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TALINGHAGA IN MIKE BIGORNIAS

PUNTABLANGKO (1985)

by

Simon Lloyd Asayas Arciaga

Presented to the
Faculty of the Humanities
In Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of
Master of Arts in Humanities

University of Asia and the Pacific


Pasig City, Philippines

May 2015

I dedicate this work to my beloved grandparents Armando, Elsa, Vilma and


Estelito whose love has left me eternally indebted to them.

ABSTRACT
This thesis looks into the concept of talinghaga. As a literary
technique that originated in our pre-colonial tradition, talinghaga developed
from the riddles and proverbs of our ancestors. Eventually, talinghaga was
also used by Filipino writers in the craft of poetry.
Spanning centuries of age, the concept of talinghaga has undergone
some developments through the years. It is this gradual evolution of the
meaning of this concept that partly explains the various notions that people
have of this literary technique nowadays. The meanings are so varied that
this resulting plurality accounts for the confusion of what talinghaga really
means.
This study is an attempt to situate talinghaga in contemporary times.
This concept is discussed in this paper based on how it was used in Mike
Bigornias poems which can be found in his Palanca-award-wining-collection
called Puntablangko (1985). It is in this manner that the concept of
talinghaga is analyzed alongside with the concept of metaphor. This study
specifically explores the distinction between the two. It is in this light that
this paper tackles mystery as a defining component of talinghaga.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Preface
Chapter
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
F.
G.

One: Introduction
Background of the Study.................................................................. 5
Statement of the Problem................................................................ 14
Scope and Limitation of the Study.................................................... 14
Significance of the Study................................................................. 16
Conceptual Framework.................................................................... 17
Methodology.................................................................................. 20
Review of Related Literature............................................................ 21

Chapter Two: Talinghaga in Ambush......................................................... 28


Chapter Three: Ordinary Metaphor
A. Genus-Based Metaphor.................................................................... 41
B. Action-Based Metaphor.................................................................... 47
C. Sensory-Based Metaphor................................................................. 50
D. Synthesis....................................................................................... 53
Chapter Four: Terse Talinghaga
A. Mystery in Far-Fetched Comparisons.................................................. 54
B. Unraveling the Mystery.................................................................... 61
C. Clarity in Vividness.......................................................................... 64
D. Synthesis.......................................................................................65
Chapter Five: Extended Talinghaga
A. Mystery in Extension....................................................................... 67
B. Unraveling the Mystery.................................................................... 71
C. Clarity in Cohesion and Relatability.................................................... 73
D. Synthesis.......................................................................................75
Chapter Six: Conclusion
A. Conclusion..................................................................................... 77
B. Recommendations........................................................................... 86

Works Cited
Appendices
A. English translation of an excerpt from Abiso
B. Master List of Metaphors used in Puntablangko
C. Poems in Puntablangko

PREFACE
My

first

encounter

with

talinghaga

happened

in

one

of

my

conversations with my grandmother when I was still in grade school. It was


during these get-togethers with her that I learned many things about life.
She taught me some of the good manners which I still try to practice up to
now. It was from her that I learned the importance of saying po and opo
when addressing people who are older than me. Her persistent reminders
about doing the customary greeting of pag-mamano when meeting my older
relatives was a norm that eventually became part of me. She was also quite
emphatic in reminding me about some table etiquette. I remember vividly
the countless times when she had to cut my talking just to say Hijo, dont
talk when your mouth is full.
Lessons from my grandmother go beyond these good manners. She
also taught me some profound lessons in life which were incomprehensible
to me at that time. Nevertheless, her style of giving sermons awakened my
fascination with language at an early age. It was normal for her to
incorporate some Filipino proverbs into her sermons. Hearing it for the first
time, I was amazed at how the statement Pagkahaba-haba man ng
prusisyon, sa simbahan din ang tuloy (Even though the procession is long,
it will still end up in the church) applies to many other things in life. I think
one of her favorite lines is Kung anong puno, siya ring bunga (The tree
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2
determines the fruit). I did not really understand her lines most of the time
since I was still in grade school back then. Nonetheless, I remember being
enthralled as a kid simply because I could not believe how the older ones
managed to associate different meanings to simple and ordinary things and
activities such as the procession and tree. It was as if words started
becoming magical, revealing insights with such unexpected forcefulness.
After those motherly sermons from my lola, I encountered talinghaga
once again in the form of riddles. I was in grade 6 when I became fond of
solving and eventually making my own riddles. When I first got introduced to
riddles, I instantly fell in love with them because I enjoyed solving
mysterious and obscure statements. Who would have thought that the
statement Dalawang batong itim, malayo ang nararating (Two black stones
that reach very far) actually refer to the eyes? The process of answering
these riddles could be grueling. Some people even refer to our bugtong
(riddles) as the invention of the devil. Yet the pleasure of solving the
mystery is worth the effort. Obscure as they are, the mind simply delights in
seeing how all the clues point to the answer. Just like the proverbs of my
lola, these riddles reinforced even more my experience that words could be
magical.
While it is true that proverbs and riddles gave me a taste of what
talinghaga is, it was in a prayer meeting that I actually first heard about the
term. In explaining the scriptures, the speaker in that gathering referred to
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biblical passages as matalinghaga. Specifically, he was referring to how
Christ made use of parables as a way of communicating a lesson to his
listeners. Take for instance, the example of the parable of the mustard seed
through which Christ exhorts his disciples to have a faith that is similar to
this seed. As a seed, it is one of the tiniest but when it grows, it proves to be
among the biggest of shrubs. The sense of wonder in this case lies in how
Christ was able to use the mustard seed to demonstrate the kind of faith
that we should have.
My encounter with talinghaga in the context of poetry only happened
on my senior year in college. It was in an elective class that covers poems of
Dante Alighieri and T.S. Eliot where I first saw how talinghaga was used in a
Tagalog poem. To prove his point that Tagalog poetry also possesses depth,
my professor read to us a poem entitled May Bagyo Mat, May Rilim (1605)
whose author is anonymous. Known to be one of the earliest Tagalog poems,
this poem employs several metaphors to convey the importance of a
religious book in guiding a person who is going through a rough patch. In
different verses, the author compared this book to a weapon, light, cane and
lifesaver. Claiming that a religious book is similar to these various things is
part of the mystery that gives the whole poem that sense of wonder and
magic that very much characterizes talinghaga.
Far from being forgotten, talinghaga persists in the Tagalog poems of
today. One example that proves my point is Mike Bigornias collection of
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poems entitled Puntablangko (1985). Reading his poems for the first time, I
immediately came to like his works. Driven by the need to specify what I am
going to study in this collection, I initially planned to examine Bigornias use
of metaphor. To be honest, I was not sure if metaphor was what I really
wanted to study. Indeed, Bigornias poems had plenty of metaphors.
Nevertheless, I had some inklings that there was something else in his
poems that I wanted to study.
My doubts were resolved when I consulted my mentor about it. I told
him that I am interested in studying Mike Bigornias Puntablangko.
Furthermore, I also mentioned that I was thinking of studying his use of
metaphor. The reason being that the real charm of this collection is found in
its ability to draw out profound lessons from ordinary things. I did not really
know that this style of writing is what is referred to as talinghaga. My
mentor therefore suggested to me to study talinghaga instead of metaphor.
When he carefully explained to me his understanding of talinghaga, it
dawned on me that what I really wanted to study is precisely that. This
concept captures what I intend to explore in Bigornias poems.

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5
CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
A. Background of the Study
Matalinghaga ang kanyang pananalita. Nananalinhaga nanaman
siya. These are some remarks which Filipinos still make nowadays. The fact
that these phrases are heard up to now indicates that talinghaga continues
to be part of our language and culture.
Nowadays, talinghaga is understood in different ways. One common
notion of talinghaga pertains to flowery language characterized by a persons
use of elaborate and literary words and phrases. Phrases like susungkitin
ang mga bituin sa langit (I will pluck the stars from heaven) and mga
matang kasing ningning ng mga bituin (eyes that shine like stars) are some
examples that exhibit this kind of language. It is worth mentioning that this
flowery language is often used by a person who is trying to court his or her
lover through the use of enchanting words. Hence, Almario identifies this
particular usage of language as the reason why many people nowadays
understand talinghaga to mean sweet-talking or pambobola as we say in
Tagalog. It is a manner of speaking that is pleasant to hear but is often
perceived as deceiving (Almario 145).
Another notion of talinghaga is a kind of speech that is mysterious.
This way of speaking refers to a manner of articulating something with such
depth that it makes the speakers statement obscure to many people. As a
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6
consequence, Almario thinks that this is what made many of us associate
talinghaga with mystery. Furthermore, this also explains why a good number
of people think of poetry as a creation of the gods. It is so perplexing that it
veils more than reveals what the person is really saying. It is no wonder that
poets have been described as genius or gods in the course of our history
(Almario 145).
There is also another notion of talinghaga which asserts that it is not
only found in literature but also in our idioms. This understanding of
talinghaga extends the meaning of this concept to figurative speech which
Filipinos use everyday. Based on this notion, phrases like nagdilang anghel
and di-makabasag pinggan can be considered as examples of talinghaga
(Torres Yu and Antonio ix).
Talinghaga in Old Tagalog-Spanish Dictionaries
A number of old Tagalog-Spanish dictionaries have something to say
about talinghaga. One of the earliest Spanish missionaries to define this
concept was Fr. Pedro de San Buena Ventura in his dictionary called
Vocabulario de Lengua Tagala: El Romance Castellano Puesto Primero
(1613). He defined talinghaga as a verse that tells a lie. Moreover,
talinghaga is the use of language in which what was composed or invented
by someone is presented as true (San Buena Ventura 176).
In the Tagalog-Spanish dictionary made by Francisco de San Antonio
called Vocabulario Tagalo (1624), talinghaga carried a different meaning.
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7
Rather than referring to deceptive statements, talinghaga was defined as
words that contain a great sense of mystery. In addition, this mystery is
found in the words of a preacher who talks about religious teachings (San
Antonio 256).
In the nineteenth century, Juan Noceda and Pedro Sanlucar also came
up with their own definition of talinghaga in their dictionary called
Vocabulario de la lengua tagala (1860). The notion of Talinghaga continues
to change as the years go by. According to this document, talinghaga is both
misterio and metafora (Noceda and Sanlucar 320).
Pedro Serrano Laktaws Diccionario Tagalog-Hispano (1914) also has
an entry on the word talinghaga. This definition still retains the notion of
talinghaga presented in Noceda and Sanlucars dictionary which associates
talinghaga with misterio and metafora. In addition, Laktaw included the
notion of representation as part of the meaning of talinghaga. To be exact,
talinghaga is a visual representation of ideas (Laktaw 1252).
Talinghaga in Tagalog Poetic Tradition
The history of the concept of talinghaga dates as far back as the Folk
Tradition of Literature in the Philippines. It first manifested itself through the
riddles and proverbs that were recorded in Vocabulario de la lengua tagala
by Noceda and Sanlucar. This Tagalog-Spanish dictionary was produced to
help the foreign priests and missionaries assigned in Tagalog provinces
(Lumbera 1). The beginnings of talinghaga in Philippine Literature can be
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8
attributed to the metaphoric way of speaking in which the riddles and
proverbs were articulated (Lumbera 3 and 9).
A riddle can be considered metaphoric in that it is concerned with the
point of convergence between the object literally described and the object
actually referred to (Lumbera 3). It is indeed a test of wit, for one has to
make sense of the clues given by the couplet and see what thing or concept
fits the description. As a case in point, examine how this riddle alludes to a
sleeping mat:
Bongbong cong liuanag
Con gab-i ay dagat. (Lumbera 3)
(a bamboo tube by day,
at night a sea)
From this example, we can see the makings of what eventually
became talinghaga. The one who composed the riddle tries to describe the
sleeping mat but does so by abstracting some of its qualities. In this case,
he chose to isolate two qualities of the sleeping mat: One is its being like a
vertical tube during day and the other is its being spread out at night. After
abstracting these qualities, the author of this riddle makes use of other
realities like bamboo and sea to describe the sleeping mat. As a result, new
connections are made between the sleeping mat and bamboo and the sea
respectively. It is from this indirect speech of the riddles that talinghaga
started to bud.

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As for the proverbs from that tradition, it is worth noting that they
share some similarities with riddles. To be exact, the two are similar when it
comes to their form in that the proverbs were written in couplets as well.
Nevertheless, there is an important distinction between the two that I have
to point out here. In terms of purpose, riddles only describe whereas
proverbs educate. Notice how this particular proverb figuratively articulates
the importance of patience:
Ang marahang bayani
nagsasaua nang huli. (Lumbera 10)
(The man who is careful
catches plenty of fish)
The example above exhibits how the proverb is able to teach a lesson
by talking about a very particular situation. It exemplifies the virtue of
patience in a very natural way by not talking about it directly. Instead, it
shows the success of a patient fisherman who ends up catching plenty of
fish.
Although manifestations of talinghaga were already present in the
riddles and proverbs at that time, the term itself was first used in the
context of Tagalog poetry, particularly in short poems known as tanaga.
Tanaga is a quatrain that is composed of seven syllables per line. It is full of
metaphors only in the sense that it revolves around a single metaphor which
establishes an analogy between human experience and an aspect of mans
environment (Lumbera 12). This kind of metaphor is what is referred to as
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10
talinghaga. See how this tanaga makes use of the chore of weaving as its
talinghaga:
Ang aba co capatir
nagiisa ang sinulir
cun sa gayon napatir
sa papan malilibir. (Lumbera 13)
(Alas for me, my friend,
solitary is the piece of thread;
once it snaps at the bobbin,
it ends up tangled in the heddle)
In this tanaga, the poet tries to establish a similarity between weaving
and a very particular human experience. It makes us see how the tangled
thread could also be applied to a person who ends up ruined after isolating
himself from the rest. This proves faithful to what the text is saying since it
starts out by referring to a human subject (Alas for me). Through these
lines, the poet is able to depict solitariness in a very vivid way. Notice also
how this poem is able to describe this particular experience indirectly.
It bears pointing out that talinghaga, unlike riddles, proverbs and
tanaga, is not a literary genre. It must be understood as a style or technique
which can be used in any genre. This makes talinghaga as one of the
components that may comprise a literary piece.
The emergence of this technique in pre-colonial literature was
primarily driven by the desire of the poets to convey their message with
more clarity and impact.
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11
The centrality of the talinghaga to early Tagalog poetry seems
to have been dictated by an instinctive recognition of the
complexity of human experience which verbalization does not
always capture. Words can give name to the experience, but
the poet has to depend on analogues in order to suggest the
unnameable aspects of experienceFor the early Tagalog
poets, it was not enough to use language in giving utterance
to feelings and thoughts; they had to find situations in life or
objects in Nature that produced in the poets effects similar to
what they wanted to express. (Lumbera 13)
In addition, the prevalence of talinghaga in our pre-colonial literature
can be explained by the aversion that folk poets had towards abstractions.
As a result, poets made use of concrete images that represented the idea
that they wanted to convey. Certainly, folk poems have done well in doing
away with generalities that readers may find hard to relate with.
For instance, it does not talk of loneliness, it speaks of a piece
of thread severed from the bobbin. It does not deal with pride
as an idea; it talks about a coconut tree towering above other
trees but hollowed by a pest burrowing within the trunk.
(Lumbera 20)
This further explains why our folk poets drew inspiration from ordinary
things and activities that they encounter in their day-to-day life. Poets of old
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12
have done so in order to connect with their audience well. It is to be
expected that their people would be able to understand them better if they
make use of metaphors that consist of things that the people are very much
familiar with. As a result, Tagalog folk poetry abounds with images that have
to do with household tools and utensils, chores in the kitchen, the field or
the river, flora and fauna common in the countryside (Lumbera 18).
Talinghaga in Modern Criticism of Tagalog Poetry
Virgilio Almario one of the foremost poets and critics in the
Philippines studied and tackled talinghaga in many of his writings.

His

conception of talinghaga is not just limited to its relationship with metaphor.


For him, the metaphorical form is just one of the manifestations of
talinghaga. Essentially, talinghaga is the inner force of a poem that shapes
even the very arrangement of the words and the overall form of a poem
(Almario 157).
To demonstrate how talinghaga works in this way, Almario brings up
some lines of Francisco Balagtas Baltazar in his own discussion. These lines
were taken from Balagtas masterpiece Florante at Laura.
Sa isang madilim, gubat na mapanglaw,
dawag na matinik, ay walang pagitan
(In a dark and murky forest,
thorny wilderness, has no gap)
Almario points out that Balagtas could have simply written the first line
in the most conventional way of putting it: Sa isang madilim at mapanglaw
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13
na gubat. His choice for not doing this however, was influenced by
talinghaga. By choosing to write the lines in this particular way, Balagtas is
able to put more emphasis on the two descriptions madilim and
mapanglaw, thus achieving more impact in terms of establishing these two
adjectives that bring with them some affective resonances. (Almario 153154)
Almario also asserts that talinghaga is beyond the sequencing of the
words in a poem. For him, talinghaga can very well influence how the poem
would look like, as evidenced by this poem:
tinitigan
ng palabang buwan

ang kuwago

sa kalansay na kamay
ng punong kapok. (Almario 155)
(the fierce moon looks at the owl
in the skeleton hands of the tree)
The silence that the poet wants us to feel is made even more
pronounced by the visual arrangement of the words. By physically
separating the different things described in the scene, we instantly get how
each subject is isolated from the rest of the scene. Such use of the poetic

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14
form to articulate a complex idea is also attributed to talinghaga (Almario
155).
B. Statement of the Problem
My study will attempt to explain Mike Bigornias talinghaga in his book
entitled Puntablangko (1985). Thus it will attempt to answer the following
questions:
1. How is talinghaga different from a metaphor?
2. Which poems in Puntablangko have talinghaga?
3. What kinds of talinghaga are there in Puntablangko?
Given that talinghaga is a special kind of metaphor, this study looks
into

what

makes

talinghaga

different

from

an

ordinary

metaphor.

