My Heart was Crushed

I have fancied Cebu so much that the moment I first went with my hubby, we were awed at what we saw, the clean streets, the tall buildings, the superbly cool malls, the nice places we were brought to, the tourist spots, the bridges, the churches, everything was so nice. I love Mandaue City in particular and the whole Cebu seemed to be cool that I thought I can live there forever.

On our second visit, we brought along with us our kids, we took them to places we have been to on our first trip, and we introduced them to Lapu-lapu, to the cross of Magellan and brought them to Fort San Pedro. They were awed as well at the sight Cebu has placed on their eyes.

I was proud then that I came to visit the Queen City of The South.

Until I came to see Cebu City last weekend. After the seminar we had on Friday, I just went back to the hotel and slept. The reason: busy crowded walkways in Colon St., Cebu City. Colon City is the oldest street in Cebu City and in the Philippines! It is actually the heart of downtown Cebu. This street has become the witness to the rise and fall of Cebu's economic and political competence over the years.


Saturday: I woke up very early to have a cup of coffee, and I decided to get out of the hotel and while still early at 6am, try to have a look of the not-so-busy streets. The Cebu morning I saw was horrible, the smell so foul, ditches and manholes left and right, are full, and with very bad stench. If you want fresh morning air, you cannot have it in that area of Cebu City. Garbage bins were oh-so-full and even overflowing, and there are just many vagrants sleeping in the streets, many of those were children.


I don't know if the street cleaners were just late to clean the last night's trash, but I see foreigners covering their noses because of the stench. Colon is a street with so many hotels parading, mostly housing foreigners. Pelaez St, is next, this is where our hotel is located, 2 blocks away from University of San Carlos-Main.

And Pelaez St., seems to me to be a red-light avenue with all massage parlors and night club signs twinkling in their mini led-lights. And to think of the university nearby, oh no.

I just cannot continue walking anymore, it pains me that the clean and nice Cebu I know also has this kind of bad sight. And this next pic is a heartbreaking one:

Taken while walking back to the hotel at 7am. 3 Sleeping children

The children you see (there's actually three of them), were asleep without anything to sleep on, not even a piece of paper to lay down to. My heart was crushed by what I saw. I could only say my thanks to God, I have a bed to lay down to and a comfortable house to shelter me.

What is our government doing? Are they aware of this situation?

And for the kids, I don't know what the answer to my question is, but when they wake up, do they see a future ahead of them?

My heart cries out in pity, oh please, dear God, hear the children's cries...

I still love Cebu, but I just can't bear seeing these things on my next visit, it crushes my heart.

Comments

Mai da Paypay said…
sheng I think most cities have their good and bad areas. if you went to manila and only stayed in rockwell or greenbelt or the fort, you'd think ganda ganda! but when you go to areas na medyo madumi na, ayun, makikita mo na yung totoo. i guess ganun talaga :-(
Rico said…
I agree with Mai. Now the question is what can we do. Sabi nga ni J. F. Kennedy "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."
MarketMan (of http://www.marketmanila.com/) has this small benefit for kids that might interest you.
mordsith said…
that's so sad... :(

To think people have more knowledge now of things, it's a wonder why this is happening to our cities.
I am Mike said…
I always remember this dirty Colon Street just as it was during those days when I was in Cebu studying in college. I remember walking through this noisy, rough, dirty, and sleazy stretch of road, always wary of pickpockets, garbage stench, deafening vehicles -- the typical urban jungle. Colon is the antithesis of the cleaner Uptown area.

It's too bad that the social problems are still there. I'm optimistic that the Social Welfare Department of Cebu can do something about it. They can really make a difference. My optimism is buoyed by the modern penal system that they've implemented in Cebu. Yes, that penal system where the inmates dance in total discipline and are housed in humane facilities. They can do it if they put their mind to it.
Blue Rose said…
ya, i also agree with what mai said.

it's too bad. such scene really is a heart breaking. mahirap lang din ang pamilyang pinanggalingan ko but still, i am so lucky enough na hindi ko naranasan matulog sa kalye.
REDLAN said…
maswerte tayo kung i-compare natin ang ating sarili sa ibang taong may kakulangan sa buhay at sa katawan. pero minsan hindi natin naiisip ito. ang inisip natin minsan ang ating sariling karangyaan. minsan naisip rin natin kapag may problema tayo at may sakit, mas maswerte sa atin ang mga street children, yung mga taong palaboy lang dahil ganun sila, masay pa rin sila at walang sakit. Sa mga ganyang time, may gusto iparating sa atin ang Diyos. Alam natin kung ano yun. Ganyan ako. Salamat sa pag share ng experience mo.
Sinta said…
As long as the people in power care more about their pockets than the plight of their people, this will not go away.
jeanny said…
It is sad nga.....

