When I was five, there was a typhoon. I don’t know if it was as bad as last week’s, but it felt like it. The rain didn’t stop, and the sun didn’t show itself for days. Everyone stopped me from playing in the rain.
Those days, the electricity would putter out and my only entertainment was to watch the flood outside our house rush by. It was interesting to see all the stuff that would float along: a plastic cup, tsinelas (slipper), and junk food wrappers.
But there was one time I noticed something floating that seemed different from the others. For one thing, it wasn’t being carried away by the flood’s current.
I suppose my parents called our neighbors after I pointed this out to them. I’m not really sure. The next thing I knew, there was a big turtle in front of me.
This was no fishbowl turtle. When I say big, I mean BIG. It fit a whole palanggana.
I felt excited by the whole thing. As a child, I didn’t think to ask the important questions. How did it get there? Are turtles secretly living in our canals? How are the turtles’ ecosystems being affected for this guy to just suddenly appear in our village?
Not one of those questions did I ask myself or the adults around me. All I knew was that I had a pet!
The next day, the turtle was gone.
My parents never told me what they did with it (and again, I never thought to ask). Did it go to turtle heaven? I certainly hope it didn’t become turtle soup. I do hope it went to a zoo or back into the wild.
I’ve had a few pet turtles in the years that followed. But none of them ever went near the size of the one we found during the typhoon.