If walking can be use to write stories, essays, and poems, why not histories, especially those yet to be written?

Weird but it seems that Los Baños doesn’t have a dedicated history book much less a book just about Los Baños in general. I went to the UPLB library once and asked a librarian for books on LB’s local history, and what he gave me were books on the raid of the the Los Baños internment camp. I asked a friend who teaches history at UPLB and he told me LB’s history is “touched” in UPLB’s history book. Then he sent me links on lectures about the history of Grove.

But really? No dedicated book? No one has ever dared to write a book about this place’s story? Its spirit?

I am highly skeptical and my research may not have been thorough enough. But if there is a book, shouldn’t I have seen it by now?

Our disassociation to landscape, to place, baffles me.

There is this glitch in Google maps, a small stretch of road near the UPLB main library, which Google names “Narra.” When you walk along that road and you care to look up, you’ll see that the tin sign says Domingo M. Lantican Ave.

But then I took a walk last night, as it has always been, up to the College of Forestry, and there on the intersection of Lantican and Makiling Street, in front the gate of Forest Products Research and Development Institute, I saw a short stone sign, which I may have noticed before but didn’t care. It says “Narra.” And I remembered that Makiling Street had the same stone sign and it just occurred to me while I am writing this that I saw a similar sign in another street, Drilon, the concrete road built along a vibrant stream of the Molawin river, which me and my friends affectionately call “batis.” The sign I couldn’t remember but it was a name of a tree.

And a narrative formed in my head. The names in stone signs were the old names of these streets and the glitch in Google Maps may have been caused by someone who entered a dated data: the old name of Lantican. So a wide renaming happened. The streets of old in UPLB used to have simpler names, names of trees. The new ones are names of supposedly important people.

And I understood this without reading a history book. I understood that between now and a long time ago, something happened. And nobody needs to tell me. Nobody needs to talk. I do not need a book. I just need to walk, to look, and then I’ll understand. Then perhaps I could tell the story.

This is the old way of creating stories. Our ancestors looked around them and created narratives.