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Lola Basyang

Netnet Camomot

SEVERINO Reyes wrote short stories and titled them “Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang” for Liwayway, the Tagalog magazine that he founded and edited. He began the series in 1925, and in 1949, his son Pedrito produced komiks out of the series which later evolved into having their own TV and movie versions, with Gabby Concepcion and Snooky Serna even starring in “Nahihimbing na Kagandahan” for Regal Films in 1985.

Is Tropical Storm Basyang having its own komiks, TV and movie versions, too? Oh, my.

“Mga Kuwento” did have its fans whose loyalty helped the series level up to more media exposure.

Reading has always been one of my favorite hobbies, along with eating, sleeping, and collecting piggies and miniatures. Hehe. But in the last 10 years, I’ve been buying books without reading most of them.

There’s a reason you bought that book on that particular day. So, if you buy a book today and read it ten years later, that reason may no longer be there for your future circumstances. “The only thing that is constant is change,” as the saying goes, and that’s also true for the books you like.

To further prove that change is the only constant in life, there was a time when typhoons and floods were unheard of in Cagayan de Oro. That’s why Sendong shocked Cagayanons in December 2011—rapid urbanization and no adequate drainage system have been causing floods in CDO since then.

A typhoon warning should prompt those who live in flood-prone areas to evacuate before it’s too late. It has been a series of typhoons lately—Vinta last December three days before Christmas Day, Agaton welcomed the New Year, and now, Basyang for Valentine’s Day. Tsk tsk. Climate change is such a bummer.

With most CDO motels, er, hotels located downtown where floods are the norm, “wet” for today may only refer to drenched by the rain, with “slippery when wet” as a warning for walking on sidewalks. Ho-hum.

But not ho-hum to those in flood-prone areas.

If only we can savor the rain while sipping hot choco and munching on strawberry-and-cheese sandwiches. Instead, we may have to monitor typhoon updates through radio and Facebook while communicating with friends who live in flood-prone areas.

Time is of the essence when it comes to rescue efforts for flood victims. You can’t start sending help ten days later, or even ten hours after the SOS call is made. The rescue team is needed right now, not later. Much like the book we buy which should be read the moment we arrive home, to ensure its message is still crystal clear. Ten years later, we may regret buying that book for we can’t relate with it anymore. And this is also true for other things which you’re storing for far too long—para que? They’re only occupying precious space while attracting dust, their importance waning ever so slowly as the days pass by.

A hardbound copy of Margaret Atwood’s “The Blind Assassin” is one of the dusty books that overstayed in the cabinet. Reading it became a chore years later. It’s hardbound, so, it’s the thickest and biggest copy, it occupied space that could have been shared by two paperbacks.

Flood survivors may not see it as a blessing in disguise, since it was the most difficult lesson they had to learn, but at least they now practice minimalism after losing several precious possessions in past floods.

A house with less décor gives its residents more room to breathe, that’s why less is more. Backpackers have also learned the importance of less is more, as they travel light from one country to another. Everything else is simply excess baggage.

Can one still practise minimalism despite the piggy and miniature collections? Hmmm.

Last month, a friend saw my huge luggage on the airport’s baggage carousel, and she asked, Aha diay ka gikan? Uh, I bring the piano with me each time I travel.

While Lola Basyang had many stories to share, I, on the other hand, have many more stories to read. Some of these books may end up like “The Blind Assassin,” with only their first few pages read but not absorbed and felt.

I tend to forget most stories after reading them, except for a few which I still remember such as Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild,” Josephine Hart’s “Damage,” and Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead.” And I don’t mean the whole story from cover to cover but only here-and-there flashbacks that manage to visit the senior-moment brain when it’s empty.

Reading can be a spectator sport, with Lola Basyang as one of the athletes playing in midfield, that is, if you love her kuwento. If you don’t, there are many others—Rand, Hart, Strayed, etc.—whose thoughts you can discover through the books they write.

As for the “Fifty Shades” series, they may convince you that sex doesn’t need bondage gear, with only you and your beloved savoring the real meaning of slippery when wet.

Well, Happy Hearts! But it’s also Ash Wednesday. A journalist noted this in his Facebook post last Feb. 6: “Remember ang Valentayms ay nataon din na Ash Wednesday. Bawal ang carne, sabi ni Father.”

Uh. Is he referring to… carne norte?

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TREND MAKER. Mindanao Gold Star Daily was established in 1989 to set ablaze a new meaning & flame to the local newspaper business. Throughout the years it continued its focus and interest in the rural areas & pioneered the growth of countryside journalism.

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