Monday, September 25, 2006

Future is bright

GOATS fly, pigs don’t. Farm among stones if the fishes sulk and don’t bite.

If you open a vulcanizing shop beside your wife’s beauty parlor, use a name to jolt all memories: Delicious Vulcanizing and Beauty Repair.

These tips I picked up after a weekend visit in southern Cebu.

It started when our multicab, huffing and puffing up the mountain, passed a pile of sand and limestone boulders by the road.

Reuben, whose salesmanship has left him with a love for long drives and longer anecdotes, said that limestone makes good fences. When the stones become wet, few things are as unbreakable.

Leaving the goods by the road is a good idea as no signs disfigure the landscape. But how does one find the seller?

I learned that those who are serious about buying, find out. Dishonest intentions only make their owner realize that nothing is more impossible to steal than a fence of stones, each one heftier than guilt.

During their season, baskets of fruits are left, too, along the road. That is true for banana, mango and lanzones but never for avocado and guyabano.

For a city dweller, this is a mystifying law of supply. Lanzones from the south can be sour. Certainly, it is not as sweet as the ones fed by the volcanic soil of Camiguin.

On the other hand, avocado in Alegria is most often the evergreen type, each fruit sometimes a fraction smaller than a coconut and free of irritants like “stones” and “threads” that get in the way of the eating.

Why do farmers not leave avocados and guyabanos by the road for a city market that is always thirsty for shakes and fresh juices?

Believe it or not, only pigs eat avocado and guyabano in these uplands.

Yet, although it occupies a place of honor at the fiesta table, the pig is actually a secondary citizen to all things hoofed and horned.

Goat and cattle are more prized by farmers. They just munch on greens, licking a block of salt for dessert.

When, by some freak of nature, your goat is born with three testicles, you have a better investment. During drinking bouts, you can win all the bets by claiming that you and your pet goat have a total of five testicles.

The only way to lose is if your mother-in-law catches you drinking and betting on your livestock. Don’t count on your eggs then.

According to Reuben, people till a farm, even on stony ground, because fishing can be as capricious. Like women during their periods, fish get moody during full moon.

A former fisherman who got tired of these moon-induced headaches, Dioning found his fortune in inflating the punctured tires of the town.

By the standards of uplanders, he moved up by moving down. His vulcanizing shop squats prominently at the corner of the highway connecting the upland barangays of Lepanto, Guadalupe and Montpeller to the national road.

Modest about his lack of formal training but otherwise grand about his ambitions, he approached a local teacher to supply the name of his enterprise.

Unlike the nameless entrepreneurs of the boondocks, Dioning wants to put his business name on an outdoor sign and on the shirts of the people staffing his vulcanizing shop and other future enterprises, which may include a parlor and bakery perhaps.

Doming, his consultant, suggested the phrase “Dioning’s Delicious…” because in their town, everyone eventually ventures into selling food even if they detour first by way of vulcanizing or hair rebonding.

As our multicab groaned past Dioning’s shop at the end of the day, I saw tools and tires lying helter-skelter on the greasy ground. Dioning’s choco crèmes and doughnuts. The guy is right: who can bear the future without inflating it?

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