Considering that I am studying an entire collection of poems, this study is


interested in finding out those specific poems that have talinghaga. Another
concern that this study will look into is discerning some patterns in examples
of talinghaga in order to classify them accordingly.
C. Scope and Limitation of the Study
My study will focus only on the concept of talinghaga in selected
poems of Mike Bigornias Puntablangko (1985). In this study, I do not intend
to cover all the poems in this book for there are hundreds of them. I wish to
limit my study to that set of poems 16 in total from Puntablangko which
Bigornia submitted to Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature
and won the first prize in the poetry category.
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15
Given that talinghaga is a Tagalog concept and that Puntablangko is a
collection of Tagalog poems, my decision to write my thesis in English needs
to be explained. While it is true that a lot is to be gained if my thesis were to
be written in Filipino, my choice to write my paper in English was primarily
determined by my inability to write an academic paper in Filipino. I know
that I have not reached the level of Filipino writing needed to discuss what I
intend to study in this paper.
Another reason that made me write this paper in English is my
intention to address a wider audience from the academe considering that the
English language is used as the standard means of instruction in universities
here in the Philippines. Hence, by writing my thesis in English, I expect my
paper to be more accessible to academicians and students alike.
In terms of content, I would like to alert my readers that my study will
only focus on metaphorical talinghaga. As mentioned in my introduction,
talinghaga can be manifested not just through a metaphor but also by
means of word arrangement and structure. However, my study is only
concerned with the talinghaga that comes to us in the form of a metaphor.
Moreover, since my primary aim in this paper is to study talinghaga, I
do not intend to give definitive interpretations of the poems in Puntablangko.
As far as I am concerned, my study only demands that I locate talinghaga in
the poems and explain why such metaphors can be considered special.

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16
D. Significance of the Study
Given his achievements as a poet such as being the former president
of Galian sa Arte at Tula (GAT) and winning the grand prize in Don Carlos
Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature in 1986 and 1991, the significance of
studying Mike Bigornias poetry cannot be ignored. Puntablangko is one of
his collections that won the prestigious first-place in Palanca. As such,
studying the poems in this collection will surely be worth our while.
The importance of studying Mike Bigornias Puntablangko becomes
even more obvious when we take into account that very few people have
studied his works. Despite being one of the most decorated poets in the
Philippines, not many scholars have taken the task of looking at his works
with the rigor that is needed to point out the true merits of his poems
comprehensively. Therefore, it will be my privilege to be one of the first
scholars to examine his poems more closely so as to identify the reasons for
which we consider this poet to be one of the best in the Philippines.
Apart from the poet and the poems to be studied, my paper is also
significant for its discussion on talinghaga. Given that the use of talinghaga
started as early as pre-colonial times, close attention should be given to how
poets belonging to the modern times have used this creative technique. Mike
Bigornia is one of those poets who exemplified the use of this device (Osorio
23). Thus, studying the concept of talinghaga as used in the poems of a

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17
twentieth century poet like Bigornia should prove to be beneficial to
Philippine literature as a whole.
This study is all the more significant for enhancing our appreciation of
Tagalog poetry. Elucidating the use of talinghaga in Bigornias poems is one
way by which people can have a better appreciation of Tagalog poetry.
Hence, this study will bring the importance of talinghaga into the awareness
of people. Hopefully, this more informed reading would enable readers to
develop more interest in reading Tagalog poems.
E. Conceptual Framework
This study will revolve around the concept of talinghaga as exhibited in
Mike Bigornias Puntablangko. As such, a clear definition of talinghaga is
needed to provide a basis for my discussion throughout this paper.
Talinghaga as Metaphor
Talinghaga originated from our pre-colonial literature. The beginnings
of talinghaga in Philippine Literature can be attributed to the metaphoric way
of speaking in which the riddles and proverbs were articulated (Lumbera 3
and 9). For this reason, it can be said that comparison is at the very heart of
talinghaga. To be more exact, one could speak of talinghaga as a metaphor
for it is a statement that one thing is something else, which, in a literal
sense, it is not (Kennedy and Gioia 121). In the case of talinghaga, the
metaphor consists in establishing an analogy between human experience
and an aspect of mans environment (Lumbera 12).
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18
In order to properly analyze a metaphor, three things have to be
examined. First is the metaphor itself. The metaphor could be a word,
phrase or a longer stretch of language. Second is the meaning of the
metaphor which is described as what the metaphor refers to figuratively.
Last is the connection which is the relationship between the literal and the
figurative meaning of the metaphor. Traditionally these key aspects of a
metaphor have been referred to as vehicle, tenor and grounds respectively.
Below is an example that shows how these terms are used (Knowles and
Moon 9).
Context
Vehicle
Tenor
Grounds

Be prepared for a mountain of


paperwork
Mountain
A large amount
Ideas of size, being immovable and
difficult to deal with

Talinghaga as Mystery
Although talinghaga and metaphor are closely related, it must be
emphasized that talinghaga is a special type of metaphor for it goes beyond
the definition of a simple metaphor. Talinghaga is also associated with
mystery, obscurity and parabolic speech (Lumbera 12).
Defining mystery in the context of talinghaga is not easy given that
no one among the Filipino scholars has formulated any fixed notion about
this concept. The closest to having a definition of mystery for now is Noceda
and Sanlucars definition of talinghaga. One definition they gave to
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19
talinghaga is speaking or writing in a mysterious or obscure manner (320).
It can be deduced from this statement that the mystery in a talinghaga has
something to do with the difficulty that readers or listenters experience in
comprehending talinghaga.
Clarity in Talinghaga
Despite

being

mysterious,

it

bears

mentioning

that

talinghaga

eventually leads to clarity. By employing talinghaga, writers who have used


this technique like the poets from our folk tradition gave their poems an
element of mystification which gives way to insight when unraveled by a
perceptive audience (Lumbera 20). It is important to note that talinghaga is
not meant to be mysterious. As a matter of fact, the emergence of this
technique in pre-colonial literature proves that the use of talinghaga was
primarily driven by the desire of the poets to convey their message with
more clarity and impact.
The centrality of the talinghaga to early Tagalog poetry seems
to have been dictated by an instinctive recognition of the
complexity of human experience which verbalization does not
always capture. Words can give name to the experience, but
the poet has to depend on analogues in order to suggest the
unnameable aspects of experienceFor the early Tagalog
poets, it was not enough to use language in giving utterance
to feelings and thoughts; they had to find situations in life or
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20
objects in Nature that produced in the poets effects similar to
what they wanted to express. (Lumbera 13)
With all these considerations in mind, I would like to use Lumberas
notion of talinghaga as my basis for analyzing the poems of Bigornia. Based
on his discussion, talinghaga can be defined as a metaphor whose
mysterious comparison between human experience and an aspect of mans
environment leads to clarity. Thus, in order to spot talinghaga in the poems
of Bigornia, three things are essential: (1) that the lines in a poem should
contain a metaphor, (2) that this metaphor should be mysterious and (3)
that the metaphor should lead to clarity.
F. Methodology
In order to study talinghaga in Puntablangko, I will first immerse
myself in the poems individually. This means reading the poems in a
formalistic way. By applying this kind of reading, I hope to be able to
identify the important elements of the poems such as rhyme, meter, and
imagery.
In the process of analyzing each poem, I will identify all the metaphors
that Bigornia uses in Puntablangko. Once this is done, I will then make a
master list of all the metaphors in Bigornias collection. In this way, I can
analyze each metaphor more efficiently. My analysis of the metaphors will
consist in examining them based on their vehicle, tenor and grounds.

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21
Once I have listed down all the metaphors in Puntablangko, I will
examine them in order to classify them as either ordinary metaphor (nontalinghaga) or talinghaga. Metaphors that can be understood easily shall be
classifed as ordinary whereas metaphors that will strike me as mysterious
shall be treated as talinghaga. This distinction is important in order to prove
that talinghaga is not just like any ordinary metaphor but is a special type of
it.
After discussing the mystery in these talinghaga, I will attempt to look
into the issue of clarity. I will try to probe into this matter to see if clarity is
really present in a talinghaga. Apart from verifying whether clarity is present
or not, I shall also explain how clarity is achieved in the poems when
applicable.
The examples of talinghaga will be further analyzed in order to discern
some patterns. This will allow me to know if talinghaga can be further
classified into different kinds. These classifications will be treated separately
in this paper to see their distinctive features.
G. Review of Related Literature
There is not much literature written about talinghaga. National Artist
Virgilio Almario explains this by asserting that the coming of the Spaniards
influenced scholars to lose sight of the value of this concept. In his essay
Mga Anyot Talinghaga ng Panawagan: Tungo sa Morpolohiya ng Tinig sa
Tulang Palabas (1990), he claims that poets and scholars have given too
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22
much importance to apostrophe (panawagan) during Spanish colonization.
Throughout this essay, Almario makes use of many examples of apostrophe
to illustrate how this kind of poetry fettered the imagination and reason of
native poets, thus making them incapable of producing poems that exhibit
the same creativity and depth found in our pre-colonial poems (177).
This theory is supported by Bienvenido Lumberas book called Tagalog
Poetry 1570 1898: Tradition and Influences in its Development (1986). In
this book, Lumbera points out that talinghaga was lost for a time because of
the rhetorical devices that are prevalent in the poems of Francisco
Balagtas Baltazar. In Baltazars Florante at Laura, Lumbera notes that
there are more apostrophe, personification, metonymy and synecdoche than
imagery and talinghaga (136).
Another way of explaining this scarcity of sources on talinghaga is the
emergence of a literary movement in the Philippines called Balagtasismo.
Almario

discusses

this

extensively

in

his

book

Balagtasismo

Versus

Modernismo: Panulaang Tagalog sa Ika-20 Siglo (1984). Almario describes


this movement in poetry as a group of conservative followers of the Balagtas
tradition which placed too much importance to rhyme and meter. As a
consequence, these critics and poets confined themselves to the poems
form without really going into what the poem is actually saying. This
explains why most of the scholars miss out on talinghaga, for it is only in

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23
reading the text closely that this concept could be studied in depth (Almario
93).
Iigo Regalado offers a very interesting insight as to why talinghaga is
not discussed by our scholars. In his book called Ang Panulaang Tagalog
(1947), Regalado goes through the history of Tagalog poetry. Among other
things, he tries to verify whether there is already Tagalog poetry even before
the advent of the Spaniards. As regards his discussion of talinghaga, he
acknowledges that this is a very crucial aspect of Tagalog poetry. He
laments about the lack of scholarship on Talinghaga throughout history. He
explains that one reason is the fact that only a handful of these poems that
exhibit talinghaga have been written down and transmitted to the
succeeding generations. He points out that talinghaga had failed to reach
audience from later generations simply because when it was still in vogue,
as seen in the times of our folk poets, those talinghaga were only recited in
public gatherings and contests. A good majority of them were not really put
into writing (Regalado 26-27).
Some of those who did talk about talinghaga in their writings discussed
this concept in a rather superficial manner. A scholar named Buenaventura
Medina Jr. is one of the few scholars who had some discussions on
talinghaga. In his essay entitled Albania Hangaang Bataan: Mga Anyo ng
Talinghaga ni Balagtas (1990), Medina links the development of talinghaga
with the countrys historical development. Interestingly enough, he claims
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24
that the kind of talinghaga that is produced by a writer is a fruit of the
situation and circumstances of the times. At some point in this essay, he
succinctly states the different examples of talinghaga that have been used
over the years: the Albania of Balagtas, perdido Eden of Rizal, Lupang
Tinubuan of Bonifacio, tierra adorada of Jose Palma, ibong nagnanais
makaalpas of Jose Corazon de Jesus and baying api of Ben Ruben. Medina
claims that these examples of talinghaga all pertain to the suffering
motherland that longs to be set free from abuses.
Even if talinghaga forms part of Medinas discussion, it is noticeable that
the concept is not tackled extensively. Certainly, his essay provides many
examples of this talinghaga. However, he does not really discuss the notion
of talinghaga as such. It is as if the author is assuming that his readers
understand what talinghaga is.
This superficiality can also be observed in Rustica Carpios Talinghaga,
Hinaing at Pag-ibig ng isang Makata (1990). In this essay, she focuses on
the poems written by Bienvenido Ramos. She picks some of Ramos best
poems to justify that this author is worth our attention. Furthermore, she
adds that the merit of this poet lies in his rich usage of talinghaga (243).
Once again, the discussion lacks a more thorough examination of this
concept. Similar to Medinas work, this essay of Carpio assumes that the
readers already have a basic understanding of talinghaga.

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25
There are a few scholars who haved looked into talinghaga more
closely. One of them is Elizabeth Morales-Nuncio. Her book called Mga
Talinghaga sa Laylayan (2005) is a compilation of poems written by
unprivileged children. In this book, Morales-Nuncio intends to bring out the
world in which these children live through their poems. This is why she
decided to dwell on the talinghaga that can be gleaned from the works of
these children. It is her belief that talinghaga is like a mirror that shows a
reflection of the writers environment which in turn, explains his experiences
(Morales-Nuncio 17). From this insight, we can deduce that she understands
talinghaga as a metaphor that establishes a relationship between the writers
environment and his experiences.
Almario also thinks that talinghaga can be considered as a metaphor.
He talks about this at length in his book Taludtod at Talinghaga: Mga
Sangkap ng Katutubong Pagtula (1991). It bears mentioning that apart from
establishing talinghaga as a metaphor, Almario provides an insight that
explains the cause of mystery that makes talinghaga different from an
ordinary metaphor. He asserts that the source of talinghagas mystery is
found in the writers ability to see similarities between two or more entirely
different realities. This comes as a result of the writers attempt to convey
ideas that are often abstract using realities that are more tangible and
familiar both to him and to his intended audience.

It is in forging these

connections between two or more distinct and non-related realities that a


Simon Lloyd A. Arciaga 2015. All rights reserved.

26
poet is able to give his poem that sense of wonder and mystery
characteristic of talinghaga (Almario 156).
Works that tackle Bigornias poems suggest the use of talinghaga in
Puntablangko. Romulo Baquirans thesis entitled Sa Sining ng Paninimbang:
ang panahong 1969-1996 at ang pagtula ni Mike L. Bigornia, hints at this as
he analyzes the poems in Puntablangko. Commenting on the style of
Bigornia, Baquiran points out the poets tendency to talk about ordinary
realities. More importanly, he also notes that despite having ordinary
realities as subjects, Bigornias way of writing remains to be very
imaginative and full of wonder (Baquiran 102).
Another MA thesis that considers a poem of Bigornia is that of Anna
Osorio. Her main objective in this thesis is to tackle poems that speak of the
labyrinth. Interestingly enough, she singles out a poem of Bigornia called
Pinto. In her analysis of this poem, she explicitly mentions that Bigornia is
making use of pinto as a talinghaga. She never really explains why pinto
can be considered a talinghaga. She does explain, however, that Bigornia
used the image of the door as a metaphor for knowing oneself. Through this
metaphor, Osorio points out that Bigornia is able to discuss the quest of
knowing oneself. This task strikes us as a quest that we have to conquer by
entering through the many doors. As we enter through these doors, we are
given the privilege of knowing ourselves better (Osorio 23).

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27
Roberto Aonuevo singled out Bigornias poem entitled Siyudad for its
remarkable style. He lauds the poet for his vivid depiction of the subject
matter. Referring to the poems subject matter which is the lifetyle in the
city, Aonuevo notes the brilliant choice of words on the part of Bigornia.
The poet is able to capture the dreadful state of the city. According to him,
the right choice of words painted the exact picture that Bigornia wants us to
have of the city. Aonuevo also highlights Bignorias remarkable technique in
depicting the city both as attractive and at the same time dreadful
(Panukalang Pagdulog sa Pag-unawa ng Tula).
Based on this survey of related literature, it becomes clear that there
are many reasons that explain the lack of discussion on the concept of
talinghaga. In addition, the superficial treatment of this topic brings to light
the urgency to further study talinghaga in order to have a better grasp of
this concept. Fortunately, a number of scholars have suggested the use of
talinghaga in Puntablangko. This presents a good opportunity for me to
examine talinghaga more closely as it is used by Bigornia. In this thesis, I
shall endeavor to enhance our understanding of talinghaga by further
studying its aspect of mystery which makes it a special metaphor.

Simon Lloyd A. Arciaga 2015. All rights reserved.

28
CHAPTER TWO
TALINGHAGA IN AMBUSH
In his poem Ambush, Bigornia specifically talks about talinghaga.
Analyzing

this

poem

is

worth

our

while

for

it

could

enhance

our

understanding of talinghaga based on my discussions from the previous


chapters. As a matter of fact, I wish to elaborate on Bigornias own
perception of talinghaga as can be gleaned from Ambush in order to
complement what I have already taken up regarding talinghaga from the
previous chapter.
Ambush revolves around the concept of talinghaga. Bigornia uses the
metaphor of hunting throughout the poem in order to tackle this subject
matter. The poem details some of the things that a hunter encounters in this
kind of quest. This poem has only one verse. It was written in free verse
that spans for 24 lines all in all.
In the beginning of the poem, Bigornia makes clear that he is writing
about the experience of a poet who is looking for talinghaga. He started by
warning poets about the need to have enough preparation for this
undertaking:
Kailangang sapat ang paghahanda
Sa pagtunton ng talinghaga
Sa dawag at bundok ng hiwaga. (1-3)

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29
(Sufficient preparation is necessary
to look for talinghaga
in the wilderness and mountain of wonder)
In this stanza, Bigornia is already hinting at the difficulty and
seriousness of this quest. He attempts to further clarify this by comparing
this experience with hunting. Just like any hunter, the poet does not just
settle for any talinghaga that he encounters in the wilderness. He is looking
for something specific. Ultimately, the poet hopes to find the right talinghaga
that will enable him to express the concept or experience that he wants to
convey to his readers. For this reason, this undertaking proves to be quite
arduous.
Apart from the fact that this quest is difficult, Bigornia even goes as
far as saying that it is even deadly for the poet:
Espesyal mat malakas ang armas,
Ang pangangaso sa kordilyera
Ay lubhang peligrosot nakatatakot
Pagkat kapanalig ng tinutugis
Ang mga hayop at elemento. (5-8)
(No matter how special and strong ones weapons are
Hunting in the kordilyera
Is very scary and dangerous
Because the one being hunted is allied
With the animals and the elements)
The reason he gives is that talinghaga allies itself with the animals and
other elements. This alerts us to the danger that talinghaga poses to the
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30
poet. We picture talinghaga to be something that is not just passively
waiting to be found by the poet. On the contrary, it is deliberately thinking of
ways to hide from its enemy by allying itself with other forces. This could be
interpreted to mean that talinghaga sends obstacles in order to thwart the
poets plan of finding the right talinghaga. We cannot really identify these
obstacles for there is nothing in the lines that could help us make a definitive
statement. All that we know is that talinghaga is not alone as it wrestles with
the poet.
Aside from the animals and elements, talinghaga defends itself from
the poet through other means:
May lalang na engkantadang patibong
Ang paligid at di dapat malingat
O mag-antok ang ulirat (9-11)
(An enchanted trap has been deviced
by the environment and one should not be unobservant
nor should his consciousness become sleepy)
In this case, we are given a stronger weapon that talinghaga employs
against the poet. Bigornia speaks of a trap at this point. The peculiar thing
about this is that the trap is not just an ordinary trap; by qualifying it to be
that of an enchantress (engkantada), we perceive that this could be
interpreted to mean that the trap is comparable to that of a beautiful woman
who puts someone under a spell. In the case of poetry, something of this

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31
kind happens when the poet could be distracted from pursuing the right
talinghaga when he loses his focus in the process.
Bigornia provides more descriptions of the experience of a hunter that
help us better grasp the difficulty of this undertaking. He thus describes the
place as follows: May antas bawat lalim ng bangin / At tarik ng talampas
(12-13). (Every depth of the cliff / and height of the plateau has a level) It
is quite interesting that Bigornia emphasizes both depth and height in the
experience that a hunter goes through in his adventure. In the case of the
poet, these descriptions bring to mind the poets struggle to find the right
talinghaga that affords him the appropriate depth of insight. It is a kind of
depth which lends him the ability to describe ideas and concepts in a more
comprehensive

and

thus,

better

way.

