Baao

The Sound of Silence

nanay and i

Nanay with me

During the two months school break, this falls on April and May, we spend the last week of April staying with our maternal grandparents. Together with my three brothers we are in the company of our Tatay and Nanay sharing dinners and helping them with everyday household chores. And the dreaded limited TV time. It sucks but somewhat good for us.

Taking this one week vacation with them is more like taking volunteer work. Not that we are complaining or we do not want to be with our grandparents but young and carefree as we are back in those days we choose to spend our afternoons lounging or watching TV. If we are at their place during that week, we run for the clock. Every hour counts and we need to have something to do and be good at it.

Simple household chores make most of that to-do list. From making our beds the moment we woke up to sweeping the yard off with dead leaves in the late afternoon. In doing this, we have to observe silence and focus to doing it right. Nanay is strict and commands strong. Her voice alone makes us jump out of our seats or whatever we are doing. That’s the way she runs her household when we are there. But it is not really necessary because we are as reserved as Tatay. Maybe I got my reservations from him. Our parents made sure we behave well and respect elders. Thinking about it now, maybe Nanay just anticipated our rowdiness and tendencies to escape of her house to explore neighboring empty lots and mini jungle.

We grew up exposed to cemented roads, sparsely green public playground and uncomfortable mini park. Staying at our grandparents is our time to get to really take a walk under the trees along an empty dirt road. Running around and playing tag on an eerie lot lined with coconut trees and bamboos is all we do when it’s not too hot. We do this along with our cousins that lives there too.

I really enjoy this part of school break. I get to shout on top of my lungs with all the trees only staring at me. I am the weird nature loving kid. I can’t keep myself when I am outdoor. I touch the leaves. Hug the tree trunks. Pick some stones and throw it as far as I can. Get on top of those empty ant mounds and do a spread like an eagle with its wings open. Running along furrow after furrow without tripping. Just wanting to get some dirt on my feet and feel the warmth of the earth.

All of these we get to do when we’re finished with all the tasks. Nanay approves of it and would let us take the time out. Our mother gets to put off her parent hat during this time too. A short break when she returns home and be a doting daughter to her mother as well.

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Tatay with my cousin H

With all these gallivanting, Tatay is just reserved and nearby. I know he pretends looking at his carabaos but he is watching over us. He is such a quiet man. As I write this, imagining his voice and tone is lost in me. He speaks in low but round voice. Sometimes raspy at the end. His face stern at times but always kind in appearance. A memorable spot where we would gather around him when he is sitting on his rocking chair taking his time too.

Either one of us would sit on one of the arm rests or the rest of us would just sit on the ledge at the veranda. We do this late in the afternoons. I can’t remember what do we usually talk about. I was in third grade when he died and I can only remember so much of him.

With Nanay, we get to spend a little more time of her company. But I still miss them at their old house. The house as of today doesn’t feel like home anymore. It’s a dissonance of what it was like when they were still living but the memories and silence linger on.

 

It’s been a while since I got there.

 

 

 

30th St. Corner Milestone Avenue, City of Life

 

Friends are the family that we get to choose.

 

TSA quote I read from the internet. Remembering who said it is killing me as I continue to compose words that may mean something or may be meaningful enough to convey what I want to say on this special day. The kind of day that you looked forward to since making that journey of your own. It is a testament that we make our dreams and we make it happen.

I am a bit caught with a serious bug because you taught me lots of serious things too. Things that matter to how our friendship grew over time. I am proud to have been on-board with you on this. I couldn’t trade even discount the time we mutually put on ourselves to have this friendship. The genuine person that you are made it easier. True enough, real friends mirror each other.

I’ve read too somewhere that friendship changes over time. I have to agree on this point. While friendship is a relationship, it is cemented voluntarily. One decides to enter into it, one decides to get out of it. One thing I am sure of, I am not going to get out of this, our friendship. Running or walking away will not happen. Maybe just delayed replies or going offline for days in the messenger may mean getting out, a bit. Seriously, space is a luxury today. Joke.

Happy Birthday, Twin S!

I couldn’t be more grateful for this friendship. Of all the days that I spent holed up with some batshit, you are just there. Continuously giving voice. Reminding me of realities, of what is more to life. Your generosity humbles me even more, while you may contest that part of you, I just want to say: thank you, in every sense of it.

Spending time with you and your family is the day I always look forward to. Your warmth, company and love within transcends happy time and memories.

Distance may have been drawn between us in the coming years and seeing and talking to each other may or may not be limited to video calls or messenger, I wish you and Kervi well always.

 

Big love,

Twin B

 

P. S.

Please excuse my non-sense greet on that journal I gave you before you leave town. But I hope you like it too. Can you tell me what I really wrote in there? Send it on messenger if you can.

