Huling Yakap ni Nanay Sonya

By Carlos Isagani T. Zarate

Namanhid na ang aking mga alaala:

mabilis na nag-agaw ang liwanag

at dilim sa aking gunita — sigaw

ng umalingawngaw na takot

at hambalos ng mainit na mga tingga!

Handa nang manibasib ang mga halimaw;

iwinawasiwas ang pabaong birtud ng poon!

Tanging sandata ay imbing mga kataga,

pananggalang ang mahigpit, mainit,

walang bitiw na mga yakap mo, Nanay!

Subalit sa pagitan ng isang kisapmata,

ang iyong mahigpit na yakap – ang tila pusod

na muling sa ati’y nag-ugnay, sa aki’y

nagbigay ng lakas at buhay — ay pinasabog

ng abuso, kahayupan at kalupitan!

Sa isang kisapmata, ang iyong humulagpos na yakap

at nabubuwal na hapong katawan aking nasilayan;

gusto kung sumigaw: ‘Wag mo akong bitawan, Nanay,

higpitan mo pa ang iyong mapag-aruga , mapag-adyang

mga yakap — labanan natin. Ang dilim!

caritaz. 21 disyembre 2020

(The poet is a third-term Bayan Muna Representative to the Philippine Congress)

Artwork by Aurelio Castro III (Used with permission)

“Basta” or why the RC Cola ad does not need your interpretation

By L.S. Mendizabal

I will not say how the ad goes because if you have been on social media the past week, you know the one. You’d also know that it has caused quite a stir among netizens with their reactions ranging from “Brilliant! Genius!” to “This is gross!” preceding an emoji that’s about to puke. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just google “RC Cola Commercial” and proceed at your own risk.

Full-blown reviews, analyses of and speculations about the ad have been circulating on Twitter and Facebook, and boy, are they some of the most entertaining, ridiculous things I’ve read in a while after Panelo’s speech for Duterte’s birthday. But what does the viral commercial really mean according to its creators? Gigil Advertising Agency co-founder Herbert Hernandez explains that they wanted to convey “a mother’s unconditional love.” “The mother poured her all for her [adopted] child. Even if they are not related, she loves him,” he says in an interview with ABS-CBN News. Um, okay.

Some who actually adopted or were adopted didn’t get this particular message from the ad, saying that it made a joke out of the social stigma that comes with adoption, with others also pointing out an undercurrent of colorism in it (the adopted kid was portrayed by someone with darker complexion and textured curly hair). I happen to think that being offended by this commercial is completely valid and inevitable. Clearly, the ad, despite what its creators may tell us, was designed to shock, provoke discussion, possibly enrage some people and generally sell the product. Whether we like it or not, it has succeeded in its objectives. We probably won’t be able to look at a bottle of RC Cola (and our mothers) the same way ever again. And I bet more households are now going to be reminded of it come merienda time. With its lower selling price compared to its competitors’, why not?

Then again, why do people drink soda, instant coffee or beer in the first place? Why do we have to choose from a hundred brands of canned food? Why do we whiten our teeth—and as a matter of fact, everything—or want the next technology in phones and cars? The commercial’s tagline, “Basta!” seems to justify all our “needs” as dictated by consumerism.

The viral ad and other bizarre TV commercials of late bring fetishism of commodities here in the Philippines to the next level, a whole genre of the ludicrous and the occasionally disturbing. Expect more “shockvertising” and rage marketing in the coming months, akin to popular TVCs in Japan and Thailand. Fresher, more creative, out-of-the-box ideas will flourish and compete for our money in exchange for products we don’t even need.

Since most of the advertising these days is online, middle class Generation Z seems to be the biggest target audience. These kids practically rule the Internet, sharing memes, trolling one another, engaging in online “bardagulan,” and some such. There’s no limit to the weirdness they are capable of absorbing. After all, this is the generation that invented “Hakdog,” an expression that means literally nothing and merits no logical explanation.

