Tag Archives: Childhood

The Boy who lived in Tayuman

20 Jun

This is me 20 years ago.

I was contemplating on the life we have now and back then.

We live with my gwama for almost, I think 5 to 6 years?! We move in and out of the building— Oroquieta St., Sta. Cruz, Manila and to an apartment near— Tayabas Street, just in front of my school ESPS (Espiritu Santo Parochial School).

3rd floor childhood

We were, I mean, I was not allowed to go down to first floor and play with other kids (I was not, not allowed, but more on they want to keep me safe, because in front of the building is a busy road and kids from-you-dont-know-where— so imagine me, a mere white thin boy on the sidewalks of Tayuman, NO). Besides, the first attempt I made to break that rule— turned out to be a disaster— yes I was able to play outside, but then due to my very clumsy appearance and clumsy bones— I dived on the concrete ground and, of course hurt myself— the first instinct was to go up and cry to my mom, and so I did. She was so mad when she saw me bleeding (well, not my bleeding, but the fact that I disobeyed and see the result of my disobedience)  that she cracked the side of the chopping board. From then on I played with my cousins inside our room and inside the building (there are number of times that I was also a disaster inside— falling down the stairs a number of times was the worst and most remembered), most of the time I play with my toys— lego, robots, coloring books, walls of our room (my early canvas)— I don’t like watching TV, until Shaider?! or was it Voltes V? I remember waking up to Coney Reyes on Camera on a 3P.M. nap, and then I wait for Shaider to start. Every Sunday I also watch those Chinese TV Show where they show flying people, and then Voltes V. I think I also watch PinPin?! some Tsinoy show back then.

I think our 3rd floor life was simple, or was I so innocent, I remember fights, crying, mini rattan chair aimed at me, long sticks for punishment, plastic chains old songs from the stereo of my Tito Dino, Hongkong stuff from his work, the huanapos of gwama, artificial feet of my Lolo Edmund, flash card of Roman numeral made by my Tita Beth, Tita Vivian’s sidecar– and her Regine Velasquez’ collection, Magnolia ice cream on the first floor sari-sari store, the bakery next door, and most especially, the dreaded Manong Uling from Miguel’s?! Autoshop.

Growing up, Growing old

I was happy, I was close with my cousins— Lou is a frequent visitor, he draws really good anime, back then it was Sailor Moons and Dragon Balls. Chelean, Jeff, Joice, is just a knock away in the other room— we play anything, and I think we play with Natalie too. We sing during brownouts, and scream Yehey! and there’s light already.

espiritu santos parochial school

I don't even like school.

This is me not liking school, LOL. I started going to school late, I was already 5 yrs.old when I entered Day Care Center (not a formal school, but nonetheless, we were still taught stuff). I have to choose between toddler’s bottle or going to school.

I don’t remember the girl’s name, but the guy is Archie, he was the son of my mom’s friend?!and my playmate I guess.

I was a consistent honor student from Kindergarten up to Grade 2 (where I stayed at ESPS)— I remember my terror teacher in K1— Mrs. Ignacio, my sweet teacher in K2 Ms. Bristol, my terror adviser in Grade 1 Mrs. Ong (it was me who inflicted her wrath on me— I was asked, “Where do you live?”— was a question from the lesson, but foolish me— I didn’t know anything about addresses back then— that it has to be like numbers and streets— the building was just few blocks away— so sheepishly, I told her, “Ayun oh” (*Pointing to the direction of the building.) But she wasn’t able to resist my charm, I became her student pet. I was her daughter’s crush (she sent me secret letters on my desk). I also remember my bestfriend Christian ‘Ian’ Velasquez, our buddy Ivan, my old maid Religion teacher Ms. Lorenzo, my Grade 2 adviser Mrs. Colastre, my Science teacher Ms. Sto. Nino, my Filipino teacher and tigahatid Ms. Pascual, our guidance counselor with the megaphone Mrs. Manalo, my Literature teacher Mrs. Guevarra, our mother superior Sr. Esperanza Espiritu.

I don’t think we were poor nor rich back then, I wasn’t even thinking about money— I was just thinking, I think if I was thinking even, that we are living everyday, and that’s it, we eat three times a day— no fancy food, I remember Tortang Talong, Sinigang, Menudo, Nilaga, Itlog na maalat, Isda?! Kesong puti (every Sunday), Pandesal, Kangkong, Tapa— it was all simple, I only knew Jollibee, not McDonald’s, it was Jollibee in Rizal Avenue.

Change is inevitable

We moved to Valenzuela, in a compound with my aco and ama— duplex house, where the left side was ours. There wasn’t any good Catholic schools here— I ended up studying in a Montessori, but then later changed to Academy status. Few students, maximum of 25 per classroom, and only two sections per grade. It was culture shock— people look different, dark skinned— unlike from where I was, people are all mestizo. I was mistaken for a foreigner— I don’t speak on first days— I observe. They are the opposite of being finesse— they love the sun, they play until their shirt gone all so wet, smelly. But I adopted, I guess. It was fun staying there and being friends with them until I realized again, (they didn’t want to leave) I was different obviously— am the only one to go to an exclusive university after— thanks to my dad.

Waah, ang haba na. Short version: I was just thinking of the life we had— and it came to this, yes but really—- as years pass, my choices continuously change— they evolve to the life I am exposed into— I didn’t know luxury until it was right in front of me— before it was Talong now we eat Carbonara like pandesal, what’s next gold flakes like water. But I hope it just won’t change back to where it was before, because I think I won’t take a downgrade. I am still living in the glossy page, I need to adjust.

I have a different plan (of course this includes them but there are more pressing matters than planning big)—- but I think as I see it with our family’s financial situation now— most likely I need to choose to drop everything, and settle for what is bound— I think my life was planned already before I was able to plan it myself and changing the course, would mean a big disaster— that I am bound to be the only one to be blamed. I am in debt and I need to pay up. It’s not about me anymore, it’s about every member of this household, my plan needs to wait. I need to decide now, or it’s too late.

Old people live by the NOW.

We should all learn from this: Rich Dad, Poor Dad.