Sunday, March 30, 2008

Paradise Lost

PARADISE LOST

By Miles Pobre-Valdez

Far in the hinterlands in an island in Southern Philippines, a beautiful valley lies with its lustrous greenery. In the early morn the cold damp air sends chills to the bone as the fogs envelope the nearby mountains. It is a quiet place with a number of settlers from Luzon and Visayas regions who have cleared the grassy plains and farmed. There are some tribal groups like the Tirurays and the Moslems who lived among the Christians. American missionaries have built churches where the people come together to worship God and they have also erected schools where the inhabitants learn the three R’s. Not far from the market with a few stalls, stands a Moslem Mosque where the faithful believers of Allah say their prayers and do their rituals at certain times of the day.

I cherish childhood memories in this place. I value my friends, Muslims and Christians alike. When we were at play and we hear the echoing from the Muslim Mosque, “Allahu Akbar…” and the ringing bells from the belfry of the Catholic Churches, “Ding-dong, ding-dong”, we knew it was prayer time. The sounds were like music to our ears. Our Muslim friends would heed the Islam call to prayer and they join their elders. At dusk, when the bells rang the Angelus, Christians would stop and say a silent prayer of thanksgiving. Families gathered in their humble abode to pray to God.

Way back then, I did not see the difference nor discrimination among Muslims, Christians and the ethnic tribes as they practiced their religious beliefs. To us, religion did not matter when all are one in prayer. There was respect for everyone. Our parents hailed from different parts of the country and the world but they were good role models and we looked up to them with great regard. Here, the affluent and the lowly blended and lived in harmony.

Each one shared and took part in making the place conducive to stay. No one was above the law; all had equal rights.

My playmates, they were a varied lot. They were the children of the community leaders, teachers, gardeners, employees, farmers, policemen and house help who had different cultural backgrounds: Ilocano, Ilonggo, Cebuano, Chavacano, Tagalog, Bisaya, Tiruray, Moslems. And yes, there were Americans, too. They were the children of the American missionaries and the Peace Corp volunteers. They adapted to our ways and we, in turn, learned their language.

We were fortunate kids with this kind of environment. We could freely roam around the neighborhood. Parents would allow our friends to stay the whole day in our house or sometimes we stayed in the neighbor’s house having fun. We created and invented things that became our toys. Other times we played make-believe. We made castles out of blankets and curtains pitched from wall to wall. Pillows piled at the center of the room served as the royal throne. And among us, one would be a king, a queen, a princess, a prince and the rest as loyal guards and servants. Other times, we set up our fairy land in the garden or at the convent where the nuns stay. We played the role of characters in stories we have read or heard. One could be Cinderella, Hansel, Gretel, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Jack, The Three Little Pigs, The Billy Goats Gruff or any of our favorite character in the land of fantasy. The nasty ones were assigned the role of witches or beasts until they behaved to deserve the role of the royalty and beauty. Our outdoor games included tumbang-preso, taguan (hide and seek) or luksong tinik. At the school grounds or the churchyard we played catch and run.

On moonlit nights, we gathered together to play patintero, our favorite outdoor game. We poured water on the dusty road to mark the lines where we play. While we, the young ones, ran around, bigger boys and girls grouped as they sang and strummed their guitars. On some occasions, parents organized barn dances for the teen-age group. They took turns on whose house it would be or they held it at the community social hall. The youth, mostly cousins and friends went to the dancing place chaperoned by a relative, not necessarily to be heavily guarded but just to keep them company in going home when the party was over. Such was the freedom in that peaceful place.

People were happy in their own simple ways. And I supposed everyone in the community were relatives because we called every man and woman about the age of our parents “Uncle” and “Auntie” or “Bapa and “Babu to the Muslim tribe. We kissed the hands of all men and women with graying hair whom we address as “Apo Lakay” or “Apo Baket” to show our respect. Their wisdom, we believed was associated with he number of gray or white hair on their head or the area where the hairline had receded. We called the others who were older than us “Manong” or “Manang”. Everyone seemed to belong in one big family.

Then there was this Old Grandfather, a missionary who had gone to the United States. He would walk down our street to gather us children and listen to his Bible stories and amusing tales of life in Chicago. How we loved to hear those stories told repeatedly. We would liken ourselves as the heroes in the Bible: David, Solomon, Daniel, Abraham, Moses, Mary, Martha, Ruth, Rebekah. And we all wanted to be like Jesus but when someone asked, “Would you be hung on the cross?” The innocent boys would cringe and all would be silent. Until Grandpa would say, “There are many ways to be like Jesus.” We would shout with glee and Grandpa would ask us to listen more. Even our Muslim playmates would join us in these sessions and they would also liken themselves as heroes in the Biblical times.

Life was simple then. No television sets, no playstations or any electronic gadget to tinker with; no telephones or mobile phones to communicate with friends or relatives. Conversations were interactive. People would feel and act together.

The place remains. But times have changed. People have come and gone. Differences in beliefs and ideologies have caused violent clashes and have shaken relationships or even displaced the former residents. But these do not daunt the happy memories we have treasured. Once upon a time, in this neighborhood, we were a bunch of happy kids who frolicked under the bright or dark skies. We have moved on bringing with us the value of respect, hard work, perseverance, love, kindness, patience, peace and joy. And we remember with grateful hearts.

