top 10 things you know if you grew up in the province

over lunch last week, an officemate who lives in pasig mentioned that his lolo used to be a rice farmer. it took a while before it registered in my mind that pasig used to be very provincial, and that far from how it looks today, the pasig river used to be a place where people could swim, fish, bathe, and do their business (i.e., feed the fish. he.he.). anyway, that remark started a discussion with him on how province-bred kids seemed to have a better childhood because the whole neighborhood was their playground, and that he wished his children could experience the same — climbing trees and picking fruits are top of mind.

“probinsiyano” used to be a derogatory term (for some it still is), but with the recent phenomenon of professionals moving back from manila and abroad to the countryside, i think it’s time the term became the badge of honor that it should be. as in all things, there are the good and the bad, the funny and the sad, but here’s a list of some shared memories as probinsiyanos. (of course, you can add to this too) 🙂

you grew up in the province if you know that:
1. the rainy season means backyard fishing time
2. “batyas” (wash basins) can be used as food containers during birthdays and holidays
3. “malapit na” (“it’s near”) means half-a-day’s travel on unpaved roads, across rivers, sometimes over mountains
4. frogs, snails, snakes, lizards, and insects are gustatory items
5. markets don’t mean malls
6. ice cream can be made at home, in a tin container spinned for hours in an ice and salt mixture in a big wooden barrel
7. coconut milk comes from pressed coconut meat, not from coconut-fed cows
8. wood can be used for cooking
9. you can fetch water from a well or hand-pump it from the ground
10. the sky is blue.


8 Comments Add yours

  1. claire espina says:

    Greg, some of my Manila born and bred friends still fondly call me probinsyana… and I like the term. I have never hidden the fact I grew up in the province, during my time, it was utterly unfashionable to so admit. I so love this post!


  2. Betis Boy says:

    Thanks, atsi. now the distinction is fuzzy. what you have in the city you now have in (most) provinces. that's why those that retained their provincial look and feel are becoming more special.


  3. Guagua Girl says:

    HA HA HA! this is great 🙂 you know you're a 'syano when … i do wear it as a badge of honor, especially here in the u.s. i love telling stories about how i grew up in a barrio where folks still preferred going to the hilot (my apu, actually) for mild aches and pains and childbirth, there were no telephone lines until after i graduated from college (!) and fresh milk came from a carabao 😀


  4. Betis Boy says:

    yup, each country has them, even the 1st world ones 🙂


  5. anneski:) says:

    Hi Greg, may I add:
    …you were 'nausog,' 'nabati' and were treated by a manggagamot through 'hilot,' and 'tawas'
    … you know 'tawas' is a ritual, and not the alum
    … you made improvised aquariums of big old jars, and your 'fishes' were actually tadpoles from a nearby creek
    … merienda is NOT kwek-kwek or kikiam or fishballs; merienda is ginataang halo-halo, champorado, turon, palitaw or nilupak
    … the greens in your salad or soup are free, harvested somewhere in the neighborhood
    … fences aren't concrete, and gates aren't padlocked
    … you had great time in a perya, and probably had your first dance in a 'disco-ral' < < that one's from my husband =)


  6. Guagua Girl says:

    LOL! these are all great and soooo true, anneski 🙂 thanks for visiting our blog and commenting.


  7. Betis Boy says:

    hi anneski, believe it or not despite appearances, i have never been in a diskural. he.he


  8. Guagua Girl says:

    BB, was this inspired by this FB thing “you know you grew up in …” ? i just noticed a bunch of friends responding to that. haven't seen a filipino version yet, though.


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