I think you never forget your childhood, whether it was happy or unhappy. - Marcel Carne
With the present spiraling prices of commodities, everything has a price even when entertaining ones self. Feeling the pinch, I can’t help but be nostalgic of my childhood years. That was a time when life was simple, where summer fun is playing “patentero” and “taguan” in the town plaza under the watchful eyes of the full moon. A time when a child’s toy truck consists of a sardine can for its body and four milk cans as its tires. Where all you need is two sticks taken from a branch of a guava tree to play “shato” with your friends all afternoon.
Unlike today where I have to wakeup early to bring my daughter to her nursery class, I walked to attend my primary education. It’s not because of the unavailability of transportation but because my school is just a few hundred meters from our house. My “baon” consist of two sandwiches and kalamansi juice prepared by my Mom and put in one of her Tupperware (she’s got a cabinet full of those plastic containers). So that I won’t feel left-out, she gave me 10 centavos to buy what ever I want in the canteen. What can you buy with 10c? In those days a lot, mostly junk foods, from 10 pieces of “dolce de lemon” to 10 Tarzan bubble gums or two bars of Thunderbolt chocolates.
During weekend, our parents treat us to a movie. We have to eat dinner early because the last full show starts at 7:00 in the evening. They always play double feature films so you’re glued to your seat for four hours, mesmerized to the magic of cinema. During intermission, my Dad gave us extra treat by buying soft drinks and siopao. Sometimes my parents allow me to watched movies on my own. They are at ease because movie employees knew me already. Cinemas charge only half for minors, so I only pay 25c to get in plus 15c for soft drink and 10c for the siopao. Talking about cheap entertainment, fifty centavos and you could enjoy all of these.
My grandmother has her own story to tell. She said all you need is 20 centavos to do your daily marketing. I’ve never seen one, but when she was young they have a currency denomination called “maraveles”. I’ts worth half of one centavo. Just imagine what it was back then when there are things you could buy for half a centavo.