Saturday, March 29, 2008
Isang malaki at masayang pagdiriwang ang inihanda ng pamunuang bayan para sa ika isang daan at walong kaarawan ng pagkakatatag ng bayan ng Pateros. Tulad ng mga nakaraang taon, ang kahabaan ng Kalye B. Morcilla as isinara sa lahat ng uri ng sasakyan, at sa magkabilang dulo nito ay nagtayo ng mga entablado. Sa gabi ng Sabado, ika dalawamput-siyam ng Marso, ay maghahalinhinan ang mga sikat na banda sa pagtugtog para sa ikaaaliw ng mga mamamayan at mga bisita. Naglagay din ng mga mesa at upuan sa kahabaan ng kalsada, at may mga kubol kung saan makakabili ng mga pagkain na sa Pateros lamang matatagpuan.
Syempre pa, hindi mawawala ang sikat na produkto ng Pateros, ang balut. Bukod dito, mayroon ding penoy at ang mabaho ngunit napakasarap na abnoy. Para sa mga hindi nakakaalam, ang abnoy ay gawa sa mga itlog ng itik na sana ay gagawing balut ngunit sa kasamaang palad ay nasira bago pa umabot sa kaganampan. Dahil sa ito ay maitutuling ng bugok, mabaho at maalisangsang ang amoy ng hilaw na abnoy. Ngunit maparaan ang mga taga-Pateros, at di hahayaang masayang ang itlog kahit ito'y bugok. Matapos haluan ng kamatis, sibuyas at kimchay, ang bugok na itlog ay naging bibingkang abnoy. Sa saliw ng maanghang na suka, ito ay masarap na ulam sa mainit na kanin, o di kaya'y kakaibang pulutan. Maaring di nyo magustuhan ang amoy sa unang pagkakataon, ngunit sa minsang pagkakataong inyong masubukan ay tiyak na di na malilimutan!
Pagkakataon na rin upang matikman ang ibat-ibang kakaibang pagluluto ng itik sa Pateros. Bukod sa piniritong itik, ito ay ginagawa ding adobo sa gata at kaldereta. Ang adobo sa gata ay hinahaluan ng maraming bawang, at pagkatapos as pinakukuluan ng matagal gamit ang marahang apoy hanggang ang sa gata ay halos matuyo na. Samantala, ang kaldereta naman ay hinahaluan ng sili, kinatas na kamatis at binurong pipino (pickles). Ang aking paborito ay yaong mga lutuing sinahugan ng maraming lamang loob gaya ng atay at balun-balunan. Ngunit, hindi lahat ay maaring makapagluto ng itik, dahil kinakailangan ang matiyagang paghahanda nito upang maalis ang lansa ng karne. Medyo may kakunatan din ito, kaya kailangan pang palambutin. Subalit sa oras na ito ay maluto na at inyong matikman, tiyak na hahanap-hanapin kahit na sumakit pa ang inyong batok dahil sa kolesterol.
Mayroon pang isang pagkain na katutubong Pateros ngunit bihira ko ng makitang iniluluto. Ito ay ang Ukbo. Ang ukbo ay mga sisiw at pulang bahagi ng balut na sumobra sa araw. Kapag masyadong malaki at buo na ang sisiw, ito ay di na maaring gawing balut. Ang sabi ng mga matatanda, ang ukbo ay di maaring ipagbili ng mga magbabalut, bagkus ito ay ipinamimigay sa mga kaanak at kaibigan. Dahil may kamag-anak na may balutan, ay nagkaroon ng maraming pagkakataon na makapagluto ng ukbo ang aking Nanay. Iniluluto ito na parang menudo, at ang maliliit na bahagi ng katawan ng sisiw ay nahahalo sa mga pula ng itlog. Maaring di magustuhan ng mga maseselan ang hitsura nito, ngunit para sa akin ito ang isa mga pinakamasarap na niluluto ng aking Nanay na hanggang ngayon ay nasa aking ala-ala.
May ngiting namumutawi sa aking mga labi tuwing maaalala ko ang isang pangyayari sa aking kabataan. May nagbigay ng ukbo sa aking Nanay at ang mga itlog ay kanyang inilagay pansamantala sa reprigereytor. Nung ako ay bata pa ay nakatoka sa akin ang paglalagay ng inuming tubig sa mga bote na inilalagay naman sa reprigereytor upang lumamig. Nang aking buksan ang reprigereytor, nakarinig ako ng mahinang "tik! tik! tik!" mula sa loob. Hinanap ko sa paligid ang pinagmumulan ng munting ingay at ito ay natunton ko sa bungkos ng mga itlog na nasa bandang ibaba ng reprigereytor. Sinipat ko ang mga ito at inilapit ang aking tainga upang matukoy ang pinagmumulan ng ingay. Laking gulat ko nang ang isa sa mga itlog ay mag-umpisang mapisa at ang "tik!, tik!, tik!" ay napalitan ng "kwak!, kwak!, kwak!"
