July 25, 2024

Experts claim that the coronavirus disease 2019 thrives best in cold weather, but loses its sting in the hot season.
Let’s hope summer, which begins today, will be scorching and torrid, like two lovers caroming under the bed sheets while their respective spouses are away.
The hotter, the better for our state of health.


Before the virus becomes widespread, summer was always fun time for all, more so for the big government officials who would fly to nearby Hong Kong or to far away Europe or the United States, either with wife and family, or maybe send them on a cruise, while planning to spend time with the mistress away from the prying eyes of people in the know.
For the lesser mortals – take note I am talking of the past – Boracay would be it, but as they say 40 is the new 30, and right now San Juan in La Union is the new Boracay.
Summertime is also when family ties would be recalled and remembered, visiting the old folks in the old hometown, and reliving once again the provincial life.


In my growing up years, summer was spent in Balaoan, La Union, my mother’s birthplace, where she has scores of relatives.
I enjoyed listening to the exchange of banter during dinnertime at my uncle Fidel’s house, where every kin was free to come.
One evening, my old man had the sniffles, and begged off from attending.
And as is always the case, it is the absentee who would become the topic of conversation.
Accordingly, my mom was under the care of a rich elderly aunt, who provided for my mom’s schooling as an “interna” in an exclusive girls’ high in Vigan, and again as an “interna” at the Philippine Women’s University in her college years.


When my mom’s “mom” found out that she was seeing an Igorot when she came up to Baguio to teach, she raved and ranted, screaming that she didn’t send my mom to university only to be betrothed to an Igorot. “Susmaryosep.”
By the way, teaching was the call center at the time, with “maestros” and “maestras” all over.
Anyway, when I told my old man about it later, he laughed, and in a whisper, said to me, “I was a good-looking school principal when I first met your mom,” driving his own car – a 1936 black Plymouth roundabout convertible, and the “favored” son of a wealthy landowner.
In fact, your naïve Balaoan elders wondered what kind of carabao had wheels instead of feet.


I would later meet two of my mom’s former suitors, a Chinaman who had become a multi-millionaire, and a former secretary of Public Works, who was elected congressman of the lone district of Romblon.
My sister Alice kidded my mom about her wrong choice, and if she had not, maybe we would all be driving cars of our own, the ultimate Filipino dream in the early ‘50s.
But my sister Marichu came to our dad’s defense, saying that she would not trade good old Pete for all the riches in the world.


When I became a father myself, we would spend summer weekends in my parents-in-law’s home, and even today our two boys reverently speak of how kind and wonderful their lolo and lola were.
Talking to my father was both interesting and educational. He could recall events that a man his age would have forgotten long ago.
But my mom-in-law had become quite senile, and one time, looking at my Minda and our Marc sitting together, commented, “Minda, how handsome your boyfriend is.”
A truly happy couple, my in-laws were, and we miss them both as much as we miss our Minda.


The last time Holy Week didn’t have the usual throng of visitors coming up was in the summer of ‘91, the year after the big ‘90’s earthquake.
But as Baguio slowly recovered, the tourists were back in full force, and traffic was horrendous.
Today, 365 days a year, Baguio traffic, with or without them, is a mess. Maybe Mayor Ben Magalong should stop acting like a policeman and be a more benevolent leader, you know, assuring his constituents instead of scaring them.
And cannot policemen be more polite and respectful, instead of barking at people all the time for even the slightest of misdemeanors.
Why can’t they say, “Please go home sir, the hour is late,” and not “Hoy, lakay, kayat mo tilewen ka, agawid kan.”
Virus or no virus, have a great summer. Stay clean, wash your hands, ye all dirty and filthy scum of the Earth.