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Old Hometown - Manila
by Marc
April 12, 2009


I was sweating hard, I remember. Under the sun, my childhood friends and I were playing , with our bare feet stamping across the sun-stricken, grassy grounds. The dust from a quarry floated nearby in the swirling winds, reaching every corner of our face. We climbed trees and rested on their branches when we got tired.

I remember, before my friends and I parted ways, we liked spending a little more time to relax and cool our worn-out, yet youthful, bodies in a crystal-clear, rejuvenating river. Most of the time, we had already gone home before the night sky darkened our virgin city.

When I was finally by myself in my room, I liked gazing at the sparkling diamonds, scattered across the infinite black blanket above. I sat beside my window—mouth agape— and wondered at the nature that adorned my beloved city. Technology was not a necessity back then—I didn’t need a computer, a cell phone, nor videogames We even made our own toys, so I simply played my guitar or read a book or two, to burn some time.

Now I look at this modern town, and without giving a second look at certain places, I wouldn’t recognize them. My childhood Eden has turned into a concrete jungle. Commercialized, over-populated and polluted, my paradise has become. Tall and mighty buildings replaced the trees that I used to climb. Factories emits poisonous chemicals into the air, and cast out strips of gray clouds. Sky-scrapers loom above a dead, stagnant river, asphalt and concrete highways exist in exchange for the grassy grounds,

Ah! In this place, my  old hometown is nowhere to be found. I look a these kids— thankful, I am not one of them—holding drugs in their hands, and sniffing their hunger away. They are either a student in a luminous uniform, learning from the best books, and practicing skills with the help of modern equipment, or a beggar wrapped in abominable garb, knees on the ground, faces facing towards the pavement beneath them, with their hands on top of their heads, waiting for a good citizen to give them a thread of hope to hang onto; they are either educated or illiterate. It is sad to see people wandering and shopping inside a mall and ignoring the fellow human beings sitting outside and few breaths away from dying with their eyes wide open, consciously facing their death in the face of a promising future.

Not everyone can follow. Some were unprepared and left behind, still clinging to those good old days where everything was simple. Some were unequipped and were badly beaten in aggressive competitions.

I know that in this world, there is a need for constant change. But we must remember that every step that we take towards success, there is nature and people we must consider. Development and augmentation really has a price to pay, and all of us should give our share, fill our parts and pay our dues.