Hunkering to Defeat Implacable Foe

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There’s this mysterious and implacable foe   of humankind that has taken over the world by storm, loves to see when humans do “normal routines” in life then clings to mortals like a leech, shreds their health to pieces and go on a killing rampage.

This implacable foe loves it so much when people socialize, get together, talk to each other. Invite friends to their homes, when people go out of their houses, attend public gatherings – all the plain ordinary routines.

Hovering in the air as aerosols or clinging to hard surface, this human foe has made life for everybody grinding to a standstill.

For those called front line worker, – they are the control measures to protect people –  they face a frightening uncertainty for their lives, a “new normal” from their routine jobs.

Ah Kong thinks in today’s times, these front liners, molded in the furnace of duty, sacrifice for a higher purpose than themselves during this devastation.

And there is no known antidote for it.

It has disrupted social and economic order at lightning speed the likes of which was never seen before in the Philippines and anxieties around the disease and the future have heightened.

Still, each day with anticipation of “hope springing eternal,” kababayans have hunkered down to weather this difficult circumstance so that for all, tomorrow may get better.

It brings to mind about one pessimistic guy who said to Ah Kong lately regarding the disease, “We only live once.”

Ah mulled over what the guy said, reflected on the Cordillerans, lowlanders and other Filipinos hunkered down and gently answered, “Friend, we only die once; we live every day. See the people around who have hunkered down. It’s because they hope every day. Think about it.” Then Ah strode away from the guy.

Such is exactly what is happening to all of us.  Strange as it may seem, but there’s a crack in everything and that’s how the light (our hope) gets in.

Sad to say it, yet we must face it: we are all grasping at life’s threads before the onslaught of a remorseless enemy that has roiled the earth’s atmosphere and unless man will invent a weapon against it, the least we can do is hunker down and wait for the enemy to falter.

But while majority are hunkered down, there, unfortunately remains some persons who just love to exhibit a fractious impatience of discontent, of testing resolve of those implementing control measures by giving headache to authorities and to other people as well.

Just recently, about 300 persons in Baguio City were apprehended by the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) for violating curfew.

BCPO City director Col. Allen Rae F. Co said that police officers make it a point to walk the fine balance with respect to persons   needing to leave home validly, but residents must equally shoulder responsibility to comply with curfew rules or community quarantine.

In in Agno, Pangasinan, PCPT. Friolan M. Frias, Agno Police Station OIC, revealed eight persons were arrested in barangay Magsaysay, Agno, last April 15, at around 5:50 PM for gambling. Worst, those arrested were women and wore no face masks during their gambling spree.

They were charged in violation of RA 9287 (Imposing penalties for individuals taking part in illegal gambling activities) and RA 11332 Act Providing Policies and Procedures on Surveillance and Response to Notifiable Diseases).

One wonders at such violations, maybe pins the blame on human discontent, reason why some cannot simply hunker down or buckle down at such time it’s needed to be done.

Oh-oh, discontent, the common lot of many, that such is the emptiness of human enjoyment. That few moments for them are more pleasing than those in which the mind should instead concentrate on new undertakings, rather than want to go out.

To prove the point that its still better to hunker down, care workers in Taguig, Manila, on April 5 carried an empty coffin on the streets and danced with it, a warning to any hard-headed about what may occur for repeated quarantine violations.

Here in Cordillera, some ladies, hunkered at home and attuned to the hitches of the bumpy road of our times called up Ah Kong last Easter Day.

These ladies decided to impart messages of humorous hope to Ah Kong with the wish that their merry pieces of statements find space at Daily Laborer column to make readers laugh away some of the blues.

Their comic intentions were never to denigrate the Son of God.  They were merely imparting inoffensive jokes for they know that God, himself, can also be as humorous.

Well, their humors definitely land space in the column. Here they are, their funny Easter greetings:

Zenana Pacio wrote: “Alleluia, Ah, Kong. Our Jesus, he aroused.”

Liberty Lacmao wrote, “Jesus has arousen.”

Bibeth Ansaga messaged, “Jesus, He’s riced.”

Well, Ana Plami-es, not to be outdone, wrote, “Jesus, He roasted from the dead.”

Sofia Alambag, wrote, “Jesus is rising.”

Lufina Bulais, has this joke beats them all, when she wrote, “Ah Kong, Jesus, He has resigned.”

And the last said, Sylvia Likawan, wrote, “Ah Kong, Happy Esther.”

Aw, c’mon now, Sylvia, Ah doesn’t know any lady by name of Esther.  The Missus, if she reads this, might harbor suspicion that Ah is going head-over-heels on a woman named, Esther.

Here’s a heartwarming incident in the midst of our problem that occurred last April 15, of kindness in today’s crisis-laden time and witnessed by Frick Bong, living in Baguio City but who hails from Itogon, Benguet.

Incident happened at the Benguet Cold Chain Project for highland vegetables, Wangal, La Trinidad,  a conversation between a front liner (Police Officer) and another front liner (Woman Farmer).

The woman farmer was aboard her vegetable delivery truck laden with newly-harvested carrots.

P.O.: “Hello, auntie, kumusta kayo? Mayat daytoy carrots u, a. Nagapwan yu pay?”

Woman farmer: “Sir, nagapo kami idiay Cada.” (In Balili, Mankayan). “Nadamag mi diay programa nga gatangen da ti nateng ta i-relief da isunga inyumay mi met daytoy mula mi.” (at the Cold chain, La Trinidad).

P.O.: “Aah, mayat ti kasta. Mabalin ba nga ag-ala kami tapnu pangramanan mi daytoy mula yu?”

The lady immediately brought out a cellophane bag, filled it with carrots and happily handed it over to the police officer, saying:

Woman farmer: “Daytoy, Sir, para kanyayu.”

P.O.: (Took money from his pocket). He said, “Mano ngay daytoy?”

Woman farmer: “Uray usto, Sir, nu pabayad mi, kasla saan mi nga inted.”

But the police officer insisted on paying, saying:

P.O.: “Uray haan nga bayad, a, pangmeryenda yu. Ala sige, awaten yu ketdin.” (Insistently handing the amount).

But the woman farmer, insistent, too, refused accepting the police officer’s payment. It was a stalemate.

Realizing futility of pressing further the amount in the woman-farmer’s hands, the police officer humbly relented and said to her and her companions:

P.O.: “Ala, sige, garud, salamat! Ag-anannad kay latta. Malampasan tayo tu met laeng daytoy nga crisis.”

The woman farmer and her companions beamed happily at the police officer as he left. As the police officer strode away, the woman farmer uttered words, so touching, it goes deep to any kindred soul. She said:

Woman farmer: “Sapay kuma ta dayta inted mi ket maipayan kayo ti salun-at ken atid-dug nga biag tapnu ag-tultuloy ti panagserbi yu ti ili tayo!”

Ah, mulling into the incident thinks, from all angles, both the police officer and the woman farmer showed without fanfare that the milk of kindness in today’s most challenging times can be thickened into the cream of benevolence, transferred into the butter of beatitude.

Reflecting on the incident, Bong said, “During this very, very pandemic time, no matter the job you do, no matter the color of your skin, no matter the language you speak, no matter the form of your politics, no matter the expression of your faith, truly, as human beings, our desire, our frustration, our vision, we are one and the same. We want to win this battle against this unseen, killer, enemy. And we want to live.”