Tuesday, October 20, 2009

All hallows Eve or All hallows Evil?

All Hallows’ Eve, better known as Halloween is a holiday celebrated every 31st day of October. Children including those who are kids at heart, dress up in different colored costumes; May it be a super hero, a celebrity or even a make believe character. You see, people dress up as witches, ghosts, goblins, or the ever so common devil (fully equipped with a pitch fork, of course). These days, people seem to forget the origins of this very day. Almost everybody consider it a working holiday. A holiday... Or is it an unholy-day?

According to a quick research, this day is very well connected to the Celtic festival of Samhain Eve (Samhain by the way was derived from the old Irish word samain; sam meaning summer and fuin meaning end); celebrated in ancient Britain and Ireland. People believed that it is during this day that the supernatural beings such as evil spirits and demons roam the earth to play tricks on humans to mark the season of the diminishing sunlight. After all, it is in Nov 1st which marks the beginning of winter; so they say.

So why do we celebrate a day which has connections with idolatry and the devil? Well, to be honest, only a few know about its not so glamorous history. Perhaps they do but they just don’t want to ruin it for the kids. Patrons of this day have ever since veered away from its roots. Today, they celebrate it with candies, intricately carved pumpkins and massive parties. Yes, boys and girls, you heard me right…massive parties.

I suppose it’s not so bad anymore. At least we don’t go to the hill tops and worship you know who in regards to you know which (yes, I got this line from Harry Potter…cut me some slack, okay? XP) or maybe there are still those who do worship you know who. From what the sources say, it is also this day that one can invoke the devil. Hmm,. Well that’s scary. Well then, trick or treat!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I was still in the Marines when I experienced what a common pinoy or pinay would call “HIWAGA” Before we deployed to Iraq in 2003, we conducted a desert fire exercise in 29 Palms, California.

You might have heard of that place, or maybe you haven’t. Anyway, my Halloween story goes something like this. As a junior ranking Marine in 2003, devil dogs such as me, used to get assigned to crappy detail jobs and one of those jobs was to do guard duty in an Ammo Supply Point in the middle of the desert. Of course we had a make shift base camp 10 to 15 kilometers south of the supply point. As you enter the restricted compound, you have to approach the guard house where sentries like me have to challenge anyone who dares to enter. One night while I was on my post, I would hear noises; not just regular noises of people or vehicles approaching, but foot steps outside my guard house. I would check outside to see if there was anybody trying to play tricks on me, but nobody was around. I tried to ignore the noise and kept my composure. However, the footsteps became clearer and clearer until I can actually hear them circling my post.

I tried to call it in and I spoke to my immediate boss, a Corporal at that time. He then decided to hop in on one of the HMMV also known as the Hummer and headed towards my post. My boss and a fellow Marine got off the vehicle looking at me with a crazy look and asked me “What in the hell is the problem here, Virtue?” “I kept hearing these footsteps circling outside the guardhouse, Corporal” I replied. He said that maybe it’s just my mind playing tricks on me and while we were arguing, we started to hear klunking noise as though somebody is tossing some rocks at the empty ammo cans not far from where we were standing. We pulled out our moon beams or flashlights and pointed them at the ammo cans.

We did not see anything or anyone. Now, mind you, there are wild animals that roam the desert but I don’t think one would pick up a rock and start throwing it towards the cans. As we got back to our conversation we heard a loud shrieking voice. “HELP ME! HELP ME! A little girl’s cry was heard not too far away asking for help. The three of us were so freaked out that we didn’t know what to do. How in the world would a little child end up in the middle of the desert? And out of nowhere I heard the girl with a mumbling cry and I could hear her voice so close as though she was walking passed me and then her cry, little by little, would vanish into the cold dark night. We looked at each other and we could not come up with a rational explanation.

The next day we talked about it again and just so happens that one of my Marine buddies overheard us; he said that during the 60’s, the infamous mass murderer, Charles Manson and his crew used to camp out in Amboy Crater, a place not too far from our base camp. He added that they were known to do human sacrifices. I’ve learned from paranormal accounts that when somebody dies a violent death, their spirits tend to stay within that proximity and they reenact their death over and over again. I found out that the little girl still haunts the desert to this day. –END OF ENTRY-

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Noli Me Tangere is a novel originally published in Spanish but later on in English and Tagalog. Written by the Philippine national hero, Jose Rizal, this book has been drilled into every student’s mind in the Philippines for generations. I, for one, had the privilege to read this novel. Although some copies had footnotes and interpretations, I found this novel similar to hieroglyphics. I could never understand what it was about then. After all, I had so many distractions. Now, when I think about it, it actually makes much more sense. I looked it up and it is actually about Filipinos trying to emancipate themselves from Spanish cruelty.

Today, while I was having a good chat with my friend from my hometown (Butuan City) a plant’s name came out of my mouth; the Makahiya. How our conversation got to that plant’s name is for us to know and for you to find out, Ha!

So I looked up everything about the plant and I found so many things related to it; from myths and legends to other alternate names. One alternate name struck me…Touch Me Not. I was a kid in grade school then, and along the pathway to and from school, I always see these fern-like plants (although some people consider it weeds). Weeds? How does a weed end up with a pretty pink flower? I beg to differ. Anyway, I would stop dead in my tracks and try to examine the plant. It always amazes me how it shyly closes as soon as my fingertips touch the leaves. So, I would ask my Lola why. She would tell me that it has a strange defense mechanism. I always wonder to this day what makes it do so.
“Goes to show that plants have feelings too” my friend told me. I agree. Indeed they do.
I suppose people are similar to some plants and in this case, much like a Makahiya. People are like plants. They wither if you give them too much of everything. You don’t give too much water to a plant just because you want it to grow faster. Instead, you give it just enough water and good soil to grow….and definitely a lot of patience. Don’t you remember the saying, “Good things come to those who wait”?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Japanese Poetry

A haiku is an epigrammatic Japanese verse form of three short lines; usually with seasonal or verbal reference. Although some people love to write those long poems that are much more conventional than a 3 line verse, this type fascinates me more. Though short, it is more direct and still brings out the “wow” in everybody.

Anyway, here are some that I came up with. If you don’t like it, I’ll accept any constructive criticism. If you do like it, then, I say Domo arigato gozaimasu. Enjoy and stay blessed.

Autumn leaves changing
Welcoming the cold winter
Loneliness lingers

An amazing girl
I am longing to meet her
Destiny awaits

Looking through a lens
Memories are recorded
My eyes are amazed