The trees in the South
VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Perez (The Freeman) - October 22, 2019 - 12:00am

Unknown to many, Carcar City was and is still my home. My maternal grandfather, Bienvinido Genon, was born and raised here, which used to be just a quaint town. We were from Barangay Ocaña, which was already near the tip of the city as it leads to the next town. The old ancestral house by the road used to be a family symbol of love, wealth, and power.

Back then, my weekends were full of road trips to Carcar and I became excited every time we would near the place. Apart from the old ladies that often ran after our car to sell my favorite bucarillo, the trees in the south became a favorite sight to me. It was in then "Barrio Baho" where the trees would greet us and that lush scenery made a young girl from Cebu City squirm with joy - if only I could savor those sweet and short moments passing by those trees.

When my mother left me when I was approaching my teenage years, I never went back to the old Genon ancestral house and lost touch with my relatives in Carcar. It was only in these recent days when my love for the place started to rekindle again, as work often demanded traveling south. With the threat of losing those trees in the south to give way to progress, I could only shake my head in dismay. For many reasons, mostly.

One would be the frustration of previous leaders for not foreseeing how the place would later boom into an economic enterprise and the center of culture and heritage, as alleged. Had they seen this coming, then roads would have been built wide and issues of land ownership might have been addressed then. Second is the fact that the national agencies are not seeing the value of the old acacia trees lining up the highway. It seems like they don't have any more option but to cut them down. Yes, those trees might be dying in the inside but we could always find other ways to preserve them.

I could only scoff in agreement at one of the local funeral parlors in Carcar City that made a casket for the trees, as the owner wanted to stir environmental awareness, I also think that our destination is the casket if we don't take care of our trees and nature as a whole. Until when will we stop this menace of greed sugarcoated in the concept of progress? It is even sad that while the city wants both at the same time, it can't even comply with road clearing standards set. Time will make things clear but rules will remain rules.

Saying goodbye is the hardest. No matter how many temporary restraining order and writs of kalikasan will be filed against the cutting of the trees, we will all reach that point where they will be gone from our sight. They will just be plain old memories, in our hearts and photographs. The roads down south will never be the same again.

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