by Luis G. Dato

We asked on debarkation; ”Where are the fair Indays,
For which Visayan Islands to all the land are known?”
The few we chanced upon were not hard upon the eyes,
But not exactly hour is earth lend-leased from the skies,
Although in common justice, their good points we could own.

Cebu is hot and dusty, the prices rather still.
When downtown we went shopping for item that and this,
Stamps cost two more centavos, We’d pay this with an “If,”
If we were April suckers or cared not for a tiff
With some dyspeptic dealer or disappoint the miss.

Cebu is far to forward in the commercial sphere,
All this to all is obvious, her massive buildings show,
Her piers command the harbor, the traffic volume here
Is what in sleek Manila you see each day appear,
The press alert as elsewhere; and quick to gripe, and how!

And this what Cebu is, if my eleven days
Have shown me all her people, their customs and their plight,
Perhaps time’s of the essence, whose would know her ways
Would fail unless his welcome a year be overstays,
But that would make the treatnent more drastic than the blight.

A toast to the Visayas, to her health I would raise,
And to Cebu, the empress of all the Southern sees,
A star she shines resplendent our scutcheon grand to grace,
A gracious, shining symbol of our illustrious race,
May she forever progress in Liberty and Peace!

Luis Dato
Luis Dato

Luis G. Dato (July 4, 1906 - January 29, 1985) was a poet, writer and educator from Sta. Cruz, Baao, Camarines Sur. He published books in English including Manila A Collection of verse (1926), My Book of Verses (1936) and the Land of Mai in 1975. He also wrote several books and text in Bikol such as, Vocabulario Bikol-Ingles-Kastila (1963), Cantahon na Bikol (1969), Morfologia kan Tataramon na Bikol (serialized in Naga Times), Patotodon sa Bikol (Bikol Mail) and Sarabihon sa Bikol.

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