I’ve been growing up in the province. Studied my grade school there, studied my high school days in the city, but usually I went home by the end of the week. During weekends I stayed in the farm helping my parents taking care of the animals and our coconuts and corn fields. In the province back in the day we don’t even have electricity there. When cooking food we used charcoal or the firewood. We had a dirty kitchen or we also used the oven type thing (pugon). It built like the oven for the pizza and on top with the rings in different sizes to fit the sizes of the pan your cooking with. With that you used the firewood to cook. I mostly like the charcoal for cooking its more clean on the outside of the pan. The downside to it, it cooked really slow. If your not in a hurry cooking with charcoal is better. During school days you have to get up early so that you can start the cooking early. The good thing for us, being my parents having acres of coconut plantation, we had plenty of charcoal in storage. We also had lots of fires woods. Our tenants usually came with a kariton (cart) full of fire woods.
When ironing clothes we used the old kind, where you just put the hot charcoal inside and just keep loading more charcoal when needed. Its heavy to handletoo. I think back in the day, some iron might be made of cast iron. Gosh, I wonder how much the weight of the thing would be? It’s already heavy right now that its not made with cast iron. When we used it before when I was in the farm when ironing our clothes my sisters would always put banana leaves underneath the iron for resting in between uses. It makes the clothes smell good like earthy, full of nature. Hey, only people that used it understands what I’m saying. The city people would not know what I was talking about, I think.
Feyma’s Childhood house in Patag, Sarangani – I’ve shown this video here before, but it ties in nicely with this article so I included it here.
Going from one place to the other we used kariton pulled by the carabao, or rides on our horses. My dad usually walked from our house to the next town to catch the jeepney for the city. Its a few miles of walk. He was not really into riding horses or the kariton. That’s one thing I was dreading before when my parents wanted to visit our other farm to see what are tenants were doing with the land. I hardly go with them, they will just walk to go there. Being young, I’m a bit lazy in walking especially for a long distance walk. At least its not just me whose lazy, my cousins too. Really me and my cousins would go to our tenants tag along our horses. It’s always a blast going to our tenants farm. We had lots of fruit trees there. We really indulged ourselves there with so many different kinds of fruits. Wow, just by thinking of the fresh fruits makes my mouth water. Just sad though because our tenants before are already dead and the one that’s left behind now were the grand kids or the relatives. They didn’t take care of the land the way our old tenants used to do.
We just are a little bit more lucky than some other kids in our neighborhood. Some of them especially the natives there like the Bla’an, they lived a bit far from us and on the hills. They have to get the water for drinking down below. They could really climb those hills with no problem. Well, being they would walk twice during weekdays for school in the morning and afternoon. Mostly during weekend they will be in town to sell some of their products. They really are fast in walking up and down the hill. A lot of the kids will be carrying a jug or two of water after school. Usually my classmates before, coming early in the morning for school they will bring with them the jugs and leave it at the people that had pumps for water for their drink. After school they would get the jug and fill it up with water and take it home with them. Can you imagine the weight of those jugs that they’re carrying ? The water and the back pack full of school books and papers. You know what I never heard my classmates complain before. To be honest some of those classmates and schoolmates of mine were successful. They became teachers and others became nurses. Some of the teachers now back in the province teaching in the school where I attended grade school and others teaching in the neighboring town and they are happily married, others went abroad. Of course the majority of them were married young and have kids. Back to the cycle again.
A few years back I went to my elementary school where I graduated my grade school years. My classmate was the principal, and at the time asked me to give a speech since I just get back from the States. He wanted me to encourag those kids. During those times I met up again with some of my other classmates and schoolmates during grade school. I’m happy that some of them were teachers there and others worked at some higher level in some other school district.
Sometimes me and my siblings were talking about our life in the province. It amazes us though. Even though we have no electricity there and life was just so simple there but still we managed to make our life a little better. Same with our other neighbors. Nowadays, our town already had the electricity and the means to go to the other town with jeepney or motorcycle. But I felt like the neighborhood is not as good when I was growing up. We, the older generations felt that the new generations didn’t really care enough now for the town. They just want to be lazy and have fun. I’m still hoping that my town will improve for the years to come.