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Traveling: My Mental Escapade

July 27, 2009 14 comments

drivingLiving 30 kms. outside the city of Iloilo, I have to get used to traveling everyday. That means if I want to be in the office at 8, I have to get ready before the sun rises to catch a transport bus to Tagbak Terminal at 6:30. Since it usually takes an hour of bus ride from our place to Tagbak Terminal, I usually disembark the bus at 7:30 and have to board a jeepney right away for the office. Sometimes it takes more than 30 minutes before I reach my destination depending on the speed of a jeepney. Presumptuously, my travel is far longer than the SONA that President Arroyo will be delivering this afternoon – for if you sum it all up, you will notice that I travel one and a half hours for just going to the office. Actually I really don’t mind because this seems to me a natural routine and I have been used to transporting myself to at least 76 kms (to the city and back) daily excluding the distance traveled during my field works. In short, I am a traveler by my own rights.

But the distance doesn’t matter to me.  As you might notice, I even enjoy it. The farthest my destination is, the better it becomes. Let alone the problem of fares for I have the way to abate it by showing my UP ID which will expire on 2012 pa (hehehe). Anyway, traveling is such a leisure for me despite trudging the same route everyday. Why? Because when I travel, my mind travels with me and I couldn’t help but to think deeply on some things that crosses my attention. Let me share some of the most apparent things that I noticed today:

UNO: While looking outside the bus, you could see that the election is steaming up. This might be the same with other places around the country where electric posts and school façades are awfully ornamented by smiles of the prospective presidentiables. In particular, have you noticed Villar’s visage is becoming ubiquitous? From congratulating the graduates to welcoming the freshmen, from greetings of Mother’s day to that of Father’s day, from simple punch lines of Sipag at Tiyaga to Murang Pabahay, from Iloilo, Banwa Ko to Villards-tulong sa pagsulong ng Philippine sports, you could see his smiling face  in every corner through tarpaulins and streamers. Quack! If you notice, he is actually standing for his motto Sipag at Tiyaga – that is why he is campaigning as early as now. But if you think deeply, it’s about Pera at Tiyaga. Remember that politics connotes a big-shot money game, and whoever has the biggest pocket coupled by publicity and Tiyaga will definitely triumph; and Villar knows that very well. Don’t be fooled brethren! I just hope when you look at his picture, you would also think of the price of his smile or what’s at stake behind his smile. It is only by that that we come to think of other prospects who possess characters like integrity, intelligence, managerial skills, etc; or try to turn our gaze to other candidates that doesn’t speak but has engraved remarkable accomplishments like Bayani and Gibo Teodoro. Just think wise.

DOS: Who cannot notice of garbage in our surroundings? It flies, it rolls, and it happily crosses the street when blown by the wind. Although it provides opportunities for the poor to make money out of it, it nevertheless remains an eyesore. Let’s accept it: there is no such thing as waste. When man creates something, I am sure he creates it out of necessity. Whatever man created surely has use and possesses potentiality for other uses. Take the example of a plastic bag: aside from using it as a basket, it could also serve several uses such as container for other things at home. What is more interesting about a plastic bag is the fact that it can be recycled. And this is not just about plastic: all non-living things especially non-biodegradable are all recyclable.  And when you come to think of it, cleaning our planet is always in our reach and all you have to do is to think that “there is no such thing as waste”. So, when necessity is the mother of all inventions, waste is the most foolish invention a man has ever had – and it is not created out of necessity but lavishness and lethargy.

TRES: From 2008-2009, Real Estate developments in Iloilo increased by more than 50%.  This is quite amazing in so far as real property tax is concerned but may endanger the agricultural production over the year. At about 30% of some agricultural lands are converted if not declared as idle lands for further residential developments. The result is the appearance of streamers and ads on “House for Sale” or “Lots for Sale” that competes with the face of Manny Villar. Because the market in Iloilo is big, streamers doubled up in a matter of just one month. Tsk tsk tsk….Oh, Lord what happened? You gave us the land for free but were subjected into the enterprising elements of some. First, the land was divided into continent (Fine). Then by country (still fine). Then by administrative areas (ok, still fine). But this was divided again into small pieces down to a basic square meter which costs more than an average annual income of the poor (very bad!). Please have pity, oh God.

