Winds from Laguna de Bay

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Villa Mercedes, our ancestral home in Bohol
Photo courtesy of Jenny Dawn Beldia

It was unusually cold again yesterday. When you’re in Metro Manila, experiencing temperature that falls somewhere between 20°C-25°C is a treat — well at least it is for me. The weather has been my good friend these last few weeks. Our huge windows allow the wind to come in and pass through from all directions, so a gush of wind can either be pleasant… or scary. It depends on who’s telling you about it. Since her youth my mother has blamed the wind for her episodic vertigo attacks, so she likes breezeless, warm, dry weather. My husband and son sometimes feel like they’re being punished by it. My sister visited a week ago and when the wind suddenly went wild at four in the afternoon and (as usual) I refused to close the doors and windows, she looked at me and bawled out, “Why do we have to suffer from this?”

It’s normal for stuff in our house to go flying around, mocking a localized hurricane, or more fittingly, a poltergeist. On some days it’s not unusual to see a carpet upturned, rugs from different parts of the house strewn in different places, and all kinds of stuff thrown on the floor. On one occasion, our east-hugging wooden bench (that carries an inexplainable character of egotism) moved about half an inch when a strong wind swished through our veranda.

So what is there to like about all this? It’s quite difficult to explain really. I am an island girl who grew up reveling in the sun and wind. Our house was near the wharf and I have fond memories of afternoons bathing in the pleasantly warm sunshine, and chasing small leaves blown by the wind. I am a tad embarrassed that this is beginning to sound like poetry, but my life in the 70’s and 80’s was beautiful. I can sum it up in a haiku, but won’t.

My paternal grandparents’ old Spanish house is my mental scrapbook of great memories. It had seven huge rooms of which three shared a balcony. The carved balcony balustrade allowed me to see the other side, so when my small feet became tired from tiptoeing I’d sit and watch small boats crossing the silvery sea through the gaps. The wind would almost lull me to sleep, but my siblings and cousins would suddenly tug me and bring me right back to reality. We’d all run down and towards the vineyard and play a game of hide-and-seek.

Years later, we moved across the ocean and lived in a tiny city by the sea. You see, the wind and the sea have never left me. 

I’ve lived in daydreams all my life and the wind is my music. On some days when I turn down the music at home, it irks the other living beings in there (one big boy called a husband, the other not-so-big boy called a son). I fail to explain that whenever I do that I’d just want to go back to my first homes where I could chase leaves on the wharf, or watch boats floating on silvery seas. But those can only happen in my mind now. 

I thought I’d completely been orphaned by the wind when we moved here In Manila. I was always surrounded by buildings and the suffocating realities of life in a big city until I reunited with the sea (well, almost. It’s a lake), the mountain and the blue sky right here in our own veranda. 

The wind is my most welcome visitor. To close the doors and windows in my house is like closing the doors to my old, old friend. 


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