Archive for the ‘story’ Category

Charles Dickens’ Artful Dodger comes to life in Barbara Ricafrente’s short story

January 20, 2009

Despite his poverty, Awil had a happy disposition. He had neither expectations nor goals. He did not bother to get employment anywhere, join his peasant neighbors reap palay for local landowners during the harvest season, weave weed baskets for local middlemen in the lean months like his neighbors did, or sell rice biscuits or puto in nearby cities for extra income. He simply lived each day as it came.”—Manuel (01/20/09, Ricafrente, B)

The colorful sketch of Manuel’s life (Awil) by Ibalon’s Bambi Ricafrente resurrected my memory of Artful Dodger, the smart petty robber in Charles Dicken’s moving story of Oliver Twist (1838). The clever pubescent Dodger introduced gullible Oliver into the world of stealing headed by the old merry patron Fagin in the dark dingy slums of London.

Yet, the similarity of Manuel’s life to the pickpockets in the squalid backstreets of the 19th century England abruptly ends. I learn there is more to Awil’s thievery than what meets the eye. Bambi describes an extended and complex life that is curiously worth learning from.

In an ill-descript Bicol town, Awil has to wrestle with fate and intergenerational circumstantial snags that shape adaptation and dampen acrimony against the changes of the seasons. His life and that of Artful Dodger and Oliver Twist seem intertwined. In all of them, the antagonism between good and evil must really be fought relentlessly until the last.

If one stands on Awil’s shoe, the forbearance to survive pulsates at a rate and vibrancy of a baby’s racy heart. His story tells of the struggles of ordinary people—those who are fallen and redeemed. Awil’s imperfect life isn’t far from what the Catholic preacher Rev. Fulton Sheen often referred to: a “life that is worth living.” (Photo Credits: George Cruikshank; Bohirab) =0=

RELATED BLOG: “Manuel” Posted by Bambi Ricafrente at 1/20/2009

Oliver Twist
by Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) and page illustrations by George Cruikshank for his work in 1838 which mirrors society’s paradoxical influences in the lives of ordinary people. The story of Oliver Twist portrays wholesome dignity and antithetical sordidness in a world where good and evil exist and are in constant debacle. The popular English author of Victorian vintage had A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, Bleak House, Nicholas Nickleby, The Pickwick Papers, and A Christmas Carol among his great works. (Photo Credit: Charles Dickens PD; George Cruikshank x 2 PD)

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Charles Dickens’ Artful Dodger comes to life in Barbara Ricafrente’s short story

January 20, 2009

Despite his poverty, Awil had a happy disposition. He had neither expectations nor goals. He did not bother to get employment anywhere, join his peasant neighbors reap palay for local landowners during the harvest season, weave weed baskets for local middlemen in the lean months like his neighbors did, or sell rice biscuits or puto in nearby cities for extra income. He simply lived each day as it came.”—Manuel (01/20/09, Ricafrente, B)

The colorful sketch of Manuel’s life (Awil) by Ibalon’s Bambi Ricafrente resurrected my memory of Artful Dodger, the smart petty robber in Charles Dicken’s moving story of Oliver Twist (1838). The clever pubescent Dodger introduced gullible Oliver into the world of stealing headed by the old merry patron Fagin in the dark dingy slums of London.

Yet, the similarity of Manuel’s life to the pickpockets in the squalid backstreets of the 19th century England abruptly ends. I learn there is more to Awil’s thievery than what meets the eye. Bambi describes an extended and complex life that is curiously worth learning from.

In an ill-descript Bicol town, Awil has to wrestle with fate and intergenerational circumstantial snags that shape adaptation and dampen acrimony against the changes of the seasons. His life and that of Artful Dodger and Oliver Twist seem intertwined. In all of them, the antagonism between good and evil must really be fought relentlessly until the last.