"Nanay! Nanay! Nanay! May sisiw sa loob ng reprigereytor!" Kinuha namin ang itlog at hinayaang makalabas ang bagong silang na itik. Nanlaki ang aking mga mata habang masusing binantayan ang pagsubok ng munting itik na tumayo at maglakad. Napansin kong hirap itong tumayo, at lalong hirap na humakbang. Ito pala ay may kapansanan. Pilay ang aking sisiw. Ngunit sa kabila nito, siya ay nakalakad pa rin, kahit na iika-ika. Naging mas kakatuwa nga ang kanyang paglalakad at pagtakbo dahil wari'y lagi itong umiindak. Maraming araw ang aming pinagsamahan ng aking ukbong nakaligtas sa kawali, at kahit na ito'y may kapansanan ay naging bahagi ng isang makulay at masayang yugto ng aking kabataan.
Isang-daan at walong taon na pala ang aking bayan. Bawat salin-lahi ay may kanya-kanyang ala-ala ng bayang nagkanlong sa amin. Magmula ng ito ay isa lamang nayon ng Pasig, o ng Taguig, o bilang isang bayang may kasarinlan, mag-iba man ang hugis at anyo ng kanyang kasaysayan ay mananatili itong kumukupkop at nagkakanlong sa kanyang mga mamamayan. Marami ng nagdaang mga unos - bagyo, baha, lindol, sunog, mga himagsikan at digmaan, ngunit ang maliit na bayan ng Pateros ay buong giting na pinangangalagaan ang kanyang kasarinlan, kultura at tradisyon. Sa kabila ng malawakan at mabilis na pagbabago at pag-unlad, nawa'y manatili itong mapayapa, maayos at hitik sa kultura at kasaysayan.
Isang masayang pagpupugay sa iyong ika-108 na kaarawan, mahal kong Bayan ng Pateros!
* Image of an early Pateros Seal when the town was still part of the Province of Manila is from the photo collection of Elmer Nocheseda.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Many years ago, when people only had geocities and angelfire instead of blogs, I put together an online journal and called it “Sojourn”. I had to learn HTML basics to be able to give it a semblance of a web site, not like the push-button publishing that blogs offer today. Sojourn was my soul mate on the net. I poured out my thoughts on it through both prose and poetry. It became the journal of my life, a record of my travels, of my adventures, of the people I met, of the food I cooked and ate, of my hopes, dreams and political angst.
Then along the way something happened to my life, and my cyber world stopped on its track. I stayed away from the net and let my Sojourn disappear into oblivion. It was as if there never was. Like Atlantis forever lost in the ocean depths, my cyber-extension disappeared into the bits and bytes of the virtual universe.
Age, the advanced stage or somewhere near it to be specific, has a way of reminding us that we too will someday disappear into the sunset. Our bodies, frail and fleeting as they are, will eventually find its way back into the bosom of our Mother Earth. But long after we are gone, people will remember the words we spoke or wrote, the things we did that mattered to them, and the things we failed to do that could have mattered to them. It will always be about us and them, and how we affected each other's lives.
Thus it came to be that one night during the recent Holy Week, my fingers led me to that new Shangri-la of the Internet Universe – Blogspot.com. After a few minutes of feeling myself around like a little lost boy in a huge toy supermarket, I officially became one of the zillions of bloggers on the net. I chose to be the little voice of my quaint little town of
* Images are from the photo collection of Elmer Nocheseda. Original poetry by Dennis E. Concepcion.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
A few days after I posted the letter in the official website of the Municipal Government, I got a response from Congresswoman Lani Cayetano, then from Mayor Joey Medina almost a month after. In between these two responses, copies of the letter somehow found their way into email boxes of concerned kababayans. The feedback I got was overwhelming, and very positive. I was elated to realize that there are many other former and current residents who share the same sentiments, the same hopes and aspirations for positive change and transformation for our beloved town.
