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Friday, November 30, 2012

She Breaks the Dawn

she breaks the dawn
for me--

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pamaeaye in Aklan and its Role in Value Formation

Pamaeaye in Aklan and its Role in Value Formation
Melchor F. Cichon
Revised Nov 25, 2012

When it comes to love affairs, today’s teenagers and young adults no longer consult their parents. To them asking permission from their parents as to whom they should marry is old fashion. Many a time, young people would just inform their parents after they have gotten married , or when they already have a child. This shows that our young people want more freedom up to the point that their sense of values are changed.
Against this background, we would like to look into an old Filipino tradition which have been taken for granted. This tradition which is called pamaeaye in Aklan, pamalaye in Iloilo, mamaye in Cebu, pamanhikan in Tagalog, bulung-bulungan in Batangas, is a formal way of seeking the hand of the girl from her parents.
The objectives of this paper are to discuss the old tradition of courting a girl in Aklan, to point out how pamaeaye is done and its role in value formation.
Let us first look into the ways our gentlemen in Aklan court girls until they decide to get married.
Since marriage is a lifetime commitment and a serious matter, selecting a partner should be considered very carefully. Every pros and cons about one’s sweetheart should be evaluated with utmost care because it can bring happiness or sorrow not only to the wife but to the whole family as well. This is the main reason why parents, particularly the mother, meddle in selecting the right partner for their children.
What are the qualities preferred by parents for their daughter? Based on the interview conducted by this writer with some parents in Sta. Cruz, Lezo, Aklan on August 22-23, 1992, the right man should be educated, respectful, helpful, industrious, faithful, has a stable job enough to support a family, and if possible, handsome. He should not be too old for their daughter. His religious faith should be the same with that of the girl, otherwise many troubles will come between the husband and the wife. On the other hand, the right girls for a son should be respectful, knows how to cook, not lazy, owat mantsa or not a disgrasyada, not a flirt, not necessarily a beauty queen, but  must be charming. Her economic status should not be higher than that of the boy. It is sometimes the economic factor that encourages parents of rich families to force their daughters to marry their cousins to preserve their wealth. It is also sometimes the cause of many quarrels among husbands and wives when the girl is richer than the boy.
Ways to court a girl.
Several ways are employed by Aklanon men to court a girl. One is by sending love letters. If a man has no nerve to talk to the girl he loves, he writes her a love letter. If he cannot do it himself, especially in English, he requests his close friend to do it for him. If the girl answers him, one half of his objectives is solved even if the answer is an outright BIG NO. If he does not respond to him, he will still write her until he gets tired or loses interest in writing her. But that is not the end of his so-called hot pursuit operation. He has other means to lure his beloved. He can request a friend, a man, or a woman, who can serve as a go-between for him.  This way, he will not lose face if he is rejected. The only drawback of this technique is that sometimes the go-between becomes the lover of his loved one. The other technique employed by Aklanon men is by serenading the girl. During moonlight nights, the man, along with his friends, goes to the house of the girl and sings love songs in front of the window. Before, most of the houses were on stilts.  If the girl opens the window, he can start his courtship over the window while his friends stay a little farther away until he finishes his talk with the girl. If a good rapport takes place during this period, the man may continue serenading her even after he has been accepted by her. The fourth way is by visiting the girl in her house in the afternoon or early in the evening. If he is entertained, there is a possibility that the girl also likes him. If he is not entertained, it means that he is being rejected either by the mother of the girl or by the girl herself. But that is not all. The fifth way is the old tradition which is called the pangagad. This way the man goes to the house of the girl he loves and does whatever work he can do. The suitor, sometimes fetches water, gathers firewood, chops them if necessary, and brings them to the kitchen. But he must not just dump them in the kitchen. He should arrange them as well for easy use. If there is a fiesta, he must contribute something to the girl’s house for the visitors, and while the food is being prepared, he must be there in the kitchen in the preparation. He must not just sit in the sala waiting to be served, otherwise he will becalled tamad or lazy and that would be one major cause for rejection especially by the parents. If there is nothing else to