Estancia, October 9, 2012
Since February, I have been assigned in this corner of the world. I postponed writing about my new station since I wanted to make sure that I will give an in depth or realistic view of how it feels living in this side of the island. But to be honest to my self, I have been waiting, hoping, dreaming and even wishing for the right inspiration to strike me.
It happened last night. The fire that broke out in the old public market was just like an alarm clock that woke my reverie. About a block of business establishments all burnt down in just a few hours. About an estimated 50 million pesos was lost. In related stories, two houses in Iloilo City was also burnt, with a life lost.
Life truly is passing. Material things burn, get lost or fade away. We need to catch every breath, every drop of experience. Write it down somewhere to remember each emotion that was touched. How we experience each sweat, felt all the emotions that gave rise to tears or at times smiles.
Filipinos do have the capacity to see the fun of things even when they are in a dire situation. Take for example last night, the Filipino sense of humor was prevalent. A woman who was picking up lost things who accidentally sat on a tomato ketchup was laughed on albeit it was done for a second. Time comes that we are on a rut or bored, we can easily pull out these emotions by just reading articles like this all over again. This work for me anyways. To experience a jumble of emotions so intense I was thankful this fire in my locality did not sacrifice a human life but material things that can be recovered all over again with help from the government, private citizens, and hard labor from the victims.
The bible says, you cannot add a cubit to your life worrying what you cannot control. Certainly, I cannot control what is happening around me. But what I can control that night was my reaction. Looking at the billowing clouds of smoke and embers flying from the distant old public market, my emotions was running high. Heart beating fast. Different emotions running through me, foremost fear and concern for the people around.
I was safely located about two blocks away from the fire. Added to my safety: I was on the rooftop of a two story building with a firewall. Deciding that I am safer looking only at the event, not participating in anything hazardous. I waited. About an agonizing hour passed, I can still see billowing smoke that look like an atomic bomb, forming a mushroom like form. My curiosity won, I walked to the location of the fire. Thankfully, fire trucks was already there. Firemen from nearby towns helping this small little town battle a fire that have destroyed the livelihood of small businessmen, over and over gain. I have learned that this is the fourth consecutive times this have happened.
The culprit? It was rumored to be the small 'carinderia' or food stall that started the fire. This is not the official investigation result but only the majority consensus of the people that gathered last night to watch the firemen battle the fire that razed down an old public market.
I pray that this will not be happening again. For life goes on. As of today, I can still see people cleaning up the debris. A few have started rebuilding their stalls and opening their stores again. But for some this is the breaking point where they cannot go on. On the flip side, they can easily find a helping hand in the form of the politicians. With elections already looming ahead in the coming months, these politicians can lend a helping hand. Whether their intentions are pure or not. Their help is badly needed. I just hope that the victims will be identified rightly and not to be abused.