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ALBERT B. CASUGA, a Philippine-born writer, lives in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, where he continues to write poetry, fiction, and criticism after his retirement from teaching and serving as an elected member of his region's school board. He was nominated to the Mississauga Arts Council Literary Awards in 2007. A graduate of the Royal and Pontifical University of St. Thomas (now University of Santo Tomas, Manila. Literature and English, magna cum laude), he taught English and Literature (Criticism, Theory, and Creative Writing) at the Philippines' De La Salle University and San Beda College. He has authored books of poetry, short stories, literary theory and criticism. He has won awards for his works in Canada, the U.S.A., and the Philippines. His latest work, A Theory of Echoes and Other Poems was published February 2009 by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House. His fiction and poetry were published by online literary journals Asia Writes and Coastal Poems recently. He was a Fellow at the 1972 Silliman University Writers Workshop, Philippines. As a journalist, he worked with the United Press International and wrote an art column for the defunct Philippines Herald.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009



I chose a ministry of service and applied.
Silence rejected me – a long dumbfounding silence
Of sky, of unplanted seeds, and untapped water.
Then, unscheduled it came, transcending memories;

The invitation came to serve and care for the Other –
Him Her It All waiting to be named but not owned.
Slowly Face defined my mind and heart and spirit;
A hand chucked my chin; a finger drew my lips.

The Word came, saying: “It is I have chosen You.
Arise, come and transform, as an eagle in flight
Obeys the wind; as earth follows command
Of a river winding to Love oceanic and free.
Unfold me true as Way of Life to my Future,
In the red march of toiling people bearing gifts.”

[Retreat 09-24-09, Maryridge, Tagaytay]

Rev. Fr. Francisco R. Albano, OSB, is a seminary rector at a Catholic Diocese in Isabela, Northern Philippines. In the 1970s, he served as chairman of the San Beda College English Department at Mendiola. Most of his poems --- published under a penname --- are gems of spiritual and social relevance. Committed to the amelioration of the proletariat, Fr. Albano has celebrated the courage as well as humility of militant priesthood.

The poem above is his re-commitment to the ministry which he re-invigorates during his annual retreats in Maryridge, Tagaytay. An act of Introibo ad Altare Dei, his pristine mandate is to uplift his people --- "to unfold me true as Way of Life to my the red march of toiling people bearing gifts."

His earlier poems were collected in Rituals, a book published after the Quarter Storm.

From this vantage point, he is the truest poet of the Period of Protest. His plea has matured in the indelible hope for the Filipino people to overcome the millstone of poverty in body and soul.

He is an important Philippine poet.

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