do, then that could be the best time he would talk to the girl. But he must be very careful, because the eagle eyes of her mother are usually fixed on him. He must not show any harshness in dealing wih her daughter and the rest of her family and relative, otherwise it will be another cause for rejection. After six months or so of doing free services in the girl’s house, and the mother finds out that the man comes up to her expectation, little mistakes are forgotten. At this time, the man gained valuable support in winning the girl he loves. This does not mean however that the man will now live in the girl’s house while he is still rendering his free services to the girl’s parents. He goes home when it’s time to sleep. Trial marriage is not accepted among Aklanon folks. Although at times, the man may sleep in the girl’s house, but in a separate room, if not in the sala together with the girl’s brothers. If the suitor is allowed to sleep in the girl’s house, there is a great possibility than an untoward incident would take place. There were many instances when the suitor would crawl towards the girl’s room and they make love while the parents are sleeping.
Once accepted by the girls, and if the man is now ready to get married, he formally informs the mother of the girl that he wants to marry her daughter. The parents of the girl will now tell the man to inform his parents to come to their house to discuss plans for their wedding. Meanwhile, the girl’s parents will clean their house, and buy foods and drinks, and other things needed when the tigeaeake comes for the pamaeaye.
The Pamaeaye
The man now informs his parents of his intention to get married. If his parents will agree, then they will make necessary preparations for the occasion. If the parents of the boy can handle the pamaeaye themselves, then they will prepare foods and drinks to be brought to the girl’s house and act as spokesman of the man. If the father can not handle the discussion himself with the girl’s  parents, then they will look for somebody, a man or a woman, who can serve as the spokesman  of the tigeaeake. The spokesman is usually a respected person in the community who can best represent the man’s side. On the other hand if the girl’s father or mother can serve as spokeman of the tigbabaye, then she/he becomes the sokeman himself/herself. But if not, then they will look for somebody who can likewise best represent the girl’s side. Once the tigeaeake is ready for the pamaeaye, the parents of the man will now tell their son to inform the girl’s parents that a certain day he and his parents will come to the girl’s house for the formal asking of the girl’s hand.
On the designated day, rain or shine, the tigeaeake will go to the girl’s house. Upon arrival at the house of the girls, the spokesman will usually say: “Tagbaeay! Tagbaeay!” (Literaally means: We are calling the owner of the house or it could also mean there is a visitor at the door). Since the visitors have been anticipated by the house’s owner, the owner of the house will answer by saying:”Saylo! Saylo!” (Come in! Come in!).
The visitors will then enter the house. The future wife could be at the door to welcome the vistors or maybe somewhere in the douse doing something. Later the spokesmen would say: May kaibahan tana kami!” (We have some companions). The owner of the house would then say: “Saylo kamo tanan!” (Everybody, please come in!). By then the companions of the suitor will bring in the cooked food, the drinks, tuba especially, the maeam-an consisting of beetle nuts, lime, tobacco, and buyo for the old folks. With the assistance of the people in the house, the food will be set on the table. Once ready, the boy’s parents will invite the girl’s family members to eat the food they brought in. Meanwhile, the suitor, his parents, his spokesman (if there is any), and some close relatives of the man will talk casually with the parents of the girl, her chosen relatives, the spkeman, and the girl. At this stage, no serious matter is being  discussed up to the point  when a topic on marriage is touched.  And usually the  tigeaeake makes the first hint on the subject. At this juncture, a marriage proposal is presented by the tigeaeake. It is also here where the girl and the boy are formally asked by their respective parents whether they are really ready for marriage. And when they say so, the next thing to do is to discuss the conditions before the marriage is held. This includes the expenses for food, the wedding dress, the aras, the sponsors, the wedding rings, the place where the wedding should take place, the place of the reception, the doti, if there is any, and other things asked by the girl’s parents.
The Conditions
