Friday, January 18, 2008

Mt. Malasimbo from Afar

In the outskirts of Dinalupihan, Bataan rises a conical-shaped mountain (shaped somewhat like a sombrero ng magsasaka [farmer's hat]) known as Mt. Malasimbo, which is believed to forecast a typhoon when dark clouds cover its summit. Apart from the hearsay, its distinct and striking figure manages to catch the attention of many people passing through the area, as it did mine.

Taking a small and rickety minibus from Olongapo to Dinalupihan, I got off at Barangay Saguing (Saging) located near the foot of the mountain. Before heading straight for Malasimbo, I decided to find a guide first since I was pressed for time. And what better guide to get, I thought, than my long lost tito (uncle) who has lived in the area for most of his life.

I began my search within Barangay Saguing before looking in other nearby barangays. Using only his name and the description of his unique rustic voice, which is similar to that of popular Filipino singers April Boy Regino and Renz Verano, I was able to track him down at a different area (Barangay Payumo) a little farther from Malasimbo than I had expected.

In a small nipa hut, surrounded by other humble abodes closely arranged, lived my tito. There he lives a simple life planting vegetables and fishing in ponds, taking care of an occasional pangsabong (fighting cock) when he has extra money. He still looked the same except for some aging from his habits of smoking and drinking starting to take their toll.

With no time left for climbing Malasimbo or other nearby mountains (like Mt. Susong Dalaga behind Mt. Malasimbo), my tito instead toured me around Barangay Payumo and surrounding areas. Most of the tour was made along the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx), which was still under construction at the time, but is now open. It connects the economic zones of Subic and Clark and the Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac. The SCTEx also connects with the Subic Bay Freeport Expressway and the Bataan Provincial Expressway (BPE or BPEx), also called the Roman Super-Highway.

Although a bit dusty from the construction, the several kilometer walk along the expressway to Layac allowed for some spectacular views of the region. I was fortunate to have captured such shots of the primitive lands and traditional provincial settings before they are probably lost one day as the lots along the highway become purchased and modernized. But it is my hope such scenes of fishing in ponds, farmers and carabaos plowing rice fields, or bahay kubos in a sea of green grass will prevail and not fade away to the spread of the hungry urban jungle.


Roth Family Adventures said...

Welcome back. It's amazing that with just a name and a description of his voice, you were able to locate you tito.

Let's hope that the beauty and simplicity of the countryside doesn't fall victim to the growing "urban jungle."

Anonymous said...

Hi There,
Welcome back we are really so happy to have you. Words is not enough to express our love to you and your family. Great pictures. You always amaze me. Take care of yourself, Liza and Thurman.

wenjo said...

Hey David! Great to see you do another post!

You seemed to have lost weight in your pictures. Hope you take care of your health bro! Health is wealth!


Anonymous said...

hey david! im glad you are back... we are happy that you post another one.. take care of yourself, liza and thurman., keep going and God bless!

jio said...

Cool, you're back. Great to see you posting again.

I like the first few pictures here featuring the mountain. Really looks like a farmer's hat if you look at it closely.

rebeccar118 said...

I want to commend you for your perseverance. I enjoy reading your blog and giving us your perspective of your life in the Philippines. Your photos are beautiful. This is my first comment and I was saddened to read about your son and condolences to you and yours.


Envelop Ideas said...

David,looking at pix of your tito, I have noticed his tattaoo (Love Me and the snake) that is very similar if not identical to my kuya. I remember this incident when my sister-in-law and my mom were mad at him because he joined this group called "Love Me". He said he was initiated at Bgy. Ilwas cemetary and way back then the group was headed by Boy Guevarra, a losing mayoralty candidate in Subic at that time. While i do not have any idea on the actual purpose of this group, I beleive they were just used by Boy G. on his candidacy in the guise of brotherhood. Who know's baka classmate pa ni kuya yung uncle mo. Whenever I think of Ilwas, Mangan Vaca or Manggahan, these were the names that rings the bell, Rodel Buenaventura, Melchor Dela Cruz, Eva Chavez, Joseph Jaca, Silahis Bautista, Eric Samson, Valdez, Dionisio, Hipolito, etc.

Please extend my regards, if ever you know some of them.

Noi Ramirez said...

Welcome Back David!

Eat your hearts out (if you have one) you trolls and demons.

Annalyn said...

Yey, you're so back. Keep exploring! Stand tall, stand proud! My warmest regards to your family.


jp said...

oh, so the mountain's name is mt. malasimbo. saw it on my way to my sister in olongapo. and yeah it's catchy. a somewhat denuded mountain.

gapo-dubai said...

Since I was a kid I always thought that mountain is Mt. Susong Dalaga.... Argh.... now i knew...

maxie doodle said...

hey david!

I just saw this post right now about mt.malasimbo...i'm actually from Luakan just next to Saguing, but now resides here in California.When i saw your pics on Malasimbo, i got so homesick. Parang gusto ko ng umuwi tuloy. Hahaha! That's the very first view that you will see at the Luakan-San Ramon boundary.It's good that you've found your tito. Happy trails! :)

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