the short story project


Bitter Sweet

Beyond The Cities


       For a long time, I had been wondering about the looks of the place my parents are from. Since we resided in the city of Baguio, I can’t picture what might be the possible looks of the village. All I know is that it’s a two hours hike to get there since there’s no road for vehicles making it only reachable by foot. I felt the excitement and eagerness to finally visit the place when my mother informed us that one of our first cousins are getting married there. All the wondering and thinking are finally going to be answered. I also get to have a glimpse of the small towns and settlements along the way.

      I, along with my sisters, immediately got out of the jeepney as soon as the engine was turned off. We stood still like our feet was glued to the ground, shocked and jaws dropped, staring at the distance of the village. We were not told that the village is at the top of the mountain and that we had to go around two wide hills just to get there. The path is like a maze of winding tracks minus the dead ends. As we ascend we met children as young as myself then, carrying heavy products in a sack bag on their small shoulders. Products that are heavier than their own weight. I was astonished at their strength, for having to carry it down the mountain to sell. The tracks are decent most of the time; some parts are cemented smoothly but there are areas that are dirt and muds. Although the hike is literally a torture, the view on the way up is spectacular. Rows of clustered rice terraces are everywhere. We are surrounded by greens making the air cool and refreshing. It was overall breath taking that you forget the exhaustion from the hike. 

       After an hour and a half, we reached our destination, the place where my parents came from. I’ve learned things about it and the people that live here. The population is less than 300 people. People depended on their rice fields and gardens for food while the water that flows from the mountainous village not only supply the village itself but also the other towns in the valley. The houses are not modernized. However, it is strong and can withstand the windy and rainy weather of the mountain. Metal sheets are used as their roof because of its durability and longevity. The walls are of thick, hard, and strong wood. Although, majority of them are made with wood, there are also some that are made with cement. Besides their ways of living, education is also provided through elementary school. Unfortunately the village does not have high school and college. Students has to hike down the mountain to the next village in order to go to a high school. Above all, the people are happy and contented with what they have.

       At the age of 7, I found out that there are numbers of small villages and towns scattered among the mountains of the north. Places that are far and isolated. Places that people did not know of its existence. Today, these places are slowly being known because of the people who are moving to other towns and cities and talking about where they came from. To conclude, life and happiness are not only found in the cities.

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