Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Hard Water



hard well waterIn the past, I have often failed to account for and detail the environment, conditions, and routine of my daily life---such as while living in Sampaloc, Manila and, to a lesser extent, in Subic. I guess that whenever I migrate and as I acclimatize to the new place, I tend to discount its uniqueness because it becomes the norm. You see others in the same environment and your mind begins to accept this as common and ordinary. Usually, it is not until it is too late and I have left the environment that I realize how unique that certain lifestyle was, especially to others who may be living a drastically different kind of life---such as the average blog reader. This time, however, while residing in a coastal community in Northern Zambales, I shall seek to remedy this deficit. And I begin so by discussing, what is perhaps, the most important element needed for life---water.


In this large plot of beach-side land where I currently reside, the majority of the people are squatters---they do not own the land they live on. And, as you can imagine, this community is quite poor, with just a handful of 'lucky' ones peppering the landscape who have somehow struck it rich and now 'run the show.' Obviously, as you see me in the photographs dipping the water pail into a well, I am not one of those 'lucky' ones.

The roads here are uneven, rocky, and unpaved, making it quite tedious, if not damaging, for vehicles. Other amenities are just as crude. Water is hard here---pun intended.

People are not wasteful of water here, since it is a bit hard to come by. The shallow well in the photographs is one of maybe a handful that is shared by a whole barangay. The water to be gathered here is 'hard water,' one which is high in mineral salts that limit the formation of lather with soap. In other words, you can't really use it for bathing or washing. Well, technically you can, but when you step out of the bathroom you will feel like you have a film of grease all over you because the soap didn't lather.

Thus, when it rains, you can bet that everyone has their catchers out. Not only does rain lather up, but it has this refreshing coolness and clean taste. The only problem is when it doesn't rain for long periods of time, even during the rainy season---which is the case these days due to the erratic weather patterns popularly attributed to global warming.

During such dry, storm-starved periods, we have to fetch water from the river, and upstream enough that it is still crystal clean and free of debris, algae, and whatnot. This involves a several-kilometer trek or bike ride towards the mountains, but for the fresh water and a refreshing swim, it's well worth it. And this, by the way, warrants a future post of its own.

Despite the labor involved to gather the water, in my opinion, I would rather have it this way instead of municipal tap water, which is oftentimes contaminated with excess chlorine, fluoride, pesticides, fertilizers, heavy metals, petrochemicals, dioxins, radioactive materials, and other toxins. Distilled water, which is quite popular in urban areas (the shops that distribute water in those big blue water jugs) is not necessarily any better. Not only is it unlikely that they are able to really filter all the junk out, but even if they did, you are still left with what I like to call 'dead' water because the water you are left with is devoid of much-needed healthy minerals. Bottled water, though sometimes containing healthy minerals, are risky because of phthalates, BPA, and other carcinogens leeched from the plastic.

Sloth kills. We've become lazy, engrossed in 'more important' matters, and/or engineered for high-population society. Yes, our lives have become easier. Water isn't hard or as hard to come by for many of us these days. But the shortcuts are not without their harms.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Damn, you're a good writer. Galing mo talaga! You can write about water and still make it interesting. Smart & talented dude! Keep it up!! Just wondering, can I visit you there?

Anonymous said...

err... kung ako sayo dave, i would charge a fee for the time you would spend for a visitor, pati na rin sa kakainin at tulugan nila. wala lang, opinion ko lang kasi kawawa ka kung papayag ka na libre lang.

Anonymous said...

i agree to anonymous 1, your blogs are very informative and i love how you describe things. some things are never given attention but you notice them..kind of like me, hehehe. even the minute details in everything i see, i make sure i have an account for it, strange? maybe because we just appreciate everything around us, not only the "big" things but also those that are simple things yet it truly matters. thanks your blogs because it gives me an idea on different places rarely seen. keep up Dave!

Anonymous said...

Americano siyempre magaling sa english. pangit naman kung kano tapos windang ang english ano.

thanks. ganda ng blog mo

Anonymous said...

kahit tagalog magaling yan. hindi mo pa kasi na meet eh. had the pleasure of meeting david before and believe it or not, mas prefer niya mag tagalog. lol

Keatondrunk said...

nice dude keep it up!

bertN said...

Insightful article. You're good!

Anonymous said...

Intelligently written! You can write anything with substance and good feel good to read.

Thanks coconuter.

Anonymous said...

grabe ang galing mo dave you can make a topic so interesting..sana madami pang tao ang maging kagaya mo! keep it up!

Mon said...

Potable Water source is one of the things that community health workers look for when surveying a community. Communal deep wells are pretty common in rural areas, but are very unsafe.Do they use the water to drink? Boil your water for 15 minutes first before drinking, and be careful with using ice. Ice are only as clean as the water they are made from.

Anonymous said...

keep it up!

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