December 13 2011
Today I went to interview a nice lady named Tita Caring. She is 58 years old and has lived in Marikina all her life. Her relatives and her other family members live in Marikina as well. I asked her if she could remember the time when the river was cleaner. She dated her memories back to the year 1964 and told me that the river was so clean, that people would wash their clothes in the river and have picnics by the riverside. She took me through the little alleys of Marikina where we ended up in a little private park for the nearby residents.
Tuesday, 19. March 2013
It was peaceful. We enjoyed it together.
She pointed towards the opposite side and told me that this is where people are starting to plant vegetables again.
It is a bit farther from the side of the river I see everyday. It gave me hope to see this area.
She told me that the Marikina is actually much cleaner than it was a few years back, however there are still some people who carelessly throw their trash here. Here are some pieces of trash that we saw that day.
We saw a lady and her daughter enjoying the river as well.
I find it funny that I have lived in this area all my life, yet, have only managed to discover this little park today. A lot of things I believed in about the river, are contrary to the stories that Tita Caring told me today. One of them being the fact that the building of the mall nearby is what made the river dirty. According to Tita Caring's recollection, the clean river from her childhood started to disappear when squatters built their houses by the river side. Due to their lack of knowledge about the importance of preserving and respecting the river, the river started to become full of trash and plastic bags.
After today's interview I feel that it would be wrong to blame the degradation of the Marikina River on one particular occurrence in time. Perhaps it was the squatters, perhaps also the building of the mall, it could even be a thousand other reasons.
When I asked Tita Caring if she felt sad about what happened to the river, she said she was not sad. "Nagbabago lang naman talaga ang panahon"she said. This means that times really change. In fact she told me that the previous mayor managed to provide housing for the squatters and now there are less people who dump their trash in the river. She claims that the trash that we now see in the river, are remnants of the Typhoon Ondoy.
I had a lot of fun listening to Tita Caring's stories about the river. Not only did she give me hope, but she gave me directions to more locations near the River that would be interesting to explore. She showed me the library, the sports center and told me about all the great places to eat. She told me that she knows the city like the back of her hand because her ancestors really lived in Marikina and came from a long line of shoe makers.
Before I knew it, it was time to go. Definitely, one day is not enough to get to know Marikina and I have mixed feelings. I am excited and giddy and hopeful but also I feel quite ashamed for not doing this earlier. Perhaps I just wasn't ready.
December 18, 2011
I went to the river yesterday to take some pictures and check if there were any interesting plants around . It was a beautiful day, and there were a lot of fish coming up for air in the shallow parts of the water. There was a slight smell of sewage that emanated from this part of the river, and my mom wished me luck. She knew I was looking for plants and it didn't look like there were a lot of flowers growing in this particular area. We discovered that you can actually rent bicycles around that part of the river and this made me smile.
However, after 20 minutes of taking pictures we heard screaming and saw people running towards our direction. We quickly asked the nearest person what was happening and she told us that people were shooting each other. Our family driver, Kuya Alex, at the time was buying peanuts. He told us that there was a Muslim man's body lying dead on the sidewalk. We left quickly because we were afraid of a hostage situation and it looked like the police still did not have it under control.
Discomfort, maybe that is part of being home and living here in Monte. Someone was killed, his body, flat on the sidewalk because of a bullet. He was muslim, and a man who sold illegal pirated DVDs by the river. I know these people because more than once, I had bought movies by the river. The police came to take away their DVDs and he pulled out a gun and people started shooting each other. Kuya Alex says there will be payback or revenge that will be taken soon.
Despair and shock
December 21, 2011
If you have been watching the news then you know about the flash flood that hit Iligan last week. Iligan is a city in Mindanao, located in the Southern part of the Philippines. In the news it is said that the recent logging or pagtrotroso that was done in that area could have triggered the flooding. The government also said that they would try to determine the cause, and will be accepting some, but not all donations from other countries.
I am filled with sadness and a sense of having to do something immediately but I do not know what to do. It is Christmas time, and this holiday is quite important for Filipinos. For some reason, all the holiday festivities seen inappropriate. I remain glued to the television, watching mothers and family members consumed by grief. The evacuation centers look overpopulated, with the residents having problems with their health and cleanliness. And as for the missing persons? The government has lost count.
Just a few weeks ago I was brimming with hope, but that is quite hard to feel at the moment. To top it off, I have not found a single flower by the riverside since I started my search. It seems though, that the most appropriate thing to do, is to find out how I can help. They must need food and money but it is obvious what they need the most. They need homes.
I am praying that our government really distributes the goods donated by other countries. For 5 minutes, it was mysteriously stated in the news that the government would not be accepting everything offered by other countries. Why? This doesn't make any sense to me. I know that a lot of our leaders are corrupt, but I just hope that they find it in their hearts to do their jobs and help the people at the moment.
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