Since the wedding is a family affair and since each family has a large number of relatives and friends, the kind of wedding is thoroughly discussed during the pamaeaye. The discussion will concentrate on whether it should be a grand wedding or just an ordinary one. If it is a grand wedding, then it should be held in the Kalibo Cathedral, in the church or in the chapel during a fiesta. It could even be a civil marriage. But usually a church wedding is preferred by the Aklanon folks. It is then decided whether the reception would be held in a hotel, in a restaurant, at the beach, or in the house of the girl. If the reception is held at the hotel, only the chosen people will be invited. If it is done in the girl’s house, then everybody in the barrio or barangay can take part in the reception. Besides, the relatives will no longer spend much money to buy expensive gifts or hire jeepneys or tricycles in going to Kalibo and back to the barrio.  Morever, those relatives will have a chance to extend whatever help they can.
Other things are discussed during the pamaeaye. At times the parents of the girl would ask for a house where the newly weds could stay. Other parents would ask for some amount as doti, equivalent to a dowry. This doti is oftentimes required by the parents of the girl especially when they do not like the suitor. As usual the parents of the man would try to agree on whatever demands or request the tigbabaye would ask for. However, if the man’s parents could not afford such terms, the boy’s spokeman would bargain the cost of marriage. If the parents of the girl are firm with their demands and the boy’s parents cannot afford  them, then two things will happen. The suitor and his beloved will either elope or they would just call off their marriage. There was an incident involving my uncle who courted a rich girl in our town. The girl belonged to a family with large tracks of rice land, while our grandfather was only a carpenter. My uncle was accepted by this wealthy girl, hence, the sweethearts decided that a pamaeaye be held as the tradition required it. During the negotiation, the mother of the girl demanded P500.00 as doti. During the pre-war period, one hundred pesos would mean P10,000.00 or even more today. Since our grandfather could not raise the amount, he advised my uncle to just forget the marriage. So he informed his girlfriend about it and decided to go to Manila. On the day of his departure,  my uncle’s girlfriend went to my uncle’s house early morning bringing with her the needed amount. Unfortunately, my uncle had already left.  He later married someone else.
Another important thing that is discussed during the pamaeaye is the date of the wedding. The wedding should take place only in any of the following dates: the 10th, 18th, th 20th, or the 30th of the month, except February.  Why these dates and not this month? It is because these numbers have upward strokes.  It is believed that when the wedding takes place in any of these dates, the couple will prosper. The wedding should not take place in February because this month is incomplete unlike the other months. The other point to remember is that the wedding should not take place after the full moon. It should take place only on the third quarter so that the couple would have an abundant life. The wedding should not also take place on a Tuesday or on a Friday because those days bring bad luck. The other taboo is that the wedding should not take place within the year when either of the families is still mourning. Likewise, the future wife and her future husband are advised not to travel to avoid accidents.
So when everything is settled, the discussion will now switch to other topics and drinking of tuba will start, if it has not taken place yet. One of the most important parts of this talk is the revelation and the giving of advices to both the boy and the girl.  The parents and the relatives of both parties would reveal the good and the bad characteristics of their respective son and daughter. This is done to give the boy and the girl a true picture of their future partner. It is also during this time when parents of both parties give advices to the boy and the girl on how to deal with each other, how to help each other in all their undertakings, and to be faithful to each other no matter what will happen to them.
After this, the visitors will leave. Sometimes, the boy is left behind and goes home the following day. He comes back to the girl’s house to continue his pangagad.
In Aklan, a small party is held in the house of the tigbabaye on the evening of the wedding. In other parts of the Philippines, this practice is pronounced. In Tigbauan, Iloilo for example, a similar practice is usually held which is called disposado. The members of the kapisanan or association of a certain religious group, mostly Catholic, would serenade the girl on the eve of her wedding. After which the serenaders are asked yo partake in the food prepared by the girl’s family. The visitors are usually the girl’s close relatives. The groom-to-be is also invited to grace the occasion. Again, during this activity, the groom-to-be and the bride-to-be are served.
Most of the things mentioned above are practices prior to the 1960s. Today, some of the things are still observed like not travelling on the eve of the wedding day. But pangagad is no longer practiced. And harana is almost gone. In fact many couples do not inform their parents anymore that they are going to marry. They just go home and present their child or children to their parents.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Luwa in Aklan

