travel

from the bukid, back up, and down again

i thought id be leaving zambo tuesday night but it turned out the boat for general santos i was to ride on was on dry dock. so my departure was moved to thursday. that gave us the opportunity to visit some parts of the mountain i havent shot before. we went back up wednesday night to prepare for an early interview with some farmers, take shots of girdled trees, shoot a seminar with the community, then go up the la paz bukid from km26, go to binalabag (highest peak and border of the WMSU area and the water district/watershed area of zambo city), then back down at km14 (san fernando station). that’s around 12km over the boondock. asteg

didnt think my lawas could take it, i havent done anything this physically demanding and challenging before. ive tried indoor wall climbing but that’s all ive done before. my sport has always been swimming and even that i havent done in a long while. im particularly thrilled ive pushed my limit and survived. with nary a linta sucker on me nor major injury, save a few scratches on my legs and hands.

last tuesday we also trekked through the virgin forest. first we passed by this really great waterfall. taking a swim energized me and my companions roland and mang bering. then we started the uphill climb (more like crawl) all the way to the primary forest’s peak. had lunch and did my interview with mang bering there. we got back to km14 (where we started off from) at around 3 or 4pm, covering 10km of bukid in 5+ hours. coolness!

then we headed down km11 hoping to interview one of the key farmers of the area, but he already left because it took us a long time to descend. roland and i decided to walk the rest of the way until we find a habal-habal. it took us to km7 before a motorcycle going downhill came our way at around 7pm.

im blessed to have such a great opportunity working on this project and meeting these incredible people. this experience has indeed opened my eyes to a lot of things, including the hardships of people in the area, the beauty of untouched forests, the damage man unwittingly effects on the environment, the delicate balance of issues between man and environment, senseless material wealth and the significance of perception. after meeting some of the members of the community i didnt see them as poor or unfortunate. they had a house, an area to grow cash crops, mineral water everywhere, clean mountain air and all the exercise theyd want.

i was really surprised while shooting a group of farmers on a truck awaiting to bring their goods down the pueblo. they asked me if the footage i was taking would appear on the evening news. i said i was with an NGO doing a video docu. then one replied, “ah, ginabidyo nimo kaming mga pobre (poor).” he wasnt being sarcastic but apparently that’s how they saw themselves. and all i could say was, no, i was taking footage of farmers (them) from the area.

maybe im being too wrapped up with what im doing, but i do hope they realize that they have it better compared to a lot of people in the city in so many ways than just having appliances and electricity and transportation.

perhaps i can still do something about making them realize that they have it well.

eat your veggies, people. a lot of farmers slave on those all day for a year so that you’d have color on your cheeks. and dont forget to thank the Lord for them when you see that you’re as healthy as a cow. cheers all!

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