Stories about Places
Perhaps the Señor knew everyone’s secrets. My uncles said that sometimes, when the moment came to carry the Señor from the chapel to the carriage, the figure wouldn’t budge. The men of my family tend to be rather large, and one of them could easily carry the Señor by himself. But sometimes, even with three or four of them, the Señor refused to be carried. The figure seemed heavier. They said maybe one of them had sinned, and so they would call a different group of menfolk to lift the Señor.
When Dada would recall his romantic years, he would blush, remembering how the common water shed made encounters possible, by the poso and palikuran (restroom), where the townsfolk would commune for their daily ration of water and sanitation. It was also a time when paglalako or peddling of goods was a common sight, and everyone would think of a way to raise money just by toting along their goods and shouting at the top of their lungs. Dada would woo my Nanay by offering his help to carry the bilao (wick tray) or by fetching her by the main road to carry her bayong (native shopping bag) to my lola’s house.
As with other houses in the neighborhood, my family’s on Valley Road was taken over by the Japanese military. It was designated to be the headquarters of some Japanese officers. My grandparents, Mary and Pacifico Sr., had no choice but to surrender the house, so they sent their children to live with Eusebio and Frances, who by then were residing at the top of Poinsettia Street, on España extension.
Maybe because I grew up attending many funerals in Iligan, I've developed a rather strange fascination with how people cope with the death of a loved one. Eventually, one masters the do's and don'ts of attending funerals. In doing so, I have realized that while the pain and grief over the loss of someone close is natural, a certain set of rituals, stories, and superstitions can help salve the wounds of those who have been left behind. Even if it involves removing the dead's shoes.
Pops tells us that, back then, Pasay shared a long coastal area with Manila and Paranaque – often a site for swimming or witnessing a scenic setting sun by the bay to mark the end of the day. Before Dasmarinas and Forbes, Pasay housed a community of un-gated villages and walled properties with no condominiums.