Monday, May 01, 2006

We're Back from the Cagayan Valley Trip!

After taking a long trip to Jesper's wedding in Gonzaga, Cagayan last Thursday (April the 26th); we finally made it back home to San Pedro late, late, last night.
I was quite anxious at first, thinking if we'd ever make it there and back in one piece, in the old Hyundai Van that Tata was driving, but we did. Actually Tata is not really a "Tata" (Pilippino for older man), he's in his early 90's and that qualifies him for Lolo (grandfather) status. But at the time I was dumbfounded, and being linguistically challenged; I couldn't get the right words out to correctly address him as "Lolo", so I opted to call him "Tata". I didn't want to come across ignorant by calling him "grandfather" in English either for fear of getting our relationship off on the wrong footing. Infact, come to think of it, I don't really know his real name, I've grown so used to Tata, I never really thought to ask. Anyways, Tata is an interesting bloke - pretty straight and completely unpretentious. He wore thick spectacles whenever he drove, the kind that magnified his eyeballs a great deal; and when he's not at the wheel, you can catch him chit-chatting and drinking Emperanda with the good ol' boys. The ol' boys would drink their gin and what-not, but not Tata, he'd never touch anything else other than an Emperanda. He's an Emperanda man through-and-through. Anyway, I enjoyed his company a great deal. He spoke pretty good English, which isn't a surprise because in days-gone-by, older folks got a more thorougher education than today's younger generation.

Tata and his drinking. Nothing comes between them!

Tata had had some interesting WWII stories to share from serving time as a Mechanical Engineer in the Philippines Army. In fact, he pretty much stayed on after the war to work in the fields in Cagayan until his early retirement in his mid 40's. As a result he knows every road, every nook-and-cranny that we were driving through. But I guess, what impressed me most was how well he can hold his drink whilst driving or doing anything of importance for that matter - his reasoning from what I can gather at the time, was that it improves his awareness and soothes his arthritis. Everytime his arthritis kicked in, he'd stop, take a few sips from his bottle of Emperanda and continue what he was doing. Overall I have to give him credit, his tenacity and care whilst driving was impeccable - cheers to Tata!