“kidnapped” for the weekend

November 7, 2005 at 8:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Song of the Moment: some Maroon 5 song playing right now
To Do (tasks, not people): budget my wee
Current State: restless
~~~~~~~~~~

it was my niece dianne’s birthday last friday. mom and i dropped by the old neighbourhood at manila tugging along a chocolate treat cake, with the sweet dedication “happy 8th birthday dianne from mommy and tito bing”. the lovely little lass, we would later find out, is just 7. and yes, all my relatives call me by that name (not “mommy”, wiseass).

anyway, my titas just came back from toronto for a two-week vacation and dropped by my brother’s house as well. i haven’t seen them in more than ten years. they were shocked at how tall i’d grown with long curly hair and sporting a goatee, to boot. right on the spot they dragged me back with them to the old quaint town of calumpit so i could see the rest of the paternal clan.

so i saw them. it was nice to get re-acquainted with my relatives. the source of my gene pool was reaffirmed. the sharp crooked nose, the curly hair, the wide forehead, and less visibly, the temper and (i hope) the smarts.

and i took the time to fulfill a promise i had made to myself back in college. i went to see him.

don’t worry, there wasn’t too much drama. my cousin jp was amusing enough with his paranoia over the possibility of seeing ghosts at the cemetery. in fact, when we visited the pace where dad is buried i felt just a bit sad, but more fulfilled and unfortunately, very angry.

i hadn’t been there since…well, since the day he was buried there. but i remember the rice field right beside the cemetery, the narrow passageway leading into the place, the overcrowding of catacombs of various sizes and designs.

what got me mad was that right beside my dad’s puntod, someone else had been buried, and there was no more than two inches of space separating their tombs, and half of his lapida had been covered.

and ths is very embarassing to say but, there’s like, five of the nabongs in my dad’s puntod.

i didn’t know the guy, i don’t remember anything about him, but it just upset me to see the condition of his burial spot. and the worst part was that i felt like i was in no position to complain to my titas. i’m the nephew they haven’t seen in more than 10 years, remember?

then i get to think about the floods from last year. my god. i dread to imagine what happened to the cemetery that time. (for those not familiar, calumpit is right beside pampanga. they have recurring floods in the town because of the dams all over the region and pinatubo’s lahar induced floods. last year tv patrol ran a sensational story about people from calumpit eating rats because of the calamity.)

anyhoo, i lit a candle for him. i looked back while my cousins made their way out. i felt a bit of a tug. but i got over it soon enough. my promise had been fulfilled. it’s time to make a new one. i’m moving him out of there. that is, barring any death in the near future, which according to bulakenyo tradition means you can’t move those already dead from their spot for five years.

i so want to bypass that tradition. eventhough i know it woud cost a lot of money. but i can probably bring it up with dianne’s dad who is also on vacation from libya. but i think i have to defer to the customs of my relatives. i know, i know, it doesn’t make sense, but hey, it’s respect. the same way i left my plates on the dinner table because kaka or tita sonia wasn’t done eating yet. or the same way i would make the mano po gesture more than a hundred dozen times. or the same way my voice would also inflect with the distinctive calumpit accent everytime i spoke to emphasize filial piety and the gentleness of the town’s people to each other.

but i left all that as we drove to the airport on sunday morning. except for the burial thing. that one just keeps bugging me. that’s my dad! i can’t say i love him. but he’s family. that has to mean something, right?

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