Just Like You (For Kian and Others Like Him)

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They said,
it is a happily isolated case
but the canal waters run red nowadays
and the stones where Kian lay dying
bled from the tears of seventeen years.
 
And his father cried
mourning his son
his heart reeling from their lies.
How now?
This boy, he raised
this same young boy who dreamt
of love
just like you
who laughed unrestrained
just like you
who cried at the fear of failure
just like you
who played and hoped
just like you
who made silly wishes
under the pale light of the stars
forever fixed, forever shining
in the darkness of the heavens.
Yes, the same stars who bore witness
as they dragged this boy, Kian
across alleyways he used to play in
with his friends, running and laughing;
the same alleyways that now echoed
with his cries
pleading, oh so pitifully begging
for his young life
for the chance to live his dreams
for the right to succeed or fail
just like you.
Yes, just like you.
But so unlike you.
For they took that chance,
thieves in the night
they stole his life
they destroyed his dreams
they lied about
how he lived and died ….
 
And Kian ran at their command
“Hold this 45 and run!” They said.
And young Kian ran while crying
ran with his heart hammering
fighting for hope, thinking
of his mother whose hands
nursed him when he was sick.
Of his father who toiled
under sun and rain
to give him a future
he will never attain.
Of the girl whose smile
made his heart dance in his chest,
the same heart filling up with blood now
the same heart faintly beating
the same heart that will never know love.
And the stars wept above ….
 
Unlike you,
Kian lies like a dog in the corner,
covered in newspapers.
An isolated case.
A statistic.
A story on your screen.
An article in print.
Rotting,
slowly rotting … for our sins.
 
 
The story of Kian:

Our son, Kian: A good, sweet boy

The family and neighbors of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos have only one question: Why in the world would police kill such a sweet boy?

Eloisa Lopez

Published 11:24 AM, August 19, 2017

Updated 2:04 PM, August 19, 2017

MANILA, Philippines – Seventeen-year old student Kian Loyd delos Santos could have been a policeman, but the policemen who killed him made this dream impossible.

On Wednesday night, August 16, Kian was shot to death in what the police described as a shooting encounter in a dark alley near his house.

CCTV footage and witnesses, however, revealed that he was dragged from one alley to another, past a basketball court, and into a dead-end corner where he was asked to run with a gun – and when he did, was shot.

Kian died wearing a blue shirt and printed boxer shorts – his pantulog or sleepwear, his father said. His dead body was found in fetal position with a gun in his left hand. His father said in media interviews that this detail, alone, could attest to his son’s innonence, since the teenager was not left-handed.

Who was Kian?

The first night of Kian’s wake, an old woman who regularly bought pencils in the Delos Santos’ mini-store asked what happened, upon seeing a casket in what was usually a room filled with candy and school supplies.

Kian’s father, Saldy, said it was his son, the young boy who attended to you, that was killed. The news came as a shock to the old lady, who nearly fainted, as if she were a mother who just heard that her own son had been killed. The old woman asked, how could such a thing happen? He was a very good boy! He sharpened the pencils I bought so I wouldn’t have to spend for a sharpener!

The other night, a street child visited the wake to see Kian. The little boy said Kian would always turn up the volume of whatever he was watching so that the boy, too, could watch with him.

It was these little things that Kian did that has made his death a puzzle to his family. Why in the world would police kill such a sweet boy?

Kian, or Ian to most, was just like any other teenager. If he wasn’t in school or busy in the store, his eyes were glued to his cellphone watching the Funniest Videos on Youtube or blasting Fliptop battles as he sang along to the rap songs, to his father’s confusion.

Ano ba ‘yang pinapatugtog mo (What are you playing)?” he would ask like a typical parent.

The young man only had one vice: eating junk food. For breakfast, he would often have a cup coffee and a pack of his favorite cheese-flavored chips. For lunch, 5 pieces of fish balls, and a few pieces of kwek-kwek (fried battered quail eggs) would be good enough for him.

Often at night, Kian would ask his father if he wanted a massage, and he would ask for a massage in return. Many times they wouldn’t have efficascent oil, so they would use cooking oil instead. It worked the same way anyway, his father would say.

All 4 of Saldy’s children did not grow up in luxury. None of them had their own rooms – not even their own beds – at home. The family members slept beside each other every night until such time they are capable of living on their own.

Unlike many kids who spent their days running around the streets and playing with neighbors, Saldy’s children were trained to take care of the mini-store he built to support the family as his wife, Lorenza, toiled overseas as a domestic helper.

