05 January 2007

Two fathers exchanging notes

WHILE we were meeting with Mayor Robredo this morning, Frank Mendoza, the primus inter pares in the city management team, being the city administrator and acting budget officer at the same time, managed to exchange some quick notes on fathering with me.

Told that I brought my wife to her OB-Gyne yesterday -- the second straight day she saw her -- because of high blood pressure, Frank asked if I already brought her to
May Erming, an auntie of his wife Weng, and our own extended family, relatives and and friends' parahilot of choice.

I said I did not, and regretted not having insisted on bringing my wife to her. She said Weng had no other choice but to go through the motions. Talk about a veteran forgetting the basics, and being reminded, gently, by the newbie. (Frank, you see, had his first child -- a girl -- about two months ago.) My friend Tacio, Erming's nephew and Weng's cousin, has a funny Bikolano phrase for it:
"Gurang nang komedyante, nasuwi sa entablado." ("A veteran comedian tumbles down on stage.")

If I still recall my mom's instruction right after visiting our Pili home after Lynn gave birth, it involves being fixed (
"sinusulit") by May Erming, a quite lengthy elaborate body massage using some select local herbs, within seven days after childbirth. During which time, she should also religiously drink pamasma, a concoction of anonang, plus some wild vines and roots that I don't know about -- but my wife knows -- that my mother sent us. And it is only after those seven days that she can take a bath.

Now, I have deep respect for this tradition, this local knowledge built up and handed down through generations, because they have served us well. And my gut tells me there is method to it that deserves serious study. Lynn is feeling much better now, but this episode reminded us of some things we often take for granted.


Iloilo City Boy said...

Happy New Year Willy. It's good to hear that Frank has a baby finally, knowing how hard they have been trying all these years.

Dominique said...

Hi, Willy: wow, all those traditional remedies sound interesting. They really should be the subject of more study.

I hope things are going well for the wife and newborn baby.