Showing posts with label homecomings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label homecomings. Show all posts

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Comfort food: home-cooked pansit molo

My recent homecoming trip to Cabatuan, Iloilo was a most welcome change of pace. I remembered that I used to come home to recharge my batteries regularly including the time when I was studying in Japan. That was almost every year until the streak basically stopped after I came home, got married, and got busier at work. Last month, I finally was able to return to our home in Cabatuan where I have a lot of happy memories that to this day I cherish and remember with fondness.

Among the memories was the good food I ate there. This was usually cooked by my aunts with Nanay Paring and Nanay Nene usually rotating in cooking our favorite dishes. Of course, it won't be Iloilo if we didn't have the popular Ilonggo dishes. As if she read my mind, one of my closest cousins, Manang Dora, cooked molo. This was quite the perfect comfort food for me and the taste brought back a lot of my childhood memories.

Molo just the way I like it
It happened to be quite rainy when I was in Iloilo and so the hot soup and dumplings were just right for us to keep warm during the cool weather. Now I do look forward to the next trip back to Cabatuan. Perhaps that should be soon and with our daughter Ally coming, too, to meet her relatives from Tatay's side of the family.


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Our home in Iloilo

I searched for my father's hometown in Iloilo on Google Earth and Google Maps before but didn't use the street view option. Last time around and after coming home I decided to take another look and to check if Google's street view includes the streets near our home there. Lo and behold! It does include them and the Google survey vehicle even passed in front of our home. And so we now have nice images of our home online. Below are the images that I embedded here using Google's features:

I can now go to Google Maps and click on the Street View option whenever I feel like I need to "go home".

Friday, March 17, 2017

Catholic Cemetery of Cabatuan, Iloilo

Nanay Nene was finally laid to rest last Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at the Cabatuan cemetery. The cemetery is located at the outskirts of the town but along the national highway that eventually leads to the next town of Sta. Barbara as well as the access road to the airport, which is on land within the jurisdiction of Cabatuan. The cemetery is centuries old and is easily identified by its distinctive main gate and mortuary chapel. I decided to post photos I took last Monday when I visited the cemetery to see the progress of preparations at our family tomb located beside the chapel. Nay Nene was to join her parents, other siblings and close relatives who had passed away years ago and Tatay and my cousin Manong Joam already made arrangements for her interment here. Meanwhile, a close nephew, Dexter, committed to improving the tomb in addition to works he already had done for the tombs bearing his parents, my cousins.

Mortuary chapel
Mortuary chapel wall and grills
Details on the mortuary chapel
Altar and crucifix
Main gate featuring a centuries old arch leading to the mortuary chapel
There was a time when a clear view of the chapel from the main gate was blocked by the tomb of the town's most prominent son, Tomas Confesor. He was a prominent senator during the Commonwealth and after the Second World War. That tomb was eventually moved to the town plaza.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Old photos: Cabatuan, Iloilo

My old Pentax camera had a panorama feature that I liked to use even though it cost me more whenever I had these developed and printed. I remember I had a collection of panoramic photos but most of the negatives and prints didn't survive Ketsana's (Ondoy's) floods. One of the early panorama photos I took was of my father's hometown of Iloilo from atop the Balik hill the town uses as Mt. Calvary for its Lenten activities. I recall that my cousins and I just finished climbing the hill together with hundreds of others and marveled at the view of the town. I made sure to get a panoramic shot and it sure seemed the most appropriate to take as a souvenir back then. It still is now.

Cabatuan town as seen from atop Balik hill - the most identifiable landmark is at center left, the centuries old Catholic Church at the town plaza


Friday, November 6, 2015

Undas traffic

Metro Manila traffic is usually lighter during Undas – the days when we remember those who passed away. Many people go back to their hometowns and this is significant because many residing or working or studying in Metro Manila hail from other provinces. Of course, some people would rather go on a vacation during this time with many now opting to travel abroad rather than braving crowded cemeteries of their hometowns. Some do the so-called ‘staycations’ – basically staying put at home during the undas break (Sorry, staying in a hotel is technically not a ‘staycation’ as many people claim it to be.)

