Revisiting Capiz, Then And Now
I hardly recognize the coastal town I grew up with after being away for 10 years. What used to be a wide stretch of vacant beach lots now stands houses and restaurants that blocks the view of the beautiful beach that gave me so much wonderful memories.
I remember riding the tricycle with my classmates still in our school uniform heading towards the beach after our Friday class session. We would simply take off our shirts and jump into the water wearing our school pants. It was fun and exciting. Life was simpler.
The day I arrived after almost 2 days of flight from Houston, Texas to the Philippines, I asked my dad to bring me to the beach with my wife and son. We drove from end to end, covering pretty much the entire beach which locals fondly called as “Baybay.” Perhaps I was tired but on the first day of my visit, I felt a bit of sadness. Most of what’s familiar to me as a child were almost gone. Change and modernism erased a lot of the physical structures that my memories always find comforting.
A few days after, I started spotting a few remnants of the beautiful past. Just after Sunrise, I saw a group of fishermen, pulling a net to gather the catch of the day. I remember how excited I was and my sisters whenever we see one. We would wait until the catch has arrived. We would run with excitement as we watched the different sizes, shapes and colors of fishes being hauled inside a big net towards the shore. I remember how fascinated I was seeing a small hammerhead shark or a puffy bloat fish. My mom would buy some fish as well as clams called “Kagay-kay” or “Diwal” and cook a mouth-watering seafood medley for dinner.
On my first dinner of 4 years away from home, my mom made sure I get to taste my favorites. She prepared broiled crabs and shrimps, “Kagay-kay” clam soup with green veggies, grilled fish and more. Once again, I felt like a kid having a feast of delicious seafood medley. To savor the taste and make the entire eating experience unforgettable, I used my bare hands. Of course, I washed them first for 15 seconds!
There were a few developments which I thought were totally cool such as the “People’s Park.” It lies at the center of the beach front overlooking the Island of Mantalinga. There was a time when I would ride a kayak and get to the island in 15 minutes all by myself and without a life vest. I was young and stupid not realizing that there were sharks at the back of the island and it led to an open dark blue sea. Oh, well I did find it fun and exciting. I probably would do it again but this time with a life vest and a kayak buddy.
It’s Always Summer In Capiz
Summer is my favorite season. In America, there are four seasons but in Capiz, it’s mostly Summer all year round with abundant golden sunshine and clear blue skies. Yes, there’s the rainy season but in between the rain showers and possible typhoon visits, it’s back to the warm, radiant sunny day filled with fun, happiness, calmness and island dreams.
Every weekend, trucks of people from different towns, all the way from mountainous parts of the province would flock at the beach. Children would play , swim, build sand castles, ride tubings and catch sand crabs all day long. It’s like having a “Fiesta” complete with balloons , ice cream and cotton candies. People can smell grilled food from miles away.
Thrill, surprises, laughter, a joyful moment with friends and family as well as long days of peace and quiet, all these are part of the endless Summer events in my town. Never a dull moment. Only an almost infinite possibilities. How these possibilities can lead to wonderful adventures is up to those who discovers them.
The Colorful Sunday Street Market
Every Sunday, we would go by the street market that starts at the river walkway all the way down to the next block as well as inside the wet market. It has been a tradition for so many years that on Sundays, farmers and live stock growers from all over the province would bring their produce from native chickens to the most exotic fruit for the city dwellers to enjoy. And enjoy we did.
Heading the market adventure was my mom who is a veteran market buyer. She can tell which fish is fresh to what fruit is ripe and ready for eating. Her skills are amazing. After buying the goods, we would treat ourselves with the sweet rice cakes or “Bibinka” cooked in a traditional oven made of aluminum steel baked to perfection with native dried wood.
Catching Sand Crabs And Building New Memories
My last weekend before returning back to Houston, my parents brought me and my son back to the beach. I missed the sunrise so we decided to go lunchtime. While waiting for the food, my son and the twins went playing by the beach. I was wondering what they were chasing back and forth. Then I saw these tiny grayish-white crabs running on top of the sand. Oh, my gosh! I used to do this as a kid. Now it is was my son and his cousins. For a moment, I went back in time and saw myself running like crazy, happy without a care in the world. It was beautiful.
No Goodbyes, Just New Beginnings
The hardest part of any beautiful journey is saying goodbyes. No matter how I psyched myself that I won’t feel sad, I can’t help but feel a deep longing and void as I watched the faces of the family who welcomed me with love and open arms slowly disappear from my blurry vision as the car moved further away from my parent’s house.
So, on my last trip, I told my folks and sisters, “This time, no goodbyes. I will be back before you know it.” I kissed and hugged them for as long as I can. Then I rode the bus trying my best not to look back. I was silent for a long time. I simply looked at the sky, closed my eyes and told myself, “You are stronger than you think.”
This is my Island Summer. I may seem to talk about it like it’s in the present but in my heart, that’s how I want it to be. You can never forget a happy and beautiful memory nor images that makes you still believe that dreams can come true. People ask me sometimes, “Why would like to go back?” My answer without a doubt, “Why not?” They say home is where you are the happiest the most. Me, my wife and son agrees that one day, the tides will lead us back where island dreams do happen. This time, for good. As to when, only destiny can tell. Till then, I will patiently wait and rekindle my Island Summer of 2012. I could always revisit them in my dreams and memories.
Summer has just began and so are the stories and new beginnings that are about to unfold. Get ready for all the fun under the Sun. Better yet, make Summer a forever so we can always go back to our happiest of Summer memories anytime, any day.
Thank you for revisiting with me the Island of Capiz. It felt good to remember a place that will always be part of my home.