Friday, October 3, 2008
RC was the first Caucasian I befriended. This was during my 6th grade, way back in 1987-88. She is Australian. Her family rented a place in Nangonogan, Sagada - where I spent my early childhood years. I don't remember what her family's business in Sagada was. I know they moved from one rural place to another. Prior to Sagada, they stayed in Somalia. This means that her folks may have worked for a non-government organization, but at that time, it didn't occur to me to even ask. Her family were the first Buddhists I ever met.
I was a regular at their house; she and her brother had a good collection of Asterix and Tintin comic books. I remember playing darts with them both. And, when it was school election time, she run under my party as the Public Relations Officer (PRO). After a campaign speech in front of the whole school, she sang "Waltzing Matilda". I remember that I won in the position I aspired for; she narrowly lost to a 5th grader. (On a side note - when I worked in Paris, a French colleague was surprised that I read Asterix and Tintin as a child. He pronounced Tintin as "tan-tan".)
We had a class debate during that year - it was on the effect of tourism in Sagada. I was in the group who favored tourism, to my great surprise, she was in the opposing group. To me, she was a tourist in Sagada. Perhaps she didn't see herself as I did. She was one of five or six from that group who stood up and gave a speech why tourism is bad for Sagada.
After 6th grade, I moved to Manila to continue my high school studies. I believe RC and her family stayed in Sagada for a year or two more. After that, we lost contact with each other. Just last year, I opened a Facebook account. I searched for RCs name and I saw a profile from Australia. I sent her a message asking if she was the same RC who was in Sagada. She replied back:
"Yes!! I am RC who went to sagada elementary school, and I am delighted and suprised that anyone has found me! I would never have thought that anyone would find me from Sagada. I am SO PLEASEd you did. ...Sometimes, the child in me wish that he is still in Sagada - a 6th grader, no cares in the world except for reading Asterix and Tintin comics, and learning "Waltzing Matilda" from an Australian friend.
The only thing is I have a vague memory I definately rememeber your name, and now your face has changed. I have photos of that time and I will look at them. Are you still in Sagada?"