CUATRO: From Tagbak Terminal to office, I had a funny time counting the many Purified Water and Refill stations. In a matter of 7 kms.interval between the bus terminal and my office, I counted 13 stations. The number is believed to be unlucky by popular culture. Of course, it is unlucky since it will be doubled in a year because the demand for mineral water is constantly increasing. And surely there will come a time that when you speak of water, it automatically entails money. It is just amusing that big cities as New York, calls for the residents to take underground water because it’s clean and free. But that’s not the case in the Philippines. Whew!

CINCO: Last but not the least: When you are riding a jeepney, who wouldn’t notice a sexy lady sitting in front of you? In my case, she wore a green spaghetti dress with a very short skirt that will make you wonder if there is a shortage of textile in global market.

You know, it’s a big irony that amidst the global warming, clothes are becoming shorter and skimpier when in fact they should be made to hide our skin against UV rays. I guess the trend had turned a total opposite now. Today, nakedness becomes a trend where minimal clothing will suffice (hahaha). However, it could also be seen in a different way. Since we are sweating like hell due to extreme heat, I guess the picture below has a very good point.

global-warming-underwear

Anyway, that’s all for my travel amusement. Got to watch GMA SONA pa…hope something good will come out of it.

***

P.S. 1. President’s SONA is done. Superb! If there is one thing that can attest to her accomplishments – it is the statistics. Numbers just dont lie.

2. How would you imagine our country being managed by Estrada and Villar, or by rhetorical Legarda and Escudero amidst the global crisis?  I just couldn’t imagine. What we definitely need is a managerial president who knows every nook and crook of governance and have strategies to keep it working. With all conviction, backed by my experience economic research and urban planning job, GMA has provided that well.

3. “Too much for  Cory’s matter. Let’s shift our attention to her hacienda,” says an uring anakpawis.

Marching in March

March 16, 2009 6 comments

happy ako nagayon

happy ako ngayon

I wished to think, the moment I woke up this morning, that the world is changing for the better. The heavy rain last night was a good indicator that the summer may not be a long drought but that it will also experience sporadic rain showers. This is unusual for the month of March especially since it is considered as the peak of the summer season where  a hundred percent sun visibility can haul the earth on 30 degrees and more on regular days – a temperature that can trigger a Filipino’s inanity for a cold country.

March is extremely a hostile month. Its name, which derives from Mars (God of War), connotes difficulty or a struggle especially to the people whose lives are greatly entwined with crops. For the farmers, drought is the most feared phenomenon which usually starts on the month of March and lasts on who-knows-what-month. Since its name connotes war, it also presupposes death – not just for impotent crops but also the death of hopes when despair take hold of the lives of the people. Ten years ago, El Niño hit Philippines and left a devastating mark on agricultural productions and shortage on water supply. Malnutrition and heat-borne diseases shot up by half above the annual record. This lasted more than a year and farmers could hardly compensate for their loss. But tonight, up to  this morning, the rain poured heavily like a terrestrial blessing that delighted not just the farmers but also the people who hated mercury rising. This might be because of the prayer of the farmers; maybe, the story about St. Heribert, patron of rain, was true whose feast day is celebrated today (March 16).

War is always associated with March not because most cadet trainings are conducted in this month but because this month signifies another worldwide struggle. This month, the International Women’s Month is celebrated by Eves all over the world by highlighting the significance of womens’ roles and asserting their rights in the global arena. In the Philippines, the Gender and Development or GAD has taken significance on the grass-root understanding of the Filipina rights against abuse and violence. Last week the GAD team of Iloilo in coordination with UP Ugsad held a forum on Pasidungog sa Kababaihan. The forum was conducted to empower women rights in the present society.

On exactly the same date, the Philippines was known to the world because of Magallanes whose landing has been very controversial among pact of historians. However, may it in Butuan, Mactan or Leyte, the important thing is “it happened” and paved way to the Christianitization of Filipinos. Although I despise the way it was implemented in the Philippines, I am still thankful that I knew Jesus Christ the moment I developed a consciousness on religion because of them. Surely, religion has its good and bad sides.

But with all of these, I find March as the most beautiful and wonderful month in my life. Not because of St. Urhos” celebration in Finland today or of  the commemoration of  the famous political philosopher, James Madison who became the 4th president of US, but because I feel more loved on this month far better than hearts day in February. I feel that the world is more cheerful than before with all the greetings and the texts that I received from my family and friends. Yes! It’s my birthday! And I thank those who remembers this boy from the parochial world in Visayas especially:

1. My Family – my mother, my sister and my brother; my aunts, uncles and cousins; my loved ones; my friends; my office mates – thank you very much. You are well treasured in my heart.

