Lolo at ang magandang Parol: tula ni Pepito/Huseng Batute

ZP_Parol Painting by Rafael Luna

ZP_Parol Painting by Rafael Luna

José Corazón de Jesús (Huseng Batute) 1896-1932

“Ang Magandang Parol” (1928)

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Isang papel itong ginawa ng lolo

may pula, may asul, may buntot sa dulo;

sa tuwing darating ang masayang Pasko

ang parol na ito’y makikita ninyo.

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Sa aming bintana doon nakasabit

kung hipan ng hangi’y tatagi-tagilid,

at parang tao ring bago na ang bihis

at sinasalubong ang Paskong malamig.

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Kung kami’y tutungo doon sa simbahan

ang parol ang aming siyang tagatanglaw,

at kung gabi namang malabo ang buwan

sa tapat ng parol doon ang laruan.

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Kung aking hudyatin tanang kalaguyo,

mga kapwa bata ng pahat kong kuro,

ang aming hudyatan ay mapaghuhulo:

“Sa tapat ng lolo tayo maglalaro.”

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Kaya nang mamatay ang lolo kong yaon,

sa bawat paghihip ng amihang simoy,

iyang nakasabit na naiwang parol

nariyan ang diwa noong aming ingkong.

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Nasa kanyang kulay ang magandang nasa,

nasa kanyang ilaw ang dakilang diwa,

parang sinasabi ng isang matanda:

“Kung wala man ako’y tanglawan ang bata.”

 

ZP_José Corazón de Jesús_Huseng Batute_1896-1932

ZP_José Corazón de Jesús_Huseng Batute_1896-1932

 

“The Beautiful Parol (Christmas Lantern)”:

a translation/interpretation by Carmelo Gorospe, with Alexander Best

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There was this one special kind of paper that Grandpa used,

and the Parol could be red or blue, and sometimes with a tail, too.

And now, every time Pasko (Christmas) comes around,

the Parol lantern can be found.

In every other window you’ll see one hanging,

and the wind blows it this way and that,

and each Parol is like a person with a new look that welcomes chilly Christmas!

On our way to church the Parol’s light was our guide in the darkness,

and when the moon might go behind a cloud, well,

the kids played beneath the Parol’s glow.

Whenever I give the sign to my friends, they remember, like all the kids did,

playing in front of Grandpa’s lantern light.

And, ever since he passed away…of course, each time a cool wind blows,

and the Parol sways,

it reminds me of him.

In Grandpa’s colours – such beautiful wishes.

In Grandpa’s light – such beautiful memories, as if saying:

“Though I’m no longer here, my Light will guide you, little ones!”

.     .     .     .     .


A Filipino Christmas: The Rooster’s Mass

ZP_At the Parol Lantern Festival in San Francisco, California_December 2012

ZP_At the Parol Lantern Festival in San Francisco, California_December 2012

We wish to thank Noemi Lardizabal Dado for the following Simbang Gabi poem written by her sister.

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Three thirty in the morning.

Wake up, he said.  Let’s go.

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Bells tolling

in the distance,

calling us.

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Walking briskly

in the dark

With my chattering sisters

and brothers,

shivering,

I pulled my coat close to me

against the chilly air.

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Four a.m.

Struggling to keep my eyes open

in a church

smelling of candles,

packed with people

praying fervently

in Cebuano.

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This is torture, I thought.  Let this be over soon.

Sacrifice, my father whispered.  Preparing for Jesus’s birth.

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The choir’s voices

swelled into song:

Kasadya ning Taknaa…”

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At the parish hall door,

Handing out brown bags

of pan de sal

my mother had baked

to a jostling crowd

of the poor outside

who smelled of sweat and dust.

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Smiles from my neighbours inside,

Sipping steaming cups of tsokolate

Munching sweet bread

Amid red and green parols

swaying by the windows.

I sighed:   Soon it will be Christmas.

ZP_December 2012_At the Parol Lantern Festival in San Francisco, California

ZP_December 2012_At the Parol Lantern Festival in San Francisco, California

 

Glossary:

Cebuano:  an Austronesian language, second most widely spoken in the Philippines after Tagalog.  It is one of the languages spoken by the Bisnaya ethnic group.

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“Kasadya ning Taknaa”:  “Oh, happy is this hour!”  This is the first line of a Cebuano Christmas carol composed in 1933 by Vicente Rubi and Mariano Vestil.  Our gratitude to Karlo Antonio G. David for his translation of this belovéd song:

Oh, happy is this hour!

In this place nearest to the Holy

where all that we witness

are faces brightened up and jolly.

