Easter: The Sunday of Sundays

Happy Easter!”

Easter Sunday Beach Fun

(Easter Sunday Pun and Fun)

the Sunday
between crucifixion
and resurrection

the Sunday
between week holy
and weak wholly

the Sunday
between fast and feast
between pray and play

the Sunday
between gloom and gleam
between thin and thick

the Sunday
of unions and reunions
hidden eggs and bidden legs
on crowded beaches


the Sunday
leave and heave
vacation and occupation.

© Chito L. Aguilar
“Shifting Shades and In-betweens”


Vanishing Point

All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”
– Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849), U.S. poet and writer

We subsist in perpetual perspective; never reaching the vanishing point.


there is one dot of convergence –
a spot always somewhere ahead,
our ultimate goal.

we subsist in perpetual perspective;
never reaching the vanishing point
though we move farther
and farther to the fore

in pursuit of that goal elusive –

a speck virtual,
of shifting shades,
in the horizon of dreams.

our dream, we may not attain.
but we are reminded
of a beacon beckoning
from a Supreme Junction

where all matters vanish,
where all dreams converge!

(horizontal line is between sea and sky.
vanishing point is between lea and eye.)

 – between line and point is position.
– between point and line is location.

© Chito L. Aguilar


The glamour of childish days is upon me,
My manhood is cast down in the flood of remembrance,
I weep like a child for the past”
– D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930), British writer

Remembering & Forgetting

images of years gone by –
snap shots in series;
a slideshow in this theater called Life.

fleeting moments fly
floating butterfly;

gone to soon, yet, remain
in Time
in thought,

in remembrance.

yesterday and today
are memories.

today and tomorrow
are dreams.)

– existence
is between
memories and dreams

© Chito L. Aguilar

Amidst Underwater Currents

Leadership should serve by example…
Public servants are meant to serve,
not to be served.”
– Jesse M. Robredo, DILG Secretary

Jesse M. Robredo

(In Memoriam: Jesse M. Robredo, 1958-2012)

He was a good man. A good Secretary he was.
We lost him.

The crippled plane plunged into the deep wavy sea.
Amidst the underwater currents in that murky abyss,
he left a clear, enduring legacy supreme in his time.

He walked a straight path.

A champion of the masses, he was loved by
his people, valued by colleagues and friends
and reviled by political foes who loathed his solid
doctrines of good governance, honesty and integrity.

He walked his talk.

He was our youngest city mayor, serving for 19 long years
with untainted tenure as public servant. He was simple, kind
and dedicated; approachable but candid and straightforward.
He breathed fresh air, blowing away traditional politics in his turf;
and diligently bailed his city from sickbed to seedbed of growth.

He walked with national and local officials.

He worked to empower local governments, to make them competitive.
The streamlining and financial reforms he instituted cascaded from
national to local levels, carving his mark on a bureaucracy jaded
by patronage politics. He awarded exemplary government units with
the most-coveted ‘Seal of Excellence in Good Housekeeping’ (a reward
still unprecedented in the country); claiming no credits for himself.

He walked humbly despite laurels.

His academic achievements are laudable. And yet, he tempered
theory with practice and reached the pinnacle while keeping both
his feet firmly on ground. He reaped accolades and numerous awards.
He reached the corridors of power, walked with the President. But still,
no laurels and added feathers on his cap could ever really spoil him.
A very ideal father to his family, he always found time for them…

He walked and lived with principles.

His philosophy, values and ethics are beyond reproach.
He would have made more difference; done much more.
He would have lifted the constituency to higher levels,
leveraging on his undying dedication to serve our people.

He walked the distance.

He trekked the straight road which erring public officials shun.
May others in his suit follow his footprints and live his example.
May his passing reiterate the ideals of public service in these
most critical, difficult times when we find ourselves challenged,
amidst the underwater currents of a nation groping for deliverance.

He walked with us …

… and doing his job, he flew to his death.

Dios mabalos, Jesse!

© 2012 Chito L. Aguilar


Jesse Manalastas Robredo (May 27, 1958 – August 18, 2012) was a Filipino statesman who served as Secretary of the Interior and Local Government in the administration of President Benigno Aquino III from 2010 to until his death in 2012. Robredo was a member of the Liberal Party.

Beginning in 1988, Robredo served six terms as Mayor of Naga City in Camarines Sur. In recognition of his achievements as Naga City mayor, Robredo was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service in 2000, the first Filipino mayor so honored. He was appointed to the Cabinet of President Aquino in July 2010.

