Thoughts and Memories:


Writing an article, with a topic that interests me, colors my day. At rest, my interests are UFC and NBA. Once, my dear wife noticed me watching stress-inducing games, so I turned to reading books which was my interest way back in my high school days.

The word ‘interest’ had been part of my vocabulary since my puberty. Now, a letter from BDO reminded me of the interest I incurred for late payment of my credit card.

Great director John Huston was asked by TV host Dick Cavett, “What do you look for in life?” He answered back with a single word: Interest. I remember director John Huston because of the movie, ‘The Man Who Would Be King,’ which I watched with my good friend Evangelist Macario “Jun” Surtida Arcilla. Neither of us had no cause to follow Huston’s ambition in the film because we had no interest in becoming a monarch.

During my younger years in Buyo, Virac, Catanduanes, there were four things that interested me. The first was Music. Born to a family of musicians, headed by father Bailon V Zafe who learned music from an iconic teacher, lthe ate Tang Teodulo Publico, my love for music was ignited.

Doming, a fine trumpet player, studied two years of Engineering at CSC before going for a diploma in Bachelor of Science in Music Education at UST. GM Raul of FICELCO, played saxophone (tenor and alto sax) as former scholar-member of the Mapua band. Romeo plays the drum and trombone while Doc Zani is on the drums and bass guitar. I was guided to play trumpet and drums, not aware, even by myself, of a gift for singing. It became known to me only after I was employed.

Fishing interested me during weekends. But on weekdays, it was forced on me by father during nighttime. His intention was good. For my sake, he removed me from the temptation and evil of gambling. Saturdays and Sundays, I had two choices of groups to join in fishing. The group of Sis Aida and brother Jun or the professional fishermen’s group. The first group enjoyed fishing, the second competed with each other.

One day the group of professional fishermen started early at 8 AM near our saw mill to chase and catch multitude of carps the size of baby’s pillow and other varieties of fish.

I joined to learn more on how to use fishing gun and manual spear, both of which I borrowed from uncle Pascual, the younger brother of our dearest mother Rosario. He gave me advice and tips how to use it. We used a ‘Kunay’, a device to frighten fish to run and hide like a man gone berserk. ‘Kunay’ is made of the stripped inner, white part of abaca tied to a rope extended from bank to bank of Buyo river. Both ends of the rope were pulled by three men going forward. We started early near our saw mill and ended at 5 PM near our farm in Dugui Too. I was number one that day, based on size and number of fish caught.  Father cut the tail fin of the biggest fish and pasted it on our kitchen wall.

My 3rd interest in life was billiard games with money at stake. Gambling with playing cards, I seldom played because it needed more cash. I was influenced by our environment and lack of self-control. Many times my father punished me and many times I promised to stop but kept going back to gambling. Papa used a different approach to his son, causing a little ripple to his peaceful existence. His move was to take my time and separate me from billiard table. Our type of billiard games in Buyo used flat rounded ball made from fine wood, to be holed in to four corner holes of the table. The stake was usually big as during those days our barrio was awash with cash from forest products, rattan and lumber. Father initiated for us to be together at nighttime, fishing with the use of flashlight. He or the “night won’t set me free”, as sang by Perry Como. If he was tired from work, Butch and Beting, both accomplished fishermen, took over. They were tired from their day’s work but obeyed and did what must be done. Looking back, if these men did not put a barrier to my bad interests in those days, where will I be now? What do you think I will be today?

Thus same to mind Tiyo Pio ‘Apyaw’ Gianan’s wisdom he uttered after our session at the Sangguniang Bayan of Virac. Walking together to his car, he said to me, “As comptroller of Arca Trading Company (which traded on sugar), I promptly collected money from our cashiers from many provinces before it got too big for comfort, that it may tempt them when need arises. Don’t ever expose your men to temptation.”

My fourth interest is people. “People who need people, are the luckiest people in the world”, as sang by Barbra Striesand.

I hate to be alone, before I learned to meditate. Papa sensed it through his inner light, that I enjoy being with people. He encouraged me to sit with his visitors at home. Judge Honesto Morales, who visited our home on several occasions with his wife, became familiar to me even before becoming my classmate in our Master’s degree class and as a jogging buddy. When the visitor was someone who could give lessons, wisdom and inspiration to take the road taken by good men, Father saw it right for me to be in the room, too. He will command manoy Antero, Imo, Butch and whoever is around to find and bring me home. Now on my writing session and practice, wisdom taught me that people are the richest source of stories.

Professor and Author Edgardo Reyes’s teaching, upholding the supreme importance of people, rings true up to now. He said, “Management is the art of getting of things done through the help of other people.”

“Positive interest is insurance for better life. Return of benefits are two-fold to your premium of self denial, hard work and sacrifice”.

How I was made to stop gambling could be next. . .

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