I have sweet and memorable recollection of my youth, with a tinge of sadness. We were 7 children, 3 girls and four boys. I am the fourth. Even though we were poor, my mother and father worked hard to put food on the table and shirts on our backs. We were taught by our parents well and had good learning from home before we went off to school to be so-called educated. We were taught to be honest, courteous, obedient and respectful. We always studied hard.
My mom taught us to attend mass every Sunday, Soon I was helping at the old Church of the Resurrection under the late Fr. Alejandro Rulite as early as Grade One until I graduated from Easter High School.
From Grade One until college, I took care and raised hogs to help in the family. I gathered kitchen slops from neighbors and from restaurants along Session road in Baguio City for the pigs. I still remember going to school daily with a big kerosene can which I used for getting kitchen wastes every day after class and having been the butt of many jokes by my well to do classmates. They called me ‘arasao boy”. On Saturdays, I went with my late great grandma Mad-an to her “uma” (kaingin) and got camote vines which I cooked for the pigs. I also sold newspapers, scrap metals, shined shoes, carried baggage and hauled stones and gravel at a local quarry in Pinsao.
I am blessed I was an honor student from Grades 1 to 6 and from First to 3rd Year High School. I had no medal during my Fourth year but went on to pass as a state scholar which allowed me to study in college.
Twice I almost died. The first time was when I was in Grade Two. I was eight years old. While ringing the church bell, the cable snapped and being the youngest “sakristan”, I was told by the older ones to climb and tie the knot of the bell. I climbed but the log beams were wet from accumulated bird droppings. I was fortunate to tie the rope back to the cable but when I started to descent fifty feet down, I slipped. Luckily I was holding the rope so I dangled full of fear. I slowly went down hanging to the rope and shouted on by my co-scaristans to be careful. I was so afraid and shaking with fear. After a few hours I realized God did not want me to die while serving Him
The second time I almost died was when I was in Grade Three. Being a member of a drama cast in school, we traveled frequesntly to far places to present “Macbeth and Othello”. The long nights and fatigue caught up with me. I almost died due to meningitis. I was in coma for six days. During that time I dreamt I was floating on clouds and seeing my mom crying over my lifeless body at Pines hospital. The doctors told her I was dead and advised her to bring me home but she refused to let go of me and pleaded to a certain Dra ______ Claridad (who put up the Baguio Medical Center) to do something. I was told Dra. Clarided inserted a tube inside my skull to drain the accumulated fluids in between the meninges. Then I was brought home. There, I got back to life It was another miracle. God gave me back my life again. I was hospitalized for 2 months and was unable to walk for three months.
My mom also said our family lost all its savings just to pay for my hospitalization bills. I felt so sad and heartbroken when I was told about it.