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I grew up in a dysfunctional family. My papa loved drinking and gambling with his friends while my mama was searching for the means of our survival. There were physical and verbal fights most of the time.
But I could clearly recall that moment when my family was the happiest. It was all of us in a disco with my teenage sisters. My parents were monitoring their dates. My papa was dancing with my mama while the flashlight was on in his pocket. We were all having fun. The only person who cannot dance gracefully was my Ate G, our eldest sister. That night was a bittersweet memory that never happened again.
I'm not sure if I was 8. There was a barrio fiesta coronation night for a beauty pageant. The townsfolk flocked to witness that grand event and we didn't wanna miss it for the world so Mama and I went.
We started walking on a dark road on the way up a hill called "Matoug", which means "foggy". There was no single lamp post in that area, yup, we walked through the moonlight. I could feel the dust in my feet while I was slowly getting tired of walking. I only see a glimpse of those trees, my shadow shied away. It felt like forever.
I was scared at first because a "wakwak/aswang/monster" might grab me but it disappeared because everyone's walking and talking. Some had "sulo" or a torch from either dried coconut leaves or bamboo poles to clearly see the pathway. Creative, eh?
We finally arrived in a small place was surrounded by disco lights. I didn't care who was crowned because I wanted to dance in that dance floor fenced by woven coconut leaves. "Ayaw sandigi ang koral kay mahugno!". It means, "Don't lean on the fence so it won't collapse!", in English.
We loved "bayle". It's derived from a Spanish word "bailar" which means "to dance".
"Mamayle ta" or "Mangdisco ta"is a Visayan translation for "Let's go to a dance/disco". "Mamaylihay" is a person who loves to go to a dance. I was an 8-year-old "mamaylihay".
I was so immersed in the music. Who wouldn't be when they were playing the best disco music of the 80s and the 90s! There was a "SaturdayNight", "Wanna be my lover", "Please don't go", etc. I performed all the dance steps that I could possibly remember when "Ooops undang sa ta kay magtubil sa ta!". I froze because everything went dark and the music stopped. What the?! The announcer said that we had to stop our enjoyment because they had to refuel. They were only using a generator. I've never been so disappointed in my life. And it happened several times in the entire evening.
The party has ended. We started walking our way home on the same dark, rugged road. I was starting to imagine horrid creatures lurking everywhere. And I hated the fact that a "kabaong" or a coffin could appear flying any minute. Suddenly, I heard clip-clop..."Ay, okay ra ka bai?" It means "Are you okay mate?". The two men fell from their horses. How can the poor horse see through the night without any light on?
I was so relieved when we finally made it home. I slept my tiredness and frustration away. I told myself that I didn't wanna go to that kind of place again. But I really did it again with my elder sister when I was 12.