Lam-ang grappling the Berkakan

Biag ni Lam-ang (Life of Lam-ang) was a pre-Hispanic epic poem handed down from generation to generation by Ilocano people of the Philippines until it was written down by the legendary Ilocano poet, Pedro Bucaneg, around 1630.

Bucaneg, which is known to be blind since birth, was eventually known as the “Father of Ilocano Literature”. Equally to Bulacan’s “Balagtasan” of Francisco Balagtas, here in the North, we have “Bucanegan” in honor of Pedro Bucaneg.

Biag ni Lam-ang tells a story with epic grandeur and tales of borderline absurdity. This, I mean, is that on Namongan’s famous childbirth there were four people who would force Lam-ang out of Namongan’s womb.

And even so, Lam-ang manages to speak seconds after his birth, choose his own name and godparents, and vows to take vengeance against his father’s murderers as soon as he learned about it. He waited for nine months at his ancestral home at Nalbuan, now a part of La Union.

According to tradition, he, alone, would challenge an entire tribe of Igorots but left only one tribesman at his mercy and lived to tell the tale of his exploits.

The blood and dirt of all his fallen enemies would adhere to his skin. After the battle, he took a dip in the Amburayan River and upon immersion; upon the stench, all of the fish and aquatic life died as filth awash. Maidens of the nearby village attend to aid him soon after.

Yet, the story here is not the absurdity of desire or strength of Lam-ang’s revenge but his dedication to his beloved Ines Kannoyan who was known to have lived at Calanutian, Sinait, Ilocos Sur.

Ines Kannoyan was the embodiment of great beauty and many men would line up to woo her, in fact, even creatures and characters of mythology. Lam-ang encountered, one of which, the proud and pompous giant Sumarang to whom he would soon defeat in a duel.

And, Lam-ang took it to the extremes to make the lady’s attention his own; he sent two magical pets at her keeping. One of which is a white rooster, that its crow could tear an entire house apart, and then a gray dog, who could reassemble an entire building at his bark. And these took Ines’ parents’ attention.

Traditionally, men offer dowry twofold to all of the combined wealth of the woman they intend to marry, at least that was a challenge for Lam-ang. He offered two ships full of gold, this made the Kannoyan’s parents left in awe, and then they were married.

But these were not enough. Tradition also states that a newly married man should swim in the river in search of the elusive fish called “rarang”. And there, Lam-ang met the whopper of tides and waters, the Berkakan.

In Bucaneg’s manuscript, it is well debatable if the Berkakan was a Shark or a Crocodile, but logically, the location was a river, it must be a Crocodile.

Alas, in Berkakan’s mouth, Lam-ang faced his doom.

This edifice commemorates the epic battle of which Lam-ang soon recovered with the help of Ines and her magical pets. His bones were gathered. The rooster crows and the dog bark simultaneously. Soon, Lam-ang’s body was restored to life.

The epic of Lam-ang reflects the history and lore of the Ilocano people in the Philippines. With every twists and turn, the valiant and proud people from the North have endured across conquest, tribulations, and skirmishes.

Biag ni Lam-ang tells how in Ilocano society the love for our family and ties of blood is our best priority. Through it, Ilocandia never truly survived without the familial warmth.

Perhaps we will wrestle our own Berkakan, one day, in search of our own “rarang” not for ourselves but for the people who holds our deepest regards. One must be strong to accept and face the taunts of reality.

Here, at Kapurpurawan White Rock Formation at Burgos, Ilocos Norte, the effigy of the long remembered epic that stands up until today is waiting for every would-be tourist to turn their heads and reminisce the past, the origin, the tales, myths, and culture of Ilocano heritage and the lessons it conveys.

via Daily Prompt: Paragon


Japan: An Ironclad Empire

“In the Arena of the soaring world, few or only one country still possesses its antique design and yet technologically advancing mechanism: One eye in the past and one in the future. There are none except Japan. A prosperous nation in the eastern Asia is wordlessly escalating to the universal market. The world of Japan appears to unlock its impenetrable gate after the warfare it entered in 1940’s. In spite of the obliteration brought by the Hiroshima incident on the early morning of August, instead of decomposing to hopelessness, its Economy in buoyantly manner is levitating faster than before. At any rate, the Japanese tradition still sits in Japan’s luxurious pedestal. Fragments of Bushido still play a major role on their socialization. Their houses, although provided with up-to-date technology, still use the traditional fashion of housing. In Japan, you will be in love by the aroma of its History, Culture, Global Stature and Power.”

