Petal Touch

Good proof of community influence that render others to follow suit   livened up Bong Cayabyab, of the Public Information Office, Baguio City, when his camera caught city councilor Peter Fianza happily and easily hefting a shovel while mixing aggregate in company of others, their petal touch of effort seen at Happy Hollow National High School, Baguio.

Indeed, there’s honor, bordering on friendship when public officers like Peter Fianza hesitate not, to roll their sleeves, spit on their palms, rub them together, spit on them again, grab a pick/ shovel and simply say, “What say you, comrades, let’s kiss the blue petals away and buckle down the works.”

Anyone acquainted with our public officers well agree such striking semblance, as well, boils within our good mayor, manong Mauricio Domogan, who wouldn’t shy to kiss away his petal soberness the instant he spots anyone transgressing the city’s spick and span.

Manong Maurico didn’t earn the monicker, “city janitor” without reasons. One has to rid away petals of complacency if one wants to follow in Manong Mauricio’s footsteps, to earn such revered monicker.

Friend, Peter Fianza and manong Mauricio Domogan are daily laborers who mind not, having the palms callused, going home grinning, knowing their wives would give them petals of kisses for a day well done, never mind if the serene petals on their faces are disarranged from too much affectation by Eva Marie Fianza, Peter’s wife and, Rebecca Domogan, manong Mauricio’s wife, both doting wives to husbands.

Last Sunday, also, as this bearded bum was eating a simple breakfast of noodles, but who appeared before him from nowhere was good friend, Mary Capuyan, from Sagada, Mountain Province, and residing at Dizon Subdivision, Baguio.

Mary, who contested the barangay captain post for Dizon Subdivision, but lost, apparently has gotten over the loss, as gleaned from the petal of gleam and sparkle in her eyes.

Mary handed to the bearded bum a package of “etag” (smoked meat) from Sagada, while putting in a magic petal of something in the package, saying, “to flavor more the etag and make your family’s Sunday, complete.”

By golly! Right there, the bearded bum would have planted petals of kisses on Mary’s cheek, but knowing her husband, Gerald, was waiting for Mary, the bearded bum strode over to Gerald and shook his hand – instead of kissing Gerald.

How often we find petals of handy work and friendship of daily laborers in the likes of Peter Fianza, Mauricio Domogan and Mary Capuyan are within our bewildered admiration and we want to kiss them for their labors, for theirs are flowery petals of future, anticipated.

Wanting to kiss them but unable to do so, we admire them from a distance, like we admire the multi-varied petals of flowers in the city’s flower market section.

Time was, in mid-2015, flowers hawkers, with beautiful blooms offered to  passersby in the crook of their arms,  were  eased out from vending, in accordance with the city’s anti-vending policy.

You do remember the flower hawkers, mostly women, saying, “Gumatang kayo ti sabong.” Like the women water-carriers who hefted cans loaded with water on their heads, these hawkers are gone, swept in the city’s history dustbin, but still part and parcel of the city’s growing pains and multi-colored past.

Their flower-selling conveyed a romantic fancy and our imagination of them gathers poetic flowers by the discordance which preceded their approach to us.

With flowerets arranged in bunches, the called out to customers, like hunger-inspiring roses, and they always said, “Gumatang ka ti sabong, manong, ta para kenni manang!”

We saw beauty in nature beyond selling flowers, as   these past gone flower hawkers sold fast as they could and valued the fabled emblems of Flora, beyond the value of the piso; for, they, themselves, were flowers, too.

This bearded bum searched Baguio to find a relic of the gone flower hawker, like an article of rare quality, representing an idea of what a flower carrier was, and still ought to be, but failed to find one.

They were then charming and winsome creatures, every way like the exuberance they circulated about, holding   perfect bouquets in the eye of the admirer endued with qualities which taught and attracted, delighted and gave moral of all that is beautiful, even if fading.

In their stature, they were a pink of neat carnation on Sundays, whiteness of a lily on Mondays, a perfect anthurium on Wednesdays.

This bearded bum remembers a time when a pretty flower hawker approached and said,” Manong, ammok napintas ni baket mo. Ngem puminpintas man isunna nu igatangam ti sabong.”

This bearded bum retorted, “Ammom kadi nu adda asawak?”

To which the flower girl answered, “‘La manong, kitam toy kurimatmat ti sabong, kasla la na a kunkuna, nu awan man ti asawam, gatangen nak para kenni nanang mu wenno ni manang/adding mu a babae.”

Came Thursdays, their stature was like the stalwart gladiola, by Fridays, they were colors diffused in hushed orchids, by Fridays, the were the innocence of the chrysanthemum.

The long gone flower hawkers, came Saturdays, gave occasions for the flight of the rose.

They were never without rhyme; they contrived by their temperate habits to keep the color of roses on their cheeks, and the everlasting in their eyes.

Whatever be the seasons, they always had a good stock of dahlia and their peaceful aspect showed they were never without a Mary Gold.

Like lilies of the valley, or Benguet lily, the flower hawkers raised their flowers before, like tears shed in the bowers of beauty.

The thorny sweet-roses they sold, supported the tulips and the geranium in its ecstatic form.

But like dama de noche fading before the night was over, the flower hawkers before were emblems of the nosegays; they vended their prize flowers until they signed off into oblivion, as their song says, “Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing/where have all the flowers gone; long time ago…”

Probably, the flower hawkers of before are deeply embedded in the petals wild sunflower (marapait), a beautiful and wild flower that bends with the wind and laughs with the sun.

Yet, for all its virtues, the flower hawkers of a time past gone forgot the wild sunflower ever existed and they cared not, to offer and sell it.

Like the Forget-me-not flowers   they vended, the flower hawkers just raised their petal of hands in salute whenever they passed the wild sunflowers growing along the hills, knowing their time will soon be gone, while the sunflowers will still be there.


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