Sunday, March 24, 2019

Lent 2019: Memories of Mount Bato-Arobo

I was born in an upland municipality that is blessed with natural resources and biodiversity that is away from the city; a mountainous town that is abundant in natural sceneries, lush forest, and wildlife and considered a peaceful sanctuary where cool mountain breeze and a morning dew uplifts the senses and the soul.

I  have lived in this peaceful town since the mid-'80s, and during my younger years, I have learned to appreciate the natural environment and have loved our culture and tradition.

I remember when I was about 6 years old when my parents brought us to barangay Pasol-o in the town of Jamindan in Capiz (my mother's birthplace) with my siblings. We hiked for about less than 2 hours to reach the place. That was a tiring journey but an excellent adventure for all of us. That was my first ever hiking experience, so I always love nature trekking and hiking.

Then almost every year after that and on a hot summer day, we used to return when there was a Fiesta or a celebration in our relative's place. When we were approaching our destination, we knew we saw a vast mountain rock about less than or closer to 50 meters high. Hence the area got its name, Bato-Arobo, a giant rock formation.

During those years, a hike to Bato - Arobo was challenging since some areas were rough roads and muddy, and some were full of amorseko weeds that stuck to the clothes. The good thing about hiking was the stories or urban legends about the origin of that giant rock which I was incredibly fascinated with as a kid. We were told that the vast stone houses a big golden horse that might have been kept during the Japanese occupation. However, until now, that story remains an urban legend since nobody can see it.

The last time I visited Bato-Arobo was in high school with my family. We were served a natural and healthy drink, coconut juice with coco meat while having beautiful stories and laughter. My last visit wasn't hiking since the road was passable to a jeepney where we were transported. It was like a roller coaster ride on a rocky road, and we really enjoyed the experience.

Now, 3 decades later, it was great news when I heard from my father that the road to Bato-Arobo is currently undergoing concrete road construction to the neighboring barangays of San Juan and Ganzon, both places I am eager to visit.

Road construction is part of the Local Government's priority development that will benefit many families living in Barangay Pasol-o, especially those living in an upland Sitio of Bato-Arobo.

I am eager to see the development of the place I have loved since childhood. Bato-Arobo gave me a sense of adventure and a lesson to have perseverance and endurance in life. No matter how difficult the road is, we still have to go further and take all obstacles as a challenge because when we reach the peak or the summit, we appreciate all our sacrifices and feel joyful and thriving on our journey. 

Bato-Arobo may not be known to many yet, but it will always be in my heart because it brings beautiful memories worth reminiscing. With the completion of the road development project, residents of Bato-Arobo will be able to enjoy better transportation and celebrate Sunday Thanksgiving: Graceful Service to The People as they express their faith and service to God. This spiritual sanctuary in sitio Lomboy of Barangay Linambasan is like the entry point or gateway to Bato-Arobo.

As I reflect on this Lenten season, it is through gratitude and thanksgiving that we recognize and honor all the blessings that we received from the Divine. Our spiritual nature would bring us peace of mind and a grateful heart for us to leave a good legacy for the next generations to come so they could also live and experience the natural wonders and sustainable development that our generations have enjoyed, and may this will reign in our hearts today and forever.

© 2019 Del Cusay