Saturday, November 13, 2010

Assumptions and Mystery of the ANAHAW logs.

I think that I was passing the area of Barangay Imok of the Calauan-San Pablo Highway in Laguna when I saw this huge truck parked at the side road and pointing to the direction of Los Banos, Laguna. Seeing the truck load of familiar looking logs and about two dozen more occupying half of the two-lane road, I decided to park my car nearest the safest level area as the winding turns, curves and downward slope would make a hazardous accident prone area for vehicles passing by. There was another empty truck in front of the loaded truck waiting for the transfer of logs as the loaded vehicle encountered a faulty break according to one of the men tending to the unloading of the said logs. I was unsure how I was going to approach the men who were mostly in the middle of the road because it was unusual for a passer-by like me, who might not have all the features of a local commoner to be strolling down the road and strapped with a camera to my waist. I keep thinking that they might assume that I am from the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources), who is going to apprehend them in case they had no permit to carry such lumber.

I immediately recognized that the prized logs, which had evident rings of dark brown to black were from the Anahaw (Livistona rotundifolia var. luzonensis) palm (var., short for variety and luzonensis, which comes or originates in Luzon area). This was new to me as never had I seen a truckload of this particular palm species being transported in such huge number, nor for any amount whatsoever.

I approached one of the men who was resting at the side road. He seemed to be the biggest and toughest of them all, who usually leads and supreme over any other laborer. I started a conversation with this person and inquired what the logs were usually used for. I asked him if it was similar to the coco (coconut) lumber that is commonly used as cheap lumber for construction purposes.

Indeed I was able to confirm that it is the Anahaw logs being unloaded for the said transfer to the other truck. I also learned that the lumber was weak and susceptible to insect infestation on land especially if it was subjected to the elements, but it was durable and strong when it was submerged under water. I didn’t fully understand everything he said because I cut our conversation short so that I could immediately take pictures of the logs and go about my own business. I guess I was more concerned to tell the news rather than getting myself involved in case I learned that the said logs were obtained illegally. I wouldn’t know how I would react in such situation.

Earlier this afternoon, I learned from our household help that her husband was employed with a fishpond operator and that she used to see how the Anahaw logs were submerged underwater and used as posts for these fish pens along Navotas, Cavite. She said that the logs could have been acquired from Bicol, where the species were most abundant and that it was probably being transported and purchased to construct, replace or repair fish pens from damage caused by previous typhoons.

The next question that came to my mind was where were these logs going to be delivered? It couldn’t be towards Manila as the usual trucks coming from Quezon province and San Pablo, Laguna would pass via Alaminos, Sto. Tomas, Mt. Makiling and Calamba, which was the obvious route for heavy truckloads, since the gentler sloping roadways made it much easier to transport than passing the less traffic route and deadly-steep-downward-winding hill of Calauan and heading for Los Banos going to Calamba. Then it hit me like a brick! The truckload of Anahaw logs must be going to be delivered to the fish pens of Laguna De Bay. I must have passed Los Banos area a hundred times on my regular trip, but never had I seen the Laguna lake in actual. It must be a few meters away. Just beyond the structures and houses that line along the main highway.

Now everything is much clearer to me. Assuming that all my assumptions are correct!

*Note: Notice the man hiding at the rear side of the truck and the evident plate number of the truck, which marks PHA609.


Post a Comment