March 07, 2006

In The Middle Of Nowhere

It was a huge disappointment to find out that although dried fish processing was rampant in our island hometown, there was just too much buyers of the goods that I could not possibly penetrate the cartel in so short a time. Traders from as far up north in Pagadian City, about five hundred miles from Zamboanga, would come and negotiate with the local fishermen and cornered the market there. I was advised that seizing a sufficient amount of the goods would entail some patience and a lengthened stay in the islands. This was an untenable idea for me. The urban man in me would be so hard pressed to slide into the virtual desolation of rural life, to be "the man called Friday" and away from the honking noise and pollution of the city.

While the serenity of the islands provided me a great breather, it was imaginable for me then to succumb into general silence of a rural environment. There would be just too much silence that it would border the deafening.The wide and miles and miles of stretch virginal beaches consoled my frustrations and led my mind away from the profits that I nearly counted already and yet the ones that would not be obtaining, at least not with that trip. We took small boats and scoured the nearby islands. The breezy seascape had regained my trust in nature, quelling every suspicion that nature has finally and absolutely lost its battle against the industrial advancement of humanity.There was this over-stretched patched of sand in the middle of two islands that really caught my amazement. It was not of course very unlikely that such natural accumulation of sand would concur in an area full of shores in the first place; but have you heard of a beach in the middle of the sea? One could not help but surmised that Atlantis might have been similarly situated as that particular beach, once rising to the surface before it got sunk into the pit of the ocean.I walked almost the length of the half-mile patch of the whitest of sand and wondered why nothing grows except some marine plants attached like mildews to rocky corals. I picked some shells and stones and felt somewhat mesmerized that there were sea stones that were embroidered with the most perfect shape of a star. My cousin King told me that they sell well with Japanese tourist, the ones they make into beads. My eyes squinted to examine the stones more forcefully and I almost concluded that God must have some industrial factories up there that stones like those could be sculptured with some design that only machines could afford. The perfect symmetries were there and the lines were straight.I stared upward and the sky was clear of any cloud and it was the kind of place where you could view the entire sky from one end, towards another, at any angle you gained sight. Funny that I felt reassured that in that place, I would not hear the sound of radios, nor the cacophonic slur of television, neither the honks of cars and motorcycles. There was no smell but the salty fragrance of the sea and I was assured that any fumes or dusty accumulations of factories would never ting the air. No matter how trivial was such realization but I could not help appreciating the newfound belief that despite of everything, there is still a place where the hands of urban life, with its many gadgets and equipments and convoluted industrial mazes, could not reach.