An old Japanese legend say that Japan was crafted by sword. They say that the old gods dipped a coral blade into the roaring deep blue ocean… and when they pulled it out, four perfect drops fell back into the sea… and those drops became the island of Japan. These drops in point of fact are the four main islands of Japan namely Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku.

The Officials

They also say that the initial emperor of Japan, Jimmu Tenno, was the grandson of Amaterasu, the goddess of the sun. He ruled Japan in 660-585 BC. The Japanese identify their kingdom “Nihon” or “Nippon”, which means “origin of the sun.” Early in the 12th Century, Japan was once ruled by powerful and dreaded military generals known as the “Shogun” that serves as the “weeds” that share with the Emperor’s ruling power for the next 600 years. Within this year’s, Daimyo, a feudal lord, and so with the Japanese clans continue to rise, severely powerful. Han, land controlled by Daimyo, were became too large, too wide to be governed only by the Emperor. Daimyos established their personal army of Samurais and declared war among other Daimyos. This made the Emperor too scrawny to control their ruggedness and aggression. The Samurai subsists by a rigid code of conduct called “Bushido”, or “the way of the warrior,” which encompassed principles of loyalty and sacrifice. By maintaining the virtue of the code, a Samurai can only uphold his honor. A samurai’s greatest ally was his sword but if he loses in a battle with it: he should perform Hara-Kiri, a traditional suicide, by using his own sword in ripping his abdomen while someone thwacks his own head.

The Japanese People

On the other hand, Japanese people are very affectionate that doing appalling deeds to others makes them reprehensible. They are very particular towards the feelings of their fellow citizen. Showing your teeth is inappropriate whereas staring directly to the face of Japanese is rude, if the person has an ugly face, he will feel uncomfortable – this is the way it was once explicated. The Japanese are very considerate not to hurt other people’s feelings. “Japanese, as we all know, were branded by reverence, decorum, prudence, modesty and the long forgotten word – honor.”


Japan’s chow background is furthermore a highlight. Its Sushi is prized greatly by the hungry visitor’s mouth. Sushi composed mainly of rice and tuna. Tuna in particular is the blue fin tuna, the greatest tuna on earth. The Japanese harvested it a mile away from the Japanese coast. The blue fin tuna is a modern fish, yet its relationship to humanity is ancient. Japanese fisherman have caught Pacific bluefin for more than 5,000 years ago. In January 2013, a single bluefin tuna sold in Tokyo for $1.76 Million. The outrageous price was part exposure feat, part Japanese ritual: The foremost tuna on the auction bazaar each time is subject to a bidding war that’s above the apex, even surpassing Japanese standards. Yet even the normal price of one medium-size blue fin tuna – between $10,000 and $20,000, depending on the quality – is an incredible measure of how much the 21st-century Japanese have prized to “maguro”, blue fin sushi. In an undersea pen in Mediterranean, they fattened bluefin for the booming Sushi market. Sushi is but a Japanese masterpiece in culinary arts. How much more magnitude it would obtain in the 22th century inhabitants.


The Japanese also observe Shinto – in Japanese, “the way of the gods” – besides Buddhism. Some sort of Japanese sect and religious conviction, originating in prehistoric times, and occupying a significant countrywide pose for long periods in the history of Japan, particularly in recent times, is sometimes its other definition. During its early period, the organization of religious credence and practice called Shinto was without a name and had no fixed dogma, moral precepts, or sacred writings. Worship centered on a cosmic pantheon of spirits, or Kami, mainly divinities epitomizing aspects of the natural world, such as the sky, the earth, heavenly bodies, and storms. To its followers everything including rocks, waterfalls, islands, trees, animals as well as people (dead or alive) have spirits. Rites included prayers of thanksgiving; offerings of valuables, such as swords and armor and, especially, cloth; and ablutionary purification from crime and defilement. The Wedded Rocks stand in the sea of southern coast of Japan. They supposed to represent the gods and goddesses who created the island of Japan.

