Bugasong, Antique. This is the hometown of my mother. Antique is one of the poorest, most rural provinces in the Philippines, and Bugasong is a very small agricultural town.

Views From the Road:




The road on the way from Iloilo to Antique. You basically have to drive through the mountains. When my parents were growing up this road was gravel and dirt, but today they’re all paved. All over, though, there are spots where the road has eroded away or there has been a landslide, like above.


I forgot why I took this picture


Roadside shack and rice fields in the background.



More rice fields

On the way to Bugasong we stopped by Manong Jing Jing’s Shell station in San Jose.

I guess Uncle Nene thought it would be funny to sit on my lap.


haha just kidding….:/


Manong Jing, Kuya Jun, Uncle Nene and Ate Shirl in Manong Jing’s office


Shop in San Jose, Antique. Pe An Lan is my mother’s uncle. My grandfather’s brothers and now their descendants own land all over Antique.

Bugasong

Us with Auntie Norma. I think she’s my mom’s cousin.

After visiting briefly with some folks in town Uncle Nene was really intent on showing me and Ate Shirley the place where my mom was born.

Kuya Arby accompanied us. I’m actually related to Kuya Arby on both my mother and my father’s side. My Tito Pino, my father’s brother, is Kuya Arby’s father. His mother is Angelina, a distant cousin of my mother’s. Tito Pino went to work in Bugasong when he was a young man and where he met Angelina nad Pe An Lan. When my father was young he was sickly and he couldn’t do the chores required at school. Angelina worked at the elementary school in Bugasong, so my Tito Pino brought my dad there to go to school where he didn’t have to do chores, his only job was to raise the flag. That’s how my parents met.

My mother was born during WWII, so at that time the family was not at their reegular house but had evacuated to a shack at the foot of a hill. In those days Bugasong’s economy was built on sugar plantations, now it has all been changed into rice fields.

In order to walk to the site, we had to go through the ricefields.


Getting ready for the trek. Notice the oh so fashionable and huge rubber boots Kuya Arby lent me. In the back that’s Ate Fe, Kuya Arby’s wife.


That’s right, 2 stalks of bamboo = 1 bridge. Trust in the bamboo.


Rice fields are basically flooded muddy fields bordered by running water and bunkers of dry soil, so the best way to walk across is via the dry bunkers. Sometimes, as you can see, the bunkers are overrun by plants themselves.


Yeah, Ate Fe had to start holding my hand cause I almost fell into the mud.



Finally nearing the end of the field


This is a natural spring at the foot of the hill. During wartime this was where my family got their water to drink, bathe, feed the animals, and cook. Before we got there my uncle kept talking about the spring, but it was still really inmpressive to actually see the spring…the water is really clear! And it tastes so good. We took a bottle back for Uncle Nonoy.


That’s Kuya Arby standing.


Ok, so next to the spring there’s also another stream of running water, which was prettier cause there’s no pipe, it was just running over hte rocks. So, I wanted to touch it, but then Kuya Arby said it was a canal. Of course, in English canal just means it’s man-made, but in the Philippines canal basically means sewer.



At the top of the hill overlooking the rice fields. This is where my mom used to play and spend New Years and Christmas. The old woman is a relative of Angelina.


And this is the spot where my mom was born. This is where their shack was. The story is that it was a Sunday and so the whole family was at the public amrket, while my grandmother was alone at the house. When they returned they heard a baby crying and my mom was there. When they asked my grandmother who delivered the baby she said “who else? just me.” No midwife, just her.


This is the spot.


That’s Luningning Mountain (i think?). lightning mountain.


Rows of coconut trees.


Picking rice.


Climbing the coconut tree.


Rice and coconuts.


Up on that hill was my mom’s cousin’s evacuation time house. That’s where Pe An Lan and my Aunties Josefina and Estella stayed.


Rice fields and a single carabao, or Filipino water buffalo, our national animal. People still use the carabao to till the soil in the rice fields.


The colors of the rice field…incredible.


Family living by the rice field. I forgot who they are. But Uncle Nene basically knows everyone here..small towns, everybody knows everybody. I think this guy’s father was my Uncle’s freind when they were little.


Their pigs.