Thus was born the idea of an e-group for people who care for Pateros. I created the Bangon Pateros E-Group and invited friends to join. This email group is dedicated to providing an open and democratic forum for the people of Pateros, to discuss the various issues and concerns about our beloved town. In so doing, we hope to bring these issues to the attention of our leaders, be able to discuss solutions and encourage members to be active participants in efforts to help our town get back on track.
If you want to be a member of this e-group, you can visit the group site at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bangon_pateros or send a blank email to email@example.com. No effort is too small if done together. We can all make a difference!
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Pateros will always be associated with Balut. Always.
When people ask me where I live and I tell them I stay in Pateros, they would always ask “Where is that? Is that in Novaliches?” Or any other place up north, down south, or even the far east or the wild wild west. Anywhere except Pateros.
"It’s that little town that makes the best tasting balut." After hearing this from me, finally you see their faces light up. The magic word just opened their minds to the reality that there is indeed a town named Pateros. One wonders if Pateros gave birth to the balut, or if it was balut that gave birth to Pateros. However one looks at it, the fates of Pateros and Balut are forever intertwined.
And yes Kulasa, the famous singer/actor from
And you read it right, he ate one whole balut. The yolk, the duck embryo and that hard white portion that everyone calls the “bato” – he shoved it all into his mouth in one go. It must have taken him more than 5 minutes to finally swallow the entire thing. He paced back and forth on the stage, even going down and taking a seat on the front row. He finally downed the balut with the help of 2 cans of Coke.When he sat down and played the piano, he gave out a loud burp in the middle of a song. The audience was in stitches. The white man has earned his right to be an adopted Pinoy.
However, not everything in that intermission was amusing. There were some patently embarrassing lapses, especially when a Filipina lady from the front row was called on stage to teach Harry the correct way to eat balut. They should just have called in the balut vendor outside the PICC if they wanted to do it correctly.
So, let us get some things straight about this famous Pateros delicacy:
- Only duck eggs can be made into Balut. More specifically, it is the egg laid by the local duck variety called the “pato”, sometimes more commonly referred to as "itik". They should not be confused with the common white-colored duck, which we call "bibe". The eggs laid by itiks can be distinguished by its hard shell. In the olden days, these ducks were raised in the
Pater , where abundant shellfish were conducive for ducks to produce these hard-shelled eggs. But now the river is dead and the ducks are gone, thus Pateros imports the eggs it uses to produce balut from Laguna. Some towns have tried to imitate balut by using chicken eggs. Believe me, you will not like what you will see when you crack open those bogus baluts. So make sure the shell is hard enough before buying that balut. os River
- Fresh duck eggs are called “sariwa”, which literally means fresh. This can be boiled like ordinary chicken eggs and eaten with salt, or made into delicious omelets. The “sariwa” is also the base for another famous Pateros product – the red egg. The fresh duck eggs are immersed into a salty concoction for some time, then boiled and colored red to distinguish it from its more famous cousin. The best “maalat” or "itlog na pula", as the red eggs are called by locals, are those that have yolks oozing with natural oil. Definitely yummy, especially with fresh tomatoes and rice, or as filling for hot pan-de-sal.
- Those that are selected to become balut are put into large drums made from bamboo strips filled with dried rice husks and kept in warehouses called “kamalig”. This is the native and completely organic version of an incubator used to keep the eggs warm. The counting of the days need to be precise, or else you may end up with embryos that are either too small or too large. Monitoring is done through “pagsisilaw” or putting the eggs against a small hole carved out of a wooden box with a high-wattage bulb inside working pretty much like an x-ray machine. The ideal incubation days would be between 16 to 17 days for a perfect “balut sa puti”.
- When an egg fails to fertilize during this period, it becomes another incarnation of the balut, the “penoy”. Remember, your friendly balut vendor always shout “balut! penoy! balut!” as immortalized in that catchy folk song. The Penoy is a Balut that failed to fertilize, and is boiled like an ordinary egg and can become either a “higupin”, meaning it is creamy and can be sucked from the shell – literally, or like an ordinary hard boiled egg but with the yolk and the white already mixed together – imagine scrambled egg but still inside the shell. There is also the “heko-heko”, which is a bit blackish and had a slight pungent smell. Definitely not for the faint of heart.
- As in any pregnancy – which is what balut is all about anyway, things can go wrong along the way. The fertilized egg can “die” before it reaches the ideal maturity date – a miscarriage if you may call it. The embryo stops developing and start to rot inside the shell. Ordinarily, these rotten eggs will be thrown away, or put into better use by being thrown towards the direction of rotten politicians. But in Pateros, we have a special name for this – the “abnoy”. It is a delicacy that requires an acquired taste. It is not for everyone, especially if you do not relish eating a rotten egg. But like the durian, its connoisseurs swear that it might smell rotten like hell, but it sure does taste like heaven. I will provide a recipe for the abnoy in a later post, in case you want to be adventurous with what you put in your mouth.
