Sunday, August 25, 2019

Life in the farm on a lazy weekend

I'm writing this using Sean's powerful desktop gaming computer. I'm in his room, with the air-conditioning at full blast. He's asleep, tired after seeing a patient in his dental clinic. The keyboard is a joy to tinker with: the keys are soft, pliant, and make a staccato-like clickety sound that resembles a typewriter's. In the kitchen, Manong Ralph is baking a cake. He saw the surplus of bananas nearing their expiration date; he figured he'd whip up something for dessert. The large oven at our St. Gabriel home , which sits in idleness for most days of the year, was acquired largely to facilitate his culinary pursuits and only comes to life when he is home for the holidays, as has been the case for the past three days.

Auntie Nanic (her real name is Nancy), my mother's younger cousin, lives with us and is presently assisting Manong as he prepares the batter for his banana bread, a recipe he has perfected. These days, her other two children, Lyzza and Dave, are staying at home, too. Their presence adds vibrance to the house, which is too quiet on most days, if not for mother's intermittent trips to the fridge, or her morning gardening. My clasmates who pass by our home say it's like nobody lives there anymore.

Yesterday we visited Auntie Cecil's property in Banga, about 30 to 40 minutes away from Koronadal. She is my mother's younger sister, a chemistry teacher in a public high school who enjoys hosting us during lazy weekends. It was the perfect timing because there was a scheduled brownout from 8 am to 5 pm. Going to the farm seemed like the best way to escape the city heat. Also gathered were my aunts and uncles and cousins from the Garcenila side. We are a family of farmers: my grandfather Mauro took his family from Antique to carve a better future for them in Mindanao. He didn't know much except for farming, and he was quite good at it. He was able to send all his children to college. Such is my family's humble history.

Rice fields

So we are connected to the farm in more ways that you can imagine. Our family conversations always involve fruits and trees and crops. For instance, my aunts and uncles were talking about what they'd do with all the durian and lansones that their fruit trees bore. Our calendars are marked by fruit seasons. During our phone calls, my mother would say something like, "Oh, it's rambutan season already; you should go home!"

It's a shame that I didn't get to learn more about farming as I should have. My brother and I grew up in a small city, and didn't get to play with carabaos or apply fertilizers to fruit trees, for example. And while my father did keep a farm, we only got to visit the property once in a while and only for a few minutes at a time. Farming is a worthwhile pursuit. If the Lord allows, I'd like to have a go at it someday.

Here are some photos.

My brothers, Sean and Ralph.
Brothers in the farm

Sean, in the rice field.
My kid brother, leading the way

Lilies in the pond.
Water lilies (Nymphae) in the pond

A cow feeding beside a tributary of the Banga River.
Cow and river

A beautiful vine growing in the backyard.
Purple flowers

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