2. My most beloved teacher, Sr. Rose Amacanin, whose influence has made me enter the seminary even though I didn’t stay long. To you sister: Thank you for the greetings despite the expensive call rate in Israel. I continuously use the rosary you gave me.

I hope I could avail of a scholarship in the University you are working in  at Betlehem. Don’t worry, I promise to ace all of my grades. Hehehe. I love you so much.

3. The girl who stayed late prowling on the clock at exactly 12 midnight just to be the first to greet me. hehehe

4. My sister Danica. Thank you for being there for me always. UP would have been very trite without you.

5. Eva – one of the fairest faces in the UP campus. Thanks for the advance greetings!

6. I thank myself for greeting myself. Happy birthday to me!

***

P.S. If we are doomed to this world to suffer, why do we celebrate our birthdays?

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Jingle Bells

December 19, 2008 12 comments

oblationI happened to pass Gen. Luna St. last Tuesday because my boss wanted me to schedule a meeting with the researchers and planners who happened to convene in Iloilo. Working in ADB is no easy job and arranging the schedules made me exceptionally busy especially that we were on a given study for LGUs. I was supposed to meet them early but I was unfortunately trapped for 30 minutes in a traffic jam along the parallel lanes of UP. When I inquired what it was that caused the delay, the driver said, “Oblation run sir.”

“It’s APO day,” I presumed, looking at the members who gathered in the street to watch their bold brethren run. Amused at the sight, I thought that APO indeed was a metaphoric version of the Jingle Bells. With their genitalia dangling from to left to right, it surely was a merry show more than any Christmas carol could offer.  Girls and faggots alike swarmed the street to take a glimpse, not of the essence of the activity, but of the display of “birdies”. “Ang cute,” one exclaimed. Another said, “Ang dumi naman ewww. Ba’t maitim-itim?” The funniest I heard was a voice from a group of gays shouting, “He is so tiny!!!” Most of the spectators were giddy, while others were even too conservative to glance at the spectacle.

But I will not dwell there, otherwise that would mean endless funny remarks. What I am wondering about is the reason why APO sustains this tradition. They say streaking is their way of shouting their sentiments of freedom. In short it stands as a symbol of freedom. But why cover their faces? What’s the difference between a fully clothed man with an exposed face and a naked man but with his face covered? Nothing, I dare say.

With this “streaking”, I suppose APO is just publicizing their fraternity; “Hey join us, we’re cool!” while missing out on the action to actually promulgate something for the realization of freedom.

In Britain, for example, there was one time where people ran stark naked for a cause despite the cold weather. The nice thing about it was that they posed in front of the camera with no qualms. I am just wondering if the British did it with no  clothing facade, why can’t you run in the same way when you uphold in fact  a nobler cause – freedom?  This perplexes me to unravel the logic of this annual activity thus, whatever the cause, it is inevitable for me to stand as arbiter of its verity. It is not my wish to criticize APO, but I really cannot find any significance in what they are doing. If they call for freedom, let them have it in different ways and not like this ribald event which I deem facile wrought by maudlin sentiments. How in the earth could one claim freedom by running in the street naked and holding roses like bozos? Remember that a symbol for freedom will never match an action towards it. If you are really after freedom, gather your members and organize a fruitful and sensible event that would lead to something useful that the country would be grateful of. Imagine if you could gather 10,000 of your members for a tree-planting activity, you will also have 10,000, new trees to help curtail carbon emission in the air- a fair response to the effect of global warming  to give us a cleaner breath for our quest of environmental freedom. This might not be known to everybody, but you will be proud to know that you acted beyond the symbol of freedom.

But if they still wanted to continue, at least have the guts to follow St. Francis of Assisi who took off his clothes in the middle of the crowd and gave his garment to the poor man beside him. He simply wanted freedom from the hedonistic world. He was not shy of what he did even though society was run by a stringent moral standard in his time. Hence, I suggest that next time they do this, they shouldn’t cover their faces. And bring books instead of wilted flowers, and instead of posing in front of women to offer them flowers, to which with your keen consciousness will never suffice the claim of letting your sentiment known, run to the nearest palaboy and give him a book. By doing this, your efforts might be appreciated, or they might become a source of inspiration for street children to seek education (which I always believe to be an effective phase in achieving freedom). You might be laughed at and everybody would deem you crazy, but deep inside, you know you are doing a better goodness. At least your “Jingle Bells” will have a better errand.

