Thursday, June 28, 2012

Revisiting Guisian in Mogpog, Marinduque

Gusi, jar. Guisian's symbol found at Guisian Elementary School.

Ask anyone from the hamlet of Guisian and he or she will tell you that the origin of that name is “gusian”, meaning a place where many gusi, jars were buried in the days of yore. Not a single gusi may be found now but ancient stories of buried gusi filled with gold unearthed on the mountain tops and forests have been told and retold here for generations.

Guisian is one place hardly known even to many Marinduque inhabitants. More than 10 years ago, this hamlet hit the papers due to a firefight between rebs and government soldiers. The visiting rebs were not there to find hidden treasures but apparently to promote their ideology. It’s on record that when the rebels left, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ordered the introduction of ‘distance learning’ in Guisian ‘to prevent the return of negative ideologies’, she said. There were many who batted eyelashes upon hearing that GMA formula. 

Whatever that meant, truth is until today you have to climb a mountain to get even a celphone signal in Guisian. Nonetheless, the military has absolutely cleared the area of ‘taong labas’, 'outsiders'. In fact Marinduque was declared in 2009, as the first-province in the entire country freed of subversive elements. Shown in this photo, taken yesterday, are soldiers partaking in the barangay's fiesta celebration.

Guisian is about seven kilometers away from the main road in Balanacan, and except for very short and narrow stretches of areas that have been mixed with some concrete, the road to Guisian seems almost untouched by government-owned heavy equipment for repair or rehabilitation. 

Going to Guisian is like rough sailing, but on land, as you bump and rock your way ever upward where villages have disappeared. You see solitary huts in the valleys as you travel. 

.  For this reason, a single jeepney plies the route Guisian-Mogpog Poblacion and vice versa only once in the morning and once in the afternoon daily to transport students, workers, merchants and commodities.

After less than an hour of travelling to Guisian and having to wait for the driver to fix a flat tire you get a glimpse of a bay appearing from behind the coconuts and other tall trees. Gazing downwards you see quite a few houses. The rough road turns into concrete as it goes down a steep hill. It could very well be the longest steep road in this island-province.

A glimpse of Sayao Bay through coconut trees.

Guisian is a wide expanse of mountains and ravines, but one immediately sees upon reaching the main village that it is situated on a rocky and very narrow strip of land between the water and a mountain. It is located on the westerly portion of Sayao Bay which is entirely surrounded by mountains. 

A fleet of fishing boats that are from 50 to 75 gross tons each are anchored in a fishing port in Guisian, owned by a small family that reportedly started from humble beginnings.  They fish exclusively in the wide expanse of Tayabas Bay that adjoins Sayao Bay, bringing the catch to Dalahican Port in Lucena or to Mogpog market for local consumption. 

Necessarily, all the tripolantes, crew come from this village. Some younger tripolantes, however, have also ventured into working in other fishing vessels as far as Camarines Norte because of apparently more regular and bigger catch there from the waters of the Philippine Sea. They come home, now and then, for visits to their families and friends on special occasions such as yesterday’s feast of their Ina ng Laging Saklolo, the patron saint. (Shown in photo are Hejay and JR who both came home for the fiesta, having a happy time with their friend, Aira).


The elderly, too, must sing of their sorrows, pains and joy!

Sayao Bay that adjoins Tayabas Bay gives life and protection to barangay Guisian and environs. 
Sayao Bay blocks big waves and reduces strong winds. In 2009, however,  a storm surge caused by typhoon Feria hit this village partially destroying houses along the coast. Today, peace and quiet, and community togetherness reign here.

Susong Dalaga Hill

Susong Dalaga Hill
Susong Dalaga Hill from Bagtasan isthmus

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