May 26, 2010

Rural town

The small island province of Marinduque, from where we began our Bellarocca trip, has six municipalities and no cities. They are typical of rural Philippine towns, whether they are inland or coastal, from their architecture and available services to the layout of their streets and the kind of transportation used. Of course, there are differences from province to province and from town to town, but by and large, these are what you can expect in much of the country.

Towns are always centered around the municipal hall and, if they happen to have been founded during the Spanish colonial era, they would be facing the church across a wide plaza. The municipal hall of Gasan was not laid out in such a manner and the architecture is not typical of the period either, which makes me suspect that this building is relatively new. With no one to ask questions from, however, I cannot say for sure. Note that almost everywhere you go in the Philippines, you are likely to encounter at least one statue of National Hero Jose Rizal.

municipal hall of the town of Gasan in Marinduque province


Around the municipal hall are small commercial buildings. Even the homes near it have commercial establishments on the ground floor. The easiest way to go around the town is the ubiquitous tricycle.

houses with commercial establishments on the ground floor in the town of Gasan in Marinduque province


Within the town proper, roads are typically made of asphalt or concrete. As you go farther, they turn into gravel roads until they are nothing more than one lane dirt paths which vehicles have to share with people and farm animals. Animals usually have the right of way.

dirt road outside a town center in Marinduque province


The wood and concrete houses of town centers give way to houses made of bamboo and nipa, with a smattering of hollow blocks and galvanized iron if the family is relatively well-off. Because this community is strung out on the main coastal road of Marinduque, the houses have access to electrical power. Remote and lone homesteads do not have that luxury. But even in this area, most do not have plumbing and running water—many of the houses that we passed still have outhouses.

house made of nipa, bamboo, hollow blocks and galvanized iron in Marinduque province


The entire island of Marinduque is serviced by one airport, which is located in the municipality of Boac, the provincial capital. It does not have an online system so everything, from checking passenger names to computing total passenger and luggage weight, is done manually. It has a two-story control tower and the runway is made of gravel, which residents are free to cross to get to their homes behind the airport. Believe me, this is quite big as far as island airports go—I've seen much shorter runways and more rustic airport structures.

Marinduque provincial airport
the two-story control tower of Marinduque provincial airport

17 comments:

Joy said...

I can't say I've been to Marinduque before, but it sure looks very interesting. Your previous posts also make me want to pay the place a visit.

Joy
Norwich Daily Photo

Paulina Millaman said...

good luck in Toronto!!

Jacob said...

Another incredibly interesting post. I was thinking that it seems very Spanish to have a city square around which everything centers...but then this is the way many small towns are set up in this country, too.

I had to laugh a bit at the airport...Ocala's airport looks very much like this one...except the runways are paved!

Al said...

This is a fascinating tour of a part of the world I've never seen. We have plenty of dirt roads in the rural parts of my state as well. We're only a couple of miles outside of Colorado's second-largest city but there is no water or sewer service at our house. We have our own well (powered by an electric pump so we have hot and cold running water) and septic system.

ρομπερτ said...

Thank you for this impressive and informative journey.
Please have a wonderful Wednesday.

brattcat said...

I wonder if animals have the right-of-way at the airport too.

Kaori said...

That was a lovely stroll along this neighborhood, Hilda ;D

Olivier said...

merci pour la ballade et pour l'histoire de cette ile

James Mark said...

Very interesting post, pictures and text.

AB said...

The dirt road looks about as rural as you can get

Halcyon said...

I really like that second photo. Somehow foregin cities seem more colorful!

Lois said...

It's funny that Jacob mentioned the airport looking like the one in Ocala, because I was going to say the same thing about it looking like ours! Nice pictures and information Hilda. I hope you are having a fun time at the wedding.

Cezar and Léia said...

Beautiful and interesting set of pictures!I wish you everything good in your trip, great and positive energies!
Hugs
Léia

Rob and Mandy said...

Looks quaint, quiet and nice. Kind of place where we cood live.

Steffe said...

Nice post. It's almost like being there reading this and looking at the photos.

Dina said...

So, life has little challenges there.

George said...

Thanks for the tour of this rural area. I found it to be very interesting, although I'm not sure I'd be willing to take a shortcut across an airport runway to get home.