Pamalandong on Iloilo History

November 28, 2008 10 comments

aerial view of iloilo river

aerial view of iloilo river

Lack of knowledge can be daunting especially in a situation when you are caught off-guard. This is what happened to me the other day when my younger cousin asked why our place was called Iloilo. Sensing that she might have been devouring topics on the history of places such as the origin of Manila or Cebu, I asked her why she was interested. She gave me a shrug, “I was just asking.” She continued to say that nobody speaks much of Iloilo’s origins except for the accounts of Tomas Confesor, Gen. Martin Delgado and Gen. Quintin Salas and not a great deal about the history of our place per se. It was difficult for me to answer except for the few facts that have been embedded in me by my boring highschool teachers. And what I know of Iloilo is very limited to the simple information that native Ilonggos named it after the shape of the Iloilo River whose meanders resemble the shape of the “nose” or ilong. Since Iloilo is predominantly Karay-a speaking people where “L” is substituted with “R” it was first called Irong-irong. Due to the changing formation of the local lexicon which has been tainted with the incorporation of Spanish terms, the name Irong-irong was changed to Iloilo.

“Why is it called Iloilo?” is no ordinary query because a little distortion may create a big error in the future learning, thus a deep pamalandong is needed. Pamalandong here means a very deep reflection which does not limit knowledge to learning but experiencing as well. In the English language, it means “altruism” yet it connotes more “reflection.” Pa in Hiligaynon is a prefix which means “going to” or “to indulge” while landong means “shadow” or “under the guidance of.” Thus, pamalandong literally means “going into the shadow of.” Another beauty of this term is the notion that it goes with silence therefore signifying a critical analysis of the past. In delving into history, it is not just the hard facts that matter but the hues that surround the events that make it more important. One has to know the ways and the emotions to inject alacrity among the readers.

To make my point sturdy and credible, I explored the Provincial Library and the UP – Western Visayas Center for Culture and the Arts Studies. I was amazed to find good sources that could point out to this historical conjecture. However good, there is a dearth for such books which only proves that Ilonggos are not particular in their quest of history. They say that Ilonggos have lost their passion in excavating their past and trying to muster a concrete panorama of the odyssey of Ilonggo people. History then becomes esoteric stuff where it only applies to few who have chosen this line of discipline thus limiting the spread of knowledge among the people. I guess we all need a good pamalandong on this.

I realized that a simple historical research will lead to an insatiable drive for the past. In the case of Iloilo, I not only discovered that because the Spanish could not utter the “ng” well, and the “R” of the natives irked them, they dropped the former name and changed it to Iloilo but much more. But why of all things, the river became the basis of the name and not the vast plain of Iloilo that during the 16th century was blessed with booming sugarcane and rice production compared with other provinces in the entire Visayan Region? The thirst for an answer prompted me to dig more in the library. However, I couldn’t find exact answers to this except the little information I’ve gathered from few academic books. This lot led me to use my own logic in the way of pamalandong. I guess the reason behind was that the Iloilo River was no ordinary river. Unlike other rivers which root from great mountains then flow down to create a river delta, Iloilo river begins from the sea and ends in the sea. You get the picture? It is not actually a river but a sea estuary (which logically means that it has brackish water) that makes it a unique body of water. Although geologists don’t agree in calling this as Iloilo River, we could not blame our folks for their lack of terminologies. What they perceived as a long body of water with narrow borders was automatically termed a river. Estuary for the academic regards will be acceptable but will remain excusable to be called a river by the common people.

Aside from that, Iloilo was well known of its major river systems that traversed the whole province. It was through these rivers that agricultural crops became abundant and effectually put the name of Iloilo as the rice granary of Visayas. Since this land was populated by heathens, they gave the river a special praise for serving as the life-blood of crop production. That might also be one reason why they chose to name this place based on the mightiest and strangest river they knew – the Irong-irong River. Alas, there are no documents that would support my postulate because the first thing that Spaniards did when they first arrived in Iloilo was to proselytize the natives into Christianity and obliterate all practices that reciprocate the dogmas of the church. Sayang!

