Tuesday, September 2, 2014

5 Realizations Before Turning 10

I love mornings.  Everyday while I'm preparing breakfast, I can look out of our kitchen window and see our neighbor's help doing about their usual morning routine.  At around 7:15 am a lady will go out from a smaller building behind the main house which I assume is the kitchen carrying a huge tray with some food on it.  It is probably food as it was covered with shiny cloches.  Then after some time a man will also walk by from another small building still at the back of the main house carrying a big garbage bag, he'll take the service gate which is near the servant's quarter going outside the compound to throw whatever he was carrying.  Like clockwork, I witness the same routine every morning.  Its nice watching them do their chores unaware of me watching them.  After typing this I feel like I'm already invading their privacy.  Oh well.

Where was I? Yes, mornings.  I love it.  It reminds me of waking up in our house in Davao city.  At 5:30 am our house is already bustling with ordered chaos.  We have a bakery attached to our house.  So pandesal and a lot of other noises greet us in the morning.  Pandesal served piping hot for only 0.50 pesos.  At least that's how I last remembered it.  *Sigh* Simple life.  How I long to have those days again.

In a few days from now, I'll reach my coral year.  Yes, I am way up there already.  And the number just reminds me a lot of things, like simpler things.  Back then before I turned 10 years old there are just some things I should have not taken for granted.

Realization No. 1:  I am a girl and not a boy.  Before I was introduced to dolls and kerokeropi, I like playing with guns and running around with the boys in our village.  My Tatay made me this wooden toy gun which I put inside my pockets like you do to a holster.  I would wear a maong jacket and a fisherman hat and chase the boys like Fernando Poe Jr. or Erap Estrada would do in the movies.  (Sorry Robin Padilla and Jeric Raval came into the picture at a later year.)  My nanny would chase me while I ran and climb the gate to play with the village boys in the afternoon just to skip afternoon naps which then leads me to my realization number 2.

Photo taken from the Net

Realization No.2:  I should have taken those afternoon naps, maybe I would have been taller than I am right now *wink*.  Before the time of cable televisions, iPads, Xbox and what not, playing outside the entire day until its dark is the most important part of my daily life.  But this realization took quite some time because while in elementary I was tall.  I mean, I'm one of the tallest girls in class.  When we line up for the flag ceremony I always stand at the back as I am taller.  While my grade level increase my place in the line moves further in the front.  I ended up as one of the smallest in our class by the time I graduated high school.  Bummer.

Photo taken from the net (I'm not this cute)

Realization No.3:  Remember I mentioned above that we play until it was dark?  Part of my activity then was also reading outside.  Not books of course but comics!  And when I say comics not Archie and His Friends comics but those comics with 10 pages that are sold in sari-sari stores.  A small store near our house sells cigarettes, candies and other grocery stuffs display this kind of comics.  For those born during the 80's I guess the Tagalog Klasiks, Pinoy Klasiks, Komedi will sound familiar.  I'd stay outside that store pretending to man the store for the old lady, and if she's not looking I'll take one of those comics and read it under a very dim  street light.  I ended up wearing glasses at an early age.  Realization conclusion, I should have ran away with it and read it inside our brightly lit house.

Photo taken from the net
Photo taken from the net

Realization No. 4:  There are boys and there are other kind of boys.  In kindergarten, I think I had my first crush.  He was this frail looking boy who sits in front of me.  In preschool, we are required to sit on the floor cross legged and since I was a bit "taller" I sit at the back.   I stare at the back of his head everyday and it makes me smile when he turns around and looks at me with those big round eyes.  I remember one time he touched my hand while he was talking (I can't remember what we were talking about probably something to do with boogers and all), I can still remember my face warmed when he touched me (yes I developed those feeling early on, I blame the Filipino comics).  He was a talkative boy and laughs a lot and dances a lot.  One time because we were so noisy our teacher wouldn't let us go home so the girls started crying and he, well he just started doing the same but in a chicken-dance way.  My teacher was so angry she pulled him using her wooden cane ( I think that incident should have been reported).  So he cried more.  Among the boys he was the only one who cried.

Realization No. 5:   Never skip on eating rice.  You know how are kids are during dinner time.  Very unpredictable.  One minute they like fried chicken the next time they think its poison.  I was one of those kids.  One night, my nanay won't let us drink our Milo if we didn't finish our dinner.  I don't feel like eating rice then because well, I'm a kid.  My sister, good girl that she is, cried while she forced herself to swallow spoonfuls of rice and chicken.  While scheming me, got another plate took a tablespoon of rice smeared it on the new plate and ran to my nanay to show her I finished my plate.  She clapped happily and was about to make me some Milo when she saw my original plate.  Yes, I got an earful of loving words.  Now, as much as I want to eat as many rice as I can cook, I just can't anymore.  No, I'm not allergic.  Let's just say rice makes me swell like a balloon.      

Monday, September 1, 2014

My First Almost Hala Bira!

It has been discussed a hundred times in school and more during family dinners even the news features it during January but I never get to experienced it until this year - 2014.  In the Philippines, January holds one of the most prestigious festival in the country.  This festival is in honor of the child Jesus or commonly known as the Sto. Nino.  Most provinces in Visayas celebrate this feast on a Sunday of January.

The festival's highlight is when the Sto. Nino is brought out from the convent into the Main Church and the tribal dance parade.  Plenty of the locals flock the church to witness the Sto. Nino and to have the chance to touch the statue for healing powers.  It was believed that if you touched the statue you will be healed with any illnesses.

Luckily, I have relatives to take us to the church and take part in the ceremony.  After a short ride from Boracay pier, we were fetched by my cousin to go straight to Ibajay.  That is my father's hometown and where the Ati-Atihan will take place.  Before you get confuse, Ati-Atihan in Aklan is celebrated on different Sundays depending on the town.  It is common knowledge that Ati-Atihan is on January 15 but this is only in the city of Kalibo Aklan.  For Ibajay, it is on the 3rd Sunday of January.  We were there on the day before the festival so just in time that the Sto. Nino will be brought out of the convent.

We arrived at the church around 11 am.  This is usually the time the Sto. Nino will be carried to the Church from the Convent.  The church ground was teeming with locals and tourists who are all dancing in the drum beats of the bands who are basically circling the church.  It was loud, hot and sticky but the atmosphere is just amazing.  Everybody was dancing and smiling.  Some people were already smeared with "uling." It is a ground charcoal wet with water and is used as make-up during the festival.  While me and my husband were looking too clean, a lot of passers-by smeared us with "uling."  My husband got more uling on his face than I did.  To think he was taller than most average Filipinos there, people reached out to put some uling on his face.  Well, good for him. 

When the Sto. Nino was carried out, people followed it inside the church, my cousin told me we should get inside and hopefully touch the statue.  The throng of people inside the church was just too overwhelming.  We were pushed in every direction.  Good thing no stampede happened and I was not trampled over (which I was already thinking might happen during the entire course of being pushed inside the church).  We were able to go near the Nino.  I whispered a simple prayer when I received the shirt my husband threw to touch the statue.  I haven't done this before but it won't hurt if I believe.

 Unfortunately we were not able to stay longer as our flight going back to Manila was on the same day.  Perhaps another year to witness the tribal dance and yes get to know my relatives in Ibajay more.  Maybe the next time I come back my wish will already be granted and I'll get the chance to do the "sad-sad" and sing "hala bira!"