Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cry For Me, Cagayanons?

Old Cagayanons pining for familiar sights in the old hometown may have to brace themselves for a visual jolt.

View these short videos taken Saturday late in the afternoon. See if you can recognize from the maze the old familiar haunts very reminiscent of your youthful memories.

Many probably would not recognize these places.

These were shot along Divisoria Park as I walked along the middle of R N Abejuela (So. Divisoria) St. inching toward Xavier University or positioned at a corner of Velez (Del Mar) and the former.

The chaotic frenzy that is now the infamous hallmark of the weekly two-day nite café has ominously masked the once rough jewel we treasured anyway as our premier park, centered right in the heart of the old poblacion. A truly distinctive landmark we used to proudly attach to our beloved hometown.

Now, it might as well be a huge disorderly movie set depicting a tent city of refugees, or a dreary scene of displaced merchants forcibly ejected from their establishments by some natural calamity, like a conflagration or a bad flood. Except this nightmare recurs every week, with the eager players showing up earlier and earlier than allowed, and showing up even during regular weekdays.

But no, for this is an actualization of a method of madness, executed with design and promoted with flagrant political self-interests by the city government. Proffered with, one is sure, some expressed sham Christian concerns for the less fortunate of the citizenry, providing them rare opportunities not otherwise enjoyed in a competitive business environment.

But in the process social order, equity, and the respect and compliance with laws be damned for the rest of the city residents, especially those who are duly licensed and taxed and also in the business of providing the self-same merchandise and services provided by the purveyors in the café.

Never mind that the countless fly-by-night (literally) bazaar-like purveyors there may be unlicensed, untaxed, and maybe selling contraband. Small pesky details really in the general scheme of things where voting constituencies are the paramount concern. Political power at all costs, that’s the price to pay.

But for whom?