Home Grown Love

Home Grown Love – In June 2004, I left my hometown Paniqui, Tarlac for college in the big city. But the last four years (2000-2004) were spent mostly in Tarlac City where I spent my high school years. I normally just stay home on weekends and my daily routine was school-bahay.

In my college years, I rarely go home because of my commitment to the college paper and lack of budget. So you can say that the last time I explored the streets of my beloved hometown was some 15 years ago. Imagine my awe when I came back as I changed career last November to be a stay-at-home mom.

It has progressed from a small, quiet little town to a booming commercial municipality.

At press time, we have two Jollibees, a KFC being constructed, a Mcdo food truck, a Chowking, a National Bookstore, two 711s, three Mercury Drug stores and several resorts, restaurants, commercial buildings with rental units and sooo many banks. I heard somewhere that one sign a town is rising is the existence of banks and Starbucks. We still don't have the latter but we have numerous busy banks in town (I can't believe the lines in these banks, like I'm back in Manila.)

And now there is traffic! Yes. You thought traffic is just for the city. Think again. It’s not just tricycle filling up our roads even latest models of SUVs are roaming our streets.

You know why? This is just a theory. Because of so many OFWs abroad and the advent of technology it paved way to home-based jobs. And then there are still a lot of old money – the Cojuangcos whose matriach, Dona Ysidra is a Paniqui native.

It is pretty much a boring town-no beaches, no mountains or grand views. Just hectares of rice fields. But what it lacked in tourism it gained in people, businesses and values.

I understand why some people want to leave their hometowns for the big city or a foreign land. In my case, I have been in the big city and although it has some perks (late night gimmicks, lots of friends, accessibility to everything), the provincial lifestyle of long, slow and laid-back days is what I prefer.

I'm proud to be Born, raised and will soon retire in my dear beloved hometown – Paniqui, Tarlac.