Odyssey | noun | od•ys•sey | \ ˈä-də-sē \
1 : a long wandering or voyage usually marked by many changes of fortune
2 : an intellectual or spiritual wandering or quest
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Friday, May 04, 2018

The Dump Site

Friday, May 4, 2018
Apart from touring the dump site, the walk I took on this day was a pleasant one.  This was in the middle of the rainy season, and it had just rained a couple of hours before.  It was relatively cool with enough clouds to provide enough shade, but not too gray for it to turn gloomy.

The photograph I took of the white gumamela/hibiscus flower with the dew/droplets of water is one of my favorites.  In a way, I like to think of it as symbolic, perhaps of the peace, serenity, purity, and innocence of that time period.  There are some moments you can no longer return to, and you cannot transfer the state to the present time either, no matter how much you'd like to.  Once ruined, sometimes ruined forever.

Just like the garbage littered in our world today.  It cannot be undone.  Some of the toxic wastes and poisons have leached into the ecosystem and will remain there for a very long time, and may be impossible to remove.

That's just a metaphorical comparison though.  What I was referring to earlier, are of pleasant states during certain periods of our lives.  Sadly, once tainted or broken, sometimes it just cannot be revived.  Regret, sorrow, and tears cannot bring it back.  Only in mind and in spirit, can we revisit it -- that beautiful moment and happy memory.

Original post below:

Saturday, August 19, 2006

On the way back from the local tindahan or store today I took another pathway where the main path diverges. I guess I never paid any attention to it since hardly anyone takes it. I thought I'd go exploring.

No electric lines were to be seen and no tricycles either. Also, as I went further along the path I noticed that there were only a few huts and they were a bit hidden in the forest. The forest here is much thicker than the one where I found the small waterfalls in my previous entry. I am pointing at bamboo or buho growing in the forest in one of the pictures.

After about 2 hours of walking I came upon a dump site. I was surprised to find that many people actually lived there. I don't know how to describe the smell, but it was really awful. Flies were everywhere; swarms of them were on animal carcasses. And these dead animals did not appear to have died from any other reason except that this place was simply not inhabitable. The stench was so horrible that I thought about leaving right away, but I decided to stay for a little while as not to insult the people living there.

Everyone who lived there came out of their coves to see who it was that came by as I'm guessing they don't get many visitors. They were all staring and did not look welcoming at all. I really thought I was in the wrong neighborhood because everyone had an angry glare on their faces (even the girls). But with a smile, a friendly wave, and an invitation to get their picture taken, everyone else was smiling and became cheerful as well. "Nakakahawa ang ngiti." The saying proves to be true. So smile, it's contagious, haha.

Some people were still busy picking up trash that can be used or sold. Some were posing for the camera. And some were showing off the trash that they had collected, like the guy with a hat on, next to a big bag of trash. There were literally hills of trash. Personally, I would rather try my luck in the jungle than live there. But I thought about this, and it would be difficult for any one of them to break away from the dump site and live out in the jungle because they've already created a social network at the dump site. The people there live together and depend on each other and I believe this is how they survive. This "nakikisama" effect is what many Filipinos depend on, especially in poverty stricken areas. It is as if Filipinos such as these people at the dump site, due to government corruption and inability to create jobs for the citizens, have been forced to create socialistic communities in order to survive.

Garbage men saw me walking back along the long path and invited me to hitch a ride with them until reaching the highway. After that, I trekked back and decided to keep exploring, but along the highway. There's a difference when I say highway here in provincial Philippines and the highway that I remember from the US, which has many lanes and hardly any pedestrians. The highway that I'm speaking of here in the provinces of the Philippines is only two lanes and it's common to see pedestrians. Anyways, I saw a field and in the center of it was a cluster of very large mango trees. It was like a green desert with an oasis in the center. Not very far from that was a farm with a white carabao. And not one, but two! A mother and child (the other was too far to photograph clearly). I think they are albino carabaos.

I took a break at a waterspout. I learned that the water from this waterspout came from the mountains and was tested by researchers in Manila to be safe and healthy to drink, and I think it's actually healthier than many of the bottled water brands since this is real natural mineral water. I also came across a religious sanctuary that had a large statue of Mary. In the sanctuary was a beautiful flower, a white gumamela or hibiscus.


Anonymous said...

Ganyan talaga mga pinoy kahit mahirap meron pa ring smile on their faces.

It will be hard for those people living on the garbage dump to transfer coz some of them get their food and source of income na rin from there.

Wil said...

i agree that the gov't should do more to help out the poor. do the poor have any other option? nice (but sad) pics of the garbage dwellers, btw. take care of yourself, coconuter.

gillboard said...

yep, that's what a camera can do a normal Filipino... Although, half-hearted, once you hear the photographer say cheese, it's all smiles for them... Funny thing about us Filipinos...

jalwyn said...

saw your site after being featured in today's Sunday Inquirer. For such a young person you sure have definite ideas in life; not many would dare do what you just did to trace one's roots with only the bare necessities - it's quite refreshing and foolhardy at the same time. For all its worth, you have my admiration, respect and support - I too have this streak of giving in to wanderlust when my sanity leaves me here at the big city. But what you did is very courageous, quite a leap of faith considering what you gave up. Your Filipino brothers and sisters are very good people though, as you may now be finding out and give or take the occasional robbers. I noticed though that your last blog entry was August 19; it's already Sept. 3 - hope everything's alright with you there). Ingat kapatid and God bless!!!

rhowell said...

filipinos were cheerful even though they live in worst and awful places in this world but they tend to look on the brighter side and live life to its fullest... like u i find u adventurous and brave to change ur lifestyle and find ur purpose in life its like ur "breaking free" which most people cant do, includiing me, well that's life. anyway, its my first time to view ur blog and its really intrsting from now on am gonna be one of ur fan reader..hehehehe
god bless and i know u'l survive..!

Daniel said...

I think if you created a community of "Fil-Am's wanting to get away from the states to do some soul searching" in the provinces, I myself would def. want to be a part of it. haha

Very detailed descriptions in your entries, esp. this one. STILL READING!

Xhander Sunga said...

Hello kuya! Gusto ko ring gawin ung mga bagay na ginagawa mo... Pwede bang pumunta jan sa inyo sa Zambales para mameet ko naman po kau ng personal? kahit makamayan ko mn lng kau dahil sa paghanga sa katapangan at sinseridad na nakikita ko sa inyo... Kelan po ba pwedeng pumunta sa inyo? Baka po kasi hindi pwede at hindi kau pumayag kaya nagpapaalam na ko ngaun... Salamat po sa inspiration na binibigay nyo saming lahat... Nakakapaglakas ng loob... Sana mo masagot nyo ung mga tanong ko... God bless Us all!! Yngatz po kau...

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