Because I wasn't born to privilege...

... my daily recess food back in kindergarten was a cup of Ate Diding's pospas, because that was all my 25-centavo pocket money could buy. I learned to squeeze tiny-me into the throng of students--all levels, including highschool-- and call out "Ate Diding! Ate Diding! Sa akin bente-singko! (Ate Diding, a 25-centavo serving for me please!)" at the top of my voice so I could get noticed and served before recess was over.

... there was a time I owned only one pair of jeans. I learned to dress it up each time I wore it so that it'd look different.

... I didn't have the heart to ask mom to give me more weekly allowance in college for the 'in" things (Giordano, Guess, Espadrille, etc.) that I wanted. So I started and operated a bookstore-cum-sari-sari store of sorts in my dorm room, sold munchies, blue books, felt paper, colored chalk, among many others. I also taught English to Koreans in two-hour, thrice-a-week sessions, for P35.00 per hour. While I still didn't end up with money for pricey items, I learned to buy for value, learned to improvise, got acquainted with the tiangges in Greenhills and learned my way in and out of Divisoria.

... we were never enrolled in summer workshops or spent vacations abroad. Instead mom put out a Sago-Gulaman stand for us to tend. The stand became a summer tradition, which later diversified to selling turon (deep-fried banana-jackfruit crepes) and kalingking (sweet potato fritters).

... mom was never germ-phobic. So I had unlimited access to the wonderful world of streetfood. I enjoyed putong pot-pot, pan de coco, balut, isaw, chicharon, kropek, pilipit, choc-nut, scramble, spicy dried pusit, binatog, samalamig, nilagang mais, dirty ice cream, ampaw, hopiang hapon, hopiang baboy, mang kepweng, the numerous varities of pastillas-like candies from Valenzuela, halo-halo eaten right in the San Pedro public market, karioka, buchi, champoy, kiamoy, and best of all, fishball!

... I never had a GameNWatch, a Barbie, a piano, or Sanrio stuff that privileged girls had. But I enjoyed numerous hours of playing tinda-tindahan (make-believe store), banko-bankohan (make-believe bank, using cut newspapers as play money), and singing along with the radio. I made my own stationery, and made and sold Smurf personalized bookmark-greeting cards back in grade 5.

... I baked and sold sliced cakes to my classmates in high school. The cakes were in demand, and I lived in perennial danger of being sent to the principal's office for causing a commotion because my classmates kept passing "reservation" notes to me during class hours, with some even dashing to get their slices when the teacher wasn't looking!

... I learned showbiz pays. I sang, danced, declaimed on demand and got cash, candies, toys from my lola's officemates when I was 5.

... the only thing that was on our old, cabinet type TV was RPN9, and I had to skip over to the neighbors to see other channels. When I was 10, dad came home one day with a 14-inch colored Sharp TV, and my brother jumped excitedly, shouting, "May TV na kami! Mayaman na kami! (We have TV! We're rich!)"

... mom borrowed old textbooks and workbooks from our neighbors when I was entering second grade. She erased the answers in the workbooks or covered the pages with clean sheets with questions she re-typed so I can still use them. When I finally had brand-new textbooks, I cherished them and took care of them like they were national treasures.

... we didn't have an encyclopedia, so I learned to use goodwill and chit-chat, so that I will be welcome to come to our neighbor's house each day and allowed to spend a few hours researching for my two-page assignments in Chemistry.

... I didn't have a PC until I was a college freshman (and it was a second-hand 286 my mom bought on installment for P10,500), so I learned to make the best use of the second-hand, ancient Underwood my lola found and bought for me.

... I can count by the fingers of one hand the times we went out to the mall or to the movies. But I learned to read, and read fast, and use my imagination to turn the stories to movies in my mind. I learned to write my own stories, even publishing fiction once in the Women's Journal. :)


PS: Fishball cart photo courtesy of hxero; the Underwood typewriter photo belongs to The Shannon L. Johnson Typewriter Collection. The photo of the Octopus GameNWatch turned up in a Google image search, and it's from

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olbjoy said...

not being born into privilege seems to a be a privilege in itself, i think. wouldn't trade that kind of childhood for anything on earth.

Anonymous said...

you're right--not being born privilege is itself a privilege. You learned resourcefulness, you developed initiative, learned to value what you have and make the most of it. Now you know the best of both worlds. Isnt it great?

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Why AnneThology?

Anthology means a collection of poems, short stories, plays, songs, or excerpts. My name is Anne, and this blog contains a collection of my thoughts, musings and writings (poems, short stories), some songs I like, plus a sprinkling of excerpts I find worth sharing --hence, AnneThology.

Did you know?

Anthology derives from the Greek word ἀνθολογία (anthologia; literally “flower-gathering”) for garland — or bouquet of flowers — which was the title of the earliest surviving anthology, assembled by Meleager of Gadara.

Look, what I have -- these are all for you.