Thursday, May 30, 2013


I come facing the wind known to a bus
there's nothing wrong with the breeze that starts talking
this street is a mile -long universe of bubble gums
and swollen tires amidst the chaos of billboard kings and queens
bring me to a smaller village where my mosque hugs me without remorse
sways my head to my hand to the longing of this great golden blue sparkling dome
that I wish to disappear to this poetry closing my eyes the victory of words
all flowing from the prayers of trees and the divine soil begins to spin
do the leaves know that my energy is coming from its un silence
we all whisper to the unclear face of the future as roots
as trees as friends narrowing the roads to the gaps of soil

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Please don’t die yet
Fervour, ships arise to the call of yesterday
Ardi my country is a village
A village with no country
Flags disappear to the ways
Imperialist our wish list is to stay
And die not to our dreams
Before your ships put fire
Into our oceans

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Giant Quran and a lady

This lady has a giant Quran in her hand
wearing a malong and a fuschia veil
She sits eyes on opened pages
reciting Quranic words in the heat of a sunday
I walk upon her voice and sit to
breathe this wonderful energy
infront of a store where darkened coconuts
hang on plastics and green mangoes below
there's an air mystifying my steps
soda in hand not bending
pouring her soda in a glass
but hoping to be accepted on
a stranger's living room
in awe to the sight of angels
flowing underneath sunrays

Sunday, March 31, 2013

green tears

come to my feet mastery of death
come wash me in green tears of the jungle 
lay your head before my leaves
I am only dry when I don't wish death 
for myself and for my forever jungle
come lets lave and dance to meet
the center , where it lays in darkness
darkness is lost to the rays of sunlight 
wishing it was yesterday

Monday, March 18, 2013

open arms

I stood not human
but a tree I couldn’t move  swaying from side to side
seeing four corners while I feel the wind
Birds come and land
on my trunks without passports
a peaceful immigration
they can express
their citizenship open arms
waving to their feathers their flags

Tuesday, March 12, 2013



By: Nash Usman Abduhadi

“Art is a process, it is not merely a product; art involves time, it is experiential; art can communicate, a reason for art is to symbolize for a real idea or object, including PEACE”- A.G. Saño

The aforesaid statements were proven true during the successful conduct of POP ART 2: Piece of Peace Artshop and Concept Design Contest held at Mount Bayog, Talipao, Sulu on March 11, 2013 by the strengthened partnership of Kusug Batah Sug (a pool of young volunteers advocating for peace in Sulu), Marine Battalion Landing Team 2, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Black Pencil Foundation, Talipao Municipal Government, Community Relations Training, Mount Bayog Eco-cultural Park, to name a few.  On the earlier part, Armando Guerrero “A.G”Saño rendered an artshop lessons to the participants emphasizing the importance of art in our daily lives, the history of POP ART, images of peace arts and demonstrating the basics on drawing lessons. A tour at the Mount Bayog was made for the participants to see the views and sights of the place for them to internalize the concept design that they shall be drawing such as: amphitheatre, sundial, fence walls, arch entrance, and waiting sheds. The contest proper began noontime as the Superstar band of MBLT2 serenaded them with peace songs that serve as inspiration for the artists. In the afternoon, the awarding of the Photograpeace (Photos of Peace) which was held last January 15, 2013 at Notre Dame of Jolo College and Jolo Area Coordinating Center was made followed by the induction of new Kusug Batah Sug members. Hon. Hadja Sitti Raya Tulawie (Mayor of Talipao, Sulu) expressed her heartfelt gratitude and thanks to the organizers and participants who conducted POP ART 2 in Talipao, Sulu as a means of bridging the gap between the local government and its constituents and also promoting peace through creative means.

The Process

Youth are the future leaders and professionals of the nation. However, due to lack of an avenue and opportunities for discovering prolific, functional and causal to addressing peace efforts, youth has become maimed and others were tempted to engage in some unlawful activities. A thorough understanding of novel aspect for these vulnerable sectors of the society would surface only if they would be given the chance to participate and get involved in the quest for an ever-elusive peace especially in Sulu. Correcting the paths of these future leaders toward a common vision through creatively advocating their voices becomes an ultimate challenge to all the Tausug youths.

POP ART 2 is a sequel of the June 11, 2012’s Piece of Peace Art held in Jolo Area Coordinating Center with three categories: Photograpeace (Photos of Peace), Masterpeace (Poetries of Peace), Magnum O’ Peace (Artworks for Peace).  The POP ART was conceptualized by the Kusug Batah Sug, Armed Forces of the Philippines and Community Relations Training (CRT) as part of expressing youth voices and hopes of attaining peace through creative artworks. Peace illusions are best conveyed through depictions of reality and imagination. A gallery on how youth can show another facet of peace. This is peace as seen from the eyes of the youth. Experiences as expressed in their belief that peace is attainable.

On the conduct of POP ART 2, the contestants were screened through submission of sample drawings on how they depict peace and promote Sulu tourism as part of the objectives. The said contest aims at: homegrown concept designs of facilities for Mount Bayog Eco-cultural park, Tausug youth talent development, promote Tausug culture, encourage creative thinking and appreciation, and promote local tourism.


