Monthly Archives: January 2015

Getting older…

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Time flies with an incredible speed.

I was saddened by a realization that I am not getting any younger. Yesterday, I have just turned 27 and honestly I am quite anxious about being in this age as I feel like I’m knocking on the door of adulthood where being bold and sensible is a requisite.

Too bad, thinking about it makes me scared and pressured. Prior my birthday, I have examined myself on how I have grown as a person. One moment I was this carefree and innocent kid and with just a flick of an instance, I am now the sensible yet troubled adult. Well, with that I agree with what Ellen Glasgow has to say about growing old: “The older I grow the more earnestly I feel that the few joys of childhood are the best that life has to give.”

At 27 I still yearn for those carefree moments I had when I was a child. If only there’s a choice I will forever cling to my childhood. Childhood for me is the representation of those happy times on which things weren’t so serious.Childhood is the time I spent on the streets playing with busload of friends. Childhood is a flash of lurid memories etched on our smiles back in kindergarten days. Childhood is a beautiful scar brought by our mischievous and hyperactive actions of being a brat. And childhood, in the eyes of a lad who is growing old, is nothing but a fleeting memory of a joyful yesterday.

As a young child back then who had spent his childhood years knowing and appreciating the beauty of living in the countryside, I was accustomed to so many adventurous things. I could vividly recall on how my youthful escapade had transpired in my small yet treasured place called “Tarahid”. Tarahid was home to me for about seventeen years until I left to study and find a living somewhere else. This bucolic place in Panganiban Catanduanes was our playground for it boasts an array of rice field so scenic especially during planting season.

I, together with my play buddies before, also experienced the bliss of having to ride the carabao’s back in many summer afternoons. Apart from spending most of my time in the springy turfs, I have had also a blast from scouring the so called “suba” at the back of our house, and this long stretch “suba” (creek) spreads out to the vastness of the sea up to the Pacific Ocean.

From the time my grandparents had indulged themselves in gravel and sand business, on which they happened to own two motorboats being moored in the creek on our backyard, was also the time I acquainted my younger self to the adventures brought by the sea. Back then, our playtime includes catching small crabs that are hiding from small holes and tin cans during low tide, catching the ever elusive “tabaysak” (mudfish) with our bare hands, and playing with sand turned into hard balls, letting it clash and battle with each other which we tagged as a royal rumble.

I am so grateful, then, that the roads in “tarahid” and even in other barrios in our town weren’t cluttered by vehicles that we’re able to play “Patintetero”, “Piko”, “langit at lupa” “tumbang preso” and my favorite of all, “taguan”(hide and seek) without minding our safety brought by the threat of vehicular accidents. Would I be able to experience this kind of childhood, had I been born somewhere else? Maybe not. Thus, I am so thankful that the place where I grew up has given me enough space to enjoy one of the important phases of a person’s life — childhood. I am wondering if what makes me feel this utter yearning to bring back the old times. Sometimes I would think that maybe the place where I grew up and the people who had been part of it have something to do with the nostalgia I am feeling. As Sam Ewing put it, “When you finally go back to your old hometown, you find it wasn’t the old home you missed but your childhood.” True, I miss the childhood itself since it comprises the entirety of nostalgic ingredients such as the characters or the people behind a memory, the place or the plot that makes it more vivid and the overall experience that is worth retelling and recalling.

Now, as I say all over again, I realized how lucky I am to have a retentive memory on which I can store the detailed fragments of my childhood, though I knew that these blissful recollections will forever remain as an intangible replay that can be played all over again only on my mind.

Looking at my 27-year-old self now, of course, it would be awkward to do those naive things I have done as a child. It is expected, with this age bracket, that I’ll be acting more sensibly. The pathway to being a child to adulthood is quite dissimilar wherein it is more complex and stressful in the latter. If before, as a child, you didn’t worry too much and what only bother you are worries like what and where to play, and other insubstantial things, now you get to be bombarded with real problems, problems that can weaken even your tough and old physical frame.

As of now, I am getting used to what they call problems of adult like paying bills for different essential services such as electric bill, water bill, house rental, housing loan, etc. I have also conditioned myself from the word drudgery wherein I need to battle the exhausting, boring and unpleasant work just to serve the necessities of life. At times, I am displeased of the thought that I need to work really hard just to survive, unlike when I was a kid on which I get to be served upon waking up with the meals that my parents had prepared. At times, when I am alone, tired and beset by many predicaments, I entertain the thought of going back home to my parents and again beg for the comfort they bring.

Adulthood, the phase where I am now, is troubling and a bit scary. This perhaps the reason on why I wanted to stay young, like a child with a carefree and untroubled spirit. But as they say, only those coward people refuse to grow old and I am not a coward. I just feel tired sometimes, that I wish to go back at those sweet childish days that are so relaxing. And you can’t blame me on that. Anyway, there’s still beauty about growing old because through this, we get to acquire the wisdom to learn and understand the real meaning and the sole purpose of our existence.

