|is there serioulsy only one type of dog in this country?
||[Sep. 17th, 2005|12:48 am]
don't ever give up on your dreams
|||||tired, no exhausted||]|
|||||since u been gone - kelly clarkson||]|
The word that I’m looking for isn’t interesting, maybe it’s more along the lines of… eye opening. Eh, either way I don’t even think any one word really captures today. But I hope not to forget anything about this day.
8:00am – We began our journey early. This was a journey that would turn out to be much longer than I had imagined, and pretty uneventful too. Our objective today was to make it to Pagsanjan. This, I’m told, is the city/province where my grandmother went to high school. She was excited to show me here town, the place where she grew up and eventually left about 4 years after the age that I am now.
We drove nearly 4 hours before reaching Pagsanjan but the drive was beautiful. The countryside here is lush with greenery, palms trees as far as the eye can see, and flowers (orchids mainly) that were so perfect and magical I wish I could have taken some time to photograph them. Alas, we were driving and I dare not ask to stop on the side of the Motorway.
The thing that I most noticed along the side of the road, near abandoned train tracks, and anywhere that there was space, squatters have built their homes and communities. They are predominantly built out of clay, or cement blocks, misshapen wood, and tin siding that is not only used for roofing but also for the walls and siding of the houses. They make small windows out the negative space created by uneven tin siding and use old tires, probably left on the side of the motorway, as the anchors or weights to keep the roofs from blowing away in the wind.
Another thing you’ll see quite often amoungst these squatter communities is their clothing hanging from just about anything that appears to be an appendage. Well, a jetty really. In my head I’m thinking, “Oh they don’t have dryers.” No stupid, they don’t washers or dryers – they wash their clothes over a bucket of cold water with a bar of soap! I saw a lady doing just that. She was sitting on a block of cement, her blue plastic tub overflowing with suds, scrubbing a shirt with both of her hands and then placing it in another bucket to rinse off the soap and then she put it on a hanger and hung it from a piece of wood above her door.
When we reached the first city, Los Banos, we took a short cut as to avoid midday traffic. No such luck; we hit a lot of traffic. Along these city streets (and mind you nobody follows any traffic rules – you just go where you want to go) there is an overwhelming amount of little vendors (if you want to call them that) selling anything from Filipino candies, to fruit and sawa – which is sliced anaconda. Yum huh? People on motorbikes were coming up to the car, following us for miles, trying to get me to ride their, well, in essence it’s a motorcycle with a cab attached to the side. I have already forgotten the name of them. But, Grandpa said when they see a tourist they’ll try anything to get you to ride. And yes, they did try.
12:00 - When we arrived in Pagsanjan there was a very old 1867 gate made of brick welcoming you to the province of Pagsanjan. And immediately after we were through the gate I was able to see my Grandmother’s old high school. It was hard to see because now almost every school is surrounded by gates and high walls with barbwire along the very top. But, when we passed the entrance I was able to see inside. That was very heartwarming for me. To see those girls, and realize that my Grandmother use to be one of them – giggling and carrying on.
We then arrived at the church which, I must be honest; I did not get out of the car. When we arrived we were bombarded by about 10 or so young men all wanting to open my door. I kept it locked and stayed inside. I know, how embarrassing huh? But I just couldn’t get myself to exit the car. It’s very overwhelming to be an American in the Philippines. Many people treat you like you are a celebrity, and then sometimes you are greeted with disgust – that I did receive as well. An older man on the side of the road carrying bananas on his shoulder, he was weathered, obviously from the hard work that he’s had to endure as a squatter, so I can only imagine his distaste of a privileged American in his territory.
After the church we drove through a square that was surrounded by very old buildings, all now uninhabited, except for maybe a few dogs. In the middle of the square was a basketball court. The hoops made of crates and the backboard - square boards bolted to posts cemented into tires. No children were playing, only those motorcycle cab type men laying around waving at me. A church lay on the outside of the square as well, nestled between two beautiful homes, where a wedding was taking place. I don’t think they liked it much having me staring at them during such a blessed event, but I’ve never seen an actual, traditional Filipino wedding. Sue me for wanting to know more about my culture.
Funny thing, I was thinking - out in the countryside – is there only one type of dog? And I’m not even sure what kind it is only that it’s ugly and many of them are so starved for food you can see all of their bones. They kind of look like hyenas. Ech, they were gross and nasty looking. All the animals here you’ll find look starved and malnourished. They have very little fur and their bones protrude from just about every place you can see.
I was not able to take too many pictures as I said before we were in the car, but I did take a couple. On the way home, upon reaching Calambra, Laguna we stopped at a restaurant on the side of the road called Samaral Seafood Restaurant. It was set up like little huts above the water with bridges leading to them. You’d sit around a little table and eat your meal on wood plates with palm tree leaves as the separation between food and plate.
I’m tired now. But, at 7pm Ina will be here to pick me up for the show. Man, if only we were going tomorrow.