Monday, 17 September 2007

DANIEL: Ramon's Son

Post 22: Lolo Ramon's Story

" 2 pesos was our monthly allowance when I was a 'sakristan'(altar boy). It was an amount for our food except for the rice which is provided by the convent. The second month I got hold of my 2 pesos, I asked my brothers Alex, Roger and Kay-kay(still in elementary that time) to come in Baguio. I bought each one of them a pair of jeans then took them to Burnham Park. We had a photo of them wearing their new pants and I think Mary has it now. Then I bought two kilos of pork (the head part because its cheaper) for them to take home for my Mama. That month, I was able to live on rice and rice coffee." narrates my Daddy Daniel.

"Every time I receive my allowance, I never failed to send 2 kilos of pork's head and sugar at home."

"Before going to school, we are to prepare the priest's breakfast, clean the Father's Convent, clean the Cathedral and assist in the early morning mass. We have our free time in the afternoon but most of the time, I spent it working as a 'shoe shine boy'. Whatever I earn, I keep it for home. Then before six, back again serving the needs of the priests."

"It was a treat for us 'sakristans' when it is the month of the rosary. The priests were invited to the homes of the rich for the rosary and it was always a feast after the prayer. Free food that never in our lives we thought it actually exists. If there's Pamisa (requested mass) or blessing of the dead, those were the days you are blessed being with the priest."

"On Sundays, counting the collections from the mass were one of our tasks aside from our daily routine. The priests will be there watching us while we count the money and a visible stick was with him. Ready to be of use that sometimes lands on your head for no reason."

"Hard work and being a mere servant is nothing but an obligation I am willing and happy to do. What I can not understand was how these foreigner priests treated us. In the morning, they wake us up by pouring ashes on our faces while we're still asleep. Ashes from the 'pugon'(where to cook making use of wood) near our room."

"Their left overs such as meat and fishes would be for their dogs and cats. What's more insulting is they look at us while they feed it to their pets."

"My children have heard this a thousand times. I am not proud of it but its something I will never forget. During recess in Boy's High School (SLU), I envy those students who had the money to buy their snacks. I don't have that luxury so what I did was get a bread displayed on the counter. Since there are so many students flocking, the sellers would not notice those who paid or did not. I would sneak and eat my unpaid bread outside. I was caught onetime by a teacher and he told me, " I keep seeing you stealing food from the canteen and I can't let it pass any more. I am asking you to stop because it is wrong." I was thankful he did not report me. If he did, I would be expelled and I can't bare my family's disappointment specially my father." Danny remembers while tears are again ready to drop.

Daddy was treated unkindly by 'these priests' but he did not fail to let us, his children, believe that God exists. He was the one who taught me my first prayer and this prayer is what me and my sisters still pray till now. The prayer my son learned from me and hope he will also pass it to his children someday. Dad once told us, "These priests are humans too. My faith was from what they preach and not from what they do."

These are my Dad's recollection that had stayed in me. Something that quality time had done to bond us. The advantage of no computer, less time watching TV, long days of brown out because of typhoon . Stories that made us value simplicity, honesty and the importance of family. Above all, it had given us most of the reasons to always go back to the place we always call home - even just by merely remembering these stories.

4 comments:

jane

Wow, 2pesos to buy jeans, pork head, sugar and maybe a treat for his siblings.Your dad might even saved some cents in his piggy bank if he kept one.
Know what, if you are able to finish this series, find a publisher to sponsor you to be able to come up with a book. :)
Keep the stories coming,I'm one of those looking forward to them. :)

TruBlue

Imagine what you can buy for dos pesos then!! my goodness!! Now, maybe dos toothpicks for dos pesos,haha....that's why in my lifetime, I'm more amazed of the stone age (how they lived without aircondition or heater) than what the future would be. Uray istambay
ken barberos idiay Baguio can predict whats ahead if asked, hehe...cheers and goodhealth.

ps: forgot to inform you that I gave Heidi a copy of the "poem" you made for her late son, Michael. She's very thankful.

TruBlue

lovelyn

Thanks Jane!

Someone offered me to help in making this into a book. He is from the forum where I first started writing the stories of my Lolo. I had put him on hold as someone asked me first to publish it in one of our local newspapers in Baguio. He said it will be published as series. I am still waiting for the developments regarding this.
__________________________________

Ciao Trublue,

I'm not sure if we still have a 2 pesos note back in the Philippines today. 5 pesos was like the 'piso' the last time we went home.

Note that I haven't included the wine tasting with this entry. Its because my Dad edited that when we were kids. I only asked about it when you posted your "wine tasting " at Bill's blog.

Thanks for giving Ma'am Heide the poem.

jane

Hi Lovelyn, good to hear that there's a number of people who already offered to publish your Lolo Ramon's story series. I am not sure if IPR is applicable to publishing but I guess it is so that's one thing you have to be careful of. Somebody might "grab" the proprietary from you if there's no legal on that.
I will ask for a signeg personal copy ah if it will be published in a book soon wen,hehehe.

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