Many people like to ask why I came back to my home province. They would contend that I was already in Manila, the apparent “green land” of the country and I wasted the opportunity to pursue a more lucrative job out there. When I moved back to Bicol after graduation and decided to seek employment in this province (Camarines Sur) I know was once dubbed one of the poorest in the country, my initial reason was that I wanted to be closer to home – for the next two years. Then I would move back to Manila, face the horrendous music, and earn the big bucks. For one year, I lived the rural life – a life so boring and pale compared to the fast paced Manila life I’ve led for the past 6 years. After one year, I was prepared to exchange the fresh provincial air for the polluted ones of the Metro, if only to have a more lucrative job and a higher earning salary. I’m glad I didn’t.
Yesterday, I attended the conference, “Eco-Mismo: The Philippine Conference on Ecotourism and Eco-Productivity” at the Capitol Convention Center in Pili, Camarines Sur. It was a very rewarding experience despite minor hassles (Pinoy time as usual..tsk.) I learned a lot from the various speakers about what eco-tourism is all about and about how climate change should urge us to be more sustainable in our practices. But more than these learnings, I was amazed and proud at what the Cam Sur Governor, LRay Villafuerte presented in his speech. I had tears in my eyes as he showed us the video presentation showing what Camarines Sur was before, and what it is now. From 39th poorest province to Top 10 richest province in 5 years – a pretty amazing feat I should say. And all of these are thanks to the tourism that was very aggressive for the past few years – CWC, Caramoan and next, Mt. Isarog! Wow. Developments are certainly underway. And whereas before, there was only one airline flying 3x a week to Cam Sur, now there are 3 airlines flying 49 times a week! And the flights are bound to increase.
From having the reputation of being one of the poorest provinces in the country, Camarines Sur, or better yet known as Cam Sur has come a long, long way. And I am proud to be back to my home province.