Two months ago, me and my Tita Chang met Serafin, a new friend from a call center training who was known for his great sense of humor. The first day of class began with the usual tell-me-about-yourself activity in which we discovered that Serafin was from Barangay Dian-ay, Escalante City. The tone of his voice and his mixed Cebuano-Hiligaynon language defined his uniqueness among us who were all from Bacolod City.
I must call him Manong Serafin since he was actually a few years older than me. Manong, in Hiligaynon, is an endearment that is used to call an older brother. The people of Negros also have their own sweet ways of calling their fellows. But, Serafin suggested not calling him Manong so it would appear like we were just of the same age. He invited us to visit Dian-ay – his hometown that I hardly know.
Long time ago, many beautiful dalagas (women) lived in this town. As part of their culture, valuing the essence of courtship is significant among Filipinos. Since men were attracted to the women of this humble town, they would often visit this barrio. As a sign of respect, a man needed to court a girl to win her heart.
In a conservative culture, a woman still needs to consult her parents whenever a guy courts her. So before a guy hears her sweet yes, a girl would often say, “dian-ay ka” as a way of telling him to wait for moment.
Since then, “dian-ay ka” or “wait for a moment” had been a common expression heard from women who were being courted in this place. It was from that Hiligaynon line where Dian-ay was taken. Until now, the elderly would tell you the same story each time you’ll ask where this barangay got its name. This story pleases me. This is probably one of the answers why Negrosanons are often known to be sweet people.
How we Reached Dian-ay, Escalante City:
We don’t have private cars so our normal means of transportation for an out-of-town-travel is through a Ceres Bus. This was our itinerary:
Bacolod City Northbound Terminal to Sagay City Terminal:
- Fare: Php 90.00 (Economy Ceres Bus labelled Escalante City)
Sagay City Terminal to Dian-ay, Escalante City:
- Fare: Php 25.00 (Sagay-Minapasok double tire vehicle)
Note: Another option to reach Dian-ay, Escalante City is through a Ceres bus bound to Minapasok. With that, leaving Bacolod Northbound Terminal to Dian-ay won’t require you to transfer from one vehicle to another.
People of Dian-ay, Escalante City
Like Manong Serafin, the people of Dian-ay are humble, simple and contented. We talked as if we have known each other for so long. Maybe, Serafin have been sharing a lot of stories about us. Their warm welcome made us feel loved. You see, I am easily attached to this kind of people.
The Market Day
We were on the right time, and I was happy to witness their once-a-week community activity. In Bacolod, I’m used to buy foods or necessities anytime I want as long as I have something to spend. Malls and markets are closely available anytime. Bacolod even has lots of 24-hour convenient stores.
The place was called Bago market. Once a week, buyers and sellers flocked in this area for business. I have seen indigenous people displaying their own products for sale. I have also observed that buyers go in groups. I assumed that those groups of people came from the same barrio to buy their stuffs to be consumed for the whole week. Not minding the direct heat of the sun above the huge truck, I can see the smiles on their faces as they happily go to the market together.
It touches me to realize that life’s great lessons are learned from simple realities. In search of happiness, we just need to appreciate the beauty around us and be contented of what we have. Their humble town doesn’t have big malls, no 24-hour convenient stores and no competing internet cafes. Yet, they have mountains, clean rivers, fresh air and contented hearts.
Knowing the place called Dian-ay gave me two significant lessons. In life, we do not need to rush in making choices. In love, it might help when you take a pause and answer “dian-ay ka” before finally giving your sweet yes.