Paranas: Turning the hands of time 64 years back
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Political data of Paranas
PARANAS is one of 25 municipalities of Western Samar. It contains 44 barangays. It has 24,235 people, according to the population of 1990. Its area is 457.4 square kilometer. In hectares, it measures 55,612, according to the survey of 2007.
Elected town or municipal officials to serve from 2013 to 2016 are:
- Mayor Babalcon, Boy
- Vice-Mayor Tan, Yolly
Members of the Municipal Council
- Aban, Caloy
- Mabulac, Cristo
- Obidos, Ben
- Agbon, Roger
- Gabon, Den
- Cadiz, Oscar
- Gabon, JC
- Abawag, Margie
Paranas 64-year ago
Sixty-four years ago Paranas looked very much different from what it is today. In its shores from Ilihan to Asinan, balotos and sailboats come and go with people of various walks in life looking for a living. Native Paranasnons as well as those from the nearby barrios, sitios and settlements would swarm the hubasan during low tide to fish for bukawil, sarad, punao, bug-atan, sisi, talaba, binga, etc. During fine weather when the seawater is high, the shoreline would become a beehive of happy and busy people; children and adults alike would bask in the morning breeze and naked tots would run races along the beachlines and play piko and other games in the sand. In baloto or sailboat, some would go boating and sailing along or against the waves.
Merchants sell jars, pots and flower vases
Once or twice a year, merchants sailing in big and sturdy outrigger boats called Parao from either Marapipi or Gintarcan would arrive and anchor at the shore loaded with cargoes of earthen jars, pots and flower vases for sale. When their merchandise are sold out, it's real fun to see the crew unload the items by piece. From the parao, a crew member would- at a given signal- throw a pot to another crew who's standing in a smaller boat would catch it and so on and so forth until all the merchandise are safely placed on the beach and the Parao is declared empty. As the crew kept on throwing and catching to unload their products, the feeling is that they're playing basketball.
Catching bats with flying kites is fun
Paranas had once graced a national newspaper when somebody submitted an item citing the place uniqueness and weird method of catching flying bats with fish hooks attached to kites' string. Indeed catching bats with kites is a rare spectacle which could have been true only in Paranas. This game is usually indulged in by boys 15 years old up. They are old and skillful enough to manuever the kite's string fitted with fish hooks while in flight to come in contact and hook the bat. It's lots of fun watching a boy maneuvering a kite at left and right position to bag a bat target. It's equally rewarding to observe bats dodging and at times clawing the kite itself when by chance it hit them bullseye.
During the habagat season, catching bats by kites was once a most awaited game. When low-flying flock of thousands of bats would pass by the town southward to roost in a nearby forest and the blowing of the winds would just be alright, then watch Paranas skyline. It's perfect time for hooking bats with kites. However, nowadays seldom will we see a flock of bats in flight. Perhaps it's because our forests and mountains are now greatly denuded. The amazing game of catching bats with kites fitted with fish hooks on its string is now a part of history
Paranas boasts of enough, clean and potable water
One resource which Paranas in those days can be proud of was its oversupply of cool, fresh and spring water for drinking and various purposes.. Paranas water then was comparable to nothing and second to none. Indeed, there was pure water for all needs 24 hours a day. It has been said then that faucets were left open to let water flow freely to prevent faucets and pipes from bursting.
Chinese nationals already in town
We opened our eyes with already a sprinkling of Chinese nationals in our midst. There was Isyu. There was Pawa. There was Ana and there was Sionga. They were engaged in retail and wholesale business. They were very industrious and clever. Buy a shirt from them. If the shirt is too short, they'll say, "It's okay for you, it will elongates when wet". Or when the shirt is too long, they'll assure you, "It's okay. It will shrink when ironed". The lugao and the tea were ever present in the Chinese kitchen. I still can recall neighbors including our own household can have a bowl of lugao from Intsik Lolo Onga all for the asking.
Tita's unforgettable experience with duck eggs in Catapusan
West of the town proper is CATAPUSAN, the melting pot for farmers, fishermen, traders, businessmen and foreign visitors. Catapusan was then a busy commercial center because of its strategic location by the Maqueda Bay where 99% of transportation was done through the sea.
Here in Catapusan my wife Tita and her siblings were born, nurtured and taught the basic rudiments of life. One unforgettable experience which Tita can't forget were duck eggs she discovered neatly tucked under a payong-payong weed among a thick vegetation of lambayong vines growing behind their kitchen. At first glance the eggs presented a hazy pictures of white objects covered by the lambayong leaves. Her curiosity aroused, Tita went down the kitchen and brushed the leaves aside. Indeed, the white things were eggs- 8 big, white duck eggs. She brought all of them to the kitchen and cooked them. With the cooked eggs, she went down under the house and ate all of them. She was then 11 years old and a fifth grader. She said she didn't share any of the eggs to her brothers and sisters for fear her Tatay would scold and whip her. The ducks weren't theirs.
Playing 'Muchachohay' with the 'Ang Tibay' shoes sole as tarap
Tita- in her younger days- has practically played all games suited for kids. The eldest of a brood of 13 with 9 younger brothers, Tita liked most games tagged for boys. One of which is muchachohay, a game played by 2 groups of kids using a piece of leather material as tarap and 2 pieces of empty bokawil shells. The group losing the game will serve as muchacho or servant who will carry on their backs the victors to and from designated points.
One pleasant afternoon Tita and her siblings again felt the urge to play muchachohay.in the beach but encountered a problem. Their tarap couldn't be found. So, Nestor, one of Tita's brother suggested, "Why not detached the soles of Tatay's Ang Tibay shoes. Nobody opposed the proposition. In no time at all and armed with a bolo, the children detached the soles of their father's shoes. Now they have new soles for tarap. With boundless joy, they trooped to the beach to play muchachohay again.
Tatay Tomas' Ang Tibay shoes had long lain in the drawer and had already gathered dust for it was seldom used. But that certain day in August for it was San Roque Day, Tatay Tomas woke up early and prepared for church to attend the Saint's celebration. However, much to his chagrin, he discovered his shoes already without soles.
I have reminisced a few episodes of wonderful events that took place in Paranas decades back. I believe in the truism that it's easier to chart one's future, if he first look back and discovers his past.