Author Archives: john tugano

About john tugano

A twenty-something lad, who wishes to unravel more of society's unfathomable ironies.

Rebirth

Counting back the months, the very time I left this page made me feel so distant to the talent which I thought was my strongest suit— writing.

Today, I’m starting to re-establish my once mighty self to at least bring back the vigor as well as the excitement of sharing my thoughts on this world  called blogosphere.

Today, as I savor the silence brought by this splendid solitude I am likewise scribbling words, trying very hard to squeeze a thought, a sensible thought that could end this long drought, a dearth of admirable idea put into texts which in one way or another I call blogs.

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It’s been a long absence and such span has dampened my once witty intellect, but there’s a flicker of hope I am seeing, especially from those who are waiting for my comeback, those who patiently wait for my new post. I hope that starting this year, that glimmer of optimism can sustain the life of this blog—A life that leaves a mark.

This is a self-proclamation of my dramatic comeback. Hi 2017!


Challenges ahead…

 

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All hell breaks loose.

This is how I feel at times, especially now, that I have been idle for four days already. There was no demand for overtime work in the company where I am working.

Literally, I have been staring at the ceiling, thinking how I can turn my ass in a productive mode. I’m not used to staying in the house earning nothing. Usually, I just take one day off on my compressed schedule and spend the rest of the vacant days rendering OT.  But what can I do?  Some companies, including mine, resort to cut some finances. The economy is not so good these days, I think.

I was at the grocery store yesterday to buy some goods my wife has prudently listed. As I walked towards the various displays of commodities, my eyes were glued to the array of canned milk for the infants. My mind swirled at the thought of having a baby to which I felt ecstatic and scared at the same time. I feel excited, of course, to have that adorable being that would complete our family. We have been married for two months now and we do anticipate another role to play, and that is being a parent. However, in times like this, wherein the main source of my income is being put to a test, I seem to get scared of some unlikable possibilities that might come ahead of me and my family.

At work, familiar stories about parenthood seemed to be the flavor of the talks my workmates used to indulge on. During breaks or after duty, they converse on this topic. Curiously, most of the time, I caught myself eavesdropping. I sensed that in this issue, be it in the perspective of men or women, they both believe that is a difficult yet fulfilling phase anyone can go through.

Sooner or later, I will be a father and I will be like my co-workers. I would also be minding how much these things cost—the diaper, milk, vitamins and other necessities a baby would need and should have. I will be like them, constantly looking for opportunities to earn, and though that sounds rigorous I don’t have a choice but to take it.  This is how it should be, anyway.

I have seen workmates of mine taking extra work wherein some prefer selling goods while some apply for a part-time job. Any of the two, once dictated by the situation, will be my choice. And now that the company I thought can sustain us all throughout is facing some setbacks, I can’t help myself but feel paranoid.

And thus, I warmly welcome any part-time job—any means of income— as long as it is noble. Or better yet, start finding a job that compensates well. Oh, it must be difficult, but as they say this is how life should be…so be it.


Fish balls, friends and dreams

I have a sense of fondness towards fish balls—the one being sold on the streets, not because it really taste good, but because there’s something special about it that reminds me of my past.

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Yesterday, I paid a visit to a once familiar place­­­—the old sleepy subdivision in San Pedro, Laguna where I used to stay during the period of my “OJT” back in 2006. The nostalgia of the times gone is what urged me to go back and reminisce.

The first thing I searched for, after reaching the place, was the small sari-sari store that my old friends and I used to chill out with. I remember the many nights of joy shared in this little space, the many sticks of fish balls and the many stories of love, frustration and future dreams.

I remember that once upon a time, there are four young dreamers unified by the same fate, four innocent young men who wish to bring change in each of their deprived situations. I am one of those four youngsters and I must say that life must be really hard for the rest of us back then.

We were all independent lad who came from different provinces. We all came from poor families and all depends from the scanty allowance remitted by our parents. We’re all enrolled in the same college, trained in the same company, lived in one subdivision and shared one dream: to be successful.

I still can recall how we marvel after seeing rich people driving luxurious cars and living in beautiful houses in our subdivision. We wish that someday we can own that too. We also envy those college students partying after class in a nearby bar. At times we got tired computing how much spare money they have to afford such social gathering frequently. But sometimes, we cringe at the thought that they weren’t doing well in school and that partying is one way to vent their frustration. Such situations, reminded us that we’re still lucky that even partying for us could mean hanging out in our favorite sari-sari store, enjoying some sticks of fish balls while chatting anything about life. At least with this, even without the flashy disco lights and bottles of beer, we’re doing great on our studies and our situation was our inspiration.

