Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Holiday Rest in The Philippines

After three years of working straight from Papua New Guinea, I finally found the time to rest in the heart of my hometown. But the word “rest” was kind of a misnomer, because I didn’t spend much of the time resting on a bed. I was instead, constantly on the move, trying to cover as much land that I had kind of missed going into.

This house that is currently under construction belongs to my cousin kuya Jun. He is also working in Papua New Guinea and has been an OFW for over 8 years. I went to visit this house to see how things are going so far and to check if the proportions are in the right places. You see, my cousin is 6’2” and for him, having a house with a low ceiling is kind of disheartening. So for him to have some close-to-reality kind of measurement, I had to go there and actually measured the distance between the floor and the ceiling using my height as the primeval tool of choice.

I’m kind of a tall-person myself, but not as tall as kuya Jun. But I guess that my findings will be equally indispensable.

This photo is next to the front view of his house, and from where I was taking this photo is exactly where I was playing when I was just 6 years old. When I was at that age, I would collect as much fallen leaves that you could see here and used them to build a small makeshift house where I could sit the whole time daydreaming.

Here’s a panoramic view of an open field next to our old house. Our house is no longer there and an aunt had used the lot for their house instead.  During our childhood, me and my friends would spend the entire day playing around this area until my father would call us over with his unique whistling ability. Such whistling comes with an unquestionable authority and the only tolerable response is an absolute obedience. 

Those are the days when parents are allowed to scare their kids off with sticks. 

On the left is my cousin Embong, whose parents have taken the responsibility of adopting me. In the middle is Robert, my classmate in College and who I considered to be my best friend. And that is me on the right. We usually spend most of the nights sitting under this kubo (hut) discussing the complexities of life and the intricacies of relationships in general.

Embong was kind enough to let me use their motorcycle (the white one) while I was there. The black one on the left side belongs to Robert. Robert and I have many similarities in life and among the things we share in common is the dislike to go out in daytime. So we usually go around at night, spending time in some lugawan (porridge houses).

Here’s a typical porridge house in Palayan City. That’s Robert over there. The way you buy things here is simple, you just look at the menu on the board and say your order aloud. It’s not considered rude unless one is already shouting on top of his lungs. The philosophical view behind is that saying your orders out loud cuts the waiter some slacks.

There is more time for the waiter to catch a quick nap.

On some nights, Robert and I would go over to kuya Jun’s computer shop. In other countries, this is called a gaming shop, or a net cafĂ©, or one can call it whatever one wants to call it as long as it can let you play games or browse through the internet. Several years ago, computer shops are the epitome of gaming events but such title has come to a decline when smart phones are introduced to the masses.

Nowadays, it’s very hard to keep those computers occupied even with an existing promotional discounts.

And here’s Ivan, my niece. He’s in charge of running this computer shop. That mammoth PC is his work of art. He had personally built it piece by piece with pieces that were hard to come by. While at work, he likes to play an online game with his friends and he would usually wear a headset with a mouthpiece so he could communicate with them. 

I kind of imagine him like the SCV character in the Starcraft game. 

This is Robert’s brother’s house and it’s a bit close to that computer shop. Sometimes, before we proceed to play in that shop, we would stay here in the afternoon. The house is not finished yet but by some standards, it’s already livable. 

In Palayan City, there is no McDonald’s or Jollibee yet. But people eating in barbecue houses is a thriving scene since the big bang theory. Here’s Robert and I trying out a sweet-pork meal. 

Are we excited to eat it? Please refer to Robert’s face for that.

This is the house where I grew up into. It belongs to Embong’s parents. These laptops are of Ivy’s, and she’s Embong’s sister. I think I was checking for viruses and was trying to make the mouse work on the Vaio. I’m not usually a fan of Vaio or Mac but I find them nice and sturdy. 

Ivy gave me a pair of new shoes which she bought from SM in Manila. It’s nice and light and I’m actually wearing it at the office every day. 

Thanks Ivy.

These are pork meat and fried chicken. One thing I like in tita Sunny’s (Embong’s mom) house is that there’s always something edible on the table to eat. Sometimes there’s not much, but most of the time, one can find something delicious over there.

Now, who wants to go with me over tita’s house?

One of the perks of staying in tita Sunny’s house is a free access to an enormous source of information from the cluster of encyclopedias sitting near the dining area.  They have the Britannica, the Britannica Junior and the New Standard Encyclopedia. They also have the Funk and Wagnalls version of Encyclopedia and a complete volume of How Things work. 

During those years that I lived with them, I could not count the times that I had read these books in my free time. 

Here’s another cousin, kuya Alvin, who came to visit us on All Saint’s Day. We spent some time reading some of the books together while we’re waiting for the rain to stop. For the record, he’s my smartest cousin around. Off the record, he’s the one who taught me how to smoke. But luckily, I already quit smoking in 1998 and has since ignored the occasional pleas to try.

While on vacation, problems would arise sometimes in the workplace in Papua New Guinea. This is the Bread Booking Entry module in CinchPro Payroll System that I created. I was told that they couldn’t make an entry to the module so I tried and connected to a computer in the workplace with Teamviewer. 

My iPad mini was a quintessential tool that I had to have by my side every time. 

These are the books that I like to read nowadays. I bought these from National Bookstore. The things that I am into now that I’m 40 years old, includes arming myself with the knowledge in financial literacy. This is the part where I think has the least of my attention when I was younger. But it’s been almost a year now since I started learning about saving and investing. In a future blog post, I will try to write and share some of my strategies with you.

Hopefully, I can impart some knowledge that can put someone on the right track. 

And these are the sweets that I thought I really missed so much. It’s called merengue in our place. These are actually icing that have cooled down to harden.  When I was in my high school days, I used to consume a lot of these. Nowadays, I don’t find these enticing to eat anymore. I only ate two and laid the rest on the table.

My vacation went well and although it was brief, I could truly say that it was a holiday well spent. Until next time.

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