Biyaheng Timog Silangan was an interesting backpacking trilogy of Sandra Aguinaldo in GMA’s most awarded documentary program, i-Witness. Sandra travelled Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam with a shoestring $100 budget or Php4,600 for each country. One interesting highlight is Thailand’s Loy Kratong - The Festival of Lights.
Loy Kratong is probably the most picturesque and beautiful of all Thai celebrations. 'Loy' literally means 'to float,' while 'kratong' refers to the lotus-shaped receptacle which can float on the water. Originally, the kratong was made of banana leaves or the layers of the trunk of a banana tree or a spider lily plant. A kratong contains food, betel nuts, flowers, joss sticks, candle and coins. The making of a kratong is much more creative these days as many more materials are available. Source: Thailand.com
In the evening, Sandra together with the Thais and other foreign tourists gathered along the river. With Kratong in hands, they lighted the candle, put some coins in the kratong, silently made a wish and released the krathong in the water. A thousand of ornately-decorated kratong floated in the river and appeared as glittering lights.
Singapore River Cruise is one heck of a tourist attraction. When I was in Singapore I stayed in a backpacker hostel near Clark Quay, beside Singapore River where a river cruise booth is located. And it’s a hit. But as a tourist with limited resources I opted to use the train and buses for my adventure. And on a sunny day, walking was a preferable option. Nonetheless, a river cruise is a must try in Singapore.
The Pasig River is perhaps one of the most popular rivers in our country that can be found in the main metropolis. As written in our history, we can visualize Pasig River as a river that serves many purposes - from transportation to bathing to laundry. Unfortunately in the 90’s, I saw a different picture. The river was a habitat for a mountain of garbage and water lilies. And a number of homeless families too. It was a pathetic portrait of negligence from both the government and its citizens. Good thing though, the government has decided to revive the river. Today, it is being used as an alternative channel to avoid the jampacked EDSA and other traffic prone areas in the National Capital Region.
What exactly am I trying to point out?
Some main rivers in other countries are being used in their tourism campaign. It does not only help in promoting the beautiful scenic spots along the river but more importantly it also generates revenues. Singapore River is chocolate brown just like most rivers. However, it doesn’t stink. No wonder, they are able to maximize its potential as both tourism and industrial avenue. Isn’t amazing how the government of other countries are able to exploit their key rivers to produce income for the country while both the citizens and the tourists are having pleasure? Having said that, I am really hoping that it is still possible to our very own Pasig River. But hey, a massive campaign for its rehabilitation is useless in the long run without synergy?
Have you ever imagined saying this?
I hope you do
(In times like this, I wish I have a Photoshop.)