At 5:30 every morning, it was Kian’s task to open the store and man it until before noon when it was his father’s time to clock in, and Kian would prepare for school. The same way at night, he would close the store before he could walk around the block for some chitchat, like what he did that night he was killed.

Not once did the young man give his father a headache. Not once did he get money from the store to keep for himself. Not once did Kian display bad behavior in school or in the barangay that meritted a report to his parents. So imagine Saldy’s surprise when one night, while he was in their other house in Valenzuela, he got a call from his brother that the police had taken his son.

A few hours before he was informed about the incident, Saldy sent Kian a message to sleep early and be careful around the streets. “You know how it is in our street, it could be dangerous,” he said in what would be his final advice to his son.

Kian is your son

‘BE STRONG’. Kian’s parents, Saldy and Lorenza, share a moment beside their son’s casket. Photo by Eloisa Lopez/Rappler

It has been 3 long nights for Saldy and Lorenza since Kian was killed. Three long nights filled with cameras flashing from left to right, and microphones held to their mouths every hour. Lorenza could barely even be heard. Her voice had gone hoarse from crying and speaking to the media.

On Friday night, after most of the media had left, the couple share a moment beside their son’s casket.

Saldy embraces his wife and whispers to her, be strong, be strong. Rest now, but be strong.

Still, Lorenza insists on speaking to the media, when asked. She says even if she has lost her voice, when a question is asked about her son, she musters the strength to speak. She forces herself to shout. “I need to speak up for my son,” Lorenza says.

Saldy will remain restless until the men responsible for his son’s slay is punished. He says he’s been wondering himself, whether the men who killed his son had their own sons as well. “Don’t they think about what their sons would think? What would people say? Your Papa is trigger-happy.”

He thought maybe the killers were the addicts, seeing how it was so easy for them to kill.

“It would have been okay if they did kill an addict who had a gun, but they killed an innocent child. And to think, he wanted to be a policeman,” Saldy says.

Over the past week, at least 81 people have been killed in police operations all over the country. It has been the deadliest week of the so-called war on drugs.

On Wednesday, after 32 people were killed in police operations in Bulacan province, President Rodrigo Duterte praised his men and said it was “good.” Let it continue.

When Saldy is asked if he voted for the President, he can only give a long sigh. Finally he said, “Mali, ‘no (It was wrong, right)?” – Rappler.com

Source:

http://www.rappler.com/nation/179243-kian-loyd-delos-santos-profile?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=nation

Kian Loyd Delos Santos, 17, killed in drug crackdown

18 AUGUST 2017

Three police officers suspended as witnesses claim unarmed 17-year-old boy was framed by officials.

Police killed at least 94 in anti-drug operations this week [Erik De Castro/Reuters]

Philippine police are under pressure to explain the killing of a 17-year-old high school student, who has become the latest victim of President Rodrigo Duterte’s ruthless war on drugs.

Kian Loyd Delos Santos died on Thursday night in the capital Manila amid allegations that he was framed by three police officers, who witnesses said forced the teenager to hold a gun, fire and run.

CCTV footage from the Manila suburb of Caloocan showed Delos Santos being carried by two men to a place where his body was later found, raising doubt about an official report that said he was shot because he fired at police officers first.

According to the police report, Delos Santos ran when he saw the officers approaching him. He then pulled out a gun and opened fire at the policemen, who shot back.

Witnesses told local media that the teenager was unarmed.

National police chief Ronald dela Rosa said that if the Grade 11 student did not pose a threat, the officers who shot him on Thursday night would be held accountable.

“I will not allow any police officer to just kill a 17-year-old boy for no reason at all,” he told reporters. “Are they that heartless?”

Dela Rosa added: “Just think about it, he is just a kid. If that happened to your sibling? We will investigate it, I assure you.”

Metro Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde said the three policemen involved had been relieved of their duties and an investigation would be launched.

Several senators, including known allies of Duterte, expressed outrage about Delos Santos’ death and called an investigation on Friday into a spike in the killings of drug suspects in recent police operations.

“The Philippine National Police, on its misguided war on drugs, is now terrorising our communities and collateral damage is unacceptable,” said Representative Edgar Erice.

“Killing the poor and powerless is not the solution to the drug problem when tons of methamphetamine are smuggled in,” Senator Francis Pangilinan said in a statement.

‘Bloody week’

 

Police killed at least 27 people in Manila on the third night of a new push in Duterte’s war on drugs and crime, taking the toll for one of the bloodiest weeks so far to 94, according to officials.

