This week, tell us about a place that has helped shape who you are.
Philippines, my Philippines
I’ve known you for years
You gave me fond memories
Of my childhood and early days
I left you when I was 23
To see the other side of the world
It doesn’t matter how far I reached
I’ll always be coming back to you
To admire your beauty and warmth
To see our diverse 7,100 islands
It’s more fun in the Philippines
There’s no place like home!
We’ve all had them. These were the times when life was full of roses and innocence, of experiments and fun, of being with families and friends. These were some of my recollections.
“You’re it!” I didn’t see her as she pointed to me, called my name and said, “You’re it!” I’ve got to look for them hiding around our street. It was getting dark so it was tough finding them. However, I knew Thor would be hiding at his usual place, my brother kissing our neighbour in one corner and I’d managed to locate Bethcha. Before long we had to go back to our houses and ate our dinner. Other days, we’d play patintero (try to cross my line without letting me touch or catch you), tumbang preso (hit the can), piko (hopscotch) or luksong-tinik (lit. jump over the thorns of a plant). Sometimes we’d rent some bikes and circled around our neighbourhood.
Easter Breaks. The only time of the year when all of us cousins stayed in our Granddad’s house. The number of times we walked back and forth the house and the chapel for singing the passion plays. The afternoons we spent splashing in that creek while Granddad washed the carabao, the still warm fresh milk that morning and the mangoes we’ve picked on the way to the farm. We all slept on the floor, some snoring, some talking, and telling each other’s stories, jokes and secrets.
Dad and Tito (uncle) Pabling. They were more than brothers. They’d spent hours and hours tinkering with Tito Pabling’s recently acquired old jeepney. Just like good mechanics, they’d come home with all those black smuts from the engine. Sometimes, they’d spent their afternoons unblocking the canal in our street. They were the best hosts, too – the New Year’s Day party was always a blast – all our relatives, friends, neighbours and everyone on Halcon Street would’ve confirmed that – we had to close the street for our party!
Dapitan. Our house in Dapitan was small – for our parents, 4 children, Granny, aunts and cousins. It was constantly full of people and activities. Our cousins from the province stayed with us once they started college. There were 2 bedrooms, one for our parents and one for all of us with 2 bunk beds; the rest slept on the floor. My classmates and I loved hanging out there; doing our homework and projects; lunch and merienda (snacks) were at all times provided. When I needed to concentrate at college, I’d wake up in the middle of the night to revise or just to have some peace and quiet.
These memories would always stay with me. As I was writing this article, I couldn’t help myself smiling. I know I couldn’t bring them all back but I appreciate having these snippets in my life.
Yes, we need the rain now, instead of snow. We’ve had snow since November and although we like the beauty and the purity of the snow, sometimes we want it to be warm, to rain or to have a different sort of weather, not just cold, freezing cold. Oh well, that’s how it is here….. whereas back home in the Philippines…. yes, that’s the first word that comes to my mind when we say home, soil and rain…. I’m sure it’s raining right now. Or on a normal day, sunny in the morning, raining in the afternoon then back to sunny weather. It’s just clearing the air. The soil might be dirty, but I don’t mind. In short, I miss the Philippines, I miss its soil, I miss its rain.
The shore that call us home
Was the title of the poem
By Samuel Hazo in 1949
Makes me think about my life
Every time I go home and meet my
Family, friends and relatives again
After some time when I’m here
And they are there living differently
Yet parallel to each other, there’s this
Nostalgic feeling, of being home again
This land or these islands I miss so much
It doesn’t matter where I am now, and
I’m building a home with my family here
But over there where I used to call home
Full of childhood memories, of school,
Of college, of my first experience at work
First love, first kiss, first of everything
These experiences made me and taught me
They gave me a solid foundation of how
It is to be me, all the trials and errors
They gave me the confidence to try and
Explore different things and I have proved
That I can do it no matter where
So even when I’m happy here
I’d still be a girl with a fringe
I’d always go back to the shore
That calls me home, the Philippines
Other “finding your place” posts:
Finding Your Place in the Universe
On finding my place