My American friend who came with me to the province found the scenes below unique and worth capturing. Every time he came across settings like these, he would ask the driver to stop the car and go out and take his time to take photos of everything that fancied him. These things didn't normally mean anything to me when I was living in the province, but after about 20 some years of being away from home, looking at these take me back to the memory lane. It might strike you with wonder but what you see below are the things that I had experienced doing when I was a young girl. Yes, I did all those! I climbed the mountains barefoot on rainy days so I could have better grip of the slippery hills. I would dig my toes on the muddy soil and slowly walk my way up the hill where my parents were doing the abaca stripping. Haaay! those were the daysss....
Drying palay on the pavement is common in the rural barrios. It takes two good days to dry the palay completely before it is milled. Sometimes the whole road is covered with palay and the motorists try to manuever their vehicles to avoid running over it if possible.
I actually enjoyed doing this job with my friends because we got to have fun while looking for firewood. We ran around in the forest doing mischief with each other.
I would spend half a day in the river washing clothes with my bare hands. Since I had four brothers living with us, you can imagine how heavy the load was.
During my time, this is not how it was done. I would put a fair amount of rice stalks on the mat, and I would use my huge feet to rub the stalks off to remove the palay. Sometimes, it took my mother and me all day to finish the whole thing. It was one grueling job!
Ohh, I had done this job countless times. My mom (bless her soul) would wake me up in the wee hours of the morning so we could get a head start before others started showing up. You couldn't just turn down people those days as they had to eat, too.
Shown above is a man doing abaca stripping manually. This is one tough job as it requires a lot of strength to pull the stalks through the serrated knife to produce fiber.