Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My slice of heaven


  


Dubai bound

Beyond that onion-curry-masala-factory scented public transports during summer that you will complain about in Dubai (summer stretches 8 months long and reaches up to 49°C), there are so much in everyday life to love about this city: the cleanliness, the road discipline, the availability of a wide variety of foods etc. Of course, you still have to be watchful for any speeding vehicle that might surprisingly knock you over, which you should be anywhere in the world, but the lighter traffic, dependable Metro (Dubai’s driverless train), designated bus stops and reliable online and phone transactions just make everyday life more convenient in this part of the globe.


snatched somewhere


Ola Manila

The good portion of my early adulthood was generally spent in Manila until I decided to drag my 30-kilo luggage, fly 8 hours and change time zone 4 years ago. And Oh! I so love the Philippine’s busiest city: the anonymity in the university, the busy streets, movie houses, bars, malls, restaurants that can keep you occupied and awake all night. The chlorine-treated water flowing from the faucet, the honking of the rushing vehicles early in the morning and the availability of just any transportation which are unique in the Philippines, they wake my senses into the fast-paced-mode. While the darker side of it also warrants one his own tale of encounter with hold-upers, pick-pocketers and all kinds of easy-money scheming gangs, individuals even police officers, I still love the race and the rush in the country’s capital.


borrowed from: httpwww.panoramio.comphoto51474145

My slice of heaven

But I have my growing up years in the small town in Batangas, somewhere in the southwestern part of the Philippines. Up until spending Christmas holidays requires airplane tickets and management approval, it’s where I spent the holidays and most of my summer breaks. It will always be my home. And from childhood when I used to run around in the streets and during my very limited annual vacation spent, Calatagan will always be my slice of heaven. 


Things I love about small towns and some funny things, at least in my time


  • Before too many options, everything has just a name – It would be the Ate Linda if you need some finger nail pampering or ingrown toe nail relief. It’s first name basis and not some faceless and nameless Ates from the X salons.  Mamay Islaw for some dirty ice cream comfort, Carding for quick shoe and umbrella repair, Pitong or Danica if you want your hair cut or permed… so don’t ever wonder if the girls then looked the same.    

  •  It was in the 80s before the PSPs, easy access to internet and before kids were given liberty to name their pets, the adults have only 4 names for whatever breed: Whity, Blacky, Brownie and Spotty. And every cat in the house is called Muning. 

  • One destination – growing up, there was only one big grocery store in town and quite a few stall owners at the market you would patronize based on your relationship.  So if you say mom went to buy some stuff at ‘Judge’ your nosy neighbor would pick it up where exactly mom was and what time she would be back. 

  •  Everybody is connected, branches of family trees are intertwined. In the 80s, you would know by name and genealogy all the registered voters in the municipality and almost everybody in the Barangay was your relative you almost cannot identify how and you wouldn’t even ask why.

  • You’ve been to same school - they have Montessories now which I wouldn’t be able to differentiate, but back in my time, kids in town went to the same school and played in the same playground. Your mom was classmates with your friend’s dad or your sister was classmates with your playmate’s s cousin, etc… and chances are, you have the same set of teachers for Science, English and Arts.

  • No-fence walls to guard your treasures. It was so easy to crossover your neighbor’s Bermuda grass and easy for moms to gather their skirts, exchange recipes (if ever they do that for simple Pinakbet) and indulge in the latest gossip. 

  •  I’ve climbed roofs, fell from trees and ran on the streets before 6 (pm). So I have the regular childhood of having skinned my knees and got dirt under my fingernails.   While I was not that athletically competitive, I remember by name who my playmates were or better yet, those who never wanted me in their team.

  • I have my distinct Batangas accent if not that thick which I can swiftly discard to be better understood, but trust it is back along with vocabularies only us understand when I meet a kababayan, and we all have a good hearty laugh.

  
Some people label us ‘probinsyano or probinsyana’ with an air of mocking.  I wonder why? I didn’t see any difference how we explored life, how we chased dreams or how Science explained the evolution of a butterfly and in my small town I had bigger playground while riding somebody else’s bike, we also have  game and watch.  And even if there is any difference, I think I wouldn't mind. 




23 comments:

  1. So proud of being a Batanguena! :)

    Batangas will always be our HOME sis... mwaah!

    Miss you!