On August 18, 2012 (PHT), the Piper PA-34-200 Seneca I aircraft (registered RP-C4431) carrying Secretary Robredo crashed off the shore of Masbate City. He was scheduled to go home and watch his daughter’s swimming competition in Naga City. The Philippine Department of Interior and Local Government said that the pilot sent a distress call to the Masbate airport requesting an emergency landing. The plane never made it to the airport and crashed in the sea. His body was retrieved three days later, August 21, at 800 meters from the shore and 180 feet below sea level.

from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesse_Robredo

Death Row, Cell 36

Capital punishment:
them without the capital get the punishment.”
Executed in electric chair, Florida.
– John Spenkelink, d. May 25, 1979

(A death convict’s last thoughts
before the execution)

within this choking confine
i hear the mocking chime
of clock marking time.

beyond this four-cornered concrete cracking,
locks clanking like blades of grass gnashing,
like swords clashing, like glass crashing.

these iron bars:
brothers to my scars
and tattoos myriad as stars –

gaping teeth of devil’s mold grinning;
round bars, cold to hold,
frigid and rigid,

in me, a mocky reproach seeping,
even as I see a cocky cockroach creeping,
from my cracked couch, peeping.

i see
the shifting shades of Life fading;

i hear
the lulling voice of Death…

… calling.

– between liberty and death is verdict.

© 2005 Chito L. Aguilar

Iron Bars: Brothers to my scars and tattoos myriad as stars.

Footprints on the Wall

Hence, I must move on
As I leave my own footprints
In the sands of earth…
… on the Shore of Time
… on the Wall of Life!”
-Chito L. Aguilar

(a Haiku string)

Footprints on the wall
What kind of fool left them there?
Pray, do tell me why

What kind of artist
Made this wall his art’s canvass?
Pray, shed me some light

I felt uneasy
Upon seeing such a mess
On wall of the mall

Unlike those on sand
No waves can wash them away
Shall I wipe them out?

Then I realized
These footprints left on the wall
Were meant to be there

The fool who made them
Never really intended
To provoke a thought

Perhaps he just meant
To soil the wall, leave his mark
(The vandal in him…)

(The artist in him…)
May have found reason profound
To leave a message –

Those footprints were meant
For us; to remind us all
To ponder our own

We make our own prints
On the constant Wall of Life
As we journey on

The footprints we leave
As we move from firm to frail:
Indelible marks!

Hence, I must move on
As I leave my own footprints
In the sands of earth…

… on the Shore of Time
… on the Wall of Life!

© 2012 Chito L. Aguilar

Bottled Misery

I am not now in fortune’s power:
He that is down can fall no lower.”
– Samuel Butler (1612 -1680), English satirist

Rich & Poor
Cashful Machine & Cashless Human
ATMs: Automated Teller Machine & A Tramp Man

(Booze Abuse, Liquor Rancor)

bitter anguish of pilsen ordeal…
denatured agony of alcohol distress…
distilled torture of bottled misery…
pale rage of brewed fury…

… ahh, this infuriating hang-over!

is it not perplexing how men
time and again turn to drink
despite misery from pilsen
and liquors that reek or stink?

is it not confounding why men
love to raise goblets in toast
in reckless, wanton abuse, when
sooner their livers will roast?

– between
clink and stink
is drink.

– between
sober and somber
is hang-over.

(c) 2004 Chito L. Aguilar

Voice of Parish: Vice & Virtue

Photos copyright (c) 2012 by Chito L. Aguilar

The Pili Nut of Bicol, Philippines: “In a nutshell, it’s perfect!”

I. About the Product (Pili)

The Pili Nut has the flavor of pumpkin seed when raw, and takes on an entirely different identity when roasted. It is soft yet crisp, with an easy crunch that surprisingly melts in your mouth, making it a favorite snack food among Filipinos. The same delighted acceptance is true even in other countries that have already obtained the nut as an imported staple.

Raw Pili Fruit

Harvested Mature Pili Fruits

With global tastes now putting a premium on much healthier edibles, and with the insistent clamor for new snacking alternatives, the world market is more than ready to welcome the Pili Nut among its gamut of highly-valued food products.

II. About the Philippines and the Bicol Region

The Philippines is a 100-million-strong agri-marine nation enjoying the manifold gifts of its archipelagic ecosystems. Given this richness and diversity of natural resources, the Filipino foodscape is characterized by very unique yet abundantly available products and delicacies, a number of which are not found elsewhere in the planet.