Technological Advancement

Japan is also dubbed as the “Land of the Rising Sun”. For the reason that, the very first crack of dawn of the entire planet is witnessed only on the eastern face of Japan than any other country west to the International Date Line. Its title is just right not only by this, but Japan soars incredibly high that their sun has not just rising but already at its 12:00 peak. Before, Japan is nothing compared to a sniveling infant but now it is too great compared to the sun itself. The Mass Production mounts from Europe and reached Japan instantaneously. The Japanese yearned advancement and embraced western culture.

One day, Iwasaki Yataro, a Samurai wished the same wealth intended for his fatherland. He asked permission to his fellow samurai but they rejected his request, they intentionally attempted to assassinate him. They brought out their Katana, a samurai sword forged with extreme flimsiness and yet with extreme resilience. The Samurai’s Katana is as thin as a hair strand but it can slice a human throat in just one twirl. Iwasaki managed to fight back and won; then, he secedes from the group even though his blood is overflowed by samurai’s. With the prevailing Bushido, Japan seemed to be grappling in an obsolete world; but this obsolete world is destined to Greatness. One morning in 1884, Iwasaki Yataro entered in a barber shop to cut his topknot; if the topknot is removed from the head of a Samurai this means “dishonor” but for Iwasaki it means “liberty”. He entered the shop as a Samurai and came out as an entrepreneur. In that faithful morning of 1884, he rented a space in town; this place is the birthplace of Japan’s future economy and Iwasaki’s business, the Mitsubishi. The knowledge in katana-making is applied. Steel, a super metal that can build the Empire State Building twenty times as much as it can, is exploited. Right here, Japan’s economy boosted in just a decade. “The other nations implemented it for one hundred years but through Japan, it happened for only ten. At this time, Japan is the wealthiest country on the facade of the earth.”

The War

By this power, in dawn of 20th century, Japan began to build an empire through Hideki Tojo; an efficient, decisive, and aggressive staff officer; his tough disciplinary policies earned him the nickname “The Razor”. He was called back to Tokyo in 1938 to serve as vice minister of war. An ardent supporter of a strong offensive in the Second Sino-Japanese War, Tojo was promoted to war minister in 1940. Tojo became convinced that Nazi Germany would win the ongoing war in Europe; and in the fall of 1940 supported Japan’s signing of an alliance with Germany and Italy, the three countries became known as the Axis Powers. Tojo advocated the expansion of Japan’s supremacy in East Asia through the deployment of Japanese troops to occupy northern Indochina and the establishment of a “co-prosperity sphere,” an autonomous political and economic bloc in greater East Asia under Japanese dominance.

As tensions with the United States mounted in 1941, Tojo again took a hard-line position. He opposed any compromise that might undermine Japan’s position in East Asia or diminish its national prestige. By the fall of that year it appeared that Japan’s entry into World War II was inevitable. Tojo, viewed as a man who could both represent military interests and keep the army under firm control, was named prime minister in October by the Japanese Emperor Hirohito. In December 1941 his cabinet of civil and military officials decided to declare war on the United States and attack the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. This is how Japan’s empire noticed and feared over Asia. Months of war passed and many lives took rest on that period of chaos. They considered Philippines as an ideal spot for trade. If this land will be fully theirs, its neighbors would be easily get conquered. The Japanese Emperor might feel sad towards the continuous war. But Japan should receive a standing ovation for liberating much of East Asia from Western colonial powers, that the 1946-1948 Tokyo War Crimes tribunals were illegitimate, and the by Imperial Japanese troops during the 1937 ‘Nanjing Massacre’ were exaggerated and fabricated. America, intimidated by this master plan, requested for surrender from Japan.

But Japan refused to surrender. The United States wanted to end the war with unconditional surrender from Japan. It also wanted to avoid more battles like those in Iwo Jima and Okinawa, where U.S. casualties had been heavy. These factors spurred U.S. plans to use the atomic bomb that through knowledge was shaped. America is preparing to attack.

The United States in late 1941 established a secret program, which came to be known as the Manhattan Project, to develop an atomic bomb, a powerful explosive nuclear weapon. The aim of the project, directed by physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, was to build an atom bomb before Germany will. Through Albert Einstein, a well known physicist, America has only one card to play. That is, use the nuclear bomb or they’ll use theirs against us.

