Thursday, January 28, 2010

Oriental Mindoro Tours: Calapan City

* a river in Calapan; leads out to the sea perhaps

* another shot of the river, yet another victim of pollution

One thing that I have always observed in coming to Calapan is the simplicity of things. But this should not be associated with, nor be used to replace the notion of, backwardness. Their life is interesting in their own respect. Anyway, the first things that should greet you upon arriving by RO-RO ship or the ever-speedy SuperCat are the noises in the busy pier and the sea air – rich in salt aroma and fish smell. A short ride on a tricycle would bring you the main place, Calapan.

Despite having missed back then the opportunity to dig in the city’s past (it was too late when I decided to head for their library), I nevertheless enjoyed the scattered old houses that give you at least a glimpse of what the place looked like before.

The biggest find I had was the former Mindoro High School, now Jose J. Leido Jr. Memorial National High School (LEMNAHIS). This is where, as accounts say, NVM Gonzalez took up his formative studies when he was young. Parts of the school probably destroyed by the Second World War, there is a plate in their main building stating America’s aid to the restoration of the school through the Philippine Rehabilitation Act of 1946. Their library looks the same as all the other school buildings that were built through the help of the foreigners (read the Americans) after WWII. When we made our visit, there were rooms that were unusable because of the onslaught of the typhoon Milenyo (2006) at that time.

* open grounds of LEMNAHIS

* JJ library

* inside Calapan church (forgot the name); I wonder if those are bamboo pipe organ?

* the church facade

* an entrance to an abandoned building; too bad there were no markings that may at least identify the structure

* house

* old balcony

* as always… informal settlers

* downtown Calapan

* beats the Rizal Shrine’s exterior color

Night winds are particularly severe especially during the Christmas season, but one would definitely enjoy the nights which have always been packed with many adventures – finding a beautiful stray pet dog, meeting new people in the middle of the street at night, takutan moments, among other.

I can still remember one time when I had to spend the night with a team of barangay tanod [patrols] and share with them the night full of stories, gossips, pandesal [literally, bread of salt]. Those were pure camaraderie born in the night. I could very well say right now that,good things are not always confined to the metropolis. For although Calapan is already a city, it is still characterized by the provincial beauty that you cannot, in any way, understand unless you get to experience it. Do you think that there is such a thing as falling in love with a city?

* a visit to the seashore; I just do not remember the name of the place

* my old cellphone; almost got lost on the way to this place; good things the tricycle driver returned it to us

* makeshift stair/walk to the seashore; partly destroyed by typhoon Milenyo

* lobby of a hotel, don’t recall the name, sorry

* big eat at Hungry Kings Restaurant in Calapan

Note: There have been many instances when a visit to Calapan was made; thus the photographs shown in this entry do not, in any way, been arranged chronologically, instead they have been random choices from the files I have in hand. Nevertheless, it is a hope that it would be a help, and a pleasure as well, to those who would chance upon this entry.

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