I have to admit that like most Pinoys, I’ve toyed with the idea of leaving this seemingly godforsaken country. But the desperation is not so great as to make me make the Big Move yet. My friends argue that you could work day and night and not own a house in RP whereas you could easily own a car and other comforts in a country like America. However, I think there are things here which I wouldn’t exchange for any other nirvana in the world. For instance, I wouldn’t trade our glorious weather and the infectious laughter of our people for any of those high-tech appliances in the First World. In the long run, it’s not all about money. To me, it’s all about belonging to a place where the faces and footprints are at once true and familiar to you. I’ve asked myself what is home to me and it is Manila (for now ~ I could answer Cagayan or Tawi-tawi later). Manila which may signify all the crap and trash for some but which I view as oozing with more than the soul and character I can muster.
I just spent a most wonderful weekend in Palawan and have come home with a few realizations. One is that Filipinos must give their country a chance. How many of us would actually want to take the next plane out, extract oneself out of one’s roots without seeing the beauty of the islands we’ve been abundantly blessed with? How many of us are now planning our next vacation to Koh Samui or Langkawi without really knowing that our Philippine beaches have more to offer? In fact, shame on us for not even doing our part in helping the country’s tourism and helping our countrymen in dire need of livelihood. In four days of travelling, I have learned that other countries like Singapore may be more industrialized but they don’t have our majestic mountains and our sun-kissed beaches.
Again, it’s not all about money. I think it is only the middle class which fret about their bills and their financial future. For the most part, there is so much to be admired from the modesty and simplicity of people in the countryside who know what it is to admire life’s most elemental joys, who have not been corrupted by the crass materialism of those in the city. I truly believe that the virtue of poverty is the ability to view things with grace and gratitude.
And having said all these, am truly lucky to have gone to Palawan for the second time again which is the most beautiful of all the places in the Philippines that I’ve been to. This is one province where a sense of discipline and great concern for the environment has been instilled in the people. You make an attempt to litter the place and it could land you as much as 60 days in jail (for the third offense). Conservation efforts are a continuing process which makes Palawan’s land and its adjoining seas as lush and as unspoiled as it should be. The way they’re running Palawan makes us hope that perhaps, there is a future for this country. Pics coming soon..