Biyernes, Oktubre 14, 2005

The Mitch Cerda Essay Series Part 1

Ipo-post ko ngayon ang mga sanaysay na sinulat ko para sa Non-Fic. Lakas ng apog ko, ano? Alam ko namang hindi ito yung tipong mapa-publish sa kung saan. Hindi naman ito mga obra maestra kaya okey lang i-share. Nakakatuwa lang sila kaya eto na, ang unang sanaysay. Pagpasensiyahan nyo na rin ang Ingles. Ganyan lang talaga.

Welcome to Lake City

I am from the City of Seven Lakes, San Pablo City. Named after our patron saint, Saint Paul the First Hermit, San Pablo is a city of transits. Unlike our patron, San Pablo isn’t found in am unreachable and secluded part of the country. On the contrary, San Pablo is a trade city. It is a center point where goods and people pass by to their destinations.

The city is an important route in commerce and travel. Hundreds of buses pass through the city to reach other towns and cities in Metro Manila, Southern Tagalog and Bicol Regions. Many trucks filled with produce, like mango, pineapple, and coconuts Bicol, Quezon, and Batangas, stop over at the many carinderias and sari-sari stores at the side of the road.

But few actually stop by the city. Once, my friend and I commuted from Metro Manila to San Pablo. But no bus actually stops at San Pablo. We had to take the bus that goes all the way to Lucena, Quezon, which passes by San Pablo. And we were the only ones that got off in the city that day. No one come to San Pablo unless it’s fiesta, when many houses are open for visitors, or to visit the city’s famous seven lakes.

It maybe a center where all things and people cross but the city moves in its own pace. It has that urban feel of traffic jams but it also has that rural tranquility under the shadow of Mount Banahaw. It can be ‘probinsiya’ by offering hot and cold spring resorts. But it can be commercial by offering Jollibee, McDonalds, Pizza Hut and other restaurants. It’s a place where news headlines from Metro Manila are as relevant as the local gossip. The mass protests in the capital affects San Pablo as much as the latest scandal in the mayor’s office.

But for the all the progress that the city has gone through, it is still pretty much a place of myths and legends. People who have computers in their homes would still go the albularyo if something unnatural happens. Ghosts, duwendes, kapres, aswangs, and mangkukulams are believed to still walk in our midst.

That’s why when I go home I feel disoriented. Things move when I am gone yet I feel nothing ever changes when I am there. News about events and gossip about people comes to me as a shock because, in the surface, the seems motionless. Death of politicians, New People’s Army activities, hike in gas prices are taken by the people an initial shock. Then they would move on, like nothing had happened. Things move in the city like the waters of a lake touched by the northern winds in December. It’s looks still at a distance but ripples up close.

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