December 2, 2023

AMIDST THE SWISH and whish emanating from the leather belt striking against the tender buttocks of three little boys – siblings spaced three or four years apart, a young widow was in high tones saying:
PIGAN TO MANGO y panemnem jo? (Transl: “When will you ever bear in-mind?”). I told you many times, before: ‘Do not quarrel, do not fight.. your father died; we are alone.. I have to find food.. why did you fight again?’
SHE FINISHED, AND was now sitting down.. tears almost to burst. Then, looking far away, she let go those tears.. dropping silently, from her sullen face. The three boys were now crying loudly.. and standing infront of their mom.
‘I HAVE TO tell you – many times, do not fight when I’m here; do not fight when I’m away.. but you did it again today.. what’s the matter with the three of you? Pigan to mango? You’ll soon grow big, and will be men.. Do I have to tell you that, over and over?’
THE TWO YOUNGER boys were shaking their heads. Peds – the eldest is still with bowed head.. in tears. Lifting his face up, he spoke: “No mother, you don’t have to; we shall not fight each other anymore!”
SOMEWHAT APPEASED, THE mother motioned them to come near her. She told them: ‘come sit beside me, and stop crying now. It’s getting dark!
LATER, THEY WENT all inside the kitchen. Mother was now cooking and eldest Peds was chopping more pinewood resin or Saleng to help his mother’s firewood burn easier.
NEXT, PEDS TOOK the medium-sized pail and told his mother: “I’m going to fetch some drinking water, mom.”
MOTHER NODDED AND looked at her son in silence. Returning back to herself in-realization, she murmured:
“PEDS IT SEEMS is getting grown-up, amangka xihen. I should also start to stop saying: Pigan to mango kayon manemnem?” (Lit. transl: ‘When (if ever) will you rightly think?’).

OUR SECOND SITUATION-example. Young man Mctoot and girlfriend Juvy have been friends for quite a time. Last year, some relatives were saying they’re already engaged, and in fact, were already setting a calendar date by which the Wedding Day shall be finalized. But
OF RECENT, SOME calamities struck: typhoons, heavy rains, slides. And then, the Virus Pandemia of early this year. The quarantines and lockdowns followed. So, not so much was heard from neighbours, friends, etc., for nigh two months? the news of Mctoot and Juvy’s wedding appeared also shelved? But
WEEKS AGO, MA’AM Adlynn – called ‘Auntie’ by both of them in regular days, came by the duo standing beside each other at the Jeepney Station of Brgy. Dalupirip; and the Auntie quipped:
EHNAGU, PIGAN MANGO lay pan kasal jo? (Transl: “EXPR, when shall you get yourselves wed?”). The two were speechless but were smiling.
THEREUPON, THE ‘AUNTIE’ changed gear and in softer tones, remarked: ”Ayjo, I’m sorry I asked the question. I’m just plain curious!”
OUR LAST OR third Situation-example. In an Informal Kiosk Conversation of about eight individuals – two older men and six young people, three boys and three girls. It is raining hard, and all eight of them sought the shelter of the Kiosk.
THE YOUNGER ONES were talking, and said one: ‘this shed is too small; we’ll get wet if the wind comes..’
“TRUE! MAYBE THOSE who made this had actually a small Budget..” said the tall girl.
‘THOSE WHO MADE.. you mean the workers or peons; or the contractors? Or, their bosses.. or officials?”, said another girl. Then
ONE OF THE boys keeping silent stood up (he was getting wet from the rain.. it was getting stronger):
“COME ON, GUYS! We know part of the story of this Kiosk.. as well as of other kiosks and little projects hereat. But we don’t speak out.. luckily, some of our Elders do.. [he and some of his peers were looking at the two older men. One of these said:]
‘YES, CHILDREN. TALK about our community problems and issues a little bit, or once in a while. Don’t always depend on us – your elders. That way, you’re also giving us a break.
PIGAN TO MANGO eh ebigat jo? (Transl: “When shall you ever open your eyes?” The other old man was silent, but nodding.