What are the facilities that are expected to be congested? These would be the gateways from Metro Manila to other provinces. These would be airports, sea ports, bus terminals and major roads connecting Metro Manila to the provinces. There would be similar situations in other gateways as well such as in Cebu in the Visayas and Davao in Mindanao. Of course, all roads leading to cemeteries, memorial parks and columbariums. These roads would be filled with people (mostly walking) and vehicles (mostly private cars and tricycles and pedicabs if local roads) who congregate in these areas to remember and pay tribute to their dead.

The congestion experienced in most roads during this time of year is usually manageable and local governments can and are usually prepared to address transport and traffic issues within their jurisdictions. Tollways also employ their own strategies and tactics to deal with toll plaza congestion. The Land Transport Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) issues additional temporary permits to bus companies to field more vehicles along high demand routes. Meanwhile, airports and seaports would have to deal with their own versions of congestion though it is expected that such peaking or spiking up of travel activity can be handled by many airports and ports considering that these facilities are supposed to be designed for higher than usual demands.

In our case, my side of the family usually went to Iloilo during this time of year. We got to tag along as the holidays coincided with the semestral breaks of our schools. Our dead are in the Cabatuan cemetery, which is also famous for its Spanish period chapel. It's actually been a long time since I've last went there to pay my respects to our lola (our grandmother and mother of my father), our aunts and uncles, and cousins. Since it was a short break, we usually took the airplane to and from Iloilo so we could maximize the time we spent there. I will be writing about these trips in another post...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

All boxed up - still on the high school homecoming

Last Saturday during our high school homecoming, I couldn't help but lift my eyes and notice the tall buildings surrounding the campus. These were mostly residential condominiums from the middle class types like Robinsons development, built on land where the original Medical City used to stand, to the high-end Shangri-la developments just across from St. Francis Church, it seemed to me that a lot of people (and strangers at that) were looking into our event from their units high above the campus. Soon, there will be more condos around Lourdes as I saw signs showing the proposed developments along Shaw Boulevard just across the school. I guess, many residents of these condos have children studying at Lourdes considering the convenience of the location. 

All ready - the stage and the dining tables are all set for the event. This is a permanent structure in the campus that hides the fire escape that was added to the grade school building only recently in compliance with safety standards. Note the high-rise condos in the background 
Suigeneris was the name of the fair our batch organized and hosted during our senior year in high school. It was the first school fair that was not financially supported by the school and so our student council had to solicit support from various donors. It was a resounding success for a student council-led event. Later, I learned that our council president and batchmate named his sounds and lights outfit Suigeneris. He provided the equipment for the homecoming.
Another batch photo - this was taken earlier in the night before the formal program started.  Notice the condo in the background (upper left)? I actually felt strange to see all the high rise buildings surrounding Lourdes Mandaluyong. There are many including the Shangri-la's posh St. Francis and the Robinsons condo shown in the photo, which was built on land that used to be occupied by the original Medical City. Indeed, much has changed since the time when we were still students here when most of the surrounding areas were undeveloped.


Friday, February 15, 2013


On Saturday, our high school batch will be celebrating our 25th year since our graduation in 1988. I look forward to attending my first high school homecoming since 1989, when I was a freshman at UP Diliman and my barkada and I agreed to come to our high school just to meet up. We didn't know then that it would be our last reunion until now, 24 years later. I don't have high expectations for the homecoming as our batch really started serious planning and mobilization for this only a few months earlier, unlike similar batches from other schools who launched all sorts of activities like marathons, movie premieres, golf tourneys and the like for fundraising. I myself am guilty for not participating in the planning and other activities leading to the reunion for various reasons.

I don't expect my barkada to be there. Among my closest friends in high school, only one will likely be attending the homecoming. I say likely because it is still uncertain despite our recent exchange of messages on Facebook. Another friend will most likely skip the reunion as he might be expecting himself to be the subject of some japes or taunts, as he was back in high school, which was mostly because of his religion and which I think was unfair. 

It will not be my most recent visit to Lourdes Mandaluyong. Only last October, I was at our alma mater to give a short talk to 3rd year high school students about possible careers in Engineering. I agreed to doing to career talk in part because I was curious about what the school looked like from the inside after all these years, when I only had glimpses of the school exterior when passing through Shaw Boulevard or San Miguel Avenue. The career talk I will write about later as my opinions on that topic deserves more than just mere mention here.

