ken Remedios, daytoy naisangsangayan a nagan, ti Amefil, manipud iti pinagtipon nga ‘America’ ken ‘Filipinas.’ Idi 1964, immay ditoy Hawaii tapno agadal iti graduado a program iti siensia pulitikal babaen ti scholarship nga inted ti East West Center, institusion a federal a nakabase ditoy Universidad ti Hawaii.

Ngem immay met ni Dr. Amefil Agbayani ditoy Hawaii—ken iti sibubukel nga Estados Unidos—tapno tungpalenna ti sirmata nga adda iti panagkambor dayta a nagan: ti panagbalinna a saksi ken paraiwaragawag kadagiti bambanag a makaitunda iti pagimbagan, pagsayaatan, ken pagdur-asan ni Filipino. Daytoy a Filipino, a gapu iti idea nga adda nasaysayaat a darepdep a maabel ken matun-oyan ditoy Hawaii, ket agpilpilit nga umay makigasanggasat ditoy tapno kadagiti kangitingan ti oras ken karit ken aginaldaw a pannakigubal, ket maaddaan iti nabiag a namnama. Ngem iti isasangladna, makitana a saan a nalimpio ti dana—nga adda dagiti rumbeng unay nga aramiden tapno madalusan daytoy tapno iti pannakadalusna ket naannayas ti panangsunsonna iti dana nga agtunda iti panagbanag ti dardarepdepna.

Iti panaglima a tawenkon ditoy Hawaii manipud iti idiay Los Angeles nga immuna a nagsangladak iti unos ti tallo a tawen, awan dagiti dadakkel a pasken ti komunidad a diak nakalangen ni Amy, ti ad-adda nga awagmi kenkuana, dakami nga adda iti akademia a tinenneben ti aktitud ti nadur-as a lubong a mangawag iti maysa a pagayam babaen ti panangaramat iti umuna a nagan, kas simbolo ti panagpapada.

Kaniak a nasanay iti sabali a kultura nga akademik iti Filipinas, adda idi panagkitakit ti riknak idi ibagana nga ‘Amy’ lattan ti awagko kenkuana. Ni Dr. Josie Paz Clausen, ti kaduak iti programa ti Ilokano, Drama ti Filipinas, ken Pelikula ti nangiyam-ammo kaniak kenkuana ket iti dayta nga umuna a panagkitami, kasla adda nasinged a riknak a nagpuonak a mangimbitar kenkuana tapno rekpanna ti umuna unay nga internasional a komperensia ti Nakem. Tawen 2006 idi, iti okasion ti panagserra met laeng ti makatawen a selebrasion ti sentenario ti iyuumay dagiti umuna a sangapulo ket lima nga Ilokano ditoy Hawaii tapno iruanganda ti agtultuloy nga isasanglad dagiti Ilokano—ken Filipino—ditoy nga estado.

Ket immay nagbitla ni Amy iti Nakem Conference. Iti bitlana ket ti nabaknang a padasna iti komunidad, ti namaris a biagna kas administrador iti akademia, ti agsangasanga a dangadangna iti panangipinget iti kalintegan a pundamental a nasken a pagballigian dagiti Filipino, ken ti agtultuloy a karit a sangsangnguen dagiti kadaraan, iti man Hawaii wenno iti dakdakkel a partes ti Kaamerikaan, partikular iti Estados Unidos ken Canada.

Iti met laeng bitlana ket ti panangsurotna iti tugotna nga Ilokano babaen iti amana, ni Adeudato, a taga-Vintar, Ilocos Norte, ti isu met laeng nga ili a naggapuan ti kaamaan a pakaibilangak sakbay a nagtawatawda iti siudad ti Laoag.

Iti baet dagiti tawen a pannakaipaima kaniak ti panangtarawidwid ti programa nga Ilokano iti Universidad ti Hawaii, ti kakaisuna a programa iti entero a lubong a mangiyup-opresir iti Batsilier ti Arte medior iti Ilokano, adda a kankanayon a tumultulong ti opisina ni Amy. Ket iti panangilablabanmi iti karbengan dagiti in-inabo a Filipino tapno masursuroda dagiti lengguahe dadagiti dadakkelna, nagkurus dagiti dalanmi iti panagtestimoniami iti maysa a public hearing iti Kamara dagiti Representante iti Kongreso ti estado.

Rugi laeng dagiti adu a panagkurus daytoy—rugi ti awan ressat a pannakasulsul-oy kaniak dagiti nakabilbileg a salamangka nga adda iti nadarisay ken napinget nga aramid ni Amy iti nagan ti komunidad a Filipino. Iti dayta a dangadangmi iti pannakaipinget ti karbengan iti lengguahe dagiti ubbing a Filipino, iti prinsipio, maisuronton, kas pangrugian, ti tallo a lengguahe ti Filipinas kadagiti eskuela a publiko: Ilokano, Sebuano wenno Binisaya, ken Tagalog. Iti agdama, gapu kadagitoy nga inisiatiba ni Amy ken dagiti aminen nga akademiko ken mangmangged kultural, maisursuro ti Ilokano iti dua a dadakkel nga eskuala a publiko: iti Farrington High School ken iti Waipahu High School.

Iti sistema ti Universidad a pagkamenganmi a dua, isuna kas direktor ti Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity, ken siak kas manursuro ken manarawidwid iti programa nga Ilokano, agkurkurus latta ti dalanmi iti agtultuloy a panangipinget ti pannakaisuro ti Ilokano ken Tagalog a kas lehitimo a kurso iti sangalubongan a pagsasao. Malaksid iti kampus ti Manoa, maisursuron ti Ilokano iti Maui College ti Universidad.

Immunan nga insuratko ti naisangsangayan a kabaelan ni Amy iti Fil-Am Observer, ti diario a pagkamengak a kas hepe ti editorial. Ti okasion: ti pannakapilina a 2008 Living Treasure—sibibiag a gameng!

Rinakisak dagiti dokumento tapno maisuratko dayta nga artikulo; nagsaludsodak kadagiti gagayyemna, ken ininterbiuk isuna iti telepono tapno laeng mailugarko dayta a pammigbig kenkuana ti komunidad, maysa a pammigbig a naisangrat laeng dagiti kas kenkuana a naisangsangayanen ti naaramidanna iti naglabas nga uppat a pulo a tawen.

Iti panagsuksukimatko, nakitak ditoy ti bubon daytoy nga enerhia nga agingga ita, iti laksid ti edadna a 67, ket nasiglat, naparagsit, ken naregta a mangidurduron kadakami amin iti akademia ken paset ti komunidad a Filipino, a rumbeng laeng a di agmawmaw ti panangipingettayo dagiti karbengantayo uray sadinno ti ayantayo.

Naruay dagiti pammigbig kenkuana—inubon-ubon a pammaneknek iti kabaelan, iti naisangsangayan a talento, iti nabaknang a sagut kenkuana ti biag. Ngem iti laksid dagitoy ket ti napakumbababa nga Amy, ti natanang a boses, ti naisem a rupa, ti makipinnerreng a mata. Iti alintatao, dita a makitam ti espiritu ti wayawaya, isu met laeng nga espiritu a ti panagkunak, ket isu met laeng nga espiritu nga immapay ken nanglugan ken Gabriela Silang tapno itultuloyna ti laban nga inrugi ni Diego nga asawana. Paggaammotayo a ni Gabriela ket isu ti babai a taga-Ilocos a nangipasdek ti altar ti nasantuan a pannakibalubal iti nagan ti dignidad, ti kinatao, ken ti respeto iti bukod a bagi ken iti sabali idi panawen dagiti Kastila.

