Issue of November 5, 2017

Panagbenga Flower Festival
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In the evening…

WHAT DO OUR folks do nowadays.. in the evening? Of course, we know what they mostly do in the day: they go work, they attend to the chores, they go about their businesses respective and so on; but again, in the evening? Well..

FIRST, OUR DEFINITION of ‘evening’ will be from 6 – 6:30 p.m. starting – maybe for some: a bit earlier or later than this time-frame; which is when people of the households ‘come home’.. it is custom that they do: at the end of the day. And then

THEY REST SOME bits, then cook, then dine, then watch TV or so.. later, they sleep. Minus some details here and there, those are most about them – the things done by us.. and our folks, nowadays.

CERTAINLY, OUR DESCRIPTIONS Supra approximate what routinely obtain in the Urban and ‘semi-urban’ areas; but perchance, not really to exclude some possibilities in the rurals – we can verify with them there how similar, or how different; how their evenings thereat usually go these days.

FOR TODAY’S DISCUSSION however, let’s try to explore what people: 1) in the rurals or countryside, 2) decades ago do – when radios, TVs, and the like were yet few and considered ‘luxuries’, 3) among ‘folks in the Southern Cordi’ households. All these things – for: reflection, records, and learning.

THE CENTER OF attraction was the hearth-fire, or Shahpulan they call it (even today.. in some faraway homes). What do you see?

LOW FIRE BURNING – reflecting light or illumination, in the whole room.. is it still a ‘one-room affaire’ – a wide-enough space embracing the Dulang tan Shetmog or ‘native’ low table and its mini-benches; the Ohkefan or sleeping corner – with the katat or animal skin mat, on display; and the Bangsal or outside space etched to the house proper and which is used for catch-space of those kitchen utensils, water jars, and bamboo pails or dawas? But

SURELY, YOU CAN imagine a more-than-one structure in those days even: a separate kitchen, a sarrosal or granary, the baley or main house, and one or two difay ni baley (literally, “extra cuts/parts of the house”, but much akin to what we today may call ‘guest rooms’)? But back to the one-house (or structure) affaire.

WHEN YOU ENTER the house, usually the mother says “Sekkep kayo di! (“please do come!”). and she starts pouring coffee ‘native’ into the cups. Have some.. iyama la, she offers. You cannot resist.. you are a guest. Next,

SHE–OR A household member, serves you the cooked camote (Ipomoea Batatas) on a serving plate (originally, it was carved wood or woven rattan; now, is it coated tin, or plastic ‘tupperware’?). You pick up one piece and they pass it to your co-visitor(s). And then,

SHE WHO WELCOMED you engages you to a light conversation, on themes about the farm, about the early ancestors, about today’s youth – anything that you or she starts on as a topic. If she’s alone yet in the house, she does all these, while cooking your supper. If with some helps, she becomes your ‘automatic’ historian, informant, or adviser–all in one.

IF NOT, THE husband is. If not so much on those things, a neighbour – or, some neighbours are there – priorly invited by the couple, to handle your arrival. Then

DINNER IS SERVED to everybody’s fill – the hosting household members usually encourage you to do that – and after which, there is a little second-round coffee talk; and finally, bedtime.. you are led or guided to a sleeping Alang house, by a younger household member or neighbour.. who shortly bids you goodnight with a: Te ngarud, kabasan mowan! (Okay then, see you in the morrow)!

A SIMPLE WAY it may be.. but that’s mostly how you’re entertained: in the rurals, decades ago; in ‘these Southern Heights’.. in the evening. What little info or knowledge you derive before and after dinner, shall be some you’ll be reflecting on and, shall be sure hard to forget; or discard. Ahoj!

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