Roots: The Philippines

Aloha readers!

Tomorrow, my mom, dad, sister and her two sons will be traveling to the Philippines.  Bacarra, Ilocos Norte, to be exact and I’m bummed Josh and I won’t be going with them.  The plan included us going until I got pregnant.  We decided, the heat of a Philippine April would be too uncomfortable for me.  It was supposed to be my dad’s dream of a family trip, he’s excited to have his grandsons see his homeland.  Hopefully we’ll do another when his next grandson comes into the world.

My sister has been having anxiety about this trip.  She hasn’t been back there since our vacation back when I was seven and she was nine (at least I assume that’s how old we were…I can’t remember the year we all went).  I visited once more back in April 2001.  If I went tomorrow it would have been eleven years!  Eleven years since I’ve seen my grandmother on my mom’s side.  How time flies.

I went yesterday to say goodbye to my nephews and sister.  I saw my mom for two minutes before she went out to run errands.  I asked her if she was excited.  She said she couldn’t sleep.  🙂  She’s excited!  My dad goes back “home” almost once a year so for him it’s the ultimate vacation.  It’s not MY home since I was born and raised in Hawaii.  But it’s always nice to see family that miss you even though they don’t know you much…and I have a lot of family there.

To make things even more exciting, my uncle and his family just left to the Philippines and will meet up with my family there.  So it’ll be a joint fun adventure…so wish I could have gone!  If only to see it through the eyes of my nephews who’ve only been on the plane, once, to Disneyland.  This will be a different venture for them and I wonder what they will take from it.

Thinking about my family’s coming trip to the Philippines and talking to my sister about her worries, made me look for pictures of when we went as children.  I couldn’t find many pictures of my time there in 2001, so I think my mom has those.  It’s so different going there as a child and then as an adult.  My nephew Jacob asked me if they would speak English to him.  I laughed.  I said nope, they will talk to you like how mama and papa talks to you, in Ilocano, so smile a lot and nod, okay?  They understand some things…as children do at that age.  I knew a lot of Ilocano back when I was that young, not anymore.

The photos I found in the album are browning and the exposure is awful.   My goal is to scan these pics and put them into a photobook before it gets worse 😦 But right now my scanner is out of commission so please don’t mind the pictures.  I tried to alter them with apps, and I think it turned out okay.

A make shift swing with bamboo and rope.

Traveling there as a child I remember:

*a snake in the house from the rice fields and my aunt killing it * mosquito nets * bamboo beds * swimming in the “river” * my dad throwing my sister and I into the muddy rice field * bathing with a water pump * watching my dad and uncles kill a cow for meat for a party * playing with my cousins * falling chin first on the cement floor of my grandma’s house – going to the doctor – I still have the scar * my cousin’s baptism in a church with bats all over the ceilings * catching dragonflies * drinking soda from a glass bottle * drinking juice from a ziploc plastic bag with a straw in it…lol….

Drinking soda from a glass bottle

My dad showing us the rice mill

What I remember from my trip in April 2001:

* a lizard the size of my palm crawling on the wall at my grandmother’s house * HOT HOT HOT * an earthquake that woke me up and no one else was fazed by it * my cousins laughing at me for being scared of a moth the size of a bat * going to Baguio * waiting in line to see Marcos’ body (don’t ask me why) * going to Batu Beach * spending time with my Grandpa Filemon * my dad giving me my first motorcycle ride * the A/C in the bus to Manila breaking down – I was burning up for 4 stinking hours * mothers trying to set me up with a “pen pal”  OMG… * the crowds of Manila * karaoke machines, EVERYWHERE * green forests, green rice fields and beautiful beaches * a lot of sweating….*sigh* and yes I think because I was older and my sister wasn’t there with me I found myself restless

My sister is afraid of my stories about the large lizards…lol…okay so it frightened me to see it crawling in front of my face the first thing in the morning, but I’m pretty sure they are harmless.  My dad called them “Tika” but doing a google search brought up “Tuko”.  I asked him when we were there why it was called that and he said it’s because the sound they make “tika”…I didn’t get it.  I did hear them in the night but I don’t know that it sounded like “tika”.  Here’s a pic I found online of one:

Tuko (gecko)

Unfortunately my google search also produced articles talking about the Tuko selling craze in asia 😦  How sad!  They are being used in Chinese traditional medicine for various cures.  Poor geckos…I’d say they are useful where my grandmother lives because the roaches are huge!  They eat them.  I hate roaches, I love geckos!

After talking about geckos and the large size of them, we started talking about the legend of the Aswang.  A scary story my grandmother and mother used to tell us to get us to behave.  LOL…it was this vampire woman/bat thing with large wings that would eat children.  So my sister says, have you SEEN the size of the bats in the Philippines?  Apparently she googled it, adding to her fear of large animals that she would encounter in the Philippines.  Except this time she said, they were actually fruit bats and they were kind of cute.  But her logic was that the bats were so huge that no wonder they created these legends about  an evil flying creature.  We saw bats in the church on our first trip to the Philippines and they covered the ceiling of the church which made me stare at the ceiling throughout the whole mass.  I thought they would swoop down and bite me!  They didn’t.  Anyway, check out the fruit bat…it’s pretty awesome looking.

This bat is actually called the Giant Golden Crowned Flying Fox and I like this picture because it looks like it’s eating bananas 🙂 Hehe…happy bat.

Giant Golden Crowned Flying Fox

It’s an endangered species 😦  Poor guy…but they are kind of cute with their furry heads, don’t they look like flying dogs?  Or gargoyles?

Ahh the Philippines, the land of large animals that can give you nightmares.  I wish I was going…but I’ll have to wait until my son is here and old enough but we look forward to one day having a family trip there.  I’d love for Josh to see where my parents are from.  I’d like to visit the graves of my granduncle and grandfathers.

Anyway I pray they have a safe trip and a wonderful time with family!  That’s the most important thing about these trips to the Philippines anyhow…at least for’s always about family.



4 thoughts on “Roots: The Philippines

  1. This piece brings attention to an issue that myself and quite a few of my colleagues have sought answers for. Thanks so much for presenting it with such real insight.

  2. Hi there would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using? I’m looking to start my own blog soon but I’m having a hard time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S My apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

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