It seems that the joke is lost on those who dare read deeper meanings into the RC Cola ad. We are so taken aback by its graphic, horror-like qualities that we fail to see the sexism in traditional, more visually pleasant TVCs where it’s suggested that a mother should aspire to smile all the time in the midst of hardships, immaculate in appearance, her hair perfectly coifed, always at her husband and children’s beck and call; or the exploitation in ads that depict farmers and workers creating their products to be absolutely blissful beings, thanks to good ol’ Filipino spirit of resilience and an optimistic Eraserheads song playing in the background.

Sex and sexism sell, so does resilience porn. Surrealism seems to be the next frontier for local advertising. I’d be lying if I said that the RC Cola ad’s irrational dark humor didn’t make me laugh. But more importantly, it also gives me hope that we are indeed at the cusp of the dying of late capitalism. Ah, basta! #


Abellon, B. (2020). “From the makers of the viral RC Cola ad”. ABS-CBN News. Retrieved from

Cruz, A. (2020). “Some netizens think RC Cola’s new ad is insensitive”. Retrieved from

A new and novel way indeed – and heed

from HBC’s The InComplete Sonnets

(Sonnet based on this Kodao news report: As floods devastate Luzon, cellphone load becomes disaster relief)

a new and novel way indeed – and heed
this well – for in the face of tragic signs
one can well count on some within the breed
who find flood victims in their helpless lines.

some offer cellphone load, it's quite relief
this, one way there to help beyond a doubt
the typhoon victims down, down in their grief
from nasty blasting typhoon's* ruthless clout.

one offered fifty pesos worth of load,
of cellular load to the ones in need
within his own community** – a broad
phrase that could help the ones in piteous bleed.

alive the bayanihan spirit is
which puts community in heights of bliss.

= = = = = =

*Ulysses, the 21st to hit the Philippines this year.

**Michael Ramos Pagulayan has offered to send P50worth of cellular load to those who need them in his home community of Auitan, San Pablo, Isabela.1625-1632; Nov. 14, 2020, Saturday.

Isang Buwan

Ni Katrina Yamzon

hindi ko tutularan ang buwan
na makikipagtalik lamang
sa bawat mong takipsilim
at sisiping sa kumot ng iyong dilim.

hindi ako magiging wangis ng buwan
na nagkukubli sa kaulapan
sa panahong ika’y tumatangis
at nagbubuhos ng luha’t hinagpis.

hindi ako magiging wangis ng buwan
na nagkukubli sa kaulapan
sa panahong ika’y tumatangis
at nagbubuhos ng luha’t hinagpis.

hindi ako kailanman magiging buwan
na sa iyo’y pumapanaw
na sa iyo’y lilisan
Sa pagdating ng araw.


Ni George Tumaob Calaor

Pandemyang tinagurian

banta sa kalusugan

at upang ito ay malabanan

palakasin at resistensya’t pangangatawan.

Ngunit ano itong ginawa ng gobyerno?!

sa kaka-lockdown, kabuhayan nami’y gumuho

nawalan ng trabaho ay libo-libo

at mga empresa’y nagsasarado

sa aming mga bahay, kami ay binilanggo

komunidad pinarondahan, nakangising bayarang berdugo

sa gutom at kadalitaan, kami ay iginupo!

“Wala na tayong pondo…” mangiyak-ngiyak na sinabi mo

‘di ba’t sabi mo… “Ako ang bahala…” at kami ay umasa sa iyo

‘ba’t ngayon kriminal, sa amin ang iyong trato

kung sa tuwing lockdown ay otrokratiko’t militarista mong isugo

kami sa takot ay tatakas at tatakbo

at sa gutom kami ay iyong igugupo

na mas nakakamatay pa sa COVID-19/SARSCOV2!

Uulitin ko…

“Wala na tayong pondo…” mangiyak-ngiyak na sinabi mo

at kami naman naawa sa iyo

nguni’t ‘yon pala ay luha ng panloloko

at bilyon-bilyon ang kinokorap ninyong pondo!