Early morning August 6, 1945, American airplane penetrated the Japanese territory carrying a dozen ton of nuclear warhead – a.k.a. little boy – that came from the ore of uranium six billion years before the formation of the earth. The sole temperature is 10,000 times hotter than the sun. In here the world not even history did not expect it to happen… the planet’s most destructive weapon, an exceptional object the world had not yet ever seen, fell down to the bright sunny skies of Hiroshima. There were 500-600 Japanese people lies down there. The impact is to the maximum degree “destructive”. After three days, Nagasaki was the next to be the subject in nuclear bombardment. Japan was forced to surrender. Hideki Tojo came down to his post as Prime Minister. The most catastrophic World War has ended. Vegetation never grows for twenty years. Japan’s economy might fall back to ashes but instead of this; it trumps the market with its unending glory.

“History is a Fact.” It tells us our mistakes and the lessons noteworthy to every generation. People should recognize the magnificence of Japan.


The structural imperfection in Japan’s financial system came to an establishment in the late 1980’s, first generating a five-year period of financial euphoria known as the bubble, and then bringing on a collapse. After the value of the yen rose sharply in 1985, Japanese exports fell and economic growth slowed. In 1986 a report by the government-appointed Maekawa Commission recommended fundamental structural reforms to avoid long-term stagnation. Instead, the Bank of Japan cut interest rates to stimulate investment and growth. This raised the price of stocks and real estate, which began to escalate in a self-feeding spiral. By 1989 the average stock was valued at 100 times the annual corporate earnings, an overvaluation of 400 to 500 percent. Rising stock and real estate prices stimulated an investment boom that led to rapid economic growth. Japan, as of today, is the most prosperous country in Asia and second in the whole world.

Uniqueness of Japan

Japan’s location is somewhat planned to perfection by God’s finest engineers, excavated with precision plus accuracy and emblazoned with natural uniqueness. Its position in the pacific is ideal. Four seasons pass annually to its body that is to say summer, autumn, winter and spring. At the day before the first day of spring, Bean Throwing Day is celebrated. The Japanese throws the bean and says “Oni wa Soto! Fuku wa uchi! (Go away demon! Come in Happiness).” Summer is often a time for vacation; the Japanese Alps is perfect for hiking. Then as the autumn came so suddenly, the most anticipated moment in Japanese land is when the Sakura, Cherry Blossoms, began to fall. You might even spend an eternity just to perceive the petals all fall on the very ground. Japan, is gifted by these astounding and heart-warming panorama. By the end of autumn, here arrives winter.

“The influence of the West is muscular, but the Japanese are nevertheless proud of their traditional culture and religion.” Snowflakes began to show making the temperature to drop to negative making the people blanket themselves with futon, a firm Japanese mattress used as a seat or bed. The futon is folded up and put into a particular cupboard (oshiire). When you enter a Japanese home, it is customary to take off your shoes and put on slippers or foot socks. The shoes are stored in a cupboard or rack in the entrance hall or Genkan. Summers in Japan can be sizzling hot, so some rooms have sliding doors made of wood and paper – called Shoji. Their sliding doors were designed to combat with warm summer heat, circulating the fresh air around the house, but their tatami – a straw mat used in Japanese homes as a floor covering – were intended for winter. Tatami mats are made up from fresh grasses: they are green when new. On entering a tatami mat room, you have to take off your slippers, to help keep the mats clean. The dining room usually has no chairs. Everyone sits on a cushion called zabuton. In winter people use a table called kotatsu which has a heater underneath and quilt to keep warmth in. in a Japanese bathroom, known as o-furo, the whole room is used as a bathing place: there is a drain in the floor. You position yourself on the stool and soap and rinse yourself, before stepping to the deep square bath. Even modern Japanese homes have a Buddhist altar, on it are placed photographs of Japanese ancestors.

On their clothes, Kimono is a simple but elegant outfit any Japanese wear in such stature. The kimono, a robe like dress, is the traditional garment of Japan. Although most Japanese people now wear Western-style clothing, they wear kimonos on holidays and other special occasions. Women have wrapped their kimonos with a sash called an obi (broad belt).

A businessman in Japan is served sake by a “Geisha” wearing a kimono and obi. Sake, fermented rice beer, is called “atsukan” when it is served hot, as here. The training of a geisha, who proceeds as a hostess at geisha parties, involves mastery of the arts of dance, singing, and conversation.