Despite the knowledge gap, simply because there are no adequate sources or that I have not been eager enough to look for more reference, I can never help but to give conjecture on the notion of the river in relation to the name Iloilo. According to Fr. Policarpio Hernandez OSA in his records of the past, the Iloilo River served to be a channel of trade in 1855 from Villa Rica de Oton-Arevalo to what is now called Iloilo City. During those times, Iloilo stood to have the biggest international commercial port complex outside Manila. The active relation on commerce and trade with other countries made Iloilo the host of galleon trade from Visayas to Mollucas; this put Iloilo as the Queen City of the South before Cebu took hold of the title.

These accounts only show why the river is very important to the Ilonggos and there is no wonder why they named the place in lieu of the most prominent Iloilo River. I just hope that next time somebody will asks me about Iloilo, I have a little dose of knowledge to arm myself.

Categories: Ilong-Ilonganon Tags: ,

order in the table.

October 3, 2008 8 comments
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Books here, papers and folders there and crumpled wrappers of candies everywhere. Hoy!

I need to get things in order for my table has remained messy for two days now. My boss, noticing this, since I’m situated as vanguard of the battalion of sloth from my rear, scolded me for having a garbage trash rather than an office table. She stared with her laser beams while murmuring of something ribald but I knew for sure that it wasn’t me per se but the loony look of my slab. If she gets easily catatonic over smidgen of dirt on the floor how much more would she feel toward piles of paper that look like garbage dump on my table? I was sure that when she got back and my table was still on its anti-cosmos state, a middle finger would surely be lifted on my face. I had no choice but to obey or else…well you don’t want to get your boss angry nor you want to draw all suspicion in you, will you? I have one piece of advice then:  never imitate me by not keeping your table clean and tidying the little things on top of it because for sure you don’t want to get someone squeamish over your topsy-turvy demeanor especially your boss. Even if you are an artist- who always justifies your being unsystematic with abstraction of brushes and hues of colors-you still must secure things in order and must be scientific in dealing with such. We are placed into this void for a purpose -that is to maintain order and not to reciprocate it. You just can’t let the God of the Old Testament come down and raise that middle finger on you or turn you into a pillar of salt like Lot’s wife in Sodom and Gomorrah by leaving your table cluttered. You know what I mean-but in any case you don’t, just keep your things in order. Simple and clear.

One of the nicest things about keeping my table clean is that I can think straight without external interference. I have to keep this regularly not to impress my boss but to keep myself in good placement to avoid wimping over my assignments. Organized things means systematic mind. Better think of Mr. Einstein- had he become a little more concerned of his table, maybe he already solved the problem of the universe and that there was no need for the establishment of Hadron Collider blah blah …that 90 fold worth of the Iloilo Provincial budget built to qualify the theories of the universe; and the money financed for that project could have been much appreciated if it is allocated for Africa as aid for the victims in Darfur. However, open-mindedly, I also think that chaos- which separates things, put up wars and creating boundaries- is equally necessary to find order but not much as beautiful as with all potential gearing towards actuality of order. Chaos is just a by-product of anti-order choices of man and not a natural phenomenon that falls like rain. I am wondering if all the people in the world have the same regard for order, probably the best possible world that Voltaire is ruminating will finally be given flesh.

When world is created with such, wouldn’t it be proper for us to behave with saliency to order? Perhaps our world will be a better place when all behave in accordance with order. When there is order, there will be:

1. No more traffic signs which means that I wouldn’t get late even if I wake up at 630 in the morning.

2. No more war in Mindanao and the rest of the world and there will be dismissal of media industry simply because “news isn’t news if it isn’t bad”

3. No more crimes and no more proceedings in the court. There will never be lawyers too…grrr.

4. No more black and white or brown and yellow, only the color of the rainbow is noticed

5. No more broken families, but one united humanity

6. No more distinction, only beauty

7. No more religion, only one common concept of God

8. No more pollution for everybody thinks about the world

9. No more corruption because there are better concerns to be addressed

10. No more politics, no more boundaries, no more conflicting systems…because the world is in order.

 This is very ideal, I know, as the road to it is strewn with humongous chaos that is very hard to change. I know it’s hard. Everything is hard because even order had become a subject of perversion to fit everybody’s idea -to the point of causing arbitration among people. But isn’t it more hard to keep this chaos working? After all, we could never embrace order unless we try. Let me stress again my piece of advice before this ends: if you want to embrace order, start arranging your table. My boss had a very good point and I shouldn’t ignore it. Better keep going now, my table needs a good make-over.

