By Eric Lu
After arriving at the port in Iloilo, we met Lala, who is from one of the host families that accommodate some of us in Jordan. She is a cute and hospitable woman. When we arrived at her mother’s home (another place that three of us were going to stay), there were already breads, sausages, coffee and hot chocolate prepared for us on the dining table, though we were too tired to enjoy the foods. When we visited the place where William, my roommate, and I have stayed for more than two weeks, we received warm welcome as well. It was a sunny and hot day, and my host families prepared cold soft drinks and local snacks for us.
The environment around the home of our host family is very nice. There is a basketball court surrounded by trees in front of the house, which is a perfect location to watch stars when the night sky is clear. The host family open a grocery store right beside the basketball court so that whenever the players feel tired or thirsty, they can get snacks and drinks, and take a rest sitting on the benches in front of the store.
The father of the host family is Salvador Teroso, nickname: Ding. He is 59 years old, energetic and also very hospitable. He used to work in Taiwan for two years, so when I told him I am a Taiwanese, he was very excited. He has 8 children, 6 daughters and 2 sons. Now he lives with his sixth daughter, Suzette and his second son (eighth child). Nykko, his wife, Aida, and other family members (There are many of them and I can’t remember all of their names). Four of his children now works for Philippines National Police (PNP) as Non-Uniformed Personnel (NUP), and the last son, Nykko are still a student studying in Iloilo. They are all very cordial to us, and smiles are always on their face.
William and I don’t live in the house where the family lives, they offer us a small individual house and toilet (they just installed a new tap in the toilet few days ago) instead. The house is very interesting. The electricity of the house is brought by two extension lines from outside of the house, so sometimes the electricity will be out if they accidentally unplug the plug. The extension lines is not on the ground, but in the air, and along with some plastic and hemp ropes, they construct a net in the mid-air of the yard in the middle of our host family’s home, and the net is used as clotheshorse. The roof of the house is iron sheet, so it makes loud noise when something hit the roof, such as rain, or birds. The host family raise many hens and roosters in the yard, so every morning around five o’clock there will be biological alarm clock ringing and wakes me up. The biological alarm clock is consisted of not only crow of roosters but also the bird’s hitting on the iron sheet roof that makes really loud noise.
The neighbors are very friendly as well. William and I often plays with kids in the basketball court after dinner. They are so energetic that sometimes I feel like I am an old man, but it is still fun to watch those kids shouting and running. Sometimes, William and I will sit on the chairs surrounding the basket ball court and chat with passersby and people playing basketball there, listening to them telling us their story and life. There are people who used to work in Taiwan, just like Ding, and also people who used to be foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong.
Through the chatting and understanding of their life, I somehow feel more connected to these locals. Not only because some of them have been to lands I came from and I’m now studying on, but they also become vivid and lively as individuals, not just an element of collective “Local people” or “Strangers”.
I do enjoy the life here.