Awanen dagiti Kastila ket addan ni Amy iti ballasiw-taaw, iti Hawaii dagiti immay a sakada tapno ditoy ket rugianda ti agarapaap. Ngem ditoy Hawaii met a nakitana ti importansia ti panangipinget kadagiti karbengan iti bukod a lengguahe, ti pannakaited ti akses iti dayta a lengguahe nga ammo tapno maipakatan ti maiyannatup a serbisio publiko, ti pannakarespetar dagiti kalintegan dagiti imigrante, ti pannakailaban ti kalintegan iti pagsapulan, ken ti panangpabileg kadagiti kadaraan a gapu iti kinakurang iti ammo ken adal ken kasanayan, ket nagpasarda iti pannakaikuskuspil ken pannakamatmata. Amin dagitoy ket saan a nakalisi iti imatang ni Amy ket iti managsirmata a disposisionna, inkomitna ti bagina kadagitoy nga isyu nga agingga ita ket sentro dagiti aramidna. Daytoy sustenido nga aramid ni Amy ti gapuna no apay a teddek isuna ti komunidad ken no apay nga importante ti panangawat iti sirmatana para iti masakbayan.

Ta kasta ni Amy.

Iti natanang a boses ket ti pihado nga idea maipapan iti gimong, iti panagdur-as, iti pannakidangadang.

Iti natanang a boses ket ti klaro nga isip—ken ti kinaawan lugar ti balikas a ‘saan’, la ket ta addaka iti umisu a dalan.

Iti naisem a rupa ket ti kinatakneng nga adda iti prinsipio a di mabalin a mulitan wenno isalda—ti prinsipio a pagibasaran dagiti amin a dangadang a nakikappengan wenno insayangkatnan iti napalabas nga uppat a dekada iti nagan dagiti amin nga umili ti Hawaii.

Ken iti makipinnerreng a mata ket ti sierto nga aramid, ti pirme a disposision, ken ti kinawada ti isip—abilidad a pudno unay a sagut manipud kadagiti didiosen ti biag, manipud kadagiti espiritu ti puli, ken manipud kadagiti anito a mangay-ayuda kadatayo kadagitoy a gannuat nga agtunda iti addaan anag a panagbalbaliw.

Itay napalabas a dua a lawas, inted ni Amy ti suportana iti Local 5, ti union dagiti mangmangged kadagiti hotel ti Waikiki a mangipingpinget iti kalinteganda a kas mangmangged ken kasta met dagiti kalinteganda nga ekonomiko. Kaduana dagiti nasurok a walopulo pay, nagprotestada, ken sinerraanda ti maysa a paset ti kalsada a nagbalin a gapu ti trapiko. Inaresto dagiti autoridad ni Amy a kaduana dagiti mangmangged iti hotel ken dagiti sumupsuporta kadagitoy a kameng ti komunidad.

Ipasimudaag daytoy ti sabali a kabaelan a tinenneb ti tured, padas, ken sirmata. Idi estudiante pay laeng iti programa a graduado iti Universidad, inukoparanda iti unos ti sangapulo nga aldaw ti maysa a pasdek ti Universidad tapno iprotestada dagiti madi nga aramid a mapaspaspasamak. Inaramidna dayta idi estudiante pay laeng—ken umili pay laeng iti Filipinas. “Itan ta maysaak nga umili ti Estados Unidos, ad-addan nga adda karbengak a mangilaban kadagiti karbengan dagiti amin nga umili. Awan ti makatubeng kaniak,” kinunana iti maysa a panagsaomi idi immaynak binisita iti opisinak.

Idi kangitingitan ti diskriminasion kontra kadagiti minoridad ken ti kaadu dagiti lapped tapno dagiti imigrante ket maikkanda iti isu met laeng a gundaway a mait-ited iti sabali, inrugi ni Amy ti ad-adda itan nga am-ammo nga Operation Manong. Nabaknang nga idea daytoy—ti panangipinget kadagiti karbengan ken pannakaikkat kadagiti pagel ti panagpapada—a naaddaan iti realidad ken namunganayan ti ibabaringkuas dagiti Filipino ken dadduma pay a puli tapno dawatenda iti estado dagiti kalinteganda. Agingga ita ket daytoy nga Operation Manong, nga adda ita iti opisina ti serbisio a multikultural iti Universidad, ket agtultuloy pay laeng nga agpapaay kadagiti nadumaduma a kultural a komunidad ditoy Hawaii.

Kadagitoy nga aramid ket ti maysa nga Amy—Manang Amy, kunak no kua—a mamati nga iti laksid ti nasurok a maysa a siglo a presensia dagiti Filipino iti Hawaii ket masapul pay laeng ti kolektibo a panangirupir kadagiti kalintegan tapno ti publiko nga espasio a para kadagiti Filipino, a para kadagiti imigrante, ken para kadagiti nagduduma a tattao iti Hawaii agraman dagiti indihenoso ti Hawaii mismo, ket maited kadakuada.

Gapu kadagitoy nga aramid, binigbig ti Church of the Crossroads ni Amy ket intedda kenkuana ti 2010 Hawaii Peacemaker Award, pammadayaw a mait-ited laeng kadagiti addaan iti naidumduma a komitment iti komunidad. Iti sentenario ti Universidad ti Filipinas, binigbig daytoy a numero uno nga institusion ti kabaelan ni Amy iti panagserbi iti publiko ken nasayaat a panaggobernar, iti pannakapabileg dagiti babbai ken panagpapada, ken iti edukasion ken salun-at.

Kadakami a Filipino—ken Ilokano—a kameng ti komunidad nga akademiko iti Universidad, makitami dagitoy adu a nagapuanan ni Amy. Ti karit ita ket daytoy: sinno ti makabael a sumukat kenkuana ken makaited iti isu met laeng a dekalidad a panagserbi iti nagan dagiti nadumaduma a komunidad ti estado?

Dakkel a karit daytoy kadakami, dakami a mangisursuro ditoy a mabilbilang laeng iti ramay ti kaadumi no idilig iti sabali a puli. Ngem daytoy ket saludsod a masapul a saludsodenmi no kayatmi nga iti sumuno nga aldaw ket masierto ti pannakasustenir dagitoy nga aramid dagiti immun-una kadakami.

Contemporary English Ilokano Dictionary

This work is going to be released soon. Tentative launch in the Philippines will be at the 5th Nakem International Conference, Vigan, December 16-18, 2010.



For Jeffrey, for getting himself arrested while fighting for the right of our people in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 2010

It will go a long way, this.

It is part of a legend now

Going round and round

The circles of our words

The pinnacle of our stories

As they become old histories

Wrought in cold stone tablets

And these blue, peaceful waters

Making our life liquid and eternal.

You could have shown your pulse

And how it beats about the hard labor

In there, beating past the train

Of rage going fast and faster

As this gets into the blood of our fathers

Mothers, sisters, children, brothers,

All of them who have remained quiet

In fear as in trembling before the peace

That is yet to be theirs. Did you have

The police people staring at you with the looks

Of kindness, saying without the syllable,

That to get arrested is to go through

The way of the Diamond Head breeze,

Free and forever

In the margins of the Pali mountain fastnesses

In the fringes of sugarcane fields

We no longer dare touch

Because there, to say what needs to be said,

Is to sin again and again

Is to fall from grace one more time?

Ah, give that body to the warden.

Ah, gift our people with the spirit

Of your desire, this freedom we are about

To lose if we did not know where the entrances

Of prisons are.

Aug 10/10



For details, click here.

