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Posts Tagged ‘childhood memories’


I am presently reading a book about bee keeping and beehives. Bees come out of their hives during the warm season and they hibernate  during the cold.  The only book I read about bees before is Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Lives of Bees. 

Back in the province when  my brothers and I were  in grade school, we would always look for bee hives among trees in our yard. We were afraid though to disturb it. The sting of a bee is painful. One other thing that reminds me of childhood are the insects we locally call salagubang (beetle in English).  After the rain, we would carry a long pole of bamboo and look for salagubang in mango trees nearby. You just have to shake the branches of the mango trees then the beetles will fall. We would play with them by tying a piece of string on their legs and let them buzz  We would be lucky if we catch the Ilang-ilang  or salaginto which is the green beetle,  and shiny too.

Those were the days I remember until now.  We are four kids in the family and I am the only girl. What I  further recall were playing marbles with my brothers. We each had jars of marble in various colors.  Our old house when we were young had several   bintana (windows)  and each was equipped  with  barandilla (balustrades) where mom used to put potted plants.  They were like the steel bars you still see in  older houses now. We had three windows in our bedroom  and during rainy season, we  would occupy each and would make different shapes out of clay and let them dry when the sun comes out. I would always make a  cooking pot with a clay stove  and flowers while my brothers would make animals  of different kinds.

Gosh, remembering the childhood years – no television, no expensive gadgets to speak of  but we were happy.  Blowing bubbles with our bubblegum loot which Mom would buy for us when she goes  to the market  and we’ll have five  each of bubble gum  candies. We would make them  last for a week until the next market day.

 

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When the sun shines longer each day, it’s summer.

When the wind blows early in the afternoon  diffusing the heat of the morning, it’s summer.

Many of us look forward to summer despite the fact that a day could really become a scorcher. Summer for school kids means a long, long vacation. Summer gives you that perfect excuse to stay longer under the shower, find a nearby place that has a private pool to visit,  go to a beach and soak under the sun or if you just want to stay at home you can join your little kids  in their inflatable pool.  My son loves  to wear the most tattered and frayed t-shirts during the summer months, you could almost see several little holes in them. He says it becomes more comfortable with frequent washing.

What I love about  summer is  the profusion of different kinds of flowers. Sometimes, when you are lucky, those  few annuals show their heads and surprise you with lovely blooms.  Fruits are also something to look forward to.  Mangoes are the best fruits you can find in our neck of the woods. I haven’t visited Pasig market yet but I am sure there are plenty of star apples now, honeydew melons, mangoes, water melons, pineapples, papaya and many, many more.  I am looking forward to tasting sineguelas (Spanish plum)again.  Don’t you just wish you could enjoy drinking fresh buko juice everyday which is so healthy and beneficial to your health? Fresh young coconuts  are available in almost every corner of the neighborhood.  Singkamas (Jicama) as we usually call it  here are  aplenty  during the hot summer months. I know some call them turnips but it is not the variety of turnips that you usually find in other countries. Although it taste bland to some people who are not used to it, it is one of my favorite root crops.  They are best eaten cold with a little salt and vinegar used as dip. They are also mixed with other vegetables to make spring rolls. I haven’t tasted lomboy (we call it duhat in Tagalog and Java plum in English) for quite sometime now but I remember the days of old when my cousins and I would pick these juicy fruits when school is out. Armed with bayong or baskets, we would climb trees  even under the heat of the sun and gorge on the plum, juicy fruits.

There is a fresh mango smoothie cooling in the fridge. It’s definitely summer.

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They come back in snatches, like a favorite old song that keeps you thinking how you felt while you listen and sing along. They come back, like the gentle patter of raindrops outside  your  window sans the frightening thunder and lightning that always accompany a thunderstorm. They come back and they make you smile.

