Some Filipinos working in Hong Kong consider Cheung Chau island a liblib na lugar (or a far-flung place). Although Cheung Chau is about 45 minutes away from the island of Hong Kong, it enjoys amenities defying every definition of what it is to be far-flung in the Filipino psyche – for nuance’s sake we keep in mind that Boracay is far but not far-flung. What makes Cheung Chau distinct is that the island itself is a resort. Virtually there are no motorized vehicles around except for ambulance, police cars and motorized carts for transporting goods and construction materials. The widest street is that of the village, it is wider by half than Dapitan in Manila. The village is located around the harbor which makes for a beautiful walk. Majority of the route around the island are concrete trails just wide enough for two persons to walk side by side.
You have a school, hospital, police station, temples, hotels, wet market, retail stores, air-conditioned grocery stores, clothes shops, souvenir shops, McDonalds and restaurants. The inner streets are just are full of shops just as well where you will find small wholesale stores – a slightly bigger version of our sari-sari stores. But they look familiar; if you happen to shop at Divisoria.
The way Cheung Chau island is being maintained serves as a good model for us in the Philippines. I hope young people would be able to visit the island – I mean Mong Kok is a good shopping area, but that is not the whole of Hong Kong. It would be better to have left Hong Kong changed by how they value and manage their resources. Well, this of course is a luxury for those who can afford a longer stay. But this statement is shot at least to those who can. Hongkongers are our neighbors after all.
As a neighbor I have this instance in mind. Remember that Filipinas are “forming” Hong Kong’s generation – most probably Hong Kong’s generation of future leaders. My concrete experience would be when, one of our Hongkonger tourist guide in a Buddhist monastery in Lan Tau island, kept on bringing Philippines into the conversation. He was so curious. Only to know that as a child he used to go to Davao at least once a year. Philippines becomes a part of the consciousness of Hongkongers. These congenial memories and experiences are stronger bonds than any foreign policies could muster. It goes beyond economics and calculating politics.