During my stay in Manila, I always celebrated my birthdays in Antipolo, Rizal, where a lot of people went on pilgrimage in the month of May. Scores of buses, cars, jeepneys, and trucks traveled slowly, bumper-to-bumper, up and down the hills to Antipolo on weekends. (1937-1971)
On my birthday celebration in May, 1939, I invited Aning and Pat to celebrate with me, and they both consented. I took along my boardmate, Asterio Soquing, to make a foursome We all rode a bus together. After attending mass we went to a Dance Hall.
There I left them to go and visit Martha, who had a house in Antipolo. I spent a lot of time chatting with her, while Asterio spent this time dancing with Aning and teaching Pat how to dance!
I went back and joined them when we were about to go back home.
When I went to Balik-Bayan in 1993, I went to Antipolo on my birthday, May 8, 1993. There I reminisced my younger days’ experiences, when it was very difficult to ride a bus because of so many people trying to jostle each other inside any available transportation. I went in Tony’s car.
I had always worn a new Barong Tagalog shirt on my birthday trip to Antipolo. And so one day in 1930 I visited Pat’s mother to ask her to sew a shirt for me before my birthday came. I asked her to have Aning accompany me to select my cloth, but she said: NALALAINGA NI PAT NGA AGPILI. (Pat can make a better choice.)
I got a hint that she would like Pat to go with me to select the cloth rather than Aning. So I got Pat to accompany me to buy the cloth, which Aning sewed for me to wear.
My trip to Antipolo in 1993 was no longer the same as in 1940. There is now a straight road to Antipolo from Cubao bypassing Cainta, Rizal. It was no longer a winding road that took several hours’ ride to Antipolo. In a car it took me only thirty minutes, instead of three hours by bus as before.
But the beautiful sight of the waterfall called Hinulugan Taktak is no more. As a matter of fact, the top of the waterfall is now a road! People used to take a bath under the falls before.
Now the fields and forest that used to surround Antipolo are already subdivisions full of homes.
It was a tradition then to go to Antipolo in barong tagalog. I was the only one in barong tagalong in 1993. The place has become very much commercialized. But lots of people still go there to pray and kiss the feet of the Lady of Antipolo. The sumac and the mango sellers are still there.
Martha has become a widow, Ilay has become a widow, and Olive has become a widow. Tomie married a widower. Edith, I don’t know –
I have become a widower, too, and am married again, to MARIA,a WHITE LADY from Chile.