Piraso’s paradise

>> Sunday, October 12, 2014

Roger Sinot

ASIN HOT SPRINGS, Tuba – After reading a leaflet brochure of Tam-awan  Village, a tourist destination that houses Cordillera culture and arts, I realized how wonderful Guisad's Pinsao Proper Barangay was during the pre- American colonial era. By visiting the place, one can imagine what the city looked like 100 or more years ago.

When my forefather Dahay Piraso was steward of the place, animals he and his relatives owned roamed around the valley. Behind the sloppy mountains were thick forests. Busy Cattle were seen in herds eating their meal on grassy upland pastures on mountain sides, while water buffalos (carabaos) took cool baths in the river that flowed along the ricefields of Guisad Valley. To me, this pictures a paradise. It was also the time when people cut down trees only for domestic use. Now, no such a place in the valley can be seen, except in Tam-awan Village. I consider it a paradise lost.

Here is an anecdote by Allan Watts entitled “When Man Aspires to Rule the Earth”. Once upon a time, the mouth, the hands, the feet said to each other, "We do all this work gathering food and chewing it up, but that lazy fellow, the stomach does nothing. It is high time he did some work too, so let's go on strike!" So they let many days to pass without working. But soon found themselves feeling weaker and weaker until at last, each of them realized that the stomach was their stomach, and that they had to go back to work to stay alive.

When we talk about the Philippines, we talk about the land and its people. When we talk about the City of Baguio, we talk about the people, the land, and the environment. Time was when Baguio was a paradise. The problem on environment is rooted from the land. This is a clear picture of the anecdote “when man aspires to rule the earth”. He should realize that man, like the tree, is rooted on the soil. He must accept this fact before he can surge upward to frolic with the wind. In this endeavor, man needs no less than the breath of divinity mentioned in the Bible, in the book of Genesis. Man must embrace, not only himself but all other creatures as well. And by that only can man truly possess the earth.

Here is a message published in the Philippine Star on June 23, 1990 by no less than our very own Jaime Cardinal Sin about the Environmental Day celebration. He attested that “environmental concerns belong to the framework of our moral values and spiritual obligation,” further saying that the “ecological crisis is the responsibility of everyone”. Cardinal Sin continues, “but these ecological problems are just symptoms. At the root of nature's destruction are GREED, SELFISHNESS and the LACK OF CHRISTIAN CONCERNS for our fellowmen, especially the poor and the disadvantaged. We need to rehabilitate nature and human values.”

Dr. Dioscoro L. Umali’s excerpt entitled "Be the Heroes We Never Were - and Live" was published in the Daily Inquirer dated May 2, 1990. "We do not inherit the land from our parents", farmers often say, "We merely borrowed it from our children." Is this then how we, of the fading generation, handled the wealth you entrusted us? We dissipated your environmental capital. In so doing, we endangered your capacity to provide, in the years ahead, daily bread for your families from the land you loaned us.

As prodigal parents, we radically altered your future. Your natural resource base is depleted. Greed of the past has been to that. We lowered the threshold for violence by breeding social unrest. Above all, you will have little time to correct our failures. What hurts most is we stripped the land of its beauty.

 Your children will no longer thrill, as we once did, to the heart-stopping dive of hawk. Nor will they breathe in the fragrance of Pine forest. The rich texture of Philippine mahogany will be, at best, a quaint story for them. Their panoramas will be of drab landscapes, blanketed by sterile cogon grass, not the verdant meadows we knew, as youngsters. The bitter tragedy is: These victims are our grandchildren. They are "Flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone."

We hope that you learn the lesson we never fully grasped: "man's life does not consist in abundance of his possessions, and that sharing and equity constitute the first seed of survival.” Dr. Umali continues, “It has not been easy for me to speak to you in such bleak terms. I have to admit that it is not a rose-tinted commencement speech that one usually hears. But realism compels me to say "Be the heroes we never were - or perish!"

Let us not make a ruined city out of our City of Pines! Happy trails to all settlers of Baguio and all IPs all over the country!


  © Blogger templates Palm by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP  

Web Statistics