Missing Home Sweet Home Philippines? Here is A Virtual Tour Back Home






     I grew up walking along rice paddies, hearing birds chirping and playing with mud, dragonflies, flowers, climbing guava trees and listening to folk songs and humming them too.

Sampaguita



My late grandpa loved to sing! Oh how he loved to sing those "Ilocano" songs of his time. We'd be pulling peanuts in the field and he'd go "Dungdungwenkanto, unay uunay" (I will love you oh so much) and my grandma would chuckle and beg him to stop. The rest of us would be merrily laughing at them while continuing with our task. I must admit at times I actually loathed going to the farm to help out with farm chores because as a child all I wanted was to play! Back then there were no computers, no cellular phones, just nature and the beauty of it all was getting the benefit of exposure to good sunshine and fresh air! Had there been these kind of technology back then I am most certain my dear grandpa who loved to sing and tell stories would have posted a video of him in youtube or perhaps a gardening and even a cigar blog ; he lived to be around eighty years of age and I wonder whether I will have the chance to reach that age too. 


     Here are the simple pleasures of growing up in a farming community most of you must have been missing. The pristine mountains, the oh so green hue of rice paddies...




     Mr. Carabao enjoying his mud bath on a warm afternoon. Carabaos may be huge and having those huge curved horns but they always seem so friendly and meek and I never recall them being hostile. These days their service to farmers have come to a halt in some parts of the country where machines have replaced them.


     One of the things I relished most was riding those carabao pulled carriages on top of the gathered peanut bushes. Gee I felt sheer excitement as the "pasagad" would slide down the creek and go fast pulled by gravity and my cousins and I would hang on to the rope tied on top of the peanut bushes for dear life hahaha, and when water splashed on our toes and we'd realize we didn't fall, gentle breeze blowing on our faces, the sound of the Carabao moaning as if checking on us too I would giggle and feel all my energy bursting into a gigantic happy cloud up in the skies.



     And oh boy! It was fun playing in the creek! My mom and aunt would take us there on weekends to catch fish and crabs. The crabs and shrimps were plentiful and could be caught by simple fish nets and even just sticking one's hand long enough on holes. I have fond memories of my mom shrieking with glee seeing her "karikad" (bamboo fish catcher) with jumping tiny native shrimps while us kids would be riding real floating banana trunks and swimming with delight.



     We would bask in the natural flavor of freshly caught fish and freshly gathered vegetables cooked as stew. Mud fish tasted oh so good. The thrill of catching them being the slimy swimmers that they are with hooks on their mouths must add to their charm. These days I don't get to see fishes in the creek anymore and instead of mudfish we would have milkfish mostly with our veggies.

dinengdeng with bangus (milkfish)
dried fish, tomatoes and sweet mangoes


     On special occasions dessert would be superb! Sticky rice being the main ingredient to this day I am such a fan of "ginataan," a sticky mixture of cooked fruits like banana, jackfruit and sweet potatoes in coconut milk.

ginataan
   
     The best part of it all is eating under shady trees with cool breeze and the smell of leaves and flowers in the air.

     After a rainy night we'd go searching for bugs to play with! The sound they made as they flapped their tiny wings was machine like and stirred happiness in each simple child! To this day I could marvel endlessly at the loveliness of each critter I see.


   
dragonfly


     At dusk I would help my grandma drive her chicken at the barn and on special occasions we'd get to taste them chicken wings and legs! And how they loved to lay fresh eggs for our breakfast!


 




  On Sundays we'd go to mass and pray. I confess I hated waking up at dawn for the first mass but loved the hot rice cake that would be waiting for us at home.


"bibingka/sticky rice cake"









To this day I still love climbing trees though I must admit I seem to spend more time with technology now than with Mother Nature. I wonder what grandpa would have thought about this computer age.





     I think he would suggest that my sons would spend more time swimming in the river, eating natural food and taking care of mother nature than surfing the net. Someday when I get to meet him again maybe up in the clouds I'd tell him what he too missed in this age and day...the power of communication across the globe and the beauty of being able to share our thoughts, TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE....



     ....THAT SAID, I VOW TO SPEND MORE TIME NURTURING OUR NATURAL WORLD AND THE ENDLESS JOY IT OFFERS....

         I KNOW YOU TOO WOULD GLADLY JOIN ME...












16 comments

  1. ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, you made me miss home so much! uwi na ako dyan ngayon na!!! hehehe! the joys of living a simple life, that's what i miss most!

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  3. Thanks for bringing me back to the province. I was just imagining a vacay in my own province. I am hoping we could go home this July.

    And the food! I love your food. My husband's Ilocano but he hasn't cooked me a dinengdeng yet :)

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  5. I've never tried riding a carabao and I've love to try it someday. I envy you for having a chance to have a moment with the carabao! LOL The photos remind me of my hometown which I haven't visited for almost two years now.

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  6. I would also like to experience riding a carabao but I bet it'll be scary!:D It's really nice to have these kind of memories that you could look back every once in a while.

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  7. Doc Zen, you are killing me right now, stop teasing me lol. The sight of the kalabaw, the palayan, the sinugba, oh Gosh, it smells like home.. I wannnnnttt tooo goo home!

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  8. that carabo's face is very inviting, it seems asking me, "hey Betchai, come, join me here, please!" I am missing those sights, haha, we have very similar childhood Zen, I have one very funny story about peanuts, haha, my youngest brother love peanuts so much he would uproot the plants and take the nuts out and plant them again, and when it is time for harvest, there were a lot of peanuts without nuts, and our late grandpa would ask all of us, "what do you think happened to those nuts?", and my youngest brother was always the first one to say:"I think the rats took them all away!" haha! love love and miss miss those childhood days. your pictures make me wish for inihaw na bangus.

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  9. Lucky you to experienced childhood in a rural environment. Riding a carabao-drawn carriage is fun. Nasubukan ko yan sa Ilocos Sur. If given the chance na maging bata uli. Ito ang nais kong maranasan.

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  10. pssst, early lunch break. back fr fbf, hehehe! it's really more fun in the Philippines!!! labyew!

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  11. Shucks, I love bangus and guinataan ( we call it binignit here in Davao). I'm hungry now.

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  12. This post reminds me soooo much of my childhood. I so miss our life in the barrio where everything seems so simple and our playground is mother nature. Your photo of ginataan made me drool and crave for it. I just actually talked to my mother about cooking ginataan because just like you parang buong buhay ko syang magiging paborito Sis.

    I am sure your grandfather is so proud of you Sis. :) Thank you so much for reminding me how simple life can be very joyful and fulfilling especially to a child. I wish Bella can still get to experience this too :)

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  13. Three pictures specifically caught my attention: the carabao taking a mud bath because of the exceptional color, the bibingka with the sunset or sunrise backdrop, and the ginataan simply because I love this food.

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  14. Beautiful views and pictures Sis :-) These are candid shots :-) The foods makes me drool :-) I love the picture of the carabao on the mud :-) I miss my home town too despite it will take a day to get their :-) but I do not mind it. There is no place like home :-)

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  15. Beautiful post Zen, and wonderful photos too!

    I don't remember much about my country, only that in childhood we visited my great-grandparents' place in rural area, and ate all kind of fruits right off the tree.

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  16. I felt like I'm there witnessing every story you stated. It's amazing how nature alone can make us happy. Your memory of your childhood is very clear and it seems like yesterday. Love the way you capture everything and those foods, oh my, you made me miss Philippines so much.

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Thank you so much for visiting. God bless you and your family always.

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