Bahay in the Filipino language means house. In Philippine culture, there is a term called "namamahay." In my own personal understanding, namamahay refers to a feeling that one gets when one finds himself or herself in a new place or house.

It means that the person feels kind of uneasy and may be unable to sleep soundly through the night. When in a new place or house, a person might wake up several times throughout the night.

That's how I am. Lagi akong namamahay. When I go on a trip (for business or for a vacation), I usually have difficulty sleeping through the night and I have taken it as a matter of fact. I don't even fret or fuss about it. I just know that on the first night, I will wake up several times. I don't think it's psychosomatic (as I don't really think much about it) but I just remember it the next day when I wake up from a not-so-restful sleep.

I remember this topic since during the Tagaytay retreat, one of the priests I met, Fr. Danilo A. Sergio, OMI, asked me about how well I slept the night before. This is how our conversation went:

Fr. Danny: Nakatulog ka ba? (Did you get to sleep?)

Angel: Di nga po masyado. (Not too well.)

Fr. Danny: Bakit, iniisip mo ang mga anak mo? (Were you thinking of your kids?)

Angel: Ganun ho ako talaga. Namamahay. (That's how I am. Namamahay.)

Fr. Danny: Ako kahit saan tulog. Kung sabagay, ganun siguro kaming mga misyunaryo. Sanay nang palipat lipat. (I can sleep anywhere. I guess that's how missionaries are. We are used to moving from place to place.) Then as an afterthought, he continued:

Fr. Danny: Have you tried blessing the place?

Angel: (wide-eyed) Hindi ko pa po na-try yan. Sa susunod, i-try ko. (I have not tried that. Next time, I will try it.)

I thought there was a good insight there. I had resigned myself to the fact that I would feel restless on my first night if I was in a different place. It had never occurred to me to pray and to ask God to bless the place so I can get a good night's sleep. It hasn't been too problematic for me probably. Besides, I'm usually so tired from not having slept well during the first night that I really doze off on the second night and onwards.

Anyway, if you also go through the same experience as I do, why don't you try out Fr. Danny's suggestion? On my next trip, I will try that out and I will let you know what happens.

Fr. Danny is in the retreat ministry. If you would like to inquire about OMI Retreat House, they are located at 1 Mangga St., Mapayapa 1 Subdivision, Capitol Site, Quezon City.

[By Angelica Viloria | Friday, August 31, 2007]

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