Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thank You, Lord, for Clean and Quiet Places Like My Hometown Dupax

My town mates may grumble about how so-called progress has been turtle-paced, if at all, in Dupax del Sur.  If I had my way, I like the way my birthplace is -- quiet, pastoral, unpolluted, far from the madding crowd.

Dalihan, Barangay Palobotan, Dupax del Sur, Nueva Vizcaya around 6am of Dec. 28, 2010

Indeed, now and then, one could hear somebody complain how far behind our town is compared to its neighbors.

We still don't have factories, bakeries, restaurants, drugstores, banks, souvenir shops, tourist inns, gasoline stations, bus terminals, and videoke bars to lure visitors and investors -- and to keep young Isinays and Ilocanos from seeking the so-called greener pastures in Manila, Hongkong, Japan, the Middle East, Europe, or America.

But who cares about factories, bakeries, restaurants...?

Who says that noisy, filthy, congested towns are better than the blue and sleepy hills, the clean and serene rivers, the sparkling ricefields that are verdant green one day and heavy with golden grains the next day?

Okay, go take a bath in your progress.

Go on and chew your banks and souvenir shops and gas stations and tourist inns.

Go feed your kids with your videoke bars and bus terminals.

Just leave my hometown alone.

Let me live where there are always sunny days and frequent rainbows and myriad stars at night.

Let me wake up mornings on a bed of hay and where smoke billows from a cogon-roofed hut. Let me continue to smell the aroma of boiling corn, roasted peanuts, or mudfish broiling on the dirt stove.

Let me listen to the laughter of children on their way to school a couple or so kilometers away. Let me hear the song of the pond by the road as a carabao swats the swarm of flies by its muddied tail.

Let me watch how the sun goes up, how it awakens the warbler and brings color to the fields as they get speckled moments later with men and women joyfully planting or harvesting rice.

Let me bathe on streams with cows munching dew-bathed grass on their banks. Let me try my luck at catching red dragonflies or stealing a leaf from the touch-me-not plant without causing it to close shop.

At noon, let me be with sparrows as they chase stubborn May beetles and katydids. Let me lay down on a cogon hut by the field and fall asleep with the song of cicadas and a solitary hawk circling high in the sky.

At twilight, let me regain my breath so I could say goodbye to the silhouette of wild ducks flying towards the sunset. After which let me hear the crackle of firewood cooking camote or beans on a black kettle.

Then allow me my ration of a steaming plate of rice and bagoong-dipped button tomatoes and steamed river fern. Allow me too my dose of black coffee half sweetened by homemade molasses.

Then before I say "Thank you, Lord, for another day" allow me to feast my eyes on the twinkling stars or a tree full of fireflies.-- CHARLZ CASTRO


  1. One of the reasons I like to visit Dupax again is because it's relatively undisturbed by progress yet.

    Thirteen years ago, when I was till seven, we usually visit the Villaverde town, where my grandparents live. Rural life is still evident then. I remember my granduncles and aunts holding a sort of dance. My granduncles got out their ukeleles, guitars, makeshift double bass and drums and played song after song of Ilocano folk songs. My grandaunts meanwhile, led the dance.

    My cousins who grew up there also remember the time when the people would gather at one house to 'magbayo ng pinipig'. They use the large lusongs for this while other people dance and sing to the beat of the lusongs.

    Now TV is the only source of entertainment. Gone are those merry days. Gone also are the 'pugpog' or spring where we take our bath. It's heavily polluted now. I do not see much dragonflies and fireflies nowadays when I visit. In fact, I have never seen fireflies since I was 8! But I'm still thankful that the air is still fresh and I can still enjoy stargazing on moonless nights.

    I guess people must have more awareness of these things. Pretty soon, our rich lands will be covered with concrete and progress. Sayang naman ang lupa natin, di na mataniman. And also our rich natural beauty will be gone as well.

  2. Dear Loannis,

    Agyamanak, kabsat, iti napintas a naiyebkasmo maipanggep iti daytoy nanumo a blogko.

    I think Villaverde and Dupax have many things in common, one of which is that they are both located far from the Cagayan Valley National Highway. It may be a disadvantage to guys who live or are studying in Manila and have to compete for bus seats during peak travel seasons.

    And yet, if you come down to it, this disadvantage is actually a blessing in disguise. This is because our towns' remoteness translates to lesser traffic, lesser exposure to noise and air pollution, and lesser chances that our populations would grow fast as a result of in-migration.

    Mas mapalad pa rin tayo compared, halimbawa, sa Bambang at Solano, where the urbanization is such that there is stiffer competition for the use of natural resources. Equally sad, people there don't know one another anymore.

    charlz of dupax

  3. Yes, I agree with you fully. Bambang and Solano are very urbanized places. I'm still happy that Villaverde, though much more urbanized than before, still retain many semblances of simple living and rural sceneries. Very refreshing sight to me, who grew up in the city.

  4. I agree with you. Villaverde, though slowly becoming urbanized is still retains much of its natural beauty. It's still not too late to preserve what's left.