The quaint, little and big town of Siruma lies on the northeastern section of Camarines Sur, much properly on a peninsula jutting out to the sea. Its shore is lapped by the cool waves of the Pacific, while the inland territory is generally of mountainous terrain abundantly sun-basked.
It is a little town when one considers the minuscule population of 17,035 (per 2007 official census). It is a small ticket viewed from the perceived importance of existence to the powers that be outside the municipal level. It is small if its 2008 annual income of P34,875,833 is the gauge.
It is big with a land area of 127.43 km2 (49.2 sq mi) compared to other towns of the province including the city of Naga. It is big because its people have large belief on their God-given place, having stayed that long despite its “remoteness” on things convenient and nice.
It is big because it faces the wide expanse of the Pacific, fearless of the waves that one day may turn unfriendly and help may take long to come. It is big because the air is fresher and cleaner than anywhere else. It is big because the limit of one’s unobstructed view is limited only by the capabilities of sight of the naked eyes.
The generation of residents who peopled the town proved their strength and tenacity despite the geographical adversity that confronts their daily conduct of normal life since its founding year.
Siruma, like its neighboring municipalities, was a chunk of territory from the pioneering old Spanish town of Quipayo. At one remote time in its history, it was annexed to the province of Camarines Norte. It was understandable then, and a better arrangement due sea travel across the waters of San Miguel was more efficient and quick. Besides, there was no other choice.
Quick flashback. In 1995, Siruma pictured clear and loud over the national consciousness, albeit five minutes of non-fame and tragedy. Super typhoon Rosing hit and made landfall on the town and brought damage to property and death to some residents. Indeed, help got on the way and took some time for the waiting citizens. After that, Siruma faded from the fickle and selective national consciousness.
Before, to get to Siruma or any barangay of the town, one has to travel by the unreliable motorized passenger boats at the port of barangay Bagacay in Tinambac, or by motorized (fishing) boat from Sabang, Calabanga.
Trip departures in Bagacay was always dependent on the tide. Low tide means the boat may have difficulty navigating the narrow estuarine that leads to San Miguel bay. Since many of the trips are under the canopy of stars, many boat sinking accidents have occured due to non-regulation and supervision by the authorities.
Siruma is the last municipality after Tinambac following the 80-km route of the secondary national road that starts from Naga, then traverses Calabanga onward to Tinambac and its endpoint. The road is the umbilical cord that connects its people to the outside world. It is a government infrastructure that is more wanting of upgrade and maintenance.
(To be continued.)
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