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Vegetable garden at Barrio 5 and driving


Auntie Cecil and Uncle Rene, my parents' best friends and practically second parents to us, have relocated to Barrio Singko, about 15 minutes away from the city proper. Beside their property is this vegetable garden maintained by the local government (as far as I know). They get their greens from this patch of land. As kids, we looked forward to the peria in the town square. There we ate cotton candy and pop corn coated with salt and butter.

Got my driver's license yesterday. Felt even more fulfilling than getting a medical degree, in a sense. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I could learn how to drive. My driving instructors, Sirs Jim and Mark, ran me through the process with patience. And there has been my kid brother Sean who is an excellent driver, much too defensive perhaps, who told me I should learn driving because it is a life skill. He suggested that I first learn how to operate a manual transmission vehicle, an idea that I entertained with suspicion—our family vehicle, after all, is an AT. I enrolled in a class a few weeks ago; the feeling to driving manual was akin to getting a stroke. I couldn't figure out how to maneuver the clutch and so on. I gave up. Some things can't be learned. 

It was in Auntie Cecil and Uncle Rene's house in Barrio Singko where I first drove our family car. I remember that it was a Saturday, and it had just rained. Sean closed his clinic. "Let's take you driving," he said. He was beside me, the strictest, most serious instructor. "Don't treat this as a joke, Manong. If you're careless—and you have a tendency to be—you will die," he said in crispy Hiligaynon, reminding me to place my foot on the brake as a default. He taught me the word, serbato, which meant blowing the car horn. Driving opened up a vast vocabulary for me: preno, atras, abante, menĂ³r, and so on. Hannah, his charming and gracious girlfriend, also an excellent driver, encouraged me, "Sige lang, Manong, you're doing well."

I suppose I did.


  1. Wow!You can drive us around New South Wales na! :)

  2. Congrats, Lance! That's still me. Can't imagine ever driving and already in my 40s.


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