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  2. I have so many memories about Calatagan as well. I remember when I was a teen, we always visited there every summer....ang mga malalaki at abot kamay na mangga sa Hacienda Brigaa (tama ba yung name..hehehe),the town of Lucsuhin every month of May, ang peryahan nila sa may palengke...ang masarap na "kalumpit" lalo na kapag minatamis...the town of Hukay na super alikabok pero nakakaaliw pa rin puntahan...yung pag-co-commute experience from Batangas City to Calatagan...na halos nakabitin na ang mga tao..hehehe. And sympre the people na napakahospitable talaga.
    Ang sarap balik-balikan....nadagdagan na yung bibisitahin ko ngayon sa Calatagan, next time I visit there bisitahin din kita 'pag andon ka :)

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  3. thanks Ivee dear!!! i miss you sis... i hope we can spend some time again or have dinner somewhere.... mwaaah!!! take care always...

    @jen... how funny we found each other thru blog of common friends then found out you're related with my brother-in-law and that you have your own memories of my place... I'm looking forward meeting you in person. sayang we didn't get to meet when you came here in DXB :)

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  4. God's will makabalik ako ng DXB, i will really meet you :)
    galing naman same province tayo 3 (Ivee, you and me)....sana magkaroon ng chance na we will meet in Batangas din *_^
    God bless us

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  5. I am a city girl but I still remember my childhod spent in my lola's province,Cavite. The town is different now, no more rice field instead you will see subdivision's and a lot of strangers. Gone are the days, where we go to the woods to pick some fruits, catch fish and kuhol in the prinsa, eat farm frog and farm rat,kagaykay, sarap, they all live in the rice field so malinis talaga.

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  6. A very nostalgic posts, I too would want to live at times in the 80s before internet, PSPs and the time when we just had Whitey, Brownie Blacky, Spotty and the cute little kitty Muning. It was much simpler and playing outdoors and getting down dirty was much fun than playing video games.

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  7. the days where you actually get to talk to your neighbors and play outdoors. sigh.

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  8. Reminiscing our childhood days... quite sentimental and sometimes we thought that those days are far better than today's digital world. Simple and uncomplicated, less pollution, and a day could pass by without texting or chatting online... we could send and receive postal mails, could be registered or special.

    Naging nostalgic din tuloy ako : )

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  9. glad that manila was one of them

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  10. I actually grew up in QC, tucked in the comforts of a private and well-guarded subdivision (well not so much these days).. So it was hard for me to find a playmate (other than my sibs) as all the houses around me had tall walls and all. So i somehow felt a little envious of your freedom to explore around your town, and to get to know what buzz is happening from one person to another.

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  11. There's no place like home. Wherever you are, home is still the best place to be. You've gone a long, long to other beautiful nooks and places all over the world, but home still holds your heart back and reminisces the good ol' days. Your hometown is a place like "heaven" where you gained happiness from your formative years until you've grown up to what you are.

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  12. A home you surely miss. A home you called HOME.

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  13. Just like what Sir Gil said up there, "there is really no place like home!" You may visit a lot of places but at the end of the day you will still want to be inside the comfort of your own home.

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  14. ive never been in calatagan yet but its funny when your really live in a small town where your neighborhoods are also your classmates. :D

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  15. you really do miss where you came from ... there is no place like home ...

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  16. Speaking of no fences, this is why my parents chose to live in an out-of-the-way town in the US, instead of doing the very Filipino thing of living in a big city. We've all had enough of the pollution, the crowds, and the dreary gray jungle, I'm sure.

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  17. I remember in my childhood that I also climbed on the roofs :) .. So true that in small towns you do not have place fence or walls because most people are trusted, kind and generous.

    Mommy Jem of Experience of a Super Mommy

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  18. It's heartwarming that despite your distance, you never fail to remember why your town makes you feel home. If only Calatagan can speak, I'm sure it will be proud of you for your humble character. :)

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  19. This is so true and it made me think back of my happy memories when I was a kid... I also wonder if it is any different if you grew up in the province? But one thing's for sure, life is simpler there than the city...and oh, the air is fresher. hoho :)

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  20. I have and will always have fond memories of Calatagan. My child's first encounter with the beach is in Calatagan. There is an advantage of growing up in a small town. One tends to appreciate the simpler and basic things and still adapt to the faster and complex items in their life. It seems that you had a wonderful childhood. I hope that you will always have it in your heart.

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  21. I'm a proud Batanguena, as well! Kaya lang, I have to admit... the pollution in Batangas City is getting worse. Ayayay!

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  22. This is really a warmhearted post. Bravo! I come from a small provincial city too but unlike you by the time I finished my schooling there, I was tried of city life and decided to come home where I am the happiest.

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  23. nice blog! :) I keep browsing for more. It's engaging.

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