Macananung Maniaman ing Apú?

Calabas na ning alus aduangpulung banua, atin na naman bingut quening bale.

Aganaca cu ing misan a pamitalamitan queng FB a migsamula queng cutang nang Apung Berung patungcul queng casebian a “maniaman ing apu queng tud.” (

‘Pamu ne, apu pa ing canacu, ali queng tud ne. Oneng uli’ng atiu mu rin quening bale i Tatang cu at maralas atiu queni ing Ima cu….ila ing maqui-apu queng tud canian.

Nung atin casebian a maniaman la reng apu queng tud, atin mu naman sabing maniaman la reng apu. Macananu pin a maniaman? Nanu uari lasa reng apu? Deng apu cacanan la, casi reng anac ali la?

Maniaman uari ing dusuldit cang miguiguising ning bengui ampo capita’ngang bengui uli’ng gagaga ing bingut? Maniaman ia uari ing e ca patugut manerac ampong magcanta uli’ng magbusit ing bingut at e bisang matudtud o atin iang masaquit?

Patie meili ampong sinagacgac ing apu, ‘guiang pauli ne mu ning queiang paninapan o reflexes, ada, oita ing maniaman. Patie maquibat ing apu queng labit mu, oita ing maniaman. Patie ing gamat na ning apu sinacmal ia queng malan mu bandang batal cabang matudtud, oita ing maniaman. Patie agad iang metudtud queng sinaguling terac ampong canta mu, oita ing maniaman. Patie pequiramdaman na ca queng paquisabi mung matudtud iang macabang baguia ban macatudtud ca naman a macaba, oita ing maniaman.

Ua, maniaman la pin. Anang caniaman babauan ing baung bingut. Anang caniaman panuman batal. Anang caniaman labit-labitan. Anang caniaman didiluan. Anang caniaman piterac-terac. Anang caniaman pamialungan.

Ua, maniaman la pin. Maniaman acaquit ing suli na ning quecang suli. Maniaman acaquit ing quecang pisulian panerac ampo pagcanta ne ing suli na ning quecang suli.

Ua, maniaman la pin. Maglapo queng tula ing pusu ning ápu. Maglapo queng lugud ing pusu ning ápu.

Ua, maiaman la pin. Lacuas na ing canacung apu. Uli’ng suli ne ning suli cu. Uli’ng mumuna queng apu.


On your 41st year as a Father, Daddy.

Among the hundreds of pictures we have together, Daddy, these two are what will always be my favorites.

Basing on the fuzzy images of the number of candles on the cakes, we were celebrating my second or third birthday on the right photo and your birthday on the left one.

Except for those pictures taken during my infancy, I always remember a background story or at the very least, a tidbit, for all the pictures that we have. But for these two pictures, there is nothing.

Despite the absence of any concrete memory, these pictures blanket me with the warmth of the unique love shared by fathers and daughters. These pictures symbolize the time of innocence.

I wished we travelled a normal path. I wished you showed that you are indeed my hero. I wished your love for me never changed. I wished that despite any and every thing that happened in your marriage, you never changed towards us, your daughters.

But then, as they say, all is water under the bridge. We all are still here. We survived. And just like a circle, we’re all together again. But it’s different this time. Blinders are all off. We’re all older and you’re the one in need of care.

I prayed and prayed that you can finally attain contentment and peace. That you finally see that what you have is enough. That you finally realize that you have gone far from your not so desirable past. That you finally accept that you are blessed. But despite your sickness, I do not think nor feel you have achieved any of those.

Half of my blood and flesh came from you but I will never forsake nor leave you. For family and loved ones, I will sacrifice my life and my soul. For me, blood will always be blood and flesh will always be flesh. And that is where our difference lies.

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A Personal Celebration of Womanhood

Never was I comfortable in being a female. Always have been a tomboy. Never went for feminine pursuits and activities. Never was patient with beauty products and beauty care. My mom has that world down pat and I never followed in her footsteps. Hell do I care if I cannot and do not present myself as physically attractive as I can be with the help of present-day cosmetics.

I never was comfortable too in accepting compliments. I take them all with a grain of salt. I know myself, I always say, and what they say are things I know aren’t all that true.

But the past few years, I have learned more about myself. I have learned to accept who I am as a woman and as an individual. Not just the go-to of every single family member and the glue who keeps everyone together and afloat.

I am me. An individual. A woman. I am neither beautiful nor sexy per society’s standards but I know I am attractive in my own way – physically, intellectually, and emotionally.