The Pili Nut can be spotted in bushes across tropical Asia and other Pacific islands, but the ones grown in the Bicol Region, southeastern end of the Philippine island of Luzon, are acknowledged as the best-tasting yet. And why ever not; the region is where the best variables for growing Pili converge. This part of the country’s climate, soil and strategic location combine to lend the best conducive environment for the pili to grow well.

Home to at least five active volcanoes – one of which is the perfect-coned and world-admired Mayon Volcano – Bicol’s land is a fecund mix of volcanic soil and generous rainfall. That typhoons regularly pass through the region does not even pose a problem to Bicolano Pili growers, as the Pili Tree is known as a “stress tree”, that is, the more it is shaken and beaten by storms, the more it blooms and bears better fruit.

The Philippines is the only country capable of the commercial production and processing of Pili-based food and by-products, with Bicol supplying 80% of the total output volume.

III. About the Pili industry

Most Pili farmers attest to the fact that the Pili is a low-maintenance crop. It only needs pruning from time to time, requiring minimal fertilizers, or even none at all. Native species that grow as tall as coconut trees would yield its first fruits after five years; grafted trees, shorter therefore safer for barefooted harvesters who climb them, start bearing fruit in three years.

The Pili Kernel inside Shell/ Pulp

The Pili Nut

Workers in the industry are predominantly female (58%); they handle the cleaning, cooking, and packing stages in processing Pili Nuts. The male workers (42%) are mainly in charge of harvest, delivery, and de-shelling, the last being an anecdote in itself.

De-shelling a Pili Nut is an epic case of Man versus Machine, where Man refreshingly wins. Pili deshelling machines are not quite successful as they do crush the extremely hard, bony shell, but unfortunately tend to crush the precious kernel as well, in statistics too high for commercial viability.

Retrieving a perfect Pili kernel requires precision only human hands can deliver; this is easily due to the centuries-old tradition of Pili-cracking, enough practice to beat any machine. The Bicolanos call the process pagtilad – cracking the tough nut using a bolo, with unbelievably rhythmic, graceful and accurate whacking. A paratilad expert could easily slice through the thick, hardwood-esque Pili shells, and finish 100 kilograms in a day’s work.

Manual deshelling: Faster than Machine nut-cracker

Cooking Pili Nut Kernels

The Pili Nut and its by-products have a steadily growing market in the United States, Middle East, Hongkong and China. The Philippines also exports Pili products to countries such as Japan, Germany, France, Great Britain, and in Hawaii.

IV. Applications of Pili Nut

The pulp of the Pili fruit is eaten as a vegetable. Blanched in hot water for about three minutes, it is perfect for salads, or simply dipped in fish sauce for that tangy kick.

But the most important part of the Pili Nut is its kernel. With its testa stripped off, it is a slender, yellowish-white core. The kernel is the raw material used in various recipes.

Cooked Pili Kernels

Enjoying a significant share of the foreign food market are Pili sweets, pastries, and exotically-flavoured variants. Some examples are

· Crispy Pili, with a very thin sugar coat
· Honey-glazed Pili
· Pili with Sea salt
· Plain roasted Pili
· Mazapan de Pili, tarts, cakes, etc.

The kernel and the pulp are excellent sources of oil, used for baking, cooking or cuisine.The Pili tree sap, known around the world as the Manila Elemi, has a cool, zesty scent that is favoured for perfumes and aromatherapy oils.

The tree’s wood, meanwhile, is carved as furniture or home décor.

And the legendary hard shell, formerly only used as fuel, is now being transformed into nature-inspired fashion accessories, such as necklaces, earrings and bracelets.

Tribute to Mama on Mother’s Day

For me, a line from mother
is more efficacious than all the homilies
preached in Lent.”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 -1882)

(mother of six,
widow, retired teacher,
grandma, great-grandma)

exactly how right can I write about you?
the script may just do no justice to you
clear words as the pure morning dew for you
equal with no woman, one and only you.

the elves in my childhood, you did banish
my ghosts in adulthood, you admonish
between me and my forfeits, you keep watch
and between me and my feats, you’re in touch.

time I would not know ‘til it to me you brought
earth would not be home ‘til it for me you sought
reason would not be mine ‘til it to me you taught
and, life would not be so ‘til it for me you bought.

– between
girlhood and motherhood
are hurdles withstood.

– between
motherhood and grand-motherhood
is growing brood.

