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Tracing My Roots back to Sariaya, Quezon

PHILIPPINES | Thursday, 16 February 2012 | Views [1032] | Comments [1]

Alas, I was finally about to set off  for the trip that I had spent nearly everyday fantasizing about  ever since I was a little girl. I was no longer dreaming. I would be flying to the other side of the world (literally) to get a taste of everyday life in my mother's hometown of Sariaya, Quezon Province, Philippines. The only other time I had visited the Philippines was when my mother brought me only a few months after I had been born, so I viewed this as my first real trip "back home". All of my relatives remembered me as "the baby with the red birthmark in the middle of her forehead"  and were greatly anticipating to see the young woman I had grown into 21 years later. I was anxious/ giddy / nervous, but mostly excited for whatever adventures were to come...

On Day 1, I decided to accompany my cousin Janell to the local market, where she would be spending the majority of the day selling rice and miscellaneous goods. Stepping out of our tiny tricycle and into a tent-like entrance, we made our way through the maze of a market until we reached her booth. At 7:30 am, the market was a busy scene, alive with vendors and customers going about their morning routine. Eager to explore every corner of the market space, I perused through the stalls, making conversation with the most friendly and down-to-earth locals. "How tall are you?" was the most common question I received. Standing at the average Canadian height of 5'8, I stood out like a sore thumb among the petite filipinos. I was excited to discover that a few of the people I spoke to were actually my own relatives!  Three hours, 50 hugs, and 300 photographs later, I realized that about half of the market space was taken up by my relatives. It was a great pleasure meeting each of one of them. They all greeted me with that warm, filipino-kind of hospitality, offering me kutsinta and other rice-base snacks for the road. It was the type of kindness that made me proud to be filipina.

Later that day, we took a family field trip to Balubal, the land from which my lolo originated. Getting there was an exhilarating experience. Riding backseat of my cousin Jake's motorbike, we zig-zagged through the traffic-infested city streets and practically bounced our way up the bumpy dirtroads in the countryside. When we arrived there, my Tito Jemer took us for a tour of his organic farm, which was quite the large property. I was impressed by his extensive knowledge of farming and agriculture. A businessman, an event planner, a college professor, an almost-priest... farming, he said, was his true passion. At lunchtime we all gathered underneath a bamboo hut and feasted on fish, mangos, and buka juice picked and prepared right on the farm, giving the term "fresh" a new meaning.

To end the day, my cousins and I went for a moonlight swim at a nearby resort called Balai Sadyaya. What an amazing first day in Sariaya!

Tags: balubal, family, farm, heritage, karaoke, mangos, market, philippines, quezon, sariaya




Good afternoon from Sariaya! There is more to Sariaya than meets the eye. Like "Sariaya Our Hometown" on Face Book and you will learn more about your hometown and your roots. 8-)

  Eric J.Dedace Oct 17, 2013 6:51 PM

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