Category Archives: Litteratura

repository of speeches, columns, articles, literary pieces.

Limpya Bota Series 1: How to Shine Shoes

How to Shine Shoes

Limpya Bota is how we call the chore of shining shoes in our dialect.  It is a tedious job, and you get your hands dirty while doing it. If you are not lucky, you may even have to endure the nasty smell of any or all the following: the customer’s shoes, his socks, or his feet.

I am an expert at shining shoes. After all, I spent four years of my life doing this for a living, albeit only during weekends, school breaks and on holidays.

The first step is to remove accumulated dirt and grime from the shoes. More often, you do this with a brush. But for dirtier jobs, you first use a toothbrush and water to remove the accumulated mud, soil or whatever dirt is stuck in the leather, the soles or any other part of the shoe. You use your cotton rug to wipe the shoe dry. But if it is still wet,  you set it out under the sun to dry.

The second step is to apply “dyobos” on the shoes. Dyobos is a mixture of a shoe dye and water. It brings back the color of the shoes.  You have to apply the right color of the dye to the shoes. And with only two colors available in the market – black and red, one has to get the proper combination of black and red to get to the correct shade of brown needed for a particular shoe.

When the shoe is already dry, you brush it again, after which you start applying the show polish. We either use our fingers or the soft cotton cloth to put on the polish.  You apply polish to the shoe in a small circular movement. The key is not to put too much polish on the shoe–but to build the polish and shine up in thin layers.  You also have to make sure that polish reaches the inside of the creases on the shoe if they have any.

Next let the polish “go off” on the shoe (preferably in the sun, or somewhere warm for 2 to 3 minutes. This will help the leather absorb the polish and help thin layer of polish melt across the shoe.  Then we polish the shoe dry with the same bristle brush, or another one if you prefer.

The customer has two choices on the type of shoe shine finish he wants: pagakpak or charol.

Pagakpak is the most popular type of shine. One applies  the shoe polish as many times as you want (once or twice depending on how much the customer pays) brushing if off and then, finishing the run by rubbing a cotton cloth on the shoes. But there is an art to doing this. You fold the cotton cloth into a rectangle of approximately 24 inches by 4 inches. After that you place it on top of the shoes and move your hands from side to side. As you do this you make sure that you produce a certain sound that goes like this: tsak–tsalak-tsak–tsalak-tsak.   Once you are through, you tap your shoeshine box with your brush as a signal to the customer that job is done.

Charol is what we call the shine that results in a mirror like finish for the shoes. We wrap the cotton cloth on our forefinger and middle finger. Then, we add a bit of dyobos to the cotton cloth, put polish and spread it to the shoes. We repeat the process until we have coated all the leather parts with the shoe polish. Then we begin the process of gently massaging the shoe with the damp cloth fixed in our two fingers, doing it in a circular manner. We do this evenly and repeat the process until we shall get a mirror like shine of the shoes.  Be sure to be gentle and patient, otherwise, you will never get the polish that deserves to be called a charol.

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How to encourage a young child to do well in school

The Bike Story

The boy was six years old and the following day would be his first day in school.  He was watching his father clean the bike — the bike his father rides when he goes to work.  He imagined the places he can go if he will learn how to ride one.  He will go to the barrio and race with his cousins; to the sea to swim and to watch the ships and the boats pass by;  to the market to see what new goods the vendors from the city are selling.  The bike will bring him to so many places.

He asked his father, “When can we buy another bike?”

The father looked at him and said ” Not immediately. Probably after we shall have paid for the sewing machine your mama got on installment ”

That was not the answer the boy wanted to hear. So, he went straight to the point , ” Is there a way I could own a bike?”

To which his father immediately retorted: “Oh yes, there is. But that is something you will have to work on.”

The boy got excited, looked at his father and asked: ” How?

And this was  the father’s answer:

“Tomorrow is your first day in school. All you have to do is to study well, listen to your teachers, and do your homework. If you are able to do this, then you will most likely be the top student in your class.  And you know what? Every year that you will get the first honors ribbon you will earn as prize a certain part of the bike.