Categories: Ilong-Ilonganon Tags: ,

take philosophy out of the church

September 30, 2008 6 comments

Sarte please let mee see you smile.hehehe

de Beauvoir: Sartre please let mee see you smile.hehehe

I have been dead serious with my past entries and I am thinking of making an experiment that would spice my content better. Humor oh yes! I have to add traces of that and inject a little language of inarticulateness. As student of philosophy I seldom encountered humor in our class because most of the lectures were trite and heady and lacked of freshness. College philosophy, as some deem it, is an ultimate pain in the butt, so ideal that you couldn’t flout it in any means. The problem I guess are with words, the constructions and the terms that sound like alien blabs frantically uttering their paean such as geist, dasein, cognito apriori..atbp. These are absolutely foreign terms that I also abhorred during my college years but I had to swallow them obediently just to get my scholarship going. But can we relay philosophy without sigh of drowsiness? Maybe. Ask Bob Ong.

Here are some complex philosophical ideas that can be subject to humor. These are some of my favorite thinkers with their famous clichés:

1. Life is absurd.-Albert Camus

Dabubu: Imagine yourself looking at two ducks copulating. Because you hate their natural boldness for simple reason that you get squeamish to witness it, take your gun and shoot those boobies. Then you cook them and eat them with delight because you’ll never get to spot their “I don’t care if you see us, so what” again.

Totomel: Uhuh? Then What?

Dabubu: Now, the boobies turn. You start to feel excruciating pain possessing you that you want to call all the idadalmons, angeles, santos kag martires. You rush to the hospital and find out that the fowls were actually carriers of bird flu.

Totomel: That is improbable.

Dabubu: Yeah. Yet the more  experience becomes absurd, the better Camus idea is proven.

2. Hell with other people-Jean Paul Sartre

“We have to get married darling,” de Beauvoir said.

“No way. There’s a problem with absolute freedom that I’m working on. It’s like writing using my pen’s butt,” countered Sartre.

“Mind you,” de Beauvoir retorted. “Your shortness will apparently speak of your performance. Would you mind me writing about it in my Second Sex? After all, feminism means audacity.”

“ No please! Let’s get it done, come to my house and we’ll get married on our own.”

HELL WITH OTHER PEOPLE KA DYAN!!!

3. Art is the spearhead of the society-Susanne Langer

Abulad: We can only change Philippine society if we are able to develop an original Filipino Philosophy.

Paul Medina: Hindi naman siguro. Du-drawing na lang ako to make our society change into my society. Drawing lang yan bro.

4. The ultimate arche of the universe is water; ergo everything is made up of water.-Thales

Propesor: De facto, our body is 70 % made up of water.

Estudent: Sir, I think that’s erroneous.

Propesor: Who are you to question me? TUBIG KA LANG!!!

Estudent: Aba, nagsalita ang bato!

I hope that philosophy will never stay boring all the time. Maybe its time to get some innovation: take philosophy outside the church and start drawing it in comics. Besides, philosophy should be better understood in the light of our cultural humor. Kay ang filosofiya indi gid man dapat boring borj. Di ba?

D end.

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iloilo in change

September 24, 2008 11 comments
iloilo capitol

iloilo capitol

It’s not often that I clamber up to 6th floor of the Iloilo Capitol, but for the sake of organizing my thoughts, I opt to breathe fresh air atop Iloilo’s prime edifice, utter my mantra, and focus. Instead of jotting the first line for my press release, I turn my attention to the old Iloilo port that stood the test of time. I am not exactly sure of its antiquity but I think it is aged a century and has been witness to the rise and fall of Ilonggo civilization. On my right side facing north is the historical range of Gen. Luna Street spanning up to the University of the Philippines, an institution that is dear to me. In facing east, the old Iznart Street, which has been a subject place of Stevan Javellana, remains jam packed with vehicles and rabbles that have became slaves of time. The Bonifacio Drive and the Iloilo River remain tranquil below the six bridges that were erected for the benefit of accessibility and road network. Facing up, I notice the same sky that is unclear of any expression, but I surmise is frowning because there is so much demand of sun block in the market—that we forget to think that we can never solve the issue of blackening unless we look up and think how to resolve the problem of mercury rising.