Habang heto kami’t gutom at dalitang buong dahas mong iginupo

O ‘di kaya ay kriminal mong ipinapatugis sa bayaran mong berdugo!

‘Di ba’t mas nakakagimbal pa sa pandemyang COVID-19/SARSCOV2?!


(Alay kay Ka Eb Montes)

Ni Fabian G. Hallig

Akala ko libangan lang ang hilig mo sa pagpadyak

Dibersyon sa pagkabagot at hinaharap na problema

Hersisyong pangkatawang sa isip din ay pampatalas

Sinisikap pag-ugmain galaw ng bisig at paa

Subali’t para sa iyo’y hindi lang ganyan ang layon mo

Kundi paglingkurin ito sa pagtupad ng tungkulin

Matalino mong pinag-ugnay bisikleta’t aktibismo

Pandayan ng teorya’t praktikang nagsisilbi sa simulain

Sa bisikleta mo inaaral ang siyensya ng paggalaw

Ang ugnayan ng bagay-bagay at pangyayari sa paligid

Ang koordinasyon ng makina at pisikal na katawan

Kung kailan liliko, hihinto at muling bubuwelong mabilis

Di mo alintana ang pitig ng pagod na mga binti

Ang ngalay na mga braso’t kamay habang iyong tinatahak

Landas na palayo sa pugad ng mga buwayang kati

Na tinakasan na ng konsyensya habang nagpapakabundat

Ginto sa’yo bawa’t saglit na ginugugol sa pagmumulat

Sa pag-oorganisa’t pagpapakilos ng mga guro ng bayan

Mga masa at aktibistang sa Inang Bayan ay lumiyag

Namanatang maglilingkod sa guro at sambayanan

Mahalaga rin para saiyo ang gamit mong bisikleta

Batid mong bawa’t pagpadyak pag-usad ng kasaysayan

Ng pagsulong ng kilusang guro at ng malawak na masa

Tungo sa tunay na pagbabagong hangad ng buong sambayanan.



ni George Tumaob Calaor

Sila ngayon ay dagat

at pangalan nila ay

tinanghal na mga


habang ang pasista

ay naghuhugas–binubura

sa kanyang mga kamay

ang bahid ng pagkapusakal s

a berdugo niyang pagpakitil

sa inyong hininga

hustisya ay buong galit

at paghihimagsik

na binabatingaw!

Kaba ng kaduwagan

sa bituka ng may sala

ay along kumukulo!

Balisa ang kaaway!

Kagapian ang idinidighay!

Sila ngayon ay hangin…

alab na sumasantik

sa lawak ng karagatan

upang sa dalampasigan

ay ihalik ng buong hampas

ang udyok ng patuloy na paglaban!

Gapiin ang kaaway!

Berdugo ay wala nang kubling


Sila ngayon ay lupa…

kumakandong sa dagundong

ikinukubkob ng kabundukan

sa buong lawak ng kapatagan!

Hukay na ang libingang

sa pasista ay inilaan

at uod na lalamon

sa kanyang lamang

ganid ay taba ng pagkahaman…

ay buong gutom

at paglalaway

na nilang


ngatngatin siksikin

ng sagad pa kasagaran

sa mga butong kalansay

ng kataksilan

at bungong

utak ay kalawang

ng karahasan—

buong namnam

nilang sisimutin

hanggat diktadurya ng pasismo

ay mawalan na ng saysay!

Sila ngayon ay apoy…

liyab ng pagdiriwang!

Ilang hakbang na lang

at pagtapos ng sigwa!

Buhay ay mananagana

sa lubos na paglaya!

Walang uring sinasamba!

Sila ngayon ay…





pagtapos ng sigwa!

Hayaan nating manariwa

sa ating kaisipan

ang kanilang kadakilaan

at kagitingan…

tapang ng kanilang paghihimagsik

nang takot ay walang tibok

na masisiksikan sa ating dibdib at…

pagtapos ng sigwa!

