I am officially going home to my home town in Leyte for a few days in May. The flight has been booked and the arrangements have been made. It has been quite some time since I last went home, so I am somehow looking forward to this trip. Summer is usually the time when most of us "promdis" do our own exodus back to our barrios, and for good reason: this is the time when most barrios and sitios celebrate their respective fiestas. I am going home actually for a fiesta celebration. For reasons that only make perfect sense to parents, I have found myself as this year's hermano mayor of the fiesta in the barrio where the family farm is. And according to my mother, aside from ensuring that people are fed and intoxicated, I have to be personally present to carry the religious icon of San Isidro Labrador otherwise..., well, I really did not not want to know what the rest of the unwritten contract with the Saint was. I have long given up trying to win an argument with my mother on traditions and religion (and more often than not, religious traditions).
Summer at the farm was such great fun when I was a kid, so I guess as long as I remember to try not to be such an adult, it should be fun going home to the farm this time around.
I wonder if the river that ran through one side of the barrio is still clean enough to bathe in. The last time I saw that river was like 10 years ago and anything can happen in that span of time. But when I was a child, summer days started with a trek to that river to practice our diving and swimming skills. We would wallow in the water for hours and go home only when we got really hungry.
I wonder if they still do the Santacruzan thing at the farm's chapel. When I was child, we would spend the time immediately after the afternoon siesta collecting wild flowers, some of which we cut into small confetti-like pieces. The novena (Flores de Mayo) had two parts that involved audience participation from the little tykes - one was the offering of flowers, where the kids would line up at the back and walk to the altar clutching flowers which were then placed on the feet of the virgin. The second part was towards the end of the novena when everyone sang "Adios" to the virgin. This was the part when the kids would "shower" the virgin with flowers except that very often, the "shower" resembled a stoning. And kids being kids, this was always an occasion for some prank. Someone always invariably produced foul smelling flowers or leaves, or the "shower" was directed at some kid rather than at the altar. The novena was such a hit among kids because there was always some loot bag afterwards.
And I wonder if the trees around the farm are heavy with fruits this time around. When I was growing up, the seasons of the year were also determined by what fruit was in season. We knew it was definitely summer because there was just bountiful santol (my grandmother's tree produced the sweetest santol I have ever tasted - they said it was because she watered the plant with sugar when it was growing up), mangoes, avocados, macopas, etc. Of course, there were always watermelons lying around.
And I wonder if there are still fireflies at night at the farm. Or if they still do public "benefit dances" (the origin of the disco and the rave parties).