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Missing the Rustic life…

Stuck in traffic in the chaotic streets of Manila, I began to utter words of disgust as to what was taking me like eternity into a supposedly short visit to a friend who decided to stay and find a living in the metropolis. Wondering, I opened the bus curtain and gazed outside. Well, the same helter- skelter set up which is common in most of the cities in the Philippines have then resurfaced. I should not be surprised though, after all, this is Manila and what other things can I expect if not about its proverbial road congestion?

I reclined myself and eased away my sight from the busy people cramming the sidewalk, the beggars on every corner, the vendors whose stalls were partly lodged on the road, the rickety jeepneys and buses racing side by side and the maddening sight of garbage piled anywhere. For a while I grappled at this pathetic sight but later surrendered and sighed. Sometimes, moment like this makes me think about the goodness of having to spend the early episodes of my life in the province.

Typical Promdi kids sporting an innocent and carefree spirit.

Typical Promdi kids sporting an innocent and carefree spirit.

Talking about the province, I have had the chance to experience the life which is very much different from the urban subsistence. The restfulness is what makes the difference more elaborate between the two settings, on where, it is more relaxed in the province than in the city. The disarrayed system is one of the many bad effects of industrialization in the city, the very cause on why there is heavy traffic on the road, and on why the chaotic environment is underway. The situation makes me think about those people who permanently dwell in places like Manila, those who don’t have the luxury to afford living in posh subdivisions, those people like my friend whom I’m going to visit who can only afford living in shanties and those fellows who don’t have provinces to go home to. They need to, in whichever way possible, bear the haphazardly kind of environment day in, day out.

Well, I am not saying that living in cities in the Philippines has no beauty at all. In fact many people are still attracted to its allure, leaving their piece of wealth in the province and taking guts just to taste the urban life. I, too, was one of them. I have thought that greener pastures are in the city, much greener than the fields I have been seeing ever since (or so I thought). I have tasted everything the city could offer then—the glamorous night life, the classy corporate jobs, the excitement and wonders brought by malls and other convenient centers, the fancy diners, the technology and innovations that make life a bit easier, and most of all the promise of progress which, in the most practical sense, attracted the rural folks to embrace the city life.

However, in times like when I glance at the bus window and all I could see is the city’s messy atmosphere, I feel like withdrawing or trading all the advantages it can offer to the simple charm brought about by living a rustic life. For about seventeen years, I have had the luxury to enjoy what the province can offer. Having spent my childhood in one of the beautiful towns of Catanduanes, a place we call Panganiban that, in one way or the other, resembles into a small paradise made me feel fortunate. I say fortunate because I don’t need to grapple with the chaotic scenarios like the traffic and other undesirable things we see in the metropolis.

Back in my small town (Panganiban), I was blessed that our humble home is nestled in front of a vast rice field and in close proximity to a long stretch of creek, wherein I can enjoy the pastoral view. In the morning I would see farmers busy doing business in the fields. There are those who collect snails, plow using carabao, plant rice and if it’s harvesting season, there are those farmers who pile hay and children who play kites. And often I would see those small wooden boats sailing in the creek back and forth. I would also see fishermen, crabbers, and even children who play mud at the creek. These are the recurring scenes on my mind, scenes that depict the rural life, which perhaps became the reason on why I was always yearning for a laid-back life in the province.

“A woman carrying a shrimp push net (Agahid).”
Creeks ( Suba) provide the people of Panganiban a source of food and income. Aside from delectable crabs, shrimps also thrive on it. Shrimps like crabs give the town people the means to satisfy their daily needs. If there’s no food at the table, one can just grab his/her shrimp push net and just descend on the waters.

Crabbers are group of folks that comprise the labor force in Panganiban. Panganiban being blessed with abounding sea creatures—crabs, paved a way to creating a decent livelihood for its people. These folks endure the hardships of being exposed to the heat of the sun for a whole day throwing and hoisting the traditional ring-shaped crab nets with the hope of catching more crabs to take home for their family.

Crabbers are group of folks that comprise the labor force in Panganiban. Panganiban being blessed with abounding sea creatures—crabs, paved a way to creating a decent livelihood for its people. These folks endure the hardships of being exposed to the heat of the sun for a whole day throwing and hoisting the traditional ring-shaped crab nets with the hope of catching more crabs to take home for their family.

The traffic, the pathetic sight of those illegal settlers, the beggars, the pile of garbage and the crimes are just few of the reasons on why I always wanted to go home. Go home to a place where I can enjoy walking on the road. Go home to a place where I can go fishing on the creek. Go home to a place that is orderly, quiet and relaxing.

Back to the place where I was at the moment, I opened all over again the bus curtain and gazed outside. As expected, the traffic has barely moved an inch. Again, I lounged at my seat and sighed.