Leoncio and I spent the long weekend in Cavite (January 21-23) and because there was no definite to-do list during our stay I thought it was the perfect timing for us to go see the farm, which I had been planning to visit since 2007.
The farm is owned by my maternal family, it’s a parcel of land that sits on the middle of elsewhere. From the main road, it’s a good 10-15 minutes hike, I remember this old cashew tree that my cousins and I used to pick fruits –it’s the indication that the farm house is nearing. And depending on how fast you walk or run, the sooner you can reach the place.
A small garden will welcome you, with flowering plants and dark pink bougainvilla flowers that lush the doorway –they never seem to wither all year round. On one side of the backyard, there stood the animal shelter where my grannies keep the cows and the hogs. I remember that we used to feed the cows with “ipil-ipil” leaves nearby. Next to it was the spot where the coffee beans were lay out to dry up. Formerly, my grannies make big money from these coffee beans and we get our little share after the selling period. 🙂
And how can anyone not remember the “bahay kubo” that is built to accommodate the whole clan. It’s substantial for our families during summer vacations and Christmas breaks. We sleep on wooden bed or “papag” but most of the time the bamboo flooring serves just right for everyone. There’s this long dining table with “upuang bangko” that can seat more than 12 people during mealtimes. At hand, you can smell my Lola’s cooking of homegrown vegetables that are paired with fried fish most of the time. We would normally snacks with grilled corn or boiled root crops (sweet potato or cassava). Probably you’re wondering why we have to eat those kinds instead of local chips and bread. Well, if you are so willing to walk alone the grassy trail then it’s your choice. I don’t know but there’s this site along the way that we all find eerie –it’s all but the bordering big mango tree. 😦
The toilet is another story, very similar to most rural communities a pit toilet is used (with cover to prevent smell and to discourage some fly species), which we refer to as “kubeta”. It’s located outdoor and a little distant from the main house. I don’t want to elaborate more on it because I don’t want to recall its inconvenience anymore. So you get the picture, the toilet is just to poo poo and pee pee can be anywhere so long as there’s a little covering. 🙂
Unless you’re sick or injured you’re allowed to take a bath at the rear side of the house other than that you have to go up and down the hill to bathe. Going to the stream is a regular routine in the morning or following lunch, we spent hours playing around the running water, catching little fishes or dragonflies. I recall how my sister would cry out load whenever there are cows in the vicinity, hehehe. She was very frightened at the sight of this farm animal with thick skin and hoofed foot. By the way, the elders do all the laundries here with “batya” and “palo palo”.
Before sundown I would normally gaze at the hills within my reach, slowly watching the orange sky turned into darkness. And then, it would be all darkness as there is no electricity around –odd how we survived the day without TV that time. Kerosene lamps are used to sunlit the house while everyone is gathered and entertained by my cousins chants. We would normally end the night early while tirelessly be in silly tone. 😀
That was how vivid my recollection of how it was at some point in my very much younger years. And I regret the fact that our visits became occasional when we were growing up. Aside from the many comings and goings that happen then including my Lola’s big move to a house within my Tita B’s compound, family issues that come to pass, and the biggest ordeal our family had –my Tito Bong’s death 😦 , we stopped visiting the farmhouse. It was a heartrending episode as he (my Tito) was murdered inside the house, the case was partially resolved but justice was not achieved. It was sad that the farmhouse was totally knocked down after that.
And just two weeks ago I was back to the place where I spent most of my summers, most of my childhood perhaps. The place I somehow called my picture of the countryside.
Let me take you there with this post,
From the main road, we have to secure parking that would be safe and shaded, glad that the first house located at the entry point was a relative.
And then on foot to a trail that seems to disappear as we go on, I tell you it’s not like this before.
The grassland and coffee trees now almost covering the path, it was quite a challenge for us but our natural feelings lead us right.
The eerie mango tree used to stand at this point.
We almost got lost prior to hitting the entrance, the railing was gone and there’s not even a remnant of the old house.
And we had no choice but to settle on this improvised seating. 😦
The farmland these days is being manned by a lessee with his family around; they built a temporary shelter just across where the original farmhouse was situated.
Notwithstanding all the calamities of the natural world, the farm still produces coffee beans except that it’s no longer a myriad like it used to.
There’s this old tree (another mango tree) that you cannot hold close because of its huge trunk but I don’t know what happened to its impressive size.
We used to play around underneath its shade as you can hardly see any budding bushes in the past. Look what happened now.
I was probably just like this kid, at a very tender age I developed my love for the four-legged ones. 🙂
And I was like my niece, SAM, who’s equally curious to look around.
Running, poking, bullying (?) –it was very like us!
Yet, as each year grows old everyone gradually change. My sister now has a new found friend. 🙂
As we left the farmhouse, I can’t help but feel truly miserable. I thought it would be a happy feel after all; I was wrong because the traces of my childhood were nothing but all gone. 😦