"I can feel the pain, the feeling of inferiority but the motivation for success and outlook for dreams is very high and will remain high."

They don't look so neat. The children wear stained clothes. Their hair is rough with extra large shirt: too large to be worn by them. The children don't look pleasing. Their skin is full of blemishes which obviously doesn't look like being given a proper care. It is very dry and out of enough conditioning. But in spite of these things that can be seen in them, they have their simple but happy family with them and the exceptional talent of "bonsai making."

For the information of the readers, Bonsai is actually a Japanese art which involves the making of miniature trees in small containers.

With them are bonsai plants. They carry those bonsai plants everywhere they go looking after the luck for tourists who might buy them. One bonsai costs P50.00.

Map Courtesy of Wikipedia
Map Courtesy of Wikipedia
These little bonsai kids do their business at the slopes of Mayon Volcano, a very active volcano in the province of Albay.

At the other slope of Mayon Volcano or simply Mt. Mayon is the city of Tabaco in the same province.

Tabaco City is one of the eight (8) towns and municipalities that share the volcano, dividing the peak like slices of a pie of pizza. In this part of Tabaco City is a place almost halfway the crater of the beautiful yet mischievous Mayon Volcano. People call this place as the Mayon Resthouse, which serves as the starting point for mountaineers that climb the peak of Mayon Volcano.

The photo above is the Mayon Resthouse, the only concrete facility built within the circumference wherein  any house or structure is not allowed.

At the Mayon Resthouse is a park where tourists go to view the province of Albay from the "sky." This place is the home of the Bonsai Kids who sell their Bonsai for 50 pesos (about less than a dollar). With them is their family also selling those bonsai. It is not definite if they can sell all those pieces of bonsai in a day. Their income for that single day depends on their sales, worse, if it is raining or if the volcano is angry, they may have no income and possibly, nothing to eat for the day.

"There is no way we can earn, this is the only thing we know since we don't have our own home, we just live at the slopes of Mayon," mother of the bonsai kid said while handling other bonsai plants and with the hope that we might also buy those.

They chase after us begging to buy those plants. Everywhere we go, they are like shadows that keep following us looking after our digital cameras, cellphones, gadgets, our clothes and a serious eye contact that delivers a poignant message from them that all of us [tourists] are rich and fortunate.

That child didn't just know how I also struggled to work hard and earn a hard time just to be able to have a hitch to Bicol but it was inserted to my mind, I am lucky that when I was a child, I never tried this, although I used to sell ice cream at the age of 10 at a minor seminary close to our house. I understand their situation because I was once an "ice cream kid" and they are the "bonsai kids."

I can feel the pain, the feeling of inferiority but the motivation for success and outlook for dreams is very high and will remain high. At a young age, I know how they feel, because I also experienced that situation, the only difference is that, what I sold together with my brother was ice cream.

I can not blame them if that is how their life goes because I can see their perseverance to survive and help their parents at a young age. Their parents should not be blamed also because that is the only thing they can give to their children although you can see how they work hard the whole day waiting for tourists because that is their craft, and they are using their skills to survive through bonsai making.

The Mayon resthouse has left me a very poignant memory of hopes, dreams, family and struggle. If I'll be back, I want to see those children already with smile in their face, well-groomed, neat and blessed. But how? Time will tell. What future waits them? Destiny will speak.



Born and Raised in Vigan, Philippines. Hardcore Ilocano-Cordilleran. Professional Nurse on Weekdays. Coffee Addict. Travel Blogger in Between. For collaboration or partnership, email your business proposal at admin@edmaration.com.

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