There was a time when…



There was a time when kids don’t stay up well beyond 10 at night. The sitcoms or action TV series would play on air as late as 10. Then depending on what year it was, the channel would sign off or that late night news program in English, The World Tonight would play. Either way, there was nothing much good to do but sink in slumber and look forward to what the neighbourhood kids have in store in the morning after. There were no video games, Youtube or gadgets to postpone sleep.


There was a time when one could tell how much a coin was just by simple touch. It would have been unthinkable to get confused with 2 peso coin, 1 peso coin, 50 centavo coin and 25 centavo coin, so much more with the 10, 5 and 1 centavo coins. (Yes, son, once upon a time there were 2 peso, 50, 10, 5 and 1 centavo coins.) Now, with just a few varieties, you could get the coins all mixed up and could possibly overpay fare because you mistook a 5 peso coin for 10 pesos. Heck, there was even a time when I gave an LRT token as payment for rice. The carenderia lady was so irate because she seriously thought I did it on purpose.


There was a time when a friend was someone whom you personally have met, perhaps in your neighbourhood, school, work place or some social circle. Maybe friends lose communication or drift apart, but one does not “unfriend” the other. It would have been unthinkable to be regularly meeting, and not be “friends”.


There was a time when a person’s profile means an image of the face facing forward in a square space. Its ultimate end is to be pasted on an identification card or on the corner of a bio-data form. A profile picture then could not be a full body image, a picture of two or more persons or an image of someone or something else.


There was a time when a ticket to a cinema was worth 20 pesos; and the main movie is followed with another movie which it is double with. Sure, it was shown weeks later than the initial showing in Manila, but for an affordable amount with another movie, that was a treat. That time, movie audience could get inside at any part of the movie and similarly get out at any time he/she wants to. Oh yes, those were times when you wouldn’t be asked to go out because the movie’s over. That was a time when you could watch the two movies over and over again.


There was a time when we called the body of water west of the Philippine archipelago, the South China Sea, not the West Philippine Sea, and not worry about implying any surrender of national sovereignty. That time, we were well aware that our military was not at par with those of other nations. But at least, during that time no nation did not flash that fact in front of our faces.


There was a time when government declarations were not retroactively labelled as jokes. There was a time when jokes were presented in informal situations and not as scapegoats from responsibility. There was a time when legal documents were not considered as mere scratch paper, worthy of the trash bin. There was a time that people in the proper disposition knew for certain to hold documents in respect.


There was a time when my hometown was in the leadership of distinguished team of stewards whom an overwhelming majority of the public even beyond the boundaries of the city, province and region, held in the highest regard for integrity and efficiency. There was a time when these people in position were like the Chicago Bulls of the 1990s, with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman (before he became North Korean, Tony Kukoc, Steve Kerr and the others who were equally important but whom I would not mention because this is not a sports nostalgia article. Actually, one could even say that the local dream team was even better than the Bulls. This team strongly and majestically held its own well after their Jordan had to leave and another team leader had to take the reins. For an undeniably remarkable period in history, this line-up, even with changing rosters, delivered the goods in one vision and mission of attitude and association with other teams. They just stood out because they were marked with uprightness, ever so careful not to dabble in dubious dealings. Yes, there were many times when one particular feudal lord would send his archers to shoot arrows, but the team in its various embodiments have brushed the projectiles off. That was a time when this team clearly knew who and what they were and for what they stood. Yes, that was a time.


But I guess, some people want to ensure that they stay in power.


“because the person who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption from the flesh…” Galatians 6:8