From My Inbox – Childhood Memories

This post is from a note written by Sandy Tan, a childhood friend from Padada, Davao del Sur. He was actually reminiscing about people, places, events, and other things from our town. I tried to translate this to English but the resulting prose lost the richness and the undertones of the Cebuano dialect. So, I kept its original language.

Here it goes.

My town's boundary's marker
My town’s boundary’s marker

 

 

Kahinumdum ka pa ani?

30 centimos pamasahe sa una, kabit libre pa?
Babae ra gyud ang naay ariyos?
Mga piniriso ra ang naay tattoo?
Ang sabot nimo sa LOL kay ULOL?

San Pedro o Claveria ang shoppinganan sa Davao?
60 centimos ra ang BBQ ug Piso ang isa ka BOL nga kinutil ila Balending?
Kusog ka mokaon ug binignit ila Nene Idea ug?
Chocnut ang imo paborito…usahay Sergs kung naa kay kwarta?

Ang mantika sa baboy maoy ibahug sa kan-on?
Ga-atang sa palengke kay maghinalang kada sabado sa gabii?
Familiar ka ug unsa ang “Underwood” nga brand…unya gamit ka pa carbon paper?
Sulod palengke tigpalit ug Tancho, X-7, o brillante para pampapogi o pangpagwapa?

Darigold ang imo ginainum usa ka matulog?
Piso lang…daghan ka na mapalit sa palengke…apil pa siopao ila Marcial?
Mosugo ka pa ug tao para motawag sa imo amigo kay wala may telepono?
Puniton ang lata kay himoong tarak-tarak…unya pik-on ang papel para himoong pusil-pusil?

Dili mahuman ang adlaw kung dili makabasa ug Liwayway, Bisaya, Hiwaga…song hits pud?
Masuko ka kung sawayon ang ilong ni Vilma kay lapad man?
Kada tindahan gagunit ug Red Cross Ticket?
25 centimos lang ang gupit ila Apyong?
Ginasinggitan si junior ug “BUANG!!!”?

Ang pantalon ug palda naka ARMIROL…tuskig pa sa tuyom?
Maulaw ka kung gabitay imo Halfslip, pero karon kita na PANTY UG PUSOD?
Ginakantiawan ang mga BAYOT sa una?
Boring ang tawag sa GRO?

Payat ka pa sa una?
Taga-Limonzo pa ang tawag sa taga-Padada
Daghan pa ka ug buhok kaniadto?
Combo, songhits pwede na, binuntagay na sa barkada?

Gaharana o ginaharanahan ka pa?
Tuba pa imo gina-inum?
$1 = 4 Peso?

Kung nakahinumduma ka pa ani…TIGULANG ka na!!!

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Simbang Gabi

Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo

 

Today is the first day of the Simbang Gabi – a nine-day novena which starts December 16 and ends on December 24. It is celebrated at 4:30 in the morning. But in recent years, when masses are also regularly held in chapels and other places outside of the main church, simbang gabis are held during evenings – at 7:00, 8:00 or 9:00 depending on the availability of the priest celebrant.

flickr photo by storm-crypt

But the original practice is to hold it at dawn; at hours before the sun rises. It is common among former colonies of Spain. The friars  convinced the catholic converts to prepare themselves for the celebration of the birth of the Saviour; and  what more fitting preparation there is but to attend nine-day novena mass. The problem however, is that the subjects have to be in their agricultural fields early, so as a  compromise, the clergy began to hold Mass early dawn when the land would still be dark. In fact, it was so dark going to church from their homes that the faithful brought with them lanterns or parol… which later on took various shapes… and eventually into the shape of a star – the Christmas lanterns of today we are familiar with.

I remember with fondness the simbang gabi of my youth, in  Padada, Davao del Sur. Misa de Gallo, as we called it, was an event that everybody looked forward to. Parishioners filled-up the church every day of the simbang gabi. Every mass was sponsored by one or two socio-civic organization, a church-based group, school-based youth organization or barangay units.  The mass sponsors provided the lectors, commentators, collectors, altar servers, the choir and any and all tasks attendant to celebrating the mass.

It was not only a religious celebration; it was a social event as well.  People looked around which ones of the mass goers are wearing new clothes. Some checked out what the offerors give as gifts for to make sure they will give something different when their designated day as offerors come. Kids greeted their godparents and subtly reminded them of the coming Christmas Day (and their gifts). To the teenagers and the singles it was an opportunity to see their crushes and special friends. The bolder ones sat beside them during the mass, and walked them back to their house after.  Those with political ambitions lingered around after the mass and met as many people as possible.

