Tayo na sa Antipolo

At doon maligo tayo

Sa batis na kung tawagi’y

Hi-hi-Hinulugang Taktak-tak.

I remember hearing this song as it played in the Camry’s CD player. It’s one of my mom’s favorites along with an album of Philippine marching bands, Ted Ito’s “Nais Kong Makapiling Ka” and a cassette recording of the Palm Sunday Mass. Go figure.

She would play this during the whole two and a half-hour drive from Batangas to Manila and back. (Well actually it goes after the rosary.) At the end of the trip, it feels like it’s fiesta all over again!

Anyway, the reason for the song is because we’re going to Antipolo this morning with Charo and her parents. It’s an annual pilgrimage, she says. Every third Sunday of June, the whole Limaco clan would make the trek up to the land of suman and kasoy to visit and hear mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buen Viaje). Lately, the attendance has not been that good. A lot of the old ones can’t make it anymore and the kids have other stuff to do. Nonetheless, we’re making this trip today to honor that tradition.

No, we won’t be doing any bathing in the Hinulugang Taktak this year, and we don’t plan on doing it in the coming years. It’s already polluted, they said. We’re just going there to visit the Shrine.

My memories of Antipolo when I was a kid were toy clay pots made with the red sticky earth of the area bought from the stalls outside the church. I remember my late tito Andy would help himself to some of the kasoy from vendors and end up not buying a single bag.

Today, Antipolo means a different thing to me after I took up cycling in high school. When you say Antipolo now, it reminds me of the suffering on trying to conquer the hill. It starts as soon as you turn right to Sumulong from Marcos highway until the old cycling tambayan near the mango trees. You might not end up racing for the local Tour, but it’s a great place to get fit.

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