Reminiscing My Childhood Days

I am feeling nostalgic right now.  I remember those summer months after school's out.  Next to Christmas, it's the most awaited time of the year because I don't have to wake up really early.  I can watch tv all day and all night long and don't have to worry about studying, doing homeworks and those art and work education projects. 

Spent some summer vacations with my brothers in the province just to give in to my "lola's" and "lolo's" requests.  It's a province south of Manila, a never-neverland for me at that time because the travel time seemed so long and the road conditions poor.  After reaching the town proper, we have to negotiate through a dirt-road amidst banana and coconut trees, and the it was so dusty that my lola used to bring a blanket for us to cover our heads and upper bodies with otherwise we will be literally eating dirt!  When we reach the house, I feel like a celebrity being ogled at by the barriofolks, not that we look like one, but someone coming from Manila or elsewhere seems good enough for the headlines.  In that far-flung barrio where my father grew up, there is no electricity, no toilet (we just have something like a kaibo pit), no faucets, everything was crude and primitive, a scene which is still shown in some foreign countries as "the Philippines."  

Looking back, I think I should have appreciated more that commune with nature.  Since I was still a kid then all I cared about was the inconvenience that I had to go through during those vacations.  I missed the tv, the electric fan and a/c, the flourescent lights, the ref,  and in its place we have the live drama, fresh air, the gas lamp and a bamboo cupboard where my lola stored food. During those months, I get to miss ice cream and ice. 
After some time, my grandparents decided to get a genset to entice us to stay there longer.  Not that I am acting like a prima donna, but it's not the lack of facilities that discourage me from going there.  I do enjoy my old folks' company especially as I have always felt pampered and special (much to the disdain of my cousins who live there...heheh), I miss my friends back in Manila.  I grew up in a very crowded area in Sampaloc where there were a lot of kids in the neighborhood.  As my grandfather always say when he and my lola visit us, "Parang factory ng bata dito."   Summer time is big time, play time for us!  For lack of our own back and front yards, we play in the streets practically the whole day, in between the honking and tonking of vehicles, which were desperately trying to warn us of the dangers of being sideswiped.  We were unmindful, they were disturbing our play and trespassing on our playground.  I wake up around 6 am and  after washing my face and brushing my teeth I immediately head out to play piko (hopscotch). The best pamato (tokens) were the ripe banana peeling, neatly folded and pressed.  After that, we played "step-no" also a sidewalk game. Playtime is temporarily interrupted with our maid calling me that it's time to eat breakfast.  Disdainfully, I have to go back home, careful not to get my Mom angry lest I will not be "grounded" for the day.  After breakfast, I have to stay home because I have no one else to play with because my friends were asked to do household chores.  I was lucky we had maids. :) I usually watch some tv to pass the time away. At around 7 am My Favorite Martian was showing.  Then after, there was The Waltons.  Then, an "English" movie which we generically called  as such (even it was an American  While watching I eat some butong-pakwan (watermelon) seeds.   My lips would turn practically white because of the saltiness.  I like the one that's dry and crisp - it was easier to manage those.  After that, it would start to get warm so  I would have to take a shower.  That time the water pressure in the apartment was not strong enough for the water to come out of the shower head so we had to use "tabo and timba" (dipper and pail). At around lunchtime, I get to watch "Student Canteen," a noontime variety show after which I will be called for lunch.  After a sumptuous lunch, of tinolang manok  and fried fish, I go out for a while to check who among my friends were done with their chores.  Usually we gather in front of one of my friend's house.  We play house using discarded plywood which we got from a repair that's going on nearby.  We build a "house" by slotting the wood between the jalousy of the window - that will serve as our roof, then try to make the walls by making it stand under the roof.  Our floors were made out of the previous day's newspaper.  We played with plastic dolls (Barbie wasn't born yet that time).   The boys in the neighborhood were however too naughty that they knock down our makeshift house and we have to run after them, and so a game of tag usually follows.  There was an old lady, Aling Sion,  who lives in one of the apartment doors who would complain about our noise.  She would often tell us, "Why don't you all take an afternoon nap, so you would grow up fast?"  That was crap for us! That time was the best time to play the street version of soccer which we called "football."  We used medium-sized plastic balls.  When the game gets exciting, Aling Sion would go out and confiscate our ball.  That would be the end of the game.  By then, we would be all sweaty so we have to cool down by drinking our favorite soda.  Pepsi was more popular then and was my particular favorite.  My friends preferred Pop Cola or Choco-Vim, or Sarsi or Sunta (orange-flavored soda).  That was also the time that vendors would come around and offer native merienda, rice cakes, puto, kutchinta, palitaw.  Fishballs weren't around yet at that time.  My mom would usually cook "guinatang halo-halo" with banana, kamote, bilo-bilo and langka. Our enterprising neighbor would bring out his makeshift store to sell halo-halo, which was perfect to combat the summer heat.  The halo-halo had sweetened banana, kamote, red sago, pinipig, monggo beans, green gelatin, and garbanzos.  He charged from 25 to 50 centavos depending on the number of ingredients which go with each halo halo.  That time in the afternoon, was also the time that they showed back to back Tagalog movies.  I enjoyed old movies starring Susan Roces, Amalia Fuentes and Dolphy.  Late afternoons were reserved just milling around the neighborhood and staying in our favorite tambayan.  Dinnertime was quite early for us - we usually had stir-fried vegetables (not a particular favorite) and fried porkchops or liempo. Sometimes we had mongo soup and tinapa or else red-eggs to go with the mongo.  Our meals always ended with a "dessert" usually a very sweet la tundan banana.  After resting, we played Taguan especially on a full-moon, or else Moro-Moro or 5-10.  Late evenings, we played volleyball on the street.  We would spend the rest of the  evening huddled in front of our store just hanging around or playing "truth or consequence" until our store close at 10 pm.  It's only then that I would bid goodnight to my friends and go to sleep and look forward to another fun-filled day with them.

 I miss those days.  That was a very fun-filled childhood.

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3 Responses Mar 14, 2009

Nicely written story. There was a lot of creativity and variety back in those days. Now it's all Xbox and iPad games.

Thanks. I miss those days too.

very nice, its as if things haven't really change.