Nature, Humans, and Dogs (?)

Nature has its way of manifesting itself so that people would realize how powerful it is. What I mean is that people – we – take nature for granted: the big tree in the yard that we used to play hide-and-seek on while we were kids, the rivers that we used to bathe in as kids (well, some of us did!), the trees that lined the boulevard and streets, the trees that lined the many roads and avenues of Dumaguete, and so on…

Yes, I, like so many of you out there, take nature for granted. Then, things happen. Things that we’d rather not happen but happen they did, anyway. Things that make one think that nature should not be taken for granted because, when we do, it catches us offhand, unaware.

Of the many instances that make me appreciate nature – and Dumaguete! – the craziest but best memories I could dig up were the following:

My Cebu Life

Back in 2005 to sometime around 2007, I was working in Cebu. Well, I actually started living in Cebu City in April of 2005 because of the review for the board examination. When I got my license (as Chemist) in September, it was but natural that I continue living in Cebu. Of course, jobs for the profession are a dime a dozen in Cebu, whereas, finding one if Dumaguete would be very difficult. It was my luck that by October, I already got a job at a well-known Cement Factory. Cebu, being a highly industrialized business city, is bustling with life but has only about 10-20% greens (plants or trees). The air was so polluted that one could hardly breathe without feeling the grit and smoke of the passing cars.

Living in San Fernando, Cebu was almost like home – trees, grasses, the beach, and more bushes. Still, because of the cement factory, the air was still grimy plus the place was still almost as hot and humid as the city even when it is 30 km away! I managed to group my days at work so that I work for 10 days straight then have 4 days of rest – enough for me to go home to Dumaguete. Those 4 days were among the most treasured days every two weeks. My  siblings and Bobby (then, my boyfriend) would look at me like I was crazy (well, they actually tell me that I am crazy) because I would spread my arms in the air as we ride our motorcycle home and breathe the air of Negros, of Dumaguete. They would then laugh at me because they say that the air in Dumaguete is polluted but I didn’t care – the air here smelled of trees, of grassses, yes, still of cars and motorcycle exhaust but the smell of the acacia trees overpowers the pollution.

You don’t really believe me? Well, try living in Cebu City for months, then, come back – you’d probably hug a tree when you arrive 😀

Nature Strikes

I had recently blogged about Jolina, the storm. Still, even when she was such a pest and made our lives miserable, she didn’t do much damage – unlike Kiko, the one that came right after her. Kiko was the storm that Maree and I feared when we saw the PAGASA bulletin because the clouds were super large. Still, it didn’t bring much rains to Dumaguete. Still, it brought strong gusts of wind that could possibly be pointed as the reason for the two large acacia trees falling to the ground – one in Bacong (which is 200+ years) and another near the north side of the city.

This is probably nature’s revenge – revenge for what, I do not know. Still, it brought 1 death and hours of traffic at the north highway. The Bacong tree fell away from the street – towards the bakery that stood to its west side. I am not good at gathering news stories but because Bobby and I passed there on the same day that it fell, we saw that it damage a portion of the building and some electrical wires that was on its immediate vicinity. I assume that the incident did not harm anyone.

The tree near NSO fell with a dramatic swoop – slamming on a passing motorcab-for-hire, killing the driver. It was a gloomy Saturday for Dumaguete. The electricity was out until afternoon for some of the northern barangays while the whole city with abuzz with news of the driver’s predicament. People, as usual, went to see the proceedings – of getting the driver out from under the tree. Even when the driver was taken out and brought to the hospital (but DOA), people continued to flock there as related by my cousin who also went to see the event. It was indeed a sad day. Then, just this morning, it was mentioned on the radio that the driver’s family was so poor that the wake was held on candle-light because they do not have electricity. Tsk tsk… shouldn’t somebody from the government assist the man, his wife, and three young kids? Yes, it was a tree that killed the man – nobody’s tree, perhaps, but it is within the city’s jurisdiction, along the city’s roads! It is but proper that assistance be given to the man’s family and for his burial even when he is a citizen of the adjacent municipality of Sibulan!

On Dogs

On the lighter side, our dogs are having fun (or are tortured) walking/jogging with us down the tree-lined avenue near our home 😀 Alvin said that exercise wouldn’t make me thin but it could make me lose some of the arthritic pain on my knees and joints 😀 Twingkay is getting bigger – she’s almost 6 kilograms already!

Smartie aka Wingkay aka Brownie aka Bulldog

My cousin Noel gave me a little doggie. When she arrives yesterday (from Cebu), she was so tired and scared that she kept on hugging my hand. With hugging I mean that she was holding on to my arm with her two arms. I tried to pry her away but she clung tight and her claws would come out 🙂 So, I allowed her to stay that way until she felt that she was already safe.