I can never forget what Nanay Tess (the storekeeper) told us: “There’s no way to go but up”. We may hit the rock bottom today, but tomorrow we will have more than enough, but that would only happen if we will cling to our dreams.

And yes we did. Couple years passed and we’re up on our “OJT”, same with our studies. The time has come to leave the place that cuddled us in our struggling years. It’s time to leave the sleepy subdivision and the unforgettable sari-sari store in it, the fish ball stall, Nanay Tess and her advice, and most of all my friends who just like me who believed in the power of dreams.

The night before we packed our bags, we agreed to spend some of our earned funds from our allowance to celebrate our triumph. We rushed to Nanay Tess to have some beer and of course our favorite fish ball on our table. We were so happy that we made it against the many rigors which came to challenge us. From there, we made a pact under the power of friendship that we will do well in the years to come.

That night was the night we promised to always keep in touch.

A decade has passed and I was back at the very place. I realize that there were handfuls of changes made on what I thought a sleepy subdivision. Nanay Tess and her sari-sari store were gone. Gone was the fish ball stall and is now converted into a burger stand. And above all, gone was the friendship that was born a long time ago.

As I glimpsed of the changes brought by time, I can’t help myself but shed tears. Really, there’s nothing permanent in this world—only change, and time is such a big factor.

To this day, I don’t know where my old friends are. We did not keep our promise to always keep in touch. The last time I heard of them, they are in different parts of the globe while I stayed locally and found a decent job which somehow relates to what I studied back in college. I am not yet successful, though but hopefully soon.

Perhaps, my comrades—the three of them— are all doing well now. But I know, just like me; they also miss the stick of fish balls and the bittersweet memories.

 


A Day at Kumagat beach…

Grabbing the pure delight of my one week vacation, I together with my wife traveled to my hometown in Panganiban Catanduanes. It was my wife’s first time to visit the place where I was born and raised. Even before, I have told her about the beautiful tourist spots that we have in our province. And she, being a nature lover, inevitably fell in love with the stories of places I have told her.

It was Thursday afternoon when we arrived home and the familiar scent of the countryside welcomed us. My wife felt an air of joy upon seeing the bucolic set up on my hometown. She also took heed of the beautiful landscapes on the wayside during our ride from Virac (provincial capital) to Panganiban. Both of us were feeling ecstatic about the thought of spending our idle days appreciating the beauty of nature. Prior to our trip, we have listed some destinations that we ought to visit. Unfortunately, we only reached one and that was the Lolong point lighthouse and its shoreline just beneath called the Kumagat beach in Panay Island, Panganiban Catanduanes.

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In spite of that, I never felt any disappointment that even it has been weeks now I still can’t get KUMAGAT beach off my mind. The image of its turquoise water, creamy white sand, the verdant meadow on its backdrop and the visually appealing view of the Lolong point lighthouse is still lodged in my head. Like my wife it’s my first time to set foot on this place. The excitement gets doubled as both of us were having no idea of what to expect except some second hand accounts coming from other people who had been there.

Kumagat Beach resort

Kumagat Beach resort

Came Saturday morning and off we went together with my family. The comfort foods that we brought were enough to ease the long hours of sitting while journeying on the sea. Sitting on the motorboat made me feel quite uneasy, a little bit afraid as the wider picture of the Pacific Ocean looms clearer on my sight. Once in a while big waves showed up to put some little scare on our faces. However, the beauty of the ocean comforts us, especially those intricate rock formations standing mighty against the giant lurch of waves .After a few minutes of anticipation, we came face to face with the huge edifice, a tall round tower, which the people of our town tagged as the “Parola” (lighthouse) nestled atop the mountain. While the boat gets closer, the coastal building grows grander causing me to feel the unexplainable ecstasy while we were approaching. It was perhaps because of the scenic, panoramic and paradise-like landscape that awaits us.

