Saturday, July 11, 2015


An expanse of lush vegetation, quietude, and the feel of wet grass on our feet greeted us in Candelaria, Zambales. Not just a sleepy town but more of a sleeping town, I just had a sudden urge to sing an aria to wake it up. There were just a few locals on the streets despite the fact that the rain had stopped momentarily. Either most of the residents preferred staying indoors or had left for more exciting places.

We headed for our paternal aunt's ancestral house. Located along the highway, it was a two storey building made of wood with an architectural design of Spanish-American influence. Built during the 1930's, it still had an imposing structure that spoke of past affluence despite of it being old and decrepit. It didn't look like a haunted house though but looked more like a lonely house that smelled of bat manure. Looking at its facade made me imagine a past when this house once stood majestic on a well kept lawn, with the Espinosa family of seven children playing on the porch, and with each of them having a room of his own on the grand second floor.

With a box of pizza for aunt Emen, we eagerly went up the porch. We wanted not just to see her but also to explore the different rooms of the house. Unfortunately, the front door was padlocked and the house was deserted except for a white cat with tiger stripes silently and suspiciously watching our every move. An image of Jesus Christ was pinned on the door as if guarding the house. Maybe the image of Jesus was meant to deter any intruder, make him feel guilty, and remind him of the 8th and 10th commandments, "Thou shall not steal" and "Thou shall not covet thy neighbor's house, wife or possession." Being a curious kibitzer, my brother pushed the door to open it a little and for us to have a view of the inside. The living room was tidy with old suliya chairs and with more religiouis icons facing the door. We then had to content ourselves by staying on the porch while waiting for our aunt, munching some tuna sandwiches, and taking some pictures as it drizzled intermittently. Finally, we realized that she might not be back that day so we decided to leave and go around town before boarding a bus bound for Iba.

Wearing my mother's chantilly lace

The trip to Iba was longer this time. Blame it on the weather. It was raining hard and the driver drove more slowly and cautiously. From time to time, I glanced out of the window while thoughts of living alone in a quiet town like Candelaria crossed my mind. Well, who knows? Perhaps I would, perhaps someday.

The ancestral house of the Espinosas built in the 1930's

My brother Dennis

One of the old houses in Candelaria, Zambales 

Playing with a calf

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