Bacolod, 2012

The Long Wait. Quite the double meaning. As this article has seen the delete key quite a few times and has sat in draft mode for maybe, oh i don’t know, 6 months? I usually have a problem competing with my self. I’m not quite schizophroenic although I think it runs in the family. What I mean is, I get a set of nice photographs and along with it is the pressure to produce words that would at least match it.

So I go through this see-saw motion of typing and then backspacing the hell out of every word, line and paragraph. And as much as I can be obsessive about these things, I am still only able to crank out a decent article after a string of tepid ones. Tiring business to be Michael Jordan every single game. At least he gets to sink a few every time. Mine goes into the trash bin and I can’t even get that right at times. Blame it on my cheap Philips mouse. Or my shaky trigger finger. But at least I try to show up, eh?

On the other hand, this article is really about this really long wait that we saw and felt during the time we were photographing sugarcane workers in Bacolod. You have to wonder what time means for this people. Wasting time is not exactly a phrase that resonates with them.

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On the other side of the field where it’s not exactly any sweeter, the sugar mills seem to be taking all this waiting with a grain of salt. While it is perceived to be one of the most inefficient part of the supply chain, it’s not exactly a part that is costing them money. Somebody else is shouldering that expense so the day-long cues to their mills are a non-issue for them.

Bacolod, 2012

The sugar mills have bigger problems to deal with when protective tariffs on their products are lifted a few years down the road and they find themselves competing with imported sugar from countries like Thailand.

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As for the sugarcane workers, well, that part of the chain will get mechanized at some point and they will have to adapt to that situation or go somewhere else to earn a few bucks.

Bacolod, 2012

Bacolod, 2012

The next time you tear a sachet of brown sugar to sweeten that cup from Starbucks, I am sure you’ll be thinking about, hmmm, let’s see… the donut that you got to go along with that yummy brew. After all, nobody really cares about how sugar gets to ones coffee as long as the cup stays hot and, well, cheap.

Bacolod, 2012

Quezon City, 2012

Thanks for reading.