Luwa in Aklan
Melchor F. Cichon

We can say that luwa in Panay came into being during the Spanish period. My father  told us, his children,  that his mother used to recite luwa during the wake. She was  born during the Spanish-American war. When she died at the age of 104 In the early 1970s, the teenagers in our neighborhood played bordon and recited luwa during her wake. Since most of the luwa then were bawdy and humorous, we the audience along with the participating group would laugh. Of course, bordon was just one of the games being played during the wake. We used to play, Truth or Consequence,  using an empty bottle, and the loser was asked to do something, like kissing his girlfriend or boyfriend if he or she happened to be around.
During funerals, the people more particularly in Lezo, Aklan, were  generally solemn. Humorous stories and jokes were taboo during the funeral march. The people usually talked on the experiences they have had with the deceased. Or about politics and their economic situations. The music being played during the funeral march were also solemn. The song Ave Maria was generally being  played during the funeral march from the house of the deceased to the church for the mass, and again from the church to the cemetery.   It is  only during the wake when the people play parlor games to help the bereaved family cope with their sadness. It is during this time when luwa are recited.
A luwa is a form of poetry that is usually written in four lines. It used to be the first stanza of corrido, that kind of poetry that relates the exploits of kings and princess. There are also luwa that are longer ones. There are also luwa  that are used to get the hands of a lady. This is known as enamoracion.
It is said that it is not advisable to recite luwa if one is not in the wake, because it is believed that a member of the family will die if this is done not in its proper place.
Because luwa were recited in wakes as part of a punishment to whoever is the loser in a game like konggit, truth or consequence, bordon, it is very much appreciated if the lines have rhymes, rhythms, and humor. This is one reason why there are nonsense luwa. The rhythms are not consistent though, but there are a lot of luwa that have rhymes. These include luwa with aaaa, aabb, abab patterns.
There are also some luwa that have abcd endings.
Here are examples:
Example of a luwa with an aaaa rhyme:
Pag-agto ko sa Ibajay,
May hakita ako nga patay;
Ginbagting ko ra eagay,
Mas mabaskog pa sa lingganay.
Here you will notice that the endings of all lines are in ay.
For the aabb example:
Pag-agto ko sa bukid
Nakakita ako it ibid;
Paglingot ko sa waea
Gatueok kakon rang nobya.—Melchor F. Cichon (MFC)
Here the first and second lines end in id, while the third and fourth lines end in a.
Here is another ending. The abab:
Igto sa bukid,
May busay nga naga-ilig;
Kon magpaligos igto si Ismid,
May daeang butong nga binulig. --MFC

There are luwa with Spanish and English words.
Paris it navagante
Sa tunga it travisya
Kinueabos rang suwerte
Hay gulpi nga nagisgrasya.
Igto sa bukid
May kwarta nga nagaligid
Nagaligid-naga roll
Dumiretso sa waterfall.

There are other luwa that are bawdy, but full of imagery. Here is an example:
Pag-agto ni Inday sa Boracay
Napusa ro anang tuway;
Pagkasayod ka anang nanay,
Ana imaw nga ginminueay.-- MFC
For a nonsense luwa here is a classic example:
Secut erat en principio
Bisan libat basta gwapo;
En principio secut erat
Gwapo pero libat.

Secut erat is a Latin word that means Glory be, a Catholic prayer.

Here are other nonsense luwas:
Nag-agto ako sa Navas
May hakita ako nga bayawas;
Akon nga ginpaeas,
May nahueog nga sibuyas.
There are luwa that have double meanings. These are the luwa that belong to the adults, if they can decipher the meaning. Here is an example:
Maligos ako kunta
Sa maisot mo nga sapa
Ugaling ro kinasaea
May guardia civil sa tunga.--MFC
There are luwa that are really metaphysical. Here is one:
Ako mangunguma nga taga-Lezo
Maagto sa eanas agod mag-arado
Rang saeaburan puno’t bungot-bungot
Rang mabuot nga arado, indi magdueot kon indi magtindog.-- MFC
Ako si Haring Marikudo
Manugtanum it amamakoe
Pero ro gusto-gusto gid ni Inday kuno
Amamakoe nga sukoe.-- MFC
Kon gusto mo gid man ako
Nga mangin nobya mo;
Ro adlaw imo nga tukuran
Agud indi kita madueman.
Some of the topics being touched in luwa are love, death, courtship, sorrows, happiness, desires. disasters, anything and everything under and above the sun.
What is the difference between the old and the new luwa? In terms of subject matter, number of lines, number of syllables per line, the same.
Perhaps, until proven otherwise, the contemporary luwa have wider scopes like tsunami, and politics, and snows since some of the poets are college trained and have gone to different countries like Canada, America, Switzerland and Germany.
From the luwa that I heard and gathered, I noticed that politics is not given so much importance.
This is one aspect of luwa that should be looked into. I know that luwa like any other poetry can be used to dissect our society, including our politics.
Luwa is dying in Aklan. In fact many of our martial law babies have not heard of luwa.
But luwa is not only confined in Aklan. This was also common in Iloilo, Capiz, Antique, and Guimaras.
Because of this, I wrote luwa. These can now be read in my website:
Luwa writing is easy. Just remember this:
  1. Focus on one subject.
  2. If possible, inject humor in your luwa.
  3. Try to use rhyme and meter if possible.
  4. Maximize the use of the various figures of speech. But avoid using mixed metaphor.
  5. Be careful with your spelling. Prefixes should be attached to the root words, like pagbakae, ginsueat, etc. Remember the rule on the use ko and ku.
  6. Read and write luwa. There is no other way to learn how to write luwa but to write it yourself.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Holy Mass

