Sunday, April 16, 2006
Anac Ti Batac (Child of Batac)
Until recently, I resented my parents for never allowing me to go to Boracay or Subic (or any other happening place) with my friends during Holy Week. If I don't have work in the office, I'm stuck in Ilocos in our old house in Batac (save for one trip to Sagada which was a "penitencia" in itself). This means doing the traditional Bisita Iglesia, Stations of the Cross, Procession on Good Friday etc. This year was no exception. So there I was with my family, praying the Rosary as we walked around town on a hot hot Friday night. The candles we were holding didn't help either. When I was little I wondered why my nose was all black when I got home after the procession, duh!
As I got older, I learned to avoid inhaling the smoke from the flames and realized that I don't want to be anywhere else. I never really appreciated where I came from even after I left to study highschool in Quezon City when I was fourteen. Then I started going home less and less and less, why should I? I'm a Manila girl now. There was even a time I had that "I-live-between-two-worlds-phase", kinda like the "Fil-ams" or any other half-breed who feel that they are neither here nor there. Of course mine is on a much smaller scale, just a simple case of being a probinsyana wanting to be a city-girl but never really accepted. As a kid growing up in Ilocos, I knew some of my classmates didn't like me and my friends because we kept speaking in Tagalog (my mom is a true-blue Tagalog speaker from Bulacan) and when I got to Manila, some of my classmates would laugh at me when I pronounced something wrong in English. The most notable word was "grasshopper" in second year highschool. I pronounced it as "grass-hoe-per" and that was one of the most embarassing turning-point-of-my-life moments (considering I was winning orations left and right when I was in Ilocos). Crissa, I know you laughed the hardest (we are friends now). Fortunately, I outgrew that inane phase when I entered college and found my niche.
Nowadays, I still get the occasional "slip of the tongue" moments when I talk faster than I think and end up laughing at myself. I realized I can never be a perfect Manila girl with an Assumptionista accent and I've long accepted that. I'm proud to speak Ilocano and I'm proud of my roots, even if I'm considered a "prodigal daughter" by some (including my parents who still live in Batac). At least I'm still her daughter. I'm looking forward to next Holy Week when I go back to Batac again, whether I'm joining the procession or eating Batac's famous empanada and longganisa with a passion. I can't wait to see family and old friends again because I know to them, I'm neither here nor there, I'm just home.