I woke up one Saturday morning feeling hot and sick because the previous night was warm and humid. I decided to walk around the small yard beside my sister’s landlady’s house to breathe in some fresh air. I forgot I was only wearing my boxer’s when I saw these four little hamsters who came up to me and gave me those pleading look; they wanted to be fed.
So I scooped some pellets from a can beside their cage and showered them with those brown stuff. The four adorable hamsters munched them like wild beasts, as if the brown pellets were small rabbits ravaged by starving lions. I was in this trance-like fascination when my neighbor shouted at me, “Ay abaw toto, nga-a ga-uba-uba timo? Galisik na atubangan mo ho!” (Now this is something I wouldn’t translate.)
The bluntness of how Ilonggos use their language brought me back to my senses.