Good thing I never had daughters, I would have failed them in their development and view of femininity.

Cheers to womanhood and individuality.

Profile Picture

Mothers, how would you feel when your 19 year old son use as a Facebook profile picture a picture of the both of you? The teenager has a girlfriend and yet he chose to use your picture instead of the two of them together. Sans egging. Sans suggesting. No tags. No words. No clues. Simply just so.


Me, I was floored. I bathed in the warm glow of motherhood. Times like this, I guess I really did something right, after all.

He has always been the sweetly demonstrative one. It is a family joke that the eldest is my mother’s favorite, that the middle son is mine’s, and the youngest is his dad’s. Although I tried my best to never show any favoritism among them because they all are my sons and I love them all equally, I am realistic enough to know that closeness will invariably be viewed as favoritism.

Of the three, it is only him who didn’t seem to have gone through the “am not a kid anymore, mom, it’s embarassing” phase. It is natural for him to put his arm around me or hug me even in public. It is natural for him when we’re dining out to bring his food-laden fork or spoon to my lips.

Yes, everyone is different. Even with the same set of rules we parents implement equally to all our children, even with the same set of values we impart to our children, all of them will grow up differently and be their own unique person. But of course, experiences will always vary among them. Their own view of the past activities and happenings will always be different however much we, the parents, try our hardest to make them all see them in the same way.

Maybe there really is some truth to that age-old belief in breastfeeding – that it bonds the mother and the child much better than bottle-feeding.

Of the three, it is only him who I managed to breastfeed almost exclusively for more than a year. The youngest got to breastfeed for a few weeks but the eldest never due to some health restrictions. Of the three, he was the one born with the biggest head and chest circumference and the longest. Currently, he is the tallest at 5’11”.

Emotionally, he is also the most open and vocal. He never had much of a hung up in sharing his feelings with me and my sister. I do not think he is a Mama’s boy, just like the other two but yes, all of them are much closer to me than their father.

With those attributes, he would of course be seemingly more close to me compared with the other two. But they are all equal for me. I hope that in their hearts of hearts they know that.

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Kapampangan Identity

On a supposedly full day, while having my morning coffee under my macopa tree, my fingers typed “Tantingco, Kapampangan” on Google. I guess, in an unconscious way, I wanted to reread Robby Tantingco’s past Peanut Gallery articles about Kapampangans because in a few days, I’ll be starting the process of establishing a residence away from Indung Kapampangan.

I fell in love with the sea. If it weren’t for that large body of water which is just but a few steps away from the family’s residential lot, that province will not have captured my fascination.

I never tire of hearing the crashing of the waves on the shore. But I constantly longed for the sound of the Kapampangan language.

I never tire of staring at the vast expanse of the water. But I constantly longed for a glimpse of Mount Arayat.

I wasn’t born here thus Pampanga is not my Indung Ibatan (land of birth). I did not grow up here thus it is not my Indung Tibuan (land where one grew up). I started to learn the language during my late teens thus it is not my Amanung Sisuan (suckled language/mother tongue).

But I am Kapampangan. My heart and my soul is Kapampangan. Reading the written Kapampangan and reading about Kapampangans and Pampanga makes my heart swell with love and pride. Always.

I am not very fluent in Kapampangan and my thought processes are mostly still stuck in English but the desire to fully express myself using the Kapampangan language is always uppermost which results in my code mixing for I oftentimes find myself not knowing the appropriate words in Kapampangan that will fully convey what the English words that my brain comes up with.

I know and I feel that I will never be seen or accepted as a real Kapampangan by real Kapampangans. I do not really belong. I am simply someone who came here, lived here, built a family here, and learned the language. I guess some may say it doesn’t matter but in my hearts of hearts, I still get hurt during those instances of intended or unintended ‘snubs.’

More than half of my life I have spent cradled in the arms of Indung Kapampangan but I still am referred to by some as “Itang Tagalug a mapaninglis.” I only said ‘”thanks” after I received what I was buying plus my change from the store owner. It happened more than two decades ago. It happened during my first few weeks in this province.

It hurts when I am still addressed in Tagalog even if I reply to them in complete Kapampangan sentences. And when I use a Kapampangan word that has been dropped in modern everyday use in lieu of a Tagalog word that has been adapted to sound like Kapampangan, I get strange looks and told off in using such a deep word.