A few minutes later, she slowly started exploring our living room. The floor was so shiny that she kept on slipping 😀 Still, she wouldn’t bark but kept on exploring until she got the hang of walking on the slippery floor.

Because she was seemed thirsty, I gave her water but she wouldn’t lap on it. I then gave her some fresh milk that I was drinking and voila! she lapped away as if it was the only meal she has ever received 😀 Here’s a video of her having a meal. She even had second helpings.

My cousin had named her “Smartie” but I laughingly called her “Wingkay” after “Winkle” my pet name for my cousin Noel. Still, my mother-in-law calls her “Brownie” and Auntie Aling calls her “Bulldog”. Uh-oh! Too many names for such a little fella 🙂

A sleeping Wingkay

A sleeping Wingkay

pensive mode

pensive mode


P.S. My cousin wants the “Wingkay” to be renamed to “Twingkay” so that the name won’t be so obviously linked to his name LOL

Mermaid in Dumaguete

I’ve always believed in mermaids as a child – I loved the idea of beautiful maidens with long hairs and fish tails (who doesn’t?).

However, at the heels of the recent flood in Dumaguete and nearby towns came the story that had the city – well, the province – buzzing with wonder and delight: a mermaid (or three of them as per some accounts) was caught of the seas of Amlan, Negros Oriental. According to the grapevine (of text messages, etc.), the mermaid/s was caught some days before the floods happened. A foreigner bought the mermaid then donated it to Silliman University Marine Laboratory – in some accounts, he donated the littlest one then brought the other two home.

The mermaid (at the marine lab) died but not before dire warnings were issued by the merpeople left at sea to return the captured mermaid/s. Most of the fishermen that caught the mermaid/s have already died and the only one alive is in a 50-50 condition. The merpeople allegedly vowed to cause destruction if the mermaid/s is not returned to sea. Also, the mermaid at the marine lab was a suckling baby – that is why it died.

When I was asked about the story, I had some doubts – although, honestly, I wished really hard that it was true. After all, I love mermaids and to see a real one in my lifetime would be a dream come true.

However, so many questions came to my mind that it was getting more and more difficult to believe that the story was true.

  1. Why did the foreigner buy the mermaid then donate it to the marine lab? If I was the one who bought it, would I donate it? Definitely, not! 😀
  2. Why were there no real reports on newspaper about the find? If it were a real mermaid, the TV people would have been informed. After all, this is a really spectacular find!

    the mermaid and the fisherman - but definitely not the one from amlan LOL

    the mermaid and the fisherman - but definitely not the one from amlan LOL

  3. How did the people understand the merpeople’s words when they “talked” about reclaiming their captured member?
  4. Why is it that after more than a week into the supposed “event”, no one has ever said that he really saw the mermaid – and it is supposed to be “displayed” over at the marine lab?

The clouds were very ominous this morning – really huge and black ones can be seen over the mountain. A neighbor fearfully remarked that the mermaid should have been returned but since it is too late then we just have to live with constant floods {sigh}. I remarked a bit sarcastically that we are now going to die :D.

So, is the mermaid real? Based on the reasons I had stated above, it probably isn’t. Oh, I still believe in the lore but this is just another urban legend that people conjured to “understand” why the flood was so huge and damaging.
The one who spun this wild tale must be really pleased with himself right now as the story is still the talk of the city one week after the supposed “capture”.

However, I still wish it was a real mermaid.

Dumaguete Flood – Destruction of SacSac (Bacong) Road

After the flood last Saturday, one can say that many parts of Dumaguete and nearby towns will never be the same again. Perhaps, it might be possible to reconstruct the roads but can the city still manage to reconstruct the lives of thousands of people affected?

Let me share the pictures that my brother and I took of the destruction at SacSac, Bacong – this is the “bridge” portion. This is perhaps the biggest damage located south of Dumaguete. Of course, the biggest damage can be found along Banica river but let allow me to start with that farthest from the city.

The road is so damaged that all 4-wheel vehicles are not allowed to pass through. Oh, they can still fit through the undamaged portion but that part may crumble further due to pressure. So, Ceres buses and large trucks are a common sight along the Bajumpandan barangay road.

I am not an engineer but I can say that the damaged road will surely need several months before it can be used by large vehicles again. That means that  south-bound people have to take the long route via Bajumpandan then Valencia. This also means that the barangay road will become damaged in a few weeks time. That is because the road is a small one in the first place – most of the road can only accommodate a large truck and a motorcycle. When two trucks meet, both of them have to share the small space and the right wheels pass over the soil portion right next to the road. I’m hoping that it won’t rain again or the trucks are going to have a lot of trouble.

Also, the barangay road already has a lot of potholes due the the recent flood. Yes, give it two weeks and the asphalt road will have very large potholes.

Anyway, back to SacSac road, you can check out the following video to see a portion of the damage.

Video: Damaged SacSac (Bacong) road