Earlier in the week, 67 people were shot and nearly 250 arrested in Manila and provinces adjoining the Philippines capital, in what police described as a “One-Time, Big-Time” push to curb drugs and street crime.

President Duterte hailed the recent killing of 32 drug suspects in a 24-hour police crackdown, the highest death toll in a single day in his administration’s anti-drug war.

“That’s beautiful. If we can only kill 32 every day, then maybe we can reduce what ails this country,” Duterte said on Wednesday.

According to police statistics, more than 3,000 suspects have been killed in anti-drug operations since Duterte became president on June 30, 2016.

Source: News agencies

https://www.google.com.ph/amp/www.aljazeera.com/amp/news/2017/08/kian-loyd-delos-santos-17-killed-drug-crackdown-170818131943660.html

Click the link to access the interview of the witnesses and Kian’s father:

https://www.facebook.com/tvpatrol.abscbn/videos/1435856029803115/

Discovering San Agustin Museum in Intramuros

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Here are the things I learned while touring the San Agustin Museum (which is right beside San Agustin Church) in Intramuros. These tidbits of knowledge are not arranged in any particular order.

1) British raiders took the ivory hands of the 15-18th C statues, and according to our guide, rumor has it that these sacred ivory pieces are on display in some British museums.

2) Juan Luna, the genius behind the Spolarium, is entombed here. Hmmm … I wonder if he roams the adjacent San Agustin church at night ….

3) The ceiling design of San Agustin church was painted using a lost Italian technique. Yes, those designs were not really chiseled on there, and yet, they look like they were, right? How cool is that? You could see the same painting technique on some of the wall designs too.

4) The Zobel de Ayala clan, one of the most influential and powerful families in the entire archipelago since Spanish times, has their chapel inside the church proper itself. According to our guide, they believe that their souls will ascend into heaven faster this way.

5) The original vestments worn by the priests during the 18th C are also on-display here. These garments are so precious because they are embroidered with exquisite designs that were painstakingly created using real gold threads. Most of these historic garments were, again, unfortunately taken by British raiders. Our guide told us that these lost vestments even had precious gems sewn into them. Wow! Hey, shouldn't they return those to us?

6) Now, this information kinda made my jaw dropped — Miguel Lopez De Legazpi's earthly remains is enshrined inside the church. Legazpi is the first governor of the Philippines, and if I'm not mistaken, he had a blood compact with Datu Sikatuna. I knew he died of a heart attack, but I didn't know that his final resting place is inside San Agustin church.

7) There is an underground passage connecting the church to Fort Santiago. Our guide also tells us that most of the major structures in Intramuros are interconnected underground via these old passages. I took a peek through the bars and it made me feel kinda creepy. It felt like someone was staring back at me from the darkness. Okay, moving on now 😄

8) The 18th C bamboo organ is still working and is being kept in the balcony, the same place where the choir used to sing during mass. The whole area was closed off during the time of our visit, and so I was unable to take a picture of it up-close. If you look at the picture below, you can see the organ at the right side.

9) A couple of 15th C Bibles in Latin with illustrations are being preserved as part of the collection of this museum.

10) One enters and exits the museum via the "Door of Love". The guide pointed out the carved out heart in the middle of the door, which was impressive when you look at it closely. But wait, I just want to clarify though, I wasn't really paying attention here, because I was so busy looking at other stuff, but I do believe the guide called it the "Door of Love". If I'm wrong, pls don't call me a moron, and just kindly correct me on this ❤️❤️❤️ I mean, spread love, right? 😊❤️😊✌🏻

So there, those are the things I've discovered so far in the San Agustin Museum. I'm planning to go back there, because I want to learn about the treasures they have upstairs. My feet were killing me after an hour or so of touring the place. I've been told the whole church, including the seminary inside, measures 2.2 hectares. So wow, I definitely have to go back there again and check everything out. But for now, I think I'll just sit here and massage my aching feet.

Coming Home

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Today, the endless gray pavement is bearable, 
as my feet pushes it away, joyfully
knowing that I will come home
to a lighted room
where my weariness will disappear
against the warmth of your skin.
And the jumble of disjointed voices
rising from the city, will be drowned
by the familiar beating sound
of your heart against mine
as my hair slowly comes unbound.

Breathe to Be Free

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Let me close my eyes
for in the silence of my soul
there is no need for lies.
As the city exhales
the exhausted stories of today,
I just want him to know
there are so many things I want to say.
But I can’t,
not behind this closed doors –
his closed doors
that marked the end,
to a forever that’s been rend ….
And now I’m here, out in the cold
grappling at things left untold.
 