For  grade 1, you will earn  the complete  frame including all its components: the top tube, the down tube, the seat tube, the seat stay and the chain stay;

For grade 2, you will get the saddle area comprising the saddle and the saddle posts;

For grade 3, you will get the front set –which includes the handle bar grip, the head tube and the fork;

For grade 4 , you will get the pedal, the crank arm, the chain and the chain rings;

For grade 5, you will get the front wheel — spokes, hub, rim, tire and valve;

And by grade 6: you will get the back wheel — spokes, hub, rim, tire and valve.

So, if you will be first honors from grade 1 to grade 6, you will have earned all the parts needed  to assemble a  bike! “

Every year, the boy reminded his father about the bike parts he has earned. And every year,  the father  told him how many more parts he  has to earn to complete the bike. There are days when they passed by a bike store or watched other people’s bike and talked about how better the boy’s bike will be, when fully assembled.

Every year from grade 1 to grade 6  the boy got  the first honors of his class.   He graduated valedictorian from elementary. But he never got the bike he wanted. His father met an accident and was bedridden for the next 3 years. In fact, he had to work after school hours to help earn money for the family.

But by this time, the boy had already learned the proper study habits.  The bike was no longer his motivation for topping his class. Rather, it was to maintain an academic scholarship  in order to finish his  studies. He graduated valedictorian in high school.  He got a full college scholarship with board and lodging allowance and eventually, graduated valedictorian in college.

He got a good job and could have bought for himself  the best bike his money can buy. But he did not.  Instead, he bought his father a good bike, and a pick-up.

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Success is doing what one desires

What is success? Somebody forwarded to me this account and I thought it offers a fresh insight on the topic.

This is the story of Ruben, an independent business man in a coastal town in Southern Philippines.

Ruben came into the shore early one morning with his small boat full of lovely fish; one for his family, others to sell. Freddie, a top executive from Manila on vacation, saw Ruben return while  the other fishermen were still out with a few catch.

When Freddie asked around about Ruben, everyone told him that Ruben was the best fisherman on the coast.

Freddie walked down to Ruben and asked how he spent his days. Ruben said he fished a bit in the morning, went home to spend some time with his wife and play with his kids, then in the evening he would meet his friends at a local restaurant for songs and games.

Freddie got excited and proposed a business partnership. Together they would build a fleet of ships that would benefit from Ruben’s knowledge. They would move to a big city, and later run offices and fleets around the world.

Ruben asked about the future beyond the world-wide ventures. Freddie expounded on the glories of the great cities and high society, He also stated that after earning so much money they could to retire, go anywhere and do anything they wanted.  Ruben asked Freddie what he wants to do when he retires.

Freddie replied, “I would buy a place near the shore, fish a bit in the morning, go home to spend time with my wife and play with the kids, then in the evening I would meet my friends at a local restaurant for songs and games.”

And Ruben laughed, and walked away.

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A Homecoming Speech

Last December 30, 2004, I was invited as guest speaker during the 50th annual alumni homecoming of my high school alma mater — St Michael’s School of Padada. Here is a transcript of my speech. 

Dear guests, former teachers, peers and fellow alumni of St. Michael School of Padada, MAAYONG HAPON SA INYONG TANAN!

When Elma Ayop, and then Anna Binoya asked me if I would speak in today’s reunion, I was quite humbled, but more than that actually stunned.

Perhaps, the outspoken criteria to the invitation was beer belly size? Morag dili. Dili ang gidako-on sa tiyan ang basehanan kung kinsa ang guest speaker kay mas daghan pa man diri karon ang mas dako pa ang tiyan kaysa ako. Sa pagkatinood, isog-isog gyod tang tanan nga nitambong sa atong reunion. Kay wala man ta mahadlok nga magpalista bisan dagko na ang ating mga bilbil, sinaw na ang atong mga ulo, o dili kaha, kunot na ang atong mga agtang.

Allow me to be more pensive, this time. 50 YEARS – dugay dugay na gyud na panahon sukad matukod kining atong eskwelahan.  Mas tigulang pa gani kini kaysa kadaghanan nga mitambong ning atong homecoming. But in reality it doesn’t seem to be too far back in time.