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Not a moment longer, we anchored on a long strip of white creamy sand, a beach peculiarly named as Kumagat. Looking at my wife and other members of the family, I was able to comprehend how beautiful the place is, as their jaws seemed to drop because of the overwhelming feeling of awe. Also, we were enamored by the clear greenish blue water, wherein star fish and other weird sea creatures grow in abundance.

Kumagat beach frontage...

Kumagat beach frontage…

We started our picnic by laying out things on the ground. The cottages were full so we were spared from paying a hundred peso. The surrounding was cozy, enough to soothe tired veins. While I was sitting on the sand, plainly observing the emotional tone of the day, I realized how blessed I was for having stepped in this wonderful piece of earth for the first time. I am indeed so lucky to have an easy access to beautiful places like this Kumagat beach.

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I shifted my attention to the children playing on the shore. The smile on their faces was really infectious. I watched them run, play and swim. I signaled my wife that we should take a swim too, and together we descended into the waters. We were so delighted how the sea maintained its virginal state. It was totally awesome.

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Our short trip will not be complete if we are not going to climb the Lolong point lighthouse. Of course, we did. My wife and I braved those sloping rocky side of the hill and painstakingly maintained our balance not to slip down the cliff. While traversing, we were rewarded by a magnificent view of the ocean, a beautiful view that can par with locations of foreign film productions, producing amazing films with amazing nature backcloths.

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When we finally reached the lighthouse, we climbed the staircase and discovered how romantic it was to be on the top. We portrayed like Jack and Rose in Titanic while facing the vast ocean, thinking the islets as the icebergs and the lighthouse as the ship. The feeling atop was surreal, more of a dreamlike and close to fantasy. In short, it was magical.

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Indeed, our short jaunt was one of the happiest, exciting and worth remembering trip we ever had. I am eyeing on when will be the next time that I will get to experience the taste of serenity brought by the sea. I hope it won’t be long.


Simple Joy…

After receiving a little incentive from work, I planned to have a little jaunt with my family. Summer is not yet over, and we still have time to indulge our busy bods to some splashing and plopping into the water. Since we are on a tight budget, I knew we can’t afford to go in far-flung places to spend a day or two, either on a beach or any cool nature spots.

 From the time I came to live here in the metro, I had let many summers pass by, without me taking advantage of it. Summer has always been that same usual day full of workloads. And I, being a busy bee gradually forgot how fun it is during summer. Thus, when my significant other requested for an excursion I was left with no other choice but to give in to her plea. For a while, I have been seeing her salivating on the photos she stumbled upon on her friends on FB having stepped on different summer destinations, or doing any summer stuff. It makes her ecstatic, but most of the time, envy.

 To the rescue, I called her older sister to join us for a Sunday night swimming and scoured several resorts near our place so I can have them accommodated for an overnight stay. We, then, began on our preparation early in the morning, bought and cooked foods for the trip, and took a nap afterwards, readying our body for what we would call a night.

 Eight o’clock in the evening and we were in the place. I could see the excitement painted on the face of my family members. The place was good, enough to replenish our bodies. The pool was clean and there were few adult and kiddie slides to thrill us. We huddled at the cottage to eat what we’ve got, share stories of delight and for a while waited and rested until our body became more fitting for a swim.

with my family...

with my family…

 Sitting on a ledge, I got a clearer view of my family swimming in the pool. Realizations started springing in my thoughts. Simple things as they say are the ones that matter. Just like what I’ve done to make my family happy. We may not be able to visit famed beaches and get to experience luxurious accommodations still we were happy. Seeing their fulfilled faces with pure smiles on it while making waves in the water is really fulfilling.

 That night was one of the few summer nights to remember, I must say.

 


Amor de Madre ( A mother’s Love)

A mother and child by Sharon Gracias.

A mother and child by Sharon Gracias.

For a moment, I was thinking of a morning when my siblings and I had to gather at a table, sit together for breakfast, while Mama on the other hand, had to wait and observe patiently in one corner.

Mama as she stood there watching us had something on her mind: A strange wish that all her children may remain forever young. She fears that our home built by strong connection, of teases and loud laughter would soon turn into a sad and hollow home if all of her children finally reached the maturity stage. Bit by bit, she got it pictured out that one day, sooner or later, we would leave her to find our destined place in this world and though against her will, still she believes it to be inevitable and part of life. She would often quote: “It is sad for a parent, especially mothers –the more emotional one, to see their children leave the house one by one.”

