This past week I have been getting more than the usual number of e-mails asking for more pictures, information and posts about the scenic and tourist attractions in the Lianga area. Most of them have come from outside the country including a few sent by foreigners who are regular visitors to the Philippines but have never been to our part of Mindanao.
I am greatly encouraged and heartened by this development because it is positive proof that our efforts to highlight and promote the tourism potential of Lianga with its pristine, white sand beaches, emerald green islets, lush tropical mountains and natural scenic beauty on the Internet has finally been meeting with some success. There was a time when I thought, as the few others who were blogging about Lianga and Surigao del Sur did, that we were just voices shouting in the wilderness, laboriously casting words and pictures into cyberspace but in reality actually accomplishing nothing substantial or worthwhile.
In many ways, the World Wide Web has been the great equalizing force that has enabled remote, out of the way places like Lianga and out of touch, isolated individuals like me and the token few that blog from places like it to reach out to the world often hesitantly and tentatively and yet with a fast growing confidence and boldness. And the message is clear: we are here, we live in a tropical paradise and we want to share its abundance of natural beauty with outsiders.
When I first started this blog over two years ago, the first reaction I get whenever I mention this town's name and location on the Internet was a bewildered "where the hell is that?". A few from outside the country who were persistent enough had to scramble for their world atlases and search manually for it.
Nowadays I do still get similar reponses but more and more people are replying that "yes, I have heard about it" and "yes, I have seen pictures of it and its nice beaches and resorts" and some even have said "yes, I know about it and would like to visit it someday". That may not seem such significant thing to some people but for those of us who are from Lianga, its province of Surigao del Sur and Mindanao and who continue to write and blog about it , well, it is, in many ways, no small consolation and, please forgive the presumption, a much sought after pat in the back.