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Rizal is the birthplace of good friend of mine, Grant Leishamn. I designed this book cover for him. aI have also had the opportunity to paint in these locations of natural beauty and to enjoy the unsophisticated lifestyle.
Rizal is a suburb of Mindoro which is often called, the “forgotten island”. This is what my friend Grant Leishman has to say about Rizal.
"It seems like time has stood still there and much of the twenty-first century has passed it by. The roads, even the main road down the western coast of the island were appalling, the first time we traversed it, with enormous potholes and roadworks everywhere. I’m pleased to say it has improved over the last few years, but still, the juxtaposition between the hustle and bustle of a modern, westernised city like Manila and the rural backwater that is Rizal, is something that always strikes me."
A number of Grant Leishman's novels have been set in the Philippines, and one of his stories; Just A Drop in the Ocean is set in the tiny village of Rizal in Occidental Mindoro.
"Geographically, Rizal covers quite a large area, from the coastline of the West Philippine Sea, right through to the base of the spine of mountains that splits Mindoro in two. Rizal, although technically listed as a third-class municipality, is, rather than one single town, a collection of small villages separated by valleys as you head from the coast to the mountains. The village where my wife grew up is actually called Rizal, but to distinguish it from the other parts of greater Rizal, it is often referred to as Limlim.
"To get to Limlim from the main road is no easy task. It involves climbing two fairly large hills and dropping down into the subsequent valley.
"The road is predominately metal, and although drivable in the dry season, when the wet season hits, it can quickly become a quagmire and impassable.
"Nothing, it seems, has changed much in fifty odd years. It really is like a time warp has kept this serene valley the way it has always been. Oh yes, I know there are a few cars around and many residents now have satellite television, but still, there is an ambiance and atmosphere about the picturesque place, that I’ve rarely seen elsewhere.
"The locals are hard-workers, with many still surviving by semi-subsistence farming and there is little time for the pleasures of life for these people. My father-in-law at 78, still visits and works on his farm regularly and every morning he fulfills his daily routine of sweeping up the fallen leaves from the large property, before burning the rubbish. There is a real rhythm to life there, that is still dictated by the rise and fall of the sun and the seasons.
"There is not a lot of spare money for luxuries or celebrations, so when there is one, the people tend to go all out to enjoy it. Weddings, Significant Birthdays, the Annual Town Fiesta and yes, even funerals are reasons to relax, let loose and imbibe freely. If you’re lucky, there will even be a goat or a pig donated to roast over the open fire. Although I’m not a great fan of watching the poor animal being slaughtered and prepared for the fire, I am one of the first in the line when the food is ready to eat. There is nothing quite as delightful as Lechon Baboy (roasted pig) cooked over an open fire, with the succulent fat, the crispy skin, and the, oh so luscious meat. It’s definitely not good for the waistline, but oh, so good for the soul."
Grant Leishman lives in the middle of Metro Manila, a thriving, bustling city of some fifteen million people. The traffic is horrendous, the heat is stifling and the throngs of people, at times, overwhelming. Aside from being an author he is a skilled proof reader. I'd be happy to pass along his contact details if you need a proof reader. You can contact me by joining my newsletter mailing list.
Again, in Grant's words:
"To have a place to head, like Rizal, Occidental Mindoro, to unwind, to relax and to just be, is one of the true benefits of living here. Yes, I love the beaches here and there are none of those in Limlim, but what there is, is peace, tranquillity and a pace of life that we’ve all but, sadly forgotten.
Oh yes, there are also one million mosquitoes per square inch there (just kidding), but for me, our regular trips “home” to see Papang and the rest of the family, help keep me grounded and sane. For me, it’s like a week at a health spa and I return to Manila, invigorated and ready to face the battle once again. We all need that place of respite, where we can let it all hang out and just be. For me, it is Rizal, Occidental Mindoro, the Philippines."
My art career have provided wonderful opportunities to travel and meet with other creative people.
I loved creating the cover for Grant Leishman's novel, A Drop in the Ocean.
Book cover design is one of my specialties.
Best wishes, and happy creativity to you.:-)
My Australian rural-lit books are available at http://www.rural-lit.com and you will discover Grant Leishman's novels set in the Philippines on Amazon.