‘Lagip ti Lugar a Nagapuan’

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If depictions by Herald Express of busybodies and their lives bring even a slight modicum of weekly updated enlightenment to you through its column, Daily Laborer, then, fine readers, the staff of Herald Express deem their task of “imparting events that occurred,” is bearing fruit of awareness that ripens as time skips along, for everybody.

We, thus see such enlightenment as ample reward for the men and women who man the desks of your Herald Express community newspaper.

This line of thought arose due to incessant prodding last week by readers who kept e-mailing this column corner with thoughts that go along these lines: “Seemingly trivial and mundane issues you mesh into fine prints, becoming interesting to read. How do you do it?”

Others were more probing in their queries, like lallaine Sumtang, Yvanka Lupinto both from Baguio, Doris Dulwani and Annabelle Haili from Benguet, all housewives and similarly asking with delight: “ Sir, do you wring your hands in desperation when you cannot come up with a topic or issue to write, despite you, often being humorous?”

Others asked: “Have you ever been attacked by writers block?” They were merely referring to mental block.

Still, others seemed to have that keen inquisitive mind when they correctly predicted:

“Kasano ngay, Sir, nu awan mapanonot mo nga isurat para ti sumaruno a domingo ket maabutan daka ti deadline yu?  Asantu pay laeng motmot-motan daka ni Misis mo ta dika nagawid ti mano nga aldaw isu gapu napukaw la ngaruden dagidiay taraken dagiti annak yu nga man-manok, pabo, kalding ken saan pay nasibsibugan dagiti mula yu nga nat-nateng, ayna, naspak kan a, Sir!” The fine housewives delightfully pestered Daily Laborer.

Well, fine ladies-readers, to satisfy your delightful queries if this daily laborer wrings his hands in desperation, well, to be factual about it; he does – when Time glowers upon him, reminding him that time waits for no one.

As to your question about “seemingly trivial and mundane issues becoming fine prints interesting to read,” Daily Laborer articles that grace the pages of Herald Express were written through time, upon all sorts of occasions and under all sorts of conditions.

As is often said about an expression, “Unseen Hand” moving the “spirit,” Daily Laborer articles were made generally right there and then on the spot – sometimes upon the back of an empty Manila envelope that Ah Kong carries or brown paper bag filled up with camote that a farmer had given him along the way to Halsema National Highway.

Or articles were written right there and then on the back of an empty white envelope or a folded coupon bond which somehow found their way at the back pocket of Ah Kong.

Articles were written right there and then at the sides of the roads, often when dusk was falling and dengue mosquitoes harassing Daily Laborer every step of the way.

Articles were written right there and then when Daily Laborer witnessed tired men and women, with hoes upon their bent backs  as they trudged for home, while  church bells tolled faraway  and the warm hearth calling to the tired people, “Come home, come home, it’s nearly suppertime.”

Sometimes in the absence of paper, Daily Laborer articles were written right there and then even on the sides of plastic bags filled with highland vegetables that farmers somewhere along the mountains in Benguet have given for Ah Kong to bring home.

Oftentimes, articles for Daily Laborer were written right there and then on the margins and  edges of the Herald Express newspaper, which Ah Kong conveniently carries with him in his travels either to the highlands or the lowlands.

Ah Kong does so for he doesn’t carry a notebook. Many times, the Missus gave him beautifully crafted notebooks and he lost all of them in his travels. Reason why the Missus chided, “Ayna apo, agkabaw ka nga lakay! Dayta la adda dita tengnga ti duwa a sakam ti saan mu siguro a mapukaw!” Ah Kong does not know what the Missus was referring about, to be real honest about it.

At other times, seated solitary on hills and mountains in Cordillera or besides the banks of Chico River in Mountain Province or Amburayan River in Benguet, or even taking a run around Burnham Park Lake, the inspiration to jot down something was executed. These meager notes were kept, and at convenient times, through their guidance, depictions of busybodies and their lives were completed.