Observer Editorial, June 2010


The New Promise of the Nation

The victory of another Aquino—President Noynoy to the many who entrusted their votes to him—to the presidency in the Philippines means many things to people of Philippine descent, whether in the Philippines or in the United States.

Or more so for those more than ten percent of the population of the country who are away from the homeland laboring it out in other places and other climes just to scratch out a life in nations other than their own nation.

We call this the exportation or warm bodies that, at the height of Martial Law under Marcos, became an official government policy for many reasons, one of which was the legitimate cover-up for the inability of the country to absorb the labor market.

In short, it could not provide employment for its people, hence the official sending away of millions of them to other places, some of them going back to the Philippines in cold coffins or raped or both.

We must admit now: many people of Philippine descent in the United States and in other destination countries have been motivated to go away to eke out a life outside the country because eking out a life in the homeland was much harder and the opportunity to do so less possible.

Many of us left because there was not much in the homeland.

Except for the broken promises we have grown tired of, we have only the obligatory self-congratulations of presidents and leaders and their game of endless misdeed and mischief.

At the cusp of this new era—indeed, a new promise for us all—there is one thing that strikes at the core of all the promises we have heard many times over, but promises that have never seen the light of day: President Benigno Aquino III is giving us a new lease on our life as a people.

People of Philippine descent in the United States or abroad may not feel the same way as those in the homeland.

But this new promise is palpable to those left behind to witness the rapacity of thieves in government.

This new promise is an antidote to poison of corruption that has marked previous administrations.

This new promise is a restatement of a commitment to truth, service, and justice for all the people.

It is a promise with a vision.

It is a vision with a hard, raw, real truth.

A dawn is being promised, a new one, indeed, with its rays of hope.

A new hope is being offered, one springing eternal as it has always been, despite the multiple tragedies we have had with the conjugal dictatorship, with the Joseph Estrada presidency of corruption of the highest order, and with the Arroyo presidency of a culture of impunity and graft.

Abuse of power is what people call these tragedies that have visited us and that have rendered us impotent, inutile, unproductive, hopeless.

We can also call this absolute power corrupting us all absolutely.

And we are not the better for these untold stories of corruption.

But with this new presidency, we have heard some good news, and we can only pray that this good news will be sown on good soil and ever-ready for the sprouting and growing.

Nation making, as well as state crafting, are a factor of the political imagination.

We have to imagine a land, a homeland, a country, a nation, and on this imagination, we have to push for, even as we account, the deeds that will bring about results: democracy in the real sense of the word even as we hope for the masses getting the proper political education, and social justice translatable into access to resources.

We inaugurate a new hope.

We inaugurate a new nation.

We inaugurate a new imagination for the people of the Philippines.

It is not too late to hope.

The people—our own people—deserve better, better than all the self-accolades and the lies and the broken promises of the past leaders.

FAO, Jun 2010

Ti Umuna a Tudo iti Mayo iti Marikina

(Mayo 27, 2010)

Dimtengka kadagiti nabara nga oras
Iti maar-arakattot a sardam, sa iti agnerbios
A bannawag iti ili a nagkamangan,
Adayo kadagiti amin a dangadang
Iti lagip a naggapuan, kas iti panagtalappuagaw
Ti nakisang itan a danum ti Padsan.
Adu a pakasaritaan: ti daniwmo iti presidente
Nga iti panagtabon ti kararuana ket piman
Ta maitantantan kadagiti arimukamok,
Kadagiti bisibis ti tudo nga iti angrag
Ti tiempo ket ti maidagel a panagkulay-ong.
Kadagiti talon a masaripatpatan dagitoy
Kalpasan ti panagpadara ti nakem
Iti madagdagullit a kompesar ti kalgaw
Iti agur-uray a kanalbuong ti gurruod
Wenno ti anak-ti-sal-it, agkimat tapno
Iti apagapaman ket ti daga nga iti agmatuon
Ket ti pammadso ti nabaybay-an a gimong.
Saan nga ili ti adda kadatayo ita.
Saan a pagilian nga iti kansion ket ditoy
A maarikap ti sonata ti linteg nga iti sirmata
Ket adda kadagiti maidasar nga un-unnoy
Ti konsierto dagiti dadaulo nga agmauyong.
Liriko amin dagitoy ti gasat a ditay inay-ayat.
Liriko dagiti dayyeng nga iti agsapa
Ket ti pait dagiti bigat nga iti komedor
Ket ditoy a mabalasa ti numero a naimbag.
Kas iti loteria dagiti tagainep, kas iti pinnusoy
Tapno kadagiti papaayat ti ginnasanggasat
Ket ti agtagitao koma a ragragsak.
Ita ket ti umuna a tudo iti arununos ti kalgaw
A panagawid ti mannaniw manipud
Panagtalawataw kadagiti antigo a sursurat.
Inkur-it dagitoy kadagiti pakasaritaan
Nga iti kannag a bulan ket ti isasangbay
Ti umuna unay a pammakawan.

Itapaya ti mannaniw ti nakaungap a dakulap
Tapno iti appupo ti mangted bang-ar a danum
Ket ti kari a di pananglipat
Kas iti panaglaing iti tian iti sarsaraaw
Ti adu a pananglanglangan.

Editorial-Observer June 2010


The June month carries the weight of sign and symbol, meaning and memory.

And hope springing eternal as well, despite the unbearable heaviness of living a life of electoral spectacles courtesy of the Philippine national elections in May.

The cleaning up of the election trash—literally and figuratively—has begun, and so has the reality that now begins to bite: that our people need real jobs, not the sub-contracted one that pays them a pittance.

That our people need food, the real food that nourish their body and soul, and not food that is recycles from restaurant garbage bins and other people’s leftovers.

That our people—our food-producing people including the farmers of Hacienda Luisita—need land on which to grow their crop and feed their families.

June, as it is, is ‘something sacred to Juno’, the protector of the state, or its other equivalent, today’s nation-state.

And so it should be to the Philippine nation-state as well.

The post-election euphoria—or the post-election despair—depending on which side of the coin the candidates and their supporters are in, is something that comes as surely as the early morning sun in the tropical heat of Philippine summer.

For the people of Philippine descent in the United States, the month of June, among others, is ominous.

We can only watch from afar—but we have been witnesses as well.

This month of our many rituals of remembering—with the Independence celebration and the anniversary of the birth of Jose Rizal, to name but two—opens up new possibilities for the people in the homeland or in the land of the ancestors: the possibilities for a new life with a new president that promised to be different, that promised to make life better for the ordinary citizen of the land.

Or it opens up the same story of want and deprivation too.

For one, this we say: There will be no exhibit of people the new administration can use to prove something that is pointless in the first place.

There will be no Mang Pandoys with their endless stories of despair and death.

There will be no Jason and the other boys who had the fictional desire to catch the attention of the president—a case of children’s wild imaginings—by making paper boats and had these sail—no, drift by—by the murky waters of Pasig that eventually passed by the Malacanan Palace and then noticed by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

This is the same president that promised us social justice and democracy and freedom. This is the same president who is leaving us with stories of wanton abuse of power and excess.

There will be the frenzied preparations for the inauguration of a new president, with that inauguration marked by the same litany of promises we have heard repeatedly said, as if in a rubric of calculated meanings and presidential argumentum ad populum, as if in the sacred rituals of presidents who had come to visit us and announced their coming to us as our redeemers only to inflict upon us more pain and more sorrow, more death and more abuse.

We can only wish that this time around, with a living vision that we all deserve, the homeland would finally find peace with itself by finding peace with its new president that promised so much.

