Sunday, May 29, 2011

Blood Compact

Spaniards call this "Pacto de Sangre." It sounds morbid and makes Filipinos of old look like blood thirsty natives. Maybe our ancestors were vampires, but of course they're not. Don't think they want to taste the blood of men from a different race. For them, blood is sacred.

Blood is life. To sign an agreement with blood is to sign with one's life. It becomes a bond to protect and honor the agreement with one's life. To enter into a blood compact is to enter to a lifetime oath. The bad thing about this is, if one dies, the deal is off.

Other cultures have seriously misunderstood this practice. It is not drawing blood and drinking it straight up. At least we use glasses for it, while the vampires suck from the body directly. The blood compact is not barbaric since they mix it in wine and its only a couple of drops of blood. Seriously, what would a couple of drops of blood do to you in an alcoholic drink?

On the latter part of the colonial history of Spain, almost the same thing happened with the Katipuneros. Signing also with blood. But of course since there were thousands of Katipuneros, it will be like a blood party. That would be a taboo. Instead, these men signed their membership forms with their own blood as ink. Very creative, really.

We lost our independence through a pact of blood. We gained it back through a pact of blood. Blood is really important for us Filipinos. Blood and sweat.

"Dugo at pawis ipinuhunan ko dyan." It means "I toiled and sacrificed myself for it" and when we Pinoys say that, it means we are not going to let things go easily.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Para kay Nanay

Ang ilaw ng tahanan. Ang Ina. 

For a long time I wondered why nanays are called ilaw ng tahanan? No one could really answer why. It was a regal way of giving tribute to our mothers, but what if it was a big joke? In the past lanterns and incandescent light bulbs were very popular. Perhaps some guy drinking tuba with friends stared at a lantern called up to one of his buddies and said "Uy pare tignan mo yung lampara, kahugis ng katawan ng misis mo,"and everyone laughs. Or maybe the term hugis bumbilyang asawa gave way to the "ilaw ng tahanan" thing. We could never really know, but it sounds really cool to be called ilaw.

From the word ina, came nanay, inay, inang, and so many others. In the days of old before colonial mentality took over, mothers are revered and respected. They receive lots of respect because of the sacrifices a mother give just to be a good nanay. Mothers indeed took care of us, from conception till one is able. To mould a child is one of the biggest tasks a mother has in her hands. Of what kind of adult a child turns out, a mother has a big influence on that.

We cry to her. We call her when we are weak. We all look up to her and admire her grace, her strength and her love. It is from her that we all learn our many firsts. It is her that we love to pester, but as children, that is our lambing and she understands.

Her arms are the the very cradle of love, support and protection. It is she that awakens the warrior within, who says things are worth fighting for. She who says while she is strong, she will take care of you unconditionally. She who willingly would sacrifice anything for her child.

This is a tribute to all mothers. We celebrate Mother's Day, we celebrate womanhood. To all mothers, isang pagpupugay sa inyong sakripisyo, pag-aalaga at pagmamahal. 

Here's something to touch your hearts this Mother's Day.