Friday, May 10, 2013

Beating the Heat in an Isinay River

THE SUMMER season this year would probably go on record as one of the hottest (if not the hottest) that the Philippines has ever experienced.

In Dupax alone, the atung (heat) was such that immes-es podda danumar wangwang (the water in the river greatly receded), exposing the algae-covered stones and the pink golden-snail eggs clinging to them to the searing sun. Yes, it was like low tide. In this hundreds-of-kilometers-away-from-the-sea river, however, you get the feeling that a sigante (giant) who lived upstream drank all the water for himself.

While the temperature might have paled in comparison with the 37 degrees Celsius reported in Tuguegarao and Subic yesterday, it was nevertheless suicidal for people like me who have alta presyon (high blood pressure) to go outdoors during the hours between namalintur (high noon) and late mauhav (afternoon).

But, ah, there was one day last April when I was in Dupax that I dared to invite heat stroke.

Yes, I went outdoors. Yes, it was when the sun was directly overhead. And yes, I didn't even have a balanggut (wide-brimmed hat) to protect me.

Not only that. My exposure to solar radiation, as it were, took not merely minutes but a full hour or so.

Of course, of course, that's only a small part of the story.

What really happened -- and which would have probably earned me a grade of 99% were I still in Grade 3 and the maestra asked us pupils to write a composition on the theme "What I Did During Vacation" -- was this:

The outdoors I went to was a river and what I did was to soak myself in its clear, cool, and so refreshing water -- such that, you got it, even if the sun shot its rays full force and caused the temperature to rise up to near boiling point, I had no need for sombrero at all and was thousand kilometers away from heat stroke.

I would have put a final period on that kilometric-sentence paragraph.

However, I have many more things to tell.

For instance, the river that helped me beat the summer heat was one that, curiously, might be called many names -- all of them Isinay -- depending on which of the places it is associated to you would prefer. These are Carolotan, Meyumnin, and Sinagat.

Worth telling, too, for the sake of my grandchild Amihan and, I hope, for the many more that would come now that she has opened heaven's gate for us her long-expecting-for-grandchildren grandparents, are the things that I did while in the river.

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