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tec sanchez-tolosa
tec sanchez-tolosa EKU PANG-Valentine's Day.

Maluat ku nang balu ini, kanita pa mang i Marcos ing presidenti ning Pilipinas. Ali naman iniang mumuna nang pamanungkulan: eku pa pu makabayit kanita. Iniang bandang tawling ukdu ning kayang terminu, in the year before mig-people power, ita ing amanuan ko. I was a college sophomore, a science major in UP Diliman, that tree-lined sanctuary in the wilderness of Metro Manila. Dakal ku kakilala, atin kung mangalapit a kaluguran, nyamu ala kung Papa. Boyfriendless. Inia siyempre iniang datang ing Valentine's day, lonely. Reng kaluguran ku misusumangid, mamitbit lang bouquets of roses na ali-aliwa kule: bagya ra pang adidiscover kanita reng magtinda ing mamabad rosas keng danum a mikululan food dye. Aside from the usual red and pink, atin nang roses in peach, varying shades of orange, fuchsia and apricot. (Aba iniang abalu ra, mewili ra: makasali na kang rosas a kule asul, lila, angga yatang matuling atin.) So miglakad kaming mikakaluguran king AS, dinisplay king Pavilion 4, mengan kami CASAA ketang gulut ning dating registrar's office, at king lamesa alus mangatambunan la kareng dadalan dang sampaga ampong mapilan a chocolate boxes. Aku, libru la reng bibitbitan ku.

Okay mu naman, makakaskup mung salu.

That early, I knew eke kapilanman mika-relasyun ning Valentine's Day. Ena kalupa ning Pasku, a pilan pamung duminggu bayu datang maliswas na kang magsadya kareng pagregalu, ing ilutu, ing isulud, reng bisita; o ing Bayung Banua, nung kapilan andyang tukuran mu na lang istik kasapuego reng talukap mung mata emu paburen mipatudtud ka. O kaya ing Maleldo: iniang anak kami patayi ra ke pang bayung imalan ban neng makipaglimbun neng Miyerkules ampong Biyernes Santo, masalese ke gayak. Mituag mu ing kegana-ganang porma potang munta na king puni, anake talik mangan syerbet ampong lelut.

All those other special days, I would wait for every passing year. With fervor and gusto. Pero ing Valentine's Day eya ginulis kaku. Wa epek.

Ali ku anti-love, no. At lalu kung ali anti-romance. Aku na yata ing peka-emote, peka-corny, peka-baduy na individual in my category when it comes to falling in love, falling out of love, secret love, friend-of-mine issues, right-love-at-the wrong-time chuva and kung anu-ano pang kadramahan. Atin kung maka-annex a love story keng balang kantang atatandanan ku from the eighties (which you would know very well by know as my kapanahunan) kaya emu ku man ayawus malangi. Ita mu pin, balamu ala kaku ing Valentine's Day.

Perhaps it is because I don't particularly buy the idea that on a certain day, kasilip ning masala, siglulu nong mamulayi reng lalaki ketang Dangwa para mamakyo rosas o sali ketang flower arrangement a peka-unique, peka-masanting, nung malyari peka-mal kareta ngang megawa. (Ana ping mamirung Daddy ko iniang mabie ya pa, e baling masanting ya, mal ya mu sana.) At detang babayi, anti la mong kimpasan, ana la kaamo, kaganaka, ka-receptive kareng talasuyu ra, with matching kurap-kurap ampong lagu-lagu. Ay kaligaya ra! Era balu, ing peka-maligaya ya pin itang magtindang sampaga a bayu pamu alas nuwebe ning abak doble-doble na ing tinubu na.

I know that at this point I am sounding extremely cynical, but wait, there's a point in this somewhere.

Balamu mu ali natural itang panga-agnan agnan, o itang panga-"choreograph" da ring mangapalyari. You know, the works: flowers, chocolates, a cake maybe, dinner, wine, subtle seduction, and the rest of the way. Obat mo kelangan itang aldo o itang benging ita? O bakit mo dapat mag-celebrate? Bakit mika-conditioning, lalu neng mipapaglolo pamu o mitau, na potang ekayu linual Valentine's Day, balamu balewala ing kekayung relasyun?

Tabalu.

In my simple mind, love and romance cannot be like clockwork. E malyaring atin schedule. Potang piyadian, mababating ing excitement at mababawas ing kiliti. Para kaku dapat spontaneous. And so the mere act of getting dressed and glamming up on the same night as thousands of other couples drives away the fun for me— because it takes away the very impulsiveness of the initial attraction that in some undefined primal way brought the two of you together. Not to mention having to bear the long lines for parking and for dinner tables.

Balu ku, maragul ing pamiyaliwa ning bayu kayu pamung mitau ketang dakal na kayung banwang miyabe. In a budding relationship there are maybe things you feel you gotta do. Like splurge on an expensive dinner spread and dance into the night, with the hope that that defines or sparks the romance between you. But when the years go by and you grow unto and into each other, when you can read each other like your footstep, before you even make it, the definitions change. They become kinder, gentler, with a comforting sense of quiet. And so at twenty years together, it is just as romantic na patudturan lang maranun ding anak, maglantang telon o dase ketang A. garden/B. porch/C. terrace/D. bubung, manggigut butul pakwan o kaya mani, minum wine, kabang makatalanga kareng batwin king banwa. Kabang kailian yu la retang ngeni pamung alas diyes magumpisang mag-order hapunan. (Cheap, ara siguru ring aliwa, but hey, if you're the type who can afford to take quick lunches in Hongkong and be back home by midnight, no need to be defensive.) O kaya get each other covered in bubbles while you're washing the dinnerware by candlelight. It's a wonder, what these out-of-the-way fixes do. Ekayu mu papulmunya potang magluglug kayu.

Inia siguradu ku, eyu kami akit king February 14 mamangan king lual, o manerak somewhere. Eku pa balu nung nanung atin, o kapilan, o nung nukarin.

Basta ing balu ku, atin. And that's all I need to know.


[About the author. Tec Sanchez-Tolosa, MD is a full-blooded Kapampangan and a mother of three. A member of Pinoypoets since 2006, she is the author of the Kapampangan poetry collection "Ing Bie Kung Delanan, Ing Bie Kung Balikan (2006)." Some of her poems have been published in emanilapoetry and the online poetry journal Makata. While enrolled in her M.A. Creative Writing program, she was included in the anthology Sleepless in Manila. Tec is also a seasoned medical writer, with printed works in health publications and major dailies. She worked briefly with the ABS-CBN Foundation as a scriptwriter/researcher in the early stages of Sine'skwela. Raised in Manila and educated in St. Theresa's College during her formative years, she is a product of the University of the Philippines-Diliman, where she graduated with a B.S. in Biology. She later became a Doctor of Medicine and trained in diseases of the skin, hair and nails. She is now a Philippine Dermatological Society (PDS) Board-certified Dermatology specialist with an active practice in San Fernando, Pampanga and Quezon City.]

-Posted: 10:11 AM 2/13/08 | More of this author on eK!
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