I was born in this small town, in the crook of Sierra Madre’s long arm that stretches from way down South, reaching to the North of the archipelago. My memories of being a three-year-old in September 21, 1972 is long forgotten. But I remember growing up with DWIZ and DZRH on AM Radio. My mother, a widow, was a great cook, and has her own recipes for popular delicacies and some entirely her own. Growing up, I was surrounded by the sound of hogs squealing in the morning, the smoke from the fire for cooking Suman, and the daily chores of peeling Santol being prepped for making Sweet Santol Preserve, slicing, chopping veggies for the Ulam to be sold at our makeshift store, Burong Mustasa, and the artistry that was Paete – all woodcarving, furniture making, paper-mache and music.
Our evenings were spent watching John & Marsha on our Toshiba Television, with the sliding covers, wood inlays, plugged to a big-ass power converter with the gauge that looks like something you’d see on a jeepney dashboard. My Mother insists on not being disturbed once Aawitan Kita is on. Of course, me and my four siblings (I’m the 4th , do the math) take turns watching our favorites. It was a time when Toyota and Crispa were the major Trophy contenders on Channel 4.