Lonely Poet from Southeast

Almie Jane P. Catulay, Philippines

Across the vast ocean of Visayas,

There is an island called Panay,

Where this lonely poet resides,

It is where her education is located.

From the scorching heat of the sun,

To the singing breeze of wind,

She sailed across the islands of Surigao

To Cebu and To Iloilo.

Lovely view, she sees.

Hoping for hope,

A career in the future,

As lovely as a tree.

She doubts for golds and madness

Instead she aims for joy and fulfillness

The day her feet stop by in the port,

Feeling of loneliness she felt away.

Breakingaway those sorrows,

Working it out to and fro

Thoroughly embodied knowledge

And wisdom to be wise.

This lonely poet has a lover.

A lover from there province,

I say no months of tears,

Say no days of sadness.

There comes moments of despairs,

No one to hold, no one to cure.

Just a little prayer,

All she became was a healer.

Soon after the downs and failures,

Love will find her way,

All those broken promises and

Disappointments all faded away.

Strengthened her heart

Accepted the defeat,

All the love she ever receive,

She’s thankful as can be.

To be a fool is a choice,

To be a martyr twice is stupidity,

To be moron is a sin,

To be weak is illness.

The heart of the lonely poet,

All turned into pieces,

When she saw his loving lover,

Sitting down staring at another bliss.

Crying it loud last night

On the day of the hearts she lay,

One letter to God she sent,

Hoping for the recovery of her soul.

Painful as it may sound,

Hurting as it may to tell.

All the sacrificed joy all poured,

To a guy who just taken her for granted, I’m sure.

Deeper meaning of words,

The lonely poet sat down to write

A poem of feelings as it she call it,

Profound understanding is her hobby.

She tried to close her eyes,

She remembered the very detail

How he looks at her,

That stare he had given once for her.

The lonely poet tried to look back

Reminisced all the memories that they had

She asked why and where did she go wrong,

She asked what else am I less for?

Convincing oneself to love you is harsh

Pity is the source.

Like a rose, trampled on the ground,

Her feelings was dying for him.

Due to a numerous of chances,

Nothing changed just the becoming of worst,

Living through the promises of forever

Where would it take her by the lies?

Poor lonely poet,

All was left was her thoughts of feelings,

Being cheated, robbed by the man he trusts

She doesn’t know how to live by again,

New day has come,

New unfolded thoughts coming up.

It might be sounding so quick,

Atlast she comes to her senses.

To know her limits,

To know her worth,

Importance to her youth,

Significance to her existence.

Live not by giving the happiness to a person

Being careful enough to trust it all

Heart is just a fragile cause

Might be damaged and hard to heal itself.

She stand tall and let it go,

Everyday where she goes,

She will remember him,

Not just a memory but a lesson.

Wasted love she might say,

Through it all, it’s worth the try.

The trial in search for true love isn’t easy afterall.

In the long run, one will not leave you nor forsake you.

That’s Jesus Christ, she believes in Him,

The one real love of all,

Her faith on Him rising up

Like a phoenix on fire.

To love is for two,

Not just for one,

To love is to heal,

To forgive and to be humble.

To love and be loved in return,

To be happy, and to make someone happy,

To give and never expect to receive.

To create an everlasting sense of commitment.

Trust is important,

Never lose it.

Love is both a choice and a feeling.

Never take it for granted.

The lonely poet is moving on,

Leaving the past behind her.

To continue life,

And living life to the fullest.

She discovers that she has everything,

She has Christ, Family, Friends and good education.

She somehow realizes how important it is to take care of her heart.

To free herself from loss and let it not be part.

Her life is like a rolling stone,

Sometimes she’s up, sometimes she’s down.

But she never is afraid to walk thru it.

Along its final way, she knew she will survive.

The perfect time will come,

By God’s perfect plan it will be very soon.

To delight by God’s love,

Hope will never die from her heart.

The lonely poet never know where it will be going,

She will just enjoy the thrill or dismay.

But she believes in her heart,

God has prepared a man exclusively only for her.

“Come what may lonely poet, Come what may my dearest self.”

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Frat-Sor Violence

Enduring almost seven weeks of rigorous hazing–paddling, face-slapping, body-punching and worse–and he/she became a respected brother/sister for it.

Fraternities, sororities and other organizations has become a staple in the Philippines education system. Unfortunately, some practices present today in fraternities defeat the purpose of brotherhood and camaraderie. Frat-Sor related violence has become rampant and is subjected to hazing and inhumane acts.

Man as a social being, is definitely in need to belong in a family, group, tribe, club, organization or community. For some who seeks the allure and exclusivity, brotherhoods or sisterhoods, fraternities and sororities, street gangs, military units and secret societies are held for that special sense of belonging, kinship, and bonding- as for the promise that membership in this different kind of community of men and women will guarantee lifelong benefits, privileges, reassurances, and advantages in the long run. In return, one accepts the ethos of a brotherhood/sisterhood, following set of ideals, and commitment to a code of silence.

