Over the past fortnight we have made a couple of visits to friends and relatives who live outside of Manila in Da Provinces, a term that conjures up the prospect of sleepy hollows taking life at a slower place.
Couldn’t be more wrong, the towns of Silang in Cavite and Malolos in Bulacan are bustling metropolises that vie with Metro Manila for noise and action. Cavite is the first province outside of National Capital Region to the south whilst Bulacan is in the north. Except for passing the odd rice paddy and grazing carabow on the journey, you could be excused for thinking you were still in Metro Manila.
Both journeys were of about two hours by public transport, jeep, bus, bus to Silang and jeep, train, FX taxi and jeep to Malolos. Taking into account the amount of traffic on the roads, I doubt that much time would have been saved driving oneself.
The best beloved’s sister, Ate Linda, lives in Silang with her husband Kuya Rudy and their three children. They have a banana shop in the Silang market where apart from bananas they sell eggs, rice and assorted fruits that are in season. Sundays is the best day to visit as they close up shop around one pm, the other six days of the week it is a twelve hour a day operation.
They have recently purchased a second hand computer to assist with their children’s education. Their daughter, Bianca, is studying engineering, Michael is studying nursing and RP their other son is studying business administration. We installed the latest version of AVG anti virus software for them, the anti virus software on board was 3 years old and even though not on the internet 45 virus were found with the new software.
The Malolos journey was to visit my stepson’s paternal grandmother, Nanay. A delightful woman in her 80’s who lives in the dignified splendor of a bygone era. Her house with its high ceilings, open plan and filigree tops to the interior walls is relatively cool without the assistance of aircon even during the heat of midday. With the assistance of her two servants, known colloquially as house helps, she insists on feeding her guests every 3 hours.
Both were day trips with the boredom of the Silang bus trips being broken by the hawkers who regularly ride a bus for a short distance offering drinks and snacks to the passengers. When finished on one bus, they catch the next bus heading back to their start point, to restock and repeat their short journeys many times throughout the day and night.
Footnote: Ate & Kuya are terms of respect for intimates be they elder siblings, family friends or house help’s employers.