“Isang Harding Papel” Formally Launched

“Isang Harding Papel”, our little children’s book set during the Martial Law years was formally launched at the Museo Pambata last November 27, 2014. At the launch were officials of the Edsa People Power Commission (EPPC), the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, cabinet members, and Presidential sister Pinky Aquino-Abellada.

The event coincided with the late Sen. Ninoy Aquino’s birthday. Aquino, a political prisoner during the Martial Law years was assassinated in 1983 at the tarmac of the airport that now bears his name. This set into motion a series of events that led to the People Power revolution of 1986. Aquino’s wife, Corazon Aquino, eventually became president from 1986 to 1991. His son Benigno Aquino III became president in 2010 and occupies that position until 2016.

Here’s a TV coverage of the event:

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EPPC Commissioner Cesar Sarino gives the opening remarks. It feels weird seeing my small illustration printed this big. It feels even weirder to have all these people gathering for a book I drew at home in my shorts and ratty old t-shirts.

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Me being interviewed.

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Storytelling by Bodjie Pascua. I grew up watching Kuya Bodjie on the kids’ TV Show Batibot.

Here’s a new trailer for the book. Don’t mind the tone though. It sort of feels like the main character is some freedom fighter. 😛

Solitary Confinement

Did this last night. It’s an illustration of a poem Ninoy Aquino wrote while imprisoned in Fort Bonifacio back in 1973.

Solitary Confinement

There is no one to keep me company

in this lonely cell, in this compound

Where simple, honest men turn to beast

unmoved by pity, untouched by conscience.

I eat alone what food I’m thrown

In unclean metal plates licked by dogs

I pray, I jog, I tire myself, I sleep

Desperately hoping to dream joys I once knew.

Imprisoned in a sweat-box

With knobless door, windows barred,

Walls painted monotonously drab!

Sleeping on concrete “bed”

feasted on by every hungry insect.

Deafened by the silent ticking

of each second in this man-made womb

This, my living tomb.

I barely see the sun

Feel its soothing rays.

I have not seen a single star

for many, many months.

I have forgotten the image

Of a laughing child, a smile

I miss the laughter and songs

of my daughters, greeting of a friend.

I have been exiled to a land

Where time has been suspended

And men’s heartless coldness burns

And death. The only sure relief!

Where even saints are forced to cry

Because angels grow horns, wallowing in sin

Having traded their wings for tails

Their harps and lyres for pitchforks.

In the eerie silence of my tomb

a little mouse appear, nervous, afraid

Retreats to a corner, watch me weep and pray

Returning every night to keep me company.

Later, he shares my meager food, plays to amuse me

Helping me waste the precious, priceless hours.

How strange: I have found friendship with a rodent

I could not find among captors, my countrymen!

I scratch the wall to mark the passage of each day

A day lost forever never to return wasted, gone!

I watch the marching, lengthening column of my days

Passing me by in mournful cadence to their death

Like dripping drops of water from life’s vessels

Drip, drip, drip, the leather jug will soon be dry

Empty like a body with no more blood and tears to shed

and then: Good-bye!

Prison Poem

FortBonifacio

Easter Sunday

April 22, 1973