“Ate magkano yan?” and the whole wet section of the local market roared in laughter. I was confused why they all laughed at my question until one of the vendors said “Akala namin Hapon ka!” which made me laugh too. Apparently, they were used to seeing foreign photographers and it was their first time seeing a Filipino with a big camera.
Where am I? I’m at the center of Roxas, Palawan and everytime I tell people about this slow and quiet municipality everyone gives me a blank stare. Let’s do a little geography, if you’re headed to El Nido from Puerto Princesa, you’ll know that you’re halfway on your 6-7 hours trip when you reach Roxas.
Going back to the local market, since we were all laughing I took it as a good sign that I am no longer referred to as a foreigner but as a kababayan and started asking whether I can take pictures of what they were selling. Roxas is famous in Palawan for their fresh fish and what better day to take visit the local market but during Saturday and Sunday where they held their weekly Market Day. During Market Day the farmer, livestock raiser and fishermen could sell their products direct to the consumer. Thus making the prices go way low and the best part of it was the products were all fresh.
One of the local sellers approached me when I was in the pork, beef & chicken section and asked me to take a picture of a shell he brought. I was surprised when he placed it on a pork and said that I should take a picture of it. Although it was an odd event, it showed me how friendly the people were.
Unsure of where to go next, I went to the Department of Tourism office of Roxas and asked what the place has to offer. When I went inside the office, they were all shocked to see a walk in. When I asked they did not know how to answer my inquiries. After sometime they said that Roxas has nothing to offer except for the posh Coco Loco Island Resort. I didn’t have the budget for such a trip. Luckily, I was staying with one of my mother’s friends who happened to know a lot about Roxas.
First stop would be New Rizal Falls, located 21kms from the town center. You could rent a tricycle for 500 Pesos for a round trip to the falls and back to town. All thanks to our former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for the Strong Republic Nautical Highway project only the last portion of the road going to the falls were in rough roads.
The water was clean and clear in New Rizal Falls that we drank straight from the basin of the falls whenever we get thirsty.
It was also my first time to see a wild squirrel which made me observe the surrounding of the waterfalls. I found fishes and small crabs on the basin, insects and my favorite lematik (jumping leech) on the plants.
During my trip in Roxas last September 2010, my brother and I was invited by locals to go up a mountain and see its beauty and diversity.
The biodiversity of the Roxas was rich to the point that seeing a road killed skunk was a normal scene. There were lots of stories also about skunks blowing their stinky farts to people and they had to be smoked just to get rid of the bad smell. According to some there were also wild armadillos around but their numbers drastically lessened because of poaching.
“Computer Rental. We also sell fresh fish.” This caught my attention during my trip to the beach, unfortunately the tricycle was fast and I was not able to take a photo of the sign. But fortunately, I managed to get lost to a nearby fishing village where a fishing boat just arrived and the crew were more than happy to let me take a picture of their catch.
The kids were fun too. Everytime I point my camera somewhere they would all run to the front of my lens. I admit it did get a bit annoying at some point when I wanted to take pictures of the landscape, but I hid my irritation and smiled at the children. This is their place and I should respect them even if they are children.
The people living in Roxas had a simple life, they do not have the hectic deadlines nor the pressure to keep up with fashion. If you try to observe inside town you’ll see a very unique and clever way of living.Â With less pollution and more manual labor, Roxas is truly a clean and healthy town and I hope it will still stay this way.
The wacky and budget backpacker RV Escatron of Living in a Backpack hosts the second Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival.
To see the archive of Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival click here.