Timing is everything, as the saying goes and POP ART 2 paved the way for  Tausugs “first timers” to have a glimpse of Sulu by visiting Mount Bayog Eco-Cultural Park. Ironic, as it may sound since most of the participants came from the 19 municipalities of Sulu but most haven’t get the chance to see the said park that is their own. It was also the first time for the participants to take a ride on a military vehicle and feel the essence of establishing genuine relations with the security sectors. It was also the very first time for the spectators, contestants and observers to be able to join an art workshop and concept design contest rolled into one.

Experiential Experience

Most of the POP ART 2 participants, organizers, and observers experience a once in a lifetime shared “boodle fight” (a traditional buffet of the security sectors) which served as their lunch during the said activity. The true essence of sharing, brotherhood, unity and harmony were felt amidst the scorching heat of the sun. The unexpected weather during the day didn’t hamper the conduct of the said contest. An experience of “NO AGE LIMIT” participants was also seen as a youth from 11 year old to a teacher of 52 years old participated. An ongoing most liked artwork is to be posted in so that the world could see the master-peaces of these peace advocators.

 Art can communicate PEACE

Peace is the work of many and this was shown during the activity as a total of almost 200 participants coming from different municipalities, schools, organizations, and other stakeholders drew together their Piece of Peace as embedded in their Magnum Opuses.

Indeed, as A.G Sano once said: art can be a vehicle to advance causes, ideas or philosophies, by turning advocacies and visuals.

The feet that pass me

I am as green as the grass in the hill
listen to the breeze as I make sound too
rustling in the rhythm of winds 
I desire not the feet that pass me
I am afraid not of being removed from soil
I fear to not make a sound when all these happen

Monday, March 11, 2013

They don't speak in dreams

Dead people don't speak in dreams
they pass by as if you are a part of a door
a wall or a road or a bush in a garden a keyhole
sometimes they seem so alive
that there presence are so vivid
you wonder if they came to take you

Friday, March 08, 2013

A lion lives in a heart that never sleeps

I write in peace but it does not reach your mailbox
If my blood spills will you see out of the letters
how this soul speak writhing in pain for freedom?

 I dance in peace but when you turn your gaze away
My steps become nothing
I can roam to the streets
To the mountains defeating chaos

Singing in the name of peace
But you won’t let me
My hands are tied and my tongue can’t speak
The words break away but your colors refrain

I cut my self out of a character in a history book
Matched with pictures of valour
Today I am born barbaric
Match me with your prison cell
A lion lives in a heart that never sleeps


Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Letters from the voiceless

And my brothers sharpened their hands
from the first day they learned to write letters
they scribbled words that even the doves danced
in tune to it
those letters did not make it to the door
but the floor

I wonder if this passport recognize the thumb print
in which they pay for every trip to and fro?
when does the ink make it to your paper?
to your eyes , to your brain and to your tongue?

brothers today we are truly strangers
from our words to our deeds
we learn from the curses of the streets
let this leader go , his words mean nothing

nothing to the dead and will be
give time to say the shahadat
before sending your soul
away from land and ocean floors

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Ya Allah
I am holding your trees
touching the grass
because you walk
in waters of rain
I am bleaching my soul
for your sun to dry
I am hanging my submission
to the clothesline
where do we meet ?
Will it be a bullet on my head?
a crash on the street
name it ?
shake your hands
with the worthy
I am dreaming this in arabic
Come lets dance in the sea of light
a prayer I hear behind the clouds
a voice over the land
over the sea in broad daylight
be open to your wings
fly to the call of prayer
in white veils

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I saw myself in thin emptiness
pale transluscent as if I drowned in seawater 
thats when I became a paper
floating in the open 
as if to wait for waves 
to be divided apart
my words unread by fish

Sunday, February 10, 2013

roses in paper

Come out strong
Soft but perfumed like a box of soap
Come out strong
shaking disasters in silly ideas
that will make the world smile
warming our frozen hope

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Kissa in the middle of a market

I will bring myself to a dangerous street 
where a man sits waiting to tell how swords
were drawn in the ancient cities of long ago
how blood spilled in the name of honour
and no one dared to say the word defeat
come heroes in the tongue of this hlaykia
the sands of time will bring us there
the man who is encircled in the square
will have a place in this afternoon
He will be making the snake charmers and their snakes listen
Enchanted by his words they forget who they
are right at the moment
and those who work will stop to take tea
this break is called the dusk of storytelling
and when he says the word 'sword'
everyone will wince as if they see how sharp
illuminating the silver metal drawn
stopping to the kissa of how the universe came to be
and how monsters were killed by strong men
and women knew what to say
when they are about to die in the hands
of sandstorms that are calmed
by the sound of a violin

Monday, February 04, 2013


Be not afraid for what you fear
is not a thousand grain
that will bury you
it is just a few hair locks
a few strands
and the wind can blow it away
just like those furry things that fly
coming from weeds
from cat furs
from worn out carpets
they fly but not decay
be brave as a firm prayer
a bird in flight
praying in Maghrib
the sun prays too
before it sleeps

