Party Time!

By Candice

To have a better understanding of the pottery industry, my partner, Horace, and I decided to jump out of Guimaras Island to Iloilo City to investigate how other pottery business operate. We heard form the owner’s daughter, Lara, that there was a pottery town in Hibao, a barangay of Iloilo City. Out of expectation, Lara has initiated to be our guide for the one day tour in the pottery town. Yet, this is more than a one day tour in pottery town…

To our surprise, before we get to the pottery town, Lara’s boyfriend has brought us to his “palace” in a well-off neighborhood of Iloilo City. This is a village completely different from those we have seen on Guimaras Island. We have to pass through a security gate with guards when we get in the village. The entire village is built with luxurious villa. Being regarded as the “Chinese Village”, most of the dwellers are Chinese Businessman who set up their business in Philippine. “That’s my house” said Lara’s boyfriend, pointing to a gorgeous white two-story villa which was like a white church. Stepping into the palace, we were totally stunned by the royally magnificent traditional Victoria style design of the house. The living room was covered with marble tile and gold paint brown fabric backrest antique sofa. It was decorated with Roman time sculptures and fancy paintings. We were like wandering around in an ancient Europe castle for noble. Since it was quite indecent to take photos of one’s house as a visitor, we didn’t take any photos at all … But if you want to visualize how magnificent the building is, try google “luxurious Victoria-style palace” then you will get an idea of how grand it is. Anyway, although we only stayed there for less than 30 minutes, it was really an eye-opening moment for us. Meanwhile, it has also given me some food for thought of the economic development in Philippines. Whilst more than half of the local population are striving to make ends meet, there are a small population of rich people who are living lavishly in some luxurious villa. And most of them are not even local people (most are Chinese). This reminds me of the book “Poor Economic” which explains how difficult it is for the impoverished to break the cycle of poverty as well as the vicious cycle behind. I also started doubting the saying that knowledge is the way to escape from poverty. This saying may be applicable in some areas, but not Philippines as I realized most of the domestic workers are college graduate. Having studied in tertiary institution, they ended up working as a helper instead of unleashing their talents in their specialties. Government corruption is the culprit, leading to slow economic development. With low salary, they have no choice but to work overseas in order to sustain their family living. Which is somehow a waste of human resources. (Of course, there’s another way to escape from poverty – to marry a rich guy (i.e. Chinese businessman), the probability is pretty low you know) Eventually, this will only be a vicious cycle again unless the corruption problem is eliminated…

Well, let’s get back to the one day tour in pottery town! After the short trip around Lara’s boyfriend palace, we finally arrived our final destination – the pottery town in Hibao. Before we arrived, we didn’t consider about the communication problem during our visit. In fact, that was the most crucial problem throughout our trip! Since most people who work in the pottery industry are the older generation or less educated ones, they don’t know how to speak English. Luckily, Lara was with us and she served as our translator. Although it took much longer time for us to conduct an interview with the pottery business owner and workers, we successfully did some with Lara’s help. This visit really helped us a lot in understanding more about the overall pottery business given that RGL (i.e. our business) is the only pottery store on Guimaras Isalnd. Not only did we see much more different variety of products that can be produced, we also learn about other’s business models. For example, there are many pottery retailers in Iloilo, but no in Guimaras Island. They depend solely on the supply from pottery factory, yet they are independent from the factory.

After talking about some serious topic, let’s switch to some relaxing one about how I spend my wonderful weekend with my host family! Last Sunday night, we were invited to a party hosted by our neighbor, also cousin of our host. When we first asked about what was the party for, we were shocked by the reply of our host. ” it’s for celebrating the first year of our cousin’s husband death” said our host. We soon realized that it was a local tradition. But think deeply, laughter is always better than tears. it’s such a wise act to commemorate beloved death with laughter instead of tears. On that day, everyone in the village was overwhelmed with excitement. The party music started playing since 1500, which is 3 hours earlier than the official commencement time. Before we attended the party, we were treated with plenty of food, including chicken, beef and lipchon (i.e. grilled piglet). After the dinner, we approached the party place where the music was from and what we saw was a cluster of tiny dancers – the children in our neighborhood. They were dancing energetically as if they were professional dancer. As the music was a bit repetitive, we have suggested playing some more recent pop songs with our smart phone. The whole atmosphere was heightened and everyone joined the danced. Although it was extremely hot, everyone of us were sweating heavily as if we had just had a shower, we all really enjoy the party night with all the friends we met in this neighborhood!

 

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One day tour in Pottery Town!

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Party time!

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