Paglaya ay lubusang mananalisay


“But sadly, the more good you do for your fellow Filipinos in this country, the sooner you get to your grave.” Mae Paner

by Pablo Tariman

She could have been my daughter

Or a neighbor’s sister.

Who would think of even

Killing her Monday night

On her way to a boarding house?

She is a church worker

And mother of an 11-year old girl.

How do you break the sad news

Of her mother’s death

And the bullets that riddled

Her young body?

She could have been a good teacher

In any rural school.

But she chose to live

With farm hands

Living an exploited life.

To her

There is more nobility

With just being

The voice of courage

In a hungry, poverty-driven milieu

But life has better things

To teach her.

She found strength

Just living with the poor

And finding ways to empower them.

She knew she had it coming

When she lived a life

Inside detention cell

For two hapless years of her life.

It was then that

She learned to fear no one

While coping with death threats

In the remaining days

Of her life.

She probably drew fortitude

From the death

Of constituents

Whose lives also ended

Biting cold bullets

In their last working day

On earth.

She didn’t fear

The state’s death squad

Inspired by a leader

Caught showing a dirty finger

On national television

On the day her life ended

With a rain of bullets.

I cannot imagine

How her daughter’s life

Would proceed without her.

Gone are the motherly nights

When she’d find courage

Just reading stories

To her dear little one

Still hopeful

For a better day.

She has remained

A profile of courage

Even as she has lost count

Of more dead friends

Waging a good fight

In the countryside.

I like her brand of courage

And the nobility of her mission

Which you cannot say

Of that mad man

Running this country.

Not even the deadly virus

And threats of bullets

Could stop her

From finding strength and solidarity

With her exploited people.

She will find tears useless

On the day her coffin

Is lowered to her modest grave.

To be sure

She can use roses

Falling on her coffin.

The gentle thud of soil

Falling on her grave

Is enough to remind one and all:

She lived a brave struggle

Even during the dark days

Of the deadly virus

And of a brand of leadership

That has gone down

In such state of disrepute.


Her bravery was one of a kind.

And her name was Zara Alvarez.

* * *


(Alay kay Zara Alvarez)

Ni George Tumaob Calaor

Basa pa sa dugo

ni Ka Randall

ang iyong

mga kamay

labi niyay kamakailan lang hinimlay.

ngunit hayan!

Si Ka Zara naman

ang iyong pinaslang!

Oo nga’t muling magluluksa’t

hihibik ang Inang Bayan

at sa luhang

kanyang ipapatak

sa bawat buhay

na marahas mong

ibinaon sa hukay

ng pagkaganid mo’t


sa kapangyarihan

buntis na magluluwal

ang kanilang mga burol

sa daang libong mga kawal…

hustisya ay buong giting kakamitin!

At mula sa trono ng diktadurya mong

nanlilimahid sa dahas ng pagkapasista

paghahari mo ay mabubuwal!

Laya ng Bayan ay lubos nang itatanghal!

Buhay dakila

Bigo ang

mga pusakal

matapos dambahin ng

duwag na salarin at

hablutin ang kanyang


Muli nilang itinakas

ang walang buhay

na katawan at

hiningang nilagas

ng bala at


Sa paga-aakalang

nasa kalamnan nito

ang husay at yaman

ng prinsipyong

umuugnay sa dibdib

ng walang tinig

at karaniwan.


ang bukal ng talino,

ay isa lamang tiningkal

na lupa sa gitna,

ng nag-aalimpuyong

init ng araw

sa kanayunan.

Humahalakhak na

sinaklot ang hininga,

sa pag-asang


mga sulatin ang paksa,

ay ugat at butil,

at liyab ng apoy.


ang mga hunghang!

na sa pagkitil,

sadyang maagaw din

ang bukal ng yaman

mayron si

ka Randy.

Ibarra Banaag

Agosto 12, 2020