This was and still the common questions of my office-mates when we talk about each other's personal lives. And I would say, no, it's not far. And the follow-up question would be, "so how many hours will it take to get there from Manila?", and I would answer "the shortest would be 3 and a half to four hours if you take the NLEX-SCTEX-Zaragosa-Sta.Rosa route", and they would all like have their eyes and mouth wide open and say "4 hours???!!!, that's far!!", and defensively, I would answer, "of course not!"
This scene reminds me of an article written by one of my schoolmates in Youngblood before, she said that "it is ironic that 'probinsyanano/as' know a lot about Metro Manila, but Manileno/as know nothing or maybe a little about the provinces". Mainly because, our elementary textbooks taught us a lot about Metro Manila, we have seen what Luneta or Intramuros looks like even if we have never been really there, but when it comes to Nueva Ecija, all you could see is a textbook artist's interpretation of what Nueva Ecija looks like, and for most books it's just a plain and boring rice field stretching through the horizon and almost meeting the sun.
This night, I had the chance to talk with one of my office-mates. She asked me where in Nueva Ecija I live, and her next statement made me smile, "So nagigising ka sa amoy ng siga o kaya sa ingay ng mga hayop?", and a big smile suddenly drew in my face. In that moment, I missed being a probinsyana. I missed waking up with the sun shining on my face, with the smell of dried leaves being burned by the old 'kapitbahay', of the endless 'tiktilaok' of the chickens, of the continuous barking of our dogs and being able to aroma the fresh morning air from the leaves, plants and smoke while having a cup of coffee and hot pan de sal on the 'kubo' outside the house. Although it's not that long since I have arrived in the Metro, a part of me still wishes to go back home every night, counting the days until weekend when I could finally go home to the plain and boring rice field- the very place where I spent practically all my life with joy, simplicity and contentment.
"Nakaka-miss sa probinsya, alam mo yung palay, ilalagay niyo sa lata ng Promil tapos lalagay niyo sa siga, tapos after 5 minutes, may rice pop na kayo", she added, and again, my smile grew even bigger. I realized the simple things that were very ordinary for me may be special to someone else, that the experiences I had, which I used to think were nothing special and just normal, are something that most people long to experience. The sari-sari store you go to when you're hungry, when you don't have enough load to text your friends or when you need manila paper for your report is very rare. In the metro, your sari-sari store is Mini-Stop and 7-Eleven. The carinderia or canteen that you always spend lunch and free time with will be the fastfood chains closest to your office,like Jollibee (if you are lucky enough), McDonald's and for some cases, Yellow Cab or Burger King. The single jeepney ride from your home to your school, which is about 10-20 kilometers apart that usually last from 30-45 minutes will become a 1 or 2 hour ride, with two or three jeepney rides, and most of the times, 30 minutes of walking. The 'oink-oink' of the pigs or the 'tiktilaok' of the chickens in your backyard will be replaced by the honking of the jeepneys, trains, buses, trucks and motorcycles on the street. The aroma of fresh air from the plants in the morning will be replaced by the highly-aromatic mixture of gasoline, smoke, 'pawis' and sometimes, the smell of the person next to you in a jampacked bus, train or FX.
It's Thursday, one more day and I am going home again, I am, after all, a probinsiyana. :)
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
And they are rallysits with loud and clear audio system, mega phones, really huge streamers and a uniform for each group, making me wonder where they draw their funds and why they still need to protest. :D
But, hearing them practicing their protests, I believe that what they are fighting for, must be given attention, just like passing the security of tenure bill and the end of contractualization.