(c) 2004 Chito L. Aguilar

Mama and Me in 1958

MAMA: mother of six, widow, retired teacher, grandma & great-grandma

exactly how right can I write about you?
the script may just do no justice to you
clear words as the pure morning dew for you
equal with no woman, one and only you.

the elves in my childhood, you did banish
my ghosts in adulthood, you admonish
between me and my forfeits, you keep watch
and between me and my feats, you’re in touch.

time I would not know ‘til it to me you brought
earth would not be home ‘til it for me you sought
reason would not be mine ‘til it to me you taught
and, life would not be so ‘til it for me you bought.
(c) 2004 Chito L. Aguilar

Photos taken by my uncle in 1958, when I was 7 months of age.

Video music:  “Calm”, by Musicshake



Have we locked ourselves apart?”
– Chito L. Aguilar

Have we locked ourselves apart?

(A Lover’s Lament: To Add, Subtract or Alter)

you give me your word
yet, I find you wanting in deed
as your BEST becomes BEAST
when ‘A’ hitch comes between us.

you give me your thoughts
yet, I find you wanting in brains
for your BETTER becomes BITTER
when ‘I’ brush your ‘E’go.

you give me your time
yet, I find you wanting in moments
when your HOUR diminishes
to become OUR bane.

you give me your attention
yet, I find you wanting in affection
for your HEART is no HEARTH
and your WILL is your ILL.

you give me your embrace
yet, I find you wanting in warmth
for your ARMS are but ALMS
that disguise your disdain.

but if ‘U’ leave my AUBURNED life
then, A BURNED out man I shall be!

– wanting
is between
giving and taking.

(c) 2001 Chito L. Aguilar

Sunset Blues

In the darkening orangey hue
i see you:
face generic, hair genetic.

– Chito L. Aguilar


remnants of golden sunset –
filigreed beams of horizon frameless.
in the darkening orangey hue
i see you:
face generic, hair genetic.

your image, in a maze of haze,
just a trace in the blaze

ocher lines criss-cross
ions of woes and eons of lows
in this emptied beer bottle,

like my empty mind
as I gaze in daze
at the shifting shades
of the slowly emptying sun.

then light empties… into night.

– between
ions of woes and eons of lows
are amber tows.

(c) 2004 Chito L. Aguilar

remnants of golden sunset –
filigreed beams of horizon frameless.
in the darkening orangey hue
i see you:
face generic, hair genetic.

your image, in a maze of haze,
just a trace in the blaze

ocher lines criss-cross
ions of woes and eons of lows
in this emptied beer bottle.

like my empty mind
as I gaze in daze
at the shifting shades
of the slowly emptying sun.

then light empties... into night.

(c) 2005 poem and photos by Chito L. Aguilar

Music: “Serenity”, by Musicshake

Smoky Sanctuary

Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
Before we too into the Dust descend;
Dust into Dust and under Dust to lie,
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and — sans End!”
– fr. Rubaiyat , Omar Khayyam (1050? – 1122),
Persian mathematician, astronomer, and author

Beer Plaza @ Peñaranda Park
(One of the Events at Magayon Festival, Albay, Philippines)

(Nightly Tryst @ Peñaranda Park)

barbecue stalls queue in row
makeshift bars where beers flow
where discreet lovers throw
furtive glances from shadow
as lanterns in shifting shades glow
yellow like dozy fireflies flying low

shelter of lovers’ frolics
refuge of stoic fanatics
infirmary of dire cynics
asylum of social critics
seedbed of raw politics

of beer guzzlers
of dear hustlers

(yes, sanctuary for us all).

– between
guzzlers and hustlers
are bottlers.

(c) Chito L. Aguilar

Magayon Festival is held every summer in Legazpi City, Albay, Philippines.
It is a tourist attraction with various events, like, street presentations, products showcase,
marathon run, cultural shows, band concerts at beer plaza,
fun games/ contests, beauty pageant, among others.

The annual Magayon Festival lasting for one whole month (April-May),
holds the record as the provincial festival with the longest-duration
held in the Philippines.

Many Albay folks look forward to this summer festival
and enjoy the various events throughout the month-long celebration.
One of the main events is the Beer Plaza held every night
at the Peñaranda Park in Legazpi City, capital of Albay Province.

A major attraction of the Festival is the nightly concert
where various music bands perform and show their musical prowess.
This nocturnal event adds color and provides entertainment to beer aficionados and aficionadas;
what a delight to beer guzzlers and dear hustlers at the Peñaranda Park Beer Plaza.

People from all walks of life congregate in the Beer Plaza at the Park.
Here, you find a cross-section of the society.
The Beer Plaza is the equalizer of rich & poor, brain & brawn, sinners & saints.
Here, you find Beers, Peers and Cheers!
Here, you find fanatics and devotees of that mystic amber bottle (beer).
Here you smell the scent of incense (pork barbecue),
amidst a litany of clink and clatter;
amidst a rosary plink and platter;
amidst the ambiance of amber and ember smoke.

