I have passed by this “arc” countless times. Oblivious of the fact that this should make me a proud denizen of this small town. This welcome landmark is made up of rustic colored bricks and atop sits two farmer’s plow and the town’s famous produce, the Red Onion. Red onions were harvested starting on late February til mid-April. Harvest season coincides with the hottest days as onion loves dry weather. Yesterday, Cabanatuan City was recorded the hottest place in the Philippines. I can attest to that because we were in the city yesterday and I was sweating profusely. But, as unpredictable as the weather was, IT RAINED LAST NIGHT! Hmmm, signs of good tidings^_^
Good signs and thank Heavens, a season of good harvest for the people of Bongabon. FINALLY, FINALLY! No “fake” onions came in the way. No smuggled onions came in town at the height of the harvest! Yey!
The gods of the onions must have heard the plight of the farmers who have to brave the dry and blustery Northeast monsoon (Amihan) plus the scorching heat in March and April.
Bongabon is a town north of Nueva Ecija and bounded by Laur and Gabaldon on the eastern side, Palayan City on the southern side, Natividad on the western side and Rizal town on the northern side.
The mountain view behind the arc is where Baler, Aurora is located and can be reached by zigzagging through the craggy and steep Sierra Madre mountains.
Standing near the foot of the welcome arc, I can smell the pungent and acrid aroma of the onion fields. As the people would say, one will definitely know if he/she has arrived in Bongabon, that onion aroma will be felt in the wind breeze. Even standing beside this creek, that old familiar scent…means I AM IN MY HOME.