Originally written in Cebuano and in popular verse, the poem below was read in a Forum of delegates of NAPSA (North America-Philippines Solidarity Affairs) held on August 8, 2014. The forum was part of the group’s culminating activities after their two-week visitation-immersion in communities affected by calamities in recent months. The delegates — North Americans that included Fil-Am activists in the US — have come to find out the situation in the Visayas and Mindanao places. In the four-hour afternoon forum, they reported and shared what they found out as the stark reality of neglect by the Philippine government in providing and or failure in delivering basic social services to the people in all the areas they visited.

This and the over-all manifestation of anti-people policies of the government headed by President Noynoy Aquino would inevitably stimulate the creative insight of artists—poets and graphic artists alike—to structure into esthetic shapes their responses to what have unfolded on the ground. And so, this poem –


Cry of Mindanao


Dis is Mindanao.

The promised land.

Land shriveled with scars of history,

Speckled with wounds of tyranny.

Hear her cry of pain and anger!



Dis is Mindanao.

Here, what are seeded are not dreams of life.

What abound on her valleys and plains

Are mounds of agony and death.

Here, the rivers murmur tales

Not of the gifts that spring

From the breasts of the earth,

But shredded clouds cascading down

The cheeks of mountains

From a million eyes.





Dis is Mindanao.

At sunset crimson sparks fly pell-mell to the sky,

To herald the black shrouds of night—and then,

From somewhere in the West, roaring sounds,

Fast crawling shadows like an avalanche

Of terror that shake the wounded earth.


Dis is Mindanao.

No footmarks on the sands

That have kissed your soles, nor lips

Of leaves that have rubbed your skin

Would recount the images of fear and pain

You have witnessed and picturized. . .

Here locked-up mouths are held sacred,

Unuttered words are priced like gold.




Dis is Mindanao.

Unfathomed are the waters

Of the lakes and rivers of her history.

Don’t gaze at your face on the surface

Of brooks and rivulets smeared

With bloodflows from the battlefields.

Afloat are poison tears of hate and revenge!

And don’t try to sound the depths of her past

Lyricised in the songs and poetry of the balyans,

For your vision has been blurred by lies,

History has lost its value in your eyes.


Dis is Mindanao.

You have, by the sway of your dream,

By the long and far stretches of your eyes,

Fathomed and owned wide spaces of her lands,

Sliced her skin not by the blades of the plow

But by ripping gunfires and grenade shrapnels.

What utterances have you blown into the winds

So that the wounds of history might heal?

You have spewed flaming bits of lead

Sowing untold miseries and deaths

Upon the sons and daughters of the race, cradled

In endless struggles for freedom, justice and peace.


Dis is Mindanao.

No mystery enwraps its passing seasons,

But metaphors and imageries of countless

Actions in war zones and battlegrounds—

Bursting stones and rocks in the skies,

Blossoming petals of fire that burn the heart,

Scorch the souls of the Moro, Lumad

And Christian peoples.

Dis is Mindanao.

Come, Come into its parks, plazas and streets!

You will delight by the modern moro-moro,

Dancing fireworks and farcical shows

That veil the eyes and numb the senses of tourists.

Behold the plains, valleys and forestlands—

Sacred nooks and spaces of the sunblest island—,

Transformed into a garden of death and terror!


Dis is Mindanao.

Let us resound in song

Her screaming voice!

The cry of her dreams!

The shrill shouts of her struggles,,

The agony in the depths of her soul!


Dis is Mindanao.

The promised land.

Blest by the sun.

Speckled with bullet wounds

And scars of tyranny.

. . .

– don pagusara

comments powered by Disqus