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When the floods come ‘marching in’

By Ramon Jorge Sarabosing

“Dili ‘ta mangadto sa Butuan kay permi baha. Ang ilang suba tampalasan.” (Lets not go to Butuan, its constantly flooded. The river is horrendous.) I remember my aunt told everyone in Bohol in the early ’70’s. I don’t know if she was kidding but it was true.

My father who migrated here a long time ago responded with an understanding and light smile. He must have loved and embraced the city with her strengths, imperfections and endless floods. But who’s complaining?

Not me. Not the neighbor kids my age of the late ’60’s and early ’70’s who look forward to play with the floodwaters and rain in street corners and canals. And no classes, yeehey!

Nothing has change, does it? We still have the floods. The river inundates. Riverside residents never transfer. Magsaysay Bridge still stands like a durable relic in the dark, gloomy sky. The children out in the streets playing the rain.

“Ay! We walk, no, wade all the way from Guingona Subdivision passing MJ Santos Hospital in Montilla Boulevard and all the way to the plasa (park) and G Flores Avenue wet and soaked,” recalls a once high-school student from Urios College, now a university.

“No tricycle driver would dare go to Langihan (market) so we ended up with “lugao” (porridge) all the time,” he swears.

“The sight to marvel at was the raging current of Agusan River around and nearby Magsaysay Bridge with a hundred vicious whirlpools dragging all kinds of debris even a leaning Nipa hut presumably from the Upper Agusan.”

The audience would cheer, get awed seeing them. Disaster movies seem no match!

As kids and teenagers we ran, rain or no rain, to the center of the bridge to witness nature’s show and when we go home we got rewarded with papa’s belt and rage.

As a child of migrant parents and now a die hard Butuanon (Butuanese, as some inventive generation calls it) I am most proud and secure where I came from, the kingdom (yes, an ancient one) of Balangays and playful floods.

I sail with happy memories.

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