(American singer Bob Dylan composed and sang the song, “The Times They Are A-changin,” known by country-music loving Cordillerans, lowlanders and other Filipinos, as well. Daily Laborer merrily dwells upon our changing toils, paraphrasing, in deference to Dylan – and infectiously grins its time, all, adapt to unconventional normal).
Battered no end for days by an unforgiving killer disease stalking the land, uncertainty time hover upon all, such so the wind seemed spent gasping its breath for us.
But a twist of fate, this disease happens giving Mother Earth momentary pause from her exertion to regain strength from the battering imposed on her by mankind.
Quite an irony that humankind is brought to its knees so earth mends. Mankind’s activities brought to a standstill; earth rebounds.
Amid thick Covid-19 black clouds hovering, Mother Earth is healing: air pollution decrease; air getting better; greenhouse emission falling; ozone layer mending wounds; and, forests, left alone, starting to grow lush.
Serious the situation is, kindly allow daily laborer Ah Kong, graduate of a degree, Bachelor of Enhanced Community (BEC), major in Social Distancing, Enhanced Community Quarantine and, Herald Express’s purveyor of grins to readers, ventures to indulge again, with entertainment, hoping the entertainment be obnoxious to none; but leastways, entertaining.
Oft said that, “a laugh a day keeps a doctor away.” You blurt, “A laugh a day keeps front liners away!” Possible, No? For, shouldn’t we care, if for a bit, not unnecessarily burdening front liners (overburdened, overstretched they are, now) with our simple aches if we can instead giggle away those blues?
So, good reader, let’s have a talk together. Sit you down with benevolent view, a kindly heart and Ah doubts not that we shall pass a moment pleasantly, one with another.
Pleasantly, in part, but in part it maybe sadly; for you know it’s with conversation, as with life, it takes various colors and is changing evermore.
So we’ll will expect these changes and meet this changes – like Covid-19 – as they come.
So, again, “Come gather round, people, wherever you roam; and admit that the waters around you have grown. And accept it that soon, you’ll be drenched to the bone; if your time to you is worth savin’. . .”
Now, Ah presently has a neighbor, Petilla Calbion, 47, known for her faith and boldness in declaring it. Whenever this neighbor meets Ah in their barangay she’d yell in Ah’s ear, “Praise the Lord!”, holding this unshakeable belief that Ah consorts with the devil or he’s the devil’s cousin, and high time for Ah to be “worth savin’.”
Yet it delights Ah his neighbor has a good humor sense in daily dealing with life, endearing her to those who know her.
Last Monday, Petilla stood on her porch and said, “Good Lord, panga-asim man ta mangibarsak ka ti sangkaremkem nga groceries, ta anya ket daytoy didigra a Covid-19 di na met apalubos a mangged para ti panag-biag!”
Last Tuesday, to her delight, she found groceries on her porch and she said, “Alleluia! Praise the Lord!”
Ah, who was nearby and heard her, said, “Oh, Petilla, ginatang ko dayta groceries para kenka.”
Unperturbed, Petilla answered, “Unay met nga gasat ko aya. Nagipatulod la ngarud ni Apo idiay langit to groceries, inallukoy na pay nga ni insan ni demonyo (Ah) ti mangbayad diay groceries!”
Then she shouted at Ah who was meters away, “Praise the . . .!”
“And you better star swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone, for the times they are a-changin’. . .”
Happy that Tuesday making Petilla smile, Ah went to work on his typing, but momentarily diverted by a message of Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) Station 4.
BCPO Station 4’s message: “Kung wala namang importanting gagawin sa labas, please stay at Home. We are still fighting an invisible enemy.” Ah merrily interprets said message his way: “Ti panawen ket agbalbaliw; don’t cause headaches for everybody.”
Idi a panawen, nu ag-uyek ka ket ni Nanang mo la ti madanagan. Sangka-eggem na pay ti muging mu, sana kuna, “Ayna, anak, nagbara ti muging mo. Bi-it laeng anak, anak a, ta basaek diay labakara ta ikabil ko diat muging mo. Relaks ka lang, ta pardasak. Ngem nu ittatta, nu ag-uyek ka, ayna ti amin idiay barangay yu pirmi madanagan!
“Come writers and critics who prophesize with your pen; and keep your eyes wide open the chance won’t come again. . .”
“And don’t speak to soon, for the wheels still in spin; and there’s no tellin’ who that’s it’s namin’. . .”
