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.

26 comments:

reyna elena said...

Wow, grabe! that's a beautiful town! with all the mountains and the trees! samen sa barrio siete, wala na nyan. That Pine Tree, wasn't that in Baguio? I was in Baguio 2007 and i thought i still saw the fake one hahaha

Ely said...

reyna elena, kami meron pa. yey! yup, nakatayo pa rin ung fake pine tree na yan sa Baguio. For sure, yan mismo ung nakita mo nung 2007. hehe

The Scud said...

ang ganda ng hometown mo ah. probinsyang-probinsya. na-miss ko bigla hometown (homecity?) ko.

btw, i like the Amburayan River pic.

aajao said...

uy ba't ngayon ko lang nalaman na taga-Ilocos ka? pangarap kong makarating dyan up north.

pareho tayong nabuburaot kapag nakakakita ng bundok na kakalbuhin at gagawing kung anu-ano. marami nyan dito sa Antipolo.

>:(

acey said...

cool landscape! looks like a peaceful place!

Ely said...

The Scud, thanks. san ba home city mo? hehe

aajao, yup, Ilocano here. hehe. madami ata kc ginagawang housing projects dyan sa inyo eh...

acey, thanks. it is a very peaceful place. :)

the donG said...

never been there. but i am scheduled to visit ilocos sur and norte this year. can you recommend beautiful sights there?

dorkzter said...

wow namis ko tuloy ang KARAYAN! hehehe. im back to blogging. hope u'll visit my blog :D

Ely said...

the donG, Malacanang of the north. the windmills in Ilocos Norte. Pagudpud. Paoay church. pottery shops sa vigan. No, i don't recommend you going to Chavit's zoo. LOL.


dorkzter, sarap maligo sa karayan. hehe. Welcome back!!! tagal mo nawala ah. ehehe

my-so-called-Quest said...

gusto kong dumalaw jan! astig!
teka, dba libre mo ko pa baguio? ahehehe

markey said...

ang ganda naman nung river.....

Ely said...

my-so-called-Quest, Baguio? klan pa may trip to Baguio? hehehe

markey, thanks! and thanks for visiting too.

r-yo said...

your town reminds me of ours. kaya lang wala kaming river. papasyal naman dyan sa inyo! :-)

natuloy po kami nina aajao. would have loved meeting you too.

olan said...

ganda ng place... i hope i could do there...

wanderingcommuter said...

and i cant believe they spent millions for that artifical pine tree

Ambo said...

Taga Ilocos ka pala. Sayang nagpunta ako dyan last year. Pero nasa Manila ka nga pala hehehe. By the way, ang ganda ng Ilocos at muli akong babalik balik sa lugar na iyon. Next time dadaan ako sa Baryo ng yan, balita ko nga ikaw nagpagawa ng road dyan ah hehehe

Ely said...

r-yo, dagat meron sa inyo eh. hehe

hi olan, thanks!

wanderingcommuter, ako din. they could have planted a lot of real pine trees with that millions!

Ambo, thanks! Actually, town siya. Mukha lang baryo. hehehe

dak said...

hm, is the excavated mountain along Marcos Hway going to Baguio? Cos it's familiar, if it is... it's my Tita's subdivision. Owell, my dad bought a portion of that fill.

Looking For The Source said...

i so love ilocos! my mom's from salcedo.. near candon. and malapit sa mga bundok.

nakakarelax pag andun kami.

only natuyo na ung river na malapit dun. ung pinaliliguan namin dati. sad.

Ely said...

dak, yan nga! So, kayo pala may gawa nyan? hehehe. Sana maibalik mga puno. hehehehe


Looking For The Source, lapit kayo Candon? baka kapitbahay niyo si Chavit? hehe. never been to salcedo, ewan ko ba, mas mahal ko La Union ksa Ilocos Sur. :(

Looking For The Source said...

ha ha. diba ilocos norte c chavit? yun ang alam ko dun sa baluarte diba may sarili syang zoo don. hehe.

Ely said...

Looking For The Source, Ilocos Sur yun, sa Candon mismo. hehehe. Si Marcos sa Norte.

Looking For The Source said...

ay. ilocos sur nga. sorry. pero im sure its not in candon. i think malapit sa vigan. somewhere north pa. ung tatawid pa sa mahabang bridge. hehehe

dak said...

sabi na nga e... hehehe.... actually, limited lang yung lots for sale cos they'll be planting trees... yata. ive seen the plan e. ROFL.

Ely said...

Looking For The Source, hmm. I thought Candon un, kasi dun ung house niya eh. Pero di ko rin sure. hehe. Anyway, wag na alamin kasi wala naman ako balak puntahan. Pera ng bayan ginamit dun no. LOL


dak, hehe. I wish they could have done something para na-minimize ang naputol na puno.

Anonymous said...

sugpon is a place where i wanna be for the rest of my life.such a peaceful place...at mga mamamayan mababait silai've been there last may 8,nung nagpabinyag ang kuya ko sa pangalawang anak niya,tga dun kasi napangasawa niya..super ganda talaga dun.i wanna go back there