If one stands on Awil’s shoe, the forbearance to survive pulsates at a rate and vibrancy of a baby’s racy heart. His story tells of the struggles of ordinary people—those who are fallen and redeemed. Awil’s imperfect life isn’t far from what the Catholic preacher Rev. Fulton Sheen often referred to: a “life that is worth living.” (Photo Credits: George Cruikshank; Bohirab) =0=

RELATED BLOG: “Manuel” Posted by Bambi Ricafrente at 1/20/2009

Oliver Twist
by Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) and page illustrations by George Cruikshank for his work in 1838 which mirrors society’s paradoxical influences in the lives of ordinary people. The story of Oliver Twist portrays wholesome dignity and antithetical sordidness in a world where good and evil exist and are in constant debacle. The popular English author of Victorian vintage had A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, Bleak House, Nicholas Nickleby, The Pickwick Papers, and A Christmas Carol among his great works. (Photo Credit: Charles Dickens PD; George Cruikshank x 2 PD)

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Gifts, santan blooms & rainbows

January 11, 2009

“Each person has a poem to write, a book to share, a revelation to bring out in the open. Each of us has a winsome idea to think about and a compelling story to tell. Ibalonian Ona Vigil has beautiful musings which spring forth like sparkling dewdrops in the recesses of her mind. Like the rounded pregnant bead of water ready to drop from a flower, her fluid reflections bring something persuasively personal and dear.” —AFM

Gifts….with feeling

by Ona Vigil

They grew up not giving me gifts, I mean material gifts. A kiss, a hug, a greeting, a personally made holiday card—they understood these were enough to make me happy. The thoughtfulness meant more than anything for their Mom— they knew.

Last Christmas, I received something special: a framed photo of my three children. Innocent smiles, beautiful faces, a picture almost two decades old, a survivor of harsh days, flash floods and thunderbolts, blown-up to fit a 10 x 12 inch frame. It had been by my favorite picture. Once again, I received a gift…with feeling.

The Rainbow

Just as usual, I woke up early the day after Christmas (comes with ageing, teases a friend). I felt like everyone else—-my children and the neighbors were still asleep as soft rain languidly fell from the overcast sky. The day was gloomy. The sun wouldn’t come out. I wish I could see a rainbow!

I sat on my favorite nook outside thinking what the morning would bring. And voila! There I saw the dazzling prism of colors arching against the clouds racing about the tall trees. Was it a rainbow?

ROY G BIV. Is it a queer-sounding name? No. That’s how I learned to memorize the various colors when I was in grade school. I recalled my neighbor’s fiery poinsettia and the rows of santan flowers, all brimming RED. My potted bougainvilleas were lovely in full-bloom. Their sharp flowers dotted the wide garden, just like the prolific YELLOW bells which blended with the sprouts of sedges under the bush. The hurried flowers drew the busy butterflies in frenzied flight with the wind while the bee buzzed along.

Against the BLUE roof of a house nearby. I watched the tiny luxuriant VIOLET blooms whose sweet scent filled the air. Though the GREEN leaves were a-plenty and the trees were noisy with the breeze, I wondered where the color of INDIGO I could find. From the depths of my senses, a voice whispered a line from a poem: “Close your eyes to see it!” I did. ROY G. BIV. Suddenly there, I saw my rainbow. (Photo Credit: Annalee&BS)=0=

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Bicol Vignette: Bambi Ricafrente’s Antero

December 17, 2008

“Though a non-Chinese, Antero grew up in China. He was only about five when he migrated to that country with his stepfather, a Chinese merchant, who brought him along in place of his mother, who had refused to board the boat when it was time to leave. He had been orphaned by his Filipino father soon after his birth in January 1900 in Albay, a Philippine province famed as much for the majestic Mount Mayon as for its dishes done in generous amounts of coconut milk and the hottest of peppers – the siling labuyo.”—Antero (12/17/08, Ricafrente, B)

Many lives go their usual pace until they reach terminus without being written; their unchronicled mundane beauty are regrettably lost forever. Yet, UP Ibalon’s Barbara M. Ricafrente (Bambi) does it differently. For posterity, she shares a crisp and fascinating tale of a guy whose “breath was sweet as the White Rabbit candies.”

