I failed to publish this when I was supposed to i.e. October 2013. My childhood friend Oscar has since died – a few months after his brother Augusto did. Shortly after we met then (as I reported in this blog), Oca was diagnosed with a terminal form of cancer. We pray for him and all the faithful departed.
Passing through The Edwin Andrews Airbase brought back nostalgic memories of the quiet streets of Sta. Maria where I used to ply with my bike, stopping by the homes of Butch Natividad or Oca Covarrubias, or a nervous rush through Doña Vicenta Drive. The side streets of Sta. maria were normally deserted then and it was just perfect for lazy quiet bike runs.
By this time I was entering my third kilometer. Normally I drink my water on my third kilometer if I plan a run longer than 10 kilometers. And today was such a day. As I had met my dear classmate Oca Covarrubias the day before, I wanted to surprise him by dropping by and asking for water. Then I would have the chance to see him, his mother, and his brother Augusto who had a stroke recently.
I was in for a shock.
As I reached Oca’s house, I asked for him and looking at me painfully, the lady who was apparently a relative, asked me “hende ba tu si Guido?” I took off my sunglasses and said, “si, talli ba si Oca?” With a really heartbreaking look, she told me that Augusto, Oca’s younger brother had just expired a few minutes before I arrived. Stunned, I couldn’t move and say anything…until Oca came out confirming Augusto’s death.
Oca and I go back to grade school years. So inevitably we spent time with each other’s families. Although I hadn’t seen his family for decades, it was still a shock to me especially under the circumstances, learning of Augusto’s passing. I decided not to get inside the house anymore to let Oca and his mother grieve in private.
I ran on and as I was approaching the corner of Sta. Maria Road and Gov. Ramos, I saw the at the corner of my eye the former house of the Dugan family which was subsequently rented by the Escudero family. I remembered that not far along to the east was the former Greenfields Barbecue place. I could not let my thoughts stray too far away as the traffic at the corner was horrible!
After the corner I was trying to look for the house of the Camins family. I was even hoping to catch a glimpse of Junie or Mrs. Camins, my teacher. The scenery had changed and I was no longer sure about the houses. I avowed though that I will be back to drop by these houses and visit my old friends.
I now reached the old Climaco house and by that time I was looking for the old house with flowers which was featured in many postcards in my younger days. This was owned by someone I only remember by the name of “Ñor Teng” (although I am now informed it is owned by the late Carmen Lacandalo Basilio) I couldn’t find it! It must have been covered now with the concrete houses. I remember the house well because behind it was a hill that we used to climb and eventually led us to our house. I soon approached the property where our house was located (“Kilometro Quatro” we used to call it).
Our house was no longer there. Instead it was an empty lot with a few trees. We used to have lanzones in that property and right at the back was a stream where we used to bathe and catch tilapia. A small brook meandered through our property and my mother built our dining room right above the brook making it one of the most refreshing place to have a meal. Our dining room was just screened from floor to ceiling and the wooden slat floors had a small gap allowing us to see the water below and hear the soothing sound of water as well.
I slowed a bit to look whether the Montojos were still around but I found the house quiet. So I ran further and went up on the left hand road at the fork at the bottom of “kilometro cinco.” I didn’t realize the uphill climb was not that bad at all.
I then ran through the Tañada swimming pool, and up the “Wee-wee” kiddie’s pool and I stopped for a while at the “natural” pool.
From there it was a downhill run passing through the Limbaga shrine where I spent so many nights camping and attending campfires. Stories of half-man half-pigs filled my childhood days in those camping days and they did not leave me until I was much older. We also used to have the School-at-Camp where for a week the students from the Zamboanga State College (now WIMSU) Laboratory School would camp and commune with nature. This was also the chance for us to socialize with our female classmates and hopefully hold the hands of our crushes!
The picture above shows the venerable Charlie Escudero the all-time master of the Boy Scouts in Zamboanga City with my mother, Gloria, and some of her friends.
The Tree House is till there today and I remember I used to bring food and ironed clothes to my cousin, Nang Menchie Marfori-Avanceña who lived in the tree house when she was awarded the “Miss Caltex” title years and years ago. My mother is in this phto with her friends.
I finished running when I reached the fork in “kilometro cinco” and by then I had done eight (8) kilometers.
Indeed, a nostalgic run through my childhood years. I wish to make another run some day but hopefully Zamboanga City will be cleaner by then.