There has been so many rituals of remembering that we have gone through—that we have witnessed, that we have consumed for their spectacular worth, with the grandeur of a presidential rhetoric of greatness no less to make us believe some more in the power of democracy, in the power of political imagination, and in the power of a president’s word.

For once, let these rituals of remembering come to life, to light, and to truth.

The new president, His Excellency Benigno Aquino III, deserves all our support.

The new president, His Excellency Benigno Aquino III, deserves our prayers.

But we must also remember that we get the president we deserve.

In light of this, we cannot sit on our hands even as the country tries to stand on its feet.

We will measure the performance of this new leadership against the vision that the new president told us: one of transparency, commitment to justice and democracy, and dedication to service.

We will pray for him. And we wish him well.

But we will demand from him. And we mean it.

A Solver Agcaoili, FAO, Jun 2010

Surat iti Ili

Agbirbirokkami, O Ili iti karayo
A nasudi. Sukat daytoy ti tarumpingay
Ti iyaadayo kas ita, nga iti sapasap
Dagiti saomi ket ti nabiag a ragsak
Kadagiti duadua, nga ita, iti versikulo
Dagiti sirmata ket ti panagdadanggaymi
Tapno iti naganmo ket awagandaka.

Iti duogan a panawen: ti payapay ti aklo
Wenno ti panangmalmalo iti pungan
Sa ti pagan-anay, tapno iti ugaw
Ti maidasar a taraon ket ti lagip kenka
Wenno ti lagipmo nga agsubli iti sibay
Wenno iti pannakarikna iti babantot
Iti bagi kas pannusa iti kaawan
Iti iyaadayo kas iti ipapanaw
Tapno iti pantok dagiti turod ti rabii
Ni kaskadi nga ila ket ti panagam-amangaw
Nga agbirok iti desdes a pagkamangan.

Naliday dagiti aldawmi ditoy, O Ili,
Iti karayo a nasudi. Kadagiti panagbannawag
A mangriing kadakami tapno dagiti oras
Kamatenmi kas iti panangkamkamat
Kadagiti dalan, dayaw, dandanag,
Adu, adu a pakapilawan ti adda kadakami
Ket ti kaasim kadakami, dayta, dayta
Ita ti dawdawatenmi. Pinanawandaka
Tapno iti umuna a gandat ket ti dimin
Panagsubli iti arpad, tapno iti lakasa
Dagiti maipenpen a lagip ket ti agnanayon
A panangal-alaw iti kararua, iti isip kas iti panunot,
Panagduadua kadagitoy a mapaksuyan a bagi
A sumurot kadagiti pegges ti panawen
Nga itan ket mangpampanaw met kadakami.

Agrakayat’ balabala dagiti tagtagainep
Kas panagrakaya dagiti selula ti tured
A kunami idi ket dinto mangliput kadakami.

Sabali ngamin ti pagsasao ti agkabannuag
A widawid wenno ling-ay a ditoy baro a disso
Ket intugotmi, nagpuonanmi, kas iti bara
Nga adda iti lukong ti dakulap nga iti agnanayon
A pannakapaay ket umay a mangar-aria kadakami.

Adukami a pimmanaw, riwriw a liday
Kas makitam, ket iti daytoy a tallaong
Ket ti suma ti amin a panangay-aymi
Iti gasat, naimbag a gundaway, ngem gasat
Met kadagiti paspasarak iti isem iti sardam
Wenno iti karkarna nga inana iti bannog a kasinginmi.

Agawidkami kadagiti darepdep tapno iti parbangon
Dagiti balikas nga iduldulinmi a kas kari
Ket ti ladawam, sika O Ili, ti imahe
dagiti agpagungga a panangngaasi.

Ta addakami ditoy, iti walangwalang,
A kaskasdi a mangliwliwat iti ritual
Ti panagsubli, kas iti atang nga iti dios a lung-aw
Ket iti apagkirem maibabawi tapno awaganmi
Dagiti bulding, dagiti pilay, dagiti artek,
Dagiti aminen a kagura kas pananggurgura
Iti bukod a bagi a pangikkat buribor ti ulomi.

Agbirbirokka, O Ili, iti bannuar, agbirbirokkami
Met iti ili nga addaan iti mannubbot, daytoy
Baniaga a profeta nga iti barukong ket sadiay
Nga agindeg iti napaut tapno dinto agparang
Iti sabali, tapno sadiay, kadagiti sulinek
Ti talged nga adda iti maila a pusomi,
Ket ti panagbantay ti sirmatami
Tapno, kas ita, iti daytoy a ngayed
Ti panagmaymaysa ket ti punganay
Ti milagro dagiti sardam
Ti panagtao ti batumbalani a para kadakami:
Babato daytoy kadagiti amin a maisupadi
A balikas tapno iti urnos dagiti kapitulo ni padas
Maipasngay ti bannuar ti agkatangkatang a lasag.

Ditoy, iti estranghero a daga,
Ditoykami nga agsurnad, sumuknal iti espiritu
Ti mangisalakan a panagwaywayas.

Recited, INCAT Alum Assoc Banquet, Pacific Beach Hotel, Honolulu, May 1, 2010

Welcome, BA Ilokano Banquet

Gagayyem ken kakabsat:

Lumaemkayo iti daytoy a tallaong ken iti daytoy a panagkakammayet ita a rabii.

Manen, saksiantayo ti panangpadayawtayo kadagiti agad-adal iti Ilokano iti Universidadtayo.

Ket iti daytoy a panangpadayawtayo kadakuada, paggaammotayo nga isublidanto daytoy a rikna kadagiti sabali tapno iti siklo ti panangpadayaw iti maysa ken maysa ket dita a tumarubo ti rikna a panangilala iti bukod a kultura ken pagsasao.

Daytoy a pasken ti pakadagupan amin a sakrifisio dagiti agad-adal iti programatayo. Ditoy nga iparangarang dagiti estudiante ti nagsabalin a paniriganda iti kultura a naggapuan dagiti dadakkelna, ti namungayan ti panunot a tinawidda, ken ti linaon dagiti tagainepda.

Iti daytoy nga Scholarship Banquet, rag-o ti mariknatyo, rag-o ti balligi, ken rag-o met laeng iti panangimutektek nga adu pay dagiti nasken nga aramiden tapno iti kasta ket iti agnanayon ket mataginayon ni Ilokano ti lengguahe ken kulturana.

Friends and guests:

We welcome you to come into this gathering and into this solidarity for each other that we have tonight.

We come here again to witness the ceremony that honors our students of the Ilokano Program.

And in our act of honoring them, we are certain that they will give back this affection to others in this cycle of honoring each other, and we know that from there comes that clear feeling that our students will come to honor and preserve their ancestors’ language and culture.

Tonight’s event sums up the sacrifices of our students. For here, tonight, they will demonstrate to us the changes in their perspective on how to honor the culture and language of their parents, the root of the thought they inherited, and the content of their dreams.

In this banquet, we can only feel but joy, the joy of our heart, the joy of triumph, and the joy in recognizing that we all have a lot do to perpetuate and permit to thrive and thrive forever the fundamental marker of our identity, our being Ilokanos, our being Ilokanos who are committed to the pursuit of diversity, human freedom, and pluralism.

We thank you for joining us tonight. Agyamankami iti idadar-ayyo. Dios ti agngina kadakayo amin. Naimbag a rabiiyo—good evening to all of you.

Hale Koa Hotel, Honolulu, HI, April 30, 2010


Immigration and the Sense of Déjà vu

The sense of déjà vu in the current immigration issue flooding the country, with the Arizona law opening the floodgates, is something that is not only palpable but also disturbing.

