The Joy of Yesteryears


The joy of yesteryears.

I grew up in a slum, yes, slum area in La Loma, QC. There were more than 15 families living in our compound then, and there were more than 40 kids! An-an, Lourdes, Amben, Toto, Mara, Me-An, Makmak, Sasa, Irish, Mikel, Pokong , Jaden, to name a few! 🙂

My childhood is a fairytale of wonderful street memories! My childhood bestfriend, May Ann (or Me-An), and I are fond of roaming around the streets of La Loma-Bulusan, Iriga, Halcon, Calamba, Mayon, Zambales, etc. We’ll walk till we lost track of time, or we’ll ask some of our friends to sneak out one of the bicycle side car of our neighbor (they use it to deliver blocks of ice), and we’ll bike as far as A.Bonifacio Rd, Blumentritt and even Espanya!

I remember pretending to be asleep during siesta time, and once our household help is in deep slumber, I’ll go out of the house and play until I can not recognize ‘me’ anymore, or until our HH discovers I never was asleep. Haha!

I remember picking up flowers from our rich neighbor’s garden (Mang Max) a lot of Gumamela and Santan. Since we can’t afford to buy powdered detergent, one of our playmates would go home and sneak some detegent from their laundry area while we pound on the Gumamela till we are able to create bubbles concoction. The santan flowers are gathered, and we suck its super sweet dew 🙂

During summer, our entire street serves as an orphanage for all the kids! The oldies will gather us all and hold a tournament of kick ball, patintero, tumbang preso, agawan base, langit-lupa, and even piko!

We would draw mazes on the street, using a broken paso from an old neighbor (di namin binasag yung paso, promise!). I remember some barangay tanods coming in to our area because of the writings on the street since it was newly asphalted (courtesy of Tito Sotto, haha).

Fiesta means agawan buko, palo sebo sa semento, basag palayok, trip to jerusalem, and paper dances!

Birthday celebrators need not send out invitations. Haha.

Each house numbers represent different ‘things’. #79 is the place for drinking and videoke session of the oldies. #80 is where my dearest Tiya lives, and a dog den, name a dog, they all have it there! That’s why nobody among my playmates dared to enter their premises. Haha. #81 is the huge, sad house of a childless chinese couple who owns a huge tamarind tree. Everytime MERALCO comes in to give their tree a trim, the kids automatically have a camping site! Hehehe. #82 is a 3-door apartment of a rich family who owns a plastic pool which every child’s soul envies. Hahaha. #84 is where we live. #83 is mang max’s castle (he lives alone). #86 is ninong claro’s (+) haunted house. Haunted because it’s old, his garden has a lot of high fruit trees and it’s really creepy. Haha. #84 is also our bayabas area, that’s the only fruit that Ninong Claro allowed us to pick from.

Calamba St is a huge pool for the oldies during rainy season because of flood. The kids were never allowed to go near Calamba when the rain pours. Safety reasons.

One more funny and cute memory: my childhood bestfriend and I only get to wear our precious 2-pc swimsuit when it is raining! Haha.

I also have 3 sets of pseudo-parents or foster parents. Mama Nida and Papa Rico (+) live just across our room. Nanay Soling and Tatay Rico live in #79. Tiya and Uncle Kalbo live in #80. They alternately looked after me and my sister when mama and papa are at work, aside from our HH. So even if my parents both worked, I, we were still well-loved!

It was in 2004 when I last visited the place. Our compound is now the garage of my Tiya’s stepchildren (they do own a carpool business, connect the dots from an old blog about tiya, it’s an interesting discovery). Almost all of my playmates no longer lives there, too. Our family was the very first to leave in 1995. I still can imagine how award-winning-and-dramatic-the-scenes-were while the truck carrying our stuff was pulling away.

Thanks to facebook, we are slowly reconnecting :).

It’s always fun to think back of those days. I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to that place and play once again :). It was a place where our kindred soul started to develop, our youth, enjoyed. A part of me now still belongs to the place where I grew up 🙂

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