Interestingly

enough,

Bigornia

mentions different levels of a cliff. Such description suggests that the poet
goes through the different levels, hoping to find that particular level of the
cliff which would enable him to express things in a way that matches the
depth of the particular concept or experience that he is dealing with. In
other words, the poet is looking for the talinghaga that is deep and complex
enough to be able to capture the idea he has in mind.
Depth is not the only consideration that a poet has when looking for
the right talinghaga. Bigornias reference to the height of the plateau makes
us see that vision is also important. What strikes us once more in this
discussion is Bigornias mention of the different levels of the plateau. Our
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32
own experience of hiking helps us imagine that each level of the plateau
affords a person a unique view of the landscape. Each level corresponds to a
view that is distinct. It weighs on the poet to look for that particular level
which would afford him that specific view that he wants to have. In writing
poetry, this means that the poet has to look for the right talinghaga that
contains the right imagery that the poet needs in order to express his idea
with more accuracy and precision. Having to reckon with these two
conditions of the necessary depth and clarity is perhaps one of the greatest
challenges that befall any poet.
Moreover, Bigornia is pointing out to us a meaningful contrast between
the depth of a cliff and the height of the plateau. He seems to be comparing
the view at the bottom with the view that we get from the top of the
mountain. When applied to the poet, Bigornia is saying that the poet finds
himself in a position where he has to choose from two possibilities. There is
a kind of metaphor to which the view from the bottom corresponds. As our
very own experience tells us, the view at the bottom of the mountain is
limited in that we only see a limited portion of the landscape. Nevertheless,
the advantage of being at the bottom is that we get to pay attention to the
details of the things around us. In poetry, Bigornia is saying that there is a
metaphor whose purpose is to help us see a particular detail of something
clearly.

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33
In contrast, metaphors that come close to the view from the top are
those which give us a broader view of the landscape. In this case, it is not
the details of the things around us that we are after but rather the overall
picture of our surrounding. Hence, we now understand that the poet has to
choose a particular type of metaphor if his goal is to help us see things in a
more encompassing manner.
The terrain in the mountain is further described as follows: madulas
ang mga dalisdis (14). The mention of slippery slopes gives us a graphic
representation of the struggle that the poet has to go through in looking for
the right talinghaga. One can just imagine a person who wants to go up the
mountain but is deterred by the slippery slopes. A hunter may have the
desire to look for his prey in the wilderness. However, obstacles such as
slippery slopes make it difficult for him to proceed and achieve his goal.
Similarly, the challenge of looking for the right talinghaga is a task that
could be so arduous as to discourage the poet to remain true to his goal.
There is that temptation to simply settle with talinghaga that is easy to find
but does not have the depth and clarity needed to convey his message more
effectively.
Bigornia further describes the place where the poet hunts for the right
talinghaga by saying that every turn in the mountain is snake-like (15).
Literally, this line means that every turn in the mountain forms a curve. This
reading is so obvious that it makes us think that the line could mean much
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34
more. The reference to snake brings to mind its connotation which speaks of
treachery. Analyzing this more carefully, one could apply this in the case of
the poet who is betrayed by the very talinghaga that he uses. Instead of
allowing him to express things with more clarity, inappropriate talinghaga
further confuses readers which defeats the very purpose of using it. This
highlights even more the need for the poet to look for the best suitable
talinghaga for his poem.
The mention of sapot-halimaw bawat baging (16) (each vine is a
monstrous web) makes us see that the poet is surrounded by false
metaphors. This highlights the helplessness of the poet in that the difficulty
of the search for the right metaphor is further accentuated by the fact that
he is surrounded by other metaphors which do not really suit his needs.
Furthermore, these unwanted metaphors are precisely the ones that seem to
be forcing themselves upon him.
Further on in the poem, Bigornia also claims that having a strong and
agile guide is still not enough (17). Even if the poet were to be guided by his
teacher who is more learned and experienced, the aid of his mentor will not
guarantee his success in looking for the right talinghaga. It is as if Bigornia
is claiming that the poet would have to discover the right talinghaga for
himself. He may have the privilege of being guided by other people but in
the final reckoning, only he himself knows what he is looking for. His mentor
may be able to give some pieces of advice on how to go about it, but the
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35
achievement of his goal is personal. Only he himself would be able to judge
whether what he has found is the right one. This means that relying solely
on the help of his mentor would not guarantee that the poet would find what
he is looking for.
Furthermore, Bigornia points out in his poem that not even education
would suffice to emerge as a victor in this pursuit. Obviously, education
could help a poet in his attempt to find the right talinghaga. His exposure to
other poems may give him some ideas on the mechanics of metaphor in the
context of poetry. Nevertheless, the pursuit of talinghaga is particular. The
discernment of the right talinghaga is defined by the particular concept or
experience that is expressed in a particular way. In this sense, each
talinghaga is unique and unrepeatable. The gamut of available things outside
the poet may be limited. Nonetheless, the possibilities for talinghaga are
infinite. Two different poems may be using the same thing as a metaphor.
Nevertheless, the way that metaphor fits in those two poems will surely be
different. For this reason, education does not guarantee success in finding
the right talinghaga. Certainly, not everything has been said about looking
for the right talinghaga because each pursuit is a unique encounter that
brings with it a new and unexpected panorama. These nuances are what the
poet would have to deal with in order to look for the talinghaga that fits his
particular situation.

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36
Moreover, Bigornia also says that this quest is deadly not primarily for
the roughness of the mountain which the previous lines bring to our mind;
this mission is fatal because of the extremely silent pass in the mountain
around which the Amazonian talinghaga is secretly hiding, waiting for the
perfect timing for her surprise attack.
Sa ganito kaselang misyon,
Laging may pasong sakdal-tahimik,
Nanambang. At dito dapat alisto:
Sasalakay ang mailap na pakay,
Ang Amasonang talinghaga,
At ikaw ay pasasabugin. (19-24)
(In a mission as delicate as this one,
There is always an extremely silent pass,
and it is waiting for you. And here you must be alert:
The elusive pray will launch her attack,
The Amazonian talinghaga,
And she will destroy you)
Bigornias description of the poets actual encounter with talinghaga
catches us by surprise. Throughout the poem, Bigornia sets us up into
thinking that the poet is the one actively seeking for the right talingahga. His
descriptions prior to the lines that I just quoted were framed in such a way
that it would hardly cross the mind of the readers that it is not the poet who
finds the right talinghaga but rather the other way around. Bigornias claim
in this poem is that it is the talinghaga that finds the poet. Looking for
talinghaga is not a rigid process composed of precise number of steps which
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37
will eventually give the poet what he wants. Bigornia wants to make the
point that although there is a lot of thinking behind the choice of a particular
talinghaga, the talinghaga is something that just comes to us. It just hits us
all of a sudden, like lightning striking a tree. Talinghaga comes to us by
surprise and in a very swift and powerful way.
Having read the ending of this poem, we cannot help but feel disturbed
by the very last line of this poem. Offhand, there is that immediate reaction
to think that the word pasasabugin (to destroy) is exaggerated in this
context. Naturally, we find ourselves asking this question: How can a
metaphor destroy a poet? The question is admittedly difficult. The answer
lies in describing what we mean exactly when we say to destroy the poet.
One way to explain this is to examine the experience of a poet who loses
sight of his goal and limits his pursuit to simply looking for a metaphor for
the sake of having one. It must be remembered that metaphor in poetry
serves a purpose. It is meant to help the poet express himself better. To
come up with one just for the sake of it will ruin the poets true mission.
Once that mission is neglected, it could very well mean the destruction of
the poet himself.
Apart from considering the difficulty of this pursuit, Bigornia also sheds
more light on the concept of talinghaga itself. Just like Lumbera and Almario,
Bigornia posits the idea that mystery is at the very heart of the concept,
hence the line, Sa dawag ng bundok ng hiwaga. It is worth pointing out
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38
that Bigornia specifically mentions that talinghaga can be found in this
wilderness and mountain of wonder. He gives us more details to help us get
that feeling of mystery that we are confronted with whenever we encounter
talinghaga. Pagkat kapanalig ng tinutugis / Ang mga hayop at elemento (78). (Because the one being hunted / is allied with the animals and
elements) The mention of elemento pertains to spiritual entities which are
said to be allied with talinghaga. Another detail that brings out the mystery
in this poem is the line, May lalang na engkantadang patibong (9). (An
enchanted trap has been deviced) The whole mystery here is created by
Bigornias use of these words which are often associated with the
supernatural.
Apart from the kind of words that Bigornia used in the poem, what
adds to the element of mystery in this poem is his comparison between a
poet and a hunter. We are perplexed by how the adventures of a hunter
could correspond to what the poet has to go through when looking for
talinghaga.
Although Bigornia is simply echoing what scholars previous to him
have said about talinghaga with regard to its being mysterious, the poem
seems to contain some more ideas about talinghaga which can be
considered as his own contribution to a better understanding of this concept.
One specific description that is quite new to this discussion is his comparison
of talinghaga with an Amazon. This particular image of the Amazon is quite
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39
interesting for our discussion because of two reasons. The first is that this
image captures the violence that talinghaga possesses. This violence alludes
to the very mystery that envelops any talinghaga. It can be considered
violent because of the harm that it may inflict on the readers on account of
its being mysterious. One risk that talinghaga always brings with it is the
danger of being too mysterious that the readers will find it difficult to
understand what the poem is trying to say. This goes against the principle of
clarity which any form of communication should uphold. At the end of the
day, the poet wants to convey a message to his readers and to say it in a
totally obscure way is definitely not the best way of going about it.
In this case, one might ask: Is Bigornia therefore saying that
talinghaga is useless because it is something that we cannot really
understand in the end? This is where the genius of Bigornias metaphor can
be fully realized. He does say that talinghaga is violent. Nonetheless, we
should not forget that he used Amazon as a metaphor. While an Amazon is
warrior and thus violent, we cannot take away its feminine aspect. This
feminine aspect softens the violence that the metaphor carries. Indeed,
talinghaga is violent. Nevertheless, it is not too mysterious to the point of
making any comprehension impossible to achieve. Talinghaga is mysterious
but it should be something that we can understand although not without
much difficulty.

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40
Based on Ambush, we can identify three additional notions that
Bigornia contributed to our understanding of talinghaga. One is his
description of our encounter with talinghaga as something that surprises us.
This comes out in the way he expresses the idea that it is the talinghaga
that finds the poet. The other contribution of Bigornia is his use of an
Amazon as a metaphor for talinghaga. By using this image, he was able to
bring our attention to the violence that talinghaga possesses. This violence is
accounted for by the mystery that makes it difficult for readers to
understand the poem. Nevertheless, the feminine quality of the Amazon
suggests that talinghaga is not all too mysterious for us to comprehend. It
only makes sense that talinghaga, despite being mysterious, should be
understandable.

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41
CHAPTER THREE
ORDINARY METAPHOR
Before I begin my analysis of talinghaga in the other poems in
Puntablangko, I consider it important to discuss some of the metaphors in
this same collection which can be classified as non-talinghaga or ordinary.
The findings of this chapter will be used as a basis to understand the
difference between an ordinary metaphor and the special kind called
talinghaga.
In my analysis of these ordinary metaphors, it appears that what
makes them different from talinghaga as described in my conceptual
framework is the ease with which the readers make sense of the
comparison. These metaphors make it easy for the readers to establish the
similarity between the two things that are being compared.
In addition, I discovered in the process of analyzing these metaphors
that I can further classify them into three kinds, depending on what aspect
of the metaphor facilitates the apprehension of the comparison. I have
decided to make use of these classifications as a guide to divide this chapter
into different sections.
A. Genus-Based Metaphor
The first kind of ordinary metaphor is a comparison of two entities
whose similarity is based on their common genus. We see some examples of
this in Abiso. This poem is a fitting introduction to the collection for it talks
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42
about the concept of Puntablangko. Throughout the poem, the persona talks
about Puntablangko as a place that the reader visits. Essentially, it is a place
where the reader meets the poet and enters into a dialogue with him.
Written in free verse, this poem is composed of 183 lines unequally divided
into 7 stanzas. The poem begins as follows:
Rumirikit ang talulot
ng aking dangal
sa iyong pagdulog
sa Puntablangko. (1-4)
(The petal of my dignity is beautified
with your visit to Puntablangko)
At the very start of the poem, the persona already establishes the
relationship between the poet and the reader by comparing them to a host
and his visitor respectively. In this encounter between the two, we are told
that Puntablangko is the meeting place. Later on in the poem, the persona is
more explicit in expressing this comparison:
Ngunit dahil ikaw
ay naging panauhin,
nasa iyong palad
ang bukas na aklat,
ang pagpipitagan koy
nasa pagsasabi
ng tapat. (47-58)
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43
(But because you have become a visitor
in your hand is an open book
my way of showing reverence is in being honest)
The comparisons involving the poet and the host as well as the reader
and the visitor are examples of an ordinary metaphor. We understand right
away the connection between the two entities that are being compared. The
poet is like a host in the sense that he owns the collection of poems which
the reader somehow visits whenever the latter reads the poems. Indeed,
we can understand why this poem talks about the whole collection as a place
where the poet and the reader interact with one another.
Analyzing the comparison further, it can be said that what accounts for
the ease with which we comprehend this particular metaphor is the
closeness or familiarity of the two entities that are being compared. This
closeness is to be expressed in terms of the similarity that the two have in
common based on their genus or kind. Although poet and host are two
distinct titles, both of them are attributed to the same genus which is the
human person. The same is true for the comparison between a reader and a
visitor. Establishing the similarity in these comparisons is easy because it is
just a matter of figuring out how one function of a human being can be
applied in another function.
In another poem entitled Pinto, there is an example of this kind of
ordinary metaphor that is worth discussing. This poem talks about the
journey of a person as he gets to know himself. It compares this journey
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44
with the adventure of someone who wants to discover what is inside a
building and decides to go inside it by accessing many doors. Written in free
verse, the poem is composed of 137 lines divided into 6 stanzas. In lines 6165, the poem brings up an example of an ordinary metaphor:
Pakiwariy
isang turista o balikbayan
na inaalok ng limonada
o mainit na sabaw
sa bawat kanto o abenida.
(It is as if one is a tourist or a homecoming citizen
who is being offered a lemonade or a hot soup
in every corner or avenue)
In this stanza, the person exploring the building is compared with a
tourist. Our comprehension of this metaphor is facilitated by the fact that
the poem is comparing a person with another entity that is also a human
person but nuanced by his being a tourist. All we need to do to make sense
of the metaphor is to figure out how a person entering a building can be a
tourist which is not that difficult because we are all familiar with tourists.
Firstly, he is like a tourist because he is visiting a place where he does not
originally belong. Secondly, the person exploring the building is also like a
tourist who receives a warm welcome as he makes his way inside the
building.

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45
In his other poem called Siyudad, Bigornia makes use of many
ordinary metaphors whose comparisons are based on the nature of the city
as a place. In the first stanza of the poem, he refers to the city as a
Palangke ng busina at karburador, / Gusali, takong, pustiso at bundyclock
(7-8). (Market of car horn, carburetor, / Building, heels, denture and
bundyclock) Although the city and the market are two distinct places, it is
not very difficult for us to think of the city as a market. This facility in
apprehending the metaphor can be explained by proximity of these concepts
on account of their genus, as both of them are examples of a place. Our
awareness that the two entities being compared are places make it easy for
us to imagine a city as a market composed of all sorts of things which are
enumerated in the lines that I just quoted. Right away, the metaphor brings
to mind the hustle and bustle that we find in the market which the poem
uses to express the clutter that the city has.
In the second stanza of the poem, the persona in the poem compares
the city with a Paraiso ng bugaw, torero at burikak (13). (Paradise of
pimp, torero and prostitute) This metaphor does not strike us as something
difficult to comprehend because both of its vehicle and tenor are places to
begin with. The use of this metaphor is meant to help us understand how
the city has become an ideal place for pimps and prostitutes to conduct their
immoral business.