There is no doubt that Iloilo is ascending in terms of development and economic gains. It has made its name in economic promontory as one of the most promising sites in the Philippines; investment keeps rolling in and available spaces are procured for real estate developments and business infrastructures. The laggard years are gone, and Iloilo has made a drastic change beginning with the election of technocrats and officials that can stand in the side of development than just pure politicking.

If you could look back at Iloilo ten years ago, a myriad of change has taken place – with the establishment of malls and business centers; the transfer of business locales from the old Calle Real to the spacious and trendy site of Benigno Aquino Drive (Diversion Road as it is commonly called now) in Manduriao; the market driven entrance of BPOs and call centers, Iloilo is once again on the track to prove itself of the potential which was once hailed as Queen City of the South before Cebu held that label. The imminent presence of competitive universities coupled with the rising demand of man power has symbiotically made a great impact in economic thrust. This might be the reason why Iloilo is the fragrance of investment in Central Philippines.

Major public infrastructures started to move up in Iloilo. One of the grandiose projects is the bridging of Panay Island via Guimaras and Negros which is estimated to cost billions from the government treasury. As part of the National Plan for Economic Corridor, the bridging of these islands will bring more investment in La Muy Leal Noble Ciudad de Iloilo. The project is speculated to commence in Leganes, Iloilo, crossing Taminla, Guimaras and from Cabano, Guimaras, the bridge is engineered to cross Pulupandan, Negros.

However, the development in Iloilo was not wrought as easy as ABC. Political parties along with undying activism of the Catholic Church, created a block to hinder some of the projects. Had it not been for the persistence of the local executives, Iloilo would remain as wretched as a decade past.

Indeed, so much has changed and it is not just about the geo-physical transformation but the behavioral and mental transmutation of the people as well.

Life in Iloilo is very different now, although development is inevitable, it nevertheless has a cost to pay. Some clamor has dominated the limelight saying that they rarely see people chatting down the road, holding hands and enjoying the time with each other anymore. Iznart Street along with the plazas has once been known for serving as a socializing place for the people – that might have been the reason why Iloilo was known as “The City of Love.” But it’s all gone now. The dawning of skycrapers and global trending has brought this gradual change among Ilonggos. I am not anti-progress as to say, but a pro-progress as much as somebody yearns for it. Only those who look at the progress of time can see the drama of life and maybe I am one of them because I feel nostalgic of whatever beauty  of the past that has remained in the memory of only a few. The bridging of archipelagos may bring structural and economic development in Iloilo, but I am afraid it will curtail the long sublimeness of Ilonggo behavior. We have to adapt… that’s the bitter part of it. Nevertheless, no one can hide the excitement with where Iloilo is heading and what it is going to be – The Next Big Thing.

uyok, the rain and the dream of hope

September 18, 2008 3 comments

Last night, the rain was heavy and I had to find a roof after I stepped out of the jeepney. Barotac Nuevo was tranquil when I managed to find my pasilungan in a small carenderia along the main road. It was not usual for the town to be so quiet especially with the premature closing of raucous videoke-bars at 9. There was something eerie about the place because there were no tricycles parked on the sidewalks waiting for the passengers to transport them to their barangay destinations. Tricycle used to swarm the streets but not this time. The rain owned the road, claiming its rightful place in the town; even the drive to earn was defeated by the heavy pouring of the sky.

traysikol
traysikol

I prayed the rain would stop and the almighty sky to take pity on the people stranded, itching enough to hurry home, to cuddle their children or to indulge in another natural copulation with their other halves. The office girls were cursing the weather because their stockings were dripping when they paced the floor. I glanced at the other side and saw Julius my elementary friend who was sullen in waiting for the rain to cease. I walked towards him and asked how he was doing. He had a tricycle park a couple of blocks away and would have been fortunate to take all those people to their homes because it would mean a lot more earning for the night. However, he was not happy to tell me how his uncle, a trisikad driver was hit by a van the other day and was left wounded in the road. He was confined in the local hospital without anything else but a strong faith to get well. He told me about this because he cared a lot for him and that he needed to do something.

