Life is not always black or white

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By Evelyn R. Luab

Light Sunday

Saturday, March 1, 2014

I JUST came back from a five day vacation at Tabangao Batangas. It was really the perfect vacation for me.

I was met early Saturday morning and was immediately whisked off to Antipolo Rizal to visit with son-in-law Cesar’s mom.

We took the scenic route using the C6 highway where I enjoyed the coastline of Laguna de Bay. Since the highway had fruit stalls along the way, there were a variety of fruits to entice travelers. We could even buy fresh fish.


I saw fish ponds along the way and dried water lilies embracing the sun. It seems the dried stems of the water lilies could be sold as binders.

Cesar treated us to lunch at a lovely resort in Angono Rizal called Thunderbird Resort. It was very idyllic standing on a hill. The resort had a casino and the restaurant served exotic dishes. Immediately after Thunderbird was the East Ridge Golf Club. I was impressed by the beauty of the greenery and the forest surrounding the golf area.

We finally decided to head back to the city. However, this time the city of Antipolo had a parade so all of the outgoing cars had to take the back route to connect with C6. Because all of us were using the same route we were moving at a snail’s pace. It was then that I noticed shanties on both sides of the road. I really saw squalor, gambling and drinking in these depressed areas as early as 2 p.m. I was shocked to find this place, which they called the Floodway in the midst of what I thought was paradise.

It seems that former president Erap Estrada (or was it Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo?) relocated the squatters from Manila to this place. The colonies of marginalized people were very near the extension of Pasig River. Passing through, the thought “Life is not always black or white” came to my mind.

We reached Dasmarinas Village at about 4:30 p.m. so we decided to take coffee at the Pad to wait for the anticipated mass at St. Alfonso of Liguori chapel. We normally hear mass there before taking the SLex Highway, which merges into the Star Highway on the way home to Batangas.

The beauty of Mt. Maria Makiling always touches me. This time, against the blue sky at night with the white clouds embracing its mountain top, with the sprinkling of stars, I felt transported to another world.

While I am writing this article, I can’t forget the migratory birds that preened while they perched on top of branches whose leaves had fallen to the ground. They enjoyed being watched. They knew they were safe because shooting at birds was not allowed inside the residential compound of Shell.

Late at night I could freely watch the fireflies as they went from bush to bush. What really made my vacation memorable was the joy of watching the love, the values and the strength of three people as they made one big happy family.

Going back to the airport, again I saw the shanties along the river before reaching Naia. I knew that my vacation had fed me with so much beauty, so much improvement as far as resorts, restaurants and subdivisions were concerned. However, the other seedy side still exists.

While the airplane hovered around Mactan Airport before landing, I saw our very own shanties and I said to myself that we still have to work hard to help our brothers feel the bright side of life. While life can be heaven for some of us, since many of us can still avail of the beauty of Tagaytay, Vigan, Palawan, Boracay, etc., we still see the majority of us struggling to survive.

It was Cesar who ages ago first taught me to take out what can still be a full meal from any restaurant we visited. At the first stoplight we came to, we would give the package of food to anyone who came to the car. Perhaps we can practice that too instead of bringing extra food at home?

More than ever, now is the time not to splurge, to limit our spending so we can share more. It does not take much to make others happy.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 02, 2014.


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