As one of the members of the San Miguel team, I feel very lucky to have stayed in Jordan, which is just a 5-minute walk from our ‘home’ to the ferry pier to transit for pump boast to Iloilo. Thanks to the prime location which is just 30 minutes from the city, it’s ideal for us to purchase daily necessities, have a short tour (or even to watch a movie) when we have spare time in weekends. When I was sitting in the food court of SM City having a cup of coffee, I have realised the significance for the disparity between city and rural life.
According to the statistics of the Philippine Statistics Authority, The level of urbanisation in 2010 was 45.3%. 41.9 million people out of the 92.3 million population in the Philippines lived in urban areas, which accounts for almost half of the population. Iloilo city is one of the highly urbanized cities in the territory, while Guimaras is among the smallest provinces in the country famous for its mangoes.
As a person who has grown up in the urban area of Hong Kong, it is hard to imagine how life in rural area is like. Although I have been doing volunteering teaching works in the past winter and summer breaks in mainland China, the participating school are rather located in the urban areas, and accommodations in cosy hotels were provided. The speed of urbanisation in China has really amazed me.
Urbanisation is a process which have both pros and cons to the overall development of the country. There is no doubt that urbanisation boosts up economic growth, and makes communication of people more convenient by gathering people and facilities in one place. But does establishment of cities means better life as a whole? Even we are living in the ‘Asia’s World City’ as claimed, we are facing several severe social problems. For instance, we face the shortage of land supply in this over dense city. We are in lack of space for living, and some of the people in Hong Kong are even forced to live in sub-divided units.
It has been nice here for my stay in Guimaras for these two weeks. Having stayed in the local’s house, I can finally have a glance escape from pressure in Hong Kong to experience how life in the rural is like.
Frankly speaking, I have expected a ‘lower’ living standard than in Hong Kong before the course. Yet I learnt how to appreciate the natural environment, and get adapted to a completely different lifestyle. Insects are regarded as disgusting and harmful by most of the Hongkongers, and we just wanna get rid of them once we’ve figured out any of them. But here in Guimaras, after trying all my efforts to rather killing insects, I have instead learnt how to change my attitude and to live in harmony with those small creatures.
I have also never realised that life can be that simple without too much concerns. I did remember the day when we were soap distribution to the kids in a public school in Jordan. After receiving packs of soaps, there were all smiley faces inside the classroom. In the materialistic societies in Hong Kong, these environmentally-friendly soaps might have dumped into the landfill simply because of low economical value. This has inspired me to reflect if we can live a less-materialistic life in Hong Kong.
Soap Distribution in Jordan Public School