"Benjie, this area is indeed a paradise. There is so much potential here and yet there seems to be a pervasive feeling of despair. I hope that we can soon see some changes among the local people. I really believe that people here need some major changes to affect their lives, and to get them knowing that there is potential here to make their lives better."
"I'm hoping that people can come together and work together to make major changes to help this area become what it could be. It will mean a lot of work, but it is achievable if people will just believe. I think that your blog is one way of helping this area, we need other people to know about Lianga and the surrounding area, we need to encourage tourists to visit this area. But if we expect to have tourists, then we need to demand more and better roads, more and better accommodations in the form of resorts. "
"We need to clean up and freshen up the beaches and streets. We need more places for people to enjoy a meal, not fast food, but good Philippine cuisine. Do this and this area can grow economically, but still remain the paradise it is today. Thanks for being here."
Mark and Merejen sent this comment on the blog post "Fresh View" which I have reproduced in full and unabridged above. I felt that it spoke volumes and expressed a viewpoint that many of us who love Lianga, and who still retain emotional and sentimental links to the town, share and want so much to publicly and passionately express.
Yes, I agree there is indeed a pervasive air of despair one senses among the townspeople of Lianga. It is a hopelessness borne out of false promises and unfulfilled dreams, the inevitable response of a people who have been misled and disappointed for so long and, as a consequence, have lost faith in themselves and in their capability to dream again and work together to make those dreams real.
It is also true that there is a lot of potential for development in Lianga particularly in the area of ecotourism. But its people must not only become aware of the potential, they must really understand it and what it requires, desire it and work hard to develop it and make it bear fruit. They must take charge of their future if they want to have one.
It is so easy to point fingers at the politicians for all that is wrong with Lianga and it is indeed right and proper that they should carry a large part of the blame and the shame. But it is harder for us to point our fingers at ourselves and assume responsibility for our lack of vigilance, negligence and complacency.
For Lianga is what it is today because we, its people, have failed the town. We did not do our duty. Thus, regrettably, we are now merely paying the price and living with the consequences of our folly.