Somewhere in this long narrative of immigrant life in this country, some people have not read enough of the travails of those who have decided to come and take part in that pursuit of a grand metaphor—a phrase of an extravagant dream as it appears now in these days of recession—the American Dream.

The narrative evokes a past whose truths, simple and yet difficult, are not easy for the comprehending.

This past suggests to us of Ellis Island, of the quarantine practices for the newcomers, the impoverishments and deprivations of those who could hardly make both ends meet as they began their new life in the new ‘homeland’, the raids of suspected illegal immigrants, and the wrenching social drama involved in deportation proceedings that, sometimes, breaks families apart.

With the crackdown anew, as is the case of what is required in Arizona, and with the method of the crackdown based on mere ‘suspicion’ of being an illegal immigrant, we do not know where all these things will lead us.

We have forgotten one thing: That the United States of America has always been, since time of our founding as a product of a political imaginary, a nation of ‘nations’, and a nation of immigrants.

That sums up our being America, our being the United States, in so many ways.

We have forgotten that we were once visitors, and now that we have become ‘natives’ ourselves by virtue of the long process of ‘nativization’, we are now going to use the iron hand and declare to all and sundry that this America is only for the one who has a legitimate reason to be around here.

No, we are not for the wanton disrespect for the immigration law.

No, we are not here to take side with those who violate the immigration law willfully.

We are here to defend the right of everyone in this country to be safe here and not to be afraid.

We are here to defend the right of everyone to be spared of the fear that is rooted in the idea that when someone suspects you of being an illegal person, you can be questioned ad random, asked for your identification, asked for a proof that you have the right to stay in this country of ‘the brave’ and ‘the free’.

We must remind ourselves that the greatness of America is its practice of democracy, its fundamental respect for human beings, its recognition of diversity.

We must remind ourselves that the greatness of America is that it welcomes our ‘many-ness’, our ‘difference’, our ‘plurality’.

The text of the seal of America sums it all: E pluribus unum: Out of the many, one.

FAO, May 2010

Our Work to Tally the Losses

Our sad work is to tally the losses
After each storm and flood we go through
In this republic of our grief that refuses
To leave us, in our homeland
And in each episode of our grand
Narrative of having been vanquished
For all time and in time that we
Have now seen this as our gods’ wishes.
We die a thousand times each time
We go through this but we cannot be alive
For too long to remember that this
Has been going on since we started
To believe in the alien and fair god of the those
Who came to announce his almighty power
In the heavens and among us small
Mortals of men from these islands
Of our aloneness before Time overtook
Our romance with dates and years.
Our act is plural, a noun too, after
A verb, that tells us of fear we need
To fight against, and the daring
We have to have to lead on and on
In this dizzying morass of our sense
Of selves, colonized and corrupting
As ever even if tragedies leave us
Wanting for more and more about
How lives, our stories woven in them,
Are to be lived out without the blood
And the ceremony of having it poured
On parched lands we till so the planting
Of food and the sowing of goodness can go on.
Overcast are the sacred skies even above
The old churches where the ancestors
Prayed for guidance and grace
And the slow, clean rain they gathered
In cupped hands, supplicating and
Supplicating some more for the other side
Of imprisonments we have come to believe
It is our gift from the penitent priests
Of our altar grounds we have turned into tombs
Where there we die but come to life again.

Hon, HI

Your coming to voice in your name


For Rev. Emily Joye McGaughy

You have come to voice in our name
Even as you have sought yours, seeking
Salving sentences and taming thoughts
Where language is absent and our grief,
Present as present can be in our search
For the fullness we shall be, takes flight
And flee to the permanent places of our pains.
In the seeking for meaning is all what we have.
It is solitude, this. It is aloneness of the self
We construct for others, believing in the faith
We have to come to grace to accept the truth
Of our bodies, their topography the distances
In the journeys we need to traverse in between
Commitment for difference, with our loss palpable
This sense of what we can do to make sense
With our wounded words, human and going divine
In the manner we can make a vow to live for,
To die for, everyday in one thousand lifetimes
And one thousand death-times in this ceaseless
Cycle of hoping what is yet to come, cool, collected
And clear, as the logic of alien loves beyond premises
Because peaking in all the warmth of smiles we have
From the cold trajectories of our dreams, young
And younger, always aiming holier and higher than
What the heavens can tell, these dreams of color
And the fullness of voice, fear hidden somewhere
Away from the syllables of music that make us one,
The courage in the verses you tell for us to bring
Home, sanctified lines, paragraphs, chapters
Of stories we write, in clear scripts and vision
To redeem ourselves from this sad longing
We cannot know, we will never know, but here
In this presence we have for each other, here
Is where our petitions will go: our prayers for you
Even as we ask you to raise your hand for us
In the name of the Spirit that will forever keep us.

A S Agcaoili for Nakem Youth
Honolulu, Hawaii, March 27, 2010


(Invocation recited during the retirement party of Prof. LIndy Aquino, Ala Moana Hotel, Honolulu, HI April 17, 2010)

O most wonderful spirit of human life, the source of all that we are and will be, come and bless this gathering.

You who, in time and place constantly reveal yourself to us in myriad stories of joy and celebration, come and bless us as we celebrate the retirement of Professor Belinda Aquino, as we celebrate her years of selfless service to our various communities, and as we testify to the truth of her work for and in our name.

Creator and maker of all that will be, make haste to sanctify this gathering of friends in Professor Aquino’s name so that in our sharing with each other of the blessings of friendship, we will be able to understand more and more the meaning of community and solidarity.

In our laughter, make us remember, Oh Great Spirit, the grief of others.

In our abundance, Oh Spirit of the Universe, make us recall the needs of others.

In our celebration, Oh Endless Inspirer of our lives, make us remember our duty to others and to the world.

And in our attempt to make memories we can hold onto forever, make us understand the Eternity of Time, and in that understanding, we will remain faithful to our commitment to do what is just and fair.

Bless us even as we bless you, sanctify us even as we sanctify you, and in the goodness that we share with each other, lead us to the light.

Bless those who prepared our food; bless those who partake of this food.

All will say, Amen.



Ken Prof. Lindy Aquino, iti panagretirona

Masangal dagiti tagainep ti puli: addaka.
Kadagitoy a dana a waknitan ti agsapa,
Sika, buyog ken kibinmi kadagiti duadua,
Sika ti daton nga iti ridaw ti aldaw ket ita.

Agsaksikami kadagiti amin nga aramid
Nga iti entablado ti pakasaritaan a limed
Sikat’ silaw a nalawag nga iti panagkedked
Ket iti tanap ti buteng sika ti sarikedked.

Dimo itulok dagitoy a tulag iti karsel.
Siaammokami a kadagiti rabii ti pagel
Ket ti sirmatam nga iti rungsot ti dawel:
Ti mangruk-at a damag dagiti makabael.

Sika dayta, ken dagiti sabsabali pay
Nga iti likkaong dagiti dalan ni ay-ay
Ket ti daton nga iti bannawag narayray:
Kinalinteg addat’ beggang ni tarigagay.

Regget kas essem kas nasungdo nga ayat
Sika dayta a dadaulo nga iti panagiwayat
Sipnget kas iti adalem ti rabii ti pinnaksiat
Addaka kadagiti aramid a salakan linnib-at.

Dagitoy amin ti ibati iti inka panangigibus
Panagserbi kadakam awanan parparaipus
Ket iti baet pangngaduami iti gasat ti kadus
Daytayto lagip ti karitmo di itulok a maibus.