Read her. Posted in the blog, her scintillating story cuts across an extraordinary Bicol experience. The deservedly admired work effectively knocks open the door of our soul—as if we’re back home again for a holiday.—mesiamd(12/17/08)

RELATED BlOG: “Antero,” posted by Barbara M. Ricafrente at 12/17/2008

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Kahit saan man, ang patis ay ‘di malimutan

November 29, 2008

kwento ni Raniela (Miles) Barbaza

May patis na kami!” Isang nakakatuwang kwento ng isang Ibalonian ng napunta siya at ang kanyang kapatid sa Gallup, New Mexico. Sa kalayu-layo ng Pilipinas, hanap-hanap pa rin nila sa dulo ng mundo ang patis na walang katulad.—mesiamd (11/29, 08)

Tatlong taon na ang orosipong ito pero tulad ng ibinubulong ng matandang salitang Bikolnon para sa kwento – ang orosipon, hindi natatapos. Patuloy ang masayang kwento: ang ating orosipon.” —RB, November 28, 2008, New York City

Hindi ko alam sa inyo pero para sa amin ng kapatid kong si Isang hindi maaaring walang patis ang nilaga o sinigang. Imajinin nga ninyo – nilagang walang patis? Pede ba iyon? Sinigang na walang patis? Mas lalong hindi pede.

Halos dalawang buwan na kami dito sa Gallup, New Mexico bago kami nagkaroon ng patis. Kaming dalawa ang tinatawag na mga bagong salta. Nitong nakaraang August 10 lamang nang dumating kami dito sa Gallup, isang bayan na may isa’t kalahati hangga’t dalawang oras na biyahe ang layo mula sa Albuquerque.

Noong unang linggo namin dito, sinubukan naming gawing Amerikano ang aming tiyan. Tutal, pagyayabang namin sa sarili namin, sanay naman tayong kumain ng Jollibee at Mcdonald’s sa Pilipinas. Sige, wheat bread at palaman. Pero hindi namin nakumbinsi ang aming mga tiyan. Sari-saring tunog ang nililikha ng mga tiyan namin. Brrrrrrrg. Mrrrrngk. Pop. Parang nagmumumog o kumukulog o pumuputok na mga tunog ang maya’t maya’y naririnig namin mula sa mga tiyan namin.

Nang maglaon, tiyan na namin ang hindi mapakanali. Okey. Suko na kami. Kailangan namin ng kanin at ulam! Sumugod kami sa nilalakad lang namin na supermarket (wala kaming kotse). Diretso sa aisle ng bigas. Ok. Hayun, rice. Isang maliit na supot lang? Di bale. Sige. Ano pa. Ulam.

Anong ulam natin? Nilagang baka para may mahigop na sabaw (nilalamig na agad kami kahit na summer pa daw dito). Ok. Beef stew cuts. Ito na siguro iyon. Tapos repolyo. Patatas. Carrots. Beans. Saging saba… walang saging na saba?! Ok, di bale. Sibuyas. Tsek. Patis na lang.

Ah, ok sa condiments na tayo. Wala. Fish sauce. Hanap tayo ng fish sauce. Saan? Baka kakaiba lang ang bote dito ng patis. Diyan sa shelf na iyan? Teka baka dito. Wala. Walaaaa.

Doon namin naalala na usapin rin ng identidad ang panlasa. Pero, siyempre pa, ang identidad ay likha ng taga-ngalan. Kailangang ikonteksto ang paghahanap ng patis sa pananaw ng mga tagarito sa New Mexico. Sa madaling salita, sino ba kami sa pananaw ng mga taga-rito?

Pinilit naming kalimutan na, basta tao kaming nagugutom. Alalahanin ang mga form na sinusulatan. Please check ethnicity (optional). Oriental. Asian. Minsan may tiyak na box para sa Filipino. O kaya, doon ka sa mga walang identitad: other. Ok, sikapin na alalahanin hanapin ang karatulang may tanda ng identidad.

