Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sugpon, Ilocos Sur: Home Sweet Home

My love for animals and nature has grown from I-want-to-have-my-own-zoo, to seriously thinking (dream on!) about joining PETA or WildAid. I honestly have no clue on how I could get there, although I already came across the "Donate Now" links on their websites which I'm too scared to click at this point.

Growing up in a small town surrounded by mountains and rivers, I was literally living in a green natural habitat. The hills were my play grounds; the rivers, my swimming pool.

Sugpon, circa 2007

Sugpon is the southeastern most town of the province of Ilocos Sur. One of the tiniest in terms of population, could be the biggest considering the total land area. It is the exit point of mountaineers who trek the ranges of Kibungan, Benguet. Electric posts rose along the streets in 1990, CNN and HBO came available on the chanel list 10 years later. Everyone knows everybody.

When I got the chance to move to the city, urban lights blinded me for awhile. I realized that I'm actually from a poor family and having both parents working is just ordinary. It's when the insecurity has started. I didn't want anyone to know where I am from. Life is just so different, I was in awe. Everything, and everyone seem to be living in comfort. I was thinking, why can't way pave the rice fields back home? I even contemplated about running for a position one day, and carry this as a main platform; everything shall be concreted, the roads, even the mountains!

Aerial view

Before I could have done such a silly act, I'm grateful that I got educated early on. This must be one of the reasons why destiny didn't allow me to withdraw from my quest of becoming an architect (I'm still working on that, BTW) before. Sustainable design and green architecture, which were hot topics with most of our architectural subjects back in school, have affected me and my views not only when designing but about the "paving" which I was so into as a kid, owing to my ignorance.

Now, I hate to see mountains getting excavated. I hope that the people like those behind the development of Cherryhills will put an end to their, destroy the environment-put risks to many lives-money making projects. I wish all developments that involves flatting of mountains and cutting trees will be stopped. I wish no one's buying illegal animal products.

I wish they'll replace the concrete pine tree in Baguio with a genuine one, tomorrow.

The epical Amburayan River.

I can't recount the story in complete details, but back in the 90's, German and Japanese corporations have been eying our precious Amburayan river for a dam construction. The offer promised jobs for the locals, construction of bridges, concreting, paving, power supply, money! If I were older then, I would have done everything to admonish everyone to say YES and gather their signatures for approval.

That was our only chance. Yes, civilization here we come!

In my young and ambitious mind, I was enraged when I learned that they turned it down. It turns out a group of fishermen and farmers raised questions: How is this going to affect our river? Are you sure it wouldn't get polluted? What will happen to the fishes? Would our children still be able to enjoy swimming without getting sick? 

That's 5 feet deep.

Many years later, I have come to realize that the decision made at that time which I thought was stupid, is actually a proud moment for the people of Sugpon!

And for the rest of us who have had the chance to achieve some levels of education, we should learn a thing or two from our farmers and fishermen! They stood up and asked questions. They were not blinded by the promise of potential stable jobs and progress in exchange of something that our folks have considered precious. Instead, they decided to protect our river! The river where we fish, where we swim, where we eat and celebrate - things that we do, until today.

I could imagine Datu Binas-o watching and smiling with pride!

The dam was constructed though, at the neighboring town. Today they're enjoying the short term effect, leaving us quite envious. Thinking about what could happen in the future, I'm still feeling better for ourselves. If an offer shall be made again, I'd be the first one to go out in the streets with banners in protest. You'll see me on TV. No way that a dam will be built and destroy my pool, not in our territory.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pancit Canton


"Pansit Canton na naman kakainin mo?"

Tatay ko yun. Bumisita sa inuupahan naming apartment. Tatlong araw na kasi niya akong nakikita na pansit canton ang breakfast.

Nag-suggest siya: itlog, tinapa, daing, kahit ano wag lang pansit canton lagi.


Isinumpa ko hinding-hindi na ako kakain ng pancit canton. Pero sa hirap ng buhay, narealize ko hindi pwedeng hindi kumain ng pancit canton. At hindi lang pala ako ang na-uumay na sa pancit canton; buong dorm.

Sa mga komercials, sikat na sikat pag mga estudyante ang ginagawang bida. Panalo dyan ang Nescafe; remember: Walang pasooooooook!!!?. Later sinali pati mga aliens. Sa coke din may students, pati McDonalds at Chowking.

