CULMINATION ACTIVITY cum AWARDS NIGHT 2014
I have no idea what the title of this weekend’s activities really means, but I believe it is a special event designed to fill the void between the last village celebration and the upcoming Christmas holidays. Every barangay village has their regularly occurring annual fiesta along with a host of other “village created” activities, or as I call them, opportunities to celebrate (party). Our village is definitely no exception. I don’t mind all the ruckus actually, because it seems to contribute towards harmonious civil relations, keeping residents in a happy and festive mood. And I’m fine with all that.
While I don’t remember any special event or activity happening in October of last year, this year is different. It seems our new Barangay Kapitan, the honorable Bernardo Gal, has decided to take his village responsibilities seriously, and personally, using a different approach – through education. Last spring, my wife and I had the privilege of entertaining Mr. Gal and a village Kagawad in our home. During our casual conversation, one of the items we discussed was pollution in the community, and while on this topic, I took the opportunity to suggest that on the whole, as a fishing village, there seemed to be a high level of disrespect for the environment and the very ocean that furnished the many residents with their livelihoods here…not to mention their main source of food. The discussion turned somewhat proactive and, with all in agreeance, the conversation ended with the confirmation that it all begins with education. Now, our brgy. Kapitan seems to have outlined his village improvement plan, which addresses the littering problem, and is well on his way with its implementation. Recently, he issued a formal challenge to the village – for each Purok to construct their own learning center where the children could congregate, read, and learn. Hence, the “Reading Center” challenge was born.
So over the course of the last month, the seven Puroks of Tomaligues have risen to the challenge and have been working fervently, each to be the best in the competition of designing and building their own “Reading Center” – they seemed to have pulled out all the stops. Not only has each Purok gone the extra mile to make their own project look the best, they have all added a trash recycling center as part of the overall message of community pride. Our purok added a garden annex, complete with signs on the plants. The Grand Prize? The simple joy and excitement of beating their friends and neighbors and the added privilege of ‘Gloating’ of course! Most people who are familiar with Filipino culture know it doesn’t take much of a challenge to get them to put their talents and pride on display for a chance to be recognized. Everyone here lives for their 5 minutes of fame…as often as they can get it. Pride is probably one of the strongest motivations in all of Filipino culture, next to money of course.
In my book, our honorable barangay Chairman should be lauded for his efforts that have instilled obvious pride to the people of our village. Big change doesn’t happen overnight here in the Philippines, but when education is the key to making positive change, it doesn’t hurt to have a retired school superintendent in charge. The litter and trash collection problems are constantly being addressed, and there is obvious cohesion shown between neighbors-helping-neighbors…fixing things, sprucing up the village, doing home repairs, etc. Even a new village welcome sign has been constructed and installed. One thing I remember the U.S. Navy always impressed upon its members seems to have gone universal these days – if it doesn’t work and can’t be fixed, paint it…at least it will look good! These days, there is a lot of fixing and painting going on in our village and tonight is the big celebration!
It’s All in the Name of Pride and Recognition
Yesterday and today, boys basketball games and girls volleyball games are being played. Tonight, all the Reading Center and Sports Fest winners will be announced. The speaker delivery truck is here and I can assure you there will be loud music and dancing. All we can hope is that this project message and great community effort remain in focus…not to get lost in the name of pride and recognition…and muddled with yet another hangover. The food, beer, and brandy will be flowing. We have table reservations as special guests (we donated paint for our Reading Center and that elevates us to “special” category) and I won’t be late. Of course I will have to probably buy my own drink, but that’s okay…it’s just another day in paradise!