If a place has undergone such an enormous change, can it still stir up forgotten memories of those days you’ve once spent in its old state?
This was my initial thought upon stepping inside my grandparent’s house in Sariaya, Quezon. The appearance of the house itself remained the same even after so many years. My grandparents did a few repairs on its walls and roofs but it pretty much carries that familiar warmth and comfort it has brought me during my short summer vacations.
What surprised me was the vast area surrounding this tiny bungalow. If my memory serves me correctly, there used to be more trees around. Most of which are even older than my grandparents but sadly these trees have to be cut down so that the land where they stand could be utilized more for farming and raising livestock. The tree trunks were either sold as lumbers or used as firewood.
This is the house of my grandparents’ neighbor. I cannot exactly remember who used to live in it. I think it is one of our distant relatives. It’s already falling apart and looks really creepy at night. I spent half of my afternoons here when I was a kid, watching cartoons and making crayon doodles.
I learned how to ride a bike during one of short stays with my grandparents. One of the most challenging biking routes I had before was this place called “crusher.” During the late 1990s, this was a parking space for stone crushing machines and I’m assuming this is where the residents here based its moniker. Before, it was extremely rocky and dusty but now a few trees and shrubs have sprouted in the area, making it perfect resting place for cattles and goats.
Aside from these changes, the river where we used to skip stones and take a quick refreshing bath has gone totally dry. My aunt told me that the river “died” when they started building commercial establishments around it.
If any consolation, a few of my favorite “province things” still remain solid and intact. We can still put our hammocks around the remaining trees and enjoy the warmth of the summer breeze.
Enjoy fresh coconut juice to quench our thirst.
And most especially, watch the flowers as they bloom.
For me, at least for now, it is not the changes that happened in my grandparents’ place that matter but how it made me look back and appreciate the sweetness and simplicity of my childhood days. Maybe, I am thinking way too much, but I feel that these changes are gentle reminders that I am getting older (and I wish wiser) and thus further away from where I’ve been as a fragile and shy kid.
Change may not always be for the better, but this wouldn’t erase the fact that it is inevitable. One may have a strong attachment to a place (or a person) but in one way or another, things need to evolve in order to adapt to the challenges of time. Good thing, we have photography on our side to help us remember, when change seems to be chaotic and difficult, the days and feelings we once cherished.