But it is what cams after the mass that everybody looked forward to – the early morning “painit” that awaited you when you came back from the church; or the “painit” that you bought after hearing mass and before going home. The painit can be any or all of the following:  bibingka, torta, suman, and biko with tsokolate or brewed coffee as the accompanying hot drink.  If the lady of the house had not cooked or bought any native delicacy, the family shared a fare of pandesal with margarine bought from a neighbourhood bakery.

But even among families that had no “painit” awaiting them when they come home from mass, the simbang gabi was still something they look forward to. For one, while waiting out for the sun to rise, family members talked among themselves and consequently had some quality bonding moments. Moreover, completing the whole nine day novena without fail has its rewards. It is said that when if you make a wish on the first day of the mass and when you completed the nine day mass, your wish will be granted.

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VIVA Señor San Miguel!


The St Michael the Archangel image at the main entrance of the Catholic Church of Padada, Davao del Sur*

September 28-29 is  the parochial fiesta of my hometown – Padada, Davao del Sur. Our patron saint is St Michael the Archangel. I remember with fondness the image of our patron on the front wall atop the main door of our church. It is a symbol of the triumph of good over evil.  It is a concrete sculpture of St Michael stepping on the body of Lucifer and burying his spear into the devil’s heart. Below the sculpture is the phrase “KINSAY SAMA SA DIYOS.”

 

 

 

 

Exterior of St Michael's Church of Padada, Davao del Sur*

I often tell my friends that only those who can clearly describe how the image look like can rightfully claim he is from Padada. Moreover, I also have kababayans who maintain that only those who can explain the meaning and the context of the words “KINSAY SAMA SA DIYOS” can rightfully say that he understands the Story of Creation.

The church of St Michael in Padada was built 59 years ago in the spirit of bayanihan. The original chapel  was located  beside the national highway, more than a kilometer away from the present location of the church.  My grandfather told me that led by a Fr. Paul Gravel, a PME priest,  they first repaired the old chapel, after which they literally carried it on their shoulders to its present site. Of course, there were hundreds of them who enthusiastically did it.

 

Interior of the St Michael's Church*

Town folks, rich and poor alike, pooled their resources to build the church. They contributed money, materials, and labor in order to build the present church. That they contributed the best construction materials can be better appreciated if one examines closely the type of wood used in the construction of the church. Before it was unfortunately painted over in the 80s, the upper walls, pillars, and ceilings glistened in the natural sheen of the hardwood used.

Every year, the  parochial fiesta is a much awaited event in our small town. The fiesta proper is preceded by a nine-day novena. Every night during these nine days, there are cultural and/or sports events held either in the church grounds or in the municipal auditorium. After the fiesta mass, the catholic school students hold ground demonstrations wherein they showcase their terpsicorean and musical abilities. Parents and visitors watch these activities which usually end before noontime. During lunchtime and well into the evening, visitors are treated to sumptous feasts in various houses in the town.

Fiesta is an excuse for us to go home to our hometown to renew ties with old friends and to visit parents and relatives. If one fails to do so, the tradition is to light a candle in any church and say a prayer for St. Michael. The better option of course, is to gather some kababayans and their families and celebrate the fiesta in the part of the world where they are staying.

Let me close this post by sharing with you the Prayer to St Michael:

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in the day of battle; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast unto hell, satan and all the other evil spirits, who prowl through the world, seeking the ruin of souls, Amen.

Mary, Queen of the Angels, pray for us.
All your seven Archangels of God, pray for us. 

.

HAPPY FIESTA TO ALL MY KABABAYANS.

VIVA Señor San Miguel!

*pictures in this post are from www.padada.com

 

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A Homecoming Speech

Last December 30, 2004, I was invited as guest speaker during the 50th annual alumni homecoming of my high school alma mater — St Michael’s School of Padada. Here is a transcript of my speech. 

Dear guests, former teachers, peers and fellow alumni of St. Michael School of Padada, MAAYONG HAPON SA INYONG TANAN!

When Elma Ayop, and then Anna Binoya asked me if I would speak in today’s reunion, I was quite humbled, but more than that actually stunned.

Perhaps, the outspoken criteria to the invitation was beer belly size? Morag dili. Dili ang gidako-on sa tiyan ang basehanan kung kinsa ang guest speaker kay mas daghan pa man diri karon ang mas dako pa ang tiyan kaysa ako. Sa pagkatinood, isog-isog gyod tang tanan nga nitambong sa atong reunion. Kay wala man ta mahadlok nga magpalista bisan dagko na ang ating mga bilbil, sinaw na ang atong mga ulo, o dili kaha, kunot na ang atong mga agtang.

