25-Apr-2004 -- Ever since I came across this site, I’ve been wondering what allure people see in this project that pushes them to look for a place that is most probably not that distinctive except for having the “right” coordinates. Even the exceptionality of these coordinates is questionable considering that had the French prevailed instead of the English the prime meridian would pass through Paris instead of Greenwich thereby placing the confluences on different places from where they are right now.
Anyway, after closely looking at the Philippine confluence map I noticed that a number of them are tantalizingly close to the places my job takes me. So on this lazy Sunday afternoon I decided to wet my feet and have a glimpse of this confluence hunting thing. After dropping by the Divine Mercy shrine in Marilao, Bulacan I went for the nearest confluence from Manila: the 15N 121E. I know it has already been visited but my primary purpose for this visit is to check my gear and methodology just in case I decide to try a confluence further from home.
As much as possible I tried to disregard any cues from the previous visit to simulate an unvisited confluence. Instead of making for San Ildefonso town approaching the confluence from the west I went towards San Rafael for a southerly approach which the road map indicates is a more direct route. Since the map doesn’t show Pasong Kallos, I asked for the direction to Coral na Bato, which according to the map is closest to the confluence. It was pretty easy getting directions especially from the tricycle drivers. Turning north from the national highway, it’s all rough road ahead. After about four km of this I came to a fork in the road, one leading to Coral na Bato and the other to Pasong Callos. If it were not for the bearing arrow pointing to Pasong Callos, I would have kept on going to Coral na Bato. Ten minutes later I reached the confluence.
It is located in Pasong Callos, San Rafael, Bulacan in the middle of a rice field that is not irrigated. That’s why during the dry season - the season when this and the last visit were made – there is no crop and the land is instead used as cow pasture. After zeroing in on the confluence, I made for the nearest house SW of the field to ask for permission to take the photographs. There I met Mr. Rogelio Santos and Mrs. Anelia Santos who informed me that the land is owned by a certain Mr. Romeo dela Cruz. I would have preferred to ask permission from the land owner before taking the photos but it’s already past four and the light is already fading. So accompanied by Mr. Santos, I reestablish the confluence position and took the necessary photos before proceeding to the dela Cruz’ house located not far from the confluence. Unfortunately, Mr. Romeo dela Cruz wasn’t home and I was instead received by his brother Mr. Diosdado dela Cruz. Even though it’s already after the fact I handed him the DCP’s permission letter, informed him that I took photos of their land and will be posting them on the internet. Naturally, the dela Cruzes were curious why anyone would be interested in taking photographs of their rice field. I tried to explain but I think I lost them with the mention of latitudes and longitudes and even raised suspicion after saying that their land is “special”. Filipinos has got to be one of the warmest people but with the proliferation of numerous pyramiding schemes and more recently text (SMS) scams it’s quite understandable that people are wary of strangers bearing too-good-to-be-true stories. But I think after several analogies, they got the idea and I didn’t push much further than that. Even after a family member asked me how I pinpointed the exact position of the confluence, I didn’t try to explain and instead just showed them my Magellan. I’m leaving the more detailed explanation to the future visitor/s of this confluence. We chatted a while, with Mr. dela Cruz asking how my trip was like going to their place and soon enough even though I would have loved to stay longer but with failing daylight I had to make my way back to Manila.
So after this experience, have I finally understood why so many people are hooked on this hunt? Honestly, not yet. For me, it is still just a quest to find an imaginary and arbitrarily established point on earth. One thing though, it’s a welcome break from an afternoon of watching ten men chasing a ball up and down a court trying to put it through a pair of hoops. Maybe I’ll get it after my next confluence visit. :)
Notes to future visitors:
1. A visit during the rainy season (August-October) would offer the most contrast from the first two visits.
2. The field measure less than 100 m x 50 m, so even without GPS receiver this confluence guarantees a successful visit.
3. A useful landmark is the chapel of Pasong Callos which is just beside the dela Cruz’ house.
4. Be prepared to answer questions from the landowners. The next visit will confirm the uniqueness of their place; naturally they would want to know all about it.