Que Sara Sara

Deep in the north east of Panay island, Iloilo is a mountainous area of rice terraces. I spent my time there in the Aldeguer barangay visiting the family of a wonderful, soon to be named, girl. It is a very poor area but despite the poverty,

Rice Fields

Rice Fields

it is rich in both beauty and serenity. I was blessed to call it home for a few days.

I have always known that farming is hard work. I can take one look at those rice fields and know that I could never be a farmer. The work is hot, dirty and back breaking. I soon learned that having that intellectual understanding is no where near having the experiential understanding. I spent a bit of time in the fields with ‘papa’ as he completed his labors and showed me the ropes. The process is very simple but the work is not. None the less, the local

Nipa in the Rice Field

Nipa in the Rice Field

rice farmers are masters in their skill and they make it look it easy.

We walked for countless kilometers across the mud walls in the fields and a few walls were repaired, seed was scattered, and bug checks were done. Fortunately I am a sure footed person and I never fell off the narrow mud walls. I was able to keep up with papa but his pace was amazing compared to mine. Briskly walking across those canals I felt as though I was a ninja in training. In a short time we crossed numerous hectors of field.

Undoubtedly the hardest part of rice farming is the pay. These Filipino farmers who are so diligent in their labors are sorely underpaid. For all of the work, they are only paid twice a year during each harvest time. Their wages are paid in rice. If the harvest is good, the pay is better. If the harvest is bad, the pay is worse. Good season or bad season though, it seems as if the pay is never enough.

Extreme poverty plagues the farmers and most of them can not afford to send their children to school. The most basic necessities are often considered a luxury and

Family Nipa Home

Family Nipa Home

medical is pretty much non-existent for them. Among the worst of it all (in my perspective) is the fact that none of them own the lands that they work. They are allowed to live there, build their town and their lives but the land owners refuse to sell the property. Serfdom is still very much alive in the world. None the less, the locals are a happy people who look on the bright side of things and their positive attitude is amazing to me.

I will return to Sara in the next few days and spend another week there. I hope I can avoid the gossip of such small towns (impossible I know) and keep to my personal business but I will try to take things in stride. The scenery is relaxing to me and, who knows, I may just become the next rice king of Asia. Yes, that’s a joke – I’ll stick to computers for now.

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