Thursday, May 14, 2009

Johnny Walker

Walking is a pastime that keeps my eyes open to the world.

The habit formed long before I learned to ride a jeep on my own. My feet were like water quenching my thirst to explore. Growing up in a neighborhood crisscrossed by narrow streets called alleyways, one has to find out what alley exits to the main road. Otherwise, you would get lost in the dizzying maze of pathways that sometimes lead to a dead end.

In school, familiarity over my surroundings prodded me to explore my campus. Places unknown to most pupils were my secret hideaways. I knew where the school dump site was; the two-story, lemon-green colored structure which housed the nun's quarters; the college building that was off-limits to grade school students (but still I was able to go into by pretending to be some faculty's kid); and the upper floors of the aging school auditorium which turned out to be a dormitory for less fortunate male high school and college students.

No one dared to follow my footsteps for when I had finally explored every nook and cranny of the campus, I set my eyes outside the walls and toward the waiting hinterlands and posh neighborhoods around my school.

To explore these uncharted lands, one has to walk small steps and vast distances to get from one place and back without appearing too unfamiliar with the terrain. In these daring expeditions, I saw many things: The neighborhood beyond the posh houses at the back of my school were settled by families living on the edge of a creek. The kids playing near the banks were grimy; their tattered clothes were on the brink of falling apart. Most adults I saw spent the afternoons crouched next to their car-sized hovels while staring blankly at people passing in front of them.

I saw other sights which were more pleasant to the senses, but they left no striking impressions unlike those I've seen near the creek. As I grew older, the walking continued. The bolder my steps become, the more depressing places I have learned to appreciate.

Nowadays, walking not only keeps my eyes open to learning new shortcuts; it also keeps me away from boredom. Walking is a form of exercise that gives me this twisted illusion of being fit; while sparing me a few coins that I would have used when riding a jeep or tricycle to reach my destination. Most important of all, walking allows me to learn new things while reminding me of my insignificance.

It encourages me to embrace a life of searching and sets the mood to pause and think of ideas that may change the world for the better.

Such as joining a global event to end hunger.

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On June 7, the Philippines will once again put its collective feet and join with the rest of the world in a walk to feed every starving children on the planet. Hosted by the UN World Food Programme, the End Hunger: Walk the World campaign aims to raise enough funds to support the thousands of hungry kids in Mindanao.

Walk begins at 6 am at the Rajah Sulayman Park in Roxas Boulevard.

And though it maybe staggering to contemplate on how such activity would feed so many children in one year, remembering the countless long distances I have covered while walking, and seeing how much human suffering has been overlooked around me, the walk seems a worthwhile use of one's resources on a sunshiny weekend morning.


"Street Urchins"
UP Diliman, 2007

5 comments:

DN / DeathNote said...

Tampo tampo. Hmpf.

Chuck Suarez said...

sa kaka blog hopping ko napadaan ako dito. welcome back sir =)

Rain Darwin said...

nosebleed ako sa dalawang characters.

Jason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
blagadag said...

"Walking is a form of exercise that gives me this twisted illusion of being fit..." twisted? walking makes one fit, is a scientific fact.