Thursday, May 29, 2008

ARGAO: There's no Place like HOME!

I was born in Argao. The far-flung town has yet to be swayed by civilization and advancement, or exploitation perhaps.In this southern part of Cebu, Philippines, houses are situated beneath green slopes, mostly concealed under a lush shade which seems to have existed long before my great-grandfathers. My own home lies up the field, a kilometer or so away from the town proper and across meadows.

The Church and the Park...

Inside Argao Church

The Hall of Justice...

So what’s worthy of reminiscence in hometown with no street shops filled with popular goods, or karaoke bars or KTV’s to spend the night away in? Sizzling disco houses are still big dreams for the place even.

Bats circle the trees at night. Unpaved roads are traversed on barefoot. Pedicabs and trisikads [3-wheeled vehicles] roam the place. Horses gallop in unison. And where can you find five persons clinging to just one motorcycle, holding their breath as it dashes along a rocky trail? Dozens of these motorcycles convey commuters from the lowlands to our version of the Himalayas.

The people beat the sunrise, feed their hogs and chickens, tend the farms, and wash clothes in the nearby riverside spring. They don’t worry about the water supply being cut off due to an unpaid bill.

They cross roads, minus the fear of parting with a hard-earned P20 bill for jaywalking. Anyone is free to paint the town red, without fear of catching respiratory diseases from smoke-belching vehicles. And if one happens to be along the shore on early mornings, he may give fishermen a hand and go home with kilos of fish, free of charge.

Many years ago, I left for the city to earn a degree and to unload a 16-year-old boredom with my hometown. I wanted to make a difference in my life, to pursue my dreams. It’s a different thing seeing Angelina Jolie or Rambo kicking big on the big screen, or maybe going shopping till you drop, or at least checking out the latest craze in town. I longed for the pleasure the city had to offer.

The Beach..

But one day, I went hiking with a couple of friends in one of the exploited mountains in the metropolis. Terrible it was. The royal blue sky hovering over the city was partly covered with dark fumes. The city below and its wonders – towers and skylines, crowded streets, entertainment centers – seemed to be compressed into a small space.

In the vicinity were trees that offered no shade. Birds could not sing. Butterflies hungered for flowers. Lizards panted for rain. It was very hot.

At that very instant, I was reminded of home.

I used to climb our chico tree, lanzones tree, guava tree, manggo tree with my brother Noel, Eric and Jeffrey when we were still in grade school. Those tress are still there, with the birds that fly in summer skies, mountains that never fail to give a hush-hush morning greeting, and water in abundance.

I emptied myself into the city, then came to love a place I should have always loved. Home.


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At May 30, 2008 at 3:46 AM, Blogger lareine said...

the inside of the church and the beach look lovely... thanks for sharing... and yep, there's no place like home :)


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