ni J. G. Dimaranan

Para kay M


May ulap na lumulutang

sa aking dibdib, nagsasabing


malawak ang ating dapat unawain

kaya lawakan din natin ang ating pag-unawa.


Nakaapak man ang mga paa sa lupa,

nakikipaglaro sa suliraning pantao,


ang puso’t isip nama’y nasa piling

ng malawig na langit ni Lumawig.


Tinapik ako ng hangin

at itinuro ka sa akin,


tayo na raw muna ang taya.

Banggit ng liwanag ng araw,


malawak ang ating dapat unawain

kaya lawakan din natin ang ating pag-unawa.



Kala’s Full Lotus Birth

The inherent intelligence in the design of our genetic code and its concurrent reprogramming in line with recent explorations on epigenetics allowed me and my partner to see birth as one of the many points where change could truly begin. As I write this note our beloved Kala is celebrating her second week of life outside the womb, delivered so gently, fully in her amnion sac on January 27 at 10:32pm. Being able to hear her first breath, see her eyes for the first time and witness her adjust to sounds, gravity, breathing and feeding as days and nights pass by; being able to observe how she transitions to the human world with sophisticated intricacy, my heart swells with feelings of purity, of innocence, of lightness. Amidst the current socio-political reality peaking in its fascism and tyranny, amidst small personal circles entertaining insensible cruelty for trendy nihilism, amidst egoic paranoia and widespread confusion crystalizing as the proud neurosis of our time, choosing to be gentle, placid, and loving is a radical act.

When D and I knew that our inner fires passionately sparked a starting of a new life, we already had a feeling of what was about to come. We knew it’s going to be big for everything was in perfect alignment – my LMP was on my father’s birthday, the conception was on D’s star sign as the birth was on mine, and my reading of my childhood journal scribbled with a wish to be a mother at 25, among other things – all these birthed a huge feeling of guidance from my inner self as well as corresponding ancestral and celestial wisdom. They were all deeply present in me and I had nothing else to do but trust.

And this trust lead me to meeting Isa, my wonderful midwife and good friend, weeks before I knew about the pregnancy as well as finding an eco-village, an intentional community, that supports and encourages the kind of natural birthing that we envisioned. It felt like everything was already in place even before everything started to happen, quietly and instantaneously connecting the dots for our tiny family’s gradual unfolding.

Kala, too, actively sent signs as she spoke with me through dreams, revealing her gender and what planet and stars are ruling at the time of her birth. I had several visions of her sending me messages of how she wanted to alight on this planet which manifested quite beautifully. She made us mindful of days, weeks and months as we await her arrival. D once dreamt of her also, as a young beautiful woman, communicating that time does not exist in the realm of symbols (or some other, way beyond codes). So we named her Kala, the Sanskrit word for time, for she seems to be a timekeeper but also the dissolution of this illusion. She is Time (as in eternity), because she is also timeless.

Believing that this big shift in our lives is way beyond our lives, we wanted nothing but the kindest possible landing of Kala’s soul to earth. We chose to give her a Full Lotus Water Birth to give comfort to her process of embodiment in this plane.


When I started feeling more intense prodromal contractions at 4pm of January 26, D and I partied to Earth, Wind and Fire and went dancing to Fleetwood Mac. After months and months of patient and careful waiting, at last, Kala’s arrival was already soon and we can finally meet our baby. At 8pm, D read me so quickly and initiated putting water on the pool as we laughed our nervousness away. We called Isa at around 10:30 and she came bright-eyed like the sun, thrilled for whatever we were about to experience together. In the first phase, I was too excited that I rushed Kala to come out, which tired me a lot, but I was able to sleep at around 3am of the next day and woke up around 6am to go into the active stage. The second phase started when I went out of the room, walked around and tried the standing position. Before this, I was in and out of the pool with D and constantly receiving relaxing massages from Isa. The water helped me drop into theta and delta brain states as I meditated to give allowance to the contractions. Every time a contraction surfaces I released its strong muscular tension through chanting, channelling really powerful feminine energy coming from the core of the earth. Very ardent and primordial sounds vibrated through me, strengthening my very center.

I labored the entire day until at 5pm I was already very drained. Isa, sensitive to energy, saw what was happening and intuitively asked our neighbour hilot to come over. Isa was out buying fruits to energize us when the hilot came. So sudden, she read my pulse and said that I will give birth at night. I told her how tired I already am and she just brushed it off with a remark “laban lang, ako sa panganay ko tatlong araw akong nag-labor” as she swiftly headed out. This helped me transition to the third stage as I transfer to my room because it came to a point that the water relaxed me too much. I felt that I needed to shift more to adrenaline production rather than oxytocin. The presence of the wise old woman and her symbol gave me strength to really fight for the birthing that I want, as Isa’s guidance held so much space for me to really own the process. At 8pm, I started bleeding and called Isa into my room. At 10:32pm, I gave birth to Kala not on water but on land. (In a sense she water birthed herself since she was in her amnion sac, she is the funniest.) D saw her kick her way out of the sac and into her first breath. After two more contractions I birthed Kala’s placenta.


Meeting Kala the first time as she latched on my breasts for primal rituals, I’ve felt the most beautiful communion there could ever possibly be. As our souls meet each other, I cannot help but meet all others in the depths of her eyes. I felt more linked and united with mine and D’s mother, our grandmothers, the mothers of our grandmothers and so on and so forth.

The next day as my body was slowly recovering but my spirit in high festivity, I asked D if he was beside Isa when Kala slid out. But he said he was in front of me witnessing all of it in an intimate angle. I felt like the entire room was full of people until I got the message that everyone I love were all meditating, sending me good energies and were with me the entire process. In Baguio, a conscious circle was held at Paradise Project. At Tayuksidi and La Union, good babaylan friends sent prayers and thoughtful support. And just in our own earth village, all the people in our community facilitated an innerdance session to assist me energetically. Everyone was so present and conscious of both the seen and unseen, everyone was part of the birthing. It was such a beautiful, beautiful energy. Which made me realize that yes, it was in my body that Kala’s body came out from, but she was already everyone else’s baby right from the beginning. We all birthed her and I loved every single atom, cell, energetic information that were part of her birthing. This reminded me of Kahlil Gibran: “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life longing for itself.” True enough, with the birth of every child, the universe chooses to look at itself with garden-fresh eyes.




Diwata: A sisterhood gathering



The Divine Feminine emerges within us as this energy becomes amplified when women consciously come together. Somewhere in the middle of a sacred circle, something beyond us is created and birthed in the same energy. Words are not enough to describe its immense power, but language is here to plant in a subtle and sublime manner this wordless truth. It is us but also not us.

When they say that God is an all-seeing eye, I put my trust into the eyes of others, their journeys, their life experiences. The Eye/I is co-created as we evolve together in synchronicity and compassion.

To all the women who were with me this weekend, like the waxing and waning of the moon, I once again praise with the highest vibrations of love both your light and shadow. May we feel energetically connected even more — to ourselves and to one another, to our ancestors and spirit guides, to our Mother Gaia, and to the ultimate Source of all that is.

(Below is a photo of 20 women basking under the full moon in silent prayer, in a humble and quiet cove in Zambales. Thank you for capturing bare honesty in these photos Hannah and Ate Ann, for opening your home to us Cherry and for inviting me to hold space for a ritual Mara, as I also thank all the other moments that held this moment together as One. Presence was enough.)



DALAWANG TULANG SALIN (Szymborska at Sexton)


salin ni J. G. Dimaranan

ng salin sa Ingles mula Polish ni Joanna Trzeciak

para kay Banahaw


Naririto tayo, hubad na mga mangingibig,


maganda sa isa’t isa—at iyon ay sapat na.


Tanging dahon ng ating mga talukap ang saplot,


habang naglililim sa lalim ng gabi.

Ngunit alam nila ang tungkol sa atin, alam nila,


ang apat na sulok, at ang mga upuang malalapit.


Alam din ng mga nangingilalang anino,


kahit ang lamesa’y nananatiling tahimik.

Alam na alam ng ating mga tasa


kung bakit ang tsaa’y lumalamig.


At ang lumang Swift ang sadyang makapagsasabi


kung bakit ang libro niya’y isinantabi.

Kahit ang mga ibon ay batid:


Nakita ko silang isinusulat sa langit,


walang patitimpi’t pagpapatumanggi,


ang tanging ngalang itinatawag ko sa iyo.

Ang mga puno? Maaari mo bang ipaliwanag sa akin


ang kanilang walang humpay na pagbulong?


Marahil alam ng hangin, sabi mo sa akin,


ngunit kung paano lamang ito isang misteryo.

Isang mariposa ang sumurpresa sa atin sa pagitan ng bintana,


mahinhin ang wagayway ng mga pakpak.


Ang tahimik nitong paglipad—tingnan kung paano ito pumagaspas


sa isang sutil na disenyo.

Siguro’y nakikita nito ang mga bagay na di natin nakikita


gamit ang likas nitong pagkamatalas.


Hindi ko kailanman naramdaman, o iyong nalaman


na ang mga puso nati’y nagliliwanag sa kadiliman.



by Wislawa Zsymborska

translated from Polish by Joanna Trzeciak


Here we are, naked lovers,


beautiful to each other—and that’s enough.


The leaves of our eyelids our only covers,


we’re lying amidst deep night.

But they know about us, they know,


the four corners, and the chairs nearby us.


Discerning shadows also know,


and even the table keeps quiet.

Our teacups know full well


why the tea is getting cold.


And old Swift can surely tell


that his book’s been put on hold.

Even the birds are in the know:


I saw them writing in the sky,


brazenly and openly,


the very name I call you by.

The trees? Could you explain to me


their unrelenting whispering?


The wind may know, you say to me,


but how is just a mystery.

A moth surprised us through the blinds,


its wings in fuzzy flutter.


Its silent path—see how it winds


in a stubborn holding pattern.

Maybe it sees where our eyes fail


with an insect’s inborn sharpness.


I never sensed, nor could you tell


that our hearts were aglow in the darkness.



salin ni J.G. Dimaranan

para kay Hannah


Marahil ang mundo’y lumulutang,

hindi ko batid.

Marahil ang mga bituin ay maliliit na papel

na ginupit ng dambuhalang gunting,

hindi ko batid.

Marahil ang buwan ay nanigas na luha,

hindi ko batid.

Marahil ang Diyos ay isa lamang malalim na boses,

na bingi lamang ang nakaririnig,

hindi ko batid.


Marahil ay walang ako.

Tunay, ako ay may katawan

at hindi ko ito matatakasan.

Nais ko sanang lumipad palabas sa aking isip

ngunit hindi na dapat ito tanungin pa.

Nakasulat na sa mga bato ng kapalarang

ako’y nakahugpong sa aking katawang-tao.

At dahil ito ang kaso,

gustong ko sanang tumawag ng atensiyon sa aking suliranin.


Mayroong hayop sa loob ko,

mabilis na nakasipit sa aking puso,

isang malaking talangka.

Ang mga doktor ng Boston

ay isinuko na ang husay ng kanilang mga kamay.

Sinubukan na nila ang scalpel,

karayom, lasong hangin at iba pa.

Nananatili pa rin ang talangka.

Napakabigat nito.

Sinusubukan kong kalimutan, gawin ang mga gawain,

lutuin ang broccoli, magbukas-sara ng libro,

magsipilyo ng ngipin at itali ang sintas ng sapatos.

Sinubukan ko ring magdasal

ngunit tuwing magdarasal ang talangka’y lalong ididiin ang sipit

at ang sakit ay lalala.


Minsan akong nanaginip,

siguro ay panaginip nga,

na ang talangka ay ang aking kamangmangan sa Diyos.

Ngunit sino ba ako upang maniwala sa panaginip?



by Anne Sexton


Perhaps the earth is floating,

I do not know.

Perhaps the stars are little paper cut-ups

made by some giant scissors,

I do not know.

Perhaps the moon is a frozen tear,

I do not know.

Perhaps God is only a deep voice,

heard by the deaf,

I do not know.


Perhaps I am no one.

True, I have a body

and I cannot escape from it.

I would like to fly out of my head,

but that is out of the question.

It is written on the tablet of destiny

that I am stuck here in this human form.

That being the case

I would like to call attention to my problem.


There is an animal inside me,

clutching fast to my heart,

a huge crab.

The doctors of Boston

have thrown up their hands.

They have tried scalpels,

needles, poison gases and the like.

The crab remains.

It is a great weight.

I try to forget it, go about my business,

cook the broccoli, open and shut books,

brush my teeth and tie my shoes.

I have tried prayer

but as I pray the crab grips hardens

and the pain enlarges.


I had a dream once,

perhaps it was a dream,

that the crab was my ignorance of God.

But who am I to believe in dreams?


Lessons at the Baguio Public Market: The water cycle

Yesterday, I was sold the worst bundle of mountain tea for 50php. A few years back lush bundles were being sold for 10-20php. But in my luck, the stalks I got were very old, top leaves are so dry they can no longer be boiled and drank. I opened the bundle to take out the bad ones and keep the good stuff, a familiar act. After weeding it, I had to throw almost half of the herbs. I felt cheated by the market lady. Observing my feeling of being cheated, it made my heart heavy sending a storm of thoughts in my head. Disappointment rained precipitating from all past swindles and deceit. I bathed in it for a while, acknowledging the truth of being under its atmosphere, but I also saw who is really soaked: The one seeing the seeing sees that seeing the emotion is not the emotion, the observer of the observance of thought is not the thought yet the observer is not separate from the observed.

My feelings evaporated, realizing I was lucky to have the bad bundle to be able to process something like this. An opportunity to master attention and presence.

After I bought the bundle, my friend bought another one. Seeing that her bundle was so much better than mine, I felt good. The bundle I had was really for me, that all the other bundles available after mine were good and all buyers after me get the better ones. It doesn’t change the fact that the market lady is an ass for selling bad bundles for a very high price (this economic cycle needs careful and strategic confrontation to end, hopefully creating a new one that gives justice to exchange), but receiving the bad bundle with purposeful attention taught me something deliberate. It lessened the probable birth of an angry customer shaming a saleslady which could have created judgments from nearby salesladies, further affecting all the other possible customers of the stall, all possible customers in the market. If there were more people buying from her (she is not selling something bad for your body, it’s a local cleansing herb disregarded because of Lipton), there will be less possibility of bundles turning bad.

Deception is converted to abundance. Water transformed.

Sayaw ni Daniw

ni J. G. Dimaranan


Sa isang iglap nagdiklap

ang isang unibersong pangalan ay Tula.


Mula sa sinapupunan niya pinanganak

ang kabuuang imahen ng galak;

sa puso niya tunay na tumibok

ang metapora ng tuldok;

at sa kaniyang noo lumiwanag

ang ibig sabihin ng talinghaga—

nakataling hiwaga.


Sa pagpikit ng Tula

ang isda’y naging unggoy, lumangoy

paakyat ng mga uri sa mundo.


Sa malalim niyang paghinga,

siyang ina’y naging dalaga,

na minsan noo’y

di marunong mag-alala

pagkat abala sa pag-alala

ng mga nakalimutang alaala.


Sa unang kumpas ng mga kamay,

bumalik siyang muli sa pagtanda.

