Move Out Big Brother

KULOT: Maganda yung kanta ni Tito Bobot ng ‘He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother’ ano [Don’t you think Tito Bobot sings ‘He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother’ very well]?

ME: Oo, pero ako mas gusto ko pa din yung kay Kuya eh[Yes, but I like Kuya’s [Big Brother] rendition more].

KULOT: Ah oo, kasi may parang… something [Yes, that’s right. There is something special I can’t explain].

ME: Ibang klase no? May iba [Amazing, right? There is something special].

KULOT: May feelings kasi, damang-dama mo [It’s because it’s sincere, you can feel it].

ME: Oo tama, ibang klase [Right, it’s amazing].

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows where
But I’m strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

The song ‘He ain’t heavy, He’s my brother’ by the Hollies is the theme song of Mother Goose and her siblings. Each time we would be together for a particualr reason, or sometimes for no reason at all, there would be singing and never would this song be missed. Kuya would always sing it for us. My sisters and I have agreed so many times that Kuya’s version is far better than the original. They should be ashamed of themselves, whoever they are.

Kuya is Mother Goose’s eldest male sibling, also the eldest amongst the ones still here in the country. Technically, Kuya is my uncle. But everybody in the family calls him Kuya, the way his siblings would. And if you will ask me, nobody has ever played the part – nor deserved the name – better than him.

Growing up, Kuya was a constant figure in our lives. He would always be there – always – good or bad, for a celebration or just for dinner, which can be funny because we live in different provinces. What’s interesting is that, unlike our other uncle’s, Kuya was never demonstrative, nor verbal, about how much he loved us. Kuya was always reserved, unlike, say with Tito Bobot who will always play with us, who will always be hugging us, and who will always be telling us that he loved us. Kuya was different. But still, we know.

Maybe that is the most amazing thing about him – despite everything, we know.  Even when he would just always be looking at us, sitting on one corner, just smiling, just his presence there – nothing more – we know. I guess that is part of being the Kuya of the family; or like when he sings our song, always, there is something special that you cannot just pinpoint exactly, but you know it’s there, and always have.

So on we go

His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We’ll get there

For I know
He would not encumber me
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

I remember when it was time for me to take the local board exam. Kuya was the one who took me to the Our Lady of Manaoag Shrine in Pangasinan to ask for mercy. I cannot forget how Mother Goose asked for a sign while we were at the shrine and finally seeing it, then Kuya said laughing, “Nako, nagkatotoo ba? Eh ang hiniling ko maging number one si Micah [Did you see the sign you asked for? What I prayed for is that Micah will top the board exam]”. Of course I did not top the local board exam, but I knew I was still the best for Kuya, that can be enough too. On the day of the local boards, he was also the one who drove me to the testing center – and the one who picked me up. By the time that I was trying to go into publishing, with my first job interview, it was still Kuya who was with me. As I said, he was always there – for me. I was his girl.

To be honest, his support can really be overwhelming. I look up to him in so many ways that each time I see that split second glint in his eyes that tells me he is proud of me, I just can’t explain how that makes me feel. If I am being perfectly honest, I cannot really count how many times Mother Goose has asked me to write something about Kuya, but each time I try it just seems that I can’t do it. It feels like words cannot explain how I really feel. I am too overwhelmed to start because everything just seems to be rushing out of a broken dam that it is hard to catch one or two decent lines. I must admit though that this only happens with two people: the first one is with Don Domeng and the second one is with Kuya.

If I’m laden at all
I’m laden with sadness
That everyone’s heart
Isn’t filled with the gladness
Of love for one another

It’s a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we’re on the way to there
Why not share

Sometimes I wonder why everyone ended up calling Kuya the way we do. We could’ve called him Uncle, or maybe even Santa Claus, well, sometimes we call him that too. But I guess it is really because Kuya was the big brother to the family. Kuya was Kuya. I remember one time when I was younger FairyAuntMommy Fe called Kuya as Kuya ng Laging Saklolo [Brother of Perpetual Help], like that of the Saint. I am not about to contest that one, that can be fine too, though it can be long don’t you think so too?

Whoever I am to my siblings, somehow, my role model, or I guess all the elder young ones in the family, is Kuya. He has showed us how it really is to love family – that you do not really need so many words, nor so many deeds, you just have to love, and love and give till it hurt.  Kuya was the epitomy of what it is to be a brother. He looked after his siblings, and now I do know why we ended up calling him Kuya after all, because ultimately, he also looked after us like we are his own, and we are his own.

And the load
Doesn’t weigh me down at all
He ain’t heavy he’s my brother

He’s my brother
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

I’m just really glad that Kuya is Kuya for all of us. I hope he is glad for who I am because of his influence. I recall a time when Mother Goose told me it was written somewhere that Kuya had three kids and that the last was a girl, and if someone asked who was the girl he would say it was my cousin Ate Mariel. You know what, I really don’t think that is right.

That would be me.

These days Kulot often watches the show Pinoy Big Brother on prime time TV. I heard one say that the Kuya of Big Brother House was a good Kuya. The hell. If that would be compared to our Kuya, Big Brother should move out immediately.

Happy Birthday Kuya.

18 thoughts on “Move Out Big Brother

  1. Ganda naman—-paulit-ulit ko nanaman read ito pero naiiyak pa din ako. Feel na feel ko kasi yung mga sinulat mo. Especially noong nandiyan kami—-Kuya’s always there, pagod na pagod siya kada-drive pero no complaints. Ganun siya magpakita ng Love…. thru his deeds. “Our hearts ARE laden with gladness and filled with LOVE” for our “Kuya” and one another. Aren’t we lucky!

  2. you write best, prinsesa, when you write from the heart because that is where the truth is.
    i wish i had a kuya in my life. i have never had a close connection like that in my family. the closest was with my mother. but a mother’s love is different from a kuya’s love.
    and i’m happy that you appreciate- i mean *really appreciate*– how lucky you are.
    in love, there is truth.

    • thanks seraphine. i never had a big brother because i am the eldest but all the kuya’s in the family- my uncles and cousins, are more than enough.

      i’m not sure about love and truth. lately i’ve been discovering that they can really be relative things.

      • truth changes. it isn’t always the same. sometimes the thing itself changes, sometimes our perception of it changes.
        but some truths endure more than other truths.
        your heart is the best measure of truth.

        and think of all those who admire you! yes.

        • the problem is that when you use your heart to find the truth sometimes how we feel about something alters our perception of the truth.

    • thank tk. i don’t really watch PBB, kulot does. but i still think there is no way the PBB version can topple ours. singing pa lang no match na!

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