Ngarud, ita ket kenka inkam amin sumuknal,
Sika a maestra ti puli, ejemplot’ adu nga adal,
Dagitoy a balikas ita kenka inkam agsangal
Pammigbig nga awan ressat pantok ti pangal.

Aglabeskam nga agpullo maubon a datonmo
Iti inal-allangon a puli, panangaklon ‘ti pudno
Nga itan ket masakbayan ti ili sarsaritanakanto:
Iti tagainep nga iti udi tagikuaennakat’ tiempo.

AS Agcaoili, Abril 17, 2010, Ala Moana Hotel, Honolulu, HI

Kansion iti Kellep

Daytoy ti murdong dagiti amin a sarita
ni ayat. Ti bulan iti saklot ti aldaw.

Ti init iti saklot ti rabii iti saragisag
nga abungot ti sipnget
nga iti panaginnala ti angin
ken ti pantok ti turod
ket ti mainaw a tagainep.

Sika daytoy, iti adayo a linabag
a kadagiti apros ket ti leddaang
a manasanak.

Ket siak, mabatiak kadagiti kari
ti kalman nga iti kalsara dagiti ariangga
ti agproprotesta nga ili ket ti duayya
dagiti manglanglangan.

Agtakkub ti langit ket daga:
agalimpatok ti rikna plato ken ti ganggang
ket iti lukong dagitoy ket ti mabalabala
a pakasaritaan. Maabel ti sinulid
dagiti saning-i nga iti paniolito
ti mangrangranggas ket ti bandera
ti marangranggasan nga ili.

Nakem Youth

Nakem Youth:
In Pursuit of Social Equity and Cultural Pluralism

By Aurelio Solver Agcaoili

Let it be on record now: that the idea of Nakem Youth began in 2006 at the 1st Nakem International Conference, the seed of that idea sown in the succeeding years that the Nakem grew roots in the Philippines through the 2nd and 3rd Nakem Conferences, the seed blooming into a young plant at the 4th Nakem Conference, and then nurtured to grow at the first-ever Nakem Youth organizational meeting held at the University of Hawaii at Manoa on December 5, 2009, from 6:00 PM-9:00PM.

We record the event with the meeting of several young people, with Jeffrey and Rachelle facilitating.

We record the place: Spalding Hall 257, at the UH Manoa campus by Maile Way.

With them were Calvin Rilveria, James Funtanilla, Donnie Dadiz, and Clifford Badua. Two young students joined them: Isaiah Pascua and Jacky Gallinato. I was there to serve as a witness, with Jeff and Rachelle, program directors. I am to serve as executive director per Jeff and Rachelle’s wishes.

On December 4, Jeffrey, Rachelle, and I met to discuss about the concept of Nakem Youth as an organization, as the youth arm of Nakem Conferences, and as the youth organization that will make a difference in the pursuit of the same Nakem vision of diversity, cultural pluralism, social equity, linguistic justice, education to democracy, and heritage rights.

We said it allowed in that meeting: that while Nakem Youth will journey with Nakem Conferences on that same road that leads to freedom, this youth organization will explore avenues that lead to the recognition of the abilities and competencies of the young in effecting the much needed social change for the many communities long deprived of their basic right to their ideas, the right to their sense of what is just and fair, the right to their languages and cultures, the right to their social spaces that make them realize that community is meant people, traditions, heritage, dreams, visions, purposes, and the collective quest for that which is true and good.

We have so many dreams for Nakem Youth.

We dream of this youth organization as the first-ever to recognize that the right to citizenship is intertwined with the right to one’s own language and culture even as we recognize our obligation to come into a communion with the larger culture where we find ourselves.
For Nakem Youth, these realities are not incompatible but come as complementary to each other, completing what is to be completed, building up from what is in there, and forging a future from the promises and possibilities of the present.

At Nakem Youth, we dream, and in that dream, we hand in to the young the key to a new world that reveals to us the vastness of a tomorrow that has yet to unfurl before us.

At Nakem Youth, we dream of a Youth Community Language Program that will put together a long-term program for heritage language education.

At Nakem Youth, we dream of a Nakem Youth People’s Theatre that will showcase both the terpsichorean and dramatic abilities of our youth even as they use these abilities to education our communities of the many issues affective everyone. At the Nakem Youth People’s Theatre, theatre is for the community, for education, for social transformation.

At Nakem Youth, we dream of a youth publishing collective, the Nakem Youth Press, that will transform our writings into books and other more permanent printing forms. We will utilize the writings of the youth for educational intervention purposes as well as for our literacy programs.

At Nakem Youth, we dream of a political arm, the Nakem Youth Solidarity Program, that will raise the level of social consciousness of the youth pertaining to social issues, global and local, issues that affect our communities, and issues affecting the meaning of our faith.

At Nakem Youth, we dream of an educational arm, the Nakem Youth Education Forum, that will put in place capacity building measures for our young with respect to having access to both formal and informal education that will prepare them for responsibilities in both the government and the private section.

Today, the core group of the Nakem Youth has been formed.

The next step is how this makes this group ready to face up to the challenges of sustaining the dream, of making this dream a reality.

FAO Editorial


Two important events mark our lives as Americans of Philippines descent this month and the coming months: the health care law, a response to the social justice issue of health care in this country, and the elections that will be held in the Philippines next month.

In both events, we are implicated.

Their implications issue out the need for us to hope for the better, believing that hope is one spring of the soul we can indulge in and we can hold onto even as we get past life’s Fall, with all its connotations.

We are still reeling from all the literal hardships that have come to visit us even in this land of prosperity and dream.

We are still reeling from the ugly reality that has hit us hard when that American Dream we have been pursuing has suddenly turned unreachable, its pursuit now almost impossible, with less and less of access available to us for us to reimagining it in our mind as in our life and in our daily struggles.

In the homeland, the story is not better off: the images on the streets, the images on the newspapers, the images from the news are a mixed bag of hope and frustration, despair and illusion, virtue and vice.

In so many ways, it seems that this new homeland we have come to, literally and metaphorically, to eke out a life that is something more colorful and better and grander, has become elusive at best.

In so many ways, it seems that the homeland we left behind has not learned to molt into a republic of vision, preferring instead to remain a republic of sorrows and grief and servitude.

The new health care law is a thought in grandiose terms, its intentions marked by a distinct sensitivity to the connection between social justice and health as a public good.

The elections in the Philippines, on the other hand, remains a stage play, with no plot that is clear but a lot of entanglements, with the almost mysterious because open-ended sub-plot lines of political promises.

And there is much misery too: the roads claim the dead, in the deep of the night as in the sunlight clarity of daytime.

Two entanglements, these, and we watch from the sidelines, and we can only watch from the sidelines, kibitzing as much as we can, as we are rendered spectators in all these spectacles that assault us each day.

How do we move on past these bombshells of the everyday is a question that begs an honest response, a wideness of vision, and a critical engagement with that conversation that could show us the way out of these traps that are not of our own making.

It is our obligation to ask this question—and beg for an answer, or answers.

Because our obligation is not only to the present but to the future as well, in much the same that our obligation is not only to the current season, but also to the one that comes after.

Especially in this time of Spring, when the sunshine welcomes us in its glory and the thought of coming to life again from the Fall of “the falling of leaves” and the “hibernation of the universe” and the “dormancy of the colors of flowers” becomes a thought that ignites in us some reasons to look forward to the Summer of warmth and gaiety and joy.

It is resurrection told anew: it is resurrection in life as in the need to hope for something better especially when the debates in the health care law will come from everywhere and the dark and dreary dramaturgy in Philippine politics will confuse us some more.

“The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason for hope,” so says Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

We believe him.

