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Life as I Knew It

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I moved to the Philippines in the year 2002. One of the first places I lived in was a small town in the mountain region of Rizal called Tanay. I lived in a low-lying house in a property with many tall trees and lots of grass. Because of the many monsoons in that area of the Philippines, some of the trees were bent and slanted towards the ground. I used to play on these trees every day. There were also a small barbecue area in the back of the property and a small red toolshed.

Our house was situated in a quiet neighborhood, with no cars and many small farms and rice plantations. Once, when we went exploring, we came across a very large property. It had an enormous wooden gate and seemed impossible to enter. But then, a friend of ours led us to a small side entrance and let us in.
We decided to see who the owner of this large property was. However, the property was so large that it took us several hours to reach the owner’s house. When we saw his house, we were stunned. It looked like a mansion that had stepped out of the screens of some American movie. We walked up to the door and knocked. A maid answered our knock. When we told her that we wanted to meet the owner, she led us around to the back porch. A man was seated on an ornate wooden bench. When I saw him, I was shocked to see a large snake lying on his shoulders. I decided I liked his style.
He smiled and introduced himself as Dr. Honsay. He was very friendly and invited us to come for breakfast. During the next few days, we became very good friends. He showed us around his property and explained that it was a summer camp. I had lots of fun running and playing there. He had an artificial waterfall that I would swim in at times. However, the highlight of my time there was walking across a couple of rope bridges. They were very challenging and difficult to walk on, but I enjoyed them nonetheless.
Another favorite pastime was watching films. Occasionally, my parents would go on trips to the capital, Manila to work on our visas. When they went, the rest of the family would watch movies and play computer games. I remember once they watched “300”, but I was scared and didn’t watch it.
I also remember getting sick with a strange disease. I recall fainting and my father giving me a very weird-tasting medicine that failed to restore me to health. The following day I went to the hospital with my father so that my sickness might be diagnosed properly. The doctor, however, didn’t have the slightest clue as to my sickness. His advice was simple: Go home and rest. Eventually, I got well and starting watching movies again.
I have very fond memories of my life in Tanay. I wish I could revisit my old house and play once more among the trees. I hope I could return there one day and find Dr. Honsay and his snakes waiting for me. I want to run across that old rope bridge and swim in the cool waterfall one more time. Because I learned that a simple life is often the most rewarding life.



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