I must have walked or drove through the bumpy, dusty streets and roads of my town more than a countless times and the sights, sounds and smells of it have already become familiar to me. Perhaps that has become the problem.
They have in, one sense, become...well....too familiar and commonplace. Not worth a second thought or look and the sensations thus no longer savored and much less appreciated anymore. Truly, in this case, familiarity does really breed contempt if not mild disdain for what has become merely ordinary or banal.
I recently had visitors from Manila and while showing them around Lianga, the enthusiasm and amazement that seemed to ooze from them as they oohed and aahed while visiting the area's sights to see and places to visit had me reflecting once again on one simple and undeniable fact.
There is a lot of nature's beauty in this place. As a coastal town, Lianga's local scenery is dominated by the wild desolation and often restless panorama of its coastal sea. The coastline is studded by white-fringed beaches, mangrove forests and rocky coves bordered by coconut trees and wild vegetation.
Yet opposite the sea are the remains of thickly forested mountains and hills rich in exotic flora and fauna. For the city dweller, therefore, the sight of vivid, blue-green mountains swimming in the early morning mists stretching beyond vast fields of richly green rice fields or hills carpeted with thick grass and bristling with trees are as breath-taking and awe-inspiring as the stunning view of the sunrise across the white sand and clear waters of the local beaches.
These are treasures of unestimable value yet many of us here have become blind if not inured to their existence. It is often through the fresh eyes of visitors and outsiders that we become aware of all the wild yet poignant beauty that surrounds us. And it is through them, perhaps, that we regain our balance and a new appreciation for the world we are living in.
Years ago, a foreigner once told me that I was lucky to be living in paradise. I vehemently disagreed with him then. Nowadays I may still have my misgivings but when it comes to pure, natural and unspoiled scenery, I must admit that Lianga can be as close to paradise as you can get.