Holy Mass--
a widow drops a coin
into a treasury box

*In today's Gospel

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

You in your rainbow eyebrows

in your
rainbow eyebrows

Nov 7, 2012

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Roman A. de la Cruz, Aklan's Literary Giant

Roman A. de la Cruz, Aklan's Literary Giant
by Melchor F. Cichon

Every time I go home to Aklan, I make it a point that I pass by the house of Mr. Roman Aguirre de la Cruz, or Tatay Omeng for some personal reasons.
But the last time I went to Aklan, I failed to pass by him because of my hectic schedule. I was then travelling with Prof. Virgilio Almario, a national artist who visited Aklan for his book .
But I asked Sumra how Tatay Omeng was. And she said that he was OK.
I did not know that it was not so.
Tatay Omeng was not only a World War II veteran, but he was also a teacher, a sculptor, a politician, a novelist, a short story writer, a poet, and a dictionary maker. In fact his five-language dictionary is to me his most memorable legacy to Aklan and to the world. In this book, he was able to capture and published thousands of Aklanon words that will be used by this generation and the generations to come.
I visited him not only because he would always gift me with his published works, but because he would discuss with me the present socio-political situations in Aklan and in the country. He would tell me his on-going projects like the one which he had at the Aklan Rehabilatation Center where he conducted a creative writing workshop among the inmates. I believed he made good in it because after several meetings with them, he was able to come up with a book of poems written by the prisoners. This to me is the first time in Aklan that a creative writing workshop was ever held inside a rehabilitation center.
And while he was inside the Center, he would persuade the inmates to go back to our Lord. And I think he was successful too in this because, he was able to put up a poster of our Lord Jesus Christ inside the their cells. This is a part of his mission: to make this world a better place to live in.
On my part, Tatay Omeng helped me edit for free of charge two of my books of poems: Ham-at Madueom Ro Gabii? And the book, Haiku, Luwa and Other Poems by Aklanons.
Tatay Omeng was not only helpful to me but to all the members of the Aklan Literary Circles. He promised and fulfilled his promise to allow us younger writers to publish our works in the Aklan Reporter. On several occasions, our works were printed in the Aklan Reporter. He would also chip in to help finance the several creative writing workshops we held in Kalibo.
As mentioned earlier, Tatay Omeng was a poet.
We are aware of his famous 618-line epic poem on Ati-Ati, and his many poems in English.
But he did not write Aklanon poems until after we the younger writers encouraged him to write poems in Aklanon. That was when he was about 60 years old. As far as I know, he wrote ten Aklanon poems. These are all included in the book Song of the Ati-Ati and Other Poems, 1994.
Even at this age, and being already an accomplished writer, Tatay Omeng attended several workshops conducted by Dr. Leoncio P. Deriada, of the UP in the Visayas. He was a fellow in the Baguio and in Iloilo City creative writing workshops. While in Iloilo City, although he could afford to stay in hotels, he preferred to stay in a classroom together with younger poets so he could further discuss with them the different techniques in poetry writing being fed to them by Dr. Deriada.
Although he was there listening to the new theory of poetry writing, he was not always in consonance with Dr. Deriada’s teachings. He in fact put this in one of his poems: Ulihing Tubo. Here is his poem.
Ulihng Tubo
Ni Roman de la Cruz
Ratong binohian mo nga pana, Toto,
Hay tumiurok sa dughan ku ginikanan nakon
Nga pirming nahawag sa hueag ku mga batan-on.
Apang ro ungon hay gulping naduea
Sa mabuot mo nga pagbawi.
Saeamat Toto.
Magahilubot kita. (1994)

In one of those workshops, in Baguio, Tatay Omeng wrote a poem which won a prize. The title of his poem is Ano Gid Man. It is a poem with religious underpinning.
Allow me to read that poem:
By Roman de la Cruz
Itay, nagburoka si Nanay
Nga hubas eon ro atong taeagbasan.
Ring gin-uli sa pagpamanday
Basi buhinan mo pa para sa simbahan.
Kueang pa katon ro imong kinita.
Nahawag gid ako, Itay, basi hitaman ka.
Kanugon kon owa't kamatuoran
Ro imong ginatuohan.
Pabay-i eang, Toto.
Ro tubi nga nagailig paeawod
Mabalik man gihapon paagi sa uean.
Owa't pagwasi, owa't pag-uyang.
Kon buko't matuod rang ginatuohan,
Ano gid man,
Basta matuman ko ro hutik kang dughan

In another poem, Tatay Omeng focused on the rain that awakened him. Here his religious relief is apparent.

by Roman A. de la Cruz

Ro mga tudlo ku uean
Nga nagpatik sa sim
Hay redoblante nga nagpukaw
Sa akong hamuok nga katueogon.

