A journey through time and space

My father brought me here as a young boy. I was caught up in myself to notice we didn’t stop at the usual bus stop where we take the tricycle ride to the home barrio in Pangasinan.

Yup, we skipped the stop and I didn’t care. All I was concerned about was the dreadful heat coming from all around me. The wind as the mini bus zoomed past our regular stop was not enough to relieve me of the discomfort. Oh why did we have to leave the coolness of Baguio City for this never ending heat and humidity?

Ours was the branch of the family tree which left home in Binmaley, Pangasinan to take on the challenge of city life. Of course I wasn’t there yet when my father took the family to Baguio to see what fortune awaits the budding family.

That was decades ago but our father would take us kids back to the home town now and then just to stay in touch with the rest of the clan. Being the second to the youngest, I was vaguely aware of the need to take the four or six hour bus ride from Baguio to the home town.

“It’s very hot here,” I would constantly complain, “Let’s go home!”

The same thought was running through my head as we sped past the usual stop headed for an adventure I didn’t know was coming.

We disembarked from the bus at a very unfamiliar sight. The tricycle ride from the bus stop too, was oddly unknown to me. So when we stopped at a patch of grass by the side of the road, my eyes were totally wide open to take in the fresh new sights and sounds. When a blanket miraculously appeared and the picnic was spread over it, the gig was up we were in for a good time far from the routine visit to cousins and unknown aunts and uncles.

There was no feeling of the oppressive heat or even of hunger as I wolfed down a sandwich which was thrust to my face a few moments ago. All my attention was fixed on two huge battle tanks a few paces away from the impromptu picnic. Then my eyes drifted to a Japanese Zero parked in the background.

“What is this place?” I heard myself ask as I boarded my very first tank. The sight and smell of human feces from the gun chamber did little to dampen my enthusiasm as I made believe to be a tank commander out to conquer the entire Japanese Imperial army. Then another treat opened up in the distance – the sight of waves.

It was my first time to visit the beach and I could not believe how inviting those waves could be. Running like a dog called to dinner I was off to wonder at the feel of clear, foamy and cool waters at my feet. Only the warnings of my mother of the dangers of straying too far from shore kept me from dashing into that line in the horizon.

I plunged my hands into the wet sand to come up with sea shells which bore the sound of the waves when placed to the ear. And the wonder of it all was the way my feet would seem to sink into the sands as every wave came to shore.

All these thoughts came unannounced as I visited Lingayen beach for first time in the decades separating both trips. The tanks and the warplane were still there but I could not see, or smell, if the human excrement was still there. I had to rely on my own kids’ report that it was pristine inside. The beach also had the same feel of wonder and excitement – not only for myself but more importantly my children.

Of course I could not feel the pull of the waters, I was snugly sitting in my wheelchair to relive that amazing feeling. Suffice it that my own children got to taste what I tasted so long ago.

The Ten Cordinanments


Amianan Balita Ngayon