BULACAN BONDING

Twin Sisters

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.”

The stars move in strange and mysterious ways … who would ever thought that I’d meet one important person in my life amidst the urban jungle where too much intrigue and hypocrisy abound. Yet despite this unlikely milieu … I found one true thing – friendship. Our genealogy can be trace in Bulacan. We have the same surname, Cruz, that is why we often call each other “twins” despite the skin color. We became instant friends and just like that … we gave each other secrets that no one will ever know.

As if a premonition, she tattooed herself with a butterfly on her upper back even before we met. Vanessa means butterfly in Greek. And just like a butterfly which lives for 7 days only … she flew.

Our lineage honed us to become the Martha Stewarts and Nigella Lawsons of our respective kitchen. Our culinary taste and craft was derived from the same recipe of our Bulakena cooks like sinigang sa miso, burong kanin, embutido and hamonado. These dishes were common but uniquely prepared that only a true blue Bulakena will ever know. As kids, we both spent our afternoons eating the native desserts such as pastillas de leche and halayang ube looking in the same golden rice fields in the horizon but not touching each others’ lives … not yet.

Bulacan is known for its landmark, the Barasoain Church in Malolos. It is the tangible proof that religion is important among Bulakenos. It is also a home to many heroes and political figures. The province was also one of the first to revolt against Spain. People here are loyal to what they believe in. It is in these things that friendship roots most deeply. It is from these things that it flourishes… loyalty, respect and love of God.

Our friendship was based on mutual love for happiness and cooking. We never have to talk about other people to pass our time. She believed in me when I ceased to believe in myself. And I understood her despite the complexity and doubts hanging in my head. We were never judgmental of each others’ views, opinions and preferences. We even allow ourselves to be who we wanted to be without getting in the way. It was such a great discovery that we grow separately but never grew apart.

I’ve have very limited great friends but a zillion of acquaintances. Very few people know that this kind of friendship exists. It is the kind that improves our happiness and abates our misery by doubling our joy and dividing our grief. We accept each other despite the many peculiarities and oddities. What I would miss most? … nothing. Our friendship is not diminished by distance and time. We still talk … we still laugh. We’re still friends.

Nicole, I’d like to be the sort of friend that you have been to me. I’d like to be the help that you’ve always glad to be. I’d like to mean as much to you each minute of the day, as you have meant, my twin sister, to me along the way.

So if you’d ask me, “Are we going to be friends forever?” I’d answer, “Even longer”.

Written: March 2005

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