back home

It was harvest time when I made this trip home. Colored dots scattered in the golden rice fields as farmers piled the season’s yield. Ducks abound other fields being prepped for the next planting. I’ve seen the scene a lot of times. Something’s quite different this time, I just don’t know what or how.

This is the first time I’m going home after the two-week solitary confinement. There’s a lot of things I want to do, to share, and to experience with the family. The solitary confinement provided an opportunity to reflect (since I’ve watched all the movies and shows there was to watch in my movie archive). That, and the recent conversations I had with the sisters.

The appreciation for the family has increased greatly in the past month and so has the attempts to communicate and spend time with them. I guess this is one of the advantages of experiencing chicken pox. Having a lot of forced free time does make one reflect about a lot of things. Somehow, things feel lighter, more manageable, and better – way better.

I feel like I’ve been worrying about a lot of things which aren’t as difficult as I perceived them to be. Most of these, I don’t even recall why I even worry about.

When I made the decision to go home, I planned to experience summer – beach, sun, and walks. I wanted to experience “summer” before the new academic year starts. When I entered Albay, all I wanted was to be home, a few meters away from the Oldies.

Awkward starts for a conversation, redundant topics, topics I don’t really have to know or things I’m not interested in – it doesn’t matter. I just want to be there and have some conversation with the father, the second sister, and the aunts. I didn’t know how they were doing. Months would pass without a call or text message from me. Calls would always come from them.

These past days, I took in all I can. The father still scrimping on a new bulb, one aunt enduring a (slightly) ant infested mattress, another aunt enduring the sister, the other aunt forgetful as always, and the second sister insisting her ideas be implemented in the house, which is basically the main event in the house of late. There’s afternoon entre cuatro card games in the kitchen that usually ends when one of the players (that would be the father) lose their patience with the forgetful aunt.

One of the parakeets now growing back its feathers (at last!), the African parrot doing well with the new female partner, and the father’s unofficial pet cat now has a female kitten.

So far, everything seems normal.


Destination: Naga City Day 3 of 3

Walking in the past nine am sun along a city main road makes you hate why you have to wear a jacket and jogging pants to cover the marks in the arms and legs courtesy of the chicken pox. The walk to the terminal to purchase tickets then back to the hotel was a test of my ability to cross the road – with or without the pedestrian lane. I did poorly. Still alive, though. No injuries. A few irritated drivers maybe.

It was time to go home after lunch. I’m a province (and a lot of towns) away from my hometown. It me about five hours to reach home. Left Naga at 1:30 pm. Arrived in Bacacay at about six in the evening. It was dark when I arrived. Good thing I was in time for dinner. Over dinner, something seemed different with this group of people I’ve been calling family. I’m still figuring out in what way things were different. I just knew things were better.

The most important thing I got from the Naga trip (aside from added pounds from all the food consumed) was the value of family – spending as much time as one can with them.

Destination: Naga City Day 2 of 3

The thing about being in a new place, there’s a lot of food to try 😀

I was supposed to have breakfast at the lobby of the inn. When I saw the prices, I opted to talk a walk and scout for other possibilities. Turned in a corner and then another and then crossed the road. I found myself wondering in the Centro in the jogging pants and shirt I slept in. My hair, well, it’s being its normal self – defiantly bouncing as I make my way to Bigg’s, hoping it was open at about 7am. I wasn’t sure if it was open so I had to circle the mini plaza to check if there were customers inside. Ignored Jollibee, McDonalds, and Chowking and delightedly went inside Bigg’s.

Now this was how Sunday mornings should be spent – with chocolate cake and a shake 😀 I couldn’t decide on what to eat for breakfast so I had a snack. Had breakfast later that morning 😀

The rest of Day 2 in Naga City was about home cooked dishes – plus the project we were working on, of course 😀 The food was great! Nothing beats home cooking especially if you live by the fastfood and carinderia diet.

Destination: Naga City Day 1 of 3

After eight hours of travel, we arrived in Naga City for an important personal project. I realized I never really got to take in the Centro during the last trip here.

I realized how incapacitated I am with directions and mapping places. I’ve spent about three night in this city during my first stay. It took me a second visit to figure out that SM Naga was the mall beside the Central Terminal.

