Friday, October 27, 2006

The Sentinel Revisited

Ever since I first wrote about the rocky islet or outcrop on the shallow tidal marshlands of Lianga with its light beacon on top of the white tower with the snaky winding staircase, my fascination with this amalgam of nature and human ingenuity has continued to deepen.

There is something about the purô, the name the locals have given it, that strikes the chords of that mystical element within all of us, a quality that gives it an aura of the supernatural, as if some hidden force of nature or nonhuman intelligence had shaped it and cause it to thrust itself out of the water and stand defiantly against the might of the sea and the wind.

When one views it up close, there is often an absurd thought that presses itself upon you especially when you run your hands against its rough and deeply fissured sides; the silly impression that the outcrop is somehow alive in some incomprehensible way. No wonder the old folk in the area tell stories of enchanted beings and mythical creatures that supposedly dwell there and who jealously guard this sanctuary from human trespassers and who have severely punished those who dared to violate their privacy without just cause.

That the purô is much a symbol of Lianga as well as a historical landmark is beyond doubt. That is why it pains me to see it so neglected and unappreciated even today. It is as if in the struggle to survive in the midst of increasingly difficult times, the local people have set aside all aesthetic and sentimental notions in favor of the practical and material. Something easy to understand and justify but what is also true is that the immaterial and the intangible are also as much a part of who we are as the immaterial. To forget that is to lose sight of our roots as individuals and as a people sharing a common history and heritage.

How long this symbol of Lianga will stand against the elements and the cruelty of nature remains to be seen but I have a nagging suspicion that its fate may be as uncertain and unclear as the town and the people it is so identified with.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:21 PM

    the puro and the surrounding seas should be declared a protected seascape and landscape or natural monument through a municpal ordinance or executive order. but i guess that will only happen when responsive leaders ( if there will be responsive and sincere candidates ) will be victorious in the coming election. ndog friends