Comrades and friends of Alex held a
poetry reading of his poems on September 3 in an event called Alkansiya
This was to help raise funds for
his medical expenses. A few minutes after it ended, Alex passed
AT PAGPUPUGAY KAY KASAMANG ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
Nina Joma at Julie Sison
3 Setyembre 2010
Nakikiramay kami sa pamilya at lahat ng kasama at kaibigan ni Kasamang
Alex sa kanyang pagpanaw. Nagpupugay kami kay Ka Alex bilang
makabayang aktibista, matatag na rebolusyonaryo, makata ng bayan at
na nasa malayong lugar kami, naging malapit kami kay Ka Alex dahil sa
aming madalas na lihaman at kooperasyon sa paggawa ng mga interview,
mga poetry reading at pagpapalaganap ng mga pahayag at artikulo.
Nagkakaisa kami sa diwa, damdamin at pakikibaka para sa pambansang
kalayaan at demokrasya.
ang buhay ni Ka Alex subalit makahulugan at mabunga. Ang mga ambag
niya sa pakikibabaka mananatili at lalago sa pagsulong ng bagong
demokratikong rebolusyon ng sambayanang Pilipino. Tularan natin ang
maningning na halimbawa ni Ka Alex at ipagpatuloy ang ating pakikibaka!
The readers of Arkibong Bayan are invited to click:
http://www.josemariasison.org/ This is the authorized
website of Prof. Jose Maria Sison. It has been recently restructured
and improved by its editors. Thank you for your attention.
Date: Sunday, September 5, 2010,
Like so many of his friends, we are shocked by the sudden and untimely
death of Alex Martin Remollino at the young age of 33. Please convey our
sincerest condolences on behalf of the NDFP Negotiating Panel, to his
beloved partner Becca and the rest of his family and relatives.
We knew him as a very dedicated and competent journalist, seeking the
truth to advance the people's struggle for national and social liberation.
His keen sense of justice and support and compassion for the exploited and
oppressed struggling for liberation could be felt in his writings. He was
quick to respond and take up the current and burning issues of the time.
We honor him as a true people's journalist and poet. His devotion to the
people's cause reminds us of the NDFP's first Chairperson, Antonio Zumel,
an outstanding people's journalist.
May the noble memory and legacy of Alex Martin Remollino live on and
inspire more and more people's journalists, poets and activists to
continue the people's struggle for national and social liberation.
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
Statement of the Antonio Zumel Center
For Press Freedom
on the Passing of Alexander Martin Remollino
4 September 2010
ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO: JOURNALIST OF THE PEOPLE
The Antonio Zumel Center for Press Freedom extends its deepest condolence
to the family, friends and confreres of Alexander Martin Remollino, who
passed away last September 3. Ka Alex, as he was fondly called, was a
longtime writer for Bulatlat.com, a poet and an activist.
In his poetry, Ka Alex lent his fervent voice to denounce oppression.
In his activism, most recently with the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, he
showed a commitment to side with the Filipino masses.
In his journalism, he trumpeted the struggle of the Filipino people for
Ka Alex made a real sacrifice. With his writing skills, he could have
easily sought a job with mainstream media or advertising companies. But he
chose to pursue alternative and progressive journalism, realizing early on
that his pen can be used as a sword to fight injustice, oppression and
He embodied the ideals that activist-journalists like Antonio Zumel had
sought to live up to: to relentlessly seek the truth and to always side
with the people.
He serves as an inspiration to young Filipino journalists. His legacy will
remind them that serving the people is something that journalists can --
and must -- do.
We are proud of Ka Alex. We will miss him.
Some poems of Alex
in Arkibong Bayan
Ramirez on Thursday, September 2, 2010 at 11:42pm
Alex (who is recovering from an ailment at a
Manila hospital) almost always has a poem for every major event that
gets posted at Arkibong Bayan. His poem gives the website visitors a
concise summary of the content of the particular posting.
Tomorrow night, his friends will hold an
All-Alex Poetry reading at Taumbayan Bar at Kamias Road.
