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AS A FAN of Blues Traveler, one of my favorites among their many hits is a song about lost love but is weirdly titled THE MOUNTAINS WIN AGAIN. A few lines in that song instantly played in my mind when I first heard the news of the flooding in the city that happened after a hard rain the other night.

”…it looks like rain, I feel it coming in, the mountains win again.

I just couldn’t help but say, those lines succinctly (as in sink-ly) hit the nail on the head. Even as one of our marites in the neighborhood loudly proclaimed that such was a clear act of God, I beg to disagree. Fact is, we brought that on ourselves. (and by “ourselves”, I’m merely throwing in a blanket accusation which is much like ‘bato-bato sa langit’)  

I remember in the late 60s, my mother had brought us to visit a piece of land they had purchased in Bajada. It sat on the crest of a small hill of what is now called Belisario Heights. In order to maneuver one’s way to the top, one had to either ride on sturdy Willy’s jeeps (or ‘owners’ as the old folks call it) or via kangga, those carabao-led carts one sees in the hinterlands used for farm work. At the time, the road leading up was no more than a mountain trail, and as I recall, at the top was where only a few families settled. 

A few meters further ahead, the land sloped downward, and somewhere in the area that is now Belisario and Hillside Subdivisions, we were still able to dip into a fair-sized creek. Someone who had accompanied us there had told us then that in these areas which stretched even beyond what we know as the Diversion Road, forest animals still dwelled. It included wild ducks (which the Timesman, our family friend hunted with his 22 rifle), crocs, and wild boar. Fruit trees were in abundance too. Sadly, all these now only dwell in memory.

A few years after our family moved there, I followed my grandfather down the back trail as he regularly visited my aunt who lived in Diamond Village. It was only at this time that I realized that between us and my aunt’s residence, the area had already been cleared and turned into a subdivision. One lasting recollection of my first treks through there was the sight of newly-paved streets which were still empty of houses. The wide stretch of what seemed like a cement jungle had evidently replaced my early images that a real forest once thrived here.

Until now, I’m still wondering, in what part of that vast development lay the original creek of our childhood? As subtly as it could at first, whenever it rains, water begins seeking its own level and floods the main road leading to the highway, eventually draining into the swampy area nearby behind the old office of (ironically) the water district. As always, the mountains win again.


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