Blessed indeed, how blessed

are the houses serenaded

with songs of noble sound and word,

and every Christmas day

will be full of bliss!

(Chorus):

With the New Year

is a new life to live!

Together with all our wishes and hopes,

Come let us sing them, oh come let us hum them

to fill our hearts with bliss!

.     .     .

Cebuano original:

“Kasadya ning Taknaa”:

Kasadya ning taknaa

Dapit sa kahimayaan

Mao’y atong makita

Ang panagway nga masanglagon

Bulahan ug bulahan

Ang tagbalay nga giawitan

Awit nga halangdonon ug sa tanang Pasko

Magmalipayon!

(Chorus):

Bag-ong tuig

Bag-ong kinabuhi

Duyog sa atong mga pagbati

Atong awiton, ug atong laylayon

Aron magmalipayon!

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Pan de sal: literally, bread of salt, from the Spanish.  A basic yet flavourful and filling Filipino bread

Tsokolate:  hot chocolate

Parols:  from the Spanish word farol meaning lantern or lamp.  Parols are Filipino Christmas lanterns which used to be made of bamboo and rice paper and are now made of every material imaginable.  They symbolize the Star of Bethlehem that guided the Three Wise Men to the newborn Jesus.  Their broader meaning is that Light triumphs over Darkness.

.     .     .     .     .


“Pasko na sinta ko”: Jean-Paul asks Sha to translate a Filipino seasonal pop song…

Gary Valenciano

Gary Valenciano

 

Jean-Paul:

I heard this song when I passed through the Philippines one Christmas. The melody was beautiful.  It had a haunting, melancholy quality. I’m back in The States now and I don’t have any friends that speak Tagalog well enough to translate the words for me…

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“Pasko na sinta ko” (by Gary Valenciano)

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Pasko na sinta ko hanap-hanap kita

Bakit magtatampo’t nilisan ako

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Kung mawawala ka sa piling ko sinta

Paano ang Pasko, inulila mo

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Sayang sinta ang sinumpaan

At pagtitinginang tunay

Nais mo bang kalimutang ganap

Ang ating suyuan at galak

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Kung mawawala ka sa piling ko sinta

Paano ang Paskong alay ko sa’yo

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Kung mawawala ka sa piling ko sinta

Paano ang Pasko, inulila mo

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Sayang sinta ang sinumpaan

At pagtitinginang tunay

Nais mo bang kalimutang ganap

Ang ating suyuan at galak

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Kung mawawala ka sa piling ko sinta

Paano ang paskong alay ko sa’yo.

.     .     .

Sha:

I know it will sound cheesy when it’s translated into English yet it’s also cheesy in Tagalog.  But the lyrics are deep, we don’t even use some of these Tagalog words in our daily conversations, although singer Gary Valenciano does justice to the song – the right melody, the right singer, the right time of year…So if you’re broken hearted and Christmas time is fast approaching, listen to his song.  If you want to reminisce about the good times (and bad times) you had with your ‘Ex’, if you want to have a good cry, even if you want to rub salt into your wounds, then you can relate to these words.  Okay, here goes my try at a translation…

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“It’s Christmas already, my Love” / “Pasko na sinta ko”

(A 1996 song by Gary ‘Edgardo’ Valenciano, Filipino gospel/pop singer, born 1964)

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It’s already Christmas, my love – I’ve been longing for you…

Why are you so sullen?  And you’ve left me all alone.

If you’re getting out of my life

what will Christmas be like when you have forsaken me?

Our promises, our true love for each other – were they wasted?

Do you really want to dismiss our sweetness and joy?

Oh, if you’re getting right out of my life

what will Christmas be like?  – a Christmas that I dedicated to you!

Yes, if you’re vanishing from my life

what will Christmas be like once you have forsaken me?

.     .     .     .     .


Tula sa Pasko: “Simbang Gabi”

ZP_Simbang Gabi_serigraph print by Claude Tayag

Rebecca T. Añonuevo

“Simbang Gabi”

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Si Nanay talaga.

Ipinaalala niya kagabi na simula na ulit

Ng siyam araw na nobena ngayong adbiyento,

At kung mabubuo ko raw iyon ay matutupad

Ang anumang hihilingin ko sa Diyos.

Alam ko ang gusto niyang hilingin ko

Na hinihiling niya para sa akin kahit mangitim

Ang tuhod niya sa pagkakaluhod

Araw-araw kahit hindi Pasko.

