Sometime in early March I visited Dumaguete city and strolled along the famous Rizal Boulevard. I only had my new camera for over a week then and I was itching to practice using it.
As usual, the cool breeze of the boulevard soothed my stressed mind. I swear i can stay there forever, just sitting there and watching the world pass by. I kept walking, thinking of all the memories I have of this place when I heard laughter, so sweet it could only come from a child. I looked up and I saw this little girl with her dog.They were playing by the shore, oblivious of the rising temperature and the blaring horns coming from pedicabs passing by the highway just a few meters from the shore. I sat there by the boulevard, captivated by their happiness, debating with myself if I should take a photo and intrude in their moment or just sit there and marvel at the beauty of chilhood innocence.
She probably sensed me watching because she turned to me and smiled. I smiled back and asked if i can take a photo of her. She smiled and nodded. I took the shot, thanked her and walked back to my seat thinking of my childhood and how carefree and happy it was back then.
Fast forward to a few more weeks and I found myself in back in Bohol. I’ve been here early 2012 and did not really had a good experience so I was a bit surprised that I agreed to go back. Anyway, we went through the usual tourist stuffs and came lunch time we went to Loboc river for the famous Loboc river cruise.
This one is different from my previous trip to Bohol. For one, we did not go to the floating restaurants by the church, I don’t know the name of the place really, instead we went to the one by the bridge and took the Pawikan floating resto buffet. I know I’m not describing it well here but I don’t know the name of the place so there. For me this proved to be something of an eye-opener.
We went to this place where there is a group of Ati performers. For those who doesn’t know, Ati is a group of indigenous people in the Philippines commonly found in Panay islands. Anyway, we went there and I was surprised because we did not see this the last time.
This kid, along with several others, sit there–i don’t know how long– and wait for tourists, pose for pictures with them, all the while holding whatever animal they happen to be holding at that time.
You can have unlimited pictures with them, just be kind enough to tip. Yes, that white box on the left is a tip box and I still have mixed feelings about all these.
First, I am glad to have a glimpse of this culture. We don’t have a lot of exposure to this even though we live in the same country. However, I don’t know how to feel about these kids. I hope they did this willingly. I hate to think that they are missing the chance to create their happy childhood memories so silly tourists can create theirs. Me included.
Looking back, I can’t help but compare the girl from the boulevard and her easy laughs and sweet smiles ad these children who doesn’t look like they are enjoying themselves.
Two different worlds. Two different memories.