Back in college, we were tasked to describe the community we live in in our Psychology course. Of course, we have to delve deeper than what we already know. So here’s my work back then. It’s a little pretentious but it’s okay nonetheless.
Silangang Mayao or Mayao Silangan, known for its vast agricultural land, expansive garbage dumpsite, huge and newly-built cockfight arena, is a barangay located at the boundary of the City of Lucena and Pagbilao. It is one of the largest of the 33 barangays of the City of Lucena. Located also inside the barangay are different establishments including oil and rice mills, liquified petroleum gas (LPG) refilling station, a reception hall, a vehicle display center, a radio station and some government-owned building. It has 7 puroks namely Sampaguita, Dama De Noche, Ilang-Ilang 1, Ilang-Ilang 2, Rosal, Camia, and Jasmin.
Agriculture is one of the sources of income of the people and rice is the principal crop that is produced by the barangay. There are many business establishments like sari-sari stores, carwash shops, junk shops and rice-dealing stores. Aside from what was mentioned, there are also people who venture in videoke rentals and direct-selling. Jeepneys and tricycles are also a source of revenue of the people. There are also those who work for the government and private sector.
An elementary school, Silangang Mayao Elementary School, was erected in the early 1970’s and is currently standing along the Maharlika Highway near the entrance of the barangay. Most of the children living in the area study here. There are also children from neighboring barangays who study in the said school. Daycare centers that offer kindergarten had been established in the different puroks. Since the barangay doesn’t have any high schools or colleges, elementary graduates from the barangay go to other neighboring barangays or towns to continue their study.
Roman Catholic and Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ) are the primary religion of the citizens of the barangay but there are other religious groups like the Rizalistas and the El Shaddai. There are small Roman Catholic chapels in almost all the puroks but the main chapel is located in Purok Sampaguita. The patron saint is San Pascual Baylon. The chapel of the Iglesia Ni Cristo is also located in Purok Sampaguita adjacent the chapel of the Catholic. For the Roman Catholics, a mass is held every Saturday at seven (7) in the evening. People near and far attend the mass along with the Hermanos and Hermanas, and Hermanitos and Hermanitas. There are some people who go to the City Proper to attend mass at St. Ferdinand Cathedral on Sundays.
Some people of the barangay are early birds. There are some who jogs along the public road and some who prepare for their work for the day. Sari-sari stores and other business edifice also open early especially those that sell breakfast. The public market located at the crossing or Lucing, as what people call the place, opens early too. Here, you will find shoppers shopping for perishable goods like vegetables, fishes, meat products and fruits or other goods. Moreover, you will also find vendors of different variety of commodities. The Jeepney Terminal starts their operation early to accommodate the citizens who need to go to neighboring or other barangays. As early as six (6) in the morning, you will see students of the elementary school walking their way to the school, some alone, some with their guardian or schoolmates. And by seven (7) to eight (8) in the morning, you will see employees waiting beside the highway for jeepneys that will take them to their destination.
After walking their children to school, some of the guardians or parents go to nearby stores. There, they wait for school to be over and for their children. While the guardians are waiting, they talk or converse to other guardians who wait with them. And when lunch break comes, some of the guardians bring food to their children while other students eat in the school canteen or nearby carinderias or cafeteria. When lunch break is over, other guardians go home while others still wait. During lull moments in the afternoon, people take a nap or siesta while others watch an afternoon series on the television. Others listen to the radio while others play basketball in basketball courts. There are also vendors that roam around to sell merienda like banana cues and pancit habhab. And after school hours, parents or guardians fetch their children. There are also some children who go home by themselves or along with their schoolmates.
Every summer, people like to go to beaches and resorts. Others go to Metro Manila and others in their respective provinces. During this season, people engage in selling halo-halo and other thirst and heat quenchers. Also during summer vacation, the barangay celebrates its feast. May 17th of every year is the feast of the Patron Saint San Pascual Baylon. Every 16th of May, the Hermanos and Hermanas, along with the Hermanitos and Hermanitas, organize a sagala or santacruzan which is a yearly event. The participants walk an approximately two (2) kilometer long route from the chapel to different parts of the barangay and back. Also during the night of the 16th, there is a pageant being held. Sometimes the pageant is for the kids and sometimes for teens and adults. Also, sometimes there is a battle of the bands or a dance competition.
A basketball cup is also an event every year before the feast. Every night, different teams vie for the top prize. You will also find a peryahan near the place where the basketball cup is being held. In the peryahan, you will find different games and food stalls. Some vendors sell popcorn, while others sell wide array of beverages. You will see people buying street foods and you will hear some singing at the videoke and the cheers of supporters of the basketball team. You will also smell the fish balls and kikiams being cooked by the street vendors.
One of the happiest seasons in the barangay is the Christmas Season. A Simbang Gabi also takes place at the chapel at around four (4) in the morning. And when Simbang Gabi starts, people go caroling and others start their solicitation. A panunuluyan is also staged in the evening of the 24th of December. And every 24th, a Noche Buena takes place. And on the 26th of December, people of all ages go to different houses to solicit for money of any amount or gifts from their Ninong or Ninang. And when New Year comes, people light a firecracker. While some people just celebrate with their family and eat their Media Noche.
Silangang Mayao or Mayao Silangan is a typical Filipino community. It is a place where hospitable and hardworking people reside and a place where culture and tradition is preserved and celebrated.