Nature’s bounty

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

WHERE there is bounty and nature is blessed, there is not much need for man’s intervention. That is what is most striking in this “new” restaurant in Baganga, Davao Oriental where we had lunch during our visit last week.

The name on the sign outside a wooden gate says, “Greenyard Resto Bar” below the name in small print reads: “Established after typhoon Pablo 2013.” I’m not sure where it was, all I know is that it’s in the poblacion near the sea (but then, Baganga is a coastal town, so everything must be near the sea).

If you are into construction materials, you will notice that this is not your regular construction. Rather, it is made of bits and pieces of old lumber and other stuff – outstanding among the decors on the stark recycled walls were two window panels with capiz shells.


The destruction that came with Pablo has been put to good use and the good life once again flourishes as we enter to behold… lobsters and shrimps and two lechon biiks. There were other viands, but I forgot what. (For how can you cast your eyes on other viands when lobsters, shrimps, and lechons are staring at you, pray tell?)

The restaurant is naturally ventilated. No make that, just a set of roofs and pieces of walls put together, giving it a rustic appeal made more appealing by the food on the buffet table. Drool.

This brought us back to just four days after Pablo hit. Taking the long backdoor route via Bislig in Surigao del Sur because the Davao Oriental roads were impassable, we finally reached Cateel the second to the last town of Davao Oriental, eight hours later. I again visited the ground zero a week later, but managed to go farther to Baganga (the third to the last town). On both occasions, lechons were being broiled on coals in almost all neighborhoods. The prevailing idea we got was that, with food getting scarce, kill the pig. Months later, visiting to check out possible area to put up a memorial monument with best buddy Kublai Millan, we were already chomping on big fat crabs in coconut milk and huge shrimps (I swear they were not prawns) served in a karinderia. Even those who spent weeks there either as relief workers or as journalists were joking that life there was very difficult after the typhoon, they were having lobsters for lunch and prawns for dinner.

We can laugh about it now, the town is now slowly recovering from the massive destruction, but we also can learn a lot. While indeed Pablo crippled the residents, taking away their homes and their farms, nature provided and continues to provide. Now what will happen if we allow those darn people in national government agencies to bring in mining companies all over this province that is nurtured and blessed by nature?
Should a typhoon as strong or stronger than Pablo hit when all the mountains and waters are already laid to waste by mining, then people will just starve and die because not even biiks can survive mine tailings and sluice.

Let us thus feast on the lobsters to make us realize that these are nature’s gifts to us; let’s nurture nature in return.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 06, 2014.


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