Haddonfield was a bit unusual for him, he felt he had to do as the Romans do, so they say, when you are in Rome. He was not used to that, he had to greet most people he met on the sidewalk. It is customary, cordial, and typical of a civilized hometown. “Lovely day today, and have a good day”—became his standard spiel.
It felt wonderful as days went by.
Why? Because you would feel that you are there and people do see you. You exist, you are worth saying hello to, essentially, you matter!
Back to reality. Here in The City of Naga, you cannot do that, otherwise, people would think you are up to something. Here, you do not talk to strangers unless, you are asking for directions.
Haddonfield has about 10,000 plus people while The City of Naga is estimated to have 170,000 plus people. The extreme contrast between the two places’ population is the primary reason why the genteel Haddonfield and the frenetic Naga are at opposite ends of a spectrum.
His heart though belongs to our City. People who know him are people who know his family. His face is a confluence of his father’s and mother’s features. And, when he speaks, their reaction would be that his voice sounds much like his other brothers. Amazing.
When one leaves his home he becomes homesick. Most importantly, when he came back, he appreciated our City even more. On a wonderful day, the air is fresher than some places. In the morning, about five o’ clock, the fog and dew are a sight to behold—a misty picture of a quaint and idyllic City.
He has become mindful of those things because unlike arid deserts and dunes, the tropical terrain is masterfully created with a foliage of a thousand hues of greens, browns, yellows, and other flora abloom with shades of pastels that delight the eyes.
Maybe, he would remind himself that he has become old. What is old? Anyway, that does not matter. His heart feels young as he counts his blessings instead of sheep.
In Massachusetts, he had a conversation with a nice old lady. He told her he is from The Philippines. “Oh, Philippine ladies are so beautiful,” as she recounted what she has seen
in International Beauty Pageants. She said, “you could stay here and get settled. I could introduce you to lovely ladies but not Philippine though. They have light hair and light eyes.” He just smiled. He is the type of man you could bring home to your family and he would get adopted.
He could have stayed until February. He could work anywhere in the world. However, he came back as scheduled. He missed Naga. The City of Naga is home.
He had written sometime ago about ten reasons why he loves Naga. It even got published in a Magazine.
His love for our City had grown much deeper. Why? There are infinite reasons. He loves the jeepneys (modified-American-Army-jeeps), tricycles, taxicabs, pedicabs, and kalesas (horse-drawn-carriages).
Because it is a City. Most people are kind. And, he missed the rains. He loves the rains. And, especially, the mangoes.
In our City Square, the gazebo is similar to Haddonfield’s gazebo. Our’s is more ornate and colorful though. It made him miss Naga so much more.
People do not not realize the architectural splendor of our own City. It is one of the oldest and royal cities in The Philippines. You would feel that you never, actually, left Naga when you see the blueprint of an American small town.
The only distinctive difference is there are no high walls or fences in Haddonfield. If ever they do, they are just low white picket fences.
The radiance of the sun here in The City of Naga is more pronounced and the glowing stars could be seen on clear night skies. We do not, really, realize how blessed we, truly are, until we leave and see another place that is also beautiful but is beyond comparison. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder? No, it is more like the feeling of abundance of joy here in our City is why he always comes back. He would be leaving yet again soon. But again for emphasis, his heart, fondly, belongs to Naga. The mere air in nearby Mount Isarog invigorates his body and soul.
In the final analysis, he loves to write for his City. For you, most especially. Because, sadly, most had left already. While there would be chances that he meets a reader, although he is not a superhero, he becomes what this column is all about and that is—he becomes more inspired. He hopes that after reading this one, you would love The City of Naga more profoundly. Remember, it is “The Euphoric Place” or “An Maogmang Lugar”.