Gangnam style fiesta-A A +A
As I See It
Saturday, January 12, 2013
ENRICO, my former student who is now a junior executive of a call center in Cebu, invited me to attend a fiesta in a farmers' village where his father resides. He promised to provide me fried eel, fresh water shrimp and bunog for lunch. I did not refuse the invitation.
It was a gloomy Saturday morning. We alighted from a Ceres bus after a long travel. We transferred to a habal-habal (motorcycle with an extended seat made of wood to accommodate three more passengers) waiting under the kapok tree. Enrico whispered, "Travel time is more or less one hour." There was a nine-year-old boy in front of the driver, the driver, a teacher who would emcee the program, I and Enrico. Honda Motors designed the motorcycle for one rider. The Pinoy habal-habal driver intended it for five passengers.
The journey was enjoyable. The scenery reminded me of the paintings of Fernando Amorsolo: river banks with carabaos, women washing clothes, farmers plowing the field and young boys munching sugarcane. The teacher told me that I could hold her waist for safe travel. She even demonstrated how to hold the waist of the driver. Anyway, we were holding on to each other's waists. The roller coaster ride was fascinating.
I was the only visitor of Enrico's family. His family owns a mini-sound system. The music pained my eardrum. "That's how we celebrate fiesta. The music will be three times louder when we reach the plaza tonight," Enrico said. Lunch was superb: fried eel, steamed fresh water shrimp, paksiw bunog, boiled banag with lemon grass, and four pork dishes. There was buko salad and buko juice for dessert.
Around 2 p.m., the male relatives of Enrico requested me to join them in drinking tuba. I took half a glass. That was sweet. The sumsuman tasted like caldereta; at least, that was what I thought it was. Enrico informed me later, "That was dog's meat!" I was reminded of the rabies threat. I don't want to die salivating.
We went to the cockfight arena under the coconut palm. The gladiatorial fight was in progress. There were three kinds of sports presentation: cockfight without a blade-the one who runs loses; cockfight with blade -- the one which dies or does not peck loses; and the last is the rooster versus the duck (pato). The bet for this unusual event is not less than one hundred pesos. If the rooster wins, you win 100 pesos; if the duck wins, you win 200 pesos.
Our dinner was “binakol” native chicken. The chicken is cooked with young buko meat and juice. Nanay Loreta, Enrico's mother, cooked bug-ungan frog adobo and prepared paku-paku salad. My stomach was heavy.
They had three young female guests who would be going with us to the plaza to dance. They were wearing short shorts. "You have to borrow my short pants. We have to cross a shallow river," Enrico told me. The water was shallow and I did a good balancing act for fifteen minutes while walking on stones.
The dance area was muddy. There had been rain early that evening. I was welcomed at the microphone by the farmers' cooperative president and chairman of the fiesta. Later, I was handed an envelope where I could place my donation. The fiesta queen and her maids of honor had their march towards the stage using the Aida March. I was requested to pin the sash for the First Runner-Up. Her first name was Clemencia. The queen was crowned by Enrico. By the way, Enrico paid for the sound system and donated one pork lechon for the other visitors.
The muddy dance ground was never empty. Gangnam style, as predicted by Nostradamus, was the favorite music of the night. Every ten minutes, it was played as requested. In our table, there was Clemencia and the fiesta queen. They were happy I was there. They were selling ticket games for fund raising: lucky song, lucky number, lucky flower. That was an expensive evening. It was around 4:30 a.m. of the next day when I asked Enrico if we could go home. I was sleepy already.
He told me, "We cannot. The river is no longer shallow. There is flood but it will subside at around 8 am. He-he-he!" I smiled at Clemencia. "Okay, let's go to the center and dance Gangnam style!"
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 12, 2013.