In the years since we left the corridors of St. Michael’s School of Padada, through all the compelling changes that our lives (and bodies) have gone through, I look into the faces of everybody and I can say with conviction that everyone here is a SUCCESS. A success because our Catholic upbringing within the walls of this institution, molded us into individuals, who, by making a difference in the lives of a handful of people, that by struggling to be better than how we were when we walked out of the gates of SMSP.  We, in our own way,  have fanned the flames of the SWORD OF ST. MICHAEL and kept its fire ablaze.

Kasagaran ang sukdanan sa kalampusan ginatan-aw sa kadaghan ug kwarta, sa gwapo nga sinina, bag-o nga sakyanan, o kaharuhay sa trabaho ug panginabuhi. However, the Almighty Father, ang BIG BOSS ni Senior San Miguel, dunay lain nga sukdanan kung kinsa ang successful nga alumni sa St. Michael School of Padada. Para KANIYA, ang HULAGWAY SA KALAMPUSAN makita nato:

– sa mga amahan ug inahan nga adlaw adlaw nag trabaho para lang mapadala ang ilang mga anak sa eskuylahan.

The face of success is also seen in:

  • the brightest among us who choose to be civil servants, because they still believe in our institutions;
  • the honest public servants among us – barangay captains, councilors, mayors who lead with integrity, honesty and virtue;
  • the single parents who gave up their own happiness and needs for the sake of their children.
  • And, the businessmen and corporate warriors who have helped other people add value to their lives.

School reunions is a time when we reminisce the era that had made us the successful human beings that we are now.  Our years in SMSP were memorable years! We grew up in a single, God-centered community. Education was our ticket to a brighter better world. And probably for most of us, Education was the only way out.

It was a great time to grow up. We had no money, but we learned to enjoy what was available. We did not have television, electronic games and cellphones, but we were free to learn about nature and enjoy life through our physical activities and interaction with each other. We would swim in the beach, scale the slopes of Piapi, and hunt for spiders and make them fight with each other. We walked to school, and to the church, we played and picnicked in the open spaces, serenade classmates celebrating their birthdays. We raised gardens and chickens. We cut grasses with our own hands and made crude, simple toys.

Many of us were poor, but not poverty-stricken because we had a purpose. Purpose kept us going.

Think of the teachers we had in those days! They taught us to believe we are winners. They see to it that we learn to speak and to write correct and understandable English. They made us sing in ways we never thought was possible. They showed us the logic of math and the sciences. They gave us Spanish as a living language. And our principals and the nuns kept the school running. We respected and somewhat feared our teachers, but overall, knew them as friends we could trust.

Think of the confidence we had in each other. The students were the brightest, the girls were the prettiest. The basketball and softball players were the winners. The glee club and the church choir sang like angels. The school band and the rondalla played beautiful songs. We had the pride of the CLASS of ST. MICHAEL’S. We were proud because we knew hardships was just a step in making us self- sufficient. We did not grow up to be forever dependent on the dole or the goodwill of others. We were expected to be responsible, dependable and independent adults. We wanted to accept our roles in life, whatever those roles might be. We were poor growing up but we had purpose and pride.

One other thing we had, (though we may not realized it and might even had denied it at the time),  we had prayer. We clung to our prayers in those days. We had known life and death of friends and family. We had known financial and emotional trials. We had known fears and frustrations. We have felt fatigued and despair. The right and ability to pray, as we learned in school, has continued to sustain us through the years, and will sustain us the rest of our course.

We have entered into the 21st century and a new millennium since we left SMSP. Middle age is a nagging reality. We must tell our children and grandchildren, how, despite not having all the material comforts that are accessible now, we grew with purpose and pride and we continued through adversity with prayer. This is what we learned from St. Michael School of Padada. It is the same sense of purpose, of pride, and of faith that will bring us together again.

Even after 50 years, we still keep these flames ablaze as children of SMSP.

MABUHAY ANG MGA ALUMNI SA ST. MICHAEL’S!

 

(note: a transcript of this speech first appeared in   http://www.padada.com/PR2004/alumni2004_12.htm    a website put up by Czaldy Garrote and other alumni of SMSP)

 

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