In the Philippines, there’s this popular three-wheeled mode of public transport called the “tricycle.” It is the main means of transport in the province since it’s convenient and cheap.
I used to come home every weekend; I commute from Manila to province whenever I get homesick. My friends who live in the area would sometimes visit me whenever I am home. That night, one of my best buddies visited me. I was with my aunt and uncle. We decided to go to McDonald’s which is around 15-20 minutes away from home especially being that it’s late at night. We rode the tricycle. My uncle (my aunt’s husband) drove the tricycle and my aunt jumped at the back. My friend and I sat inside the mini vehicle. It was a long savannah and there’s nothing to see but darkness. The fields were black because there weren’t any lights. There’s nothing else to do but look around since talking isn’t an option due to the loud sound of the tricycle.
As I looked at the emptiness, I saw a lady floating on the savannah. I was so sure about it but I didn’t say anything because mockery sometimes makes you doubt yourself, I don’t want to doubt myself. I hate being mocked for believing in ghosts so I kept quiet. When we got home, I saw my friend and he was pale, like dead pale. He is of darker complexion so it was kind of freakishly obvious that I had to ask what’s wrong. He didn’t say anything. I had to press him more and there, he asked me, “didn’t you see that?” I asked him what was I supposed to see out there and he said, “the lady!” I was shocked because he saw her too! We couldn’t believe that we both saw a whitelady and both of us chose not to react immediately.
I had a validation from him that I wasn’t imagining things. She was indeed floating and faceless. I also didn’t describe what I saw, he did! I waited for him to tell me everything he could remember and I am so sure we saw the same ghost. I couldn’t have been wrong since I have 20/20 vision then. I was just scared to be mocked.
This experience totally creeped me out that whenever I travel alone, late night to the province, passing the same savannah, I needed to close my eyes. This experience gave me an eternal fright!
Fast forward to third grade, it was Ma’am Toning who taught us the word, “putilya” haha! Whatever that means! She’s Tintin’s aunt. Ma’am Toning would pinch us on our waist whenever she became pissed at us but it’s the kind of pinch that’s rather ticklish than painful.
She was active. Very dynamic! I cannot forget the song Samba Olay! She made us learn that song and it’s the kind that sticks. I am still singing it the way she used to sing it. She passed away some years back and my favorite memory of her was the time when we bought colored chicks from the street fair (perya) for like a peso per piece and she went ballistic seeing how many chicks we took inside the classroom!
On the fourth grade, we were under Ma’am Cora Cruz, who happened to be my mom’s aunt. She would ask me to run errands for her and the scariest one that she’s made me do is to deliver her live catfish purchase to her home. I hated catfish because it could hurt you. They slither like snakes and they have hooks that could injure you seriously. I was carrying it on a pail of water and they just jumped up and down. So I remember what I did one time, I carried it in a basin – forward, like holding a basket awkwardly, at least it was steadier than a pail that’s dangling back and forth. To my dismay, they all jumped like crazy and were scattered on a busy road, I was almost in front of her house; such luck that the seller was there (how timely, right?), the seller helped me collect the “merchandise” from the road – meaning, she did all the collecting and I was like, freaked out because they were slithering on the street!!! But yeah, that nakawalang isda incident did not keep her from asking me from running errands for her because I am an “apo” of course. One time, she asked me to deliver a dish to Lola Let, or at least, that’s what I heard. Lola Let is rich who do not need a ration of dish proportionate to a person’s consumption, but WTH, I was asked to deliver, so be it. When Lola Let got it, she was like, “why would she send me this?” but of course, that’s food, so she’s somehow, grateful. So me, being all biba reported the mission accomplished to my teacher lola and I said, “done, delivered to Lola Let” and Ma’am Cora was like, “why would you give it to her?” Of course, my reply was, because you said so. Apparently, she was asking me to deliver it to Lola Del (her stepmom). It seems like I was deaf since childhood, or perhaps it was the earlier signs of my attention deficit, haha, whatever would satisfy you best!
Moving to grade five was a little different, we had some new classmates from Paligue Primary School. There we met Estela, Elizabeth and Julius. There’s this cute kid named Ruby and the BPES boys got crazy over her, too bad for my classmates because she wasn’t assigned to our section. Ms Bulanadi was our teacher and she got replaced by Mrs Malang. Both of them were stunning teachers! Mrs Malang’s husband, Sir Fred was our Sibika at Kultura teacher, he was one of my favorite teachers too. That husband and wife tandem is the best! I love Mrs Malang!
One of the memories I had this year was not mine, it was a classmate’s story. Since it isn’t my actual story, I won’t name her. She had her period this year and I remember how clueless she was. I haven’t had mine and she shared that with me, asking for help perhaps? So I was more clueless even. Haha, kids those days! Our solutions were crazy! I am not writing what we did.
Grade five was the time when RPG came to picture. It’s a gang where everyone belonged except for me and my clique and the people who do not care. I believe my clique would give me up just to be part of that group! It was not that obvious at that time but later on, it has become more apparent. Some RPG members were cool to be my friend. I mean, not afraid to be banished for talking to me. I appreciate them until now you know.
Grade six came in and it was full of fond memories. Our teachers were great! Ma’am Nel was awesome. She’s had this morning ritual of asking us routine questions on the same tone over and over again. It was very endearing! Ma’am Balatbat is sisters with Ma’am Nel and Ma’am Chit, our adviser. Ma’am Balatbat was my mentor. She coached me for my speech as well as for my HEKASI quiz bee. I liked Ma’am Chit the best, perhaps because she was our adviser? I liked her because she’s the perfect teacher. She’s very diligent! She’s taught us a lot! We have had a lot of useful projects during her time. I remember having a fruit bearing garden beside our classroom and it was very memorable because we were kids! We were able to plant tomatoes, sigarilyas, sitaw among others! She’s taught us a lot of songs and made us sing What’s Up on an occasion. She’s made us learn a lot of Christmas songs that she’s forced us to sing merrily with a weird smiling face regardless of how we feel haha! That’s one effective teacher for me! I love that she was able to raise funds to build our own separate toilet from the fees from our “noisy list” and some donations from Lola Let whom I was still in good terms with at that time.
One of the memorable events was the time we became basureras courtesy of our Science Teacher. Her subject is related to the environment therefore, our grades were based on how much trash we’ve collected! Go green!
Back to Ma’am Chit, oh how I loved our Christmas tree made of dye and water. It was awesome! I think she has a thing with Christmas! She is super energetic and I wish all teachers are as sipag as her.
I don’t want to dwell on bad memories because I grew up to be a normal non-suicidal person so yeah, WTH!