I have always thought that maybe I am someone special. To begin with, my parents waited for so long to have a girl. I came after 5 boys (one died). And I arrived a decade after the last boy.
My brothers wanted to name me Anne, after Queen Anne. But my mother Tagalized it and to add more flavor, she made it Annie. Ani in Tagalog means harvest or to harvest. She said they finally harvested a girl.
I was so pretty and white as snow, of course that’s according to my mother. I was a cry baby though, crying day and night. My parents were losing sleep and feeling helpless. The novelty and excitement of having a baby girl turned into desperation, exasperation and irritation.
One night, my father decided to bring me to Binondo in Chinatown the next morning to sell me or put me up for adoption. My mom cried and she told my father never mind if I cried a lot but she would like to keep me. The following morning, this cute cry baby suddenly stopped crying. As if she knew her impending fate lest she misbehaved.
I had a yaya named Alona. She died from fire. One morning, she was carrying me while trying to ignite the charcoal/wood. Those days there were no electric or gas stoves yet. (Remember I am a promdi.) The uling (charcoal) wouldn’t light. Since she was probably having difficulty carrying me while preparing to cook rice, she put me back in my crib and covered me with kulambo. This was about 8 meters away from where the kalan was.
Yaya Alona went back to the kitchen area and continued to light the fire. Kiskis sya ng kiskis ng posporo, pero ayaw magsindi yung uling o kahoy. She picked up some kerosene and poured on the coal. Then she lighted a match.
The fire engulfed her.
Her dress caught fire. She panicked and started running back and forth. She stopped a few feet where the crib was while trying to put off the fire on her clothes. She stood right beside the baby that was sleeping so soundly. Neighbors saw what was happening and shouted at her to roll on the ground. They came to help but it was too late. My yaya died in the hospital.
Blessing that our house did not catch fire. Blessing that my crib and kulambo didn’t catch fire. Blessing that the sleeping baby was untouched and alive.
Mother with the cute cry baby, saved from the fire by her guardian angel.