Sitting on a couch with Engelbert Humperdinck’s music being played on the radio has for a while, transported me back to those good old days of childhood. Music of such genre, or the so called oldies but goodies was Papa’s favorite. I used to hear them every Sunday and I, too, had grown fond of it.
I have a lot of good memories from such smooth ballad type of music, and most of them, happened on Sundays. Well, perhaps, as for most people Sunday is family day, a time apt for relaxation, where parents have no work to attend to and children are just idling under the sun. It seems that in this specific day, things are in slow motion, giving ample time for people to make memories together or simply reminisce about the former times.
There was this specific time back then, when the audio cassette player was the fad. We have one at our house where Papa used to play Engelbert Humperdinck’s songs like: A man without love, There goes my everything, The way it used to be and several others. These are the songs that, even up to now, fill me with nostalgia. I remember that we used to bring that musical instrument during our Sunday picnic at Tamahuyan.
Tamahuyan is my family’s escape, our comfort place. It is a beautiful islet having a long stretch gravelly aisle that can be reached through a small banca or motorboat, and is situated few kilometers from the port near our house. Often, we pay a visit to a family friend who owns the place and spend time chatting over their warm company, while enjoying good music, eating luscious seafood and appreciating the beauty of the sea while it’s free.
It has been a family practice every Sunday to visit the two old fellows who live there. Lolo July and Lola Imay as we fondly called them has found solace living away from the hustle and bustle of our town. Lolo July was of Spanish descent. He has this seemingly strict stance that, for a short while, made me feel quite uneasy towards him. However, that impression was quickly replaced by admiration because of his kindness. Lola Imay has been the ever gentle and soft spoken woman who has a way with words. Her supple voice when she speaks is still carved in my thoughts. I could still remember her enchanting stories about the fairies, the elves and other mythical creatures which I believe to be true which, from the time immemorial, has inhabited Tamahuyan.
These two affable beings together with my grandparents had formed a cohesive bond which could be considered as a connection similar to a family. Yes, each of us was treated like their own family. They even found pleasure of cooking us their renowned dish called “pinangat” (fish vinegar stew) cooked in a traditional clay pot, which according to them, is only being served for special visitors. For so many Sundays that we used to huddle together at their place I can say we’ve had the best of them. But things, of course, have an end. When sickness got the better of Lolo July and the need to take him to the city for medical care became so urgent, the Sunday picnic took a halt.
When Lolo July finally joined the Creator and Lola Imay moved under the care of her children in the city, Tamahuyan was left abandoned. Gone are those Sundays of storytelling and wonderful bonding. But like the music we used to hear which brings memories back, Tamahuyan too, has carved a reverberating impression of happiness that always remind me of the beautiful people who once lived there.
Sitting on a couch with Engelbert Humperdinck’s songs still being played on the radio, I realize that music, as Stevie Wonder put it, “is what gives us memories. And the longer a song has existed in our lives, the more memories we have of it.”