#RP612fic and the Twitterverse Celebration of the Philippines’ 120th Independence Day

During the anniversary of the declaration of Philippine independence two years ago, the local social media scene was notably awash with posts showcasing the trademark Filipino ability to find humor in all things. 2018 seems to be but a continuation of this annual tradition, with Twitter users taking once more to the hashtag #RP612fic in varying degrees of historical accuracy, meme integration, and actual funniness.

As per usual, there was no shortage of recycled jokes from previous years:


Like in previous years as well, there were amalgamations made with the nation’s latest movies, television shows, and Youtube sensations, often necessitating “rare colorized photos” and images along the lines of life imitating art. (Or is it art imitating life?)


Then there were jokes made out of online blunders, meme templates, and controversies that had cluttered Filipinos’ timelines in previous months:


The best ones from this year’s set, though, were those that in this writer’s opinion masterfully demonstrated the full spectrum of Filipino humor, from the intelligent pun to the petty slapstick to the tiring absurdity that is living in and with the Philippines.


On a final note, a reminder from one Millennial of MNL casts a sprinkling of realism on this yearly tradition that Filipinos would do well to remember, especially in light of recent events that genuinely threaten the independence we enjoy:

#RP612FIC was fun today but let us all remember that even the freedom and independence the Philippines has now can be called “fiction”. The Filipino is not truly free until we break the chains of US imperialism and the fascist Duterte administration.

 

 

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Obituary (A Poem, Revised)

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She was but one
of your number, one
out of the
one thousand,
two hundred and
sixty-eight;
and I knew how her name
ought to have been spelled;
I knew her face well,
knew the table where she sat
every night for dinner,
knew the name of the person
she left behind —
But I recognize every single one of you,
too.

Years ago
Your coins mixed with my fare;
We grumbled together in long lines
at Ororama;
You took my spot in the motorela
after I disembarked;
Your tables were bussed
so I could take your place
after you had eaten your dinner.

Once
We met on the spit-stained sidewalk;
I ignored you.
I get out of it by saying
You ignored me, too.

We did not
drown in the same
streetlights at night
Nor drown in the same
darkness that night
When the blackouts came
I was safe from its reach
While I inhaled
the wintry December air
you breathed in
something far colder

There will be
nights of wondering
where your souls have gone.
I only know one name
out of the
hundreds
and hundreds
now etched
in stone and
it is not yours.
We were never kindred,
not by gold
nor by water nor by blood.
You will be missing from me
nonetheless.

No one I know reads obituaries
in the newspaper
but forgetting is not an option now.
Requiescat in pace.


This poem was published in “Antukin”: Veritas Literary and Arts Folio 2018 by Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan.

 

Poems on the Inquisition of A Faith, And Then Some

 

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Jan Van Eyck, the Dresden Triptych (1437, oil on panel)
In Westminster Abbey
— John Betjeman (1958)

Let me take this other glove off
As the vox humana swells,
And the beauteous fields of Eden
Bask beneath the Abbey bells.
Here, where England’s statesmen lie,
Listen to a lady’s cry.

Gracious Lord, oh bomb the Germans.
Spare their women for Thy Sake,
And if that is not too easy
We will pardon Thy Mistake.
But, gracious Lord, whate’er shall be,
Don’t let anyone bomb me.

Keep our Empire undismembered
Guide our Forces by Thy Hand,
Gallant blacks from far Jamaica,
Honduras and Togoland;
Protect them Lord in all their fights,
And, even more, protect the whites.

Think of what our Nation stands for,
Books from Boots and country lanes,
Free speech, free passes, class distinction,
Democracy and proper drains.
Lord, put beneath Thy special care
One-eighty-nine Cadogan Square.

Although dear Lord I am a sinner,
I have done no major crime;
Now I’ll come to Evening Service
Whensoever I have the time.
So, Lord, reserve for me a crown.
And do not let my shares go down.

I will labour for Thy Kingdom,
Help our lads to win the war,
Send white feathers to the cowards
Join the Women’s Army Corps,
Then wash the Steps around Thy Throne
In the Eternal Safety Zone.

Now I feel a little better,
What a treat to hear Thy Word,
Where the bones of leading statesmen,
Have so often been interr’d.
And now, dear Lord, I cannot wait
Because I have a luncheon date.


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Jan and Hubert Van Eyck, Deësis of Christ the King, the Virgin Mary, and John the Baptist from the Ghent Altarpiece (15th c., oil on wood)
How to take down an altar
— francine j. harris (2014)

First, remove your Mary. Take the chains from her neck.
then smack out the candles with a pillow. Stack the books

under Paul in boxes. Lift up
the snakes. uncover the faces. Take

—-the incense dust in both hands and cross Barbara.
—-Unhinge Jesus carefully, at each panel. Move

——the Angels by their buttocks, not their wings.
——Unplug Magdalene. Take away the black gauze

——–from the face of Judas. Pull the river foam
——–below the roses, lay it under both Moses.

———-Wrap Adam and Eve
———-in light citrus and borax. Make a clay paste

————to preserve the face of God. Bury the
————cigarettes. the apple peels. the meat.


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Jan and Hubert Van Eyck, “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” from the Ghent Altarpiece (15th c., oil on wood)
— Lucia LoTempio (2018)

The nuns
made my body
a holy cathedral,
impenetrable—yet

a temple is a widest
entrance; place
of herded into.

 

The Filipino Undergraduate Thesis Experience, in Eleven Tweets

Good times; good times.