Balikbayan Box

Saturday, March 3, 2007

After weeks of waiting, the box finally arrived!

It was usually morning when the delivery truck would stop in front of our porch. The delivery guys would place the box at the sala then one of us would sign a form and obtain the receipt. Afterwhich, one delivery guy would take a picture of us, me and my siblings, still in our pajamas, beside the box and the box was finally ours.

The most eager and excited of us usually got to open the box (Though everyone was really super excited, so I guess the smartest one usually got to open it). He or she also had the privilege of distributing the allocated pasalubong to everyone. However, after finding his or her share in awhile, he or she usually would stop being the distributor and would go in a corner to relish it. Those who hadn't got their share yet of course took over the distribution. The good thing about the box was that after you get your share, there would still be something for eveyone like chocolates, cup'o noodles, canned goods, and more. The number of canned goods would remind you of the movie "Blast from the Past". Our pop would usually be in-charge of the video coverage while our mama would be the one giving the comments to our shares. "Agkatnay met lang sapatos mo nga naggapu ken tita lyn? Nagustuam met lang ay-ayam mo naggapu ken tita bebs? Mamayatan ka met lang ta badom naggapu ken tita viola?" Her questions were usually unending but thank God she also had to attend to her own share. : )

For years, it has always been like this. Countless boxes have already been delivered. The box gathered the family together. It put a smile to each one of us and it also reconnected us to our titos and titas abroad. And we've opened them together for most of the time.

The only difference now that we are growing up is that we do not get to open the box together oftenly anymore since some are staying in the city and others in the province. Nevertheless, I'd like to believe and hope that everyone would always be around. Everybody would always be there. Otherwise, lugi yung hindi makakuha ng share. : )

I wonder who taught my titas and titos when they arrived in the states, about the concept of the balikbayan box. I wonder how they learned about it. They must be delighted the first time they thought of the probability of sending back something to their pop (my lolo) and brothers (tito leo and my pop) in the Philippines. But I can't imagine the greater delight from the recipients when the first balikbayan box arrived from the states.

A friend of mine came to Abra before and he was a bit surprised to see how undeveloped my town was, especially the barrio where I grew up, Canan (He had not seen the worst yet. He should have visited the place 10 years ago.). He was really wondering what made us like urban people. He asked, "How come you guys are so acting like urban people despite growing up in a rural place like this?"

I remember saying to him that being schooled in an urban place may have something to do with how we act.

But I'm adding another answer to it. Perhaps it is also because of the balikbayan box. It has been our window to the whole world.