THE TUNES THAT BIND... THE WORDSTHAT HEAL
I met with Nicon Fameronag in a rather peculiar way, not in a manner most people get to know each other - through formal introduction. But neither of us would readily think that our meeting was just another unintended call of chance; I am more convinced that we got to know each other by fate. Up close, his youthful visage betrays the man behind 'wilig-wilig, liong-liong' (in the picture he looks a decade older) and whose column i never miss to read. However, frankly speaking, my interest in his writings does not stem purely from his themes (much less the political ones); as a language enthusiast and teacher, his column gains my readership more profoundly in the way he romances with words.
But writing is not only his medium. I found out that this pen-weilding guy could also strum the guitar. I never doubted his knack for song writing as I had been told repeatedly that he owns authorship of a number of songs of the 1622: Unang Usbor band, but I've never heard that he, too, can sing and play the strings until that day that discovery set the mood between us and intensified the pleasantness out of the drabness of that Sunday afternoon of September 25, 2011. Here I was, singing with no less than the famous writer and the Director for Communications of the DOLE, the man behind 'wilig-wilig...'
Undoubtedly, the first song served as an introduction between persons who have just met for the first time. No need for niceties, no pretentions, no formalities, no hand shakes – just tunes that speaks about us, our aspirations, the joy and pain that we all share sung in a language we call our own - the Asi. With a little help from my friends Vic Musa, Tony and my nephew Sandrew Famero and John Rufon, we sang with Nicon filling the air with lovely tunes that reverberates through our very hearts. Between lines, Nicon would pause to write the song for us, humming the tunes as he scribbled the lyrics on a page snatched from a discarded notebook.
The singing spree was intermittently interrupted by either casual conversations ranging from "make-believe" tales to our own misfortunes or by Nicon's giving in to cigarettes. Once the latter prevailed, he would drop the guitar and withdrew from the group (not being crass to second-hand smoke hazards), and puff a few good smoke before he would sit with us again and begin to sing the day away. I have the three Asi songs nicely tucked in my wallet.
Soon after I got burnt out and the rest of the group had left to attend to some appointments and religious activities, I laid aside my guitar, trying to allure my singing mate into some casual talks. Though he showed no sign of letting go, he sensed my intention. He started off the conversation with a question. 'nagsisimba ka jun'? He asked. Caught totally unprepared, I tried to grope for an answer. It was the most candid and straightforward question I've ever had in many years. I was expecting something else, perhaps something about photography, or politics, or music –anything but spirituality. But I took that question very seriously, both as a blunt rebuke and a reminder as if coming from a long lost friend. In the same candid way, I answered, 'uya gani, ka rugay ey'. 'imaw ra gani ako, kag huli nakung simba ay katong kamiy..., nahahangit ey gani kag ak mga apas,' he mused. As our conversation progressed into more poignant exchanges of thoughts, I learned that he attended church service at Odiongan Baptist church, Inc. earlier that day. The accounts of the spiritual encounter had been recounted in his column. I hesitate to put them in my own words-my words may not suffice to describe what actually happened on that "fateful" Sunday morning inside a church. I leave it to Nicon. He had a better point of view.
I have always been fascinated with Nicon's way of stirring the mind and emotion of his readers through his words, like a great painter capturing so vividly and faithfully his subjects. As we parted, we shook hands." makita pa kita Jun, makanta pa kita," he said. I take those words more than a promise. Those words bind differences and heal broken spirits. Soon, I need to find my way leading to the pulpit.