34th balabag ni pinga sa cobo, pandan!

COBO …. abarangay in the municipality of pandan, catanduanes in Bicol Region, anciently as “lalawigan ng kabikulan”.

My forgetful mind knew this paradise as somewhere between Caramoran, a door/gate municipality to the northern tip of the island, going to Pandan town where Cobo really belongs.

There were three ways of coming in to this northern most when i was there a long time ago.

First is by boat from Naga’s Caramoan by crossing the ocean strait off the mainland bicol shores.  
Second is by boat also via any of the coastal barangays in the western side of the island starting at the town of san andres from the capital town, Virac. 

Coming to this capital town by plane from Manila was my route the very first time of my life in 1966.  And third is by land by the route of a circumferential road that was non-existent at that time.

I think,  until now, there is no road linking Virac to Pandan in the eastern side, but i maybe wrong, to favor the towns of bagamanok, panganiban, viga, gigmoto and bato facing directly the appearing sun of the pacific seas.

In fact, there existed off the shores of bagamanok a US base, just like the other bases in luzon that were expulsed from the island during the time of then senate president salonga.

The base location was in small yet strategic island called Panay off the shores of bagamanok, secluded but panoramic indeed, adorned with two pristine white paradise beaches that served the american servicemen exclusively.

Going back to Cobo, a report said that there were only 836 residents in 2007. In 1966, i was a witness to a “town crier” who went to each corner of the barangay shouting news to the residents.  I never saw that practice in Manila eve when i in my childhood.

I, also, was a frequent rider of a bakery bus driven by my kumpare, santelices, plying the caramoran-pandan route. That was the only four-wheeled vehicle doubling as a commuter bus as there were no other for passengers ise from both towns and transients from all sides of the island, aside from a very few and always missing motorcycles and bicycles.

This haven of a place taught me how to gather fresh coconut juice from the sky early in each morning of my almost two years of stay, with long days of drinking with the town mates the “tuba ng niyog” that turned into “suka”or vinegar as the rays of the piercing sun nestled over our drunken heads as noon time comes.

Cobo was my sanctuary in hiking with my lonely self alone in the glow of fireflies on tree tops along the hilly road going back home to my place of sojourn in the black wee hours of the nights from drinking spree in the town of Pandan.

Those were the golden moments of my life where i visualized the spirit of the forgotten pinga mandirigma, the tagalog noble warriors of the old who came before my time to this heavenly place buildinga row of “kubo”on its shores as they talked about the brotherhood of Magdiwang and benevolence of our ancient tagalog ancestors.

Thus, Kubo was known to the native bicolanes as the name of the place since then, but when foreign invaders from the far west came over to subjugate our lands and people, the advocacies for Katagalugan were summarily lost in the memory of our natives in favor of a new faith and religion.

Eventually, kubo was transformed into cobo by the changes in our manner of writing and thinking, and worse, our own indigenous identities were set aside such as baybaying tagalog and bulilang ng sungka.

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