Dahil iniisip namin tiyak na may patis dito, kailangan lang nating matuklasan kung nasaang aisle. May iba naman sigurong mga Pinoy dito. Siyempre mangangailangan din sila ng patis. Elementary economics ba iyon ? Ang alam ko, kung may demand, may supply. Natitiyak naman namin na magdedemand ang mga dila ng mga Pinoy dito ng patis, kaya mayroong magsu-supply. Luminga-linga kami. Binasa ang mga karatula sa itaas ng mga aisle. Talagang wala. Walang Oriental food. O Asian food. O International food. Ooops eto, Chinese food! Preno kami ng kapatid ko. Dalawang shelves na may habang tatlong piye siguro. Pero walang patis. Walaaang patis! Bumili na lang kami ng toyo sa isang kakaibang bote.

Kinabukasan, ibinalita sa akin ni Isang na ang sabi ng kaniyang katrabahong Chinese, sa Albuquerque pa raw sila namimili ng oriental food. Whooaah! Sa Alburqeurque pa? Para sa aming mga bagong saltang walang kotse, para na rin nilang sinabing sa Pilipinas pa makakabili ng patis.

Pero tulad ng iba pang malilit na bahagi ng buhay migranteng bagong salta, unti-unti nasanay na rin kaming magluto ng nilagang toyo ang pampaalat. Nasanay na rin kaming umasa sa microwave na nabili namin sa halagang $10 sa isang yard sale: pampainit ng tubig, ng kaning lamig at tirang ulam.

Nasanay na kaming gumamit ng mainit na tubig sa pagligo sa halip ng dati ay hinahanap-hanap na malamig na tubig na pampaalis ng banas sa Pilipinas. Nasanay na kaming ulit-ulitin ang aming sinasabi hanggang sa maintindihan ng kausap. Ng pagbigkas ng salitang bank na halos behnk. Ng pagdala ng jacket saan man pumunta dahil hindi nangangahulugang mainit ang panahon kahit na tirik na tirik ang araw. Ng pagbitbit ng tigalawang galon ng inuming tubig mula sa supermarket. Ng matitigan dahil sa kakaibang itsura o pananalita.

Naiintindihan siguro ng Diyos ang paghahanap namin sa patis. Isang araw, tumawag ang Uncle Romy namin mula sa Norwalk, California. Oy, mga bagong saltang dalaga. May pupunta diyan na mga Pinoy na madre. Pitong taon na sila diyan sa Gallup. Ipinagbilin ko kayo.

Mga madreng misyonero na nagtuturo sa Catholic School dito sa Gallup. Na tulad ng ibang migrante dito, natutong mag-drive! Dinala nila kaming magkapatid sa Philippine Cuisine, isang bagong Pilipinong restaurant daw na may ilang bilihing Pilipino.

Ah! Para kaming mga batang nakakita ng mga kendi. Bumili kami ng patis, toyo, suka (hindi distilled ha!), balat ng lumpiang shanghai, tumigas na sa lamig na tilapia, tinapa at bihon!

Sa katunayan, hindi naman pala kami nag-iisa sa pananatiling Pinoy ng panlasa. Sinubukan kong i-Google minsan ang humba dahil naalala ko ang masarap na pork humba sa Rodic’s sa eskwelahang pinangungulilahan ko.

Aba! Sandamakmak na blogs at sites ang umapir! Pinoy. Pinay. Kung saan-saan. Nananatiling Pinoy at Pinay nasaan man sila ngayon. Nagpapayabangan ng mga alam na nilang lutuing Pinoy na dati-rati’y hindi pinapansin ang pagluluto at basta na lamang kinakain sa kusina ng kanilang lola/lolo o nanay/tatay o sa kalapit na karinderia.

Kaya ngayong tanghalian, habang balot ng medyas, pajama at sweater, hinihigop namin ang mainit na sinigang na mayroon nang patis. Ang tanong naming dalawang bagong migrante ngayon: anong bahagi ang hindi matitinag sa pagiibang bayan? (Photo Credits: Chboogs; nikita2471; Chotda; Jab58; http://www.tastingmenu.com; chotda; nikita2471; knottypine)=0=


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