Kabuki Theater is distinguished for its vibrantly decorated sets, stylized gesticulations, and vivacious music and dance. Kabuki is the most admired form of traditional Japanese theater. They use “shamisen” as an accompaniment for their ever changing movements. The shamisen is a Japanese instrument with three strings. It was formerly played by geishas and street singers and was used in traditional Japanese theater performances. Contemporary musicians are now writing for the shamisen. In Japan’s kabuki theater, only men appear on stage. Actors who specialize in depicting female roles (onnagata) are highly admired. Kawamura Fujio considered one of the greatest onnagata of the 20th century is very all the rage in Japan.

Japan is a great nation: its tendrils grow higher to the nets of heaven and will clamber the world through its spirit. Their economy is like a towering sky-scraper but their spirits are at a halt on the ground. The Japanese people as well as their culture are endowed with grand armory like those of in their country. Japan can be the world in just a blink of an eye if it wishes it to. If China persecutes and terrorizes our territory Japan can simply grab the oppressor’s décolletage and hunker them to the dirt for us – because they are to be bullied also. They are our comrade. Japan in the great eastern Asia is the tiger in veil but a country lurks for freedom, honor, culture, prestige, wealth and a place of admiration. “I love Japan.”

That is why, in the crust of the sapphire and emerald Earth, Japan is an Ironclad Empire.

Heneral Luna: A Masterpiece

A Philippine History

In 1898, the Spanish signed the Treaty of Paris which made them fled out of the Philippine terra firma. In the feat of the event Andres Bonifacio made an assembly which formed a Revolutionary Government under President Emilio Aguinaldo. But the year was never been the end of the Philippine tribulation, instead it became another start under their new conquerors – the Americans. Arriving from the continent of America which the American race had captured once more lays another battlefield of Politics and Liberty over the vast Philippine Archipelago. But She, the Philippines, was never been left alone for foreign domination however there are Brave Soldiers who are ready to offer their blood to her soil to pave the Freedom for Filipinos; a Valiant Soldier who held a position in power and ready to smite another oppressor in hand. A name that recognized by many; a name which the Military salute to; the name upholds by General McArthur himself; the name was General Antonio Luna.

The year of 1898, held a specific quantity to the Americans – the reception of Manila. Together they march their battalion to Intramuros conquering the Philippines. For many politicians who were hoaxed by the sugar coated words of the foreigners, the Arrival of their ships meant the enrichment of the Philippine economy; but General Luna senses something much worse, something nefarious to the Land – the drawback of their much awaited Freedom. Their freedom was not only his personal concern but an objective of the KKK itself. As per the bullet encounter at Sta. Mesa, Manila, the military perception of General Luna was justified. Now they are fighting for Freedom. General Luna became a disciplinarian, harsh and decisive in battle and several soldiers and politicians were intimidated by his ruling technique. They made the President Aguinaldo to know he was the enemy of the state and so Aguinaldo was tricked. Aguinaldo guards including Pedro Janolino brutally stabbed the General to death and so with bullet including his trustee Francisco Roman, they were both assassinated in the Convent of Cabanatuan during the war. Later on, due to their loss of this General the war has been won by the Americans and Philippines was forcefully bowed down again to their new masters.

This was the storyline of the movie of entitled “Heneral Luna” made many people applaud at the end of the great show. It was successfully met and even surpassed the viewer’s suppositions on a regular Filipino film which is sometimes senseless; but Heneral Luna finished every touch of the scene an outstanding cinematography and script. Thus; since it focused on war it pins up a way to insert humour during the time of military conflagration. Besides with the mark of its excellent cinematic performance, the film was historically accurate and it is accordingly based on reality. Despite all the praises, according to some audiences, they were dismayed by the actions of the former government and the conclusion of the First Republic under President Emilio Aguinaldo which is also a suspect on Bonifacio’s death. In relation to the one of the darkest period of our History it can’t be inseparably compared to the upcoming 2016 Elections regarding the mistakes and decisions of the First Republic. It is by then concluded that Heneral Luna is a General with burning affection to the country and the movie is worth the ticket price and time of watching.


“The Iron Lady of Asia died fighting, in her sleep; she died unconscious.”

