There are people who find tranquility in pebbles, stones and rocks. I am not an exception. I don’t know, I can’t explain, but every time I see piles of stones, pebbles and rocks, it has a calming effect on my system. The closest explanation I have is probably because I am Zen fanatic.
There’s this place along the coast of Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte which is known for pebble-picking. When I went to the place in one of my latest visits to the province, there was not only one house that was selling pebbles but that the whole community is engaged in pebble-picking (and selling). You can see piles and piles of pebbles, of different colors (i.e. white, black, grey, shades of yellow, orange and red), shapes and sizes (i.e. flat, round, small, medium, large), in front of every house. And the price? Cheap! Which made me buy a few cans (the biggest can of cooking oil is only at fifty bucks!) with a little extra depending on your “bola.”
The “manang” who was selling saw a duffle bag in my car compartment and she asked if I could exchange that for five cans! I felt sad because I realized they need something which they can use, over money. What intrigued me is when she said I can even barter old children clothes for her pebbles. I don’t mind trading old clothes but when I realized that it was for her children,it touched my heart! I went home happy with my pebbles but at the same time sad because of what I’ve witnessed. I didn’t have the chance to go back but I would love to, not to exchange clothes for pebbles, but to give clothes to that “manang” whom I talked to. Lately, however, I came to know that a local ordinace against pebble-picking is already in effect as early as 2004 (Opps, crime consumated!)However, people here continue to pick and sell pebbles not with intention to violate the ordinance, but more of lack of other alternative source of livelihood. By the way, see the driftwood that divides the pebbles? There are lots of those in Ilocos which you can get it for free. In Manila, they sell in hundreds or even thousands after a neat finished.