I just arrived from Gonogon, Bontoc, Mt. Province. I opened my mail and was excited to share to everyone the good news that for the first time in 20plussomemore years, I drank water straight from the tap in the Philippines without experiencing any form of stomach upset. This says a lot about how the people of Gonogon treat Mother Nature. We will have to put off the discussion because I discovered something else in my mail.
There was a stream of good wishes and nice words about SRT. (By the way, my daughter Karminn Cheryl Dinney, a young poet, is in charge of the design. I just input.). Melchora Chin of Australia is encouraging me to publish a poetry book and she said she would be happy to buy one. I planned this more than 10 years ago but I was so busy working, earning my masters, and learning the ropes of motherhood and marriage. All I could do then was have my works individually published by some papers. Last year my friend Atty Manja Bayang and I were talking about collaborating. Maybe, times are better now.
Atty. Harrison Paltongan, a bar topnotcher, future Supreme Court Justice and poet-in-the-closet, said in his email:
Chyt, you are indeed gifted and you articulate your excellent talent in a classy way though mostly in a poignant and somber tone. I admire your unrelenting crusade in favor of the less-privileged and even in poetry, you are their champion. Regards to Leandro. His honorable shortcoming in the election count is nothing compared to his having you. Though it may be tougher to be the hubby of one like you than to be Mayor of the City...haha.
Harry has been listening to all those election loose talks. Hahahaha. Bad ear, Harry. Thanks, anyway. Please contribute your poems on the greens and the breeze. Then SRT would not be so somber.
Bill Bilig, an Igorot blogger whose From the Boondocks is larger than life, emailed to say he thinks my poems are great. From the Boondocks is in SRT's list of recommended blogs and website. It is the most popular blog of an Igorot. Bill was the source of my inspiration to finally create SRT. I discovered his blog when Ferricardia of Bibaknets, the largest dap-ay in cyberspace shared Bill's post on a peeing Igorot statue in front of Baguio's Hotpot/Barrio Fiesta Restaurant. It was Bill's expose that inspired the revolution which culminated in the removal of that offensive statue. Anyway, I became a regular visitor of Bill’s blog, a library of social and political concerns. He told me in so many words to create my own. SRT is the result. It was actually an “attempted blog” from October 2006 until it became a consummated one a few days ago.
Bill also posted a generous review of SRT in From the Boondocks. I am humbled by it. Indulge me by allowing me to reproduce it here.
You got to love Smorgasbord of Random Thoughts. It is the blog of Cheryl Daytec Yangot who, if you remember, caught our attention way back at the time when we were just making our first steps in the blogosphere (being encouraged by more established bloggers like Miskina Ano Naisip which I thought was a blog on tennis player Anastasia Myskina, Kayni's Meanderings, and Gandang Igorota). Anyway, as we were saying, Cheryl caught our (and certainly the nation's) attention because of her crucial role in exposing the board exam nursing scandal which you can read in our post here.
It's good that Cheryl now has a blog because we are sure she will be adding valuable insights to our corner of the blogosphere. As we've said in the past, the more Igorot/iCordillera bloggers there are, the better it will be for us in terms of increasing our visibility as a people, in correcting the negative stereotypes held by most people about us, in articulating the many concerns that we face, at marami pang ibang bentahe.
Smorgasbord is, for the most part, a poetry blog so Cheryl joins the ranks of Jocelyn Noe and L. Angeleo Padua who publish their poems online for us to read. Yay!
I haven't read all of Cheryl's poems yet but I really like the ones I've read so far like Love Has a Hand and Invisible II. Here's a paragraph from Invisible II so you won't think that I'm just raving for nothing:
We were invisible. They did not see us
when they came with their bulldozers
and made plains of our mountains, our
home and refuge for millions of years
In the sacrosanct name of development,
they erected chateaus for the bourgeois
We looked at our home--
If that is not an excellent poem, I don't know what is. Cheryl's poems actually reminds me of the prose of Inquirer columnist Conrad de Quiros. I love reading Conrado's column because it is always beautifully written. I have to admit though that I sometimes avoid said column because it usually makes me sad and mad.
Yup, de Quiros makes me sad and mad (not at him of course) because he has a knack for capturing our tragedy as a nation and our failures as a people and I sometimes don't want to be reminded of these. But even if I actively try to not read de Quiros, his writing is just too good to miss so I do always end up reading him. And really we can't run away from the tragic truth, which he often writes about, can we?
So Cheryl's poems have this "Quiroesque" quality to them: they can be depressing because they speak the truth but they are too good to miss. So if you are in the mood for reading excellent poems about Igorots then visit Cheryl's blog here. You might get sad a little bit as I was when I was reading them but the poems are good food for the mind and soul.
Uy, what more shall I say? Accolades are embarrassing and at the same time humbling. I take them as reminders never to stray from the path and to keep striving to live a life of meaningful existence. Matagotago tako amin!