Monday, July 31, 2006

Plato* isn't just a dish

Take a look at a promotional video for the Philippines:


It's so beautiful, isn't it? This is where I live, and the sheer beauty of the place takes my breath away sometimes. The video says Boracay is the best beach in the Philippines... it really isn't. It's beautiful, yes. The most popular, yes. That's why it's also probably the most commercial. If you're into the party scene, with lots of crowds, then you'll have a great time at Boracay. But if you prefer a more secluded place, something that's off the beaten path, no need to worry. After all, there are over 7,000 islands from which to choose...and a number of them have beaches that are even more pristine and more beautiful than Boracay. Damn, I wish it was summer already. The Genius suggested I take a swim in the ocean (to take a well-deserved break from work). Nice suggestion, but we're in the middle of the rainy season. Not the best time to go beach hopping.

With all the beauty that the Philippines has to offer, it would seem that many of us would be leading the "good life." Well, let's see. I have a hazy memory of my humanities classes back in college (it's being superseded by memories of drinking sessions with buddies, but that's another story) and I remember a little bit of something about Plato's description of the elements of a good life. I'll oversimplify and twist it a bit here. A good life must have beauty, love, and truth.

The video above shows some of the "beauty" aspects of living here. And man, are they beautiful -- no doubt about that. But it doesn't tell the whole story, not by a long shot. Here are some photos of the other side of the coin...the dark side of the truth.

basura
Garbage choking the city's waterways. This sad phenomenon can be found in the provinces too.

squatters
Shanties huddled together. You'll see them under the bridges, along the train tracks, and in many other places.

basurero
Scavenging for food from somebody
else's trash is a daily ritual for many


gutom
The homeless, the starving. A gut-wrenching sight.

So we've got Plato's truth and beauty covered. What about love? Simple. I love this country. I love living here -- because of the beauty, and in spite of the bad and the ugly. I may find myself traveling to other places (and I really will! I want to travel)...but even if something unexpected happens and I find myself living in another country, the Philippines will, in my heart, be the place I call home.

*Plato or pinggan is the Tagalog word for "plate" or "dish." Sometimes you'll find things on your plate that are absolutely yummy -- and others you'll find that you just can't stomach.

9 comments:

Reeholio said...

Hi Lizza,

I watched the promotional video before I scrolled down to the rest of this post. I thought: "Wow, that looks like a fantastic place!" I visited the Philippines in 2003 but only went to Manila, Corregidor Island, Legaspi and Cebu. Unfortunately it was only a very short visit and I saw more of the lower photos and less of the promotional video. However, I did meet a lot of great people there. One thing I learnt from visiting was that with such a large population (82 million I think?) to succeed, you have to work very hard.

I am glad you decided to post both the good and the bad, as it is only fair to give a balanced perspective.

One of the main reasons for creating A World of Bloggers was to see different perspectives on life from around the world. Thanks for giving yours Lizza.

Regards,

Rhys

Lizza said...

Hi Rhys,

It's unfortunate that the overwhelming poverty more than the beauty of the place is what sticks out in the minds of many visitors to this country. In spite of everything, I think we're still a hopeful and positive-minded race overall. :-)

A friend's relative has been living in New Zealand for many years now, and I heard that the scenery you have there is breathtaking -- all those mountains and lakes. The world saw some of those vistas in the LOTR movies, of course. :-)

Thank you again, Rhys, for letting me be part of A World of Bloggers.

P.S. And yes, we have a population of 80-million-plus people -- as opposed to your 80 million sheep? lol

Corky said...

Hi Lizza,

First off, I apologize. I'm so new to blogging I seemed to have erased your comment on my own blog. Sorry about that. At least I know how to comment here... that's easier.

Of truth, beauty and love. My father used to say "you cannot love that which you do not know". For one to love the Philippines, you've to embrace it all in its totality.

There are many perks, just as there are disadvantages. Media tends to focus on the terrible. The few times that they focus on the good... its pathetic. Some are clearly marketing gimmicks, while others stink of some "hidden" political agenda.

Before you go off to another country for your travels, I'd recommend a visit to "Isla Naburot". Its an island north of Guimaras and northwest of Iloilo. The place is so beautiful, you will want to come back. No electricity, but you won't mind. An island with its own small white sand beach. Many friends I know of in my hobby have gone there for their honeymoon. That, in lieu of HongKong or European tours... and these guys can afford quite a bit. So why do they opt for "Isla Naburot"? Because, its a little slice of heaven on earth. :D

Incidentally I do travel a bit. I'm also a travel consultant. When I say its GREAT... I know what I'm talking about.

regards,

Corky

Lizza said...

Thanks for the tip, Corky!

I have a friend who lives near Guimaras... I'll ask her about Isla Naburot.

Btw, no worries about comment deletion. :-)

Corky said...

Hi Lizza,

If you're interested in going, do let me know. Will try to get you a discount. Its owned by relatives (which is why I stayed there for a week for free! The second week tho, I paid quite a bit).

There are also reviews on it on Inquirer. There's a food section there written by Claude Tayag. He usually does reviews for food & restaurants. He was there in Isla for four years (he too is a relative). Once in a while, he writes about Isla.

regards,

Corky

Lizza said...

Hi Corky!

Thank you very much! I promise to let you know once I get things into place. I found a photo online of Isla Maburot. My God!

P.S. Amanpulo is gorgeous too.

Freedom Glutton said...

the exact same situation persists in Pakistan.

Despite the governments tall claims of high economic growth, around 50 percent of the population survives on less than 2 dollars a day.

we live in a world of high income inequality.

Louie said...

Hi Lizza.
Great blog! Great writing too. It's nice to find fellow Bloggers who are Pinoy too. I'm also glad I found the Philippine video you posted. I'll post it on my blog too, if you don't mind :-) I miss Christmas in the Philippines (haven't had Christmas there for over 20 years!), so lately I've looking for videos in YouTube.com for anything Filipino.

BTW, I used to live in Paranaque. Now I live in Los Angeles. I was there in Manila for a Gawad Kalinga build last Jan 2006 and had an awesome experience.

Anyway, I'm glad I found your blog. Keep blogging! :-)

~Louie

Lizza said...

Thanks for stopping by, Louie! Glad to meet another fellow Pinoy blogger, too. You should also visit Pregnant Pauses and My Life With D, they're also written by other Pinoy bloggers.

Go ahead and post the video, I don't mind...got it from YouTube anyhow, hehe. Happy New Year!