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.


ken said...

lovely Nina reminiscing about her life?

I thought you were a little too young to be doing that.

inhaling the flames...must be quite painful. you reminded me of the processions I participated in years ago, in Bicol. the kids were not in it for the blessings; they--OK, I admit, we--were in it for the melting red candle wax, which we would rub on the napes of the other kids, or throw around. the elders would shush us, we'd quiet down and say a few loud "Ave Marias" or "Amens" as the case warranted, then run around throwing hot wax when the opportunity presented itself--which was usually less than 5 minutes.

we had this little thin white cardboard circle around the candle (the candle was pushed through the cardboard) to prevent the hot wax from dripping on our hands. I remember the cardboard circles didn't last 15 minutes--we always burned them, and spent the rest of the procession with the wax dripping all over our fingers and shoes.

it's hard to removed red candle wax from a pair of white Converse sneakers.

regarding the Feeling of Not Belonging...I guess it's more common nowadays.

we only belong when we're with family, or close friends.

in almost all other instances, we're miles away from the other person, even if we're sitting right beside her in the bus.

the feeling of belonging takes much more time to acquire--more than the time available in a bus ride.

it's sometimes good to have time to think.

most times the world and our obligations press on us so much that we cannot here ourselves think.


jing said...

Hi ate chap! Jenny here (bad's friend from the old days!) Reading about empanada and Batac longganisa made me homesick all over again, wah! Like you guys, I also left Ilocos when I was 12. Hay...I haven't gone home for the longest time na. Link kita sa blog ko ha. I love reading your chismis..hehe.

nina said...

Hahaha thanks Ken! And I thought I could get away with my circus act!

I meant inhaling "THE SMOKE FROM" the flames... :)

ken said...


and I thought it was a strange form of penitence practiced in Ilocos.


lily said...

hi nina :-)

belated "happy easter!"

na-miss ko rin ang procession every GOOD FRIDAY coz right now i'm here in singapore for holy week vacation. magkababayan tayo hehe, from Piddig Ilocos Norte.

Anonymous said...

hi ms. nina! i emailed you in your ninascoops yahoo account. thanks! --UP alumna

Hector Pascua said...

hi nina! I'm Hector from Vienna, Austria. Laking Ilocos din ako, though i left laoag city for studies in manila and later than in Vienna. your Anac ti batac thoughts made me a bit homesick. nabayag metten nga saanak nga nakaawid iddiay ilocos.
i am watching Balitang Europe now every sunday afternoon here in vienna. it is informative. Abs-CBN milan called me one time to do some reports about the Filipinos here in Austria. Until now, i haven't heard anymore from them. Anyway, best regards to Mrs. Tina Monzon Palma, she will be visiting us here in Vienna on the 7th of October 2006. We launched BantayBata163 in Vienna last year and we will be collecting in October the Coinbanks we distributed before. Keep up and God Bless - hector pascua, tubo ti laoag city

ken said...

hey, this article came out in Philippine Star, Entertainment Section Page D-1 dated April 22, 2006.

lovely picture of Nina.

so this is how you learned how to smoke... maybe inhaling smoke from flaming candles should be prohibited?

Monica said...

Hi ate Niña!

I am Monica, an incoming freshie this June at Ust taking up Journalism. I often read your blog because I just love reading blogs! Anyway, about the 'pronunciation thingy' way back high school days, whoah, you know what? I thought it is only me who is having a difficulty. Ate Niña, I am inspired by this part of your grown up experience. Somehow, someday, I know, I can polish these things like you!

Love lots,

Kal -- said...

hey chap! i finally got to read your blog! obviouisly i really looked for the one about ilocos coz that's what we were talking about the last time. Yea, nakakamiss na nga.. but then again, i'm not as attached as you guys are coz i have nothing and noone to go back to there. i mean my highschool friends but then again we haven't also kept in touch for the longest time so.. it won't be as comfortable i guess..
but yea, i wanna go back just to see what's to see. maybe when you guys go, you'll let me know? hehe! tc!

Alexia said...

Good thing about your entry here is that you finally realized and probably is proud of being ilocana(?), full-blooded or not, Your classmates way back might have thought that you were ashamed of being raised in the province. That's probably why you thought they hated you for speaking tagalog more often. By the way, do you still keep in touch with your old classmates from elem/hs? let me re-phrase, do you still want to get in touch with them?

m_y_w_n_a_a_h_h said...

hi..we didnt see you but we knew you were there because while we were in the prosisyon the people specially the manangs are talking about the artistas that joined us...its nice to read articles or blog about batac..

Anonymous said...

wow...what an astonishing story, everyone of us has its own memorable story, as we grow up there will always be a moment that has to be funny and with some of the emabarassing moments that will always remain. It is a time where we just think and go back from those days to free our minds from all the crazy things that sometimes come as we go on and live life. Seems to me that its kinda' "yoga" maybe in a way, in some certain times..

My parents both of my 6 sisters and 2 brother were been like die hard Ilocano dialect speakers, whenever we had gatherings in our lovely town of San Jacinto in Pangasinan, we still do talk in our native dialect "Ilocano" which our cousins and Tito's and Tita's laugh and from there... they will start remember and tell stories about old days, about how they saw us growing up. Even until this very moment when I called them on a long distance call, Nanay & Tatay asked me if when am I getting married, telling me that before atleast they leave this life, they would atleast see me with descent life with my own family though as said..they're excited of having see thier apo. I was just anxious to reply "anya met ten Nay, into pay kadi... umay dayta nu ipalubos ni Apo"..." ay barok, lumaklakay kan, katnu pay, into no awan kamin ni tatay mo... asking me again if how old am I... I said to them... Nay, amok day ta, 31 nen, bay an yo ta mabiiten".... hahahaha...see! that's how I am being proud of my dialect and likewise my roots. It's awesome.

Well to be honest, I am a big fan of Nina Corpuz. Nowadays, only few woman like her is proud of being a probinsiyana... I admire her in a million times coz' judging her based on her ideas and looks, she's a real good person.


Bernardo B. Laguit