Awakened by a loud engine sound, pursued by an irritating blowing of horn, the PNR train forced me to jump out on my bed disturbed and quite irritated.
It was 5:00 in the morning and the dawn is soon to break. I wolfed over a cup of coffee and sat at the veranda. Jeepneys came rushing on the scene; people who were bound to go to work trotted the street and establishments though half-baked ready started opening their windows. Soon after, the morning shifted into a business- as- usual mood.
I sipped the coffee a bit faster as I try to mull over the busy scene. Oh, well it’s been a while since I last enjoyed the loosened and hassle free type of environment. At one point, the mornings I used to wake up to— several years ago are ways too different from the habitual mornings I am facing everyday here in the City—harried and always on the go.
I wonder how the “promdi” in me, scuffled with the chaotic situation brought about by urban living. Several years passed I was like a melting iron trying to fit in a mold, conforming to a varying trend that the city has tried to acquaint the people with. And so by now, I am a certified city lad. Gone was the thick accent of being a Bicolano. Gone was the ignorance to high-technology machines such as elevators, escalators, the MRT and the like. However, no matter how adept I am coping with change brought by my current setting still I yearn for that laid back life I’ve had while I was in the province.
I am a native of Catanduanes, a place you’ve never heard of, perhaps. It is where I have spent most of my unruffled moments as a kid and as a teen. Thus, when I reminisce about the honeyed stuff I got it in there, nostalgia always purge automatically the tears in me.
I remember the times when I would wake up in the morning feeling so refreshed by the fogs that cover the fields in our front yard. Often I would watch the sun with fondness as it slowly dries the mist on every green leaf and with awe I would seize every moment to breathe the balmy and sweet-smelling atmosphere. And at night I would gaze upon the stars and be enamored by the croaking of frogs on which in the city I hardly could experience.
I also can’t replace the wonder brought by the walking carabaos and cows on the rural road and not the fast and furious cars of the metropolis. The traffic and noise pollution were the things commonly absent in my place. We walk instead of riding a vehicle may it be a kilometer or longer. We don’t have crowded streets, thus children, most of the time play on it making it as their lair. No wonder, how kids from the city envy to play outside just like what the “promdi” kids do.
Some say, that the cost of living in the city is pricey. Yes, I can attest to that as there is no word such as “free” in there, not even camote-tops or that infamous “kangkong”. Everything has a price tag. I could still recall on how our little garden back in my hometown serves as garden of all, wherein our neighbors can freely ask for vegetables planted on it. There is spirit of sharing even made visible through exchanging of viands from one neighbor to another. Unlike on where I am staying now, the people whom I happened to call as neighbors were still strangers to me putting such divide— built along walls.
And when it comes to fresh foods such as fish and other crustaceans, of course, we’re well endowed of that. Based on the geography our little Island is situated where bodies of water is surrounding us, it is natural for us to be of bounty of sea creatures. Since I was too fed up with canned goods and instant noodles I always end up craving for a lip-smacking dishes I used to taste back then. Familiar with “Pagi” (stingray) seasoned with coconut milk drizzled by “malunggay” leaves and some spices? Oh, that’s my favorite.
So many things I missed since that graceful time long gone; the peaceful seas and rivers I have swum across with, the hills and mountains I climbed thus far, the countless summer I spent under the sun and most of all, the comfort of a slow-paced life which now I really long to have.
Being mired from the memories of yesterday that shaped my wholeness as a person, it is inevitable for me or for anyone who feels the same yearning, not to feel nostalgic and sad. My mother once told me, that no matter how I try to fit myself in a new character, new environment or even to a new situation I would always wind up to the old and familiar mold and that perhaps, my being a “probinsiyano” is like an indelible mark —tattooed on my personality.
If only I could bring my job at Catanduanes, on that little town of Panganiban, most probably I wouldn’t have to wake up disturbed and agitated by the sound of PNR train, instead I would feel more of inspired from the cackling of hens and peeping of chicks early in the morning. I wouldn’t have to ride a jeep and rush against time. I’ll probably just walk while staring on every idyllic landscape just at the side of the street.
But for now, I’d rather take a bath and again wake myself up from musing all over. The sun is up I better hurry so I won’t be late. Traffic is waiting.