We need to give reason to the next generation of Philippine Americans to hope, in all the seasons of our life, in this season of Spring or in the coming Summer, or in this time of the Christian narrative of resurrection they call Easter.

Happy Easter to all!

FAO. April 2010

Kalihi Station of the Cross

Kalihi, Honolulu, HI, March 27, 2010


By A Solver Agcaoili, written for Nakem Youth

(All members of the community will sing the hymn; they are expected to sing in all the parts with the ALL role as well as the community with the responsorial part marked ALL)

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Introduction: Jeffrey (JA)

Kakabsat--siblings in Christ the Messiah, who came among us, lived in this life in the flesh, become part of our story and history.

Christ, the child of the Namarsua, the Creator, is the child of the God that does not end, the Creator that will continue to sustain us, in suffering, in death, in the coming to life again of our bodies and spirits.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Christ said, when two or three are gathered in Christ’s name, there is Christ among us, there is Christ in our midst. Let us honor Christ’s presence among us by this ceremony of breaking of the bread and the sharing of the water of life.

The bread and the water are symbolic of the life we share in our faith, the life lived in earnest because it is based on hope and justice and light.

ALL: (Raise the pandesal/bread and water; lay your hands over them)
Namarsua, the God of our life, confident in your promise of your presence among us, your presence in our midst, bless this bread and water so that they become the source of our nourishment of mind and body, spirit and soul.

CM 1: We offer this bread to those who produced it.

CM 2: We offer this water to the universe.

CM 3: We offer this bread to the hungry and disposed.

CM 4: We offer this to the health of the world and nature.

JA: We ask all this in your name


(All will get a piece of the bread and drink of the cup from the same bottled source; everyone will eat and drink at the same time.)

JA: Let this bread and water nourish our body and spirit.

ALL: Let God bless this water and bread. Amen.

Community Member (CM, with a series of numbers for community participation)

JA: The first station of the cross: Jesus is the midst of suffering in the Garden of Gethsemani

CM 1: Lord, even as you go through suffering in the Garden of Gethsemani and even as we go through the same suffering, we ask you to remember us.

CM 2: We are anguished by the continuing divide, Oh God, between those who have the resources to get by in life and those who do not have enough like us.

CM 3: Even as we suffer, even as we witness all these economic injustices, even as the poor like us and even as the poor among us continue to hope for a better life, dear God, Namarsua iti langit ken daga, Namarsua iti biag, make haste to help us.

CM 4: Come, make haste to help us, heal our community, heal our Kalihi, heal our people, and heal our lives, even as you yourself, Christ the Messiah, suffer in our name.

JA: This we ask of you, our suffering Christ.

All: Amen.

JA: The second station of the cross: Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

CM 1: Everyday, there is betrayal in our midst. We betray ourselves, we betray our God, and we betray our Namarsua, the creator of life, by our decision not to act to correct the injustices around us. With the furlough, we betray our youth. God of justice, come give clarity to our education.

CM 2: Even as you were betrayed, Oh Christ, even as you were arrested, we see all these betrayals in our midst.

CM 3: We pray that you remember us even as you hear condemnation. We pray that even as you were condemned, release us from condemnation of the social inequities in our in communities—our being condemned to hold multiple jobs just to get, to endure the condemnation of selling our labor for the minimum wage that is not even sufficient to make our life decent.

CM 4: We pray that you have us all in mind, your sisters and brothers, even as you were bussed with the kiss that signaled your betrayal. We pray that the 30 pieces of silver is not going to be what our worth will be but our worth will be an eternal life with you.

JA: This we all pray

All: Amen

JA: The third station of the cross: Jesus is condemned to death.

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

CM 1: We pray to you, Oh Christ, we pray that we will be spared of the wages of sin and death, even as we become aware of the many forms of death and sin in our communities.

CM 2: With our life, we are also condemned to death. Because of the unevenness of our access to the resources of our communities, because of disparities in incomes, because of the disparities in our access to the goods of our social life, we are also condemned to death. We pray that those who do not look like us, that those who do not love like us, that those who do not think like us will see hope in you.

CM 3: We are condemned as well, true. But we will not accept this condemnation because we know, our Namarsua, the creator of life, the harbinger of our hope, the promiser of our redemption, that you have been condemned to death because of us.

CM 4: Because of your passion, because of your willingness to go through it all, because of your promise of a new life for us and our condemned communities, we will rise with new hopes again and again, Oh God of life.

JA: This we all ask our brother the Christ to intercede for us so that our hopes will continue to be alive

All: Amen

JA: The fourth station of the cross: Jesus is denied by Peter.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

CM 1: Christ, our brother in faith, we pray for strength

CM 1: Dear Christ, even as Peter denied Christ out of fear and because of fear, because of the threat of persecution, because of the lack of moral courage, with you abiding love, lead us to the light.

CM 2: Lead us to where we should go and keep us with your guidance we are show our solidarity with our people and with other people, as we show our solidarity with the people of Guahan—the Guamenians—with the Chamorro people, with those communities that are affected by the build-up of military bases in Hawaii and the Pacific.

CM 3: Give us the strength, Oh Christ, so that we will not lost sight of the need to be just and fair with others, even as we need to fight for justice and fairness everywhere, in communities undergoing repression.

CM 4: We pray for the moral courage not to betray the very causes that make us alive and authentic human beings, the courage to be true to our calling as children of God and your sisters and brothers in faith.

JA: All this we ask of you in the name of the Spirit that nurtures courage


JA: The fifth station of the cross: Jesus is judged by Pilate.

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

CM 1: Acting: Hear, hear you people, this is your Christ!

CM 2: Free Barabbas, not him!

All: We are not going to be Pontious Pilate!

CM 3: Hang him!

ALL: Free Barabbas!

ALL: Hang the Christ!

CM: Hang the bogus, the impostor!

CM 4: Dear Christ, we ask for the forgiveness of our trespasses!

ALL: We ask that we will not forget the sufferings of the native Hawaiian people—the Kanaka Maoli—and the injustice done against them even as they continue to struggle for their sovereignty and freedom.

CM 5: We ask that the struggle of the native Hawaiian people—the Kanaka Maoli—their struggle to make sense of their history, to make sense of their community that has welcomed us in generosity of spirit, will enlighten all other people in the same path to freedom.

JA: We ask all these in the spirit of truth and acceptance, of solidarity and community, of peace based on justice and fairness and non-violence.

ALL: Amen

JA: The sixth station of the cross: Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns

Were you there when they pierced him in the side?
Were you there when they pierced him in the side?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they pierced him in the side?

CM 1: Everyday is the crowning of thorns on us as well.

CM 2: This economic meltdown, Oh Christ, is causing a lot of anxieties among.

CM 3: This recession, not of our own doing, is taking hold of our daily lives. It is making our burdens heavier, our days more heady.

CM 4: Remove these from us, Oh Christ; take them away from our shoulders.

JA: Let this crowning of heads with suffering, let this carrying of troubles and burdens be an occasion for your grace, Oh Christ, our kabsat in the faith.

ALL: Amen

JA: The seventh station of the cross: Jesus takes up his cross

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

CM 1: We offer this station of the cross to all our social activists present in this gathering. It is through their light that we see better, that we see the road ahead. It is through their walking with us that we feel uplifted.

CM 2: Oh Christ, let this activism be the virtue of our life as people of the Creator. Let this activism be the energy that will make us see more fully in the round our true vocation to the nurturing of each other and our communities.

JA: Let your light shine upon us, Oh Christ.

CM 3: Let us take up our cross as well so we will learn to walk bravely the road to you.

