Malilong: A day in the life

The Other Side

THERE was a time when there was so much to do and so little time. These days, the challenge is how to to fight boredom because there is little to do while confined in our homes. Some do gardening, others bake and those who are active on social media dig for old black and white photos and post them on Facebook, accompanied by a challenge to friends to post theirs.

I chose to go over my old diaries because they bring back memories of the things that I did which I probably would not be able to do again because of the pandemic, like the one that I wrote when we visited our grandchildren in Europe. This entry was written while we were in Zurich exactly four years ago yesterday.

It’s a strange feeling, waking up to different mornings in different cities every two or three days.

We’re staying in a house that sits on a hill overlooking the lake. The view from the balcony where I am writing this is beautiful. The sun is shining, the temperature is refreshingly cool at 18, the houses on the opposite bank of the lake are gleaming like pearls and I can hear the chorus of birds from the trees that dot the neighborhood. It’s tempting to say I can live — and die—here but there’s no place like home. I won’t trade my beloved Ispongklong for any promise of paradise because there, at home, I already have Paradise.

We had genuine Bisaya food for dinner for the first time in nearly three weeks: iskabitsi nga tuna, fried lumpia, manok nga kinamunggayan and, of course, rice. QDelia, Alma’s first cousin, who is hosting us with her partner George, brought the kamunggay from her (and Cheking Seares’) native Sibonga, wrapped it in plastic and stored it in the freezer. Such ingenuity could only have come from a true Cebuana.

We passed by the house where Tina Turner lives, coming here. Roger Federer lives farther away, I was told.

I am happy every time I meet a Filipino during this trip. Happier still when he/she’s Bisaya. Yesterday at the train station in Vienna, I met three, including the teenage daughter of one of the two Hepe (Hipe?) sisters from Cogon, Pardo. We rode with the sister with a daughter to Zurich.

When we changed trains somewhere in Liechtenstein, I saw them talking to another Bisaya but I avoided her because she was very talkative, the type you would ask to keep a secret if you want the whole town to know. Besides, I didn’t like the way she had her eyebrows reformatted, char!

There were not enough seats in our replacement train so we spent the remainder of the trip standing. Actually, there was one vacant seat that I could have taken but when the girl seated next to Chico in the first train asked if I wanted to have it, I saw the plea for compassion in her pretty eyes and poor I could only ask her, are you from China? When she assured me that she was not and that she was in fact, a Mongolian, the gentleman in me took over. Sugbuanon gud ta!

Besides, the talkative Bisaya with the grisly reformatted eyebrow was in the adjacent seat.


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