I come from a fishing village on the third smallest island of the Philippine archipelago - Barangay Canlambo in the municipality of Larena located at the northernmost tip of Siquijor Island.
Because we are in the tropics, we are roused occasionally by the squalls of an angry sea during monsoons leaving foams of silvery tides lapping at our powder-white shoreline.
Like any community that thrives from the bounty of the sea, my hometown is a as sleepy and as laidback as can be.
Mornings we wake up to the singsong shrills of fishermen's wives in their sundresses carrying winnowfuls, or basins and pails above their heads as they peddle a variety of fishes or other edible sea-creatures around the village for everybody's daily needs.
Noontime wives and their house-helps huddle at water pumps or stations - doing the laundry or giving baths to their sun-kissed kids.
Afternoons when kids are lulling at siesta, we see fishermen and their wives mending fishnets or untangling fishlines together under the shade of a coconut plantation or an ancient shady tree.
At dusks we walk the rugged cow-paths down the shore to wait for our fishermen. There we partake in a hodgepodge of communal activities or rituals or masquerades - depending on one's preference which seemed almost dictated by one's age-group. There were parlor games, moon or fire dances, courtships or romantic charades, and yes, as was the wont of superstitious islanders, there were divinations or fortune-telling.
But that was all in the eighties before the onslaught of foreign investors had commenced back in early nineties.
From then on, an exodus has taken place at such a frightening pace. While elders chose to stay behind, the rest of us, children, or younger ones have all set our sails westward in our quest for big city dreams.
Today, our village seems to have waken up to the call of technology and modernization. Thanks to foreigners mail-ordering our women-folks who oddly enough have chosen the island as their retreat or retirement spot of choice. What is it about beaches and the tropics that interest the oldish set?
But still it is not without the occasional rousings from the singsong pitches of our fishermen's wives and the squalls of sea in stormy months.
*From Wikipedia: The Spaniards called Siquijor Isla del Fuego or "Island of Fire," because the island gave off an eerie glow. This glow came from the great swarms of fireflies that harbored in the numerous molave trees on the island. The island was first sighted by the Spaniards in 1565 during Miguel López de Legaspi's expedition. Since then, the island came under Spanish rule and the present municipalities, with the exception of Enrique Villanueva were established as Catholic parishes. The first parish, Siquijor, was established in 1783 under the administration of secular clergymen. In the years that followed until 1877, the parishes of Larena (Cano-an), Lazi (Tigbawan), San Juan (Makalipay), and Maria (Cangmeniac) were founded by priests of the Augustinian, Recollects. From 1854 to 1892, the island was administered by Spain under the politico-military province of Bohol. In 1892, it became a part of Negros Oriental, and then its sub-province in 1901.
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