My parents are like newlyweds now; they’re alone at our house. Mama would wait for Papa to come home after work, serve him food and chit chat for a while then sleep. The days have gone humdrum, quiet and sad thus I can empathize how they feel these days. Mama would always sigh and utter during our telephone conversation words like “if only I can turn back time” or “I miss yesterday”.

Back in the time when we were still under one roof, I can vividly recall how she would yell and glare at us, especially at times of our crabbiness. She has this worn-out slipper ready to land on our skin if suddenly, tantrums attack. Often she’s mad when we make fun of her Bougainvillea arrayed in front of our humble abode. Most of the time, it tests her patience that she’d just scratch her head turning the blame to my father on why she was given four stubborn sons. However, at this point of time, she confides how she longed for our stubbornness that sometimes, joking was her way of consoling herself. “It is better to have someone here to get furious with” she jokes.

During our phone conversation, she’d beg us to take a leave from work, take a respite, and go home even for a while. She’d often emphasize on how our work has taken its toll on our family. And by listening to her voice, I could sense on how she missed us. Like her, we also long for the time that we can all be together just like before as we, her children, really miss the things that she’d been doing for us back home.

Mama really takes good care of us. She’s the one who attends to our needs as Papa was always busy looking for business outside. She’s in charge of waking us up in the morning, to fixing our beds, and up to preparing our meals. She tied herself to being a full-time mother, gave up her supposedly teaching career, and taught us instead.

It is said that once a woman became a mother; it is also the time they surrendered themselves to servitude which every single day of their life could mean a struggle, a survival against the stream of responsibility. That’s how they are (out of love and passion) willing to sacrifice. I can’t fathom how deep mothers can be in understanding the needs of their children that if only they can offer their lives they would. Perhaps, it is what they call the duty that is love.

Take my mom for example, an epitome of an unassuming, selfless being who nurtured the four of us. From the day of conception, to the day we were born in this world, she never stopped caring. I still remember on how she would organize our stuff before going to school, stay late at night and check if we’ve done our homework, make sure if we’ve eaten enough, and on how she wishes to own our sickness and be the one inflicted rather than see us suffer.

Mama seems unaware of the innumerable things she has done for the family.  Oftentimes, she feels sorry for her shortcomings. For the times that, she and Papa, fail to give us what’s the best unlike other blessed parents can.  And for the times like she refused to buy us what’s the hip or the current trend. Mama in behalf of Papa feels sorry for that, for all that.

Now that I’m already an independent working lad, I come to ask myself: Have I really reciprocated the unconditional love my mom has bestowed on me? Though she would always say that her love is not payable by any material bliss as she believes that to care and to love is to be a mother, I feel as if I owe her something in exchange. Something that is big.

Last Christmas, my siblings and I took a break from work and went home to our province. Mama felt so glad that despite of conflicting schedules, we were able to spend the important season with them. Seeing all of us on the same bed, made her welled up in tears. She just can’t contain the overwhelming happiness that stirs her heart.

Yiyun Li a Chinese writer, for a fact, had perfectly described how my mom feels when she wrote that “Being a mother must be the saddest yet the most hopeful thing in the world, falling into a love that, once started, would never end.”


Changing the way the world is powered

Four days ago, there’s this imperceptible milestone in my life which I unintentionally forgot to celebrate, not because I put less importance on it, it’s just that it is fleeting that it took several days for me to realize it.

It feels like it was just yesterday when I first stepped on the premises of “SunPower”, the company which for seven years embraced me. I could still remember the very day when my naive and ignorant self, first joined the bandwagon of hopefuls, who by the stroke of sheer luck or wits had dared jumping over limits just to catch what we believed then as a dream job.

A dream job; I have longed for it ever since. My simple idea of having a stable source of income, the pure thought of exercising what I learned from college, and my youthful yearnings to later buy this and that, urged me to accept the post that was offered to me by one of the grandest photovoltaic company in my country, or even in the world —SunPower and I was barely nineteen then, so young and full of optimism, sort of I-Can-Do-It-All type of individual.

Being in this company, I have developed a sense of pride as I am one of those who wish to change the way the world is powered. I came to know the goodness behind the mission and vision of our organization, the benefits it wishes to impart for the humanity. And to be a part of it is undeniably a fulfillment, especially for anyone who is a novice in the working world.

