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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.

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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.

Paradiso in Iloilo

April 7, 2009 26 comments

pic2 The temperature hit 33 degrees in North Iloilo and people were hiding from the obnoxious sun rays that could curtail the dreams of  Americans in attaining a fair complexion. Yet no matter how hot the day was, the fact that summer is meant for escapades, my family decided to try island hopping in what I deem the most beautiful place at the world’s end- Isla Higante. It is even more beautiful and virgin than Boracay which I think is not worthwhile for an urban getaway.

The place was a couple of hours from mainland Carles in the northern tip of Iloilo, where you would be welcomed by white sand beaches and boobies perching on huge boulders.  The view of Sicogon Island alone could make you jump from the motor boat and savor the grandiosity where it had once been known as the haven of God.  As we neared the place of Higante Norte, we disembarked and immersed in cool crystalline waters that either refreshed my soul or healed my longing to be in union with nature. The sand was fine as silk which was fascinating for a mortal like me to experience. The place was indeed holy for the natives for most of them owe their lives to the abundance of the sea. And upon docking at the island, one would be mesmerized by gigantic sea walls engineered by divine hands themselves. You wouldn’t believe that this place exists in a parochial and bucolic place in Iloilo. Ahhh!, I say, “there is nothing more beautiful in life than to experience beauty itself! And this place is divine beauty!”

pic3edited

The place was extraordinary and the experience would not have been complete unless you explored its rocky mountains. My brother and my cousins trekked the rock mountain of barangay Granada for two and a half hours. And when we reached the top, Lo! The UP flag was there signifying that UP students had conquered this place before. Had I brought my marker, I would write “Uno ka? 100 Ako.” The beauty became more exhilarating when we started to sing the “Top of the World.”

But as a curious man, I didn’t limit myself in mere experience for I always wanted to know. And so I roamed the community and asked the people about the place, its origin and myth. The place was indeed fascinating as every island has its story to tell, yet people were more enamored by the tale of Higantes.

Higantes Islands are two big islands endowed with rich natural beauty. On the north, lies the panoramic barangay Granada and barangay Asluman as the fishing drop point of the island. In Asluman, you would find the most satisfying shells like scallops, diwal, oysters, budyong¸ and tuklap-tuklap which are gathered for exportation. On the south, barangay Gabi stands majestically with its wide span of white sand beach (Antonea) and barangay Lantangan on the other end which is very mysterious because of its rock formations that exactly looks like Minas Tirith in Lord of the Rings. Some folks claimed that this was once a fortress or a castle of engkantados where they have sporadically seen a golden boat docking. It had a multitude of caves and a blue lagoon inside known as Tangke. Also, there are said to be sea portals in the place where you will be transported to Masbate and Aklan. According to the natives, the caves and portals were beautiful window drapes and Turkish doors long time ago. But as time progresses and human civilization advances, the beauty of a place regresses. This only means that the ascent of human knowledge is also the death of myths.

But why Higante? When you look at the two islands from a distance, you would see forms of two sleeping giants The one is called Babayi, which is located in the south (Sur) and the other Lalaki in the north (Norte). In the between the two islands were two big boulders which were called Higantuna and Higantillo, also known as children of the giants. In short this is a family group of islands, exactly suitable for families who like worthwhile adventures. In this life, we only have a lifetime to spend, and it is just beautiful to experience a paradise right here, right now way ahead our own deaths. If Dante’s Paradiso exists, it can be found in Higantes.

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P.S. If you like to evade this boisterous world, come to Higante Islands and not to Boracay. You’ll be surprised how Boracay can be more urban compared to some cities in the Philippines. Higante is completely opposite because instead of hanging with people and wasting your pocket to zero you will be partying with nature itself – crows, boobies and hawks; crabs, lobsters, shrimps; scallops, oysters and other shells; monkeys and wild cats; sea snakes and eels; rays and tunas; corals and urchins. And believe it, we only spent a quarter of our total expense in Boracay!