'King sibul ning Porac,karing ka mindilu
ikit daka Conching, maluto ka baro
King lino ning danum, aplit kang tatabo
kabang ako naman kakarog ko salu.'
EVERYBODY loves a beautiful love story. Isn’t it? Sad movies make us cry. And it is okay to cry. I remember as a kid growing up in Porac, the strong rush of crystal white water descending from the hilly portion of the town and cuts into the downtown area. There was a bridge that separates the poblacion section to Cangatba. The no more than 50 meter bridge was the common area for young people, where from morning till up early evening they converged, and maybe for lack of something to do, discussed anything under the sun and what was down the river.
Ah, yes the river. It was a very much part of everyday life of the people. They swim, bathe, held picnics and washed their linens. And there was Conching who was enamored to the river. As told, and handed down to the townspeople, through the ages, Conching was an exceptionally beautiful lass. She had long and shapely legs. They matched her candle long fingers. Her delicate shoulders and protruding buttocks when she moved immediately attract any male. She had long and flowing jet black hair that matched her beautiful face.
And it was customary for her, immediately after the break of dawn, she will go down the river and took her morning bath. And Carding, a tall young man of twenty, and handsome by any standard was one of Conching's admirers. He was never unabashed in making an open declaration of her love for Conching. But the girl would only smile, never break her lips or nodded her head.
Until one day, the persistent lover got the wish of his life. The love of Conching. Carding was the luckiest man in the world that day. And words got into town that the two were now an item. Friends of Carding were very happy for him and invited him for a celebration and went to the only carinderia in town.
Carding and his buddies drank merrily that night and consumed every rum, gin and beer stocks of the carinderia. And when everybody was drank and others inebriated, they decided to get down the river and swim to sober up.
It was a fateful night. An accident happened. Carding drowned. And the news spread so quickly, and the whole town mourned his death. And Conching was devastated. Her happiness suddenly changed to intense melancholia. She felt that she was deceived by the river. She questioned the river why it took her Carding and drowned her heart with sorrow.
She raised her head and look towards heaven, and prayed as she never prayed that way before and begged the Lord to dry up the river, so that no more lovers will ever lose his life.
Every time I go home to my hometown of Porac, I never fail look down on the dried river, and imagine where Conching bathed herself and where Carding drowned.
Published in the SunStar Pampanga newspaper on February 14, 2018.
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