HINDI KAKALAWANGIN ANG MAKINILYA
(Sa alaala ni "Manong" Antonio Zumel, peryodista ng sambayanan,
Agosto 10, 1932-Agosto 13, 2001)
Wala isa mang tuldok, Manong,
sa pahayagan ng iyong buhay.
Hindi kailanman kakainin ng kalawang
ang makinilya mong riple rin,
na ang bawat salitang iniukit sa papel
ay punlong sumagasa
sa matandang tanikala.
Ang nakalipas ng baya'y sagana
sa iyong mga bakas,
ngunit hinding-hindi ka lilipas:
balita kang hindi kailanman kukupas.
Para kay Kasamang Alex: Hindi Kinang
by Judy Taguiwalo
September 5, 2010
Marami nang parangal ang naisulat para kay Alex Martin Remollino kabilang
na ang mga tula ng pagdadalamhati sa kanyang maagang pagkamatay na mga
tula rin ng selebrasyon ng kanyang buhay at pakikibaka.
Naantig ako sa parangal ng isang kasamahan namin sa All UP Workers’ Union
sa post niya sa Facebook: “pagpupugay kay kasamang alex.tunay na na kasama
sa simulain, matamis ngumiti at silahis ng araw ang bawat ngiti na
ipunopukol nya sa amin”.
Sapol nito ang naramdaman ko sa pagpanaw ni Alex sa batang edad na 33 taon.
Dahil katulad nang marami sa mga nagmamahal kay Alex na di siya nakasama
sa araw-araw na gawain, nakikita ko lang si Alex sa mga pagkilos at sa mga
porum at maalaala rin ang kanyang paging palangiti.
Nagkumustahan lang kami sa pagkilos sa Supreme Court noong Agosto 18
kaugnay ng protesta laban sa compromise agreement ng Hda. Luisita. Naroon
siya sa Recto Hall noong Agosto 23 sa book launching ni Joi Barrios.
Nagngitian lamang. Dahil katulad nang marami sa iba pa, kumportable kong
kapalagayang loob si Alex kahit hindi ganoon kalalim ang pagkakakilala sa
isa’t isa. Kumportable na kapalagayang loob dahil iisa ang simulain, iisa
ang mithiin, iisa ang pinaglilingkuran.
At matapat ang ginawang paglilingkod ni Alex sa pamamagitan ng kanyang
panulat: mga artikulo man ito sa bulatlat, mga tula ng pakikibaka at
pag-asa, mga press releases para sa Bayan. Matalas ang kanyang paggamit ng
mga salita para singilin ang mga nagpapahirap sa bayan. Mapagmahal ang
kanyang mga salita para bigyang pugay ang mga nakikibakang anak-pawis.
Nang mabalitaan ko ang kanyang pagkamatay, naisip ko muli ang pag-iiba sa
liwanag at kinang na sa pagkaalam ko ay unang ipinag-iba ni Emilio
Jacinto. Si Emilio Jacinto na pinagmulan rin ng isa sa tatlong paboritong
quotations ni Alex na nakalagay sa kanyang Facebook account: "Life that is
not consecrated to a lofty purpose is like a tree without a shadow, if not
a poisonous weed."
Ang kinang at liwanag ang metaporang ginamit ni Alex sa tulang inialay
niya kay Monico Atienza: “His Life Was Not Glitter But Light” :
In a nation grown enamored of the glitter of foil,
his life was not glitter but light:
a bright star, steadfast amidst the dark sky and long night
in this "country of our sorrows."
Alex, mahal na kasama, manunulat at makata ng bayan, sa iyo na iniaaalay
ang iyong mga saknong
Sa bayang sinasamba ang kinang ng palara
Ang iyong buhay ay hindi kinang, kundi liwanag
bituing matatag sa gitna ng kadiliman at mahabang gabi,
dito sa “bayan ng ating pighati”
At maidagdag ko, “dito sa bayang ating lubos na sinisinta. “
Sa puso namin, sa puso ng sambayanan nakatayo ang iyong bantayog:
Alexander Martin Remollino: matapat na naglingkod sa mamamayan.
