It was not an experience that he would care to repeat. He and his friends were stranded; and his mother was calling everyday, embarrassing him. At that time, cellphones were rare; and his mom would call collect on the landline. His friend, Arnie, would be merciless whenever handing Jonas the phone.
Jonas loves his mother (he doesn’t have a choice about it). But she drives him crazy!
Today, his mother is in cahoots with Alice. Their project is to persuade him to accept an NGO project that is based in Luzon.
Mrs. Endriga: For a change, right Alice? What is in Mindanao that cannot be found in Luzon?
Alice: Right Tita! I mean, they have mountains and so do we!
They talk to each other as if he is the Invisible Man.
Mrs. Endriga: We even have rivers!
Alice: True. In fact, the Magat River is the longest in the country and it’s in Nueva Vizcaya!
Mrs. Endriga: That is near your town, right iha?
Alice: An hour or two ride away.
Mrs. Endriga: There are so many beautiful places one can explore in Luzon …
Alice: Right! Like there’s Mount Banahaw …
Mrs. Endriga: And let’s not forget the Cordilleras …
Alice: Tita, they have headhunters there.
Mrs. Endriga: Is that so. Well, Sagada is civilized, I heard.
Alice: The Southern Tagalog region has Laguna lake, we don’t have to go very far …
Mrs. Endriga: But Laguna Lake is already polluted.
Alice: That is a challenge to any environmental geologist worth his salt.
Mrs. Endriga: That’s true, that’s true … I must say that I have raised my children not to run from any challenge.
Alice: Well, your girls are wonderful mam. I love them!
Mrs. Endriga: I love them too, iha. Now the boy …
Alice: Is a dork … sorry I know he’s your son. But we have to be honest here.
Mrs. Endriga: Well, he’s not that bad. When he was one-year old he used to eat my lipstick.
Jonas has to draw the line when he heard the the word “lipstick.”
“Mother, you have to shut up. And you too Alice. I am going to take that job, if that will keep you two from yapping like harpies and driving me into a mental institution.”
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