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Road to Boliney

I appreciate beauty when I see one. Bolineyan doing the Taddek during the Kawayan Festival

I appreciate beauty when I see one. Bolineyan doing the Taddek during the Kawayan Festival

By Ma. Elena Catajan
Sketches

ONE cannot say how one is going to go up or down Boliney, a town high up in the mountains of Abra.

One is never certain what day or what time the lone jeepney will arrive or leave.

Speed is irrelevant. One is not even sure if the destination will ever be reached.

Within the patched up walls of the creaking, bouncing, swaying jeepney, the passengers are held together by one thought: the desire to live. With ravines to the right, and a hard rock wall to the left, there is no other way to go but forward.

Sometimes, though, it is necessary to back up a little to get over the really rough parts.

The view is magnificent, but there are times when closing one’s eyes is the only way to still the frantic beating of the heart.

One is faced with the reality of one’s helplessness and with this, all of one’s fears. The whole ride becomes one act of surrender.

I have met people who have to surrender to the fact that they will never get anywhere else but where they are, for the rest of their lives.

The patients at the Orthopaedic hospital in Manila will never be able to climb any mountain, nor swim in any river, nor see the green trees and the fresh air of the mountains, gifts which the Tinguians in Abra themselves hardly notice, bent as they are all day over their rice fields.

They, too, may spend the rest of their lives staring at a future as dull and impoverished as the stained ceilings of the spinal ward.

There was Lira who was shot by accident in a grocery hold-up, and was paralyzed from the neck down. Rage consumed her waking hours and our daily conversations.

Then there was Tony, moaning loudly for the nurse because he needed the catheter.

I ignored him at first, because everyone else was silent, all 50 or so perpetually motionless patients staring at the ceilings, and a few loyal mothers or wives come to comb the hair, brush the teeth, wipe the face, feed or bathe their charges.

I ran to the nurse in anger, and she looked at me, the occasional visitor to this, her daily fare. She explained that it must wait for medical reasons.

Soon, Tony was calling for his wife, and the patients in the neighboring beds hastened to tell him she had gone to buy some ice.

But we all knew she was standing outside the entrance to the hospital, waiting for some man to approach her and offer her a handsome deal.

Afterwards, she could go with him to a motel and come back with enough money to pay for her husband’s operation which, maybe, hopefully, would make him stand and walk again.

Tess, whose husband and two kids were killed in the road accident that left her paralyzed, called to me saying, “Could you make me a cup of noodles? And make one for Tony and Lira, too.”

Soon there was a chorus of “Me, too’s.” I prepared the noodles and we had a noodle party.

Bent over the rice fields or lying on their backs all day long, the only foreseeable future for both the patients and the Tinguians is their next meal. Their only desire is to live.

Stripped of any trappings, life takes on its purest form.

With life reduced to the everyday, there is nothing but hope for another day, and faith in its coming.

Helpless against suffering, yet helpless against the force of God’s life in them, their stories are also mine, yours. The road to Boliney never ends.
http://www.sunstar.com.ph/cagayan-de-oro/lifestyle/2013/10/05/road-boliney-306969

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Discussion

12 thoughts on “Road to Boliney

  1. i commend the young balao-as who was the mayor for nine years . i can say that he is different from his father mayor.

    Posted by michael harari | October 7, 2013, 1:32 am
  2. sad to say his father is back as mayor again

    Posted by michael harari | October 7, 2013, 1:33 am
  3. Nakadanonak dita Boliney idi 1983, agpapan 30 nga tawenen ti napalabas kas maysa a Credit Investigator ti Banko. Nagdigosak pay dita ‘Hot & Cold’ Spring ken nag-Tadek kabayatan nga madama ti panagparti ken nagtuno ti Ugsa ken imminum ti Tapuy.

    Kasla awan sa met ti nagbaliwan ti Boliney kalpasan iti adu nga tawen nga naglabas kas ipasimudaag daytoy a padamag.

    SAYANG KA BOLINEY!