I have started pretty awesome, competitive and most of all positive towards attaining my goal: to be successful. I aimed to have a position in the training department as it was the only place I felt throwing myself into. I felt I was designed for that job. And considering my position then and my technical background, it would be a big leap if ever. However, things aren’t as easy as I have imagined. I realized that the personal development fiber etched on my character wasn’t enough to counter attack those hindrances I’m about to face. When shoved in the sphere of battle, of daunting competition, I got myself embroiled in the dilemma of trusting myself and so my capabilities. I got intimidated. I felt small against those contenders of mine. That overriding fear of rejection that lurks in my system consumed me and killed my dream. It’s then that I refused to try, shied away and joined another bandwagon—the bunch of hopeless.

The presence of enthusiasm that once thrived in me vanished just like bubbles in the air. I succumbed to self-pity then that I started entertaining thoughts about leaving, instilled in my mind the possibility of finding a better niche— somewhere I could start anew. But, the same problem resurfaced. Again, I have lost the courage to pursue as I have things to consider, things not only for me, but for my family as well who hopes to be saved from the harshness of life. In short, I was burdened by responsibilities that it practically turned me into someone who plainly see work as a mere source of income.

I have lost my guiding trail and the will to broaden myself took its back seat. I then resorted to playing as easy-go-lucky kind of employee. However, it does not bother me as I’m not the only one who’s stuck in the same midpoint. We are huge in number, why worry, anyway?

Well, that’s how I am, playing a bit safe in the middle ground. Being in this kind of state made me console myself from the benefits it somehow gives me. Such benefits include lesser stress, mind boggling workloads and take home assignments unlike those workmates of mine, holding high positions who still bring their home office tasks and were forced to answer calls with the matters regarding work even on their off-duty.To say that I’m happy not to experience these, would just add up to my being sarcastic as I am imagining myself that even for one time, for the sake of experience I would feel the same way as them.

Time and again, flies so fast that I enjoyed the comforts of being on the same ground, of being familiar to the ordinary that I became flustered of the so called change. Change has been the subject of my fear, the root of my being stagnant. I feared to leave my comfort zone and just settled with the same environment that used to greet me every day. I have learned to enjoy the company of my friends whom I breathe the same pathetic sentiments with. Sentiments about how grueling the tasks we have, how boring it was to be doing same stuff over and over again, how strict the newly implemented rules are, how annoying the bosses who demand more than we can give, how scant our salary, how unfair the management when it comes to promoting employees, these and many more are the unending plight we tend to face every day.

Yet, I’m still here, seeking an answer to the question “What happened?”

What happened to a once vigorous being so full of wits who thought the world can be his playground?

What happened to his dreams and aspirations?

What happened to me?

That’s the big question I’m starting to unravel as of now. Yesterday, I boarded the shuttle van of those from our regular shift, those who work in the office and I have witnessed how my former comrades who are now promoted were changed by time. As I looked at them, there’s this surge of envy that’s creeping in my nerves. Look at them; they are now the person they envisioned to be. Had I been courageous enough, maybe I am now, like them, successful.

Even things did not go according my way, I realized that God is putting hints for me to veer into another path, a different realm, perhaps, somewhere I can flourish and that is maybe to make use of my hidden talent. But that doesn’t mean I will leave the comforts of being in this job. SunPower has been my companion ever since and all I have for this organization is a big gratitude carved in my heart. Thus, I say, especially to my work friends who had been stuck in the same limbo: Breakaway guys, and to those who are gutsy and had found success in their goals: kudos to all of you.

Seven years is quite long and I’m just unmindful of the contribution I have made for the planet earth and its people. It’s been seven years that I’m changing the way the world is powered through the solar panels crafted by my own hands. It made me feel proud somehow that the organization, on which I am part of, continues to share its noble purpose. And it’s the very thing that matters, I believe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Burning bridges

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I overheard a sensational drama at work a week ago. A colleague of mine, holding a very delicate position in our department, got involved in a seemingly verbal brawl against another colleague. Shit happens sometimes as there are really inevitable courses that might happen at work which can ignite an argument at any given time.

