Sunday, May 13, 2007

Bert's Take: What "basaang gilagid" means to me

Basaang Gilagid, which is sometimes pronounced Basa'ng Gilagid literally means the "process of wetting your gums." How? By drinking, of course. Around a case of beer, a bottle of wine, a pot of steaming hot, strong coffee, a blender of Margaritas--the list is endless. I first heard that phrase from my friend Ming, a phrase that became popular within our small group in college.

Or it's even a code, if you may, from our gang of the '60s in Manila. It was the social connotation of a party. A small get-together--sometimes, not even planned. Just a spur of the moment gathering for social entertainment. But just the same, the outcome was mostly jovial, fulfilling, satisfactory.

After graduation, as expected, everybody went his own way. Some barkada members went away further than others. Lines of communications were lost. Stories stopped. Pictures were tucked in albums. Phone calls diminished. Then--all of a sudden, 40 years have gone by. Careers were made and lost. Families were formed and multiplied. But surprise! the world had gone smaller.

Thanks to the power of the computer and the Internet, lines of communications are again restored. Pictures travel around the world in seconds. Voices are heard from the other side of the planet as if they are from next door. Instant messages are sent and received by the millions. Letters, articles, even animated emails arrive any time of day or night.

It is time again to wet your gums, not around the table seated across from each other over a case of beer, or a bottle of wine, or a blender of Margaritas--but across each other from the computer screen, or from the lens of a webcam.

It's time to tell funny anecdotes or serious stories. Time to gather around and share your innermost feelings. Time to remind each other of occasions coming up. Time to convey congratulations or offer condolences. Or simply time to just visit.

Basaang Gilagid is the net that collects the attentive minds. It is the rope that binds the souls of true friends. It is the blanket that gives the warm feelings of knowing that each other still cares. It is the umbrella that provides safety with numbers. It is the platform from which anyone could sing and dance as if no one is watching.

As we have reached the September of our lives, we now look forward to a new beginning--new to us, that is. We are poised to embark on a life that were once not even visible in our horizon. Thanks to our predecessors, we are able to get a hint of that life. We shall be able to manage the transitions well. And hopefully, as we move to this new plateau, we leave a legacy that will define our lives.

All shall be well.

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