I revisited my mom’s hometown, Cabanatuan City, a few weeks ago for my grandmother’s wake. It was a chance to celebrate my grandma’s long and fruitful life, get reacquainted with my relatives and visit some of the familiar sights in the small town of Buliran.
Cabanatuan has been our summer vacation place during childhood. We would spend a month there living the slow provincial life. Getting up early to accompany my cousins milk our carabao, buy duck eggs at the farm, pick ripe mangoes, guavas and star apples, and my most favorite part, swim and play at the brook at the back of our mango orchard.
Every time I visit our province it has been a custom of mine to check up on that small stream, and it changes each time I do. Its muddy brown waters forever shifting its banks; rain and erosion being part of its daily affair.
Comparing my visit from January to this last one, the river seems quite deep and placid compared to the fast, shallow one I saw not a few months back. The surrounding gravel banks were nowhere to be seen and the old path down the stream was gone.
There were a few kids having a grand time doing somersaults down its deep shoreline; definitely a superb way to beat this summer’s intense heat.
I looked for a shaded spot, sat myself down its loamy shores, took some snaps of the kids, and looked back to those not so distant times when we were those kids; showing off our diving skills, competing for the longest one who can hold his breath underwater and just plain enjoying the rush of the stream against our skin.