For the loser now will be later to win; for the times they are a-changin’. . .”
Came Wednesday, Ah went to check on their water meter besides the road in his Dizon Subdivision barangay, Baguio City, and chanced to cross path crossed path with Naomi Galigues, a pretty lowlander.
Ah once taught Naomi to write straight news, news features, editorial and commentary, some years back during his stint as the first Public Information Officer (PIO) of the former Highland Agricultural Development Project (HADP), now re-named Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management (CHARM), Department of Agriculture – Cordillera Administrative Region (DA-CAR).
Their boss that time at HADP was director Teodoro “Teddy” Baguilat, Sr., from Ifugao.
Ah’s ugly face split into a smile seeing Naomi, now working as corporate communications officer in a big corporation in the Philippines, assigned in Manila, but on vacation in Baguio, her home.
Seeing Ah, and kumusta-an over, Naomi’s eyes sparkled and he said, “Sir, Unay nga ragsak ko nga makitak sika, apoh maestro, daytoy panawen ti Covid-19.”
Maintaining distance from each, Naomi said sweetly, “Kulagtit ti alutiit, paswit ti sawsawit. Ngursiit ti kurarapnit, garikgik ti marabutit. Kablaaw ko kenka, Sir, innak ipalsi-it, ta ti kilikilim bumangsit, Sir, nu dita ag-chat ti mabi-it!”
Tickled pink by Naomi, Ah returned home, his heart singing, hearing Naomi wax poetic.
“Come senators, congressmen, please heed the call; don’t stand in the doorway, don’t block up the hall. For he that gets hurt, will be he who has stalled. . .”
“There’s a battle outside and it’s ragin’. It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls, for the times they are a changin’. . .”
Came Thursday, Ah was flabbergasted hearing a government regulator ordered shutdown of ABS-CBN network, aroused a cacophony of diverse opinions among lawyers, business people and ordinary mamamayan in our general public.
Following the shutdown, there was political finger pointing all around as who’s to blame for the fiasco. Tut-tut, can’t politicians get their acts together, for once, eh?
“Come mothers and fathers throughout the land, and don’t criticize what you can’t understand; your sons and your daughters are beyond your command, your old road is rapidly agin’; please get out of the new one if you can’t lend a hand, for the times they are a changin’. . .”
Such part of Dylan’s song, above, Ah begs to pout, or, majority of Cordillerans, lowlanders and Filipinos disagree. Ah is a hundred per cent sure.
Came Friday, Ah forgot about the ABS-CN issue. But a unique example why Filipinos disagree to said phrases of Dylan’s song loomed large that day when a friend phoned him.
His Caller was Albert Cheever, mestizo, with a Filipina mother and an American father. Flashback: ten years ago, Albert cared not what his parents told him; to study hard, first. He disobeyed and married early. He happened to marry, too, someone, hardheaded, as he was.
Now, both are lamenting for such disobedience. Their marriage is fraying. Albert said, “There are many times, I and my wife are taunted by our unraveling coils, we are not quite together. I mourn a dream (his parents telling him to study, first); she (his wife) grieves for what once was real (she heeded not her parents’ advice).”
“Sometimes,” Albert went on, “I’m upstairs in their house, my wife’s is down in the kitchen; our TV remains silent, our food untouched.”
“In bed,” Albert explained to Ah, that, “we’re unable to sleep, joined in our aloneness. . .”
Albert being Ah’s friend, Ah prays the couple begs forgiveness from their parents and come to terms with them.
It’s a lesson never too late for learning: never talk back at parents. Talk with them, listening profoundly.
“The line it is drawn; the curse it is cast, the slow one now will later be fast; As the present now will later be past; the order is rapidly fadin.’, And the first one now will later be last, for the times they are a-changin’.”
Having talked with Albert Friday, Ah went about his routine, when one from La Trinidad texted him Saturday, complaining she wasn’t included in amelioration list – or something like that to that effect and she, having headache and heartache about it, or something to that effect.
Ah grinned maliciously, with the thought, “Nasakit ta ulom, agraman ta bagbagim; ken nasakit pay nakem. Agpupudot ka ken agkeppet ta barukong. Di ka makaturog, nakamottaleng, nakapan-nimid, di makasau!”
“Ayna! Dagita ti sintomas nga dika nakaawat ti AYUDA ti gobierno!”