I can barely recall what happened during Day 1 of 3 for this project. We went to a lot of interesting places and enjoyed the roads of Naga in Ma’am Cla’s charming pink Volkswagen. I knew I was glad to be out of Elbi and thrilled to be in the hometown of Ma’am Cla – and that I ran on a full stomach most of the day. Felt like pig on judgement day. Major food trip.

First night in Naga and I’m dead to the world.


Asked for a sign. Got it. Hating it.

I really believe in that someone/thing that keeps everything in order. Call it fate, destiny, father, or god. I asked for something and it did give me the sign I asked for. Why did I not ask for the sign I hoped for? Why did I not specify which sign I wanted to see? Simple, stupidity.  It gave me what I asked for. It was my fault for not specifying what I was asking for.

Fate does have a sense of humor.

in script

My handwriting leaves a lot to be desired. It takes great patience to decipher the thoughts inked. “Please write legibly,” commented one of the judges, a local reporter in the province, in the feature writing contest.  Pieces for the schools’ press conferences were handwritten. Thank goodness the judge was patient enough to read the article scrawled on that piece of intermediate pad and managed to appreciate my typhoon account.

More than a decade later, nothing much has changed. Writing in script is always a challenge. Rather, reading what I have written in script is the challenge. Even I forget what the ink marks stood for. The tendency to forget isn’t very helpful in this area.

On a positive note, the handwriting, after about six journals, has improved a little. Relatively, it is easier to read.

My handwriting varies depending on the pen the way it is being held. I used to write names of my classmates in one sheet of paper and copy the manner they wrote their names, the letters, the way they held their pens, and the pressure applied to the pen. Some wrote as if they wanting to bore a whole in the paper, letters filled with corners while others wrote with such great ease as if the pen would slip out of their hands, letters with curves everywhere. I had this classmate who ended all his words with a downward stroke. His notes looked like a music sheet upside down. Of course, there were handwritings that I were worse than mine. I take comfort in that thought. A left handed classmate’s notes left me disoriented after reading his notes on the lessons I missed. The letters were slanted to the left. The neck ached after that reading. Another classmate seemed to write in circles! It seemed that all her letters were formed from a circle. Her writing style I adopted for prolonged copy-what’s-on-the-board sessions in high school. Later, I copied my aunt’s name. She had this distinct way of writing her Vs. My father’s signature was a tricky one. All I managed to copy was his R.

I never was able to maintain a handwriting. It changes depending on a lot of things. I never really use the same pen for a long period of time. So the handwriting changes. They say, you’re handwriting reflects your personality. What then does varying handwriting indicate?

The third sister will be writing her lesson plans in script. That’s was why I remembered all these. She’s starting with the preparations for her first school year as a teacher. Handwritten lesson plans? in script – as in the prescribed way of writing letters? That’s one thing I’m thankful that I’m not required to do. Although, it did make me more aware of the way I should be writing my letters. We’ll see.

high school days: bands

I can’t even remember how I even started, I just found myself watching listening to Nickelback online at one in the morning.

The Calling, Nickelback, and Creed were the bands I turned up the radio volume for back in high school. We could not afford the available portable music players then. Heck, I wasn’t even able to buy their albums, cassette tapes during those days, except for The Calling’s Camino Palmero album. Later in college, I convinced my mother to let me purchase, as part of the academic requirement, The Calling’s Camino Palmero and II (this time in CD) for the pretense that all the songs that we’ll be using for the student broadcast should be original. Technically, I wasn’t lying. Got the CDs 😀 The first two CD albums I acquired. The only albums I’ve purchased so far.

Looking back, I wish I could just have invested in collecting Nickelback albums. The high school version of me was too obsessed with Alex Band’s looks (even if he was already married at the time) – and yes, the vocals 😀

After that, I seemed to have forgotten about these bands. Perhaps, it just wasn’t a priority. I watched their music videos and listen to the songs when I happen to come across them. I hadn’t though of buying or completing their albums. Now, I’m considering it.

These were the bands I learned to like in high school. Their songs just stood out in the evening FM programs. I like the vocals. Plus, I could walk miles plugged into their songs. During weekends (or whenever the TV’s free), I’d camp in front of the television tuned in to MTV, Channel V, and MYX waiting for their music video.

I’m no expert in band reviews or anything related with music. I’m not even comfortable in classifying these bands into a certain genre. I am totally clueless about those things. What I do know, is like them. I could listen to them all day. These are the bands I’d be glad to spend money on to see live.

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