Monday, April 16, 2012

Charmed by Bacnar

J. Bond had repeatedly questioned my reply to his query regarding my thoughts on Bacnar, Pangasinan.  First thought that popped  in my head which I quickly blurted, "I saw and felt its charm"

My reply had resulted to more questions which I felt needed a more extensive explanation on what I meant with charm since descriptions gathered in the past talked about ... Mainit (hot). Make shift banyos (No bathrooms).  Do your thing in designated grassy areas.  Or more like, dig a hole.  Maraming lamok (Mosquito-infested) ... It was with challenge to explain and expound further.  Countless stories, amazing discoveries, and an exploration of years of toiled land were all squeezed in one day, on the day I first visited J. Bond's  maternal origins.  So I became lost and confused as to how I should have  kicked off my reply.  But I knew my answer, and hopefully as I walk you through these photos I would make you see what I saw and help shed light to what I meant with charm.

We arrived at Bacnar while at the height of preparations for lunch.  This being my first visit, it was my first  to have observed such way of cooking as well -- grilling over wood burned in stone-like cooking burners.  My handy and only way of cooking revolves around electric stoves or gas stoves. Pretty much the instant way applicable to modern times.  I had imagined Nanay (J. Bond's Grandmother) while I watched the busy preparations.  She must have cooked this way, with the same burner and wooden utensils.  I am amazed on how such practice of cooking has remained the same from past to present. 

Even with the existence of scattered stone-like cooking burners around,  hollow blocks are used as grillers as well.

Piled chopped wood used for cooking stored in between trees and protected by a black guard dog.

Faucets are scarce.  Instead, bomba (pump), as they call it, has been their source of water.  Water is collected in large basins via multiple pumping acts which I thought of as good form of exercise. 

Two large water-filled basins meant for washing dishes.  This brought my thoughts back to a retreat I attended  in high school.  Students were tasked to help wash used dishes by applying the 3-wash step.  First, wash off scraps and oil prior to soap-scrubbing in basin number one.  After scrubbing, move on to basin two where dishes are rinsed.  The 3rd step was the best.  I disliked the first two.  Dip your dish in  basin three with floating yellow lemons that served as conditioner. Oh happy memories!

Then here stood through time the house commonly referred to as "malaking bahay" (big house).  Malaking bahay spoke of countless stories of family from earlier generations to the present generation, their dreams, triumphs, including their challenges. It had seen and heard it all.  This was where J. Bond's mom was born and raised.

All siblings had slept side-by-side on this bamboo floor, including Mama.  Malaking bahay's  living room had served as bedroom by nightfall back then.

Framed photos of the young and old are displayed on the living room's yellow wall.  Do you see the young J. Bond in this photo?  Hint:  in black.

A prayer for blessing as you enter the main door. Amidst trials, one thing I am sure of, I saw and felt how blessed all are just by simply having each other.

The closest I have ever been to a cow and chickens that strolled freely along the backyard.

Cactuses grew everywhere, in pots and along the road. Proof how hot it is in Bacnar. But how timely I took this day trip.  I have been fascinated with cactuses lately.  While on our exploration, my uncle stopped along the road, and snapped a couple of pickle-shaped  cactuses. I brought them home.  Here's crossing my fingers and praying for survival given the doomed green thumb I own.  Even weeds die on me.

My moment of peace while I stared over a washed mosquito net and a pillowcase.

We visited a nearby land that had long existed and continually toiled. The early generations may have passed on, but the land continues to serve its purpose in terms of livelihood and LIVING.

This was Mama's big playground.

A makeshift pool for Mama and her siblings stood here long ago.

J. Bond and his brother climbed and played on this same mango tree back then.  Now, it serves as playground for the new generation.  One day, this little girl will look back and pay her tree a visit.

Meet Mr. Munding who have long toiled the land.  With Munding are his grandchildren.

J. Bond learned how to drive in this jeep.

A weed that I find very pretty.

We explored while at the heat's peak.  Mid-way, some chose to stay within the shady and cool confines of this mango tree including me.

The smallest green mango I have ever seen.

I may be sentimental in some way. It comes with ageing I presume.  I would have not surely used charm as a description in my younger years.  I would have looked at it the other way around. However, it is in this very sentiment I saw and gained deep appreciation for a life I have never lived yet dream of.  One day, I know it will come true.

The stories,  the house, the past, the present, the place all fall under one word.  Charm.  Including this guava tree planted in 1947.

The trunk has aged. 

Yet, it continues to bear fruit.

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