The Beer Plaza at the Park is prime time to the city's ambulant night vendors;
the micro-entrepreneurs, the backbone of the local economy.
The Festival is a grand opportunity for them to earn extra income.
Like George, a micro-entrepreneur who operates this mobile KTV-videoke bar...

George converted a van into this mobile bar which he named Toma-Car.
It is a mobile KTV-Videoke Bar with bar chairs, neon lights and bar paraphernalia,
complete with flat-screen TV and stereo sound system
for videoke enthusiasts who love to sing while drinking beer.
Such creativity is latent among micro-entrepreneurs
who think of very innovative ways to attract more customers.

These guys earn their livelihood selling mangoes at the Peñaranda Park.
The Festival provides them with more income,
with the increase in the number of customers every night.

Manay is a fried chicken vendor.
She supports a family cooking and selling chicken at the Park.
She laments that she can hardly sustain her business, with the increasing cost of goods.
The Festival somehow eased her financial difficulty; her net income increased
because of more buyers at this time of the year.

This young lad helps his mother in their small business. He does the grilling and braves the heat and smoke. His sister helps to prepare the barbecue and sauce in the afternoon so he can sell them at night.
Barbecue is a favorite of beer drinkers since grilled meat goes well with beer.

These two teenagers sell peanuts to support their schooling.
Early in life, they learned to cook and sell peanuts in different variants,
i.e., roasted, fried, sugar-coated, garlic flavor, hot & spicy and even boiled peanuts too.
They say more customers prefer fried peanuts, hence, they cook more of this type.

Nene grew up vending "pulutan" (finger foods) to beer drinkers at the Park.
She is a regular sight in her usual corner stall. She learned to develop her own recipes.
She sells any foodstuff that can delight beer drinkers.
Her specialties, though, are 'balled' foods and orange juice.

She is a typical ambulant night vendor;
selling junk foods, biscuits and candies at the Park.
She braves insomnia every night as she strives
to earn money to sustain her family.

He sells barbecue too...
Another night vendor among the others who, by force of circumstance,
must face difficulties to make both ends meet.
Magayon Festival ends in May.
As the ambulant street vendors and beer drinkers look forward to the next Festival,
we continue with our usual chores, our mundane routines
...amidst the shifting shades of Life.

Beer Plaza @ Magayon Festival
provides entertainment and livelihood opportunities.
A Smoky Sanctuary for all...

Peñaranda Park, in Legazpi City, Albay, Philippines, was named after Jose Ma. Peñaranda, Governor of Albay, 1834-43. The American Liberation Forces installed a  bronze bell replica of  USA’s Liberty Bell in this park to symbolize “anti-oppression”.   It is an early freedom park.  During the ‘60s, trees and yellow bell flowers flourished along the park’s perimeter, making it one of the most beautiful places in the province of Albay.

Cyber Haikus

Between computer and printer is inanity.
Between thinker and writer is ingenuity.”
– Chito L. Aguilar

(Inanity of Machine and Ingenuity of Man)

the keyboard obeys
my fingers’ depress-commands
letters leap from keys

words leak from cursor
my thoughts appear on white screen
as verses in black

their vibrant lines dash
to the right margin and scroll
promptly down the page

i move-click the mouse
the pointer sprints thru pixels
the printer screeches

white paper rolls out
laced with poem in bookman-black
i pause for awhile

i hear dead silence
from mute laptop and printer
dumb computer, yes

i take the paper
then read poem title, it says:
‘some cyber haikus’.

– between computer and printer is inanity.
– between thinker and writer is ingenuity.

(c) 2007 Chito L. Aguilar


We come to know light by darkness.
Illumination though, is both inner and outer.
Inner radiance is brighter than outer brilliance.
Enlightenment is deepest coming from within.”
– Chito L. Aguilar

Light showers on our lives.

[a nonet*]

on our lives
bathing the sham
washing the charade
dousing the masquerade
in our shadows of pretense
till they flush into dark gutters
and dissolve in the limbo of farce.

fake and genuine
is repute.

false and true
is refute.)

– dispute
is between
repute and refute.

– illumination
is between
reflection and meditation.

(c) 2000 Chito L. Aguilar

*a verse form with nine (9) lines of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 syllables respectively.

