Summer Memories

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).


Joey said…
I just came from Leyte. Great lechon! I think it is one of the great undiscovered parts of the country. Felt a lot of history over there, standing where MacArthur first returned. Also the San Juanico bridge was a trip. I really liked it there. Hope to go back eventually.
Hernan Mariano said…
It's always nice and nostalgic to visit one's birth and growing up place. You're lucky to have one. Not many people can enjoy such pleasure nowadays. Luckily, I belong to that group which can reminisce about their days of their youth. Like you, I also grew up in a barrio of a city now part of Metro Msnila. We (playmates and barkada) had the same pleasure of enjoying such simple thnings like going swimming in the river (a pristine one once) and picking fruit from trees with or without the permission of owner.
Enjoy your balikbarrio trip.

Taga-Iyam said…
This one is making me homesick. Much as there are opportunities in Manila or in Denver where I have been for quite a long time now, I am finding that the province where I grew up and made me what I am now, will always be my refuge. Masayang balikan ang mga nakaraan na siyang naghubog nang aking mga pananaw sa buhay ko ngayon....!I will lose my hope for the country when I can no longer see the Philippines that was before completely. There might be that much political dissagreement and dissactisfaction among some of us, but,there is still the province we can go back to for some kind of a refuge.
Have a good time and eat a lot of santol....that is one of the many fruits that have not found its way to America, it seems.
alden said…
How abot PASAR, Bong, don't you miss it.? Is teh company still existing?

Egay T. ( remember him? nasa LA sya), Benny R ( na nasa manila) and me never misses to reminisce our PASAR days everytime we have our overseas conversations. It was of course the greatest summer of our lives, The turning point. After spending that Summer Training in PASAR our lives were never the same again. Well, you have a very solid freindship that lasted for 20 years ( by next year) ba naman and still going strong pa. We call ourselves the PASAR Boys since we came back to Mapua and until now.

Hey I brought you into our conversations last week, And we had so much fun reminising PASAR again. We are wondering whatever happened to TGV??
BongA said…
Joey, great to hear that! Leyte is such a great place actually; too bad it got such a bad rap due to someone's accident of birth. Some people get the idea that Leyte must have been at the receiving end of so much political largasse during the Marcos time - but so much of the province is actually rural still. I hope you got to bring home binagol, moron, and sagmani.

Herman and taga-iyam: thanks and right on dudes! Yup, sometimes I feel bad for people who claim to have no hometown other than Manila. It is one of the great things about being Pinoy, there is always a province somewhere we call home.

Alden, I do miss PASAR (including the smell of SO2!) It has been a longgg time since I last visited the plant and you gave me a wonderful idea. Perhaps I should make it a point to go and hook up with some friends who are still there. You guys were the first (and it turns out, the last since I got kicked up to Makati immediately after) batch of trainees I handled. I remember your rowdy bunch! Thanks for always dropping by.

alden said…
Oh Bong, pleasure is alwyas mine. Wala yatang araw na di ako sumisilip dito sa site mo at yung kay MLQ3 eh. Kumbaga daily routine ko na ang magbasa ng mga sinusulat mo. Its always a good read and very much worth my time! Na addict na ako sa blogging simula noon January eh.
jtagregado said…
PSST! Pasalubong na muron ha! (tama spelling?)

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