Lolo’s Toy Parrot

Nonfiction by | February 24, 2019

When I was a kid, lolo (my grandfather from my father’s side) used to have a life-sized parrot that looks so real. Its’ feathers are so soft and the beak and claws look so sharp that if you touch it, it could really hurt you if it’s not in the mood. The parrot always mimicks what lolo says and most of the time lolo likes to make fun of the people passing by his store. Lolo has a small sari-sari store located in front of an elementary school. Thus, most of lolo’s customers are kids. Everytime a kid buys in his store; it is mostly because of the parrot. The kids are curious to see the parrot; they thought it was really the real thing just like how I thought it was back then.

Lolo was a strict father according to my father. He implements curfews and takes education seriously. He told my father that the only inheritance that he can give is education as he doesn’t have many properties. He is a firm believer that education is the key to a successful life. He even handed down that belief to us his grandchildren at a young age where at that time we could not fully understand what he means. That is why occasionally when we visit him, my brother and I always bring with us our papers from school with a one hundred percent mark because not only he would be so proud of us but he would also feed us with anything in his store plus his favorite Royal True Orange drink. During the time when the parrot is still functioning, I’d remember him smile and say to his parrot, “Very good Abi” and the parrot would mimick him in a high pitched voice.

This was our routine- me and my brother everytime we visit lolo, until one day, the parrot stops functioning. Lolo said the parrot died because it is already old. The way lolo said it made me sadder than learning I will never see and hear from the parrot again. Even if in that time I already knew that the parrot is just a toy, because of my curiosity, my father told me the truth, I saw in that instant lolo’s grief- he cared so much for that nonliving thing. That somehow made me realized that even though lolo appeared to be strict, scary at times and strong, he has a soft side- he cared so much for everything and everyone he loves. When we got older and we can only visit him once every three months or fewer times than that because we are busy with school, the first thing he would ask us after we put our head in his hand is how we are doing in our studies and when we answer him that we are doing well, he would smile, pat us in the back and tell us to continue to study harder.

Perhaps the memory of the parrot is the memory that I have chosen to share because this is where I saw lolo the most human. The parrot brought out his cheerful, funny bright side but also showed his compassion. He was a man of few words but when he opened his mouth to tell his stories about his childhood, his adventures as a police officer specially his encounter with the New People’s Army at the time where the town he was assigned to was attacked by the NPA and he was the one who made the shot that made the NPA go away immediately, his eyes always sparkled with excitement and delight. That is why even though I already familiarized his stories, I’d always show my interest in listening to him.

Indeed, it is a wonder how an absence even of one thing such as the toy parrot or a person such as lolo make such a big impact to those who were left behind. After the toy parrot is gone, the store got a little silent and after lolo’s death, the house seemed a little empty. The ‘duyan’ or hammock where he used to sit all the time to watch a boxing show or a Kuya Germs movie or a Fernando Poe movie is no longer at the sala but transferred into the second floor. Also his youngest daughter who worked faraway for a very long time decided to go home and settle down and my cousins and I got closer to each other after his death. We used to see each other once every 2 to 3 years but now, we are seeing each other more than once a year. It is amazing even though lolo is gone, he continues to bind us all together and even though we can no longer see him, we can still feel that he is still looking after us.


Abi Andoy is a licensed real estate appraiser and is working in a Municipal Assessor’s Office in Surigao. She is an alumna of Ateneo de Davao University and she writes occasionally.

What I Remember When I Think About Kuya Mai

Nonfiction by | September 24, 2017

I was 9 years old when Kuya Mai passed away. He was my uncle but we call him Kuya Mai. A month before he was sent to the hospital, a fish bone was stuck in his throat. After that incident, I was so careful every time I eat fish that I even separate the bones of anchovies before eating so that I’ll not be sent to the hospital like him.

Kuya Mai had some peculiar things going on on his body. There were giant pimples growing on his legs. He occasionally let us- his nieces and nephews prick his giant pimples and he would say that the thick yellowish fluid that comes out is uric acid. That time, I have no idea what a uric acid is. To my eyes it was disgusting but I still participated as I don’t want to be left out. Kuya Mai loved kids. For a man who never got married, it was quite a wonder. During his trips from local seminars and trainings he would bring us goodies. He called those goodies “secret”. Most of the time it is a Nestlé made chocolate- a Kisses, Hersheys or a Gandour chocolate called Safari. Childishly, I secretly wished him to be always out-of-town so that when he came back he would bring us lots of “secret”. Sometimes he would bribe us with “secret” to massage his head or legs. Continue reading What I Remember When I Think About Kuya Mai

Haplas

Poetry by | February 26, 2017

Haplas or liniment in English
reminds me of my Nanay
from Vicks to Efficascent
from White Flower to Betet
she always had a stock of them
hidden in her brown colored box.
Whenever I travel
from our place to Davao
she would always hand me
the latest of her Haplas
telling me to use them just in case
and I would remember thanking her
and instantly see her face lit up.
So nights like this
when I lay in my bed
chest hurt from coughing
or legs sore from prolonged standing
like instinct I would grab a Haplas
and it works most of the time
Thanks to Haplas.
Thanks to Nanay.


Abi Andoy is an alumna of Ateneo de Davao University. She’s a “haplas user” for as long as she can remember.

Road Trip

Poetry by | August 20, 2016

We are on a road trip
riding a two-wheeler vehicle
for this way it’s cheaper
both labor and fuel
relying on concentration and skill
we hide in our helmets
-speeding.

We are on a road trip
dealing with all types of road
from flat to steep, rough to smooth
adjusting speed to its surface
relying on strength
we stop for breaks
-resting.

We are on a road trip
breathing dust, smoke and uncertainty
taking caution over blind curves
careful over overspeeding
estimating when to overtake
we’re close to death
-living.

We are on a road trip
we don’t know if we’re halfway there
or where we really are heading
we just hope we’ll find a shed
where we can rest our vehicle
rest our hearts
and abandon our helmets.


Abi Andoy graduated from the Ateneo de Davao University last March 2015. She is currently on a road trip called the adult life. She’s a proud Surigaonon.

A Year Without Rain

Poetry by | March 23, 2014

My window’s open
I searched for you
in burning heat
in cracked soil
in withered leaves
in empty fields
in dusty highways.
The season’s lonely
all wells are dry
no flower blooms
no grasses grow
no heavy clouds
no cold wind blows.
The sun now burns
each rays pierced
my wounded heart
my lonely soul
a year of drought
a year without rain
a year without you.


Abi Andoy is a student from AdDU.

Willow

Poetry by | September 28, 2013

I admire the willow that grows over there
Branches are pliant can sway everywhere
Leaves so narrow can fly like a sparrow
Cat skin bearing so dark and hollow.
Has yield itself osiers and woods
Down that edgy soil where it grows
Thankful is he to find great comfort
To climate that gives him all sorts.
Such beauty exonerates pain
False convictions to deceiving lies
Subtle cries to pretentious smiles
Obvious lies to innocent pleading.
The willow itself speak out its meaning…

Abi is a third year Accounting Technology student at the Ateneo de Davao University.