One Day. Two Stories. ‘Bernie’

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someone else’s lucky day


The weather may be muggy today but it’s tempting not to stay indoors. So I decided to drive around and take photos of the town where I’ve lived for the last 13 years. Then I met Bernie. This is his story.

My stopover was in a park with a large pond near my home. It must have been my lucky day! I just spotted a pair of swans frolicking in the water. What a good photo that would make!

Then I noticed that it was also someone else’s lucky day. He was not only clicking away with a camera slung around his neck but seemed to be chatting with the swans, too. Interesting!

 

As I approached nearer, I found the man feeding the swans and their cygnets with grass. Sensing my curiosity he explained, “They do eat grass but not any kind. They must be hand-cut and I’ve just given them dandelions. Try feeding them with that (pointing to the grass on the ground) and they will only spit it out.”

Here’s more: he must have read my mind. “The colour of the beak of the male is dark orange. The female beak is also orange but lighter.

They used to have nine cygnets. One of them died and the other got injured so it  was taken away.”

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Suddenly, the female swan (now I know) came closer to him. “Okay, you’re still hungry. Here’s some bread.”

I thought, “Oh wow, carbs and veg, good for you swan.”

“I come here everyday”, he continued. I guess my face looks familiar to them. But I would not mess with them during the mating season. The male, especially, can become aggressive. “He hit my hand with his wing once and it put me out of action for four days!”

He then pointed to a heron perched on the concrete in the middle of the pond.

heron ready for take-off

He got amused with the coots trying to grab their share of the bread. He threw in some more. I thought, “carbs and veg, good for you, ducks!”

Finally, I found the chance to ask him his name. ‘Bernie’.

Bernie is an amiable old man. (Even the wild swans took to him, right?) The lines on his face reflect a happy human being.

Not only did he impart valuable ‘swan wisdom’ but also taught me how to identify the variety of birds residing in the pond. More importantly, Bernie gave my photos more meaning.

I have been to this pond several times but today was a chance encounter with a man who has a genuinely good heart. Indeed this was a lucky day!  I know I will see Bernie again one of these days. I drove away with a smile.

Here is The second story in one day.

In My Arms (A daughter’s wish)

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holding my mother’s hand

In my arms

I wish she’d be

I reach out

Only a shadow I see

I am not void of rue

I ache to hold you

Steady and safe

Never out of sight

Time must turn back!

That I may cease to pine

For one who was mine

Her love eternal and pure.

As night faded away

So did she

In her frailty

She let go

In her arms,

I breathed my first

In my arms

She breathed her last.

In Her Arms (A mother’s love)

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In her arms
I lay
For the very first time
that day

Safely entwined
Lovingly cradled
To her bosom
My life and my home
In her steadfast arms
A constant haven of warmth
Ever the sturdy pillars
Which held me to endure

I yearn and I plea
Where else would I be?
In her arms, now a dream
Gone forever now for real.

			

My Family Reunion

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Where? Pls follow the sign

It’s the dry season in this tropical part of the world. At this time, monsoon rains are raging somewhere. Schools (except some universities) are on holiday, too. What could be a more ideal time to hold a family reunion than now.  Therefore, you’ll find that in the Cordillera Region of the Philippines, a lot of Igorot clans organise such an important event during the months of April and May.

there is more to this than meets the eye

It should be a massive gathering for this Kankanaey clan that I proudly belong to. I am grateful to those who have painstakingly put this family tree together, which I’m sure took some years of research. I am now aware of my definite place within six sub-clans.
The sixth family reunion was held just a few days ago where it all started: Balakbak, Kapangan, Benguet in the Philippines. I am emotional as I write this because I wasn’t there. The one and only clan reunion I have ever been to was the fifth. It was a year ago when I flew halfway ’round the globe and took a grueling 10-hour road trip just to be there. I may have been half-asleep but immensely glad and proud that I made it.

Hometown Fortress, Dakiwagan mountain

Surrounded by the Hometown Fortress, my family danced, ate, chatted and took photos together. Just like last year but with more memories to look back to.

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2017

I  have no excuses for not being a regular attendee to my family reunions. But like many other traditions, it should not be allowed to die out. The sad fact though is that a lot of us either live far away or lead busy working lives in the city. So a big kudos to those who make it and try to keep the tradition afloat.

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2016

My family is important to me. Blood is the tie that that binds us. Reunions make the tie unbreakable.

Let’s Hope She’s Not the Last

Apo Whang-od continues to catch the attention of not only the locals but the international community as well. She may not even be aware that her extraordinary story has reached way beyond borders.

She leads a simple life in a remote area of the Philippines and her story now extends to her roots, the Butbut tribe of Buscalan.

Many visitors found the long journey to see and experience her hand-tattooing skills totally worthwhile.

Never Forget

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The view of the valley behind this memorial

We may forget about the structure and let it stand unnoticed but the reason why it was built must always be remembered in our hearts. We do hope and pray that such a disastrous onslaught of nature shall never pass its way again.


Photo credits: dehl

The Boy at the Beach

By the sea

I live and breathe

With the waves

I play and seek

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Keypads, the tube and minecraft

I need not

The raft, an oar and nature

My furlough, my solace

This corner of the world, I reign

I cruise, fearless and happy

In this home I own.

Judge me not, you see

My life is not less

but beautiful and free!

(Photo credits: dehl)
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Hometown Landmark (Kapangan, Benguet)

the front entrance

The building has seen better days but I now consider it a landmark.

This is the first and only Catholic Church that I have known in my hometown of Balakbak, Kapangan, Benguet, Philippines. It has spanned four generations (and counting) of my lifetime. It is a pleasant surprise that it’s able to withstand the test of time.

sidewall. the building is surrounded by a wide lawn with a volleyball court on the opposite side

Here’s something else to behold: Hometown Fortress