The latin words that is on the seal of Lourdes School is said to be the favorite greeting of St. Francis of Assisi
I hear that Silver Jubilees are a big thing with many if not most schools. The Clairvoyant is already involved in their own school's homecoming preparations next year when their batch is celebrating their 25 years. I'm not sure if what our batch did for this year's homecoming would be enough but maybe it's the spirit that matters and all the other batches who will be there tomorrow will be there to enjoy each other's fellowship.

As I write this, I am listening to a radio ad announcing the homecoming over a popular FM radio station where a batchmate is working (I hear he's an exec there.). Silver anniversaries are once in a lifetime and I think it would be a great idea to meet up with friends and acquaintances from way back. In a way, we share similar experiences from 4 years and yet a lot has changed since then especially as each one of us have probably been influenced by college life as well as our work environments. The homecoming tomorrow might also be the last opportunity to see old buddies in high school, knowing it is uncertain what happens to each one of us after the reunion. That, as they say, is life.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Homecoming: St. Francis of Assisi Parish

It was not really a formal homecoming but I consider coming to Lourdes Mandaluyong and St. Francis Church homecomings. This is because the school and the church was and is a significant part of my life, particularly for most of the 11 years when I was studying there. These were formative years and helped shape what I am today. Hearing Mass at St. Francis one Sunday, I took a few photos around and in the church for posterity. After all, it is at St. Francis that I was baptized, had my First Communion, and graduated from Grade School and High School. Kulang na lang pala dito ako ikinasal! Nevertheless, the Priest who celebrated our Wedding Mass was the LSM Rector during my GS and HS (he's Rector again now).

Driveway from the church - the steel railing and the steel fences were not there when I was attending school.

The church's cross used to be the tallest structure in the area. Now, there are so many high-rise buildings in the area including these residential condominiums just across the street from the church.

Tiled floor - I remember the floor in our time was plain polished concrete and I seem to have a HS class photo in this same area. The air-conditioning is for the confessional box and wasn't there before.

Corridor along the side of the church - at the end is a staircase that leads to the parking lot and parish office. There wasn't a roof at the right back in the day so this was practically a balcony looking across the parking lot and Shaw Boulevard.

Main altar - I was a bit surprised when I heard Mass at St. Francis a few years ago and found the significant changes in the altar. This was a very simple altar before with none of the gold and other glitter. I guess I'm old-fashioned in the sense that I prefer the simple altar back in the day. I even remember that people didn't line up for Communion but instead filed along the wooden railing (this is also gone) around the first step of the altar and knelt to receive Holy Communion. This was similar to the old practice at UP Diliman's Parish of the Holy Sacrifice.

Pews and stained glass - I remember being amused by the stained glass of the church when I was a toddler. Those were simpler times and our family heard Mass here every Sunday even when we were already living in Cainta. At left are small altars including one dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Back in the day, it was only this small altar that I remember Tatay visited every Wednesday instead of going to Baclaran. At right is the confessional box.

St. Pio Chapel - this area has been renovated as it used to be just an open area with pews facing the main altar. The door leads to another corridor and a balcony facing the HS grounds. There is also a staircase that leads to the school grounds with an entrance beside the school canteen. Noticeable in the photo are ceiling fans that were a later addition to the church. The interior used to be quite breezy as the area surround the church and the school used to be vacant. Nowadays, it's not so because of the high-rise buildings in the area.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Homecoming: LSM, Alma Mater

I received an invitation to speak before high school juniors at a career talk at my alma mater, Lourdes School of Mandaluyong (LSM). I made sure I arrived early so that I could have an opportunity to go around the school grounds reminiscing about my 11 years at LSM from 1977-1988. Following are a few photos I took during my visit and prior to my talk about Engineering.