September 3, 2010
For Alex who served his Muse well
Hi, Alex. I’m still in shock over the news that you’re gone. Jo (Abaya-Santos)
had been giving me updates as to how you were doing, and for the last
three days I’d been under the relieved impression that you were doing
better and on the sure path to recovery.
You were always such a good friend to me, Alex. Another soul who loved the
written word and reveled in it. When we first met in 2002, you were
immediately friendly and open and willing to share all that you knew.
I remember the time when we emailed each other extensively about books and
poetry and writing and art and whether it was okay to give alms to beggars
(we agreed that it was — nevermind the warnings that many beggars were
actually members of syndicates: why ignore the opportunity to give an old
woman or a reed-thin child enough money for one meal? Why take the risk of
turning away from someone who really needs help? Giving alms, we agreed,
was the least that anyone can do.) I remember you saying how much you were
interested in history– it was like an archeological dig to you, you said.
Always something new to discover in the past, you said. History, you said,
always has something to teach us.
And you wrote about your brother and how proud you are of him. And your
mother, whom you deeply loved. You were a family that wrote and read and
shared what you read and wr0te and through literature and learning you
made life bearable despite the unromantic economic challenges that came
Alex. I used to call you the angry young man (sorry, but you were younger
than me!) because of your stories about how you often had to stop yourself
from butting in on strangers conversations and wanting to correct their
wrong impressions. “It’s hard having to listen to
naive-bordering-on-the-stupid-remarks,” you said. So as you rode the bus —
a long journey from San Pedro to Manila then on to Quezon City — you
plugged your ears with music to avoid hearing (1) ‘stupid remarks from
strangers’; and (2) ‘idiotic commentaries from so-called broadcast
journalists during their radio shows’.
And who could forget your stories about wanting to punch certain people in
the face? Politicians, military men, high-ranking government officials. It
always cracked me up how you could sound so angry one moment and then be
smiling the next.
Oh but you kept your temper, and what anger you felt you channeled into
your writing, your poetry. You controlled your temper and all the world
saw was you smiling, even if your written words always betrayed that under
that smiling exterior was a young man who felt such fire, such compassion
for the poor, such love for the Revolution.
Alex, you made me stop writing poetry. I bet you didn’t know that. Ay
Kasama, sobrang husay at sobrang bilis mo kasing gumawa ng tula, talagang
inggit ako sa iyo noon! It always took me at least a day to give poetic
shape and form to feelings, and everytime you emailed me your latest work,
I felt envious and annoyed at myself for not being as prolific as you. So
I said, crap, why write poems about (1) poverty (2) justice (3) freedom
(4) the dawn we are all waiting for when Alex Remollino has already
It was always good to hang out with you during rallies and symposia. You
were an attentive listener, and could always be relied on to repeat things
one missed hearing. I remember you sometimes getting emotional during
rallies led by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas or the Kilusang Mayo
Uno– you were then the angry young man whose compassion made him bleed out
poems that raged against the injustice suffered by the poor and working
people. You shook your head as you shared news you’ve heard, and a sharp
curse would sometimes escape you as you wished for the death of
exploiters, those who denied life to so many, many others.
The last time we saw each other was during the launch of my book ‘Crispin
Beltran: the Life and Struggle of Ka Bel.’ You had helped edit the book
and combed through the dates and places mentioned in it, and I will always
be grateful for how kindly and swiftly you responded when I first sought
your help. (You could always be depended on to help fellow writers, Alex–
generous with your time and thoughts. How many of the comments on my blog
entries came from you, kaibigan? You were always sharing your enthusiasms
and ideas, and you were such a kindred spirit.)
After the launch, you walked up to me and gave me that smile I will never
forget. We shook hands, and you asked me to sign two copies – one for you,
and one for your fiancee Becca. I remember how shy you sounded when you
said her name, and how your smile deepened. Ah, Alex – that smile of yours
was the smile of a man in love! Becca is lucky to have had you, and that
night when you made me sign a book in her name, it was clear how you felt
that it was you who was lucky.
