Children are the multi-faceted representation of a community. Their values are raw. Their characters are natural. Their faces are unfiltered.
They are the mirror of the core and unseen values of a family. They are the icon of the unspoken influence of society.
I am no Bicolano. But I have strong personal, cultural, and professional connections with them. I almost marry a Bicolana. I worked at the largest operating gold mines there. Among my closest friends are the uragons.
Bicol needs not to introduce itself to me. Its genuine culture and people were simplified on how their children deal with a stranger.
Their friendships are genuine.
The people who helped me during the rough times of my life are Bicolanos. They help without asking in return. They are never selfish. Beyond what is available, they do not hesitate to share their best.
When I attempted to scale Mt. Isarog, the children volunteered to guide me along the way. When I asked how much it would cost me, they replied: “Wala po sir. Baka po mawala kayo sa gubat.”
“To help” is the dominating values of the children of Isarog. It is their common trait. It is not consciously chosen but an acquired character influenced by their society.
In any way they can, you will see their hands helping their family. They sell fruits. They go fishing. They till the farm. They grew never ignorant to household chores. They have clearer understanding of the value of generosity even to strangers.
They may be shy, but they are genuine. They may be hesitant, but their smiles are true. They are always humble, but they share no less than their best.
Courtesy and respect are their best qualities, never dropping the word “po” in any conversation. There are so much that the children of Isarog speak beyond the words of their mouth, but on the influence of their actions.
They are simple and honest people. They take pride on honesty than personal gains. In 2011, during my first visit to Naga, I left my 70D DSLR camera at a toilet of a mall. During my visit last weekend, my credit and cash cards slipped from my wallet. They were all returned to me before I left Camarines Sur.
Like the imposing Mt. Isarog, the beauty of its children does not only exceed from what you see at a distance. To go deeper and deeper into its forest, you will understand that the charm and glory of this majestic landscape has transcended beyond the trees and its rivers. But to the lives of its children as well.