I remember the Philippines. I have been there, not once but twice. I could return to the islands tomorrow should an opportunity avail itself. The Philippines with its collection of 7,107 islands is spectacularly beautiful. My travels from Mindanao in the south to Luzon in the north, was enlivening. The memories remain vivid as if I were there yesterday.
I remember last Friday. Typhoon Haiyan, I don’t know why it is named after a bird (petrel), hit the Philippines so badly. Its brunt has claimed over 1, 400 lives this far. Many have been left hungry, homeless and shocked. It is distressing to see the images of Tacloban, Bohol, Iloilo and Cebu, places I felt at home once. As I flip through CNN, BBC and Aljazeera picture galleries and raw video clips, my eyes wet in disbelief. The images weigh down the heart, and heavily so. Every sight of the dead, a traumatized toddler or a shaken grandmother is a contrast of what I saw during my trips not so long ago. I remember the Pinoys (Filipinos) I met. A people of warm embrace – full of life, wittiness and tranquility. Even those who seemingly struggled to make ends meet portrayed an enduring spirit not seen in many cultures. They shared generously with visitors, always entertaining. On the days of their festivals their songs often stirred deep emotions – stunning. Many Pinoys pray religiously. It’s a way of life.
I remember Bohol. The last place I savored during my first trip. White sand beaches stretching wide to reflect a conspicuous sunset every evening. It is in Bohol that I rode a tricycle uphill to glimpse scenic ‘sprouts’ of chocolate hills – brown and yummy to the eyes. Where I stood, a wooden beam extended vertically about 2 meters from the ground. On each Read the rest of this entry »