I grew up from a small Barrio where people from one corner to the end knew each other well. When people hear your surname they could easily narrate the history of your family. In that small Barrio, I could say that I grew up from one of the nicest neighborhood in the whole wide world. Folks around doesn’t regards you as a stranger but more as a family. We share our foods with each other, show a sweet smile in the morning and whenever you get the chance to pass by each other no matter how many times it is. There’s no lonely times cause you’ll find nice friends whom you can play with every weekend when the sun shine till sunset, dipping ourselves in the crystal clear river, hop around and climb trees and play hide and seek when it’s dark and the old folks are outside having some chit chat.
But there is one reason why I love this childhood neighborhood of mine. I owe my life to them and their concern for me and for the rest was tested by an unwanted nature’s wrath.
June 1991, I was secret years old (too young then, believe me) Mt Pinatubo erupted, sharing its wrath from a long time of quietness (you can read the whole story here). It was at that time that I came to know that a certain volcano exist. 12 noon when the sun was supposed to be in its highest peak of light, was hidden causing darkness on our place and the neighboring towns and provinces. The angry volcano poured out hot lava which flowed down to our rivers devastated our farmlands and killed all the animals it could reach, it even took away some people’s lives burying them in sand and ashes. It happened so quick that it caught us by surprise. Our place which was once like a tropical rainforest became a desert. Running for the safety of our God given lives, we beat the darkness, tried our best to run even when our feet were sometimes stuck on a knee high sand. Every houses built were ruined and when the roofs can’t support the heavy sand, it’s time for us to run again. Too young then, I couldn’t run for the safety of myself cause my little feet can’t do it while it’s raining sand and stone. One of our neighbors carried me on his back under his rain coat and lead the way for my parents to a safer place, “the church” while his brother carried my niece, which my father couldn’t afford to do at that time because he is having knee problems. That time when my siblings are away to seek greener pastures, we only had our neighbors to support us. With God’s love, we all survive the tragedy and now the neighbor who carried me on his back is my sister’s husband and they have 5 children.
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