Estremera: Fascination

IT’S been over a month, maybe even two, since I went diving. It’s been more since I went up an indigenous peoples’ community.

My dive buddies have become very busy, no one seems inclined to dive, and when they do, I’m the one who can’t. It’s hard to catch up with each other now. My contacts in the mountains seem to have no issues to raise, invitations now come few and far between.

My feet are getting itchy, my lungs are craving for compressed air. There’s just too much to see, express, and do something about, the lull is making me antsy.

I did catch a glimpse of the mountains last week, but in the confines of a speeding van on its way to and from Valencia City in Bukidnon.

Thus, when the event I was attending happened to be right across the section of the public market where people go to have whatever it is they needed to be ground, I immediately crossed the street to gawk at coconuts being grated, peanuts being ground to butter form, and chickens in huge cages waiting for buyers, and three of them hanging on a motorcycle that looked as if it has been through miles and miles of mountain roads just to buy the culled chickens. That was the closest to the mountains that I could go, see, and smell. My excitement couldn’t be contained. Thus, after snapping some photographs and videos, I returned to my companions hoping to drag someone with me to explore the market.

No one was interested.

I’ve been to Valencia City, yes, but never in this part of the public market. Albeit quiet from the outside, with just the occasional vehicles passing through the cemented road, the market was abuzz with activities.

And then I remembered sometime last year, a local personality from another town contacted me. Would I be interested to join a dive safari, she asked. Of course I was. She further asked for recommendations on who else to invite among journalists who dive.

I replied, I’m the only one here.

It wasn’t as if I haven’t been trying to drag colleagues to dive and be certified divers. It’s just that... like the reception I got when I excitedly showed my companions the photos and videos I took of the man grating coconuts and the woman making peanut butter, they were not interested.

Here’s to hoping that the new generations will have more fascination about the things going on around them, here’s to hoping that colleagues will not be content with just being there for one story. But of course, with the mobile phone competing with our attention and sense of fascination, that might be asking too much.

Still, what a sad life that would be, to be fascinated only with the trimmings of life and the pasalubongs and the events, and not feel a jolt of excitement upon seeing culled chickens in cages and peanut butter being made amid the odor of chicken feathers and fermenting coconut water. It was a feast of the senses with all five senses fully engaged.

By afternoon, I was back inside, strapped to my seat, confined in the airconditioned environment of a van for hire... a passive observer of the mountain sceneries zipping past.
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