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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Dear Mr. James Soriano,

Unlike your mother, my mother didn't provide for me a home conducive to learning English. My mother used to buy me "komiks" that carried local legendary stories like "Ang Alamat ng Mayon," "Ang Alamat ng Kasoy," among others. My first book is the ABAKADA. You know, the one that has a boy with his body parts labeled in Filipino? Oh, well, I'm sure you're not familiar with that. You grew up in an English Only home zone.

My mother used to be a huge fan of radio dramas aired daily over DZRH. I grew up listening to these dramas with her.

At age 4, I, with my family, moved to Laguna from Manila where I was born. In Laguna, I became friends with kids with weird Tagalog accents and unique local color expressions. These things didn't bother me because I had a perfect life as a child. My friends and I climbed huge mango trees that actually bore mangoes that ripened to perfection. And climb up the tree we would as far as no old folks could see and we would eat mangoes while we sat on branches. We also had a field day climbing camachile trees and ate the fruits, tree to mouth. It was great playing "Jane."

During palay planting season, we would join the farmers in the muddy fields. The kinder ones even allowed us to do some planting. We would even catch "palakang bukid" for lunch.

During harvest season, we would sit and watch the farmers separate the palay from the stalks and smell the heavenly sent of nature. The first gold we've seen, and the largest in the world was the mountain of palay during the season.

And the haystacks! These were left to us to make anything out of. We jumped and rolled and kicked and laughed until our lungs burst.

We rode rickety carts pulled by carabaos, not buffalos which you might have read about in your English books. There were cows for the milking and goats for the same. We watched men hunt and kill snakes coiled around bamboo trees. Twice we saw a crocodile butchered and cooked and eaten. I remember being given a bite of caldereta crocodile. I don't remember having accepted and eaten it, though.

Joy was our lingua franca. It was not written in books that some could only read about. We had experiences in vivid colors, tangible and real.

What about yours?

Oh, what to do with people like you, Malu Fernandez and Mideo Cruz?

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