Artificial Light

Natural Light

Light from Top

Light from Back

Light of Backdrop

Light Outside

Light Inside

Light Reflected

Light from the Sun

Light from the Moon

Light from Lampshade

Light in the Night

Light in the City

Light Blue

Light Aesthetics

We come to know Light…

… by Darkness.

On the Keyboard


you are white
i am black
side by side
back to back

you are my self-image necessary
i am your alter-ego mandatory
in perfect contrast, we are one
in balanced symmetry, we are one

but me, you cannot be
my place, you cannot take
you, I cannot be
your place, I cannot take

you are my double, opposite
i am your shadow, requisite
you are fair, clean, conspicuous
i am dark, secretive, mysterious

and yet,

no word is typed
without You and Me!

– between you and me are words.
– between light and dark is delight.
– between ebony and ivory is mystery.

(c) 2008 Chito L. Aguilar

On the Day We Parted

(The Winds Billow, on Curtains Yellow)

the winds spill
and curtains billow
we lie still

teardrops spill
washing our pillow
our bed, still

shadows fill
hearts weep like willow
silence still

bodies twill
like fires that bellow
juices spill

we wait till
the cold winds mellow
leave, we will

the winds still
on curtains yellow
we part still.

– between hello and goodbye is unification.
– between goodbye and hello is separation.

(c) 2003 Chito L. Aguilar

The winds spill, and curtains billow.

We wait till the cold winds mellow.

The winds still, on curtains yellow.

Leave we will; we part, still.

Leafy and Leafless

Poems are made by fools like me
But only God can make a tree.”

– Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)

(Talisay Tree)
“autumn” look

(Kapok Tree)
“winter” look

The sultry climate in tropical countries is conducive to specific species of trees that thrive well in humidity.

The  Bicol Region, Philippines (with no pronounced “dry” or “wet” season), is home to plants and trees amorous to the humid environment.  Unique in terms of physical form, structure and behavior, these botanical specimens naturally react to climatic changes in their home environment.

Among such indigenous trees that continue to fascinate me are the Talisay (Terminalia catappa L.) and the Kapok (Ceiba pentandra).

The “shifting-shade” characteristic of the Talisay Tree gives an “autumn-like feel” to our tropical country in the summer months, when the talisay leaves gradually turn brown before they fall.

The talisay tree is also known as the ‘shade tree’.
It is distinct because its branches grow and spread horizontally, almost parallel to the ground.
The older the tree gets, the more its foliage spreads, providing shade to people during the hot ‘summer’ months, March to May. The species loses its leaves twice a year in most areas, with a brilliant red-and-yellow display of leaf colour before falling to the ground; this helps the tree tolerate 1 or 2 annual dry seasons.

The “shifting” nature of the Kapok Tree gives a “winter-like feel” to our tropical country during the hot summer months when the kapok tree is devoid of all its leaves.

The kapok tree is also known as the ‘silk-cotton tree’.
It is also distinct because it grows many branches of thick foliage; with slender, pointed green leaves during the “wet” or rainy months, July to December. During the summer months of February to May (as the tree bears fruits), all its leaves fall to the ground.  What remains with the branches are the green fruits, cigar-shaped pods that turn to brown as they mature. When fully matured or ripe, the fruit pods crack open and a cotton-like, fibery soft white mass appears; then the pods fall to the ground. This cottony, silky soft, fluffy, fine fibers are used as stuffing material for pillows, cushions, mattresses, insulation and upholstery.

The Talisay tree (Terminalia catappa L.), also called the “Indian almond”, “tropical almond” or “sea almond”, is native to Southeast Asia.  It is a deciduous shady tree often grown in the Philippines for ornamental purposes.  Its natural habitat is in areas just inland from ocean beaches, near river mouths, and on coastal plains.  The talisay tree flourishes best in sandy and loamy sand soil.

The Kapok tree (Ceiba pentandra), also known as the “Java cotton”, “Java kapok”, Silk cotton or ceiba, is a tropical plant of the order Malvales and the family Malvaceae.  It is native to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, northern South America, Southeast Asia and West Africa.  “Kapok” is the most used common name for the tree and may also refer to the fibre obtained from its seed pods.

Leafy Talisay Tree with leaves changing colors

I took the above photograph of the leafy Talisay tree on a day of clear blue sky, just as the leaves were changing from green to yellow, to red then to brown.  The “shifting-shade” characteristic of the Talisay Tree gives an “autumn-like feel” to our tropical country in the summer months, when the talisay leaves gradually turn brown before they fall.

