A chorus of birds rejoicing upon the arrival of the morning sun has snapped me out of my slumber the following day.
As if it was the changing of the guards, the nocturnal bat hovered past me, perched upon the ceiling, and settled upside-down for a sleep. I, on the other hand, hovered my vision around as I surveyed my surrounding on which I was sure to be staying for a whole month in.
The stillness of the place with the wonders of nature creeping in sure gave a picture of a place unsullied by human inhabitants for quite a long time now. The naturalness of the ambience may have something supernatural in store in it. That was why on the previous night, I just played Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures to distract myself from thinking of the possibly lurking bizarre supernatural misadventures that threatened the stability of my perception towards the metaphysical.
Ironically, I slept at the episode in Battle Tendency where Wammu, Esidisi, and Kars awakened. Ayayaya! The techno Arabic music blending in to the swag of the three Aztec superbeings really puts the icing to the bizarreness of Jojo and the culture that sprang because of it. It was a culture so bizarre and generic that I distracted me enough with the recollection of the hilarity quips and comments of some of the pundits and fans.
Ominously, however, I woke up at the episode where Kars began floating in the uncharted territory of space for eternity. It reminded me of the uncharted situation that I was currently in.
I was at a remote mountain barangay in San Mateo, Rizal. Barangay Pintong Bukawe was at the border between San Mateo and Antipolo City. There was only one way for me to get into the town proper of San Mateo. However, that road crisscrossed across the border of San Mateo and Antipolo. The junction to Sapinit Road has a police checkpoint. And to get pass through that checkpoint, I had to present proof that I was a resident of either my origin or my destination, on which I was neither.
So, I have to get myself used into living within this place for about a month.
Kagawad Ryan knocked upon the gate to inform me that the water delivery truck was at the front yard. It was not a delivery truck for drinking water but rather for tap water. Given the series of ravines that I passed through last night, I was sure that Manila Water would go bankrupt if they were to install numerous pumps, pipes, regulators and actuators just to reach this mountain barangay. And for sure, the residents here would just opt for the accessible spring water.
Five drums were filled with spring water, on which Kagawad Ryan was sure that it was within the range of my monthly consumption. Each drum costed me around 50 pesos. So I generously handed over 250 pesos for those five drums.
With the drums in place, I was sure that I would be going old school again. Thankfully, I have a sufficient backbone of experience of fetching water from the pumps and artesian wells when my hometown in Tarlac still didn’t have a water network and distributor.
I fetched around 5 pales of spring water in preparation for my bath plus the extra sh*tting that I would be doing after.
I guessed that my stay-overs at Erik’s place drilled into me a consciousness towards water conservation as I collected my bathwater which I then used to flush the toilet. So far, so good.
I have been living at my place in UP alone for months now, so I would be pretty sure that things would go well for me here at Brgy. Pintong Bukawe, if only the bar of the standard of frugal living that I had in UP would also be reached by this remote barangay.
I can’t reach anyone on my phone as the bar(s) indicating the telecommunications signal in my phone was virtually non-existent.
This made me realize how the times have changed for mankind which initially lived by satisfying the four (4) basic needs: food, water, clothing, and shelter. It was a harmonious balance back then, but the dynamics within mankind has propelled them into searching for progress. And in that quest for progress came technology. In search for progress, mankind has raised their standards as they should always be. The age of technology brought the hastening of the transition of generations as the culture of one generation differed greatly from the culture of the generation that succeeded them. The age of technology has also brought the consequential dependency of the newer generations towards the newer brands of technology.
In a nutshell, I can’t live without contacts from my “outside world”.
Many may have mistaken me as part of the generation who indulge themselves in social media and its superficiality. The newer generations, through social media, have produced tons of happy images, with inspiring captions, but with gloomy memories and after-tones. Though it has given easy access to our social facades, social media has made our personal intricacies even more inaccessible.
It was with the fascination into maintaining images that many people, gullible and willfully ignorant towards social realities, issues, and political history, fell prey to the revisionist narrative of a family who sought return to power by projecting the images and infrastructural facades that their patriarch once peddled.
The revisionist narratives that ran rampart in social media were not only limited in the historical aspect. Failing and incompetent governments often rely to misinformation, propaganda, and delusions to keep on fooling people, to enhance fear into making the people forget the mandate within them, and to deflect pressing questions towards the crumbling realities that the governments themselves have caused. All of these in social media culminated into what is called “fake news” championed by a dumbass who showed appalling sheer ignorance, not only on reality but also on geography where she made an independent city a barangay of a provincial capitol and where she didn’t even know which respective provinces Isarog and Mayon are situated.
Unlike her, I know where those two volcanoes (one active; one potentially active) were situated. And I knew what I wanted with the technology that I was depending one.
As the great Hikigaya Hachiman once said:
“Fake people have an image to maintain. Real people just don’t care.”
I knew that I had a reputation to various people. But I didn’t hide it from anyone. In that way, I truly knew who my real friends and special ones really were.
I sought to reassure those people that I was fine and doing well.
I dragged my still-swollen legs to a 500-meter walk towards the cell-site. The cell-site was at junction where there was a waiting shed.
And as I waited for my phone to pick up the signal, I saw many young people, playing Mobile Legends, typical for that generation.
When the signal picked up, I immediately messaged Erik that I was stuck here at this mountain barangay and assured him that I was doing fine, so far. I also messaged my younger brother about the situation that I was in. My relatives have been expecting me at Tarlac. I asked him to tell them that I would be unable to come home there. I also informed my co-workers about my situation.
I also contacted the project leader of our research project (who was my friend) and told him about the situation and what I was intending to do for the meantime. He just told me to not pressure myself as my safety was the top priority still.
I also contacted my advisee, telling her that I would not be able to come to her place in Angeles City to help her to prepare for her final defense. She said that it was fine (She can do it.) as she wished my safety instead.
I contacted most of the special people in my life. That time was reassuring indeed. However, that time was limited as the sun dipped below the horizon. The curfew took effect. And I was forced to cut that moment of reprieve short.
It really felt that I was serving a sentence. And it would be a long month.