Where have all the rivers gone?
I grew up with creeks and rivers that I and my playmates used to swim. We spent the whole day playing and swimming in the creeks and rivers in Monkayo, then part of Davao del Norte.
Our house was just beside the Libuton Creek, our source of fish and hito and gourami. Life for us was very simple then and so fresh. In that creek I learned my first lessons in swimming. Grade 1 and swimming was my life.
So adept was I in swimming that I made it my hobby. But no one, not even my school cared about swimming as a sporting event in Batang Pinoy and Palaro. Probably there was nothing of this sporting event then.
But it was not my swimming skills that really mattered. It was the freshness of the rivers and creeks. It was the richness of the rivers, pristine and calm. In those rivers were memories of my childhood, of my growing up, of our passing to being teenagers.
Today the creek is gone, the river is gone. What is left are the algae-laden pebbles and small rocks. Some water is left dripping in milkish fashion. Leftovers from Mt Diwalwal and agri farms up there. There is no longer the source that gave the rivers the power and will.
Those in government in our hometown did not seem to care.
I studied college in the city and when I came home the sad reality stared me at the face. The creeks and rivers were gone. Sad. Very sad.
But college break was spent in one of the best rivers of Davao- the Sibulan river in Toril.
In the seminary where I studied, Sunday was a break. So we used to have picnic in Sibulan river. Wow, we had the greatest fun of enjoying the river with those rocks and crystal clear drops.
We enjoyed the river as we thanked heaven for this gift. We shared memories of college in Sibulan. And we thought Sibulan will be with us forever.
I was wrong. Passing Sibulan to visit Digos, I could only heave a deep sigh of disbelief. Sibulan is slowly dying. What happened.? Sad. Very sad. Sibulan too is gone.
The only one left to wonder in awe is the Aliwagwag Falls in Cateel, Davao Oriental. It is God’s gift to the people in that province.
If Aliwagwag is gone, then we are not worth in the eyes of heaven. An irresponsible people like us who do not want to take care of those rivers do not deserve these gifts of nature.
After Sibulan, will Tamugan follow? God forbid.
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