On the day and time we were supposed to depart for the twin barangays of Binanuaanan in upland Calabanga, rain poured in abundance it was more than enough to give us a good bath. We had to cancel the trip.
The next day, the weather was a complete opposite. We departed from the town center popularly referred to as Parada, after filling gas from nearby station. While it was just past 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon, the sweltering heat from the sun drenched us of perspiration with a swathe of dust from the street. I felt sticky while on the backseat of brother Bob’s motorcyle.
Our main objective was to have a look and see of barangays Binanuaanan Pequeño and Binanuaanan Grande. (Just in case the reader is having difficulty reading the barangay, it is pronounced as BEE-NAN ( as in NUN) -WA-ANAN. And PE-KEN-YU. That was easy!) These upland barangays, a handful neighboring more, if you will ask, are nestled on the mighty shoulder of now dead, if not dormant, Mt. Isarog.
Old folks still refer to Isarog as the navel of the Bicol region. A side story here says that in earlier times one western explorer hiked and braved the summit of the volcano and dropped on its crater a marked object. Later on, the object was located floating in the Pacific ocean. Also, a grandmother told us that if water leaked on the mountain top, it will surely drown the fertile lands of the region and convert it into a wide flooded land. I would say these are more in the genre of a legend than really that close to truth. But can be a good plot of a fantaserye, too.
We got the impression that going to Binanuaanan present some inconvenience, difficulty and a challenge to its residents and visitors since the only mode of transportation are motorized tricycles and habal-habal or motor bike only. Habal service has become popular when one’s destination is a remote village of the town. Enterprising owners operate this with one or more passengers taking a back ride with the motorist. Some years back, there used to be jeepneys that regularly ply the route. The lack of mass travellers just killed the jeepney trips.
From the town center it was an easy ride, passing thru the poblacion barangays of San Pablo, San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Ratay on a paved road. At or near the entrance to the road from Paolbo to the barangay, we met a good view of wide corn plantations, some of the crops have matured with farmers busy in their harvesting chore. Signages of “farm” or “resort” are conspicuously displayed tucked in gates or trees.
But while the greenery is good and pleasing to the eyes, the road is not!
Some portions of the road on Paolbo side needs asphalt treatment due evident heavy road usage of what seems to be telltale signs of big trucks badly damaged the thoroughfare into host of potholes.
Other than that, we were confronted with an unfinished road system that looks like the construction job was meant to be uncompleted for all eternity. While it is supposed to be a two-lane affair, one lane was cemented for a few meters or so while the other half is baking soil. Then the pattern changes so that our motorcycle had to swerve on the other side since the other side is cemented while the other half is not! We assume that there had been some report purporting to the completion of the road system somewhere in the echelons of the government bureaucracy.
How we wonder, who among government officials and agencies are the culprits, could it be the past or present: mayor of Calabanga, the governor of Camarines Sur, the congressman of the second district (now Calabanga is part of the 3rd district), the Department of Public Highways, a certain senator, the barangay captains, the contractor, take your pick. But your choice can not be limited to one entity, there will always be this scenario of bribery and anomaly.
Connecting this in the current political scene, the honorable Governor Luis Raymond Villafuerte and the honorable congressman of the second district Datu Arroyo are slugging it out for the congressional seat in their district, each one trying to upstand the other. In their area, campaign tarpaulins claiming this and that finished public works project as theirs. Even as it is good to remind these honorable men that said projects, may it be completed or unfinisihed yet were funded from the coffers of the government which are the people’s money, and not from their own pocket. So now, there really is a good argument against E-pals after all.
Coming back to the topsy turvy road of Binanuaanans, can the good and honorable gentelemen or office concerned please tuck in your campaign tarpaulins on the barangays and claim credit for the road construction so we will not find it hard to identify who among the many were the real a_sho_e?
Read Part 2, here: In Binanuaanan women are from Mars and men from Venus