Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Camangui, my second home

Eversince I was a baby, my parents would bring me to Camangui. Camangui in Pasacao, Camarines Sur is a little fishing village which never really changed. It's like time stood still in that place.

I remember going there with neighbors when I was very young. Tito Feling and other titos would sleep in the little nipa huts in the evenings and sometimes wake up with water lapping under their papag. Tito Henry (founder and owner of the Good Earth Restaurants) would experiment and exchange cooking techniques with my Dad. And I would swim the whole day, turning into a little negrita much to the frustration of my Mom who'd have a hard time getting me out of the water.

When I was little our source of light in the evenings would be the gasul that fishermen would bring in their little boats. You'd see little sparks of light in the horizon at night. Fishermen at work my Dad would say. And in the early morning, the little fishing boats would come to shore and you could buy really, really fresh fish.

What I loved most was taking a bath at the poso. Fresh spring water from the mountain accessed through a pump - a manual pump! Even though the water was freezing, I still enjoyed taking a bath by the pump. Very barrio. Very 1800s. I remember taking a bath there with my best friend under the full moon. It may have looked like a scene from a horror movie, but hey, it was so much fun.

Boat rides, trekking up the mountain to check-out my Dad's latest project, snake stories from my Lola Iyay, fishing for tilapia, sand-castle building were but a few of the things I'd do when I'm on vacation in Camangui. It is a place where I am most at peace.

My Mom walked in my study room this morning to give me the news that nothing was spared in our little place in Camangui. Villa Merced no more. I cannot imagine going there finding nothing. But as my best friend said, at least no one was hurt and it's an opportunity to rebuild.

And rebuild I will.