Bangon eon sa kahayag nga magaabot
Ag humoeag ka.
As a parting line, let me read an excerpt of Tatay Omeng’s poems, Eulogy:
Indeed, greatness and humility are the same and one
And so when the last battle of life’s journey was won
And saw that the inevitable would soon come
When he could have been laid in the nation’s shrine among the high,
His votive wish was that when he die
He be borne back to the humble hometown that he loved
So that his folks here in the countryside
And in this one last wish of his
He proved his greatness still.

Tatay Omeng, you have not passed this way in vain.

Green Grasses

green grasses
she is as fresh as
the rising sun

November 3, 2012


Melchor F. Cichon
October 2, 2008
Revised: Sept 5, 2010
Revised November 4, 2012

Every poet has his own way of writing poems.
I have my way.
Generally before I write a poem, I read. Just anything. But if there is a book of poetry, I pick that up first and read it.
While reading it, most often an idea comes in.
Ideas come in like lightning. If you cannot record it, it will be lost forever.
Or if you can remember it, good. But memory also slips like lightning.
So what I do is, I always bring a notebook, and a pen or pencil. Once an idea comes into my mind, I write it down.
Usually, this idea becomes the focus of my poem. If more related ideas come in, I continue my writing until I finish the poem. Otherwise, I just leave it there for future use.
I write my first draft as it comes from my heart. But once I revise it, the writing will now come from my mind. I become the first critic of my work.
And I revise it without mercy.
How many times do I revise my work? I do not know. Perhaps once, perhaps two. Or even more.
If I feel that I have molded it the way I wanted it, then I stop.
How do I know that it has reached the end of it? When I feel that everything that I hope to put in it is already there.
How do I revise my poem?
Is it wordy? If it is, I trim the adjectives that I believe should not be included in the poem. I prefer more action words. The shorter the sentence the better.
I check the spelling, the grammar, and the words and phrases. The whole sentence.
Is there unity? Is there logic in the arrangement of the stanzas?
Can I be understood? Are there words that are very difficult to understand? If there are, I change that to something that is easily understood.
Like Robert Frost, I prefer to use easy to understand words. Easy they seem to be, but they can evoke layers of meanings.
Let us take this poem:
Melchor F. Cichon
Inay, ham-at madueom ro gabii?
May buean, Toto, ugaling may galipud nga gae-um.
Inay, ham-at madueom ro gabii?
May bombilya ro mga poste't Akelco,
Ugaling may brown-out.
Inay, ham-at madueom ro gabii?
Ginsinindihan ko ro atong kingke,
Ugaling ginapinaeong it hangin.
Inay, ham-at madueom ro gabii?
Toto, matueog ka eon lang
Ay basi hin-aga temprano pa
Magsilak ro adlaw.
Indi, 'Nay ah!
Sindihan ko't uman ro atong kingke.
Here the words are very simple. But is it really easy? Does it evoke other meanings? Does it dig your senses, your feelings, your conscience?
If I find that the word I used is abstract, I try to change it with concrete words—or words that have pictures. Abstract words are words that confuse the reader. Example, when we say, he is a well-known person, we do not know whether that person is liked or disliked. But if we say that person is famous, he or she is liked and well-known.
Concrete words describe things that people experience with their senses: red, cold, dog. A person can see red, feel cold, and hear the bark of a dog. This is related to image.
In using images in our poems, we use our five senses: smell (fragrance of a sampaguita), taste (the taste of heaven of durian), touch (soothing touch of mother), feelings (After you left me, a dull pin has been piercing my heart ), hearing (The sound of Jawili falls remind me of you).
Abstract words refer to concepts or feelings, like liberty, happy, love. A person cannot see, touch or taste any of these things. These abstracts words are common in greetings cards. That is the reason why poems in these cards do not reach the textbooks,  particularly in anthologies. Many of the words used in greeting cards are clichés. Simply said, generally, texts in greeting cards have no poetic value.
Example: If I used flower, I change it to a specific flower like gumamila or sampaguita or rose. If I use tall, I change it to, say, flagpole so that the reader will have something to compare with it.
Look at these lines:

