Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Roadtripping: Ma-ao, Bago City

Roadtripping to Ma-ao, Bago City, or just about any city or town in Negros Occidental is a fun way to explore the island.

One day, I decided, rather on an impulse and in response to a small emergency, to drive some 40 kilometers from Bacolod City to the next city down South, up to one of its popular barangay, Ma-ao. Further up eastward is Pader, an adjacent barangay where my three girls -- Janice, Jo-an, and Joylyn -- and the rest of their family of four other siblings and their mother reside.

They showed us a vast playground of acres and acres of breezy rice and sugarcane fields, dotted with bamboo clumps, and an assortment of trees.

The Ma-ao Creek is vital to their survival. Along its banks are spots of golden earth they call "tae sang bulawan" or excrement of gold. This is where the clearest water spring from and you can dig a well from which to draw drinking water. However, because the creek also serves as the community's wash area and outhouse, drinking water is preferably fetched from the tap a few distance away at PhP2.00 per container.

A few hundred meters ahead is the children's favorite bamboo playground, a lofty perch accessible by bamboo ladder leading to a bed of dry bamboo leaves and twigs where the children spend warm afternoons dreaming of a better life someday.

But then again, what could be better than clean country air, green landscapes, simple living, exotic fruits and pretty flowers in this little paradise in Ma-ao, Negros Occidental?

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