I am so blessed with such a happy childhood. Whenever I would look back at those years, I couldn’t help but laugh. How crazy and innocent we were back then!
One particular memory that stuck in my head was that summer of ’86, when our entire clan went to our traditional annual summer outing in Jamboree, Los Banos. I was only about 7 years old back then. As usual, the entire Garcia brood – me, my brother, my sisters and 15 (or more) first cousins (from my father side alone!) together with our parents, aunts and uncles all went to Jamboree.
Jamboree was our favorite summer getaway. For us, it was synonymous to swimming and waterpark. Each year, going there seemed like the ultimate highlight of the entire year (next to Christmas, of course!).
“Hurry up kids! We’re going to Jamboree today! Get all your swimwear ready. We need to get there early or we won’t get a good spot,” my aunt told a group of hyperactive children who went squirming at the thought of the splashing water, diving and flipping their tiny little feet in the swimming pools of Jamboree.
All of us children jam packed in a hired jeep, singing, yelling and dancing as we drove past the town of Los Banos, a small town in Southern Luzon in the Philippines well-known for its numerous hot springs. We were already in cloud nine! As soon as we reached its the luscious forest, all twenty little children hurriedly threw our stuff to one of the paid cottages in the area, changed to our cute little swimsuits and gears and jumped into the swimming pools.
It was an ecstatic experience!
Some of my cousins who were in their early teens went to the adult pool while me, Ate Olive, Toto, Odess, Michelle, Mariel, Cha-cha, Jinky and those ages 9 years and below stayed in the children’s pool.
“Let’s just stay here,” I told my cousins, while I try my best to show off with the other kids in the pool, my own funny version of freestyle with both my hands gripped firmly into the gutter.
While everyone else was showing off their best water acrobatic stunts to one another, we noticed that my 9-year old cousin, Michelle, was only standing very silently in one corner of the pool.
“Michelle, come join us here!” yelled her elder sister, Cha-cha.
“No, I don’t want to go there!” Michelle replied in a very aloof tone.
She tried her best not to come an inch near us, so we left her alone and carried on playing our silly water games.
After a short while, our laughter was replaced by a sudden panic and commotion when one of my cousins screamed, “Tae! (Tagalog word for fecal matter) Somebody dropped a poo into the pool!”
We thought at first that it was only a joke to get us out of the water, but as soon as we saw the funny yet disgusting brown sticky object floating in the water. We then forensically concluded that it was indeed what we thought it was.
“What’s going on here?” my uncle asked, bewildered at the sudden panic-stricken commotion.
“Tito Turoy, there’s poop in the pool!” my cousin, Mariel screamed, “there,” pointing at the now-identified-floating object, “do you see it?” she asked.
As soon as my uncle saw the ‘bomb’, he hurriedly went to get two pieces of paper plates and scooped the thing out of the pool.
“Alright kids, the pool is now clean. You may all go back swimming now,” told my uncle in his desperate attempt to pacify the situation.
Meanwhile, my cousin Michelle, oblivious to all the mayhem going on around her, remained in her corner totally undisturbed. She wouldn’t even move a single step to get out of the pool. But rather preferred to stay in her spot.
My aunts and uncles then did a little investigation to find the culprit of the funny brown floating object. Through the direction of the waves and the spot where it made its first horrendous appearance, it was concluded that the ‘source’ of the mayhem was…
“Michelle,” my aunt stooped her head down to whisper in my cousin’s ear, “did you poop in the pool?”
My cousin shyly nodded her head and slowly stepped forward to get out of the water, while my aunt ushered her into the toilet to finish what she started.
After we all found out that Michelle was the ‘source’ of the bomb, everyone started teasing and laughing until we reached home. Even up to now, every time we would get together, once our Jamboree days were brought up, this one hilarious experience would unanimously pop into our heads and it never fails to amuse us.