““Let the sea water wet your feet, and the sand be your seat…”
The moment I saw several photos of my friend on an island’s sand bar and its ever clear turquoise waters wayback 2013, it never left my mind. Every now and then, I would seek for opportunities as to when I could possibly make my way to this indescribably beautiful island.
Fastforward 2015. July. Rainy season in the Philippines. And I found my way going to Leyte – the home of the very paradise-like Kalanggaman Island. This uninhabited island that is 753 meters in length, is now considered a dream beach destination, not only in the Visayas, but in the entire Philippines. Located in the municipality of Palompon and the province of Leyte, it is known for its stunning sandbar that seem to stretch endlessly into the cerulean waters. The white coralline and sand shoreline and crystal clear…
The arrogance of the Philippine government is such that it does not think twice before offering the country as host to an international event despite inadequacies that made up reports about its progress and speeches cannot hide.
The latest issue on the attempted hosting is the failed bid of the country for the FIBA tournament which China got hands down. Not even a Manny Pacquiao or a Lou Diamond Philip was able to help sway the decision of the panel in favor of the Philippines, the wooing strategy of which was pitifully hinged on the Filipinos’ traits, hospitality, tourist attractions. China simply showed the hi-tech airport, venues and absence of traffic. So without much ado, China got it!
The Philippine government must accept the fact that the country has many inadequacies though they cannot stop us from being proud as Filipinos for having beautiful beaches and other tourist attractions. But progress is not just about having beautiful countryside, caves, mountains, etc. We should stop pretending that we are on the same level with China, Japan, and even our neighboring Southeast Asian countries. I am just being honest. We should acknowledge our inadequacies and work on how they can be transformed into plus factors. Unfortunately, the government is so corrupt that even if the people are willing to do their share, their effort becomes futile.
Of what use is hosting international events, if majority of the population is wallowing in almost all kinds of misery? How can we be proud of the crowded premier airports of Manila? How can we be proud of the slums that the tourists see along the way to their hotels from the airport? How can we be proud of the perpetual traffic along all thoroughfares of Manila and even major cities of the country? How can we be proud of the shameful and antiquated mass transit systems? How can we be proud of the opportunistic taxi drivers at the airport terminals of Manila? How can we be proud of the waterways that overflow with garbage resulting to floods even during a short rainfall? How can the Filipinos be proud of their government’s habit to borrow money and spend some of it in hosting international events, instead of their basic needs?
The government should stop this kind of arrogance as it just emphasizes the sickening corruption that eats up its system! It must wake up from daydreaming and bravely face the hurting reality! Hosting international “lively” events cannot hide its failures if that is its objective.
I played tourist last week and decided to check out a place which has been in my curiosity radar for a long time. Ternate (in Cavite province), when I was very young, seemed so far, so very “over there” in the mists of time and the waters off Manila Bay.
This municipality takes its name from a place in the Spice Islands of 16th century fame. It was then populated by Indonesian-Portuguese peoples who volunteered to help the Spanish ward off a rumored Chinese invasion of Manila. The threat never materialized, but the volunteers decided to stay. And so there’s a corner of Luzon where people speak Chavacano: part Portuguese, part Indonesian, part Malay, part Spanish, part Tagalog.
Driving down the streets of this beach town, I noted scores of mango trees and some breadfruit trees. I surmised that some of the mangoes on the roadside stands along the way…