Monday, January 07, 2013

Bearer of Life

Do not bring your pain to life
death is mastery
put your head down to the one
the one whose name shimmers
he owns everything from your thoughts 
to the silk thread 
of your soul

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Moro underground music Make love songs, not war

One of the vendors who keep Moro music alive
TO most residents of Zamboanga City, the public market downtown is a place to buy food, barter goods from Malaysia and dig through the ukay-ukay or thrift stores. Most do not know, however, that the public market is also the home of fine musical treasures deeply rooted in Tausug, Sama and Badjao cultures.
While these ethnic groups’ literary traditions are usually found in books, music is a better way of experiencing them.
Contemporary Moro music comes in three genres – love songs or ballads, dance music used during weddings, graduation practices and other festivities, and the kissa chants, which are narratives with historical, folkloric or religious themes that often convey many life lessons.
These music compositions come in cassette tape format and are sold by vendors in the public market for P35 each. The most saleable cassette tapes are the dance and kissa chants.
The dance tunes, popular among the Muslim communities, are the pakiring, lulay and daling-daling. They’re sung by performers accompanied by an electronic organ and drums.
And then there are the love songs performed by Abdullah Daul (Sigaw ng Mindanao) Sidznie Band, Sulaiman Group (Sigaw ng Zamboanga), to name a few. These are the favorite among young Tausugs. Most of their songs are original compositions in the Tausug vernacular.
The kissa, meanwhile, “are like the stories of my ancestors,” says Wahab Abdullah, one of four music vendors in the market. “It is accompanied by a gabbang or a biyula (violin) instrument. People want to reminisce about the past; this provides them with that kind of satisfaction.”

Although the tapes are affordable, Abdullah accommodates customers who ask for a discount. “I give it for P30,” he says. He sells anywhere from “a few tapes” to “five to 10 tapes a day.”
He adds, “I do this for a living. Also, this way we can let our children and grandchildren know what famous stories of our time are.”
Julamri Jalaidi, another vendor, has been selling cassette tapes for 30 years now. “I have been in this business since 1972 during martial law. Now I am old. When you have not gone to school this is where you end up but as long as I have decent work, I am happy.”
Although he listens to kissa at home, “my grandchildren say that grandpa is making noise.” Laughing, he adds, “They prefer to listen to the ‘Otso-Otso’ than this.”

Selling these cassette tapes may look like a breeze, but a longer process is involved.
“I buy an original tape from the musicians for P5,000 to P10,000 each, mostly by those who are famous among our people and in demand,” Julaida explains. “After that, I buy blank tapes and I re-record the work. Then, I xerox the original cover, cut them to fit in the jacket and shade them with various colors. The color helps a lot to make the cover attractive. When there is no color people hesitate to buy because it lacks appeal. I color the cassette covers one by one. I don’t get tired doing that.”
Julaidi’s repertoire of kissa classics includes legends that trace back to the Spanish, Japanese and American periods. He also has one about Martial Law, which he says was banned before because it lifted the morale of the Bangsamoro mujaheedins while it denigrated government soldiers in their battles.
Included in his collection, too, is one of the Parang Sabil Kissa, which he says means sword of honor. This is a tragic story about a foreigner taking a woman away as the victimized man avenges the loss and kills himself in the end.
The Parang Sabil Kissa also narrates the Tausugs’ fight for freedom and independence from foreign invaders. There is a kissa about the battle of Bud Dajo, a story rarely found in historical writings but which can be relived by any willing listener who owns a cassette player.
Kissa Kan Anang sa Liya Iban in Ismael Budja is a story of lovers who lived apart because the mother of the man did not favor the woman. The man died of loneliness in his heart. There are many kissa about tragic love.
However, those about religion are regarded as the best. The most popular are Niawa iban Jasad (Adam and Eve and the story of Creation), the Ten Commandments, and the story of Prophet Abraham’s sacrifice. The covers of religious kissa are dominated by shades of green, applied patiently and devotedly by music sellers like Jalaidi.
More contemporary kissas are those about Martial Law, the exploits of the Moro National Liberation Front leader Nur Misuari and Rizal Alih’s battle in Camp Cawa-Cawa, Boulevard 17 years ago.
These chants embody the rich oral traditions of the Tausug’s, Sama’s and Badjao’s historical experiences with singers immortalizing the unforgettable moments of their common past. The rugged, backyard music entrepreneurs play a big role in keeping this cultural heritage alive, a source of pride and respect that, in a way, has to compete with globalized Western culture.
So, while the cassette format is accessible to most, it faces the danger of extinction by the advent of new and better music technology like MP3s.
Jalaidi is not bothered. “As long as people will want to listen to Tausug music, my business is here to stay.”?
Linda Bansil is a journalist in Zamboanga. Her story originally appeared in Peace Works, a publication of Peace Advocates Zamboanga or PAZ, the interreligious arm of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga.
Contact PAZ at 2/F San Luis & Sona Bldg., San Jose Road, Zamboanga Cit, Philippines. Telefax (63.62) 992.3086.
by Linda Bansil
Copyright 2006. All Rights Reserved