 

 

 

 

Morning Sunshine

 

“I hope you get where you’re going, and be happy when you do.” —On The Road, Jack Kerouac

 

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THE IDEA OF LIVING, SURVIVING AND THRIVING in this lifetime, in our world is crazy at some point. When we try to think hard of it, when we ease our way into it, evidently there will be misses and hits but ultimately it is us still who decides and makes a stand on whatever we want. What we really want for ourselves.

Days are passing and the first month of the new year is almost done, gone. I must say there are days that seem to pass quite fast and there were those that linger long unexpectedly. Wondering thoughts build in my mind to this kind of fleeting moments that is inexplicably good when either we are pressed for time or just buying more time.

When we need and lost time, we turn in ourselves and try to look. We look for what we can make most out of it or what we might have done about it. As we do this, I must say we should all be ready to be accepting, or not.

Being optimistic is part of this acceptance. The reality of missing and hitting at something is always there so the optimism part is valuable. It is that fuel that will power up the engine. It is that turbine that will propel the ship forward. When we choose, when we make decisions the optimism is never far away. That there is hope.

 

That looking on a brighter side we can get out of the dark.

 

 

Eye Spy

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This was a random shot while a stream of people in a procession kind of manner flooded the street each with their own “Jesus Christ”. I have taken a couple of shots before retreating inside our veranda and this moment was captured. I understand this portrays the scene of Jesus being helped by Simon of Cyrene. This “Simon of Cyrene” in my photo seemed more than happy to help “Jesus” in carrying his cross. It blew me away as I zoomed out and checked his reaction. His eyes gleaming with a crooked smile. And it wasn’t the kind of reaction I am expecting of him.

It was a Good Friday. A time to relive the passion of Jesus Christ. My hometown preserves this tradition of reenacting His last few hours before He died on the cross—from the moment He carried the cross on His back towards Mt. Calvary.

It becomes one man’s devotion to submit himself to this sacrifice when the observance of Holy Week commences. Vesting a maroon colored robe with a nylon rope tied around the hip is a sight representing himself as Jesus. He is accompanied by lanky boys garb in Roman guards costume with whips and ropes hanging by their side. Their red synthetic leather skirts and vest are adorned with insignia of their fraternity. Sometimes a sigil is also seen with that same insignia. So it appears more of a communal effort, a cooperation of a certain group to stage this reenactment much like doing a play or a street performance.

Maybe he was not oriented of his role or maybe he was just there to help “Jesus” for he cannot bear his cross anymore.

Breathe: Inhale, Exhale

U.g.h. I set my alarm the night before at exactly 5 o’clock AM and I didn’t wake up to T. Swift’s Shake It Off. Damn. It was supposed to be my blasting tone. Pretend you haven’t read this. Anyway, I was startled by my little bro’s tap on my foot. He said, “It’s five thirty already! Let’s go for a jog!”

Yes!

I grabbed my shoes and put on black socks. Changed into a cotton shirt. I wore my running shorts when I slept in the night. After few minutes, my brother and I were out of the door and started walking on the paved national road. The sun’s glowing in the horizon. Light volume of vehicles pass through. It was safe enough for us to tread on the curb, not on the sidewalks. We were 5 minutes away to the oval where we can jog around for few laps.

Breathing in, breathing out as we continue to walk. Deeply breathing fresh air up into my nostrils. Ah! Just cool and clean. I instantly felt a rush of relaxation in my chest. My mind’s warming up. All I can think of was my walking and breathing. I initiated a short talk with my brother about his plan on coming back at the metro to finish his review and his license exam. He was curt of his answers. My way of words to him were plain. I haven’t pep talked him at the moment. He knew what I would say. It’s not that I don’t know to appease him of his failure but I want him to recount all his efforts and just go on with his plans.

paved road

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I told him that I will jog and walk at the oval comes early morning. He answered, “Okay.” What I really had in mind was for him to really say yes easily. If not, I would encourage him. I wanted him as my company because this was my way of letting him drift off a bit from the stress compounded from his pre-license exam. He failed hapless on the 3rd try. He fell short of few points to pass it and be able to be certified by his university to take the national license exam this September. I know his mind was rattled.

Get out! Let your body rip some benefits of active physical activity for 30 minutes. An escape. De-stress from the last 2 days of mind and psyche challenge. Re-energize. Recharge.

We jogged for 2 laps around the oval and spent the rest of the time walking. We were there for 1 hour. There were also people doing their morning routine of run, jog and walk. Some student Cadets were having their training too.

After an hour, we decided to walk farther going to our dear uncle’s house. Maybe some 300 meters away from the school’s oval. It was our cool down after sweating it out. We walked home from there after rehydrating ourselves and having a morning chat with them. We walked on the curb again. Our backs were facing the sun and felt the warmth beneath my shirt. I needed to get some sunshine, Vitamin D.

When we got home, I felt good. I was hoping the same feeling for my little bro too. I hoped it eased him of thinking too much. Tsk. I forgot to hug one of the old trees inside the campus.