By By Pablo A. Tariman
posted 21-Apr-2019  ·  
498 views  ·   0 comments  ·  
Photo By Alain Pascua
Summer sunset in Virac.

In my last two visits in the island, I had to wear something thick on my way to the airport at four in the morning.

The last time I visited two weeks ago, the air has turned balmy and the humidity has become fairly bearable.

On this week I am visiting the island again, it has become so hot for no reason at all.

Suddenly, it’s summer once more!   

I have beautiful images of summer in the island.

Back in my hometown in the late 50s, we all troop to this neighbor who is the only one who owned a transistorized radio.

The old and the young alike listen to Tia Dely at three in the afternoon and in the evening, we listen to the late 50s edition of Gulong ng Palad revived later with new casts in the 70s and 80s.

In the summer of 1961 in my hometown’s St. Laurence High School, male classmates had their rites of passage and later, I became a handy courier passing on love letters to town maidens.

One particular classmate had his eye on this maiden from barrio Tilod (where I was born). I would walk from the town proper to the barrio (a good three kilometers away) passing through the shoreline that starts past the town cemetery and past the beach of barrio Moning.

In one deserted hut in the middle of rice fields in barrio Moning, you see young men from my town checking on their private parts months after the rites of passage. They would exchange stories about early intimate encounters and indeed some of them were just capable of acting out the whole carnal scene. Just for fun.

This must be the summer I became an avid reader of publications coming in from Manila.

There is a woman from Virac called Tia Merly who rationed Manila Bulletin, Liwayway and Philippines Free Press in my hometown.  Indeed, I actually sold some of them to as far as Macutal barrio.

This was the summer I would discover writers Kerima Polotan and Nick Joaquin and from this Peace Corp Volunteer named William Keating detailed at Catanduanes National High School, I discovered American writers from Ernest Hemmingway to William Faulkner and John Steinbeck, among others. William Shakespeare followed suit and later the French writers from Marcel Proust to Victor Hugo.

I believe it was summer when I saw my first ballet at the Catanduanes College Auditorium in the 60s. Back then, I couldn’t afford a ticket. I had to climb a tree overlooking the school auditorium and voila, I saw and heard my first ballet music and was easily enchanted. I met one of the dancers later in my life as an arts writer. Her name is Ester Rimpos, who told me she danced in Virac in the 60s with the Anita Kane Ballet Company.

It was summer when one left for the Big City. I was determined to become a writer and got my first acceptance slip and an advance check payment from the Philippines Free Press copies of which I used to sell in my hometown.

In the city, summer was the season you finally saw life in another plane.

Having had your fill of the idyllic life in the province and later got your share of the slice of grim city existence, you see two contrasting worlds with different people from the opposite world.

Summer has taught you to accept life for what it has to offer and what it couldn’t.

On the autumn of your life, you see summer as the age you took flight from innocence to discovery of things that used to be beyond your ken, so to speak.

And when you did, summer acquired a certain hue that almost always describes how you feel now.

Yes, it is summer once more and I have come of age.

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