The Galay Compound in Kidapawan


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I’m back in Kidapawan to collect essays about my hometown.

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My grandfather’s house, built in the 1960s. It has terrazzoed floors, unpolished granite walls, and polished brick pillars. Inside are floors and banisters of polished wood.

I’m staying at the ancestral house of my mother’s family, at crossing Lanao along the highway. The Galay family has been here since before the War.

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View of the house from my balcony. Beyond the wall my great-grandfather’s old house could be seen. Built before the War, it is made almost entirely of wood. My great uncle’s youngest daughter, ate Maan, currently lives in it.

A street leading to the Encabo area runs between the compounds of the two branches of the family (I’ve always fancied calling it ‘Galay Street’). At the corner of this street along the highway stand my uncle’s convenience store, Daily Grocer and my great-uncle’s pasalubong center, Ga-Lor. The street slopes downhill to a stream, where our compounds end.

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Galays on both sides: Our compound is walled to the left by the new wall, while the vined wall to the right walls the original Galay compound, now occupied by my great uncle (It’s easy to imagine Dream of the Red Chamber in our home!). Galay property extends to the coconuts.

When I was young my mother would take us here in Lanao for Christmas, birthdays, or for the odd visit. We lived in one of the houses in our side of the family’s compound when I was in high school, only moving out when we relocated to Davao when I was in third year college.

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The house in our compound that my mother occupied. My mother planted the Staghorn growing on one corner of the balcony. The window to its side was that of my room.

Our compound has seen drastic change in the past few years. My uncle went about building a high wall, taming the downhill area (in my youth a wild Banana grove) to make a very long lawn, landscaping the gardens, and even building a pavilion. He also refurbished our old house to make it into a guest house.

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The balcony in the main house used to have a commanding view of Lanao, when the walls were still low. It’s still a great place to read and write.

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This statue of the virgin Mary is perhaps as old as the house, standing on a smaller pond. My uncle has since expanded the pond and filled it with large koi.

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The view downhill, with the new pavilion and the rest of the lawn visible.

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The elegant old chandelier on the drawing area. I remember it lighted once, but it no longer does. The wooden moulding in the background is in a motif recurring throughout the house.

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Our grandfather clock, set at the head of the raised floor where the rooms are for as long as I can remember. It is a grandfather clock in the literal sense because it belonged to my grandfather (my grandmother says it once belonged to his mother, my maternal great grandmother). My cousin has inherited the skill of tuning it to set the time.


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