I only wish that one day, I will see my childhood friends in our small paradise. Most of us have left and lived in some places but I am sure, each one of us have that longing to go back to show our children where we grew up. We will no longer build castles in the air but rather bridge friendships and connect the past to the present. Over cups of coffee and rice cakes, we will reminisce the good old days and share our blessings. And perhaps before we permanently depart from this place we once called our paradise, we can all together pray that it will regain its beauty and tranquility.

36 comments:

無尾熊可愛 said...

大奶妹貼圖區0204性影片觀賞露點自拍淫婦女生如何自慰色情站成人笑話av激情網愛視訊美女淫蕩av成人色情電話辣妹視訊聊天性關係情色vcd自慰圖淫美成人論壇台灣色情論壇成人聊天室自拍裸女貼圖視訊成人免費a片影片av成人網成人色情色情台灣辣妹小穴太太陰毛色情訊息裸女自拍色情影片a片論壇性愛技巧美女脫胸罩情色天堂av寫真色情視訊聊天做愛視訊成人影片床上戲情色聊天網火辣情色台灣女優性愛秘笈台灣av女優手淫自慰影片

群平 said...

成功是一把梯子,雙手插在口袋裡是爬不上去的。........................................

宥軒宥軒 said...

不要讓挫敗把你擺平,再給自己一個機會,從新再出發 ....................................................

少菁 said...

很用心的blog,推推哦 ........................................

NicolaSigel0508 said...

路過--你好嗎..很棒的BLOG.........................................

欣幸 said...

cool blog,期待更新........................................

嘉容嘉容 said...

sex女,ut,貼影,av,高潮,女優,做愛,手機成人影片,色遊戲,成人動漫,百分百貼圖區,85cc影片,成人影音,av色情影片,A片線上,a片,sex,777,三級線上看,美女的照片,視訊做愛,78論壇,打飛機,免費視訊,成人影院,辣妹視訊,視訊聊天,影片網,kiss911,a片,交友,聊天,做愛,免費影片,性交,線上成人,網路色情,聊天,美女自慰,免費a分享,免費短片,裸照,一夜情,女優,85cc成人片,美女寫真,偷拍a,情人視訊聊天室

RexTemples20144 said...

85cc片觀看,77美女dvd影片,熊貓貼區,ut網際聊天,一葉情,av,嘟嘟,影音live秀,a片,做愛影片,視訊做愛,美女短片,78論壇,ut聊天,打飛機,a片,免費視訊,免費視訊,成人影院,性愛小說,辣妹視訊,網路交友,捷克論壇,h影片,色咪咪,免費影片85cc,kiss911,後宮,a片,影音視訊聊天,交友,免費聊天,聊天室交友,做愛影片,線上a片,美女影片,免費影片下載,免費聊天室,視訊做愛,美女視訊聊天

子凌50529nealsickles said...

Nice post ~ 3Q..............................................................

SonyaHer雅嵐 said...

失去金錢的人,失去很多;失去朋友的人,失去更多;失去信心的人,失去所有。..................................................

振宇 said...

人若賺得全世界,賠上自己的靈魂,有什麼益處? ..................................................

柏懿綺辰 said...

人不能像動物一樣活著,而應該追求知識和美德..................................................

佩GailBohanan1蓉 said...

金銀愈加磨鍊,愈加光亮,人生愈加考驗,生命愈加光輝。......................................................

冠宛君中 said...

Undertake no more than you can perform. ............................................................

瓊文TamMcfee0520 said...

A friend to everybody is a friend to nobody...................................................

rodriguezp said...

很用心的blog,推推哦 ..................................................

右典 said...

恨一個人,比原諒一個人,更傷力氣。..................................................................

峻龍 said...

希望我的支持可以帶給你快樂--加油.................................................................

江婷 said...

Poverty is stranger to industry..................................................................                           

郁雯郁雯 said...

成熟,就是有能力適應生活中的模糊。.................................................................

王名仁 said...

當一個人內心能容納兩樣相互衝突的東西,這個人便開始變得有價值了。............................................................

芳容222許林堅林芳容儀 said...

一時的錯誤不算什麼,錯而不改才是一生中永遠且最大的錯誤............................................................

峻帆峻帆峻帆 said...

Quietude is the crown of life.............................................................

ju吳phe宇te佳ns said...

時間可證明一切~你的BLOG是我覺得不賴的..................................................................

懿綺懿綺 said...

從來愛都不知它的深度,非得等到別離的時候.................................................................

溫緯李娟王季 said...

一個人的際遇在第一次總是最深刻的,有時候甚至會讓人的心變成永遠的絕緣。............................................................

黃威宇 said...

I do like ur article~!!!............................................................

姚宜潔 said...

路過看看哦,請加油..................................................................

張家弘翁書豪 said...

Knowledge is power................................................

曹初帆張武茜 said...

快樂,是享受工作過程的結果............................................................

惠宛佳桂 said...

你不能左右天氣,但你可以改變心情.................................................................

賴成陳韻邦v貞 said...

Learning makes a good man better and ill man worse.............................................................

家唐銘 said...

到處逛逛~~來繞繞留個言囉~~~~............................................................

孫邦柔 said...

唯有用熱情、用智慧去觀察事物,這事物才會把他的秘密,洩漏給我們......................................................................

翊翊翊翊張瑜翊翊翊 said...

看看文章轉換心情,也幫你加個油哦............................................................

316 said...

文章優,圖片美,就連回文都很有意思~~~..................................................................