The rain continued to pour in the same amount of precipitation. We continued talking until we reached the point of reminiscing the old days. I knew he was hurt by the incident because nobody had seen the van, and the mishap, and the van could not be traced. But as a friend, I ought to understand his sorrows and had to sway the conversation to more cheerful elementary memories where we spent half of the day under the sun playing pitiw and tumba–patis or pulis-makawat. I did this to thwart the emotion and bring about transition from his melancholic situation.

Those were simple joys because we did not think much of our lives; that was how we behaved due to our young minds, but it changes along the ripening of time. We were not even attending to comply with our assignments for we were always in a hurry to go home and play with the children in our neighborhood – some of them never went to school and spent most of their times in the field helping their parents to get through poverty. We were poor ourselves but my mother has persevered much to send us to school even if it cost her, her own life; and that what made us very fortunate among other children. She understood well enough the value of education as a social ladder even though she didn’t have formal education herself. But those were the days. We have grown into different entities now and Julius, I know, has grown to be much matured, full of religious hope for his life.

Unlike my other classmates, Uyok (that’s what everybody calls him) did not get married. Belonging to a very poor family of 7, he could hardly think of anything but to earn and make his way to college. Fortunately he finished his college with the drive of salvaging his family from poverty. He did this because he dreamt and his dream paved way but only to the extent of finishing his college. And he realized he could not shake off the poverty for the moment; so he rented his uncle’s motorcycle just to earn something while waiting for chance to get hold of him.

He was an education graduate in a local community college here in Barotac Nuevo and he hoped to get the board in the next slated date. He was bereft of any luxury and had to borrow money from his aunt to finance himself.  He just wished to get this done and I could sense that the dream of passing the board lurked behind his hopes. This I saluted him for, because I had never seen a man as dedicated as he was.

Listening to him brought certain remorse in my heart because I had to do something, at least to help in encouragement. But miserable as any other person who gropes for success in life, I could offer him nothing. In the society that is full of materialistic demands, I could not help but cope; and in my quest to fulfill this desire, I shrank back in frustration because it required too much determination and capital to clamber the sybaritic market. This I loathed, because as philosophy graduate, I could not land a suitable job. I couldn’t even pursue my dream of going to law school because I only earn enough to feed my stomach’s wants and not to finance the academic honor I desire. I love my degree, but I have to empty my cranium of what I knew in order to go down to the level of society just to suit the qualification of the technical world. It pinged my heart with such demeaning realization  and I just condescended with apology to Uyok because I couldn’t help him in any specific way.

I told him how life has changed from simple to worst, that our generation suffered the brunt of excessive oppression by the current system which has been eating up our dreams. I didn’t like to bring up this topic to some extent of blaming the system, and the government, the society for all I know I have indirectly benefited from these somehow. But knowing that somebody’s life is caught between the crossroad of ultimate need and a romantic hope for himself, I could not help but to mention these things. I was glad he understood like the way he did way back when he ranked 2nd to me in class. I wonder what my life would be in ten years and if I ever continue wandering this impoverish state. I knew it was all about choice and it is only through a choice that we can carve our future. However, being in a very poor state, your choice is being limited and you sometimes behave with the “what must and what must not” standard.

I fell short with words to go on talking and he rescued me by saying that he would never stop dreaming – as if hope is the only gore to keep him speeding. That was the best thing I heard from him: to never stop hoping. I too, shouldn’t stop hoping because there is more that awaits tomorrow. I know deep inside, despite his struggles, he will succeed in his life. I pray for that.

The rain stopped at 10 pm, and we rushed to his motor cycle. I gave him 50 pesos for fare but he was reluctant to receive it until I insisted. It was never enough, I knew but I hope that our conversation will shed some initiative from him to move on and to dream big and live that dream.

I walked the dark alley towards home and wondering how much I learned from him because he talked not with theories and ideologies – which I sometimes despised being so bloated and airy – but with the simplicity of experiential language. I don’t know when I will ever see him again; maybe tomorrow, or maybe in the next ten years. I only hope that with this misery that shrouded our lives, we will one day find a knife to cut these twigs and experience the euphoric success.

The rain had surely swept the people out of the town main street, but it somehow providentially arranged a meeting with my long time friend. Despite the tragic sense that he embedded in my mind, I never could have been happier that day as I scribbled my thoughts in my journal…and it started ….Once there was Uyok …there was the rain… there was the dream of hope…

*Photo Credit: http://farm1.static.flickr.com/59/159096120_c406f5ee2d.jpg?v=1149339684