Why I write

Sun.Star Baguio - - Opinion -

WORD masters ease to opine that “Farm­ers, Friend­ship, and Fun” is the best choice, and a client quipped against a pop­u­lar theme: Sus­tain­ing the word “Sus­tain­able”? or “Sus­tain­ing” again? Still, the word “sus­tain­able” is a beau­ti­ful mantra in pub­lic ser­vice – “Meet­ing the needs of the present gen­er­a­tion with­out sac­ri­fic­ing the needs of the fu­ture gen­er­a­tion”. Ul­ti­mately, the body ap­proved, “La Trinidad: My home…my pride” for the 2019 ver­sion of the Straw­berry Fes­ti­val.

The Straw­berry Fes­ti­val is our cel­e­bra­tion as a Straw­berry Town. The Straw­berry Farm alone pro­vides a hun­dred­mil­lion econ­omy for the Cap­i­tal town. This in­cludes the 250 pasalubong ven­dors, the 625 Straw­berry Farm­ers (ex­clud­ing the 500 out­side the val­ley plains), trans­port ser­vices, and the restau­rants and ac­com­mo­da­tion es­tab­lish­ments. Take away the Straw­berry Farms and more than 1,000 fam­i­lies will lose their liveli­hood, take away Straw­ber­ries and more than 10,000 of our con­stituents will suf­fer. If a pasalubong vendor, or a farmer de­rives an av­er­age of 8,000 to 12,000 monthly in­come from the ac­tiv­i­ties at the Straw­berry Farm, and since our of­fice as­cer­tained that a thou­sand of them are in the area, we con­cluded that about an an­nual 96 mil­lion to 144 mil­lion is cir­cu­lat­ing as a tourist-re­lated econ­omy with­out even adding the re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties; the jam and wine pro­duc­tion, park­ing fees, trans­port ser­vices, ac­com­mo­da­tions’ and restau­rants’ in­come. Adding all pro­jected re­ceipts of tourism­re­lated goods and ser­vices, the econ­omy will reach 200 mil­lion or more. The most es­sen­tial fact how­ever is that 1 out of 10 per­sons in La Trinidad is di­rectly or in­di­rectly in­volved in the town’s tourism in­dus­try (pri­mary and sec­ondary tourism es­tab­lish­ments).” WRIT­ING is one of the old­est pro­fes­sions and many greater and ex­cel­lent souls have penned in­sight­ful and in­spir­ing ar­ti­cles about why they write.

It is too far for me to rank my­self among the best but be­ing a writer of some sort my­self, to be more spe­cific a colum­nist ( a year each) for two lo­cal pa­pers, and later, for the Baguio Sun Star for about two decades now, had me query­ing my­self about why I write each year, like I am do­ing now.

To cut a long story short, this is the first time I am set­ting my thoughts on the sub­ject in an ar­ti­cle like this, and hav­ing it pub­lished in this col­umn.

Ac­tu­ally, I was trained to write jour­nal­is­tic ar­ti­cles dur­ing our stint as cam­pus writ­ers in col­lege. Later, I served as a cor­re­spon­dent for an in­ter­na­tional wire bureau be­fore I joined the gov­ern­ment.

I never stopped writ­ing about events and/or about pieces of my mind on our ac­tiv­i­ties and any­thing that in­ter­est me as an agri­cul­tural and ru­ral de­vel­op­ment worker.

The ac­quired pas­sion of writ­ing and shar­ing my ar­ti­cles in the main­stream me­dia, and later so­cial me­dia, landed me a job as chief in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer of our depart­ment in the Cordillera un­til my pro­mo­tion to a new post, as su­per­vis­ing sci­ence re­search spe­cial­ist, about two years ago.

But the pas­sion has been seeded and rooted ear­lier by my mother who chanted her sto­ries to us be­side the hearth af­ter din­ner and be­fore we went to bed.

One of her chanted sto­ries, for in­stance, painted a war­rior in my mind danc­ing to the tune of gongs and drums played by el­derly but strong men.

Soon the chant be­came mag­i­cal with its words. The sounds of the gongs and drums be­came the wind that car­ried the war­rior as he soared like the ea­gle in flight. He swooped and swayed, dived and soared up higher into the vast­ness of the heav­enly space be­fore him.

When the war­rior swayed this way and there, and then dived be­fore climb­ing up to a lim­it­less space and pos­si­bil­i­ties. the peo­ple watch­ing the war­rior danced, soared, and swayed with him in this great dance.

I like it when words cre­ate im­ages like this that make the world and its in­hab­i­tants dance and imag­ine life in an­other realm, although I have yet to craft and stitch pow­er­ful words of my own cre­ation into a beau­ti­ful land­scape mo­saic, or sway­ing green leaves even those that fall to the ground.

It is of­ten dur­ing the youth­ful days that I went saun­ter­ing in the woods. On those oc­ca­sions, I hear the trees gather and talk in a chant while their branches and leaves swayed and danced with the wind like we some­times do while my mother chanted her sto­ries and played her flute.

It was a mem­ory that has al­ways re­turned even if I of­ten strayed and ne­glected its de­vel­op­ment. To­day, it deep­ens a need for me to be­come an in­tel­lec­tual of sub­stance, which I am not. I re­al­ize that I pos­sess an in­tel­lect that could hardly in­ter­pret the events, im­ages, signs, and for­mats that peo­ple cre­ate in the end­less quest for per­sonal and com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment.

Some folks who are un­in­formed on writ­ing and its many forms are of­fended when they hear that I do not have a Ph.D. in any field of sci­ence. They have ex­pressed their dis­dain di­rectly and in­di­rectly to my face for writ­ing about top­ics that they felt should be tack­led only by ex­perts. For ex­am­ple, “How can I write about a place and its peo­ple when I just vis­ited the place only once?” They then com­pare my writ­ing to the works of Henry Scott, for in­stance, about the Igorots or some for­eign ar­chae­ol­o­gist who spent re­search time and funds in a place.

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