Dreams of capturing beauty in some way

June 23, 2010
A portion of Rio Alban (now Mangangate River) near Laguna Heights Filinvest. Rio Alban is where Alabang got its name. A creek that goes straight to the river serves as Ayala Alabang's main drainage. Rio Alban specially in the Alabang area is still teeming with plant and aquatic life, sadly, with the fast developing district, all of these could change in the coming years. The widest area is said to be 800m found in National Bureau of Prisons. The river drains to the lake somewhere in Cupang.

I have been researching these beautiful birds that can be found along the small rivers and the remaining woodlands in our area. This justify an investment in camera equipments that will help me document the existing wild life until it vanishes forever – but this, of course, is easier said than done as DSLR cameras and its peripherals has been outrageously expensive.

So this personal project could remain side tracked for awhile, but I hope not for long because time is the enemy. A few years from now, I would like to look back at this and share it with those who lived in this area, you know those stories you often hear from old people (or not so very old people) about certain time and place that they remember , how it comes back to mind over and over again. My Father has lots of these stories – he speaks as if old Manila and Macati was some distant lands lost in time. Before, nature felt close, even to those who lived in the metropolis – parks and gardens (may ganito pa ba sa Metro Manila?) were more than just seats and lamp posts, they were sanctuaries for both man and wildlife, we no longer have these zones. This is a flaw in how we design our districts – there must be balance and we know this, but pays little attention. Those that still exist are slated for extinction (remember the historic gardens of Manila?), majority are neglected. Is this an inevitable consequence of our development?

We could strike a balance between development and conservation, but the initiative, in Filinvest Alabang’s case, would have to come from them, to allocate areas reserved for nature and for them to ensure that Rio Alban would remain flowing and alive. Since taking over, their zoning and subdivisions shows that they had no intentions of reserving space for any nature areas. The one that we have now exist because it hasn’t been developed yet. So much has changed in less than a decade – from scrubland, where wild animals once freely roam, the former government owned site for state scientific research has been swiftly transformed into a jungle of glass and concrete.

I’ve never felt so negative about urban development – my definition of progress has changed over the years. Perhaps, because for the first time in my life I’m seeing nature being disrupted and degraded – in order to advance our desires to expand, to “urbanize”. Greed drives this process and somehow we have learned to accept that this is how it should be – that we all must give way to our society’s paramount objective of modernizing everything. This uncontrolled and unregulated urbanization has led us into some of the most disastrous events in our lifetime, and still we turn a blind eye to it, we can’t go on like this forever. There are consequences – sooner or later we’ll have to answer to Mother Nature.

As I was heading home this morning, I briefly observed the Alban River (the altered portion near Festival Mall) and the lush trees around it. Not far is an on going construction site. Nothing can produce the distinct sense of awe and pleasure nature gives – brief moments when I feel at peace and free. In the short period that I was there I saw a pair of freshwater turtles, a mountain shrike and a group of Pygmy flower peckers – they were beautiful, perfect the way they are.

20 June 2010

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R E de LeonIsabel Recent comment authors
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Are the new generations in the Phil. more sensitive than their parents to the importance for their wellbeing of preserving nature?

Just wondering.

Thank you for the gorgeous photo and the descriptions of the river and remaining nature.


R E de Leon

Hi. I have been trying to map out the rivers and creeks of muntinlupa, but find myself a bit confused. The City Government’s site lists a separate “Mangangate River” (17909 meters long) and “Alabang River” (14,720 meters) at the link below. The combined length listed for the Pasong Diablo River (6098m) and the Mangangate River seem to me to come close to the number listed for the Alabang River, but the page gives the impression that the Alabang River is a separate system. Being a local, I was wondering if you might help me understand all this? 😀 The link… Read more »