My heart is breaking
into tiny indiscernible pieces
scattered hopes and wishes
drifting to nothingness
fading into emptiness.
And his absence cuts through me.
I can’t see, oh God, why can’t I see?
A future without him … I need to find me.
I need to breathe and be free
of him — the light in his eyes … his smile.
I know it will take a while
before I’ll forget the softness of his skin on mine,
the sinewy weight of his limbs as we lay entwined.
I know someday I’ll be fine,
and I won’t remember the sound of his voice
or how beautiful,
so heartbreakingly beautiful he looked,
when he made that choice.
 
The world spins.
The sun sets and the moon rises.
Night turns into day.
The city sleeps and awakens
and this heart that was once forsaken
will surely beat again, scarred but recovered.
Ready for life, ready to live, and rediscover.
I know, I’ll wake up one morning
smiling while thinking
that life courses along
even down avenues of former longings
where my old love is walking by.
And I will be happy,
that he is out there
laughing and smiling without a care,
that he is well and good.
And that in all likelihood
on that day, I too, will be doing well.
And I’ll turn my back and say farewell
to him and his memories.
I’ll probably remember our story,
but I’ll take a deep breath and exhale
for it will be okay, I have prevailed.
 
All is well ….
Now, I just need to breathe and cope.
And hold on to that vision of hope,
that on that beautiful morning
the sun will be gloriously shining.
Life in the city will be moving.
The day will be flowing.
My heart will be beating.
and I definitely, so definitely,
on that day
will hear myself singing.
 
 
 
Image was taken from slate.com

The City and I

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Thank you to my friend, Jeyps, for taking this beautiful photo 😊 Hugs 😊 I know you are abstaining right now from any form of social media or blogs, because of Holy Week and everything, but still, I just want to say “thank you” even if you can’t reply to this 😄 Mwah 😘

Oceans

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I dreamt of you yesterday.
We were walking by the sea
barefeet on the golden sands
of a faraway memory.
 
When was that? I can’t recall.
Last year? Five years ago?
But this, I do know …
like the ancient ocean in my dream
constantly reborn it would seem
with each turning of the tide,
this constant pain too, pulses anew each day.
And the sea, in its murky gray depths
calls to my turbulent soul,
howling across time and space
a pain — this pain, so old and timeless
like the ocean in my memory
where once we walked together
hand in hand
blessed by the warmth of the sun,
with the seawater serenading us
and the sound of your laughter encompassing
that day, that sweet glorious day
where forever was both a dream
and a heartbeat away.
 
And in my dream,
you looked up at the sky
face upturned
arms outstretched
and the wind blew around you,
lifting your hair to the heavens above.
And all the light of this world cannot compete
at that moment with you.
Everything felt right and complete,
and I was home, and I was whole
within the breathtaking iridescence of your soul.
 
And the sea, the sparkling, wise, ancient sea
quietly watched us, like an old man knowing
that such happiness cannot last
that the world turns and time flows
like the tides of the ocean, always churning,
and memories of such days would be lost
in the waves of consciousness,
but never completely forgotten …
for time and tide have a way of washing up
our lost treasures on distant shores
where the sun shines, and the wind blows
and a love so timeless could exist
to dance forever upon clear divine waters
reflecting the perfection of an everlasting sky.
 
But I woke up.
It was a dream.
There was no sea
and no blue skies.
I heard the clock
ticking away,
time slipping away.
Each second turning into yesterday.
Yet memories have me in their grip.
And before I knew it,
I tasted, once again
the saltwater on my lips ….
 
 
Featured image above was taken from: photocase.com

The Lamentations of an FB Nosferatu 

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I am fading …
out of words
out of sync
with the world and its workings.
Living beyond time.
I feel each day that spins by,
hurtling through insipid eternity
without rhyme
without reason.
 
Sisyphus beginnings and endings.
 
And I wonder if this is okay
this day after day of throttled existence.
But, I know life goes on
the sun rises and sets
and people live
status updates are changed
pictures are staged, uploaded.
I devour them feverishly
trying to find the meaning of being.
 
FB has turned me into a vampire.
Living off on other people’s lives
but their blood is never thick enough
lacking substance
watered down by filters
pruned to elicit likes
sieved into pristine perfection
molded into uniformed banality
seasoned with the same superficiality.
And so I wither away
undead
patiently waiting
for the sun to burn brightly
or someone to drive
a stake through my heart.
 
 

 
(Images were taken from the Web. They are not my own.)

