My sister remembered how it was like back when mobile phones are still uncommon that we rely on pagers to transmit messages. We use the pagers or BB call to leave messages for the people we want to call. The apartment house where we used to live is very near the apartment where we go to everyday after school. We study there till 8-9m. Our dad will wait for our page and he would come and fetch us. That time, we would listen to his honk – beep-beep/beep-beep-beep/beep-beep. And just now, my sister realized is it too quiet then that with just that honk we would get the message and hurriedly go down? He would honk upon approaching the entrance, but we’re staying at the 6th floor. Every day, that would be our life: house-school-tutor-house, as the cycle continued. Those times, we’d rely on pagers or landline to talk, no sms or instant messaging to get the message across right away.

I remember that at first we didn’t have a landline at our old apartment, that’s why we would run to my maternal grandmother’s unit just across the hall to answer or make calls. Grandma would also say that if someone calls for joey, she would indicate ‘maliit’ for ‘small’ or ‘malaki’ for ‘big’ – which refers to my dad. I was named after him, which is actually his nickname.

Communication then was more difficult, and even through the age of technology, some remained to the old ways. Communication is expensive in our family. A call costs a lot so they prefer SMS. Calls should be quick and must not be used unless it’s really urgent. My cousins though would get daily calls from their parents to check up on them, they would use unlimited calls subscribed from the network. Later on, the age of internet and WIFI boomed and we got accustomed to using the applications. We have been repeatedly told that the cost of calling is too expensive, but thanks to WIFI connections and to social media, I am able to have longer conversations with people.

I for one am thankful for the apps like Viber, LINE, Skype, WeChat, What’sApp, etc. that paved the way for more fluid and frequent communication. I just needed WIFI and it’s easy to speak with the people I want to talk to, even calling them, also saving a lot of prepaid cards. The talks I have with my cousins became deeper and more often, even through distance I could still maintain communication.

I think communication is so important that it shouldn’t be saved. We should value the time we can share with the people that matter to us and that’s being generous with conversing and making time for them.  It’s amazing how communication evolved. It’s also nice how we paid attention to our surroundings and how valuable we come to see communication is, the anticipation, the waiting and the real-time conversation.

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