October 11, 2009
My vacation was perfect. Vivid memories for a six year old kid from Cebu, visiting for the first time the hometown of my father located in the westernmost part of Zambales and host to South China Sea’s peril.
I visited the place in a time of conjugal dictatorship of Imelda and Ferdinand. It was also a time of a social volcano erupting even in the rupture.
And the six year old kid at the time was just stuck how deafening the super-sonic bombs released by F-18 fighter jets of the U.S Air Force hosted by one of US’ biggest military installation outside its homeland in Subic Naval Base in Olangapo City while passing through the dreamland.
Yes, the dreamland.
Walking for an hour from the seashore with grayish sand (a sign of abundant sea creatures) where my grandpa and grandma live, passing the thin and constricted river but nonetheless muddy, the rice paddies ready to be harvested and the passers-by shouting ‘mangan ta pon’, my uncle brought me to the only place, he said worthy of my vacation.
The place indeed brought some realistic awakening. Fine pine trees in hundreds I’ve never seen in Cebu, lake water fish, carabao’s, chicken, horses, goats, age-old trees, kasoy (which can never be found in Cebu), kamatsili (rarely found in Cebu) and several other ‘acts of God’. Surprised, matanglawin are also abundant the locals said, but most are leaving the place due to the rampaging fighter jets regularly disturbing the limited sky.
Nonetheless, I enjoyed eating the kasoy and kamatsili.
Seemingly reluctant, I traversed the scenery of a government-owned dreamland. Touching the leaves as they are about to dry while listening to the whirlwind blowing melodically and me just sitting in the carabao grass waiting for the uninterrupted conversation of my uncle and the care-taker to end.
Still, the F-18 jets destroyed my senses.
We returned to my lolo and lola’s place completely awed with what I experienced. For what is good to keep in a six year-old kid’s heart and mind is just his penchant for what is left a century hence. What the place look like, say in 1885 without the super sonic bombs and conjugal dictatorship. I wonder.
I told my tall, willowy lola with what I saw. She, being of Chinese descent from Fujian (formerly Amoy) is almost reluctant to listen to his favorite apo while playing mahjong, chewing her tobacco and inhaling it smoke from within.
My Ilocano lolo, a US war veteran adopted two Amerasians, remains isolated due to ageing.
Since last August until now, several typhoons and floods ravaged the hometown of my father, destroying what is left to keep, including vivid memories of a six year old kid from Cebu.
My Botolan is now gone…almost completely.
What is next? My Baguio?