[Top-left photo shows part of the Carandang nipa hut in Taal, Batangas; an heirloom for posterity to see. Bottom-left photo was snapped showing us, who served as guests at the Barangay Ilog, Taal, Batangas fiesta, ensconced on the bamboo stairs leading to the nipa hut’s living room: Front row-L-R:Aly, Anthony, Jomar and Jun Revilla; Back row-L-R: Cel Gellada and me. Top-right and bottom right photos show Jomar doing the “thumbs up” and “OKEY” signs with CA Justice Rorie Carandang. Babes and Beth, Cel Gellada’s wife, were both busy playing a friendly mahjong game with Justice Rorie’s neighbors while these photos were snapped.]
One Saturday, on May 7, 2016; we trekked to Barangay Ilog in Taal, Batangas to attend another town fiesta after that evocative and countrified episode in our earlier trip to Magallanes, Cavite town fiesta in January 2016. Magallanes, Cavite is the well-loved town of Ambassador Victoria “Vicky” Bataclan (“Amb. Vicky”), my batch mate at UP College of Law. In that episode, Amb. Vicky literally walked us through their town annotating while we ambled, as to what happened during her nonage up to adolescence from one section of the town to another.
My son Anthony yearned to join us, as during our trip to Magallanes, Cavite (where he was among the joiners) he got enraptured by the life stories and memories of childhood of both Amb. Vicky and our Barangay Ilog host, Justice Rosmari “Rorie” Carandang. And the experience intrigued Anthony much, for which reason, he wanted to meet Justice Rorie once more in the flesh.
I and my son Anthony together with Ma. Loreto “Babes” Navarro, Cecilio “Cel” Gellada and his affable wife Beth (my UP Law 79 classmates) and Anastacio “Jun” Revilla, Jr. (UP Law 78), with his son Jomar travelled on board a rented Nissan Urvan to Barangay Ilog, Taal, Batangas. The motivation was principally focused on tasting what was described by our host as the most appetizing and luscious version of a pork dish.
We left Quezon City around 5:30 AM and after hanging around a couple of minutes waiting for my son’s girlfriend, Alyana Quigaman Duyan (“Aly”), along Roxas Boulevard, who came all the way from Chinatown in Binondo, Manila; we arrived in Barangay Ilog in Taal, Batangas at the ancestral home of Justice Rorie around 8:00 AM. Justice Rorie is not our batch mate but is a very close friend of Amb. Vicky and that during our college days while Justice Rorie is senior than us, we have had times then where social interactions would bring us all together.
What impressed us most during this escapade to Barangay Ilog was not the truly luscious and appetizing dishes of fowl, pork and beef plus the morning meal of suman (i.e. native rice cake wrapped inside green banana leaves) and native hot choco which is actually prepared via the tablea chocolate balls melted into a hot drink via that gadget called the “batidor”, some kind of a wooden but ornately sculpted stirrer. Our enthrallment, nay our immersion, was focused more upon the well-preserved antique of a nipa hut which has seen community life in Barangay Ilog for almost 100 years.
Per our gracious host, it was the wish of her grandmother to have their original ancestral home preserved and as the grand matriarch had wished it, our convivial host gladly filled in to her commitment to truly and religiously preserve it.
The relative large nipa hut which consists of a bedroom adjoining the stairs made of bamboo, a living room which is located at the head of the bamboo stairs and the central portion of the structure, a dining room and a kitchen complete with the earthen jar called in the vernacular as tapayan (which is used to contain drinking water) and a stove made of earth which has become as hard as stone (due to the constant watering, searing and burning by fire) almost ashen in color already known in the vernacular as tungko.
The native hut is actually located at the north eastern portion of a relatively huge tract of land while the modern-style 2-storey house made of lumber, steel and cement which now serves as the present lodging of the Carandang clan lies at the center portion of the land towards the south of the nipa hut.
As our host eventually toured us inside the nipa hut, Justice Rorie pointed to us where, she together with her FIVE (5) other siblings as little toddlers would sleep and where they would congregate to take their meals using tin cans which are usual container of cookies and biscuits, as their improvised stools while they gather around an improvised table.
Justice Rorie showed us too their kitchen with the tungko (i.e. crudely fashioned native stove) as the main feature for the household’s cooking needs. While showing us around, Justice Rorie just like an accomplished tour guide narrated how her grandparents though limited with meager means, assiduously sent her mother and FIVE (5) other siblings to school up to college. And their brood produced 3 lawyers, one engineer, a doctor and a school teacher in the person of Justice Rorie’s mother. It was in the same large nipa hut where Justice Rorie and her siblings got raised and matured into adulthood.
Indeed, every family has something and anything that has been passed on to them by their parents, grandparents, and so on. Family treasures may be in the form of jewelry, antique furniture, photos, personal journals or diaries, handicrafts, or even a worn out hat! However, in this case of Justice Rorie, the heirloom is really as huge as a house. No matter what one’s heirloom could be, the important thing is that you know how valuable it is to your family and thus, should be well taken care of. And Justice Rorie is truly taking care of their family’s heirloom, the clan’s precious jewel, nay a treasure trove of loving remembrances.
Family heirlooms are great treasures not because of the monetary value it may have. More than the economic worth is the priceless story behind it and an ancestral home such as the Carandang nipa hut in Barangay Ilog, Taal, Batangas; is truly filled with stories, memories and fascinating experiences.
Actually, the revelation that the nipa hut has weathered the vicissitudes of nature for almost 100 years was not volunteered by Justice Rorie. It was an unsolicited information from a neighbor, actually a pedicab driver which Jomar hailed as he bought a newspaper at the poblacion. When the pedicab driver asked him where he (i.e. Jomar) was guest, and as Jomar narrated that he was a guest of Justice Rorie; the pedicab driver talked with pride about the 100 year old nipa hut of the Carandang clan.
[Left photo shows the NATIVE-TYPE of stove used in cooking meals at the Carandang nipa hut which is called in the vernacular as TUNGKO. Right photo shows the picture of the native earthen jar (at extreme left at middle portion) which contains drinking water, which is called in the vernacular as a TAPAYAN. It is stationed in such a place abutting from the wall of the nipa hut in a manner that would allow the cool evening breeze to chill the drinking water.]