- Take the warm balut (yes, it has to be warm!) in your hands and look for the larger end of the egg.
- Strike the larger end against any hard surface (including your head if it is hard enough) until a small hole is cracked open. Peel off just enough broken shells to expose the egg's membrane. Make a hole in the membrane big enough to peek into the inside of the balut. Be careful not to spill the precious fluid inside!
- Put the egg into your mouth and take a sip from the small opening. The amniotic fluid will prepare your taste buds for the next gastronomic experience, if you're still not throwing up, or fainting - whichever comes first at this point.
- After the fluid had been fully drained in your mouth, start peeling off the rest of the shell until the inside of the egg is exposed halfway. Now, first timers are allowed to look away at this point, as the sight of the duck embryo may not be that appealing to a lot of people, especially if it is already well-developed with feathers, legs, beak and all very much identifiable. Sprinkle some rock salt on the balut and start biting into it. Some people will take 2 to 3 bites to finish off the egg, while some will take it all in one go, like Harry. I personally prefer eating the yolk first, then the embryo – if I’m in the mood. You are not supposed to eat the “bato”, which is the hard whitish part. Leave the "bato" for Darna and Ding.
- Recently, I see a lot of people pouring vinegar into their balut. This is not all proper as the vinegar dilutes the delicate flavor of the egg. This is sacrilege! Balut is eaten warm and with rock salt, nothing more and nothing less. Stay with the basics and you will experience the full savory and delicate taste as it was intended to be.
So this is Balut 101 in a nutshell. Next time you feel like doing a Fear Factor, or if you are a seasoned balut eater already, keep these facts in mind. And while you are at it, remember that the fate of the balut is tied to the fate of the Pateros River. Please help our town revive the
I do not know the details of the recently launched Pateros River Basin Project, but if it aims to save and revive the Pateros River, I am all for it. Let us save our river, it is the soul of our beloved Pateros
(Photo of Harry eating balut is taken from the MTV Philippines Website. Photo of "abnoys" is from the collection of Elmer Nocheseda.)
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Spicy Sardine Omelet (as deliciously prepared by Pierre)
1 can of red label Ligo Sardines
1 pc onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 pc native chili, chopped
3 pcs eggs, beaten
2 pcs tomatoes and whole native chilies.
1. Heat cooking oil in an omelet pan.
2. Pour the beaten egg evenly on the pan and wait until the top is cooked.
3. Remove the cooked egg from the pan and put on a round dish. Set aside.
4. Saute the garlic, onion and native chili, then add the sardines.
5. Crush and mix the sardines until flaky. Let stand for a few minutes, but do not overcook.
6. Add salt to taste, as desired.
7. Pour about 3/4 of the sardines into the middle of the omelet, then fold both ways before turning on its back.
8. Spread the remaining sardines on top of the omelet and garnish with tomatoes and chilies on the side.
9. Serve warm.
Sardine Omelet Spanish Style
1 can red label Ligo Sardines
3 eggs, beaten
dash of dried basis leaves
1. Separate the sardines from the tomato sause. Set aside.
2. Sprinkle a dash of dried basil leaves on the beaten egg. Add salt to taste, then beat again until pluffy.
3. Heat cooking oil in an omelet pan and pour the beaten eggs evenly.
4. When the top part is slightly cooked, put the sardines in the middle to form a line across the pan.
5. Fold the omelet from both sides to form a roll, then turn it on its back.
6. Turn the omelet roll until both sides are golden brown, then remove from pan and put in a serving dish.
7. Pour the tomato sauce on the omelet and serve.
Both dishes are best served with piping hot steamed or fried rice.
Now, you can have your sardines two more ways. Yummy!
Friday, March 21, 2008
I was not able to see the Wednesday procession this year. Got stuck in office work and came home quite late. When I was growing up, I distinctly remember that there were four processions during Holy Week - the first was on the morning of Palm Sunday; second was on the night of Holy Wednesday; third was on Good Friday; and the last was the dawn procession for Easter Sunday. I miss those days. Sigh!