The entire Philippines was evidently shocked by the sudden demise of one of its treasured solon and perhaps the wisest among the senators who ever was and ever will be.

Lately, we were talking about her with my colleagues when a memory of the senator came to our curiosity that her public appearance seemed to be greatly diminished. One of them asked me, “Is she no longer a senator?” I regretfully replied to her, “No. Her term as a senator has ended and since she lost the last election she is once again a part of the private sector.”

I begin the recollection of my memory of her from the days when I was an inexperienced kid. I often see her in nighttime news reports often yelling, screaming, joking and scolding other officials that fit well in the vessel of a kleptocrat. As a result, my mother loudly extolled in the middle of the house that she voted for the lady and impersonates her finger-pointing libretto thus sounds the same intonations as the senator – this makes me laugh and feel anxious for my mother’s mental health because it’s silly; but I realized it’s just entirely for laughs in the end.

Anyhow, the impression the senator left to me is the sense of Justice. Her incessant “corruption-busting” campaign left a remarkable ink in my mind. Her words gave me the primitive fragments of my moral and political principles that will soon be developed throughout the years. In practice, I admit that when I overhear news that disgusts me concerning the way our politicians behave behind and in front of the closet, including their monkey businesses, there are times that I give furious comments regarding how should they treat the people and how should they do their jobs. When I do this, I oftentimes remember that there is one senator who knows what I am talking about and hear my voice. I was 10 years old at this and I know how dark the Philippine politicians are.


Image: Santiago’s Profile in the Hall of Awardees at Ramon Magsaysay Foundation Awards for Leadership

Compared to my former approvals, I am not the only one who rejoiced when she attacked one of the most reviled politicians who came from my home province of Cagayan. Just to give a clue, even his fellow Cagayanos did not approve to give him a continuation in controlling the better portion of Cagayan, industrializing the province for the foreigners, ecologically harming the environment by black-sand mining and concentrating political positions to his relatives and allies. No doubt, Cagayanos hate this man but the lady senator was out there reproaching the old man. I feel like the entire province’s voice was heard in minutes or her speech. Not to mention that she challenged him for a debate, that was an uppercut!

I also remember one of my classmates in High School who vocally declared her intense adoration to the Iron Lady. I recalled her saying that she wanted to be like the senator and we both dislike the people she comes to combat in the senate hall. We shared political views about the lady and habitually includes her in our deep conversations alongside scientific breakthrough, philosophical questions, psychological thoughts like the behaviour of our classmates and our own assessment to their attitudes and reasoning (we include the hypothetical influence of their synergy with their chums) and religious doctrines that often goes to the absurd tinkering with the concepts of each religion and cultural significance of that religion to the region. Yes, we could create a caboodle of thesis questions mounting from the senator’s recent statements and it ladders up at least not in the technical derivatives because we are just high school students.

This simply means that the senator might have influenced vast amount of the Filipino youths including me and my friends; and her persona fumes a lot of intellectual discussion with my friend alone. That is why her legacy has greatly defined the pillars of my political, philosophical and even moral beliefs. She is not just a senator or a woman; she changed my mind and almost certainly my life and future. I will never forget the teacher I never met.

Remembering the Iron Lady of Asia is pushing me to pursue a degree in Law. It ignites my inner sense of Justice, my belligerent and spirited side. I will jubilantly tell my children that she is one of the greatest people who influenced me and that they are fortunate to live in the day that she lived to tell her tale. Right now, one of my primary models to my moral, political and more like philosophical principles have peacefully passed away. The kind of Senator I will always elect, the epitome of Justice, the Woman we will never forget will never die for the Iron she wrought never rusts and eternally honed by her legacy to the Filipino youth, to the country and to the world.

The Iron Lady of Asia made her niches in our hearts, her memory resounds undying, and for the generations to come, lessons of principles, that is the time when the Iron turns Gold.

“In my view, leadership is the courage to take risks in defense of a position that is both legal and moral. The politician who tries to become a wise guy by becoming friends to everybody – corrupt or not – is not a leader.”
― Miriam Defensor Santiago, Stupid is Forever

Miriam Palma Defensor-Santiago (1945-2016)
Rest in Peace Madame The Great

#RIPMiriamSantiago #PaalamMiriam #MiriamShallReturn
(Black and White Image from Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation Awardees Profile Section)

via Daily Prompt: Shine