May 15 is the Feast Day of San Isidro

The last time I was in Camp JMC for its fiesta was 30 years ago. Those day, Ot-ot Anasco and Jimmy Sambalod ruled the streets. Oftentimes, Ot-ot would knock you to the ground just for smiling. Jimmy would kiss a girl out of the blue, especially if she was a stranger to the camp. A street fight would follow.  The bugoy’s were our form of entertainment, because the social hall activities were boring –  there was a movie showing, an amateur singing contest, and a disco.

Thirty years later, everything has changed.-  Ot-ot Anasco, I have heard, is now a dutiful husband and Jimmy Sambalod a doting father. The houses do not look as alive as they used to be. The chapel looks modern in contrast to our chapel before which looked like an old farm warehouse.

Inside the Camp JMC Chapel

We didn’t have “arkos” like the one below. Come to think of it, I don’t think we had banderitas at all.

My sister Melit with a welcome sign in the background

And the girls back then were not as bongga as the ones below (mga mamistahay). Most of the women back then – usually pineapple harvesters or packing shed workers – wore red tight blouse and white tight cotton pants. They looked like walking anthuriums.

But a few things remained. The young ones still prefer to eat and drink outside the house even if there are sofas inside, refusing to mingle with the oldies.

Kids still want to eat if to display to the world na mamistahay sila

And boys in Adidas shirt still think it is cool to pose in motorcycles. A whole generation of Camp JMC boys found their careers by posing in motorcycles, most of them grow up to be habal habal drivers.

And then of course, as these two last photos can prove, then and now photographers still don’t know how to compose pictures and shoot their subjects with remnants of someone else’s fingers or a headless body in the frame.—–


Salamat kay teachers Lilian Merca, Joy Sanches and Letty Varquez  for the food and the hospitality.


2 responses »

  1. Flora Baljon says:

    do u know the Palers of M street?

  2. Flora Baljon says:

    I have not been there since 1994. and I would love to go back and know if the family still lives there. Miss Camp JMC…

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