CM 4: Let your light shine upon us so that in our activism, your guidance will continue to be upon us, the light of your justice will keep us, the light of your truth will steady us, and the light of your grace will strengthen our resolve to do more for others and our communities.

ALL: Amen.

JA: The eight station of the cross: Jesus is helped by Simon to carry His cross

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

CM 1: Help us carry your cross, Oh Christ. With your grace and blessing, may we come to a fuller understanding of the mystery of your suffering even as we try to understand the mystery of suffering in our midst.

CM 2: We have come to know the violence in our families and we have not done enough to carry the cross of the victims.

CM 3: We have to know the violence of the social media of which we have become consumers and we delight in them, never seeing our role in the perpetuation of this same cycle of violence.

CM 4: We have not helped carry the cross of the poor. We have allowed the sick alone and deserted. We have not offered our shoulders to the lonely in the hospices and in retirements. We have not addressed the burden of homelessness, the lack of jobs, the lack of alternatives to this misery and poverty that we have to know so well.

JA: Dear Christ, our Namarsua, the creator of that which is us and that which will be, help us see our role as your children who must care for each other, who must show concern for each other, who must keep each. Teach us the way to you so that we will see that we are each other’s keeper, and so that we will maintain our resolve to make our communities safer.

All these we ask of you

ALL: Amen.

JA: The ninth station of the cross: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

CM 1: Christ, our brother, we dedicate this station of the cross as memorial to all women who succumbed to death because of violence. With this memorial, we pray that women will come to understand that the bigger issues of justice and peace are out there even as we acknowledge that the individual violence that we are remain to be a problem as well.

CM 2: Let this station of the cross be our way of recognizing the unwavering faith of all our women, their faith in the Namarsua that nourishes life, the faith in the God that does justice, that faith in the God, all knowing and all fullness, that redeems us from all these ignorance, callousness, apathy, indifference.

CM 3: Even as the women meet you, Oh Christ, show us the way to meet you as well.

CM 4: Show us the way, Oh Christ, to transcend the mundane, even as we are not going to forsake our duty to renew the world. Lead us to a full meeting with you, like the women of Jerusalem, like the women in our communities who have not stopped believing in the power of our love.

JA: All these we pray

ALL: Amen.

JA: The tenth station of the cross: Jesus is crucified

Were you there when they pierced him in the side?
Were you there when they pierced him in the side?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they pierced him in the side?

CM 1: We offer this memory of this station to all those who have gone before us, those who have died believing that God will reward them with a new life.

CM 2: We offer those who die a thousand deaths so others will have a good life, so that others will have the chance to live, so that others will live in God’s grace.

CM 3: We pray for those among us whose parents, relatives, or family members have departed. We pray for Kat, whose mom passed away without seeing Kat, our dear sister, graduate from college.

CM 4: We pray that Kat will find the courage to keep going in life even as your crucifixion reminds us of the peak of suffering.

We ask this of you

ALL: Amen.

JA: The eleventh station of the cross: Jesus promises His kingdom to the repentant thief

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

CM 1: Dear Christ, we know of your promise of eternal.

CM 2: Make us see, Oh Christ, that this promise of eternal to the thief is promised the same way to us.

CM 3: We believe in the sanctity of your Word. By your Word, let us come to life, to grace, to voice, to solidarity with others, to a communion with you.

CM 4: Help us, Oh Christ, so that by our deeds, we will become a promise to all others, so that we will become agents of your grace.

JA: We ask this of you

ALL: Amen.

JA: The twelfth station of the cross: Jesus entrusts Mary and John to each other

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

CM 1: By Christ entrusting his mother to John, let us have the courage to entrust our faith with each other.

CM 2: Let us have the grace to accept that our sisters and brothers are entrusted to us.

CM 3: It in the same light that those who are sick and poor, those who are homeless, those who have nowhere to turn to, those young people who need counsel—let them come to us, in the way you have allowed those who need your counsel to come to you.

CM 4: Make us the vessel of the Spirit so that those whom you entrusted to our care will be cared for by us.

JA: All these in your name

ALL: Amen.

JA: The thirteenth stations of the: Jesus dies on the cross

Were you there when they pierced him in the side?
Were you there when they pierced him in the side?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they pierced him in the side?

CM 1: Even as you died on the cross for our sins, we offer this station to all our young people who need not go through crucifixion and death, who need not go through suffering, who need not suffer more than what they can handle. Let them come to voice, Oh Christ, and let them learn to pave the way to you for us all even as we learn to listen to what they say to us.

CM 2: Our young are our hope. Let them be redeemed by the promise of your death. If they have to go through life, let them carry their cross with grace, with the wisdom of your truth, with the light of your love.

CM 3: Let our young people know that life is the tear on your eyes and the smile on your lips, the smirking on your face, and the laughter of your joy.

CM 4: Let them see that you, our Christ, who has uttered the truth of salvation, is the same Christ that uttered the truth of the heaven that we have to build on earth.

JA: This we all pray

ALL: Amen.

JA: the fourteenth station of the cross: Jesus is laid to the tomb

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

CM 1: We now come to a memorial of your death. We lay you on the tomb and cover your grave with a stone.

CM 1: But we will always remember that we are the community of faith that inherited your good news, the sacred word you revealed to us.

CM 2: By your death, Oh Christ, shall you rise again to reveal to us the fullness of your truth,

CM 3: The light of your glory even as we remember the wars in other lands,

CM 4: The death that happens in our places,

CM 1: The tragedies and natural calamities that visit us,

CM 2: The heavy weight of war industry and militarization and tyranny and hunger in other lands

CM 3: The cross of everyday that we bear to eke out a life,

CM 4: The promise of redemption that we hope as ours in the end.


JA: You have heard our supplication, Oh Christ, hear the prayer of your people, makes haste to clear our heart and mind in anticipation of your glory.

CM 1: By your death so shall you come back to us again,

CM 2: Rising in glory, rising in glorified body,

CM 3: Rising with the eternal spirit of the Creator,

CM 4: Rising with the full vision of heaven that awaits us, the heaven whose seed we nurture in this life.

JA: We memorialize your death, but we await your resurrection.

CM 1: We remember our suffering, and by your grace, we go through the same death that you go through,

CM 2: But by your promise of redemption, we know we have been saved from us these tragedies.

CM 4: Even as we memorialize the entombing of the tomb of Christ, we remember always that there is that hope for the coming to life of our sibling, our kabsat, in the faith,

CM 1: The child of our Creator who came among us to live like us, in flesh and blood, to live like us in our history and culture and language,

CM 2: The way Christ lived in the history of our faith, in the culture of the Jews, in the language of the Jews.

CM 3: We pray that through this memorializing of our programs for diversity, for cultural pluralism and for the celebration of our various heritages, the Christ of history will be remembered more and more.

CM 4: We pray that with our coming to our language, we come more and more to our voices as various peoples of God, we come to voice, this voice that we are because it is the voice from the Word that is sanctified, made holy with our participation in history and our own cultures and languages.

JA: Dear Christ, our sibling, our kabsat, the Son of God who is God of languages, of history and culture, listen to our prayers, and listen to our supplications. We have come here as a community to celebrate your death, a celebration that leads into that hope that is the very reason of our faith: your coming to life again.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

By the washing of the feet of our sisters and brothers, may we understand fully what we have come to do today: that by your death, we are to minister to each other, that we are to serve each other, that we are to dispense, from our own hearts and souls, care and concern for each other.


JA: By the washing of your feet, remember that you have been cleaned and that you have been anointed to minister to others.

CM: Amen.


Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?