Simple lang ang sagot ko, pigil ang pagsinghal,

Habang pinaiikot-ikot ang bilog sa mata:

Kung ibibigay ng Diyos, ibibigay Niya. Sa isip ko’y

Hanggang ngayon ba’y kaliwaan ang areglo sa langit?

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Ang totoo’y di sinasadyang sinasadyang buuin ko

Ang simbang gabi ngayong taon nang di inaamin sa ina.

Hindi ko alam kung ang mundong kasabay ko

Ay dumadagsa dahil may mga hinihiling din sila

Katulad ni Nanay para sa hindi nag-aasawang anak,

O may ipinagdarasal na maysakit, kaaway, kapatid,

Lumubog na negosyo, petisyon para sa Canada o Australia,

Pagtama sa lotto, o kahit man lang sa cake raffle sa parokya

Na nagpapamigay ng pulang scooter at mga bentilador.

Sa pugad ng mga Heswita ay nahabag ako

Sa puto bumbong dahil ang pinipilahan ng mga bihis na bihis

Ay ang churros con tsokolate at donut sa magkabilang tabi.

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Gusto kong sabihin kay Nanay na ang pagsisimbang gabi ko

Ay tulad ng panalangin ng puto bumbong habang sumasagitsit

Sa nagtatanod na buwan: salamat, ulit-ulit na munting salamat

Sa pagkakataong maging payak, walang inaalalang pagkalugi

O pagtatamasa sa tangkilik ng iba, walang paghahangad

Na ipagpalit ang kapalaran pati ang kasawian sa kanila.

Salamat sa panahon ng tila matumal na grasya,

Sa sukal ng karimlan, sa budbod ng asukal ay husto na,

Ang di pagbalik ng malagkit na puhunan

Sa kabila ng matapat na paninilbihan at paghahanda

Sa anino ng Wala, luwalhating kay rikit! Tikom-bibig.

 

.     .     .

 

Rebecca T. Añonuevo (born 1965, Manila, Philippines)

“Simbang Gabi”

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You’ve got to hand it to my mother.

Last night she reminded me

that the nine-day Simbang Gabi masses begin this Advent,

and that if I manage to do the whole thing,

any wish I have will be granted by God.

I know what it is she wants me to pray for—

It’s what she constantly implores,

not caring that her knees have darkened from

her daily supplications, and not just at Christmas time.

I held my tongue and rolled my eyes

but answered simply:

If God means to give me something, He will. Could it be

that after all this time, slanted deals are still made in heaven?

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To tell the truth, I did not mean to complete

the nine-day masses this year without eventually letting Mother know.

Could it have been because I felt in the crush

of people around me, the weight of a whole world’s

requests: including Mother’s prayer for her still

unmarried daughter to please find someone, including those

praying for the sick, for their enemies, their siblings,

for a business gone bankrupt, for petitions to migrate to Canada or Australia;

prayers to win the lottery, to win even just the parish cake raffle

(which also gives away red scooters and electric fans as door prizes).

But then, in the Jesuit compound my heart went out

to the lowly puto bumbong, because well-dressed churchgoers

were making a beeline for the stands selling churros con chocolate and donuts.

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I wanted to tell Mother that my going to Simbang Gabi

was like the little puffs of steam exuding heavenward from the puto bumbong,

as the moon, austere, kept perfect watch: manifold in even its smallest aspect,

such gratitude as the chance to feel part of the whole, without thought

of having been short-changed, without regret for the concern that others did not show,

without wishing to swap fortunes or even the pains one has been given.

I give thanks for such finitudes that are nevertheless imbued with grace,

for the powdery cone of darkness and its just-enough dusting of sugar,

for the succulent body that will soon disappear.

Faithfully we serve, preparing the feast presided over

by the shadow of Death. And yet, how beguiling! The promise of fullness cupped

and brimful in the mouth.

 

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Simbang Gabi is a succession of early-morning masses attended and performed by Roman Catholics and Aglipayans in the Philippines in honour of The Virgin Mary and in anticipation of Christmas/the birth of Christ. There are nine such devotional masses – making a “novena” – beginning on December 16th and ending with the Misa de Gallo (Rooster’s Mass) just before dawn on December 24th.

Puto bumbong is a special after-novena dessert:  lilac-purple-coloured sticky rice (white and black rice combined) with butter, sugar and shredded coconut, wrapped in a banana leaf. “Puto” means the sticky rice, “bumbong” means the bamboo it’s cooked in.

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“Simbang Gabi” poem © Rebecca T. Añonuevo

Translation from Tagalog:  Luisa A. Igloria for the literary journal Qarrtsiluni

Image:  “Simbang Gabi”:  a serigraph print by Claude Tayag

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