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46
Destiyero ng Ulan is another poem in Puntablangko that makes use of
an ordinary metaphor whose similarity is based on the nature of the city as a
place. This poem is about the catastrophe that the rain is ushering in to the
city. This catastrophe is symbolic of the punishment that the city brings
upon its people on account of their greediness for material prosperity. This
poem is written in 7 stanzas with each stanza having 6 lines except for the
last one. Although there is no discernible rhyme in this case, the poem
follows a strict meter with each line comprising 16 syllables.
As mentioned, this poem uses another place with which the city is
compared. This metaphor is found in the fourth stanza of the poem which
starts as follows:
Itinapon tayo rito sa siyudad na may salot
Upang kitlin ang pangarap sa daigdig ng dagitab:
Itong hatol, itong sumpa ng malupit, reynong lunsod. (19-21)
(We were dumped in this plagued city
in order to shatter our dream in the universe of electricity
This is the judgment, this is the curse of the harsh kingdom of
the city)
In this stanza, the city is described as a kingdom. This metaphor is
easily understood because both of its vehicle and tenor are examples of
territories. What the notion of kingdom adds in this case is the nuance of a
territory that has power and authority over the people within that designated
area. Although this is implied by the notion of the city, we cannot deny the
fact that this is better expressed by the notion of a kingdom. With the help
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47
of this metaphor, the city turned into a kingdom becomes more authoritative
in inflicting punishment to its subordinates.
B. Action-Based Metaphor
Another kind of ordinary metaphor is a comparison whose similarity is
based on the action suggested by the metaphor itself. An example of this
kind of metaphor is found in his poem Ako at Di-Ako. This poem is about a
person who doubts whether he really knows himself as he is. The poem
explores the tension between ones initial perception of himself and his
eventual recognition of the kind of person that he really is. This poem has 25
stanzas all in all. Except for the first two stanzas, each stanza is composed
of four lines. This poem follows a strict meter, with each line containing 6
syllables. The rhyming pattern is a uniform vowel sound that concludes each
line.
In the process of expressing his initial perception of himself, the
persona describes himself as follows:
Isip koy may pakpak;
Wala yatang oras
Sa lupay sumayad
At akoy magyapak. (32-35)
(My mind has wings
it does not seem to have time
to touch the land
and for me to go barefoot)

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48
In this stanza, the mind is compared with something that is capable of
flying. It is rather easy to make sense of this metaphor because the
similarity between the mind and the flying entity is already established by
the act of flying that is suggested by the metaphor itself. In a sense, the
mind is like any flying entity that scales the heights of the heavens as it
probes into matters that are rather lofty and profound.
In another poem called Bisikleta Sa Buwan, Bigornia makes use of an
ordinary metaphor of this same kind. This poem is nostalgic for the most
part, as it features a person who fondly reminisces his younger days when
he was still biking. This poem has 6 stanzas and was written in free verse.
There are a total of 81 lines that make up this poem.
In the fifth stanza of the poem, the persona brings to mind the
memory of his younger days as follows:
Ang bisikleta
at tag-araw
ay laket
ng kapusukang
adolesente
na di-sinasadyang
nahalungkat
sa lumang drower
o bulsa ng gunita. (56-65)
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49
(Bicycle and summer
is a locket of
impetuous adolescence
which was accidentally found
in the old drawer
or pocket of memory)
The persona in this poem compares memory with something that has
pockets. Perhaps, this metaphor specifically brings to mind a pair of pants
with pockets in different areas. We can understand this metaphor quickly
because of the action that is suggested in the lines that contain this
metaphor. We are told that the memories of his biking days are contained in
a locket that is kept inside the pocket of memory. Immediately, we figure
out that memory is like a pair of pants with pockets. This insight is facilitated
by the action nahalungkat (rummaged) which leads us to think that the
similarity between memory and a pair of pants has something to do with
their capacity to store things. In the case of memory, it is the experiences
from the past which it keeps and makes accessible to the person anytime.
In Destiyero ng Ulan, there is one more example of this type of
metaphor that is worth mentioning. In describing the storm that is taking
place in that city, the persona gives us more details to consider. Kamayharing pumipirma sa karimlan ang dagitab, / Binabayo ng balaraw ang
banketat kalyeng lunsod (5-6). (Lightning signs on the dark sky as if it
were the kings hand / the dagger strikes the sidewalk and streets of the
city) Lightning in this case, is compared with a hand. The similarity between
the two is easily established because the action pumipirma (signing) hints to
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50
us that the semblance in this metaphor has something to do with action of
marking a surface. The hand obviously does this whenever it signs
something on a piece of paper. Likewise, lightning resembles this action
whenever it marks the dark surface of the sky with its strokes of light.
C. Sensory-Based Metaphor
The last type of ordinary metaphor is a comparison whose similarity is
based on the sensible qualities that we perceive in the metaphor. In Abiso,
Bigornia makes use of this kind of metaphor. In characterizing Puntablangko
as a place, the persona in the poem describes it as follows:
Dito, ang wakas
ay laging tabula rasa,
isang simula,
ngunit namamalikmata may
di ko ipapayong
magbuhol ng panyo;
bawat karanasan
ay pagkit at amorseko
ng panahon. (66-74)
(Here, the end is a beginning,
but despite your disillusionment
I do not advice you
to tie a handkerchief
Every experience is beeswax
and cocklebur of the times.)

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51
We are told that the experiences in Puntablangko are like amorseko
(cocklebur). We understand immediately how an experience can be like a
cocklebur because of what we know about this plant. We know from our
experience that the fruits of this plant easily stick to whatever touches them.
Therefore, we can say that the sense of touch that we attribute to
cockleburs is what facilitates our comprehension of the metaphor. An
experience in Puntablangko is said to be like a cocklebur because it is
something that sticks to the person and stays with him for a long time.
In Destiyero ng Ulan, the wind of the storm is compared with a siren.
hangin naman ay sirenang / Nagkakalkal ng basurat mga layak. Salot!
Salot! (3-4) (wind is a siren / rummaging the trashes and litters. Accursed
one! Accursed one!) In this case, it is not very difficult to make sense of this
comparison. The reason is that we immediately grasp that the point of
connection between the wind and the siren is the sound. In a storm, it is not
hard to imagine the sound of the wind as resembling that of the siren; a
sound that is both loud and threatening.
This kind of comparison is repeated in the second to the last stanza of
the poem. This time, the joint voices of the people are said to be like the
siren:
Libong tinig nating apiy magsisilbi nang sirena
Na lulunod sa palalong nagdudulot nitong salot,
Isang muhon ng pag-alsa sa kamao ng dagitab. (34-36)
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52
(Our thousand voices will serve as a siren
that will drown the proud who is causing this plague
a mark of revolt against the fist of electricity)
Again, this metaphor is quite accessible because the sound of the
siren immediately registers to us. The thousand voices sound like a siren
because of their loudness which makes the overall effect powerful.
Bigornia employs this kind of metaphor in his other poem called Multo
sa Kuwarto. This poem is about a person who finds himself being haunted by
a ghost in his room. Eventually, the person realizes that the apparition was a
reminder of a vow that he failed to keep. Among the poems in Puntablangko,
this one stands out because of its unusual form. Clearly, Bigornia is
experimenting with the language of visual form in poetry in this case. There
is no fixed meter and rhyme for the poem was written in free verse. The
unusual placement of the words and lines make it difficult to determine the
partition for the stanzas. All in all, the poem is composed of 60 lines.
The eyes of the ghost are described quite vividly in this poem. The
persona narrates the incident as follows:
B i g l a

s-u-sut-sot ang kisame

Pagsuling doon
Nasa butiki ang mata ng batang babae
Nanlilisik na rubi! (37-40)
(Suddenly the ceiling hisses to me
and upon looking up there
the eyes of the young girl are in the lizard
glaring red!)
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53
The graphic description of the eyes makes the whole incident more
haunting. The eyes of the ghost, in this case, are being compared with a
ruby. This metaphor immediately makes us understand that the eyes of the
ghost are like a ruby because of the color of the stone. Our knowledge of a
ruby allows us to easily pick up that it is the redness of the stone that makes
the eyes similar to it.
D. Synthesis
To conclude this chapter, it is worth noting that an ordinary metaphor
is easy to understand. Although there is still comparison involved,
establishing the similarity between the two entities at hand is facilitated by
something in the metaphor itself that already provides the starting point for
seeing where the connection between the two lies. As seen in this section,
there are three factors that make an ordinary metaphor easy to access. The
point of similarity in an ordinary metaphor could be immediately hinted at by
the genus, action or sensory quality that the vehicle and the tenor of the
metaphor have in common.

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54
CHAPTER FOUR
TERSE TALINGHAGA
In the previous chapter, I focused my analysis on the ordinary
metaphors that I identified in the poems of Bigornia. I have established that
what makes a metaphor ordinary is the ease with which we comprehend it.
Henceforth, I shall proceed with the discussion on the special kind of
metaphor called talinghaga. There are two kinds of talinghaga that I
discovered in this study. The first one is called terse talinghaga which will be
the focus of this chapter.
A. Mystery in Far-Fetched Comparisons
Unlike ordinary metaphors, examples of talinghaga are rather difficult
to understand. Both Almario and Lumbera assert that talinghaga is beyond
the usual metaphor because of the mystery that envelops it (Almario 156 &
Lumbera 20). It is precisely this mystery which makes the whole process of
comprehending talinghaga arduous. In the case of terse talinghaga, it must
be noted that the source of mystery is coming from the very comparison
that the metaphor is trying to make. There are some comparisons which do
not seem to make sense because the vehicle and tenor of a metaphor
appear to have no relation at all such that establishing a similarity between
the two is simply impossible. In this sense, we can consider these
comparisons far-fetched.

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55
I coined the term terse talinghaga to highlight the source of mystery
in this kind of talinghaga. We can rightly call this talinghaga terse because
the sense of mystery that it evokes in us is coming from the comparison
itself which can be done in a few words or in one line. It is enough to read
the part of the poem which expresses this comparison to discern the
mystery which this kind of talinghaga elicits in us.
Puntablangko is teeming with examples of such talinghaga. In the
poem Ambush, Bigornia makes use of this to express his notion of
talinghaga. Towards the end of the poem, he describes talinghaga as
follows:
Sa ganito kaselang misyon,
Laging may pasong sakdal-tahimik,
Nanambang. At dito dapat alisto:
Sasalakay ang mailap na pakay,
Ang Amasonang talinghaga,
At ikaw ay pasasabugin. (19-24)
(In a mission as delicate as this one,
There is always an extremely silent pass,
and it is waiting for you. And here you must be alert:
The elusive pray will launch her attack,
The Amazonian talinghaga,
And she will destroy you)
The description of talinghaga as an Amazon is not easy to understand.
The reason for such difficulty is the apparent non-relatedness of the
comparison that is being presented to us. Talinghaga and Amazon are just
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56
too far from each other such that establishing a similarity between the two
becomes problematic. To begin with, talinghaga is such an abstract concept
and our knowledge of it is limited by what the books tell us about it. The
whole thing becomes all too mysterious when this concept is compared with
an Amazon which does not seem to have anything to do with it.
In another poem called Abiso, Bigornia employs terse talinghaga to
describe the concept of Puntablangko. The persona in the poem uses
different places to describe this rather complex concept:
Sa karaniwang manlalakbay,
ang Puntablangkoy
isang paso o rutang
dapat iwasan ng gulong,
ng elisi at proa,
ng talampakan.
Itoy balwarteng
nakaligtas sa sunog
at lindol,
isang puwertong
ligid ng muralya at kanyon
ngunit di maapuhap
ang kasaysayang
dapat iulat
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57
sa taalarawan ng gunita.
Sinagoga ito
sa isang templo o moske
na mahirap tukuyin
ang himaymay ng sampalataya.
Itoy pansamantala
o huwad na oasis
ng destiyero
sa disyerto ng paniniwala,
isang laboratoryong
nakasilid sa nebera
o pugon
at bawat milagrong
matuklasay walang
numero ang timpla. (18-46)
(See appendix for English translation)
In this stanza alone, Bigornia comes up with multiple terse talinghaga.
Puntablangko is compared with different places including a route, area, port,
synagogue, oasis and laboratory. Each comparison is indeed an example of
terse talinghaga because we are left wondering as to what these places have
to do with Puntablangko.

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58
Pinto is one other poem that uses terse talinghaga. As this poem talks
about the adventure of a person as he enters a building which the poet uses
as a metaphor for knowing oneself, it tells us about the different things that
the person encounters. One turning point in the poem is when the person
gets surprised by seeing an ugly flower which frustrated his expectations of
experiencing good things:
Mangyari pay sabik itong bubuksan
at naroon ang di-kariktang
mapaghinala,
mapaglihim,
mapanlinlang,
isang pumpon ng mga talulot
na sandaling masaling
ay nagmamakahiyang tumitiklop
at ayaw palimi ang itinatago. (77-85)
(And it happens that it will be opened excitedly
and the ulgy boquet of petals is there,
doubtful, secretive, deceptive,
which the moment it is touched,
meekly folds, not wanting to show
what is being kept inside.)
Our awareness that this adventure is about the quest of a person
knowing himself leads us to recognize the comparison that the poem is
making at this point. The self is being compared with an ugly flower which
can be considered as an example of terse talinghaga. The abstract nature of
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59
self makes it difficult for us to relate it with an ugly flower thereby making
the comparison far-fetched.
Bigornia uses terse talinghaga once again in his poem Siyudad. This
poem talks about the moral corruption that is associated with the lifestyle of
the people who live in the city. In the second stanza of the poem, the
persona addresses the city as if it were a person in the following manner:
Sinasamba kita, Siyudad,
Kurtesano real ng karimlan,
Ikaw na pulang bampira at mama-san,
Primera klaseng bakla,
Paraiso ng bugaw, torero at burikak,
Sagala ng pulubi, palaboy at patapon,
Kantaritas ng kasa at sauna,
Beerhouse, nightclub at motel. (9-16)
(I worship you, City,
Courtesan of darkness
You who are a red vampire and mama-san
First class hermaphrodite
Paradise of pimp, torero and prostitute,
Sagala of the poor, loiterer and wasted
Cantharides of casa and sauna,
Beerhouse, nightclub and motel)
This stanza is studded with titles used to address the city. One thing
that catches our attention in this stanza is the comparison of the city with a
red vampire (pulang bampira). It is certainly not easy to look for a similarity

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60
that will link up the city with a red vampire. Off hand, the city and the red
vampire are so different that they do not seem to show any relation at all.
In the poem Hindi Man Ihayag ng Dalirit Dila, Bigornia resorts to terse
talinghaga in conveying some of his points. At first glance, the poem seems
to be talking about the love of a man for a woman. However, a more careful
reading of the poem will lead us to realize that this poem is actually about
the love of a man for his country which he expresses in terms of a romantic
relationship. This poem is composed of 6 stanzas with each stanza having 3
lines except for the last stanza. It strictly follows a fixed meter of 12
syllables per line and a defined rhyming pattern with the first and third line
of each stanza both ending with the vowel a.
The second stanza is an attempt to express visually the personas love
for his country. He thus manifests this love as follows:
Patalim at unos ang lason ng hula,
Ngunit hinding-hindi babahaw ang halik
Hindi man ihayag ng dalirit dila. (4-6)
(The poison of guess is a knife and storm
But my kisses shall never be lacking
Even if my finger and tongue do not express it)
It is interesting to point out the comparison that the persona is trying
to make in this poem. He compares guess with deadly things such as
poison, knife and storm. Establishing a similarity in this comparison is not
easy to achieve because of the abstract nature of the metaphors tenor
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61
which is guess. As such, we do not really have a firm grip of this concept.
It even becomes more mysterious that guess is being compared with these
deadly things. Indeed, this is another example of a far-fetched comparison
that always brings with it that mystery that is characteristic of talinghaga.
B. Unraveling the Mystery
Undoubtedly, the examples of terse talinghaga that I just presented
are difficult to understand. Yet even if these metaphors may seem too
overwhelming and beyond our comprehension, their mystery can still be
unraveled when we carefully reflect upon them. The key in unveiling the
mystery in a terse talinghaga is to focus on the vehicle of the metaphor. In
all of the examples that we have seen, the vehicle is always something
concrete and tangible. On the other hand, it is the tenor that is always
abstract. For this reason, it will facilitate our thinking process if we start
examining the vehicle of the metaphor. Then, the mystery is solved when we
try to think of a way to relate the vehicle to the tenor. After all, it is the
vehicle of the metaphor that the poet is using to say something about the
metaphors abstract tenor.
In the case of the talinghaga of the Amazon that was used in Ambush,
it helps to remember that it is the Amazon that is describing talinghaga. In
other words, a good starting point for us readers is to consider that Bigornia
is using Amazon as a vehicle to say something about its tenor which is
talinghaga. In this case, the whole affair becomes a matter of figuring out
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62
what it is in an Amazon that may be saying something about talinghaga.
Thinking about what an Amazon is, there are two aspects of it that are worth
bringing up: warrior and woman. With this in mind, we now arrive at the
conclusion that the Amazon becomes a talinghaga for talinghaga because it
embodies violence (warrior) and femininity (woman). I already mentioned in
an earlier chapter that this violence might be referring to the effect of
talinghaga which can be described as making the comprehension on the part
of the reader difficult because of its mystery. Nevertheless, its femininity
makes us realize that the mystery is not too obscure that it already
eliminates the possibility of comprehension.
As regards the examples of terse talinghaga in Abiso, I have to say
that it is rather difficult to justify how Puntablangko could be similar with a
pass, area, port, synagogue and a laboratory. To make some sense of these
comparisons, it is important to examine the descriptions of the places and
figure out what they may be saying about the concept of Puntablangko. One
thing that can be said is that Puntablangko is not an attractive place to visit
for ordinary travelers. All the places that were enumerated had defects
which the poem expresses with such emphasis.
Concerning the talinghaga of the ugly flower as a metaphor for oneself
which we find in Pinto, the key to unraveling the mystery of this talinghaga
is figuring out how the ugly flower can be applicable and relevant to the
concept of self. In this case, one possible interpretation is that the hidden
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63
part of the flower might be alluding to the rotten side of the person where all
his dark secrets are kept. These dark secrets might be referring to the
persons imperfections and defects which he does not want to admit let
alone allow others to notice them.
When comprehended, the talinghaga of the red vampire used in
Siyudad proves to be one of the most powerful metaphors in this collection.
Keeping in mind that it is the red vampire that is describing the city, one
way to make sense of this terse talinghaga is to reason out how the lifestyle
in the city can be a vampire. A vampire is a mythical creature known for
sucking the blood of people. Perhaps, in this case, the lifestyle in the city is
like a vampire since it sucks out the life from its people due to its
immoralities. The adjective red might have been used to further emphasize
blood as the target of the vampire.
Regarding the portrayal of guess as a poison, knife and storm in the
poem Hindi Man Ihayag ng Dalirit Dila, it is crucial to first analyze these
things with which guess is compared. One thing that these three have in
common is that they are all harmful to us. It is this insight which can be
related with the concept of guessing. It is important to keep in mind that
the poem is talking about the relationship of a man with a woman.
Therefore, our understanding of the concept of guessing has to be based
on its effect in a relationship. With this in mind, it now becomes clear that a
guess is like a poison, knife or a storm insofar as it is capable of harming the
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64
relationship between two people who resort to guessing and speculating
instead of solving issues by talking to each other. Indeed, this lack of
communication can eventually lead to misunderstanding that can end the
relationship of two people.
C. Clarity in Vividness
Although making sense of this terse talinghaga is difficult, it bears
mentioning that the clarity which it eventually leads to is quite remarkable.
This clarity is not the same as the clarity that we see in a philosophical
discourse in which every syllogism is supported by sufficiently argued
premises. The clarity that this terse talinghaga exhibits can be expressed in
terms of the vividness of the poems message.
Going back to the example of terse talinghaga in Ambush, one must
keep in mind that the tenor of the metaphor which is the notion of
talinghaga itself is abstract. By describing it as an Amazon, Bigorina is able
to express his point with more vividness. His concern is not so much making
a discourse on talinghaga as it is presenting it visually. It is in concretizing
something that was originally abstract that a terse talinghaga is able to
manifest a different kind of clarity.
This kind of clarity is also achieved in the poem Siyudad where the
lifestyle in the city is compared with a red vampire. Once again, the poet
chooses to express his ideas regarding the lifestyle in the city in terms of
imagery instead of plain words. As a consequence, the image of the red
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65
vampire becomes an embodiment of the moral corruption that the persona
in the poem accuses the city of.
D. Synthesis
In this chapter, I have established that it is the mystery that envelops
a talinghaga that makes it a special kind of metaphor. This mystery explains
why unlike an ordinary metaphor, talinghaga is difficult to understand. In
the case of terse talinghaga, it is the comparison itself that accounts for this
sense of mystery.
The comparison itself strikes us as mysterious because of the opposite
natures of the metaphors vehicle and tenor. In the metaphors that we have
seen so far, it is always the case that the vehicle is something concrete and
that the tenor is something abstract. This explains the gap which makes the
comparison seem far-fetched. Unlike an ordinary metaphor where both the
tenor and vehicle are concrete for the most part, the lack of firm hold on the
abstract tenor in a terse talinghaga prevents us from immediately
establishing a connection between the vehicle and the tenor.
In order to make sense of a terse talinghaga, it is important to start
with the concrete vehicle and see how it can be related to the abstract tenor.
The examples that we have seen allow us to realize that part of the difficulty
in analyzing a terse talinghaga is that the abstract nature of the metaphors
tenor

