Missing the Rustic life…

Stuck in traffic in the chaotic streets of Manila, I began to utter words of disgust as to what was taking me like eternity into a supposedly short visit to a friend who decided to stay and find a living in the metropolis. Wondering, I opened the bus curtain and gazed outside. Well, the same helter- skelter set up which is common in most of the cities in the Philippines have then resurfaced. I should not be surprised though, after all, this is Manila and what other things can I expect if not about its proverbial road congestion?

I reclined myself and eased away my sight from the busy people cramming the sidewalk, the beggars on every corner, the vendors whose stalls were partly lodged on the road, the rickety jeepneys and buses racing side by side and the maddening sight of garbage piled anywhere. For a while I grappled at this pathetic sight but later surrendered and sighed. Sometimes, moment like this makes me think about the goodness of having to spend the early episodes of my life in the province.

Typical Promdi kids sporting an innocent and carefree spirit.

Typical Promdi kids sporting an innocent and carefree spirit.

Talking about the province, I have had the chance to experience the life which is very much different from the urban subsistence. The restfulness is what makes the difference more elaborate between the two settings, on where, it is more relaxed in the province than in the city. The disarrayed system is one of the many bad effects of industrialization in the city, the very cause on why there is heavy traffic on the road, and on why the chaotic environment is underway. The situation makes me think about those people who permanently dwell in places like Manila, those who don’t have the luxury to afford living in posh subdivisions, those people like my friend whom I’m going to visit who can only afford living in shanties and those fellows who don’t have provinces to go home to. They need to, in whichever way possible, bear the haphazardly kind of environment day in, day out.

Well, I am not saying that living in cities in the Philippines has no beauty at all. In fact many people are still attracted to its allure, leaving their piece of wealth in the province and taking guts just to taste the urban life. I, too, was one of them. I have thought that greener pastures are in the city, much greener than the fields I have been seeing ever since (or so I thought). I have tasted everything the city could offer then—the glamorous night life, the classy corporate jobs, the excitement and wonders brought by malls and other convenient centers, the fancy diners, the technology and innovations that make life a bit easier, and most of all the promise of progress which, in the most practical sense, attracted the rural folks to embrace the city life.

However, in times like when I glance at the bus window and all I could see is the city’s messy atmosphere, I feel like withdrawing or trading all the advantages it can offer to the simple charm brought about by living a rustic life. For about seventeen years, I have had the luxury to enjoy what the province can offer. Having spent my childhood in one of the beautiful towns of Catanduanes, a place we call Panganiban that, in one way or the other, resembles into a small paradise made me feel fortunate. I say fortunate because I don’t need to grapple with the chaotic scenarios like the traffic and other undesirable things we see in the metropolis.

Back in my small town (Panganiban), I was blessed that our humble home is nestled in front of a vast rice field and in close proximity to a long stretch of creek, wherein I can enjoy the pastoral view. In the morning I would see farmers busy doing business in the fields. There are those who collect snails, plow using carabao, plant rice and if it’s harvesting season, there are those farmers who pile hay and children who play kites. And often I would see those small wooden boats sailing in the creek back and forth. I would also see fishermen, crabbers, and even children who play mud at the creek. These are the recurring scenes on my mind, scenes that depict the rural life, which perhaps became the reason on why I was always yearning for a laid-back life in the province.

“A woman carrying a shrimp push net (Agahid).”
Creeks ( Suba) provide the people of Panganiban a source of food and income. Aside from delectable crabs, shrimps also thrive on it. Shrimps like crabs give the town people the means to satisfy their daily needs. If there’s no food at the table, one can just grab his/her shrimp push net and just descend on the waters.

Crabbers are group of folks that comprise the labor force in Panganiban. Panganiban being blessed with abounding sea creatures—crabs, paved a way to creating a decent livelihood for its people. These folks endure the hardships of being exposed to the heat of the sun for a whole day throwing and hoisting the traditional ring-shaped crab nets with the hope of catching more crabs to take home for their family.

Crabbers are group of folks that comprise the labor force in Panganiban. Panganiban being blessed with abounding sea creatures—crabs, paved a way to creating a decent livelihood for its people. These folks endure the hardships of being exposed to the heat of the sun for a whole day throwing and hoisting the traditional ring-shaped crab nets with the hope of catching more crabs to take home for their family.

The traffic, the pathetic sight of those illegal settlers, the beggars, the pile of garbage and the crimes are just few of the reasons on why I always wanted to go home. Go home to a place where I can enjoy walking on the road. Go home to a place where I can go fishing on the creek. Go home to a place that is orderly, quiet and relaxing.

Back to the place where I was at the moment, I opened all over again the bus curtain and gazed outside. As expected, the traffic has barely moved an inch. Again, I lounged at my seat and sighed.

About john tugano

A twenty-something lad, who wishes to unravel more of society's unfathomable ironies. View all posts by john tugano

15 responses to “Missing the Rustic life…

  • michaelwatsonvt

    Yes, the world of the city can be both exhilarating and difficult. Over time, the city threatens to engulf all that surrounds it. Anyway, a fine blog you have! Thank for following mine.


  • thelearnedignoramus

    I am sure a lot of city dwellers are dying to trade places with those living in the province for a week or two. I for one would willingly submit myself to that.The hustle and bustle of urban living can really be too much to take at certain points. And yes, traffic from the daily commute just adds up to one’s alredy stressful routine at work.
    Though it is true that there’s a certain charm to the chaotic hodge podge of city life, a change of scenery is also imperative every now and then to help rekindle lost passions and rejuvenate the weary spirit.
    Nice post from this new blog, Sir! Cheers to a (virtually) “stress-free” 2015!


    • john tugano

      Caloy, Thanks for dropping by. I am planning to go home this March as I am too tired of the chaotic setting here in the metro. It is true that changing setting once in a while is important. Thank you for reminding me that. Happy new year to you!


  • enmanscamera

    You write as if Manila’s congestion is a new occurrence. I visited (sadly only 6 short days) that exciting city back in 1967 and was almost overwhelmed by the traffic. People rushing shoulder to shoulder, a constant, bumper to bumper, odd assortment of cars and waterways that one could almost walk across, boat to boat. However, that historical brightly coloured city was well worth the visit. Unfortunately, my short stay only allowed a bit time to see the wonderful county side.
    I enjoyed your story and thanks for the memory sir.


    • john tugano

      Hello: John Enman

      Better if you got to visit the bucolic regions of the Philippines. Perhaps, you’ll be amazed by the laid-back setting especially if you’re a city lad. Well, Talking about Manila… still it has a peculiar charm that is hard to forget. By the way thanks for dropping by. Your musing is much appreciated.=)


  • restlessjo

    I would find it very hard to take. Sounds like I could walk faster than that bus, should I wish to. Home’s not so bad now you’ve had chance to miss it, huh?
    Many thanks for the follow, John. I appreciate it 🙂


  • Jennifer's Journal

    Great post! Thank you for following my blog. Will follow back. 🙂


  • Lapiskamay

    hi bro, i’ve been in that situation before. galing din ako sa Manila, I gave it up and decide to work sa province. it will be hard at first pero you’ll manage. galing mo bro!


  • Eddie Two Hawks

    Thank you for following and opening the door to your very interesting world. Eddie


  • Rob Taylor

    Brings back a lot of memories. I lived on Leyte for four years, outside Ormoc City, and it was quite a contrast. I also had spent considerable time on Luzon in the 70’s. When I returned in 1996, it was interesting to see some of the changes…..and what had not changed at all.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: