Balangaw -- Rainbow

Written by: Sherwin Balbuena

One morning, I had a cup of coffee

By the window of my hut at Lahong

Facing North. I let the air evolve into wind

From my mouth to the surface of the vaporizing

Liquid in the cup, forming waves,


And then took a sip.


The heat and the taste bit my tongue.



The sky was partly cloudy; it was raining

In the West whilst the sunrise shone in the East.


I took a sip.


I looked up in the sky and was pleased to see

A rainbow painted on the Western part.

Mamang always warned us not to point our fingers

To the rainbow because doing so

Would give us skin blisters.

Papang once told us that there is a pot of gold

On each end of the rainbow.


I took a sip.


The color of the liquid in my cup was pale.

So was its sweetness.

Poverty and frugality are twins.

It came to my mind:

The pot of gold on a rainbow’s end

Is the answer to this bland coffee.


I took a sip, the last sip.


I left the hut, treading westward,

Barefooted. Soft drizzle on my head.

Tacky quagmire on my feet.


I walked, walked, and walked

To Gacutan – I had seen one

of the rainbow’s ends on this place,

but  it disappeared.


Noon came with raindrops

Falling on my head. No shelter.

No food. No rainbow.


On a grassy peak of a hill

I waited for the rainbow to reappear.

Soft drizzle on my head.

Cold wind against my skin.

Tingling touch of grass on my feet.


Afternoon came with sunset visible,

Giving warmth to my shivering lips.

The rainbow! There! On the East!

I saw one of its ends

On my hut at Lahong.