Antique & Bicol Trip
Am back after spending Christmas vacation in two different places (my 2nd time) - Libertad, Antique and Oas, Albay, my hometown. Which is why I was not able to post entries in this blog since there was no/ limited internet connection in Libertad, Antique, my girlfriend's hometown.
Port of Odiongan, Romblon - First stop prior to final disembarkation at Caticlan. The port is a 10-hour trip by sea from Pier 8 aboard M/V Virgin Mary/ Mary the Queen of MBRS Lines which ply the route alternately.
Full and loaded - This woman (center) works as a conductor in tandem with her husband (the driver) and helps fetch passengers along the Libertad-Pandan route. Due to the limited PUVs in the area, the jeepneys plying these areas can contain as much as 50 (+/-) passengers - a capacity enough for a bus (chickens not included). Libertad is very laid-back and undeveloped town, with a rough road going to/from it, but best of all: no pollution (air & noise) and lots of greeneries!
Only in the Philippines - The bridge connecting Barangay Cudiong to the Libertad town proper was closed down (far right) when the lot owner and barangay captain lost in the last May 2007 elections, according to local residents. The people thought of a temporary solution and made a much shorter 'bridge' made of bamboo covering the area where the water actually passes (left). To reach the other side of the river, one needs to go down and traverse the rest of the river on foot. This strangely ridiculous situation is also prevalent in some areas of the Philippines, where rural development is hampered due to the personal conflict of local politicians.
'Kulnad' is just one among the many tedious processes involved in the making of traditional banig (mat) which the Municipality of Libertad, Antique is known for. The mat is made from local 'bariw' plant harvested in the surrounding hills of Barangay Cudiong. The fibers, with thorns removed and cut into pieces in the 'kurulhadan' (splicer) were then dried until brown in color and undergoes several stages of hammering to make it pliable and soft. Mats made from this areas are more softer as compared to the mats from Bicol (made from 'Karagumuy'). Expert mat weavers can finish at least one mat/day. Small mats (for single person) sells for P80 while double size (for two persons) sells for P150.