Friday, July 31, 2015


Philippine Rural Life: An Old Woman in the Barrio

I always see her waving at me whenever I was in the farm. She was an old woman who had grown older than her 70 years. She sells several kilos of big head carp, caught at the nearby Laguna de Bay  by her husband.

I am aware that a two kg of fish costing P25 per kilo, would be enough to feed five farmhands for lunch. However, she knew that I seldom eat this specie of fish for health reason. It had too much fat, and it will drive my blood pressure soaring in no time. Nonetheless, I always buy whenever I see her. It made her happy that I buy half of what she carry in that basket ---all the time!

The last time I was there, she decided to back-ride in the motorbike that I was driving. I was reluctant at first, since she looked frail and sickly. But she insisted, and she can save a few pesos by back-riding with me. While coasting along the barrio road, I heard something drop. It was a coin, and she must have dropped it.

I suddenly felt the bike skid to the left, and her falling on the pavement. It was planting season, and many farmers were milling around. They saw her jumped off my bike at that moment. When I asked her why she did that, she showed me the P10 peso coin that she held tightly in her hand.

Photo credit:



Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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Wednesday, July 29, 2015


The little boy and his friend accompanying his father in tilling the field

Farm work is hard work. However, children see it differently. They see the work as play where they can hop from one field to another and follow their fathers with their big buri hats. Tilling includes --- the "kuliglig" or tilling; "pagong" or  harrowing, and; leveling which is the last stage prior to planting.

The seedbed, which is readied for transplanting in two weeks

The seedbed or "dapogan" where the RC12 seed variety bought from the Department of Agriculture (DA), were initially planted in a rectangular bed before it is transplanted in the field. This usually takes from 15 to 20 days after soaking the palay. Due to the high cost of diesel fuel for the pumps, farmers till, harrow, and level the field a week before transplanting. 

I told the farm hand that not all of the seeds sprouted. I also noticed that the growth was uneven. This is not a good thing and I may need to add chemical fertilizer (urea) to even out the growth. The palay seed was given by the DA at 50 percent discount to farmers in Pila. The other 50 percent was shouldered by the local municipal government. In addition, 15 sacks of organic fertilizer were given free of charge.

Unyok, the friendly and reliable mechanic

It is often said that no farmer can survive without a trusted and reliable mechanic. Whether we like it or not, problems  crop up with the equipment that we use. On our farm, we are ever grateful that we have Unyok (Filipino slang for Junior) to help us out when problems arise. As a token of his kindness, we give him "saging saba" (bananas) every now and then. I promise to give him a sack of rice after the harvest.

Bessie, the sweet cake vendor

I have known this friendly lady as far back as I can remember. Whenever there is work in the farm, she never fails to show up to sell us local "kakanin" or sweet bread like bibingka, suman, puto, palitaw, and other local cakes that she manages to cook that day. Whenever she sees me, she is often sure that I will be buying her stuff to feed the farm folks like the little tot behind, whom we fondly call, Bunso.

Farm caretaker and son pumping water in the field

The farm at Pila, Laguna is not irrigated. Hence, water is pumped by the use of Yanmar pumps like the one above. This equipment was bought 2nd hand, about 10 years ago and it still works perfectly today. However, we had a major overhaul which costs me a few bucks before we were able to use it again. The little boy accompanies his father, after attending school. The farm is his playground; so, he has a vast area to play around with friends.



Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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FIRE DRILL IN METRO MANILA---Alabang, Muntinlupa City

South Station In Alabang, Muntinupa smoking like crazy


I was on my way to the farm, last Friday, July 24, when I saw the nearby building in Alabang smoking like crazy. I got worried, only to realize that there was a scheduled fire drill in Metro Manila on that day.

It looked like the real thing. But people were not paying any mind to it.

The ordinary Pinoys, like the cigarette vendors on the streets, shouted, "Oh, Ma'am, they are just driving out the mosquitoes--- so we see smoke!"

Smoke increased in intensity after a few seconds

I could only laugh at myself on how we, Filipinos, see humor in every situation --- like a fire drill. There's another one scheduled for an earthquake drill. I wonder how the Pinoys would take it this time.

I hope they don't play dead to mess everything up! This quaint Pinoy attitude is what we call --- "usisero." It is the locals unabated predilection of poking their noses at everything, even if they are not wanted.



Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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