Our host, Rafael Morada Jr., prepared an extraordinary line up of activities on June 24, Sunday. He might have secretly shared to me what his plans were, but I’d never imagined that the actual execution would be very unforeseeable!
Wearing the different shades of blue or anything blue on St. John the Baptist Feast Day, we woke up feeling reinvigorated before exploring Goshen Resorts and Hotel premises to maximize the available time for more photo souvenirs.
It would be a shame if we wouldn’t use the Grecian backdrop in broad daylight and of course, to get our money’s worth…oooopsy…our big-hearted sponsor’s money’s worth.
Once breakfast was ready, we returned to base to replenish our burned calories with the new amount of calories. Dear readers, this is a trademark “life cycle” of our batch! Hahaha.
It was a moment for clowning and laughing again under the baton of Joel Carrascal. This was a continuation of his one-man act and his rare talent as a photographer, being the only one who could make his subject laugh while clicking his camera. Hey! If my eyes turned into narrow slits, I had really laughed my head off.
When Paeng and Pogs arrived, we were almost done with our meal. Their presence cued us for our departure and our first destination that Sunday — Capas National Shrine.
Here we paid homage to our World War II heroes. Curious to find whether there was a Mediavillo among the Filipino veterans who fought and died defending our freedom, I searched for our family name only to discover two Gineses. Well, I am now half-convinced that I married someone from a clan of heroes. *gasps*
From the shrine we convoyed to Monasterio de Tarlac. We reached the place after going through a winding road up to the top of the hill where this tourist attraction was situated. I didn’t know if this was what really triggered my motion sickness attack. Getting out of the van, spewing up, and inhaling fresh air calmed my nerves. I tarried near a shop for a few more minutes, drank and washed my face with cold water while my companions toured the sprawling monastery. Restored, I caught up with them at once.
It was here where we had swimming (even though only six of us took a dip) and ate our hearty and healthy boodle fight lunch, comprised of our favorite native delicacies which were backyard produce.
A habitual routine in the Philippines, a siesta follows this midday meal. The provincial mood perfectly enticed us to nap. But, we had to exchange the pleasure of a snooze with more pleasurable afternoon tasks.
First, we had our dairy cattle farm tour which gave us a hands-on experience on feeding and milking a cow. Hmmm…Close to looking like incognito hacienderosy hacienderas (farm owners), eh?
Second, we planted palay which took us to the zenith of enjoyment! This was the culmination of our tribu’s trip/bonding in Tarlac City.
We sang, danced, and planted palay to acknowledge the importance of the backbone of our civilization — the farmers. I’m not sure with my katribus, but it was not my first time to experience this back-breaking task. Thirty-seven years ago, we lived near a paddy field in Bagumbayan, Daraga, Albay. It was one of our summer “jobs” as teenagers in Bicol. We earned and at the same time realized the value of each grain of rice.
Now, I am smiling. Seeing and posting all these photos with my katribus and musing over those brief days when we’re together served its purpose. I feel I made a virtual connection with them. Certainly, friendship, escapade, bliss, katribu, Tarlac, and BUHS ’86 would be the tags I would go back time and again in my blog as this pandemic continues to bring feelings of isolation, anxiety, depression, and other emotional disturbances.