Monday, February 28, 2011

Memories and Cowardice: An Apology

"Anong pagkain mo sa bag?" I asked as I approached my friend at the back of the bus. We were enroute from Sweden to Germany; I was hungry and it was way past lunch time with no pit stop in sight.

She smiled as she handed me her large tote bag.

"Eto, may tinapay pa at mga jam from breakfast kanina. May nilagang itlog din dyan. Hanapin mo na lang yung asin sa pakete."

As I rummaged through it, I found a small paper bag. I opened it, and saw there were cherries from the previous dinner.

"Uy,cherries! Pwede ba 'tong arborin?" I said to her gleefully.

"Ay sorry, medyo nalamog na. Binaon ko talaga yan for you kasi napansin ko na pinapapak mo yung cherries sa dinner kagabi. Baka kamo e gusto mo yan, kaya kumuha ako't nilagay ko dyan sa bag."

So with my loot of cherries, I settled back into my seat and enjoyed my simple lunch of a crusty roll, some jam, and a hard boiled egg.


I lived for several months in Europe eating out of that tote bag. It was part of the crazy financial experiment I did: would I survive on the allowance being given to us? I deliberately refrained from bringing cash and credit cards; all I had was a debit card for emergency purposes.

I did survive, thanks to the goodies inside the bag. Everyone in the group benefited from it. We termed it the mahiwagan baunan; it tided us over whenever we took cross-country trips on the bus across the continent.

This wouldn't have been possible of course, if she didn't have the foresight of actually wrapping the leftovers at the big gatherings and quietly slipping it into her bag.  Eventually, it became the group's food storage bag. We'd sneak the food stuff on the table and hand it over to her for safekeeping. It was a comforting thought that we'd have something to nibble later on in the long ride.


"Salamat sa lahat a," I said as I hugged her tightly in the dressing room.

It was the night of our homecoming concert. It was also the last time she would ever sing with us. She was resigning from the group since her children were growing up fast; the renumeration we were getting was not enough. Although I felt sad, I knew she always put her family's needs above everything else.

And when she left, she really left. Through the succeeding years, she never showed up in any of the concerts. Nor did she go to any of the organized social gatherings. I asked a good friend of hers the reason. He replied that she felt her decision was one of the most painful choices she ever made in her life. Seeing someone from the group would only remind her of it.

I respected her feelings, so I never really pushed myself to re-establish contact with her.

In hindsight, I probably should have.


"Tita, kumusta na sya?"

"Nasa ICU pa rin, pero iche-chemo at ira-radiation therapy na sya soon. Bisita ka naman."


Nung narining ko ang balita, natameme ako. Na-realize ko all of a sudden na wala ka na talaga. Ang pumasok kaagad sa utak ko e "I should've gone to the hospital. I should go to the wake." Pero alam mo, naduwag ako. Sorry, sorry talaga. Hindi ko ata kakayanin na makita ka ng ganun. Ang nagawa ko na lang e bago matulog ay alalahanin ang lahat ng masaya't malungkot na panahon natin sa grupo, ang lahat ng mga bonding moments natin while on tour.

I know it's not an excuse, pero alam ko naman na maiintindihan mo yun, di ba? Ganyan ka kasi kabait at kaunawain.

Kaya eto ako ngayon, nagsusulat sa blog para humihingi na e ng paumanhin sa aking kaduwagan. It's not much, it's not enough, but  I hope you'll accept this simple offering.

You have been, and will always be, a part of my life.

And I write this in remembrance of you.

Angele Dei
as sung by the Philippine Madrigal Singers (2006)

Ángele Dei,
qui custos es mei,
me, tibi commissum pietáte supérna,
hodie illúmina, custódi,
rege et gubérna.

Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
to whom God's love commits me here,
ever this day,
be at my side
to light and love,
to rule and guide.

Ang recording na ito ay isa sa pinakahuling ensayo namin dito sa Pilipinas bago kami tumungo sa Europa para mag-compete.

Ito rin ang huling tour na kasama namin sya.


  1. member pala ng madrigal singers wow im thrilled hehhee

    anyway ill include her to my prayers... :(

    dont worry she is in peace now...

  2. And now you have an angel singing over you guys...

    My condolence...

    Such a sad,yet beautiful story..

  3. I am so sorry for your loss...

    and WOW, you're a Madrigal pala.

    and the song - so beautiful.

    it sends shivers down my spine.

  4. ikaw nga ni joni mitchell at ni wifey, you don't know what you got 'til it's gone

    but don't worry too much
    i think she "understands"

  5. I'm so sorry for you loss... R.I.P Ma'am O. Hinding-hindi ko makakalimutan ang kanyang "Papa Ka Ba?"

    By the way Ternie, our mentor is also a madrigal, kasama niyo siya nag-compete sa Torrevieja together with Ma'am O.

    At gustung-gusto ko talaga ang pagkanta niyo ng Angele Dei! Ganda ng arrangement ni Sir Jed Balsamo. :)