Those instances make me question my own love for their Amanung Sisuan. Who am I to care more for their language? It hurts more and makes me question myself more when things like that happen and the participants are people who are close to me and I consider family.

Tantingco said in one of his articles, “Kapampangan is a cultural, not political, term. You can’t call yourself Kapampangan just because you vote in Pampanga or you pay your taxes in Pampanga. You are Kapampangan because that’s what you are and what your ancestors were, regardless of the historical circumstances that rearranged the borders of the province and separated you from it.”

I am Kapampangan because that is what I feel I am. I am Kapampangan because Pampanga is my home. I am Kapampangan because I carry the blood of my maternal grandfather who was a full-blooded Kapampangan. I am Kapampangan no matter where I may go or whatever language I may use or what the majority of my blood is.

Pusu’t caladdua cu, Capampangan cu. (In my heart and in my soul, I am Kapampangan.

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Amanung Sisuan, roughly translates to suckled language. I did not suckle the Kapampangan language, nor the Tagalog nor the Sugbuanon languages. I suckled English. I lived and breathed English and it is the language my thought processes use, even now. Therefore, am not a Kapampangan. Nor am I a Tagalog nor a Sugbuanon, if language is the sole parameter.

Indung Tibuan roughly translates to motherland, the land where one grew up; Indung Ibatan, the land where one came from, land of birth. I was born in Manila. I grew up in Manila, Caloocan and Marikina. Therefore, Pampanga is not my Indung Tibuan, if that is the sole parameter.

Daiang Asu, a phrase which refers to Kapampangans, literally translates to dog’s blood. By blood, am a mongrel. The simpliest division of my blood goes, a fourth is Bulaqueña, another fourth is Kapampangan, and half is Sugbuanon. If blood is the sole parameter, then I am more of a Sugbuanon than a Kapampangan.

My heart and soul say I am Kapampangan, but I cannot claim “Amanu cung Sisuan” or “Indu cung Tibuan/Ibatan.”

I will spend a lot of time in Cebu in the very near future and thus will learn Sugbuanon. But I know that I will not feel for Sugbuanon and Sugbu what I have felt and am feeling for Amanung Sisuan and Indung Capampangan.

I have lived in Apunan, Concepcion, Tarlac. I have lived in the boundary of Malolos and Paombong in Bulacan. I have also lived, briefly, in a sitio in San Marcelino, Zambales. Then Porac, Pampanga where I decided that the transfers end here.

I immediately took a liking for the land. I learned the language quickly. I did not experience much difficulty in reading and writing it. It felt like coming home.

I started a family here. My sons were all born and bred here. Pampanga is the only place they have ever lived in. Kapampangan is the language in which I brought them up with. Thus, Pampanga is their Indung Tibuan and Kapampangan is their Amanung Sisuan. At least, I gave them something and somewhere to belong to. Unlike me who feels like a mongrel.

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I marked my forty-first year of existence yesterday unusually. Spending it away from my immediate family is in itself, is a highly unusual event.

I was supposed to welcome the sunrise by the sea and wait for the start of the Triathlon. But as it turned out, I not only missed the sunrise but also the first part of the event, swimming. I did not watch the awarding at noon, I only listened to it while staring out at the sea.

My whole afternoon and early evening was spent in a wake. An aunt on my father’s side passed away. Technically, she is my great-aunt because she was a first degree cousin of my father’s mother. But I grew up knowing her as a sister of an uncle thus an aunt.

Although I grew up hearing her name ans stories about her, I only met her personally last year.  She reminded me so much of her mother. In my heart and my mind, her mother was more of a grandmother to me than my own father’s mother. Although the time I spent with her mother was far and few between, in my child’s heart and mind, she was what a grandmother should be. She was like my mother’s mother. Thus when I met my aunt, I think some transference took place.

Am planning to transfer here in Cebu, at the least, spend a big chunk of my time, but the only two people who were a part of my childhood have passed away recently. They are my links to my Cebuano/Dalaguetnon ancestry. My own father and grandmother never talked much of the past and never encouraged me to visit their birthplace. Those two people are the only ones who I feel a kinship for. They are the ones whom I feel I can connect with, with no pretensions and artifice.

Aside from my sister, sons and husband, two other people made me feel that my day was really special. One made me feel special only in my mind and another brought tears to my eyes.

All in all, it wasn’t a bad marking of birth. So on to the nine-year countdown for the half century mark. Then am all ready to expire and be cremated.

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