Eating more than what you have

>> Sunday, July 8, 2018

Ramon Dacawi

If you’ve read something similar to this, it’s because I’ve written about it after my first trip to the United States. That was several years ago, after the-Marcos regime which had made it difficult for student protesters then  to  go abroad.
Whatever. Any Filipino, including us who used to mount “Ibagsak”, can’t help but be lured by the Promised Land where opportunity to improve one’s lot is always there. I saw this in the Cordillera community where friends from way back home took turns bringing you around and footing the bill.
Friends back home wanted to know more beyond the prosperity of Cordillera expatriates whose hospitality make you feel that except for the surroundings, you never left home.
“Ammokon ti diperensya ditoy kumpara idiay Istits (I now know the difference here compared to there in the States),”  I offered friends after my return to Baguio.
“Idiay, eat all you can (There, it’s ‘eat all you can’).”  I began, “Ditoy, eat all you have ngem  kurang latta (Here, it’s eat all you have and it’s still not enough.)”
Memory turned to those over-filled plate breakfasts dished out by restaurants there. A serving there was good for two or three here in our dear old Philippines
As  brother and host Joel Aliping and I looked around the tables, we noticed that most of the customers were retirees or senior citizens.
Around one table were several senior citizens studying a map. Joel explained the seniors were planning to go fishing or hunting, using the map as guide. That meant they had earned enough retirement pay to do what we here can only dream about.
With my pension here, I can’t go fishing or visit Palawan or Boracay or the President’s home,  Davao. My initial pension went to sustain my dialysis and medicine maintenance which started just when I was about to retire from 46 years being the apologist of city hall.
Having had the luck of visiting England, on a bursary for a seminar on indigenous wisdom, I learned why it’s “eat all you can” in the First World and “eat all you have” in our Third World).
My cousin Henry Gano, whose skill in woodcarving he turned to ice carving in London where he set up a profitable shop, co-hosted me. Earlier,  mining engineer Edmund Bugnosen and businessman Richard Pooten showed me around as they warmly do each time a fellow Cordilleran arrives there.
“The reason Filipinos can save here,”Gano began,”is that our pay for Monday and Tuesday is enough for our food and other needs for the week. This means you can save your earnings on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and even Sunday and have something to send home to our kin,”
“So that’s it,” I replied. “Back home, what you earn from Monday to Sunday is not enough for your weekly needs, as it lasts only until Tuesday,  prompting us Filipinos to eat all that we have, with nothing left for the weekends.” – e-mail: for comments.


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