Young people who were interviewed observed that there were benefits to be earned by joining a fraternity/sorority: “For social purposes” (Shera Mortejo, UPV); “To have connections and affiliations”(Zsareena Zabala, UPV); “To boost self-esteem” (Sean Labastida, UPV); “For them to have people to rely on especially in times of troubles” (Arniel Lisondra, MSU-IIT);  “To have another family. To belong. To fit in. To be loved” (Lala Calle, UPV);  “To gain acceptance and feel some kind of belongingness. Some also join for quest and thirst for power” (Syrine Podadera, FEU); “Promised protection & security, social elevation” (Clyde Aguillon, UPLB); “To not feel alone.”(Dan Borongan, UPV); “Peer Pressure”(Aizel Divinagracia, USC); “They can’t find love with their family” (Davy Abella, USC); “Sense of “damayan”(Dua Uriarte, SU); “Personal preference- maybe their parents were fratmen”(Emman Aller, UPV); “They feel safe and settled that they have people who share similar beliefs and values”(Jessa Temelo, UPV) “To gain respect”( Kenneth Baay, SPUS); “Sponsorship and solid connection” (James Luchavez, UPV); “It is one way of being cool”(Gabriel Lerona, UPV); “For greater circle of friends and the benefits after college like easy job application”(May Ann Ybañez, UPV); “Academic support”,(Joeylyn Terania, UPV); “To be able to learn and use the learnings as an instrument to give service to fellowmen, having a family and fun activities” (Kulit 5th)

If there are pluses, there are also minuses. There are gray areas in which one shouldn’t forget. Often, the violence is meted out with measures of restraint. But one too many times it is dispensed with savage and unrestrained brutality, with pledges beaten to a pulp. And sometimes, in the name of fraternity, death occurs. The underlying fact is that the term called “hazing” can possibly account during any Fraternity or Sorority initiation rites. Basically, it has been a practice as a part of the initiation rites to be conducted. It’s a form of conditioning that, in theory, is said to teach pledges the meaning of authority and loyalty (by bullying them into submission), foster camaraderie among new recruits (by collectively subjecting them to pain and humiliation), and make them value the privilege of being accepted into the brotherhood (by making them work hard to get in).

Even though that these seem like noble intentions, the problem with hazing is that it can get too far. Sometimes, these traditions are left in the hands of late teens and early 20’s college students which is to say that they are unsupervised young adults that might be drunk and lack knowledge of how much physical and psychological torture the human body can tolerate. As a matter of fact, 82% of deaths from violent hazing involve alcohol.

Men and women are willing to suffer through the hazing rituals of physical and psychological abuse for that fraternity/sorority. Heavy doses of both can result to extreme degrees of physical violence and degrading insults. The so-called “Neophytes” are meant to humble pledges to their “Lord Masters”.

The consequences of psychological abuse are often hidden. But sometimes, after the hazing, beneath the seeming normalcy, there is a lifetime of psychological scars or wounds that never heal.

For physical abuse, the marks are visible, usually caused by the most common form of abuse in the tradition of hazing that is “paddling”- MUCH WORSE THAN IT SOUNDS, MUCH MORE THAN A PADDLE. The consequence is often inflicted with brutality, almost always, causing the part of the body to “ube”- the vernacular for the bloody bruising. In the name of  frat/sor, the ability to endure the brutality is considered a measure of bravery, resolve, and worthiness.

Taking the risk is not that easy to fall into. A lot is being said and written about the recent fraternity hazing incidents that killed a student and severely injured three others from the De La Salle University—College of St. Benilde, and critically wounded another from the University of the Philippines. Fingers are being pointed, legislative bills are being submitted, investigations are being conducted, and lawsuits are being filed.

Numerous incidents happened in the Philippines with Frat/Sor issues. But in that case, one should not put the blame mutually on all existing fraternities and sororities. As the government seeks to form a task force to ban frat/sor, many reasons compromises it because fraternities and sororities have a place in society. Besides, fraternities provide for various human needs — a surrogate family, a place for young men and women to forge friendships, bonding, and trust, a milieu of kindred spirits, a place to experience community. It is the hazing that is the unnecessary ritual, and the deaths from it so senseless.

Despite the deaths and known risks, some sororities and fraternities continue with their conspiratorial regimens of torture. Despite having been criminalized by Republic Act 8049 more than a decade ago, the deaths continue. Despite “zero-tolerance” edicts and sound bites, when hazing season comes around, schools and universities turn a blind eye, waiting for the next death—when it becomes the occasion for the usual public outcry, condemnation and condolence.