Saturday, October 13, 2007


In Zen, it is advised that one ought to regard both exuberant and horrific moments with the same degree of equanimity so as to retain a dignified, placid composure when dealing with either circumstance. A fine virtue to embody, indeed, but may be easier said than done.

As kids enjoying a summer vacation in Subic, we couldn't help but express our delirious happiness with screams of joy and laughter. It was the same as when frightened, especially at night when older cousins would suddenly lunge at us from the darkness like wicked phantoms -- we'd scream our lungs out, too, then.

But come to think of it, during one summer in Subic, I must admit there was a time when I'd react with stillness and silence. It wasn't because I was trying to project an inner composure. I was simply frozen out of fright; my siblings and cousins displayed the very same reaction.

Such frightful episode was caused by a regular occurrence not under the cover of darkness, but in broad daylight. It was when our Tia Kikay, one of my father's sisters, would yell for us kids to stop our play and get ready for our morning bath in her usual thunderous roar; prompting the nearby animals to run away as if sensing an incoming cataclysmic act of God.

Tia Kikay always tried to hide it from us, but we all knew that her right hand held that nasty piece of stone that we all dreaded.

As we marched to heed her
call, the ever loyal maid Ojang, with her trademark sneer etched on her sinister face, would vigorously pumped the water out of the ground like some brawny stevedore. And once the metal basin was filled with water, the awful ritual would then commence.

No longer able to cope with such agony, one Saturday when my father came to Subic with my mother, I told on Tia Kikay. I was never one to rat on anybody, but in this particular case, I had no other choice.

At first my father didn't believe me because I couldn't show him any evidence such as a blister, an open wound, or any sign of physical damage on any part of my body. Nonetheless, I knew how to get to my father's heart -- with my teary doleful eyes.

Finally, he relented and assured me he'd speak to Tia Kikay about it. And when I told my sister Inday and cousins that our misery was about to come to an end, everyone started screaming and jumping, buoyed by unadulterated bliss.

My father did talk to Tia Kikay about it, and from that moment on, whenever giving us a bath, she never used that piece of stone on us ever again. You see, the way she applied it, our skin felt as if it were being scraped off our tender bodies. We just had to prove to her, though, that we could do it ourselves, and do a good job of it!

And so the rest of that summer in Subic was once again simply grand.


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posted by Señor Enrique at 10:15 AM


Blogger yusop said...

Ha..ha...our servants also used this before and I did tried that too. But it's true that it's painful to the skin.
It's good loofas and body scrubs are already commercially available nowadays.

October 13, 2007 3:18 PM  

Blogger nutart said...

nice segue!--the esoteric-ness of the common "hilod." I also had my share of it during my childhood days...aray ko talaga! Like a purification ritual.

October 13, 2007 4:21 PM  

Blogger ScroochChronicles said...

Never...never ever have I had the misfortune of being bathed with a "hilod". I can picture it, the deep-well bomba, the palanggana, and the hilod. I remember having gone through the taking-a-bath sa may bomba, but still, walang hilod. Sakit siguro :)

October 13, 2007 6:11 PM  

Blogger mgaputonimimi said...

sa probinsya uso talaga ito.. nag try ako di ko ma take. heheh

masakit talaga... ^_^

October 13, 2007 10:39 PM  

Blogger EM said...

I've had the pleasure of the 'hilod' experience. I guess I tolerate pain better or being young I am taken away by the promise of a better looking skin after. My skin would glow pink after.... but don't touch coz it's ...very sensitive..hehe.

October 14, 2007 6:26 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Lol ... masakit nga talaga, Mimi, lalo na kung iba ang maghihilod sa iyo kasi hindi nila ma-"gauge" ang necessary pressure. Kadalasan pagkadiin-diin talaga - para ng nagbabalat ng sibuyas, eh.

October 14, 2007 7:19 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My siblings and I never experienced the 'hilod' when we were kids. My father never allowed us maybe because he knew how painful it could be on our tender skin.

But I got curious whenever I would pass by 'public wells' and saw people scrubbing themselves vigorously with that stone. So I tried it one time. Ang hapdi!

October 14, 2007 7:20 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I think it probably was because my Tia Kikay had failing eyesight at that time already, Scrooch. She probably mistook our suntan as "libag" ... hahaha. Alam mo naman sa probinsiya, kahit wala ka sa tapat ng araw, hangin lang iitim ka na! Ang itim ko nga lagi paguwi na ng Maynila.

October 14, 2007 7:22 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

And this must be the reason, Nutart, why snakes are in such grumpy mood right after shedding off its skin ... hehehe.

Many thanks!

October 14, 2007 7:24 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I have to once again resort to this "batong panghilod," Major Tom, because I cannot take the loofas, and those nylon scrubs from the Body Shop don't last very long.

However, in the States, I hardly had any need for this piece of stone kahit tuwing summertime. A face towel with soap is good enough to rub off the stubborn dirt off my body.

October 14, 2007 7:31 AM  

Blogger jon go said...

wow! that stone looks real menacing.. i would have threw a fit had that been used on me! :)

October 14, 2007 8:49 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

It eventually became a running joke in the family, EM -- everyone thought Tia Kikay would have made mucho dinero had she worked for Michael Jackson.

But the batong pang hilod isn't all that bad; that is, used with moderation :)

October 14, 2007 8:50 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

One of the things I admire about you Rhoda is your guts to try things out on your own ... hehehe. Sana naging explorer ka ano?

Anyway, baka naman kasi ala Tia Kikay ang pag gamit mo ng bato na 'yon?

October 14, 2007 8:52 AM  

Blogger Sidney said...

I never quite understood how you can wash yourself with a stone! I still see one occasionally in my bathroom.

You have nice stories, Eric.

October 14, 2007 10:25 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

And I wouldn't blame you for doing so, Jon ... hehehe. It can be painful.

October 14, 2007 10:46 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Haven't you seen any out in the provinces, Sidney? When moms give their kids baths? Most use a stone like this to rub off dirt or "libag" off their tot's bodies.

Thanks, Sidney!

October 14, 2007 12:08 PM  

Blogger pusa said...

nyahaha, we still have this panghilod in our bathroom (my mother still uses it)... as a kid, i liked using this to take off my "libags" after a whole day in the sun playing, and yes it is quite good if used moderately... i'm so glad that loofah is available now in the market

October 14, 2007 8:28 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I've a feeling that a stone such as this will become a regular fixture in some local bathrooms, Pusa, especially out in the provinces :)

Loofah can be pricey when all one has to do is pick up a panghilod free ... hehehe.

October 15, 2007 6:12 AM  

Blogger carlotta1924 said...

never used a stone like that but we used a small face towel or loofah para panghilod. sosi na ngayon ang panghilod ko... that scrub thingie from the body shop that was given to me as a gift hihihi =)

October 15, 2007 9:25 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hmmm ... what is that scrub thingie? Got to find out what it looks like, Carla :)

October 15, 2007 9:52 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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