Glimpsing over the scenario, I got a better grasp of where the problem started. Colleague A is a newly appointed internal process assessor and colleague B is a mere production crew. Colleague A and B were both friends not until that sparking scenario. Being new to her position, colleague A has been taking the time putting herself in the limelight by being so dedicated to her post, that she attends to the minutest detail of every process. She has been so busy pointing out mistakes, plotting accountability and unpleasant consequences, especially towards her lower colleagues specifically colleague B. Colleague A was oblivious about her being consumed by her job that she’s stepping other people and that she was burning bridges…

It is an irony on how people mutate into a different character when thrown in the sea of opportunities. Some flaunt their true colors and even their ulterior motives resurface. I hate to say it but it is too common in my workplace that it saddens me to think how my former workmates submit to the process of metamorphosis: from being kind to being rude, considerate to strict, cheerful to snob, humble to proud and most of all, pleading to commanding. Some of my workmates have gained a position and yet they were a different person now. It’s as if they have forgotten the same hardship we lament about when we were on the same level.

The sense of authority can make people change. It gives them power and control over certain things. It turns someone into a person of maturity, the ability to decide on things with enough prudence, but on a sad note, it can also transform certain beings into a voracious monster, especially those with a frail moral integrity who succumb to being consumed by the bliss of power found on their coveted job.

Sometimes I tend to ask myself: What if one day I’ll be entrusted a superior and more delicate position? Would I be like them? Would I be overpowered by the delight it brings? Perhaps, I can only answer it if given the chance to be in their shoes. But if being in their shoes means losing my friends I’d rather not.

I believe that anyone can tactically clamber into advancement without sacrificing the relationship that was once built. Bridges must not be burned and so connections such as friendship must not be traded to the yearnings toward self-promotion. One must not step others just to prove that they are effective and worthy for a certain post.

Even there are many who were misled by the desire of reaching a higher post; those who intentionally or unintentionally deprived others of consideration and those who were devoured by the thought to succeed at the expense of others, I still believe that there are few who are rooted on the ground, no matter what attainment, position or situation they’ve had.

I laud those people who are effective on their posts, not because they were strict but gentle on their way; those people who are kind and humble and not arrogant, as being effective is not about finding faults in people, rather understanding the reason that leads them to commit it.


Nostalgia

Awakened by a loud engine sound, pursued by an irritating blowing of horns, the PNR train forced me to jump out on my bed disturbed and quite irritated.

It was 5:00 in the morning and the dawn is soon to break. I wolfed over a cup of coffee and sat on the veranda. Jeepneys came rushing to the scene; people who were bound to go to work trotted the street and establishments though half-baked ready started opening their windows. Soon after, the morning shifted into a business- as- usual mood.

I sipped the coffee a bit faster as I try to mull over the busy scene. Oh, well, it’s been a while since I last enjoyed the loosened and hassle free type of environment. At one point, the mornings I used to wake up to— several years ago are ways too different from the habitual mornings I am facing everyday here in the City—harried and always on the go.

I wonder how the “promdi” in me, scuffled with the chaotic situation brought about by urban living. Several years passed, I was like a melting iron trying to fit into a mold, conforming to a varying trend that the city has tried to acquaint the people with. And so by now, I am a certified city lad. Gone was the thick accent of being a Bicolano. Gone was the ignorance to high-technology machines such as elevators, escalators, the MRT and the like. However, no matter how adept I am coping with change brought by my current setting still I yearn for that laid back life I’ve had while I was in the province

I am a native of Catanduanes, a place you’ve never heard of, perhaps. It is where I have spent most of my unruffled moments as a kid and as a teen. Thus, when I reminisce about the honeyed stuff I got it in there, nostalgia always purges automatically the tears in me.

Panganiban Catanduanes: My home town. credits to Payo FB page for the photo.

Panganiban Catanduanes: My hometown. credits to Payo FB page for the photo.

I remember the times when I would wake up in the morning feeling so refreshed by the fogs that cover the fields in our front yard. Often I would watch the sun with fondness as it slowly dries the mist on every green leaf and with awe I would seize every moment to breathe the balmy and sweet-smelling atmosphere. And at night I would gaze upon the stars and be enamored by the croaking of frogs on which in the city I hardly could experience.

I also can’t replace the wonder brought by the walking carabaos and cows on the rural road and not the fast and furious cars of the metropolis. The traffic and noise pollution were the things commonly absent from my place. We walk instead of riding a vehicle may it be a kilometer or longer.

We don’t have crowded streets, thus children, most of the time play on it making it as their lair. No wonder, how kids from the city envy to play outside just like what the “promdi” kids do.

