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Lanang, Brown Bags, And The Santol Gang
Written by Ate Dinah  
Illustrated by Elise
      The place Lanang is a very special place to me. It gave me a lot of happy memories and wonderful experiences during my childhood days. I started going there when I was about four or five years old. Tia Paz always took us pamangkins along. We would go  there either by tricycle or by jeep. I always loved to get inside the kubo first and make some inspection. I felt like I was in a big playhouse. There in Lanang, we played, climbed up trees (and fell!), picked fruits, ate on banana leaves, and drank on coconut shells.  

     Everything was fun especially with cousins Irene and Ruby. We would go down the creek and throw stones into the water or sit on the tree branches and tell stories. We would bring baskets of food for lunch and snacks. We enjoyed eating in the kubo. I remember the sight of Lolo lying on a stack of hay with his hat over his face. He always fell asleep while resting under the tree.  

     Some of the fruit trees were short that we had fun picking the fruits without climbing the branches. Before going home we would count our pickings. Later, we would divide the harvest among members of the family.  

     Going back home without a ride was the worst part. We walked a long the stony road until we reached the national road. Here is where the brown bags come in. To protect ourselves from the heat of the sun, we used brown paper bags to cover our head. Holes were cut for our eyes and nose. We looked like a bunch of kids "trick or treating" at midday! I always complained about the condition of the road to Tatay but he always told me not to worry. When he becomes mayor of the town he will have it fixed "at ipapasiminto ko pa hanggang Lanang," he promised. I knew all the time he was teasing me.  

     In 1976 after a long time of not seeing Lanang, Kuya Mike, Ate Flo, Irene, Ruby, myself and three friends went there. The kubo  was not in good shape anymore. It looked like it had been abandoned for years. It was a very touching scene - my cousins, KM and I standing around the hapless kubo. In hushed voices we talked about the good times we had in the kubo - the kalan, papag, etc.  

     Our silence was interrupted by the sounds of birds on the santol tree. They were raiding santols. The tree was laden with ripe santols and so we climbed and picked some and then officially named our group "The Santol Gang".  

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