The advancement brought about by technology opened doors for more individuals to pursue new hobbies – say, mobile photography. It is a given fact that photography on its own is an expensive pursuit, but thanks to smart phone innovations, this became more attainable to many (just like me!). With it came the filters, macro lenses, editing applications, and additional cameras to capture sceneries only made possible before for professional (and can afford) photographers. This trend then produced an influx of beautiful pictures uploaded altogether on different social media. In an instant, many became digital influencers, brand ambassadors, workshop speakers, and mobile photography club members. But on extreme efforts of keeping the trend, many have fallen trap on the idea of beauty. They started romanticizing the different faces of poverty by taking candid shots of street children, exhausted elderlies, and other members of the marginalized sector while taking full credits of the recognition. People have flocked into beautiful tourist destinations, not to relax and appreciate the beauty before them, but to exhaust themselves in finding perfect angles and relegating to the camera what should have been foremost for the eyes. I, for one, am guilty of this. But somehow, in our arduous search for the beauty meant to be shared to others, we have somehow fall short of appreciating the simple things around us.
On our recent visit to Sogod – where we’ve been invited for a fiesta celebration – we took the chance to visit two of the less appreciated gems in this sleeping town: Bagatayam Falls and Binaliw Spring. From the house of our host, Ate Jing-jing, we were instructed to just ride a habal-habal to get directly to the spring. But luck didn’t’ side us at that moment. No available habal-habal passed even after several minutes of waiting. To maximize the time, we then decided to take a tricycle to bring us to the jumpoff area – Bagatayam Bridge. The driver was kind enough to suggest that we just take a habal-habal from the jumpoff point but still no one was available at that time. Right then and there, we decided to walk. And believe me, it was the best decision we’ve made.
Actually, hiking from the main road to Binaliw Spring won’t take that long. Ten to fifteen minutes, at most? But well, we have all embraced convenience, hence the habal-habal suggestion. Nonetheless, taking a stroll from the main road to the water source became an enjoyable journey for the three of us – Jay, Deia, and myself – thanks to the century old trees canopying the cemented roads, we weren’t toasted directly by the raging sun. It was past noon by the way. HAHA.
Such time of the day wouldn’t usually yield very good output for photographs as the sun is at its finest. But the ambiance of the place helped in producing amazing shots. After giving sharing some comments and exchanging words of astonishment on the waterfalls, we decided to take souvenir photos as no one knows if we’d be able to visit such place again. So imagine our surprise when we realized how photogenic such simple place can be?
I couldn’t exactly recall what we were talking at that time while we continued the hike when we suddenly spotted the following places. We first laughed and created stories of them until we finally agreed to take photos of them.
When we reached Binaliw Spring, I started naming the plants found on its entrance, as there were plenty of them. Jay on the other hand, became curious on what I was talking about. City girl, HAHA. So I took the task of introducing plants and grass which completed my fun-filled childhood days. But what ultimately got her attention was the seeds of piti-piti (ruellia tuberosa) which usually explodes when soaked in water. We picked a number of it and did the experiment on Binaliw Spring. Just imagine her surprise when it began to explode on her hands. HAHAHA. (PS. Have you done this as well?)
Before we headed back to Ate Jing-jing’s place, we took time to pay tribute to the sacred of image of the Lady of Lourdes found in the exact spot were the water springs. This has been a famous pilgrimage site for devotees who believed that the water running from this spring is miraculous. With its close proximity to the locals, it’s usual to see children and families taking a bath and playing around the area.
Upon going back to the main road, I began to ponder what would the experience be like if we took the habal-habal. Totally different. We wouldn’t have appreciated more the waterfalls, people doing their regular rounds of laundry, children catching spiders, the abandoned car, solo waiting shed, and piti-piti discovery of Jay. Sometimes, we are pushed to rush thing, produce the best outputs, and think competitively of others. And by doing so, we forgot that life isn’t always a race. Sometimes, we have to slow down and be mindful of our actions. We don’t always need to be the best in order to be recognized. Because whatever is beautiful will come naturally. No editing. No filters.