Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Icons on the One-Thousand-Piso Philippine Currency

Yesterday, 30-Dec-2014, the occasion of my 24th Wedding Anniversary which we did not celebrate with festivities, I inadvertently had the following exchange on Facebook with one I have come to consider as among, if not the best of my virtual friends in that venue:

Constancio Sulapas Asumen Jr Pardon my ignorance, but whose faces are these featured on the 1000-Piso bill? 
Ten Mac Airolg Jose Abad Santos, Vicente Lim, Josefa Llanes Escoda. 
Constancio Sulapas Asumen Jr  Thank you Nette for the info on the 1000-Piso Bill. I confess I only know off hand about Abad Santos. I had to research on the other two to learn they were WW2 hero and heroine.. The ignorance is a disgrace because I got exempt from Phil History finals in MSU Marawi.  Maybe those pictures were there long time ago but I have not seen an actual 1000-Piso bill, ever.

Having been exempted from Philippine History finals was noteworthy, no matter that it might be deemed a very trivial event.  It was the first instance that my bona fides as an independent thinker was established and publicly acknowledged by a figure of authority. 

It was explained in class by Prof. Delor delos Angeles who was teaching it.  I merited the exemption for having coherently and persuasively argued that when Lapu-Lapu vanquished Magellan’s landing party in Mactan he was not defending the Philippines, the country, but only Mactan Island, the local realm of Lapu-Lapu’s.

Around that time, circa 1962~63, in a surge of vainglorious emotional nationalism, there was a movement afoot to change the name of the country from Philippines to something else.  One of the candidates for a prospective new name was Lapu-Lapu.  The history class sessions allotted an entire week to debate and resolve the merits of the movement.

I spent the duration of the debates arguing consistently and passionately that giving the country a new name was very superficial to have any vital impact on the travails of the country.  I was flabbergasted that nobody seemed to have grasp the point that accidents of history cannot just be reversed by a change of name.  Moreover, before the Spaniards colonized the islands, we had nothing but an archipelago of warring island tribes defined by accidents of geography.

Particularly, Lapu-Lapu being thrown into the mix of possible new names was a major source of my intellectual umbrage.  To begin with, the term happened to be the name of a coral dwelling grouper fish.  It is one of more popular gastronomical fares served on festive occasions.  It added an element of the ridiculous into the debate.

I was to learn later that what really earned the admiration and approval of Prof. delos Angeles was my repeated emphasis that Lapu-Lapu did not do anything different from what my grandfather would have done.  Namely, if a group of strange looking people came to my grandfather’s front yard demanding he knelt before them for any reason, whatever, Grandpa Asumen would have not spared any weapon in his arsenal to dispatch the audacious strangers with extreme prejudice.

Ergo, Lapu-Lapu’s dispatch of Magellan’s landing party earned national significance only by virtue of Spain’s colonization of the Islands into a national entity.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Yuletide 2014 Greetings Package

Seasons Greetings
[In Lieu of a Greetings Card*]

Often the truth we sadly miss
As we see only what we know.
Nor each occasion could reveal
The gravity of what we feel,
On things we dare and dare not do.
Yet, though in vain, let me express
One simple thought, one sincere wish:
That may with love and peaceful bliss
Replete you find the Holidays!

And may the seasons thereafter
Be seasoned with mirth and laughter.
The rare occasioned somber sky
May not but serve to amplify
The happiness of days gone by,
And glories of unyielding prime,
And promises of days that lie
Uncharted in the blue abyss
And daunting vagaries of Time!

May each grief find sweet redress;
Alien to fears, much less to tears,
May triumphs and exploits increase
All through the fast succeeding years!

Merry Christmas and the New Year's Best To You!!
Author Notes
*This is easily my favorite of all the poems I have written  I have recycled it every year since I had it.
© Constancio S Asumen Jr. All rights reserved

Our Joyous Hour*
Joyful is the occasion
We find near our side of glory
Where regales our attention
Lucent countenance of vision
Bless this home, for whose patron
We gladly croon our dedication
Timeless song of devotion
For all Christmases’ full celebration!

Happy New Year, brings new joys of living
Deign harmonize with our love for giving
Sing loud praises for boundless,
Timeless dish of happiness!

[Repeat (1)]
Timeless song of devotion
For all Christmases’ full celebration!
Author Notes
*This is, arguably the most popular of Filipino Christmas Carol melodies.  It has lyrics in every major regional dialects in the country.  The Bisayan lyrics on which this rendition is based were audio-transcribed from the attached three video clips as follows:
© Constancio S Asumen Jr. All rights reserved,
- See more at: 

Alas, It’s Christmas*
[Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit]
Alas, Christmas is nearing
Let us sing our song of cheering
With rich melody driving
Votive tune of Divine loving.

When Christ was born our Savior
Three wise kings paid Him royal homage
Each of them bearing treasure
Unique vestige of each one’s vassalage.

Let the New Year bring new mode of living
With the whole country helping when giving
Let’s all persevere until we attain
Vaunted bounty, soundly maintain.

Let us join in joyful singing
While the world listens in silence
The day is fast approaching
When this heaven sent Child Savior reigns

Let’s all love one another
The Golden Rule practice as gospel
And from this day prepare
That goodwill, beyond Christmas shall still prevail!

[Instrumental (5), Repeat (1) thru (5)]
Author Notes
*Anglecized rendition of “Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit” based on the Mabuhay Singers’ version of the Tagalog lyrics posted on the webpage which accompanied this video clip ~>; sung in tune with the melody herein.
© Constancio S Asumen Jr. All rights reserved,

Soul Kerfuffle Carol*
Prime fortune yields Yuletide
Fateful decision season to abide!!!
Is it just by force of habit
That we become an acolyte
Or by profound deliberation
We claim to own our devotion
Be it rapture or delirium
We secure some equilibrium
Affording solace to the soul
Chore to settle the kerfuffle
No matter how trite the process
Or how fraught with wit and prowess
We use up much contemplation
To sort and patch our emotion
Faith in doubt, practice as gospel
Validates the power of free will
Whose seeds were planted with the soul
When first sown in life’s crucible.
The years shall turn in every calendar
Each turn we reckon just how far our star
Has kept its sojourn in locus well known
Else drastic correction we need make now not soon!!!

[Repeat (2), (3) & (coda)]
Author Notes
*After translating both Tagalog and Bisaya versions of the Classic Filipino Christmas Carol, there is only one thing that remains ~> to mint some lyrics in original English.  So here it is.  Except for the Coda, sung to the same melody as contained in the playlist associated with the predecessor lyrics, “Our Joyous Hour” and “Alas, It’s Christmas.”  As for the Coda, I’ll think of a tune somehow before the year is over.  The beauty about a coda is it can be rendered as a recitative in the tradition of classical Opera.  So I don’t really have to invent a tune for it.   But if somebody out there can, in the spirit of the Season, volunteer a tune for it, I’d be most gratefully obliged. ~>
© Constancio S Asumen Jr. All rights reserved,