    Posted by PHIL | October 7, 2013, 2:09 am
  4. Idi damo ni mayor Balao-as ti agturay adda binangonna nga bassit nga balay dita abay ti grandstand oval. Ordinaryo nga balay nga basbasit nga adayo ngem balbalay ti ordinaryo nga umili ti Bangued, adda maysa nga ugsa nga aywan Tay caretaker nga pagan-ayat ti tao nga buybuyaen. Kalpasan ti Mano nga tawen daytoy bassit nga balay nagbalinen nga maysa nga kadakkelan nga pagtaengan ti Abra!
    Kalaksidan ti IRA, amok nga adda met bingay ti Boliney ti RA 7171. (Sad to note, nobody is interested to commend on what I’ve been mentioning about RA, especially news on RA 7171 Progreso ti ili ken barbarangay ti ilocos sur). Kas kaadu an nga mamayores, saan ngata napan ti personal nga lang-ay ti panagbiag, dadakkel nga balay, luxury cars, vices, including tadi the favorite pastime of politicos, ti para kalsada koma. Sabagay kas dinakamatko idi amok nga dumanon ti atiddog nga ima ti linteg ti pannakaited husticia kadagiti rinuker nga agtuturay nga manggungundaway kadagiti rebbengna nga pagserbianda. Naipilaanen ti caso ti gov n vice gov. Ti ilocos sur, adu nga congressmen ken senadores, and other leaders. Hopefully these corrupt officials in Abra will face the same things to have justice for the long abused Abrenans!

    Posted by TAGAMASID | October 7, 2013, 3:20 am
  5. at last we have the same feeling tagamasid , this is now the time we are waiting that crook politicians in abra who have a pending case in the ombudsman will elevate to the sandigan meaning a warrant of arrest will be serving against those politicians with graft cases headed by takit and jendrix, hahaha ang saya saya sana iisa ang selda nila sa bicutan

    Posted by eric shawn | October 7, 2013, 7:04 am
    • We should not be losing hope for Abra in the prosecution of all the guilty politicians. We’re moving all the pending graft cases at the Ombudsman Office. We’re pushing them to see if they can prioritize a little bit of Abra because of the grave hardship the abrenios is been put through by our greedy politicians for years. Things are moving a little slower because of my limited mobilization funds. I am sacrificing my retirement check to whatever expenses I am incurring for now until I start receiving donations from business associates and friends with money that I have written to. I am hoping for one of the Grants here in the US I have written to go through. I need your prayers and moral support!

      Save Lives and Save Dignity, a NGO and God Save Abra (GSA) is working tirelessly to get all the documents together to support our claims against the KURAKOTS.

      Posted by comli2013 | October 7, 2013, 2:05 pm
  6. BOLINEY saan ka nga agmaymaysa a nabay bay-an. ti ili a MALIBCONG ket saan a pulos a nagbaliw bayat ti panaglabas ti tawen. manon ti nagsisin-nukat a mayores ngem saan nga nagprogreso ti ili, daguiti laeng nag mayor ti nagprogreso,malaksid daydi APO AGAID.

    Posted by pagalsem | October 8, 2013, 6:00 pm
    • Boliney n Malibkong saan kayo nga dudua nga napaidaman ti gasat! Nangeg tayo ti sasainnek ti Dolores, Lagayan, Danglas, Lapas. Nakitak ti San isidro, viciosa ken Pilar, isu la nga isu, innganat dumteng ni gov Takit nga nangpasayaat ngem remove n replace met ti adu nga parte ti nakalsada. Diay Pilar nga umaawat ti 50 or more millions per yr ti RA7171 ket adu pay la tapoktapok nga kalsadana. Damagko ket maysa nga kapigsaan ti tadi ti ex vice gov Somera ta dumanonda pay ken Chito B idi ti southern Luzon ken Visaya nga makiderby. Kas ta mayor yo nagistayan amin nga mamayores ti Abra ket agsasarakda dita Narvacan, Sta maria, Candon, PugoLa union, tadian ni ex PNP partisan Mart ken Vigan no paderby da. Ditoy ti papanan ti buis tayo. Problema? No kasano nga adalan ti kaadu an nga votantes tapno makita ken mangegda koma ti kinapudno. TI KINAPUDNO KET SAAN NGA AGBALIW TI BIAG TI ABRA NO DAGITOY AGDAMA NGA AGTUTURAY KET AGTULTULOYDA!

      Posted by TAGAMASID | October 12, 2013, 2:22 pm
  7. dmagak man, apo, nga tagaboliney . . . . kumusta kadi ni apo fred luben?

    Posted by syoke | October 8, 2013, 8:01 pm
  8. awan ti maasahan tayon kakailyan nga pagbaliwan ti BOLINEY no han nga agbaliw ti buwaya nga agturay nga BALAO-AS dta ili u… isuda ti kakurakotan nga mayor ditoy abra aglolotop ti hotel ken lote da ditoy bangued ken lugan da

    Posted by BINGAMOKOMA | October 8, 2013, 8:30 pm
  9. Nu napudnu ni takit dapat pati sabungan na ipasara nan tagamasid ta isu ti rupa ti coruption ti abra ta mamayores ken badgolyung da makitam deta.

    Posted by eric shawn | October 13, 2013, 2:44 am

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