Good: She fells happy when she sees me.
Better: She jumps when she sees me.
Good: The palm of his hand is coarse.
Better: The palm of his hand is a cactus.
Here are some words that poets should avoid using when writing a poem.
Big, happy, tall, beautiful, great, little.
I also check whether I used a cliché. If I did, then that line should either be revised or be deleted outright. If I cannot create a fresh metaphor for that questionable line, I change the whole sentence.
Cliché is like a rose that has lost its fragrance and beauty.
A cliché is an over-used metaphor like: she is like a red, red rose. Here are some common cliches:
Poor as a church mouse,
Strong as an ox,
Cute as a button,
Smart as a fox.
Thin as a toothpick,
White as a ghost,
Fit as a fiddle,
Dumb as a post.
Bold as an eagle,
Neat as a pin,
Proud as a peacock,
Ugly as sin.
When people are talking
You know what they’ll say
As soon as they start to use a cliche.
Here are some cliches that poet should avoid:
Being in the same boat
Building bridges
Clasping at straws
Cutting the Gordian knot
Earning brownie points
Getting a feather in their cup
Getting down to brass tracks
Missing by a whisker
Missing the bus
Muddying the water
Not having a crystal ball

I also check whether I used a passive voice. If I did, then I change the sentence into an active one.
Passive Voice: Ham-at Madeuoem ro Gabii was written by Melchor F. Cichon
Active Voice: Melchor F. Cichon wrote Ham-at Madueom Ro Gabii.
Passive: My first visit to Miagao will always be remembered by me.
Active: I shall always remember my first visit to Miagao.
Many poets have been using poetic devices like assonance, metaphor, simile, irony, and other poetic devices. These devices really create dimensions, implications, impressions, and effects on us.
What is assonance?
Assonance is a repetition of vowel sounds within words like: "The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain."
Naghapay ro baeay ni Inday sa binit it baybay pag-agi ni Moray.
What is metaphor?
A metaphor is a statement that pretends one thing is really something else:
nipa hut--
my castle atop a hill
a witness to my tears
*****by Edna Laurente Faral

Your smile is my sleeping tablet.
What is a simile? It is a statement where you say one object is similar to another object. It uses "like" or "as"
"I knew; the light that lingered in ordinary things
like a spark sheltered under the skin of our days—
The light was you;
It did not come from."
*****From "Her amazement at her only child" by Karol Wojtyla
What is irony? Irony is the use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meanings. It is also a literary style employing such contrasts for humorous or rhetorical effects.
Here is a good example of irony.
Ni Alex de Juan
Kanila lang
Puno ng pawis ang tansan
na nagyakap sa bibig ng Coke.
Naghalakhak ang tansan
na gin-aywanan ang bibig ng Coke.
Nagtambad ang kalawang
sa ilalim ng bibig ng Coke.
Gin-inom ni Xela ang Coke.
Si Xela ay nagdighay
pagkatapos mag-inom ng Coke
dahil gusto ng tansan na maulit
ang tunog ng kanyang halaklak
sa paglaho
ng kalawang
sa ilalim ng bibig ng Coke.
Another thing which I check in my poem is the injection of moral lesson. This device has been used in many of the traditional poems. I was once a judge in Hiligaynon poetry contest, and I noticed this mistake in many of the entries. So avoid this, let us leave that giving of moral lesson to the preachers. Our business as a poet is to present what we see, hear, feel, smell, imagine, and dream of. And if possible, inject a little opinion and leave the rest to the readers.
As someone has said:  A poet's job is to write the haiku, and the informed reader's job is to interpret it via his or her own cultural memory, education, experience, personal biosphere, religious beliefs, etc., as each person is different and sees and interprets poems from their own unique viewpoint.”
Another technique in creating great poem is by subverting the ordinary: Subverting is turning upside down. Here is a good example:
crossing a bamboo bridge—
a son holds
his father's arm
*****by Melchor F. Cichon

Other samples of subverting the ordinary:
 in front of a doctor’s
a withered rose
    ---Melchor F. Cichon

first kiss—
for a moment, the sun
----Melchor F. Cichon
Using rhyme and rhythm is an effective way of conveying our feelings, but we must be very careful with them. For one, if we will stick to rhyme and rhythm, most of our ideas will be trimmed because we have to suit our words with them. This is the main reason why modern poets are now using free verse. This very evident in luwa.

Pag-agto ko sa Kalibo,
Nakakita ako’t mueto;
Pinitik ko ra ueo,
Eumusot sa kardero.

