For the times I spent on this world, I have never seen poverty, despair and hopelessness anywhere except those that I have seen in Rio Hondo because those are what I saw on photographs, on blogs, on articles about the locale and much more about how many people, those even Zamboanga City residents telling me about the barangay called Rio Hondo. I have made every possible way to make a personal visit to see it for myself and probably either validate what had been previously said and heard or stick to my own version of the story.
As in most places, perception is a problem. We perceive to believe and thus, it created an unnecessary uneasiness and fear among those who wanted to go around. Zamboanga City is one and Rio Hondo is much worst perceived.
After having been convinced Journeying James and EAZY Traveler to go and check the locality, I did made preparations for the visit. I have contacted our common friend by the name of Gamar Hassan. Even on a rainy early afternoon, I went to check out Rio Hondo. What I saw captured me.
I never saw poverty even if it is surrounding me. I never saw poor people. I never saw hopelessness but rather I saw hope, I saw vitality and I saw richness of cultural heritage, one which should make us prouder of our own in Mindanao. Rio Hondo, aptly named after “deep river” by the Spaniards was a home to Spanish conquestadores during the time of the Spaniards, now home to the Samal Banguingui, Tausug and Bajao tribes. Barangay Mariki which is adjacent to Rio Hondo is the last coastal barangay within the city-limits.
For the brief time I stayed, I was given a walk-around lecture by our friend Gamar, introducing me to people, to places, to culture and to lifestyle. What I saw was hope. What I learn is deeper than what I saw. I see in Gamar Hassan the openness and the gnawing realities of poverty is far away to worry for they themselves made it a purpose and a vision to strive daily to survive. See Rio Hondo for yourself and a story awaits.