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    HAPPY NEW YEAR!  HAPPY THREE KINGS! As we are now in 2019, new year, new beginnings, new challenges and  new opportunities.  Everyone is entitled to make their new year’s resolution for as long as they keep it in mind and make sure that they do it to the best of their ability.  When I was young [...]

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Page added on August 25, 2017

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Beyond Postcard

By: Tigs Tidalgo

He struggles for things we take for granted. He worries how to clothes and shelters his family. There are times when he wonders where to get the next meal. He is a small farmer in the barrio. The harvest is few weeks away and the list he owes at the corner store is already quite long. Though he senses the reluctance on the face of Aling Sylvia, the store owner and his kumadre, she still extends her patience to honour his credit. He already owed her heavily since last year when the harvest was poor due to lack of rain.

This year is different. The harvest is good. But most of his crops will go to the store to pay his debts and the rest to the loan shark who lent him money to cultivate a hectare of rice field he owned through the government program of land reform. He has nothing left after he pays his bills.

Three of his five children are enrolled in the barrio school. His wife, Sabina is carrying the sixth. The quality of education is poor. His oldest daughter, Mingay is already in grade four and though her interest is to become a novelist, she has not yet memorized the alphabet.

Young barrio women are lured by the glitters of big cities. They heard stories about fortune and fame and aspire to share the good life. They instead become housemaids and in some cases working in ill-refute nightclubs as hostesses. They ultimately find themselves selling their bodies as prostitutes. Mingay, when she fully develops her curves is a likable candidate.

Barrio folks are the most overlooked people. While highways, bridges, overpasses and other infrastructures are built and buildings are racing to the sky in big centers, the feeder roads from inner barrios to the main highways has been dismally ignored for ages. There was once an incident where a small town mayor was kidnapped and the ransom demand was to repair the already impassable road for sometime. The road was fixed quickly.

Technology has put men to the moon and advancement in sciences is incredible. It is beyond understanding that in this day in age some barrios still have no electricity. They are still in the kerosene ingenuity to light up their houses. The toilet is still a latrine type open pit and is located a distance away from the house. Indoor plumbing is still unheard of. The only valid excuse to justify this is that Philippines is still a developing country. Nevertheless, sound reasoning fails to reconcile the length in time it takes for a barrio toilet to develop.

Rice stalks dance in rhythm with the summer breeze. Coconut palm trees gently sway and lush green banana leaves murmur as it hugs the somber wind.  He stares upon the horizon being contrasted against the fading glow of sunset. It is  a lively sight. It’s an idyllic postcard picture of the land he was born and raised.

But beauty is least in his heart. The agony in poverty occupies his mind. He is not alone. Many families in his barrio share his fate. He visualizes the hardship his family endures after the harvest. The fruit of his labour for the whole year is not enough to pay his basic needs. Another mouth to feed is coming. His family is not only increasing in numbers, but his children are also growing up. What kind of life awaits them? The future is bleak.

It’s a cruel world.


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