Water Dikes, Processions and Keran

(10 January 2011, Cebu)

Strong rains, typhoons and hurricanes plagued that school year. One hurricane even took off our house’ entire ceiling and dropped it in the middle of the nearby rice field. Aside from literally sleeping under the stars for a night that year, I fondly remember it for the times when classes were cancelled for several days but we still went to school – in uniform and with bags fully equipped with books, writing pads and pencils.

My partner in crime was Keran. Our crime would start when, realizing that there would be no class (since our teacher hasn’t arrived after an hour or two), everyone else would head home. We would proceed to a roadside canal overflowing with water from the nearby rice fields along our way home. There was a small stream that flowed through the dirt road.

After dropping our bags in a dry area we’d excitedly gather clay. We piled layers of clay and stone to create a small dike strong enough to hold and to contain the flowing water into a pool. This was no easy task for third graders. We had to make sure that leaks were contained and that there was enough drain, otherwise the dike would collapse from so much volume of water. It was not easy to start over. Most days, we were successful. And we thought we were master builders then.

The fun part would come when the dike was already filled with water. At times, we would build small rafts from twigs and vines along the road. Making water spouts and fountains using papaya stalks was also a staple. There were also days when we would make small paper boats and we’d let our imaginations compensate for the other details. On other days we would chase and catch dragonflies and grasshoppers and have them swim in the pool. On drearier days, after building the dike we’d just laze the hours by sitting on the roadside and soaking our feet in the pool we created.

Inasmuch as there was fun in building the dike, there was also fun in destroying it. I used to imagine that a giant passed and decided to step on a dam. There was also a time when we covered all the drains and watched until the water tided and eventually ran over and destroyed the dike. The destruction of the dike would mean heading home for lunch after a morning’s heavy work.

We were getting used to these activities until one day Keran’s mother caught us and reprimanded us. The construction of the dikes stopped. Then the processions came.

The first two months of the new year were no different than the previous months. There were typhoons and heavy rains too. The canals during this time were repaired and culverts were put in place so we were not able to continue our business in dike construction. At the same time, we were already busted so there were higher risks. Classes were usually cancelled in the afternoon too. As our parish fiesta approached, Keran and I would usually stay in a “kapehan” (a store that sells hot coffee, more like a coffee shop for the masses) near our school. The owner’s grandchild was also our classmate.

We spent the afternoons listening to radio dramas and old people’s chatters until the chapel’s bell ring. We’d raise to the chapel and join the praying of the rosary. There were days when I was even tasked to lead the rosary. After the rosary, a procession with the image of the Holy Virgin is done towards the house of a local parishioner where the image would stay overnight. When the image arrives, there would be prayers, singing, and if we were lucky, snacks. This went on for several days until one fateful day, one of my cousins reported me to my aunt who stays with us.

I was leading the rosary and in the middle of it, I was sacrilegiously informed that I have to go home immediately. When I arrived home, I received a good amount of spanking from my aunt. I did not shed a tear but was quite disappointed. I was thinking that they would be proud of me had they known I led the rosary that time. After the spanking, I was ordered to fetch water from the artesian well.

As I was nearing the well, I saw the procession coming. I stopped and waited until it fully passed. Keran was there. Many were surprised and asked why I did not join the procession. As the procession was leading away from where I stood, I wiped tears on my face.

Our crimes stopped that day. In the school year that followed, Keran’s family transferred to another place. We have not seen each other for more than 20 years now.

(I searched his name in Google and it was matched to a monastery in Tarlac. He might be a monk now.)

© COOLWATERWORKS, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to COOLWATERWORKS and A Series of Duration with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


About coolwaterworks

Traveler. Writer. Photographer. View all posts by coolwaterworks

13 responses to “Water Dikes, Processions and Keran

  • Bino

    nice one! keep on writing 🙂

  • kamil

    Hi I’m Kamila form Ublog (dinudugo ako habang iniisip ko kung ano ba ang DIKE) at sana okay lang magtagalog.. hehehe… sorry kung napalo ka kahit nag-rosary ka na… totoo lang ganun naman minsan ang mga magulang (o guardian –tita mo) na may nagawa ka na kulang pa rin or mali pa rin..ewan ko din bakit ganun…

    pero ang pinaka-malungkot kase hindi mo na nakita yung kaibigan mo at hanggang ngayon ala ka na balita sa kanya…

    well…ako nakita ko din yung besfren ko nung grade 3 pa ko.. pero hindi na niya ako pinapansin.. kahit konti man lang… wala lang.. na-shareness lang.. x)

    • coolwaterworks

      Hi Kamil… Thanks for visiting and commenting. Ang tiyaga mo talaga… I really appreciate this.

