Pinoy Childhood In The Philippines

(United Kingdom)

What I miss most about the Philippines is my childhood. I was 2 months shy away from my 12th birthday when my family moved to the UK. I didn't think much of it at the time but now, 7 years later and I am almost in my 20s, I realised what I lost when I boarded the plane that day...

I missed those days when I didn't care but to simply have fun. I remember playing basketball 24/7. I was obsessed with the sport. After school and especially in the weekend I would always be in the court. I remember waking up at 6 in the morning, sneaking out so that I could play basketball and either my aunt, uncle or my cousin would be forced to come pick me up so that I could eat my breakfast.

The aroma of a freshly baked pan de sal straight from the bakery still lingers, sometimes the Manang would throw in a couple more of those sweet, crunchy yet fluffy buns for free. I would ravish my breakfast with the ferocity of a hungry bear. Then I would finish the breakfast with a big gulp of warm coco. Not too hot nor too cold. Just perfect.

During the high point of the afternoon, the gentle ray of the morning sun would turn into a scorching beam enough to fry an egg into the stone pavement. During those times, me and my friends would be content to take shelter in this huge mango tree and would sometimes play holen or teks game completely sheltered from the deadly heat wave.

Sunset is then the perfect time to play hide and seek, which, as a child, gave me such a thrill because the one who hides must be imaginative, and the occasional horror stories and the filipino mythologies I knew then gave additional excitement.

Finally, my relatives would look for me and drag me back home and for some reason, as soon as I get home I become tired. So, after playing I would take a shower and go to bed, content with myself.

Last year, I had a holiday in the Philippines and visited my old hometown. It wasn't the same. The quite town is now a thriving city, strangers are living in our old house, the beloved mango tree was chopped and a once busy basketball court has become a decrepit, old space.

Luckily, most of my friends had not changed. We picked off where we left when we graduated from elementary. Some are in universities, some are working and some have become parents themselves. Still, I was happy that even if the environment had changed my long-time friends still hasn't forgotten about me and my crazy antics.

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