Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A Meeting of Old Friends

Yesterday, I accompanied my Mom to attend a reunion with some of her high school classmates. A few of them drove all the way from Albay, and stayed at the same hotel in Makati to spend more time together. My Mom was not able to attend their 50th high school reunion in 2003, so she really looked forward to seeing her former classmates and put faces to the ladies she has been in touch with only by telephone.

Since I grew up in a household of mostly Bicolanos, I can fairly understand their dialect although my Tagalog roots would show the moment I attempt to speak Bicolano. I was pleasantly surprised therefore when I could actually eavesdrop…make that “hear” and understand what my Mom and her classmates talked about. Like any other reunion, they recounted shared memories, hugged, laughed, and in a span of 5 hours, tried their best to catch up on each others’ lives.

Perhaps what struck me most was that, unlike my own 25th high school reunion which was also held this year, they spoke of body aches, illnesses, fear of being alone, and loneliness… But more importantly, I also saw compassion, triumphs and invisible bonds that only common, and shared joyful memories can foster.

I am glad to have met the gracious ladies and gentlemen of the Albay High School Batch 53. And so when they planned their next reunion in April next year in Legazpi City, Albay, I too thought that maybe, just maybe, my family can also take our next vacation in my Mom’s hometown.
:paper (recolored) by Anna Aspnes from the Autumnal kit at; photo corners from the Fireside kit by Kim Christensen of

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Life in a Small Town

Pililla is a quaint little town in Rizal wedged between the more known Tanay and Bugarin, the last town of Rizal bordering Laguna. It is the town where my father grew up.

Every All Saints’ Day, the whole family composed of my parents, my family and my sister’s family, drive to Pililla and spend a few days of rest and recreation. We now stay at the site where, as a young boy, my father would pick up wild growing sampaguita flowers and sell them.

He still regales his grandchildren with tales of his growing-up years, of how he would pick up firewood or climb sampaloc trees to be used for their dinner. Time has a way of remembering hard years with fondness.

Of course, nothing fascinates his grandchildren more than hearing their Lolo narrate the yarn of how one can become invincible by swallowing the precious stone that the “puso ng saging” drops at the precise hour of midnight, and only after battling the dark and evil elemental spirits.

Aside from revisiting old haunts, going fishing, and a good, but exhausting trek in the “woods”, we would spend time marveling at the greens and the trees which have become far and fewer in the city. It is definitely one of the best times to expand the children’s knowledge of the names of flowers, fruits and recognize various plant leaves.

For me, Pililla is a respite from the city life, a haven of rest where one marvels at the beauty of God’s creation at the break of dawn and at the setting of the sun. And most importantly, a time well-spent in the company of loved ones and at least for a few days, with nary a care in the world.

Here is my pictorial remembrance of this particular trip:
: background paper from the Grateful kit at; block paper by Sara Carling of
:background paper by Sara Carling of; "the good life" quote by Nancie Rowe Janitz of; fonts used: CK Maternal and Arial