The Big Blue
Copyright 2022 by Patricia Togonon
Image by kai62 on Pixabay
was around ten years old when I was introduced to Big Blue. Big Blue
was the name of the first brand new pick-up truck that my
hard-working entrepreneurial Filipino parents bought. It was
shiny big single cab Isuzu pick-up truck which did not fit us, so my
Dad had its truck bed customized with a camper shell and an air
conditioner to fit me, my sister, our bikes, and a big ass
at the back. Thus began our adventure.
starts on a Monday and ends
on a Friday. Once my sister and I get off the school bus we hurry to
our rooms and start packing for our trip. This is the best part of
our travel. We just pack our stuff not knowing where were going off
to next. Travel before was simple. No reservations needed. Not unlike
today…… you have to have a destination and most of all
a reservation. The thrill and excitement of the travel is the
adventure itself the “unknown”. I still get goosebumps up
to this day when I remember this part of my childhood and let me tell
you this was like 30 years ago, when travel and adventure was not as
accessible as it is today.
adventures usually start at
night when they get off work. We would ride the car and just drive.
When I asked my dad why he just said it relaxes him plus it was not
hot. We most travelled the path around Laguna Lake because it was the
path the my Dad was most familiar with being from both Pagsanjan
(this is where his maternal grandmother lives) and Los Banos (his
hometown where he lives with his parents) these two provinces is
surrounded by the lake.
Banos is a town located at the
foot of Mount Makiling it is known for their hot springs,the
University of the Philippines Los Banos, home of I.R.R.I.
(International Rice Research Institute),buko pies and Maria Makiling
(the Goddess of the Mountain). It is also well known for one of our
adventures pili nut picking on Pili Drive where my dad will stop the
car on the side of the road let all of us down (yes us including a
gaggle of cousins) to hunt for the green fruit that contains the pili
nut.It would be then be hammered with a stone and eaten on the same
way it was found on the side of the road.
times we would drive
directly into the mountains and hike. This was where my clumsy sister
almost fell through the ravine but luckily my cousin was there to
for me during that time is
the most artistic places that you can go into with their wood
carvings,paper machetes and paintings. Liliw has really beautiful
hand made shoes and slippers though the jellie rolls (rolled cakes)
for me are the most memorable part of the trip for me.
trips were not done in one
go but in a series of trips done in different times. The most
important part of the trip was the camaraderie and love and passion
that was developed during the travel. We were not always alone most
of the time our cousins was with us. Since they lived in Los Banos we
would pick them up and travel with them (they were around our
age).Also, my other cousin from our maternal side was with us. So
yeah,it’s a riot. Not only are we learning our roots but we are
also learning about our history and how each town is different from
side note, Victoria has the
best roasted ducks which we would pack during our travel. Sta. Cruz
has the kesong puti and Bay has the best monay ( round bread).
on the other hand has
the best adventure which is shooting the rapids,it is still done up
to this day.However, one must be very cautious and only talk to
authorized tourism officers to avoid being tricked. Afterwards,a
sweet and cool treat from Talengs is an absolute must. The halo-halo
from Talengs are made from the freshest ingredients that can
be found in Pagsanjan.
Lenten Season in the province
is totally different. Since the country is heavily influenced by the
Catholic faith tradition like the Salubong and Pabasa is practiced.
The tradition that had the most impact on me was the one that I saw
while travelling in the car was the Whipping of the Backs wherein the
petitioners (or sinners ) would imitate the time that Christ was
carrying the cross and he was being whipped by thorns. It was said
that these people volunteered to do it to atone for their past sins.
This I saw in San Pablo.
this season (Lent) my Dad
would take the vehicle around the Lake. We will go in through Los
Banos and out to Quezon City. One of the most significant stops that
I still remember to this day that is vividly seared in mind was the
stop at the restaurant in the Rizal province called Balaw-Balaw. This
restaurant has the most exotic menu which includes pritong
(fried snake) ,tapang usa (deer jerky) and tapang baboy ramo (jerky
wild boar) . Of course for us adventurers we had to try it. But
today, the probability of it being eaten will be lower or next to
none due to existing laws preventing these things from being eaten.
If you ask me if I remember what these things taste like… I
would say I just remember the snake being bony hehehe. The cricket
….would totally be in another story along with the frog.
Hehehehe. If you think I am kidding I kid you not.
Big Blue along with my
family taught me a lot of things. One is the sense of adventure and
wonder. In whatever you do, always look for the adventure of things.
Two take things lightly and go with the flow. Three getting lost is
half the fun. Four finding the way back is the real sense of
adventure. Five food is fair game.
years old born and raised in Manila Philippines.
of Three ( 1 girl and twin boys)
owner to a zany pet called Yang the Poodle
in a house that dances during earthquakes
floats during floods
Plaques,trophies and food
like to try writing for a living
of the message
won't know where to send it.)
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