Entrance - this was the usual sight when entering the school grounds. The grade school building is on the left while the old Instructional Media Center (IMC) was located at the open door in the photo.
Quadrangle and multi-purpose hall - there is now a multi-level building where the old tennis court used to be located along the side of the covered walkway connecting the old grade school building with the canteen and St. Francis church. On the foreground is the area where we used to line up for flag ceremonies and other assemblies. The tree in the middle of the photo is an old one and was already there when I first entered LSM in 1977.
Quadrangle - we used to have our Monday flag ceremonies and Physical Education exercises in the area. Also, during grade school, we lined up before entering our classrooms in the morning and after recess and lunch breaks. 
Another view of the quadrangle, this time showing the flag pole and the section adjoining the St. Francis of Assisi Church. The section to the right houses the parish offices and the living quarters of priests assigned to LSM and St. Francis. Clergy at LSM belong to the Order of  Friars Minor - Capuchins (OFM Cap.).
Yet another view of the quadrangle, this time from the covered walkway connecting the grade school building with the canteen and St. Francis church.
Covered walkway to the canteen - this is the view when walking from the grade school building. Turning right at the end of the walkway, the walkway branches out leading to the high school building. Turning left led to the library. At the end of the walkway and before descending the stairs to the canteen, there is (or was) a wooden door to the right that opens to a staircase leading up to the church.
Heritage tree? - this tree has been at the quadrangle since my entire schooling (1977 - 1988) and is a survivor given all those typhoons that have passed through since then. I guess the buildings surrounding it have mitigated the effects of strong winds that have toppled many trees elsewhere. Clairvoyant mentions a very old tree at the St. Theresa's College campus in Quezon City that has been declared as a heritage tree. Perhaps this tree at LSM could qualify for the distinction.
View of the back of St. Francis Parish Church - below is a small garden also dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi and the school's entrance to the St. Francis Theater beneath the church.
Parish office as seen from the LSM parking lot - I was surprised by number of vehicles parked in the area. It seems a lot of students are driven to school these days and there are fewer school service vehicles compared to when we were students there back in the 1980's.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Kamias, atbp.

We grew a lot of small trees around my parents' home. Among these is a kamias tree that has survived over few decades since its planting in the early 80's. The kamias tree is just across from my sister's room and can easily be seen from the front of the house as it is just near the wall along the side of the property. It is a prolific tree so much so that one can harvest a lot of kamias any time of year. Kamias has many other uses aside from it being edible. Among the practical uses of the fruit is as a natural bleach or cleanser. It's quite good at removing stains without damaging the color of clothes.

I remember we used to have a chico tree at the front corner of our home that regularly bore fruit so much so that you'd don't have to crave for chico.  Much of the fruits, particularly those near the top and hard to get, were consumed by bats. The tree is said to come from fruit brought to Manila by paternal grandmother who usually brought some fruits from what was available from the trees surrounding our home in Iloilo. Unfortunately, the tree had to be cut when our house was remodeled to raise it against the perennial flooding in Cainta.

I also remember we had an atis tree that also bore its seasonal fruits but the old one also had to be cut down during the remodeling of the house back in the late 90's. The tree we have there now is a younger one but has been already quite consistent in producing the fruit that is my favorite. In fact, my mother still always stashes away the biggest fruits for me.

Kamias in my parents' backyard
There's a guyabano tree in another corner of our home that never fails to deliver fruits during the summertime. Tatay usually covered the small fruit to protect it against birds, bats or insects that might eat the fruit even before it ripened on the tree. I remember one time that we brought home several guyabanos that we were able to bring some to my in-laws.

I would prefer to live in a home where there's space to plant a few small trees whose fruits I could enjoy. Perhaps this wish is influence of my growing up in a home where there are trees and plants around, and that includes vacationing at our home in Iloilo where we were surrounded by so many plants and trees. Perhaps I will get what I wish for in the near future.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

All boxed up

Heading home at last after a year and 7 months in Singapore, the Clairvoyant had to gather our things and place them in boxes to be transported back to the Philippines. Friends recommended a shipping company to us and we found their office at Lucky Plaza where there seemed to be quite a lot of companies offering logistics services for overseas foreign workers. We arranged for boxes delivered to our home and they arrived during one of my trips to Singapore. I was quite experienced in this work as I similarly had my stuff moved from Japan twice - the first time when I was returning home after my studies in Yokohama and the second when I was going back after a fellowship stint in Saitama. We ended up having 2 huge boxes picked up at our home and another we filled up with things we brought to Lucky Plaza.

