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A Simple Life within 24 Hours

I grew up in a not so rich and not so poor family in Romblon.  Our life is just ordinary like others.  We have three meals a day, we have clothes and other necessities, but we don't have a lot of gadgets.  I can't identify if what's the big difference between a rich and poor family unless I was able to experience both, right?  So I need to have an idea if how can I differentiate a poor and rich life.

At least now, in my five years in working in call center, I can say, I am living with richness because I can buy and do anything I really want.  Money in my life is really a huge help for me and my family to have a good life.  In doing this article, I was inspired by some tv documentarist.  I want to live in a simple house with some important people of my life.  My aunt and grandma who were living in the not so modern part of Mindoro.

September 21, 2012 I left my modern world, I left my stressful job, I left my apartment, I left my friends, I left everything except my personal things and of course I left my electronic gadgets except my phone with camera.  I traveled alone for few miles from Manila for eight hours and the destination - North Uyao, Oriental Mindoro, Philippines.
Bringing: 1pc. Trekking pants, 1 pc. cargo shorts, 1 pc. sando, 2 t-shirts (including shirt that I am wearing for departure) trekking shoes and slippers and some personal things including medicine and insect repellent lotion. 

Travel Information:

5:45AM - I took a bus in Ortigas going to Batangas Port, Batangas City.  Travel time was 3 hours and 33 minutes including traffic.

10:30AM - 11:30AM From Batangas Port, I took 2Go formerly SuperCat going to Calapan Port and the travel time was 1 hour. 

11:45AM - 2:15PM In the Calapan Port, I took a mini van bound for Roxas.  Take Note: to save money, you can buy van tickets in the Calapan Port area instead of  buying tickets in the agents in Batangas Port. 

2:15PM - 2:30PM Then, from Kasiglahan Elementary school, took motorcycle going to the bahay kubo "nipa hut"
Expenses: Bus - 166.50php from Ortigas to Batangas Port
                  2Go - 320 php from Batangas Port to Calapan Port
                  Van - 250 php from Calapan Port to Kasiglahan, Roxas.
                  Motorcycle Rental - 100 php, but that time, I was for free

 Philippine's very own " Nipa Hut "
After arriving the nipa hut, I put my bag inside, then we had a long conversation about what are the life styles of the people in that area. 

According to them, the people of Brgy. Uyao, Mabuhay, Kasiglahan and nearby barangas are engaged in farming business.  They cultivate fruits like Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) Lanzones (Lansium domesticum) Dalandan (Citrus sinensis) Kalamansi (Citrofortunella microcarpa); and vegetables like Upo (Lagenaria siceraria) Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) Squash, Corn, Papaya (Carica papaya) Sinkamas (Pachyrhizus erosus) and others local plants like Coco Nuts (Cocos nucifera.)

The sweet Coco Nut

After that conversation, Ariel got a young coconut and I used the bolo to open it, but I wasn't successful.  So, he's the one to open it for me.  Few minutes more and they let me taste the sweet coconut juice and coco meat and my stomach was replenished by 3 coconuts.

That day, there was a power interruption in that area, so before the sunset, Lola Enya cooked rice and "tinolang native chicken" without any commercial seasoning, just small amount of salt, but the taste was so great.  By 8 PM, we're done with our dinner, so I slept on the Pa-pag (native bed, made of bamboo) with mosquito net, and I slept happily ever after.

Early in the morning, I woke up, I folded my pillow, banig (mat made of pandan leaves - woven by Lola Enya) Mosquito net and placed it on the bamboo divider that serves as the ceiling of the nipa hut. 

Cofee, rice and the remaining chicken tinola for breakfast then, by 7 AM, we went to the farm to feed the chicken.  Of course, I love the chicken tinola, so time to feed them, to remove the guilt in my heart, hahaha.

Feeding the Native Chicken early in the morning.

The Squash female flower (above) and fruit (below)

The No. 1 provider of Vitamin A, good for the eyesight

Squash Farm, it was few hectares and totally wide, I helped Ariel in doing the polination process of the plant to produce more squash fruits. Here's the process, squash flowers has the made and female type, so we removed the petal part of the male then placed it into the pistel part of the female flower - I really don't know what we call that.

The Lanzones fruit hanging on the trunk
Lanzones Farm, that area is just beside the squash farm, but it's wider compared on the first farm.  I saw the Lanzones fruits hanging on the trunk of the lanzones tree.  On the ground, lying a thousands of Upo vines and they call it "dalisay variety." (below)

look like sea urchin - the unripe Rambutan (above) ready to eat (below)

Rambutan Farm, same huge area planted with hundreds of rambutan trees bearing thousands of fruits. Rambutan season started in the month of August to November.

The older way of harvesting Dalandan
Dalandan Farm: The round, green balls hanging on its branches in hundred trees.  Dalandan - one of the best sources of Vitamin C.

Tons of Tomatoes can be harvested in this area.

Tomatoe Farm: Ton's of small, light green round on the ground for a cheap price in the market.

Vitamin C enreached fruit can be found here.

Kalamansi Farm: Look like a small christmas tree, bearing a small but thousands of kalamansi fruits.

Papaya Plant - they are available in every backyard of the residents house.  The best source of papain which can break meat fibres in cooking.  Can be added in my favorite chicken tinola.

The image above is the fruit of Singkamas (Pachyrhizus erosus)- looks like a bean.

Another fruit in the backyard is the Kamias (Averrhoa bilimbi)

Before we went home, we harvested 6 pieces corn at the backyard.  10 AM, while Lola Enya was cooking for our lunch, I grilled corn for our merienda.

After the tiring farm tour, we harvested 6 pieces Corn (Zea mays) then we grilled it.

The gorgeous Verde Island is one of the spot that captured by eyes while on the top of the ship.  I can feel the fresh wind, blowing my long curly hair.  And I was reminiscing the "TITANIC" hahaha,

While on the way, going back to Batangas Port, I took Starlite Navigator, since it has the open space on the top, I was able to see the gorgeous Sun Set. 

Hospitable - that's the proper word that I can say to every people I encountered in that area.  They are really great in enreaching the farming industry here in the Philippines.  In Mindoro, prices in every fruits are really cheap, unlike the prices of Manila.

Salary - for kalamansi pickers, they earn 100 pesos for every crate (kaing) that they harvested.  So, for few hours of work in kalamansi farm, if they harvest 2 crate (kaing) they will earn 200 pesos.  And the people there are happy on the amount.  Two thumbs up!!!

All the people in this area are really hard-working.  I learned a lot in this experience, no need for a thousand pesos to spend everyday, just to live, no need for internet connection for facebook and twitter, no need for famous restaurant for eating.   Now, I can describe, a SIMPLE LIFE is living and being contented on what you have.  Enreaching the native culture is the best way to preserve the Philippines for the next generation.

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