Leafless Kapok Tree with fruit pods

I took the above photograph of the leafless Kapok tree on a rainy day of overcast gray sky, when the leaves have fallen and what remains at the branches are the ripening fruits or pods.  The “shifting” nature of the Kapok Tree gives a “winter-like feel” to our tropical country during the hot summer months when the kapok tree is devoid of leaves.



The cyclical,
changing characteristic
of these two species of trees
reminds me
of Life’s

… the color spectrum
of being,
changing hues
shifting shades
every stage.

Talisay tree has varied uses.

The Talisay tree  is pagoda-shaped, with a spreading crown.  It reaches up to 15 to 25 meters in height, and the trunk grows as big as 1 to 1.5 meters in diameter. It has gray brown bark and leathery dark green leaves that turn red or yellow before they fall.  It has a wide variety of uses:

Food: The fruit kernel may be eaten raw and roasted; tastes like almonds.  The leaves may be used as feeds for silkworms and other animal feeds;  also used in aquariums by breeders of tropical aquarium fishes; their antiseptic effects help to keep the fish healthy.

Medicine: Parts of the tree, such as the leaves and fruit, are astringent.  The red leaves act as a vermifuge, while the sap of young leaves, cooked with oil from the kernel, may be used to treat leprosy. Leaves may be rubbed on breasts to cure pain or, when heated, may be applied to numb parts of the body. They may be also be used as a dressing for swollen rheumatic joints. The young leaves are also used to cure headaches and colic. Leaves, bark and fruit are used to treat yaws. The bark and root bark are useful for bilious fever, diarrhoea, thrush, and as a remedy for sores and abscesses.

Construction: The tree provides a red, good-quality, elastic, cross-grained timber that seasons well and works easily. Strong and pliable, talisay wood is used for the construction of buildings, boats, bridges, floors, boxes, crates, planks, carts, wheelbarrows, barrels and water troughs. Talisay resin may be used for gum.

Kapok tree has varied uses, too.

The Kapok tree grows to 60–70 meters  tall and has a very substantial trunk up to 3 meters in diameter with buttresses.  The trunk and many of the larger branches are often (but not always) crowded with very large, robust simple thorns.  The leaves are compound of 5 to 9 leaflets, each up to 20-centimeters and palm like.  Adult trees produce several hundred 15-centimeters seed pods. The pods contain seeds surrounded by a fluffy, yellowish fibre that is a mix of lignin and cellulose.  Known as Ceiba in Ecuador and Arbol de Lupuna in Peru, the Ceiba Pentandra belongs to the balsa family tree.

Uses:  The majestic kapok tree has many uses for humans.  Natives of the Amazon rainforest have many uses for the kapok tree, even for medicinal purposes.  Its seeds, leaves, bark and resin is used to treat fever, asthma, disentery and kidney disease.  It has long been considered sacred for indigenous people of the Americas, including Mayan culture. They used the kapok floss to wrap around their poison (curare) darts to be blown out of their blowguns.

Its wood is lightweight and porous; good for making carvings, coffins and dugout canoes.  The silky fibers that disperse the seeds are too small for weaving but make great stuffing for bedding and life preservers.  Soaps can be made from the oils in the seeds. Other parts of the giant tree are used as medicines.

The kapok is also a commercial tree, most heavily cultivated in the rainforests of Asia, notably in Java (hence its nicknames), Philippines, Malaysia, Hainan Island in China as well as in South America.



Bamboo, revisited!

I was engrossed reading a book (trying to catch up on some chapters) on this lazy weekend, when my wife and granddaughter asked me to drive them to the mall.  Reluctantly, I obliged myself to do the requested task, thinking I need to buy a pair of sports socks anyway, so off we went.

The mall’s parking lot was full, so I was compelled to park my car by the bamboo grove just across the mall.  While inside the department store buying my stuff, I thought I heard my car alarm beep so I rushed outside to check the car.  It was false alarm, thank God!  I decided to go back to the mall where my wife and granddaughter were still shopping –

But then, the bamboo grove seemed to beckon… Instinctively, I reached for my camera in the car and found myself taking photos.

Wall Says All

I happen to pass by Ibalong Elementary School in Legazpi City (Philippines) yesterday. I noticed the freshly painted school fence and started clicking my camera…

The Music of Our Teens (’70s)

The Stylistics of our youth –
when we were teens
in blue jeans;
a time when intimate soft whispers
with discomfited dance rhythms.

The deepening summer night
is mute witness
to the sudden vanishing
of the dim red light,

ushering the age of discotheque.”

© Chito L. Aguilar

To My Classmates, DWC 4B Class 1974:

MUSIC, the universal string that tied us together in the ’70s, bestowed treasured memories upon us.  Yes, we share common melodies; music particular and familiar to us in the “Age of Aquarius”.