Allow me to be more pensive, this time. 50 YEARS – dugay dugay na gyud na panahon sukad matukod kining atong eskwelahan.  Mas tigulang pa gani kini kaysa kadaghanan nga mitambong ning atong homecoming. But in reality it doesn’t seem to be too far back in time.

In the years since we left the corridors of St. Michael’s School of Padada, through all the compelling changes that our lives (and bodies) have gone through, I look into the faces of everybody and I can say with conviction that everyone here is a SUCCESS. A success because our Catholic upbringing within the walls of this institution, molded us into individuals, who, by making a difference in the lives of a handful of people, that by struggling to be better than how we were when we walked out of the gates of SMSP.  We, in our own way,  have fanned the flames of the SWORD OF ST. MICHAEL and kept its fire ablaze.

Kasagaran ang sukdanan sa kalampusan ginatan-aw sa kadaghan ug kwarta, sa gwapo nga sinina, bag-o nga sakyanan, o kaharuhay sa trabaho ug panginabuhi. However, the Almighty Father, ang BIG BOSS ni Senior San Miguel, dunay lain nga sukdanan kung kinsa ang successful nga alumni sa St. Michael School of Padada. Para KANIYA, ang HULAGWAY SA KALAMPUSAN makita nato:

– sa mga amahan ug inahan nga adlaw adlaw nag trabaho para lang mapadala ang ilang mga anak sa eskuylahan.

The face of success is also seen in:

  • the brightest among us who choose to be civil servants, because they still believe in our institutions;
  • the honest public servants among us – barangay captains, councilors, mayors who lead with integrity, honesty and virtue;
  • the single parents who gave up their own happiness and needs for the sake of their children.
  • And, the businessmen and corporate warriors who have helped other people add value to their lives.

School reunions is a time when we reminisce the era that had made us the successful human beings that we are now.  Our years in SMSP were memorable years! We grew up in a single, God-centered community. Education was our ticket to a brighter better world. And probably for most of us, Education was the only way out.

It was a great time to grow up. We had no money, but we learned to enjoy what was available. We did not have television, electronic games and cellphones, but we were free to learn about nature and enjoy life through our physical activities and interaction with each other. We would swim in the beach, scale the slopes of Piapi, and hunt for spiders and make them fight with each other. We walked to school, and to the church, we played and picnicked in the open spaces, serenade classmates celebrating their birthdays. We raised gardens and chickens. We cut grasses with our own hands and made crude, simple toys.

Many of us were poor, but not poverty-stricken because we had a purpose. Purpose kept us going.

Think of the teachers we had in those days! They taught us to believe we are winners. They see to it that we learn to speak and to write correct and understandable English. They made us sing in ways we never thought was possible. They showed us the logic of math and the sciences. They gave us Spanish as a living language. And our principals and the nuns kept the school running. We respected and somewhat feared our teachers, but overall, knew them as friends we could trust.

Think of the confidence we had in each other. The students were the brightest, the girls were the prettiest. The basketball and softball players were the winners. The glee club and the church choir sang like angels. The school band and the rondalla played beautiful songs. We had the pride of the CLASS of ST. MICHAEL’S. We were proud because we knew hardships was just a step in making us self- sufficient. We did not grow up to be forever dependent on the dole or the goodwill of others. We were expected to be responsible, dependable and independent adults. We wanted to accept our roles in life, whatever those roles might be. We were poor growing up but we had purpose and pride.

One other thing we had, (though we may not realized it and might even had denied it at the time),  we had prayer. We clung to our prayers in those days. We had known life and death of friends and family. We had known financial and emotional trials. We had known fears and frustrations. We have felt fatigued and despair. The right and ability to pray, as we learned in school, has continued to sustain us through the years, and will sustain us the rest of our course.

We have entered into the 21st century and a new millennium since we left SMSP. Middle age is a nagging reality. We must tell our children and grandchildren, how, despite not having all the material comforts that are accessible now, we grew with purpose and pride and we continued through adversity with prayer. This is what we learned from St. Michael School of Padada. It is the same sense of purpose, of pride, and of faith that will bring us together again.

Even after 50 years, we still keep these flames ablaze as children of SMSP.

MABUHAY ANG MGA ALUMNI SA ST. MICHAEL’S!

 

(note: a transcript of this speech first appeared in   http://www.padada.com/PR2004/alumni2004_12.htm    a website put up by Czaldy Garrote and other alumni of SMSP)

 

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