I had expressed to my uncle that I wanted to ride a carabao, so when we saw this farmer bathing one in the stream, I had to.



But they wouldn’t let me sit for too long or really ride cause they thought I would be scared.


Ate Fe and Kuya Arby laughing at me.


This is the house of the aswang (witch) that almost killed my Nanay Inday. The story goes like this…my grandmother had a friend who would stay at the house. nany would like to sleep with her cause she always told good bedtime stories. Once, in the the middle of the night, Nany woke up and saw that the woman looked different, basically she looked like an aswang. Nanay told my lola and Lola confronted the woman and ended up chasing her and her whole family to Mindanao. I think then my Nanay got really sick and almost died.

And back to the street.


With Auntie Pandak (shortie) haha. She’s also a relative of Angelina and was close friends with my mom’s family. She’s now an American citizen, I think she has a house in California, but she comes to the Philippines a lot, usually for a year at a time.


So along the road was a mama goat and like 3 goad kids, so I picked up one. It didn’t fight or cry or anything.


Another friend of my mom’s family back in the day, and I think also a relative of Angeline. I forgot his apellido…the first name is definitely Jose but that doesn’t really narrow down the choices.


Just off the main road.

We went through the residential areas looking for old friends of the family, and mad people just came out of their houses to see what was going on. I guess they don’t get too many out of towners around here.




So I decided to take picture of everyone staring at us. Unfortunately, no old people rubbed my face saying “apo ni Estong” (estong’s grandchild)but maybe next time.



While driving back to the main road, there were an assload of ducks all walking together, and then they’re turnt o walk over a bridge to go back home. The dude who was their keeper wasn’t driving them or anything, he was pretty much just standing there. mmmm you know that’s a balut farm right there.


Then we went to visit my Aunt Lorna’s house, who is also my mother’s cousin on my grandfather’s side. They too own a lot of land. The guy in the back is my nephew I think.


The woman on the far left is Ate….crap I forgot. Haha saw way too many people. Anyway, she said she was justa kid when my mom left Bugasong, and she used tot ake care of Bobetz and Leni.

Notice the t-shirt. St. Joseph’s Academy, Bugasong.
care of Bobetz and Leni.

My cousin. She’s preggers.


Kuya Bong


Their house. Really nice.


Eating barbecued chicken intestine.



Swans walking across their basketball court. I dunno, I thought it was cool.


Basketball court, province style.


This is Auntie Lorna’s land. Rice fields until the far trees. People live on this land and work it, without claim to it.


The other side of their land.


Mama goat and kid chillin on the fallen tree.




The sons of their gatekeeper, they kept following us around, but were too shy to speak. Mad cute.


The house of their gatekeeper. kawawa naman, they live in a huge really nice house, and this is where the gate keeper and family live.


More piggies

Then we headed to Kuya Arby’s House


My nephew’s set. Ate Shirl thinks she’s a rock star.


Unlike myself, a veritable rock star.


My nephew, the scholar. Currently away at college. Does he look like a Lero or what.


St. Joseph’s, woo hoo! I think this is where my parents went to elementary school.


So um, Kuya Arby made this elliptical. Haha, welder, just like my dad.


Kuya Arby’s other son. I’m upset because, as you can see, my 14 year old nepew is taller than me.


And this is the house where my mom’s family grew up.

Thier cousins are currently using it as a garage.


This is a house that my mother’s uncle built in the 50’s. I dunno, Uncle Nene said to take a picture cause my mom would recognize it.


My mom’s cousin, a doctor, and her kids.


As we were leavin gis when Kuya Arby’s daughter arrived from school.. She’s a track star at schoot and clearly just came from practice.


More relatives whose names I’ve forgotten.


With Auntie Lily in her house.

When we got back to Auntie Lily’s house we found out that Uncle Nonoy suffered an attack and was back in the hospital. Uncle Ontoy called us 3 times looking for us and asking us to come back to Manila, so we skipped Boracay and went back to Iloilo the next morning to fly back to Manila.

At Iloilo Airport
Had some time to kill.


Uncle Nene and Ate Shirl

Uncle Edjong and AUntie Josefina

Kuya Jun Jun and Uncle Edjong