Barrenness; An Ache


Like a parentless child meandering up Session Road, Baguio City, Ah Kong directed last Sunday his lost and flat feet towards Sandico Street.

And there, below Baguio Post Office, near Baguio Cathedral, exactly what Cindy A. Aquino from Baguio City, told Ah where, is a poster and printed were, “Eat and Dye, Salon and Café.”

At the poster’s edge are numbers to contact. Apparently, you don’t go there, eat and die after a last meal. Simply means while there, avail of manicure service, if you prefer.


Worthy, learned and distinguishable multitude of readers, many times have you come across married women yearning to rear children of their very own flesh and blood, but health problems hinder them to conceive a child.

Mothers – even fathers – who have no children of their own, who among you, intelligent readers, can truly describe their yearning to feel a tiny hand of a baby that isn’t there and so never held?

Couples dreaming of their own kids but whose plan don’t work out, often find it difficult to appreciate beauty of a rainbow when for them, there’s endless days of longing rain.

A wife is more than the total of all her parts, more branch, leaves, roots, trunk and fruit.

But when her body refuses to respond to call of child-bearing, her body and mind fall numb under the crushing weight of wishing endless to feel the throb of a tiny heartbeat in her womb.

And a husband who despairs since he feels their prospect of raising a family is hopeless, will never lose the feeling of being childless. To be powerless to change that predicament sometimes leads to feeling ashamed of that powerlessness.

Sometimes, in domestic life’s course, when one among the couple has been medically found infertile, it may give rise to friction or problem.

Until a childless couple finds a solution to their problem. Like adopting children other than their own.

Having children of your own is a dream of every husband and wife starting a family.

For a couple pining for a child who’s not there at all, words, sometimes, fail to capture that particular emptiness.

For couples denied of children, those missing babies hover over their lives like silent phantoms of yearning.

It leads some childless couples, like Yenna Bumong, a petite Cordilleran Missus, to remark last Sunday: “Our world can sometimes be selfish. Adda met dita ti undeserving nga ag-anak ket ibelleng da dagidiay ubbing. Adda dita ayat na unay adda annak da, ngem awan namnama.”

Ah Kong visited Yenta and her husband Adkel, in their late thirties, somewhere down Rosario, La Union, where they started a blooming mushroom production.

Childless, their parents and relatives stay with them.

Despite their growing business, something lies missing: that’s their lack of a child.

That Sunday, as Ah helped Adkel and Yenta gather mushrooms, Yenna sat, placed the mushroom basket besides her, looked long at the mushroom stands, clasped her hands tightly below her bosom and sighed.

Adkel spotted his sighing Missus yet pretended he hadn’t. Ah kept silent. Silence pervaded as Adkel kept on gathering. Then abruptly, he, too, stopped, went over to his wife, and said, “Ay nablay ka?” (You tired?).

Yenta shrugged, stared at her palms, smiled at her husband and said, “Uray nawad-wad din galansiya sinan panagmula di mushroom, nu maga met anak ay menbugbugaw sina be-ey ta matumba, kaman kasasadut din biag,” (Gain, we, by planting mushrooms, but without kids yelling the house down, life seems uninspiring).

So it occurred that Sunday Adkel and Yenta opened up their problem and why Yenta said, “How the world can be selfish. Adda met dita ti undeserving nga ag-anak . . .etc.”

Sure, both lamented over their fate, but hold profound trust and respect for each, even humored Ah and said, “Kasta a talaga ti biag.  Ngem ammom Ah Kong, maymayat pay ti mushroom ta ti bukel na (mushroom spores) ket aglugan iti angin ta mapan da sabali a dis-so   tapno agtubbo da manen.”

Of course, as explained by your science teacher in your science class long time ago, matured mushrooms get help from air or winds in spreading their spores for these to grow on mountains, hills, forest and thus regenerate its specie.

Adkel and Yenta’s plight brought to the fore Ah’s long-held theory that perchance, he now has opportunity to present before esteemed readers, his discovery, which is entirely new, and which will be at par with any offered to the world since expression of amusement has become a science.

No less than many years Ah spent to bring his theory to maturity.

And when theory and practice proves Ah right, then he’ll go back to his friends, Adkel and Yenta, tell them to avail of it, while inviting, out of reverence to the public, to avail of it, too.

Only bear in mind your science teacher of long ago very correct in explaining that mushrooms can multiply with the help of air or wind.

Not to keeeeeep you no longer in suspense, Ah have found, and will prove, by most indisputable evidence, that a woman can become pregnant – without the collaboration of, we, the    pesky men.

This, Ah dares say, allows for a very fantastic discovery, that will satisfy readers of their penetrating insight into the beautiful works of nature. Ah will describe how he arrived from conjecture to theory.

Once upon a time, long time ago, as Ah was trying to put his thoughts to a typewriter, he received a note from a gentleman friend, asking Ah to hurry over to that friend’s house, because his friend’s daughter had a problem which she refused to divulge to her papa.

Ah arrived at his friend’s house, talked with that daughter of his friend and, from the conversation, deduced the symptoms of pregnancy.

Ah knows well how tenderly ladies guard their reputation – even if it’s lost. The daughter delivered a passionate air of protestation with such an air of truth to Ah, that made Ah believe the winds of her denial that she “never went to bed” with a pesky man.

Hearing the air of denial from his friend’s daughter, Ah pulled his friend aside and told him, “Masikog ni anak mo, ngem saan na ibaga nu asinnu ti ama diay ubbing. Damagem kenyana. Saan mu ngamin kabilen isunna, ket ni mabuteng agpudno.”

Of course, Ah’s friend got furious at such revelation, went to the room of his daughter and upbraided her, saying she brought disgrace on the honor of the family.

Leaving his friend to convince her daughter to confess, Ah went back home to his unfinished business on the typewriter, and it suddenly dawned on him that if winds or air can carry spores of mushrooms for these to multiply, can it also do so to the reproductive fluid of man?

And can this reproductive fluid of man then lodge into the womb of the female?

Apparently, from the air of protestation of the daughter of his friend, the winds of change in Ah’s mind said, t’was possible.

Ah was now fully convinced that the whole mystery of human generation can be accomplished with the help of air, without having to undergo the circuitous and tedious progress that present man and woman know about now. That much was proven by the daughter who told Ah she never had a man.

Only doubt now remaining for Ah was whether the reproductive fluid of man can be made to latch onto the female body the way virus does in infecting people.

Thus, merry readers, Ah hopes he had proven in the most incontestable manner, that females may conceive in the manner that mushrooms do, that the world has been in error for thousands of years, and that Ah’s theory has finally broken through on all discoveries and end all speculation about “getting pregnant all by your lonesome.”

Fully convinced of his theory that time he went home after leaving his friend’s house, Ah decided to put it into typing for all to read. As he was typing that time, he slumped on the typewriter, nodded off to sleep and dreamt.

Ah dreamt he went to heaven, met St. Peter and noticed many clocks in St. Peter’s office.

He asked St. Peter, “What all the clocks about?”

St. Peter: “Oh, those are lie clocks. Everyone has a lie clock. Every time you lie, the hour and minute hand move.”

Ah noticed a clock where the hands never moved at all. He asked, “Whose clock is that?”

St. Peter: “That’s the clock of your great, great grand Lolo from the Mountain Province. The hands never moved, your Lolo never lied.”

Ah Kong: “Where’s my clock?”

St. Peter: “Oh, it’s with God right now. He’s  using it as an electric fan!”