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“Balaki Ko, ‘Day, Samtang Gasakay Ta’g Habal-habal” by Adonis G. Durado

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Analyzing a poem can be a really hard task to accomplish. Basically, you have to read it. Usually, these poems would be written in English, so that would have been an easier undertaking, but somehow our group was assigned with the one written in Cebuano. So, now we don’t only have consider its rhythm and meter, its imagery and symbolism; now, we also have to decode its meaning and, if possible, translate it into the universal language. Upon reading and rereading the Cebuano poem “Balaki Ko, ‘Day, Samtang Gasakay Ta’g Habal-habal” written by Adonis G. Durado, we finally came up with an analysis.

Adonis Durado’s poem describes a very common situation in the provincial areas – a habal-habal ride – but the unique thing about this habal-habal ride is that when you yourself experience the words articulated by the persona you would know that it has a romantic and somehow sensual feel to it. The speaker, the driver of the habal-habal, tells his passenger, a woman who is most probably his lover, to hold on to him tighter for him to feel her heartbeat more clearly against his back. His want for her to cling to him tight can be interpreted as an expression of love. This craving of physical intimacy between the characters suggests of young love, as young couples usually act as if they can’t get enough of each other and has to have their hands on each other constantly.

The poem also has an almost sexual tone to it. The term “habal-habal” comes from the word “habal”, which is a Cebuano term for animals copulating. Since a habal-habal motorcycle ride makes the passengers and drivers seem like a bunch of animals copulating, they coined the term “habal-habal”. This sexual tone can also be proven from the use of figurative language suggested on the 14th to the 16th lines of the poem, as well as its final 6 lines which concludes an orgasm-like ending to the poem.

Mainly, the poem is about a young couple who go for a ride on a habalhabal, with the driver using the proximity as a reason for the girl to be intimate.

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