Sometime mid-last year, I was bored to death waiting for Franco’s meeting to end. Out of the blue, I suddenly thought of my childhood. Jyl, at that time, was turning 10 soon. I wondered if she got to experience the fun things that my sister and I did when we were kids. That night, while waiting in one of the sofas in Glorietta, I contacted my favorite sister and compiled a list of our favorite memories from our childhood. My hope is to be able to give my Aki (and Emily) the same experiences. Here is what Jana and I came up with
1. Nika, our pretty askal pet dog. We had other pet dogs before Nika. We had Jack and Jill and Blackie and Brownie. Unfortunately, they did not live long. I don’t remember them actually except that Blackie was black and Whitie (or was it Brownie) was white. My sister and I vividly remember the day we picked up Nika. I was about 7 years old. Kiboy, my dad’s best friend, introduced us to his friend. I can’t remember her name but she was a jolly old lady. We went to her house to pick up our first official dog. Nika is the prettiest mongrel. We loved her so much. I even read dog training books hoping I would be able to teach her a trick or two. That never happened though. hehe. During the 10 years that Nika was with us, she had a lot of babies. The most memorable for Jana and me were the first pregnancies. We excited waited for the puppies to come out and when they did, we loved feeding them and playing with them. Rest in peace, Nika. Thank you for being part of our childhood.
Trivia: Franco named his first dog Baby Sue.
Assignment: Have the gate fixed when Aki’s 6 years old so that we can have our first pet when he turns 7.
2. Our very own bed. One weeknight, when I was 8 yeard old, our mom surprised us by getting us our own bed. It was a single bed with a pull-out one. When the truck came, sis and I did not know what was happening until we saw our beds.
I am just not sure if Aki would be as thrilled. Right now, every time the idea of him sleeping in his own bed is brought up, he gets teary eyed.
Assignment: Check when Aki turns 6 to see how he feels about sleeping in his own bed.
3. Grandparents. We have the sweetest lolos and lolas. Maybe because we grew daddy-less, everyone in our family especially the grandparents were extremely nice to us. I remember how we would wake up early to catch the pandesal delivery boy and pick the most toastest bread with our Lolo Ano, my mom’s dad. Our funniest childhood memory probably was when we were seated around the dining table for lunch when suddenly, a lizard ipot, I remember how liquid it was, fell on my lolo’s head. My sister and I still laugh about it every time we reminisce
Papa Encio, my dad’s dad, have 2 pigs in Bigaa, Cabuyao. Can you guess the names of the pigs? Maqui and Jana! haha.
Every time we visited our great grandmother in Cabuyao, we always stopped by this store where we buy Chips Ahoy. I don’t know if this is just me but the Chips Ahoy when I was kid were yummier than the ones nowadays. Or maybe that is because Chips Ahoy cookies from my childhood were made yummier because of the sweet memories of excitedly waiting in the counter as Papa ordered and paid for them.
My grandparents on the paternal side were spoilers! Mummy did not let us papak Milo but when we were in Calamba, we could eat all the Milo in the world… secretly.
Assigment: Convince Lola Do to take care of 2 pigs and name them Aki and Emily. Also, I need to bribe Lola Do that let Aki eat Milo.
5 Swimming. If you are from Los Banos or Calamba, 4 out of the 5 parties that you will attend are most likely swimming parties. It is not just the kids who like to swim. The oldies with rheumatism also like to soak in the hot springs. I did not realize that tan lines are fashionable until years later because back home, everyone has them. We did not need to have celebration to have an excuse to swim. The pools in Pansol were minutes away and were very afforadable. We’d spend Saturday mornings swimming in Cuyab or in Laguna Hot Springs.
Assignment: none! Aki has experienced swimming in Pansol a couple of time and he looooved it!
6 Balikbayan relatives. A few days before my relatives from the UK and from the US arrive, we’d scrub the house clean and make sure that the nicest bed linens are ready for use. On the day of their flight, we rented a jeepney so the whole barangay can pick up the special visitors from the airport. From them on until they leave, it’d be all about reunions, vacations, swimming, food overload left and right. My favorite part? The balikbayan boxes! We excitedly waited for our pasalubong to be handed out to us. I wish I could keep the smell of a balikbayan box in a bottle so I can be transported to my childhood anytime.
7 Saturdays at my mom’s clinic. Until a couple of years ago, my mom’s dental clinic was based in Calamba. On Saturdays, my mom would bring us to her clinic. We’d read her Woman Today magazines. Play with her dental gadgets. Have our teeth checked and cleaned. Watch my mom clean her patient’s teeth. The highlight of the day was our trip to this nearby grocery to buy Hello Panda.
Assignment: Befriend the head of security and find a way to bring Aki to work when he is about 7 years old.
8 Summer vacations. Our summer vacations were either in my paternal grandparents’ house in Calamba or in my Tita Sor’s house in BF. Aside from the thrill of being away from home, the best part is being with cousins 24×7.
Assignment: none! Aki had a blast in his first summer vacation away from home. We will definitely make this an annual tradition.
9 Undas. Interestingly, I have more fun memories from All Saint’s Day than from Christmas. November 1 is the always the day we visit our dad’s grave, make balls out of melted candles, go to perya, and stuff ourselves with adobo and suman.
Assignment: Have Aki experience sleeping in the cemetery. We will definitely keep the Undas tradition.
10 Our Bahay kubo. Growing up, we had a lot of toys. At one point, I counted all my Barbies, and realized I had more than 20. That does not include those of my sister. Our Barbies had horses, a Ferrari car and a doll house. But of all the playthings I ever owned, my favorite was our very own Bahay Kubo!!
Assignment: this might be a tough one. My mom paid 200 pesos to the carpenter more than 20 years ago. Now, it will probably cost more than 15K to have a kubo built, plus delivery! This assignment will likely stay in the parking lot until we have a girl.
11. Our Universal Motion Dancers obsession. Wait. I would like to clarify that this list is in no particular order except for the next one which is my top choice. Back to UMD. Wowie and Marcos forever! Kadireeee! Haha. Not only did we watch all UMD movies, we also had all the cassette tapes including the Christmas albums. We were members of the official fan’s club. Let me see if I still memorize the names of all 9 dancers
Jana, who else am I missing?
I don’t know why my dear mom let us get that obsessed! And even supported us by buying us cassette tapes, posters and buying Megastar magazine.
Assignment: Support Aki’s celebrity obsessions in the future and make sure to have photos for blackmailing purposes
12. Of the many memories that I have from my childhood, the best part, without a doubt, was having a sister. Thanks, sissy dear, for the sisterhood, for the memories and for the friendship.
Super belated happy birthday, sis and advance happy mother’s day!