      Looking back at the spanking incident, it was my punishment for not going home when I am supposed to be so… We were not always allowed to roam around after school so I broke that rule… 🙂

      Yes, it’s been so long since I’ve seen Keran. It’s good that through words and entries like this we can relive fond moments from the past.

      Good for you nakita mo na yung friend mo, sayang lang, inisnab ka… Hehehe…

      Salamat muli!

  • Leah

    Eehh! Ang cute.. gumagawa kayo ng dike. Hehe. Ahh, those were the days.. Ang saya ng life noong bata pa ano.. Though, I’ve never experienced playing in the rain, with mud, with clay, the likes. Poor me.. Tsk! hehe.. Pero I remember making paper boats noong bata pa ako.. and flower bubbles using gumamela, and try to catch dragonflies. Try lang po. Hehe…

    Medyo na-sad naman ako nang slight.. Tsismosa na ako, pero ba’t ka pinagalitan ng Aunt mo? Ayun, di ka na tuloy nakasama sa prosesyon.. Tsk! Aww….

    So wala na po kayong kontak ni Keran? I’d bet kung magkikita ulit kayo, he’d remember this story, too… One could never forget his childhood memories. =)

    Take care, nong Mark.

    • coolwaterworks


      Thanks for visiting…
      I still have several entires here about my childhood experiences. Just browse through if you have time…

      Sandali, kailangan ba talaga Tagalog? Sige na nga…

      Yung pinalo ako, parusa yun sa kasalanang hindi agad ako umuwi nang wala na naman kaming klase… Wala na yun sa akin, pero kailangan lang kasing mailapat sa mga salita sa piyesang ito…

      Wala na kaming kontak ni Keran… Tama, masarap alalahanin ang mga karanasan natin noong bata pa tayo. Lahat nagiging maganda kahit na medyo may kalungkutan ang mga aktwal na pangyayari… 🙂

  • katrinadanieles

    kewl! 🙂 it’s possible that you have a monk friend! heheh ^^

    it would be easier to find him if he’s also blogging. ^^

    good day kuya mark! 🙂

    • coolwaterworks

      Hi Kat… Thanks for visiting!
      Hopefully he does blog… But monks have this vow of silence for periods on end… hehehe… I think that covers blogging too nowadays… hehehehe…

      I have actually contacted their website… No response yet… 🙂

      Have a nice day!

  • stephen

    we’re lucky to be part of our generation! we’d experienced a lot of things that our younger siblings didn’t probably know, we’ve learned a lot through trial and error, where nature was our main playground… we’ve seen a lot of changes, while technology has made things easier for us as we grow older… and boy, it hasn’t even reched its peak!

  • CMT

    Kapatid, just wondering if have closed down coolwaterworks?

    While reading, I was thinking how your imaginative childhood and moments like these nurture your gifts for building and engineering.

    Children these days need our early exposure to Nature because in engineering or science, everything is but an imitation of Nature. I won’t be surprised if 5 years from now, basking with nature would already be part of the students’ curriculum.Or pay for it from wilderness guides.

    • coolwaterworks

      Salamat sa pagdalaw kapatid… Nagbago na ako ng site kasi expired na yung registration nun… 🙂
      I agree with you kapatid… The outdoors really open our minds to imaginative ideas noon…
      I like the way you said it, that in engineering everything is but an imitation of nature… And still, nature is inexhaustible… It still has many, many tricks up on its sleeves… 🙂

      Nagbalik ka na ba sa blogosphere? Bibistahin kita sa bahay mo mamaya… 😀

  • Hayley

    Hi Mark! This is the first time I read your blog. It’s a bit melodramatic for me.. It made me smile while seeing flashbacks of my carefree childhood..running at the meadows, chasing grasshoppers and yes, dragonflies… There is no significant person that I can recall but your story pierced my heart.. it felt like I’m alone and I longed for something that I have been missing… and wanting… Wanting to read more hehehe. Thanks for sharing.. will read more of your blogs!

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