The Sunset of Now

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I will remember
the slant of sunlight
on your glowing face,
as you sat by the window
caught in the fading embrace
of this tangerine-colored day.
You laughed,
orange happiness cascading over
engulfing with light
this precious moment, with me
and the sea of faces around us,
paled, faded into meaninglessness.
Nothing and no one matters now
except you and me, except us.
I prayed this moment would last.
 
And so I prolong each second.
Time, our only silent witness
in this space we claim is ours
for this instant
for this fleeting meeting of souls
inner sparks igniting,
in celebration of each other’s light.
Your hair burning brown under that golden sunlight.
Your eyes sparkling, reflecting the warmth of your laughter.
Your cheeks flushed with the intimacy of an imagined forever
with me, yes, with me — now.
And I wish it would never end
I wish I could bottle up this flowing sunlight burning brightly,
so gloriously towards a sweet pinnacle of completeness,
before it recedes … beyond this moment
beyond this time, beyond now ….
 
Then, will I softly hold your hand
as you kiss me tenderly
before leaving quietly,
while I close my eyes
and hide my face
trying to hold on
to remember everything
before sunset sadness comes
taking the light away
taking the glow
taking happiness
taking completeness … taking you.
And all I could do
is watch the light fade
watch you get lost among the faces
watch as our today become yesterday ….
 
 
 
(Image was taken from http://stephenvramey.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/SayingGoodbye.jpg)

Kindred Spirits

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W.H. Auden once wrote, “We must love one another or die.” His words inspired me to write a poem about love, acceptance, and unity. My poem could never be as good as Auden’s, but given the state our world is in now, I think I should re-post it.
 
 
Kindred Spirits
 

 
We are all in the same boat,
cluelessly adrift
in unpredictable but familiar seas.
Traversing the fate of humanity,
each of us … weary …
in need of a sanctuary.
 
So come, join me
within life’s sacred circle.
Let us accept one another —
sister of my heart,
brother of my soul.
Bound by invisible common lines,
drawn together by Providence,
our paths are intertwined.
 
Spin this tale with me.
Shall we weave together
our shared history?
Shall we compare stories —
of mothers and fathers,
of sons and daughters,
of husbands and wives,
of young men and maidens?
Each one connected —
fellow travellers in life.
Young and old,
captive supplicants
of happiness and despair.
Do we not breathe the same air?
 
In homes, in seats of power,
in palaces, in places of worship —
from sunrise to moonrise,
in each echo of the ticking hour,
are we not bound by mortal lot?
Treading the same path.
Walking the same road.
 
Shall we give voice?
Sing the same myths
and see with clear eyes;
the celebrated fate
of our connected days.
Shall we reach past
color, religion, and race,
and hold one another’s hands,
acknowledge our shared bonds?
Shall we, like children, guilelessly —
intricately knit our lives with each other?
Is it not better to stand together?
For we are, after all, all of us —
spirit kins.
Are we not all the same within?
 
Have we not both known pain?
Have we not both known love?
Did we not gaze up at the same stars?
Or bled from wounded souls,
reeling and healing from scars?
As this world turns,
shall we continue to burn?
We have the power to change history.
We have the power to create our story.
We have but one voice,
And we have but one choice —
we must love one another
become united and strong,
or else fall hearts apart …
dwindle and bleed away,
towards another
terrible scarlet day ….


Image was taken from: 

https://sites.google.com/site/morebenefitsofbilingualism/home/module-1-cultural-awareness-is-well-supported-on-bilingual-people

Of Love and Time

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It was cold outside today
and the chill felt heavy
seeping through my lonely old bones.
I watched a young couple pass by.
The lady held a bouquet of roses in her hand
their testament to love
fueled by youthful plans and passion.
 
The flowers left behind a trail of petals.
And the sidewalk bloomed
transformed from dull to magical.
I have often marvelled
at how love could change the world
how it leaves behind crumbs of hope
assuring us, through a touch or a kiss,
of our life’s purpose and meaning;
how it bestows happiness, or inspires us
with trails of sunlit stories
that guide us when we lose our way
and remind us that we are beings
whose hearts beat out of the need
to be seen, to be heard, to be touched
and to burn like wild fire
under the gentle insistent lips
of a worshipful beloved.
 
And remembering all that
awakened memories of you.
And the cold and the chill
was replaced by fire.
And my tired old soul
was set aglow by stories of our love
that lay forgotten
within the decrepit corners of my heart.
And I smiled, for today, ever so briefly
I walked with you again.
And we were surrounded
by the fragrance of flowers.