Our overhead light got busted and you might think it silly that I am using a LED  light attached to my transistor radio to type my way through. I am afraid  I would forget these lovely thoughts if I postpone writing them even for an hour. I spent  the early evening visiting my favorite writers at Philippine Star. The latter is a  favorite national daily too because it was through their invites that I got two articles published a few years ago.  I was so happy that I got paid for  writing an article about OFW families, which we were back then.  I am digressing again. I read the editorial  page of  the Philippine Star now and then but I never skip the lifestyle section of the paper looking for Second Wind, a byline by Barbara Gonzales and Love Lucy by Lucy Torres. The former is a 70 something retired advertising executive who shares her journey with her readers. She writes, teaches writing, does arts and crafts while Lucy is the Lucy Torres Gomez, a house representative from Ormoc down south.  I am inspired by their writing style  that I laugh sometimes all by myself while reading their articles.  Lucy writes fluidly about her early childhood, her dreams when she reaches 85 (haha), her penchant for arts and crafts, her preference for writing short notes on pretty stationeries and sealed in even prettier envelopes, the midnight snacks she always craves for with hubby Richard.  These remind me of the days growing up in the province.

When we were kids, my aunt had a small sari-sari store that sold  everything from bubble gums, Vicks candies to Tancho pomade and that green aftershave/cologne that they used in barber shops  way back then. My favorite was the Vicks candies in small packets with free plastic rings that my cousins and I used to collect. All my fingers would be adorned with different colors of rings in different designs. Heaven! The treasures of youth.  I remember the happy times  when my cousins and I would gather dry twigs to use for cooking  and during summer, armed with wide baskets and bayong,  we would go out in the heat of the sun to gather duhat (black plum) for afternoon snacks. My girl cousins would use fresh annatto seeds growing in the backyard to color our lips,  and we would use madre cacao to curl our hair.  On moonlit nights, my cousins and I would play patintero or luksong tinik and tumbang preso. They were priceless games that a child of ten would definitely enjoy. The best though were the times when we would drink coconut juice straight from the tree and later eat the buko as soon as they were scraped from the husk.  By the  way, buko is a  young coconut.I had my share of climbing trees too (guava trees) mostly. Those were the days,  lovely memories of the past.  Some may be a bit hazy but the fun attached to those long-ago days are still fresh in my mind.

They make me smile with that pleasant ache of remembrance.  Traipsing down memory lane. What were yours, can you remember?

 

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Floods of memories are sometimes unlocked by a mere sight of a place that reminds you of childhood.  They come at the most unexpected time when you are vulnerable enough  and  you recall the days of old, the happy days when everything was right in your world.

Last Saturday, we attended the wedding of my niece held at the lovely Sweet Harmony Gardens in Taytay, Rizal, a two-hectare garden with several  function rooms for all occasions. On our way to the car park, my nephew commented, “Oh, I could smell mabolo” while I was busy taking a few shots of the garden and admiring the flowers growing there. I sighed. If only I discovered it earlier, I could have explored the place while waiting for the wedding to begin. True enough, when I looked up, there were so many mabolo fruits hanging from the kamagong  tree right above our heads.

Some of you may not be familiar with mabolo. They also call it butter fruit or velvet apple. Seeing those red fruits brought me back to the early years. I grew up with three brothers and a few cousins (from my mother’s side). We grew up together in my lola’s ancestral home until I graduated from grade school when we transferred to Manila for good. That old house was surrounded by fruit trees – kaimito  (star apple), sampalok (tamarind), suha (grape fruit),  kasuy (cashew), guava  and mango trees.  And yes, we had that lone kamagong tree where we picked  ripe mabolo fruits.  I remember waking up to the lemony scent of  the suha flowers right outside our window. I remember those mornings when we used to climb guava trees and eat them right there and then.

Growing up with three brothers had its  advantages though.  I was one of the boys, always tagging along, playing  holen (marbles) and any such rough games that a child of the 60’s did. Back then, television or any electronic gadget was unheard of. What we had was a small transistor radio that ran on batteries. There was no electricity and life was simple.  I remember those times when we used to find beetles by using a long stick on mango trees and they fall to the ground. You were lucky if you found  the green one with a very shiny body, more beautiful than the rest. It was such a joy to play with them by tying them with a string and letting  them fly.