And now, well, Alex, you were 32, just barely 32, and you will always be
32. Had you won your last battle, I know you would have written more poems
about your ordeal and say how our commitment to the cause of freedom and
justice is more than enough reason to fight for life and go on living. You
fought the good fight, Alex, and this is what we, all of us who love you,
will remember. Your poetry, your compassion, your deep and unabiding sense
of right and wrong made you who you were, and we are honored to have been
your friends. You have left us, but your words will never leave us, and in
that way you will always be with us all the same.
Alex. The Revolution was your muse, and you served her well. Pinakamataas
na pagpupugay sa iyong alaala, manunulat at makata, aktibista at Kasama.
Goodbye Alex, and thank you for the friendship!
For my friend and comrade Alexander Martin Remollino 1977-2010.
Alex was Tinig.com
associate editor and columnist since 2002, among others.
Alexander Martin Remollino, activist writer and
poet, passed away Friday night (Sept. 3) at the Philippine General
Hospital after a courageous fight against pneumonia and a lung infection.
His colleague at Bayan, Renato M. Reyes Jr.,
announced his passing over at
Twitter and Facebook.
Alex left behind his mother Maria Carpio, brother
Aris Remollino and fiancee Rebecca Lawson.
Facebook page, Alex described himself simply as “a writer and
development worker in the Philippines”.
But that is not exactly true.
Alex was a well-known and respected poet in both
English and Filipino. He was one of the principal leaders and co-founders
of poets and writers’ group Kilometer64.
In fact, his KM64 colleagues, friends and admirers
were holding a benefit event in his honor when Alex passed away. It was
supposed to be a night of celebration as participants recited and
performed his poems.
According to Philippine literature portal
One of his poems, “Tuparin Natin ang Banta ng
Ating Panahon,” was set to music and used in a music video produced by
ARREST Gloria. The video won second prize in the 18 th Gawad CCP para sa
Alternatibong Pelikula at Video.
His poetry were published on Arkibong Bayan, frictionmagazine.com, Poets
Against the War and the multimedia anthology Slam the Body Politik, and in
KM64 chapbooks, among others.
A journalist, he was a staffwriter for online
Bulatlat.com from 2003-2010, and associate editor for
Tinig.com from 2002 until his passing. He was a member of the National
Union of Journalists of the Philippines.
In 2004, he co-authored the book “Subverting the
People’s Will: the May 10, 2004 Elections” which was published by the
Center for People Empowerment and Governance.
published works – either news features, essays or poems – reflected
fealty to the causes and concerns of the marginalized and
underrepresented. It was thus no surprise that he joined the Bagong
Alyansang Makabayan as public information staff and research early this
Alex studied Legal Management at the University of
Santo Tomas but abruptly stopped due to financial constraints.
Alex celebrated his 33rd birthday last August 6.
A recital of the facts of Alex’s shortened life is
not enough to articulate how he is/was loved by fellow writers and poets,
journalists, activists and the people’s organizations he served. As of
posting time, scores have posted tributes on his Facebook page and
thousands are expected to give him tribute at his wake and funeral.
Many are shocked and deeply saddened by his sudden
passing. We lost a good friend, a fellow writer/poet and a reliable
chronicler of the big and small things we do to bring change to the
Alexander Martin Remollino was a journalist, poet and activist who devoted
the best years of his life to serving the Filipino people.
During his college days at the University of Santo Tomas, Alex joined the
League of Filipino Students (LFS) and participated in mass protests not
only against tuition increases but also against problems confronting the
public. His political activism never stopped even as he was forced to drop
out of school due to financial constraints.
In 2002, he worked briefly for Ibon Foundation as researcher and, later
that year, started writing for Bulatlat.com, an alternative online
For Alex Who Served His Muse Well
Elegy for Alexander Martin Remollino
Ikaw Na Nagturo Sa Aming Manalamin Sa Harap Ng Hangin
Tuparin Natin ang Banta ng Ating Panahon*
Alex wrote in flawless English with ease; his writing skill enabled him to
write about complex issues in a language understandable to the common
reader. For nearly 10 years, Alex used his talent to expose the issues of
the oppressed and the marginalized. With his writing chops, he could have
chosen to work for the mainstream media where he could earn a more decent
income but he opted to stay with Bulatlat to pursue the progressive,
pro-people journalism the website is known for.
