My cousins and I loved climbing mango trees in our grandmother’s resthouse in Batangas. There were indian mangoes, pico mangoes and carabao mangoes. The adults would bring platitos of bagoong alimasag, barrio fiesta bagoong, or salt. Each person would pick which sansawan they liked the best.For my cousins and I, dipping the mangoes in a bowl of toyo was our thing.
Archive for April, 2011
My cousins and I would sit around the veranda—some on wooden chairs, some on rocking chairs, and some on chairs with cushion seats. We would tell each other stories, talking well into the night as our parents slept through our giggles. One time we talked about our biggest wounds. It was like a competition on who had the worst wound of all time.
A teacher once told me that if you look at someone’s legs you’ll know if that person had a happy childhood or not. The more peklats (scars) the person has, the happier the person’s childhood must have been. Scars were once wounds, and wounds meant you fell over, and this speaks of a past of rough play, of running around, of adventure.
We lived in Pasig when I was six years old. My cousin Annika lived nearby. She would go to our house after school, and we would play. When I’d see her being dropped off at our house, I’d be very happy, and I’d be like “Yey! Yey! Annika! Annika!” When the day ends, we’d be pulling each other’s hair, and I would vow to never speak to her again.
I remember that Annika had a crush on one of Kuya Paolo’s friends. When Kuya’s friends would come over, they’d go to Kuya’s room and practice their songs. Kuya and his friends were starting a band, but I didn’t know how serious they were about it.
Annika would tell me, Let’s go to Kuya’s room. I knew that Kuya didn’t like us kids disturbing him, so when Annika said, Let’s go to Kuya’s room, I knew she meant, Let’s wait outside Kuya’s room, press our ears against the door, and try to listen to their conversations.
When I was a kid, my mom bought me a book of bedtime stories. Velveteen Rabbit was one of the stories. It was about a boy who really loved his rabbit stuffed toy. One day he got sick, and he kept his bunny by his side until he got well. When he was no longer sick, his parents told him that they have to throw away his rabbit stuffed toy because it has germs. The boy was very sad. The rabbit was also very sad. The rabbit was placed in a box of things that will be burned. A fairy appeared and told the rabbit that she will save him by turning him into a real rabbit. The rabbit hopped across the fields, and the little boy saw him from afar.