prevents

us

from

perceiving

its

connection

with

the

vehicle

immediately. Because of its abstract nature, more time is required to figure


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66
out how the vehicle can be similar with it. This is far different from the
similarity that is established in an ordinary metaphor where the point of
connection is more accessible and immediate because it is based on
something that is more noticeable such as the common genus, action or
sensorial quality.
In spite of the difficulty, I have established in this chapter that terse
talinghaga eventually leads to clarity. This clarity is to be expressed in terms
of the vividness that the metaphor provides. Terse talinghaga is more
effective in this sense because it makes use of the language of the image
rather than the language of words. In this way, the message is always
conveyed with more impact.

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67
CHAPTER FIVE
EXTENDED TALINGHAGA
In the previous chapter, I tackled the type of talinghaga which I call
terse. These are talinghaga that are contained in a few words or in just
one line. It is enough to know what the poet is comparing to detect the
mystery that these metaphors have. Apart from the comparison itself, there
is another factor that accounts for the mystery that we see in talinghaga.
The other source of mystery in the poems of Bigornia is coming from the
way he extends an ordinary metaphor. This talinghaga is what I would like
to call henceforth as extended which shall be the central topic of this
chapter.
A. Mystery in Extension
One example of extended talinghaga is the poem Ambush. As we have
seen in chapter 2, the poem is an attempt to compare the search for
talinghaga with hunting. The poet communicates this to us with the opening
lines of the poem:
Kailangang sapat ang paghahanda
Sa pagtunton ng talinghaga
Sa dawag at bundok ng hiwaga. (1-3)
(Sufficient preparation is necessary
to look for talinghaga
in the wilderness and mountain of wonder)

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68
It bears mentioning that at this point of the poem, no talinghaga is yet
to be found. As a matter of fact, the metaphor that we are presented here is
quite ordinary. In my chapter on ordinary metaphor, I classified this one as
an action-based metaphor because the verb pagtunton (to look for) already
provides the connection between the animal and the talinghaga both of
which can be a target in a hunt.
Talinghaga is only introduced in this poem when it starts talking about
the quest in a detailed manner. My chapter 2 already provides an analysis of
the whole poem. In that chapter, I have demonstrated how the descriptions
of the quest of hunting correspond to the experience of a poet who is looking
for the right talinghaga. What I would like to add at this point of my analysis
is how the mystery in the poem is created by extending the ordinary
metaphor that Bigornia uses at the beginning of this poem. In Ambush, the
mystery is not coming from Bigornias comparison of hunting for an animal
with looking for talinghaga. The mystery is rather made evident by his
elaboration on hunting. My analysis in chapter 2 shows that Bigornia is not
just describing the quest of hunting. Each detail about the quest is meant to
say something about the process of looking for the right talinghaga. This is
where the extended talinghaga of the poem is coming from. As the poem
elaborates on hunting, readers are given more details to interpret which
prove to be difficult.

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69
Bigornia uses extended talinghaga once again in his poem Pinto. Just
like Ambush, this poem starts with an ordinary metaphor: Kayraming
binubuksang pinto / sa pagpasok sa sarili (1-2). (There are so many doors
to open / in entering oneself) This is one of the ordinary metaphors I
classified as action-based because the word pagpasok (to enter) leads us to
see that the similarity with the vehicle of the metaphor (enclosed structure)
and its tenor (self) is that we can enter and access both. The use of
extended talinghaga becomes evident when the poem describes in greater
detail what happens in the building as the person enters it:
Mulang mga baitang ng balat
hanggang mga palapag ng laman,
mulang palikaw-likaw
na hagdan ng diwa
hanggang mga silid ng katauhan,
may mga pintong binubuksan, (3-8)
(From the steps of the skin
to the floors of the flesh,
from the winding
stairs of thought
to the rooms of personhood
there are doors that have to be opened)
In these lines, the author expands the ordinary metaphor by informing
us about where these doors are to be found within oneself. Moreover, these
lines also help us imagine that the self that we are trying to enter is not
just a room that has many doors. It is more of a building that is composed
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70
of many rooms and several floors. Through these lines, we begin to
understand that the human person is much more complicated than what we
think.
After giving us a clearer picture of this building, the poem provides
more details about the doors that we find inside this building. Bigornia
describes the doors as follows:
mga pintong may kanya-kanya rit sariling pinto,
mga pintong bagaman walang trangka,
walang kandado,
walang susi,
ay nag-iingat ng pribadong kasarinlan, (9-13)
(doors that have their own door
doors which even if they have no latches
no locks,
no keys,
are protecting the private independence)
The metaphor of the building is further expanded by describing the
doors in greater detail. It is interesting to find out that these doors are
somewhat unusual in that they are not like those typical doors that have a
latch, a lock and a key. With this further description of the door, apart from
knowing that this building can be accessed through doors, we are now aware
that this building can be accessed easily since the doors are not heavily
guarded.

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71
Moreover, it is important to note that the stanza above asserts that
the rooms are not empty. We are told that each door in that building
protects the privacy of whoever is staying inside that room. The poem does
not explicitly say who or what is found in that room.
B. Unraveling the Mystery
The difficulty that extending a metaphor brings with it poses a big
challenge to the readers. Each time a poet extends a metaphor by
introducing new details, the readers are asked to interpret these details with
much precision as possible. This interpretation consists in analyzing how the
elaborate descriptions of the vehicle of the metaphor correspond to the
aspects of the tenor that can be considered parallel to them.
Given this difficulty, analyzing an extended talinghaga calls for a
special approach which can aid the readers in interpreting the poem well. To
do this, it is important for us to go back to the metaphor that the poem has
introduced at the start. This helps us stay in context and interpret the lines
accordingly.
In the case of Pinto, it is crucial to keep in mind that the poem is
about entering oneself. As we have seen, Bigornia used the metaphor of
entering a building through doors to talk about this topic. He may be literally
talking about a building and its many doors, the metaphor at the start of the
poem helps us realize that the descriptions of the building are saying
something about the process of knowing oneself which is the main topic of
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72
the poem. Thus, all interpretations in the poem have to be in line with what
the poem is fundamentally about.
The further description of the self as a building in lines 3-8 is meant
to help us grasp the difficulty of knowing oneself. Far from being just a
poetic verbiage, these lines give us a picture of the complexity of a person.
This complexity is communicated to us through the many floors, doors,
rooms as well as the winding stairs found in the building. It is as if the poem
is saying that a person is composed of several layers and getting to know
him will take a long time.
These lines also suggest that there are different levels of knowledge
with regard to a person. There is a kind of knowledge that is very external.
Perhaps, this involves knowing the physical attributes of a person. But apart
from this, there is a kind of knowledge of the human person that involves
knowing himself thoroughly. This could possibly mean knowing his own
different character traits that define him as a person. Indeed, this kind of
knowledge is not easy to attain because it requires a lot of time. It is not
something that we can attain in an instant. This kind of self-knowledge is
acquired by reflecting on how we behave and by processing what people tell
about us. Even then, we are not assured that we can know ourselves
completely. Such is the complexity of the human person.
The detailed description of the doors in lines 9-13 is also saying
something more about the process of knowing oneself. By describing the
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73
doors as being easily accessible, the poem might be suggesting that nothing
is preventing the person from knowing himself. The doors will always open
for him if he wants to enter.
C. Clarity in Cohesion and Relatibility
Even if extended talinghaga may appear difficult to deal with, it still
has a very distinct version of clarity to offer. This clarity can be expressed in
terms of the poems cohesion and relatability. In the case of Ambush,
cohesion can be found in the way the topic was presented to the readers. In
the entire poem, the poet only used one language to talk about the process
of looking for the right talinghaga: the language of hunting.
This cohesion is also present in the extended talinghaga used in Pinto.
Bigornia was quite consistent in using the metaphor of the building in
discussing the process of knowing oneself. The poem explores the things
that could be found there as well as the experiences that can take place in a
building in order to expound on the process of attaining self-knowledge.
This cohesion adds to the beauty of the overall poem because it
demonstrates the fittingness of a metaphor. The vehicle of the metaphor is
so apt for its tenor that the poet can further extend it in order to talk about
the tenor in a more comprehensive manner. Perceiving this sense of
fittingness between the metaphors vehicle and tenor is indeed a source of
delight for the readers.

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74
There is also clarity in the poems relatability provided by the extended
talinghaga. This relatability does not mean that we can easily understand
this talinghaga. On the contrary, it takes us quite some time to make sense
of the elaboration. Relatability in this case refers to the ease with which we
follow the elaboration insofar as it is tangible and concrete. It is easier for us
readers to process descriptions that refer to things we can see, smell, touch,
hear and taste. This also works to the advantage of the poet who finds it
easier to describe things that he can sense as opposed to abstract ideas that
are found only in the mind.
We experience this for ourselves when reading Ambush. It is easier for
us to follow the flow of the poem because it talks about very concrete
things. It talks about the things that a hunter encounters in the wilderness
such as animals and vines. It even describes to us the characteristics of the
mountain including its slopes and its cliffs. For many of us, it will be easier to
relate with a poem that talks about this experience rather than a poem that
talks about the concept of talinghaga as such.
This relatability is also found in the poem Pinto. This kind of clarity is
even better demonstrated in this poem because it talks about the experience
of going through doors in a building which is a phenomenon that we
experience practically everyday. While the process of knowing oneself might
be too abstract for many of us, the experience of exploring a building is
something we are more familiar with. Because of this, we are able to relate
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75
better to what the poem is saying even though we know that it is talking
about something very abstract.
D. Synthesis
In this chapter, we have seen some examples of extended talinghaga.
This kind of talinghaga relies on an ordinary metaphor which it tries to
expand in the poem. The purpose for expanding the vehicle of the metaphor
is to expound more on its tenor.
The mystery in this talinghaga is coming from the extension of the
ordinary metaphor. As the poet extends the metaphor, more details of the
vehicle are provided which the readers have to analyze and interpret in
order to see how they relate to the tenor of the metaphor.
In order to analyze an extended talinghaga properly, it is important
that the readers interpretations are made in light of the basic metaphor
from which the extension is coming. In this way, the readers are guided as
to how the further elaboration on the vehicle of the metaphor can be related
with the metaphors tenor.
Once the mystery is unraveled, the distinct clarity of an extended
talinghaga is experienced. This clarity is expressed in terms of the poems
cohesion insofar as it is consistent in using the same metaphor to tackle its
topic. This gives the poem a sense of wholeness which conveys its message
with more impact.

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76
An extended talinghaga can also exhibit clarity in terms of making the
whole poem relatable. In order to lessen the alienation that readers might
experience in reading a poem about an abstract reality, Bigornia uses an
extended talinghaga. In this way, the concrete nature of the vehicle will
make it easier for the readers to better follow and process the elaboration on
the abstract concept.

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77
CHAPTER SIX
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
A. CONCLUSION
In conclusion, there are six poems in Puntablangko that have
talinghaga. These poems are Ambush, Abiso, Pinto, Hindi Man Ihayag ng
Dalirit Dila, Siyudad and Maagang Gabi. Of the six, Ambush occupies a
special place in this collection because it specifically talks about talinghaga
itself. This poem tells us about how Bigornia understands talinghaga. For
poets, talinghaga is not really something that is found. On the contrary, it is
the talinghaga that finds the poet and thereby surprising him. His other
descriptions of talinghaga reinforce what has already been said by previous
scholars such as Almario and Lumbera. Talinghaga is essentially mysterious.
At the same time, it is the kind of mystery that will eventually lead to clarity.
A pivotal part of this study was differentiating talinghaga from an
ordinary metaphor. Essentially, talinghaga is different from an ordinary
metaphor because the latter can be understood easily. The reason for this
facility is the explicit similarity that is contained in this ordinary metaphor.
This similarity can be established based on the common genus, action or
sensory quality which the metaphor outrighly exposes.
From the list of metaphors that I came up with in this study, I was
able to identify which of these can be considered talinghaga based on
Lumberas criterion that it should be mysterious. Indeed, the mystery that
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78
talinghaga has refers to the difficulty that the readers experience in
comprehending this special metaphor.
The most significant contribution of my study is how it sheds more
light on the aspect of mystery in talinghaga. Analyzing the poems of
Bigornia helped me probe into this matter further. Based on my analysis of
his poems, there are two reasons why a metaphor can be mysterious. One is
the very nature of the things that the poet compares. There are certain
comparisons which, in themselves, are already mysterious. The reason for
this is the non-relatedness between a metaphors vehicle and its tenor.
Examples such as person as star, door as monster, woman as country,
city as red vampire and night time as period of suffering demonstrate
how there could be a huge gap between the vehicle and the tenor which
makes it difficult for us to establish a similarity between the two. This gap is
better understood when we take into account that the comparison requires
establishing

similarity

between

something

concrete

(vehicle)

and

something abstract (tenor). Obviously, this is only apparent for, as we have


seen, the overall context of the poem helps us solve these puzzles. Once the
connection has been established, readers realize for themselves how the
initial mystification was worth it in that it eventually leads to a better grasp
of the poets message.
I coined the term terse talinghaga to refer to this kind of talinghaga.
These are special kinds of metaphors which are found in a few words or in a
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79
line of a poem. Furthermore, as we have seen in some of the poems in
Puntablangko, this kind of talinghaga serves the purpose of intensifying an
effect. It is a device that Bigornia often uses to concretize abstract ideas and
concepts. In this sense, talinghaga helps the poet achieve clarity. These
metaphors give the readers something concrete to think about thereby
aiding their comprehension of whatever the poet is saying. Ultimately, the
purpose for using terse talinghaga is to look for an image that will embody
the point of the poet.
The other reason why a metaphor becomes mysterious is the manner
by which it is extended throughout the poem. These metaphors usually
consist of comparisons that are easy to comprehend. In Puntablangko, some
of the examples are poet as a hunter and self as a building. In these
comparisons, we perceive right away the connection between the vehicle
and the tenor of the metaphors. What accounts for the mystery is the
manner by which these simple metaphors are extended and elaborated. This
kind of talinghaga is what I call extended talinghaga.
In extending the overarching metaphor, Bigornia is able to introduce
more aspects of the vehicle of the metaphor which are intended to explain
further the parallel aspects of the tenor. This is where the mystery of such
talinghaga comes from. The connection between the vehicle and the tenor
may be easy to perceive but as the poet extends this comparison, the
readers are given more things to comprehend. Extending a metaphor is like
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80
giving the readers more puzzles to solve thereby creating that sense of
mystery in the poem.
The clarity that is achieved through extended talinghaga is different
from that of terse talinghaga. Based on the poems of Bigornia that use terse
talinghaga, clarity is achieved through vividness. The point that he tries to
get across is done so powerfully because of the image that he uses. In
extended talinghaga, clarity is achieved through cohesion and relatabiliy.
Cohesion means the wholeness of the poem which is achieved by using only
one metaphor throughout the poem to talk about something. Relatability in
this case means familiarity with the concepts used. Poets who discuss
abstract concepts find it difficult to express their thoughts about them. In
the case of Bigornia, by comparing these abstract concepts with things that
we are more familiar with, he is able to articulate his thoughts easier.
Consequently, we, as readers, find it easier to follow and understand what
the poet is trying to express.
After having analyzed talinghaga in the poems of Bigornia, I consider it
necessary to present my definitive formulation of the meaning of talinghaga.
Talinghaga is a mysterious metaphor whose comparison between an abstract
idea or experience and a concrete object in reality leads to clarity. In order
to express the inarticulate, a poet resorts to talking about something that is
more familiar both to him and to his readers. Hence, he resorts to

