Tuesday, July 26, 2016


THE OPPORTUNITY TO TRAVEL on a weekend to Bohol is such a good thing. The Bohol that is in my mind is a Bohol that I once knew which, surprisingly, still had retained its rustic beauty. But this time, its special significance on my boyhood memory had evolved into something of a different dimension. My bond with the island is not ordinary. It goes beyond comprehension.

I am overwhelmed of my thoughts as I lay on a cot of the small boat going to the Port of Talibon on a warm night at sea. I feel a sheer longing, bordering on the sentimental, which caused a few tears welling in my eyes. I was not born in Bohol. My mother was but it was in the middle of a harsh war where my grandfather was forced to hide from the Japanese. I only spent a small part of my childhood there with my grandpa on our visits in the late '60s and the early '70s.

I am with my eldest son, Charlemagne, and his sister, Laila. Going with them are their officemates Ariel and Edah. We arrive at the Port of Talibon on the early morning of November 14, 2015 and proceed on to the next town of Trinidad. Seeing the verdant hills and the ricefields during travel, I am suddenly enveloped in nostalgia, expectant of meeting someone whom I have not met before but someone who is closely related to me.

This same someone will notice this same scenery that I am seeing today and this is his home. Today, I will meet my first grandson and, for the first time in my life, I am entitled to the role of a real grandfather. Today is his christening under the rites of the Roman Catholic Church and my feelings are ambivalent which I am not open to expressing. Meeting us at the door cradled in his mother's arms is a handsome baby boy, eyes half-closed, but awake. He has the striking looks of his father.

Once my grandson is in my hands I raised him up above me. I gave thanks to the Creator and the offering of my grandson to the heavens is a gesture of my gratitude to the Giver of Life. I felt in my subconscious that my late grandfather have once done this same thing to me, in the full daylight of his life, which I am also relishing today, and which his grandfather before him might have addressed his Creator.

I cannot explain this bond in explicit details except that it is a rite that is reserved to the circle of the grandfather and his grandchild. It has no scientific significance but it is spiritual in nature borne out of the complexities of a forgotten culture which an outsider could not relate to. Not even the father of the child has this same privilege. My spirit is in its joyful mood and I can feel its aura reaching out to the infant boy raised in the air.

For the moment, it is enough that the little boy know of my voice, my odor, the beat of my heart and the rough texture of my hands. Later on, when he is strong enough, he will know the songs and the lore of his forefathers which will come to him as if in a dream. We will have time together, just as my late grandfather had spent precious time for me. It will come in God's own time.

As the night starts to mellow down the day's heat, me and the rest who came in the morning will have to depart for Cebu. With a heavy heart, which my son also felt, I have to part with my dear grandson. It is just a temporary void. In time, we will be seeing more of each other again. December would be a good time.

Oh, ha le…Oh, ha le!
Shichl hadahiyago niniya
Oh, ha le…Oh, ha le
Tsago degi naleya
Ah-yu whi ye!
Oh, ha le…Oh, ha, le!
Oh, ha le…Oh, ha, le!

Through the air…I fly upon the air
Towards the sky, far, far, far.
Oh, ha le…Oh, ha, le!
There to find the holy place,
Ah, now the change comes over me!
Oh ha le…Oh, ha le!

Document done in LibreOffice 5.2 Writer

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