July 23, 2024

We are in the month of August, the 8th month in the Roman Calendar, so named in honor of Emperor Augustus.
It is the last month before the Christmas season unofficially starts, which is September, the first of the so-called brrr months.
We are, however, officially still in the rainy season, which means storms will yet be forthcoming, all the way to mid-November or thereabouts.


Currently reeling from the virus that has caused more misery than all the other catastrophes that have befallen the country in the past, a series of typhoons of the Yolanda kind would be devastating, as if we don’t have enough woes to finish us once and for all.
Thankfully, even with the rains flooding Metro Manila and other low-lying areas, there are no reports of landslides burying entire villages.
Just a few roads closed due to mudflow.


If I know the Filipino spirit, not even a 3rd World War breaking out will rattle him. Most likely, he will welcome it as the ultimate finale to the pandemic – ending poverty, hunger, and all other ills.
But deep inside, he is scared, and in his private moments, will fall on his knees, clasped hands, and look up to the heavens, begging the Almighty for mercy and forgiveness.


And as he closes his eyes in prayer, he will hear a voice, telling him that what is happening in his life and all others are of their own making.
“Centuries have gone by since I gave you my only begotten Son to save you from sin, and you have yet to heed His Word. Was there ever any meaning to His suffering, death, and resurrection?”
“I am tempted to say you are beyond salvation, but let’s see.”
Keep in mind that “hope springs eternal from the human breast.”


I guess it is time to go to confession, but like what a Church cardinal said to mafia boss Michael Corleone, “Your sins are terrible and what good is confession without repentance?”
I remember the last time I went to confession. The lawyer that I am, I spilled out my sins in generalities, like so – “Bless me Father, for I have sinned, my last confession was on…my sins are, I have not been faithful to my duties as a public official and as a husband and father.”
Father confessor rebukes me, almost standing up, “You mean corruption, and that you are cheating on your wife.”
Albeit a bit shaken, I answer back, “I didn’t say that Father.”
“What do you mean then?” he snickers.
“Look son,” he goes on, “I cannot absolve you of your sins unless you give a detailed account of what they are.”
“Tell you what, the priest celebrating the next mass will give you a general absolution. All you have to do is put down in writing all your sins, which will be burned before the end of the mass.”
“Your secrets will be safe.” So why are there no general absolutions anymore?


If there is any truth Russia claims that their vaccine is the answer to the pandemic, and with China promising to make the Philippines one of its beneficiaries once their vaccines are ready for use, then let’s thank President Duterte for making friends with the wrong people at the right time.
After all, when it comes to villains like Putin and Xi, it takes one to know one, ang ating tanging pag-asa.


Let’s not forget, however, that Putin has a reputation for going back on his word, and that everything made in China will last only for so long.
But hell, we are in the “kapit sa patalim” stage of our lives, and we are quite willing and ready to chance on anything.
Still, your best bet to stay alive, believe me, are the three do’s – wear a face mask at all times, strictly observe social distancing, and wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.
And please don’t sing “Happy Birthday” while doing so. Pray the “Our Father” and one or two Hail Mary’s instead.


Everybody is missing the good, old days – hearing Sunday mass and lunch with the family in a Chinese restaurant later, picnics in the park to celebrate a favorite daughter’s birthday, boating, cycling, or skating.
Funny, you didn’t give all the things much thought before, and all too suddenly after they are taken away from your life, you realize how much you miss them.


Let’s hope life will get better when Yuletide comes rolling in.
This time, far from being bored, amused or even angered hearing Christmas ditties flooding the airlanes as early as next month, or hearing Jose Mari Chan’s voice while window shopping in the malls, let’s all sing along. You know, “Ang pasko ay sumapit, tayo ay mangagsiawit.”


OBITS:
Last Thursday, my cousin, “former mayor” and board member Ponso Fianza was buried in accordance with Ibaloy rites.
Unable to attend his wake and funeral, we can only pray for the repose of his soul.


Another relative, Apollo Hamada, died two weeks ago in the U.S. What I remember about him is that he married my most beautiful grade 3 classmate at the old Baguio Central School.


An old friend, businessman Ricky Angluben, succumbed to Covid-19 at 67. With his demise, I guess I will never get to be a multi-millionaire.


In my one and only political adventure in 1980, I asked my brother-in-law, Ed Vizconde, husband of Salve, my dearly beloved Minda’s only sister, if he could lend me P2,000 to help sustain my campaign, and two days later, a messenger arrives with the money, with a note that said, this is not a loan, but my contribution. Tell me if you need more. Good luck.
Ed died the other week from a lingering illness that kept him at home mostly. He and my two boys were great friends, sharing the same interests and thrills.
Fare thee well, bayaw, I will see you in the next world, but not just yet. I pleaded with Minda not to fetch me at this time – at least not until I see our beautiful granddaughter, with fingers crossed, grow up to be a UP cum laude Miss Universe.
God bless!