Garbage: Darling, Nuisance? Our Choice


Cheerfully about it, hard-working Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and Region 1 mayors, scratch their dandruff, este, their heads, cajoling all and sundry to a matter that proper garbage upkeep is, within good conduct, a citizen responsibility.

Kassano saan umalsem ti isem ni Mayor nu maduktalan na nga ti basura agsasala idiay   balwarte na kada agsapa. In Ilocano –Englisheee translation, that means: “Smile, apo Mayor, even though the morning garbage stinks.”

Yawp! Mayors hit it right on the nail’s head. Responsibility, defines the dictionary, “is a thing that one is required to do as part of a job.”

Statistically, Daily Laborer lacks statistics on those garbage-responsible. Those responsibly conscious in sorting and toting their garbage to designated collection site for pick up by garbage collectors of city or provincial General Service Office (GSO), the dictionary’s definition easily applies to them.

Those tending to act otherwise than good, throw garbage anywhere out of spite, create ways to outsmart local government system and   mess up the working environment, they fall under scrutiny of Profirio Gabatan, from Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), an unassuming farmer, who, with gnarled hands, started from scratch but with responsibility, is doing well selling his products.

Whenever Gabatan delivers vegetables to his “suki,” (customer), he makes it a responsibility to collect the “ubbak” (peeled vegetable covering) and other vegetable trimmings, load them onto his truck for recycling as organic fertilizer.

Gabatan’s small and “insignificant” gesture helps him laugh his way to the bank, by cutting sharply his expense on inorganic fertilizer.

Last week, Gabatan intimated to Ah Kong his colorful description of who doesn’t give a hang in being serious in dealing with garbage as, “they, having an apparatus (meaning a brain) with which they think what they think with malice to all, and detaching a burden and shifting it easily on the shoulder of anybody.”

Gabatan, in murmuring his thoughts, adds he’s not attacking anybody. No. Not ever.  Why he’s merely contented is, such people practice one of the laws of the Ten Commandments.

The Commandments which states, “Love your neighbor.” Or as Gabaten mildly mimics, “Love your neighbor; dump your garbage in or near your neighbor’s premises.”

What he merely wants conveyed is, why should one be bitter about his/her litter? Or, more tersely, Don’t be bitter, pick up your litter.

Another Daily Laborer, Berto Sandoval, from Baguio City hastens to add: “We pocket our litter; no pockets? No problem. We swallow it.”

One time Sandoval saw one of his neighbor who, after depositing her load of garbage somewhere, went on to whip up a garbage culture by gossiping on others. Talking trash by mouth-trashing one of the neighbors, she ended having broken lips, courtesy of the person she gossiped about.


Whether such persons are elated that garbage aroma covers up Nature’s natural scent is subject to debate   by Daily Laborer readers, says Gabaten, who refuses to head home after delivering his vegetable goods, until he had with him a copy of Herald Express.

Two biologists, one from CAR and one from Region 1, also intimated they are in deep study on the peculiar smell of garbage strewn elsewhere in the two regions.

Their paramount objective is to extract and capture that peculiar garbage smell, turn it into a lady’s perfume, apply for a patent with the government as their invention and sell that garbage perfume to the public.

Oh, la-la! They smell lots of “kwarta” coming to them, anticipating the flow of cash that will be generated in selling such made from garbage.

Another parallel study they are mulling into is how to turn the slimy parts of garbage as skin freshener for male and females that will make the skin glow and women more beautiful. The two say there are many advantages of garbage if we make our brains inventive.

Very, very inventive and bright, talaga, these biologists. Only shows that those born in CAR and Region are bright. Not only bright. Beautiful and handsome, too, are people born in CAR and Region 1.

On garbage’s other side, there are household members in CAR and Region 1 who wouldn’t budge an inch from their seat when told to take out the garbage. Even if we use a crowbar to unseat them.

A classic example to this happenstance, take it from Mrs. Conchita Agtarep from Region 1.

She explains so her husband is very   charming in   lots of ways, can cook pinakbet, prito ti bangus, ag-ugas ti pinggan, makes Conchita smile when she’s angry and such other stuff.  But Conchita’s husband has this annoying tendency of doing exactly the opposite when he’s told to take out the garbage.

“He has this counterproductive manner of resisting when I tell him to, please, pretty please, take out the garbage and deliver it to the designated dump area for pick-up by   our garbage collectors. But he won’t do it, and blabbers unreasonable reasons.” Conchita wailed to Ah. She asked why her husband is such a pain in the neck when it comes to rubbish.

Ah tried his best to console Conchita, saying there really are those who do the exact opposite of what’s requested   for them to do.

Thinking about Conchita’s dilemma that time, Ah remembered sometimes human have this love-hate relationship with things – like garbage.

As humans attain contentment from imitation replacement for Nature, we lose sight there isn’t any equivalent for Mother Nature, consistently and precisely the truthful   creation, with her eons of intelligent, life supportive, miracles.

Each replacement we make falls incredibly short of nature’s perfection. As a consequence, humans produce their pollution, garbage and to a point, relationship conflict.

Taking out household garbage to a specified designated area in your barangay    has become a routine week-end chore for many, some hating the job while others loving it, for it gives them opportunity to gossip with their neighbors, or gain new experience.


One time, along Halsema National Highway, a Lola, whose house was adjacent the highway, held a big and wicked-looking grass scissors, and hid behind her hedge-fence whenever males, particularly the drunks, passed by.

Curious, Ah approached the Lola and inquired about her mysterious moves.

“No mystery at all, my apo,” the Lola chimed.  She narrated she minded not if males in her barangay got drunk if they wished. What she was grouchy about was, when they passed her property planted with succulent vegetables, they paused to pee –  right onto her vegetables.

It made her mad as a bull. She decided those treating her vegetables as garbage will pay a steep price.

So, whenever a guy started peeing on her vegetables, she appeared from nowhere, brandished the grass-scissors by clacking it, declared the person pay for violating her succulent, beautiful virgin and sexy-looking vegetables.

“Did they pay?” Ah asked, getting more curious.

“Oh yes, they did, my apo! For if they didn’t, I swear, by God, I would have severed their thing dangling between their legs where their pee originated,” the Lola cackled triumphantly, as she winked at Ah.

Goes on to show, oftentimes, humans sustain themselves by turning nature, er, vegetables into garbage.

Sure, sure, we pay garbage fee, but that doesn’t give us the right to spew trash anywhere. It doesn’t mean garbage simply disappears. It re-appears as a problem.

A problem for garbage collectors who smile doing their job despite the messiness of it. Ah happens to be proud of garbage collectors coming from any General Service Office (GSO).

It happens there are those who hate their present jobs. Not the garbage collectors, cheerful as they go about their jobs.

Comes a point.  We, lolo, lola, parent, uncle, auntie, son, daughter and any daily worker out there offer our cintimo-worth kudos for   garbage collectors:  for we don’t believe the garbage-collector job makes the man. Rather, the man makes the garbage collector job.

That done, Ah couldn’t remember the last time he took out the garbage, and reasoning out (like Conchita’s husband) to his family that he had a splitting headache. One of his sons told him to see a doctor.

Flashing a penlight into Ah’s eyes, the doctor got mad and said, “Ah, your head is full of garbage, go home and relax, dammit!”