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81
comparisons with the hope that the vehicle of the metaphor is concrete
enough to express the intangible aspects of the tenor.
The mystery in a talinghaga can be defined as a quality of a metaphor
which makes comprehension on the part of the readers difficult. As proven
by my analysis of the poems in Puntablangko, this difficulty also has to do
with making a comparison between an abstract idea and a concrete object.
The lack of firm hold on this abstract idea makes establishing its similarity
with a concrete object problematic.
There are some concepts that are quite complex that the poet sees the
need to look for the right metaphor that will match the complexity of the
concept. More often than not, such complex concepts are proven to be
difficult to express that the poet has to rely on a very particular thing to
express his thoughts clearly. It is often the case that expressing these
concepts could only be done in a very specific way. The metaphor that the
poet finds fitting for his idea is very special that it brings with it the
unwanted result of being mysterious. This explains the difficulty with which
we comprehend terse talinghaga. The vehicle that the poet finds fitting to
describe the concept is already too far from the tenor. This is precisely what
Almario was talking about when he said that the mystery in talinghaga is the
result of the creativity of the poet who is able to see connections between
two entirely different realities. This sensibility to ones surroundings is

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82
something that ordinary people do not have which explains why they find
such comparisons mysterious (Almario 156).
Some poets who want to talk about an abstract idea or experience at
length are hindered by the limitations posed by its abstract nature. This is
why it is often the case that poets employ metaphors to have something
concrete to work with. There are cases when an ordinary metaphor would
suffice. Nevertheless, it cannot be avoided that extending such metpahors
will in turn, make the whole poem mysterious. When extending a metaphor,
poets usually go into the minute details which form part of the reality they
are describing. Interpreting such lines will prove to be not easy for readers.
Therefore, we can say that mystery in talinghaga comes as a result of the
poets attempt to stretch comparisons in two ways. The first way is
stretching it by comparing two entirely different realities. The other is
stretching it by literally extending the metaphor to elaborate on an abstract
idea.
In this sense, we can say that using talinghaga is always a risk that
the poet takes. The comparisons that talinghaga uses are often too stretched
that it tends to make the poets expression obscure to readers. The two
things that are being compared are too different that linking them in a poem
seems too far-fetched. It could also happen that obscurity lies in how a
metaphor is extended such that more details about it are given in the poem.
However, it is important to note that this obscurity is not intended by the
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83
poet. Certainly, a poet does not make use of talinghaga in order to confuse
the readers. We can be sure that where there is talinghaga, clarity is also
present. As Lumbera himself puts it, talinghaga gives the poem an element
of mystification which gives way to insight when unraveled by a perceptive
audience (20). This helps us see that talinghaga is primarily used to achieve
clarity. If anything, the obscurity that it brings with it is a necessary evil
that it has to play around with. It may prove to be difficult to comprehend at
the beginning, but once the connection is established, the message of the
poem is conveyed with more clarity and impact. Indeed, the risk that
talinghaga carries is worth the clarity that it eventually leads to.
One might ask: If talinghaga is obscure, how does one unravel its
mystery? Admittedly, talinghaga is not easy to understand. What I did in this
thesis is a testament to how difficult it is to make sense of a talinghaga. This
explains why all of my interpretations of the poems in Puntablangko are
expressed with such tentativeness. It is an actual proof of how much I had
to stuggle to deal with the mysteries that Bigornia presents to us. In the
case of terse talinghaga, the mystery can be unraveled by first analyzing the
concrete vehicle. Readers should figure out a way to relate the vehicle with
the concept of the tenor.
When it comes to extended talinghaga, the mystery of talinghaga is
brought to light with the help of the context of the poem. In a sense, the
ordinary metaphor presented at the start of the poem guides us in our
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84
thinking process as we try to make sense of the talinghaga. It even limits
possible interpretations in the poem since the way we make sense of the
talinghaga has to be in line with what the poem as a whole is saying.
The clarity that talinghaga achieves may be expressed in different
ways. In expressing abstract ideas and concepts, the poet is not only after
saying them in a poem. Driven by the desire to communicate himself well,
the poet uses talinghaga to convey his message better. Sometimes,
conveying ones message would mean expressing his ideas vividly so that it
penetrates the minds of the readers more deeply. Certainly, anything that is
presented to us which is clothed with sensorial forms registers to our minds
more quickly.
At other times, communicating ones message well would mean
elaborating on a concept in greater detail. A poet who intends to do this
makes use of talinghaga because of the facility that it provides. An extended
talinghaga presents clarity by way of cohesion. This is achieved by using the
language or vocabulary of just one metaphor to talk about something. This
sense of wholeness accounts for this clarity.
There is another kind of clarity that an extended talinghaga offers. It is
way easier for us to describe things that we see, hear, touch, feel and smell.
Our vocabulary in talking about what we experience sensorially is wider.
Hence, the poet borrows from this experience to talk about abstract ideas.

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85
In this case, the clarity that is achieved is expressed in terms of the
relatability of the descriptions that he provides.
Ultimately, the use of talinghaga by poets is demanded by the very
essence of poetry. Poetry is first of all a fine art. As such, its end goal is to
achieve beauty. It is precisely because of this that a poet is not just
supposed to say something. At the end of the day, a poem is to be judged
not only for its meaning but also in terms of how this meaning was brought
out in the poem. Talinghaga contributes to this beauty by giving us a sense
of fittingness which we perceive as we see the connection between the
metaphors vehicle and tenor. We delight in realizing that the metaphor
captures very well the idea that the poet is trying to express.
To sum it all up, talinghaga is a mysterious metaphor whose
comparison between an abstract idea or experience and a concrete object in
reality leads to clarity. The mystery that surrounds it is an inevitable
consequence of the poets attempt to look for a way to bridge the nonmaterial world of ideas with the material world where we find ourselves in.
While this mystery may be an obstacle in understanding the poem, this
mystification is eventually solved by what the poem is saying as a whole.
Once the mystery is unraveled, the real power of talinghaga is laid bare in
terms of how it communicates the message with such vividness, cohesion,
relatability and beauty.

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86
B. RECOMMENDATIONS
I mentioned in my conclusion that Maagang Gabi is one of the poems
that has talinghaga. This poem was not included in my discussions because
it cannot be classifed as either terse or extended talinghaga. Nevertheless,
the mystery that this poem has is quite remarkable. The whole mystery is
coming from the story about the street children who are working amidst the
harshness of the night and the rain. Once explored, this analysis can add
more categories to the kinds of talinghaga that Bigornia uses.
My study made me realize other related topics which scholars might
want to look into. In this paper, I only studied the metaphoric talinghaga in
Bigornias poems. I mentioned in the introduction of this paper that
talinghaga is manifested in different ways. Apart from metaphors, talinghaga
is also expressed in how the words were arranged in the poem. Questions
such as why the poet said this line in this particular way and why this word
was placed in that position lead us to study the talinghaga that influenced
the poet to write his poem in a very particular way. In the poems of
Bigornia, there are many examples that scholars can study in order to
explore this kind of talinghaga. Just to cite an example, heres a portion
from the poem Pinto which presents a very interesting way of breaking the
lines:
Mangyari pay sabik itong bubuksan
at naroon ang di-kariktang
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87
mapaghinala,
mapaglihim,
mapanlinlang,
isang pumpon ng mga talulot
na sandaling masaling
ay nagmamakahiyang tumitiklop
at ayaw palimi ang itinatago. (77-85)
(And it happens that it will be opened excitedly
and the ulgy boquet of petals is there,
doubtful, secretive, deceptive,
which the moment it is touched,
meekly folds, not wanting to show
what is being kept inside.)
Scholars might find it interesting to explain why Bigornia seems to
isolate the words mapaghinala, mapaglihim and mapanlinlang in this stanza.
Explaining this kind of talinghaga will help us have a broader understanding
of the concept.
Another manifestation of talinghaga that could be an interest for
scholars is the appearance of the text. As I explained in my conceptual
framework, talinghaga also influences the poet to construct his poem in such
a way that its very appearance is already part of the message. One of the
poems in Puntablangko called Multo sa Kuwarto can serve as an example for
this:

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88
Mananaog
ang isang batang babae

Payat

humahagkis ang buhok

Gulanit ang damit (22-30)


(A young girl appears
A thin girl whose hair is all pointing up
Her clothes are ragged)
Bigornia arrests our attention with such visual arrangement. Scholars
can examine what the visual arrangement does to the poem. Furthermore, it
would also be of benefit for us to know how this can be considered
talinghaga.
In order to have a more complete understanding of the talinghaga in
Puntablangko, I highly recommend that scholars consider studying the entire
collection. The scope of this study only covers the poems from Puntablangko
which Bigornia submitted to Palanca. In total, his entry for the Palanca
amount to 16 poems only. The entire collection is acutally composed of
hundreds of poem. Scholars might find it beneficial to see the other
Simon Lloyd A. Arciaga 2015. All rights reserved.

89
talinghaga in those other poems. This will surely help us in getting a better
understanding of talinghaga. This might even open up new discussions about
talinghaga in terms of its other kinds, structures and purposes in the context
of Tagalog poetry.

Simon Lloyd A. Arciaga 2015. All rights reserved.

90
APPENDICES

A. English Translation of an excerpt from Abiso


To an ordinary traveler
Puntablangko is a pass or a route
that should be avoided by tires,
propellers, proa and foot.
It is an area that survived
fire and earthquake,
A port that is surrounded
by ramparts and cannons
but its history
that should be recorded
in the diary of memory
cannot be found.
It is a synagogue
in a temple or mosque,
whose fibers of faith
are hard to identify.
It is a temporary or a
false oasis of an exiled man
in a desert of belief,
A laboratory
inside a refrigerator or fireplace
and each miracle that is discovered
has no measurement.

Simon Lloyd A. Arciaga 2015. All rights reserved.

91
B. Master List of Metaphors used in Puntablangko
1. ABISO
Context
Rumirikit ang
talulot ng aking
dangal [1-2]
sa iyong
pagdulog sa
Puntablangko
[3-4]
isang paso or
rutang dapat
iwasan ng
gulong, ng elisi
at proa, ng
talampakan
[20-23]
Itoy balwarteng
nakaligtas sa
sunog at lindol
[24-26]
Isang puwertong
ligid ng muralya
at kanyon [2728]
Sinagoga ito sa
isang templo o
moske [33-34]
Itoy
pansamantala o
huwad na oasis
ng destiyero [3739]
Isang
laboratoryong
nakasilid sa
nebera o pugon
[41-23]
Pulpito [30]

Vehicle
Flower

Tenor
Dignity

Grounds
Being enhanced

Classification
Ordinary
Metaphor

Visitor

Reader

Reader does not


own the
collection

Ordinary
Metaphor

Pass/route

Puntablangko

Puntablangko as
a destination

Talinghaga
(Terse)

Certain Area

Puntablangko

Puntablangko as
a special place

Talinghaga
(Terse)

Port

Puntablangko

Puntablangko as
a special place

Talinghaga
(Terse)

Synagogue

Puntablangko

Puntablangko as
a special place

Talinghaga
(Terse)

Oasis

Puntablangko

Puntablangko as
a special place

Talinghaga
(Terse)

Laboratory

Puntablangko

Puntablangko as
a special place

Talinghaga
(Terse)

Pulpit

Puntablangko

Bulwagang
plenaryo [51]
Ngunit dahil
ikaw ay naging

Plenary Hall

Puntablangko

Visitor

Reader

Puntablangko as
a special place
Puntablangko as
a special place
Reader does not
own the

Talinghaga
(Terse)
Talinghaga
(Terse)
Ordinary
Metaphor

Simon Lloyd A. Arciaga 2015. All rights reserved.

92
panauhin [52-53]
Isang Bahay
kubo o bahay na
tisa [60-61]
Isang Lenteng
Uranyo [64]
Bawat
karanasan ay
pagkit [72-73]
Bawat karanasan
ay amorseko
[72-73]
Sumisikat dito
ang araw habang
umuulan
[75-76]
At ikaw ay isa
nang bituin
[115-116]
At ikaw ay
sagradong tubig
[123]
Ang
Puntablangko ay
talyer ng wika at
diwang
magtatanghal sa
sarili bilang tao.
[138-141]
Bilang
propitaryo
hayaang magsuot
ako ng tunika
[159-160]

Nipa Hut

Puntablangko

Uranium Lens

Puntablangko

Beeswax

Experience

Cocklebur

collection
Puntablangko as
a special place

Talinghaga
(Terse)

Puntablangko
allows us to see
things in a very
specific way
Experience stays
with us

Talinghaga
(Terse)

Experience

Experience stays
with us

Ordinary
Metaphor

Place

Puntablangko

Meeting place
for the poet and
his reader

Talinghaga
(Extended)

Star

Person

Talinghaga
(Terse)

Sacred Water

Person

Purified

Talinghaga
(Terse)

Workshop

Puntablangko

Place where
Talinghaga
language and
(Terse)
thought are being
developed

Proprietor

Poet

Poet owns the


collections of
poems

Ordinary
Metaphor

Vehicle
Wilderness

Tenor
Hiwaga

Classification
Ordinary
Metaphor

Animal/person

Talinghaga

Grounds
Hiwaga is a rich
source for things
to write
Talinghaga as

Ordinary
Metaphor

2. AMBUSH
Context
Sa dawag at
bundok ng
hiwaga [3]
Kailangang

Ordinary

Simon Lloyd A. Arciaga 2015. All rights reserved.

93
sapat ang
paghahanda sa
pagtunton ng
talinghaga [1-2]
Amasonang
talinghaga at
ikaw ay
pasasabugin [2324]

being hunted

being sought
after

Metaphor

Talinghaga
(Terse)

Amazon

Talinghaga

Talinghaga as
violent because
of its mystery

Context
Kayraming
binubuksang
pinto sa
pagpasok sa
sarili [1-2]
Mulang mga
baitang ng balat
[3]
Hanggang mga
palapag ng
laman [4]
mulang palikawlikaw na hagdan
ng diwa [5]

Vehicle
Enclosed
Structure

Tenor
Self

Grounds
Classification
The Self is not Ordinary
readily
Metaphor
accessible. Doors
are needed.

Levels

Several layers

Levels/floors

Several layers

Spiral Stairs

Steps going up

hanggang mga
silid ng katauhan
[7]

Residents

Reside in a house

Thick structure
composed of
several layers
Thick structure
composed of
several layers
It follows a path
or process that
could be
complicated
Resides in the
person, could be
in separate
rooms
Self is composed
of many aspects,
has many
components
Self is wellprotected, sturdy,
not readily
accessible

3. PINTO

at ang sarili
Mysterious home
bilang
misteryosong
tahanan [14]
o kastilyong
Fortified Castle
ligid ng ilog at
balumbon ng
tinik-aroma [1516]
Pakiwariy isang Tourist
turista o
balikbayan [61-

Self

Self

Person
discovering
himself

Talinghaga
(Extended)
Talinghaga
(Extended)
Talinghaga
(Extended)
Talinghaga
(Extended)
Talinghaga
(Terse)
Talinghaga
(Terse)

The person is not Ordinary


familiar with the Metaphor
place he is

Simon Lloyd A. Arciaga 2015. All rights reserved.

94
62]
17.) isang
pumpon ng mga
talulot [82]

Petals of a
flower

visiting
Self has a faade
that hides whats
inside

Self

Talinghaga
(Terse)

4. AKO AT DI-AKO
Context
Isip koy may
pakpak [32]
Hindi yaong
askad ng
lipunang sugat
[62-63]

Vehicle
Winged creature

Tenor
Mind

Wound

Society

Grounds
The mind soars
when it thinks
Ill

Classification
Ordinary
Metaphor
Ordinary
Metaphor

Grounds
Memory stores
experiences,
thoughts from
the past.

Classification
Ordinary
Metaphor

5. BISIKLETA SA BUWAN
Context
nahalungkat sa
lumang drawer o
bulsa ng gunita
[64-65]

Vehicle
Pants with
pockets

Tenor
Memory

6. ANG MANGANGAHOY NA KUBA


Context
Katutubong
Rebulto [2]
Antigong
Bathala [9]

Vehicle
Native Statue

Tenor
Farmer

Antique god

Farmer

Grounds
Farmer as Stationary

Classification
Ordinary
Metaphor
Fervent/Hardworking Ordinary
Metaphor

7. MAAGANG GABI
Context
Pinaaga ng
biglan ulan
kangina ang gabi
[9-10]

Vehicle
Night

Tenor
Period of
suffering

Grounds
Period of
suffering as
harsh

Classification
Talinghaga
(Special)

Simon Lloyd A. Arciaga 2015. All rights reserved.

95
8. HINDI MAN IHAYAG NG DALIRIT DILA
Context
Patalim at unos
ang lason ng hula
[4]
Pusot kaluluwa
ay handang
isangla [10]
Kamandag ng
duda [16]

Vehicle
Knife, Posion
and Storm

Tenor
Guess

Grounds
Guess can harm
the relationship

Classification
Talinghaga
(Terse)

Jewelry

Heart and Soul

Ordinary
Metaphor

Snake

Doubt

Heart and Soul


are precious
possessions
Doubt can harm
the relationship

Grounds
The ticking of
the clock can be
felt when
everything is
silent
Eyes can be red

Classification
Ordinary
Metaphor

Talinghaga
(Terse)

9. MULTO SA KUWARTO
Context
Vehicle
Hahaplusin ka
Persons Touch
sa anit ng tiktik
na orasan [15-16]

Tenor
Ticking of the
clock

Nanlilisik na
Rubi! [40]
Na naghangad
lumaya kahit
sugatan ang
bagwis [54]
Upang iligtas
ang kaluluwa sa
tiyak na
pagkaagnas [58]

Ruby

Eyes

Bird

Peasant

Material Thing

Soul

Vehicle
Empress

Tenor
City

Grounds
City as ruler

Classification
Ordinary
Metaphor

Sultana

City

City as ruler

Ordinary
Metaphor

Market

City

City as a place
for many things

Ordinary
Metaphor

Peasant seeks to
be free just like
the bird who
seeks to fly
Soul can also be
corrupted

Ordinary
Metaphor
Ordinary
Metaphor
Ordinary
Metaphor

10. SIYUDAD
Context
Emperatris ng
bangketa at
bulebard [2]
Sultana ng
estero at ilawdagitab [3]
Palengke ng
busina at

Simon Lloyd A. Arciaga 2015. All rights reserved.

