I’ve seen four working fountains in this country. One was in Manila, in the main municipal park. The other three are in the tiny town of Valencia.

I don’t know the history of this town but given the size of the old houses and it’s proximity to the seat of provincial government I’d bet that it was originally the home of the rich and powerful. It still looks it.

The central park is the best maintained public space I’ve seen. Next to it is a public market. In the rest of the country a row of small businesses means haphazardly constructed shacks out of sheet steel, concrete and plywood with an architectural style modeled after a rabbit warren. Here it is lines of concrete construction with light, power and water.

There are more trees per square whatever then I’ve seen in any town. And it’s clean. Almost as clean as the malls in Cebu. That was the stunner. I had read and observed that the culture says to treat you and yours well and the hell with everything else. Somebody is taking care of the public spaces in Valencia. I hope it’s the citizens.

Valencia has a geothermal plant and ground water. They have more than they know what to do with of both so the surplus is sold to Dumaguete. I wonder how much of the difference between this town and others is that they have enough money to pay attention to more than the basics of survival.

Valencia is 9 kilometers from Dumaguete. It’s a world away. I now understand at a visceral level why most expats live just outside of towns. Yes, I’ve been to small towns outside of larger ones, but most seemed like the only appeal was lower rent and less air pollution. Not so Valencia.

Rest of the photos at Valencia photo album.


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