An AYEF 2010 Epilogue: The Case of my Grandfather’s Life and Death

The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) plus Three Youth Environment Forum 2010 had ended. It was a conference filled with many memories which will be forever etched in the hearts of everyone who had attended. As each headed back home to their respective countries and homes, the memories will be playing over and over again in everyones’ minds.

It was more than memorable for me. It was like my mind had been opened to the ideas of the depths of the vast universe in the most hyper max level! (wow!). Now that I’m back in the Philippines, it will be work work work. With great power comes great responsibility.

Upon turning on my cellphone at the airport, my sister quickly relayed the news. The flow of thought regarding the concluded ASEAN plus 3 forum steadily vanished as I now thought of my dear grandfather, the late Jose “Shipakdos” Menzi Anacio. In relation to the sustainable development thinking which have been gaining much attention lately, it is appropriate to cite the case of the life and death of my beloved gramps.

Lolo Shipakdos and his wife, Lola Adela, lived a very simple life. They didn’t have much, nor desired to acquire much. Both belonging to the Ibaloi tribe (an indigenous tribe in the Philippines), they lived with the customs and traditions typical of such. They would tend to the rice paddies, tend to their cows and carabaos (water buffalos), and other animals necessary for their survival. They work during day and sleep when it’s dark. They farm for daily subsistence and see to it that they would make it happily through the day.

Aside from their simple lifestyle, I also admire their humor and physical strength. Also, my grandpa was always game with conversations. You never get bored since he always has some story to tell. In one occasion of telling me his life as a bachelor, he ended up saying, “Han ku koma inasawa ni Lola yu, ngem idi sinmangpet ti gubat* ket, nagawidak ken ni Lola yu ket inaramid mi ni tatang yu” (I shouldn’t have married your grandmother, but when the war came, I went home to your grandma and we made your father). We were bundling rice stalks inside the house then and after telling me that, he shouted towards the open door, “Huy marikit, mangan!” (Hey beautiful, time to eat!) to my Grams who’s working in the fields.

There was one time when I visited (which takes a two-hour hike) them, and when I was near their house, I met someone who was pushing a wheelbarrow full of rocks. Since the fellow was wearing a scarf over the head, I couldn’t discern the person. Just to make a conversation out of the blue, I asked if the house of Shipakdos was nearby. To my surprise, the fellow took of the scarf and it turned out that  she was my grandmother! I can’t believe that someone near their 80s is capable of such labor. An addition was my grandpa who was rolling huge boulders near the river to create a mini-dam to irrigate crops further downstream. Their display of strength at such an age was really amazing!

On another occasion, I remarked of their cat who only had one ear. I asked the old man why is it so and he said that the cat was eating the chickens (chicks specifically) so he had to instill discipline. After cutting off one ear, he said that the cat never ate newly hatched chicks. The one-eared cat stayed with them and died of old age.

I have a lot more stories to tell about my grandfather and grandmother (father side) but to make it short, all were good stories. Such memories will never be forgotten. Truly, living a simple life is much better, in terms of economy and practicality. You consume less resources, thus, you would also produce lesser amounts of waste. Your sense of security is also much more concrete since you do not have to worry about your possessions (since you do not have much). These nuggets of knowledge would never have been more significant if I had not known my Lolo Shipakdos.

As my post-analysis for the AYEF 2010, it would have been better if the paper, pencils and water bottles used during the forum were consumed to their full extent. It saddens me that a lot were wasted. During our meals at the Empire, a lot of food wastes had been generated. Though, some would have been full and further servings became impossible, they should have not put too much in their plates in the first place. Wasted food is wasted resource. Labor and materials used to transport and prepare the dish from their raw state had all been (partly) useless. Paper was also used indiscriminately. We should have used them properly, write on them from front to back and see to it that our writings are meaningful. Not just random drawings or scribbled nonsense. If one has no intention to use the paper properly, s/he should leave it unmarked so that others may use it. Pencils were also wasted. In my opinion-so that future conferences would be more eco-friendly, the hotel (or conference venue) shouldn’t distribute pencils, pens, and papers if everyone had already been provided.

Well, I hope we all have learned something. It is very important that we only use what we need and just take what is enough to use. If we take more than what is necessary, it is an example mismanaging our resources. In connection, Mahatma Ghandi had said that the world is enough for man’s need but not for its greed. We must sustain our resources since what we need (not what we want) is right here in our planet (and not somewhere else).

Going back to my grandpa, simple living is the way to go! Thus I say to my apo Shipakdos, salamat e ebadeg! Son sikam edapuan shi laing ko. (Thank you very much. You have been a source of my knowledge).Your grandson is very proud of you and I hope that you’d be smiling upon me until we meet again (after many many many years).

Note: *gubat (war), pertaining to the Philippine-Japanese war.

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