Tag Archives: panganiban catanduanes

“Funny Boy”

photo grabbed from the web.

Stretching his body, Danny a 43-year-old down-and-out man pushed his feet on his slippers and went out his barracks just at the back of his master’s abode. The sun was up and it means a long day for him in the sea. He was a little bit late for breakfast. All members of his master’s family had already eaten, sorting for what’s been left was his only choice.

He opened the half-covered table in search for food. One piece of fried tilapia and a bowl of “ginataang langka” emerged on his sight. It delighted his senses that, out of joy, he profusely praised the heavens for having a generous lord. Wolfing over such nice meal took him several minutes, and after his tummy has been filled, he went to get his shovels, while readying his powerful trunk for a strenuous activity of the day.

Danny has been with his master for over a decade. He works as a seaman–the one who operates a motorized boat and shovels a boatful of sand from the sea. He loves this kind of job and spends most of his days fulfilling it, that seldom he rests. However, he’s not being paid like a regular worker and yet, by choice, he still stays with them. Mang Enzo, his father, can’t do anything with his son’s resolve. A great wall was built between them right after Danny’s older sister eloped with a guy. Danny accused him as a neglectful father, that if he’s not, he could have managed to attend school. Thus, he left his father and tries to live separately.

Suffering from the bitterness of ignorance, Danny succumbed to manual labors and worked even harder to attain the respect of the people he works for, as he can’t find a living other than that.

In his town, many people call him names, some are funny and some are insulting. Folks sometimes ridicule him because of his physical attributes. His peers see him as a funny half-wit person, only good for amusement. For one good reason, he is deaf, and not all the time he hears them. He just shrugs off those expletives innocently. A Few years back, Danny acquired a new name. He’s been called funny boy, a sobriquet that rhymes with his real name, and resembles with his personality. It’s okay for him and he doesn’t mind.

Danny is very loyal to his master and would do everything, out of his known expertise, just to make them satisfied. For the long years he stayed under his master’s care, he’s treated like a family and vice-versa, and he’s thankful about it. Since it was not his nature to ask for compensation, his master would equip him the things he needs, especially food. It was enough that there’s someone feeding him, which he would work hard in return. Like a carabao, he can be an emblem of industry. It was something that he wants his name to be associated with, anyway.

When Mang Enzo died, some relatives of him, rallied together to bring funny boy back to his birthplace, 91 kilometers far from the town where his master lives. The relatives promised the master that they would be the one to take care of the poor boy. And so Danny went with them, unable to make decisions by himself.

The master and her family went partially lame. They were unable to do things without Funny boy, especially the work in the sea. There’s no one who can par with his might in shoveling sand. The members of the family had depended to him so much that he’s absence impacted them on great weight. But one thing they’re sure, Funny boy will be back. They have shown him what family was like and if he can’t find it there, he’ll probably go home.

Several months passed and funny boy wasn’t funny at all. He has grown pale and thin and his face was a bit of horror, but he was back and that’s for the best. He chose to quit and go home. He walked with bare feet the 91 kilometers distance from his birthplace to his master’s abode. He didn’t have any money for the fare. Still, he pursued, as he didn’t like it there. It was not his nature to work in the forest rather he missed the scent of the sea and the seaman’s job. He also missed the abundance of food and he missed the family he left.

Slowly he got back in his old shape. His master felt operational again and his family was unburdened by tasks of sorts. Everything went back to normalcy.

The universe, however, has a different plan. Funny boy’s master miscalculated things and went bankrupt. The once abundant life progressively became worse. The motorized boats they have for the business slowly faced deterioration, always subjected for repair until it gave up. The once abundant table became scarce with food. Funny boy most of the time goes hungry, but reluctant to share the sentiments. He knew what the family’s predicament was.

Funny boy sensed what was coming and he’s a little bit afraid. When the gravel and sand business of his master took off, he suddenly felt useless. He felt that the connection that binds them is now like a frail strand of thread, and will break anytime soon.

Every day, early in the morning, he would look at the creek, gaze towards the rotten boat, sometimes check on it but would relinquish afterwards after losing hope. Like the boat, his master gave up too. Now, he is thinking of when that frail strand of thread would break and when his master would give up on him too.

He thinks how poignant leave the people who treated him as a family, much more, when he would leave them in this troubled time, however, he needs to survive and his survival can’t be relied to his master. Master is weak and does not need an added burden. Funny boy believes that his expertise is not what they need at this point of time.

By now, he has jumped off to another boat. He has a new master, as generous as his former. Again, he has found a new family. Once more, there is an abundance of food on the table, there is a boat to maneuver and he has a new life to live. However, he was fully aware that things might end at any minute, which, from time to time, his worth as a person might be tested. He knew very well that he should always be on the lookout for life is nothing but a great uncertainty.

Funny boy was once a member of our family. He was my Granny’s reliable house-help.

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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.


High school revisited…

My Alma mater

My Alma mater

Last night I was back at Catanduanes State Colleges Laboratory High school, Panganiban Campus.

The sweet scent of Narra trees arrayed in front of every classroom greeted me. The evening was peaceful and the chilly breeze made it even more nostalgic. It has been ten years since I said goodbye to this very place and now I was back feeling as if things were just from yesterday. Ten years, such great interval, could mean a lot of changes for a school that has a great potential. And yes, my Alma mater being so rich with possibilities has changed a lot. From a simple rural college, it metamorphosed into a university. Indeed a great leap for its students and the institution itself.

Onward to the campus, I walked a little farther from the main gate where I used to stand during flag ceremony. Slowly, I turned my gaze towards the wide basketball court and all I could hear was the non-stop cheering and loud screaming of students from my memory. Still, it is the same game court that witnessed the fun we had during our PE class. This court also reminds me of our former CAT instructor, the times we spent hurdling our penalties, the funny bloopers during serious commands and the sweat we shed under the sun just to satisfy the CAT exhibition drill.

