About Me

United States
Belle is a mother of 2 beautiful teenagers aged 19 and 18 years old. She is originally from Bato, Catanduanes. She loves fiddling around with computer on her free time.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Village Life, Simply Life in Barrios

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.


Wil said...

Great pics of everyday life in the barrio. you're turning into a photojournalist. :-D what's abaca, btw?

Belle TH said...

wil, abaca plant is a variety of banana tree which abounds in bikol and in visayas region because of its humid conditions. Its fiber is woven into ropes, braids and even carpets. i have seen beautiful carpets made out of abaca fiber.

photojournalist? thanks wil! the good thing about photos, it say a whole lot.

toe said...

Belle, these are amazing recollections of your childhood. You should tell these to your children so that they would know where they would come from and be proud of their heritage.

kathy said...

Great pics, Belle! Reminds me of the times when I visited my Mom's hometown in Pangasinan. In those days, we'd visit just after the rice harvesting and haul a sako of rice back to Manila. Pinagtitiyagaan namin kasi libre naman, hehe. :)

annamanila said...

You like posting photo essays. Great! What you don't put into words the pictures more than fill up.

Our farmers still sun-dry palay on the pavements ... I still see that. Stripping of abaca seems tedious -- but I guess stripping of pina stalks (for pina fiber) is more dangerous, considering spikes. I imagine you doing all these farm work. And I smile. Nice to reminisce I bet.

gwapasila said...

halo...blog hopping, you a cool and intersting blog and I enjoyed my visit. Please come and visit me whn u have the chance . TC

MomInMiami said...

I grew up with my maternal grandparents and I've experienced the same - the drying of the palay, washing clothes in the river, and going to and helping in the ricefields too. I miss those days. You brought back some very memorable memories.

Thanks for sharing!

chateau said...

You seem to have had a great time talaga sa vacation mo.
My childhood memories on crop harvesting: i've had my share of guarding corn against the ducks while drying in the barrio basketball court. Once i lapsed - a duck got one ear of corn and stripped it to the cob in seconds with a typewriter tak-tak-tak sound!

niceheart said...

What a life you had, huh? It's nice to reminisce even the hard times eh. I haven't experienced washing clothes in the river, but yes, I also did my fair share of washing clothes by hand.

K said...

And you can pretty much see them until now in our place Belle. The provincial life is so laid back that it lets you relax & entertain yourself on something more meaningful than the city life.

Syempre, the washing of clothes - hahahaha I can imagine way way back, saco-saco pa ang dala namin nya, and at the same time picnic na rin (pati kalderong itim dala). We used to go there in Sto Domingo going to Palta area.

iskoo said...

hanggang ngayon marami sa pinakita mo dito ginagawa pa rin sa province namin (pampanga). gusto ko i try magsaka kaso wala pa ako chance. alam magtanin ay hindi biro!

rodel said...

Ms Belle,
As i was reading last blog of Ms Julia Campbelle I noticed that your the first comment about her blog...I recently visited your blog and it was updated unfortunately there was none regarding her. for your info follow these links..i symphatized with her lost. She's great..



Belle TH said...

@toe, thanks! my children are aware of my humble beginnings and they are proud of it. in fact, my daughters started a project called donations for education intended for poor filipino children in the province.

@kathy, yes! i remember hauling some rice to manila for our food supply, too, kaysa bibili ka pa, di ba?

@anna, hehehe...since i am not a good writer like most of you, i let my pictures do the talking for me.
yes, it is fun to reminisce the old times, the hard times, that is. it is always going to be a part of my life.

@gwapasila, thanks for the visit. hope you made yourself feel comfortable.

@mominmiami, question for you: how can i view your blog? so, you had experienced the hard life, too? cool!

@chateau, hehehe...i hate it when that happens. those ducks are very clever and quick. they take advantage of that one split second you are not watching.

@niceheart, indeed, it is nice to remember good ole times. i loved washing clothes in the river because after you soaped the clothes, you only rinsed once.

@k, true true! why do you think i love going back there? because i like the simplicity of life, the laid back kind of life. i think i am familiar with that river you were talking about...huge river!

@iskoo, you should try and see what you think and see if you can handle it...hehehe. i am the type of person that don't like watching people work. i will roll up my sleeves and get dirty myself.

Belle TH said...

@rodel, ohmygosh! i was shocked at what i read. i also frequented her blog because not only was she an excellent writer, she was a big help to the poor people in Donsol. i wonder who would do such a horrible thing to a very kind, and loving lady who offered her service and sacrificed her life to help the filipino people.

now, i know why she didn't update her site for so long. bless her soul.

agnes sales said...

great photos again,will post photos of catamoran this july as we are home for 6 weeks then

dangkin said...

ahhh..the good life! :)

when i was young, my tatay would always make us choose, either go to school or work in the field! and would always add: if you want to have pen in your hand when you grow old like me, do good in school.. if not, we always have a plow & carabao for your hands to get busy! ;)

Heart of Rachel said...

Hi Belle. Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos of your barrio. I admire people who live a simple life and yet seem very happy and fulfilled.