I came home last Sunday to a Lianga that was hot and muggy despite the slightly overcast skies. The temperature hovered only slightly above 30 degrees centigrade in the shade but the high humidity was an absolute killer. I was reminded once again that in Manila, the blazing summer heat may be the major cause of concern but in my hometown which faces the western reaches of the Pacific, it is the wet, energy-sapping and soul-crushing moisture in the atmosphere that gets you.
As I sat near the open doorway near the back of the family house trying desperately to catch some cooling relief from the sea breezes that occasionally ruffled the foliage of the fruit trees in the backyard, I got my first installment of the local news, happenings and goings-on from the girls that live with us in the house and help my mother keep it in a reasonably livable state.
Right across the street, Elgie Layno, our neighbor who happens to be a longtime member of the town's municipal council, is in the midst of a frenzy of preparations for a celebration. His son, Earl, has been accepted for admission to the elite Philippine Military Academy in Baguio City, a distinct honor for any young man eager for a successful career in the military service. In a day or so, in fact, after the celebration, the whole family will be accompanying him to Baguio where he will be reporting for duty.
Earl is a scion of the Layno clan which used to be the predominant political family in Lianga. A lot, therefore, is riding on his young shoulders but from all indications, he seems to be a bright and personable young man with a good head on his shoulders. Given the proper focus and motivation, he can indeed go a long way in the rough and tumble world of the military service. Acceptance at the PMA is an opportunity many local boys here have used to their advantage and he can do no less.
The municipal government was also busy preparing for the arrival of Vicente Pimentel, the provincial governor, Congressman Philip Pichay of the 1st district of Surigao del Sur and a host of other provincial officials and dignitaries. They were expected to attend the formal ceremonies to be held two days later marking the declaration by the Department of Agrarian Reform of the Lianga town poblacion and three other of its barangays as special agrarian reform areas and, thus, the favored receipients of many priority agriculture development programs.
At the Lianga campus of the Surigao del Sur Polytechnic College, the student body and teaching staff were in the middle of the flurry of activities leading to the annual graduation ceremonies. Two of Mama's household companions were set to graduate with college diplomas at the conclusion of the current school year so, needless to say, she is more than a bit involved in the coming commencement exercises.
In the midst of the sweltering summer heat, life continues its inexorable course in Lianga and after an absence of several weeks, I am, once more and by force of circumstance, deeply immersed in it.