Thursday, last week, after doing Wednesday press work, Daily Laborer decided t’was time to get a Covid-19 second booster vaccine shot and so proceeded where Baguio Health Department (BHD) authorities temporarily quartered near Malcolm Square, Baguio City, in the conduct of its vaccination protocols.
BHD’s vaccination area is just in front of the building which residents know as having previously housed the famous Plaza Theatre, where many Baguio and La Trinidad folks, in their lifetimes, trooped to that old theatre to watch movies.
Received warmly by BHD personnel assigned there, they inspected Daily Laborer’s BHD vaccination card, exchanged pleasantries, told him to sign in his name, administered his second booster shot and happily dismissed him.
For a moment, Daily laborer thought of resting on one of the monobloc chairs conveniently placed there by the BHD and Baguio City Police Office (BCPO), for people waiting to receive their vaccine shots, and simply to cast his eyes around.
Silently surveying the hustle and bustle of people in the area for a long time, it profoundly impressed upon Daily laborer that the horde of people from all walks of life moving hither and yon at Malcolm Square where he sat, were following where their noses led them.
These people – a work force, laborers, all, – have hit the road to do what they felt right in a particular situation at a particular time, trusting their own feelings and not unnecessarily influenced by other people’s opinions.
For instance, Daily Laborer spotted three lawyers holding Manila envelopes pass by near him, apparently hurrying towards Baguio City Justice Hall, as per their talks he heard. Then he saw government workers, many, his friends.
One of the government employee who saw Daily laborer, hailed him and said, “Mapan kami ag-attend seminar idiay Trinidad, manong.” (He apparently meant La Trinidad).
He saw ladies in nurse uniforms, apparently having timed off from night hospital duty. Tiredness and want for sleep cringed their pretty faces and eyes, as they hurried home. He espied harried mothers, with folded eco-friendly bags head towards the city’s markets.
Sales people, he discerned, too, moving with the wave of other working force towards their commercial establishments at Session Road, Magsaysay Road, Abanao Road, Otek St., Lakandula Road, Harrison Road, Assumption Road and other road conduits of Baguio City.
He noticed officers of the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) officers, some stationed at Malcolm Square and BHD Vaccination site where he sat) diligently engrossed in their work.
He sat, witnessed, oh and aah’d at a mighty throng of moving socioeconomic class, semi-skilled, skilled and even unskilled, working for wages, motivated by duty, perseverance, honesty, industry, competency, the will to go the extra kilometer – following their very noses and sniffing for clues.
In short, all of them sniff a nose motto of, “Ay ket trabaho manen, latta, ah!” After all, happiness is enjoying what you are doing.
He saw Mr. Sun follow this mighty horde of laboring Baguio and la Trinidad people, going about their work, and Mr. Sun couldn’t help but grin though his nose.
Sitting there, wondering at the wonders of Baguio and La Trinidad folks following their distinct smell for a nose, it persisted upon Daily Laborer that among the mapped hills and mountains of Cordillera, none is probably more imminent than the map of faces of residents and that curious protuberance – the nose.
It is a remarkable promontory and very conspicuous. Other Cordilleran observers may treat eyes and lips as more imminent but, Daily laborer, being a neophyte student in the subject, “Geography of Humans,” confines himself to the nose.
A nose, beheld from afar, is most prominent, situated in the middle of the face. Except, indeed, if it had been knocked on one side by the rude hand of a pugilist. It is placed somewhat lower between our two eyes, to the extent that what humans cannot see, humans can then smell it out.
For, aside from serving the face as an ornament, smelling is its chief vice. Chiefly through the nose, laborers of varied professions can easily smell out somebody or something.
For instance, a laborer by profession a lawyer can smell out a suit or legal case. A laborer by profession a doctor can smell out a patient. A laborer by profession a business entrepreneur may smell out a prospective buyer.
A laborer by profession a journalist may smell out a person to be interviewed; a laborer by profession a police officer may smell out a crime or crime scene. A laborer by profession an engineer may smell out if a building, rip-rap or road is sufficiently or poorly constructed.
A laborer, by profession a meteorologist, may smell out by predicting weather disturbance. A laborer by profession a storeowner may smell a buyer of goods. A laborer by profession a firefighter may smell if arson was committed. The list of laborers following their trade of noses goes on and on.
By the by, noses not only support the deficiency of the eyes for when the sight of the eyes gets in trouble and need eyeglasses, they become support for those necessary optics.
Every highlander, lowlander – in fact any human – possesses a nose. Yet they are not alike for they vary in shape, color and dimension. Sit one day at Malcolm Square and observe to your delight distinguishing different noses, as Daily laborer discovered.
Here he describes some he saw. There is the snub nose, the bottle nose, the hooked nose, the crooked nose, the long nose (this is different from the pliers that we call long nose), impudent nose, and easy-going nose, pugnacious nose, malicious nose, suspicious nose, adventurous nose, amusing nose, absurd nose, and visionary nose.
On another score, Daily laborer discerned a sarcastic nose, a whimsical nose, a charismatic nose, a resourceful nose, an ambitious nose, an imaginative nose.
Daily laborer also saw an eccentric nose, a ferocious nose, a fanatical nose, a hysterical nose, a mad nose, an unpredictable nose, a collector’s item nose, a macaronic nose, a laughing nose, a sneaky nose, an absent-minded nose.
Daily laborer also espied from the side of his nose those possessed of an unreliable nose, irrelevant nose, hysterical nose, a dreaming nose, a naughty nose, a nosy nose and spiritual nose.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, Daily laborer pompously flatters his self to be a poor student of the subject “Geography of Humans,” probably soon to be introduced in Philippine school curricula.
For if the human face, taken collectively, is divine, as Daily Laborer’s school instructor tells him, there is most surely something peculiarly noble about its most conspicuous part – being the nose.
Importance of the human nose may be estimated from the fact that if you wickedly pull somebody’s nose to wrench it off, chances are, you might get a bloody nose, in return.
A most remarkable feature of the nose is when it discourses its most eloquent music in the middle of the night, its tone resembling a bass organ in play. And many Cordilleran and highlander wives told Daily laborer they fully appreciate this night nasal music by explaining, “I would rather hear my husband snore like hell at night, safe in the assurance he is asleep besides me, and not in somebody’s bedchamber.”
Out of some two or three hundred noses that Daily Laborer saw while seated at Malcolm Square, he got enamored with the one described as the nosy nose, admired by the fact that it pokes its way into everybody’s business, and ingenious in the affairs of others.
It also got Daily laborer to thinking why, although he loves to watch a boxing match, he shakes his head the way prize fighters break, batter and utterly deface the human face, going far to render an opponent by breaking down the bridge of his nose.
Indeed, as Daily Laborer rose from the monobloc chair, he concluded that after all, besides being a breathing apparatus, an ornament to the face, and a convenient handle by which to grasp an impudent fellow like him, it is, no doubt, an important index to a human’s character.
As he stood, he remembered a friend, who one time attended a canao and drank too much tapey (rice wine) than his stomach can take. His wife, with him, chastised him by saying, “Ag-ang-angot ka ti arak, di mo pay maangot ti agawid en!” To which the husband (a town leader) cutely said to his wife in English, “Baket, I think your nose is wrong, for I don’t drink alcohol. I drink distilled spirits. Therefore, I am not an alcoholic. I am spiritual.”