Nonong worked as a teacher in the Philippine Refugee Processing Center. He left PRPC in 1992 and became a court interpreter. He then moved into the world of television and entertainment in Manila, an exciting, fast-paced and stressful life.

Several years ago, Nonong moved back to his home town, San Agustin on the island of Tablas, to take care of his mother. We visited him there at the end of our trip through the Visayas, the island region between Luzon in the north and Mindanao in the south. Tablas is one of the Romblon group at the geographical center of the Philippine archipelago. This was Lina’s first trip to Tablas, and her first meeting with Nonong since 1992.

San Agustin is the sleepiest of all the places we visited this year, small, slow, delightful. This post will be a photo essay to show you the life Nonong has returned to and is creating at the same time.

IMG_3214

On the road to San Agustin, other islands in the Romblon group in the distance

IMG_3228

Tiny fish are dried on nets spread out along the road. Here the nets are being rolled up as it is late afternoon.

IMG_3250

San Agustin extends a welcome!

IMG_3238

We ate all our meals at a carinderia, or food stall, at the bus terminal. Great food!

IMG_3236

At the request of the town government, Nonong has started the Kalipayan Festival in San Agustin.

IMG_3234

The festival draws from Caribbean Carnival as well as Filipino traditions.

IMG_3354

Children still play in the streets.

IMG_3349

An old house in the town center

IMG_3384

And another that doubles as a store

IMG_3380

This entry way commemorates Magellan on the right, who was killed in 1521 by Lapu Lapu, a chieftain of Mactan Island, on the left. Here they stand peacefully together.

IMG_3395

Marble quarried on the neighboring island of Romblon turned into balusters.

IMG_3343

Nonong’s ancestral home bears the letter “N” for his family name, Navarrete, a reminder of the Spanish presence in these islands for over 300 years. One ancestor inherited the house, another contested the inheritance, so the owner sold it to someone not in the family!

IMG_3246

A bangka being loaded at the port

IMG_3396

The ferry to Romblon and Sibuyan makes one round trip a day, leaving San Agustin in the morning and returning in the afternoon.

IMG_3409

Very fresh fish

IMG_3408

IMG_3416

The weekend market where many local farmers bring their fruits and vegetables.

IMG_3362

The rice fields and mountains in back of town

IMG_3360

One of the barangays or neighborhoods across those rice paddies crowned a beauty queen, and she was driven through the streets on this float.

IMG_3358

No pageant would be complete without a “mini queen”! Ashley is held tightly by her mother.

Momordica charantia - Cucurbita   Ampalaya, bitter melon

Ampalaya or bitter melon grows on a trellis by the door of our hotel.

IMG_1363

Palm Sunday in San Agustin

IMG_3444

Palaspas – beautifully plaited palm fronds – are an important part of the Palm Sunday Mass. They commemorate the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The priest blesses the palaspas during the Mass. The faithful raise the fronds and wave them back and forth, a forest of palm leaves greeting Easter Week.

IMG_3278

At Busay Falls, in the hills in back of town

IMG_3397

The promenade along the harbor has been repaired after typhoon damage.

IMG_3402

Nonong enjoys his life in San Agustin!

 

 

 

Advertisements