96
karburador,
gusali, takong,
pustiso at
bundyclock [7-8]
Kurtesano real
ng karimlan
[10]
Pulang Bampira
[11]

Courtesan

City

Red Vampire

City

Primera klaseng
bakla [12]

First-Class
Homosexual

City

Paraiso ng
bugaw, torero at
burikak [13]
Sagala ng
pulubi, palaboy
at patapon [14]
Donya
Marijuana [18]
Unang ginang
ng baraha,
nikotina at
alcohol [19]
Matahari ng
haragang tsapa,
lumpeng tato,
halang na gatilyo
at taksil na
balisong [20-21]
Dulugan ng
kontrabando,
despalko at suhol
[22-23]
Pugad ng
salvage. Dobolkros at rape [24]

Paradise

City

Procession

City

Doa

City

First Lady

City

Seductive Lady

City as infested
with many
prostitutes
City sucks out
the life from
people
City as infested
with many
homosexuals
City as an ideal
place

Talinghaga
(Terse)

City as a place
for beautiful
people
City is of a noble
reputation
City as well
respected

Ordinary
Metaphor

City

City that gives


pleasure but is a
place for
immorality

Talinghaga
(Terse)

Refuge

City

Ordinary
Metaphor

Nest

City

City can be a
place where
people can seek
refuge
City can be a
place where
people can seek
shelter

Grounds
Wind that blows
so hard

Classification
Ordinary
Metaphor

Talinghaga
(Terse)
Talinghaga
(Terse)
Ordinary
Metaphor

Ordinary
Metaphor
Ordinary
Metaphor

Ordinary
Metaphor

11. DESTIYERO NG ULAN


Context
hangin naman
ay sirenang [3]

Vehicle
Siren

Tenor
Wind

Simon Lloyd A. Arciaga 2015. All rights reserved.

97
Kamay-haring
pumipirma sa
karimlan ang
dagitab [5]
Nagsabwatan
ang habagat,
ulat ulap ng
kilabot [7]
Kambal-ahas na
dagitab
tumutuklaw sa
bintanang
nakapinid nitong
lunsod [10-11]
Bintanang
nakapinid sa
lunsod,
nanginginig,
nangangatog
[11-12]
Itong hatol,
itong sumpa ng
malupit, reynong
lunsod [21]

Signature

Lightning

Lightning is like
a signature in the
sky

Ordinary
Metaphor

Criminals

Rain and Clouds

Ordinary
Metaphor

Snake

Lightning

Rain and clouds


work together to
bring about the
storm
Lightning strikes
like a snake

Living Being

Window

Window sways
and shakes
because of the
strong wind

Ordinary
Metaphor

Kingdom

City

Ordinary
Metaphor

Akot ikaw,
binibitay ng
berdugong
alimuom. [22]
Monarkong
alimuom [32]

Executioner

Rain stench

City as a place
where there is a
ruler and the
people subject to
him
Rain stench
harms the people

Monarch

Rain Stench

Ordinary
Metaphor

Libong tinig
nating apiy
magsisilbi nang
sirena [34]

Siren

Thousand Voices

Rain Stench can


be dominating
due to its
widespread smell
Thousand Voices
can be capable of
creating noise

Grounds
Broomstick
reaching up as it
tries to get rid of

Classification
Ordinary
Metaphor

Ordinary
Metaphor

Ordinary
Metaphor

Ordinary
Metaphor

12. IYANG PAGLILINIS NG BAHAY


Context
Suyurin ng
abyador na
tingting ang

Vehicle
Pilot

Tenor
Broomstick

Simon Lloyd A. Arciaga 2015. All rights reserved.

98
sapot at agiw
[21]

webs and dust.

13. UTANG
Context
Vehicle
Kaming Wala ay Money
uutang din ng
buhay [18]

Tenor
Life

Grounds
Life like
money is
precious.

Classification
Ordinary
Metaphor

Tenor
Country

Grounds
Classification
Country is like a Ordinary
car that moves
Metaphor
forward/advances

14. HARAYA SA HINAHARAP


Context
sumusulong ang
bayan [76]

Vehicle
Kotse

Simon Lloyd A. Arciaga 2015. All rights reserved.

99
C. Poems in Puntablangko
AMBUSH
Kailangang sapat ang paghahanda
Sa pagtunton ng talinghaga
Sa dawag at bundok ng hiwaga.
Espesyal mat malakas ang armas,
Ang pangangaso sa kordilyera
Ay lubhang peligrosot nakatatakot
Pagkat kapanalig ng tinutugis
Ang mga hayop at elemento.
May lalang na engkantadang patibong
Ang paligid at di dapat malingat
O mag-antok ang ulirat.
May antas bawat lalim ng bangin
At tarik ng talampas,
Madulas ang mga dalisdis.
Ulupong bawat liko,
Sapot-halimaw bawat baging.
Di sapat ang giyang tipuno at liksi.
Di sapat maging ang napag-aralang taktika.
Sa ganito kaselang misyon,
Laging may pasong sakdal-tahimik,
Nananambang. At dito dapat alisto:
Sasalakay ang mailap na pakay,
Ang Amasonang talinghaga,
At ikaw ay pasasabugin.

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Simon Lloyd A. Arciaga 2015. All rights reserved.

100

ABISO

Malugod
na

tinatanggap
ng propitaryo
ang panauhing
mangangaso

Paghahambing
ng panauhin
sa ibang
mangangaso

Rumirikit ang talulot


ng aking dangal
sa iyong pagdulog
sa Puntablangko.
Kahanga-hanga
ang pagdampi ng labi
sa bagong lupa at damo
at mga tanong
na sintapang
ng katutubong alak.
Ang pasintabing sinambit
ay karapat-dapat
nitong pamatid-uhaw
na galing sa ugat
at inihaw na musang
na pagsasaluhan natin
sa harap ng siga.
Sa karaniwang manlalakbay,
ang Puntablangkoy
isang paso o rutang
dapat iwasan ng gulong,
ng elisi at proa,
ng talampakan.
Itoy balwarteng
nakaligtas sa sunog
at lindol,
isang puwertong
ligid ng muralya at kanyon
ngunit di maapuhap
ang kasaysayang
dapat iulat
sa taalarawan ng gunita.
Sinagoga ito
sa isang templo o moske
na mahirap tukuyin
ang himaymay ng sampalataya.
Itoy pansamantala
o huwad na oasis
ng destiyero

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101
sa disyerto ng paniniwala,
isang laboratoryong
nakasilid sa nebera
o pugon
at bawat milagrong
matuklasay walang
numero ang timpla.
Malulusaw
bawat hunyangong diskurso
ng mag-aakalang
itoy pulpito
o bulwagang plenaryo.
Ngunit dahil ikaw
ay naging panauhin,
nasa iyong palad
ang bukas na aklat,
ang pagpipitagan koy
nasa pagsasabi
ng tapat.
Pamamasyal
sa lunan
ng haraya

Ang Puntablangkoy
isang bahay-kubo
o bahay na tisa
sa gitna ng puting isla
sa kalawakang asul,
isang lenteng uranyo
sa pinilakang panginorin
Dito, ang wakas
ay laging tabula rasa,
isang simula,
ngunit namamalikmata may
di ko ipapayong
magbuhol ng panyo;
bawat karanasan
ay pagkit at amorseko
ng panahon.
Sumisikat dito ang araw
habang umuulan,
at kahit sa hatinggabiy
di lumulubog
upang makiniig sa buwan.
Ang buwan,
na higit kailanmay

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70

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102
maalamat na kaibigan,
ang papatnubay sa iyo
sa pagkilalat pagtuos
sa bagay-bagay.
Sa oras ng paghihintay,
Paghihintay sa bunga
at pamumulaklak,
laging magtatagis
ang pag-big at poot
upang magsanib sa wakas
na tulad ng sabi koy
laging isang simula.
Sasaiyo
ang lunting lona ng parang,
ang ginintuang ani ng bukid,
ang usok at dagta ng kakahuyan,
ang sungayang hiwaga ng gubat.
Sasaiyo,
ang abuhing abono ng wawa,
ang mineral at koryente ng ilog;
uliningin ang himig ng dahon,
ang titik ng talon,
lasapin ang tamis ng bukal
na huhugas sa katawan
at diwa.
Sasaiyo
ang langkay-langkay na arete,
ang mapagkandiling sierra,
at sa tuktok ng bundok,
iiwan mo ang dalangin
ng dila at teleskopyo
upang lapitan ng langit,
makikipag-usap sa iyo
ang kawalan at ikaw
ay isa nang bituin.
Sasaiyo
ang perlas at kabibe,
pukpuklo at ar-arosip
at sa suwelo ng dagat,
mauunawaan mo ang bugtong
sa hininga ng mga korales,
at ikaw ay sagradong tubig.

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105

110

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120

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103

Himagas
sa pamamagitan
ng laro

Kaya magpakabusog,
pagdamutan
ang maganit na karne
at magaspang na katas;
itong payak na hapunan
ang tulay sa maluwat
na sustento at tatag.
Mamayay
sisimulan natin
ang pagpapalitang-kuro,
na dapat asahang
tanging himagas
at libangan dito.
Pagkat higit sa lahat,
ang Puntablangkoy
talyer ng wika at diwang
magtatanghal sa sarili
bilang tao.
Wala ritong punong bo
o burol sa tabing-ilog;
di ito merkado o bangkete,
di Castalia o Parnaso,
ngunit malaya mong isiping
ganito ang Puntablangko.
Sa unang hudyat
ng tambuli,
ikaw ay magiging
dalubhasang tagasalin
ng paligid at pangyayari,
sinlaya ng hayop at ibong
naglipana sa kadawagan,
walang rendat suga
sa pakikipagtalastas,
kahit tubig na malinaw
ay may ulap na dapat hawiin.

Patakaran
at pakinabang
ng himagas

Bilang propitaryo,
hayaang magsuot ako ng tunika
at susundan mo
ang hubad kong yapak,
pupukulin kita ng tanong

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140

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150

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160

Simon Lloyd A. Arciaga 2015. All rights reserved.

104
at gaganti ka ng tanong,
at ayon sa pagkakataon,
tayoy magpapalit
ng lugar at iinog
pataas
sa liseo ng buhay.
Ang sariling prehuwisyo
at panatismo
ang magtatarak ng muhon
sa lawak ng kalayaan.
Maaring simulang
Paano mamahalin
ang kapwa?
at sasagutin ito
habang nananalamin
sa sariwang batis.
Sa Puntablangko,
bawat katotohanay
tumitimo
sa pagitan ng mata at isip.

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Simon Lloyd A. Arciaga 2015. All rights reserved.

105

PINTO
Kayraming binubuksang pinto
sa pagpasok sa sarili.
Mulang mga baitang ng balat
hanggang mga palapag ng laman,
mulang palikaw-likaw
na hagdan ng diwa
hanggang mga silid ng katauhan,
may mga pintong binubuksan,
mga pintong may kanya-kanya rit sariling pinto,
mga pintong bagaman walang trangka,
walang kandado,
walang susi,
ay nag-iingat ng pribadong kasarinlan,
at ang sarili bilang misteryosong tahanan
o kastilyong ligid ng ilog
at balumbon ng tinik-aroma,
ang nagbubunsod upang mausisa,
tuklasin ang kaloobang
may sukob na lawrel,
may tangang setro,
may langhap ng asido at kamanyang.
Hindi mahalaga kung saan
at kung aling pinto
ang una
at dapat buksan,
walang batas o patakaran,
walang sukat at tugma
maaaring unahin
yaong nasa palihan ng pandinig
o yaong nasa bentanilya ng balintataw,
gayunmay
wala ring sinusundang tiyak na anggulo,
isang karaniwang estratehiya
o pambihirang estilo
ng pagbubukas,
maaaring
isang tuwirang pagpihit sa button
sa balbula ng puso,
o pahiwatig na paghawi sa kulapol ng budhi.

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106

Pagkat ang mga pinto,


kung pinto mang masasabi,
ay may samutsaring anyo--nilabrang mulawin,
nililok na kristal,
hinulmang plastik,
hinurnong asero
o hinabing sutla--at upang mapasok,
upang maunawa ang salimuot,
kailangan ang mapaghamon,
pangahas na hakbang.

40

45

50

Anut anuman,
ang unang pintong mabubuksan
ay lagit tiyak na pintong nag-aanyaya,
at agad madarama
ang katapatan ng init
at ngiti ng pagsalubong,
hindi magbabantulot
ang nabuong interes at hindik
upang pasukin ang pinto.
Pakiwariy
isang turista o balikbayan
na inaalok ng limonada
o mainit na sabaw
sa bawat kanto o abenida.

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Ang unang tikim ng katapatan


ang magbubukas sa pag-asang matapat
ang iba pang pintong bubungaran,
hanggang sa isang pagkakataon,
sumapit sa isang partikular na pinto
70
na mukhang mga bisig na handang yumakap,
handang magsabit ng bulaklak,
at sa kabila ng pintong itoy
tila naghihintay ang mga halik,
ang bahaghari ng mga hiyas at salapi,
75
ang piging ng hamon, alak at prutas.
Mangyari pay sabik itong bubuksan
at naroon ang di-kariktang
mapaghinala,
mapaglihim,
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107
mapanlinlang,
isang pumpon ng mga talulot
na sandaling masaling
ay nagmamakahiyang tumitiklop
at ayaw palimi ang itinatago.

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May pintong tila ulo


ng dambuhala at magong toro,
may putong na tunika at kulay-lila,
na ang bawat singasing
ay nagbabawal ng salita,
nilalabusaw ang hangin ng poot,
gayong sa isang banday
kapritsong ipalutas sa bawat panauhin
ang mga bugtong na pakana.
Sa pinakabulwagan,
may pintong bumabasag ng dilim
ang katahimikan,
katahimikang-batingaw
na nag-uudyok na lumuhod
sa mga di-maipaliwanag na bagay,
mga aral at retablo ng kapangyarihang
may hurisdiksyon ng katahimikan,
at unti-unti,
ang panauhin ay nagiging biktima
at bilanggo sa heyopulitika
ng nakabibinging mga wika.
Ang mga pinto,
sang-angaw man o sanyuta,
samakatuwid,
ay nakaaaliw sa simula,
nagdiriwang na panaginip
na humahatak sa mapagsapalarang suwi
ng pagkilala sa sarili,
ngunit habang lumalalim ang gabi,
ang mga pinto
ay nagiging kakila-kilabot,
nakapanlalambot ng tuhod,
at hihilinging
ang pagbubukas at pagpasok ritoy
isang paggising mulang bangungot.

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Kung saka-sakali,
laging ganito ang nangyayari,
kung kailan gustong tumigil,
kung kailan gustong umurong,
kung kailan gustong magbalik sa minulan
at limutin ang anumang karanasan
na kaugnay ng mga pinto,
saka naman mamamalayang
nasa kalagitnaan
ng pagbubukas
o nasa bukana ng pagtatapos,
at mapipilitang magpasiya
na ituloy na ang pagtuklas
hanggang sa pinakahuling pinto,
upang magimbal
na ang bubuksang huling pinto
ay yaong binuksang unang pinto.

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AKO AT DI-AKO

And the fire and the rose are one.

en ambos casos soy exactamente el mismo


aunque parezca absurido soy el mismo

Kaylimit mag-ergo
Ng Akot Di-Ako,
Kayhirap masino
Ang talagang ako.

Tiyak sa simula
Na Akoy ako
Yon palay hinalang
Saglit nasisira.

Tila ito sumpong


Kapag nakukulong

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Simon Lloyd A. Arciaga 2015. All rights reserved.

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Sa predileksiyon
Na ibig itanong.
Ako yaong musmos
Matapang na lubos
Sugod lang nang sugod
Kahit makalabos.
Galang koy di sadya
Sa uban at gatla,
Madaling masuya
Sa sobrang paraya.

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Dila koy matabil


Matatas at sutil
Kahit man putulin
Daldal walang tigil.

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Klas at simpatico,
Makinis, mabango,
Maituturing mong
Don o senyorito.

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Isip koy may pakpak;


Wala yatang oras
Sa lupay sumayad
At akoy magyapak.

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Matalinong tinig
Sa kiy nananaig,
Demonyo mang gamit
Akoy naaakit.

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Hilig koy intriga,


Purong hedonista;
Kahit idealistay
Mukhang ateista.

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Maselang-maselan
Sa inumit ulam;
Putit itim lamang
Ang mundo at kulay.

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Simon Lloyd A. Arciaga 2015. All rights reserved.

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Sanay na mag-utos,
Bihirang sumunod;
Daming sinasagot,
Mahirap malugod.

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Ako ang uniko


At kosmopolito,
Hindi ordinaryong
Yuyukod sa tao.

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Hindi nagpupugay
Turing may mayabang;
Kung may kasalanan,
Di mangungundiman.

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Akin ang matimyas


Na awit ng galak,
Hindi yaong askad
Ng lipunang sugat.

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Akin ang donselyat


Tahimik na ganda,
Di magagayuma
Ng landing pagsinta.

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At itoy ilan lang


Sa mga batayang
Di man pagkukulang
Ay nagiging utang.

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Tiyak sa simula
Na akoy ako nga
Pero haka-hakay
Agad nasisira

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Pag nasok Di ako.


Alin ang totoo:
Kaakuhang Ako?
Tauhang Di-ako?

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Wala naming hawak


Na libro mat danas,
Pagsuway sa batas
O hangal na landas?

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Laging nanggigising
Kahit dating gising,
Sa gitna ng angil.
Kaya bang watasin?

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Budhi ngay tanghalan


Ng ganoot ganyan,
Ngunit kadalasan,
Mas nasusumpungang

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Ang kilalang Ako


Ay di pala ako;
At yaong Di-ako
Ang tunay na ako.

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PATINTERO
Kailan lamang ang panahon
Ay simbata ng bahay-bahayan
At biyola-kamatis.

Ilang kabilugan pa ng buwan


Iyan nang patintero
Ang larong lagi sa isip.

Ngayon itong gabing may bituin


Ang kalarong si Estela
Ay nataya mo sa dibdib.

Napatda siyang naiiyak


Tumakbong pauwi sa bahay
At di na nagbalik.

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Kailan lamang ang panahon


Ay simoy ng hanging
Walang sindalisay at tamis.

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Ngayoy hinihimas mo
Ang balahibong-puso sa nguso
At nagtataka kung bakit.

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Simon Lloyd A. Arciaga 2015. All rights reserved.