Nagtaka ako, ba't sa pancit canton wala? (Sinong camper ang nagbabaon ng pancit canton?!?) Ndi kaya nila alam na staple food na ng mga students ang produkto nila? Siyempre mga rich kid di maka-relate.

Naalala ko lang ang pancit canton. Nakwento kasi ng isang kasamahan sa trabaho, puro pancit canton daw ang kinakain lately, sabi "parang buhay estudyante ulit". Medyo matagal-tagal na din ako hindi kumakain nun.

Na-miss ko tuloy.

Monday, January 12, 2009

What's next after WWW?

Recently, I do my regular blog hopping while tiring my neck with left and right head turns making sure that no supervisor is lurking near me. They've been quite strict in the office lately.

I still check Alternati's blog despite being idle for almost a year now. I am always amazed by his impeccable talent at writing, and I read his posts like I've never read them before, well, specially if my name is in it, or if I was part of the story. It's amazing how the virtual world has kept those memories, complete with a date. It entices me to count years...and realize that it's been 2 or 3 something years since. I miss those days.

I've seen blogs with posts dated back to 5 years ago, and still active. When googling, I get to access files that were online since the late 90's.

I treasure every single picture I take with my camera that for backups, I save them in USB's, computer hard drive, and upload them to Friendster, Photobucket and Multiply. I've had terrible experiences with diskettes before and that makes me feel like there's a need for a lot of backups. I hope to see those photos, and read my blogs again years from now. I'm imagining my old self showing my kids a blog I've written or photos I've taken, years before they're even conceived.

Which makes me think, what if the internet will crash? Could that even be possible? Remember Y2K? What if all things that we have in the entire world wide web will disappear?

I'm imagining chaos.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Feeling Thailand


Ambo, Ronnie sa Tarlac lang yan. hehehe.

These photos were taken at Isdaan last December 27. It's a themed restaurant slash park located along the national highway in Gerona, Tarlac.

It's suppose to carry a Pinoy theme, but the presence of the Buddhas make it look quite Thailand-ish. Nevertheless, the place was great. We dined in on one of the huts, which for me are more Thai-inspired rather than Bahay-Kubo.

The huts and the walkways are floating, which are made of 5 layers of bamboos.

You can see fish, everywhere.

We saw the apologetic Tita Cory hanging around. She asked for a photo-opp.
If you're traveling, you can see this signage from the national highway.
The very prominent gigantic anitos too.

How's the food? I was too busy admiring the views that I forgot about the food.
It's actually very Barrio Fiesta. Look at the menu:

Spending time with college friends rarely happens. That day, Joyce just arrived from Dubai, and we made sure that we all see each other. She's back in the desert now. Tine gave birth to a baby girl 5 days later. Gyland is busy with his new project.



Sunday, January 4, 2009

Israel bombing Gaza, Dela Paz versus Pangandaman, American Idol Season 6 and 7 marathon

Naynteeen degrees!!! That's the temperature in Manila in the past two days. That's far from the normal 25-29 degrees. Someone must have broke that thermostat, enough reason for me to text my friends; "Ang lamig, parang Baguio!"

We can continue wearing jackets until February.

Israel bombing Gaza, Dela Paz versus Pangandaman, American Idol Season 6 and 7 marathon. That pretty much sums up my weekend TV indulgence. Runny nose, back pains, and headaches barred me from stepping out. I had take out foods, cups of coffee, 2 tablets of Neozep, Solmux, Advil and 4 packs of tissue papers.

All gone before I went to sleep.

Zohan is right. The war in Israel seem to never end; justifying his escape to New York and fulfill his dreams. Call me a pessimist but I never really believed that wars will end either. It's just so sad that the young and innocent have to suffer from all these.

I pray for peace in Israel.

Last year, the opportunity that American Idol brings urged a teenage girl to skip her class, lied to her dad, and catch the auditions in New York. She made it to Hollywood but missed the final cut. Not only the drama, the crazy and the lunatics, but Simon Cowell made me an Idol fan for the past 5 years.

And of course the impeccable talent.

Who could forget Melinda? I got to see her season 6 audition again. She's just amazing. Simon, in one of his recent interviews hailed her as the best singer who ever joined American Idol so far. Too bad, she didn't win; Jordin was not as good.

I hope to finally see another contestant of Melinda's caliber this year. And I can't wait to hear Simon's harsh-reality-remarks too.

The Dela Paz family finally filed cases against the now infamous mayor from the south. Dela Paz got Atty. Raymond Fortun on their side. I join the entire nation in praying for them. The Pangandamans must go to jail. They should! They need to!