Taga-bukid na Tagalog or Tagalog of the "bukid" (provincial) variety, is the contrasting basis of what has been labelled "Manila Tagalog". Familiar countryside images recall words sometimes spoken and heard only in the "bukid". This short feature is a snapshot of some of those images.
Walking around the unpaved streets of GUV Village in San Pascual Batangas, I am inspired by rural images. These familiar settings bring back happy childhood memories. They formed the backdrop of our playground when we were young kids out in the fields playing hide and seek (Taguan), catch-me-if-you-can (Habulan), and Banggol.
In Malitam, Batangas, where my mother grew up (this place is now a Badjao territory), we used to hide behind the same lush alignment of fruit-bearing trees namely: papaya, guava, banana, langka, duhat, and sampaloc. Growing side by side with tall wild grass and gabi, those plants and trees provided base and shield that protected us from being tagged. We buried our faces in the trunk of the duhat tree, and counted one to ten until everybody had sought cover among the lush greenery in the hilly landscape. We hopped over or bent our bodies saying "tabi-tabi po, makikiraan po" (please excuse us) when we passed by anthills usually protruding beside banana trunks. Our grandparents said those were dwellings of dwarves who couldn't be slighted lest they harm us. We measured the field with our endless running and climbed the sinegwelas like unruly monkeys.
Added to this memory of playing outdoors, the line of malunggay trees, plots of eggplants, and occasional vines for squash, make me crave for all the food my sister-in-law cooks whenever I'm vacationing in her home. Delicious meat soups such as nilagang baka with saba and tinolang manok with papaya, vegetable dishes such as bulanglang, ginataang langka and atsarang talong, fish recipes like pinais na galungong sa kinipil na sampaloc -- feed my desire for a longer vacation. In Manila, I often crave such foods, and knowing that all the fruit and vegetable ingredients are just around the corner in this village gives me courage in requesting them from Lisa, the kasambahay. As my request is granted, I write with energy, looking forward to a hearty lunch
Sights such as makeshift benches under trees, huge acacia providing the best shade from the hot sun, a swing in between two sampaloc trees, chapel or tuklong in the neighborhood, yellow bells lining gates of houses, assorted potted plants just outside each house, clothes drying on the line under the Philippine sun - all these make me feel relaxed and rested.
Some of these images will fade away once new house constructions take over the territory. But right now, I cherish seeing these rural sights. I stare at them and I realize that I am one with this setting - I am taga-bukid. This is home.
Manila Tagalog is only a variation of the Tagalog used in the provinces. The Manilenyos' habit of going home to the provinces during holidays root them in their hometowns. Once they set foot in town, their tongue adjusts to Taga-bukid na Tagalog, thus forging long preserved connections with the rural community.
Mabuhay! Pinoy, Pilipinas. Balikbayan. OFW. Fil-AM. Foreigner or a carefree travel bug -- have you been to the Philippine Islands lately? (including all 7101 of them low tide) We'd like to hear about your anecdotes: you can call it "My Pinoy Experience." Funny, irreverent, bland, cute, different, interesting, religious, smorgasboard - we welcome your stories here. Or if you have an interesting photograph, you may want to share the story behind it.