There’s nothing much to do, there’s nowhere else to go but you’re not bored out of your wits. Spending your days lounging and not doing anything out of the ordinary is acceptable. You actually know who your neighbors are and you engage in actual conversation, they are not reduced to the entities who you grudgingly share the elevator with. Jeepney drivers don’t curse because there’s no traffic to begin with. Swerving doesn’t exist and overtaking is unusual because there’s only one lane, even on the national highway.
There’s no fear that someone will point a rusting knife on your neck just so he can have your cellphone or any other useless gadget. You only lose your things if you leave them unattended in which case, it’s your fault for being a careless owner. Walking along the streets at night doesn’t make your heart beat faster because first of all, they’re already deserted come 9 PM. The worst that can happen is passing by a couple of people drinking outside because yes, in some parts, drunkards can still do their business on the middle of the road.
When you watch the television, especially the news, you feel detached, distant. Those things are happening in Manila which sounds so far away. Robbery and homicide and rape do not happen often where you are. And when they do, the people are rattled. They don’t forget about them overnight because they’re not “usual”.. Instead, these snippets become stories. Some, legends even. Like that one incident where a girl was raped in Rizal Park. I heard about it years after it happened so I am sure it has been exaggerated (with the chewed off nipple and all the macabre details).
There are only a handful of educational institutions it is possible to categorize (and judge) someone based on the school they attended or graduated from. Families have been occupying the same soil for decades you can tell from which clan one belongs. If six is the maximum degree of separation of any two people in the world, in Ilagan, the maximum I believe, is three.
Photos from my 14 day stint in my hometown a couple of weeks ago. From the sunrise that welcomed me when I arrived to the image of a loose bathroom door which kept me awake all night when I left . There’s no picture taken outside our house because I rarely go out. Most are snapshots of food because I am yearning for home-cooked meals and 3 Sisters’ merienda.