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Into each of our generations, one or two of our town's characters emerge as someone unforgettable. They are the people who everybody knows because of the joys and the fun they had provided. These characters might be familiar to you:

Papa Islaw
Mana Albina
Mano Kunong.

Their stories are still clear on my mind and they never fail to give me that wide smile. They made us like every Sulatnon is. I can write my recollections and anecdotes about them but i would rather get them from all of you who would visit this page. The fun of recalling those times is sharing. Isn't this what made us Sulatnons? We share the "tagay," we share the"pahat," we share the "panapu-an," we share all the fun.

Please, if you have anything to contribute, please send me a mail and it will be included here. Do share!


Long time ago before radio and television, the most popular entertainment there was was story telling. I still recall during my grade school days when before we started classes, we would have the opening program. Kids would be asked to recite a poem, sing a song and tell a story. Those stories sparked a lot of writing creativity in some of us.  The art is slowly dying though if not dead completely as part of our culture. Slowly, high tech entertainment creeps into our midst. Could there be a way to preserve it? Surely, it depends on all of us. Those stories are very part of our heritege and worthwhile preserving. Like the old adage says, "Ang hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makakarating sa patutunguhan."

We had our own versions of that enchanted realm where the good still reigns, where complete beauty exists. We had our "Cinderellas, Thumbelinas" and all sorts of beautiful characters. Our culture is rich. In here is a very simple attempt to instill in all of us love for that almost gone literature. This is a simple attempt to start preserving it.

Mito is typical of those storytellers, those who can capture our attentions with the exaggerated events that was considered then as fantasy. He made us travel with him, giving us little by little of what he went through. As each story winds, the ever faithful wife, always supportive,  attests to the story by declaring, "Toto-o it ni Mito."

Papa Islaw is a quick wit. His personality was so strong that almost nobody can say no to him. In spite of that, he possesses a lot of humor. In fact, he become the permanent President of the Istambay Association." My experience with him was when i was younger, he would ask me to buy sugar from the little corner store and give me a handful later to lick going home. Those were the days, folks.

Apoy Albina  was a sweet lady. I went home to Sulat last January (this year 2002) and I saw her very early in the morning opening her store. At her age, she did not forget me even from a long absense. She still possesed that sharp memory even at a lot of times, when she is startled or surprised, she would say things absent-mindedly much to the pleasuire of other people within hearing distance.

Gumok is the guy who woul swear always at the drop of the word, or even a hint, of the word gumok. Literally, gumok means messy or tangled.

Mano Kunong is a very simple man but don't let it fool you. He owns the store that sells everything. From the very simple things to an airplane, he sells those. Oftentimes, out of towners will drop by his house trying to buy what they were told he had but Mano Kunong says,  "I am sorry but somebody got ahead of you and i am out of stock right now.."

Here they are to give us pleasure once more.

The start of his travels:
"I was going upstreams in the Sulat River and the day was just an ordinary day. One thing I noticed was the river was murky. The yellow-brownish color of the water was so striking, there being no flood. Out of curiousity, I tasted the water and lo and behold, it tasted sweet. I followed  what i thought it was and sure enough, there is this big hive hanging from this big tree with honey dripping down. I did what everyone will do: I got my sundang and started chopping the branch that was sagging down from the weight of the hanging hive. Unfortunately, as soon as the hive fell, I was hurled so far when the branch snapped and I found myself in Tulegarao (Tuguegarao? only him knows!)"

Coming home, walking by a river, i saw a woman doing laundry on top of a shiny stone. As I watch her doing the chore, i see that she is getting farther and farther from the bank. Somebody noticed and told all the townsfolk that the stone she was in was actually a big crab and going farther into the middle of the river. They tried to catch that crab and afterwards made a feast that lasted a week out of the flesh and made a boat out of the "alikuron," (shell) and the kapay, the wider part of the crab's legs, they made into rudder.

. Anybody interested in continuing the story? E-mail me.

Papa Islaw
A relative came running to his house asking for a place to hide, a woman was looking for him. His answer? "You might have owed her money!"

Another relative was trying to sell him rice at a low price but then he told the person to wait, he is going to his uncle, a store owner, to ask how much is the price of rice right then. The relative pleaded, "Please, Itay, I'll give you the rice for free, just don't go to my uncle."

Another instance was when a bully was running the people out of the street by brandishing his sundang. He came to the bridge where Papa Islaw is most of the day and surprised why the old man was not running. He asked the old man. "Papa Islaw, are you not running?" The old man said, "What I am afraid of is if you don't do it."

His wife once complained about the price of canned sardines. He told her not to worry about the price of sardines, just making the cans will be expensive already. Think too of putting the sardines in!

Well, folks, until I hear from you...