DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 16 April) — I have been staying in my farm for a number of years and am astounded with the swirl of stories around me which also includes my own experiences…..
Manong Ilag was among the first farm workers of my Papa. He married Mosay who has a daughter from a previous liaison with a Japanese.
We used to have a number of Japanese tenants . The abaca plantations nearby employed Japanese who transformed themselves to competent soldiers when World War 11 was declared. They served as guides to the incoming Japanese forces who landed and eventually conquered Davao and the whole of Mindanao.
Anyways, Manong Ilag and Manang Musay lived in the less populated area of the farm which later became part of the property I have inherited from my parents. They enjoyed the serenity. Nearby is an old native durian tree where, oftentimes, you can hear voices with not a single soul around.
Manong Ilag is known to speak only when spoken too. Whenever Papa visited their abode, he would always have baskets of fruits ready while Manang Musay would brew some coffee or tsokwate.
One day, Manong Ilag disappeared without a trace. His son in law organized a search party. Neighbors came with large empty tin cans and started pounding them while shouting his name. They later found him seated up on a coconut tree, with feet dangling precariously on the palm. They had to borrow the rope tied to a carabao to bring him down .
According to Manong Ilag, he woke up at dawn and went down the house to pee fronting the old durian tree. Suddenly out of nowhere a man who resembled my Papa appeared and asked him to go on a ride in his car. Without hesitation, he agreed. They arrived in a big mansion where my papa claimed he was staying. He was served food a number of times and repeatedly declined because it looked unpalatable. Papa then decided to drive him back and that’s when the search party found him perched on a coconut tree.
Manong Ilag and Manang Musay are now long gone. Their house has been torn down. The century old durian was struck by a lightning and eventually died but we still hear the voices now and then….
(Susan Palad used to be in the government service and later ventured into the travel business. She has retired from both and spends more time at her farm. She is still on denial stage though by refusing to call herself a senior citizen. She still wants to maintain a busy lifestyle)