Our memories and melodies entwine, as old vine and time entwine.

Years before the digital revolution, long before the Betamax, VHS, Laser Disc, VCD, DVD, MP3, iPod and Blue Ray, we enjoyed our music thru (the now jurassic) 45/33rpm-vinyl-records and the reliable-good-old-stereo-turntable. We never bothered about the imperfections of analog recordings then.  For who cared about digital technology at that time…

The era of the ‘discotheque’ saw advent in our generation.

Our dimly lit home parties then were the predecessors of the disco houses which revolutionized the “jam sessions” of the ’60s Beatles era.

Remember the teenage trysts (we call “ty-pars”) then, somewhere…
… or elsewhere…?
…When we took advantage of the Martial Law curfew to dance the night out (stay-in), lest we cut grasses at the military stockade…

…When we were lost with our partners in intimate soft whispers amidst the slow and flowing rhythm of sweet music, locked in warm embrace, dancing and wishing the music would never end…

Ah, the music of our yesteryears brings back memories of our times then, at the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.

Our P5.00 contribution then easily empowered us to mount a party, planned only within a day or two. A small amount in return for simple pleasures we truly enjoyed at the time when we were shedding-off our innocence; when we were beginning to fall in love…

Today, we talk about reunions; between qualms and quandaries, an insipid task sans our naive teenage audacity and archaic passion.

Nevertheless, I think the changing times never diminished our inherent love for music.

We may have transcended our teenage passions and cast away our primal whims in the process of mellowing with age.

We may have even lost track of artists we idolized in those days; may have forgotten titles and lyrics of their songs due to memory lapses.

We may have elevated our taste, became more discerning today of music output quality as we now possess the latest AV gadgets, relatively state-of-the-art.

We may have preserved our music (our old favorites), in various e-formats for sentimental reasons (or posterity).

We may have expanded our music & video collections and updated our music libraries with the latest genre of music, with contemporary breed of composers and artists of our preference.

We may have scoffed at our sons and daughters (and grandchildren) today, lamenting how their music annoy or stress us; comparing ours-then with theirs-now.

We may have been too engrossed in the daily grind; have relegated music to the backseat of our consciousness as we perfunctorily move about our pressing chores and importunate routines.

And yet, whenever we hear familiar tunes and mellowed melodies, we are reminded of our days of youth, as memories flashback from the crevices of our subconscious.

Let us enjoy our melodies and memories.

Let the universal string of Music unite us always.

Sunset Blues

Sunset Blues


remnants of golden sunset –
filigreed beams of horizon frameless.
in the darkening orangey hue
i see you:
face generic, hair genetic.

your image, in a maze of haze,
just a trace in the blaze

ocher lines crisscross
ions of woes and eons of lows
in this emptied beer bottle,

like my empty mind
as I gaze in daze
at the shifting shades
of the slowly emptying sun.

then light empties… into night.

 – between
ions of woes and eons of lows
are amber tows.

© 2003 Chito L. Aguilar

‘Sunset Blues’ on YouTube:

I Am But Migrant

Midlife is porthole to the past; vignette to the future.
– Chito L. Aguilar

I am but migrant in transit thru Time.

(In Transit Thru Time)

upon the vast heavens I cast my eyes
astounded at such an expanse sublime
i see the moon and the stars in the skies
it is truly then that I realize
i am but migrant in transit thru Time.

on my desk I work and on bed I play –
paper-sheets of white and bed-sheets of lime
all bear my mark and my score of the day
by my hands of toil and my feet of clay
i am but migrant in transit thru Time.

between the distinct lines of poems I write
i waver on words of rhythm and rhyme
and when I falter between wrong and right
i seek a vision that I may see light
i am but migrant in transit thru Time.

between womb and tomb is a voyage brief
the fleeing years, fleeting dears… now, my prime
youth’s egress, midlife’s ingress, what relief –
and yet, I fear illness and old age grief
i am but migrant in transit thru Time.

upon the vast heavens I cast my eyes
then wonder and ponder when is the time
my Maker calls me and closes my eyes
when He pounds the gavel and casts the dice
i am but migrant in transit thru Time.

© 2008 Chito L. Aguilar

A Place Called 55

Coming and Leaving

for what is learning but earning
more space between heart and mind
so they swell with love and meaning
that one may not be so blind.

for what is leaving but coming
from any-where to there-somewhere
linear distance notwithstanding
but instance that matters ever.

-between heart and mind is learning.

© Chito L. Aguilar