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Siestas by Leopoldo Serrano

  • Date Submitted: 01/31/2012 05:56 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 64 
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SIESTAS
by Leopoldo Serrano

When I was a boy, one of the rules at home that I did not like at all was to be made to lie on the barefloor of our sala after lunch. I usually lay side by side with two other children in the family. We wereforced to sleep by my mother. She watched us as we darned old dresses, read an awit, or hammed acradle song in Tagalog.She always reminded us that sleeping at noon enables children to grow fast like the grass in our yard.In this way, in most Filipino homes many years ago, children made to understand what the siesta was.Very often I had to pretend to be asleep by closing my eyes.Once while my mother was away, I tries to sneak out of the house during the siesta hour. I had not gone far when I felt something hit me hard on the back. Looking behind, I saw my father. He wasannoyed because I had disturbed his siesta. I picked up a pillow at my feet, gave it to him, and wentback to our mat. The two other children were fast asleep. The sight of the whip, symbol of parentalauthority, hanging on the posts, gave me no other choice but to lie down.During my childhood, whenever we had house guests, my mother never failed to put mats and pillowson the floor of our living room after the noonday meal. Then she would invite our guests to have their siesta. Hospitality and good taste demanded that this be not overlooked.The custom of having a siesta was introduces in our country by the Spaniards. Indee, during theSpanish times, the Philippines was the land of the fiesta the novena, and the siesta.Many foreigners have noted this custom among our people. Some believe that even the guards at the gates of Intramuros had their siesta. It was a commonly known fact that every afternoon the gates of the city were closed for fear of a surprise attack.The ayuntamiento of Manila or the commander of the regiment in Intramuros did well in ordering theclosing of the gates during the siesta hour. Once, the Chinese living in Parian, just a short way fromthe Walled...

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