I guess it's not only the government who should start moving...ordinary people too (rich or poor) should also do their part. It work hand in hand :)

I also believe kasi na if there is a will there is a way...so if the less fortunate people be responsible/discipline more, there wont be people sleeping on the streets or there wont be any sleazy places to see.
Perky said…
This was very heartbreaking for me to read... n to see children sleeping in the streets... How did things get to be like this?
hECKY said…
How painful to see kids sleeping at the streets like animals.
This is the price of a capitalist society… that common people now-a-days are becoming individualistic… nobody care, nobody dare of these street children

MABUTI PA ANG ASO NG MGA MAYAYAMAN MAY DESINTING TULUGAN
Daxi Weida said…
Hi, Sheng. Na-miss ko bigla ang Cebu. Once frequented that city in the mid-90's because of my work with an NGO. Noon pa man meron nang ganyan, though it's probably worse now. While it's hard for us now to reverse the situation, sana natututo tayo (mga taga-Soccsksargen) sa lessons ng urban development of other cities. Gensan is particularly susceptible given the rapid "growth" that's been noted recently. We have to rationalize urban devt; equity should be up there among the philosophies to be followed in planning.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts; and for reading mine too :)
Kayni said…
the photo rattled my brain - i was asking so many questions about those kids - where are the parents?, what will they be eating? and so on. it's heartbreaking but also an eye-opener.
witsandnuts said…
In my at least a month stay in Cebu, I have seen two faces as well. And that's the proportion in every part of the world. Colon, Banilad and Carcar are among the seemingly old and rural places. But still, Cebu is beautiful in my eyes. =)
kg said…
Hi sheng! always a pity to see scenes like that of the children...I guess all cities have those.

It's the government's and our responsibility to do something, even in our own little way. Cebu is a beautiful place, and people must do something to keep it that way.
sunny said…
yep, the other side of the coin...i guess every good place has it - the filthy streets, the poverty.
iluvgreen said…
i been to cebu four years ago, i admired the clean, traffic-free streets, even in the market area. it was sad that they wasn't able to maintain it.
the donG said…
ever since, colon street has never been a good place for tourist. one should really choose the areas of the cebu business park, jones avenue, fuente osmena or lahug to really enjoy the beauty of the city.

it's just sad to see the oldest street this way. but it has been that way for a long time.
Garando said…
Hello Sheng

You're so right. Seeing that sleeping child breaks my heart. I heard pa nga na that's becoming a more common sight in the provinces (Cebu, Bacolod, etc.) sigh...

Good thing we can leverage on NGO's to get help through to them. :)
SleeplessInKL said…
pity the small children! how can they be sleeping in the middle of that busy street and not have anyone do anything about it?? :(
javaqueen14 said…
Sheng, the pic of the children laying in the street really puts things into perspective. I love you even more for this post!
Heart of Rachel said…
It's heartbreaking to see children wandering in the streets without a home they can call their own. It's a sad reality of life.
faye said…
hi sheng
parang lahat ata naman ng busy city ganyan din kalagayan , kaya mas maganda pa talaga tumira sa province...kahit medyo malayo ang mall or walang malalaking building but the fresh air and the nature are closed to us.
Regayumi said…
Hi Sheng,

It’s sad that in every progressive city, there is always this kind of scenarios.
Gracie said…
That was really heart-breaking. To see the children sleeping along a busy side of the road. I saw a lot of these when I was studying in Manila, and I thought Cebu would be one of the better cities, I guess I was wrong.
jeanny said…
Hi Sheng. Bloghopping. Busy ka po yata.......

Happy Weekend & Take Care!!!
LOREN said…
I've never been to Cebu but the way you describe it, it seems so like Manila. There are places here so clean and wonderful. Really a world class city. But as you go further, there's a lot of dirty (spits here and there) and ugly places too. An eye sore! Manila with its two faces. So like Cebu

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