The aspirations and the struggle of the Filipino people for genuine
freedom and sovereignty, their quest for peace based on justice, the Moro
and indigenous peoples’ struggle for self-determination — the mainstream
media largely ignored these issues but Alex was there to consistently and
passionately write about them.
“The way it is, I compare my situation as a journalist with other
journalists who work in other publications: even though they receive
higher wages than we, the intellectual and professional environment in
Bulatlat is more satisfying,” Alex said in an interview with a blogger in
2008. “Such satisfaction emanates from writing about the daily struggles
of the ordinary people that most in the mainstream media often ignore.”
While he also wrote for other publications to make ends meet, Alex never
compromised his activist principles. In fact, he used these other venues
to further inform the public about the plight of the Filipino masses.
Alex was known for being taciturn but he minced no words about issues he
felt strongly about. While he seldom talked about his personal
circumstances and feelings, he was very active in political discussions.
Alex used for his poetry the truths he gleaned from his journalism. Unlike
other young poets who found muses from the imagined, Alex drew inspiration
from the real sentiments and aspirations, agony and hope of the masses.
What he would not share with friends and colleagues would end up in his
poems, told more fervently, told more gracefully.
Alex left Bulatlat in February this year and went on to work for Bagong
Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan). There, he used his writing skills to help
Bayan amplify its positions on the burning issues of the day and even took
on the task of speaking about these. Even as his health began to
deteriorate — he was later diagnosed as a diabetic; his vital organs had
been so severely damaged he ended up at the ICU — Alex continued to
perform the tasks assigned to him. To the very end, he remained a writer
for the people. To the very end, he never wavered in his commitment to
At 33, his life may have been short but what Alex did during the best
years of his life will be remembered for quite sometime.
Yesterday, activist, journalist
and poet Alex Remollino passed away. I didn’t really know him
personally, just had several mutual friends… Nevertheless, I was
saddened by his untimely death. I wrote on my Facebook wall,
“Shocked. Heard about Alex
Remollino’s death. Gusto-gusto ko yung mga tula nya. Sabi ko
magkakakilala din siguro kami in the near future bilang hindi ko pa
sya nakita ng personal…tapos sobrang biglaan…
and added on second
thought, bilang kasama malamang nagkita na nga kami sa kung saan.
malamang maraming rali na rin na napagsaluhan.”
I often saw his name in bylines
but I was most interested in his poetry. He first drew my attention
with his poem:
Dugo sa Isang Tasang
by Alexander Martin Remollino Friday, Sep. 23, 2005
(Sa alaala nina Ding Fortuna at Meliton Roxas, mga inutas na
lider-manggagawa ng Nestle Philippines. Si Fortuna, na pinaslang
noong Setyembre 22, 2005, ay humalili kay Roxas bilang pangulo ng
unyon sa Nestle Philippines nang siya’y patayin noong 1989.)
Bago mo palapatin sa labi ang
na siya’y masarap na inuming magkakaloob
ng masarap na buhay,
kung ibig mo ring inumin
kung kaya mo ring lunukin
ang nasa tasa ring dugo
nina Ding Fortuna at Meliton Roxas –
mga buhay na kinitil ng dilim
sapagkat naghangad na alpasan ang gabi.
The Nestle boycott was my special
advocacy at that time (when I came across his poem three years after
he wrote it). I was touched by his poem, as well as that of Joi
Barrios and Dennis Espada. Later on, together with other schoolmates,
I visited the Nestle workers and stayed with them for three days.
I am most thankful for writers
and poets like Alex. Writers have that gift of reaching out to the
broadest audience, tugging at you heartstrings and awakening critical
At the young age of 33, Alex had
served the country well.
In the progressive movement, the
death of a fellow activist becomes a celebration of his life. In just
hours, letters, testimonials and poems for Alex were posted online.
Even Melissa Roxas gave her own
elegy for Alex.
For those who have not yet been
oriented in progressive traditions, the death of an activist, most
often than not – however famous or quiet he was while still alive,
calls for a night or two of Parangal. Parangal – an awarding
of sorts. Relatives, friends and even compatriots who didn’t really
know the departed are invited to listen to testimonials, songs and
presentations dedicated to the deceased. Sometimes, especially if the
comrade became a part of more than one sector, each night is sponsored
by a specific group. On the first night, student activists might give
their share of songs and eulogies; the second night can be organized
by his fellow workers in the trade union, and so on.
