Trips to far-flung provinces like in the southernmost big island of Mindanao accord visitors with the long-lost vistas of rural living and communities typical in ages past. Of simple uncluttered lives, of coarse and crude structures, of primeval living habits and pursuits, of pure and unadulterated simplicity unaffected by the harsh marches of civilization and the suffocating influences of big crowded cities.
Like scenes and lives dramatically portrayed in the following random snapshots. Of crudely built houses, some on fragile stilts, built close to navigable waterways for easier access and travel. Of lives centering on some fishing and washing and bathing in the same water source, and even of drinking from it if needs be. Of miniscule homesteads, some areas planted to vegetables for consumption, some just as crudely fenced to keep animals and possible trespassers away. Some structures so crude and elemental that modern privacies are almost non-existent – from prying and judgmental eyes of neighbors and passersby.
One big exception. All these shots were taken in the middle of the bustling city of Cagayan de Oro in Northern Mindanao, alongside the bridge that undoubtedly is the heaviest and most traveled among the city’s five bridges. This is the inappropriately named Marcos Bridge that connects the city’s eastside with the westside and serves as gateway to the western part of the province of Misamis Oriental.
And these unmindful residents are probably squatters on either private or public land. One harsh reality of daily living in a city like Cagayan de Oro, burdened by its own heavy loads of squatting and housing problems.