Earth Hour

Zero Hunger Challenge

Monday, April 2, 2007

Scenes from a four-hour trip

I recently went to the former Subic Base for a four-day seminar. The sponsors were gracious enough to provide us with a bus to get there. Even if it took us four hours to get to Subic from Manila, I still enjoyed the ride because it gave me the opportunity to get a glimpse of the countryside.

The Philippine countryside is wonderful. Forty-five minutes after our trip started, we were greeted by the green rice fields of the Candaba swamps. Far in the horizon is Mt. Arayat and even farther are the faint shadows of the Sierra Madre. I've been to other countries but I still say that the Philippine countryside is still one of the best. The bucolic views help a lot in untangling the frayed knots in a city dweller's body.

When we left the expressway, we were surrounded by more ricefields and rural folks doing their business. In a busstop, we had our fill of native delicacies, puto, bibingka and sago't gulaman. And their prices were really low!

There were also shops selling furniture and home decors made of wood along the road devastated by lahar flows from the Mt. Pinatubo. It's nice to know that people there have moved on after their hellish experience.

As we passed by barangays along the road, I was heartened to see graduation ceremonies being held in school grounds. Young kids dressed in white togas seated on one side and their parents on the other. In one school the graduating children were performing onstage in their togas. The scene made me smile. I remembered my high school graduation when, in the middle of a song, one of my classmates started to cry. It also made me sadly wonder how many of these graduating kids will go on to universities and fulfill the dreams their parents have for them.

Nevertheless, thoughts like those do not diminish the beauty of rural Philippines. Maybe one of these days I will take time off from work and take a bus to see more of our countryside.

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