BULACAN | Farmlife at San Rafael

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Cow and an Egret Playing at the Ricefield in San Rafael, Bulacan

We got invited a couple of months ago to a friend’s place in San Rafael, Bulacan. Not really known as a tourist locale, we basically went there just to hang out.

Besides the fact that I pass the town of San Rafael whenever I go to my hometown at Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija, I know zero about it. So I consulted Wikipedia. It reported that San Rafael is a first class municipality in Bulacan with agriculture as its main livelihood.

It’s about an hour and a half by bus from Manila and we arrived there late in the afternoon. After a quick snack, we immediately set up the table under mango trees for an impromptu bonding drinking session. But before things got out of hand, we first watched the sun burn the sky to orange at the back lot of our friend’s house which opens to a sprawling newly harvested rice field. It was a quick, but nevertheless, fiery sunset.

Sunset at San Rafael, BulacanThe evening was spent swinging lazily on hammocks under the trees, passing shots, talking about movies, debating whether Incubus has indeed sold out, what album R.E.M.’s Night Swimming is from and further discussions on the finer points of the 90’s music scene. With no iTunes on K’s laptop, we had to make do with a small speaker which threatens to burst every time a bass drum kicks in from my iPod.

The night wore on to the sounds of grunge music accompanied by the occasional pop of the bonfire and the never ending whir of cicadas.

  Harvest Time at San Rafael, Bulacan

The next morning found us chugging along the small town’s dirt roads, passing immense rice fields on our right and a slow moving duck-filled creek on the left.

It was harvest time and most of the rice fields had now turned a golden yellow. A few farmers we’re still threshing rice and I caught a few photos using my telephoto lens. I’ve wanted an image of this scene for the longest time but I was unsatisfied with the ones I got, it was too far away. I wanted something closer, like me lying on the field right below the rice thresher, perhaps. I was too shy to ask our host if we could stop and get closer though. Next time maybe.

 Maasim's Hanging Bridge at San Rafael, Bulacan

Moving on, we passed through a hanging bridge, not one built for aesthetics, but an authentic one made of makeshift materials; metal panels for floorings, construction steel as girders, and wiremesh as railguards. Even with such haphazard construction, it was pretty strong, as evident with motorcycles crossing its breadth every now and then.

Passing through cramped pathways and sometimes crossing over someone else’s yards, the vista again opened up to a massive farmland. It seems the whole of San Rafael is made up of ricefields and the houses are the exceptions rather than the rule of the land.

An Egret Striding Along the Fields of San Rafael, Bulacan

This place is a refreshing sight from the usual concrete chaos of Manila. Here, the air is clean, trees stand everywhere, birds of different kind freely roam the skies and fields, and in lieu of the roaring jeeps are cows and carabaos, with the occasional hand tractors plying the rough roads. It was a very enjoyable non-touristy getaway.

I imagine the fields would be more beautiful now that the rainy season has kicked in; the once yellow fields must now be lush green. I definitely won’t mind paying another visit to the sleepy town of Maasim in San Rafael. Now if only we’d get another invite... :P

A Carabao Sitting Idly along the Ricefield of San Rafael, Bulacan
Farmers in the Heat of the Midday Sun of San Rafael, Bulacan


Click to view location in Google Maps

Barangay Maasim
San Rafael, Bulacan

          Farmlife at San Rafael |
Palanas Mini-Dam at San Rafael

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  1. This reminds me of my childhood, vast rice fields in the backyard and the joys of simple living.

  2. Claire
    The simple life, this trip also reminded me of summer days in our province in Cabanatuan =]

  3. mukang nag enjoy ka sa pag gawa ng wala a . heheh . the best sa duyan under the mango tree :>

  4. Miss ko na ang sariwang hangin at mahiga sa damuhan sa bukid.

  5. I miss San Rafael, truly the perfect serene setback of the urban life.

  6. Lestat
    Haha sino ba ayaw ng walang ginagawa? =P

    Masarap talaga buhay sa bukid, tahimik at simple lang =)