Breakfast of dust and history

By Rex Catubig   


SOME wonder why the Jayceekens love to have breakfast and meetings at the unkept PNR Heritage site. And for good reason. After all, the dusty ground, crawling ants and falling insects from the Duhat tree, aggravated by the piercing morning sun, can turn off the faint of heart.

But there is something to be said in favor of the breakfast amid the historic ruins. Despite the inhospitable surroundings, being there at the moment, immersed in the environ, the up close encounter with the cultural relic of a momentous past imbues one with a palpable sense of being part of history, and triggers an awareness of responsibility that is born of a proud feeling of ownership.

On one such Monday breakfast, former long-time Councilor Sanggunian fiscalizer Chito Samson recalls the Train Expo that showcased the products of different regions, bringing the trade and culture of places hitherto unvisited by residents along the train stops. Jaycceken past prexy Asterio Fernandez joins in with his recollection of the air conditioned coaches he used to take on the train’s midnight run to Manila and how cold it was! And there is the story of the humongous “talyasi” or iron vat constantly frying crunchy chicharones that welcomed the passengers at the terminal. And of course, who could forget the yodel of bucayo vendors like troubadours selling the candied coconut delicacy pioneered by the Ordoñez family of Caranglaan, that one was never without a box for pasalubong?

These vignettes and many more are the stuff heritage sites are made of. They are the repository of our collective consciousness, of the volumes of our storied past; and they offer a glimpse of the life and times of an era that defined our well-being, validated our quintessential identity, and fostered our aspirations.

The dust and the falling insects are but dog ears in the pages of history as they serve to remind us, albeit in an irritating way, where we have left off and then take us to the continuation and the rest of our story.

At every breakfast, we rediscover time and again from where and whence we came and who we are—as Dagupeños. We break bread and share crumbs and morsels of our being, and the libation for our souls. It’s a communal commemoration of the legacy bequeathed by our forefathers, a precursive practice to perpetuate the bond we have with history.

The simple breakfast thus assumes the accoutrement of an homage, a grateful tribute.

One can brush off the dust, the crawling ants and the falling insects; but one cannot brush off the historic and cultural legacy we are heirs to—that we should take care of and be thankful for.

Share your Comments or Reactions


Powered by Facebook Comments