By Demy C. Narag
There's no place like home. We've heard this line many times over. Some
say it half-heartedly though, for they'd rather get constantly stranded
in traffic and inhale the deadly air as long as they can see the glaring
lights of the city. But for a homegrown Ivatan like me, I say this quote
from the heart.
Indeed, there's no place like home. Never mind if Batanes is associated
with typhoons, never mind if there is no real nightlife, never mind if
there are no malls, no Jollibee or McDo, and yes, never mind if I see
the same faces everyday.
Then, what makes you and me long for home when we are in the city? What
follows is a list of little things that make us feel good and at peace
in Batanes. This list can go on and on, I know, so I invite you, dear
readers, to add to my list.
-The person you meet on the street greets you with the question: "Ngan
mo'" (where are you going?) even if he does not really care where are
you heading to.
-People on the streets smile at each other even they do not know each
-The farmers bring their REMS radios to the fields.
- You can't make a business bottling mineral water because everybody can
drink directly from the faucet without fear of contracting amoebiasis
-In a fiesta lunch or picnic, the main dish consists of delicious yellow
rice (supas) and uved.
- The valleys and seas are in their nature given color.
- The airport is full of spectators during a "plane day".
- Everybody seems to know each other and everybody seems to be a relative
of the other.
- You don't feel guilty if your six-year-old sets out for school without
- You can sleep in the park or prettily on the seashore overnight without
fear that somebody may harm you.
- You feel confident that somebody who found your lost key will bring
it to the local Radyo ng Bayan Station.
- The townsfolk speak funny and sometimes, good English when they are
- Stone houses are refreshing sight.
- Coconut crabs, kuyabs and valichits are abundant during certain seasons
of the year.
- The prelude to a fiesta's noontime show is an ethnic dance called palo-palo.
- The women like mestiza blondies in their native "vakul" headdresses.
- The doors of houses are left open while the owners are out to work.
- You tune in your AM radio in the morning and hear love songs dedicated
to you instead of one horrible news story after another delivered by newscasters
that make you manic depressive the whole day.
- You don't have to worry about the traffic.
- The town mayor or the public school teacher also casts their fishnets
and till the soil (at least, outside office hours).
- There are no squatters, even in abandoned houses.
- You can have fresh vegetables and fresh meat -for free, sometimes.
- The governor rides on his bike to the capitol.
- You can go out even without a cent in your pocket.
- The brilliance of the moon and the stars do not compete with commercial
- You don't feel ashamed eating and drinking all you can in wedding receptions
- even if you are not invited.
- The politicians don't get charged with smuggling and drug trafficking.
- Youngsters called the elderly their uncle, aunt, lolo or lola even if
they are not in any way related to them.
- There are no beggars, real or fake, asking for alms on the streets.
- Your gelled hair does not get sticky with dust and pollution at the
end of the day.
- You send your child to the day care center without fearing that he will
- The air you breath is fresh, really fresh.