Diay wa-ig ayanda Balakang, and other Summer reminiscence
Plus: memories stored inside the mobile phone
by Marciano A. Paroy, Jr.
When I recently lost the mobile phone where my Smart number was housed, I initially thought only about how much it cost me way back in 2005. As I made my calculations, I simply told myself (in a self-conciliating manner) that the gadget had somehow outlived its usefulness with me: the nodes seem not to be aligned with the keypad any longer, the sim slot rejects the sim now and then, etc., etc. Anything really to sort of give me the justification that losing the mobile phone was just as well.
Until I began to think of the messages that I went through a lot of trouble storing inside my Saved Folder. Inside that folder were messages sent out to people who mattered most in my life; messages that I felt worth-looking back to. So I stored them in separate folders – accessible only via a password.
Back in 2006, there was an event that truly rendered me weak. That chapter in my life made me waver. I thought I was strong, but I realized then that I was not. I was human, with an acceptable propensity to show my frailties. I was on the verge of breakdown… and not knowing what to do, or where to turn to, I typed messages into my mobile phone and sent them out to people who, I believe, would somehow empathize and understand.
Those messages were all stored somewhere in my mobile phone, and at times when I felt nostalgic, or when I felt I needed to draw strength, I would open that folder in my cellular and re-read the stored messages.
Unfortunately, I can no longer access that folder. The culprit who stole my mobile surely deleted everything I have ever stored in it. If he only knew the real value of what he was holding in his hands; if he only knew, before he pressed YES when the cellular asked ARE YOU SURE? as a response to his command DELETE ALL.
Several hours after its loss, when I still could not make it ring, I began to accept the reality that it was gone, and no amount of wishing would make it turn up in my pocket. I told my friend Joon Ascano that I would trade my newly acquired gadget for that unit – all for its contents.
That mobile phone had history written in its annals – electronic annals, that is. It was then that I realized that nothing could ever replace the value of a handwritten note with a personal touch. At least I could have stored it, and later review for nostalgia purposes. The worth of a hard copy of notes jotted down – say, a simply scribbled I Miss You on the back of a chocolate wrapper or the back of a Phillip Morris pack – far outweighs the value of a digitally stored message which anyone can simply send by way of pressing the keys I MIZ U – and then selecting SEND TO MANY.
No one can refute the value of personally handwritten thoughts. Unfortunately, no one seems to give a damn anymore about putting our un-guarded thoughts and feelings on paper. Why bother, when you can easily go to WRITE MESSAGE and key in the letters WHAZUP? Which, of course, will be answered by the idiotic ME FYN HR, U?
Look at all the lengths I went through just to store and later protect those messages. In the blink of an aye, some wise ass ran away with my mobile phone and simply discarded the sim card away. And when he saw that there were a lot of dramatic messages stored in the phone memory – messages that had nothing to do with his life – he simply deleted them. Memories that took me four years to protect were gone in less than a minute.
Summer always brings in a different kind of heat. I remember my friend Daniel Boclongan who once said to another friend, Sammy Anniban: “Haan nak nga ang-angawen ta napudot ti panawen tatta!”
In the past, we would hit the river whenever summer became unbearable. One day when I was in my third grade, classes were suddenly suspended, so Wilner Dunan and Mark Padalla (the leaders of the pack then) came up with this good idea of hitting the stream passing through the Balakang farm somewhere in the boundary of Casigayan, Magsaysay and Nasgueban. Loyda Duclan, Raquel Batay-an, Rachelle Dalingay and I blindly followed our leaders. Danilo Marzan was around, but he was also a follower just like us.
We hit the waters with glee, screaming as we dove into the rapids. That would never be possible now, surely, as the Balakang stream has long been demoted to its current status as a passageway of run-off chemicals from the fields, like pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, golden kuhol-combatants, etc. Kids would not go there these days, of course. We have four resorts in Tabuk where they could safely be sheltered from the harmful ultra-violet rays of the sun whenever they get out of the pool – or, in the case of “Boracay,” nu tumakdang da manipud ijay wa-ig.
Those good old days. What wouldn’t one give to rewind the calendar and be young again. With a carefree spirit. Ready to defy some rules.
When we were in the fourth grade, we went to the “Third River” (it’s no longer the third, since the first and second streams had long ago vanished) when our adviser Mrs. Gatbonton got sick and no one could stand-in for her (that wouldn’t happen now, since there is always a ready substitute willing to take home the day’s full wage). Being a hot Friday, my group decided to hit the waters at the Third River – Cheryl Barcellano, Catherine Calizar, Engelbert Dayag and somebody else whose name is just at the tip of my tongue (who, the hell, was that fellow at the back row?). Yes, I switched grouping in the fourth grade – since I no longer wanted to be a follower behind Wilner and Mark (actually, Wilner got into Mrs. Mejia’s class and Mark was transferred to Bulanao).
And so to the Third River we dashed, splashed and frolicked. The next Monday, however, some smart-ass had the initiative to endear herself with Mrs. Gatbonton and told her about our weekend fun. After her thunderous sermon about her being responsible over our lives, she shoved empty gallons to us and told us to water the plants surrounding the whole fourth-grade building, totally ignoring that fact that it rained the previous night.
Those were the days. One looks back at it all now with fondness. To be silly again, to chase dragonflies, to climb guava trees, to be pinched by a teacher with eyeglasses, to squat at the back of the classroom. These are memories stored at the back of the mind, which one can easily retrieve at any moment.
These days, we try to remember the memorable things that we did last year, and we get hard-up – unless, by some miracle, we still have the messages stored in our Inbox, or had the idea of saving them in a separate Folder in our mobile phones. Or if we had keyed in the events in our mobile phone calendar.
As for the smart-ass who took all the trouble of waiting for Monday so she could squeal on us for going to the Third River (we went Friday, yet she never wavered in her plan during Saturday and Sunday. I guess she was so full of energy when she went to school that following Monday)… my group made a plan as we watered that one last santan at the side of Mrs. Banggolay’s classroom.
The plan was perfect: tambangan mi isuna ijay gate nga pag-exitan na at the Sakai-Ramirez side of Tabuk Central School.
(To be continued)
Tags: Tabuk , Kalinga , Paroy , Devcom
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