I have attended my share of
Parangal nights. The last one was the only time that I personally
knew the departed. It was a double funeral actually – both artists at
that. It was a sad and emotional night. It made me miss them even
more, with all their paintings hanging on the walls.
Celebrating death will always be
bittersweet. But it has its own aim of inspiring and keeping people
As Mao said in his 1944
speech/writing “Serve the People,”
“All men must die, but death
can vary in its significance. The ancient Chinese writer Sima Qian
said, “Though death befalls all men alike, it may be weightier than
Mount Tai or lighter than a feather.” To die for the people is
weightier than Mount Tai, but to work for the fascists and die for
the exploiters and oppressors is lighter than a feather.”
Alex’s death reminded me of how
literature can be effectively used to convey nationalist ideals – of
how I myself was moved by numerous poems and stories written by both
famous and unnamed compatriots. Maybe I should start writing again…
Posted below is the last poem I wrote (err..texted actually), while
waiting in line for a jeepney (in my hometown in Cavite)…
O Baclaran, Baclaran, Baclaran
magdusa na lamang,
mag-abang sa swerte,
sa mahabang pila
palengke o kalye.
O eto Lawton!
Bilis o tatlong oras kang maghihintay
Di na makakapasok
sa eskwela, trabaho o raket.
Maiwan ka na lang
magsaleslady sa maliit nating SM
o magsaka at magpastol
sa gitna ng naglalakihang subdivision.
Kung ayaw mo,
aba e bilisan mo.
At kulang ang mga dyip.
Kulang sa libo-libong pasaherong
na may puwang pa
sa puno nang Maynila.
Ngayong maulang gabi, susulat ako ng tula ng
dalamhati - hindi ng pamamaalam by Noel Sales Barcelona
on Friday, September 3, 2010 at 10:54pm
Sa alaala ni Alexander Martin S. Remollino (Agusto 6, 1977 - Setyembre
Sa gabing maulan
at nagtatago ang buwan
sa mga alapaap
ay tutula ako ng tula ng dalamhati
subalit hindi ng pamamaalam
sapagkat ang yapos at kilik
ng hanging malamig
na humahaplos sa mga talahib -
kagaya ng mga damo sa kaparangan
kung saan nasaksihan nila ang iyong kadakilaan
ay pagpapaalalang hindi ka lumayo
bagkus, naririyan ka lamang.
at muling makikita ka
sa bawat ngiti at tangis ng masa
sa bawat igik at hagikhik ng balana
sa bawat tangis at ngiti ng sanggol na kalong ng ina
ay makikita kita...
sa bawat demonstrasyon at piketlayn ng obrero at obrera
sa bawat pakikibaka't pagsulong ng magsasaka
sa bawat gabi ng kapayapaan at digmaan
sa bawat putok ng baril at kanyon dahil sa Digmang Bayan
sa bawat pag-aaral ng galaw at daloy ng lipunan
sa bawat pagkakaisa't tunggalian
ay makikita kita.
Kaya nga ngayong gabing masinsin
ang patak ng ulan sa aking bubungan
at habang nagtatago ang buwan
sa mga alapaap
ay tutula ako ng tula ng dalamhati
subalit hindi ng pamamaalam
dahil nababatid ko, nababatid kong
ang kagaya mong nagmahal
at umibig nang tapat sa masa at Bayan
ay nagiging imortal
at hindi kailanman mamamaalam --
lagi ka lamang naririyan, nagmamasid
sa bawat tagumpay at kabiguan
ng masang iyong pinaglingkuran.
at ngayong gabi,
habang nagtatago ang buwan
at maging ang nagkikislapang mga bituin
susulat ako ng tula ng dalamhati
subalit hinding-hindi ako sa iyo
mamamaalam at hihintayin kita sa sabana
sa pithaya ng Internasyunal
ay yayakapin kita sa pulang bukangliwayway!