Or, oftentimes, these meager notes were also completely lost, making Daily Laborer wring his hands knowing he lost records of busybodies, ordinary people who. After laboring away from home, have this thirst of remembering places where they originated and pining to go home someday.

Honestly, Daily Laborer happens to have  soft spot  for busybodies who  never forget  the  saying, “look back whence you came,” as a truthful reminder of another yardstick by which both  highlanders and lowlanders may dwell upon as a yardstick that  defines them whether they have forgotten their roots. That’s where depiction of busybodies completes the picture of events occurring and at best, being captured by this column.

Have you ever heard of the song, titled “Sukisok,” an indigenous song  that was sang by Jirabel Langpawen, a highlander,  that ensnares in a nutshell about the complexity of life yet with the yearning of “Wingi-em nan lugar ay nagapuam” despite life’s complexity?

Well, Jovie Almoite, the pretty Benguet lass from Tuba and Atok, Benguet, a graduate in 2011 of the Benguet State University (BSU) and popularly   known for her singing prowess by people in Baguio and Benguet, said Monday during an exclusive interview that looking profoundly back where one came from is a hallmark of goodness and simplicity.

A humility born of knowledge of our real tiny importance. Jovie Almoite said, “Always be humble, kahit saan ka man makarating. Dapat hindi mo kalimutan and inyong pinanggalingan.”

Humbleness! Indeed, a word often forgotten by many of the youth and others as well who easily get discouraged upon failing in their first attempts and erroneously blaming themselves for their non-success. But humbleness is rising again, after slipping down.

As Almoite explained that Monday, “To the youth who wants to pursue their dreams, do not be discouraged by what you hear. Just continue. Go lang ng go. Basta walang maa-apakang tao, ng mga nag-fail.”

“Wala naman pong masama sa pagsisimula uli. Kung anu yong pagkakamali, dapat baguhin. There is always a second chance para itama ang pagkakamali,” Almoite stressed.

“Just be humble always – saan ka man makarating,” Almoite hammered home.

“And most especially, laging magpasalamat sa Maykapal. Kung anong meron ka.  Mag- thank you,” Almoite emphasized.

To Almoite, it’s a caring sentiment, enriching those who are so fortunate to be touched by its quality, a human attribute to who gives and receives despite humble origins and whether you are either in the civilian or government sectors, such explanation captured deeply by the song “Sukisok.”

In life, Almoite said, “Parang give and take lang, po.” A lesson to be learned by all, whether one is in government or not. “To the civilians like us, lagging maki-cooperate sa ini-implement ng government para sa ikabubuti ng  bayan.  And to the government, dapat din nilang ipatupad ang mga proyekto para sa ikabubuti ng mamamayan.”

Almoite, when she sang Sukisok in the Ilocano version and said, “Lagipem ‘toy lugar a nagapuam,” she was expressing the song’s message about anyone’s roots where the greatest gains comes in harboring in the heart the sentiment of appreciation of things that come and continue to come – unsought, unbidden and unexpected – things that make lives worth the struggle to live.

Looking forward, down the course pursued by the vast stream of highland and lowland life to which each day persons contribute to the quota of work, many may not  profoundly be impressed of “lagipen ti nagapuan” by the mere reason they don’t have time  going back to whence they came from. After all, they are successful.

Out of the caverns of the highland and lowland regions, come in ceaseless procession, the moments, the years, hours, and time spent at home and growing. Backwards through the midst of the past, lies the dead years of time.

Silent, inanimate, never to live again. Finished.

Finished, you say?

But no! For on and on, down to the centuries to come, will ring the mighty hammer strokes of  yearning, “lagipem ti nagapuam,”  for it’s there where the heart is deeply embedded, be you poor in origin but rich in the legacy of goodness that broadens the current in the great stream of life.

For as Almoite pointed out, it’s a lesson never too late for the learning to yearn back and accept one’s humble beginnings and be thankful for it.

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