by Erwin Racpan Cuanang Barona
It was around the mid-1970s when my father purchased our first vehicle – a baby-blue 1962 Chevrolet Biscayne. Weekend excursions with my parents and three siblings were frequent then as we shared family time in places outside Metro Manila. We frequented a piece of land that had the occasional peanuts and pineapple from its field. This piece of land is now Uncle Joven’s Meteora, overlooking Taal Volcano. His Antipolo residence, which now includes the sprawling Pinto Art Museum, was also among our destinations.
Summers were special as we traveled to visit relatives – Paniqui and Moncada in Tarlac; and Lupao, Nueva Ecija. We would also go to my father’s side in Bangued, Abra, and of course, to Batac, Ilocos Norte, the birthplace of my mother Ernesta, the elder sister of Uncle Joven. In Batac, we used to stay at Auntie Milagring’s and Lola Ceriang’s residence for several weeks each time. The fellowship and food with relatives were always first-rate.
One of the memories I vividly remember is an incident in Currimao, a cove west of Batac, on the edge of the South China Sea. Uncle Boy brought my siblings, cousins, and me to the beach in Barangay Victoria. Excited to see the ocean and crashing waves, we stripped to our underwear and rushed to the sea. We spent several hours laughing and playing to our hearts’ content. As it grew darker, and our stomachs then started craving pinakbet and bagnet, we decided to leave. We searched for our clothes, thinking we had hung them on Uncle Boy’s jeepney’s front grill. Alas! It was only then that we discovered that it was not Uncle Boy’s vehicle we hung them on but another person’s. And that other jeepney had left with our clothes! The trip back to Batac was a wet and cold one for us. We were still laughing on the way. We went back to Currimao many more times but the first time was the most memorable.
The Currimao property that we went to would later become Sitio Remedios.
Editor: Sigrid Salucop