Palm Sunday Procession
Young girls and their families look forward to this one. Makeshift balconies were set up in selected places in the procession route. Little young girls dressed up like angels threw flower petals and sang the alleluias as the priest passed by their dainty towers. People followed the priest and waved their palm fronds in the air, while the manangs laid their veils on the pavement - never allowing the priest's feet to directly touch the ground. All these were the re-enactment of the biblical narrative on how the Lord triumphantly entered
I remember one year in particular, when this event was especially more poignant for the family of my mother's elder sister. Her youngest daughter, Amy, just passed away. She was diagnosed with leukemia and bravely fought for her life. She was excitedly looking forward to her eldest daughter's turn to mount one of those balconies and sing praises to the Lord. It was always an honor for a daughter to take on the role of one of the angels, an honor that she missed by a few days. So while her mother lay in state, the little girl did her part - with a faint smile but tears in her eyes. It was a fitting tribute to a mother who loved her children till the very end, and scene that left tears in the eyes of not a few who knew the story behind that day's event.
Sadly, we lost that tradition along the way. I cannot remember when the last alleluias were sung by the little angels. While walking along the town proper, it suddenly dawned on me that the balconies were gone. Gone were the little girls, with their eyes still droopy and sleepy, as they gingerly await the arrival of the priest. How could have we lost such a tradition so steep in meaning and drama? In other towns, bigger and more progressive, they even get the priest to ride horses or donkeys for some added reality. Please tell me this tradition will be back next year!
Holy Wednesday Procession
This procession presents the tableau of the Lord's ministry and suffering, specifically from the time he entered
In the eighties, this procession was done away with. Instead, I remembered that all the carrozas were made to join the Good Friday procession, which of course swelled the number of people joining the procession. Thus, we had the spectacle of the first carozza already entering the church after navigating the entire procession route while the Mater Dolorosa, the last image in the procession, was still waiting for its turn to leave the church patio! It just does not make sense for a town so small to try and get all those carozzas into the streets. Fortunately, the Church has brought back the Holy Wednesday procession.
Good Friday Procession.
The piety is gone, gone, gone. In the days gone by, a hush would fall on the entire town at of Good Friday. Then people flocked at the church for the evening procession, often leaving their shoes and slippers at home or in stores near the church. Yes, people walk the entire route barefoot, just like the many women dressed in black, with faces covered in black veil capped by imitations of the crown of thorns. They carry symbols of the Lord’s passion and death on the cross. Yes, it looks eerie, but it does evoke solemn emotions that befit the commemoration.
These days, we don’t see barefoot people on the procession anymore. Gender equality has allowed men to join the previously all-women group of what we fondly call “mumos” (ghosts), albeit still donning the all black long dresses and veil. I wonder why they can’t wear black shirts and pants instead. They have breached the gender divide anyway, so why not go all the way? They have nailed women on the cross in barrio Cutud in Pampanga, haven’t they?
This year, I also noticed some of the old images have been replaced by newer ones, such as that of Maria Magdalena. I did not see the Wednesday procession, so I do not know if the older image was used in that procession. They say that the number of images in Holy Week processions indicates the wealth of the families in the town. Does that mean that our town economy is actually improving? In other towns, families who have converted to other religions adverse to catholic traditions destroys their centuries old images so that they could no longer be a cause for people to commit the hideous sin of idolatry. Different folks, different strokes!
Easter Sunday Salubong
This dawn procession can be well considered as a good barometer of the town’s economic condition. The early salubongs I remember were simple. The images of the Virgin Mary, now in resplendent white but with the head still covered in black veil, and the Risen Christ starts off in separate ways. One would go around half of the town through Barrio Aguho, and the other one taking the other half through Barrio Tabacalera. They would then meet again at the church patio where a little angel lifted the veil off the Virgin’s head to reveal a tear-less face. The women joined the Virgin’s entourage while the men joined the Risen Christ.
At sometime during the 70’s they made some changes so that the other barrios can be involved. The starting points for both the Virgin and the Risen Christ were rotated among the different barrios. Then later on, even the place were the salubong will take place was also moved from one kapilya to another. Then in the nineties, a grand tradition was started, that of building a grand tableau in the church patio, with each year depicting a chosen theme. The salubong then took on the identity of a grand theater production, complete with lights, sounds and smoke. Each year was different from the last and people actually looked forward to the grand spectacle even if they had to wake up early to see it. The downside is that less people were joining the procession because they wanted to get good positions on the patio to get a better view.
This year, I noticed just a simple wooden stairway leading to a balcony from where I presume the little angel will lift the Virgin’s veil. It is a stark contrast to the grand designs of years past, so times must be really bad these days. Or maybe the organizers had been struck with conscience for spending obscene amounts of money on a one-day affair while many of the parishioners could not even afford to have more that one meal a day.
