Tag Archives: province

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.


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.