I just arrived back in Leyte this afternoon and had a repeat of the feeling I had the first time I arrived here a year ago: holy crap, this is nice.
I was snapping pictures from the airplane, but had the aisle seat so gave up when I thought I got everything I could get. Then, right before landing, we turned into a beautiful scene of the mountains and coconut trees puncturing and brushing against a bright blue sky, but my camera was in the bag! Oh yeah, one more turn, and we landed on the runway facing the ocean, with Samar across the pond.
Riding in the van from the airport to Burauen was great, except for my daughter getting motion sickness and puking in my lap. Thank god for her favorite pillow to soak most of the blow. There were still 20 minutes of driving, so that's a lot of time to avoid the stickiness. Thanks wife for passing that on to our kids. Her daughter puked after a taxi ride to the mall the other day.
Anyways, riding through all that lush green was amazing. I know better, but it really feels like this is paradise. I don't really see poverty out here in the countryside. I know people are poor, but they're hard workers. For all the stereotyping I've done of Filipinos not working, this afternoon, I saw nothing but hard labor in the fields and along the road. These guys out here aren't lazy. I feel a little insecure with my flabby self, having taught Korean kids how to play "hangman" for the last 5 years, while these guys have done "man-work".
Even the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well out here. I was seeing it in Marikina City more and more, compared to the past, this trip. But now being in the countryside, all I see is people setting up small businesses or working as laborers. It's like it's the same thing I was always looking at, but I'm seeing it differently now. I don't know why. Maybe it's just the giddiness of being back, and actually looking to join their ranks. All I saw along the road were signs for lechon, and it made me feel really comfortable with the business we dove into.
Later in the day we got to visit our farm for the first time and I was really happy with that. Business is going well. I thought we were going to sell all 30 pigs at once and sit on a giant sum of money, but it's not going to happen like that. Instead, we'll sell 2~3 pigs a day and get the money gradually. Either way, as long as we're getting paid. I'm still waiting for my lump sum pension refund from Korea, so we're running low on what we brought, and could use the cash injection.
I don't know. It just never ceases to amaze me why everyone runs to the city, regardless of the country. I understand the attractions when it's a cool metropolis like Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, or a similar place in a modern country. But in the developing world, cities are dirty, polluted, crime ridden, stripped of culture, and such. Why would a Filipino rather work hard for pennies in a polluted city, than work for pennies in the beautiful surroundings of their home province surrounded by friends and family?
Similarly, why do a lot of foreigners opt for the large cities? I don't know. I loved what I saw today, and to me, this is where the real adventure is. To each their own, but you can't beat fresh air and scenery.