However we celebrate the Holy Week, I am still glad my little town has somehow managed to retain its many traditions, albeit with some changes here and there. The hopeless optimist in me still dreams of a time when we can go back to the old traditions that has given our town its character, but as progress marches on it has become increasingly difficult to do so. But the memories will leave on, if only to remind the future generations of the faith and piety of their forebears.
Happy Easter to all!
PRAY that our leaders will find it in their hearts to put first the welfare of the people over and above personal gains. They were elected from among the people, by the people and for the people. They cannot serve and protect the interest of the few only, but rather should ensure that government services are provided to all, and law and justice applied equally and equitably.
REPENT for the things we have done to foster the dark culture of shameless corruption and corrosive apathy towards the problems besetting our town and our nation. Repent for the things we have failed to do to protect and promote honesty, transparency and accountability in our government. Repent for allowing rogue law enforcers and barangay officials who rob us of our rights to unhampered use of public infrastructure for the common good.
BELIEVE that every little step we make, every little voice raised in protest and every little hope shared will make significant impact towards meaningful reforms in our society. Believe that any positive action today is an investment towards a better and brighter tomorrow.
I have lived most of my life in the quaint little town of
It is amazing how much our little town has changed in a single generation. Recently, we made it to the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. It would have been a source of pride, if not for the fact that the report was about the police raiding a house right in the center of town for being used as a drug and sex den. It must have been just another sensational headline for citizens that have become immune to such news, but it is in reality another ugly manifestation of the continuing decline and decay of our beloved Pateros. The river is gone, wasted by neglect and apathy of both government and people.
The once pristine and flowing river, site of many joyous fluvial processions of years past, has become a huge garbage dump. On our streets, discipline is now more of the exception than the norm. Both pedestrians and motorists do not follow basic road rules and courtesy. Street, narrow as they already are, are made into private parking spaces and public terminals for jeepneys and tricycles. Sidewalks are lined with rows after rows of illegal stalls. Where else can you see people walking on the streets and competing with precious space against vehicles because the vendors have taken over the sidewalks, even on the bridge itself? If you can drive through Pateros, you can drive anywhere else with ease.
Drug use, and all its attendant vices, is a silent menace that is slowly but surely eating up the very foundation of our society – our youth. That house on
Pateros is a proud and noble town. Small as we are, we refused to be subjugated by any of the big cities that surround us. We remain, and shall remain a free and independent municipality. Unfortunately, we seem to have given up on our town. Most old families have left. Those who chose to stay behind seem resigned to helplessly watch as our town continue its fatal descent into the dark abyss. We handed the reins of government to younger leaders in the hope that they will have the willpower and the vigor to implement positive changes. Almost a year after the elections of May 2007, all these remain to be promises.
The 17-year old girl caught in the middle of the drug den raid was just a symptom of the deeper cancer besetting our town – a festering wound that everyone can see but refuse to look at. Not only have we been left behind by all the other cities of Metro Manila, worse, we seemed resigned to our sorry fate. Our government leaders could not, and should not, be left alone to solve our problems. Leaders from the churches, civic organizations, business and industry, education and civil society need to come together and work towards a more lasting resolution to these problems. If our people see that their leaders are working hard to bring back Pateros to its feet, there is no reason for them not to put in their own effort. The people and their leaders must work hand in hand and get their acts together before it becomes too late.
We need true leaders who will lead us out of the dark night that has engulfed of beloved town in darkness for too long. We need leaders who will leave the comfort of their homes and offices, roll up their sleeves and dirty their hands in working to redeem the dignity of our beloved town. We need leaders who can stand up against our mighty neighbor cities in defense of our town’s resources and welfare. We need leaders who can bring back order and discipline in our streets, who can arrest the rapid decline in morality and inspire people to become responsible citizens. We need leaders who can unite families and communities to work towards a common vision. When we see this leadership emerge amidst the decay and chaos, there will be hope that we can still recover from all these and bring back the quaint little town that we all call our home. We need that leadership now more than ever. Are our LEADERS up to the challenge?
Mine is but a little voice of one who still hope that positive and significant change can be achieved in my lifetime, just as I have seen in my lifetime how this beloved town has deteriorated. In the vastness of cyberspace, this little voice will be heard, in the hope that people who love this town may find their own voices as well.
* Special thanks to Elmer Nocheseda for allowing me to use some of his wonderful photos of Pateros in this blog. The collage used in the Title box was made of photos from his collection.