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Timesman | How I welcomed 2020

We visited the small property my late wife Virgie left behind for the children in Barangay Camodmod, Island Garden City of Samal on New Year’s Day after more than two decades of not seeing the place. Some sort of joyride, for a change, in celebrating a new decade with my children.

Although my family is no longer complete as some of them have chosen to live a new life – Virgie in Heaven, and the living, here and abroad – I still believe that the best way to welcome a new year is to spend the time together with those who are still around.

About half an hour drive on our AUV from IGACOS wharf on well-paved highway and about 10-minute maneuver on the single-lane dirt road of still undeveloped wide area passing through rows of matured mango trees and few remaining 50 or so years old coconut trees owned by other landowners, we reached the secluded place and except for some 100 fully grown mango trees the children planted 25 years ago, the area is not properly maintained with the two-floor house of light materials almost to collapse, while the 15-foot-deep poso negro (water pump) we constructed was drained of water and rusting for lack of maintenance.

Since this is not a season for mango, we never expected to pick some fruits.
No one was in the house when we arrived. Jojo told me that the family must be out or in the city for the New Year. But we know the place is still being occupied as there is a closed small sari-sari store at the ground floor and some kitchen utensils on the table.

I lost interest of this small property in IGACOS, despite Virgie encouraging me when she was still alive to develop the area as a family vacation site during the weekends.

I didn’t listen to her then upon knowing from my son Jojo that the family we entrusted the property can’t be relied on.

I remember Jojo telling me then:
Jojo: “Pa, yung apat na pares na baboy na pinaalagaan ko, isa-isa namamatay pag abot ng pitong buwan.”
“Bakit naman?0”
Jojo: “Nagkasakit daw!”
“Nagkasakit, kinain, o ibinenta?
Jojo: “Ang mga mangga, nawawala kapag harvest time na!”
“Pareho sa baboy!”
Jojo: “Ang mga manok, matagal dumami.”
“Dahil kinakain ang itlog?”

Out of pity, we let the poor family stay and enjoy the farm produce for years and until today. We never demand anything except for them to look after the property. But we no longer introduce any improvement in the area at the moment despite the government ambitious 39-billion-peso development project of building a bridge between Davao City and IGACOS now on the planning stage to attract investors and improve commerce and lives of Samalenos.

Our tenants lost our trust and confidence. After what we did for them, this is what we got in return.

God knows the many good things we have done for the family. We still let them realize the kindness and understanding my family had shown instead of driving them away from our land. We’ll just let the poor tenants stay and let go of their sins.

After having a hearty lunch at Camp Holiday as grand son Jacob Matthew swam in the pool, we left the place pondering once more while on the way back home why there are still people in this world who can still bite the hands that feed them. Help, forgive, and forget the wrongdoings they have done to them.

Hindi na talaga yata magbabago ang mga tao!


It’s 2020 and soon I have to make a final decision now whether to make that return trip next month to US and work on my citizenship papers, or stay in the country for good.

Admittedly, I am tired of traveling because of my age and this is the main reason why I’m having a second thought of going abroad again.

Secondly, the escalating tensions between Washington and Tehran on the aftermath of the US strike on Baghdad’s international airport that killed top Iranian commander Qassein Soleimani, is another of my worry as the threat of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who vowed “severe revenge” for Soleimani’s death should not be ignored.

And while New York City is now on heightened alert, we pray that my fear of imminent danger of war will not happen.


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