It is only expected that those here in Manila, used to a life of ever-increasing expenditures, are clueless as to what the amounts — usually very considerable — they spend for food, grooming, clothes, shoes, bags, jewelry, home, entertainment, travel, etc. can actually buy in terms of life-changing equipment for our fellow Filipinos in the far-flung provinces of our country.
On the tenth day of our trip, 14 September 2009, Monday, Tess Lopez brought upcoming Silaynon artist Carlos Ruiz and I to the Vallehermoso central school to conduct an art workshop for the grade school children; the art works would be used for Christmas greeting cards to raise badly-needed funds for the Saint Francis of Assisi parish church of Vallehermoso and its parochial school which burned to the ground a week before we arrived.
And while the Vallehermoso central school was a perfectly charming place [ an old “Gabaldon”-type school building designed for tropical Philippine weather set on commodious grounds ] with perfectly charming students and noble and concerned teachers, I came face to face with the reality [ for the umpteenth time ] that much of the resources that we take for granted in Manila could go a looong way for the children, happy and content as they are, in this distant provincial town…
And so one thinks of the affluent life that has always seemed normal, even ordinary for the fortunate ones: endless dinners at “Lolo Dad’s,” “Le Souffle,” “Aubergine,” and “Antonio’s” [ and lunches in similar places ]; regular salon and spa treatments at the Shangri-La and Mandarin hotels, Emphasis Rockwell, and at BeloMed; European couture dresses and British and American bespoke suits; French and Italian leather shoes and bags from Hermes, Blahnik, Vuitton, Ferragamo, Tod’s; all the modern Italian furniture and interiors; theater seasons in London and New York, the casinos in Las Vegas and Macau; the safari trips to Kenya and the larks to Morocco; etc., etc.. Imagine all the real needs that all those luxurious wants can buy!!!
Someone did tell me, long ago, that the excess resources one has should not be used for one’s pleasures, but should instead be used to help others.
I countered that “It’s so much more fun to make messes of ourselves!!!” *winks*