The boxes could fit people inside them
Name recall is definitely there as Jolly-B is quite the same as the most popular fast food chain in the Philippines. Note the various bags in the background? It turns out, as I observed, that many OFWs in Singapore, particularly those sharing homes (or even rooms), probably have no storage for to keep items they wanted to send home to their families. They just drop off items in bags at Lucky Plaza until they are able to fill a box and decide to send their stuff to the Philippines.
Ready to go - after carefully sealing both ends of the box in packaging tape, we wrote our delivery address on the box itself.
Jolly-B staff marking our box after wrapping the entire box in packaging tape. That seemed to be a great idea to somehow have the package waterproofed for the journey via maritime transport.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Cathedral of Our Lady of Penafrancia, Naga City

The Clairvoyant went to Naga City with her father to celebrate with their relatives the occasion of the 80th birthday of her aunt, who is also our godmother in our wedding. Our cousin, Fr. Sonny, con-celebrated a Mass for his mother where in attendance were representatives of several generations of their clan as well as close friends of the family. Cousins flew in from Australia, Hong Kong and the US for the reunion. My father-in-law was in Naga for the first time in many years and so was also excited by the get-together with his siblings, nephews, nieces and grandchildren.

The Clairvoyant took the homecoming as an opportunity to snap up a lot of photos and among them are of the old cathderal dedicated to Our Lady of Penafrancia. I was only able to visit the new cathedral during my short trip to Naga back in 2009 and so wasn't really able to go around.

The old cathedral dedicated to Our Lady of Penafrancia where our priest-cousin celebrated Mass for his mother
The gazeebo at the plaza in front of the new cathedral
The arch at the pier at the river with the image of Our Lady on top. This is where the fluvial parade ends during the feast day in September.
Another look at the dome with stained glass canopy featuring religious scenes
The cathedral facade up close
Inside the cathedral, the ceiling provides a very impressive example of church architecture similar to those in Europe.
The main altar of the cathedral.
Ceiling detail and stained glass windows
Image of an angel holding holy water at the entrance to the cathedral

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Surprise visit

I  received a surprise but very pleasant call early this morning from a favorite cousin. It turned out that she was in my parents' house together with another cousin (her brother) and our nephew and niece. Manang Maya or Rebecca Brey was visiting from Iloilo, taking advantage of the semestral break from her teaching job at La Consolacion School in Hinigaran, Negros Occidental. She was in Manila to meet up with our nephew Dexter Brey, who is the son of her elder brother Ernie. Manong Ernie passed away years ago and was about the age of my father. Manong and Manang's mother was the first cousin of my father but was ahead in years owing to a big family and my father being the youngest among the siblings. Accompanying Manang was her younger brother Ramon, whom I have not seen since maybe 1985 or 1986. That was 25 years ago! Our niece, Neneng Mana-ay, the daughter of Manang's elder sister, Violeta.

Dexter is in Manila to attend to personal matters. He is Registered Nurse and currently employed in a hospital in London after a stint in the Middle East. Another niece, Ivy, is there with her family and is also a nurse in another London hospital. She is the elder sister of Neneng. Dexter and I were quite close back when we were kids and regarded each other more like cousins rather than me being an uncle. He even introduced me to some of his pretty classmates at Cabatuan National Comprehensive HS when I was visiting my father's hometown in Iloilo. Nowadays, he is usually away from the country and preferring to take vacations in Europe and the United States rather than come home to Iloilo. This after his mother, Manang Dolores, passed away after battling a lingering illness. Dexter's story is a success story considering he was able to recover most if not all their properties that were pawned to finance his schooling and placement abroad, and I guess nowadays he has saved enough for a comfortable retirement later. He's the only child of Manang Dolores and Manong Ernie.

We took a few photos to mark the occasion of their visit to Manila and Cainta. I was careful to remember doing so considering I lost most of my family photos to Ketsana in 2009. We had many photos, Manang Maya, Dexter and I. Maybe Dexter was able to save quite a few in their Iloilo home. Perhaps I will borrow them for scanning in the future. I remember I even have a photo of Manong Ramon when he was a young lad. Many of my elder cousins stayed with us when they first came to Manila in the 1970's. I'm quite happy to know that they're all doing well though we seldom if not rarely have contact with each other.

 From left: Dexter, Manang Maya, Manong Ramon and Neneng. On the foreground is Tatay

From left: Me, Manang Maya, Manong Ramon and Neneng

Have a written about how much I owe Manang Maya and another cousin, Manang Dora for what I am now? They happen to be my first tutors before I had formal schooling. At the time when they were staying with us, both my parents were working so they took charge of helping me learn the ABCs and the 123s. I hope to write more about this soon considering there's is a lot to write about those days. I had only tears when Manang Maya left for Iloilo and eventually Negros in 70's. And I am always happy to see her whenever we meet. And she always refers to me as her palangga.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Six of seven

I will be flying again to Singapore tomorrow in what would be my 7th overseas trip this year. Of the seven, six have been to Singapore, which I now regard as a home away from home given that we have a residence there. The only month I haven't been to Singapore has been last May when the Clairvoyant went to the US but passed by Manila along the way. I have already booked perhaps all my trips to Singapore until the end of the year with flights scheduled this August, September and October. In November, I will be traveling with the Clairvoyant on our first trip together to the US as we meet with friends and family in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. She will be taking her Christmas vacation here so I won't be traveling to Singapore in December.

