Friday, September 02, 2005

punta dumalag

davao continues to surprise the child in me, as it unravelled yet another one of its multitude of faces. i was at punta dumalag yesterday, i attended the last day of training of grassroots peace building initiatives. i did not get much out of the training though but as i left punta dumalag at the end of the day, i promised myself that i would return to this place at a more opportune time.

i stepped into its embrace early afternoon. the sun is beating hard on the pavement, as i waited in front of the rolee bread house for a matina - dumalag jeep. having asked for the directions earlier from our land lady as i hurriedly put down my bag from kabacan. i was already contemplating to light up a ciggy, just then the characteristically large jeepneys that regularly ply the route went racing.

it was hard light, so i donned my "oakey" shades and rode the jeep. i am quite familiar with the aplaya already, but still sat sideways just to make sure that i am in the right direction. after all, adventures, such as this are meant to be experienced face up. the jeep took a right turn towards dumalag and right before my eyes, the scenery began to transform.

there was the sea on the right side, a wide expanse of the south western part of the davao gulf that nestles and is being embraced by land, perhaps it is santa cruz on the other side came into view. i closed my eyes and breathed in a sigh. i smiled in my mind as i remembered every good thing that happend when i was with the sea. i clutched memories as they raced through my mind reminding me of the beauty and the music i create and dance with the water. i filled my lungs with the saline air, thankful that it is neither inhaling smoke, tobacco or otherwise.

on my left are shanties, dwellings of people, even a multi-purpose gym that hosted a cockfighting match that day. i envy these people who have the sea as the backdrop of their dramas and comedies. their skin are a sparkling bronze that bore the brunt of being exposed too much under the sweltering sun. their men looked hardy as they pull their nets and hope for a day's catch that could sustain their families. fishing is obviously the livelihood of choice of the people, with the shore lined with fishing vessels: from the small and fast, to the big and lingering, from the yet to be finished to the antiquated and all rusted up one.

i remember how it has been more difficult for the fisherman than the farmer. with the farmer, he has the weather to contend with, and the inputs to control. the fisherman has the weather to contend with and the sea to control him. the jovial mood of the people that day however, lulled this notion to rest. not today perhaps. it is simply a nice day to think about that.

i spent the next 4 hours in seagull resort, listening to peace advocates talk about their experiences in building peace zones, peace sanctuaries, spaces for peace etc.

the program ended at almost six in the afternoon. i rushed outside the seagull resort to embrace the sunset. as i walked towards the waiting jeepney that should take me home, i paused a glance at my favorite time of the day and felt its blessing penetrate my soul. apo invites the sun hidden under a blanket of clouds to rest for the day. i felt a rush of comfort to be there at that exact time to witness this loving gesture of nature. i felt the pressures of the last week lift from my shoulders. i thanked davao for its wonderful coming home present.

as i bid goodbye, i remember that there is a much photographed tree in dumalag. i did not chance upon it this time. i surely would be back next time to say hi to it. in the meantime, i go home.

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