Sunday, July 29, 2012

Wild orchids and the nourishing waters of Sawi

The beautiful orchids of Sawi were once romanticized in prose and poetry, the descendants of wild orchids that figured in the legend of two lovers, Mina and Tano. A story that saw one of the two departing for heaven to the extreme grief of the other. Many still remember the story of Sawi, the broken-heart village (where I also learned my ABC's).


From the upland villages, Boac River has meandered through Sawi in a U-shaped course since time immemorial.  Barangay Sawi is bordered on the east, west and south by this historic river that hugged the headlines in 1996, after a mine spill that instantly killed all life therein. But the ghost of this 26-kilometer-long river appears to have come back to life again, bringing with it the same endemic species akin to itself.

Flooding during strong tropical storms has continued to erode the outer banks on both sides,  further widening the river valley where wild herbs now grow in all abandon. You could smell their aromatic scent, that could bring back happy childhood memories for some, by just walking through them.

The village of Sawi continues to be blessed. It also hosts the source and main body of a very unique sapa, small stream that has never run dry even as the seasons change. This sapa cuts through the mid-section of the plains of Sawi. It has always been home to many species of fish (tilapia, dalag, carpa, hito, gourami), has always provided safe drinking water for the community, water for washing clothes, for bathing, for playing and swimming there, water for irrigating the rice paddies in its course through Daypay and Bantad before it joins the Boac River.

Floating nipa sheds for bathing and washing clothes. Clotheslines look like festive buntings celebrating the blessings of this quiet stream. A man washes clothes while children play and delightfully scream.

Water lettuces and water lilies still float on the surface,
but water hyacinths have ruled now, entirely invading the stream's western bend.

Susong Dalaga Hill

Susong Dalaga Hill
Susong Dalaga Hill from Bagtasan isthmus

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