Simple joys of childhood that all the modern gadgets and electronic toys nowadays can’t replicate. Here are the shots I took that afternoon that made me linger on childhood memories.

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The tender days of November are finally coming to an end. And you’re right, this is my month-ender blog. November will always be a special month for the whole family. It’s not everyday that your daughter gets  married and it’s not everyday that your son gets to be ordained  a Deacon.  November is a month of meeting old relatives and friends that we haven’t seen in a while. It’s a month of new discovery, of happy endings and new beginnings.

The cold winds bite but I welcome it with open arms and just let the gentle breeze kiss my cheeks. The birds are visiting our garden again and it’s time to spend the morning, coffee in hand to just let the world go by, savor pleasant thoughts of yesterday and plan for tomorrow.  It’s been a while since I spent sometime in the garden for long.  I’ve been conscious again of letting barriers down, commuting on my own, going to nearby places to run errands for the family. It’s more than a week now since I caught this colds virus that everyone seems to catch too. Believe me, I am finding it hard to breathe sometimes. I guess I have to wear face masks again, for the time being.

We normally put up our Christmas decor on the last day of November but since tomorrow is one of the days I’ve been waiting for, being Lovell’s scheduled Diaconate Ordination, I guess, we need to sort them out today. Seeing Christmas ornaments bring back nostalgic thoughts and longing for the past years when we were  complete as a family, when Dad was still around.  I remember his indulgent smile and miss his stories about life. I remember how he would gently nods if you’ll ask him if he likes seafood for Christmas. I remember how he would stare at the Christmas tree lights and just sit in a corner.  It’s almost four years now since we lost him. And celebrating Christmas four years ago without him was a little different,  because we lost him one December night before Christmas. Things fade and may get lost among the trinkets and Christmas lights and ornaments .  But  the memory of  Christmas past lingers and dwells in my heart.

A year ago, I enjoyed doing my own quotes in photographs and pasting well-known quotes  in various shots I took with my digital camera. It was quite a joy to do them but I lost interest when Facebook users started copying and pasting quotes on their walls culled from various pages and from some users. It looks as if everything could be told in a quote and I noticed they don’t even bother acknowledging the real source of the photo.  How do you say that in Tagalog? It has become “nakakasuya” and “nakakaumay”. Everyday, my news feed is full of it. I shudder at the thought that some people just rely on other people’s words and quote them verbatim without even thinking of doing something original, something they could really call their own.   Most of my friends would probably say, to each his own.

November is coming to a close, gently folding its leaves to welcome the cold December days. And may I say, Merry Christmas to one and all.

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Aside from beach holidays and road trips with your friends, what does summer reminds you of? Here in the Philippines, summer  means a steady rise of temperature and an abundance of fruits that you can only find during the hot and humid weather.

Exploring the wet market gives you that pleasant surprise to find so many fruits in season.  It’s one thing I love about summer here. Never mind the heat, that is simply inevitable.  A few days ago, hubby took home a small basket of  Duhat, that’s black plum in English.  Our neighbor planted a small tree a few years ago and it is now bearing fruits. Fresh pick, so sweet and juicy. I haven’t tasted duhat for so many years now so it was kind of a thrill to satisfy my taste buds with it. It does reminds me of the early years. My cousins and I used to pick them in the province when we were kids. Climbing trees and eating the juicy black fruits were part of my colorful childhood life.

Yesterday, I bought a kilo of Sineguelas, those juicy and somewhat sour fruits which are good eaten chilled, with a dash of salt.  Sineguelas is a Tagalog term which means Spanish plum. Have you ever seen a sineguelas tree laden with fruits? The weird thing about it is,  it has to shed all its leaves before tiny buds appear in  small branches of the tree. Until the fruit ripens,  the tree remains bereft of its green leaves.

I don’t exactly know where this fruit originated, for more than fifty years, I know it simply as sineguelas. Sineguelas, anyone?

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