I felt very glad that I could still feel the spirit, think back of old memories of the place which I consider as the fountain of my knowledge, no matter how long I had been away from it. The same feeling I got when I passed by our old Science classroom, the room where I used to believe that I truly have a brain. This is where I first learned how to make an ointment for wounds out of “Makabuhay” plant and many other experiments that ignited my inquisitive mind.

Right beside our Science classroom is another room where our Biology subject is being taught. I realized earlier then, that I was not made for the Sciences. Science is equated with mathematics and they correlate with each other. I am not good with numbers and I hate logic. Well, I’m just being honest. Biology, Chemistry and Physics were the things I found to be sort of a headache.

Talking about Mathematics still, well, this was my predicament which I used to confront everyday. I remember seeking help from my friends who are good with the subject, especially during homework as I can’t count on them during exams. The same can be said with Applied Statistics and Algebra, these are the areas which I have flunked. I can say that coming to terms with these subjects was the most challenging. I remember Mrs. Mercy Cabrera on how she would patiently wait for me to grasp a certain lesson on Algebra. It’s a shame when she would announce it to the class that finally I got what she has been trying to explain. It’s a shame when my classmates would poke fun at me afterwards.

However, after glancing back to the old classrooms where I spent scratching my head caused by these difficult subjects, I felt that I had freed myself from the fears and hesitations I have had before. And all I have now is a sprouting courage that somehow helped me surpass the real challenge connected with it.

The night was becoming colder and as I looked at every familiar edifice, the nostalgia in me seems to cry a little louder. I trotted the aisle going to the school canteen and as I drew closer, I noticed a huge change on its setting. I can no longer see the tables where we used to eat “Pancit bato”. I can no longer trace the aisle where my best friend Jomer used to fall in line awaiting his favorite Pancake prepared by his mom, Tya Myr. How I wish to relive those moments when I, together with Jomer and our girl buddy, Alma would get special attention and favor from the other canteen staff just because Jomer is our friend and her mom Tya Myr was one of the canteen helpers. How I wish to bring back those days, those happy days.

Nestled on the right side of the canteen is our social hall. Nothing much has changed. It is still the same function hall that used to witness the bittersweet events of being in a middle school. This hall perceived my first and last attempt to join in extemporaneous speech, which I won 6th place. (Not bad for a first timer, though.) It is also where I received several awards which I never thought I could have like when the campus Director handed me the best in Agricultural art award. It was totally unexpected, but yeah, I got it. Also, the time when I was hailed as the best male facilitator during our last Science camp held on our campus. And to brag about it, well, we bagged almost all of the awards. I don’t have big achievements during High school and all I have are just fond memento showing that even for once, I dared to push myself out of my comfort zone.

Stepping closer to the stage of social hall made me grasp more memories about the times gone by. I turned my phone’s playlists on and let the music of the Backstreet Boys, A1 and Westlife fill the air. I started seeing images of my classmates and schoolmates dancing to the tune of the romantic love songs. Funny how timid we were during those times, that we only dance when the ball (dance party) is about to end. And funny on how we would succumb to distress and regret, just because of not having to dance well enough.

I can’t get enough with the longing to bring back the old times. Thus I ran to the classroom we occupied during our senior year, poked my head on the window and searched for some leftovers that could taunt my memory. Fortunate enough, our classroom has managed to have the same set up: the bulletin boards were in the same place, the arrangement of seats has been just like before and some of the posters that were affixed to the wall were still there. It brought me to tears to remember the forty nine other students who occupied that room, who filled the four corners of it with an echoing laughter. I can’t also forget the image of our subject teachers that, for once, had ignited the torch of learning for us (The Class 2005).

After a few minutes of reminiscing, I braved myself to drop by at the college building and eyed for the official student publication room. Regret came flowing down my nerves while telling myself that this is where I should be, had I been more courageous before. For four long years in High school, I have never been vocal of my talent, on the area where I believe I excel. I was never that confident to tell my comrades that “Look at me guys, I have the talent to write” or “This is what I love to do. This is where I’m good at.” I was never that kind of brave which I regret so much. I was full of hesitation, then, very much afraid of criticisms.

One thing that the real world, the world outside High school has taught me is that I should stand on my dreams and to never be afraid to reach it. Somehow, little by little, I am trying to reach that path, the path that leads to my dreams. It is said that everyone is given a second chance. And perhaps mine has come and I will not chicken out to let it slip again.

Though I have some lamentations, still I owe this institution a big gratitude for letting me love poetry and other forms of literature. If not because of it, I will never appreciate the works of Guy de Maupassant, Edgar Allan Poe and Wilbur Daniel Steele. Also, I am very grateful to Mrs. Coring Velasco, Ansing Vega and Jennifer Berces for making the English subject really interesting, a great contrast to Mathematics. I still love my Math teacher (Meling Castro), though.

Not a moment longer, I gazed towards the campus publication room once more and just shrugged off the regrets I had earlier. For a moment, silence overwhelmed me. I stepped back and retraced the route to where I started. I realized then that it’s getting late and that the night had shifted into a lonesome atmosphere.

I took a deep breath and glimpsed the campus for the last time. It occurred to me how my Alma mater has evolved a lot. It has improved in many ways. It has grown more beautiful. With this I realized that change is really constant and that it is inevitable. However, no matter how many times it may undergo metamorphosis. How many times it may change its name. It will never lose its original scent, the one that stirs nostalgia. It will forever carry its old spirit, its soul and its undying memory that its former students always yearn about.


The good old days…

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.

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TAMAHUYAN- photo grabbed from the web.                                           

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.”


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.


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.


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.