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BISIKLETA SA BUWAN
Minamahalaga ko
ang buwan
at ang dati nitong
kahulugan
habang may bisekleta
at tag-araw.
Sa aking romantikong
kabataan,
ang bisekleta
at tag-araw ay iisa.
parehong
may borlas na kulay-kahel,
minsay nikelado,
posporesente
sa masangsang
at nagpipistang gabi.
Sangahan
ang tag-araw at bisekleta,
may arogante, may dungo,
minsay manas
o tisikong lobo,
gumugulong,
paikot-ikot
sa mga abenida
ng bagong subdibisyon.
Sa pelikula
Ng tag-araw,
Rumuronda
Ang mga bisekleta,
At naroon siyempre
Si Rolando,
Humahagibis
Ang ngiti at buhok,
Naroon
Si Benjamin
Amoy-tsiko
Namumungay
Ang eskalartang mata,

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si Remedios,
Bagong kolorete
Sa ilalim ng anteyohos,
Si Ilustre
Pagiwang-giwang
Na tikbalang,
Si Joven,
May supalpal na sigarilyo
At patuksong hinahagad
Si Araceli
Na padila-dila,
Pairap-irap
Sa hangin,
At naroon din
Ako,
May bungangaraw
At baling rayos.
Ang bisekleta
At tag-araw
Ay laket
Ng kapusukang
Adolosente
Na di-sinasadyang
Nahalungkat
Sa lumang drower
O bulsa
Ng gunita.
May kakatwang himig
Ng may lamat
At agiwing gitara, kasaliw ang sipol
Ng init,
at biglang susulpot
Si Delfin, tsato at kayumanggi,
Angkas
Si Consuelo
Na pinamumukulan
Ng dibdib,
Pumipidal
Nang mabilis
Patungo sa pisngi
Ng buwan.

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ANG RITWAL NG TSAA
(alaala ng Ofukai Womens University, 1983)
May espiritung animoy humuhugas
Sa katauhan ko nang pinanonood
Sa sinaunang sining ng paglalaga
Ng tsaa. Pormal na pormal ang babaeng
Nakakimono, batikan ang mahinay
Na mga daliri sa pagsasaayos
Ng maseselang mangkok at kapiteran
Yaring porselenat luad. Mataas na
Klase ang berdeng dahon sa maligamgam
Na tubig, aniya, at sinasabayan
Ang bawat kilos ng kuwentot alamat
Ng magiting na bansa, batas ng sho-gun,
At disiplinat pag-ibig ng samurai.
Iminwestra niya ang wastong paghawak
At pag-inom saka ipinaliwanag
Ang disenyo ng mangkok na ginagamit
Lang tuwing tag-araw, taglagas, taglamig
At tagsibol. Ipinatikim din niya
Ang puto-sekong diumanoy bibingka
Nila kung otonyo. Ngunit sa kabila
nitoy nagulat ako sa itinuro
niyang maliit na pintong tradisyonal
na pasukan sa teahouse. Dahil pagapang
ang pagpasok dito, naitatalagang
patas-kilatis ang mga panauhin,
mamamayani ang pagpapakumbaba,
sa gayoy maituturing nilang silayy
magkakapatid. Naisip ko: ang pintoy
munting salamin ng sistemang pangarap
ng maliliit, di maunlad na bansa
at ito namang teahouse ang kairalang
walang mayaman at wala ring mahirap,
walang busabos o kayay maharlika,
walang alila o kayay panginoon.
Naalala ko ang mga kababayan
At kamakatang lumilingon sa likod!
Higit ako ngayong naniniwala na
Kung sa ganitong pagsasaalang-alang,
Dapat ngang buhayin kahit sa guinta
Ang nalilimot o naglalaho, gaya
Nitong sining ng paglalaga ng tsaa.

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ANG MANGANGAHOY NA KUBA
Isa siyang tanawing rural sa lungsod--Katutubong rebulto na yari sa luad
At saglit na nakatirik sa tibag na burol
Masinop nang nakatali ang mga kahoy
Na panggatong at pampainit ng dampa.
Anupat walang mababakas na dusa at pait
Sa kanyang mukha, liban sa butil ng pawis
Na agad naming hinahawi ng likod ng palad.

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Tinatanaw ko siyang isang antigong bathala


Sa oras ng gamugamo at pagal na araw,
Matatag sa kanyang dalangin at misyon.
At gayong nasa lupa ang kinamadang kahoy
Ay may anyo siyang baluktot at hukot
Sa mas mabigat na mundong pasan sa likod

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MAAGANG GABI
Sa labas ng bintana,
nakadikit sa salamin
ang himbing na mga kulisap.
Ang mga balingkinitang pino
ay rehas ng dalisdis.
Ang kaliligot pinilakang bahay
ay pinalalabo ng gumagapang ng hamog
na nakikiisa sa usok ng tsimniya.
Pinaaga ng biglan ulan
kangina ang gabi.
Maya-maya, masayang dadambat aawit
ang mga putikang paa at botas
sa sahig ng malamlam na kantina.
Pagkat kahit umuungol pa ang langit
at paminsan-minsang nagpupukol
ng matalim na liwanag,
sangmilya na ang layo ng kidlat
na nagtaboy sa patpating aso
patungo sa ilalim ng punong alnus.
Nagbuntong-hininga ang lagarian.
Samantala, limang uhuging bata
na may balikat na panggatong

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ang bumabagtas sa giniginaw na daan,
at gaya ng ulilang ibong
nasa kampanaryo ng kapilya
ay mulit muling nagpapagpag
ng basang pakpak.

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HINDI MAN IHAYAG NG DALIRIT DILA


Hindi man ihayag ng dalirit dila,
Sa panahong ito na lipos ng lupit,
Tanging ikaw, Mutya, awit kong dakila.
Patalim at unos ang lason ng hula,
Ngunit hinding-hindi babahaw ang halik
Hindi man ihayag ng dalirit dila.

Dantaong hilahil at bulag mang tala


Ang alay sa atin ng nagluksang langit,
Tanging ikaw, Mutya, awit kong dakila.

Pusot kaluluwa ay handang isangla


Upang tubusin ka sa sungay at putik,
Hindi man ihayag ng dalirit dila.

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Pagkat kapwa natin dinanas ang luha


At bumangon tayo sa gitna ng pait,
Tanging ikaw, Mutya, awit kong dakila.

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Kamandag ng duday itakwil sa diwa


Kung tibok koy bulong sa Musang katalik;
Hindi man ihayag ng dalirit dila,
Tanging ikaw, Mutya, awit kong dakila.

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MULTO SA KUWARTO
Lumigid kangina sa labas ang kilabot,
Pumanhik sa kuwartong hindi kumakatok.
Lumulutang na sa paghilik ang lahat,
Di alintana ang hiwaga ng panggabing halimuyak;
Samantalang ikawy nakadilat, inaalihan ng imahinasyong
Di-mawari, ngayong maalinsangat malagihay ang panahon.
Kakatwa ang tila kirot-lamig na sumasagad sa buto,

Simon Lloyd A. Arciaga 2015. All rights reserved.

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Gayong tiyak na walang hamog na sakay ang damo.
Iiling, ikakatwirang ang pagtulog nang maaga
Ay di-karaniwan sa taong may insomniya.
Dapwat iba ang nanggigising, mga habla ng kuliglig
Noong tiwangwang ang bintana at bulislis ang atip,
Inililipad ang diwat gunita sa puno ng kalumpang
Upang ihabilin sa daigdig ng impaktot mambabarang

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Hahaplusin ka sa anit
Ng tiktik na orasan
Tik tik tik tik

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Klang klang klang


May kadenang kaladkad
Ang gagambang

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Bulik sa sahig na marmol

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Sa asogeng makaligwak
Sa kuwadrong buriladat kamagong
Manana-

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og
ang isang batang babae

Payat

humahagkis ang buhok

Gulanit ang damit


May hawak na kandila
Nahan ang sugat?
Nakatitig

30
Duguan

pawang puti ang bola ng mata:

Bakit mo kami iniwan?


Bakit mo kami ipinagpalit?
Ginamit mo kami, bakit, bakit,
Bigla

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bakit?

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s-u-sut-sot ang kisame

Pagsuling doon
Nasa butiki ang mata ng batang babae
Simon Lloyd A. Arciaga 2015. All rights reserved.

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Nanlilisik na rubi!

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Kahit napaigtad, dinadayang balahiboy di tumayo


At waring sa sarili mismoy may itinatago.
Tutungga ng sangkopitang brandi at kapsulang
Pampatulog, at saglit na tutulala sa aranya.
Pagkuhay ililipaw ang mata sa nakahilerang aklat
Sa estanteng hihinalaing aklatan ng pantas.
Huhugot ng isang manipis na tomo upang umaliw
Diumano sa balisang isip na may sapot at agiw.
May silbi kaya ang pagbabasa sa oras na ito,
Sa oras na may naghaharing multo sa kuwarto?
Unti-unti, matatanto ang panambitan ng pangitain
Hinggil sa isang panatang nakaligtaang tuparin--Isa rin noong nagdidildil ng asin at anakpawis
Na naghangad lumaya kahit sugatan at bagwis.
Ngayo tila nalimot ang simulait minulan,
Itinatakwil ang bukal ng lakas at puhunan.
Karunungang itim kaya ang ipinangangahas
Upang iligtas ang kaluluwa sa tiyak na pagkakaagnas?
Tigib man ang kaban sag into at ngalay mapabantog,
Bawat gabing ganitoy mahirap dalawin antok.

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SIYUDAD
Sinasamba kita, Siyudad,
Emperatris ng bangketa at bulebard,
Sultana ng astero at ilaw-dagitab.
Ikaw na parakaleng hiyas,
Kaluluwa at katauhang plastik,
Mahan ng basura at imburnal,
Palengke ng busina at karburador,
Gusali, takong, pustiso at bundyclock.
Sinasamba kita, Siyudad,
Kurtesano real ng karimlan,
Ikaw na pulang bampira at mama-san,
Primera klaseng bakla,
Paraiso ng bugaw, torero at burikak,
Sagala ng pulubi, palaboy at patapon,
Kantaritas ng kasa at sauna,
Beerhouse, nightclub at motel.

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Simon Lloyd A. Arciaga 2015. All rights reserved.

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Sinasamba kita, Siyudad,


Donya marijuana,
Unang Ginang ng baraha, nikotina at alcohol,
Matahari ng haragang tsapa, lumpeng tato,
Halang na gatilyo at taksil na balisong,
Ikaw na unat huling dulugan
Ng kontrabando, despalko at suhol,
Pugad ng salvage, dobol-kros at rape.

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Sinasamba kita, Siyudad,


Ikaw at ikaw lamang ang aking amor brujo
Itakwil man kitat layasan,
Tiyak na akoy magbabalik sa narkotikong katedral
Upang ulit-ulitin
Ang isang nakaririmarim na pag-ibig
At sambahin ang iyong ganggrenong kariktan
At kamatayang diaboliko.

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DESTIYERO NG ULAN
May paratang ang mensahe nitong biglang alimuom,
Tila mandiy masigasig sa pagbanta ng kilabot
Kahit walang katibayan; hangin naman ay sirenang
Nagkakalkal ng basurat mga layak. Salot! Salot!
Kamay-haring pumipirma sa karimlan ang dagitab.
Binabayo ng balaraw ang bangketat kalyeng lunsod.
Nagsabwatan ang habagat, ulat ulap ng kilabot
Sa lookat abenida. Pagkaraan, ang sirenay
Pinaugong ng malakas. Ito na nga yaong salot
Na darating: kulog, kidlat, kambal-ahas na dagitab,
Tumutuklaw, sa bintanang nakapinid nitong lunsod,
Nanginginig, nangangatog, paglipas ng alimuom.
Ihip-hangin ay hukom ding nag-aatas ng sirena
Upang walang maglagalag sa pagdatal ng tagsalot;
Nanghahagad, nandadakip, walang-humpay ang dagitab
Sa hulo mat sa liwasa ng balisat abang lunsod.
Alimuom, naglaho man, langhap pa riy alimuom;
Sa tikatig na kamandag, gumagapang ang kilabot.

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Itinapon tayo rito sa siyudad na may salot
Upang kitlin ang pangarap sa daigdig ng dagitab:
Itong hatol, itong sumpa ng malupit, reynong lunsod.
Akoy ikaw, binibitay ng berdugong alimuom,
Walang-awang alingasaw, salabusab na kilabot,
Habang bahay lumalalim at may daing ang sirena.
Itong ganti, kabayaran sa biyaya ng dagitab,
Kaunlaran yata itong tamasa ng tagalunsod,
Pangarap ng taganayon bilang munting alimuom;
Dugo na ring dumadaloy ang tilamsik ng kilabot
At kulayong makabago ang hagulhol ng sirena:
Bawat lugar ngang maunlad, dinadalaw nitong salot!
Tayong lahat: destiyero ng delubyo at ng lunsod
Ay tumindig, sabay laban sa monarkong alimuom
At ibalik ang paglait na kalakip ng kilabot.
Libong tinig nating epiy magsisilbi nang sirena
Na lulunod sa palalong nagdudulot nitong salot,
Isang muhon ng pag-alsa sa kamao ng dagitab.

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Paglaho ng alimuom, kasabay din ang kilabot,


Ay tutunog ang sirenang magwiwikang walang salot,
Liliwanag ang dagitab ng manigot bagong lunsod.
IYANG PAGLILINIS NG BAHAY
Di gawaing-bata ang maglinis ng bahay, padre.
1
Sabi ngay di pagdaan sa pasamano ng ilog.
Di rin ito problema ng sanay, pero sa baguhan.
Kailangan ang hilig at sistema para di nadudoble ang pagod.
Walang lugar dito ang gapok-tuhod, umaatras sa gitna
O di kayay mahilig lumingon sa likod.
Unay imbestigahan ang lahat ng kanto, ilalim at sulok
Para matuos kung alin ang dapat mauna at mahuli
At kung anu-ano ang mahirap at madali
Pagkaraay bigyan ng ultimatum ang mga kasambahay
Na walang lalabas-papasok oras na ibagsak ang batas
Na pampupupurga ng dumi at alikabok. Sa sandaling ito,
Makatutulong kahit paano ang nakakatulig ng tugtog.
Piliin ang martsa, sa bulahaw nitoy tiyak na lalabas
Sa lungga ang rebeldeng ipis, pilibusterong daga,
Insurektong langgaw, sedisyosong butiki at subersibong

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Lamok, kasama ang mga teroristang gagamba at surot.
Ngayoy panahon na ng pagsosona ng mga muwebles.
Kapag mabigat at di magalaw, takpan na lamang
Ng diyaryo o plastk para mailayo sa sirat bulok.
Suyurin ng abyador na tingting ang sapot at agiw
Sa kilot kisame; ikalat ang hukbong-dagat ng trapo
Sa mga hamba, rehas, dingding , aparador at cabinet.
Bahala sa sahig ang sundalong walis-tambo.
Kung may pesteng libag at putik, atasan ang kumandong
Plorwaks. Pangwakas ang atake ng marinong lampaso.
Maniwala ka, padre, kapag malinis na ang bahay,
Kahit itoy maliit at masikip, masarap matulog.
Pero huwag masyadong umasa na pagsapit ng bukas
Hindi sasalakay uli ang impertinenteng alikabok.

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UTANG
Mabiag ti ruar
Uneg ti matay.

Kung may bagay na palasak sa ming bansa,


Bukod-tangi itong utang na kataga;
Ngunit kaming walay takot na mangutang
Pagkat ayaw na di kayo mabayaran.

Mapapera o ano mang ibang tulong,


Turing namiy utang-loob na may lason;
Higit pa ngang pipiliiy buhay-bundok
Kaysa kamiy maligalig sa pagtulog.
Iyang utang kapag aming naririnig,
Para kaming sinasakal, dinidikdik ;
Kung magipit at pautang ay tanggapin
Ay di pagkat ibig naming paalipin.
Iyong alok sabihin mang para bukas,
Duda kami sa landasin ng pag-unlad;
Laya naming kapag inyong inuutang,
Kaming wala ay uutang din ng buhay.

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HARAYA SA HINAHARAP
Nagdaraan
Ang mga diklap,
Patawid-tawid sa aking mata,
Mga alitaptap
Sa gubat ng talahib
O balag ng kalabasa,
Nakaliliyo sa simula,
Marahang nabubuo,
Mga patak-luningning
Na nagiging tubig-dagat,
Malawak at kulay-dugo,
Pinag-aapoy
Ang pulso,
Hinihimok na umawit
Ang aking puso.
Nabubuo
Ang isang kapayakan,
Isang mithi,
Likas at dalisay,
Tinitingala ng mga pusong
Pinipi,
Nilumpo ng dahas,
Pagsasamantala,
Dalita, marawal na buhay.
Kapayakang mula sa banus
At pilapil,
Sa asete at gulong,
Sa troso at lagare,
Sa prinsa at baklad,
Sa kural at kamalig,
Sa abenida at kalyehon,
Sa alambreng may tinik,
Sa istakeyd,
Bundok at gubat.
Kayrikit na panahon!
Kayrilag na pagkakataon!
Malaya,
Ang paggawa ay inaaring ginhawa,
Sama-samang layunin

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Simon Lloyd A. Arciaga 2015. All rights reserved.

123
Ang pagtatatag,
Ang pagbuo
Ay nagkakaisang salita.
Paghulaw ng alimbukay-usok
Alipato at tungayaw,
Dugo at alikabok,
Handang mag-abot
Ang mga gusgusing kamay,
Mga bisig at dibdib
Ay handang yumakap
Sa mga dating kaaway
Na naging kapatid, kaibigan,
Kamag-anak;
Ang mga di-nabigyan ang namimigay,
Naglilinis ang mga niyurakan.
O kayluwalhati!
Kayluwalhating pangitain!
Nakaliliyo
Ang mga diklap
Na nagdaraan at nabubuo
Bilang pag-asa
Sa kapanatagan at ginhawa.
Ngunit
Ang ginhaway karapatang
Tinitigis sa luha, pawis at dugo,
Di sa kalayaang umidlip,
Di sa kasarinlang managinip.
Maglalamay
Ang kadre ng aking mata at isip
Sa tuwi-tuwina,
Pagliliyahin ang aking dugo
Upang lalong umibig,
Tumutol kung may tututulan,
Makihamok kung nararapat,
Aawit ng panibagong awit,
Habang
Sumusulong ang bayan,
Nagtatatag,
Umaawit din
Ng bagong awit.

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Simon Lloyd A. Arciaga 2015. All rights reserved.