It's quite tough being away from each other but the technology these days at least help alleviate whatever loneliness one might feel. Skype, Gmail and Yahoo! all have video chat features that allow for us to talk real-time given that we both have decent internet access at home.

I've packed my bags and my four-wheeler's already in the office. Tomorrow I will fly again and spend the weekend at our home (away from home). Harry Potter is in the itinerary and we're supposed to have lunch with friends Saturday. Perhaps some time, too, at the museum on Sunday after Mass to see the terracotta warriors on loan from China. It will be a busy weekend but one that will surely be fun and allow for me to recharge my batteries after some draining work the past weeks.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Shall we dance?

I've always wanted to learn how to dance...correctly. And by correctly I mean technically, gracefully and what other adverbs or adjectives can be used to describe this art form. I think it was quite unfortunate that I grew up at a time when New Wave and Punk dominated the airwaves. Dancing then was, can I say, free form. Not really like what freestyle was for swimming but free in the sense that you can basically just sway around and maybe flail your arms in a wave like motion to simulate the style of those days.

That was high school for me. But don't get me wrong, I now look back at those days and could still vividly picture in my mind how we were during our version of the good old days. Honestly, I wasn't even among those whom I remember "dancing" in those times of soirees and interactions with our counterparts in exclusive girls schools. I remember joining only two - an informal one with St. Paul Pasig and a formal (read: school sanctioned) one with Stella Maris. While I wasn't mostly among the walls, we (yes there a few of us) were pretty much close to the concrete.

My exposure to dancing as it should be mainly comes from my being in attendance at high school homecomings of my father's. I would watch as oldtimers and newly grads all went to the floor to perform - throwing caution to the wind when it was unnecessary because they did know their stuff. They would dance the whole night until early in the morning - swing, boogie, tango, disco, cha-cha (not the political kind), and wave. My cousins would always pull me to join them and I would always shake off my shyness, taking comfort by the sheer number of people I was with (I had many relatives) and knowing that people wont care if I had two left feet (or right). And I was always happy to see my father and his classmates dance the night away. I can see their joy and Tatay was a good dancer so I guess he can really enjoy reminiscing old times with his barkada in the Class of 1955.

Recently, I was reacquainted with the Ilonggo's love for dance. We were in Iloilo City for a seminar and happened to have dinner in a popular restaurant. We were a bit early so we thought that the band was just setting up. There were similar places in Cebu and Davao where the live band would even accept song requests from diners or even invite people to sing with the band. Then we saw people coming to the restaurant somewhat dressed for some occasion. We tried to disguise our laughs as some matrons arrived looking like they were going dancing, escorted by DI (dance instructor) types. A few minutes later they confirmed our suspicions when the band started playing...they were there to dance!

And dance they did as more people arrived including politicians, who surprisingly arrived with minimal bodyguards; instead opting to be surrounded by family and friends. Everyone seemed to know each other and I felt something I had not felt since the last time I attended my father's high school homecomings. I could see couples - young and young at heart - dancing together, the elder ones slowly but surely as you can see they knew how to dance, knew the steps and tried what their bodies allowed them to. Later in the night, the younger crowd joined in the dance floor, dancing in three and foursomes, just like what my cousins and I did while simultaneously exchanging stories and renewing ties. I understood then as I understood before but had seemed to forget, the Ilonggo way of having fun. It was already evident in their language - they can be angry or sad but the language was always malambing - and it was very evident by how they socialized, using dance as an instrument to disarm those with inhibitions and, regardless of who you were, let you in the circle to make you feel connected.

I miss those homecomings though they were not mine. I always felt I belonged as relatives from almost all high school batches where there making it appear from my perspective that they were actually our family's homecomings. I particularly miss dancing and wouldn't mind if I could relive those times and remember those few steps I picked up, and maybe, even learn a few...