reunion sa cam sur

nagpunta kami ni jane, kamakailan, sa bicol; sa baao, cam sur, sa hometown nya. dinalaw namin si ma’lydz, nanay nya, biyenan ko. matagal-tagal na rin kasing hindi nakadalaw si jane sa nanay niya.

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rosalie, ma’lydz, at jane sa harap ng bahay ni ma’lydz

tumira kami sa kapatid ni jane, si rosalie, at ang bana nyang si emil, kasama nang apat na anak nila, at ang shitzu na si twinkle.

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shulamite, rosalie, jane, hannah, juris (& twinkle), dondon, emil sa may garahe

agad ipinakuha ni emil ang pina-alagaan nyang kambing. maya-maya eto na si ronil pasan-pasan ang kambing sa balikat nya.

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si rassel at si ronil (may pasan ng kambing)

sana daw kakaibang luto ng kambing ang gawin ko. sabi ko “curry” pero mukhang di sila masyadong excited dun.

nag-adobong kambing si emil. sya na rin ang nagluto ng papaitan. yung dapat lulutuin kong “curry” ay ginawa kong mestizong kaldereta — kalderetang ginataan na may kaunting curry powder.

datapwat ang naibigan ng lahat ay ang inihaw na ribs ng kambing.

 

napakasimple ng pamumuhay dito. napakabagal ng oras. ang tahimik ng gabi.

napakagalang din ng mga bata. naupo ako sandali sa upuang kawayan sa harapan ng tindahan, isang umaga.

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ako at si doglas (di nya tunay na pangalan)

lahat ng batang may bibilhin sa tindahan ay lalapit muna sa kin at isasahod ang kamay upang magmano — kahit hindi nila ako kakilala.

pinuntahan namin ang hipag ni jane, si len, asawa ng kapatid nyang si desiler na nasa brunei. tiga-albay sila. at dahil tiga-albay sila ay pumasyal muna kami sa kagsawa ruins para sulyapan ang daragang magayon.

“magustuhan ka kaya ng daragang mayon,” sabi ni jane, “magpapakita kaya sayo?”

nagpakita naman. at lubhang napakaganda at napaka-majestic ng daragang magayon — ang mayon!

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masaya akong lumisan sa kagsawa. nagpakita sa kin ang daragang magayon.

nagpunta kami kina len pagkagaling ng kagsawa. pinagluto nya kami ng inihaw na bangus, sinigang na baboy, at fried chicken. may dessert din na fruit salad. pinauwian ni len si jane ng ilang tanim nyang orchids, at ako naman ay pinauwian nya ng kampit.

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si len (dulo, kanan, naka-pink), si drenz (hawak ni len, at si drex (naka-dilaw na t-shirt)

kinagabihan ay pumasyal naman kami kina jake abad, si jung-jung na bunsong kapatid ni jane.

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usapang barangay IRA: si jane, si vangie (misis ni jung), at si jung a.k.a. jake abad.

si jung ay isang radio commentator ng station ng RPN, Nabua. at si vangie naman ay sec ni kap sa san vicente. naglabas si jung ng kaunting inumin (johnny wong-wong) matapos ang napakasarap na hapunan ng laing at sinanglay na tilapia.

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L to R: jung a.k.a. jake abad, me, emil

naka-tatlo o apat na “for the road” (tagay bago bumyahe pauwi) kami, bago tuluyang nag walk-out si rosalie. nun kami nagtapos… at umuwi.

pinagluto ko sina rosalie at emil ng specialty ko na pata tim nung linggo ng tanghali.

ipinag-ani kami ni emil ng isang buwig ng saging na saba mula sa mga tanim nya sa likod bakuran. pinauwian ako ni rosalie ng paborito kong tinuktok. dinagdagan naman ito ni jung ng saging bicol (kakaiba ito at napakatamis), kamote, guyabano, karagdagang tinuktok (pinangat), at ug-og (kamansi). ibinigay din sa ‘kin ni rosalie ang isang sangkalan na mahogany. ikinahon ni rosalie lahat nito bago kami umuwi.

kinagabihan ng linggo, hinatid kami ni emil at rosalie sa abangan ng bus sa plaza ng baao. pauwi na kami.

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inaabangan ang raymond bus sa tabing karsada malapit sa plaza ng baao

napakasayang reunion lalo na’t ang magkakapatid at magulang (ina) ay magkakasundo, sa kabila nang magkakalayo.

tiyak, babalik ako. 👌

 

eliz and CV

saturday was antithesis: in the morning, we were invited to a birthday breakfast buffet; in the afternoon, we went to a wake.  the birthday, was the 60th birthday celebration of a dear christian friend, eliz ‘maling’ francisco: the wake, the wake of an uncle, dr. cesar vicente san pedro, 87, who died of liver cancer.

there are no ironies — if ever there were — in birthdays.  in deaths there often are.  one of the ironies in deaths is that a death in the family becomes the occasion of happy reunions between siblings, cousins, relatives, and friends who haven’t seen each other in ages.  a death in the family brings us together, and the tragedy of death becomes a comedy of reunions.  an irony.  an irony on a tragedy…

maling is special.  she is one of a few.  she hosted the birthday breakfast buffet largely for her churchmates and us fellow christians (long-time friends) from all over (100-120 persons) — a huge blow-out!  she wanted to celebrate her 60th birthday with people closest to her heart.  the lady loves the Lord, and drives a silver jaguar.

 

at the wake of my uncle, it was a noisy reunion of cousins and close uncles and aunts.  noisy, filled with laughter and animated story-telling.  an irony on a tragedy…

i met CV, a 2nd cousin (son of my mother’s 1st cousin, the departed), the youngest.  i realized that for the past 30 odd years i have never talked to him — not a word — and not even exchanged a handshake greeting in countless clan reunions we’ve seen each other at.  yesterday was our first warm handshake, when i expressed my condolences to him upon our arriving at the wake…

“CV…” i said, “does that stand for cesar vicente, after your dad, cesar, and grand-dad, vicente?”
“his dad’s name is also cesar vicente,” my eldest brother rolly said.
“no, my name is cesar vincent,” CV said.
“ahh, tweaked,” i said…

CV, i learned, was a chef.  a would-have-been doctor like his dad and elder brother, paul, but chose another path — culinary arts.  he’s now the head chef at parq vancouver.  i asked him how he cooks scrambled eggs — gordon ramsey or anthony bourdain — to break the ice.  i said i didn’t like gordon ramsey’s scrambled eggs because they were “masyadong malasado” (too runny).  from then on, it was talk about chinese cuisine — herbs and spices, star anise, cooking wine, chicken powder, soup stock made from chicken, pork, and veal, century eggs mashed in congeee; pho, wansoy; bibimbop, kimchi — asian cuisine — after the ice breaker…

when it was time to go, i bade my cousins, uncle, and aunts goodbye.  i shook CV’s hand.

“at long last,” i said.
“oo nga,” he said.