Walking back to Ultra: A tribute to the victims of the stampede

Just recently, I learned from the television (oo, may tv na ako noh! last December pa.) that the Supreme Court junked ABS-CBN’s petition questioning the outcome of the preliminary investigation in the ULTRA stampede. Alas! After two years, there is hope once again for the relatives of the 71 persons who died in the tragedy. Justice is now flickering and threatening the responsible people for this reckless imprudence.

Two years back, on February 4, almost 30,000 people gathered in the Philippine Sports Arena (better known as “Ultra”) to participate  in the first anniversary episode of the Philippine noon time show Wowowee. Everyone was hoping  that he will be fortunate to bring home some bucks. Sadly, some brought home coffins instead.Ultra stampede

I was in fourth year college when that fateful incident happened. I thought that, it was just somewhat like a rally or riot that has gone wild. But it wasn’t. For me, IT WAS THE WORST THING EVER THAT HAPPENED IN THE HISTORY OF PHILIPPINE TELEVISIONAng daming namatay para lang sa pangarap na yumaman. Shocks! It doesn’t only show the economic situation of our third world nation but also on how a national television could be so irresponsible and how desperate can people be just to have a better life.

What happened really hit me. It hit me so much that I even wrote a poem titled “Pintuan” for the victims of the stampede. It was published in Montage, the literary magazine of University of Santo Tomas’ official student publication,  The Varsitarian. I don’t know but after how many years of not writing verses, the tragedy gave me a reason to be poetic again.

Matamis na ngiti ang isinalubong mo

sa kawalang katiyakan

na para bang kalakip

ng pagbukang liwayway

lahat ng kasagutan

sa iyong kakapusan. 

Wala kang pagsidlan sa pananabik.

Nag-uumapaw sa pag-asa ang iyong dibdib

habang paulit-ulit

sa pag-usal ng panalangin—

sana naman pagpalain…

sana naman swertehin…

At sa huli, hindi mo namalayan

ang paghalik sa lupa,

pagbabalik sa pinanggalingan,

natutupad na mga pangarap…

habang unti-unting nagbubukas

para sa iyo ang pintuan…

ang walang hanggan.


Isang tahimik na buhay

Sa piling ng Pinakamakapangyarihan.

I pray and I wish that time will come that justice will be served to the victims of the stampede. That this incident will never ever happen again.


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February 2008
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