Sunday, 22 January 2012

Rough ride to Larap

      An overloaded Parang-based tricycle on its way to Larap. 

Batch ’73
Yokosuka, Japan

IT'S SAD to see and almost unimaginable during my high school years that Larap and other baranggays along that road could be what they are today.

Seeing them was like stepping 50 or 60 years back before the PIM (Philippine Iron Mines) got started.

The only difference: Now there are concrete houses along that road, maybe owned by people working overseas.

Still, the Larap proper looks like a ghost town. 

Tall grass overwhelms the road sides and potholes cover the road. I don't think this road gets a facelift even once a year …or even an attempt to have those craters covered.

There are some places where landslides had taken place, further adding to the hassle of traveling that road.

The road condition is the same throughout -- from the end of the cemented road at the corner of Don Ramon Adea's property, all the way to that concrete bridge before the Larap welcome sign. (The bridge is actually at Sparline, where the mining camp checkpoint used to be to check on vehicles leaving Larap for stolen mining properties. – Editor)

Then dirt road starts again all the way to Larap proper. I did not see any passenger jeepney traveling that road except for overloaded tricycles.

The local government has the obligation to maintain its roads -- all roads within its jurisdiction.

But it looks as if the local government is just turning its eye the other way.... unless it's election time.

I remember during my years (high school) in Parang when I had walked from Larap to Parang with ease after the late night movies in the Larap theater, or after seeing the girls.

      The Larap bus terminal.

      The public market

Now, you need to have a head light to walk that road. Even for cars, it has become dangerous.

The mangrove forest that flourished along that road at a village called Calero has been deforested.

I used to cut Christmas trees there during my high school years for our own use or for sale to our neighbors. I shot some photos of the bakawan trees.

The last time I was in JP, I visited Pag-asa. Now, the bridge that used to connect this village to the Larap road is gone except for some wood planks that serve as footbridge for the locals.

There is a nice beach on Pag-asa island but I was told people have stopped going there.

      Balikbayan Arnel P Hernandez poses for a picture in front of the welcome arch of 
      Baranggay Larap at sitio Sparline. 
     A refreshing sight of a famous landmark in Larap – the Calambayungan Island where an 
     iron ore pelletizing plant operated for many years until the shutdown of the iron mines. 
     Notice the blue water reflecting the blue skies. It’s something that no longer happens at 
     Mambulao Bay, whose water has been polluted with mud from gold mining operations 
     around Mambulao.

      A portion of a flourishing mangrove forest along the road to Larap. Home to marine 
     species, this forest should be protected and conserved by the local people. 

As for the Parang beach … the local government should be fired!

As you can see from all the photos that I took, there has been no effort to clean up the beach, even from those who live along the edge of the water.

They have converted the seashore into a dumpsite for their trash and portable toilet for the children. Funny, dog and pig’s wastes are also all over the place.

Fishing along that beach has become impossible because of the muddy water caused by mud from gold mining operations on the nearby mountain and elsewhere.

And if the local people are fishing, they use the “sudsud” technique, which catches everything -- large and small.

“They (small fishermen) were over doing it”, was what the local people were saying.

As I had observed the water at high tide, it did not come as close to the shore like before ... and the color did not change when the water is high or low. It was always brownish,

This could change probably during typhoon when the wave gets stronger and the chance of re-circulating the water is more likely.

But I think the shore needs to be dredged up or the surface scraped to get rid of the brownish mud that covers the beach sand.

      The squatter families have made the beach a dump site for their rubbish. Likewise, the 
      beach’s pollutants are also produced by households around Mambulao and are carried 
      by bay waters to the shore during high tides. 
      A boy is dwarfed by a giant rock by the beach water just below the Larap road. – All   
      MWBuzzpics by ARNEL P HERNANDEZ, Yokosuka, Japan

One good example is the big rock at the corner of the road across Adea's property.

It used to be under water at high tides. There were lots of fish species that inhabited the water around that rock. I used to stand on that rock and fish for “dangit” and picked talaba (oyster).

And I would like to believe that nobody would dare swim in the beach water anymore, unlike before when people from all over the place would come for the cool, clear water.

The municipal government should relocate those beach people (mostly transplant from other places outside Mambulao) and develop that beach as tourist place where income for the locals  could be generated.

I think the municipal government lacks the vision as to what to do with Parang beach.


One thing the municipal government can do is design a rake that a truck could tow back and forth to collect the rubbish.

I have seen that device here in Japan. They use a tractor to rake up the beach rubbish.

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