Wednesday, August 17, 2011
MY WIFE WOKE UP early and begins to prepare for our trip up north in Catmon. A good neighbor will be laid to his final resting place on this day, February 13, 2011, and we have to be there to pay our last respects. My other (living) neighbors have already gone there the night before and the bulk would be coming also today.
It is already 7:45 AM by the time we were on the street to hie a public utility jitney that would take us to Mandaue City first before transferring to another jitney for Danao City and then a bus to Catmon. Sounds complicated? I think not as we are still moving and make the most of our free time bonding as husband and wife.
Vilma and I arrive at Catmon and walk up a hill where the San Guillermo Parish is located. The final send-off rite for our dear departed neighbor would be held there before carrying him to the cemetery. The church is full and there are many people outside. I take photographs of the old church and an equally ancient banyan tree before settling on a vacant seat as the prayer service started.
San Guillermo Church
Old banyan tree
I have visited Catmon only once during my “warrior pilgrimage” days sometime in year 2000. I spend a night in a house in Macaas as a guest of one of Catmon's very infamous sons. That is water under the bridge now but, I do drop by once in a while to buy bibingka1 or a gallon of tuba2 on some roadside stall and those were just very fleeting moments.
From the church, the coffin was hoisted upon eight stout shoulders and walked three hundred meters from the altar to the grave. The sky is gray and somber. Grayer still when droplets of light rain showered over everyone thankfully hiding away tears. So many familiar faces are all around me as if I have not left my neighborhood at all.
People from the city were ferried by the service vehicles of Barangay Kalubihan and Barangay Busay and nowhere have I found a vehicle belonging to Barangay Tinago, where my late neighbor is a registered voter and resident. My thanks then to the people and the officials of Kalubihan and Busay for lending their mini buses, this, all in behalf of the bereaved family and the folks of sitio Santa Lucia.
After an hour, the crowd dispersed and proceed to partake of the customary free meal offered by the deceased wife's family. Vilma and I walk another route following a small crowd and I get to pass by a healthy tree from whence Catmon is named after and took a few pictures. I also get to know the direction of a hot spring resort of this place passing the same street and jot the phone numbers.
After the meal, me and wife hop inside a bus and drop by the seaside residence of her sister in Looc, Danao City. The slight rain have not abated. We spend the afternoon watching a noon-time show, eating, talking, viewing the sea and, for me, hoping to finish a half-gallon of fermented coconut drink.
Fish berry, indigenous fish poison
All along, I get to observe from nearby of a different commerce. It is about the trade of fish berry4, an indigenous and environment-friendly fish poison. Of course, it affects the fish but, at least, fishermen here don't use deadly chemicals to catch their prey. It doesn't really kill the fish though and makes it only dazed for an easy catch.
The berry is taken from a rare vine and then dried. People crush the dried berries with mortar and pestle and mixed to a pail of water with bait5 and fed to the fish. I tasted the berry and it is awfully bitter! Ten times bitter than the bitterest of bitter gourds.
Quality bonding time
I finished the native wine and washed it with a liter of beer. I am tipsy and crimson but my wife ain't. We said our goodbyes to our host and took a ride home. It is six in the evening when we arrive. The light rain have stopped and, yes, the boys are home.
Document done in OpenOffice 2.1 Writer
2Fermented coconut drink.
4Almirata cocculus. Locally known as “lagtang”.