Some say, that the cost of living in the city is pricey. Yes, I can attest to that as there is no word such as “free” in there, not even camote-tops or that famous “kangkong”. Everything has a price tag. I could still recall on how our little garden back in my hometown serves as garden of all, wherein our neighbors can freely ask for vegetables planted on it. There is a spirit of sharing even made visible through the exchanging of viands from one neighbor to another. Unlike on where I am staying now, the people whom I happened to call as neighbors were still strangers to me putting such divide— built along the walls.

And when it comes to fresh foods such as fish and other crustaceans, of course, we’re well endowed with that. Based on the geography our little Island is situated where bodies of water is surrounding us, it is natural for us to be of bounty of sea creatures. Since I was too fed up with canned goods and instant noodles I always end up craving for a lip-smacking dishes I used to taste back then. Familiar with “Pagi” (stingray) seasoned with coconut milk drizzled by “malunggay” leaves and some spices? Oh, that’s my favorite.

So many things I have missed since that graceful time long gone; the peaceful seas and rivers I have swum across with, the hills and mountains I climbed thus far, the countless summer I spent under the sun and most of all, the comfort of a slow-paced life which now I really long to have.

Being mired from the memories of yesterday that shaped my wholeness as a person, it is inevitable for me or for anyone who feels the same yearning, not to feel nostalgic and sad. My mother once told me, that no matter how I try to fit myself in a new character, new environment or even to a new situation, I would always wind up to the old and familiar mold and that perhaps, my being a “probinsiyano” is like an indelible mark —tattooed on my personality.

If only I could bring my job at Catanduanes, on that little town of Panganiban, most probably I wouldn’t have to wake up disturbed and agitated by the sound of PNR train, instead I would feel more of inspired from the cackling of hens and peeping of chicks early in the morning. I wouldn’t have to ride a jeep and rush against time. I’ll probably just walk while staring on every idyllic landscape just at the side of the street.

But for now, I’d rather take a bath and again wake myself up from daydreaming. The sun is up I better hurry so I won’t be late. Traffic is waiting.


Sweet Memory

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“You’re too early for the next subject!” She would often exclaim in a classy bearing. Her cute rabbit-like teeth would simultaneously sway with her angry lips. Next, her eyes would stare at us in a silent rage and would just stop after all of us were finally seated.

Suddenly, I find this memory a little weird but sweet. It was a scene way back in high school that my classmates and I had grown fond of. This scene only happens if we’re late in our English class, and it happens too often that I can never forget it.

Suddenly I missed Jennifer Berces, my High school English teacher. For no reason, she popped out of my head and I just remember her. Ma’am Jen had been our mentor during our junior and senior years.  She taught us the same subject—English, the subject which I am very comfortable listening to. I have had several teachers who taught this subject, but it is only Ma’am Jen, in my opinion, who really can give justice to it.

I could remember the way she speaks with her clear and distinct voice as her mouth illustrates the right pronunciation of a certain word. I love looking at her doing just that. I am her silent fan, hoping that one day I will inherit her flair in speaking. While I’m too engrossed appreciating her knack on teaching, some of my classmates find her as the opposite, and for them she is a bore.

Many books can prove that we, as humans, have different interests. Perhaps my classmates didn’t find an English subject as interesting as the other subjects. Consider Math as an example… I hate it so much that I feel so bored understanding numbers and their correlations. I appreciate how my Math teacher would wait for my slow mental grasp to fully comprehend a certain lesson.  I love her for that but not the subject she ought to instill in my mind. I am bored of Math and it is not perhaps in the circle of my interests.

Exactly ten years ago, I wrote something about my classmates and teachers which I entitled “The Class Comedic Traits”. It was a long essay filled with comical adventure that has transpired over our four years stay in our Alma mater. I wish to show that essay to Ma’am Jen, but I know it was badly written like the ones I submitted to her during our essay exams and so I just let my classmates appreciate it, without her knowing.

I did not know if Ma’am Jen noticed my willingness to learn under her care. I did not know how she finds me as her student. The only thing that consoles me is that I got a passing grade from her. Not bad anyway. Maybe up to now, she didn’t know how she impacted my life. She was really a great influence.

This year is our Alumni Homecoming and she’s one of the many teachers I want to thank and visit. I want her again to utter: “You’re too early for the next subject!”