Quiet observer


There are so many things to write about my hometown that I am left overwhelmed by the different sights and sounds that I’ve been seeing and hearing for the past two days. I’m happy to have my badly needed rest at last and to wake up at whatever time of the day without feeling anything bad at all. None of those guilt trips I used to subject myself to.

I enrolled myself in a local gym located on top of a local rural bank roughly five kilometers from our barangay. I usually go in the afternoon just before sun down. During this time, only men who have hypertrophied and gone unrecognizable because of ingrown muscles go to the gym. They speak their own language and laugh at their own jokes. They stare at me with almost utter disgust because I am a smudge, a deviation in the normalcy of their sea of sweaty bodies.

After two days, I noticed this oddity in my gym mates. They do not speak Cebuano, the language of the place, instead they speak Tagalog with this equally funny accent.

Ayos ang ating katawan ah. Ilang taon ka nang naga-gym?

I didn’t know how to respond and what language to use. I thought of answering in English using my affected accent, but I knew it would not be appropriate. So I replied in Cebuano. The place will be an interesting location for researches in linguistics. What prompted these macho men to speak in Tagalog that used to be looked down upon as too feminine? How come they’ve forced themselves to speak in Tagalog, retain the accent of Cebuano, and like to pass themselves as people coming from Metro Manila? What made Tagalog more acceptable as a lingua franca now compared to a decade ago? And a lot more questions.

I shall be a quiet observer of my hometown and its people for the next month.


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