No one would wake up at 4 A.M. to hack coconut leaves yet Anna and Liza do just this for as long as they could remember. It’s a cycle – leaves are hacked then the leaflets cut and eventually arranged on a pile, the stalks are ultimately shaved and placed aside to dry – it’s an honorable trade but not one that would be elaborated on a This-Is-My-Dream-Career essay.
Breakfast is served; two pieces of tuyo and a tiny pot of rice for a family of four. What’s next is an hour-long journey from Barangay Baas to Hilongos, all the way from their mountainous residence to the city below.
Who knows how many more hours they’re going to endure under the scorching heat of the morning sun? Four brooms each, they trudge on.
The heavens have blessed them today as a couple riding a motorcycle circled back to ask what they’re peddling.
‘We will be fed…we will be.’
*This is loosely based on a true story as there are people from Baas (a barangay in Eastern Leyte) who really sell coconut brooms. The hubby and I were able to speak to two of them (hence the story) and with each broom costing only 25 pesos, they need to sell all eight so they can buy enough food for their family for that day.
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Leila passes by this one house in town every afternoon when she goes home from school. At 16, she had been intrigued by this abandoned structure for as long as she can remember. The goosebumps are constant reminders that there is more to this place than what one actually sees.
Nine out of ten people like chocolate. The tenth person always lies.
I've got a story to tell. Our recent move to Eastern Visayas was a concession. I did not approve of it, at first, because my home had always been Luzon. I grew up in Muntinlupa City and I moved to Cavite and eventually Laguna during my married years. I knew that it was going to be a huge adjustment for the entire family to move to a totally different place. Although Leyte was my hubby's home province, the kids and I treat it as a vacation spot - never as a permanent home.
So what gives?
You probably already researched about the life of Ms. Catriona Gray, after all, she's no less than the queen of the moment. Miss Philippines is Miss Universe 2018 and we're all very proud of her. What I'd want to share here was our reaction - there was a whole bunch of us, all strangers to each other - that watched and reacted as Catriona's name was being announced.
'Wanna guess where we were?
Let's park the fun for a moment, seryosong usapan muna.
The colorful yet horrific history of the three Balangiga bells had always been close to my heart. Having kept a homeschooling and cultural website for almost a year now, there was a point when I was asked on the Facebook group (of which I am an administrator) – Kulturang Pinas – to elaborate on this tragic account.
I had my historical bases for answering the said query and, although the facts were pretty straightforward, my opinions, however, were far from being unemotional.
Today, one of my husband's relatives paid us a visit and she eventually kept talking about tuba. We then asked her to buy half a gallon and pretty soon, I was immersed in this native drink's rich history (at least its history in their clan) --
Today, my Facebook status read --
Here's a trivia before we all learn about the kagila-gilalas (wonderful) history of the Maasin cathedral. Maasin City, where this antique architecture stands, is the birthplace of current Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. I won't elaborate on that. I always thought he was a likas na Davaoeño (a native of Davao City) but, apparently, his mother hailed from this place.
This is the second time that I visited Maasin but the first time that I actually enjoyed it. It was night the first time we passed through there and we only saw the city through the tinted car windows. But today, as my hubby went about with his business transactions, I was left to explore the plaza. The cathedral sits in the middle, on the right side of the Maasin City Hall, and fronting Jollibee.
It was scorching hot when I took the photographs but I quite enjoyed the expedition. I wallowed in history as I read the story of the place. Here's what the historical marker in front of the cathedral said --
This place was founded by the Jesuit missionaries in 1700. It was a temporary church back then, even up till it was destroyed by the Moros in 1754. Maasin became a town the following year. By 1768, the church was managed by the Agustinian priests. The church was once again erected in 1771 but the Moros...
Who would dare to jump from an almost 315-foot high bridge? It was 1981 and I was in grade one. I overheard my grandmother and my aunts planning to see the movie - Hari ng Stunt. It starred Dante Varona and his leading lady, Vivian Velez under the directorial helm of Carlo J. Caparas. The Pinoys were amazed - no one has ever dared to do this stunt in the past! And, I believe, no one has ever done it since. I remember that Mr. Varona almost killed himself in the process.
Before I share the YouTube video of the widely-talked-about-stunt-then, here's the...
E.S. Villamor has made a career in writing for a decade now. Her online business - GIML (Gabriela Isabel & Miguel Lucas) Publishing started in 2014. She advocated for women's rights and was once enamored with imparting financial literacy through training and blogs but she is now focused on propagating all things Filipino. This site is also being groomed as a rich homeschooling resource.