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Country > Philippines > Metro-Manila
Date > 1980 > Apr
Activity > Slice of Life

Slice of Life

Running Away from Home Apr 1-8, 1980

Running Away from Home

Location Google Map: Marikina, Metro Manila, Philippines

I am writing about this episode in Aug 2022...42 years later. I don't know the exact dates, but I know I ran away from home 1 week before my university graduation, and I was gone for about a week until I returned back home. This puts the date around Apr 1980. It's hard to put the pieces back together after all these years, but here's my best recollection.

Family Issues
Family issues forced me to pack up and leave home with a letter saying, "...I'm sick in the head". If I recall right, I was forced to apologize or admit a wrong-doing, even though I didn't think I should have. I forget what that situation was all about. No one kicked me out - the situation was just unbearable to continue staying in my father's house. I had no money and no destination. I didn't know where to go. I just knew I had to leave. This was the first time I'd left home as a minor without parental consent. In the parlance of the time, I was called a stowaway (even though I didn't hide in any transportation to obtain free passage).

A Little Help from my Friends
I know I stayed in different friends' places, but I forget which ones. I remember however, that I stayed a couple of nights at Agot Ancheta's place in Quezon City. I intentionally stayed away from close friends' houses because my father would look for me there. I remember tagging along friends (wherever they went), riding on the back of a motorcycle, and letting the wind take me where it takes me. I abandoned my controls.

Hunger and Fear
On the other end of the adventure-spectrum was the lingering fear of where the next meal will come from. I was shy (or perhaps too proud) to ask for a meal, but when offered, I would eat as much as I can not knowing when the next meal will be. I know I skipped a few meals in that week-long ordeal, but fortunately, I never slept on a sidewalk.

It was pure excitement. All my life, my father was the controlling figure, but for once, there was no control. I felt a different kind of freedom to do whatever it was that I wanted to do. There was no one to say NO. There was no one to reprimand me. It wasn't just a feeling of excitement, but one of exhilaration. I relished the freedom.

Running Away from Home
with no money, I was hungry for the most part

The Talk
This homelessness went on for about a week until I got word that my Dad wanted to talk to me - just talk, and not to send me home. I agreed to meet him in a public place. I don't remember what we talked about, but he somehow convinced me to go back home.

Ending Thoughts
There are many things to be learned from this experience:

  1. Rite of Passage - being a stowaway as an older kid is a precious rite of passage that I think everyone should go through in life. But it's time-sensitive while you're dependent on your folks. You simply can't be a stowaway as an adult when you're not even supposed to be at your parent's place anymore. So, I'm glad I went through that while I could.
  2. Hunger - as a dependent under our parents' roof, we take food for granted. There's always plenty in the fridge. Going through hunger bouts made me feel what it's like in the real world without the kid gloves
  3. Freedom - stowing away as a minor and dependent gives a feeling of exhilaration and freedom like no other. It's the feeling of freedom when you escape from jail - there is that tinge of rebellion that you can't find in the feeling of freedom after getting your diploma

A week later, I graduated from my 4-year university course, and 6 months later, I already had a job. A few more months after, I left home to stay in my very own apartment. As a young upwardly-mobile professional, I could never experience the freedom of being a stowaway anymore - the timeframe has come and gone. I'm just grateful to have gone through that before that narrow time frame ceased to exist.

--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit | Learn English Learn English | Travel like a Nomad Nomad Travel Buddy | Donation Bank Donation Bank for TheLoneRider

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