Riverbank eyesores … This picture is a grim reminder that there are many things needed to be done to improve the aesthetics around our community. For instance, these houses along the banks of the mangrove river that separates Baranggay Parang from the poblacion of Mambulao, aka Jose Panganiban, in CamNorte, have over the years become eyesores. And the bad news is that they will remain to be till thy kingdom come. The real estate that these households now occupy used to be a vibrant, thick mangrove forest that provided a natural habitat to rich marine life that supplied daily a good catch to the local subsistence fishermen. With the coming of houses of all sort of make, fish, shrimps and crabs eventually disappeared. The river’s murky water that flows in and out has conveniently served as a natural toilet and dump for household rubbish. But since the owners of these houses paid a high price just to get a stake along this mangrove river bank, the local government led by its mayor, Dong Padilla, cannot and will not attempt to drive them away lest it earns the ire of the residents-voters in question. If the LGU is helpless, and therefore, cold and unmoving, the prospect is really that bad. As they say oftentimes, ugly flocks together.
Side B … The flipside of the coin is something pleasing to the eyes. This is the mouth of the mangrove sea-river on the other side of the ugly steel bridge in Parang, just about 200 meters from the rows of those offensive-looking riverbank houses. This was taken shortly after the pictures of the riverbank houses (including the picture above) were taken. Once in a while, we are lucky to see something pleasant like this, especially when the environs is free of community rubbish. And this part of the river was a witness to a tragic incident: Early last May, two young brothers, age 7 and 8, drowned just before noon during high tide, while their poor mother was hard at work at the nearby market, selling foodstuff. To kill time, apparently, the two kids decided to take a quick splash by the river banks (right of the picture) without their mom knowing about it. They took the plunge from the water-submerged concrete steps that served as access for fishermen taking their fish to the marketplace. It turned out both did not know how to swim. The boys’ bodies were found an hour later near the Parang beach. MWBuzz had witnessed how the poor mother, distraught as she was, cried out her anguished story to an equally distressed Mayor Dong Padilla, at his office. The good mayor shouldered the kids' funeral costs. -- MWBuzzpics and text by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