Young leaf memories

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My father “Jess” was working in a gold mining company as a driver of a dumptruck. The mining area was located at Bo. Masara, Mabini, Davao del Norte. The terrain of “Masara” is like a canyon that is surrounded by huge mountains. In the place, we can still hear the sounds of wild animals like birds (hawks, owls, ravens). We can also see monkeys jumping and playing on big trees. Many wild animals were still visible in the place, thus: geckos, snakes, turtles, deers, wild pigs, squirrels and more. But, at the bottom of the mountain, there was a river that has  small spring at its side. Many residents always meet together at the spring everyday and they had fun, while they were bathing and washing their clothes. As I have observed it, the people were very close to one another, as they were borrowing personal things, like laundry detergent and bath soaps, basins and other personal stuffs.

It is still fresh in my mind, that we were living in a bunkhouse with 24 rooms, occupied by 24 families. I can still remember, I was always sitting down on the stairs of the bunkhouse, going down to the ground, every morning. As  I observed, my mother went to a small market called “tabo”,  where vendors sold veggies, fruits and “Kakanin” like: “suman, bibingka, puto” and more. My mother just walked with those mothers in the bunkhouse. They would flock together, making noise on the street, to the “Tabo” market. I  always felt happy when mama got home bringing with her basketful of fruits and veggies. The first thing that I would like to see in the basket was the banana leaf, for I knew that it has the “bibingka, suman or Pilipit” in it. I was always the first to take my part and very proud of it.

At first, mama won’t allow me to go with her, for it was very cold in the morning, but I insisted to go. thus i was  preparing myself a jacket for cold and a pajama. One morning, my mother stealthily went out from the room, in order not to awaken anybody sleeping, But I was already awakened before my mother knew it. It was really a fun to go with the mothers and other children in a convoy  to the market. I could see many people bringing baskets buying fresh fruits and vegetables. It was so enjoyable seeing many people flocking as early as 4 o’clock in the morning.

One afternoon, I heard a loud horn of a dumptruck with a “let’s go” sound. My mother would rush down to the street and hand a  baon for my father’s dinner. Yeah, it was my father driving the dumptruck.  The truck was so big and its tires were higher than my father’s hieght.

One day, about 4:30 in the afternoon, my lola called “nanang” carried me on her back and she climbed up to the lowly hill, where there were planted sweet potatoes, papaya trees, sugar cane, malongay, beans, mongoes, banana trees, and many vegestables in the garden. The garden was just small having an area of more or less 500sq.m. as I can still remember.

In the garden, “Nanang” would lay me down on a patadyong matted on the piled stones. She would then make fire and cook sweet potatoes for me and cut sugar cane chopped it into bite sizes. When she saw that I would be alright eating those barbecued sweet potatoes with the sweet sliced sugar canes, “nanang” would start cultivating the soil in the garden. About an hour after, she would carry me again on her back after fixing her gardening tools and then got down back to the bunkhouse. I was the pet among her grand grand children. She never did it to her other grandchildren, but I got all her favors.

“Nanang”, was the grand mother of my mother. we haven’t seen my mother’s parents, but “Nanang” was still alive then, to take care of me. Of old age, she was bed ridden, in few years. She would not want me to stay away from her, therefore I would just stay in her room, although I didn’t like the smell. If my mama gives  her food for meal, she would like me to eat first, I was reluctant to eat her food specially when she was the one to feed me, by her own hand. In as much as possible, I didn’t want to disappoint her nor embarrass her, so I forced myself to take whatever  she would feed me.

After some years, that she could no longer stand alone by herself, she asked my mother  to see her sister living in Toril, Davao City. They brought “Nanang”, carrying her on a Duyan (which was made of Patadyong) to Toril. There was only one commercial bus to ferry people of Masara down to the City and it was Masara Bus Line .

It was my first travel by bus out of the mining area. It was about 7:00 in the evening, along the road, as the bus was running, I saw many boats from the window of the bus. The roads  were brilliantly lighted that I was fantacised. I now realized it is in Tibungco. It was the first time I came down to the city. I was amazed.

It was the first memories that could not be taken away from my mind. A new leaf then. now that I am going to wither the things in the past yet remain memorable still.

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