May handum kunta ako,
Nga mangupya sa sabat mo;
Ugaling umabot ro maestro,
Sinaylo nana ako.
Using words thy, thyself, and other words common in the 16th century should be avoided, unless of course you want to be associated with William Shakespeare.
Great poems have conflicts, just like in a short story. There must be two opposing forces in the poem.
Let us take this poem:
Ang Matandang Ito
Rio Alma

Dahil mabigat ang liwanag.
Dahil pinakupas ng liwanag.
Dahil niluto ng liwanag.
Dahil tigib ang bibig ng liwanag.

Here is another one:

Sa Bangketa
Ni Rio Alma

Kalansing ng barya
Sa basyong lata.
Simula ba ito ng kasaysayan
Hinggil sa walang katapusang pag-asa?
O pangwakas na himala?
Another element of a great poem is its universality. The more universal the theme and topic of the poem, the more each individual reader can identify with the poem. You can express individual hurt (or joy), for example, but the reader must be able to see it as his or her hurt (or joy) as well."
Let us take these very short poems:
Old pond
A frog jumps in
A sound of water

By Melchor F. Cichon
I will definitely go home
To our house
Where we can see the clouds
Through the roof.
I'm fed up
With the twinkling neon lights,
But I have not yet paid
For the earrings that I got
From Mama San.
I need them so my tinkling
Will be louder and my hips
Will be heavier.
Don't worry, John,
This Christmas
You and I will create a moon
And through the roof
We two alone
Will grasp its light.

There are some more tips that I can offer.
Some writers are afraid to show their works to other people. That is Ok because they say they write for themselves.
But great poets think otherwise. They show their works to their fellow poets—for comments.
All great poets have written hundred or even thousand of bad poems—poems that use cliches, faulty grammar, etc. But out of these writings, come a great one. And that matters most. And  that makes all the difference.
Here is one poem that is included in Sansiglong Mahigit ng Makabagong Tula sa Filipinas, edited by Virgilio S. Almario, 2006.
Owa’t Kaso, Saeamat
Ni Melchor F. Cichon

Owa ako kimo magpangabay
Nga tipigan mo rang maeapad nga handumanan.
Hasayran ko man eagi
Nga ring tagipusuon hay may husto eang nga lugar
Para sa imong mga pagbakho.

Owa ako kimo magpangabay
Nga taguon rang euha agud madumduman.
Hasayran ko man eagi
Nga gusto mo eang magsupsop—
Samtang may ona pa—it duga nga mapuga ko
Sa atong kaeayo.

Owa’t kaso, saeamat,
Paris it pagpasaeamat it eanas sa bulkan
Sa lava nga anang ginabuga.
All great poets have received rejections slips. I have my share.
Rejection slips have many reasons. Our works might not be suited to the editorial policy of the magazine or journals. It could also mean that our works still need revision.
But rejection slips should be appreciated—they are energy for us to cross bridges to write greater poems.
Do you know that two other publishers had turned down the first manuscript of Harry Potter. But now every publisher wants to be the publisher of this series.
There are times when you cannot produce a line for your poem. Do not worry. Ideas come like seasons: rainy season and dry season. And when rainy season comes, try as much as possible to capture in paper those bountiful ideas. And when the dry season comes, just relax. Walk around. Smell the flowers. See a movie. Listen to your favorite radio stations. Read a novel. Or just lie down. And in your relaxation, you will be surprised that you have a new line to work on.
The second to the last tip I can offer is this:
Give a surprise ending:
Here are examples from Aklanon luwa:
Sa ibabaw it lamesa
May tiki nga tumugpa
Ginpudyot ni Lola
Pageaum na  maskada.

Sa tanan nga unga ni Nanay
Ako gid ro pinakamaisog
Pagkueas-kueas sa dapog
Ako gid ro hauna manaog.

May manok akong bukay,
Ginbueang ko sa Ibajay;
Nagdaug pero patay.
Ginsumsuman ni Nanay.

Sa ibabaw sang lamesa
May tiki nga nagadupa
Ginpudyot ni Lola
Abi niya ya maskada.

Sa tanan nga mga unga ni Nanay
Ako gid sa tanan ro pinakamaisogang
Pagkueas-kueas sa dapog
Ako gid ro primerong manaog.
May manok akong bukay,
Ginbueang ko sa Ibajay;
Nagdaug pero patay.
Ginsumsuman ni Nanay.

The last tip is: Revise, revise and revise your work until you are satisfied. And make it sure that you will not be charged of libel and plagiarism.
Write in a language that you are familiar with. That way, one half of your problem is already solved.
haiku mind:108 Poems to Cultivate Awareness & Open Your Heart
by Patricia Donegan. A Review by Robert D. Wilson. Retrieved: August 31, 2010