English Translation of Pete Lacaba’s “Tagubilin at Habilin”(“Instructions and Lessons to Keep”)

(“Instructions and Lessons to Keep”)

by Jose “Pete” Lacaba

“Tagubilin at Habilin”

(“Instructions and Lessons to Keep”)

by Jose “Pete” Lacaba

(English translation by David Michael M. San Juan)

Live on, my friend!
Live on!
That’s my first and last instruction:
Live on!

In my age, I can give a lot of advice.
I am rich in life’s lessons.

Wash your hands before eating.
Wash your hands after eating.
But do not wash your hands to escape blame.
Do not wash your hands when people are being oppressed and you have the power to help them.

When in the bus, give your seat to the elderly and those who have a baby.
Give thanks to those who do good.
Learn from the experiences of the seasoned ones.

But don’t get yourself tied down by outdated mindsets.

Don’t force yourself to sleep when sleep evades you.
Don’t waste your time on those who don’t remember good deeds done unto them.
Don’t quarrel with the stupid ones, or else some may take you for a fool.
Don’t whisper in silence in times when shouting is needed.

Don’t put your trust on rumors.
Don’t dilly-dally under a feast of hanging prizes.
Don’t be slow to act.

Sing when you’re alone in the bathroom.
Sing when you’re with friends.
Sing when you’re sad.
Sing when you’re happy.

Just be forewarned.

Don’t sing “My Way” in a videoke bar for you might get shot.
Don’t light a cigarette in a gasoline store.
Go slow in steep paths.
Go slow in rocky roads

And most of all, I repeat:

Live on, my friend!
Live on!
That’s my first and last instruction:
Live on!

Many things in life are disappointing.
Live on.
The world has a lot of problems which seem to have no solutions.
Live on.

In times of poverty, in the face of defeat,
You may feel like you would prefer to just die.
You want to slit your pulse when broken-hearted.

You want to drink poison when you got nothing to eat.

You want to strangle yourself when your burden seems unbearable.

You want to blow your head into smithereens when many things bother your mind.

Don’t let yourself lose. Do not surrender.

You have heard what’s been told in a song:
“Wake up and arise from slavery,
Wake up from deep slumber.”
Wake up when love beckons.
Rise up when the poor voice out a call for action.

Others say: “Brave is a man who fearlessly fight.”
I say, instead: the truly brave ones are those who fight
even if they are afraid.

Fight when you have been dragged into the mud.
Rise up when you are being trampled upon.
Fearlessly fight for your principles
Even if you’re not sure to win right away.

Live on, my friend!
Live on!
That’s my first and last instruction:
Live on!

(Text of the original available at: https://www.bulatlat.com/2007/05/12/tagubilin-at-habilin-2/)

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