Pagkatapos ay sumayaw-sayaw

bilang isang hangal na diwata:


Sa pag-ikot ng kaniyang balikat at tuhod,

ang giting ng mga bundok ay lumuhod

at sumamba sa kadakilaan ng pag-anod.


Ilan pang tapik sa baywang

ang karagatang katawan

ay nagka-uwang…

at doon bumulwak ang init

ng kaloobang pinagkaloob.


Sa paggalaw ng kaniyang daliri sa paa

nabuhay ang mga patay

at napatid naman ang hininga

ng napakatagal nang nagluluksa—



Ganito isinilang ng Tula

ang kabuuang danas sa isang iglap,

parang lang malikmata,

(mula sa mata bumalik sa mata)

kung saan niya tunay na nakita

ang tumitingin sa kaniyang

sariling pagtingin, paningin.


Walang kibo.

Landscaping the Dream: Tapping into the people of Marawi

In a night of exchange with some friends about entanglement and the generality and particularities of universal experience in the language of science, I rolled a few leaves of sambong (local sage) for smudging as it felt right to clean a friend’s external energetic field by releasing negative ions around him after sharing his recent journey during the super new moon. The sound of last night’s heavy rains aided in this cleansing, as well as the smell of the earth breathing out the day’s heat. I tied the herb with thin abaca strings from the dried lei of camia I bought a few days back.

Like any ritualistic act, the one who does the cleansing and the one being cleansed are inseparable. Both subjects partake in observance as the space is shared in communion and unity – the one overseeing the cleansing is also being cleansed. After swirling the herb to my friend’s head, chest, back and limbs I put the rest in the corner of the room to fill the space with smoke. I swept the ashes and disposed them in our small garden, leaving them on the soil, back into the earth, as a kind of respect.

And so to its attainment, the sambong late that night relaxed all my dimensional fields and really put me in deep sleep. I dreamt, not very vividly, but strong enough to wake me up in tears. In the dream I saw myself in our old house in San Pablo with another girl who felt like a good old friend. She didn’t have a name, and the features of her face were undefined. I was being chased by the authorities. A silver car and an armored van smashed down our gates but before anyone of them were able to go down their automobiles, me and my unfamiliarly familiar friend had already sneaked and ran away. In my dream I was thinking of either going to La Trinidad or Palawan, but as I was strategizing our escape, my unfamiliarly familiar friend stopped to talk to a shadow person (who felt like a man) a few blocks away from my house. I waited for her a bit, but as I felt that the shadow was actually part of the authorities (a kind of military intelligence, a spy) who was distracting us from where we were unknowingly headed, I immediately ran towards her and pulled her close to run with me. We ran fast, long and tiring. And as I was running I felt my heart thumping hard, then I started crying. I abruptly woke up in tears with my chest carrying the weight of the Realm of Symbols.

And so as I breathe deeply upon waking, I know in my heart that the panic, terror and fright I experienced in my dream wasn’t just my personal panic, terror and fright. It is the kind of panic, terror and fright that the rest of our brothers and sisters in Marawi are also experiencing as we silently sleep in our little humble homes. In the dream world we all meet in equal presence, and I was able to tap into the collective mind driven by the mutual unconscious we all share. The self was a mere vessel, a cask of an experiential process that of which is me and beyond me.

I feel so very deeply, this national and global obstruction of information in the series of aerial bombings, psychological and geographic displacements, and unwarranted arrests happening in Mindanao and the rest of the world. So what is it that fuels this strong desire to control and hold things down to its inert state? In the universal capitulary, it has always been the modern capital-forming human laws that are truly athwart to natural laws.

So before I fell asleep after smudging, I was once again reading Jung as an exercise of looking back to better see forward. And so this aligned occurrence of re-view was not only supported by my conscious mind. Only this morning that I realized that my subconscious and unconscious minds were both allowing and equipping me last night with the tools to decode the dream I was about to experience. And as I type these words I am kept still, existing only in breath, marveling at how beautiful our minds work when we are aware. I reckon: we sleep so we can be awake.